Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
We bought a new computer this past weekend. Well, almost new, new to us at least. Our first iMac is on the verge of death and we have started to take precautions, like keeping everything vital on our external hard drive. The iMac is our first Mac and it has been a loyal friend and companion for 4 years and counting. I have been wanting a laptop for the last year or so because I would love to be able to write somewhere other than this desk (preferably at the Red Horse Cafe or propped up in bed with the pup). So I started scanning craigslist for a G3 iBook, since these are old enough to be super cheap ($200-$375) and are a great small size and still have enough updated software to be useful to me since all I wanted it for was writing. I found a couple of good prospects but with the release of Apple's new Leopard operating system looming, I worried that the G3 might not be as easily upgraded and might run much slower if I chose to install said upgrade.. this post is getting boring.
Cut to the point.
I decided to see if I could find the next generation (G4) for a reasonable price and after one search - VOILA! Not only did I find a G4 for a super duper price, but it came with all the software and a brand new battery ! I got a really good gut feeling so the seller and I agreed on a meeting point and Stephen and I met him (super nice guy.. very good trustworthy vibes) at a Starbuck's near West 4th and made the trade. He gave us a bill of sale and as it turned out the computer looked like it was right out of the box! PERFECT condition. I could go on and on but I am starting to feel like it might not be a good idea to tell the world at large what an incredible piece of technology I have in my home.....feeling a little momentary vulnerability. Suffice it to say it was a super blessing and the boy who didn't want to fix his images for submission to galleries has been on the thing non-stop since we got it, Photoshopping his way to beautiful slides!!! I am a happy.. HAPPY artists wife !!!
In case you are worried, like I was, about the software not being reinstalled for our personal use etc.. thus eliminating the worry of possible spyware being on it.. he reinstalled everything himself.. and every program we have opened on the computer has done that thing they do when they are fresh and you have to go through the steps of setting them up. Yay !
New York Moment of the Day:
Another subway wonder. I rode home tonight in the 3-seater seat on the D (you guys know what I am talking about right?? the 3-seater vs. the 2-seater next to the window?). I was in the far right seat against the metal arm rest/cage bar/divider. A tall slender gentleman in black rimmed glasses was in the far left. Along comes a very ..robust... bald man in his fluffy winter coat. He takes a look at that middle seat, turns and aims his tush, holds his breath and lowers himself onto that 10 inch yellow square exhaling as he landed. My co-sitter, on the far left, was nearly squirted off the seat like a watermelon seed while I was smashed against the metal bar. The train was packed so I weighed my options. I could read Diary of a Mad Housewife standing clinging to one of any number of greasy poles or I could hug the bar, try not to breathe too deeply, and crank up my iPod to the distraction level. I chose the latter. Each time we came to a stop this man allowed his full bulk to crush me against the bar. He did more than the slight lean, he did not attempt to maintain his balance once and instead chose to read his book with the elbows out to his sides and smash me into jelly each time the driver put the break on. It's bad enough to be touched by a stranger, but to be pummeled by one?! I glanced in disgust, I glared in annoyance, I think I winced a few times in his direction. Nothing seemed to get through. I suppose I should have asked him to cut it out, but I am a passive aggressive wimp in these types of circumstances. So instead, I am leaving him a note:
Dear Middle Seat Guy,
I am a small girl and easily bruised. I respectfully request
that you keep your bulk upright, your elbows on your side
and immediately cease and desist crushing me.
Should you choose to ignore my humble plea, I will be forced
to increase the volume on my iPod to such a level as to make
the Journey hits I am listening to audible at a 10 foot radius.
That.. and I will stab you in the thigh with my shiv.
