Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Happy Holidays!

For those of you that know me, I'm not one to be politically correct. In fact, I pretty much hate all that political correctness crap. With that said, I say happy holidays, not in fear of offending someone with a Merry Christmas, no, but because this post covers both Christmas and New Year (therefore, multiple holidays). :)

I made it home, finally finishing my semester at Columbia, and was greeted by a very welcoming and loving Patrick who took two weeks off! YAY!

So, after being home for a few days, we took off eastward headed to Wisconsin for Christmas with his family. Sam came with us and did amazingly well on the long car ride. It was about 17 hours, and he was a trooper. Much of the time Patrick was driving Sam spent curled up on my lap dozing or purring. However, when I drove, he curled up on the back window. Haha! :D

We made it to WI, and Patrick's younger brother Ben arrived the next day from Rochester, MN. He had left his cat, entropy, at home. We hung out with Ben and were greeted the next day (Christmas Eve) by Patrick's youngest brother, Jeff, and his fiancee, Molly. They brought two cats with them, a young playful one that quickly became a great friend to Sam and an older, more skiddish one that never really warmed up to him or me. There was some drama at the meeting but overall everyone did well.

Christmas was fantastic! It was so great to see everyone open and enjoy their gifts. I love it! Patrick made me an amazingly sweet book full of pictures of my dad, as I didn't really have any but his baby picture. It was very sweet. Overall, the day was fantastic.

The trip ended well, and I saw a bit more of where Patrick grew up, which was very neat.

We split the drive home up over two days, which made it much more tolerable. The hotel in Des Moines was nice. Once we finally got home, we enjoyed a nice snowstorm. We got about 6-8 inches...woo hoo! Sadly, I missed the storm that hammered NYC with more than a foot! :( O well. At least we got some here, and a lot of it is left, surprisingly, because it's been pretty cold.
New Year's Eve, Patrick's friends threw a masquerade party, which was a lot of fun. Surprisingly, everyone showed up in formal dress and a mask! Yay! It was a fun evening, and the next day we enjoyed watching the Rose Bowl game. Patrick was, of course, rooting for Wisconsin. I (surprisingly) rooted for TCU. It was such a fun game to watch, well played by both teams.

And now, we're just enjoying the rest of my break. It'll be hard to go back, but we know it's only a short time more and then I'll be done for good. :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas Cheer

Christmastime is here...Happiness and cheer...

Ok, for all you cartoon inept, that was Charlie Brown Christmas "Christmastime is Here" - - Google it. :)

Anyway, I've been gettinga lot of requests for more pictures of NYC, since I'm only here a year, and especially now since it's Christmas. The city is totally bedecked and bedazzeled and looks amazing. Everywhere you turn there are lights and cheerful displays. So, I thought I'd share some with you.

This is Columbia's main campus, from the entrance at Amsterdam & 116 looking down the row:

This is the old, original library for Columbia that is now just admin:

Here are the trees around Columbus Circle, wrapped in a bluish white:

And the Columbus statue:

In the mall right there, they're having a Dali exhibit of sculptures inspired by his art:

This is hanging inside the mall:

This is the Cartier store on 5th Ave:

The tree at Rockefeller Center:

Radio City Music Hall, where the Rockettes perform:

And some window displays. This is the Anthropologie window:

And some from Saks 5th Avenue (the real one, on 5th!):

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Finals...O How I Loathe Thee

Well, it's finals week. That means a couple things: a) I haven't seen daylight in a few days, as I've locked myself in my room to work on projects and papers, b) everyone is stressed to the MAX and half are sick c) my diet consists of anything I can get delivered or anything free and d) my brain feels like pudding.

But, it also means that in a week I'll be heading home for semester break to spend the glorious month off at home. AND I'll be 2/3 of the way done with my Masters! I can't believe it. It's going to be a tough finish, lots of work and dedication, but I know I'll do it. This week is hell, but it's only a week, and I can do it.

Everyone's been so encouraging and positive for me, thank you! I can't wait to be done and home to finally enjoy Christmas!


Friday, December 3, 2010

Just Another Day at the Office

As many of you know, I have two jobs on campus (on top of 15 grad hours...I know, I'm crazy). So for one job, the Reading and Writing Project (Lucy Calkins), we're throwing a Holiday Party to thank the other departments on campus for all they do to help us out. My job today was to go shopping for the decorations. Fun!

I went with a coworker, armed with petty cash. O boy. Everyone knows how I dispise shopping, but Christmas decorations and someone else's money equals FUN! :D So, we set out. We ventured into Harlem to the .99 store, but they didn't really have much. I was kind of surprised, actually. Anyway, we decided to head down to a discount store further up called "El Mundo." This was a pretty cool store. It's like a Savers or something like that.

We shopped around in their Christmas display, and loaded up the cart with our decoration goodies. As we headed to the checkout, Natalie realized she didn't have the cash anymore. O no! What!? So we looked around, hoping to see it on the ground nearby. No luck. We surmised that it must have dropped out or she had gotten pickpocketed. Sucky!

So, we headed back to work, calling on the way to explain what had happened. Sucky!

Well, on the bright side, we made someone's day. Someone is $100 richer now. Poopy. O well.

So, now they're sending me back out to go try again. :) Round two!

Just another tasty treat from the gang at Empire Records!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tupperware Bandits

We join our hero as she gathers her things diligently, carefully, ensuring she's got it all and balancing her way out the door...

