Monday, December 14, 2009
December is really not my favorite month. But there are some things I do love about the holiday season. Instead of expressing what I hate (which sounds like way more fun) I'll share some of the stories about what I like (don't worry- you just keep on reading....these are entertaining stories as well):
1) The other night my friend Vicki and I met for drinks after work. Much to my amusement, I heard people entering the bar asking where the Price Waterhouse Cooper Holiday Party was. The host directed them to a room on the lower level. As I was waiting for Vicki, a light bulb appeared. WE should attend their holiday party! So when Vicki arrived, she agreed what a great idea that would be and our story was "Michael from Accounting invited us." That's all! So lo and behold, Vicki and I walked into the party and Vicki ran into this guy she knows, Joshua. "Hey Vicki! Who's your friend? What are you two doing at our party?" Vicki was quick to answer "Laurie is friends with Mike." "Mike?" he asked. "Yeah, Mike," I answered..."You know. MIKE! From Accounting." Joshua scratched his head. "Well I work in HR and there are a lot of Mikes. What is his last name?"
Time to get a drink.....
After we left, Vicki pointed out that PWC is an Accounting firm, so that would be like someone looking for me at my job at an institution of higher education and saying "I'm looking for Laurie in Education."
Guess I need some better tips on party crashing....
2) On another "the other night", I went to a holiday party with my friend Sheilla. I walked into a room full of 20somethings on one side and Greeks on the other side. It was quite amusing. As you many know, Greek people are just about my favorite ethnic group in the whole world. And we were in Astoria (a heavily Greek populated neighborhood in Queens.) Somehow I ended up in a conversation on the 20-something side of the room. The 20-something side of the room was close to the wine table. You should have seen how the 20-somethings were opening the wine bottles. Actually they were *not* opening the wine bottles. They were plunging the corkscrew into the cork and causing it to break off. It was cork murder. Since I am heavily skilled in damage control AND wine opening, I was appointed the wine opener for the evening. I guess you earn that title if you are a 30-something among a crowd of 20-somethings. (I guess the Greek-somethings were doing their own thing. Ouzo, I suppose?) So I uncorked many bottles of wine. It was nice. I like having a role, such as this when I attend parties. And in case any of the Greeks needed help with their Ouzo and/or Baklava, I was glad to be on-hand....
3) I am working again on New Years Eve as an Event Manager. I will be supervising the DJ, the Photographer, the ticket taker and the bottle hostess. Although I absolutely hate the sloppy drunken behavior, the cold weather, the shortage of available cabs, and the expense of New Years Eve in New York, it is well worth the pay to suck it up and go out into the battlefield and work a gig that night. So I will be working on a cruise that goes around Manhattan that evening. I notified my friends that they could apply for such a gig as well. One of my friends (whom I have kept anonymous- decided to apply for the ticket taker job.) I found his email extremely amusing (Names have been changed):
Hello Miss Parker.
My name is Robert Meagher, I'm a friend of Laurie who will be managing the New Years Event on "The Temptress". She and I spoke about, me being hired as a "Ticket Taker" and I received an email from Shelley Price about emailing you, as far as that job is concerned. Although I was told I would be paid 1,000.00 bucks for the night, I have a feeling I was lied to, so I wanted to confirm the rate with you.
As Far as my "Ticket Taking" experience, I've roamed the nation taking tickets at countless fairs and Carnivals. My thumb and "pointer" finger speed are unparalleled as you can see by reading the 2007 Guinness book of world records where I am listed as the fastest "Ticket Taker" on record....a record that wont soon be broken. I've also worked for the Big apple and Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey circus as a Ticket Taker.
Although I will say that most of my Ticket taking experience comes from Taking tickets at the old YANKEE stadium. I left that job after they decided to go with electronic ticket readers. (The Machines will be the end of us all!!!) I went on to work at SHEA stadium where the Mets play till the lousy "Subway series" stirred up many deep feelings of my "Ticket taking" at Yankee stadium and I had to leave in shame. I have since retired from the ticket taking industry. Rejecting lucrative offers from such outfits as Broadway Plays, The Miami Dolphins, The Los Angeles Dodgers, but after a 7 hour heartfelt, sometimes teary and violent talk, with Ms Laurie, she's talked me into coming out of retirement and using my powers for good once again.
In conclusion, I would be honored to be taking tickets on New Years for you, Miss Parker.....So when do we meet?
P.S. ...............Please disregard 99% of everything I wrote in this email, due to the fact that its a lie.I hope you have a sense of humor and look forward to hearing from you. Feel free to call me at (917) xxx-xxxx...just dont call me "collect"
-He didn't get the gig. I am still trying to understand why.
