Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yes, I am shameless.

Well, not really. I am currently hanging my head in shame for taking a longer hiatus from this blog than the Glee kids take from new episodes mid-season. But, like the phoenix rising from its ashes, I have returned to my former self and am here to grace you with my self-centered prose.

During the past few months, I did what most New Yorkers did. I sailed through a New York winter without getting snowed on. I read The Hunger Games trilogy in the span of one week. I wore flip flops the first day the temperature rose above 50 degrees (and then worried about how global warming will affect summer temperatures if it's 70 degrees in February and March). I watched Adele win lots of Grammy awards. (I then watched every Adele interview I could find.) I took the bus more than I took the subway. I watched The Voice outshine American Idol, and I became bored with the American Idol contestants before they even dwindled down to the Top 10. I rekindled my love affair with my guitar and even took exactly one lesson. I wrote the chorus to a song that I will one day play in an open mic night (once I learn how to play my guitar). I started watching Smash. I went on vacation. I closed a few deals at work. I registered for two half marathons (I know, ridiculous) and began training. After one week of training, I am exhausted. Let's see...I think that's about it.

Now that you're up to speed, I can begin actually writing this post. I engaged in several forms of artistic consumption this past weekend. I saw a concert a City Winery (such a great venue and such great food!) Saturday night. Lady Friend knew about my love for Rachel Platten's music (check out her stuff- kind of like Sara Bareilles in terms of piano prowess, but totally different voice), so she got us tickets a few months ago. Our seats were perfect. We were at the very end of a row of tables, just off to the side from center stage. As we ate our dinner and watched the opening acts, the seats at other tables began to fill up, but our row remained conspicuously empty. Then, during one of the second opener's songs (while you're at it, check out Jeff LeBlanc - really liked him, too), in walked a group of 15 or so people, mostly between the ages of 5 of 13, along with a few adults. Apparently, the rest of our row of tables was reserved for Rachel's family, the youngest members of which towed handmade posters, still shining with fresh marker ink. It was adorable, and it brought me back to my high school days starring in school musicals. Highlights of the show included a piano accompanied cover of the time long classic "Gin and Juice" and audience participation. Oh, and a bunch of very well done, very well written songs. I even tweeted Sara Bareilles after the show and asked her to bring Rachel on tour with her. Seriously, she's great. And she's not even paying me to say this.

I also saw The Hunger Games (in Imax!) this weekend. I have two more things to say: 1- read the books, and 2- see the movie. And maybe in a few years I'll check you at the Hunger Games theme park. Sigh, a girl can dream.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011: The First Year I Didn't Dress Up

I fear that I have gotten old. Yes, I did just go to Techie A's 30th birthday (and yes, I'm still in the first half of my year being 27). But what is making me feel old is not the fact that I now have friends who are "in their 30s." Nor is it the fact that I can barely say that I'm "in my mid-20's" any longer. I feel old because instead of going out for Halloween, I am sitting on my bed at 10pm, looking forward to taking my Nyquil (I am sick; I am not taking Nyquil for fun), and thinking about how obnoxious those kids yelling outside on Second Avenue are. The part of all this which makes me feel old is that I'm not the least bit upset about my evening (other than the being sick part), and I can barely remember the days when I would dress up (in party clothes, not Halloween clothes) and galavant about town till the wee hours of the morning. Sigh. The life of a girl in her "late 20s."

In other news, I moved! I don't remember if I mentioned the move in my last post. If not, prepare yourself for an (unpaid) endorsement: Moishe's Movers is the way to go! Moishe's men were swift and efficient. They took my IKEA bed apart at my old place and put it together at my new place as if it were a paint by numbers, rather than a maze created by the Swedes to weed out the geniuses. I now live in the tolerable part of the Upper East Side, and I adore it. I can walk to work (when I'm not running extremely late, which happens infrequently), run in the park, and take the bus! The bus is the second most glorious way to travel around Manhattan (second to walking), and I think that it is hugely underrated and underutilized by the common 20-something. Manhattan-dwellers, lend me your ears. Take the bus. It is lovely!