So I gathered up my dishes and to carry them down the hall to wash them. There are two fire doors I have to open and walk through to get to the kitchen, so I have to balance all this stuff really carefully to be able to manage all this. Unfortunately there was some water on the floor I didn't see. Out go my feet; up go my hands, and flying go the dishes. It was a mess. It was totally one of those banana peel cartoon moments. (Shut up, John, I can hear you laughing from here.) Anyway, now that my dishes are all in pieces, there is no need to wash them. Grr...

So, I decided that I should make a trip to Ikea. I've never been, and they have really good stuff like this for super cheap. I texted my friend Kate, who I was meeting with later that night anyway and we decided to make an adventure out of it.

Neither of us had been to the Ikea here, so I looked up directions...Brooklyn!? What!? Ug, fine. So nearly an hour later we arrived at our train stop. (Hindsight says, don't try to leave Manhattan on a Monday night at 5ish...ever!) The lady at the booth told us where to go to catch the shuttle for the Ikea. Their website said it ran every half hour and was right outside the train station.

"Go out this exit and through the park. It stops down there," she said curtly, vaguely pointing behind her. So, we followed her quasi-directions and found ourselves wandering down a street next to a park. Overall, it seemed kinda sketchy. So, with no sign of the shuttle in sight, I made the executive decision to hail a cab...screw it-it's better to pay $10 for the cab than get mugged or worse.

When we finally got to the store, I was amazed. Ikea, if you've never been, is like a Sam's Club on CRACK! It's HUGE!! It's got everything! It's crazy. We got lost in the store. Their maps are so oversimplified. It seems like you turn one corner and you're in the next department. LIES! You snake around 8-9 turns and then find a door marked "shortcut" and never know how you got where you are, nor how to return. And then, it still wasn't where we needed to be! Out of desperation we asked someone for directions. Once we finally got to the correct location (after a ride in a HUGE and rather sketchy elevator), I found the jackpot...tons of plain, drab, fairly ugly dinnerware for CHEAP! Bowls for .78? Yes, please! (Mind you, during all this wandering and chaos trying to get to the store and around it, Kate says, "Why didn't you just order this online?" Omg, really? I'm a retard!)

After finding, finally, what we'd come for, we realized that it was dinner time and had always heard about the famous Ikea meatballs. We decided to give it a try. They were surprisingly tasty. I mean, for store food, not bad, and reasonably priced (for being a captive audience).

On our way back through the ridiculous maze to get out, we stumbled upon some tupperware containers. This made our nights. $3! OMG! I love this place. :D So, both of us getting a set, we made our way to the checkouts. What? No bag? You mean, I have to wander around the city carrying plates and bowls and tupperware? Ug! I'm a moron. OK.

We got the shuttle this time, and headed back to the train. We decided to watch where it dropped us off to see if we were even in the right place to begin with. We were not. The MTA lady had pointed us in completely the opposite direction of where we needed to be. Thanks a lot. But, we were here now, blue dinnerware and all. Wandering through the station, a cop asked us what we were doing carrying all that stuff. He kinda sounded like he was gonna check our receipts to make sure we hadn't stolen them...really? Cuz it's so easy to smuggle bowls and plates out like this!? Grr. Then he just made fun of us. Gee, thanks, helpful.

Once we were finally on the train, we could relax. It had been quite an adventurous night. Then, as we approached our stop and were getting up to get off, the train door closed in our face. What!? Really? Yup. That just happened. So we had to get off at the next stop and walk through Harlem with arms full of porcelain dinnerware and tupperware. Yeah, we're cool. :D

We finally made it home, and let me tell you...the cereal today tasted so much better out of that damn bowl. haha. And Kate is pretty excited about her tupperware, too.

Yay Ikea v-card turn-in. :D

Friday, November 26, 2010

Very Thankful

Although Thanksgiving was yesterday, I vote it's never too late to be thankful. So, I figured I'd write about it.

This year, I am very thankful for the many blessings I've been provided. I have many friends and family that love me very much and that give me an opportunity to love. I am healthy, and have a nice home and food. I am safe and warm, thanks to the many others that sacrifice for me. I am thankful for those that keep me safe. I am thankful I was able to travel home safely (un-frisked! :D) and be with Patrick and our friends, Jim and Nicole (and baby Riley).

I am a very blessed woman, and for that, I am thankful!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Long silence...

Hello all,

I know it's been a while since I've posted. That's because I've been a boring Grad Student. :) After Patrick left, it's been a crazy few weeks.

Last weekend, though, I was able to go down to Baltimore to visit my uncle, aunt and two cousins. It was a great time. Alex, the older cousin (13), was in a play Saturday night. It was fantastic. It was an original play called Once Upon a Game Show. They were all different fairy tale characters and were on a game show like The Dating Game. It was very cute. Alex was to play the part of Doc (7 dwarves) and a stagehand for the game show. However, the day of the performance, one of the kids got hit very hard in the head at his soccer game and was unable to perform. So, Alex picked up his part, too. He ended up playing all 7 dwarves plus the stagehand. He was great! You could never tell that wasn't his original part. He did so well! I'm very proud of him.

The whole weekend was very nice and relaxing. Unfortunately, I picked up Tom's cold (he's 10 now!) and brought it back :(.

So, suffering through this cold has been icky, but then Monday night I got food poisoning on top of it. I was sick all night. It was terrible. But, I have a very sweet friend here that happened to be around when I was in the bathroom and nursed me. She has checked up on me making sure I'm ok. Thanks, Tomomi! I'm feeling much better today, though. My cold is starting to break up...yay!

And tomorrow...I GO HOME!!! I'm sooooo excited for Thanksgiving! Patrick and I are planning to do some skiing, and spend Thanksgiving up in the mountains with our friends Jim and Nicole and baby Riley. I'm quite excited. :D

So, with that, I'll leave you. Happy Thanksgiving, all!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Such a fabulous week!

