Friday Five

1. Last month, I posted a blurb about the amazing book Half the Sky. Reading it makes you want to go out and do something good for the world. So I did. I made my first microloan through In case you’re not familiar with Kiva, here is their mission:

Kiva empowers individuals to lend to an entrepreneur across the globe. By combining microfinance with the internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending.

I decided to loan to a woman named Gantogoo living in Mongolia. She has a small sewing business, making mostly ger coverings (a Mongolian nomadic tent) and clothing. She wanted a loan to buy an electric sewing machine. Ten people, including myself, from Norway to the UK to the UAE lent money to Gantogoo. To date, she has repaid 25% of the loan! Once she repays the full amount, I can either get my original investment back or lend to someone else. The experience has been great, so I think I’ll lend to the lovely Pendo, a woman in her 20’s, who would like to open a cafe in Tanzania. More to come soon!

2. Snowmageddon. When I took Reggie out for his walk on Thursday morning, 15 inches of snow were on the ground. (Interesting note: it was actually thundering during the storm.) People were just starting to shovel walkways and stoops. We had to forge new paths. Each step brought me up to my knees in the white stuff and Reggie was up to his neck. He normally loves the snow, but he seemed a little overwhelmed. He stared at it for a while before he got up enough nerve.

Before this, we’ve been getting several inches of snow every few days so the drifts in some spots are almost shoulder high. He gets a lot of ice crystals clumped on his fur, so when we come inside, I put him in the tub with warm water.

The streets were plowed by the morning, unlike the snow after Christmas when my street wasn’t plowed for 4 days. As you can see the cars are pretty well plowed in. It’s going to take hours for me to dig out.

Even though schools were closed, most people made it to work with little trouble. The grocery store was open for business and the newspapers were delivered. It’s pretty for a while but I’m tired of it now. I don’t know how you folks in places like Minnesota power through the long winter. We’re expecting more snow during today’s evening rush. I’m ready for spring!

3. New York is known for having varieties of food carts. For the uninitiated, they are large silver boxes, the size of a horse trailer and hitch up to a pick-up truck to get around. Traditionally they serve hot nuts, pretzels or hot dogs. Sometimes they get a little fancy like the dosa guy (AKA Thiru Kumar) who smartly parks his cart on the edge of the NYU campus. In summertime the lines are ridiculous.

But now we have embarked on a new era of bringing food to you: the food truck. They look like Wonder Bread delivery trucks – no pick-up needed. Suddenly they’re popping up all over town. In front of my office building there are often 3-4 trucks serving a variety of stuff. Just today a new truck came by: Eddie’s Pizza Truck. If you’re a little wary of eating food from a truck, don’t be. While some miss the mark (The yogurt and latte truck?), most of these guys are good!

A few of my faves:

  • Rickshaw “Nice” Dumplings 
  • Street Sweets
  • Waffels and Dinges (OMG) Apparently these two Belgian guys were so offended by what Americans call waffles, they decided to take the authentic stuff to the streets.
  • Eleazar Perez  Operates in Red Hook, Brooklyn with the most authentic Mexican food to be found in NYC. Anthony Bourdain and Andrew Zimmern both love it.
  • Schnitzel & Things (Full disclosure, I haven’t been here, but the folks in my office rave about it.)

4. Some people have been begging for the split pea soup recipe (okay, just Naomi). I’m happy to oblige. If you make it, let me know how it turns out. The peas are added in two sections so that some are firmer with more bite and some are softer, chewier.

1/2 cup chopped onion

2 cloves minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

salt/pepper to taste

olive oil

1 cup diced carrots (about 2)

1 cup peeled, diced red potatoes (about 2 or 3)

1 pound dried split peas (1 bag)

8 cups vegetable stock (2 cartons)

Saute the onions and garlic in a stockpot with the olive oil, oregano, salt and pepper about 10 minutes on medium heat. Add the carrots, potatoes, 3/4 of a pound of the peas and the stock. Bring to a boil, then simmer for about 30 minutes uncovered. Add the remaining peas and summer for another 30 minutes, covered. Stir often. You may need to add more stock or water as the soup cooks. Also if you save some for leftovers, the soup will thicken as it sits and you’ll want to thin it with stock or water.

Serves 4-5 main course or 7-8 appetizer.

5. Cold update: There’s a NyQuil commercial where a guy can’t get to sleep (naturally). He’s sniffling and coughing and blowing his nose. He’s so uncomfortable that he’s keeping his dog awake. In fact he’s tossing tissues left and right and they’re hitting the dog in the head. You faithful readers know that could never happen in my house. Reggie loves tissues, by which I mean loves to eat tissues. I have to keep the tissues under lock and key and the bathroom door closed lest he dash in to pick some out of the garbage. Yes, it’s gross. No, I can’t stop him. Yes, I’ve tried. (If I buy a box of tissues, he’ll pull the box out of the shopping bag.)

Of  course I’m tuned into this after my recent bout with a “really bad cold.” Just when I thought it was over, my throat has started to hurt again. (It’s always much, much worse at night. Why is that?) It could be a new cold or that the first one is dying hard with a vengeance. Hello, Spring?



  1. I love Kiva too! You should try and check out “Energy In Common” ( They are like a “green Kiva” – their loans are primarily for solar products. You can also start by lending as little as $5 through their nanoloan program. It is very cool.


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