30 June 2009

Owen is Coming!!!

In just two short days, my sweetest nephew, sister and mom will be here for a 4th of July visit!!!

I just made the FreshDirect order. Buying apple juice, juice boxes, goldfish crackers and every kind of fruit for the kid makes me happy, happy, HAPPY!

I'm looking forward to a long weekend, and then half days for most of next week ... now if only the weather would hold out. We're planning on a beach day on Friday BUT it's looking like a 30% chance of rain/thunderstorms. Ugh.

Did I mention Owen is coming?!?!

28 June 2009

Proud Shopping

After church today, Shawn and I set off for Men's Wearhouse to get him some more grown-up clothes. (We bought his wedding suit there and Shawn really liked the sales guy, service and final product.) We ran into the Gay Pride parade route on the way there - meaning we had to take the subway two stops (also the subway went up a quarter/ride, so it's $2.25 now) because the way to the store was blocked off by police barracades, even though the parade hadn't begun. We figured it would be over by the time we were finished shopping ... or that we could take a different route around it.

At the store Shawn bought a navy suit, a grey suit, brown shoes (buy-one-get-one with a pair of more casual black shoes), brown belt and free tie. The tailoring is the kicker and one of the ways this place sticks it to you - also the lure you in with "sales" and "free" ties and the selection is limited. The smooth talking salesman shows you the most expensive suits, which of course look better than anything you can truly afford. But we managed to meet in the middle and get some really nice things for Shawn. He'll be quite sharp when he puts these suits in rotation this fall.

We let ourselves forget about the Gay Pride parade and walked happily home. Every way we tried, the parade thwarted us. We were subjected to naked people gyrating with fire engine horns blaring. This is probably taboo, but what does public nudity have to do with being homosexual? I guess it's part of the lifestyle? I'm really not sure but it was adding to the frustration that there was literally NO WAY to get home - although we perhaps could have traveled back north, taken a subway to transfer, somehow crossing 5th Ave. The parade turned at 8th Street, further adding to the confusion. There were so many people. It was worse than Times Square (where we were yesterday after seeing August: Osage County, which was good and worth its own post).

I broke through a barracade while the parade was stopped, and Shawn and I crossed THROUGH the parade/marchers, in the middle of the block where there were no police to stop us, because it was just ridiculous. We were also in danger of having our bottoms smacked - we repeatedly saw strangers being smacked with the free paint stirrers that had been handed out. All very weird and uncomfortable. Was that the point of the parade?

Finally we were able to find a place to get through on the other side of the parade - but we effectively marched "in" the parade, although we were going against the traffic route. By this point we'd been walking for nearly an hour and were hot, tired and peeved beyond belief, nudity and loudness notwithstanding. In fairness, I've never seen another parade in NYC, although I know there are many that are probably just as obnoxious. It was the parade and it invading our Sunday activities that irked me -- not necessarily what the parade was celebrating and promoting.

Now we're back home, Shawn has gone to the office to "relax" with work and I'm about to tackle some organization projects I wanted to do (i.e. throw stuff into tubs or the closet to make space for my family's visit). I am glad that the tailoring required means we weren't sluffing around with the suits - at least those were safe at the store. It was enough to be walking with one shopping bag, let alone laden down with garment bags as well.

We'll pick up the suits on July 17 - and I'll try to convince Shawn to let me post a couple model shots of him in his new duds. He's SO cute. Love, love.

27 June 2009

A Sky


Here's an image of the sky last night - there was a thunderstorm and then this - oddly pinky orange with puffy clouds floating. This is looking right (north) from our window (stuck my camera out for this shot).

We're about to leave to see ANOTHER Broadway play -- August: Osage County. It stars Phylicia Rashad and is set in Oklahoma. This is closing weekend, and we got cheapie NYU seats (in the balcony this time so we'll test out our new binoculours, a gift from M-i-L Dale!)

More soon ... and Owen arrives on Thursday, so I'll have loads of photos and stories to post!

Edit: PS This is my 555th post.

