Friday, October 31, 2008

Missed Connections

I missed my subway to work four times this morning.
After sleeping a measly three hours, I woke up at 6:30 am to escort my beautiful sister - who is visiting the East Coast for a week - to a bus in Chinatown headed to my brother's apartment in Philadelphia.
When I dropped her off, I headed north to Canal Street on my way to work. My first mistake was going underground on the wrong side of the street. It wasn't a big deal, but I had to go down stairs and then upstairs to run and try to take the N train that just arrived in the station uptown - miss number 1.
Another N train came a few minutes later and it was express. I didn't think about this clearly enough, and the train zoomed right by my work's stop at 49th street - miss number 2.
The train made it to the 57th street stop; I went up another flight of stairs, and down another to head back downtown. I hopped on a W train and was so busy looking for a very specific My Morning Jacket song to make me feel better that I didn't realize the subway was at my stop until the doors were closing again - miss number 3.
I got off the train at Times Square to head back uptown. I went up the stairs to cross over to the other side of the platform. I heard a train I needed pulling into the station, but am so afraid of falling down stairs, that I gave up the chase and decided to wait - miss number 4.
This is just the beginning of what is sure to be a very Charlie Brown Halloween.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Advice for the Ages

I recently asked a friend for a bit of advice and she said:
"Listen to Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, drink a glass of wine to calm your nerves and BE YOURSELF!!!"
While it doesn't matter what I needed advice on, it's probably some of the best and most universal advice I've gotten.
Feeling down in the dumps?
"Listen to Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, drink a [bottle] of wine to calm your nerves and BE YOURSELF!!!"
Nervous about a big presentation at work?
"Listen to Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, drink a glass of [a corporately-approved beverage] to calm your nerves and BE YOURSELF!!!"
"Listen to Beautiful by Christina Aguilera, drink a glass of [liquid laxatives] to calm your nerves and BE YOURSELF!!!"

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gadgets That Have Changed My Life

In order of appearance, here are a few gadgets that have changed my life:
1. The Barbie Dream House: For so long I'd been playing with The Heart Family dolls, the least popular, now discontinued, toy for young girls and confused boys. The Heart Family was designed to teach kids the importance of family and the answer to why Barbie can't have kids: because she's not married. You can't have kids outside of marriage, you know? One Christmas, my younger sister got the Dream House, complete with elevator, squealing tea kettle and "working" faucet. My dad set it up in our garage; we played for hours, inhaling gas fumes all the while.
2. Talkboy: Again, a gift for my sister that changed my life. It was mostly for my love of Home Alone 2, although I recorded myself singing a song about "losing my shoe" that my sister later discovered on the tape. She said, "That's really good! I don't remember singing that, but I sound good!" With arms crossed, I smiled smugly whilst dreaming of my recording contract with Frankie Sharp of Sharp Records.
Fast forward many years, ok maybe 1 or 2 ...
3. iPod and all its various accoutrement: This may seem obvious, but for many years I had a Dell DJ - again, the less popular of what was available. I got it for Christmas because my mom saw it was one of Oprah's Favorite Things, which I'm very grateful for, but it became unusable when I bought my beautiful Mac computer. Dell didn't make software to upload songs from a Mac (and their customer service rep basically said, "duh" when I asked if they did), so I had to make the switch last year. Now, I listen to it all day at work, I have a speaker dock for my room, one of those obnoxious arm bands for outdoor runs and a chord in my car.
4. Bluetooth Headsets: It's only changed my life in that now I know what unbridled hatred for an inanimate object feels like.
And, finally, the newest addition to gadgets which have changed my life. This little guy:
5. An (illegal at work) space heater for my office: My friend - some may say best, now - is loaning it to me until her side of the office feels like the tundra mine does. I can't even tell you how warm my legs are right now.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Now Pronounce You Embarrassed and Unrecognized

