Saturday, May 30, 2009

an Austen influenced fairytale

Earlier tonight I settled under the covers with my trusty remote and decided to surf for a nice chick flick. I settled upon Pride & Prejudice. I love this movie. I only caught about the last half an hour but it occurred to me while watching that in that moment I longed for Elizabeth Bennet's life. Not She got a man who loves her and with whom she could be "incandescently happy" even though she is stubborn, opinionated and isn't meek, and mild the way a proper 18th century woman should be. It wasn't just that though. While watching I was considering how much simpler things might be as an Austen character. How nice would it be to be bowed to by a dapper gentleman and to curtsey in respectful reply? How sweet to be asked if you might accept "his hand". How lovely would it be to deemed a "great catch" based on how well one plays the piano or sings rather than whether one can hold her tequila shots or whether she likes to hit the bars on a Friday night.

Yes, I jest a little. There's the matter of the realites of life for the fairer sex before the women's suffrage movement, Rosie the Riviter and Women's Lib. I'd hate not to be able to wear jeans or to have my life's worth based on my embroidery skills... Though my Grandma tried, I still can't sew. Regardless, it is nice to live in an Austen novel and think that life can be that simple... and that romantic.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

eavesdropping fun

I love reading Overheard in New York. When I first moved here I was especially atuned to the voices, conversations and lives whizzing by me on a daily basis. Here are a couple I remember:

Woman walking down Hudson St. on her cell phone: The floors were sticky and the girls were on crack.

Woman walking down street on her cell phone: No! No one could get in! Not even Natalie Portman!

Now I pay less attention but I'm still waiting to overhear a conversation on the train that sends me into inner stitches. The popular website also has a spin-off, Overheard in the Office. I was purusing it yesterday and here are a couple of my favorites:

The former hospitality peon in me cheers for this...

Loudspeaker: Customer assistance in fabrics. (pause) Says she's really,
really angry, rush. Wal-Mart - Orlando, Florida

Reminds me of the time my co-worker said it smelled like hamsters on the 5th floor...

Minion #1: Do you smell that? It smells like the wicker section of Zellers
around here.

Minion #2: Ah, you're right. It does smell like wicker. What is that? Who
smells like wicker?

Minion #1: I love playing the "what's that smell?" game in the hallway at

Mississauga Ontario Canada


Nine-year-old girl in child psychology office, talking a mile a minute: And,
mom, the teacher was really upset that we didn't know how long a century is!
Yeah, she was really upset cause none of us knew!

Mom: Do you know how long a century is?

Nine-year-old girl: No! I didn't know either! I don't know how long a century

Mom, incredulous: You don't know how long a century is?

Nine-year-old girl: No! How long is it?

Mom, without hesitation: Ten years.

Marion, Indiana

I could go on and on but I will stop there!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend 09: green thumbs, prom hair, and (of course) dr. seuss

New Yorkers hit the road this weekend. Various people in my life went on vacation or went "home", to places as far away as London or San Fran and I stayed here and had two babysitting jobs. Yes, I'm living the good life. One of these days though.... one of these days.

My weekend was...

  • eating at my favorite diner while laughing with one of my new favorite people (my roommate).
  • trying to go see a sold-out blockbuster movie in Lincoln Square. (What were we thinking?)
  • gardening in a city full of concrete alongside a lovely woman who can name any plant or tree by looking at the leaves and who has the kind of New York stories I wish to have
  • carrying small bell pepper plants home on the subway and laughing about it; planting them in our "garden" knowing they don't have a prayer.
  • the knowledge that your hard earned college degree helped you get creative with a three-year-old (fake sneezing with her all the way to bed).
  • the look on the stylist's face at the salon when I so graciously thanked her for water she offered me while I was getting my hair cut.
  • my "blown-out" styled hair -- very prom meets beauty queen.
  • knowing it will never look like this again -- this girl has no patience.
  • the two year old with dark curly hair sitting across from me on the 1 train this evening who made a show of crossing her legs because I had mine crossed.
  • discovering new children's books (and immediately looking at their spines to discover the publisher).
  • a two year old with her own engraved IPOD. Yes, I'm serious.
  • a phone conversation with my mom about her own aging mother that put all my surface like efforts for "zen" and "patience" to shame.
  • The fleeting perspective that comes with a lists and weekends such as these.
Baby steps. Bigger steps.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Inside the mind of a procrastination professional and seasoned listmaker!