4) This is really not "holiday" related, but I've been kind of interested in (okay more like obsessed with) "Jersey Shore". It is such a train wreck of a show, but I can't not watch it. It's on MTV and it is the Guido version of "The Real World". All of these Staten Island/New Jersey/Long Island Italian kids who like to party at the shore. I especially love the guy who has hair "that looks like an artichoke" (Think Gotti-boy style.) I love the souped-up cars, the gelled-up hair, the tanning-bed tans, and the ripped-abs, know as a "situation".) Love it, love it, love it. In fact, I am in two different "Jersey Shore Fantasy Leagues", where there are four of us competing in each one. We each have one boy and one girl on the show and they earn us points each week. How do they earn points? 10 points for mentioning hair gel (they wear a LOT of it). 10 points for mentioning their tans. 50 points for a bar fight. 50 points for hooking up with another cast member, etc. Since I don't do "fantasy football", I am purely entertained with this venture. So far my girl "Snookie" is earning me many points. I have her in one league, but not the other.
5) Yesterday I went to Mass. The 3rd week of the Advent season. I am somewhat of a slacker when it comes to Roman Catholicism these days, but I do enjoy my religious heritage, and I love the smell of frankincense. So off to church I went. I chose Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, which is one of the few remnants of Italian Harlem (while we're on the subject of Italians). Many elderly Italian folks still live in the neighborhood and there are even a few Sunday masses in Italian. I opted for the 12:30 mass. (That one's in English.) It suited my need to sleep in, especially after working another one of my side gigs the day before. So the church was about 90% empty. I sat wayyyy in the back and off to the side. An elderly Italian couple came and sat right next to me. Great. Of allllll the 1000s of empty pews, why are they on top of me? I rolled my eyes, and begrudgingly stayed in that hard, uncomfortable pew. I was trapped between the elderly Italian couple and a "station of the cross" wall mounting with a three dimensional Jesus meeting Mary Magdalene. It's as if they were mocking me- "haha Laurie. Trapped here now. No way out.". At the end of the mass, the elderly gentleman, quietly thanked me "This was the pew where my late parents once sat. Thank you for sharing it with us and allowing us to pray here and remember them."
After that I said about 80 "hail mary's" and had another glass of wine. I am going to try a little harder to be a better person from now on. So once again I recite the words I learned in catechism at a young age: Holy Mary, mother of god, pray for us sinners (i.e. ME!) now and the hour of our (MY) death. Amen.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Smokey eyes are what make-up artists create on their subjects to capture a sexy nighttime look. Usually eyeshadow is a blend of grays and dark blue/plum colors. I am unable to accomplish such a feat myself, but this lady, Felicia, who works at the Sephora in Columbus Circle is quite skilled at it, and my eyes were smokin' in about ten minutes. Impressive!
On another note.....Did I ever mention that my best friend Dara works for a gigantiC News Network? To protect her privacy, I won't name the large news network for which she works, but you may be able to take a gander from my context clues? :)
So anyway, tonight Dara's company had the Inspiration Summit. It was phenomenal. It was inspirational. It made me want to go into the world and do fantastic things. My smokey eyes teared up more than once.
Mary J. Blige and Holly Robinson Peete were the guest speakers. You may recognize Holly from "21 Jump Street" or "Hangin' with Mr. Cooper". Mary goes without introduction. Her version of "One", a duet with Bono, again brings tears to my smokey eyes every time I hear it on my ipod.
So I was smiling, kinda swaying back and forth and once again my smokey eyes were a little teary. Dara came up behind me:
"No, Dara. I'm inspired."
Monday, October 26, 2009
I took the bus across 125th Street and the Triborough Bridge (renamed something ridiculous, like RFK Bridge.....waste of tax money- in my opinion- to repost all the street signs, reprint all the maps, etc.) Anyhow, also a waste of time to be bothered by something so trivial. I was on my way out of the city that I love so much on this gorgeous morning. I was on my way to Houston! Except I have to get used to saying "Hew-ston", as opposed to "How-ston". Because here it is a carnal tourist sin to pronounce it like one would pronounce in Texas. How-ston is a street, and it is about as far from Hew-ston as one can get.
