greg is back!! everyone missed you, greg!! GREG!!!

connor is only here for a moment, after we had a comical upstairs/downstairs misunderstanding where we keystone kops-ed it through the stairways and elevators of his building, looking for each other, and making poor greg have to stand on the corner like a schmoe balancing two giant coffees and feeling forlorn. poor connor has to wear shades now, now that he is a big-time commercial actor (http://adland.tv/commercials/new-york-lottery-commute-2013-30-usa) and everyone recognizes him wherever he goes…just let the man buy his groceries, paparazzi! give him his space!

please note greg’s leer. this is one of my favorite pictures ever because of that.

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okay, quick group shot before we kick connor to the curb/limo and go on our merry way.

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this picture is called, “maybe i should have worn more than just my fleece vest today,” which confession shocked greg. i’m not saying my fleece vest is lacking in any way. it was just a little chilly is all. greg doesn’t care – he still thinks it is a scandalous thing for someone with such a great fleece vest to say.

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ahhhhh!!! the coffee starts making its way towards greg but then realizes i am tastier prey. neither of us spilled this, by the way. it is stranger-coffee.

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oh, yeah, and it is also cinco de mayo. hurray.

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hee, heee. this grouch-face is my fault.in case you were wondering, on the weekends, the d train goes express after broadway/lafayette and then you are in chinatown on cinco de mayo and it is just too confusing. so now we are exeunting chinatown to go back uptown and greg is making a frownyface already.

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behave, greg, we have already shown you can be replaced!

this might be my angriest “there goes the neighborhood” moment. because apparently, williamsburg just isn’t big enough for some people. these clowns have an entire storefront in manhattan where seemingly all they do is put metal “punk rock” studs on vintage t-shirts. and skinny jeans. and, probably your ironic fishing cap, if you so desire. i really really hate them.

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but then i see the semen statue and it cheers me up. spoooooge mountain!

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mexicans!! on cinco de mayo! what a treat!

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yeah, greg! sheesh, he is so rude sometimes.

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you can’t tell, but he is being so loud here!! in fact, that sign wasn’t up before, but some little man came out and hung it on the wall as a response to greg’s rambunctious behavior.

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way to ruin cinco de mayo, greg! this is a holy day, for contemplation.

it is also “pitch in garden” day!! i suggested we go pitch in, but his response was “i’m going to go take a garbage can, and pitch all the garbage in.” other suggestions were pitching in children and mexicans.

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soooo, we wound up not helping anyone.

and instead we went here.

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we had a card. and then two seconds after i took that, it became a freaking richard scarry wonderland:

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bad burger

but inside, it was nice and empty. on the walk over to here, i was concerned because 1) very important national holiday 2) it had gotten warmer (fleece vest was plenty warm enough) and every place we passed had scads of people outside, eating at tables with they tiny dogs tied up underneath, and i was worried that this place would be packed. but no! it is slightly past the fashionable area of town, and while a bunch of big parties came while we were there, it was mostly awesome and empty.

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it is greg! we are having food and fun once more! together!

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this place is perfect for folks like connor:

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and their tables are so shiny!!! look, it is greg! in the table!

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and their artwork is trees growing out of a lady’s boobs!

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and best of all – real sugar!! whe!

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but i am unhappy about the music, which is like a hipster throwing up in my ears. loudly. holy fuck, i think this means i am old. these kids today with their loud music…

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there were some difficulties in ordering, as they seemed to be out of a lot of things. damn you, mexico! also, our waiter was about twelve (god, i really am showing my age this episode…) and was very enthusiastic and for some reason, i kept winking at him when i ordered/was rebuffed/tried again, and i am not a winker AT ALL, but his energy made me want to respond in some way, and that was all i had the strength to do – you know, old and all, and once i started, i could not stop. but i don’t think he was alarmed or enticed by this; he kept coming over every five minutes offering to top greg off. YOU WANT ME TO TOP YOU OFF??? and i work in chelsea now, i know all the codes.

so, because there were so many appetizers we (i) wanted, we decided to get a sampler, which came with a choice of three, and then we were going to get one additional appetizer. but then they were out of cheeseburger spring rolls!! which you would be, because they sound delicious, and i’m sure they do not last long. so we had to try again, and we had agreed to get zucchini fries (wink), but noooo – they were out of those, too. so third time was the charm (wink) and i will tell you what we got in one second. we are going down chronological street.

first, we played a rousing game of “whose GR avatar am i?”

