Wednesday, December 31, 2008

I Take (Some of) it Back

I had to go to the bank on my lunch today. Because I went to the wrong bank and then got on the wrong train (let me explain those, so I don't sound so stupid. I bank with Washington Mutual, which got taken over by Chase during the whole bank crisis couple months ago. And while I can use their ATM's I cannot deposit money there, yet. And the TRAX stop at Gallivan Plaza is the transfer point for the Sandy and University lines; I foolishly got on the train without checking that it was going my way. It was not. And so I just walked from the courthouse to the bank that I needed to go to. Do I sound less stupid? Perhaps just more absent-minded?) I was able to do a fair amount of walking in downtown Salt Lake today. Not only did I enjoy walking again, something that I've surprisingly become fond of while being in New York, but I was able to walk on shoveled sidewalks! So some of Salt Lake's sidewalks do get shoveled. The city is not overrun with snow-covered sidewalks.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Training Day

I know you've all been waiting for me to stop talking about snow and Christmas and public transportation and want to know about Sundance! Well, to tell you the truth, there hasn't really been much goin on with that. There isn't a whole lot to be done before the festival actually starts, so much of my day is spent Facebooking and reading pointless articles online, and is occassionally interrupted by small tasks that need to be done. But those tasks rarely last long and then it's back to trying to find ways to waste the time before 5:00.

But today was Training Day. It was the day when half of our Ticketing Agents came in for their Orientation. I love that when you're on the other side of Orientation, as a supervisor, it can be called Training, because I'm not being oriented but instead am the one orienting. It's very exciting to feel in control and in charge. And even though I hate the spotlight to be on me, it was very exciting to get up in front fo those ten people and talk about Operations and Emergency Procedures and Sundance Policy and Lunches. Maybe it's just that part of me that longs to be back in a school environment, but it felt very much like preparing for a presentation for class and I very much enjoyed it.

Friday will be another Training Day for the other Ticketing Agents and I'm actually looking forward to it. At least I'll get to do something.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

A Bit of Complaining

First Complaint: The UTA (Utah Transit Authority) only sells monthly bus/TRAX passes by the actual calendar month. It's good from January 1st to January 31st. What about those people only visiting for a week, or those who arrive half way into the month? Or me, who needs it to start on the 28th and last until January 28th? Do I just suck it up and pay the $4.50 Rail Roundtrip fare? It's a system that instead of encouraging visitors and residents alike to use public transportation, makes it a costly hassle to figure out the ticketing. There's no weekly pass, or a monthly pass good for 30 days from purchase. You can't even buy the monthly pass at a TRAX station; it has to be purchased at grocery stores throughout the valley (bonus points, though, for being able to purchase it online and have it mailed to your house).

Second Complaint: major sidewalks are not shoveled. Snow from streets that have been plowed away get piled up on the sidewalks, making them practically impassable. The bus stops have no standing area, and to even get on the bus you'd have to step in a big pile of snow. This might not be the case for all major sidewalks here, but since I am not well-travelled on all the sidewalks in Salt Lake you'll just have to take my word for it. This certainly makes it harder for those who chose to ride the bus and utilize the public transortation in their city; it's as if their seen as not as important as those who ride cars.

In case you couldn't tell, public transportation is something I'm slightly passionate about, a by-produdct of living in a place that relies so heavily on it. I just get frustrated by the way public transportation is here. I realize it's not New York and there's not quite the same need for it here. A friend once told me that to really enjoy New York, you have to stop looking for Salt Lake/Utah in the city; the opposite can also be true. Once I stop looking for New York in Salt Lake, I can fully enjoy this other City.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Happy Christmas

It was definitely a white Christmas here in Salt Lake. After staying up late Christmas Eve to wrap some presents and watch a movie, I woke in the morning to find lots of snow covering the ground. I took some pictures, but since I'm not using my laptop but rather my mom's computer, it's not quite as convenient as it usually is. But let me just tell ya that it was a lot of snow. And the wind made it worse. It looked like a blizzard out there!

And so it was a Happy Christmas. After my mom and sister opened our presents together, we lounged around until Jared and the kids came over to open their presents. The kids sure get more excited than us grown-ups do. There was pandemonium and one gift opened by the wrong person! I'm sad to say that I don't think my gift of books was much appreciated :( I bought my oldest niece, Ivy, the poem book Where the Sidewalk Ends and Cinder Edna, and hopefully she'll appreciate them more after the excitement of Christmas wears off and the flashy toys get broken or forgotten.

We played games, ate food, baked cookies and let the kids frost them. And, as is tradition, I went to a movie. And it wasn't without a little prodding on my part. It had started snowing again pretty heavily, to the point that the footsteps made just twenty minutes prior were no longer visible. But I was bound and determined to go, even if I would have to go alone (this is when I really missed being in New York; bad weather wouldn't be a problem because I wouldn't have to drive, and going alone is not a big deal in the city). I talked my mom into it, and we made our way through the snow drifts and white streets to the theater. And with seeing The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, the tradition remains alive. Although the ride home was quite arduous, and when we got home there was snow so deep that the car wouldn't make it and so we had to part on the street.

What a great time of year it is. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Garbage Digger

Sometimes, when you're walking around the city late at night, you can see people digging through the garbage bags on the street. They're looking for plastic and glass bottles, things they could redeem for money. Some times they're maybe even looking for food. But I doubt they're ever looking for earrings, which I did tonight. Yes, I was a garbage digger.