Brunette To Your Right
Monday, October 29, 2007
..I went the underground super secret spy tunnel route to the N train under 1251 Avenue of the Americas. When I emerged, it was twilight and Times Square was just starting to glow. For some reason, when it gets cold like it was today, Times Square just starts to feel kind of magical in a way that makes me wish I had a balcony nearby that I could sit and view it from. But I don't, so off to Trader Joe's I went to collect milk and eggs and ingredients for the vegetable soup that we are having tomorrow night. The line was wrapped around the entire interior of that crowded space. Sometimes I liken grocery shopping around here to a meditative yoga practice. One must take a deep breath, clear one's mind of things that are waiting to be done outside of this present environment. Wait patiently for your turn to enter the frozen foods aisle. Wish kindness to all God's creatures who show up to do their day's shopping. The kindly elderly lady who insists on pushing one of those little red carts up and down each lane to support her loaf of bread and bottle of cranberry juice while she wonders at the marvels of frozen tamales and salmon steaks. The NYU student there showing their parents just how well they are able to eat on that $25 a week they have for sustenance. The political analyst that needed a few extra Luna bars and cups of yogurt to get her through the week, chatting animatedly on her cell about the merits of the current democratic front runners (she feels Obama is too standoffish). There are the married couples that tag-team the list, one holds their place in the interminable line while the other gathers the necessary items, bringing them back to home base. Stephen and I take this approach when we go together. Tonight it was just me and I squirmed my way around the store gathering alone, careful not to exceed 12 items as that line was only wrapped around to the bread section and the other stretched beyond the produce. I stood in my spot and thought about my day. I investigated the new product shelves as the line crept towards the registers. I felt entirely at peace, smiling in a daze at the woman who charged over my toe with her cart. I think I was even humming Saint Saens Danse Macabre, my favorite classical piece at this time of year. Maybe that sounds a little spooky but if I was not embarrassed to take a picture in there on days like this.. you would see and understand that you practically have to put yourself in a trance to get in and out of there with your sanity intact. I have mastered this skill and now look on my visits to TJ's as the ultimate exercise in patience, particularly after a long day at work.
I can hear the fog horns from the tug boats and barges blowing out on the water. I am reminded every time I hear that sound, that we live on an island. Surrounded by water on all sides. I sometimes forget just how close we are to that water. I almost always mistake the first tug boat blast of the evening for my cell phone, vibrating somewhere in the house.
Quote of the week:
"Never follow a hippie to a second location."
Jack Donagey - 30 Rock
Song/Video of the week (possibly the year, thanks Skiles.. I have a new obsession)
"Business Time" - Flight of the Concords
(see link at top right of the screen... you know you want to click it..Each version is a masterpiece but I recommend the 2nd box down for beginners)
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
I set out to write a more serious post today but as you can see from my two previous attempts this evening, I am having difficulty concentrating. This will be my 3rd and final attempt to say what is really on my mind.
I got a call last night from my brother, John. I was already asleep so he left a voicemail, which I retrieved this morning, letting me know that he would be in the city today on business and would I have time to get together before he had to head back to Florida with the rest of his management team. I called him back to let him know that I would make myself available and that he could call me when he was ready and I would meet him wherever he was.. as long as it wasn't too far from Rock Center, I do abide by the 1 hour lunch rule at my office. I left another voicemail a little before lunch time, reiterating my interest in getting together. I carried my cell phone with me to the copy room, the kitchen, the conference room to listen to the caterer give his pitch for the tasting we had scheduled today. I trudged back to my office afterward feeling like he might not be able to meet up anyway, maybe he wasn't able to get a free moment. It was already after 2:30 so I threw myself back into the expense reimbursements I had been generating for the fall call-back students. My phone buzzed, startling me as it always does (I should really change that setting). It was him. He and his work friends were headed to Bar Americain on 52nd between 6th and 7th, very near my office, and would I like to meet them there. I dropped everything. I was in the middle of sending a reimbursement request to another law firm and I had to force myself to finish putting it in the envelope before grabbing my tote bag and bolting out of the office. I wore my heels instead of changing into my walking shoes, since it was so close by. I called Stephen to announce that I was on my way to meet John and that I might need to work a little late tonight to make up for the extra time that I might end up spending with him, constituting an extended lunch break. Stephen was