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this was from memory, as greg’s phone was being a bitch, and we couldn’t remember which way to face, so we took it from both sides. it should actually be this way:

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but i think the spirit has been captured.

then greg got all artsy, the way he does.

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oh and then our food came. along with another proposition for greg.

our sampler included “bad dates” (dates stuffed with cream cheese, wrapped in bacon, and broiled), fried mac and cheese balls (w/ secret badass sauce), and pickle chips with chipotle mayonnaise.

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and of course i had to go and make a penis out of the food.

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date! i have never really been a fan of dates, after having had to, from the ages of 8-16, stuff thousands of them with walnuts and then roll them in sugar for holiday family gatherings, and getting all sticky with date-guts and then grainy with sugar under my nails and never even trying one of them, because the willy wonka-style tar-and-feathering process was a real turnoff. but these were a delicacy!

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and, i guess, technically, this is another picture of me eating a penis on the internet.

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and greg is eating balls.

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this is actually a picture of greg remarking about how much he likes the date, and how unexpected his pleasure is. and yet it looks like he is so so very unhappy. i’m not sure if it is his inability to project human emotion the way the rest of us do, with our socially codified facial expressions, or if the camera just hates him.

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because, i mean, look at this! and i am a grade-A photographer! and greg is not unattractive (DO YOU WANT ME TO TOP YOU OFF??) but for some reason, he will look fine through the lens up until i make the click, and then:

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this happens.

greg, you are better than this.

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this is where i told him – just stay still so you don’t look like such a freak.

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and he looks chastised, which isn’t much better. even though it is accurate.

and then our substitute/substitute appetizer arrived:

sweet potato fries with roasted garlic mayo

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and i make a little tableau for montambo. it is a slug on a leaf. obviously.

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uh-oh, look at that coffee cup! someone needs to be topped off!

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this is me innocently salting fries

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and then stunned when greg accuses me of liking the strokes. STUNNED! okay, they are catchy. so what. that doesn’t mean i like them. TB is catchy, too, and you don’t see me sucking face with occupy-wherever people. too soon?

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this might be the most flattering picture of greg today. the table really brings out his eyes.

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oh, yeah, and i also got a side of roasted butternut squash with garlic. this bowl makes it look tiny, but it was pretty substantial. we ate a lot of food.

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and then – here it is!! yummy main course!

i got the piggy-back burger, which was covered in pulled pork (and i most certainly did ask for the works) and it had not only pulled pork and hamburger, but also bacon. this might be the best burger i have eaten since the one at whitman’s.

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and perfect for me wearing my little pig necklace

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and even this bird food nonsense didn’t dampen my enjoyment. this was truly spectacular.

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greg got the bandito burger – for cinco de mayo!!! it had guacamole and jalapenos and black beans and cheese

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and if you get close up, it looks like the burger is barfing – bleeaacchhh

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this required all my muscles to eat.

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i mean, COME ON! connor ratliff would barf like greg’s burger if anyone made him eat this.

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and speaking of weird food-issues – i make greg try the coleslaw, because coleslaw is delicious. and our waiter was very insistent that greg be served this coleslaw. he was all, “i have never liked coleslaw either but i like the kind we serve here.” and gave a special little secret smirk when he set it down.

so, what started as a photo-montage of greg overcoming his coleslaw-disdain, feels to me like it became a montage of greg overcum, period. you know. like in portrait of the artist??

what?? no, i didn’t say anything – eat your coleslaw.

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he likes it!

and while i was taking those photos, there was a burger-collapse.

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this is why restaurants hate people who photograph the food. it takes away from the eating of it.

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let’s remedy that!

i am a princess debutante!

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look at all that coleslaw greg left behind! poor waiter. he will gladly come top that off for you…

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i turned into a ghost!

