Friday, December 31, 2010

my 2010 was...

It's here. The last day of 2010.

I know this year was a tough one for me. My toughest since I moved to New York three years ago. To be completely honest, there were times when I seriously thought of throwing in the towel. I was tempted to quit everything and leave, try something completely new or go back "home." I always thought year one would be the hardest. After all, I moved there without real friends, a permanent home, and a steady and permanent job. But I took the changes in stride and soon established myself. I began opening up to people and making lasting friendships. I began confiding in some, dating guys, putting myself out there.

This year all of that was tested. Friendships. Resolve. Work. Everything. I hope that a year from now, when I look back on the end of 2010 and 2011's posts, that I will find my life has not only grown and changed for the better in ways I can't even anticipate (today that is) but that I will realize that though 2010 kinda sorta sucked, I learned a lot. That the bad days were stepping stones, setting me up for the for what is still to come.

I know that fortune is waitin' to be kind. So give me your hand and say you'll be mine. - Bob Dylan, "Mississippi"

My 2010 was . . .

January - I honestly don't remember much about the beginning of the year. I know I started it with a big head cold and big hopes for the year to come at home doing family things with my fam. I stayed in So Cal several days into January to attend a work conference, making me a tourist in my own town. I'm pretty certain I also went to dance class a lot this month. This year I really got back in to dance.

February - I went on a date at a good wine bar (it is worth nothing) with a guy who I liked, seemed interested in me, and then completely disappeared. I spent Valentine's Day with co-workers on another work trip in Denver. My bone marrow donor experience officially ended. I quit (Uh, yeah... that stuck.) February was also a dull month.

March - I met MCW and Stephanie for drinks making it the first time I'd ever met blog people. I went on a few ill-fated dates with a guy who doesn't like dogs. My laptop died and I purchased my first-ever Mac. I won't go back!

April - This month was all about Texas as I spent quite a bit of time there. First on a "paid vacation" helping to squire three little boys around town with a good friend while their parents worked. The second trip was for a work conference and I got to spend some extra time with BFF.

May - More travel! I went to London to visit a friend who was interning there and re-immersed myself in the city that was instrumental in my move to The City -- or at least that's the way I look at it. I also vowed after this trip to make international travel a huge priority. I came back, promptly came down with strep throat, and came back down to reality.

June - Drama. It started in June really. My apartment flooded. That was loads of fun. I also went to Washington D.C. for work.

July - I spent the 4th in Montauk. I served two weeks on the New York State Special Narcotics Grand Jury and learned a LOT about drug law. I can usually successfully spot an undercover drug bust in Times Square now. I spent a fun weekend completely by myself, not really focusing on anything but spending quality time alone. I need to repeat this soon... (What I thought was) a good friendship ended.

August - My apartment flooded. Again. I took 2 days off of work to clean up and supervise some major construction. Other friendships were tested and, in that way, my heart was broken and mended. I saw fireworks on Coney Island. I took a group of kids to the circus. I went "home" to California for my birthday and had a great few days catching up with old friends, teachers and mentors and driving down Hwy 101 with the windows rolled down.

September - Major major apartment drama. I took my first trip to the Hamptons and had more fun than I expected to, finding a bit of solace also. I lost something I really wanted to someone else and went on a couple of dates with a nice guy before he bailed too. More testing in the friendship department.

October - I celebrated 3 years in NYC. BFF visited and we painted the town red in our walking shoes and were too tired to enjoy any nightlife. The drama reached crazy proportions. Serenity-prayer-on-repeat-in-my-head kind of proportions. I gritted my teeth and dug in my heels. I ended the month on an upswing as I moved into a different room in my apartment and found a little light. My favorite roommate and good friend moved out and a new girl moved in.

November - I went back to Denver for work and while I was there I was offered another position at a different company, which I accepted. I went back to Texas to visit a friend for Thanksgiving and started my new job right when I came back. My blog was discovered by an author!

December - I really began my new job and got my bearings for a couple of weeks before leaving for a fairly lengthy holiday vacation in California. Once again, I'm ringing in the New Year with my family at "home."

My 2009 recap was a little more lively. Read it here. I have forgotten a lot of the smaller details of this year. I think a lot of things were simply overshadowed by the larger issues, or for privacy sake, cannot be included. But the general gist is this: I went on fewer dates but still had difficulty with quality vs. quantity, I struggled to find my place in a changing work environment and changed my environment to make it work for me, and my general motto became KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.

Not to be presumptuous but I think karma owes me. And I am going to make it work for me. Here's to a great 2011!!! What was your year?

Thursday, December 30, 2010

more shop talk: counting down 2010 faves!

Here it is, my list of favorite reads from 2010.

I won't break it down this year. I want to make sure they all get on this blog since I have a bad habit of starting things and not finishing them. Hmm... I wonder if that would make a good New Year's Resolution...

Anyway, without further ado, here's the list.

10. The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald - Henry House is a "practice baby" living in a house run by Home Ec students on a college campus in the 1950's. These programs really existed and historian Lisa Grunwald does a wonderful job of fictionally answering question: What happens to these babies as they grow up? The babies were orphans, "adopted" into this "home" for the first year or so of their lives before they, like their young female "mothers" moved on. Only Henry did not. A really interesting story and a fun romp through the 50's and 60's.

9. Bloodroot by Amy Greene - This book inspired a period of Appalachian fiction in me but after reading a few more books set in the area, I was unable to find one was well written as this one. It seems I love me stories about generations of women eeking out an existence in dire circumstances and this one certainly does not disappoint!

8. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon - Having been told to pick this one up for a while by multiple people, I finally did while I was on jury duty this past summer. It takes place in the 1940's in Barcelona and has that touch of magical realism to it that (as you can tell from my previous post) I just love.

7. Vaclav and Lena by Haley Tanner (coming in Summer 2011) - This one is a delightfully charming story of two young friends, children of Russian immigrants, growing up in Brooklyn.

6. The Help by Kathryn Stockett - I avoided this one for a while, thinking it was fluffy Southern women's fiction - not really my style. But I was wrong. This one has depth and heart that I didn't anticipate. I'm anxious to see the upcoming movie.

5. One Day by David Nicholls - For a while, I couldn't get on the Subway without seeing this book in some girl's hot little hands. The premise is great - it takes place on the same day, hopping back and forth through the 80's, 90's, and today. A wonderful love story, One Day takes place in Britian and is chock full of tidbits any Anglophile (that's me!) would love.

4. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran (coming in Spring 2011) - See my "review" of this one here. (Hi Ms. Moran! *Big wave*)

3. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson - I guess the theme this year was "Listen to your friends already and read this book!" as I delved into the Millenium series this summer. This is the last book in the trilogy.

2. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson - I always knew the trilogy was likely to take the gold, silver, and bronze in this year's round up and I realize I'm out of order here. I really did love this book, it was the first in the series and thus set up the kick-ass character of Lisbeth Salander. It also stands alone better (with a better arc, I believe) than the 2nd and 3rd titles, which tie together more...

1. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson - I put this one in the #1 spot because it was just so charged and action packed. It really put Lisbeth, and the series, on the map for me. I don't think I'm alone in my love for this series. It remains on the NYT Bestseller list and the books were the number one holiday sellers for the Amazon Kindle.

Calling all fellow bookworms! What are your top books for 2010?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

shop talk - books that will ruin your life: contemporary literary fiction

This morning I woke to an e-mail from lovely blog/NYC pal, Stephanie, asking for book recs so she can load up her Kindle. My first thought was, "So many suggestions! I need to narrow it down!" So I zipped her an email back asking what she likes to read. This got me thinking in general terms though, and since I am a bonafide bibliophile and list-making nerd, I thought I'd share some of my utmost favorites. I'm focusing today on literary fiction.

I've already posted my top historical fiction picks. To find them, go here.

Top Contemporary Literary Fiction

5. The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

I'm crossing genres a bit here because this one is also Young Adult. (I'll probably do a post on YA novels at some point for those who are interested.) It is an incredibly unique and powerful story of a young girl growing up during the Holocaust. I know there are a lot of those out there but this one is different. First, the young girl is not Jewish (Most stories are told from the perspective of Jews.) and second, the narrator of the story is death. Morbid, yes. Amazing though. Definitely unlike anything you'll have ever read before.

4. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

Bel Canto is the story of a group of people held hostage in South America after a birthday party full of diplomats is crashed by a group of terrorists. In these dire circumstances, Roxanne Coss, an opera singer performing at the party, and Mr. Hosokawa, a Japanese businessman must learn to communicate with one another, a task that eventually evolves into friendship. A great and interesting read!

3. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

I read this three times in college. It is a finely woven tapestry of Latin American history, family, and amazing storytelling. Oh and Oprah really liked it too.

2. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

This is easily the best book I have read in the past 10 years. It tells the story a girl, Callie, born in Michigan in the 1960's who eventually became Cal, a teenage boy. And for the record, I "picked" this one long before Oprah did!

1. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

I first read The House of the Spirits in 10th grade and was immediately struck by it. I've loved magical realism, Latin American authors, and Isabel Allende ever since. It is the story of three generations of women--Clara, Blanca, and Alba--and is simply gorgeous, heartbreaking and thought-provoking. I met Ms. Allende in college and was like a blubbering teenage girl at a Justin Timberlake concert when I stood in line to get my well-loved copy of the book signed. I saw her speak again recently at the 92nd St. Y in New York and will say that if there is one author to see, it is her. She is lovely, personable, hilarious, and so interesting.

Runners Up (These books are also amazing.)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khalid Hosseini (I liked this one better than The Kite Runner.)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon

Find other book recommendations and reviews here.

PS - Steph, I hope this helps a bit!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

fingers crossed!

Here's to hopin'!

I had a lovely day today. This morning I took this boy

on a walk. Or rather, he walked me...
Then this afternoon I met an old friend with whom I've recently reconnected (Thanks Facebook!) for lunch. We had fun trading crazy roommate stories and catching up on where we've been since middle school.

Tonight I went to a one year old's birthday party. The first of many to come, I'm sure, as it seems everyone is having a baby these days!

It seems after I'm done with this holiday vacation I will have seen a record number of people when compared to trips before.

It is like a very special episode of "This Is Your Life..."

Monday, December 27, 2010

miscellaneous monday: holiday recap

1. I need to be cut off from the cookies. Really. Smack me if I go near the jar!

2. I went to the beach today with a friend to just walk around and enjoy the lovely sun. They have piled the sand up near the shore and a bunch of kids were "sledding" down it on toboggans and boogie boards. Oh So Cal. How I love thee.

3. I'm missing a HUGE blizzard at home. So sorry for the bragging, NYC pals. I hope you all haven't gotten stuck somewhere and are at least enjoying it somehow. I kind of want to be there just because it is such a big deal but I'm sure if I were there I would be wishing I was here!!

4. Snapped this awesome shot today. (Again, sorry!) I wish camera phones didn't make photos look so pixelated. I'd love to blow this one up.

5. I am in love with iPhoto. I can't hide my feelings anymore and I don't care who knows it!

6. I had a lovely Christmas weekend with my family. I baked and cooked for hours, played Apples to Apples, Just Dance 2, Wordfued and my new Kindle (a huge Christmas morning surprise!)

7. I found heaven in a burrito.

8. The diet starts when I get home.

Hope you all enjoy the rest of the year!

Friday, December 24, 2010

don't let the light go out

Merry Christmas Eve everyone!

I was just reading last year's Christmas Eve post (and a couple before and after it) and it is crazy to see how quickly a year goes by and how much life can change.

I'm in a very different place this holiday than I have been in years past. (Part of that is probably because I didn't just get "dumped" by a guy I really liked the way I did the two previous years. HA! That'll do it.) But part of that is because I'm feeling a great sense of peace this holiday.

I have been listening to one particular "holiday" song this year, Light One Candle. My version is from the Peter, Paul and Mary Holiday Celebration concert that aired on PBS back in the 80's. My parents bought the CD and we would listen to it as we road tripped to visit grandparents for Christmas. The album and it's songs are my childhood Christmas memories and this song is one of my favorites. I found the video below and aside from Mary's hideous outfit (seriously!) it just makes me teary eyed (or maybe that is partly because of ensemble!)

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. May peace be with you in 2011 and may you never let the light go out.

Monday, December 20, 2010

miscellaneous monday: impatient and all over the place

1. Yep. That's right. I loved this one so much I was obnoxious and posted it on Facebook. I think I shall also make it my wallpaper on my computer.

2. Is it time to go "home" for Christmas yet?

3. Overheard today at CVS: Mom to daughter: "Why are you acting weird? No one likes a weird kid." I nearly cracked up in the middle of the pharmacy.

4. Is it Christmas yet?

5. My CVS receipt included a $30 off coupon for "GPS for Dummies." CVS is bizarre.

6. Seriously, do I HAVE to go to work this week?

7. I am ridiculously excited for the premiere of Teen Mom 2 next month. 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom and Teen Mom 2 I will never want for a dose of underage pregnancy and schadenfreude. I think I should find a program for my addiction.

8. I love this video:

9. Yes, I realize I just put the word "bitch" and a video about the birth of Christ in the same posting. Sorry Grandma!

10. That's all!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

miscellaneous monday: the thursday edition

1. I just learned that Mark Zuckerberg RENTS his house in Palo Alto, CA. RENTS. And he is a billionaire. I don't get it.

2. Found in my new cubicle at work: a book jacket autographed by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen. Just the jacket.

