Monday, August 31, 2009

Round The Wild Witch-Hazel Tree

Ouphe and goblin! imp and sprite! elf of eve and starry fay!
Ye that love the moon's soft light, hither-- hither wend your way.
Twine ye in a jocund ring, sing and trip it merrily,
Hand to hand and wing to wing, round the wild witch-hazel tree...

(from Elfin Song, by Joseph Rodman Drake)

That's the start of the first poem I ever memorized and I still know it by heart. I was about twelve years old and was obsessed with anything to do with fairies, especially poems, which I collected and memorized and recited to myself in the lush Oregon forests and grassy fields where I searched for fairy rings after the rain. Sometimes I'd run into the house after a day spent outside in the woods with a poetry book from the library, and read a favorite verse to my mom as she fixed dinner.

Running alongside the river today, seeing how despite all the brick and cement of New York there are patches of wild brambles and weeds growing thick beside the trail, the Queen Anne's Lace and blackberry bushes reminded me of home, my youth, and growing up in a little dream world of fairies and imagination. I thought about the tunnel I made into the heart of a brushy thicket where I would go hide from my brothers and sisters until it got dark and glow worms lit up around me; the times I'd climb onto the roof and write in my journal; my mother's garden, full of poppies.

Last night I dreamt I was reunited with Cassie, my childhood dog--a silly dream really, but sweet. It's not often that I think of her, or the fairy poems I learned, or all my childhood antics, but they are still inside me, unforgotten. I wonder why we sometimes suddenly think about things like this, but just imagine how sad life would be without these dear memories. When I think about the child I was, I wonder how much I've changed.

Sandra told Dali she thought I looked sad today at work. Probably I was just exhausted from cooking all weekend and staying up until 2 a.m. each night. Also, I suspect I've developed a "work face" which is a bit tougher than my usual exterior, because otherwise the watch dealers (and my coworkers sometimes!) try to take advantage of me and my helpful personality. Hopefully New York isn't hardening me. I don't want to lose my childlike sense of fun, my cheerful nature. I don't think I am. Today I feel hopeful, actually. I feel peaceful, and optimistic, and I don't think its just the endorphins from running. I started over with reading the Book of Mormon last night, and in more ways than that I think I'm turning over a new leaf. Not at all shedding my childhood, but maybe going back to it in a way, coming full circle, nearing a place where everything feels good and right and magical again. I think I'm going to start memorizing poems again.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

St. Stephen's

St. Stephen's is hidden behind a tree, and of course there is never a moment when cars aren't parked in the available parking out front, so it was hard to get a picture of it, but I tried. It has a really interesting window--at least I think it is a window. I think it is a really thick colored glass window with a cross on the outside, so that probably when you are on the inside you see bright patches of color with a cross standing out in silhouette in the middle. Very 70s. Anyway, I love the quaint Edwardian architecture of the building.

A Week's Update

Sigh... It's been a busy week, or at least it must have been, because I have been neglecting my blog! I can't believe I've gone a week without writing at least something. So let me try and catch up...

Work has been exhausting this week. My boss came back from his vacation earlier than I thought, and there has been a lot to do, including ten watch appraisals, which are signed with the name of my boss even though they are researched and written by me. I don't mind--I'd rather have him take the responsibility! And I have the fun of researching and learning about interesting expensive watches. It's made me think that it might be worthwhile to get certified as an appraiser, which I can do through a program at NYU (I think), and then maybe I could start my own side-business appraising art, watches, and jewelry. Or at least use it as leverage at work. Hey, maybe my boss would even pay for it? Hmmm...

This week I hosted Craft Enrichment Night at my house, which was really fun. Ladies from church came over and we made origami and handmade paper and ate lots of weird cute Japanese candy from Fairway. Exhausted from work, I had a hard time following origami instructions, but it was very relaxing to pull a screen through a bath of cotton pulp and form a small sheet of handmade paper. Our papermaking instructor, Jill, gave me a really good idea. She was making paper with bits of oregano in it, and I thought it might be cute to make a series of sheets of paper, each one incorporating a different herb or spice. Then I could take them and write a recipe on each page using that particular spice, and bind them into a very fragrant cookbook!

