Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Options

I'm sure there are many New Year's options in the FC, but a few have jumped out at me because they were either featured in the newspaper, are gigs by my friends, or... I'm on their mailing list.

1. The Terryl Lee Band, which includes my friend Jeff, is playing at Seaside Tavern at 9pm. Psych OK that gig is actually Jan. 31st, which my addled brain thought translated to New Year's Eve. Sorry. There's a lot going on here in Mississippi. Oh well that's good, means I can go to Jeff's gig in Jan.
2. Fairfield County Happy Hour Club is having a closed party at Monster B's. I'm invited to the FCHHC party because I'm its facebook friend... I'm not sure if they'll have a guest list at the door? I'd email them if you're curious. Their email is not on their new website, but maybe you can email them from their facebook page. I've very much enjoyed the HHC events I've attended.

3. Also, the Advocate informs me that Howard Stern regular "the Rev." Bob Levy will appear with former "Saturday Night Live" regular Colin Quinn at Hibernian Hall on Greyrock Place. See article for details. My internet access is sucking so I am not going to attempt to locate and add other links right now!

4. My friend Beth and a few other musicians are performing at SoNo Caffeine in Norwalk if you're looking for a more mellow vibe. I featured Beth's CD on Stamford Talk last year.

Please comment if you know of any other good options for New Year's in Stamford or nearby!
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Sunday, December 28, 2008

Stamford Talk's 2008 in Review

This year didn’t start off well for the city. Marco Paoletta was killed on Vine St. on Jan. 3 and the murder remains unsolved despite there being a photo of the suspect on the surveillance camera at the JCC.

In February, the reality show Kitchen Nightmares filmed at Sabatiello’s, a foundering restaurant on the corner of Bedford and Forest. I signed up to be on the show and it was a hoot.

March was a little dead, but I ate a lot, and reviewed Market, Napa and Co’s $24 burger, and steak options in Stamford (note: Dunn's Loft now closed). March also included posts about immigrants, crazy soccer moms, headless chickens, cheese spills on I-95, robberies at Stamford Mall, "Stuff White People Like," and the TV show Lost. Hmm. I guess a slow news cycle leaves more time for writing fun posts.

In April, star sightings began in earnest: DeNiro, Isla Fisher, and movie sets all over town. Fatigue with the school redistricting mess set in.

Mid-May, I finally spotted stars myself. I got to watch DeNiro on set, then I saw the stars of another movie strolling on Summer St.
Meanwhile, Trump Parc was being constructed on Wash Blvd. Evidently it felt like its spotlight was being stolen by movie stars, because the next day, we had the FIRST of of a series of 4/5 falling debris incidents.

June kicked off a very successful Alive at Five season with a crowded Blues Traveler concert. We had our second Trump incident- more metal stuff falling 20 or so stories onto a vehicle.

In July, we had, unbelievably, another Trump incident. Malloy shut down the site until it put in some better safety measures. I took some photos of the new measures, which worked pretty well for, oh, just over a week.

In August, Trump delivered its fourth and fifth debris incidents in grand fashion. During a heavy storm, my friend’s car got hit by debris and a mail truck got skewered by a piece of lumber. I mean, that's just silly.

In September, we had our second murder. In October, a fancy cupcake store opened. Yes, Stamford is a city of extremes.

In November, the Sabatiello’s episode of Kitchen Nightmares made it to television, and I made the cut. Readers had very strong opinions about the show. Stamford got new blue holiday lights- to mixed reviews- and my husband’s favorite restaurant burned down. It was arson, but it was not me. I have an alibi.

In December, Sabatiello’s bit the dust. Trump almost managed to make it to the end of the year without another incident, but on Dec. 22, a plank of wood fell 15 feet into the street below. Fifteen feet is better than 15 stories, but it still could have hurt someone. I'm sure the people at Trump are not trying to kill us on purpose, but getting bashed in the head by accident would still be pretty UNCOOL. I was pulling for Trump Parc to get itself together, but I guess we've got to keep looking out for ourselves in the new year.