3. Today someone I'd spoken on the phone with told me in an e-mail that she's glad that my predecessor was replaced by a "warm and well-spoken woman." Sounds like something my grandma would say but I thought it was sweet.

4. It is C-O-L-D here and super cold in my room. I'm thinking of sleeping with my coat on.

5. I was thinking of going to Montreal with a friend next month until I looked up the temps on The low there today was ONE degree. Yeah, now I'm thinking I want to go somewhere else... Any suggestions? It has to be fairly cheap!

6. The Jersey Shore made Barbara Walter's Most 10 Fascinating People (yeah, I'm watching it right now... That's where I got my Zuckerberg info.) of 2010. They earn 30,000 per episode supposedly and "The Situation" made millions of dollars last year. I just might cry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

and every mother's child is gonna spy...

My new route home has me passing a posh chocolate shop with a giant window that allows me to spy on the creators as they do amazing things and yummy looking things that make me want to run in there and buy up the store. This time of year it is especially fun because there are lots of holiday themed treats to peer at. I got to see Santa from start to finish. One morning he was pure white, the color of his beard. That evening he had the beginnings of his red suit. A day later I saw he had a friend so I snapped this photo.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

the one where i review movies and you all tell me if you agree, disagree, and what you've watched lately...

'Tis the beginning of the season.

You know which one I am talking about. Not holiday season, Christmas season, or gain-20-lbs season.

Movie season.

Last weekend I caught (count 'em) 3 flicks in the theater. I think that was a personal record for me. Then I saw another movie on Friday night with a friend, got a Netflix via mail yesterday and watched 3 more via Netflix super-cool-instant-gratification-via-computer thingy today. (For the record, I'm not a complete bump on a log, I went to brunch, saw the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, took a brisk walk through Central Park, and went grocery shopping today as well.)

What can I say? When temperatures dip (and even when they don't!) I can get in running around the city and loafing around like a drain on society in equal parts. Now on to the movies. I've done book reviews but this is my first movie "review" attempt. Here goes:

1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest (a Swedish film)

For those unfamiliar with the book trilogy (who have been living under a rock, really), this is the last book-to-movie installment in the series, the way God intended it. That is NOT starring James Bond (who will be featured in the American versions). Not that I have anything against Daniel Craig, I just don't see why the US has to do its own version when the Swedes did a very good job. That said, I found the last one to be a bit on the slow side and they cut out some really good and suspenseful parts and changed others so they could cut out chunks of the book. I would have liked it if Noomi Rapace played a more interesting part in the first half of this movie. But I felt the same way about the book. I also think that she's an awesome actress. By and large I did enjoy the movie but not as much until the last third.

SEE IT (but read the books and see the first 2 first).

2. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1

Believe it or not, this is the first HP I've seen in the theater. And I hadn't seen movies 5 and 6 until just recently. I knew that this was one not to miss on the big screen as the books kept getting darker and darker as the series progressed. So when BFF mentioned she wanted to see this in the theater, I happily agreed. And I'm thrilled I did. The film did not disappoint, except at the end when we both were lamenting about how we didn't want to wait until next summer to see the end of it. Having read the books, we knew how it ends and it was disappointing not to see it right then. The actors have really come into their own and (as I mentioned before) the teenaged love stuff got my former teenaged heart all a flutter.


3. Tangled

The last Turkey Day weekend movie I saw was simply just to satisfy the little girl in me who LOVED Sleeping Beauty and Beauty and the Beast. Tangled is the Disney cartoon story of Rapunzel (but with a twist) and aside from the parents, I think BFF and I were the oldest ones at our Sunday afternoon showing. While I have more to say about theater etiquette (yes, even at kids movies!) than I do about this one, it was cute and funny and the animation was good. (My one complaint is that Rapunzel had GIANT eyes that made her look like those crazy stuffed animals with giant heads and eyes and really small bodies.) The music did not compare to the princess movies of yore but over all it was enjoyable.

RENT IT (to satisfy your inner princess)

4. Love and Other Drugs

I saw this one this weekend and I must say I liked it a lot more than I thought I was going to. It was funny and watching Jake Gyllenhall for 2 hrs is never that bad of a time, but more than that it was an insightful and touching look at love and relationships sans sap. The characters in the movie are reluctant and resistant from the get go but I saw that as more realistic than a lot of the rom-coms out there. A word to the wise, there is a lot of s-e-x so if you're squeamish, hide your eyes. But like I said, JG... ain't bad. The ending was a bit predictable and mushy but overall I did not exit the theater thinking, "It is so obvious. A woman wrote that."


5. Sex and the City 2

I knew this wasn't going to be Oscar worthy but I put it on my queue yesterday. The first one wasn't amazing either but I enjoyed it and found it satisfying. Half way through SATC part duex I almost shut the TV off to read instead. Very little about this movie is satisfying. In fact, it is just bad. Really bad. Now I can get past the cheese and the cliches. The series wasn't exactly my cup of tea until I actually moved to the city and found all the NYC-isms infused in SJP's narration to be charming. But in this one I just found her annoying. It was like they couldn't get the regular (good) writers to participate in the project and a decent screenplay written. Instead it was an exercise in everything over the top to beat the original movie. I mean Liza? Miley Cyrus? the United Arab Emirates? Yes, I knew what I was getting into after I saw the first commercial of them strutting through the Arabian sand like it was Fashion Week to the background tune of "Empire State of Mind" but c'mon people. At least get decent enough writers. You could have taken a cut of SJP's money. I'm sure she's not hurting for it.

SKIP IT (unless you are THAT die-hard of a fan in which case you won't care that the movie is crap.)

*These next few are oldies...*

6. My Girl 2

Don't laugh. I loved this movie as a kid so I was happy to see it make the insta-queue. The best thing about it was probably the romp down childhood lane. It's cute. It's good for a Sunday morning. It's not as good as the first one. (But it doesn't make me burst in to tears while watching it the way the first one does.) Even without Maculay Culkin, I wasn't disappointed.


7. Curly Sue

Somehow, I escaped seeing this one when I was younger. But I remember that the preview for it was on my Home Alone video tape and my brother and I watched that one 1000x so somehow I thought I'd seen it. It is about a little girl (Curly Sue, duh) and her con man guardian (Jim Belushi) and how they swindle people out of money and how cute she is in the process. And I agree. She's cute. I looked her up on IMDB and she's older than I am but she was a convincing little actress. Beyond that, I didn't like the story line. And I'm not THAT picky. I watch Lifetime movies, for crying out loud.


8. About a Boy

Another cool thing about Netflix viewing via computer is that they have all the movies that are currently playing on Starz, including this one, which I had never seen but had always meant to. Despite my best efforts not to, I really enjoy Hugh Grant and find him incredibly charming and witty. I think it is mostly the British accent and wit, really. Gets me every time. I loved this story and might actually make a note to read the book. Toni Colette was great. The lead kid (don't know his name) was also wonderful and end damn near had me a giant blubbering sobbing mess. It is one that I would buy and watch frequently. Two thumbs up.


