Saturday, July 26, 2008

Celebrity Sighting

If I weren't always walking around in my own little dream world, I would probably see more celebrities as I wander around the city. However, I saw one today. Gary Winick came in to the store where I work, and actually I've briefly talked to him on the phone, too. Of course, I wouldn't have known he was even famous if someone hadn't told me. Just like when Mark Ronson came in. I can't keep track of all these people, and I don't even know why people love to see celebrities, but for some reason it's fun to talk about. More interesting than talking about my Friday night, which was spent alone at home. I made cookies and watched WWE Smackdown. I don't know why.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's The Other

If it's not one thing, it's the other. I don't know why, but it seems like lately every time I figure out one thing in my life, another thing goes wrong! Just when I was congratulating myself about how easy it went with the cable guy and getting internet installed in my new place, my computer promptly broke. So now I have internet, but no computer! I can't get the thing to stop shutting itself down after two seconds of being on. This Murphy's law thing is driving me crazy. On the other hand, this week was the first time in my life that I've ever set up my DVD player and had it work perfectly fine on the first try. Quick, knock on wood!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Visit to the Met

It was getting to be too long since my last visit to the Met, and the book I'm reading was making me curious about a few objects. Also, I just needed to feel like I was doing something with my Friday night, so I headed over to the museum after work. Here are a few things I saw:

Well, I didn't see Lynda Carter, actually, but I saw her Wonder Woman costume. She was my number one heroine when I was growing up, so it was a thrill to see the actual suit she wore featured in the Met's current exhibition on Superhero costumes. The show was fantastic, and includes contemporary haute couture items alongside vintage treasures like Christopher Reeve's Superman costume, as well as the costume that Robert Downey, Jr. wore in IronMan and Christian Bale's Batman costume.

This panel by Duccio was what I really came to the Met to see. I was reading about how it was acquired, and wanted to see it for myself. It is just gorgeous! Small, intimate, majestic. The parts of the wood that are worn away on the bottom edge are from lit candles placed before it in the chapel where it originally resided. Lucky for us the whole piece never caught on fire!

This notebook was written by Leonardo da Vinci, and is part of a special loan exhibition of pieces from the Victoria and Albert museum in London. I couldn't find any pictures of them, but what I really like in this collection were a number of clocks and compasses from the middle ages.

I had a very nice visit, and definitely plan to go back more often. On Friday nights the museum is open late and there is live orchestral music in the Great Hall. And the museum is so huge that one can never see everything. I get lost every time I go, and always stumble upon something amazing.

Friday, July 18, 2008


The HBO miniseries "John Adams" is really excellent! I've been watching it via Netflix, and have been loving every moment (well, except maybe the gory leg-amputation scene and the tar-and-feather scene, although I appreciate that the show is honest about what life was like in war-torn 18th-century America). Last night I watched part 3, which shows Adams being sent to France as a diplomat. After a horrific ocean crossing, Adams arrives at Benjamin Franklin's residence and discovers that he isn't necessarily needed or wanted there. Having grown up on a modest Massachusetts farm, he is shocked by the French people in their thick makeup, fancy clothes, and promiscuous lifestyles. But he presses forward in his mission towards a naval treaty with France, and doesn't let the lotus-fruit of France cloud his resolve.

The series does a really wonderful job of depicting the most human emotions of each character: the loneliness of Abigail Adams while her husband is gone for years in a foreign land, the fear and bravery of John Adams as he faces the unknown in Europe, the admiration that Benjamin Franklin has for Adams though they are nothing alike, the courage of John Quincy Adams as he is sent to Russia at age 14 to "begin his duty to his nation" as the ambassador's secretary.

Of course, watching this series reminds me of the enormous sacrifice that leaders such as John Adams made for our nation. Because of him, the new nation was able to establish credit in the Netherlands and borrow money to build the country up, for example. He had to endure long periods of separation from his family, chart his way through the webs of foreign nations where he didn't understand the languages, and be a good representative of America to all people that he came in contact with. He did these things in a time when a fever could be deadly, and mail took months to cross the ocean. And I think trying to sign up for cable is frustrating!

Perhaps my favorite scene in this episode was when Adams met with King George of England, a horrific figure to most Americans of the time. Paul Giamatti's acting is incredible here, as every emotion is visible on his face: nervousness, fear, humility and pride simultaneously. He boldly yet quietly addresses the monarch and is visibly touched when the king calls him an honest man. You would think it the greatest compliment he had ever received. But it was only the truth.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Long Term Goal

This is my new plan: when I get tired of New York, I am going to move to a smaller town and open a yarn store. Not just yarn--I'll probably have some antiques, art, and jewelry, too. And I'll just make and sell things all day. This idea makes me really happy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Return to City Life

I'm back in New York, and starting out life in my new apartment. I left on my trip right after moving, when things were all crazy, but I expected them to be back to normal, or almost back to normal, by the time I came back. Nope! Everything is still pretty chaotic. E couldn't put her bed together because her tool mysteriously disappeared and she was sure our new place was haunted. But I found it under her dresser. Last night I cleaned the floors, tonight I will do laundry. Every single thing I own is dirty, either with plaster dust or from being used as packing material in the moving van.