In 2009:
--Will we get a Stamford Dog Park?
--Will we get more movies filmed in town? Or will the bad economy/actor's contract problem ruin one of my biggest sources of frivolous excitement in Stamford?
--Will Trump Parc redeem itself by going incident-free and/or throwing us a big party/open house with free wine?
--Will Barcelona Tapas and Wine Bar open on Summer?
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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Wes Craven Movie

A reader emailed to let me know that Wes Craven was filming two weeks ago at Westhill High School, right in the middle of the school day. Movie trucks and trailers were there, and he used the courtyard and pool areas. I'm a little curious how common it is for movies to be filmed in the middle of the school day, but whatever. You've got to have some fun in life. I also wonder if Westhill got paid to be a venue.

A March article for Channel 3 says that Craven was using an old Tolland school building for filming; I bet Westhill's pool and courtyard were 2 more venues that Tolland didn't offer:
The former Tolland High School building may be used in director Wes Craven's horror film, "25/8," to be released in 2009. Craven, known for films like "Scream" and "A Nightmare on Elm Street" told reporters that "25/8" is less gore and more thrill. "The scenes portray the average comings and goings of everyday life in an average high school," the movie's production company said in a letter...

Wikipedia entry about the film:
Production on 25/8 began April 14, 2008. As of April 11, 2008, the movie is being filmed at the old Tolland High School in Tolland, Connecticut. The cast currently includes Max Thieriot, Denzel Whitaker, Shareeka Epps, Emily Meade, Jeff Ward, Nick Lashaway, John Magaro, Zena Grey, Paulina Olszynski, and Raúl Esparza. As of May 2, filming is taking place at the Bulls Bridge section of Kent, Connecticut. Also they are filming on Terrace Place and Carl's Lane in New Milford CT. For a couple days, it was filmed at Arena Gymnastics and the Tully Center in Stamford, CT. Currently filming at Westhill High School in Stamford, CT.

Since there are mostly teen actors in this films, I have no interest in stalking the set. I'm only interested in the big names and/or good-looking actors much closer to my own age.

For a complete run down on the big highs (and current lows) I experienced with Stamford movie sets, see the "Movies Filming in CT" category of posts.
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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

When Snow Tries to Kill You

I like the fact that the Greenwich Time's editorial today is about shitty drivers. Specifically, the thoughtless ones who don't clear snow off the top of their cars.

I'm going to admit, there were probably times I didn't clean off my car fully. In the South, we rarely had to worry about this, since snow only accumulated a couple of times a year. When I got up here, I don't think I understood right away that the snow can melt a little, freeze, and then form a horrifying sheet of ice that can peel off as you're roaring down 95.
I understand why people don't clean off the top of their cars. After you've dug your car out of two feet of snow, and cleaned off all the windows and lights, sometimes you just need to get going to work. And, if the ice and snow has already frozen, it's really hard to get it off the roof of your car.
So, I'm not saying that all people who leave snow on top of their car are homicidal maniacs, but I've lived here long enough to understand how dangerous that leftover snow can be.

I've had the bliss of a garage for the past 3 years, and that luxury has spoiled me enough so that I can now judge other people who do it. "Ugh! Why didn't that idiot clean off their car!" I say as snow smashes in front of me, or as snowy mist blinds me on 95.
Well, because it's human nature. We're in a rush, we don't think clearly, and we just think the snow will blow off and not cause a problem.

The Greenwich Time ends with the only possible conclusion: we have to watch out for ourselves. We're not going to be able to ticket everyone who leaves snow on their car, so we just have to drive defensively and stay far from vehicles with snow on top.

Remember, though, even a week after a storm, cars might have snow left, and sometimes it's hard to see the snow left on top of tall vehicles like the Pathfinder and the big Lexus SUV. Just a reminder for you in your holiday travels... and a reminder to make sure your car is cleared off.
Click here to read more.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Mobile Snowman Shops at Stamford Mall

OK, so the mobile snowman was spotted at the MALL today! How did he get the day off work to go shopping is my question. Thanks to reader RN who sent in this photo! You'll note the snowman is dressed a lot fancier than he was on Friday night, when my friend spotted him nearly nude off exit 9. He must be heading out to a party tonight.

In the interest of public safety, I'm going to assume that the cold weather makes the snowman unmeltable, and that the snowman's driver is a professional snow sculptor who knows how to make unknockdown-able structures. Because if I were say, walking on a sidewalk, and that truck turned the corner and fell on me, I'd be mad. I do not mean to rain on, and melt, that snowman's parade... but I'm into safety, OK?
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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Camp Bow-Wow in Stamford for Pet Lodging?