So Sister and I planned a nice little trip down to the B Family Timeshare in Orlando for her spring break in March. You may recall Sister and I went to "The Happiest Place on Earth" during my third year of law school and had a blast. We decided to relive the magic this year with a new destination: Harry Potter World, and some other guests in tow. I told Lady Friend we were going on a surprise vacation in March and that I wouldn't disclose the location of said vacation until some arbitrary future date, but I would give her hints along the way. I gave her a hint within the first three days (I'm a sucker, I know), and told her that we were not going alone. I also had told her the week in March to block off. Fast forward to day 3 of Lady Friend knowing I had a surprise for her: Pops is sitting in my new place, shooting the breeze with Lady Friend, while I am blow drying my hair and getting ready for a morning out. As I turn off the dryer, I hear Pops say to Lady Friend, "So, I hear you guys are going down to Orlando." My eyes pop out of my head as I hear Lady Friend respond, "We are??" And I peek outside the bathroom and see Pops trying to recover his lost ground. He says, "Oh, I thought Beth told me she was going; it must have been [Sister]." He then begins to tell Lady Friend about the week one of his daughters will be spending down in Orlando at the B Family Timeshare. I emerge from the bathroom and try to play it cool while saying, "Oh, Sister told me she's going to Orlando." Clearly amused, Lady Friend asks when this trip is happening, and I reply "February, I think." Pops says, "No, it's in March." I want to crawl under my amazing new shaggy rug. This, my friends, is what we call "Bluck."

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Poor Bathroom Etiquette Irks Me.

Last week I was in the ladies' room at work, washing my hands before heading back to my office, when I witnessed an incident illustrative of a disgusting, disturbing and downright offensive trend of office behavior that violates even the most liberal of sensibilities. I'm sure you have many guesses as to what appalling thing I encountered in the loo, but I assure you whatever guess you have hazarded is incorrect. (I am glad, however, that you have enjoyed the interactive portion of this post.) Allow me to elaborate.

I was standing at the vanity looking at myself (critically) in the mirror when a partner who sits on my floor walked into the ladies' room. We exchanged smiles as we do when we see each other around the office (and all the while I know she is just barely able to keep herself from wrinkling her nose in distaste as she looks my outfit (black jeans, a v-neck t-shirt, a cardigan, and bracelets halfway to my elbow -- at least I'm wearing heels!) up and down and compares it to her own (business dress, matching business suit jacket, and pearls). I notice she is carrying a stack of papers as she walks into the stall. My eyes are glued to the mirror as she closes the stall door, and I panic, thinking, "where is she planning to put those papers while she does her business!?" And then she goes ahead and does it. This beautifully dressed, totally put-together partner puts her stack of papers on the bathroom floor. GAH!

When I was in fourth grade, my elementary school's gym teacher asked me to be in the school play (Annie) because I could do cartwheels across the stage of the cafe-gym-itorium without falling off. The bad thing about doing a play in a cafe-gym-itorium as a fourth grader is that you have to complete your costume changes in a regular old bathroom rather than a dressing room. During one such costume change I was so preoccupied with getting my foot in the hole of my leotard that I missed placing my foot back on my shoes and instead placed my poor bare foot on the bathroom floor. I jumped because it was cold and because even as a fourth grader I knew it was gross to touch the floor of a public bathroom. A few days later, a wart appeared on my foot, and I am still convinced that said wart appeared because my foot touched the bathroom floor.

I relate this anecdote not to tell you about my humble beginnings as a stage performer (they were humble, indeed), but rather to show the danger of touching the floor of a public bathroom. I have no doubt that touching papers that have touched a public bathroom floor are just as bad as setting your bare foot on such a floor, and I now fear for the health and safety of my co-workers. Allow me a public service announcement: next time you are walking towards the restroom with some work-related item in your hand, please (please!) put said item aside before entering the stall. Place it by the sink. Put it on top of the paper towel dispenser. Leave it on the floor in the hallway. Just don't put it somewhere that you'll have to touch it again before washing your hands. Because that's just not sanitary. And an unsanitary office is not a fun place.

