Sunday, November 30, 2008
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
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
Thursday, November 27, 2008
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.
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
--hats, gloves and scarves
--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 bed, its pillows and Winston
--an apartment whose heat works
--a body that works, for the most part
--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
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
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
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
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
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
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
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!
Friday, November 14, 2008
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).
Thursday, November 13, 2008
(As a side note, I don't mean to say that my friends' families aren't supportive. I just wanted to say that I didn't get any flack from mone for voting the way I did. Hope this doesn't offend those friends who had to defend.)
And, to keep with this political strain, let me just say some things about Prop 8. This has been a hard thing for me to come to terms with. I'm still not sure I have, yet. I absolutely believe in marriage for all, regardless of sexual orientation. I don't enjoy the Church getting involved with it, and can understand why people feel the need to protest on Temple Square. But the LDS Church was not the only one involved. Read about Catholics supporting the church here.
Last night there was a protest at the temple here in Manhattan. I happened to be in the area just before it all started at 6:30 (the time I had to be at work) and saw some people walking with signs that read Prop h8. While I didn't attend this one in the city, I do have friends that attended the one in Salt Lake. And I have friends and co-workers that are gay. This is what some people in the gay community think about the protest last night; I love that he talks about Outreach being the solution, not Anger.
I don't know what's going to come of all this, and I'm trying to see the bigger picture and why the church would choose to get involved. I just don't like the blind hatred and ignorance on both sides of the issue. I believe that we should all just take care of ourselves and govern our own lives (which is why Marky Mark thinks, and confirmed by an on-line test, that I'm a left-leaning Libertarian). I have friends that believe strong on both sides, and I'm just stuck in the middle trying to defend my faith while defending what I believe should be a right to everyone.
But what's so great about America is that everybody is given the right to vote and protest as they see fit. Now if only we all had the right to be married.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
So my first wishes will go out to my favorite cousin in the whole world, Rachel, and her husband Tyler, as they celebrate two years of being married today. Elevens are an important number to them, and got quite lucky when November eleventh happened to fall on a Saturday. Of course this was a sign of their had-to-be-together and were married at eleven o'clock on the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Whenever I see a clock that reads 11:11 I think of them. (Since I've only met Tyler once, I have no pictures of him, and the only one I have of Rachel is this one with my sister that I took at Temple Square before I moved to New York.)
Next I send birthday wishes to my ever-great roommate Rosemary. Hope she has a great day, seeing a show, walking around, eating cake, and enjoying the city.
And last, but not least, birthday wishes to my friend Stefanie. She subletted Rosemary's room when she was in Italy for six weeks and we spent the summer doing cool things together.
Monday, November 10, 2008
That's my friend Brook in the middle, and the rest are people that she works with. This was sort of a going away, last-hurrah type of night, as the next day was the last day for the guy in the picture.
A couple weeks after this, I was getting on the subway at 66th street. I was on my way to work after picking up a book at the library. I was wearing that same orange coat because it was super-cold, and when I walked into the subway car this girl looked at me and smiled and waved. She didn't look like a crazy, so I waved back and smiled. It was the girl on the end in the white coat! She recognized me by my, and I quote, "beautiful coat" We rode the train together til Times Square where I had to transfer, but I loved how it was so random, that in a city of a million people you can still find the few people that you know. Sometimes it helps, though, if you have a totally awesome coat.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Apparently there is some sort of strategy/skills involved, and mine differs from what Maria and Marky Mark do. And clearly mine is better because I'm always winning :) I simply choose to place and play a lot off of my four work piles, something they are wont to do as it ties up cards they could place in the middle. I never thought of it that way; I saw it more as giving me more to work with.
So last night we were playing with six people! Around an oval table! of which I was at the tip point instead of the flatter side and thus had to reach farther across the table to play cards. It was sort of frustrating and chaotic,as it is with lots of people as opposed to the two I usually play with. The new people did fairly well, even winning a few rounds, but I was the ultimate champion. And yeah, I felt good, because when it comes to Settlers of Cataan I've only won once!
I learned to play in grade school from a friend, Jenny Axford, and it was pretty simple. When I taught it to my sister I couldn't remember how to keep score so we just never did; we'd just play til we got bored. But there's apparently lots of different rules, and names, to the game, which I learned not only from playing with Maria and Mark, but also from googling nerts. Check them out here. Did you know that Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word "nerts" as slang: nonsense, nuts? I think that's a pretty good summation of the game last night!