"Hello," says my husband in an extremely formal voice leaving a message for our vet, "we're looking to put our dog into Camp Bow-Wow..." I giggle from my spot on the couch, where I am lying because my entire body hurts today. "...so we need a copy of her vaccinations..." I start to giggle louder, because hearing my husband say the words "Camp Bow-Wow" is suddenly the funniest thing I've ever heard.

By the end of his message, I'm crying, because hearing him throw around terms like "All Day Play Day Care" is just so wrong. Our dog is totally no-nonsense. She does not play, or fetch, or chase, unless it's a small rodent. Her favorite activity is lying on the couch. The last thing she wants to do is play and participate in camp-like activities, but our Bull's Head Pet Hospital lodging is full, so we've got to lodge her elsewhere. This afternoon we have to take her to meet the Camp Bow-Wow people at the Hope St. location, because she has to pass a doggie interview to be there.

Don't get me wrong. The place sounds amazingly attentive. I have a feeling she'll be well taken care of (even if she weren't the most human-like, independent dog on the planet). But hearing my husband read aloud from the website that our dog will be getting:
* All Day Play, Snooze The Night Away®
* Large Indoor & Outdoor Play Areas
* Spacious Cabins with Comfy Cots
* Live Camper Cams
* Bedtime Campfire Tasty Treats
* Certified Camp Counselors®
was too silly-sounding for me to handle. And he was reading it as if it weren't funny; I think that's why it was funny.

Has anyone sent their pet to Camp Bow-Wow? What can you tell me about the Hope St. location? Or, do you recommend any other pet lodging in Stamford? We've done Best Friends in Norwalk and thought it was fine, but we'd like to stay in Stamford if possible.

Update, 5 hours later: The dog totally passed her interview/trial play session, but she spent the entire 2 hours of her trial there standing atop a platform in an attempt to avoid the other dogs. Because pretty much, she doesn't think she's a dog. The staff at Camp Bow-Wow was really nice, and the other dogs seemed quite well-behaved. I did try to explain that our dog would probably be happiest if left for long periods in her cabin, chilling on her comfy cot, but you know, I think this is gonna work out fine.
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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Funny Photo of Stamford Snowman

My friend took this photo of a snowman riding in the back of truck at a gas station off exit 9. I do not endorse people or snowmen riding in the backs of open vehicles. If for example, that snowman were to take a tumble, I'd be highly pissed if he fell on my windshield.

"Way to rain on that guy's parade!" said my friend when I told her the snow sculpture didn't look very safe. But you have to be careful driving around with crap on top of your car, whether it's a mattress, a Christmas tree, or a couch, you better make sure that thing's not gonna fall off. I'm assuming that snow man was just there for a very short ride, and that the driver drove very slowly, taking the utmost care of the vehicles around him. Because that's the way most people drive in the snow, even if a few punks do go too fast.

I will admit, it's a very clever way to have fun with the snow. The funnest thing I did with the snow was to take some pics of the dog "playing" in it (my hound does not really play) to email to my nephews in mostly snowless Mississippi.
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Friday, December 19, 2008

Gettin' Ready for the Storm

I made it to the grocery at 8:30 am, just before the rush. I didn't actually leave the store until like, 9:30, because I ran into fellow blogger Always Home and Uncool and talked his ear off, plus, I was sort of enjoying people-watching. Best sighting: slim guy with long white hair, in jeans, boots, a black leather jacket... and a Santa hat. I leaned over to him in the cheese aisle, and I think I said, "Your outfit is absolutely adorable." I know that's a totally stupid thing to say to a biker dude, but I didn't sleep a lot last night, so I'm a little giddy and nonsensical.

I forgot to get Wheat Thins, so I ran back into the store at 9:30, but lines were long, especially the ten items or less. People were holding it together, but I could tell they were getting a little tense, so I hightailed it out of there. We'll either do without cheese and crackers tonight, or the husband can buy crackers on the way home from work. We've got fire wood and S'mores making materials, and that's what really matters.

I'm going to clean my hellhole house and do some online shopping, since I have only bought two gifts so far, and I have ten family members to buy for. How 'bout you? What'll you be doing?

Drive safely, everyone, and have a nice snowy Friday!

My favorite post from Always Home and Uncool: Her Body, My Self
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Fireside Arson: Whoooooooooodunit?