The other thing that kept me occupied all week was getting ready for our housewarming party. My roommates are all back from their summer travels and we have been bragging so much about our apartment to everyone, so we decided to have a party. It was also good to give ourselves a deadline to finish unpacking all the random little boxes that were still laying around, get all our pictures hung up, and make the place look like a real house. I hung paper lanterns down the hallway and in the living room, creating a fun and festive atmosphere.

But mostly I have been obsessing about what food to make for the party for the past two weeks. Making the food is really my favorite part of having a party, and I wanted everything to be delicious and perfect. In my search for ideas I came across Nigella Lawson's book "How to Be a Domestic Goddess," which is full of amazing baked goods, some of which I knew would be fantastic for the party. So yesterday morning I had my final choices narrowed down, went to the grocery store in the morning, and around noon started baking and making things. I spent the entire day in the kitchen, Michael Jackson music on the radio, diet coke at the ready, just having the best time concocting good things to eat. First I made my favorite chocolate chip cookies, then a zucchini cake with lime curd filling and cream cheese frosting (from Nigella's book), coconut macaroons, chocolate walnut brownies (also from Nigella's book, and these are amazing!), and I was going to make shortbread biscuits with strawberries and cream on top, but then I decided that the strawberries would be really good on the chocolate brownies. I also put little mozzarella balls on toothpicks with basil leaves and cherry tomatoes, and I made little sandwiches of cucumber, smoked salmon, cream cheese, and chives. Later I made some pizzas with cheese, tomato sauce, and basil. It was the perfect amount of food, and it all turned out really great--well, except for the zucchini cake which suffered from my refusal to buy self-rising cake flour, but it was still edible so who cares.

The party was so fun. A ton of people came, and everyone ate, talked, hung out in our various living rooms, snuck onto the roof (we're not supposed to go up there, so I had to shoo them all down eventually, after enjoying the cool breeze and amazing view myself for a moment)... I was delighted to find one guest washing all my dishes at one point during the evening! I'll have to invite him over again for sure. All in all it was a really fun night.

So today I'm just relaxing and resting my feet. Soon I will go eat some leftover zucchini cake and get ready for church. This evening I am having one more small dinner party and then I will be done being a domestic goddess for the time being. I will go over to Peter & Josh's house to play Rockband and watch Mad Men and just be one of the guys.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Harlem LDS Chapel

Too lazy to take a picture of a Harlem church today, so I stole this one off the internet. This is my own Harlem church--the one I go to every Sunday. Almost every Sunday someone in the ward tells a story about the struggle the early LDS people in Harlem had to go through before a chapel was built for them to worship in, and how their prayers and fasting was answered with joy when the chapel was finally built. First the small congregation met in someone's home, then above Sylvia's Restaurant. Then a tiny windowless storefront was found and used for Sunday meetings until this building was built in 2005. Now the Harlem chapel houses two wards and fosters much community activity. Where it was met with opposition at first, it is now a source of pride within the neighborhood. The elders were telling me last week that one day a guy on the street ran up to them and told them that they had nothing to fear from the Bloods, the Crips, or any of the other local gangs because they all respected the Mormon missionaries. Sometimes on my way to church, when people see where I'm going they ask me questions about what I believe and why I go to the church I go to. You can't help but notice this big still-new looking church, all clean amidst the old well-worn Harlem backdrop.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Bacchae

On Thursday I had just arrived home from work, thrown off my shoes and collapsed onto my bed with my laptop when Rachel messaged me--she had free tickets to Shakespeare In the Park! Now, in New York you learn to jump at opportunities like this with no questions or hesitation. Of course I wanted to see Shakespeare In the Park. It's one of the most amazing things to do in the summer, and tickets are hard to get. Every year they put on a couple of plays at the Delacorte Theatre in the middle of Central Park, and admission is free but usually involves waiting all day in line. But Rachel's friend had tickets for us!

This year they did Twelfth Night by Shakespeare as well as the non-Shakespeare play The Bacchae, a Greek tragedy by Euripides--the play we were headed to see. As we made our way into the dusky park, night was falling fast, but the August heat and humidity surrounded us like a heavy blanket. Crickets and moths watched as we followed the sound of drums to the theatre, and as we slipped into our seats the Bacchants were already in full song. I was instantly hooked.