Why was I (such an expert on clouds and turbulance) flying to Hew-ston, you ask? Because I was visiting my BFF from high school, JoAnn, whom I affectionately call "JoAnnieeee". She is a flight attendant. She used to be Newark based, and lived right across the Hudson in Jersey City, but several years ago she moved to the more senior base for her airline in Houston. Here we are now:Here we are in High School. Kind of a strange shot, but I couldn't find any others that I had scanned. I was in the "milk maid" uniform. Those were our Summer majorette outfits and that was at the "band festival" in Ohio. Her hair was darker, mine was lighter. I don't think we've aged much:
I also met up with my long-time friend Buddy. (Why the heck did we not take a picture, Buddy, if you're reading this??) and also with my friends from Semester at Sea: Hayley and Kate Berge. JoAnn was so patient, because the three of us cracked up hysterically remembering funny things that happened while we were on the ship and we also kept finding people who looked like people we knew from the ship. Which was even more hilarious after drinking margaritas. Why does tequila always make everything so much sillier than normal??Other than that, not much to report. It occurred to me that I started this blog over a year ago for the purpose of recording my voyage around the world in writing. I feel very evolved since then. A ship, some new friends, a trek around the globe.....all of those things do wonders for one's soul. I was reading a book the other day referencing Plato's "Allegory of the Cave", which I had read in high school. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember that there was a cave with just shadows that were formed by fire light on the wall of the cave. And then there was everything outside of the cave. Real images. The people confined to the cave only saw shadows and nothing else. Simply reflections of the real world. The cave symbolized a world of "becoming" and outside the cave was the world of "being". I think I am out of the cave now. I feel like I've gained such a rich knowledge, a new perspective and understanding of things. (That guy sitting next to me on the plane was definitely on to something!) Images that were merely shadows before, have gained some form.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Ever see that movie? I love it. It's like a big lesson of "what goes around comes around" and this one is crashing into that one who's crashing into the other one, who is crashing into the one who initially crashed into the first one. Confusing, right? It's like that in New York too. We get up, we go to work, we go home to an empty apartment. Maybe feed a cat. Perhaps send a few emails. Watch Jimmy Fallon or whomever the late night tv show host is. Turn off the light. Go to bed. Alone. Wake up. Alone. Take a shower. Get dressed. Go to work again. Go back home to an empty apartment. And the cycle repeats.
Lately I've been taking an inventory of my relationships. Not necessarily romantic relationships. But all of my relationships. Who do I attract to me? What kind of people do I seek out? What kind of people seek me out? What are my interactions like? Do I crash into people just so I can be touched? When can I go to Ohio again just so my mom can hug me? Who do I touch in New York? Do I touch people's arms simply when I speak to them? Are some interactions different with different friends? Which friends do I call for what reasons?
Recently I met someone. We locked eyes and I was smitten. We had a fun flirty interaction for a few weeks. He was affectionate and I literally crashed into him. We laughed. We texted. We talked. We hung out together. But now, Now it's just the cold shoulder. What the heck happened? What do I do differently? What should I have done differently? Who is going to hug me now? What friend can I call to help me figure this all out?
This weekend I rented a car and drove out of the city to South Jersey. My friend Jeff whom I was visiting advised me to be a bit more Buddhist about this. Nothing to analyze here. It is what it is. Let it be. Don't *DO* anything.
Let me point out, Jeff and I are eerily similar. Both of us are Cancers. We met 10 years ago when I was a traveling consultant for my sorority and he was a traveling consultant for his fraternity. A new college campus every five days. 90% travel. As we each traversed the US and Canada visiting different universities, we would occasionally bump (crash!?) into each other. I moved to Illinois and he happened to be visiting the campus where I was attending grad school. Then he moved to Miami and I moved to New York. Recently he moved back to South Jersey where he grew up and met the love of his life (actually they had met before, but they re-met when he came back). Jeff is now engaged to Missy, who couldn't be any sweeter. They are a perfect balance for each other. But there was a time when Jeff used to experience the same "relationship conundrums" that I experience. He gets it. And he used to react to things the same way that I do, because we are both Cancers.
So I am taking his advice and doing nothing at all concerning the confusing situation aforementioned.
I am taking a step back. I am not analyzing. I am going to try not to crash into anyone. I'm just going to let the cards fall as they may. No sense in planning, nor over-analyzing any of this.
And you know what? I get so caught up in what I'm doing, that I forget the big picture. Sometimes I am focusing way too much on specifics and missing the point. So as I was on my way to return the car, driving along the FDR, admiring the skyline against the East River, watching the reflections of the buildings dance on the murky rippled water, I began thinking. And I adapted the familiar old adage to suit my urban environment:
Sometimes I forget to see the city for the buildings....
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
That's how I've felt lately. Every day I have something else going on and the pressure to get it done well. I do some heavy-hitting. But mixed in with that are my "seventh-inning stretches", if you will:
* I spent Friday, Saturday, and Sunday "weekending" in the Hamptons. I went with my friend Viviana (that's actually her alias) and we stayed with her friend and her friend's family. They own a gorgeous "weekend home" in Bridgehampton, where they stay when they aren't at their Manhattan home. We spent Saturday at Shelter Island. They had to let their weekend Nanny go over the weekend, so Viviana and I helped them chase down the children. A good taste of what it's like to prepare me for motherhood. These kids were non-stop energy. Another Hamptons friend with her two children joined us at the beach, as well. She had a shiny newborn. I held that snuggly baby in my arms and it felt fantastic. It's amazing though, how babies know their own mother's touch and pheromones, even though their eyes are closed. The infant began to fuss. That is when *the* cutest thing happened. One of the other little boys, who is merely two years old, leaned over and kissed him on the head. Melted my heart.