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and was restored after a child believed in me or something.

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and i did bring my own sugar again today.

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which was good, because we had run out of the good stuff here, and no one wanted to top ME off.

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again – pen and paper, karen, it’s not hard (tnwows) (which is a new acronym, sure to catch on, and stands for “that’s not what our waiter said”) but anyway – pen and paper. because i could not even remember on the subway home during the weekly AIFAF-photo-review what inspired this increasingly-agitated montage.

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so then we were going to get dessert. but the “ice cream soup” i had coveted from their online menu was not on the menu today (natch). and despite all my jeering and judgment, greg decided to AGAIN get the brownie sundae, but they did not have any brownies. so he decided to get the ice cream sandwiches. but they didn’t have those either. turns out, the baker didn’t show, so they had no baked goods. “cinco de mayo,” i quipped, ominously. and winked. again. seriously, what’s my problem?

so we decided to just share the silver dollar pancake sundae. which is chocolate-chip silver dollar pancakes covered in everything, no baker required.

and it was probably a good thing we shared, because we were seriously reaching maximum tummy-capacity, and the size of this dessert is insane.

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that is a tub of syrup in the middle, in case you wanna fast-track your diabetes.

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and we do.

i might be in sugar-shock here.

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is serious business.

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and then we are counting the money time.

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greg leaned over, and whispered, “karen, i think they forgot to charge us for one of the burgers – should we say something??” so obviously we do, because we are good citizens, but it turns out that that was how he had given us our card-discount. but our waiter was tickled and said “thank you for being so honest – YOU WANT ME TO TOP YOU OFF? FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ARE YOU NOT GETTING MY SUBTEXT HERE??”

but he was a great waiter, despite that eager/earnest/excitability which ordinarily would have turned me off. at one point, when i was covered in various foodstuffs, i leaned over to greg and said “if it’s not past his bedtime, do you think…” and then suddenly, he was at our table with a giant stack of napkins, before i could even say “…you could get his attention and get us some more napkins?” it was like a sixth sense. or just understandable horror that a grown-ass woman was covered in sauce like a toddler.

this is greg talking about how great popcorn shrimp is

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because, POP!

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then we went to this awesome store, which looks like the place you go to buy gremlins inside, and there were so many really cool taxidermified foxes, one of them even wearing a top hat. i felt weird taking pictures in there, though, because while there were no signs prohibiting it, it seems like the kind of place that would frown on it. but just know that it was really cool, and greg wants a fox. sorry, david.

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oh, and this picture. this is a picture of me being mortified that greg misquoted/misinterpreted the lyrics to an ani difranco song. it is not about incest, it was just some guy who was as old as her dad. how embarrassing. for him. not for me – it is totally cool to know the lyrics to ani difranco songs. it just is.

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then we went to trader joe’s to get supplies for the upcoming awesome arrested development party/aifaf, but they only had these. which are not bluth-y enough.

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oh god and then we had to wait for a train.

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and i lectured him about something. probably.

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and then we finally started to go home.

greg has a pointy nose like a fox! someday i will turn him into a taxidermy project.

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and then back to woodside. this is where the chicken/nathan’s place was. that fish market sign is a lie, but it is very exciting to fantasize about what it is going to be.

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although, the polish goods store closed, and all we got was some stinky optometry place. sucks.

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and then i was home!! sitting like a lady! close up shop, girl!!

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i try to retrieve my camera, but greg is all shutterbuggy, ordering me “look cute.”

as though that’s not a daily challenge already.

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eh. that’ll do.

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greg is mining for gold! not really, but it looks like that. greg said “don’t use that picture.” but i say ha-HAAAA!! i am in charge of zee aifafs!

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so he pooped in front of my house. rude.

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and as a special bonus!! greg and karen hang our with canadian-visitor laima and her husband mark on a midweek mini-aifaf. and we loved them so much and want them to come back all the time. it’s so nice when people are as fun in person as they are online.

we go to here:

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peanut butter and co

greg is astonished to be seeing me on a school night.

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greg gets the “cinnamon raisin swirl” sandwich, with cinnamon raisin peanut butter, vanilla cream cheese, and apples.