amenable as always and asked that I give his greeting to John. I hurried along the sidewalk, finally reaching the flimsy brass revolving door and pushed my way into the empty restaurant. I tried to explain to the hostess that I was there to meet a party that was already seated and that they may not have had a reservation, all the while glancing around for any sign of my little brother. I saw his group in the corner, his back was to me. He turned and rose from his seat, calmly walking over to give me a hug around the shoulders. I wanted to grab him in a bear hug and drag him out of that midtown hell-hole to a bench in the park where we could sit and visit, just the two of us. Resisting this urge, I followed him back to his table and proceeded to make small talk with his colleagues until they began to talk amongst themselves and we were able to visit a little, one on one. He gave me the latest update on Mariel and Zin and explained the event that he and his team were here in New York for. I sipped my Coke while he discussed his options for using up his remaining vacation days before the end of the year. He can't take off in November or December so he has the few remaining days in October to use up the 5 days he has left. He sat there talking to me.. talking to his work buddies... In his navy suit and pale blue tie. My brother, here in New York for the day. My brother in midtown eating lunch. John meeting me for lunch in New York. It was so surreal. I never see my brother and to spend unexpected time together was hard to grasp. Before I knew it we were saying goodbye outside on the sidewalk and I was teetering my way back to the office. Back to my everyday. Back to those people that I spend more hours with than my family. Back to tiptoeing around bad moods and feigning polite interest in the wellbeing of those returning from extended medical leave. These are the sort of days that make me feel caged. Caged in my tiny windowless office (yes, I have an office now.. but no window). Caged in my highrise in midtown Manhattan. Caged in New York. Caged in the subway, I actually had an attack of claustrophobia on the way home tonight. I feel trapped on days like this. I don't really know why. Normal people meet their siblings from out of town for lunch and then head back to work when their hour is up. That is a normal thing to do. Somehow that sort of departure from my everyday rattles me out of my dazed existence and reminds me that I am not at home. I am painfully aware that I am not a New Yorker and reminded of the fact that I can't just drop in on my family whenever I feel like it... thankful that John had the opportunity to drop in on me.
Malani and Michael got married on Saturday!!!!!!!! YEAH!!!!! WOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!
After a very short and super sweet ceremony the happy couple entered the reception from a second level balcony in the ball room to the tune of Eye of the Tiger slapping each other high fives and doing a spectacular Rocky III impersonation (sans Adrienne .. of course).
Early in the evening everyone was clean (pronounced sober), wrinkle free and pleasant. See how happy Carol and Kane are ?! So sweet!! Sadly, our pictures didn't turn out so well so I can't show you how snazzy Stephen and looked in our formal attire but believe me when I say we were smokin'! We had such a fantastic time from start to finish. The reception was a whirlwind of dancing with a few forks full of the delectable fare thrown in for energy sake.. I have never been to a wedding where they started dancing before the first course even came out! It was all fun and games....... and then someone at our table threw up... UNDER the table.. and suddenly the food was not nearly as appetizing and everyone hit the dance floor and didn't look back!
...and that is how we found ourselves here.. at the end of the evening. The blushing bride having taken refuge on the floor to rest her tired feet.... Carol's shoe carefully placed in her cleavage for safe keeping.. Stephen offering her an avocado from one of the centerpieces .. fresh guacamole anyone ?
Marji...? How about you.. fresh guac sounds good about now, right ?
Oh wow, Dad! I would love to take care of that penguin for you! Please ? I promise to be gentle with him and treasure him and give him a good home. I've always wanted a penguin!
His eye..? Well yeah, it just sorta ...you know..fell out when I was carefully carrying him into the living room. He can still see out of the other one.. we are still friends, don't worry.
grmph mrph..grrrr..mmmrph grmp rrrrrrr..
.....what? Oh that!? That's just snow... nothing to see here people.
Friday, October 12, 2007
...Gore ..Nobel Peace Prize?!?!! I think I just threw up a little in my mouth. Ann Coulter (sp?) jamming her foot in her mouth yet again ?!?! Sigh. Sometimes the morning news just doesn't start your day off on the right foot.
You know what does start the day off on a good foot ? The memory of the date you went on last night with your husband that's what!
It was raining last night when we headed out from 30 Rock to grab a bite to eat and go see the re-released edition of Blade Runner The Final Cut. We headed down the village to find a laid back place to get some some comfort food and landed at Fiddlesticks, which is sort of an Irish pub type place. Stephen had bangers and mash, I had Sheppard's Pie and we both had a nice cold beer to go with it all. We sat discussing our day and plans for the not so distant future as the rain trickled down the window.
