Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there! I have much to thank my dad for. For example, one time when I was very small my family took a trip to Crater Lake in Oregon. We stopped to look at the lake where a low stone wall separated us from a sheer drop-off with the lake hundreds of feet below. Somehow (I don't remember any of this) I thought it would be a good idea to get up on the wall and run along it. When my mother saw me, she almost had a heart attack, but before I could trip and plunge to my death in the lake, my dad came up from behind and caught me. My whole life I have not felt much fear because I know that my dad is always behind me, ready to offer support and help--whether it be helping me with my math homework, fixing my car, or giving me advice on life's conundrums. Thanks, daddy! I love you.

Today's Church

Sometimes when I walk down an ordinary street in Harlem I suddenly encounter a church that seems so completely out of place that it astonishes me. This church is one of those. All I could say was, "What in the world?!"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Hermit Crab Time

I can't believe a whole year has gone by since I moved into this apartment in Harlem. I've really grown to love this little cozy place, with all of its quirks, and yet I think the time has come to move again. Our lease is up, and E and S are going their separate ways, but I thought I'd have no problem finding new roommates. There has always seemed to be an endless flux of people moving to New York, right? But it has not proved to be as easy as I thought, and with one more week to go before the end of June and no roommates lined up, I am in a quandary.

However, some fun friends just signed a lease on a place up north a little ways, in Hamilton Heights. It's a three bedroom place, much like my current place, only a little bigger in some respects, and cheaper rent. The kitchen is not as wonderful, and the closet situation is a little bit sad, but overall its a really nice place. So they want me to live with them, and I think they'd be great roommates. The only problem is that E and I had agreed that we'd stick it out in our current place through at least July, thinking that we would have new roommates in place to take over S's room and E's room when she moves out in late July. So, my friends are moving into the new place next week and I'm stuck here for another month. I don't want to pay double rent... but I want a place to live! And not only do I have double rent to think about, I have one extra room here, since S is moving out and there is no new roommate. So that makes triple rent.

So the two options are to either pay triple rent, or find subletters for my new place and S's old room here to cover July. That way I won't go broke paying for everything during the transition, and I won't lose my spot in the new place. I feel like a hermit crab in that transition stage when it has to find a new shell and then quickly transfer its soft vulnerable body into the new shell, hoping everything fits just right. I hope I'm making the right choice, I'm hoping I will not regret leaving this nice little apartment, I'm hoping I will not hate my new home. And I hope I can find subletters!

Does anyone want to come sublet a fantastic room in my apartment? Is anyone planning a trip to New York in July? Do you have friends who are? Tell them about the Lady Holiday Hotel. I am currently taking reservations for weekends, a week, or the whole month if you'd like. You would get your own room and I would treat you like a bed & breakfast guest and make you pancakes every morning, and bake you chocolate chip cookies to munch on at night. Seriously, anything to help cover the cost of July's triple rent would be truly appreciated!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Long Late Spring

Last month I visited North Carolina just in time to catch the end of my mom's peonies. Big, pink, fragrant and full, I think they must be my favorite flower of all. Mom had bouquets of them all over the place, even in the fridge. She told me that if you cut the peonies when the buds are fat, just before they bloom, then dip the stems in wax and store them in the refrigerator, then when September comes along you can take them out, cut the stems, let them soak in some water, and they will bloom just as if it were May again. I guess I'll have to plan a trip home again in September and see this miracle for myself. Peony season corresponds with strawberry season, and so I was able to enjoy two of my most favorite things together at once!

But now it is the middle of June and, although the peonies have long since bloomed and gone in NC, in New York there are still bundles of the gorgeous flowers to be found in street-corner flower markets. We can thank the mild Northern climate for that, as well as the long, late, wet spring we are having. Summer is just around the corner, yet the typical day has not made it up past 75 degrees, and sunshine has been rare. A woman I work with, Maria, lives about an hour's train ride out of the city, in a large house with a lovely yard, with peonies in full bloom. And even though its getting a bit late even for New York peonies, hers are planted in the shade and so have outlasted all the neighbors. Maria has been bringing in bucketloads of peonies to decorate the shop, much to my delight. In fact, imagine my joy when I came to work yesterday and found my own personal peony bouquet at my desk--a reward for hemming three pairs of Maria's pants, because she doesn't own a sewing machine. I'm a fan of this sort of bartering system! No matter how hectic and crazy my job gets, there is always room for a few peonies, whose soft petals and delicious scent make me smile and think lovely thoughts.