The play is about the new god Dionysus, a young new god of revelry and passion, who sweeps across the land like wildfire, enflaming the women, who leave their homes to live with wild abandon. The play shows the effect of Dionysus on one particular town and family, with a horrifying conclusion. Written in ancient times but with new music by Philip Glass and a rock-star lead actor, the play was (maybe not so) surprisingly wonderful. While it has actually been panned by critics as being too dry, too strange, and not very coherent, I found myself loving every moment of it and being completely captivated the entire time.

I loved the Bacchants in their blood-red sci-fi costumes and their amazing choruses. I loved Pentheus in his immaculate suit, his desire to protect his city at war with his curiosity to see the Bacchants in action. I loved Dionysius, played by Jonathan Groff, in the persona of a snotty rich-kid hell-raiser/teen idol. I loved the shepherd man whose monologue, backed by the heartbeat thrum of an amazing live orchestra, sent chills up and down my spine as he recounted the play's most horrible tragedy. And I loved Agave, mother of Pentheus, who realizes much too late what devastation can be caused by following after lust and fleeting pleasure. It was a powerful tale when written back in 400 B.C., and it continues to be very relevant, entertaining, and impactful. I'm so glad I got to see it--thanks Rachel!


That storm that I watched on Tuesday night from the comfort of my living room window was devastating to Central Park trees. About 200 were toppled by the lightning, wind, and hail. They've been cleaning them up all week--it's been like a lumberyard in the upper part of the park. And I don't even think it was a proper hurricane, just a bad summer storm. That lightning was sure awesome to watch, but the destruction is sad to see. Such is nature.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Beware of Foreign Men

My mom sent me a box of baklava for my birthday, and it arrived yesterday. Thankfully, an old lady on the first floor of my building signed for it and left me a note in my mailbox, so I stopped by and picked it up from her today. I carried it all the way to work and then opened it up and ate one delicious piece. Baklava is truly the food of the gods. With the baklava, mom enclosed a note in which she said, "Stay safe. Beware of foreign men. I'm proud of you for being so empowered!" She's the greatest, and I'm glad I can make her proud.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Summer Storm

Another 95 degree day with 95 percent humidity. The subway platforms are almost unbearable, and then I usually somehow end up in the car with the broken air conditioning. If you see a relatively empty car on an otherwise packed train, there's a reason for that. Jess and Martina came over after work and we sweated it out eating cupcakes and fiddling with origami. We're planning another craft night. Jess said my new apartment feels like a house at Thanksgiving time, which I took as a great compliment. Afterwards, I hung pictures. Hanging pictures is my favorite part of moving into a new place. It's fun deciding where each picture will go, and then when they are hung the whole place feels so much more like home.

Later, a huge storm rolled up, and I watched it approach--had a front row view from my living room window. The lightning came up over New Jersey and as the thunder clapped and fat raindrops fell, people swarmed out of the park. The wind whined around my building, and I turned off the lights and watched, mesmerized, as long eerie lightning bolts feathered down from the roiling black sky. Eventually, the storm moved south and the clouds began to disperse. I was surprised at how little it rained. Nature is so mysterious, so strange, and so beautiful.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A Nice Day

Best haircut ever! I've been trying to take pictures of it, but I just can't seem to capture it on camera. Oh well. Hopefully it will still look this good tomorrow after I wash it. That's always the problem... However, I'm so excited because the girl that cut my hair works for Bumble and Bumble so she gave me this product that hasn't even been released yet that is supposed to make my hair thicker. I'm going to be her guinea pig and see if it really works. And there could be no better test subject than me, because my hair is basically the same consistency it was when I was a baby: superfine. So we'll see how it goes.

Anyway, today was my birthday and I spent it just wandering around the city doing random things. I had a pedicure and an eyebrow thingy, and shopped for apartment stuff like curtains and containers. I grabbed lunch at Shake Shack, and talked on the phone a lot. It was really really hot outside, so I sweated a lot. We got our oven fixed finally, so my roommate made cupcakes. And I got my hair cut. I think it was a nice day.