I am so ready to be a mother. I really want to bear a child. But I also want the Nanny and the diaper-changing husband. And perhaps a 4 carat emerald ring. Platinum setting. Adorned with pave diamonds on the side. And still a place in the city. And of course a vacation home in the Hamptons. .... Actually, on second thought, I could do without the latter....the beaches were okay, but not what I expected. Rocky and the water was somewhat murky. But their home is beautiful. Here is their conservatory:
But the kids, those sweet angel-faced kids, give me them any day! Children are quite hilarious. The little 3 year old repeated everything I said. I accidentally said "nice ass" about someone on the beach and the next thing I heard was a sweet little three-year old voice repeating "nice ass" and giggling. I have GOT to watch what I say....
* On a completely different "seventh inning stretch", I spent Monday pounding shots of tequila with a colleague and hanging out in a graffiti-laced alleyway downtown. That sounded like a fantastic idea for a Monday night. And, as I told my friend that I am very good at making smart decisions. And the tequila qualifies as such. Although, sometimes I have to ask myself how old I am again. I mean, after all, the mothers in the Hamptons are quite close to my age and they are talking about formula and water wings and teething and MUCH more important things than alleyways and tequila. After re-reading that paragraph, I must clarify- we were not pounding the Patron shots *in* the alleyway, I just went outside with him to keep him company while he smoked. Because doing shots in the bar itself is much classier than doing so in an alleyway, if I do say so myself.
* I spent yesterday night at Shea....I mean....Citifield. I can't stop calling it Shea. Even the subway station got rid of the "Shea". It used to say "Willets Point- Shea Stadium". Now it just says "Willets Point. Mets".
I am loving the shiny new ballpark though. There is attention to detail that only nerds like me notice. Things like the seats angled towards home plate. The high-tech sound system. The Women's Mets Boutique on the Promenade Level. (Which I found out was created by Alyssa Milano. And I got suckered into buy a shirt. It was on sale though. V-neck and very sporty/cute/feminine with the NY Mets logo). And there were still the buzz of planes taking off and landing at the nearby LaGuardia, just as there were at Shea. It was just a fantastic place to see a ball game. The bottom of the fourth was amazing. Since all the high-paid players are down for the count, all the "no-names" scored 8 runs in one inning. I was on the edge of my seat! And by the way, I love the variety of beer available at the new ballpark. I enjoyed Leffe Blonde and even Tiger Beer (!!! Haven't had this since I was in Vietnam!) And by the way, beer is cheaper than it used to be at Shea. Quelle supris! The one thing I did not get to do was have frozen custard from Shake Shak. I got to the game 45 minutes earlier and there was already a line around the interior of the ballpark. New Yorkers know a good thing when they see it. Unlike the Hamptons, Citifield exceeded my expectations.
......until I get my 4 carat emerald-cut diamond in a platinum setting, I'll just settle for a baseball diamond instead.....
Monday, July 27, 2009
I dug through my myspace blog archive to share some of my favorite (!??) stories:
I almost died today.
I was on the 6 train going uptown to an appointment at 11 this morning.
So at 14th Street, the 4/5 train is there, so people inevitably get off to transfer over across the platform. (In case you aren't familiar with the NYC Subway system, the 4/5 run express from 14th to 42nd Street, meaning they don't stop at all the other stops.)
It is pouring down rain outside, and there are puddles everywhere. As I'm walking across the platform, I slide in a puddle of water. I fall onto the ground and my right leg goes into the gap between the subway and the platform. So now I am on the ground and my leg is stuck between the subway and the platform. My left leg is on the platform, but bent at this weird angle.
Images of Boxing Helena flashed before my eyes. Would I function without my right leg? Would I ever get a date again? Would I be confined to a wheelchair? How would I get up the steps of my apartment? And will I ever be able to wear my pretty dresses again? I like my legs. They're my favorite body part. I am starting to lose my breathe.
As I'm beginning to panic, the doors of the train begin to shut.
Crap, crap, crap.
This is not good. Not good at all. This means the train is going to leave the station and take my leg along with it.
There were people on the train, but with the doors shut, there is nothing they can do to pull me out. I think the only other people on the platform are too far away to see what's going on and/or to know that I need help. (All this time, I am trying not to cry, or yelp, or panic.)
I am going to be on the cover of AMNY as the girl who falls into the subway tracks.
My worst fear has become realized.
Stand clear of the closing doors!! exclaims the jolly recorded message.