So, tonight I am thinking of peonies, and eating strawberries, which are still in season here, and it made me think of this picture I took last month when I was home. I love it.

Kewpie Doll Hair

Is anyone else besides me tired of kewpie-doll hair on guys? You know that kind where they comb up the front section to stick up in sort of a point?

Monday, June 15, 2009

There's A Light

Tonight I baked a birthday cake for Josh and took it to him. Me and Josh and Peter ate cake, joked around, and watched TV, and when I walked home later, I had a nice peaceful feeling. Broadway at night is illuminated by street-lamps, shops, the moon, head-lights, fire-truck lights, lights from apartment windows, a Cuban restaurant, the light of the 1 train on its steel elevated track, and the light of a dozen candles burning around the photo of a boy who must have died somewhere nearby. I watched the fire-truck roll into the station. I saw churches with their windows and doors gated and barred. I saw a bakery with beautiful cakes inside--more beautiful than my lopsided creation. I saw a man getting shaved in a barbershop. Kids played basketball on the sidewalk.

I thought about my friends both far and near. I thought about one friend who has been going through a very hard time. He called me last Saturday and we talked for an hour and eleven minutes, and I think I cried the entire time. Not because he made me sad, but because I want so much for him to be happy. I want him to know that he is loved, that he lives in a wonderful world, and that there are amazing things in his future. I want him to know what I know, and for him to be able to see how beautiful the world is around him, even amidst turmoil. So I've been thinking about him a lot. And thinking about the things that really matter in life, like family and friends and doing good. I'm so thankful for what I have and what I know. I'm thankful for the peace that I can feel even in the middle of stress. I think talking helped him. He called again yesterday and sounded so much better.

I don't know where I'm going to live in two weeks--I don't know what my immediate future holds for me, but I know that it's going to be okay, wherever it is and whoever it's with. It must be a gift to be able to see the light in the darkness of night, because I know that not everyone does. And though I sometimes complain about the light being dim, or sometimes even turn away from it, I know there is always a light. It guides my path. I know which streets to walk down and which to avoid. And I know that before long, "the sun will rise, the day will come, and we'll be found."* The thing about night is that it doesn't last forever. It's heartbreakingly beautiful, it's scary, it's temporary.

*words of wisdom from The Avett Brothers

Sunday, June 14, 2009

No More Sad Refrains

It's kind of silly to post a song on youtube with no video, but someone did, and it's the only way I can share it with you, so... whatever. I'm currently obsessed with Sandy Denny, a British folk-singer/songwriter of the 60s and 70s. And I love this song, No More Sad Refrains. Listen:

Another Church

This building is unlike the usual Harlem church. The stark fortress-like facade, the huge doors, the three bells on one side, and the rusty iron crosses call to mind something from the old Southwest.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


With my family in town distracting me with good times, I've fallen behind on some more mundane things. In an attempt to begin to get organized, here is my current to-do list:

~Write some real blog posts.
~Sewing: I've got three pairs of pants to hem for a lady at work, and two dresses I need to let out a little on the bottom, because I'm too tall.
~Clean the house for potential visitors, because I still am searching for some new roommates.
~Grocery shopping.
~Take my books back to the library.
~Write some letters.
~Go to Borders to use a coupon that is about to expire.
~Mail some gifts to my neices and nephew.