Sunday, August 16, 2009


I'm amused at the name of this church, the Downtown Baptist Church, because I would not consider 130th Street downtown. Oh well. Maybe the lights are much brighter there, and you can forget all your worries, forget all your cares... And maybe they listen the music of the gentle bossa nova. You'll be dancing too before the night is over!

It's hard to see, but the front doors of the church have cross-shaped windows. Also, the sign to the left of the church says they offer free fresh-baked bread every Friday from from 4-7 pm.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Beach Day

This is how it looked today at the beach, except with no clouds in the sky at all. It was literally the perfect beach day, and I was lucky enough to be on a beach enjoying it. The summer is slipping through my fingers. Labor Day is just around the corner and after that it's pretty much autumn, which I love, but sometimes I wish I could just stop summertime, make it stay still for a while, and enjoy it fully before it flies away. Well, today I did enjoy summer. It was in the back of my mind that I needed to go to the beach before summer ends, so I made it happen. My new roommate and I made plans to meet up after her work shift and take the train out to Jones Beach. But while I was waiting for her, I started chatting with another friend on facebook, so I asked if he wanted to come with us, and as it turned out he did, and he had a car that I was unaware of, and so we all drove to the beach, except we ended up going to Long Beach instead, which was perfectly fine because they have a new Five Guys there, which was so perfect because by the time we got there I was starving. We parked in the parking lot of the Burger King to walk across the street and go to Five Guys, which made an old man laugh. He told us that he was born and raised in Long Beach and came back recently to visit and ate at Five Guys. He said they have the best burgers he's ever had in his whole life.

If my sentences are long and rambly, its because I'm beach-tired and sun-addled. Probably drank a bit of salt water too, so I don't know, I'm feeling a little silly. But anyway, the beach was so gorgeous. The sky was spotless blue, the water was warm and the waves gentle. There were little translucent pearl jellyfishes washing up along with the seafoam that glittered like perfect agates in the sun. Umbrellas of all colors, people of all sorts, kite-surfers, body-surfers, swimmers, sand-castle-builders, nappers, paddle-ball players... Part of the fun of the beach is watching the other people all around. I brought my watercolors and painted some of them. The beach is a great place to do figure studies. I swam, I napped, I drank soda, I walked along the shore, I stared at people, I ate a peach, I analyzed barnacles, I wrote in the sand with a stick, I gazed pensively at the ocean, I laughed at strangers, I chatted with my friends, and I found a shell with a little hole in it that makes it perfect to wear as a charm on a necklace: my birthday present from the ocean.

We saw the sunset and when the wind started to kick up and we got cold, we packed up and drove back to Manhattan, that big monster of a city that I call home. The Killers played on the stereo, and we sang along.

Strike Out

The mood at work was much lighter yesterday, now that my bosses have left for their summer holiday. There was still a lot of work for me to do, but it was easier and more fun to do it knowing that I did not have anyone looking over my shoulder. Then again, if my boss decides to review the security camera when she gets back she might discover me eating a huge piece of chocolate cake at my desk (we had a little party for me and Marta, the birthday girls), texting French Boyfriend, and changing my clothes into a cute dress at the end of the day in preparation for our first dinner date together.

I was looking forward to the evening. All of our lunch dates had been fun: Eric was always very gentlemanly, he and I always had a lot to talk about, and he made no secret of the fact that he was very attracted to me. I was looking forward to getting to know him even more over a delicious French dinner. He had been raving about this restaurant on the upper West side, so we made plans to meet at Columbus Circle and walk uptown through the park.

It was a beautiful summer evening. I would have liked to have stayed in the park and watched all the people playing sports, having picnics, strolling with children and dogs, savoring the green beauty of the trees and sky. But I was also very hungry. Eric and I walked hand in hand, and talked about our days. He was very complimentary, and the Frenchman in him made it clear that he wanted to kiss me. He was a gentleman about it, but he is French-Brazilian after all, and those people have a different sense of propriety. Especially when they are not LDS! I wondered how long it would be before I had to tell him that, as a good LDS girl, I won't have sex before marriage.