I had bought a pair of earrings for a gift for someone, but in the busyness of everything I sort of forgot about them and they got thrown away in a bag that was thought to be empty. Thankfully the garbage had been emptied just before I got home so the bags were on the top in the garbage dumpster-- but they were in corner that I couldn't reach. And since I didn't feel like climbing into the dumpster, I had to use a broom to pull them closer to me. Thank goodness there weren't a lot of icky, sticky, disgusting things in the garbage bag. But still, it was sifting through garbage.

I found the earrings, and will never look at those garbage diggers the same.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

In New York

While I'm here, I can't help but compare to how I do things in New York. My mom lives very close to her church--in New York terms I'd say it's about four blocks (the short blocks, not avenue blocks). That's the normal distance I walk every day just to get to the subway. Because it's cold outside, we drive to church. It takes, max, a minute and a half to get there. It just makes me laugh; rain, shine, snow, sleet or wind I'm off to church, and everywhere in the city, by first walking to the subway and then walking from the subway. A minute and a half car ride or a 30 minute subway ride. Oh, the city.....

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Peter Breinholt

So I kinda love Peter Breinholt, and ever since my sister went to one of his concerts on a date (even though she had no idea who he was), I've been jealous and have wanted to go myself. And tonight it finally happened! I must tell you that it was amazing and way cooler than that dreck performed by Michael McClean. I've always been a person who understands the power of music and can always be moved by it; I think it's because I have no actual musical talent. So I'm always very impressed by people who write and perform their own songs and play musical instruments. The show was fabulous; he and his band, which includes such local artists as Ryan Shupe and David Tolk, played for a good two hours, culminating in a wonderful medley of "Silent Night" and "The First Noel", with the audience joining in at the end to sing a verse of "Silent Night". (Sorry for the bad quality of the picture; I took it with my cell phone.)

We also used our time downtown to check out the lights on Temple Square. I'm also fascinated by lights at Christmastime, so this was a pretty cool night for me. I never cease to be amazed by the serene beautifulness of all the trees in Temple Square, and the surrounding plaza, lit up in oranges, whites, greens, blues and pinks. I love downtown Salt Lake City.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland

It snowed today. A lot. From noon until pretty much now it's been snowing. I was beginning to think I had brought the weather and snow with me from New York--it snowed the day I flew in, and then proceeded to continue snowing intermittently with super cold temps; meanwhile New York had something of a heat wave with 67 degrees earlier in the week. But then all became okay, as the entire nation was blanketed with snow, all the way from Vegas to New York, and all seemed right in the world. I know that dealing with the snow and such isn't always fun, but there's something unifying about all of us as a nation dealing with shoveling sidewalks, driving in snow-blown wind, and bundling up to go outside. I'm just glad I got out of New York before getting out was, if not impossible, quite impeded.

And of course because it snowed I needed to go out on my lunch break to get some things done. I almost turned around because I couldn't take the snow falling into my face anymore, but decided to trek on. My fabulous orange cute may be cute, but it certainly isn't for snow weather (because I packed too much I wasn't able to also bring my real winter coat). The constantly falling snow needed to be brushed off my coat about every thirty seconds. This picture doesn't quite do it justice.

When I stepped into Wal-greens I was dripping water from my hat all over the place!

And this is the TRAX station at Trolley Square at the end of the day, around 5:00. Normally, on a clear day, you can see the mountains and the U in the background. All the streets and trees and sidewalks were covered with snow that it all looked so picturesque. If my finger weren't so cold from my soak-thru gloves I would've taken a picture.

An Old New Yorker Thinks You Should Wear a Coat

Two days ago my mom and I were driving to work when I saw a bunch of kids standing at the corner waiting for the bus to come. The first thing I said upon seeing them: "Where are their coats?!" I sounded so much like a parental figure, an overbearing adult who thinks they know best, that I kind of shocked myself. Perhaps it's the New Yorker inside of me; people in New York are used to being out in the elements a lot and therefore are always bundled up. Sometimes they even bundle up too much, at just the slightest drop in temperature or hint of rain they come out dressed in full gear. But perhaps I am just getting older, something that you don't fully realize until you see younger kids and wonder what the heck they're doing. And at that moment, when you no longer relate and think you know better, you become older. If that means I'll be warm while they're freezing, I'll take it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Train by Any Other Name...

Today I finally got to ride TRAX to work. For those not familiar, TRAX is Salt Lake's subway. Except it's above ground, and only has two separate lines--one running north/south and the other east/west (with other lines in the planning stages). So it's not nearly as extensive as other metro services, but for Salt Lake, and for this girl spending time here, it serves its purpose.

What I love about being in New York is that I'm connected to everything. I can walk out my apartment building and be just a short walk to the nearest subway, which then connects me to everything. I never have to worry about how I'll get somewhere; I know that by subway, bus, taxi or sidewalk I can get there. This is less true here in Salt Lake, where everything is much more spread out and therefore much more dependent on cars to get you from A to B. It has been a very hard adjustment for me, having to rely on other people to drive me around, get me to work on time, pick me up from work, take me to the store. It's quite the change to my independent and self-reliant ways I've learned in New York.

