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.