Friday, November 7, 2008
So I now take a different subway to work. But a different subway means a different part of town. When I first got out of the subway Wednesday morning I was a little turned around. I wasn't sure which way was uptown and what was East because I couldn't see the Empire State Building. SoHo isn't a part of the city that I go to a lot; the streets aren't numbered down there so instead you get names like Broome, Chrystie, Grand, Centre, Prince, Spring, Mercer, Greene, Walker. But it's fun; I like exploring different neighborhoods of the city that I wouldn't normally go to if it wasn't for work. The streets are small and cobble-stoned. There's tons of shopping choices, from Armani to Zara. There's little delis and eateries but hardly any chain restaurants.
Yesterday for lunch I spent my time just walking around in a huge square to get a feel for the area. And I got a feel for which streets run up/downtown and which ones run east/west. And if I can see the Woolworth building then I know which way is downtown.
New York's great like that--every neighborhood is different but it's all New York.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I was walking down the subway steps when I overheard two girls talking, saying something about, "She's white and we're Puerto Rican, that's why." Now, I have no idea what their actual conversation was about, having just heard that little snippet. But the guy walking down the stairs next to me, who was black, was saying he was amazed people could talk like that after what happened last night. He said everything's different after last night. And I couldn't help to think that everything is different. And for the better. Isn't that amazing? It's something I don't know I could really feel the weight of if I was living in Utah. But here, being surrounding by so many people that were deeply affected, and hopefully positively impacted in the near and distant future, by last night's outcome, it feels so powerful. It really is a whole new world.
And then ABC announced, rather climactically and sort of out of the blue after stating they would not project a winner until 270 electoral votes had been awarded, that Obama had won California and they were projecting him the winner! The tv quickly went to shots of the crowds in Chicago, Times Square and 125th Street in New York--the heart of Harlem. And that's where I wanted to be. Since I also live in Harlem, I wondered if my neighborhood was celebrating. I looked out the window and couldn't see anyone celebrating. So I opened the window and was overcome by noises of shouting and hollering and people clapping and banging on pots and pans! It was more exciting than New Years, and way more jubilant! Marky Marky, Rosemary and I hung out the window and hollered and celebrated with our neighbors. Mark even got a pan and we banged it outside the window with an ice cream scoop. People on the street would run up to their friends and hug them and rejoice. And two little girls, in pink coats, ran down the street smiling and laughing, excited for what had happened. At that moment I was excited for them and what had been accomplished in their lifetime. They could now grow up in a society that had elected an African-American to the Presidency. Thrilling. And that is why I love living in New York City.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Election Day started early for me; Maria, Marky Marky and I met at 7:30 in the lobby of our building so we could vote before I had to be to work at 9:00. Marky Mark was giddy like a school kid to vote, and to be honest I was pretty excited, too. Voting feels different here in New York than it does in either Idaho or Utah, where I have previously voted. For one, the political make-up is much different, with New York being a liberal Democratic state to the conservative Republicans of Idaho and Utah. For two, the population is much different; my neighborhood and voting place was made up largely of Hispanics and African-Americans, giving the whole thing a completely different vibe.
So we all walked to our extremely convenient polling station one block away. In fact, we can see it from out kitchen window. I was so excited that I brought my camera to mark the event. It just felt so historic that I wanted to document it visually. For all the talk of the historic-ness of it all, we were expecting a longer wait. We were in and out in about twenty minutes. But some people I work with waited in line for hours, and said they had lines out the street.
It was a little crazy inside, not completely organized, but it went smoothly and the poll workers seemed to really know what they were doing (a lot of them I recognized from voting on Super Tuesday). I entered the voting booth, pulled the lever to start the process, and took part in the election process. Maria took this picture of me in the booth.
It was exciting, and Maria snapped this picture of me as I walked out of the booth.
I just wish I had gotten a sticker to mark the occasion. That's always the best part about voting (well, maybe not the best part but at least a cool part). When I pulled the lever back to cast my votes I really think that the machine should then spurt out a sticker that says, "I Voted!", or at least something that verifies my vote!
Leaving the polling place, I felt exhilarated and thrilled to be a part of something so historic. I'm glad that I was a part of change.