Monday, May 30, 2011

we do redo

Happy Memorial Weekend everyone!

I'm being a huge lazy bones and haven't been running (as much... some), I've been eating like mad, and am currently drinking a Pepsi Throwback (made with real sugar, not high fructose corn syrup... Not sure I like it better but whatever. It is what is in the house.)

I've also been going through the boxes and boxes of books of mine that I have here at my folks' and picking out books I want to reread. I suppose that means this year's theme will be great re-reads. I know I've said this before. I settled upon Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende--who is, by far, my favorite author. I've seen her speak in person twice. She's brilliant and hilarious. Her first novel, The House of the Spirits, is my favorite and (in my humble opinion) her best work but I'm remembering how good Daughter of Fortune is. I guess that's why Oprah picked it for her book club...

Here is my full (so far) reread list:

Portrait in Sepia - Isabel Allende (kind of goes with DOF)
The Kitchen God's Wife - Amy Tan (I love Amy Tan and have read most, if not all of her books.)
The Book Thief - Markus Zusak
Falling Angels - Tracy Chevalier (I talked about her the other day and keep thinking how much I remember liking this one.)

Bibliophiles, what books have you read that you would love to read again?

Have a great and sunny day!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

city musings from suburbia

The more I come home to suburbia, the more I realize how drastically different my life is in a rumbling, living, breathing city.

Here are a few reasons:

1. In the city we have these wonderfully magical things called bodegas (like mini-marts or convenience stores, if you will.) Found on nearly every corner, many bodegas are open 24/7 and while a jar of peanut butter tends to cost $7, they are super useful for chocolate cravings, soda runs, and those "oops I didn't have breakfast so I'll pay $1.50 for a granola bar" mornings. My bodega is great. The guys know me and the lady who works on the weekends always talks to me about the weather. The other day I was about the purchase two items when I realized I only had enough money for one. I told the cashier I only wanted one because I didn't have enough money and he said, "That's OK. You pay later." I jokingly said, "Yeah, it's not like you won't ever see me again." To which he replied, "I see you every day." While I'm not sure how much I like these guys knowing my horrible compulsive snacking habits, there is comfort to be found in such small things as this.

Today I decided I wanted a Diet Dr. Pepper (ugh, my biggest vice) but there wasn't one to be found in the house. So I had to drive to a nearby gas station to pick one up. Oh the horror.

2. The comforting sounds of the city. I'm used to the sirens and plethora of other noises now. The first time I came back to sunny So Cal after my big move it was too quiet. The silence rang loudly in my ears. Now I'm used to both but this time, between the partying house next door, the ridiculously loud crows that caw every morning, and my crazy dog barking, I long for the city quiet.

3. I love me some driving. Seriously. I do. My love of getting behind the wheel, pumping gas, and using my turn signal didn't surface until rush hour involved bodies packed in a subway car. Nowadays I grab the keys to someone's car whenever I can. Early this evening I was feeling cabin feverish having spent a large part of the day around the house and my brother's car was available so I decided to go to Barnes and Noble to check out what's new. Yes, while on vacation I think about books and peruse the shelves to pay attention to trends and new releases (and covet many, many pretty covers).

I can go to B&N in New York. I can go to an indie in New York. I can go down the hall and grab a book from the "take shelf" in New York. But I always love to go book shopping when I get home and I was looking for an excuse to drive around. The suburbs also have these things called shopping centers, in which many different (chain) stores are grouped together around a giant parking lot. After B&N I went next door to Ross where I bought a couple of things and then drove to pick up my dinner--a burrito from my favorite hole-in-the-wall place. That's another thing about suburbia... they don't deliver anything but pizza.

4. Yesterday I went for a run up to the elementary school. I marveled at the tell-tale signs of suburban splendor. The rows of mailboxes with their little red flags. The vanity number plates on houses. The outdoor ornamental lawn chairs that no one ever sits in. Along the way I passed a few fellow runners who smiled and said "hi" to me. In New York, the only person who talks to you on the street is the homeless guy who asks you for 50 cents for a cup of coffee outside the subway. Yes, this is cliched and yes for a split second I wondered why they were talking to me. It was a classic "you are now a hardened city girl" moment.