I had an amazing week! Patrick came this last week (Wed-Tues), and it was amazing. We had so much fun, and I got to be a tourist in my own city, which I love!

Wednesday was a bit tumultuous as he was delayed getting out of Denver. We had yucky storms here, so they wouldn't let him leave. Once he finally did arrive (making up nearly an hour of delays and arriving on time), he had to wait in the lobby until I finished class. Poopy, I know, but couldn't be avoided. So, after class I ran to the dorm where he was waiting. He was engrossed in his phone playing a game, and I think I scared him when I tackled him. Hehe oops. Then we went for o so yummy sushi....mmmmm. We were both so starving that it was gone before we'd realized we'd eaten. :)

Thursday was our first day to explore. We had to be back in time for class, though, so we decided to get an early start. We went to the park (Central Park, that is) and walked around. We started in Columbus Circle (the bottom west corner) and wandered through. It was fantastic. The leaves were at their peak. It was absolutely beautiful. Magical! When we made it across, we found this fabulous new thing...it's called "Wafels & Dinges." I guess that's German for "stuff." Anyway, it was fantastic. It's a cart selling waffles. YUM! Anyway, they also had this new spread. It's like peanut butter but has no nuts and tastes like graham crackers. It's called Speculoos (I think he said it was Belgium); google it...pretty tasty! So I had a waffle and Patrick got his shady hot dog, you know, a hot dog from a street cart vendor. He's been wanting one since he was here this summer, so at 10:30 in the morning, he finally got his shady dog. haha. It was pretty good, too.

After finishing the park way earlier than expected (since we got such an early start), we decided to wander down to Dylan's Candy Bar. It's like the FAO Schwarz of candy. It's three floors and packed with candy. HUGE! After purchasing way too much sweetness, we wandered. Having not really planned much of this week (purposely keeping it open and relatively free), we had nothing to fill the time. We meandered down the street thinking of places to go and things to do. Then we passed this old publishing house. They had an exhibit of the history of their publishing open to the public, and it was free. Neat. So we went in, and Patrick got his fill of reading random things. :) Then we decided what to do!

We caught the train and made the trek.

After about and hour and a half, the train made its last stop. Unfortunately, the conductor's announcement was so garbled (big shocker) that we didn't understand it and get off. So, we rode back a ways, caught another train, and went back to where we should have gotten off. Now we were there. CONEY ISLAND!!! It was a bummer that it was pretty much closed for the season. The amusement park wasn't up and most of the shops were closed, but the Nathan's was still there (of course), and yes, we had [another] dog. We walked the board walk, braving the crazy wind. And enjoyed the air. By then it was time to head back so I could make it in time for class.

After class we had a nice dinner of Ethiopian food with my friend Ali.

Friday was our day to explore downtown. We went to ground zero and then over to Wall Street. We finally found the bull (this summer we had been so close, it's frustrating to think we missed it). We went into the Federal Building where Washington was inaugurated (right across from NYSE). It was a small museum-like exhibit of the history of that building. It was pretty interesting. Patrick was totally into it. He loved all the reading. Then we caught our train.

We headed to Connecticut. After our long ride, we finally arrived in Hartford. Patrick finally got to meet Amanda and her fiance Matt.We headed to Connecticut. After our long ride, we finally arrived in Hartford. Patrick finally got to meet Amanda and her fiance Matt.

Saturday we woke up early, and the four of us headed up to Boston. It was glorious! We did the entire Freedom Trail. It was so much fun. Lots of walking, but lots of fun. I think the best part (for me) was Bunker Hill. I learned a lot, even though I'd been on the FT so many times before. I think Patrick's favorite was the USS Constitution. It was great.

We headed back to CT after a long hard day and enjoyed.

Sunday, after coming back to NYC, we lounged a bit and headed to church. Overall, it was a pretty relaxed day, full of rest, and a much-needed break.

Monday we planned to go to the Met. Patrick was super excited. I think this is what he looked forward to in NY the most. Sadly, however, it was closed. Apparently it's common knowledge that many museums close on Mondays. Oops. So, instead, we wandered the park some more. Afterwards, we decided to head down to Rockefeller Center. It was neat. They already had the ice up and skaters were having a blast. We watched for a little bit until Patrick noticed our next destination: the LEGO store. It was so neat. :D

Then we went to our last tourist spot of the day: Chinatown. I'd never been. It was really neat. But at the same time, it was really frustrating. It's really a weird feeling to be completely illiterate. But, we had a really tasty dinner. Yummmmm

Tuesday we got up super early and made our last attempt at the Met. We had a short day because Patrick's flight and my class made us be home by 3. So, we did a speed-art tour thru the Met and enjoyed as much as we could. We'll definitely have to go back and really take the time needed next time.

Overall, it was a great week, and I had a fantastic time! I can't wait to go home for Thanksgiving, especially for the SKIING!!!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paranoid Awakening

I woke up this morning itching. I thought, hmm that's strange, why does this spot itch so badly. Then I realized it was a raised bump. O NO! Not again! I looked at the clock, and sure enough, it was about 4am. WTF, are you kidding me!? I coaxed myself back to sleep completely paranoid and itching all over.

When I woke this morning, it was huge, but it was only one. Hopefully, it will stay only one and it's a spider or something. I've been paranoid all day and itchy everywhere, although I know it's just mental. It does look different than before and it doesn't ache like those did. I really think it is just a spider.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

No More Rain!