Bastards! Where am I going to go???
Somehow a surge of adrenaline came over me, because I pulled my stuck leg out of the gap.
And now it hurts like no tomorrow. I am bruised and bloody I'll be ashamed if anyone sees my leg. But then again, I guess I can't take the very thought of *having* a leg for granted. Bruised and bloody is better than no leg at all.
Somebody today asked me how I'm feeling.
The obnoxious neighbors have moved from their apartment upstairs
So the dust falls down on me from the vent
The real estate market is a scam in New York City,
She lives below me and likes to complain
She said something in Spanish and pounded on my door,
"La agua, mucho problemo!" she exlaimed
I said back to her "Go to the Super, I am no plumber!"
So my misery comes from above and below
Tonight in my bed I'd like to watch the Tribe win the pennant
So if you need to find this Unhappy Brunette
September 25, 2007 - Tuesday
Never fails. Every summer there is either a black-out, a subway crisis, or a flood. And it always happens on the hottest day in the city.
Today it took me 3 and a half hours to get to work. But all these crazy things happened on the way....
1) They kick us off the A train at 168th street. I get onto the 1 train an lo and behold I see this guy I know, Cesar!
2) Cesar and I take the 1 until 137th Street and we get kicked off THAT train.
3) We find a cab and share it with like five other people. Cesar even loaned me cab fare since I had no cash....awwww...
4) The cab is going to the east side, which is out of the way for me. So I get out at 52nd Street.
5) I find my friend Holly who happens to be in that vicinity too. Holly and I walk from 52nd Street to Tribeca. (This is about four miles I believe).
6) We stop for breakfast on the way.
7) For some reason I wore my comfortable shoes today. I usually wear my heels, but today I had packed them in my bag to change into (I had no idea the trains were this messed up).
8) I get to work around 10:30 AM and I realize some people didn't come until 2:00 PM because of this disaster. Turns out every single subway in the city was messed up. Man! I could have milked this for a lot longer!!! Too bad I'm an honest employee......
July 27, 2007 - Friday
This morning I woke up in the gorgeous Bay Ridge neighborhood in Brooklyn. Maura and I had dinner and drank wine and laughed and shared funny stories last night. A little background on Maura-- we had at one point dated the same person (who shall remain nameless to protect his privacy, although I'm sure everyone pretty much knows and I'm pretty sure he doesn't care if I share the story anyhow. It's okay, right Ralph?) ...... So at any rate....one of the stories Maura and I shared went a lil' something like this:
Maura: Several years ago I dated this guy who was a cop and he lived in Brooklyn with his parents.
Crazy, right? I guess it makes sense. We both have blue eyes, long hair (although Maura's is blonder than mine), counseling backgrounds, and similar sense of humor. And honestly, match.com is a small world. Mary and I signed up for it once at the same time and we got a lot of the same people. Now I want to get in touch with Chris A. He was sweet, but there wasn't the chemistry necessary to maintain a relationship. I do think he had an easy-going personality though, and would get a kick out of this. Maura heard from Brad T. within the last six months, so I think we should let him know too. I thought he was kinda pompous and perverted, but I still think it would be funny to let him know about this synchronicty.
So this morning I treked it from the bottom of Brooklyn to the top of Manhattan (took an hour and a half on three different subway lines). This morning I renewed my lease (just one more lousy year in that place) and discovered that my rent is only going up $27, not $36, which isn't tooooo bad (although rent increases still suck). I was walking through Inwood to the Management Company and I realized "Inwood really isn't so bad." It's actually quite pretty when there aren't a bunch of icky men making vulgar comments to me in Spanish. There are trees and parks and sunshine and birds. It's just *my* street that is bad. The rest of the neighborhood is great. (Although parking really sucks there). But it only takes me 40 minutes to get to work by subway.
So I decided to wave, wink, and smile back to anyone who waved, whistled or "Hi Mami"ed me today. Construction workers, garbage men, hoodlams, homeless people, truck drivers, etc. It was fun. I don't think they know how to respond when a woman actually responds back. But they did smile back at me , albeit with a kind of blank/amazed expression on their faces. So from now on I think I'm going to be flattered instead of being irritated when slimebags whistle. I mean, it must mean that I'm not *that* grossly obese or ugly. So I am now turning it into something that makes me feel good.
And I also feel immensely amused that Maura and I dated three of the same men in a city of 8.5 million of them.
Monday, June 29, 2009
It's all part of my fantasy,
I love the music and I love to see the crowd,
Dancing in the aisles and singing out loud,
yeah. Its all part of my rock 'n' roll fantasy,
yeah.Its all part of my rock 'n' roll dream, yeah. -Bad Company
Over the weekend I went upstate to the Catskills to see Bad Company at Bethel Woods, and they were fantastic. (Thank you Cheryl and Dara!)