21 June 2009

About New York & The Book of Jonah

Yesterday, I took the subway downtown to Lisa's apartment. Because of track work and weekend schedules, I had to make 2 transfers and it took 50 minutes to get 2 miles (approx. 8 minutes by car via Google Maps). More than a little ridiculous, and I was so frustrated with the waiting and the stuffy heat of the subway.

Coming home was better, in part because of the wine, conversation and my new understanding of the Saturday night train schedule (although it may or may not be in effect next Saturday - one can never tell). It was a joy to spend time with Lisa, and so good to get out of the house.

Today I had a contrastingly brilliant experience with the city. I took the subway to church and the trains were right on time when I needed them - and I got to church 5 minutes early. The service was really good - about Jonah. A bus appeared when I needed it for the trip home (saves $2 because a bus ride is a transfer instead of a separate fare). There were interesting people to watch during the ride. I had a perfect NYC brunch - coffee, omelet (wow I didn't know how to spell that word) and The New York Times (link to the most interesting story, although it was a hard choice).

After brunch I went to Washington Square Park. It was perfect weather, slightly cool, able to sit in the shade and feel the breeze, which rustled the trees overhead for a really nice background noise. I could see and hear the newly re-opened fountain, and the rhythmic squeak of the swings on the playground. The bench where I sat had a sweet smell because of the flowers and trees - a stark contrast to the usual pee smell that infuses so much of NYC (either from man, beast or both).

Perhaps the best treat was a phone call I received - Owen called to remind me that he's coming (in one and a half weeks) and that I'd better get ready! I was able to have a talk with my Dad for Father's Day and catch up with my mom and sister. Technology is pretty sweet.

The sermon about Jonah was a straight telling of the book of Jonah. Afterward the pastor asked us three questions: 1) what did you know about Jonah before today? 2) Who is Jonah (or Jonah-like) today? and 3) Where are Nineveh and Tarshish today, not geographically*, but where does God call you to be in ministry and to where do you run? Deep, deep stuff. We actually talked about our answers in small groups. It was great.

The answer to 1) was mostly about the whale - that's what I remembered. And of course it wasn't a whale that swallowed Jonah, but a big fish. Maybe we're taught it's a whale in Bible School because it is just easier to imagine a whale being big enough to swallow a man (and the pictures all seem to show a whale)? Maybe it's just a flaw in the human memory. I don't know.

The answer to 2) is basically everyone or me. We're all like Jonah in that we fail to answer God's call and sometimes it seems so scary that we'll try to run to the ends of the earth to get away from what he's calling us to do.

And then 3) was the hardest and most personal. Because you have to LISTEN to God's call to be able to say where your Nineveh is. We also learned that Nineveh was a notorious city of sin - somewhere you wouldn't want to go even if you weren't being called there ... people were skinned if they displeased the king, and their skin would be turned into lamps! So maybe Nineveh isn't just a place like "the church" where we should be going, but it's somewhere we're averse to being but where we NEED to be to do God's work. And then the pastor threw in a thought - Tarshish - the place where we run from God could be the church! We go to church every week because it's the thing to do and where we can be close to God, with other worshipers but in some ways, if that act makes us think it's enough, that's a way we run from God's call to us. Yowza. I still don't have a strong idea of what I'm supposed to be doing, but that means that I'm definitely not doing it!

Our homework was to read the book of Jonah ourselves (only 4 chapters/two pages) and a section in Luke chapter 11 that references the Jonah story. I'll try to discern what it is that God is calling me to do. I challenge you to do the same.

*Geographically, Nineveh was in the middle of present day Iraq. And although there were several cities called Tarshish when Jonah was living, the one scholars are pretty sure is being referenced was on what is now the coast of Spain (basically as far as you could get from where Jonah started ... and at the end of the known world).

Image: 8th Street Subway Station by wallyg.

19 June 2009

The Distance Between


We have been skyping, which is fantastic, but not the same as having old Shawn right here! I tried to find a sad face picture - but I couldn't find one.