As a friend of mine put it, NY has been raining shit on me lately. :) However, I'm done. Ok, background...it's been a while since I've posted...

I'm working two jobs and taking 13 graduate credits. It's hard, and I'm finding myself perpetually tired, on edge, and worst of all: emotionally drained. Unfortunately, that's really difficult when you're 3000 miles away from anyone that can refill that. But, we're doing our best.

The past couple days have been exceptionally hard. After a not-so-pleasant Tuesday, yesterday was a full-out down pour of shit-storm. I received a bad grade in class, so I was already bummed walking back home. Then, I got my mail and opened it up. I realized that it was an order from the court. As many of you know, I've been fighting all this for 2 years. Well, it just got really f'd up last night. In the notice I received, they had gotten the order completely backwards. They'd ordered me to pay him and all this other stuff was wrong. I was already frustrated with my grade, and now this!

Then, my friend Ting (used to live across the hall from me, when I was in the old room) knocked on my door. She said everything that was in the kitchen is now gone. WHAT!? All our cooking utensils and cookware (pots and pans) are gone, including the wire 4-shelf rack they were on. And all the rice cookers from the table. WTF!? So we went to our CA (kinda like and RA in undergrad but less to do with personal stuff, basically just a liaison between residents and U staff). She said she'd look into it and let us know. She then sends out an email informing the floor of our finding and adds a nice note about, basically, remember: you put things in the kitchen at your own risk. Just a nice CYA for U staff to not have to pay for our crap if it's gone. Anyway, weird mystery of the night...just one more frustration as I couldn't cook now or do my dishes (since my sponge and dish soap were with my stuff).

But...I'm done with the rain!

This morning I woke up to a glorious sound! What most of you would find annoying, I find very very exciting. It was the sound a tea kettle makes as it just starts to whistle, the really soft high pitched noise...that's right... I HAVE HEAT!!!!!! Now, I'm determined to have a good day. All's right in the world, right? They finally fixed the shower (3 weeks after the promised date), so I can return to my favorite shower; I have heat, so I can actually stay in my room without 9 layers of clothing (don't laugh, one day it was required); and I'm going to insist on clearing all this up with the courts today...no voicemails allowed!

And while it may be cloudy and gloomy today outside, it's bright and sunny in my room where I've made a turn around. Thanks to everyone that stuck with me through the storm.


Saturday, October 9, 2010


C'est si froid. Ect ist kalt! It is so cold! I think you get the point. Fall has definitely hit the city. Some days are very warm (60s to 70) and others not so much. But the nights are frigid (most in the 40s, maybe 50).

By law, in NYC, if a landlord controls the heat, it must be turned on by October 1. And, if the outside temperature during the day (6am-10pm) is below 55*, the inside temperature must read 68*. Further, overnight (10pm-6am), when the temp falls below 40*, the inside temp must read at least 55*.

For my dorm, the school (landlord) controls the heat (as would be expected). It is obviously past October 1, the temps have fallen below the stated temps outside both overnight and days. However, my room most CERTAINLY does NOT measure that warm. It is sooooo cold. I sit here in long sleeves, my hoodie and still cold.

Frustrated that the methods I've taken to complain (up the ladder and all the chains of command, then finally resorting to police) seem futile, I don't know where else to turn.

But, alas, it will change. I know it will. I just hope I don't freeze first. But I also have hope...Patrick has sent me a warm snuggly box filled with warm things, and it should arrive very soon. :) I'm excited.

On even more exciting news...Patrick is coming to see me...for a whole WEEK!!! I'm so excited. :D And we're gonna have so much fun exploring the city. Being touristy in your own town is so fun, and it's even better when your llama is there! :D

Monday, September 27, 2010

DAH!!! Blasted Interwebs!

Seriously, what did we do before the internet? I honestly don't know. Patrick put it quite well, I think: "There was less expected of you then. Now, since you don't have to spend 5 hours in the library to look something up, as you can just Google it, more is expected of you and faster."

And that's fine...if your internet works! The reason I haven't written in a week is that mine's been down since Wednesday (o, sure, I can hold my computer and my tongue in just the right way over the end of my bed and catch the wifi next door, but really? And that's only sometimes.). So, after much "squeaky-wheel-ing," I have (hopefully reliably) internet restored.

So, to fill you in:

Thursday after class, Ali (the girl from Melbourne, Becky) and I decided to get together this weekend. Fun...we'll figure out something. Friday I had planned a dinner with some of the girls on my floor. It was going to be a lot of fun. Sure enough, it was. There were 6 of us just hanging out enjoying our pot-luck dinner. Sheila is from CO (Westminster, actually. And just around the corner from you, Julie), Ting and Mei Ying are the girls from across the hall from my old room (basically the only 2 people I knew this summer), and some new girls this fall were there. It was a lot of fun.

Saturday, Ali and I decided to go see "Waiting for Superman," a movie about education and how America's is failing. Being that we're both teachers (she's in the Elementary Inclusive program), we had a vested interest. It was very thought-provoking, indeed. We both left fired-up and wanting to change the world.

Sunday was a pretty uneventful, but I did go to a new church. Scott, the associate pastor of my church in CO, recommended I try Forefront here in the city. He knew some people there and said I'd probably like it as it was similar in teaching and style to Flatirons. He was right. I really enjoyed it. I'm glad to have found a church I really like here, and can keep that part of my life while I'm here.

So, today being Monday, I'm off to my office hours and then home for more studying. O joy. Such is the life of a grad student. :) Gotta love it! :D

I'm just thankful the tubes are back up. :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Adventurous...always adventurous!