When I was in college I always used to joke that I should major in procrastination. There was always something to watch on tv, someone to talk to, etc. and let's face it writing a paper on Shakespeare isn't always a delight (no matter how big of a nerdy English major you are). My dad says I get my procrastination skills from my mom who can put stuff off like no one's business. I love my mom but sometimes I wish I was better about my to do list. And since who doesn't like a great list, here is one of all the things I've been avoiding doing:

1. buying stamps - I said I was going to do this last Fri so that we could mail our Con Ed bill. My roommate ended up spotting me a stamp though so I have yet to do this. Nevermind that our mailroom at work sells books. Going down a few floors is just too hard and apparently $10 (or however much they cost now) breaks the bank.

The excuses: uhhhhhhh I keep forgetting, I don't need many stamps these days because I pay most of my bills online, I don't want to spend $10 on stamps when there are sandwiche
s, mousse, bottles of Coke and vitamins to buy.

2. mailing my Netflix - When I subscribed I said I'd get my $9.99 worth, watch them the day they came in and mail 'em the day after. There are even about 3 mailboxes inbetween the subway and my office building so how hard can it be to stick 'em in there. I have had my current movie (The Crucible with Winona Ryder, which I put on my list because I was in a Puritanical America phase after reading The Heretic's Daughter) since MARCH

The excuses: My dvd play
er broke and I don't want to buy a new one right now because I'm saving my money for summer clothes (such is the life of a starving single trying to make rent in Manhattan). Plus every time I get a movie these days it sits and sits because I never want to commit 2ish hrs of my life to something. Also, I lost the nice little red pre-paid envelope so I need to mail it in another one and for that I need... stamps. See #1 on the list for more excuses.

3. Getting a haircut - I've been meaning to do this for about a month now and every time I wash my hair and feel the dryness at the ends of my roots, I remember why I need one so badly. It has been a few months. I have "virgin hair" of steel. It is thick, curly, and unprocessed. It just needs a cut I'm good to go.

The excuses: Money. Sigh. I'm not embarassed to admit that I go to SuperCuts. Since my hair is so low maintenence when it comes to haircuts I don't waste money that could be better used on other things. I also don't like getting my haircut because I have to stare at my face in the mirror for a while and make small talk about Beyonce, babies, and my job with a stranger. I did, however, make an appointment for a cut on Sunday at a real salon! Gasp! Maybe there's hope for me yet, Dad!

4. making an appointment for my free consultation regarding my investments (or rather, actually doing something about my investments)

The excuses: OK, I don't have any good ones other than I don't really want to and since it doesn't smack me in the face like the fact that I have no clean underwear left when I get around to finally doing my laundry, I put off.

grocery shopping
The excuses: I've totally become a single non-cooking New Yorker because of one simple fact - I hate grocery shopping. I don't like the tiny aisles in the grocery stores here. It costs so much just to feed oneself. Plus I can never decide what I want to eat and I hate seeing good food go bad. I'm annoyed with all my recipes and it is hard just cooking for myself. I have to consider that I'll be eating the same thing for 3-4 days straight. So I ignore the fact that I have no food in my house and take advantage of my city location. I eat out, eat cereal, or buy things to nibble on at the bodega up the street.


buy vitamins

Oh wow, this is just sad.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Saturday Morning - books and paint

This city is huge and I'm just one person who came here with few contacts and a not-so-outgoing personality. For the past nine months or so I have spent many of my Saturdays volunteering -- something that really has been a saving grace for me. I've taken kids apple picking and to the aquarium and a few museums; I've delivered food to homebound seniors who have probably been living in their Manhattan apartments since before I was born; I've played bingo with seniors (a few of who almost started a fist fight over alleged cheating!); and today I ventured to East Harlem to paint murals at a public school. Turns out we were painting popular children's book covers onto canvas to be displayed throughout the halls of the school.

I'm not an artist at all. I can barely draw a stick figure. So for the most part this paint-by-numbers system (the images were penciled on the canvas beforehand) worked for me. There were quite a few already completed covers of classic books like Charlotte's Web, Madeline and Harry Potter. Here's the one I worked on:I worked on the title and author's name today and the girl's dress. I need to learn how to mix colors to paint their faces and arms. (You can tell I grew up writing poems and stories rather than drawing and painting.) This was a great project though -- very relaxing and cathartic. It makes me want to go buy a canvas and paint in my room now.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I need apartment therapy!

In my short time blogging I have had several posts related to, revolving around, and ranting about apartments. The words "apartment search" send chills down my spine, and I almost lost my mind last fall when I had to schlep my small bedroom sized amount of stuff across this small island and into another place. I can't imagine having to move an entire apt full of furniture and things virtually alone. With luck, I won't ever have to.