17 June 2009

As It Happens

Yesterday I had a 17-hour day of travel for work. Left the apartment at 5 a.m. and returned at 10 p.m. I am so tired today. Some observations from my travel notebook:

I learned there is a Bank of America ATM on the LIRR level at Penn Station - just as you walk out of the ACE subway entrance. Nice! Saved me having to walk out of the station to get cash.

I read the New York Times print edition on the train and jotted notes for potential blog ideas (which itself is an idea from a blogging tips blog I read).
  • There was an article "Social Networks Spread Iranian Defiance Online" about Twitter. It was interesting, but I was surprised by the quality of reporting - basically a compilation/re-hash of several users' tweets. Hrm.
  • "Study finds instruction in art lags in 8th grade" ... another article. I'm not sure I could identify a Renaissance painting or half note, but I probably was able to in 8th grade.
  • Wrote down this URL: globalchange.gov/usimpacts.
  • Read about the Math Midway, which was part of the World Science Festival street fair thing.
  • Read about a play I'd like to see "Someone in Florida Loves Me," in NYC through June 28. At $15/ticket not a bad deal. I'm starting to value being in a culture- and theater-filled place a bit more.
My bag broke yesterday in the food court at Union Station. it's my black "work" bag - quilted Old Navy, nothing special or expensive, but a nice big bag. DRAT! I looked around for a suitable replacement but didn't find anything in the shops there, so I just hassled with the bag on the way home - it had one strap left, so I was able to sort of balance the contents on my hip and keep the strap high on my shoulder. I had a separate bag for my crochet, so I moved some of my stuff in there to ease the burden. So I'm in the market for a new black bag. I should probably shop my closet - because I know there are other bags packed away in there somewhere.

15 June 2009

Celebrity Sightings

With the renovations of Washington Square Park being complete, movies are going to be filmed in my neighborhood. Today and tomorrow, I'm living in the set of "Remember Me," which stars a teen heartthrob, Robert Pattinson and Pierce Brosnon. Although I'd much prefer to see 007, today we were able to spot the "sparkly vampire" from our window, being followed by a gaggle of girls, clearly delighted to be in the presence of this scruffy actor. He also had quite a large security detail. Although I don't get the "sparkly vampire" reference I know it has to do with Twilight, and I did take a picture:

It made me think about the other celebrities I have seen since I've been living here:
  • Leslie Bibb
  • Minnie Driver
  • Gilbert Godfrey
  • Chris Noth
  • Scott Speedman
  • Sigourney Weaver
There may be others I'm not remembering. I've never spoken to any of them and don't intend to!

14 June 2009

FWD: Good Advice Worth Reading

From Grace Notes, although there wasn't a citation:

1. Life isn't fair, but it's still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Lifeis too short to waste time hating anyone.

4. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and parents will. Stay in touch.

5. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

6. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.

7. Cry with someone. It's more healing than crying alone.

8. It's OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Forgive everyone everything.

10. Everything can change in the blink of an eye. But don't worry; God never blinks.

Date Nights

Given that we have the luxury of DINK (double income, no kids) at this point in our lives, Shawn and I are able to do a bit of dating still, or at the very least we go out. New York is a city, the city, whatever, and if we put forth a little effort we can usually find something to do. (However, that's not to say we always do. We spend plenty of nights at home.)

Friday night we had tickets to reasons to be pretty, a new play on Broadway. Shawn bought them as part of our anniversary celebration (1 year and 2 weeks - woo!) from the NYU discounted tickets sales office.

Get this - we were in the front row. Before you say "ooh la, la" realize that the front row is AA, meaning it's actually a row stuck in front of the real front row. And we were basically just below the stage and looking up the actors' nostrils. BUT it was a very cool way to see the show, even with a little residual neck stiffness. We felt "in" the action. It was really tremendous.

The play itself was great, probably one of the best I've ever seen. The story was great, the acting was great, even the scenery was great/clever. I would highly recommend it if you're in NYC, although be prepared for foul language, particularly in the first scene, which opens on a lovers' quarrel. Whoops - looking at the site, today is the last performance, so we're lucky we saw it when we did!!! I definitely will follow the career of the main actor and see if he stars in anything else. And I want to look into reading some of Neil LaBute's other works. The NYT review of this play is a good read.