Bethel Woods is the place in upstate NY where Woodstock happened. And it felt exactly like Woodstock must have felt and smelled a lot like Woodstock must have smelled, because everyone around me was smoking some weed. I don't know if I just really loved the show or if I just had a contact high. Ironically and quite appropriately the Doobie Brothers were there too, touring with Bad Company. See how it all fits together? Everyone around me smoking doobies listening to the Doobies.
Now I'm back from the country. Doing all this mundane, yet necessary stuff on my day off, like going to the DMV, and to the laundromat, and to the Dentist. I've also been picking up side-gigs on the weekends. I don't know if you guys remember, but I do Liquor and other Promotions on the side. (See blog archives from December). Unfortunately the liquor promos have been few and far between lately, so I've resorted to doing sampling at Costco in Queens for Vaseline lotion. Squirting a dab of Vaseline into consumer's hands and convincing them how wonderful and non-greasy it feels. It's so gentle on the skin. And the fragrance is so light and fresh. (Am I convincing you yet?)
Let me tell you how much of a freak show Costco in Queens is. It is pure entertainment to do these demos and to watch the people who shop at these sorts of places. First of all, a little dab'll do ya! A DAB! There are crazy folks who love free things, so they roll up their sleeves and their pants and spread that Vaseline all over their bodies. You would think they were entering a mud wrestling contest, except instead of mud, they use Vaseline lotion. It is quite comical.
And then we've got the Over-Zealous door guard. I was given a tshirt to wear for the promotion, and as I was walking out to the bathroom to put it on, she came chasing after me, banging on the stall wanting to see the receipt for the shirt. Ummm....lady, I wouldn't pay to wear this shirt, they are paying ME to put on this ridiculous thing and squirt lotion into people's hands.
Then there's the Nutso Manager who couldn't figure out where my Vaseline cart should be, so he kept moving me around and finally he settled for putting me next to Men's shirts.
A great place for a Vaseline demonstration, if I do say so myself. The day after that the Men's shirts were mysteriously gone, so I strategically placed myself in the same spot, which now had Charcoal. The Manager did *not* like the Vaseline demo next to the Charcoal so I get moved.....moved next to the Diapers and Baby Wipes. Of COURSE! Why wouldn't I be there?
Costco also has this smell....it's a combination of soggy cardboard and oranges. It is kind of nostalgic for me, because I used to work at the Giant Eagle in high school and every grocery store has that smell. But for Costco you have to mix in the smell of electronics with that. Where else can you buy some tires, a bulk 6 pack of 2 gallons of mik, some Vaseline, a 42 inch flat screen, and some charcoal? I think if you look hard enough, they even sell parakeets there. But most of all it smells like damp cardboard and oranges.
Standing there in the cardboard/citrus scented aisles next to charcoal and diapers, I get bored after six hours of squirting Vaseline. So I create little games for myself. I tally the number of pregnant women, the number of Vaseline sold, and the number of people who sneeze. Costco is a haven for pregnant women, but usually the Vaseline tallies win.
What an absolutely entertaining life I lead.
So I've created some fantasies of where I want to be. These include owning a home with a terrace and a grill, traveling around the world (oh wait- been there, done that), and meeting the man of my dreams, like James Bond or Superman.
My fantasies are becoming so real.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
......Actually....that's not entirely true....this first one was in Cambridge. Linus, Bama, Jason and I took a field trip to the Harvard campus. It really felt like we were docked in another port, soon we would go back for "on-ship time" and meet all our friends who were on different trips through the field program. But alas....we really just got back into Linus's car and drove back to NYC.....except for Jason who was on the ship until Halifax, since he was facilitating part of the training for the new faculty/staff.
Julie, Me, and Berge at the "No Name Restaurant" on the Boston Harbor:
Deck 6 Aft:
When can I sail away again?
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
* one guy sketching me (he blushed when I saw his notebook). Wonder how he finished it, since my stop was before his?
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Well, my loves....Summer has arrived, it's Memorial Day. I've now been back in New York for 18 days....except, it's quite surreal. It feels like I've already *had* my summer and it feels like it should be autumn now. Did I *really* sail around the entire world in 4 months? Did I skip the winter? Isn't it September tomorrow? Wasn't I just getting off the ship into Spain yesterday?
The rocking motion I had been feeling on land has started to become a blur. Falling asleep to the mystic moon reflecting on the black water is a distant memory. Waking up to the sun dancing on the ocean right outside my window seems to have been ages ago. The storms that played havoc on my stomach have turned into clear blue skies. The eastern horizon is behind me. The many metaphors of the sea are waning their way out of my vocabulary.