And that's why it felt so good to be standing at the TRAX station, standing in the 16 degree cold, waiting for the train to come. It felt good sitting there, next to strangers, just reading my book and enjoying the scenery. One thing I do love is the openness of TRAX and that I get to see the mountains and sky while riding. When I was waiting for the train at Trolley Square to come home I could see the lights of the city and cars against the backdrop of a pink and purple setting sun in an open sky. It seemed to be the perfect embodiment of me.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Orientation Day

Today was Day One with the Sundance Film Festival. It was nothing like this clip from The Hudsucker Proxy, but I just like that clip so much for its take on Orientation Day. Because if you've worked at all, if you've worked a lot, you've been to more than one Orientation Day, and they can be pretty boring, full of rules and regulations and things you can do and things you can only do under certain circumstances. It's kinda like the rodeo: if you've been to one, you've seen everything.

There were a few boring moments, but for the most part it all went pretty briskly and smoothly. The people all seem really nice and cool, which is generally the case with people in the film industry. And it was great to learn about Sundance and its general purpose, as opposed to the over-commercialized scene that sometimes comes across in the media. It is a non-profit organization that wants to promote the art of film and the process of making film. They have Director, Screenwriter and Composer Labs that they hold twice a year at the Sundance Resort. But since it is non-profit, they have to create partnerships with companies and corporations and individuals who will donate money and support the mission. And all the staff are really committed to the vision of Sundance.

So I'm excited for the job to really start tomorrow. I'm also excited for the 8 free comp tickets I get! If the experience is anything like my Tribeca Film Festival experience, I'm in for a really great time!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Your Tray Tables Up

I'm feeling pretty incoherent at this moment, seeing as how my day started at 3:30 AM New York time. Which means, when I convert it into Utah time, I got up at 1:30 and am now still up eighteen hours later. So if this post seems a little...all over the place...that's why.

I just want to give a shout-out to hopstop, who said that a taxi ride to LaGuardia airport at 5:00 in the morning would cost $23.83. You know how much I paid, before adding a tip? $23.85. I find that to be pretty darn impressive.

Someone once told me that I'd be a good flight attendant. She meant it as a compliment, in that when I'm in the cashier mode at the Crew I say the same thing to every customer: "Hi, how are you? Was anyone helping you today? These items are final sale, so they cannot be returned or exchanged. Thanks, have a good day." I very rarely veer from these words. So when I saw my flight attendants today, all I could think about is how they have to say the same words over and over, to people who don't care. I felt much empathy for them.

So it's snowing here. And, coupled with being with my family, makes it really feel like Christmastime. I've already been to a family Christmas party, where I was the celebrity, the cool girl who live in New York City, played with the niece and nephew, drove in the blizzard-like conditions on the freeway, and am now ready for bed. Those snippets of sleep on the plane don't really count for anything. Look for more coherent, and exciting, posts to come.

Friday, December 12, 2008

The Last Day..for Awhile

How fitting that my 100th post also comes on my last day in New York for six weeks. Don't know why it's really fitting, but 100 is such a milestone, so....

Today was a great day. The rains stopped and I was able to do the things I love most in the city. I saw a movie (the surprisingly great Frost/Nixon, thankfully at the "matinee" price of $6, since prices just went up to $12.50!), saw the Van Gogh Colors of the Night exhibit at the MOMA (was a little underwhelming after the amazing Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam), walked around the city (a by-product of my no-unlimited Metrocard, but also something I really love to do), and went to the library (which really wasn't a good thing, because I had to return John Adams, which I'm not done with and am craving to continue reading).

I even got up early and did my laundry. And now I'm going to bed late packing. I sure have a lot of stuff. Hopefully I make it to the airport on time....

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And Then the Rains Came Down...

It's been raining all day today! And I know that because I was out in it from nine until 2:30. I thankfully had on my wellies, but I did not come prepared with gloves, a scarf or a hat. And boy was it cold! I was out doing some things with Mark and Maria, things that weren't really on my list. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with them, but knew I didn't want to spend anymore time out in the rain. So I headed home to take a short nap and make some Christmas cookies.

And so I have accomplished a few items on my list, mainly the ones that didn't require going out. But there's still a lot left on the list--hello, laundry--that tomorrow will be a busy day. Of course I've saved everything for the last possible moment; I'm planning on getting up early to do laundry, maybe see a movie, go to the MOMA, perhaps go ice skating, check out what I can buy for people here in the city, and then top it all off with packing. Although, I no longer have an unlimited MetroCard because it expired on Wednesday and I was only going to be in the city for two more days; planning your day is much different when you have to think about paying for every in and out of the subway. We'll see how it all goes tomorrow.....

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Retail Rant

Tonight was my last night at the Crew for awhile, and it couldn't have come at a better time. I'm past the point of being nice to people simply because they happen to frequent the place I work. I'm all for being nice when I see and interact with people in natural settings, but when it's forced I'm not very good at it. I have a hard time making it seem like I really care about the fashion choices they are making. I've also learned during my time in retail that people generally annoy me. Their silly questions, their wants and requests. I get annoyed when I have to explain to them why they're getting an extra 30 percent off their merchandise. I get annoyed when they want me to wrap their items in tissue, even though it's clearly a waste of paper. I get annoyed when they can't swipe their own credit card when the machine is clearly right in front of them. I get annoyed when they ask me for a gift receipt after I've already finished their transaction and put everything in a bag and told them to have a nice day. I get annoyed when they think I should be helping them and only them. And I really get annoyed when they try to tell me how to do my job--I've been working at the Crew for over a year, I know what I'm doing!

I'm going to be working at a Crew in Salt Lake, but only one, perhaps two nights a week, so it'll be a nice break. And the only thing I'll miss are some of the people I work with.