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

motivations on change

Last night I watched Amelia via Netflix and came away with a newfound respect for this incredibly brave woman. Not only did she, quite literally, spread her wings and fly, she did so as a woman during a time when women were not thought capable of doing men's work.

And as I do for most movies I watch, I took my fascination to Google and came up with this quote from Ms. Earhart:

I had this in my head as I ponder recent decisions I've made to change direction of my day-to-day and, therefore, the course of my life. Change, no matter how much one wants it, is difficult. And learning to embrace it for all that it means and all that it could mean requires that you take the bad with the good.

I don't know exactly where I am going with this except to say that even good choices are hard. Even good times bring difficulties, a new set of worries and opportunities. I don't mean to be pessimistic or go looking for negativity. I am not a peppy person. I like (hope, really) to think I am a realist. I'm not much of a dreamer, but I am a flyer. Because when all is said and done and change is changing and move is moving, the reality is what you are left with and extracting the lessons from it becomes the juice that powers everything.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

give me a q and i'll give you an a

I have always said, since day one of this little blog thing, that I mostly blog so that I can look back years from now and remember the bits and pieces of what these last few years and this NYC adventure have been like for me. So I decided tonight to take a peek at last November and December's posts and it doing so made me feel like this year has just flown by! I can remember those feelings and those moments almost exactly. But I will surely wax poetic about that later.

The real purpose of this post is because I came across my Q&A and I figured, "Why not?" I'll do another and see what kind of questions I get...

So if you fancy it, please do give me a few preguntas. I'll give them my best shot.

Read last year's questions and answers here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

thanksgiving weekend

Things I am thankful for this Thanksgiving weekend:

1. Target. Black Friday. 1:00pm. Not a total disaster. I had gone a couple of days ago and we decided to brave going back today so that I could possibly save money on the dress I wanted for my first day at my new job. We went back and the dress was not on sale but I got 2 DVD's, a sweater, and a top that were.

2. That said the toy aisle was a bit nuts. So this year I am thankful for being childless.

3. My Verizon wireless rebate card which made me feel like I wasn't spending a ton of money anyway.

4. I also purchased a bunch of things from the New York & Company website yesterday because everything was 50% off with free shipping. So, of course, I bought twice as many things, including a much needed new winter "puffer" coat.

5. Mexican food on Thanksgiving instead of slaving over the turkey and potatoes. Since Christmas at my house is basically Tgiving part deux in terms of food, this was a perfectly lovely and welcome alternative.

6. Being able to break out the flip flops once more before the snow season starts. Though Mother Nature I must say... 80 degree weather this time of year is a bit much.

7. Rupert Grint's burgeoning muscles in Harry Potter 7, Part 1. Ron and Hermoine just make my little teenaged heart go crazy. Like omg.

8. Drive-thru's. I realize they are the epitome of laziness and the beacon of obesity, however, going through one with a Christmas tree in the passenger side of the car is pretty fun.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

not sleeping

It is 1:15 am in New York.

And 12:15 am in Texas, where I am right now after I flew in tonight to spend Thanksgiving with BFF. She lives in a gorgeous 3 bedroom house. Alone. Her master bedroom is the size of my apartment. The apartment that I share with 3 other girls. I just keep repeating to myself "I love New York. I love New York."

I should be sleeping right now. I'm exhausted after my flight. Here's a tip to those of you traveling for the holidays (or ever for that matter.) Remember that there are people sitting around you who might not want to hear you talk about custody issues, surgeries, and other personal details with your neighbor (whom you just met, I might add) for FOUR HOURS STRAIGHT. As a matter of fact, no one wants to hear another person's voice for four hours. Period. Say "hello," chat for a bit, and then shut it so other people around you don't have to pay six bucks for the TV and jam their sound-proof headphones in their ears just for a bit of peace. Of course, this did not happen to me tonight.

I'm a bit cranky, yes. I've been going non-stop these days. The cat is out of the bag now so I might as well share it here. I got a new job. My last day was today and I start my new job at a new company next week. This weekend I plan on living like an "unemployed" person. Not that my job is stressful at all really. I hardly save the world. Yet I feel I am being called to watch hours of movies, eat good food, and lounge around. Yes, it is Thanksgiving and I would probably normally do that but this time I don't have work hanging over my head. This is the first time since my last college summer break that I haven't been working hard at school, working hard to get a job and move, working harder to get a job and move, working hard at my job, working hard to get a new job, etc. And I intend to enjoy it.

Also, please share any movie recommendations you might have. They really do need to be accessible via Netflix instant viewing. To give you an idea of the breadth of my taste, last night while organizing my room and packing I watched Defiance and Searching for Bobby Fischer. Both are great movies and I recommend them.

Have a great week everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

gearing up

Took this from a car driving by Macy's at 34th St. tonight.

They are ready. So am I.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

royally obsessed

I fear I might have a new obsession.

This one just might surpass yogurt parfaits,, and TV shows on DVD.

I'm talking about the upcoming royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

I'm not exactly sure what it is. I was never this way with his parents, or any other "celebrity" couple for that matter. I remember when Diana died I watched the funeral procession with William, Charles and Harry walking behind her casket on television. But I never swooned over Wills (well, not that much) and certainly did not stock up on all things "Lady Di" like the girl in my study abroad program who spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars shipping memorabilia home.

But I watched the Dateline special last night, click on all the stories and links about them, and almost sought out my very own replica of her engagement ring, which formerly belonged to William's mother. Almost.

I don't really get it. All I can say is he's a cutie, she is gorgeous with such poise and fashion sense, and they are adorable together. And her hats. I love her hats. They make me want to attend polo matches and sip Earl Grey from dainty teacups. Calgon take me back to London! I want to attend the wedding in St. Paul's or Westminster Abbey (or wherever it may be.) I want to buy cheap things with their faces all over them. OK, maybe that last one is taking it a step too far.

Am I alone here? What are you currently obsessed with? Perhaps it will make me feel more normal.


Monday, November 15, 2010

"pay no attention to that man behind the curtain:" an open letter to michelle moran

Remember that line from The Wizard of Oz? I thought of it immediately once I decided to write this...

My recent post about some of my favorite books caused a bit of excitement in my universe. Turns out the very talented Michelle Moran found my little ol' blog! *Squeal* She asked around a bit about who I could be and while I really had to fight the urge to identify myself, (I really did want to jump up and down going "It's me! It's me!") I must say I like that line between my personal and professional lives and this blog belongs squarely in the former. So in response...
Dear Ms. Moran,

I'm thrilled and honored that you found and enjoyed my post. I feel so fortunate to be able to encourage good books and reading every day and being able to meet authors whose work I love (however indirectly that encounter may be) is really icing on the cake. I really admire your talent for blending history and fiction and wish you the very best of success with Madame Tussaud.