Monday, September 12, 2011

13.1 Miles. Done and done.

So, I don't mean to brag, but...I ran a half marathon. That's right. 13.1 miles. In one day. Without stopping. Thank you, Hal Higdon, for providing the best half marathon training program a girl could hope for. And thank you, Sister, for actually sticking to Mr. Higdon's training plan, so you were well positioned to yell at me to keep going and stop being a baby as you sprinted up each hill and then turned around to look in disgust as I barely remained upright. (Note, the previous sentence was only a slight exaggeration.) I look forward to actually training for my next half marathon. Sister, you are a total rock star. My apologies for holding you back. I salute you, and I can't wait to do it again.

As you may know, the aforementioned half marathon was in Vermont. As you may also know, Irene hit Vermont just a bit harder than she hit New York City. We all saw the news footage of that beautiful old covered bridge being torn apart and carried down the river. I'm here to tell you that the news wasn't lying to you (even if it was just The Today Show, and not the real news). Lady Friend and I navigated the detours (and the detours to the detours, following last week's rain), with what I wish I could call grace. I am happy to report I cried only once (and it was the perfect moment, as you will see). As we searched for our mountaintop hotel the night before the race, Lady Friend and I drove past a red light with a barely legible sign placed next to it which read "STOP ON RED. ONE LANE ROAD AHEAD. UP TO 18 MINUTE WAIT." As we drove past, I started to read the sign, then yelled, "Stop!!" Startled, Lady Friend kept going, but yelled at me, "What!? Why?" And as I saw the rest of the sign light up, I yelled once again, "Stop, stop!! Red!!" (Obviously, full sentences and the entirety of the English language escaped me.) I shed a tear or two (or seventeen) as the car came to a stop (did I mention our phones had had no service for the past hour?) The light turned green, and we started along a rocky road along the river. We saw houses with only half the structure remaining, and debris everywhere. We came to the end of the one lane road and breathed a sigh of relief before coming to another sign that said "Road closed." Naturally, there was no arrow or "detour this way" sign accompanying the sign. Finally (and by the grace of some higher being), my phone started to vibrate- Sister! She had just made the arduous journey from her small Vermont town south to the mountaintop hotel and helped us navigate our way over there, through the unmarked detours. I have never before been so happy to reach a parking lot in my life.

Sister, you were my savior twice this weekend. Gracias! (Note my use of Spanish here, in anticipation of your upcoming trip to Sevilla.)

Oh! Have I mentioned my new apartment? I'm moving next week! Crazy. Yes, I'm moving to the Upper East Side. Yes, I have spent much of my time since moving to Manhattan dissing the Upper East Side. Yes, I am still moving there. BUT my new studio (with an alcove!) is huge (if I am remembering my apartment viewing properly...), AND I can walk home from work. Now all I have to do is pack up my entire apartment in the next week...while I'm in Austin. (Oops.) Here we go, ACL!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Natural disasters take New York (and I take Lady Friend to dinner).

Today was the most gorgeous day ever. I haven't experienced a hurricane before (other than the one that knocked down the chimney at my parents' house when I was 5 years old), so I'm not sure if the day after a hurricane is usually the best weather of the entire year. But today was hands-down the best weather of 2011. The sky was what they call "sky blue," and there were no clouds in the sky. In fact, today's sky looked almost exactly like the pictures I used to draw of houses with neat landscaping and suns wearing sunglasses (my cleverness was obviously early onset), with trees blowing lightly in the wind, and stick figures wearing scarves. In honor of my old renderings, I wore a scarf today. (Yes, I sweat through it while walking seven avenues across town and seven avenues back, but it was obviously worth it just to feel the autumnal glow.) By the way, there was apparently an earthquake last week. Oh, and a hurricane, too. But enough on that.