This weekend my mom was visiting the East Coast. She flew into Philadelphia to see my brother, see Amish country, shop The Christmas Tree Shops, but mostly she was here to attend the wedding of one of her best friend's daughters.
After work on Friday, I drove up to Connecticut from New York to meet my brother and mom at the hotel near the location of the wedding. My brother and I have always been confused why we're invited to the events of our mom's friends, mostly because we don't know any of their "kids" as well as I think their parents wished we did. While all the kids are lovely and accommodating, we're sure they don't want us at their weddings either.
My parents, brother and I were all born in the same town in Connecticut. My mom's best friends and their children were also born in that same town. The difference between us and them is that they've lived there their entire lives, while my family (with sister added in West Springfield, Mass.) has moved seven times removed from our roots.
Last summer we went to another one of these functions, meeting many people we didn't think we'd see again.
In order to be helpful, my brother and I went over to the wedding site early and set up where we could, as there was another wedding wrapping up minutes before the next was to begin. There was nothing for us to do except not look forward to the next five hours of our lives.
With arms crossed, we talked away the time and eventually people started to show up. A guy walked up to us and said, "Hey, I think I met you at another one of these things last year."
I said, "Oh, yeah, [mom's friend's daughter's] wedding ..."
Then my brother says, "Who are you again?"
"I'm the groom."
"I'm going to leave you guys alone now."
The best part, outside of the WORST kind of embarrassment, was his best man snickering in the back at my brother's mistake. To be fair, I was seconds away from asking this guy the same question, but saw that he was wearing a tuxedo. Thank you, context clues.
After shot-gunning a few drinks to ease the tension, my brother and I ran into another wedding guest: the son of one of my mom's best friends. He walked right up to my brother, shook his hand and said, "[Brother], how's it goin'?" I extended my hand and said, "Hey! How have you been?" The amount of dead space in the gaze returned my way could only be explained by Carl Sagan. He had absolutely no idea who I was. Meanwhile, a few feet away from the awkward exchange was a photo collage including a picture of us STANDING WITHIN INCHES OF EACH OTHER. (Ok, the picture was taken when I was four years old, in a kiddie pool, also known as the first and last time I wore a bikini. Whatever.)
Suffice to say, my mother assured us we would never have to attend another event of people we didn't know, and who clearly did not know us.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Crush Out of Context

Ever since I moved into my new neighborhood in May, I've seen this guy I've developed a major crush on. Sometimes we ride the train together (the best mornings!), I pretend to read, but I'm so busy staring at him. We get on the train at the same stop and exit at the same stop, we're clearly made for each other.
He's got a sense of humor (he participated in Moustache May, which was step 1 in making me fall in love with him), he's smart (he usually reads The New Yorker), he loves music (he's never without his iPod), he is a snazzy dresser (he was wearing a suit with a VEST underneath it once) and he's handsome (in an off-beat way). Actually, he's a hotter version of Dave Foley.
I know this sounds very Fatal Attraction, but I also know I'm not alone in falling in love on the subway.
I should probably just say something to him, but I'm afraid he's going to open his mouth and ruin the crush. Or, what if he has a secret "subway girlfriend" crush on ME and I ruin his crush by saying something stupid. I told a friend of mine that it was my goal that by the close of 2008, I'd at least smile at him.
Well, last night could have been my big chance. I saw subway boyfriend at the grocery store at the end of my street. It was so out of context that I panicked: it wasn't morning, I looked terrible, we weren't on the subway platform, I wasn't wearing my iPod. He looked right at me and smiled, and what do I do? Run down the cereal aisle.
I picked up what I needed and saw him in line for the check-out. I should have stood behind him in the queue. Instead, I went to another check-out and quickly paid so I could see which direction he lived. I was too late. Gone ...
... until of course, I see him again this morning, with his New Yorker, in a suit (on casual Friday!), listening to his iPod. I ask again: Why am I single??

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Facebook: The Pinnacle of Maturity

For the longest time, I forgot I had Facebook until a friend of mine from college reminded me of it by friending me. Since then, I've been reconnecting with friends online. It's obviously a stalker-esque tool, so you can see what everyone is up to: Who's married? Who has kids? Who is voting "YES" on Proposition 8?
Someone I went to high school with recently friended me and displayed on their page that they were voting against same-sex marriage. I don't want this to necessarily be a forum to discuss politics, but it's certainly a forum to discuss rage and disgust with people in my age bracket.
While I'm not living in California anymore, it's still such an important issue to vote "no" on. I even called my dad, who until then hadn't spoken to for two months, to make sure he a) is voting for president and b) is voting "no" on Proposition 8. My father, who supports the Patriot Act and worked on Nixon's campaign when he was younger, said even he isn't voting "yes". He said it's not up to him to decide who "the gays" want to marry.
So, in a most mature fashion, I've decided to have one less friend on Facebook; I think they'll appreciate it, too. Who would want to be friends with someone who supports same-sex marriage anyway?

Rejuvenation Vacation

Last weekend, nine of my friends all went up to Bennington College in Vermont to stay in the alumni house. My friend went to school there, so we got to reap the benefits. I can't say much more than these pictures can, but spending the weekend in absolute fresh air, seeing stars, apple picking and petting goats was so beneficial for me. I rarely looked at the clock, and yesterday at work I thought I was exhausted, but I think I had just reached a new level of zen - a level I thought I could only experience while eating tacos del carbon from Del Taco.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fairy Tales Do Come True ...