PS - Can I please marry Henri? Please?

I think that was my first fan letter ever. I'm off to write John Krasinski now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

shop talk - books that will ruin your life: historical fiction edition

I haven't done many "shop talk" posts at all. I call them "shop talk" because I work in books. I talk about books (without really talking about them) practically all day. I read constantly. Shop talk. 'Nuff said.

Earlier this week I posted about the great book I'm currently reading, Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran. It is available next February and just might be the best piece of historical fiction I've read thus far. I'm a huge fan of the genre and have read my share of the princesses and courtiers stories. This one touches on royalty but the "heroine" is a wax modeler living during the French Revolution. And it doesn't hurt that her love interest makes me swoon a bit. He was definitely written by a woman.

Reading this book has me thinking about my historical fiction faves so I thought I'd share my top 6 just in case some of you float in the same literary boat as me and are looking for some ideas. And feel free to add to my list if you feel so inclined!

6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant - This biblical read is told from the perspective of Dinah, daughter of Jacob who appears briefly in the book of Genesis but, according to the author, has no voice of her own. A really interesting look at what life might have been like for a woman in Biblical times.

5. Nefertiti by Michelle Moran - The title says it all. This book follows the story of the Queen of Egypt, Nefertiti, but the fact that it is told by her sister makes it all the more interesting. I wanted to see the pyramids and sphinxes before this one but reading it made me really want to go to Egypt!

4. The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff - Read my review of this book here. They also made a Lifetime movie out of this one. Not the greatest though... the book is MUCH better.

3. Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin - Read my review of this book here. This one combines history and classic literature. Triple love.

2. The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory - This one is every historical fiction lover's staple. England's Henry VIII had six wives. And several mistresses. One of these was, Mary Boleyn, who just so happened to be the sister of his most infamous wife, Anne Boleyn, mother to Elizabeth I. This was the stuff of soaps before the days of TV. Can't get better than that.

1. Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran - OK, I'm going to go ahead and put this one in the top spot. I just love the different layers of this book. Tussaud's Wax Museum might be a cheesy tourist trap now, but it was once the center of news during the French Revolution. I can already see the movie.

If you take anything from this post, it is that Michelle Moran is an awesome historical fiction author. There are so many more great books beyond these. Happy reading!

Monday, November 8, 2010

"every step of the way, we walk the line"

OK, I'm back with more music. Music Monday. Yeah, that's what I'm going to call it, I think.

The next song was written by Bob Dylan (for the purists) but has been covered by The Dixie Chicks and Sheryl Crow. If you aren't a Chicks or Crow fan, you can find the original on YouTube, I'm sure. I just like that the covers are more upbeat.

I can relate to practically EVERY SINGLE lyric in this song (and I've bolded my faves!). There is just so much truth to how I feel about my life, my experiences, and how I have handled them that I can't help pressing the back button on my iPod over and over again so that I listen to it repeatedly as I'm walking down the streets. Funny, as it has a country twang and this city is (mostly) anything but country. I'm going to post the lyrics and videos for this one.

Mississippi by Bob Dylan (covered by The Dixie Chicks and Sheryl Crow)

Every step of the way we walk the line
Your days are numbered, so are mine
Time is pilin’ up, we struggle and we scrape
We’re all boxed in, nowhere to escape

City’s just a jungle; more games to play
Trapped in the heart of it, tryin' to get away
I was raised in the country, I been workin’ in the town
I been in trouble ever since I set my suitcase down

Got nothin' for you, I had nothin' before
Don’t even have anything for myself anymore
Sky full of fire, pain pourin’ down
Nothing you can sell me, I’ll see you around

All my powers of expression and thoughts so sublime
Could never do you justice in reason or rhyme
Only one thing I did wrong
Stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well, the devil’s in the alley, you're kickin in the stall
Say anything you wanna, I have heard it all
I was thinkin’ 'bout the things that you said
I was dreaming I was sleepin' in your bed

Walkin' through the leaves, falling from the trees
Feelin' like a stranger nobody sees
So many things that we never will undo
I know you’re sorry, well I’m sorry too

Some people will offer you their hand and some won’t
Last night I knew you, tonight I don’t
I need somethin’ strong to distract my mind
I’m gonna look at you ’til my eyes go blind

Well I got here followin' the southern star
I crossed that river just to be where you are
There's only one thing I did wrong
I stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Well my ship’s been split to splinters and it’s sinkin' fast
I’m drownin’ in the poison, got no future, got no past
But my heart is not weary, it’s light and it’s free
I’ve got nothin’ but affection for all those who’ve sailed with me

Everybody's movin’ if they ain’t already there
Everybody's got to move somewhere
Well stick with me baby, stick with me anyhow
Things should start to get interestin' right about now

My clothes are wet, tight on my skin
Not as tight as the corner that I painted myself in
I know that fortune is waitin’ to be kind
So give me your hand and say you’ll be mine
Well, the emptiness is endless, cold as the clay
You can always come back, but you can’t come back all the way
There's only one thing I did wrong
I stayed in Mississippi a day too long

Sunday, November 7, 2010

my weekend was... complete with googled images!

My weekend was (with images this time!)...

a relaxing Friday night at home with a great book. Historical fiction fans should check out Madame Tussaud when it comes out next Spring!

getting my domestic on in a friend's new kitchen, making cupcakes and cookies and watching You've Got Mail while we worked the icing/cookie gun. The thing is so cool!! We had a hard time controlling it so the frosting looked like chocolate Christmas trees on top of the little cupcakes.

catching Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake at NY City Center with margaritas and taquitos afterword. The corps of swans was all male instead of female. Really interesting and wonderful to watch. Then again, why wouldn't one like to watch a group of shirtless men with amazing bodies. Ahem, moving on...

working two jobs on opposite sides of town during the New York City Marathon and getting stuck at the route on First Avenue.

Walking 20 blocks up and then 30 blocks down as 40,000 runners passed me by. Yeah, I felt so out of shape next to them.

(images via google)

What was your weekend?

Monday, November 1, 2010

"i ain't got style like a magazine, i know my shoes don't shine..."

Last week I had this idea when I was trying to come up with something to say...

Sometimes, to preserve my own privacy, I cannot say what I really want to. I can't talk about the specifics, the difficulties, the excitement - the realest of reality.

Sometimes I wouldn't be able to put it into perfect words if I wanted to. I fancy myself something of a writer, always able to find a way to express what I'm thinking and feeling. But I find so much of my inspiration, solace and serenity in the lyrics of my favorite songs. There are those that are staples - the familiar and well-worn verses I turn to when I'm angry, frustrated, sad and need inspiration.