Well, I didn't wonder for very long, because not very far into our Central Park stroll, he hinted that it would be so fun if we went to Atlantic City for a weekend sometime soon. So I told him basically, "I'm sure it would be fun, but we could only go for a day trip because I will not spend the night in a hotel with you, in fact, I will not" blah blah blah. I explained it all very clearly, expecting surprise. And boy was he surprised! It was almost comical. As the news sank in, he expressed shock. Major shock. There were many questions. He had to sit down to take it all in, so we sat in a grassy glade for a while and just talked. His reaction went from disbelief to wonderment to pleading, and back again to shock and disbelief. At the same time, he was probably thinking his charms could change my mind, but I was firm and clear. Women who feel that promiscuity is liberating and empowering had nothing on me at that moment. I felt like the most powerful and desirable woman in the world. And yet it was hilarious to me that my virtue was blowing his mind.

I don't know how long we talked, but after a while I tried changing the subject. We talked a little bit about books, about soccer, how we both have very long-lived people in our families. But he was shaken by my bombshell, and could not recover. He told me that his appetite was completely gone, that he had to go home and read about Mormons on the internet, and that I should probably just date other Mormons because then there would be no problems. I couldn't help but agree about the last part, and felt a little miffed that he would rather read about Mormons online than talk to one in person, but I was ready to go too. It was quite clear that he was not going to buy me dinner, and that simultaneously amused and disappointed me. It was hilarious to think that my standards had quenched his French-Brazilian fire to such an extent that he couldn't even stomach food, but I was disappointed that he wasn't at least man enough to follow through with our date.

So we walked back to the subway and said our goodbyes. I wonder if I will ever hear from him again? Probably not. But it's okay. I went home and heated up some leftovers and read a book.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Week in Short

Monday, August 10. Probably the hottest day of the summer so far, with humidity to match. Had lunch in Central Park with new French boyfriend. He's not really my boyfriend, but he thinks he is. Wants to have lunch with me every single day. Le sigh.

Tuesday, August 11. Spent the day running errands for my boss. On my lunch break I ran errands for myself. After work I went running around the Riverbank State Park and along Riverside Park. Sore ankles mean I am in need of new running shoes.

Wednesday, August 12. On my lunch break, watched a maintenance guy taking the flag down from a pole outside the CBS building on 52nd Street. I wondered if he was taking it down because it was about to rain. But his way of rolling the American Flag into a big ball and carrying it stuffed under his arm didn't seem to jive with the kind of flag-respect that keeps the flag out of the rain.

Thursday, August 13. Last day of work before boss goes on vacation, which meant no lunch break for me, too bad for French Boyfriend. Much of day spent writing frantic emails from my boss to other boss requesting payouts to watch vendors, and searching for paperwork regarding said payouts. Mollified one freakishly rude customer. Several times during the day counted freakishly huge stacks of $100 bills, and held a handful of gold Krugerands. Alas, none for me.

Monday, August 10, 2009

The River

Even though summer has finally caught up with New York City, and the steam is visibly rising from the pavement, scorching under upper 90-degree sun today, I had the overwhelming urge to go running after work. It felt really good to run down around the Riverbank Athletic Park. There, people were playing every sport imaginable--football, running on the track, swimming, handball, baseball, basketball... It's a really amazing place. It was fun to see all the people busy at different activities. Some just laying in the grass soaking in the heat. Then I ran down along the river, where there is a beautiful trail for bikers and runners. On one side a busy city, and on the other a lazy, peaceful river with the sun setting in hot pink clouds above it. The trees, grass, and wildflowers smelled like summer in the country, and a stiff breeze blew seagulls up from the sea. Kayakers paddled around in the distance, and a white airplane stood out against the hazy blue-gray sky above the George Washington Bridge. People everywhere got on with the business of running, walking, driving, biking, strolling, sightseeing, flying, boating, while the Hudson just gently rolled along.

Sunday, August 9, 2009


This is a bad picture of an interesting church. Like a lot of Harlem churches, it appears to be an old house converted into a church. The liberal use of red ties into the trend I've seen for red doors on churches. The sign on the front creatively uses a cut-out cross to further employ the red in a dramatic way. There is another very thin cross applied to the second story white bricks. The church seems very out of place in its position next to much larger buildings.

