Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Hey Beautiful!"

For those of you who don't reside in NYC - when the weather gets warm the "Hey Beautiful" comments start to fly. I like to call it New York's hey beautiful culture.

I exited my building today to get a sandwich at the local deli only three blocks away and I was bombarded with "hey beautiful" four times. Ok, I honestly found is flattering but mostly because it was done in good taste - no hand gestures, no creepy kissing noises, no looking me up and down just "hey beautiful".

Now, I know that there is this whole push to put the 'creepies' up on a post - you've heard about Holla Back NYC, right? This is where people post pics and comments of the creeps in NYC who feel the need to urinate in public, fondle themselves, make sexual and inappropriate comments and for public lewdness to be posted. Now I'm all for calling the crazies and harassers out and posting their pics - so post away. I, however, feel that the "hey beautiful' comments aren't too intimidating as long as they aren't coupled with obnoxious gestures or gawking.

So, remember gentlemen, keep it simple and say it like you were saying it to your mother, sister, daughter or aunt - no lady appreciates feeling like a piece of meat.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Dr. Seuss...

I boarded the bus this morning on my way to work and I was reminded about a scene that I witnessed earlier this week - it still makes me giggle to think about it.

The bus I usually take is often populated by parents taking their children to school in the morning. It is also one of those buses that is twice the length. I often see the same people. Wednesday morning in the middle of the bus, across the aisle from one another and facing each other was a father and a daughter. She was about eight years old and he was wearing a tall red and white striped Dr. Seuss hat and a suit and tie. I giggled to myself at the hat as I walked by.

As we pulled away from the stop they started to play Rock Paper Scissors. Side note: did you know that there are professional RPS competitions? I had no idea. The girl and her father giggled and teased each other - they were having fun. They continued to play for twenty blocks and 5 stops.

As we approached their stop they continued to heckle each other about the game and who was winning. As they walked past me to exit the bus the girl said, "Dad, remember when you pick me up this afternoon you have to wear the hat. You lost the bet last night so you have to wear the hat." This made me laugh out loud - after they exited the bus of course.

I still wonder what he lost at and I love that he kept his side of the deal and wore the hat in public.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Gala Dinner in NYC

Last night I attended Hale House's 37th Anniversary Gala last night at Pier Sixty, Chelsea Piers. I work at Hale House, in the fundraising department but had very little to do with the planning of the event and I must say - it was a fabulous time!

The venue was beautiful, food was awesome, centerpieces were stunning (thank you Katrina Parris) and the entertainment was over the top. The Hip Hop Church Choir performed, Leslie Uggams (one of Hale House's honorees sang) and members of the Brooklyn Steppers Marching Band woke everyone up after dinner. They were so awesome! People are still talking about the steppers today.

Pictures will follow in a few days.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Autumn in NYC

So, for the past few days it has felt like Autumn in NYC! Yuck, yuck and double yuck! It's only been 64 degrees both days and the wind feels like it is blowing in from the North Pole and thus making it colder. It's the end of May for goodness sake!

According to weather.com it is going to be warmer - 10 degrees warmer - tomorrow. Should I trust them and not wear a jacket? I so can't wait.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Saturday at DTUT

I hang out at DTUT on the Upper East Side quite often on the weekends. It’s a great coffee shop; laid back, fabulous music, couches, chairs and at night they serve beer and wine. Sometimes it is difficult to find a seat especially if there is an event going on in back but if you go late morning on the weekend you’ll have no problem. It’s very much the neighborhood coffee shop.

I have to admit that I’m a little surprised, not exactly sure why, but I am, that there is also a mutual respect that the patrons have for one another. There is free wireless internet so there are many people with their laptops. The mutual respect plays out most when someone needs to leave their seat to visit the counter or the restroom. No one takes everything with them - we all leave our computer on the chair/couch, our bag on the floor and go about our business. It’s a little amazing that we all return to our seats with everything right where we left it. I guess I shouldn’t be so amazed but the small town girl in me still is.

Added note: today at DTUT there was a birthday party - it must have had a princess theme. Young girl (age 4 and below) exited past me dressed in their princess outfits. Absolutely adorable!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Books, Books & More Books!

I love to read. I currently have three books started at the moment. My mood dictates what I read - and my book club schedule. I'm currently reading A Death in Belmont by Sebastian Junger, Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi and a book of poetry entitled Another America by Barbara Kingsolver. I also read The New Yorker every week.