This week I'm going to share some of my favorites - the songs that have gotten me through my move to New York, hyped me up for job interviews, comforted me during disappointment and heartbreak, and motivated me to keep moving on even when I feel lost and alone.

I hope that some of you will find inspiration and comfort in one or more of these songs. They are meaningful, hopeful and so true (in my humble opinion).

As Good As It Gets by Beth Hart

Most people don't know Beth Hart and that is just why I love her. She had a song on the radio back in the late 90's (L.A. Song) but she is mostly popular in Europe (I think.) She's soulful, with a hint of Janis Joplin and "As Good as It Gets" just keeps me going when I want to give up and give in. "Until I break a sweat, it ain't as good as it gets."

Sunday, October 31, 2010

finding waldo, finding light

I smashed my right pinky finger in a drawer tonight pretty hard. It is swollen and already a couple of gorgeous shades. So I am typing a little wonky but still not doing that bad of a job.

I spent the weekend moving upstairs (my apartment is two floors - rare for NYC!) and into my new bedroom. It has a skylight! I bought sunflowers to mark a new era of light in my life. I love my new room and am feeling more hopeful and settled in it even though it has only been 24 hrs. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I can see myself here three more years from now. I can see myself meeting a great guy here. I have faith that it is going to happen. It has been the longest time since I've felt that way. Amazing what a little light can do.

I didn't partake in the Halloween festivities, as predicted. I preferred to spend the weekend rearranging, reorganizing, and regrouping. But I did do my share of observing and I will say that people watching is so much fun over Halloween weekend. I found myself looking at people in costume on the subway and thinking that for several of them, if it wasn't Halloween, I wouldn't look twice at them. I would just think that's the way they dress.

I saw an Alice in Wonderland with her husband, the Mad Hatter, and a couple dressed as Mario and Luigi from Super Mario Bros. And So. Many. Lady Gagas. But my favorite by far were all the Waldos. I found Waldo first at a bus stop. Then I saw him at the Subway station. But when I saw him tonight at Chipotle, I began to wonder if Waldo is just as popular this year as Gaga and Snooki.

I wonder if finding Waldo three times in 24 hrs is lucky. You know, like a four leaf clover. Some luck and more light could only do me good.

Happy Halloween everyone! What did you all do and see today?

Friday, October 29, 2010

this is my halloween

Friends, I like Halloween but... as an adult, I'm not a huge fan. I find I do not enjoy the costume thing as much as I did when I was a kid. It isn't for everyone. Plus I'm not super creative so I never think of cool ideas like going as "swine flu." (A girl I know wore pink scrubs and a pig snout.) Tonight I was watching the episode of The Office where every woman in the office dressed up as a cat. Yeah, I've totally been the cat. More than once.

So when I found out that my apartment move coincided with Halloween weekend (not out just up - I'm playing musical bedrooms since one of the roomies moved in with her bf.) I didn't stress over it. Last year I went to D.C. instead of dressing up and going out. The year before that I moved into this apartment on October 31st and spent the night nursing a cold and unpacking. The year before that I was new to the city and fresh faced so - in a night that is a feather in my proverbial feather cap - I dressed up as a Hershey kiss with my then roommate and we went bowling at Chelsea Piers.

Now, I'd be lying if I said I didn't wish I was doing something more like the latter this year. I think my Halloween indifference is wearing off. Elvis walked by my cubicle at work today and Lisbeth Salander made an appearance before going to a party held by another department. Oh how I looked longingly at that conference room as the sounds of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" mingled with my Excel spreadsheet. (Side note: If you haven't read Stiegg Larsson's Millenium Series - Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, etc. you MUST!) Apparently, my department feels the same way about Halloween. No one dressed up. Unless you consider dressing like a "real New Yorker." Today I wore a black dress, black leggings, black boots, and a black cardigan.

While I might attempt the West Village Halloween Parade this weekend, I think I will have to plan on embracing it all next year. Hopefully, it will not involve spending the day dressed up as an exhausted single gal who has moved her belongings yet again. But one never knows. This is New York.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

for Summer

So much love to you Summer, xoxo

Monday, October 25, 2010

my october weekend was

I haven't done one of these in a while... I started them in an attempt to extract the small, sometimes seemingly meaningless moments from an "ordinary" weekend in order to see them in a positive and meaningful light. Here goes...

My weekend was...

Trivial Pursuit cards at an 80's theme diner with the roomie while we waited for our giant burgers. Did you know that the average woman's bra size in the 50's was 34B. I think I'm remembering that correctly...

relaxing at the movies watching the flick about the youngest billionaire ever. Thinking that I should quit Facebook. Then checking Facebook on my phone directly after the movie. Yeah...

going to dance class for the first time in a while and having that peaceful moment during warm up where I remember just how fun it is to live in this city.

going out with a new friend and realizing that sometimes you have to call it a night at 11 because you are just too darn tired.

sitting on the back of a U-Haul while I watched my favorite roommate move out and reflecting as all of my neighborhood walked by.

knowing that it will be me and that U-Haul soon.

What was your weekend?

Also, please take a moment to say a prayer or put some good thoughts out there in the universe for my blog bud, Summer, who lost her father this weekend. Summer, I am so sorry for your loss.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

dear santa

Dear Santa,

I know the jack-o-lanterns haven't even been carved yet in many a home and that Christmas is still months away but I thought I'd get my request in early because it is a big one.

Santa, I want my own place.

In my lifetime I have had more roommates than I have fingers and toes. Some are still good friends (like my very first roomie from my semester abroad who I recent rediscovered London with in May.) Some roommates I just shared a living space with - like Megan and Leslie and Mary, who left halfway through my final semester of college. I have no idea where she is or what she's doing now but she was a nice girl and I remember having a fun dinner with her on a Tuesday night at a Chili's in Walnut Creek. Then there are the roommates who made things difficult. They were tough to get along with. They were in my face and space and made me want to scream.

Santa, it is time. I am in a particularly bad pickle right now and am so very done with roomies in general. The disagreements, the passive aggression, the pissy attitudes because someone didn't clean the counter right.

I dream of a studio apartment of my very own. It is small but that's OK. For it I will buy a new rug and new curtains and, eventually, a new couch. A few cute dishes and Lysol under the sink.

If you're feeling particularly generous this holiday season, a 1 bedroom would be awesome but I know you are a busy guy so I won't push my luck.

Monday, October 18, 2010

strength and courage

God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

Serenity Prayer (Extended Version)

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
Mark Twain

People with courage and character always seem sinister to the rest.
Herman Hesse

I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what.
Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird

Thursday, October 14, 2010

500 days of small things: 1 & 2

I'm stealing this idea from Summer. I will post 500 "small things" that make my life amazing. (Or at least that's the goal.) Here we go!