Friday, August 7, 2009

A Romantic Story, Maybe

A few days ago I was walking back to work from my lunch break. I was on 53rd Street, almost to work, listening to my ipod, engrossed in my own little world, when I realized someone was talking to me. I took out one earphone and heard the guy say, "Are you French?"

Now, this is New York, the city where anything at all can happen. It's not common for strangers to talk to you on the street, but neither is it uncommon. Every day, walking around anywhere at all in this city, you encounter thousands of people. Anything and everything happens. I'm beginning to not be surprised by any of it. So I looked at the guy and said, "No, of course not." He smiled at me and told me that he meant it as a compliment. "I'm half French," he said, "which is why I talk to strangers on the street..." Suddenly, I was at work, and dashed in, but not before he held out his hand and introduced himself.

Chalking it up to another crazy New York experience, I didn't think much about it until yesterday when I was eating my lunch outside somewhere near work. I happened to look up just as a man was walking by and our eyes met. "Hello!" he said. "I know you! Do you remember me?" Surprised that I did, I said, "You're the guy who thought I was French." He sat down next to me and we commenced to have a very pleasant conversation. Turns out he works near me, and was on his lunch break too. When I had to go back to work he suggested we meet for lunch the next day, and I agreed. So we did.

Guys probably don't realize it, but whenever a girl meets a boy, her future immediately flashes before her eyes, starring him in the role of boyfriend, fiance, husband, etc. It's impossible for a girl not to envision these things, no matter how hard she tries, or how ridiculous it is. So of course I was thinking today that if anything were to somehow maybe miraculously come of this chance meeting on a summer afternoon in New York City, it might be a cute and romantic story to tell the grandkids someday. If not, well, it's still a cute story at least.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Food Glorious Food

I went grocery shopping today in my neighborhood for the first time today. I live near two grocery stores. The first one is medium sized, and clearly owned by people with some serious food issues. Look:
The food, otherwise arranged in no particular order, is stacked in pyramids from floor to ceiling. The rest of the store is festively hung with red white and blue bunting. I have a theory that the owners of this store are living their version of the American dream by celebrating the abundance of food choices we have here. Or maybe they are fans of 1960s pop art.

The second grocery store in my neighborhood is located under a highway, next to the river--kind of a strange place--but the trek is worth is. Entering this store is like entering a labyrinth of food. Food here is also stacked from floor to ceiling, but the effect is more like food tunnels than impressive pyramids. Again, an abundance of riches. You ought to see the salad pit, and the stacks of lemons and limes. I wanted to take more pictures, but I was busy staring at all the food.

This store has an entire Cold Room where all the refrigerated food like milk, eggs, and meat are kept. The store even provides a huge pile of coats for people to put on if they want to, because the cold room is basically a giant walk in refrigerator. You ought to also see the olive bar, and the cakes. You can even watch the Oompaloompas--I mean the employees--make mozzarella cheese! This place really is the grocery store that Willy Wonka would have had if he gave up the chocolate factory.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Daily Grind

Jeff is right--I'm lucky to have a job, and I'm thankful to have one. But I hate those days when you get to work and before you even have time to turn the computer on, your boss is calling you with a list of things that need to get done, and then when you try to do them, you encounter so many obstacles that its like one of those bad dreams where you are trying to run but its all slow motion.

Luckily, the day got better. I didn't get in any trouble, free toffee popcorn came with the box of office supplies we ordered, and I when my sisyphean tasks were over I got to go out and run errands--delivering a check here, picking up a watch there. And I got to take taxis, which always cheers me up. The day was hot and sunny, but it was nice to be out of the shop. The watch-dealer I delivered a check to gave me a box of chocolates. I feel like he probably has a stash of them in his safe alongside his watches, ready to be doled out to pretty girls. He's Italian, after all.