The most annoying thing is that because we moved so fast, we didn't have time to completely go through the cupboards and closets, so there were some things left behind at the old house. A few days after I left, E rented a zip car and went to get the rest of our stuff, but our crazy ex-landlady had locked the inside door of the house, which we never had a key to, and has been keeping it locked ever since, despite our phonecalls and emails. Our stuff is being held hostage! And we don't know if she's ever going to release it. It wouldn't matter so much except that E's animation books and portfolio are in there. Also a plant that's probably dead, and lots of food in the fridge that must be moldy by now.

Last night I was so mad about it that I walked over to the old house just to see if it was all a bad dream. The inside door was still locked, although there were signs that the crazy lady had been there recently. E and I have been trying to think of ways we can break in, or something. The choices are: 1) keep annoying the landlady until she relents and gives us our stuff back. 2) ask the neighbor to let us into his backyard so we can try our door keys on the back-basement door of the house. 3)sneak over the fences at night, scale the back wall with a grappling hook, hope that the bathroom window is still open, and climb inside. 4) call a locksmith. 5) break the door down. What would you do?

The other annoying thing about the situation is that our wireless router is still in the old house, too, and the box that we probably need to give back to Time-Warner when we cancel our subscription. If we can't let them in to disconnect it or pick it up, they will probably charge us. I guess I'll probably just buy a new router-thing, because the old one is probably full of plaster dust and grime. I need to do it soon, because so far I'm unable to detect any wireless signals at my new place, and need the internet to blog! (Right now I'm at work, which is horrible, I know...)

Anyway, enough complaining. E keeps reminding me that we are lucky to be alive and healthy, and that things could be much worse. She's right. I do like my new home, and am happy to be back in New York, even though its just as hot and sticky as when I left. Oops, there's another complaint!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Low Profile

I'm alive, though I have not been good at blogging lately. I've been traveling much, without access to my computer all the time. North Carolina, Ohio, New York, and all the states in between are where I've been, and I will tell all about it soon. There is so much to tell! Right now I'm taking a break from trying to fit everything back into my suitcase for the flight back to NYC tomorrow. I'm annoyed that I packed about 5 more outfits than I even wore this week, and am coming back with extra fabric for my next project as well as 3 new books and a new pair of shoes, so now my suitcase is overflowing...

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Move and Stuff

I need to catch up on my blog-writing! I guess I've been too exhausted the past few days to write, and I probably just want to block it all out of my mind. But actually, the move went smoother than I thought it would, thanks to some very good people.

I hope everyone at work isn't really mad at me, because on Thursday I had to leave an hour early to go pick up the U-haul truck before they closed. My manager knew I was leaving, but I didn't tell anyone else and right at the moment I had to leave, there were suddenly a dozen things that people needed me to help them with, so I just sort of snuck out and ran away from work. I couldn't help it--if I didn't get my truck, the whole move couldn't have happened.

At the U-haul place, the two guys who worked there were doing push-ups and lifting weights in the parking lot, and when I told them my story and that I was waiting for my friend to come drive the truck for me, they continued with their workout. It was hilarious. Soon my hero, Marcus, showed up on his bike and he took the wheel of the 17-foot truck for me. Even though our total moving trip was going to be about 2 miles total, I did not want to try driving that thing myself. I'll never be able to thank Marcus enough for helping me out!

At the old house, I discovered my other hero, my new roommate's brother (who had ridden from Utah to New York on his motorcycle to surprise her last week, and who had decided to stay and help us move) had given us a head start by moving a lot of our big things down the stairs to the front foyer. Soon some more guys from my ward showed up, plus E's b.f., and we worked pretty quickly.

Despite the broken down house, I am sad to have left that lovely neighborhood of Hamilton Heights. Also known as Sugar Hill, the area is the prettiest part of Harlem, with beautiful churches and stately old brownstones on quiet tree-lined streets, like ours. Our new neighborhood isn't so pretty, being in Harlem-proper, where nobody cares about using trash cans much, and the architecture is more generic. I'm going to miss our private rooftop, our sunny skylights, and living in an actual house. But the house needs taking care of. A man from the block association stopped to talk to us while we were moving out and he wasn't surprised that we were fed up with the place, because the owner, our landlady, is famous for not maintaining her properties. She owns four townhouses in the neighborhood, and ours was the only one fit for habitation. They've been trying for years to get her to either sell or renovate.