I cannot believe someone burned down Fireside. I heard on News 12 that a A K-9 detective doggie located 3 separate places in the resto that suggested accelerants, and tests confirmed it. That is so, so creepy, to think of someone doing that in the middle of the night while tenants slept upstairs.

Yesterday I kept turning to my husband at random times and saying, "I cannot believe someone burned down your favorite restaurant." At one point, he implied that I did it, since I constantly complained that the place had no healthy food options. He's my alibi for the night of the fire, so I hope to stay on his good side so he does not try to frame me and get the 2,500 reward that's offered.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Connecticut Arson hotline at 1-800-84-ARSON, the Stamford fire marshal at 203-977-4651 or Stamford police at 203-977-4407. Or, you could just post it here and we could gossip about it.

Advocate article on the fire: Police offer reward in Fireside Restaurant arson

Previous Stamford Talk post on the fire:
--Nov 21, 2008-- Fireside Restaurant Burns Down?!?!?

(Aren't my paparazzi-style drive by shots of the fire aftermath pretty spectacular? After a year and a half of doing this blog, I'm really good at photographing things from my car. Maybe I'll post a series of my paparazzi shots on my flickr page. I'll let you know when it's up.)
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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Biggest Loser Finale on Tonight!

Set your DVRs, or TiVos, because this is the most important TV event of December: The Biggest Loser Finale! One of my coworkers* and I are completely addicted to the show, and since she lives in the city, she always stays over with me on Tuesdays and we watch the show together (usually while eating Oreos, ice cream, or mac and cheese from a box). She saves a day of commuting, and I get girl time and a Biggest Loser fan who is as emotionally wrapped up in the show as I am. Actually, I think she's more wrapped up than me. She cries during the touchy-feely parts that I usually fast forward through if I'm watching it by myself.

If you haven't watched the show, I hope you try it. I apologize in advance for the contestant named Vicky. She's mean, rude, stupid, annoying and vengeful, and she almost ruined the season for me. She's one of the three finalists, but so is my favorite Michelle, and I hope Michelle kicks her HEINIE. In the photo above, Vicky's on the far left and Michelle is beside her.

Click here for a short article about the finale, and here for a more detailed one about the game play involved in last week's episode.

*At this point I should probably just refer to her as my friend, since we've worked together for 9 years and are basically surrogate sisters, but we met at work.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

SUV Craze, Scary Moms: I Get It Now

We're expecting a baby in March, so we're car shopping. We pretty much need a wagon or an SUV, because I don't want the dog in the back with the baby. God forbid there's any sort of collision, I don't want our hound's claws scratching out the baby's eyes.
I've driven teeny cars for the past ten years (current car = Honda Civic), so I figured I'd be happy with a little wagon, like maybe the Subaru Outback or VW Passat, or perhaps, in my dreams, a used BMW 3 series. I've always said I didn't need a big car. Well, now that I've test-driven the largest wagon in existence, I'm relishing the thought of myself in a huge car. I want to menace the drivers around me who've been menacing me for the past 10 years.

I finally get why people buy big cars. When you have a teeny baby in the car, you want your car to be something that other people avoid. That punk in the Toyota Tacoma this morning, who came awfully close to me as he whipped around me as I was waiting to turn into Village Bagels? I bet that $&@&head would have given me a little more space if I'd been in the 4600 pound, steel encased Mercedes R450, which is the wagon we're eying that's basically the size of a mini-van. Used, it's a pretty good deal, possibly because it resembles a hearse. When I see that thing on the road, I can barely distinguish it from the Mercedes SUV. That's what I want: a big-ass car that's slightly terrifying to others.

I finally understand why all these moms in SUVs act so bitchy and aggressive. They're like mother bears protecting their young. They're going to run us over before we can hurt their babies. I say "we," but who I really mean is men. Women drive cluelessly, but men drive fast and dangerously, and we women don't like that. We want you to be careful. We buy big cars to try to scare you into keeping away from us.

Moral of the story: I've gone over to the FC dark side. I've always self-righteously driven a small car, and talked trash about how pompous it is to drive a big one, but once I was offered a 2-ton vehicle, do you think I shed a tear about giving up my Civic?
When I could only afford a Civic (although actually my Civic only cost 10,000 less than the wagon/hearse), I had to be happy with it.
However, if my husband wants to float me and this gestating baby a huge car, I won't protest. I might feel a little pang to let my Civic go, because that was the car I bought just before my first nephew was born, and a year before I met my husband. That car was with me in the best 5 and a half years of my life.
But, uh, this new car has heated leather seats. And I hate the cold. Yes, I'm ready to upgrade vehicles- for the baby's sake, of course.