I have billed a lot of hours recently. I was told (by a reputable source) that I (well, a deal I closed recently) made the firm one million dollars (that's $1,000,000.00 in number form). I don't mean to sound demanding, but shouldn't I get a cut of that million? I'll take something small like 10%. I'm about to pay a real estate broker 15% of my annual rent for helping me to find an apartment (i.e., getting a key from a management company and unlocking the door for me), so I clearly deserve at least 10% of the firm's earnings for drafting releases and gathering signature pages. I shouldn't complain, though, so I'm not going to. Instead, I'm going to tell you about the glorious feast Lady Friend and I had as a result of said million dollar deal. As I mentioned, I have worked a lot this month. I have been at the office till 1 or 2am fairly regularly, and I've returned by 10am each morning. I have eaten lunch at my desk and sat on pointless conference calls. I have cried (just once!) while at work out of exhaustion. My reward, however, for these torturous weeks was grand. The head of our group told me in passing that once the deal closes, I should go out for an expensive dinner ("don't bring me a receipt for anything less than a hundred dollars.") and bring him the bill. Wahoo! Lady Friend and I ate delicious food while getting dizzy at the spinning restaurant atop the Marriott Marquis, and I sent my $250 bill directly to said partner. (Sidenote: if any employers or bosses or workplace superiors are reading this, there's such a thing as patting people on the back for doing a good job. It makes said good job doer feel like a rock star. Think about it.)

Sister turned 23 this month. Happy birthday, Sister.

Other fun things that happened to me this month: (1) I got a real estate broker fired (she stood me up, so she deserved it); (2) I purchased 5 hip hop dance classes for JUST $25(!!) (and relatedly, watched Step Up 3); (3) I walked down the street on my way back to work from lunch, complaining about all the people standing outside in the nice weather, and wishing I could just stand around outside instead of going back to my office, and then, upon returning to my office, learned that these people had just evacuated their buildings following earthquake tremors felt in NYC; (4) I submitted an application for a new apartment (yay!); (5) I learned that my freezer (which has been part of my apartment for the past 2 years) has an ice maker in it (who knew that diagram in the freezer actually meant something?); and (6) I ran 9 miles (just 4.1 more, and I'm all ready for my half marathon in TWO weeks).

Shout out to Techie A and Techie E, for being great friends and taking a chance on this homeless girl following Mayor Bloomberg's evacuation orders. Your four walls and slowly deflating aerobed made me feel oh-so-safe while Irene had her way with downtown New York. I owe you big time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

I Just Want to Say: Gargling Salt Water

They just opened an amazing store across the street from my apartment. This is the kind of store you can go to every single day, and walk out of with a sizeable bag, feeling like you just bought something you absolutely need and could not have gone another day without. The store they opened across the street from my apartment is a brand-new, gorgeous (that's not an overstatement) Duane Reade. This Duane Reade has a smoothie bar and a nail salon in it. It has all the perks of a normal Duane Reade, mixed with all the glamor of the marble-lobbied Trump Building which houses it. Oh, and did I mention it's open 24 hours! How amazing! This new addition to my block is one of the (slowly amassing) reasons I will be sad to leave my 'hood come fall. Sidenote: when I was young(er) and living on Long Island, the radio stations my parents listened to would always play Duane Reade commercials, with that catchy little slogan: "Everywhere you go! Duane Reade!" I had never seen a Duane Reade in my life, so I (naturally) wondered where these people were going that they saw Duane Reades everywhere. I could not understand why a radio station that broadcast to the middle of Long Island would advertise that a place is everywhere you go, when it was actually nowhere I went and really served me no purpose for the first 24 years of my life. I thought that jingle would do better on Long Island for the Gap or Dunkin' Donuts or Wendys, or, in the later years, even Starbucks. But then I moved to the city and saw that Duane Reades are basically NYC-centric competition for CVS and Rite Aid. I never really had a preference among the three of them, but now that I live across the street from my very own 24-hour luxury Duane Reade, I don't think I'll be stepping foot inside a CVS anytime soon. It's the first thing I see when I step outside my door in the morning, and it's the last thing I see before entering the revolving door into my building at the end of the day. Now it really is "everywhere I go. (Duane Reade!)"