Hmm. I thought there was more than that, and there probably is! But this is a good start. Let's see how much I can get done before the weekend is over.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Family Visit

My mom, dad, and lil sis are in town for a visit. E has the week off too, so they have all been gadding about town, doing various things like touring Central Park, shopping on Canal Street, and looking at apartments for me (might as well put them to use, right?) After work I meet up with them and we all go eat somewhere delicious. For example, last night we went down to Mulberry Street and ate at this place called Grotta Azzurra, in Little Italy, which was amazing! It has been kind of cool weather-wise, but it was warm enough that the restaurant had all its walls open, with tables spilling out onto the sidewalk, and we enjoyed the cool breeze and people-watching. The food was so good!!! And the service terrific. In fact, they actually moved us to another table because of some online radio show that needed to set up in our corner, so they treated us to an enormous dessert platter at the end of our already-enormous meal. Molto bene!

Tonight my mom was craving comfort food, so we convinced her that instead of baking a potato in the microwave it would be more fun to go to S'Mac, this place that serves gourmet macaroni and cheese. And since they opened one on the west side, we didn't even have to go to 12th Street. It was so fun! And so very very delicious. We all ordered different flavors and shared, and I've got tons of leftovers for tomorrow. Afterwards we went home and watched Pinnocchio for some reason, and snacked on hermit cookies that my mom brought from home.

It's funny because my family isn't really very touristy when they come here. They don't really want to do stuff like go see Good Morning America being filmed or try to get into all the Broadway shows. They are perfectly content to just sit in my living room and visit. My mom brought her knitting, my dad brought his bassoon so he can practice. K talks on her phone to her friends, and we all just talk. It's nice.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


I saw this church one time while walking around, but forgot where it was, and I've been searching for it ever since. Finally, today I found it again! It's on the corner of 131st and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, and the front features a really unusual tile mosaic of people's heads looking upward (towards heaven). I've kinda been looking up there myself lately. I feel kind of lost and adrift at this moment, as I search for a place to live and people to live with. I wish I could afford to live by myself, but that's the problem with New York. Everything is so overpriced. I looked at a room today in a 4-bedroom apartment just a few blocks away from me, and the room isn't much bigger than my current one, but they are asking $900 per month! That is just crazy. Sigh... However, I am praying for guidance, and I know that God does not want me to be homeless, and he will help me find something.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Maybe Tomorrow

Maybe tomorrow I will feel like blogging. It's just that apartment-hunting makes me grumpy.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Transition Time Again

It's been a really tough week for some reason! I've really been struggling at work, and the days have just dragged by. Finally, after what seems like four years instead of four days, tomorrow is Friday. But I still have to plug through it before getting to the weekend. Luckily, I have a very eventful weekend to look forward to. I've got a cheese celebration, a cookout to celebrate India, two birthday parties, a concert... and next week my family will be in town. So there are blue skies ahead, the weatherman tells me, but first the rain clouds have to run their course.

Part of the stress, I think, is from the idea of moving again. I'm staying in New York, but my lease is up, and my roommates are dispersing. I'd love to stay put, but haven't had much luck finding LDS roommates. So I've been hunting on Craigslist, looking for a new place. Once I find it, I'll be fine. It's just the not knowing when or where it will all happen that gives me heart palpitations. I have found myself sitting at my desk at work forgetting to breathe, or staring off into space, my mind on rents, budgets, timing, credit checks... Moving in New York city is just a huge hassle. I've got a few good leads though, so I'm sure I'll find someplace.

Anyway, I can't believe it's been a year since my ceiling crashed down and I had to move into my current place. Time does fly. I've almost lived in New York for two whole years. And I'm digging in for a third.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I paid off my student loan! Well, one of them, anyway. It only took ten years. And I didn't understand anything about it, ever. Numbers were never my strong suit. All I know is that I feel a teeny tiny bit more free than I did a few days ago, and it's nice.

Monday, June 1, 2009


I fall in love so easily, and I'm afraid it shows. My inner nuttiness emerges, and I become a klutz. I can't speak properly. I'm over-eager. This in turn is misinterpreted, or else I am perceived as intimidating. I'm not exactly sure which, as I have never successfully been able to read minds. All I know is that I'm knotted inside, hesitant and bold all at once, and tired of it all. Love shouldn't be so difficult, should it?