My humble little space on the Internets is listed on another site telling others that it's a great place for Nick Lachey news, photos, videos and MORE.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why You Shouldn't Eat Lunch after 3 pm

Being insanely hungry when I went to heat up my lunch at 3 pm; I bit furiously into an apple and a large chunk got wedged in the roof of my mouth. Thank God no one walked into the work kitchen as I was heating up my Lean Cuisine and carving away at the stuck apple chunk with a plastic knife.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Bro Time with Okkervil River

Last night, after some delicious pierogies at Veselka and a stop at the Dessert Truck, my brother - in town from Philadelphia - and I went to see Okkervil River at Webster Hall.
Doors were at 7 pm, so being ever-so-punctual we got there around 7:30-ish to find the band wasn't even going on until 10 pm. We walked over to Union Square to try to see a movie, but nothing was playing (well, Beverly Hills, Chihuahua and Righteous Kill do not count) so we browsed a Halloween store where my brother finally got his first monocle - a lifelong dream. Then, we went to The Strand to read for a few hours. We separated in the store, but when we met up again on the ground floor, it turns out we were both reading the same book, the Zombie Survival Guide - no wonder he's one of my best friends.
We got back to a packed Webster Hall to catch the tail end of the second opener (yawn). Then Okkervil River went on and it was one of the best shows I've been to in a long time. I don't know much of their earlier stuff, but their last two albums have been really solid.
Also pretty solid was the 8 foot tall man who stood in front of my brother and I at the show. Seriously, he reminded me of Al from the Naked Gun movies. He only gets an honorable mention for "Worst Person at a Show I've Been To". Last night's winners were these girls who'd clearly been drinking all night; they insisted on texting on their iPhones through the whole show and talking during the more mellow songs. Maybe talking isn't the right word, it was more of a shrill pitch, especially when one of them squeaked, "GIRLS! Who wants a CO-RO-NA?!"
(other people awarded "Worst Person" honors this year were both at the Josh Ritter show in Brooklyn earlier this year: one guy was freaking out and flailing during the whole show and my friend grabbed him and yelled, "COOL OUT!" to which he responded, "ROCK OUT!"; and an annoying hipstery girl who stood right in front taking pictures of Josh Ritter all night - worst was when he turned all the lights off in the house to really take it down a notch and the girl used her flash with such reckless abandon I was afraid someone would murder her on the spot)
Despite some of the people in the crowd, it was such a good show that I'd recommend seeing them if you get a chance.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Idol Time

Yesterday I had the greatest pleasure of going with a friend of mine to see Judy Blume speak at the 92 Street Y. She had extra tickets as part of a furniture-selling deal; she is the greatest friend for inviting me along.
Judy Blume's written so many books that I LOVED growing up, specifically: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. If you haven't read it, it's a "coming of age" story that covers all the stresses of being in sixth grade after having to watch "the video" and have "the talk" with your mother. It discusses everything from religion to menstruation belts to increasing your bust line.
The night before I could barely sleep; I was so excited. I have always been a big reader, so it was like my friend was asking me to go to Stony Brook, CT. to hang out with the Babysitters' Club or like Nancy Drew showing up at my house and saying, "C'mon, we gotta go check out this lady's twisted staircase - shit's haunted."
The best part about the event was all the little girls who were there, and just as excited as we were. I got choked up during the question and answer session when a little moppet asked, "Does it make you happy to write?" And later, when another couldn't help herself and yelled out, "I love that book! I've checked it out of the library like SIX times already." It was such an inspiring afternoon, and I'm so glad I got to see someone who is doing something I truly admire.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pumpqueens: Update!

I just had lunch with my pumpkin pal, and she had this to show me: (that's her elbow)
Apparently, after "Poop" and I put her into a cab to drive her six blocks home, she fell out of the cab onto the sidewalk in front of her house. Normally, you'd just dust yourself off and head inside feeling a little embarrassed, or laugh really loud to signal you're just fine. Not my friend - no way. She decided to lay on the sidewalk for a full minute soaking in what just happened, until someone walked up to her and said, "Are you ok?" to which she responded, "It's cool!" and then lit up a cigarette. Also, at some point a pint glass broke in her purse. Why was she carrying one, you may ask? Because we stole them - she stole two. She woke up the next day to find her cigarettes and lighter outside on her stoop.
However, this isn't the strangest discovery she's ever made the next day after some drinking, debauchery and general rabble rousing. One time, she fell in the hallway of her apartment building, came to on the floor who knows how much later, and crawled inside (the worst part was that her roommate heard her come crashing down and didn't go help/ask her about it until the next morning). The next day after that fall, she found a melted Chipwich outside her door.
I love you, buddy, and I'm glad you're ok.