I recently read a book by Nora Ephron entitled, "I Remember Nothing." Small Asian Friend and Lady Friend both could tell you that this is an appropriate name for a book I would be reading. (Actually, they would tell you it's more appropriately the name of a book I should have written, since it describes me well.) While the book didn't make me "laugh out loud" in the same way Tina Fey's did, it made me smile on the subway a whole lot, and I found many of her self-announced quirks endearing (likely because I find I have many of those same quirks) and enjoyable to read about. I'm going to share a detail about one story in particular that made me smile on the subway (which probably made those around me on the subway somewhat uncomfortable). Nora talks in one chapter about chicken soup. The chapter's title is "I Just Want to Say: Chicken Soup." She names a few of her chapters in that manner, beginning with "I Just Want to Say:..." I like it a lot. Anyway, her chapter on chicken soup is one short paragraph long and talks about how she always has chicken soup when she feels a cold coming on and then inevitably gets the cold anyway. So, she questions, is it the chicken soup that causes the cold? I have often wondered the same thing about that old home remedy of gargling salt water when your throat begins to hurt. When I was a child, I got strep throat once or twice a year, and whenever I felt the beginnings of it, Pops would tell me to go gargle with salt water. I always did (the obedient child that I was), and I still always got strep throat. I decided to refuse to gargle for most of my older teenage years and throughout college because I realized I knew better than to listen to the parents and doctors who were obviously getting kickbacks from the salt industry. Last Friday, I felt the beginnings of a sore throat. Lady Friend and Pops both told me to gargle warm salt water to make it feel better. Outnumbered, I figured, fine, I'll gargle the damn salt water. Today I went to the doctor. I have strep throat. Nora Ephron and I clearly have more in common than our ability to forget things. That's all I'm saying.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Happy Birthday to Me (and America) (in that order).

I am writing this post on a flight home from a glorious weekend (plus one day!) in Cape Cod. (Sidenote: should the appropriate preposition there be “on”? Or maybe it’s “at”? I don’t think one can be “in” a cape. In fact, I’m positive one cannot be “in” a cape – unless one has gotten oneself into a tangled mess with Clark Kent in a phone booth, but that’s obviously not the type of cape I’m talking about -- and that’s not fun for either party. Okay, fine, I will just forget it and carry on.) Boston Brit and her family welcomed me out to the Cape for a terrific weekend of all things non-work-related. I slept as late as I wanted every morning, went for longish hilly runs, ate delicious food with more people at one table than when my entire department eats lunch together (dinner parties are fun!), and paid more than I pay Starbucks every morning for a much more flavorful and refreshing iced soy chai than Starbucks will ever be able to make (at least that’s what I told myself while paying $4.50 for a small plastic cup filled most of the way with ice – but yay for small business!).

Boston Brit is one of the best people ever to go on a vacation with (to her own house on the Cape). She is one of those people who needs to plan out her entire day before she goes to sleep the night before, but she is willing to do pretty much anything you suggest. You want to walk all the way to the one store in town to get your chai after she has just returned from a 20 mile bike ride? Boston Brit says, "sure!" You want to laze on the back porch all afternoon reading the most amazing book that has ever graced your finger tips (shout out to Tina Fey!)? Boston Brit says, "no problem!" It's pretty fantastic. So, yes, my weekend was (as I mentioned earlier) glorious.