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i get the “white chocolate wonderful,” with white chocolate peanut butter, orange marmalade and sliced almonds

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and a fluffernutter shake

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laima gets the “pregnant lady” which is crunchy peanut butter and pickle.

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and mark gets… a turkey sandwich.

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which makes me feel like such a fool! i chose this place because in the past, i have sent all sorts of american peanut butter products like nutter butters and pb captain crunch and pb oreos, etc, to him because they can’t get that stuff where they live (even though laima sends me millions of boxes of canadian candy seemingly every week – candy that seems to be designed by the gods and withheld from me out of spite) but so i thought he really liked peanut butter and this would be a magical wonderland for him. but i guess he only likes the cookies. and i feel like i made a huge mistake. (which sounds dramatic, but is only because i want to have as many arrested development references in here as possible.) i’m not shattered over this. just shaken.

because look how cute they are!!!

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and then as we were leaving, i heard my name being called and look who it is?? it is j.r. hamantaschen, the famous author! slumming it at the peanut butter restaurant! authors! they are just like us!

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and then we went to dylan’s

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and were served dark chocolate with champagne and strawberries in it. don’t mind if i do…

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i am like a kid in a candy store!

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so is laima!

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i try to get greg to go in the photo booth with me, but he says “noooo – i will just end up making a terrible face and then you will be mad at me!” untrue. i would never be mad.

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look, it’s julius!

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and i almost bought this for david, as a delightful joke, but i worried he might not giggle as much as i was giggling. so he only gets a photo of it.

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and then a girl was walking around with jelly bellies out of a tube and gave me a handful. i had eaten several when she said, “yeah, we wee just going to throw these out because there was a crack in the bottom.” i remarked that i also had a crack in my bottom and i was glad no one had ever thrown me out. she scampered away. i can’t really blame her.

greg refuses to eat jelly beans.

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so i slap him with a slap stix. SLAP!

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laima is finding many excellent candies.

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like this julius!

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and then she slaps mark with candy!!

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it is scary how alike we are. scary, but awesome.

greg is buying things for mother’s day because he is a great son. and his mother deserves a thousand happinesses.

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and then we go outside and this stupid movie trailer is playing on a loop again and again on a screen over the subway station. enough!! we get it; you ruined gatsby! we are all delighted about it!

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i try a series of escalator pictures. mostly unsuccessful, but because i took so few pictures of our time together because i was more excited-chatty than picture-takey, i am using them all.

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and then we got on trains going in different directions and it was sad.

and it wasn’t until i got to woodside that i realized i hadn’t even gotten one picture of me and laima together. but at least i have memories.

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and also books. she brought me a giant bag full of candy and books and an awesome vest and an aswesome necklace which were things i totally would have bought for myself and it is crazy how well she knows me, despite being so darn far away. come back, laima!!!

here are my laima-books:

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brown skin blue
dance of the happy shades
whirl away
creepy and maud

here is regular-hubris:

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the extinction club
the wonder of unicorns
bough down

and then – and then – when i was leaving work on wedensday, someone brought this over to my desk. oh, good – the housing works open air fair is coming up soon. but

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what’s this?? heyyy!!! who’s that with all those books??

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also – watermelon!

here are some assorted pictures laima sent me of our time together, but still – no pictures of the two of us. you will have to come back so we can fix that, laima!

hers is a better shot of the restaurant

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oh, god, just what the world needs, another picture of greg and me

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and cannnnndy!

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this is greg buying pez for noah?? jack?? whichever one likes trucks – babies are all the same to me.

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and that is all!!! for now!! i will be back next week with another special visitor. and once again, no greg. however, to make up for the greg-lack, there will be, again, TWO different aifafs. and it will be awesome. i promise.

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this feels gauche, but when i announced i was starting a blog, everyone assured me this is a thing that is done. i’m not on facebook, i’ve never had a cellphone or listened to a podcast; so many common experiences of modern life are foreign to me, but i’m certainly struggling financially, so if this is how the world works now, i’d be foolish to pass it up. any support will be received with equal parts gratitude and bewilderment.

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