Our new apartment is just around the corner, really, from our old place, but on the other side of St. Nicholas Park. Hidden between a corner store and another apartment building, it has an iron gate on the outside, with a courtyard and then a set of double locked doors, so I feel good about the security. Plus our super and his friends sit on folding chairs outside the place and grill everyone that tries to come in.

We live on the 6th floor, but luckily for the movers, we have an elevator. More of a fun-ride, it gives quite a bounce when it arrives on the desired floor! E was shocked by the small size of our new place because she's been so accustomed to our big old townhouse, but it's really not that bad. It's a regular sized New York apartment, with three bedrooms, a living room, a bathroom and a kitchen. The kitchen is a nice size, with all new appliances! Even a dishwasher! The last people lived there for 20 years and when they moved out, the whole place was gutted and renovated, so everything is nice and clean and new. No ceilings are going to fall down! (Ugh, I'm traumatized... I was even dreaming about ceilings caving in last night!)

Our superintendent lives in the building and is probably sick of us already, but he's very nice. Trini is his nickname, embroidered on his shirts, short for Trinidad, I suppose. Long black-gray dredlocks, an odd hunchback, and a prominent gold tooth make his seem like some sort of pirate, but he's a dear. His henchman, Nelson, is also a sweet guy, with a little white dog named China that he babies.

Our new place is right on the subway line, so it's even closer to work. I'm really excited about it, despite the grit of Harlem. I'm not afraid of the neighborhood--everyone I've met has been incredibly nice so far. All the people I met in our elevator seemed very nice, and one girl said she's lived there for 8 years, so it must be a nice building. I think it will be fun to have a new sort of New York experience, to see another side of the city. In a way, it might be a blessing that our ceiling caved in and forced us to move.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

There's A Light

I'm happy to report that I have a home. I'm not in it yet, but it's there. I looked at a nice apartment on Thursday, tried to bribe Tye, the realty guy, on Friday morning, and then he told me that he had someone else's application on his desk and that there wasn't much I could do except keep looking. My heart sank, because I didn't have time to keep looking--I needed to move now! I was at work, trying to sort my life out in snatches of internet time here and there. Luckily I have a very sweet manager, who has taken pity on me and let me get away with a lot! I told her that once my life is back to normal, I'll work twice as hard at work.

So anyway, I thought I was back to square one, but about an hour after Tye's email, he wrote back and said that the application he had on his desk was denied, and that if my roommates and I had our stuff turned in by Monday morning, he'd give it first priority. So we spent the weekend gathering our documents in order to prove our financial security and just to make sure we had all our bases covered I made my dad, against his will, submit everything on the list as well, in case our credit was insufficient and we needed a guarantor.

Meanwhile, I had promised my roommate a going away party on the roof, and I delivered. Sunday night we had a gala event, with lights, paper lanterns, tons of food, and no rain, thank goodness! Jen said it was the best party she's ever been to, which was nice to hear, after all my anxiety about it. I'm just surprised that in my state of craziness and lack of sleep I was able to throw a party at all. It was really fun, I have to admit. The theme was New York and so I made hot dogs, cheese pizza, Manhattan clam chowder, and a ton of desserts. E made these marshmallow-on-a-stick concoctions, inspired by Coney Island, with 4 flavors of marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with coconut. Those were the hit of the party. It was really nice to just put on an apron and cook for people, and go up on the rooftop under the stars and take some deep breaths of fresh air and not think about moving for a little while. And everyone who came got a kick out of the story of the ceiling falling down, and they got to look in and gawk at the room of rubble.

So, to continue the saga, I delivered the application as soon as the realty office opened on Monday morning, and spent the day in agony waiting for Tye to call and say we were rejected, but he didn't, and by the evening I started to feel more and more relieved, because if he had rejected the previous application so quickly, ours must be okay. And it was. On Tuesday I started bugging Tye with emails and phone-calls and soon enough he told me that we had been approved! It was such a relief and a burden off my shoulders. We signed the lease on our lunch breaks, and I learned how to get a certified check from my bank, and we had it overnighted so that today we could pay the deposit and get our keys. (That was a really big check, by the way. Thank you to everyone who gave me money when I first moved here, because this is the moment it really came in handy to have 4 grand in the bank!!!)

But now the daunting task of moving lies ahead... I've spent the past few days packing up all of my belongings, and there are a lot of them. How can I possibly own so many clothes? It makes me want to give it all up and be a hobo with just a knapsack. But I keep telling myself that it will be so nice when its all over and I have a new apartment with all new appliances and nothing wrong with it. I'll tell you about my new place soon... It's in the middle of Harlem, not as pretty as this old Sugar Hill neighborhood I'm leaving, but I'm sure it has a charm that I'll discover. All I know is it's home, and I'm going there soon. Tomorrow I'm getting a U-haul and we're moving.