Allow me to rewind a week and return to the weekend of my birth date. To celebrate the coming of my twenty-eighth year, I did what all New Yorkers do on their birthdays: I went to brunch with friends. (Note that New Yorkers tend to do this every weekend, not just on their birthdays, but they absolutely do it on their birthdays, whereas sometimes they will not do it on a given weekend day. Thank you for allowing me to clarify.) We went to Kitchenette, which I highly recommend if you are from the South or like big portions and biscuits (i.e., if you are from the South). The weekend also happened to be Pride weekend in NYC, and Lady Friend and I attended several Pride events including a reading of celebrity memoirs by celebrities (not those celebrities whose memoirs were involved) that really made me laugh out loud. We were confused, however, by the fact that this particular reading of celebrity memoirs was advertised as a special Pride edition. At first we thought it would be memoirs of gay celebrities. But the first reading was from The Situation's memoir (sidenote: has he even been famous long enough for him to have a memoir? That seems very silly.), so we decided that was not the way the classification worked. Then we thought perhaps the celebrity readers were all gay, but we googled the woman who plays the mother on Burn Notice (good show - check it out), who read several of the excerpts, and found out she wasn't gay, so we were very confused. We decided, in the end, that the chosen memoirs must have come from celebrities who stereotypically appeal to gay people (read: gay men). Streisand, Elizabeth Taylor, Cher, and Burt Reynolds all made appearances. Pride edition or no Pride edition, it was still a hoot.

Let's get back to my birthday. And birthday surprises. And the fact that if you know me at all, you know that I don't often purchase things for myself. I do an awful lot of talking about things I want and looking at things in stores and going back and forth as to whether to get a particular thing and leaving stores empty-handed. So, it should not be shocking to hear (read) that Lady Friend has heard (heard) me talk about lots of things I want. Like a yoga mat bag. And a running belt (not a dorky one; a small one that's nifty and spandex). And a new yoga mat. And the Tina Fey book, "Bossypants." (Shout out to Tina Fey!) All of these things are things I have wanted for quite some time and never bought for myself. Lady Friend (who is terrifically thoughtful, by the way) purchased each of these items for me in anticipation of my birthday and planned on surprising me with them during the weekend. The Thursday before my birthday, we went to Woodbury Commons, where I stumbled upon a Lululemon yoga mat bag for just $29! Of course I had to get it! I emerged from the store and found Lady Friend visibly upset. I hounded her to find out what was wrong, and she told me she had purchased a yoga mat bag for my birthday. GAH! The one I had bought was (obviously) final sale! And so began my ruining all of her surprises. A close call with a yoga mat, followed by a rant about how this one brand of running belts (which is nowhere to be found in Manhattan's running stores) is clearly superior to all other brands of exactly the same running belt, and the kicker, when I received her final gift (which was actually a surprise and very much something I wanted (shout out to Tina Fey!)) only to then open the gift my sister had mailed to me earlier in the week and find the exact same book. Sigh. I am not a bad person. I am just a difficult person to surprise. (Shout out to Lady Friend!)

In other news, I actually met people in my building today (well, on the rooftop). I am tempted to look back at all of my posts over the past two years and count the number of times I have mentioned other people in my building (I'll guess 3) and the number of times I've mentioned any interaction with such people other than a negative one (I'll guess 0, unless I count an interaction with Juan, the best doorman ever). But my interaction with these two guys was very positive. So I guess there's still hope for FiDi. Too bad I'm moving out in September. That reminds me- anyone who knows of a great deal on a one bedroom in any neighborhood of Manhattan other than the upper east side or any (non-scary) neighborhood of Brooklyn, let me know (if you haven't already taken it for yourself)!

Before I go, I will leave you with one more thought. Here's my thought. Actually, it's more of a question. Can someone please tell me when it became acceptable/fashionable for young otherwise normal looking women to wear high waisted shorts? I don't understand. I thought we were a generation of low rise to just under the belly button, no? Please, women of Manhattan, look at yourselves in the mirror before leaving the house. That's all I ask.