For lunch I had a fruit shake, because there was no time for food. There was too much to do, and even when work was over I didn't feel like grocery shopping, so I had cereal for dinner, and chocolate cake. I realize that everything I've eaten today except the cheerios was full of sugar, and that's why my stomach is now feeling kind of odd. But I don't have any real food--maybe a box of Saltines somewhere that I haven't unpacked yet--and its too late to go raid Peter's fridge. Oh well. Tomorrow I will be healthier. Maybe I will even go grocery shopping.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Finally! I have a moment to unpack a few boxes. But I'm distracted so easily by a book, the computer, the sunset over the river right outside my window, the creepy sounds of being home alone in a new apartment... Actually I love being home alone. It's one of my most favorite things. Of course I do miss E. I guess I forgot to tell you blog-readers that she was leaving, figuring that a lot of you already knew. She is moving on to a new adventure in the Southwest. She's gone back to school for animation and archeology in Arizona. If she was on Sesame Street, she would be brought to you by the letter A. I saw her off this morning, bright and early, and I cried a little bit, wondering what was going to happen to each of us next and if it would be as fun as the times we had here in the city together. Hopefully she made it home all right--she's probably out shopping right now with mom and K, or swimming in the pool. I'm eating her leftover birthday cake, trying to decide which box to unpack next.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another Harlem Church

Just when I think I might be running out of churches, I find this one. And I found a bunch more today, too. I guess that's what happens when you move to a new place and you have new routes that you walk. I took this picture in the torrential downpour, so I think that's why it looks so gray.

Yesterday (My Troubles Seemed So Far Away)

Yesterday was a nice day. (Sorry about the lack of blogging by the way--I have been consumed by moving into my new apartment. Now that I am fully moved, I can get back to my regular life...) It was E's last Saturday in New York, and the day before her birthday, so we did a few fun things. First we had breakfast at Sarabeth's, our favorite place for breakfast and brunch. It was delicious, and such a beautiful morning, so we sat outside and people-watched as we dined.

Afterwards, we headed downtown and over to the east side, and took the tram across the East River to Roosevelt Island. E loves this place because of its quiet, strange buildings. I think the island used to house lunatics, but now there is some kind of rehabilitation hospital, government offices, shops, and lots of parks. For being so close to Manhattan, it is surprisingly quiet and tranquil. And strange. We kept finding things that might have been clues to a treasure hunt. Who knows--maybe there is more to the island than people know. I guess most people don't think of going there for recreation, but the lighthouse park on the island's northern tip is lovely. I laid down in the grass and fell right asleep while E explored the island. I woke up to see her bringing me pizza, so we picnicked. The day was so gorgeous, warm and sunny. We walked the circumference of the island, and then took the tram back over to Manhattan. I took some pictures of the city from above.
Back at home, E napped while I headed back out on the town. I met up with friends at Shake Shack, maybe the most popular burger joint in the city, and we ate some delicious food in Madison Square Park while watching the fireflies come out and play. Then it was karaoke time down in Little Korea, where we got our groove on to some AC/DC, Tom Jones, and all kinds of stuff. I sang Cotton Fields by CCR, which was really fun, but I didn't really have much of a voice because I've come down with some kind of summer cold. My throat has been all scratchy lately. Ugh.

So Saturday was a good day. Today was good, too, but we had a torrential downpour. You'd think that after such a gorgeous sunny Saturday, Sunday would not be so bad, but the skies were dark as I headed to church, and I turned back and grabbed an umbrella. Glad I did, because when I left church it was raining hard. I have a longer walk home now, and as I got going the rain got harder and harder. By the time I got to St. Nicholas Park, I couldn't go up the stairs because they had become waterfalls, and I was wading through puddles that covered whole streets. The storm drains couldn't handle the flow, and parked cars were being flooded along St. Nicholas Avenue. My umbrella started to leak, and it was all I could do to keep my ipod, camera, and phone dry. By the time I finally got home I was sopping wet from head to toe!

I tried to unpack a few boxes, tried to write on my blog, but I fell asleep on my new roommates overly comfortable couch, and when I woke up E was home from church too. Since I still have no food here at my new place, we went over to Peter & Josh's place and took advantage of the fact that Peter had just baked an entire menu full of things as part of some Good Eats contest. It's nice having neighbors that cook! Once I get settled in, unpacked, and my stove is fixed, I will have to repay them by fixing them a dinner. Meanwhile, one of the most amazing things about my new neighborhood is Santiago Deli, this tiny hole-in-the -wall store just up the street, where you can get a foot long hot sandwich made to order, with a free can of soda, for only $3! It's AMAZING.