What a weekend to catch everyone up on. Ok, so let's start at the beginning. Thursday. Yes, technically not the weekend, but an adventurous day that began it.

Thursday I planned to get my hair cut. No biggie, right? Not in NY. Nothing's "No Biggie" here. So, having gone with Irene to a hair salon she's been going to for years and really likes, I decided to go there, too. And there prices are really reasonable (for NYC). I texted her early last week and asked the name of the place. Finding out there were 4 in Queens with that name, I asked her to clarify. O, it's the one in Flushing, she says, ok. So I call Janet (Irene texted me her number) and made my appointment. Thursday afternoon. Check. Ok.

Thursday comes around, and I have it all mapped out (Thank you, GoogleMaps). It'll take me 3 trains and then walking about 15 blocks (and an hour and a half) to get there. Alright. I left with plenty of time, so off I went. I made all the connections with the trains seamlessly. Then, after getting off the R, I realized that I had written down to take a left at 63rd, but I hadn't noted whether it was road or drive, and the R lets out at the intersection of the two. Grr. Ok. I asked for directions and set out on my way. Fifteen blocks later, I walk up to what is called the Creative Cuts. It doesn't look right. I walk in. Sure enough, it's not the same place. SOB! I called Janet and asked her where exactly she was. Luckily, the ladies at the CC where I was were able to tell me where I was so Janet could tell me how to get to her. I was clear across Queens! Are you kidding!? So I took a cab and finally made it (half an hour late) to my appointment. Janet worked her magic and then told me the correct way to get home.

As it turns out, I had actually transferred to my last train at the stop where I should have gotten out. So, I took the bus from right in front of the salon to the train and only rode 2 trains home. Way easier!

Pics of my new cut to come, as soon as I figure out how to load them. haha.

Then, Friday was my day to go home. After about 4 hours of sleep, my alarm rang at 3am and it was time to get ready (ok, I snoozed for 30 min but was still wide awake, so really not so productive). Thursday night brought really bad thunderstorms to the City and Queens was hit really hard. Since that is where the airport is, I decided to give myself some extra time. There was flooding and trees downed overnight, so I wanted to play it safe. Getting in the cab at 4:30, I headed to the airport. Apparently, the city crew had cleaned up all the trees and reopened the closed roads because we zoomed right there. It was time for my ass-early flight.

I arrived safely (obviously) in Milwaukee and lazed about for my lay-over. I noticed there were all these people in beer company shirts and jackets (it was freakin' COLD in WI...not sure why...hope it's not coming here) and all seated near me for Denver. Then it struck me...Beer Festival Weekend! Nice! So, with a plane full of brewmasters, we finally set off for home.

YAY HOME!! I got home safely and enjoyed the day with Patrick. The evening was spent meeting up with his friends from WI (most of whom I'd met in Feb when they came for the yurt trip, so it was fun to see them again). We hung out and had fun. After a late night, since we wanted to see Aaron and Laura before the big day, we finally made it home. When I had been up for 24 hours, I called it quits.

Saturday (wedding day) was fun. The ceremony was gorgeous and the reception was fun. Another late night and we had to call it quits.

Sunday Patrick and I decided to go up the mountain for a drive. We love driving, and the colors have started really early this year, so I wanted to see that. We had planned to take the Lotus, if we could get it working. We (and by we I mean Patrick) tinkered with it some in the morning and on a test drive around the block concluded that the problem was not fixed. Ok, beemer it is. We went up to Idaho Springs for some lunch at Beau Jo's. Mmmm. After lunch, we decided to go up toward Mt. Evan's and take Squaw Pass down. There should be lots of colors up there. About 5 miles up the road from Beau Jo's, the car warning came on that the engine was getting warm and to slow down. Weird. But then, about 30 seconds later, the red light came on that it had overheated and I needed to pull over immediately. Double weird.

We waited there on the side of the road for a while for it to cool down. Deciding that heading UP was probably not the best move, we turned around and headed back down. Then, about 500 feet DOWN, it happened again (and this time Patrick was driving, so it's not me!). Crap! We waited and waited and finally decided we could make it into town. We made it into Idaho Springs and called around for some help. Being a Sunday late afternoon, all we could do was get information from the insurance people about towing. We decided to leave it in IS and deal with it in the morning.

JULIE TO THE RESCUE!!!!! I called Julie to abandon her Sunday plans and drive an hour away just to come get us. I love you, Jules! So, once we finally made it down the mountain, it was pretty much bedtime.

Then, another ass-early flight this morning, and I'm back in NYC. The towing of the car has been a disaster for poor Patrick. Apparently the tow company that the insurance company uses is full of morons. We'll see how it pans out, because as of yet it hasn't been towed (3 hours AFTER the estimated arrival per the tow company).

Adventurous...my life is always adventurous. :)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'm an AUNT!

YAY!!! Becky finally had her baby. We're very pleased to welcome Porter Davis Menard into the world. He was born yesterday, September 14, 2010, at 9:56am weighing (get this) 9 lbs 2.5 oz and was 20 3/4 in long! He's a big boy! We're all so excited to finally have him with us.

Becky and Kevin are doing great, and Mom is there with them. Jeff will join this coming weekend. I'm so jealous! :)

Congratulations and much love, you guys!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Today is a national day of remembrance. It commemorates the ninth anniversary of September 11, 2001 attack on our country. Many thousands of people lost their lives that day. Today we honor their memory and thank those who helped for their sacrifice and bravery.