Couldn't resist a photo of Papaya Dog's presidential plea.
This is the first movie we have gone to see at the Ziegfeld theater. I had no idea it was so close to my office - 54th between 6th and 7th. It's an old fashioned theater and Stephen thinks that this is the theater that was the subject of that Seinfeld episode where Kramer tries to save the theater with Loyd Brawn ... anyone..? Anyone ...? Beuller... ?
This place is not only huge but beautiful, as most older theaters tend to be. The ticket taker bellowed good-naturedly "Step right up to see Blade Runner!! I wanna see some knee shakin' excitement folks.. you are here to see Blade Runner!!!!".. it was very carnival-esque. Up the tiny escalator we went with the throngs of film buffs and sci-fi nerds, complete with shaggy hair, beards and black rimmed glasses. The tiny knot of Peter Jackson look-a-likes in the center of the picture above are the early bird crowd. Like us they arrived way in advance to make sure they had a prime seat for the picture. By the time the movie actually started it was practically a full house - which is saying something considering the size of this place.
The film itself was epic. I have seen Blade Runner many times but never on the big screen and the extra footage that was added, along with the far less ambiguous ending made this one of our top ten date nights. It-was-incredible. If you live in NY or close by, and like this film in it's older versions (how can you not like it..? it's a classic!!) I highly recommend a trip to the Ziegfeld. I left the theater feeling transformed, as I often do after seeing these types of larger than life movies. Hurrah for Philip Dick and his imagination.
Finally.. I couldn't resist this shot either. This is a stall in the ladies room of the Ziegfeld. Umm.. yes.. there is actually a pedestal sink in each stall, complete with soap dispenser and paper town dispenser. You just don't see that everyday.
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Stephen and I (and Oliver) had a great time this past weekend on our camping trip to the Catskills. The funny thing is that if I give you all the details, it could actually be classified as the worst trip we have been on.
Stephen carefully chose our spot way in advance, to make sure that it was off on it's own and nice and private. Unfortunately the map the campground has online (you have to make reservations as this state park .. ) is very misleading. The site that looked so private and secluded online, turned out to be right across from the campground entrance, one of the bath houses etc. You can see all that in the photo below. Stephen was devastated. Also, the campsites are right on top of each other... you can see that in the photo above. I had a migraine both days, I took medicine and they went away pretty fast but it still left me a little weak feeling. The second day a troop of Boy Scouts moved into the sites next to us on Saturday (loud teenage boys - aaahhh the peace and quiet of the wilderness). We got rained on twice on Saturday.. the first time while we were preparing our dinner over the fire.. the rain dampened our charcoal that we were cooking over but as we watched the promising orange glow we were excited by the idea that it had to stop raining eventually and when it did our food would probably be perfectly cooked!! Not so.. it didn't get cooked enough to eat .. the first time ever that our campfire meal didn't work. I could go on but I am going to switch gears here.
Despite all of the above that made out trip seem like an unfortunate series of events, we had an amazing time. See, that's just how nature starved we Brooklyn dwellers have been lately. Nature STARVED. I won't lie, when we arrived and saw that our spot was steps from the entrance we were not thrilled.. there were a couple of forced moments. But we both agreed that "it is what it is" and as the campground was booked solid, it wasn't like we could do anything to change it. So we resolved to have a good time to matter what and we did. We drank in the smell of the fallen leaves all around us - heavenly. When our dinner didn't work out we shrugged, started another fire after the rain let up, and pulled out the leftover hot dogs from the night before. We had a no make-up no shower weekend, which felt amazing in the crisp cool weather (meaning we were not all sweaty and sticky and gross). We heard owls at night, actually the first time I have ever heard one in the wild. We saw a huge black bear on our way home. He/she was walking next to the road until someone honked their horn and he/she turned and ran back into the safety of the forest.