And when I came home, this is what was waiting for me. Mark and Maria put up their tree while I was at work. Isn't it beautiful?! I'm such a sentimental fool. I of course turned off all the lights and just sat on our couch staring at it. Mark decided to put his tree up in our apartment this year because his roommates wouldn't appreciate it. So I say thank you to them.

And tomorrow I work on more of my list...

A Procrastinator's List

My list of the things I need to get done before I leave for Salt Lake, not to return to the City for six whole weeks.

--laundry, yuck
--pack, more yuck
--figure out how to fit everything an over-packer needs for six weeks into one suitcase
--decide if I should buy my fam Christmas presents in the city or wait til I get to Utah
--see the Van Gogh exhibit at the MOMA
--work one more night at the Crew
--clean up my room, so if, fingers crossed, someone does sublet my room they will have their own space
--make cookies
--decide on how I'm going to get to the airport for my 7:02 AM flight
--have dinner with a bunch of friends from the Crew to celebrate Hanna's birthday on Thursday
--temporarily change my address
--try to finish the books I checked out from the Library
--see a bunch of New York things that are only here during the holidays
--stop wasting my time doing things that aren't necessary (researching my newest obsession, Ray LaMontagne, and other such banalities)

Thankfully I have Thursday and Friday off from the Crew, so hopefully most of these things will get done. Last night I went to the tree at Rockefeller Center to cross that off my as-yet-unformed-except-in-my-mind list. Here's a few pictures (my camera batteries died so these pictures are from my phone, hence the poor quality).

Even though I absolutely love lights and trees and all that jazz, the tree last night didn't have the same punch as it had when I saw it for the first time last year. Perhaps I'm more jaded, a real New Yorker. I think it was because it was unseasonably warm and I was much too bundled up, and therefore a little uncomfortable. Plus, as I sat on a bench on sixth avenue, looking at everything and breathing in this crazy city, I had this melancholy feeling like I was leaving forever and would never see it again. But I'll be back in six weeks, and the city will still be crazy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mormon Humor

Last week was the Lingos Film Festival, a yearly event put on by the New York Stake Singles to showcase aspiring filmmakers in the city. I didn't attend this year, but last year I did submit my documentary from my production class at the U. This is the winner this year (that's not to imply that mine won last year; although the programmer did schedule it for the last showing because it was his favorite) and I really wanted to post it because it's HI-larious! And the guys who made it, including the star, Ryan Simmons, are in my ward.

And then I also found this sweet little nugget of a gem. It wasn't part of the Lingos Film Fest, but it sort of made the rounds on Facebook. I also thought this was priceless, and hope that no one is offended by the use of Hitler.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Can I Pet Your Dog?

I don't normally go ga-ga over babies or dogs when they come in the Crew. It just seems silly, as they're not mine and I have no direct relation to them, ankle-biters or canines alike. But I do have a slight soft spot for cute dogs, and having just seen Bolt last week, and loved it, I was quite taken with a dog that was in the store today. I'm not fluent in dog breeds and such, but I'm pretty sure this was the same dog as Bolt. She was just so beautiful and well-behaved that I had to ask her owner if I could pet her. And would you know, her owner was none other than Kathryn Erbe....the chick from Law and Order: Criminal Intent! So I know she's not a huge celebrity, but she gets mondo extra cool points for owning a dog, Lilah is her name, that she rescued from a pound. Wow! She and her dog were just so nice and friendly that I had to tell you all about them.

Sunday, December 7, 2008


When you ride the subway, there's a wealth of information available to you in the form of posters and advertisements. Since there's not a whole lot to do on the subway, and it's rude to stare at people, you find yourself looking at all the ads and posters. There's almost always a poster for some school, some lawyers promising you lots of money, or some doctor promising you results. The MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) has decided to use some of the advertising space for its SubTalk. Some of these tout the goodness of the MTA, let you know about special fare offers, and that "If you see something, say something." And then there are those select few that have quotes from books and poems. This is one that I've seen quite frequently and wanted to share.

America was discovered accidentally by a great seaman who was looking for something else when discovered it was not wanted, and most of the exploration for the next 50 years was done in the hope of getting thru or around it. America was named after a man who discovered no part of the New World. History is like that, very chancy.
--Samuel Eliot Morison

When I read this it made me reflect that life in general is also quite chancy. How often are we looking for something entirely different than what we ultimately end up finding? I love the idiosyncrasies of life and that someone else could put it down in words, and compare it to finding America. Sometimes we just gotta take what we find even if it seems like it's not worth it, because who knows what treasures it could end up holding.

Let it Snow?

It snowed last night. Well, I'm not sure "snowed" is the right word. It flurried. For about an hour. Nothing stuck to the ground, and the city isn't covered in a blanket of snow this morning. But while snow can be really exciting and pretty, especially when it's Christmas time, it can kinda be a pain in the city. It looks pretty for about half an hour, before all the people and cars make it slushy an dirty. And then it's just awful, having to drudge through snow and wet on the streets...and on the subway...and in all the stores. And then the snow is less exciting and more excruciating. Oh, to be a kid again when snow was always exciting and snow-days applied to you.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Grant and Bryant

Did you know that General Grant is buried in New York? And it's not far from where I live. Since I had the day off (the Crew is getting short on hours...something about a bad economy...) I decided I would spend it doing some cool things in New York. Some people like New York because of its nightlife, or its fashion scene, or the places to eat, or its school offerings. I like New York because it's old and has so much history. Question: Why didn't I major in history? (a: because I was lazy in college!) So I'm taking full advantage of my opportunities to see history while I'm here.