Being in New York, I decided I would go down to the World Trade Center "Ground Zero" area today. I had originally planned to go this morning for the ceremony, but I decided against it. It just felt wrong, like a tourist at a funeral. So, I decided to pay my respects in a different way. I went down there this afternoon and sobbed. It was so real. There are still buildings where you can see the charring and burnt bricks. Nine years later, it's still there. I remember everything about that day, as if it were yesterday. I remember watching the planes, confused and terrified. It all came rushing back to me in an instant standing there. It was overwhelming.

I have no words to express my deep gratitude for those that sacrifice for my freedom. Thank you just doesn't seem enough, but it's all I have, so, THANK YOU!!!

God bess us, every one.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


Yesterday, after a glorious trip to the Met, I had planned a rather dull evening at home, alone, watching TV or reading or something equally as boring. However, Irene to the rescue!

Ang, my best friend growing up in CT and still a dear dear friend lives in MD now. Her roommate is Irene. When I went to visit them about a month ago we all hit it off quite well. Irene is from NYC (Queens) and comes home rather frequently. She was home this weekend and IMed me to see what I was up to last night. Upon hearing my plan, she proceeded to tell me that it would not do. "You're young!" she says. "And it's a Saturday night!" Both of these facts may be true, so I decided to concede and go out to some Greek clubs with her (She's very Greek.) and her Greek friends to dance and have fun.

After taking an hour to get to Queens to her house, we were finally walking out of her house at 11:00 headed to Astoria. I was shocked. What's the point? You go, have one or two drinks and a couple dances and then it's last call. O no, she tells me, not here. Clubs stay open till 4 here. WHAT!!?? FOUR AM!? Omg. What did you get me into, Irene. Ok, fine. I'll be fine. It'll be fun.

So after going to this lounge bar that serves Greek coffee selections and a full bar (kinda a weird combo, but a nice place), we headed to a club. One of the friends of Irene's knew a guy there, so he wanted to say hi. By about 2 (normal closing time in the real world), we headed to ANOTHER club. It was an all Greek place with pretty much nothing but Greek music. It was fun. Different, but fun.

Like going out in MD with Ang and Irene, Irene had to dress me appropriately for Greek clubs. I do find it funny, though, that walking around with her (she's freakin GORGEOUS!!!), no one even noticed my existence the whole night. It was still fun, though.

They're a different crowd, those Greeks. I like em. They're fun. Somehow they get away with breaking what would otherwise be strict laws in NYC (like bar closing times and smoking inside). Last call wasn't until ten after four and the smoke was so thick it burned to breathe.

So after finally getting home at 5 am, I crashed. We got up and had a fun day together today, and overall it was a great 24 (almost) hours. Thanks, Irene! :D

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Wait, what?

Being orientation week, the University Housing and Programs departments have set up all kinds of adventures for us around the city and campus. It's actually quite nice.

Yesterday I took a double-decker bus tour around Uptown and Midtown. I learned a lot. It was great fun. Did you know there is only one privately owned home left on 5th Ave? It belongs to some Wall Street bagillionare dude. It is right across from Central Park, and GORGEOUS!!! Apartments over there sell for tens to hundreds of millions of dollars. It's a great part of town. Lots of celebs.

Anyway, today was our big trip to the Met. For those of you unfamiliar, that's the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So, we gathered downstairs at the stated meeting place at the stated time, ready to go, and waited for it to begin. While I was waiting, a girl and I were talking. She lives on my floor, and we we were briefly introduced at our floor meeting the other night. As we were talking, the guy coordinating the trip announced its beginning and that we were heading to MoMA. (It's pronounced Moe-Muh and is the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art.) What? I thought we were going to the Met. Since there was a general grumbling of a few of us near me, we decided to break away from the group and head to the Met anyway.

So there we were, 4 guys, 3 girls headed through the city to the Met. It turns out, one of the guys in our little gang had sat in front of me on the bus tour yesterday. Neat! Small world (HA!).

When we finally got there through the train debacle (the train failed to mention it wouldn't stop at our stop so we had to catch another train to our stop and then a bus to the museum), we decided to tour around. (Museums are always more fun when they're free, and all the NYC ones are for us! YAY! At least there's some good coming from this heinous tuition.) Alex, one of the guys in our group, has lived here 5 years in the City, so he kind of acted as our guide. It was a lot of fun.

It was great to spend the day meeting some new people, in a small crowd so we could actually talk and get to know one another. I feel like I've made some connections and maybe even some friendships! Yay!

After coming back from the museum Tamomi and I went out to dinner. Everyone else headed home to get to work or had other plans. We had a fun dinner down the street at a great little Italian place, and now I have some yummy Carbonara leftovers. Yummmmm.

So, even though the programs ended up being quite messed up (the bus tour was over an hour late and the museum was the wrong one), it was a fun time.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Weirdest store EVER

So, in the two months I've been here, I've desperately tried to find a "real" grocery store. All I've seemed to find are little markets, and with New York's space issues, it's not that surprising, but nonetheless frustrating. I just want to find a place that I can buy the things I get at home and not cost an arm and a leg.

Today...SUCCESS!!!! I found it. It's a bit of a hike, but I found it. There's a Fairway in Harlem that's about 15 blocks away. So, I gathered my "Liberal bags" (reusable shopping bags) and headed out. Rockin out on my iPod, I wandered (not aimlessly--that's how you cause trouble) through Harlem to the store.

This thing is MASSIVE!!! I was so excited when I walked up to see real grocery carts! Not the tiny skinny ones that are way deep. So I grabbed a real cart and delved in, into the REAL grocery store. It had real isles (actually big enough to fit not one, but TWO real carts in side-by-side), real food you've heard of, and tons of people, as it seems everyone else realized it's the only real store around here.