In an ideal world, we'd all drive fuel-efficient, yet snow-safe, little cars. We'd drive cautiously, and respect each other on the road, and never take our anger out on other drivers by whipping around them if they're driving slightly below the speed limit.
But this is the FC, and we all hate each other, so big cars make us feel safer. I think I've finally accepted the way the FC works, and this big car marks my transition from nice Southern girl to FC alphabitch.

Maybe. I don't know. I'm still pretty nice and I'm not sure I can shake that.

But just to be safe, watch the hell out if you see this car. --->
Click here to read more.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Stamford Paint Gun Officer: Vote for Me!

This letter to the Advocate just reminds me why I, along with maybe the Stamford cops, need to receive authorization to shoot obnoxious drivers' cars with paint guns. The paint will be designed to wear off after one week- maybe two. That way, your car is not permanently damaged, but everyone around you, including your gossipy neighbors, will know that you were driving like an a-hole who thinks that where you're going is so much more urgent than where everyone else is going.

To the editor: The surprise in the Dec. 7 letter regarding the small dog being run over by the speeding car is not that it happened, but rather that there are not more letters with the same kind of story every day.

Quite simply, drivers are out of control in Stamford. They drive three or four times the speed limit, pay little or no attention to stop signs and less attention to the no-right-turn-on-red signs - all because they have little or no fear of being pulled over because we do not have enough police cars on the road at any given time.

Just today while walking my dog, I had to wait for the one millionth time as not one but two cars made a right turn on red off Summer onto North Street - where there is a sign saying no turn on red. To top it off, they barely even slowed down.

This year I have been to Israel; Canada; Lexington, Ky.; Las Vegas; Columbus, Ohio; and Atlanta, and there is no question that the worst drivers I have come across are right here in Stamford. I don't know if there is an arrogance to a lot of us here. I don't know if it is we think the rules don't apply to us. I don't know what it is. But it is a problem our elected officials need to address. We could probably avoid tax increases for years to come if we had enough police to write tickets.
Robert Stiskin-- Stamford

Yeah! Unless there's a woman in the car about to have a baby, don't turn right on red if the sign says not to, and don't cut off pedestrians in the crosswalk, punks. I'll admit, I myself occasionally drive like a bit of an a-hole. Not as much of an a-hole to where I blatantly endanger people, but I might speed, or I might not stop to let a pedestrian cross. (I'd never cut one off who's already in the crosswalk though- that's psycho, and those are the drivers I hate and want to shoot with my paint gun.) I'll submit myself to this plan; that's how strongly I feel about it. If I do something dangerous, my car should be shot with a paint gun, too.

Here's my original paint gun post:

I'm sick of Stamford people pushing me around. I might have to start fighting people. No, I wouldn't do that. I will, though, think about asking the Stamford police for a special dispensation to carry and fire a paintball gun in public. Did I ever blog about that? I got that great idea in August. I'll blog more about it later, but it involves me being a trusted public servant who gets to shoot a paint gun at say, cars who are rude to pedestrians, or people who kick my seat on purpose at the movie theatre. That way, I get the pleasure of physically assaulting people without actually hurting them, and mean people get the message: "That was mean. I saw you. I don't like you. This is your punishment. Don't do it again. Be nicer."

I really don't see what the problem with this plan would be. Will you sign a petition to get me certified to be a Stamford Paint Gun Officer? I'm the perfect person for this: level-headed, fair, fearless, nice but a tiny bit bitchy on the inside.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Sabatiello's is Closed: What Should Replace It?

I heard from Streets of Stamford that Sabatiello's looked closed, and an article in the Stamford Advocate today confirms that and adds some juicy details, like that the rent of the property is $100,000 a year. Someone commented that a Sabatiello's Pizza just opened in Riverside, and Lunch Break Chronicles has the photo that confirms it. On Kitchen Nightmares, Sammy said he was a million dollars in debt. I wonder how he got the money to open the new pizza place so quickly. So, who's going to be the first to try the pizza?

Back in Stamford, looking forward, the bigger question is: what do we need next in Sabatiello's old spot?