General Grant was a rather interesting figure in history. While being a great General in the Civil War, almost single-handedly turning it around in favor of the North, he was a not so celebrated President. It was plagued with scandals and other misfortunes, but did have some distinguishing marks, such as signing the bill that created Yellowstone National Park and the ratifying of the Fifteenth Amendment. He was an interesting character, having battled alcoholism and becoming bankrupt after his presidency while in New York. I'd definitely like to read a biography about him.

It's officially called Grant's Tomb, and it really is quite remarkable looking. It's technically a mausoleum, and it was modeled after those of Napoleon and some other famous dead people I was not familiar with. I didn't take any pictures inside because it seemed wrong.

I'm such a sucker for these historical sights.

And then I was off to Bryant Park to see the lighting of their Christmas Tree. For those who don't live in the city, the Rockefeller Christmas Tree is the most well-known, but there are lots of other trees in the city. It wasn't too cold of a night, and probably not nearly as crowded as it will be tonight at Rockefeller Center. The tree is beautiful, although I do like mulitcolored lights more. But it was a great way to feel festive and partake in all that the city has to offer.

So this is the tree before it was lit...

And after.
And here I am with the tree. I'm also a sucker for Christmas Trees.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A Lovely Lunar Delight

Yesterday was just one of those days where I hated New York. Everything about it was awful. I left work--at 4pm--feeling absolutely tired. All I wanted to do was go home and just be lazy, but I needed to first stop by the library, try to attend Winter Eve Fest at Lincoln Square, make a quick detour into Fairway for some groceries, and hopefully see the moon in its crescent shape along with the two bright "stars" of Venus and Jupiter.

But, alas, none of it would go as planned. First the one train was not running because someone was running around on the tracks. So I walked to the B/D train on Sixth Avenue and 23rd street. When I got to the library, the book that was being held for me--because I had returned it a week ago with a sentimental bookmark still in it--did not have the bookmark still in it. Feeling dejected about that, I headed outside, hoping I could at least see the moon, even though seeing stars in the city is practically impossible. I must've been in the wrong part of the city because I couldn't see the moon, and couldn't tell which way I needed to be facing to actually see it. Too many tall buildings. I was now doubly dejected, thinking how much I hated the city and it's tall building and city lights. I no longer felt the need to stand out in the cold for Winter Eve Fest, so I just walked on up Broadway to Fairway to get a few items. Of course they were busy, as always, with about five bajillion people in a store with little tiny aisles and maze-like walkways. I waited in a long line for three items, all the while increasing my hate for the city and all its people who need to buy groceries. I thought that at least when I got off the subway at my stop I would possibly be able to see the moon, since there are less tall buildings. No. No moon.

By now I was completely bummed, and completely absorbed in my hate for the city and how much it makes me walk and tires me out. So right then and there I decided to go my favorite deli, the Nadal Deli, and get a sandwich. It's something that I love in New York and I wanted it to erase my hateful feelings. Mission accomplished.

And today, since I had the day off, I went around the city doing a few things (which I will blog about later). And it just so happened that when I turned onto Broadway around 122nd street I looked up and saw the crescent moon in the twilight sky! What luck! I could barely make out the two bright spots of Venus and Jupiter, and knew that if I just waited a little bit til the sky got darker I'd be able to see it better. So I sat myself down on a bench in the middle of Broadway and waited. And boy was it worth it! The moon and the two planets looked beautiful in the dark blue sky; all of them shone so brightly. I'm a sucker for the moon and the feelings it evokes--feeling small in this huge universe and yet also like you're a part of something bigger.

This picture in no way does it justice, but just as I was getting ready to cross the street and get something better some clouds covered up the moon. I waited for the clouds to continue moving, but they never did and I needed to get going. But man, was it breathtaking.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

It is now officially The Christmas Season. The Crew got a new playlist and it includes holiday music. Tree lots have started to pop up on the streets. People have started to put up lights on their windows. I for one couldn't be more excited. I love everything about Christmastime, the shopping for loved ones, drinking hot chocolate, wrapping gifts, listening to Christmas music, singing Christmas hymns in church, seeing the lights that pop up on the city streets and buildings, the bell ringers, browsing the Christmas decorations in stores. I love it all. And yes, I'm listening to Christmas music as I type.

And today I brought out my Christmas decorations. I was a little undecided about putting anything out, since I'll be leaving in two weeks and won't even be here for Christmas, meaning my roommates would have to take everything down. But I couldn't fight the urge, and Maria insisted that I put my things up. She was a little stressed when I moved in and had boxes labeled "Christmas things", but she overcame it last year and I think actually enjoyed my decorations. And I don't really have that many things.

One of my favorite things about Christmas is the lights. I love to turn off all the lights except for the Christmas tree ones and just sit staring at it. Since I'm not getting a tree myself this year (although Marky Mark is going to put up his tree in our apartment this year because his roommates don't appreciate it) I wanted to put some up in my room. I love nothing more than lying in my bed with the illumination of multi-colored lights. But would you believe that every single one of my strands of lights are kaput! None of them light up! Some of them are kinda old, as they were hand-me-downs from my mom and dad, but is it too much to ask for just one of them to still light up?! At least the bells on my bell wreath still work.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Black Friday

Black Friday is different for those of us who work in retail. Instead of getting to participate in the great deals and craziness, we are forced to get to our jobs early and be just mere witnesses to the bedlam that ensues when the doors are opened. But before I make it seem like a totally awful thing, let me just say that it can actually be quite a fun and exciting experience for us workers.