But here's the weird part. I'm going through, following my list (as I've found that it's the only way to get through the "fake" stores, because you have to hunt for everything and without one you'll miss something important) and can't find the meat, milk, cheese, or anything like that. I ask a guy and he says it's in the "Cold Room." What? A cold room? Really? Cool! (Really, no pun intended.) So, I follow his directions toward the Cold Room.

When I enter this magical place, I realize, it is, indeed, a cold room. It's FREEZING in there. I loved it! And right when you enter is a glorious display of beer. haha. So I looked at it, although I don't really like beer much, but I saw they had a bunch, and I was curious if there was anything I'd like. I saw some Boulder Beer (ahh, home!) and decided on some Woodchuck...can't go wrong with the Chuck! But as I was going through the rest of the cold room, I realized, things weren't in areas and shelves like they are at home. At home, they'd be in cooler shelves. These are out. On regular shelves. Because the whole damn room is a cooler! Neat! So, as I'm wandering the isles to get my refrigerator stuff, I marvel at the geniusness of it and realize that the people that work in here are in full winter jumpsuits and that the store provides winter coats outside the cold room door! Neat!

I finally made my way to the checkout with half a full cart (where I'm going to put all this, I don't really know). As I'm checking out, I realize why I've limited myself to 3 liberal bags here in NY. Any more than that and I can't carry it home! Especially not 15 blocks! So, laden with 4 bags very full, I start my trek. Then I realize it's way far, way hot, and these are way heavy, so I wussed out and got a cab. 5 bucks later and I was home.

Overall, a successful adventure and neat place. Weird but neat. I'm not sure I'll want to venture all that way in the blistering cold, but it's good to know it's there and not that far (or that expensive by cab).

New York, you're not so bad. :)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Back to the Grind

Well, I'm back in NY and it's a slap in the face! Right away I started into Fall Semester, well, kinda. Since arriving yesterday, I've had all kinds of orientation stuff today. While I'm not really a new student, as I've been here since July and taken classes already, I still missed orientation for summer and therefore had to do it today.

Anyway, despite the delays and the incorrect time postings, the day went really well. I surprisingly learned a lot, both about TC and about my program, which makes me even more excited for it.

I've spent an exhausting day mapping out my next year and getting registered for my classes starting tomorrow, and I'm very excited for most of them. And yes, one of the ones I'm excited about is....wait for it...Grammar!! haha. Don't you love it!? :D And...physics!! YAY! :D

But I'm also taking courses in gifted children's needs, as that is why I'm here. The other two are just my electives (yes, I CHOSE those! :D).

So, a crazy busy difficult semester awaits with my 14 graduate credits ahead! Here goes nothing...

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home Sweet Home

I love being home; I really do. As soon as the plane landed, I turned on my phone to text Patrick that I'd arrived. What I found, though, was quite lovely. After talking to Patrick and finding out where to meet him, I listened to the voicemail I'd received while in the air.

It was Julie. She asked if I could carve out some time that day to come over because Sara had been really excited to see me. Apparently she'd told Sara I was coming home that day, and her response was, "She's coming to see me!?" Seriously, how do you say no to that!? And she'd been asking about Patrick a lot, too. So with my heart on cloud 9 to be home, and melting at those words, I was welcomed back to Colorado in style!

I've been home a few days now, and I really am relishing the break. I've already raided the library and finished my first book. I'll return today to get another, I think. Suggestions?

While NY isn't bad, and I'm becoming more accustomed, it's still not home, and I do love it here. One semester down, two to go. I can do this!

Monday, August 16, 2010

On the Road Again...

This summer has been full of adventure and travel for me. And it hasn't stopped yet! This past weekend, I travelled down to Baltimore, MD to visit my oldest (and by that I mean longest-having, because of course she's only 23 *wink*) best friend, Angela. Ang and I have long-since joked that we are so compatible, so alike, and so well-suited for each other, that we are really just each other, separated. I love this girl so much! Anyway, I went down there and had a blast. I re-met her friends (I had briefly been introduced to them two years ago when I was there last), and got to hang out with them this time. That was fun. I fit in there, which is a nice feeling I've very much been lacking as of late. I took the bus down there, and we made an unexpected stop...in Delaware! YAY! While it did totally jack up our arrival time (making us 1.5 hours late by putting us into the thickest of traffic), it crossed off yet another state from my list (I'm down to 5 now).

After arriving safely, late but safe, we went to my first NFL game. Granted, it was pre-season, but still! We went to a Redskins-Bills game, and it was a blast! The Bills got creamed, and everyone had so much fun. The rest of the weekend was pretty relaxed. We went out Saturday night after Irene played Dress-Up-Kim-Like-Barbie haha. But yesterday we didn't even leave the house, which was quite nice.

But now I'm back in NY for a couple days, but I leave again on Wednesday! :D This time...I'm going HOME!!!!!! I'm so excited. I'm spending nearly two weeks back home, doing nothing, just enjoying time with Patrick and my friends. There's nothing planned, no events, no anything. I'm stoked. It's in between Summer and Fall semesters, and it's a well-deserved break.

So, until next time...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Cool!

Ok, so everyone knows this city is a: HUGE, b: a popular scene for and site of filming movies, and c: star-studded.

Ok, so here's my first encounter with it...a few weeks ago I think I saw the lady that plays the sister on Notting Hill (Emma Chambers, I think) on the train. Neat!