Last night I had grand plans of going home, making a nutritious meal, going to the gym and watching the Vice Presidential debate. That all came off the rails rather quickly when I heard a bar in my neighborhood was serving not one, but two, kinds of pumpkin beer.
I LOVE the fall: the scarves, the flavors, the colors. (In fact, next weekend I'm going up to Vermont with some of my friends to take in all the fall glory; we rented a house and will wear sweaters, hike and apple pick. I can't wait.) So, my neighborhood fellow fall enthusiast and I decided to tour the flavors. We met up around 6:30 pm and I didn't get home until 3:45 this morning. It was a good night.
They ended up having three (!) different kinds of pumpkin beer. The first, Elysian Pumpkin, was pretty tasty but didn't really scream pumpkin deliciousness. The second one tasted like the brewer jammed his Thanksgiving table through a sieve and into a very festive bottle and named it Pumpking. King indeed. We raved about it so much, a married couple sitting next to us had to order it, too. Towards the end of the night, the bartender rolled out a new beer for us to try, the Smutty Nose Pumpkin Ale. I've had this before, and it's good, but nowhere near as good as our second beer as far as pumpkin-nicity goes. (Also, I may be in love with the bartender; every time he came to our side of the bar he called me "pumpkin" - that's all I want out of a relationship, really.)
We weren't planning on staying as long as we did, but with bellies full of pumpkin beer, we were having so much fun. And of course, they were setting up for karaoke. I know everyone says this, but I have the WORST singing voice. Really. Despite the handicap, my friend (who has a lovely singing voice) and I sang 9 to 5 by Dolly Parton, The Weight by The Band and I Love Rock and Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.
Prior to last night, I have only done karaoke four times. I've always been an enthusiast (in junior high I used to go with my friends to a local pizza place just to watch people sing karaoke, cool, right?) but now I might have to become a regular performer.
We met some fun people, I fell in love, I ran into someone I never thought I'd see again, I met a dog named Cupcake and have a new number programmed in my phone labeled as "Poop" - overall, it was a great night with one of my best friends.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Taking the Fun out of Fungi

I've been thinking a lot lately why I've probably had bronchitis twice in the last two months (I say probably because I haven't actually been to the doctor. I picked the wrong insurance plan - the one with an insane deductible and also the one with mental health coverage for my inevitable nervous breakdown which I can't afford - mentally or financially).
Yes, bronchitis voice can be sexy - Rod Stewart made a career out of it. But, outside of topping the Billboard Charts, spitting up green globs, stifling coughs during conference calls at work and constantly clearing my throat is less than attractive.
Two nights ago I had one of the worst nights I've had in a long time; I shivered so much from my fever that my jaw was sore the next morning. For whatever reason, I still decided to go to work but arrived looking menopausal with sweat teeming down my face. My boss sent me home and I slept for an impressive 21 hours.
I feel much better now, but have a new development: when I exhale or yawn, my fingers get very tingly. I did some research, and the Internets have told me that I have multiple sclerosis. Has this sensation happened to anyone else? (outside from eating a York Peppermint Pattie)
After my extensive research (read: Google), I looked around my apartment for clues why I might be sick.
First, in my bedroom I have one window that still has the air conditioner unit in it. This air conditioner is very old - it wasn't mine to begin with, it was my ex-boyfriend's, but I decided that if I had to pay for our sin apartment all by myself after he moved out, I could at least keep the AC. I'm sure it's seeping death/failed relationship particles into my room at night, but one of my best friends/resident male handymen recently moved back to Chicago. I'm usually not THIS girly, but I do need a man for a few things.
Then, there's my Brita filter. I have not changed this filter since I moved back to New York ... in April of last year. I've essentially been sifting dirty New York water through a dirty Brita filter into my body. No wonder my lungs feel like those of an 80-year-old smoker.
Since I was in my kitchen, I looked around for other signs. Here is a towel where my roommate and I dry all our dishes. Full disclosure, sometimes these dishes sit here for days not being put away. But, look at what we have here - mold!:
Then, I knew what I was going to find in my bathroom. I've been ignoring it for a long time - passive aggressively hoping someone else would buy a new shower curtain liner. I'm embarrassed to share this, but if I put it out there, maybe I'll change it:
I've taken the same passive aggressive approach with the Irish Spring in the shower, too. Whose IS that?
I can't keep spending money on NyQuil knock-offs and killing my lungs, especially if I refuse to pay my voodoo doctor more money to cure me when I know what I'm doing wrong. Tonight after work, I am going to clean my apartment head to toe to make sure I don't get sick anymore, because if you want something done ... wait until you're on your death bed and are finally forced to do it yourself.