I've worked three Black Friday's at Wal-mart; once as a cashier and twice as a frozen/meat associate. Since no one's buying frozen dinners or fresh meat on Black Friday, I got to help out on the floor. My year as a cashier was the least exciting BF. It's just standing at the register checking people out. But when I'm on the floor I get to see everything. I get to help out where needed and see all the people turn into complete crazies when it turned to 5:00. Since Wal-mart is open 24 hours, there are people in the building at all times. They get there extra early, some drawing maps of where the best deals are located and others coming with extra people to dispatch to different places in the store. They have a look in their eye and a sprint in their step. And then when the time finally comes for the pallets to be ripped open and the items on the floor to be released, it gets crazy and LOUD! One year there was a deaf associate who said she could actually hear the noise of the people!

I feel very saddened about the associate who was trampled to death at a Wal-mart store on Long Island. I can attest to how crazy people are when consumed by rampant consumerism. The year I was a cashier a few people came thru the register with battle wounds--blood and scratches--from fighting for a Bratz doll that was on sale for ten dollars. A Bratz doll!! My sister works at Wal-mart; she's a small girl and when she has to cut open a pallet then try to get out of the way of the crowd it can be quite scary. One year she almost got blocked in and had to fight her way out. People really do have no concern for those around the when a deal is at stake. Is it really worth it? Is your life really worth it?

BF at the Crew was a much less exciting event. We were not running any special offers for the day; we didn't even open early (well, we did open ten minutes early because there were a few people standing at the door who kept checking their watches). People who came and thought they were getting a great deal on our offer of 30% off Sale prices would be disheartened to know that we were offering that same deal all week long--and all through the weekend, too. So the day was pretty busy, but just made it feel like a Saturday (a day which really wasn't busy like a Saturday, so in the end it was pretty much all the same).

And you know what? I kinda missed the whole crazy spectacle of Wal-mart.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Turkey Day Photo Montage

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Gobble Gobble

The cheesecake turned out great (you couldn't even tell there was more cinnamon than called for) and so was everything else. Well, except for the brussel sprouts. I even tried them to make sure I didn't like them. It is now a definite fact, based on experience, that brussel sprouts are gross.

So I wanted to do a photo montage of all the food we had, but my laptop has gone a bit haywire. So all you will get are the pictures I got on here before it shut down.

This is our turkey, Charles Brackleton, getting ready to be put in the oven.

I took pictures of the apple pie, the appetizers, the table, the napkins, me cutting my cheesecake, but you won't get any of those so just savor all these turkey pics!

I like to see a movie on Thanksgiving; it's a little tradition I started a couple years ago. This year's movie was Australia, and I had to see it alone because Maria was too tired to go. I guess I could've waited til Friday to see so we could all see it together, but then it just wouldn't be the same as watching it on Turkey day. But what's great about being in New York is that it's okay to go to a movie by yourself--you're usually not the only one. So I'm thankful for the city, that I can be surrounded by a million people and yet still be alone.

Giving Thanks

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! In the spirit of the day, let me tell you a few things I'm thankful for:

--my family, because they're awesome
--friends near and far, old and new
--the subway system
--libraries and books
--ironing boards
--hats, gloves and scarves
--my camera
--my job, even though I hate it, because it at least lets me pay rent (usually) and buy cute clothes (which I don't need)
--eggs and toast
--my passport
--my bed, its pillows and Winston
--an apartment whose heat works
--a body that works, for the most part
--movie theaters
--feeling loved by those around me
--the ability to heal, physically, emotionally, spiritually
--chocolate and ice cream
--sunsets and sunrises, although I haven't seen one in a while...
--all the food I'm going to be eating in a little while because I'm HUNGRY!

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the turkey? Read about that, and other fun facts, here. And with that I leave you with these cartoons.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Turkey on the Subway

I picked up our Thanksgiving turkey this afternoon at Whole Foods. It was a little crazy, but after some help from a very polite and competent worker, I had my turkey and roasting pan in a bag and I was on my way. And how many times do you get to ride the subway with a turkey? It seemed like a strange but very cool thing to do.

And now I just got done making my first ever pumpkin cheesecake. It's currently in the oven, and I hope it turns out okay. I followed a recipe given to me by my friend Paula; her cheesecake is amazing and I figured I couldn't go wrong with her recipe. My signature dessert is white chocolate raspberry cheesecake that gets very good reviews from my family, but I decided to go with something more Thanksgiving-y. But I get very nervous about making something for the first time for a big event with other people. I sure hope it goes okay! I accidentally put in one Tablespoon of cinnamon instead of one teaspoon. Whooops! I guess we'll see how it tastes tomorrow...

So I'm very excited for tomorrow and the food I'll get to eat. Marky mark is a fabulous cook and has some great ideas for our turkey and meal. He is very gourmet; he is a self-proclaimed "foodie" and is kind of a food snob. He even has a special way he wants to fold our napkins! I will definitely take pictures tomorrow and post them. Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Perfect Man?

I wasn't going to do it, but I did. I wasn't going to waste my hard-earned moolah on it. But there were posters everywhere, catching my eye when I'd walk through the Times Square subway station. They stared down on me from huge billboards in Times Square. I brought it into my home on the cover of my favorite magazine. Those lame shows like Access Hollywood and Entertainment Tonight were practically having countdowns. Even the respected morning shows got on the bandwagon. It all amounted to the hype and anticipation being more exciting than the real thing (this is a theory I hold to be true for many things, as the events leading up to something are almost always more fun than the actual thing; I think it's because there's no disappointment involved in the anticipating, only in the actual experiencing).