5. Last but not least... life feels slower. It really does. I know I'm on vacation so I am out of my routine but I have gotten so used to everything buzzing by and staying in step with it all that when I stand back and look at it I realize just how much happens, how much I see, how much I ignore, and just how much I love it.

Remember the Sunscreen Song? In it, the guy said to live in a city at some point in your life but not so long that it makes you hard (I'm doing a horrible job at paraphrasing it but it goes something like that.) Today while I was driving around I considered how much more city I have in me. I have been saying lately that it is one lease at a time. But the city is so much a part of me who knows what will happen. And I like it that way right now.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"i'm your biggest fan. i'll follow you until you love me... "

A conversation I just had with my dad:

Dad: I like Lady Gaga.

Me: You do? (surprised) What song is your favorite?

Dad: I don't know. I don't know any of her songs.

Me: (laughing) Then why do you like her?

Dad: Because she's weird.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

my weekend was... in numbers.

100 minutes--of hilarity. I invited some girls over on Friday for pizza and The Hangover. Love, love, love it all. Low key nights with friends are the best.

29,000 steps*--running on the treadmill, walking to the volunteer site, walking through the park when it turns out the volunteer project was cancelled, walking back uptown to my neighborhood.

four hours spent lapping up the gorgeous sunshine in Central Park while people watching, visiting Strawberry Fields, reading on a lovely park bench by the lake.

seven digits... that I gave to the guy who hit on me while I was sitting on the park bench. He texted and called yesterday. I don't really want to go out with him. Hmmm...

15,000 steps*--running on the treadmill again, walking to my friend's apt, taking her dog out for a walk in the park, heading home.

Three hours and fourteen minutes left in the weekend. Sad!

What was your weekend?

*I know the number of steps I have taken this weekend because I've been wearing a pedometer as part of a corporate challenge thing in which my co-workers and I "walk across the world." We are currently in Fiji. I believe the team that gets there first or gets the highest number wins something. I honestly don't remember. I did it for the free swag. (Only half kidding there... It is kind of cool knowing how much I walk in a day.) Oh, and I've rounded the numbers.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

where were you when...: the book nerd edition

I'm a huge list maker and a huge bibliophile.

I'm a huge nerd.

I've kept a chronological list of all of the books I've read since 2004. When I joined in Spring 2008, that list began being housed on the internet. When my laptop crashed last year, the lists from the previous years (all in gorgeous Word/Excel docs) were lost. Tear.

Every once in a while I take a peek back at what I was reading this time last year, and the year before, and the year before and try to remember what I was doing around that time. So I thought I'd be an even bigger nerd and share:

2011 (Today)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (reread)

I've posted a bit about my rediscovery of this wonderful book here and I'm still plugging away at it. (I'm distracted every day by things I have to read for work.) I first read it in September 2007.


Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (UK Edition)

I brought two books with me to London last year and by my 3rd or 4th day there, had read them both. (I have a long plane ride and a relatively lengthy train ride to Bath as well as my well-formed habit of reading on public transportation to thank for this.) I'd also known I wanted to purchase a book while I was there. Most books in the UK come out only in paperback. The cover art is often different and sometimes the title is as well. I loved browsing bookshops and noticing the differences.

So whilst in Paddington Station waiting for our train to Bath I bought the UK edition of The Girl With the Pearl Earring author Tracy Chevalier's newest novel. I believe it had yet to be published in the U.S. at this point so I was feeling pretty spiffy. I read it on the plane ride back to New York. It is the story of "two eccentric women searching for fossils on English beaches" and while it wasn't my favorite of hers (I've read all the others) I'm happy this souvenir sits on my bookshelf.

On a very unrelated note... Can I travel abroad again? Soon? Please?


Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

You can find my review of that one here. I remember reading this while waiting for my friend to meet me to stand in line and rush tickets for Billy Elliot on Broadway. We quickly found out that only students can rush for that show so we went to dinner instead. The two of us saw a few shows that Spring/Summer and then at the end of the Summer she moved back home to Florida. I miss her. She was one of my first friends here.