If this trip taught me anything it's that Stephen and I are desperate to be near mountains and wooded areas. We fit pretty well here in the city but I am constantly reminded that we truly belong in a more rural area. Or at least within easy driving distance to said rural area, and no the fight to get out of the city and on your way north is not an "easy driving distance". One of these days .. we hope :) Despite my list of unfortunate details at the beginning of this post, please believe me when I say we both had an incredible time !! It wasn't the blue ridge (my personal fav) but it was time away from the city, outdoors, with my best friend and that is worth more than anything I can think of at the moment.
And now.. the tour..
Our sweet set up. We are very minimal campers and usually have no air mattress or camp stove. We like to rough it. This trip we had my birthday camp stove and we actually brought out air mattress with us. Good decisions both.
Stephen makes a mean breakfast, complete with espresso !!!
The fruits of his labor. My fried eggs (egg whites only of course - for those of you who don't know I can't eat the yellow part) pan toasted English Muffin with strawberry jam and plenty of bacon. So good!
A very sleepy Oliver waking up in the tent and ready for his walk.
Our Saturday hiking trip. We didn't go the whole way because frankly we just didn't feel like tiring ourselves out and we wanted to enjoy part of the day at the site. We did go far enough to find a fantastic lunch spot and sit for awhile and enjoy the surroundings.
Beautiful. Not another human being in site.
My "thousand mile stare". I did that a lot. It takes awhile for me to fully decompress.
Last but not least.. my boys relaxing by the fire. Oliver got himself into that chair and curled up for an afternoon nap. What can I say ? Even our dog knows how to kick back!
Thursday, October 04, 2007
..no, not that kind of bump..I cracked my shin on the subway today (slipped on a piece of GARBAGE on the train and smacked it on the edge of one of the seats).. and now I have a huge painful purple bump on my shin. Sigh. We are going camping tomorrow and I am afraid I will be in too much pain to hike :( Please pray it gets better since this will be the first time we have actually gone to the mountains around here this year.. see you guys on Sunday!!!!
Tuesday, October 02, 2007
..hold your breath for a few seconds after accidentally having to walk through someone's sneeze cloud ?
..feel that a 15 minute walk to the CVS on Lexington and 53rd, and a stop to pick up a hamburger and fries at GoodBurger constitutes a decadent lunch break ?
..wish that ChapStick only came in Strawberry Flavor ?
..tear up every time you see a fire fighter, police officer, or member of the armed forces in uniform ?
..think that Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is the most romantic and inspiring film since you watched Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken when you were 13 ?
..wish that you were sitting next to Stephen up there on that boulder watching the waves crash in Maine ?
Monday, October 01, 2007
No, I am not so desperate for a baby that I have started dressing Oliver up in human clothes. Stephen and the monkey here were wrestling and Stephen threw his shirt over Ollie to confuse him and Ollie got disoriented in the confusion and stuck his head right out of the sleeve of the shirt! He had to be untangled by one of the "adults" he lives with. I love that look in his eye.. caught and still completely prepared and expecting for Stephen to pounce on him :)
I am feeling strangely light and giddy tonight. Like I have just had a tickle fight and lost miserably. I guess I had not noticed the absence of my own laughter until tonight when everything Stephen did or said was so funny I could hardly contain myself. Having re-read what I just wrote it does actually sound like something is wrong with me. I have not been drinking and I never do drugs on Mondays. Maybe it's some lovely new aura.. I have had a migraine everyday for the past week..if so I must say I prefer this to my usual visual deficits and nausea. Such an odd feeling, it's like I have helium in my veins.
Do you ever feel like you and the people around you are all in on the same joke but pretending not to know about it ? I do. When I am riding on the train on those mornings where there is an elbow in my rib cage and a backpack catching my hair .. sometimes I feel like laughing out loud or saying something like "Boy.. Monday's bad enough without having to stand all the way to Manhattan .. am I right folks??" Then I come to my senses and remember that not only are these people around me not in on my "joke" but the last thing they want to do is figure out where to direct their eyes after some lunatic like myself says some "we are all in this together" comment that everyone else can hear. Thankfully my "team commuter" moments are few and far between and I rarely verbalize anything other than " 'scuse me" to my fellow riders.
I am feeling seriously weird ya'll .. so I am going to bed now.