One commmenter on the Advocate Topix site mentioned a sports bar. I sort of agree, because I don't find Bradford's, a few doors down, very cozy. But we already have Bobby V's, a classic sports bar, and Black Bear, both a few blocks away on Columbus Park and both with great booths.

Maybe Mexican? Even with yummy Spanish tapas resto Barcelona coming to Summer St., we could still use an affordable (but nice!) Mexican place in Stamford. Ole Mole on High Ridge is too tiny to eat in comfortably, plus, I'm not wild for their food. Boxcar Cantina in Greenwich is a hike, and the tacos are like 16 dollars. That's insane. I can't picture a Mexican place in the old Sabatiello's spot, though. A Mexican eatery in the upstairs of a tremendously expensive property?

Dunn's Loft, with its great steak and fun pool table, couldn't survive the high rents on Summer, so I even doubt a nice steak place would work in that building.

What kind of place could survive in that spot? I'm at a loss, but I'm pretty eager to see what comes in there.

I'm also super-eager for Barcelona to open, because while their food has struck me as odd both times I've eaten there, the sangria is magnifico!
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Stamford Artist Profile: PennyCraft

My friend Kate found this local artist online and offered to write a profile, so here it is! Come on, that baby sock bunny super hero is adorable.
One way to help Stamford's economy is to let residents know about the goodies being created in their own backyards. Jen Rice of Stamford turned her childhood love of sewing into a career on two fronts. By day, she is a costume designer teaching design and sewing at Long Island University. In her spare time she creates unique and fanciful creatures and clothing. Operating as PennyCraft, Jen hand sews most of her cuddly crafts.

PennyCraft prides itself on seeing beyond the original purpose of unwanted items like sweaters and baby socks to make them useful once again. Her creations range from cozy hats to adorable bunnies – all with an artistic element setting them apart from standard industrial fare. There are superhero bunnies ready for action with a mask and cape, flocks of stylized bluebirds singing from the trees, and psychedelic bunnies dressed in rainbow colors. PennyCraft offers authentic handmade crafts that are friendly to both kids and the environment - plus - they're made right here in Stamford.

PennyCraft creations are available at etsy.
Note: PennyCraft creatures may include small parts unsuitable for children 3 and under.

Stamford Talk's note: Whatever this baby's selling, I'll buy it. That's one cute baby.
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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Ode to Darien and Its Amenities

Someone recently suggested, in a conversation about home prices, that what I should really do is try to buy a little house in Darien, because the schools are really good.
Well, no doody. I should also really ask for a tripling/quadrupling of my salary so I have a smidgen of a chance of affording the cheapest house in Darien. Median income there is one of the highest in the nation- Darien and New Canaan were one and two in a recent report- at around $230,000.
I don't think I could ever afford Darien, but I'm oddly fond of it. I lived there for two years when I first moved up here, and I still go there a lot.

Top 10 Reasons I Love Darien
1. My doctor, dentist, and podiatrist, all of whom I really like, are in Darien.
2. Elements Yoga studio by the Noroton Heights train station.
3. Barrett Bookstore- great independent book store- also by the NH train station.
4. Lanphier- my favorite hair salon. They'll fix the highlight disaster caused by the salon in Stamford, two weeks before your wedding.
5. Post Corner Pizza- I love their pizza and chicken souvlaki.
6. Coromandel- best Indian from Greenwich to Norwalk. Oh sure, they just turned Dakshin into Coromandel, but parking's easier in Darien.
7. Noroton Heights train station off exit 10- good place to meet up with people if you need to carpool, especially to Cove Beach.
8. If you happen to be the work-at-home type who needs to get out of the house, the Darien Library-Darien Starbucks combo is a good alternative to Greenwich Library. Parking at Stamford Library/Starbucks is always a pain- unless you are one of those young whippersnappers who live in a downtown condo or apartment.
9. Trader Joe's is a fun little specialty grocery store right on the Norwalk border. They've got good meals in boxes. You know, rather than mac and cheese, they'll have some fancy Indian dish that's easy to make.
10. That's all I can think of. Anyone else want to add anything?
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Darien Whole Foods To-Be: Good Enough for Me

I am thrilled that there's going to be a Whole Foods in Darien. It is going to cause the worst traffic hell you've ever seen in your life, but I'll just go there at odd hours, you know, when I want to pretend I am an organized enough person to live an ascetic, clean, organic life. Yes, I go shopping at Whole Foods when I need to feel like I am a better person.