My favorite thing to read, though, is a magazine entitled The SUN. It has been around for decades. It's very liberal, it carries absolutely NO advertising (I love this about them!), it often publishes articles that you would never find anywhere else because of their opinion, outlook, personal nature and/or risky topic and the black and white photography that graces its' pages is stunning. They'll even send you a trial issue for free. I strongly recommend that you sign up for a copy - if you hate it just write cancel on the bill.

Monday, May 15, 2006

The view from my desk...

Looking out my window at work I can see a garden. It's not a garden on the ground. I work in a brownstone in Harlem and my office is on the fifth floor. Across the street, on top of another brownstone is a roof top garden.

Often at the end of the day the woman and her children are outside tending to the plants that they have on their roof garden. I can see that they are growing some small trees, climbing roses, herbs and flowers. I also suspect that there are many things planted on the floor of the roof that I cannot see for they often bend over to pull weeds, plant and move things. Today, I realized I'm jealous.

The day here in NYC started out with cold pouring rain. A very damp and dreary Monday - the kind that makes me wish I had stayed home in bed. Around 4pm the sun started to come out and blue sky appeared. Movement started to occur across the street on the roof and all I could think about was the lavender that I planted 6 years ago next to the stone steps at the house that I used to own in Wisconsin. The wild asparagus patch - I wonder if the woman who bought my house enjoys it as much as I did. The vegetable garden that I would plant each spring. The tulips, bleeding heart, lupine and other perennials that grew on my property. I miss gardening.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

S'mores - mmmmm!

You've had s'mores, right? A toasted marshmallow placed on a piece of chocolate between two graham crackers. I'm sitting at DTUT a coffee shop on Second Ave between 84th & 85th in NYC and three little girls and their Mom are making s'mores.

Now my memories of making s'mores as a child are very different. Growing up in the Midwest meant that we went camping. S'mores were made over a roaring camp fire. The art of making a s'more then was to put the marshmallow so close to the coals of the fire that even the inside of the marshmallow got gooey but not too close that the outside of the marshmallow would burn. Truly an art!

I guess it doesn't matter how you make a s'more whether it's while camping or as fondue - just that you have. If you haven't you should! There's nothing better than gooey marshmallow and chocolate - the graham crackers are good, too - but only there to hold the melting chocolate and gooey marshmallow together.

By the way, thinking about camping brings back memories of snipe hunting. Hmmm, sounds like a topic for a later blog entry.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'm not Wonder Woman - unfortunately!

As a young girl growing up the 70’s I wanted to be Wonder Woman. You know the television series that aired from ‘76-’79 with Lynda Carter in it. She used a lasso, she could be invisible, she had extraordinary strength and she threw that Frisbee/Boom-a-rang thing. I used to pretend that I was Wonder Woman as a kid.

Well, carrying my laundry home yesterday I wished that I was Wonder Woman and quickly realized that I am definitely not! Very disappointing! I also realized that I can never carry 25lbs of anything five and half blocks again.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Gov't Wake Up!!!

Why is everyone so surprised that gas/oil prices have gone up so much? My Mom and I discussed the fact that food prices have gone up already. This shouldn't shock anyone either. Come on America - does the Government really care about the lower middle class and working poor in this country?

1. We go to war. A war that has gone on too long Yes, after 911 we should have done something but war - not sure that was the answer.
2. Real estate prices go up and up and cap.
3. Katrina hits and the American public loses what little faith they had in the Republican Government. (Those of us who are happily Democratic never had any faith and weren't surprised by Bush's government screwing up - after all he wasn't trying to save wealthy Texan oil owners.)
3. Oil/Gas prices increase dramatically.
4. Farmers are now having difficulty paying to run the machinery to harvest our food with, feed their livestock and they didn't make a lot money to begin with. Just because gas/oil prices go up doesn't mean that they can sell milk or grain for a higher price. Commodity pricing is set by the markets. Yikes!
5. This means that food prices are going to go up for all of us! And if those of you in the Midwest thought food was expensive - huh - join me grocery shopping in Manhattan. Shocking!

Just wait America - once gas/oil prices start to effect the farmers it is only a matter of time before it hits all the items that we buy. And once it effects the retail market - it hits the stock market. I dare you to watch the quarterly earnings results (end of June - more importantly at the end of September) for your favorite brands and/or stores that trade publically. Nabisco, WalMart, It could hit the stock market in a very negative way.

