Tuesday, April 25, 2006


So Lily asked me why on earth I have the straw hat that I have. I have this straw hat because of Gail.

Back in fall 2001 I moved into a one-bedroom apartment up on Park Terrace West in Inwood. It had this really large kitchen but zero counterspace. There was just this huge expanse of wall with nothing betached to it. So I determined to find a suitable counter replacement.

I went onto Craig's List and there was a woman selling a utility table that I thought sounded like good news. She lived on the Upper East Side so I went down there and met with her to assess the table before I bought it.

Gail's building had an old-fashioned elevator, which practically every building in the city has so you don't think it's a big deal. But this elevator didn't just have the swinging-open door; it had an enormous lever on the inside that made it go and a man there to operate the enormous lever which was good because I don't think I could have done it myself.

Gail was a fiftyish (though I would not be shocked if she were older because I would soon find out that she was a convert to microdermabrasion and saw me, 22 though I was, as a potential proselyte) , personable, jittery little brunette who seemed overjoyed to have somebody in her apartment.

The table looked roughly like this (only I don't think it was adjustable):

At any rate, Gail really sold it. She told me it had worked great for her for a long time as a surface for her jewelry-making endeavors, but that she had come into a fabulous antique sewing table (these details are a little shady, but I know she made some weird thing on the table and had come across a fab replacement). And then Gail got onto the table and lay down on it to show how sturdy it was (though I should have been doubtful because Gail probably weighed 85 lbs).

I told Gail I would buy the table and would come back later to get it when I could get some help.

And then the advice. I told my friend B about all of Gail's advice, and he actually heard some of it straight from her because he was the help I came back with later, and he saw how convinced I was by her advice and proclaimed me a Gailist. Here is some advice from Gail:

-Get microdermabrasion (I actually haven't done this one yet)

-Freeze milk because it's cheaper to buy a gallon at a time but who drinks that much before it goes bad. (This is my favorite Gailist tenet...milk that has been frozen has a richness of flavor that I had never experienced before.)

-Go to Chinatown and buy a whole bunch of vegetables for really cheap, take them home and steam them for 30 seconds and then freeze them. It is much much cheaper than buying frozen vegetables from the freezer aisle. (I haven't actually done this either. Mainly because I have never lived close to Chinatown. But I DO make a whole bunch of food at once and freeze it. So I'm following the spirit of this Gailist law, if not the letter.)

-Always wear a big huge hat to the beach, especially if you have such pale pale skin as I have. (I acquired the featured hat soon after in none other than Chinatown.)

I regret that I have not kept in touch with Gail. I was supposed to call her up to get the recipe she made up for whole-grain muffins but I was too shy (I think such things should be done over email) and never did. And thus she drifted out of my life after only two meetings. But her legacy...oh, it lives on. Yes indeed.


At April 25, 2006 9:28 PM, Anonymous criz said...

I keep trying to leave comments nd then they don't take. I really must be the biggest betard ever. Did this one take?

At April 25, 2006 9:29 PM, Anonymous criz said...

Oh! I wasn't typing in the weird "word verification" thingy. Silly.

At April 25, 2006 9:33 PM, Anonymous criz said...

Okay, now a real comment. I remember when you met Gail - I love to picture her getting on the table to prove it's sturdiness. I can see you doing that in another 30 years or so...when you have like 12 cats.

At April 26, 2006 8:35 AM, Blogger Doyce said...

This frozen milk thing intrigues me: I wish to learn more.

How do you go about putting milk on your cereal in the morning?

At April 26, 2006 4:37 PM, Blogger Lollygagger said...


The milk doesn't remain frozen. Here's how to start:

When you buy a gallon carton of milk, put half of the milk in a plastic container and put it in the fridge. Keep the rest in the freezer until the first container is empty. Then put the frozen milk in the fridge overnight. It will thaw enough to be pourable. But it will be delectably cold and rich.

This way of doing it is obviously best for people who live alone (like me) and can't get through a whole gallon before it goes bad.

Lately for a treat I've taken to putting individual cups of milk in the freezer for a half hour or so. I think I would have gagged at the thought of a milk slushee a few years ago, but now I LOVE them.

At April 28, 2006 12:36 PM, Blogger Terri said...


That is soooo funny.
I shudder at the thought of frozen milk, but, then again, we go through a gallon every 2 days, me and the gerlies~ so I would never have the chance to take advantage of this little experiment-like deal-lio!

At April 28, 2006 11:01 PM, Blogger Harlem Snowflake said...

The thing that made me laugh out loud was the idea of this red-faced (a la Samantha's facial peel on SITC), sparrow-woman lying on that table that you showed (which, by the way, we had two of growing up, because the church was getting rid of them, and of course we could use them to sell cookies and soda at Fourth of July fireworks across the street from our house every year). I can imagine that she kept talking to you (and the carrying guy) the entire time, and it would have been totally natural had I been there, given her energetic advice-giving. If I had been there I would have totally smiled and engaged both because it sounds fascinating and I will talk to anyone, and at the same time because I would know, even as I stood there, that I would tell at least three people that exact story.

At April 29, 2006 11:10 PM, Blogger lily said...

You never ever told me about Gail and I can't believe what an impact she had on you-- I love her! Not only are the veggies cheaper that way lolly, but so much more nutritious! The main thing I love is that you have followed a lot of her advice- it totally cracks me up.You should start a group of Gailists... maybe I will join too!

P.S... who is Doyce? I love the picture.


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