The new store will be beside the BMW dealer off exit 11, on the old HoJo's lot they're currently clearing. Yeah- that tiny access road! I know, I'm sure they'll fix access, but an incredibly popular store right on Rt 1 by 95... oh, it's gonna be bad. It couldn't be worse than Greenwich though, could it?

You may recall they proposed a Whole Foods right by the Stamford Lord and Taylor. I think this Darien spot is a much better location. We Stamfordites can reap the rewards but not deal with the extra traffic.

I do suppose we're missing out on some yuppie prestige... sigh.
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Saturday, December 6, 2008

Stamford Hospital Rocked My World

I went to see a doctor at Stamford Hospital about this cough on Wed., and I left in a daze because everyone I encountered there was so nice to me. It was weird. I wondered if I just looked especially appealing (I did take the time to shower and put on a cute outfit), or maybe sounded pathetic (the chest congestion made it hard to talk), or if the staff at Stamford Hospital is just nice. I have to go with the last option. I was there for four hours, and I only experienced kindness and patience.

Parking lot attendant: super nice.
Registration people: pleasant, knew right away that I was the last minute, squeezed in X-ray patient.
Registration lady: insisted on wheeling me to my chest X-ray because I said I was short of breath.
X-ray Lady: super-nice to me, walked me to elevator after the X-ray.
Pulmonologist secretaries: super-pleasant, and you know secretaries aren't always super-pleasant.
Pulmonologist: nice, got a lady to hold my hand when I was freaked out by the naso-laryngeal swab he wanted to do.
Hand-holder: super nice.
Back to registration for blood test: nice, almost awkwardly so, because I had an embarrassing coughing fit when I tried to talk.
Blood-taker: super nice.

Granted, my standards for nice aren't that high. You just have to act like you don't hate me, and maybe smile and tell me to have a nice day. But in this busy world, people don't always even bother to do that, so when it happens, it's remarkable.

My second antibiotic has kicked in quite nicely, so now I'm just trying to make sure I don't overdo it, because it feels so good to feel good after feeling bad for 5 weeks! Still coughing some, especially at night, but I don't feel like dog doody every second of the day, and that's something to feel very happy about.
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Friday, December 5, 2008

Baby! Happy Greenwich/Stamford Story

Wow. This is the nicest story I've heard in a long time. A soldier in Iraq got to see the birth of his baby boy at Greenwich Hospital via video conference. If I wasn't trying to get to work early today, I'd take a few minutes to cry my eyes out. The dad is actually from Stamford, and the video conference was courtesy a nonprofit called Freedom Calls Foundation.

From the Advocate article: Established in 2003, Morristown, N.J.'s Freedom Calls Foundation is a nonprofit organization that connects military families in the United States by video conference with their loved ones for milestones such as the birth of a child, graduations, weddings and parent-teacher conferences. It makes 2,000 calls, paid for with donations.

"We are able to meet a little bit better than 35 percent (of troops' requests) only because we don't have satellite centers on the ground in every military base in Iraq," [Director of Development Kathryn] Hudacek said. "But with every dollar donated, we're able to put more up."

Centers cost more than $150,000 to build and maintain annually. One hour of connection time costs $1,000. The service is free to military families.
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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Day Dinner in Stamford?

An Irishman emailed me to ask about nice places in Stamford for Christmas Day dinner. I'm a former O'Brien, so I've got to help this man from my ancestral home. (That's Ireland to the right, in a photo I took on a trip there 2 years ago. The country is out of control pretty.) I've never really done Christmas in Stamford proper, but I put together a short list, and I am hoping more knowledgeable readers can add info. The criteria: sophisticated but traditional fare at $50-75 a head including wine. Possibilities:
Telluride- new American, upscale yet cozy, good quality food.
Napa and Co- like Telluride, it's right downtown, likely to be open, and has excellent food. It's pricey- if you do drinks and appetizers, it will run easily to 75.
In Greenwich:
Greenwich Hyatt- probably open. Nicest hotel in the area, so might be the priciest option.
Ginger Man- good food, less expensive than Telluride and Napa, but food not as interesting. Ginger Man is cozy has a nice fireplace.

I don't hear great things about Long Ridge Tavern, I don't love Mackenzie's food... so this is all I can come up with who might have a nice Christmas dinner!
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