And admittedly, I've fallen a bit melancholy. The sea depth is a million feet, because I've been drowning in tears. I'm unsettled. I am still living out of two suitcases (which is how I found the notes aforementioned.) I am still not in my new apartment yet. I am still missing my shipboard friends like crazy. I see their faces on every stranger passing by. I call out their names. And the harried strangers give me a peculiar look and keep walking by me, through the mean, unforgiving streets of Manhattan.
But alas, there is some good news. The ship will be docked in Boston before it leaves on the Summer Voyage, so I will see approximately TEN of my closest Semester @ Sea Friends on June 12 in Boston for an alumnae reception. I will kiss them and hug them and squeeze them and maybe even bring a few of them back home with me, so I don't have to keep freaking out the strangers on the subways who look just like them, that I keep seeing every day. I take the subway these days, and I stare into space, daydreaming of the sea.
Finally this weekend I'll have my belongings loaded onto a moving truck from where it has been "wintering" in Ohio, back into the city, into my new Hellsgate apartment, which may be more permanent than I thought...... My boss Joe went with me last week to check out the neighborhood of the Brooklyn co-op at 11:30 AM on a Tuesday and we had some doubts. I'm not sure what it was, but I think maybe the dodgy looking drug dealers on the corner turned me off a little.....I'll write more about that later. Everything is up in the air in regards to that life-changing purchase. But at least I've got a place to go on June 1. (And I am forever grateful to Holly and especially to Dara who have generously been allowing me to sleep in their homes.)
The week before Memorial Day is always "Fleet Week" in New York City and the sailors take over Manhattan. I had been traveling on this holiday for the past two years (Alaska last year, Montreal the year before that) and I had to miss seeing these handsome sailors embracing the city that I love so much. This year I stayed local. And it was fantastic to be in the city that I call home on this holiday weekend. Memorial Day has new meaning to me, after sailing around the world and after learning more about the armed forces who have sacrificed so much to protect our country. After visiting Vietnam and the War Remnants Museum. After asking my Dad about his experience as a veteran and hearing his stories. Fleet Week itself has new meaning to me, after being on a ship myself for a small fraction of the time to which these generous sailors have devoted their lives.
Okay, that photo above is actually not from Fleet Week, but from Semester at Sea. This is Kostas, the First Officer on the ship, who was so sweet and handsome.
And I am happy again. My weekend went like this:
Friday- caught up with Fatima and had possibly the most proud moment in the history of parallel parking. I wedged her little red Dodge into a spot on 18th Street with less than an inch in front and an inch behind. (I let Fatima maneuver it out of there, later on. Thought it wouldn't be a good idea for me to try after a few beers.....)
Saturday- had brunch with Dara and my friend Chris. Worked a promotional gig for a really cool event called "Improv Everywhere" on Roosevelt Island (which by the way is beautiful.....New York's little hidden secret, an island tucked between Queens and Manhattan, floating in the east river, accessible by tram, which connects Manhattan to Roosevelt Island, like in the Spiderman movie.)
After the gig, I took the tram back to Manhattan, went to Chris's apartment, and there we watched the Mets game on his gigantic TV, and drank Blue Moons with a slice of orange. There is just something about Beer and baseball.......
Sunday- absolutely nothing, which suited me just fine!
Monday (today)- went to Elizabeth's house in Queens. She grilled out on her balcony. Then Holly swung by, picked us up and we went to Rockaway Beach (yes, like the one in the Ramone's song!) We got there after 7:00 PM and by that time the Memorial Day crowds cleared out. We dug our toes into the sand. I think that Rockaway Beach is another hidden gem of New York City. It was much cleaner than the beaches in Brooklyn and it was very surreal. You look one way and see the blue ocean that I've grown so accustomed to these past four months. And then you turn around and see the Manhattan Skyline.
Here are my friends Elizabeth and Holly on Rockaway Beach:
I love the ocean. I love the water. I love the sound of seagulls. I love looking out to sea. I love the smell of salt water. I love the way the squishy sand feels against my feet. I love seeing the silhouettes of ships sailing along the horizon.
And I love that I'll be back on the Explorer on June 12.
It just never gets old....
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
I've hit the ground running since I landed in New York again. I've started back to work again. Bills are being paid. Friends are being caught up with. The apartment search is done.....basically.....but there's a twist to the story and it goes like this:
When my Mom picked me up at the final port in Fort Lauderdale she brought all of my mail from the past four months along with her. We drove to Miami and spent the night at the same hotel where I started my voyage. The day after I got back I was feeling pretty weepy and I spent most of the day under an umbrella on the beach, hiding behind big black sunglasses crying. I missed my friends. I didn't even get to say goodbye to some of them when we disembarked. I felt like I should be going right back to the ship that night, swiping in at the gangway, and sailing on my merry way to the next port, wherever that may be. They told us that we might experience something called "re-entry" (i.e. reverse culture shock and such) which I somehow thought I might be exempt from. Au contraire. I felt kinda lost for a few days. A sailor lost at sea. I am still feeling a little off.