500 Days of Small Things

Days 1 & 2

1. An e-mail I received from an almost-four-year-old who I used to babysit here in New York before they moved back to "Europe"

"Dear "M" - we hope to see you when we come back to New York. I
love you very much




He did the "kisses," alphabet and numbers by himself, his mom added. And recognized me immediately in pictures I sent them. My cup runeth over.

2. A quote from my own mother:

"You're strong. They wrote a book about you."

Now you're probably wondering which literary heroine my mother is comparing me to. Jo from Little Women or even Wuthering Heights's Katherine?

She is actually referring to this book. Her copy is well worn:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

get upset and flip out


I have seen this everywhere lately. And today I feel like I need to get a giant poster version and hang it all over my apartment. Lately, I have to remind myself to breathe. I got a lovely e-mail yesterday from a blog bud who mentioned it seems I have been having a hard time. It is quite obvious no matter how veiled and non-descript my posts are and I do appreciate the support.

The last thing I want is to be dramatic or a negative Nancy. Life is full of challenges and mine are very small in comparison to those who are so much less fortunate than I am and who have been so much more than I could even imagine. Still, we get bumps and bruises along the way. We flip out and cry and think that nothing will ever go our way. We would totally throw a giant tantrum in the middle of the aisle at the grocery store if it were still socially acceptable as an adult.

Feelings get hurt, disappointments abound, and we don't get it. It just isn't fair. Why do others get what we don't? Why do they have what we so badly want? What are we supposed to be learning from this and can we hurry up and learn it already so we can get to the good stuff?

I'm tired of asking these questions and I'm tired of posting thinly cloaked musings on why life seems not to be going my way these days. So I will sign off of that soapbox for a while and just keep calm and carry on.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Saturday, October 9, 2010

deep thoughts for a saturday night

The birthday party is tonight.

I'm wearing the new little black dress, which roomie has convinced me does not make me look like a bubble.

And the black boots.

I will feel very New York. Which is rare for me.

Because I'm not New York. I'm California with a touch of the Midwest. But I am here and life is not glamorous.

I'm jeans and a tee at lunch with a wonderful friend. I'm the girl who constantly loses her keys and who chooses ice cream and conversation with a great friend over the meat market downtown. I'm a girl who cries hard and feels a lot. Who gets attached and feels loss deeply.

I was the strong willed two year old with the Shirley Temple curls. I'm the girl who still has that spirit in me.

I'm the palm trees and the 2/3 train. I'm San Francisco and Lexington Ave.

I'm entirely too mean to myself, too hard on myself, too unforgiving.

I'm the jeans and the little black dress.

Oh, and the boots too.

Friday, October 8, 2010

monday you can fall apart. tuesday, wednesday, break my heart...


The new dress I am wearing from H&M. Unfortunately, their website kind of sucks and I don't have a picture but it was only $14.00 and is super cute! I also bought a new LBD (little black dress) on impulse without even trying it on first. I hope it fits because I hope to wear it to a friend's birthday party tomorrow night!


"paciencia y fe"

I keep saying those words over and over to myself. I am perhaps the world's most impatient person (and have been since uhh, before birth, as I was born 8 wks premature!) This week I am trying to focus on the idea that with patience and faith, things will work out the way I want them to.


Sh*t My Dad Says

Apparently, this guy is 29, from So Cal (woohoo!) and lives with his dad who says the most hilarious sh*t. He started a Twitter account and that became a book. I read the book while I was in the Hamptons over Labor Day weekend and could not stop laughing. You must ALL read it (and the Twitter feed!) These gems are my personal fave. This guy needs to be my father-in-law, I think.

"You don't have to be good to succeed. You just gotta be the least sh*tty option. Example: We're eating at The Olive Garden."

"See, you think I give a sh*t. Wrong. In fact, while you talk, I'm thinking; How can I give less of sh*t? That's why I look interested."

"Don’t focus on the one guy who hates you. You don’t go to the park and set your picnic down next to the only pile of dog sh*t."


Speaking of books, I am currently reading this one:

It is the book the new movie, The Social Network was based on. I'm about halfway through and can I just say I am not on Team Zuckerberg so far. Yet, I still checked my Facebook account this morning. Brilliant.


Today I love all the things I am thankful for: an amazing mom, a hilarious father who spent 15 minutes complaining to me about his "ear bob" (Bluetooth) and how he keeps "butt dialing" people with it the other day. (His words, not mine!), a sweet baby brother, true friends, opportunities, patience, faith, hope, tough times that give you perspective, and everything great that is yet to come. Good things.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

urban heart & urban hope

Two photos I took during the weekend with BFF.

"urban hope" (upper) was taken from the rooftop of the MET

"urban heart" (lower) was taken on the Brooklyn Bridge

Monday, October 4, 2010

"i keep your picture in my worn through shoes"

My blog bud Summer posted this song today.

I have been listening to it non-stop all afternoon. It is talking me down.

Guys, I am a bitter Betty today.

I normally avoid speaking in specifics about people in my life with the general understanding that I wouldn't want to find myself the center of a cyberspace rant. Add to that the (possibly irrational) fear that someone I date will discover loads of bloggy goodies about himself on this little space and my cardinal blog rule that specifics about family and friends are way off limits. Finish off with the fact that I simply don't want to bore you all with the same shizz over and over again.

But I must, again, talk about the dating.

Oh, dating. How I harbor a general disdain for you. Except when things are going well. Then I love you to bits. Natch.

Enter the most recent dude. He expressed interest. A lot of it. My phone was blowin' up (to use an expression I can't stand.) At first I maintained a healthy amount of skepticism. "What exactly is behind a gentleman's constant attention?" a true lady must ask herself. But he seemed to like to talk to me and I liked talking to him so I went with it.

Then the inevitable happened.

I started to have expectations. Expectations in keeping with the precedent HE set and in keeping with my gender. It is a curse really. When that voice in your head starts screaming on the second date it is sometimes hard to get her to shut the hell up. But I didn't go psycho girl if that is what you are thinking. All was kept light and airy. Fun. I can do fun!

Two nice dates were had. I admit I goofed on the second one and chose a movie that should never, ever be seen by second daters. It was tres depressing! So when we parted that night I was feeling sheepishly stupid but no harm, no foul. Right?

The goodbye was weird.

Kiss of death. I have been on enough dates to know that something was not right in Wooville. I tried to resusscitate things over the next couple of days but it all just flatlined. I mean, he was gone. As in no forwarding address. Disappeared. F'ing agreed to go out again, acted interested and then adios.

I'm pissed.

Yep, I am. And I hate that I feel like this makes me just one cat short of a crazy lady. But y'all saw my list. Out of all the lucky lads on that list I can count on my fingers (and exclude the thumb!) how many guys I have liked. He made that short list! But women are crazy. They want too much too fast. Far be it for us to expect a guy to set a precedent of being interested then stick with it. Hell, they don't have to stick with it. Just have the courtesy to inform us when you aren't going to. We've all been there. We've all had the "It's not you. It's me." conversation. Everyone knows it is fake but it is the right thing to do.