What I'm talking about of course is Twilight. But I don't want to talk about my disappointment with the film, the silly dialog and the sophomoric acting. My main disappointment is that the young girls who the book and film are geared towards find Edward to be so perfect. When I happen to see one of those insipid entertainment shows, they invariably go to the crowd of girls waiting for the book, movie, whatever, and they just go on, usually with a lot of squeals, about how perfect he is. Really? Is Edward our standard of perfect?

For me I'd much prefer someone who has flaws and is real. Because what's perfect for me is not perfect for someone else. Perfect is only relative. Perfect people don't exist, but people who are perfect for someone do exist, in all their flaws, neuroses and imperfections. I certainly know that Edward isn't perfect for me, just as I wouldn't be a perfect fit for Edward; and he certainly wouldn't be a perfect fit for Jessica.

I just wish girls at that young age would be more preoccupied with studying, learning, traveling, laughing, being independent and free thinkers, than being concerned about finding their "perfect" Edward. Become their own person first so they'll know what's perfect for them, instead of what someone has created as perfect.

Disclaimer: I am not a Twilight hater. I read the book and loved it, and loved Edward (well, most of the time). I just hope the young girls who read it can see it as fiction and know that the real world, and real relationships, are much more complex, hard, satisfying, crazy, joyful, and beautiful.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Little Bit of Holland in New York

Our stake was lucky enough to have a bonus stake conference this Sunday as Elder Jeffrey Holland from the Twelve was visiting the area for a training session with New York bishops and presidents. Since our stake center isn't big enough to hold everyone, and the chapel that is big enough is still under renovations, and we already experimented with having our Stake Conference recorded and aired live at all the chapels in the city, the president wanted us to have a place where we could all meet together as a stake for Elder Holland's visit. They found a beautiful playhouse used by one of the colleges in the city, called Hammerstein Ballroom, that had great balconies and a fabulous rotunda. No chandelier though, but Elder Holland still said he felt like screaming out "Christine" (from Phantom of the Opera) and that this was the closest he would ever get to starring in anything off-Broadway--and that because of that the Lord most definitely answers our prayers. It certainly elicited a great laugh from the congregation.

I can definitely see why it was so important to have us meet together as a stake. It was a great moment and a great message and it makes us feel more unified when we can all meet in the same physical space. It even felt a little bit like attending General Conference at the old Tabernacle. More just the feeling of the grandness of the place and the meeting of members. There was no pipes or organ, just a keyboard that I assume had an organ setting because it sounded very much like an organ.

The music for the meeting was provided by the Stake Children's Choir and it was beautiful. You just can't help but smile after hearing kids sing. And they were all so reverent. Its when I see kids that I think about my nieces and nephew and how much I miss them.

Elder Holland spoke after the kids sang "I am a Child of God," and made a comment that they are proof as to why we are so protective of marriage and families. His words really struck me and helped endorse what I had been learning. He spoke for quite awhile, with no notes, about many things. The children being helped to the stage made him remark that through all our life, from nursery to the temple, we have people helping us. He said that we are a Church of happy endings and safety is our promise. He said God speaks through his prophets and told a great story about President Hinckley and how he worked up until his last days, and that everything he did was for us. He said we need to hunker down in our boats when times are hard and turn to the Savior. And he ended with giving a blessing to all, the men, women, children, everyone in the stake.

Afterwards we waited in line to be able to shake his hand. Rosemary's friend from Italy, Aline, would use Elder Holland's words on her mission to convert people. He is her favorite Apostle and she really wanted to meet him. I was trying to explain to her that it must've been fate, destiny that the two of them would be in New York at the same time. She didn't understand the word kismet, so I explained it by saying it was 'written in the stars' and she really like that. Elder Holland was very gracious with all the people who wanted to meet him, hugging some and touching others faces. When I got my turn I thanked him for coming, and he said I was as cute as the flower I was holding (on a day that I hadn't washed my hair!) and that he hoped I had a good Thanksgiving.

It was really a great meeting, and it's moments like these that I feel truly grateful to be where I am. Being a member here feels so much different than being a member in Utah. Plus, I ran into a girl that I graduated high school with who is now living here as her husband attends medical school. Sometimes it really is a small world.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Kids on the Bus

When young school kids get on the subway it does something to energize it. It's usually full of people who are late for work or just jaded about the craziness of the city. We are never excited about riding the subway, and never laugh and squeal about the bus turning corners. We hope to be able to get a sit, to not sit by someone who smells, and to have a little bit of time to just listen to our ipod/read our book/rest our eyes. But when those young'uns get on, I, and I think most passengers, can't help but smile at them. They get some simple pleasure out of something we all take for granted. And they always look so cute. Yesterday a group got on and they were all bundled up in their winter clothes. They were talking and jibbering, and their teachers were trying to make sure they were all holding on and being polite. The noise decibel raises quite a lot when they get on, and then it seems strangely quiet when they all get off. It even prompted one man to say, after they all de-trained, "God bless'em!". God bless them for sure, for making me remember that the subway and buses are pretty cool and that I should be excited about them.