Last night we stayed closer to home. The World Science Festival is in NYC this weekend, and there was a lecture about 2 blocks from our building (slowly getting into the swing of things - THAT's how people in NYC refer to their homes - not 2 blocks from my apartment but from my building).

We didn't have tickets (who plans? normally I do!), but the website said there were stand-by tickets available and to get in line at about 7:30. We walked over at 7, planning to get a quick bite beforehand and then get in line. There was already a line 30 deep, so we just got in line, hoping we could get in. The line grew behind us - there were probably 80 people total, in line for a science talk! And that doesn't include the 800+ who had pre-purchased their tickets!

Then it started to rain. Not heavily, but still. And no one left the line. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't been there! So there are science enthusiasts in the world/city. I actually was pained by the conversations going on around me though - a poor attempt to describe Schrodinger's Cat included.

The program started and THEN they started letting people in to purchase tickets for the seats remaining from the no-shows. We were literally the last two they let in, and we didn't get in until almost 8:30. That's an hour and a half I spent standing in line for this talk. The people behind us were probably really disappointed (they of the Schrodinger's Cat talk). And what was worse, there were a lot of empty seats inside! (At least another 15 or 20, not to mention standing room if they'd wanted to do that.) The talk lasted until 10 pm, and it was interesting enough (the idea of multi-verse instead of just one universe). Even all the talk of that possibility doesn't shake my belief that God did in fact create it, as well as create us humans and our ability to figure stuff like this out. It really is awesome, in the true sense of the word.

13 June 2009

Justice

Last week I had jury duty. When Shawn went last month his experience was interesting and full of excitement (within the case itself). For me, it was a total dud.

Day 1, I sat in the jury room. There was one trial that needed jurors and of the ~115 jurors in the room, they called 100 to the jury pool. Guess who was one of the "lucky" 15 to not be called.

Day 2, we got almost to noon when another trial came up and they called 100 more jurors. I was called on that one because they pulled first the 15 who weren't called the day before (is that really keeping with the randomness required? I don't know). So we go to the court room for 10 minutes, get sworn in and told a little about the case. Then we break for lunch.

When we get back, the judge starts taking people into the court room one by one - any juror who says they can't serve on this case because of time or because of the facts of the case. More than half of the people get in line, and they make everyone wait out in the hot hall for about an hour. Then the judge just gets fed up and sends us all home, saying he'll start again on Monday with new jurors (hopefully more cooperative).

Most everyone was THRILLED to be done. I was deeply disappointed. I wanted to hear more about the case and see/be part of the jury questioning process.

So anyway, it was a wash, but it added a little jolt to the routine of my sit-in-apartment-all-day life.

09 June 2009

The Sounds Outside My Window

video

This video is the view outside my window earlier today (my comment at the beginning refers to the fact that when I first tried to video this they stopped as soon as I hit the record button) - let's hope it stays quiet during my staff meeting call today. Otherwise I'll be sweltering in the muffled apartment. UGH.

08 June 2009

Gluttony

Our cupboard was bare this weekend, so we ate out for a couple meals, and I got a little creative with what we did have left (some frozen chicken, which I guess means we weren't that bare).

Anyway, last night, right before making hot dogs (how nutritious) I ordered up some FreshDirect replenishing goodness. I let myself fill my cart with anything and everything. THEN I went back and edited the cart down. WELL, FreshDirect didn't let me get away with that and ended up sending me EVERYTHING I had put in my cart yesterday, including two things of steak, more vegetables than I can cook in a week and about 5 bags of chips (what can I say? Hungry is HUNGRY!).

Literally my 3/4-size fridge cannot hold another thing, and the same goes for the freezer and "pantry" areas (I even had to put some food in with the dishes!). I had to put the entire package of chicken breasts in the freezer because it just wouldn't fit anywhere in the icebox.

So we'll be eating great for the next few days. And if anyone wants to have a chip party, you know who to call!

