1. Some days the East River sparkles like any other body of water in almost fall in the late afternoon.
2. My grandmother says that when my mother was a young woman, she once jumped in a van with some other young people and drove all the way from North Carolina to New York. She called on a pay phone from Times Square to say, "Mom, I'm in Times Square!" Then she drove back. This story was reported with a mixture of incredulity and admiration.
3. It's the year of the water dragon. The last year of the water dragon was the year my mom was born.
4. The phrase "delicate condition." I was born in a delicate condition.
5. Frau Lyrakis saying "puzhalsta" to get our attention in Russian class. It means please, and you're welcome, and here you go. Puzhalsta.