The Road of Lost Innocence: The True Story of a Cambodian Heroine by Somaly Mam

This is the story of a woman who was sold into prostitution at the age of six or so and her fight to free herself it and help other girls and young women throughout the world. A heartwrenching and at times too-tough-to-read account (I had to put the book down and walk away for a bit a couple of times), this book is so important and Ms. Mam is truly an inspiration.

I don't remember what I was doing when I read it but I do remember that when BFF came to visit me for the first time in NYC, she read it while she was here. She and I were uber tourists, going through the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Top of the Rock, Central Park, and more like madwomen. So much fun!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

the cycle

Date #2 happened last night.

It went fine and I had a nice time.

I'm open to a 3rd.

But I'm feeling frustrated and burnt out. And I'm tired of feeling this way. It happens often. I go on a couple of dates, it stops being fun, I stop going on them but then start up again because well... that's what you do. It is going to happen some day and some day might as well be today, right?

And I tend to do this thing where I don't give up. I'm too stubborn to. It is both a blessing and a curse in life.

It is time to hibernate again.

'Til next time...

Monday, May 16, 2011

monday, rainy monday

It is horribly rainy and disgusting outside today. I forgot my key card to the building on my desk on Friday. These two things made me a bit of a grumpus this morning as I hauled it into to work with my broken umbrella, my bag, my extra canvas bag with my lunch in it, and my crazy frizzy hair. The hair is now up in a ponytail. I think that is going to be the look of the week as it is supposed to be rainy all week.

I had a low-key weekend. I sacrificed it to job numero dos and some extra cash in my pocket. Every once in a while I have weekends like this. I won't lie... They depress me a bit sometimes but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

I'm supposed to have a date tomorrow. Supposed to is the key phrase here. It is a 2nd date. I have leveled hopes. On our first date he called me the most normal girl he had yet to meet here in NYC. Even though he's only been here 5 months, I took that for the compliment it is.

Oh how I wish I was in bed reading right now!

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

my may weekend was...

. . . an exercise in organization.
. . . a last minute pocket full of Jackson's.
. . . a cab ride home, quick bite, change of clothes and a bit of mascara and another cab ride into the heart of my youth.
. . . a forgotten ID. No entry.
. . . a last-ditch effort at saving the night and a glass of wine and chat with a good friend.
. . . Madison Square Park and a view of "Echo."
. . . the time to work out, do laundry, and cook--all in one day!
. . . gorgeous spring weather, always alarm clock-free, and entirely too short.

What was your weekend?

Friday, May 6, 2011

I just went. . .

. . .on the most awkward date ever tonight.

I decided to approach dating with a renewed vigor about two months ago. I know I complain a lot about how hard dating is in this crazy city. I don't think one can understand it until she tries it. It is so odd to be surrounded by so many people yet not be able to find one who catches your attention. Not meet someone with whom conversation sparks and chemistry flies. In a way it makes no sense to me yet all the sense in the world. Some days I think I'll give up one of these days and resign myself to the fact that dating and coupling in this city is not made for me. There are too many factors that work against me and I'm a fool to try.

But I'm strong willed and I'm here. So if I'm going to be here then why not be here completely? If I feel like putting myself up for the possibility of one of the worst dates ever on the chance that it might turn out to be one of the best, why shouldn't I?

That's exactly what I did tonight--armed with a nonchalant yet friendly attitude, I made my way downtown to meet another would-be stranger for another date.

Oh wow. This one was a tad painful. It was so awkward. Like he-barely-looked-me-in-the-eye awkward. I put on my brave face, politely ordered a second glass of wine, and asked him about his job. I thought maybe he'd loosen up talking about it but it is just who he is. And there is someone out there for him.

And there is someone out there for me.

On my way home, changing trains at Times Square, I chuckled to myself for my luck. A big step. I'm shifting focus. I'm backtracking once again. This round is over. I think because I'd felt rejected by someone I really liked I've been looking for a substitute when I really should be looking to myself. Of course I've known it all along. I just had to feel it.

I'm still me. I'm still strong willed and I still have faith.

I'm just going to try that faith out a little differently.