Also, you might've noticed the holiday theme of my blog now. I'm one of those people who loves decorating for every holiday, and thought that it should be reflected on my blog. Thanks to Pambelina for indirectly directing me to the website for backgrounds.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Locked Out

I locked myself out of my apartment today. Maria was a work, and Rosemary was out seeing the Statue of Liberty with her friend that's visiting from Italy. So I had to go to my Super's apartment in the basement (after waiting for someone to let me into the building; New York apartment buildings can only be entered by key). He wasn't home, so his wife gave me his cell number. I called him and he said he would call his wife and ask her to see if he had one for 6D. She did, and all was well with the world. But it could've been so much worse, like me not getting in to be able to change for work. So yay for the super.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It has finally gotten cold in New York. So of course it's freezing in the crew. It got a little bit cold about a month ago, and the folks at the Crew sort of jumped the gun and turned the heater on. Well, it was a fluke because it immediatley warmed up after that. It also warmed up at the Crew--something was wrong with the AC and it was HOT inside. It was so warm customers were actually complaining about it. So now that it's actually cold outside--and looks to stay that way--the Crew is freezing. Where's the heat?

The cold is a good excuse to bundle up and put on all those fun winter accessories. I for one completely love the bundling up with my scarves, gloves and hats. I do not like the wind. Which has made all the beautiful trees now bareen trees, which makes the city less pretty. Good thing I got to see it last week. Now I guess it's time to settle in for the cold winter months.

On a side note, I usually like to add some sort of photo to my blogs but am currently experiencing some troubles with my laptop. About a week ago it was odd things, like Google all of a sudden being in German. And now I can't open up my e-mails or browse thru pictures on Facebook. And it stalls a lot and I have to close down Firefox and reopen it. I'm one of those paranoid people who thinks that someone has hacked into my computer and is slowly but surely stealing all my information. I guess we'll see. So I'm thankful to Maria for letting me use her computer, and hopefully soon I'll be able to post some sort of pictures.

On another side note, I certainly don't mean to offend anyone with my opinions. If I have offended you I apologize. I try to keep my blog happy and fun and certainly don't wish to cause any controversy. But my opinions are my opinions and I'm entitled to them. I will respect yours if you respect mine. "It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain an idea without accepting it." I'm open to adult discussion about anything where there is no attacking and actual arguments and ideas put forth. I am not one to just accept what is told me without first thinking it through myself. And sometimes discussion works and someone's mind can see things differently, and then is all the better for having arrived at the same end point but on their own terms.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fall in the City

I have been itching to get out into the city and see the changing of the leaves. I was afraid this would never happen, as my work schedule usually has me inside during the hours of the day when it would be most beneficial to be out and about. But on Thursday I decided I would do all that I could to at least see something. So first I made sure to notice the trees in my neighborhood. Not my direct neighborhood, but if I walk a little bit east to the actual area of Hamilton Heights it turns into a quaint little place with tree-lined streets and row houses. It really is quite nice. Here's a couple pictures to demonstrate the changing seasons in my nabe.

Then I was lucky enough to be sent on an errand at Tribeca. I always love getting out of the office to experience the city in the middle of the day, and it's especially nice when the day is only a little chilly, sunny and not raining, as it was on Thursday. My errand took me to Grand Central Station (well, sort of; it took me to Rockefeller Center but I took a roundabout way getting back to the subway) and snapped a few shots of a tree that looked incredible.

What I was really hankering for was the trees in Central Park, though. I found a way to get to leave work early, and made a straight bee-line for the Park before having to head off to the Crew for more work. And I just gotta say that the Park did not disappoint!
Isn't nature and the work of God amazing?! I LOVE it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quantum at Midnight

At midnight Maria, Marky Mark and I went to the showing of the new Bond film, Quantum of Solace at the Zeigfeld Theater. I'm a big fan of the midnight showing, as it usually bring out the best crowd. Sure, sometimes you get those weird people who choose to dress up, and it can be cool like those with a fedora and whip at Indy 4, or it can be a little much like those who choose to go all out with their Jedi get-up and lightsaber. And last night was no different, as some movie-goers chose to dress to the nines in their tuxes to emulate the uber-suave (and oh-so-tasty looking, in pretty much everything!) Agent 007. This is who you want to see a movie with, people who are genuinely excited to see what will unspool before them. The people who clap when the lights go down, the people who clap after they show previews (Star Trek amazingly got the biggest applause, while the Tom Cruise-starring Valkyrie got the most unintentional laughs), the people who clap after the opening credits and continue to clap and laugh at moments in the film that we all get. Also, except for perhaps the midnight showing of Sex and the City: The Movie, the midnight audiences are mostly made up of guys and just might be a good place to meet one.

The Zeigfeld is an amazing theater on 54th street between Broadway and 7th avenue. It's totally old school and classy feeling, with chandeliers and gold trimmed moldings. And did I mention that the screening area is HUGE! This is why there was no line outside, and also why they hold big movie premiers in there. The maximum occupancy was 2000 (or 1200, I have a bad memory)! Either way, it's a large number.

So the movie was fabulous, even if I do like Casino Roayle more; after the great Vesper Lynd none of these leading ladies could do much but try to look pretty and not lose their cool. The fight scenes were pretty amazing, such as the knife fight in the apartment, the chase across Italian rooftops and the subsequent scaffold fight. And I love it when Bond cleans himself up after a fight so he can enter the world looking like he hasn't just been in a fight.

And then Maria and I felt the need to express our love for Daniel Craig as Bond (we saw someone else do this so we decided to, too).


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