Marriage Thoughts

bellsKeep Up With Me, a regular on my RSS feeder for its author's social media tips, DC-area life and writing style, wrote a post Marriage? I Could Take It or Leave It. (”Leave It” Sounds Pretty Good.) This section in particular made me think and hurt my heart:
I want to be with someone who’s with me because they want to be, not because they feel like they have to be. When two unmarried people live together, they’re making the choice to be together every day. They’re not staying together just because they happened to make a vow at some point (that 50% of people who get married end up breaking anyway). I don’t want someone to feel like they have to stay with me if they’d rather not be there.
I left a comment, but I still feel like this is disparaging to married women and that my comment didn't fully express my opinion and disappointment in the implication.

As a married woman, I choose to live with my husband and be together every day, just like the author says two unmarried people who live together do. I'm left with this kind of ache in my heart for the state of things and that I would get up in arms about this at all, even momentarily.

But I also recognize everyone is entitled to their opinions and no one knows my marriage other than Shawn and me. But just like any relationship, marriages are unique, and I think what I take most issue with is the broad generalization of marriage as a bad decision. But I am also sure that wasn't the intent behind the post.

Moving on.

Straight Hair & Lipstick

Here's my new haircut straightened. And in an effort to look better daily: lipstick!

05 June 2009

Three Years (or my hair is really short!)

As of today, I've been working at RA for three years. So there's that.

Today I got my haircut, for free at BBU Model Project. A perk of living in NYC.

Tonight we're going to eat and then see "Away We Go," as our theater is one of the few where it's opening this weekend (wide release next week). Another NYC perk. Killer.

Loving the hair.

02 June 2009

Soulmate

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BEzbkGj7EaQ

Heard this on Medium last night (that show is also how I fell in love with a Dixie Chicks song - Home or something). So haunting. Embedding disabled. Meh.

Snowflake Blanket for Amanda

Still needs washing and blocking, but another one done! It's so cute, a great pattern that Gran gave me. It worked up so quickly. Now I just need to get Amanda's address! (To Facebook!)

Snowflake Blanket for Amanda - Detail

01 June 2009

FWD: Peroxide vs. Bleach

This was written by Becky Ransey of Indiana (a doctor's wife)

"I would like to tell you of the benefits of that plain little ole bottle of 3% peroxide you can get for under $1.00 at any drug store. What does bleach cost? My husband has been in the medical field for over 36 years, and most doctors don't tell you about peroxide.

"Have you ever smelled bleach in a doctor's office? NO!!! Why? Because it smells, and it is not healthy! Ask the nurses who work in the doctor's offices, and ask them if they use bleach at home. They are wiser and know better!

"Did you also know bleach was invented in the late 40's? It's chlorine, folks! And it was used to kill our troops.

"Peroxide was invented during WWI. It was used to save and help cleanse the needs of our troops and hospitals.

Please think about this:

1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. (I do it when I bathe.) No more canker sores, and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash!

2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of peroxide to keep them free of germs.

3. Clean your counters and table tops with peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters.

4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.

5. I had fungus on my feet for years until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.

6. Soak any infections or cuts in 3% peroxide for five to ten minutes several times a day. My husband has seen gangrene that would not heal with any medicine but was healed by soaking in peroxide.

7. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.

8. Tilt your head back and spray into nostrils with your 50/50 mixture whenever you have a cold, plugged sinus. It will bubble and help to kill the bacteria. Hold for a few minutes, and then blow your nose into a tissue.

9. If you have a terrible toothache and cannot get to a dentist right away, put a capful of 3% peroxide into your mouth and hold it for ten minutes several times a day. The pain will lessen greatly.

10. Put half a bottle of peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.

11. You can also add a cup of peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour it directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.

12. I use peroxide to clean my mirrors. There is no smearing, which is why I love it so much for this.

"I could go on and on... It is a little brown bottle no home should be without!

"With prices of most necessities rising, I'm glad there's a way to save tons of money in such a
simple, healthy manner!"

If I Had a Car ...

I would sing this song!