Mr. Gable he made me like him! I didn't wanna do it. (Well, I did but you get the point.) And now it is back to the drawing board. And since this is my pity post and I will act crazy if I want to, I finish with the stereotypical flourish:

MEN! Ugh.

Friday, October 1, 2010

paciencia y fe

BFF is here for the weekend and we just got back from the theater. I say that with a snooty accent of course. We saw "In the Heights," which I had seen before and loved. But Jordin Sparks is currently in the lead role and while girlfriend can sing, she wasn't the best choice for the role, I must say.

One of the songs in the musical, which takes place in Washington Heights (NYC) and in a prominently Latino area, is called "Paciencia y Fe" which translates to Patience and Faith.

A couple of weeks up, a bit of sun, and a bit of reality later I'm telling myself that good things come to those who wait.

I had been talking to a boy, we went out twice, and now it seems he's just not that into me. Paciencia y fe.

I lost out on something I really wanted. Fingers uncrossed. Paciencia y fe.

My roommate sent me this today:

Hope is not pretending that troubles don't exist.
It is the trust that they will not last forever,
that hurts will be healed and difficulties overcome.
It is faith that a source of strength and renewal lies within,
to lead us through the dark into sunshine.

For those of you who are in need of a bit of hope, I hope these words are a bit of comfort to you. Paciencia y fe.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

dear new york: an anniversary letter

Tomorrow marks three years of big, bad city life for this quiet California girl.

I was going to wait and do my anniversary letter then but I have a friend coming into town so we will be out and about in the (hopefully not too bad) weather.

Dear New York:

Another year for us. This was definitely the hardest one yet. We tested and
challenged each other in ways I think neither of us really expected.

I often refer to this year as my "What Color is Your Parachute?" year. You decided to spice it up a bit and, at times, make me wonder if I even had a parachute at all. But I digress with the awful metaphors. You were rough on me. We were rough on each other. I resented you and insulted you and you remained patient and steady, showing me that through each trial there was a purpose but to be honest, I still don't know what your plans are for us.

This year I really started to wonder if I am doing what I want to be doing with my career. I crossed my fingers many times only to find that the competition was stiff and I just didn't make the grade. This year I felt lost and unsure of myself more often than not. But through it all I held on to what I knew to be true: I may have moved here for the job but I stay here for you. We
aren't done yet. I am making the choice to be present in each moment, feel the losses, learn from them and grow stronger in my relationship with myself (and by extension my relationship with you.)

This year we lost a couple of friends but got closer to others, even helping one choose her wedding dress. Not bad for the girl who didn't know a soul when she picked up her little life and moved here three years ago. In a city of millions of people it is so easy to feel lonely and we absolutely felt our share of that. There was many a bad date and several relationships were
tested. Some floundered and failed and some grew stronger. I have a sneaking suspicion you've known all along that this was going to be the challenging year and that you are not done with me. But I have faith that good things will come from us. You need to make sure I can hack it, that I know that a rough year doesn't mean we weren't meant for each other, that any decisions I make for myself are made with a clear head and a calm resolve.

I know we will continue to have our moments but I only hope that the coming year is filled with happiness and luck. I hope that anything that is thrown our way will only strengthen us. I hope that one year from now I will be able to say, as I do today, I still love you New York. Thank you for three life changing years.

"It can destroy a person, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky." - E.B. White

Monday, September 27, 2010

somewhere out there

I have abandoned you all recently. I'm sorry but things have been crazy on my end.

I'm dealing with roommate drama, one girl moving out and getting a new one to move in, my real "big girl" job and I've gotten a lot of sitting jobs lately (my "2nd job.") During one over the weekend I heard words I never thought I'd hear a four-year-old say: "I wanna play with my iPad." There she was flicking her little finger across the screen to navigate among the hundreds of math games on there and I had never touched one before. Life is funny that way.

Due to drama I haven't been sleeping well. I am nearly falling asleep at my desk.

I also have some potential VERY exciting news which I can only tell you about if it happens (sorry!) Please, friends, keep your fingers, toes, and eyes crossed for me. I REALLY need it.

That's all I've got for now. I'm still here! How are all of you?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

a blog post in three minutes because it is 11:41pm and i still want to read before i go to sleep...

1. I had a good day today.
2. I had a good day yesterday.
4. But the flooding in my apartment is fixed.
5. This was tested by the huge rain storm that came through today.
6. NO water on my bed this time.
8. BFF comes to visit in a couple of weeks.
9. I am going out with a good friend tomorrow night.
10. I spent 2 hrs on the phone tonight.
11. I can't remember the last time I talked on the phone for 2 hrs.
12. And had a good conversation.
13. Today at work I made a playlist of "calm" music. It included Bob Dylan's "Forever Young" which I have stuck in my head right now.
14. That just says it all.
15. My three minutes are up. Goodnight!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

practice kindness

I woke this morning and realized what day it was. As if I could ever forget.

September 11th is my baby brother's birthday. On this day in 2001 he turned 16. This day is a difficult one for so many people. Now my brother has to share a happy day with such tragedy. That date was bizarre in our house to say the least. I had rebelliously decided I was not going to go to college that semester. My days that September consisted of nothing as I did not have a job either and didn't get one until October. On that morning I was far from the New York City in which I live now. Three hours behind in California. My dad woke me up around 8am and told me what was going on. I turned on the TV and since I had nothing to do that day I watched the coverage all day. I remember seeing people jump out of windows, the continuously looped footage of the towers falling. I remember waking up in the middle of the night because I couldn't sleep and turning on the TV to find footage of family members begging for information on their missing loved ones. Even so far away in California, there was a quiet. I did go to Target that day to get out of the house and there was no one there. Everyone was glued to their TVs in disbelief.

That night we went out for dinner to celebrate my brother's birthday. We were the only ones in the restaurant and the coverage at the WTC continued on the TVs behind the bar. I felt weird going out and celebrating but for my family this date is first and foremost a day of celebration.

My first trip to New York City took place the following June. My friends and I went down to the World Trade Center site. I took photos and remember feeling guilty for it. Like I was dishonoring a sacred space. I have been to the site a handful of times since. Mostly with friends and family in from out of town. I live and work uptown so I don't have much of an occasion to be in that part of town but each time I find myself down there randomly, I pause and honor in silence.

The other day I was walking down the street, fully immersed in my own problems and drama, and I saw a woman wearing a tank top that said "Practice Kindness." That simple phrase has stuck with me ever since as I try to move past a rough summer, rifts in friendships, and all of the other personal issues that pale in comparison today. But the message seems like a good one especially in light of all that is happening in and around that site. Practice kindness.