Two of my friends are going through apartment related issues. One is looking for a place and one is dealing with the inevitable fall out that occurs when one roomie wants to break lease and sublet. Apartments and all they entail in this city can be a job, a lifestyle, and a housing hoop-la in themselves. Rent is astronomical, vacancy is low, brokers can be shady, moving a pain, square footage low, and for those of us who don't make bank at a bank, roommates are plentiful. I have three. My "new" apartment, into which I moved in the Fall of last year, is a find though! By Manhattan standards it is fairly spacious... my room is twice the length (yes, I said length...things are narrow here) of my old room, there are two floors and one and a half baths.

Yesterday, I heard about this guy on the news. Apartment Therapy awarded him the Teeny Tiny Winner Award for the Small Cool 2009 contest. Kevin's Triple Threat is on the Upper West Side. Anyone wanna take a stab at what the rent might be? I think I can give a pretty educated estimated answer.

Personally, I love these two:
I'll take those bay windows with that book shelf. Oh, I long for the days when I can justify a home decorating related purchase. But, for now, food, electricity, and other things take precedence. I'm getting there, though. Baby steps.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"...I gotta feva, and the only prescription is more cowbell."

My cousin, aka A Boy A Girl and a Pug, just posted about her pug's rejection from doggie day care. It's OK pug, we still love you and your craziness!

This reminded me of a memorable weekend I had just recently when I took on the task of dog-sitting for a friend of mine. It was me, two bull dogs, atypical 90 degree weather in a shoebox studio downtown. I knew from the beginning it was going to be interesting...

I'll preface this story by saying I have severe (and I mean severe) puppy fever. I want a pooch the way some women want babies. I'm the nut who stops people on the street and asks "Can I pet him/her?" all the while oohing and ahhing. The bigger the dog, the more nuts I go as I simply cannot fathom how anyone can have a large breed dog in a small Manhattan apartment and large dogs are gorgeous to me. (And I've learned while money can buy more space, the Manhattanite's definition of "space" differs greatly from the rest of the world.)

So when I was asked to watch these guys, I happily obliged. Fast foward to our weekend together. Out of respect for their identities I will refer to them as Sam and Hank. Sam is almost 2 yrs and Hank is still a spunky pup. Nevermind the fact that the dogs' dinner was more complicated than my own (think turkey burgers and sprinkled seasoning). I also had to deal with a pair of bedfellows whose snoring kept me up all night. I don't do snoring. My future husband had better keep this in mind! Finally, on the 2nd night I gave up and moved to the couch so that the boys could have the bed as I couldn't take them wanting to be on top of me anymore. In their defense it was hotter than Hades so walks were difficult (while I did thoroughly enjoy my change of scenery and the revisiting of my old NY digs).

While they are sweet dogs with whom I am happy to spend time, I have since discovered that I am not ready for one of my own. Funny how that works, right? For now I'll settle for petting others' dogs as I walk down the street and then being able to walk away.

The picture isn't either of the dogs. I did get cute, cute pics on my cell phone but I'm a nerd and don't know how to get them from cam to comp.

Oh, and if you can tell me where my post title came from I will be your new best friend.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

kosher pepperoni pizza

There is no greater evidence of the current economic situation than a walk down any given avenue in New York City. While I was somewhat shocked to learn that two B&N stores I used to frequent have closed, proving there is not even a haven for corporate America, even more sad are the vacant small store fronts --sometimes two and three across on one block -- that are now unfortunately empty. These places remind me that there was once a small town feeling to New York, one that I hardly knew and feel sorry I missed.

So when a new pizza joint opened up on a corner a couple of blocks from my apartment, I decided I'd be a loyal local and give them my business. {Insert common male name here}'s Pizza has an unassuming counter and a cafe like feel. I walked in eager to see if this would become another place to add to my rainy day reading spots. I'd noticed a sign by the door that said this was a kosher establishment. (Now, while I was raised loosely Catholic and I now like to think I belong to the church of the Golden Rule or, as Carrie Bradshaw claims, the church of "please" and "thank you" and "don't talk with your mouth full" -- I know what kosher means.)

But all this knowledge goes out the window when this exchange happens:

Guy at Counter: May I help you?
Me: Yes, do you sell slices?
Guy: Yes, slices and individual pies.
Me: OK, may I have a slice of pepperoni?
Guy: Oh, we don't sell pepperoni here. We have veggies and other things but we don't have pepperoni on the premises.
Me: (Light goes on.) Oh! I'm sorry! (Foot goes in mouth.)
Guy: (Thankfully looking unaffected. He must get it a lot.) No problem.

I ordered a slice of plain and sat down with my book. I later texted my friend and reported my idiocy to her knowing since her ex is Jewish, she'll appreciate it. She thought it was so funny she told her mom. I don't mind though. I love not being the only one who revels in my idiocy. So Masculine Name Kosher Pizza Joint was good. Next time I think I'll try the Penne Vodka.