Government - it's not the wealthy in this country that keep the economy even. It's the lower middle class and working class poor! When is the Government going to start to pay more and better attention to those who actual make this country great? Remember it's the garbage men, factory worker, farmer, public school teacher, mechanic, etc that feel it the most (because their salary is low) after paying taxes not the CEO of some top traded company. Pisses me off!

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Wait, I live in NYC?!?

Sometimes I forget I live in New York City. I know you think I'm crazy. How could I forget that I live in NYC? I don't mean literally - I know where I live - but it's so routine for me that it no longer seems romantic or fatastical. It's my life.

I grew up in a small town in the Midwest. There are more people living on my block in NYC than in my hometown. Crazy, right? Living on the upper east side, close to Central Park and working in Harlem also plays with your psyche a little. It's quieter. There isn't the hustle and bustle of Midtown. It seems more neighborhoody and less urban.

Occasionally, I'll go to meet my friend Adrianna after work near Madison Square Garden and I'm suddenly slapped across the face with - oh yeah, I do live in NYC. Oops, I forgot. By the way, I am so glad that I don't have to commute outside of NYC and race to catch a train at a certain time in order to get home. So, glad!

Trust me I miss certain things about my small town upbringing: my family, cards on Saturday nights, my friends, driving, not having to carry everything everywhere, hiking, the outdoors, the friendly atmosphere, the genuineness of people, how everyone says hello to each other, my theatre friends, hanging out at The Shed until wee hours of the morning and more than anything my brother and my niece. Kisses!

And then I'm shaken back to 'my reality' by the beeping of the bus lowering its' steps, the horn of a taxi and the city. I love it! I'll go walk through The Ramble later and pretend I'm hiking in the woods of the unglaciated corner of Wisconsin that was my home - by the way, did you know that once you are in the middle of Central Park you no longer hear the traffic and the city. Amazing!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Creativity Stifled

Commuting to work this morning I witnessed a parent stifling his child’s creativity and it was disheartening.

The little girl, not more than 4 years old, was hopping - simply hopping on one leg. Passing time while she waited for the bus. She wanted to see how fast she could hop. She was also counting out loud to see how many times she could hop before she lost her balance and fell over. She was giggling and being silly. She did this six or seven times and was enjoying herself. Her father suddenly corrected her. He tried to teach her that if she slowed down she wouldn’t lose her balance. Well of course that’s true but he was really doing was indirectly telling her she was doing it wrong. Is there a ‘right way’ to hop?

I wanted to scream, “pay attention to your child, she’s having fun losing her balance! Play her game – don’t instill your adult rules!” No worries, I didn’t scream but the little girl did. She wailed. I felt so bad for her. She couldn’t articulate why she was so upset. Her father completely didn’t understand. Her tear streaked face and sad eyes told the whole story she was devistated. I hope she’s brave enough to hop again in the future.

It's a shame that we have to grow up and lose a little of that creative imagination that we all had when we were little. When was the last time that you hopped? Or skipped? Or did something childlike? It's never too late maybe you should.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

My Windows

Happily the windows to my little NYC apartment do not face the street. I have three windows on the back side of the building that face the middle of the block. I am directly across from windows in other apartments but happily they are at least thirty yards away. It's like living with a sibling that you never talk to.

We don't wave at one another. We look when we don't think the other person is looking. We draw our curtains to dress but witness each other in towels and pajamas. We know when the other has company, isn't at home and when they return. Yet we never see each other on the street. If we did I wonder if we'd say hello?

Who looks into your window? When they do what do you let them see?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hazy Outlook

My view on the world today is a little hazy. Having Fibromyalgia can really make things look fuzzy when I don't feel my best. Chronic pain can overtake your life if you let it drag you down.
My theory is to accept it, embrace it and fight back.

Don't get me wrong I can have really bad days but happily today I'm still functional. I'm at work not laying on my bed at home. I'm alert and not tired but I feel like I'm moving through water. Anyone with Fibro would understand the weird sort of haze that surrounds me. I feel like I'm moving in super slow-motion, even though I don't look like it. It's difficult to explain.

Exercise will help! No dairy, no coffee, no alcohol, get plenty of rest, exercise but don't over due it, blah blah blah. I'll walk after work. Hopefully I can ward off a flare. It's too nice in NYC this week to not feel well.

For those of you who don't know what Fibromyalgia is - the best description in my opinion is on the Mayo Clinic website at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fibromyalgia/DS00079.