So because of these feelings, I couldn't sleep that first night in Miami. So at 2:00 AM I sat in my bed at the Eden Roc Miami Beach, and went through all of my mail for the last four months. I almost discarded an envelope from an unfamiliar address, but after opening it I realized that I had won a housing lottery I entered last fall. Nyc.gov sponsors several lotteries for middle-income housing. Basically you have to make under a certain amount to qualify, so that folks can buy affordable housing in the city. I was so excited, because I could never afford to buy a co-op on my own in the city! So I woke my mom up to tell her and I think she was slightly confused, but also excited.
And it just so happened that my co-op interview was scheduled the day before I had to return back to work! (Which was yesterday). I had to bring all but my first born: bank statements, paycheck stubs, 401K statements, tax returns for the past three years, etc. Not an easy feat to drum all of this up after having been gone for four months! But I did it.
The co-op is in Bed-Sty in Brooklyn. A neighborhood with a rough history, but still has potential, just like all of the other up & coming neighborhoods in the city. And it is a brand new development, not even finished being built yet. And the best part is that I can sell it at market value, which is more than double what I will be paying for it!
So now I wait. A bank has to review my paperwork, check my credit, check my background, etc. And I'll know in about two weeks if I get to purchase. And then I make a decision if I want to live in Bed-Sty. The place is still under construction, so I can't visit the actual building yet.
In the meantime, I signed a lease for a place to live on the border of Upper East Side and Spanish Harlem. It's a roomy one-bedroom and I am excited to not be in Inwood anymore (please see blog archives about the nightmare of a neighborhood where I came from.) So this new neighborhood is on a blurry border of two other neighborhoods, but I noticed the post office around the way is called "Hellsgate Station". Hellsgate is also the name of a bridge nearby. So I decided just to start calling my neighborhood Hellsgate. It's catchy, no? In fact, when I lived in the north part of Chelsea, I started calling it NoChe (NOrth CHElsea.) Noche means "night" in Spanish. I thought it was cute. It never stuck though......maybe this one will.
Lease starts June 1 and soon I will go home to the place where angels dare to tread: Hellsgate.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Okay, so we had a Staff Social, and I just drank a bunch of margaritas and now I am sitting in Logistical and "Cultural" pre-port for Fort Lauderdale. It is a spoof on all the other pre-ports we've had. The "Duty Dean" is my dad, apparently.... and the Field office is at the beach. (I was really hoping to get on the Walking Tour of the Fort Lauderdale Airport, but it looks like I'll have to instead do a tour of an airport further away in Miami, where the national language is Spanish.) Things to be worried about in the United States of America are: Traveler's Diarrhea, Hypochondria, and Swine Flu. The exchange rate is really crappy. In fact, at this point, most restaurants prefer Canadian dollars. Bartering is not widely practiced in this country.
I just learned that I have to drop off my luggage tomorrow at noon, and I haven't even started to pack yet. And at this point, I wonder how that feat is going to be accomplished after all the margaritas......And I have to fill out the customs form. So if you ever want to complain about filling out the form you get on the plane, I don't have much sympathy. Try doing a customs form for 13 different countries visited. And if I spent over $800 on souveniers I have to pay some sort of fee.
We have come full-circle, my friends. Than you so much for following my journey. In closing, here are some photos from the Ambassador's Ball last night with my colleagues and with some of my students, as well as some other photos around the ship and from the Panama Canal crossing. In fact- my "son" Will from my "Extended Family" on the ship told me the other night that his "real" mom found my blog! So for her, I am posting a photo with Will and Walsh, two of the sweetest students I've met ever met!
Janetta and Me. I have a feeling we're going to cross paths again.....
Grace and me. Grace lives on my "sea" and is a very sweet student:
Linus, Laz, and Dougie. (Those are their nicknames):
One of my "daughters", Jess and me:
Jonathan Katz, Issaiah and me. Jonathan is HiLaRiOuS....mark my word, he will be famous one day:
Another "son", Bobby and me:
One of my favorite peeps, Biscuit and me:
Another one of my favorite peeps, Jason from the "home office":
'Bama and me. She bleeds "roll tide" blood and praises Bear Bryant:
All the students catching tan, as we traversed the Panama Canal:
We saw ourselves crossing the Panama Canal on the computer!
Zella loves me.
Dress: Custom tailored in Vietnam $75
Earrings: Chinatown, New York, New York USA $1
Shoes: Chennai, India $10
Bracelet: A gift from Mexico
Understanding of the world: Global, Priceless
"The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be the beginning." –Ivy Baker Priest