Even cooler...today the campus was partially blocked off (you had to walk the long way around to get anywhere..kinda annoying, but worth it) because they were filming a studio movie! On campus! I tried to find out more info, but, of course, they wouldn't say anything. They wouldn't tell me the studio or who was in it, much less what it was called. But, they did tell me it was a studio film...neat! I didn't see anyone, sadly. I did see the make-up crew working on a man, but I was too far away to tell who it was (and, honestly, if I'd have been standing right there, I'm not sure I'd necessarily know).

So, that's my pathetic star-struck gogglings for the day.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Learn Something New Everyday!

So today's something new...did you know, milk expires 2-3 days earlier in NYC than it does just outside the city?

Why? NYC has its own system and regulations for deciding milk's expiration. By law, for milk coming into the city, the printed date must be no more than 9 days past the pasteurization date. Basically, the milk is stamped with 2 dates. It says, for example, August 13 in NYC Aug 10. In researching the matter, I found that NYC Health Department made the law because of delivery methods bringing the milk into the city. The milk is more likely to sit unrefridgerated for longer on a truck or sidewalk waiting to be in the store. Therefore, the city says it is illegal for sale of this product to happen past midnight of the date stamped. However, the manufacturer is allowed to make up the date for sale outside the city and is not necessarily against the law to sell past it.

There you go...a tidbit for the day!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Things I miss

Chillin' in the room. (Miss you, baby!)

Missing my best friend...

And her baby...

Pics here

Missing my puppy, too. :(

More pics

Hard to kiss when wearing a hat!

Ain't he so cute! This is sewious! This is what happens when you don't open up...it goes in your ear! :D

I see the resemblance...don't you?


Long awaited...PICTURES! :)

My last look at CO...sad!

Yay! Back in the land of DD!

This is my sign at the subway station! 116th and Broadway 1 train. Idn't it neat? A lot of the stations have really nice mosaics like this. I think it's a nice touch.

Long time no write...sorry!

I realize it's been quite a while since I've posted. I finally got my computer back (yay!), and now I can blog-away!

It's been a relatively uneventful week, good, and things are picking up. I went out to Harlem last Friday to return a movie...wow, this city sure changes on a Friday night. It was buzzing with life! Then it hit me! I've not been home a single weekend since I moved in. That's nuts. First it was Becky's shower, then CT, then WI. But it's a fun time, and I've had a blast! So, the day before I left for Wisconsin and realized the city has life, I vowed to see some of it the next weekend (this weekend), but we'll see how that goes. As I still have no one to experience it with, really, I'll probably just stay home and work on my research papers.

As for my trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin, it was great! I flew into MN, because that's where Ben lives. Ben (Patrick's brother) has spent the last four months on a Mercy Ship (hospital ship) off the coast of Togo, Africa. So he finally came home, and all his family came out to greet him. His mom and Patrick came a day early to get his house in order...spruce it up since it's been closed up for four months. Then his dad arrived Saturday after picking up his cousins and I came a bit later. Ben got in at about 9pm. It was really fun to meet all his family (I'd only met his parents before when they came out to CO about a month and a half ago) and spend time with them. Then Monday morning we drove to WI and saw all the old spots I'd heard so much about. I got to see Patrick's high school, the "ski hill" (so cute! It was about the size of Eldora's mini lift hill.), his parents church and the elementary school he attended, and his old stomping ground. It was neat. I left Tuesday afternoon.

So here I am, back in the city, and have a crap ton of homework. I spent all day Wednesday working hard before class and Thursday, too. Now I am down to just my research papers, which I'm not as worried about. I have all weekend to do one and a week to do the other...no sweat, right? We'll see. So, I guess I'm off to start working on those now. Can't put it off forever, and I'd rather somewhat enjoy my weekend.

I'm going to try a new church on Sunday. I'm pretty excited about it. It's one that Scott (one of the pastors at Flatirons) suggested to me, and I've listened to it online. It seems quite similar. I'm excited to see.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Finally! Adventureless!

So I've been saying that every outing has become this huge adventure, and nothing really ever goes smoothly, right? Well, yesterday...it kinda worked out. I went to drop off my computer to the Apple Store (poor baby...is sick :( well not really) and came home. No drama, no fuss. Yay! On the way home I stopped at the drug store to pick up my prescription. Not ready...had to order it. Grr! Ok, fine. I went next door to pick up my dry cleaning. Not ready, running a day behind. Double grr! Yet another night without a pillow. Sigh, fine. So, it was fairly adventureless, but still not dramaless. *rolls eyes*. O this city...
In the mean time, I'm working on getting ready to go to CT this weekend. I leave today. Since I don't have a printer in my room (or a computer right now) I have to go to the lab to print anything. As I'm staring around waiting for my print job to queue, I notice a bright yellow sign outside the door. I really wish I could take a picture and put it in here, but alas I have no way to do that right now. Anyway, it's a big sign reading, "Fallout Shelter Starts Here" with an arrow. How funny! I love old buildings. :)
I really don't have much going on lately to report, but I'm sure I'll have fun this weekend with the newly engaged couple (awww!!!) and Amanda's family. Hopefully Jeff is still in town, and I can see him (It's been years!). But then I'll be back on the train and in the chaotic fun city in no time. :) I really am getting used to it here and kinda starting to enjoy it (good, since I'm stuck here for a while, eh?). Don't get me wrong, I still very much miss home and that life, but I am starting to feel comfortable here, too.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Adventureless? HA!

I swear, the day this city becomes a non-adventure is the day after it implodes or something. And I'm beginning to learn that what this city means by adventure is really just what everyone else would call inconvenience. When I arrived home the other day and ran into the girls in the kitchen, they mentioned that there was a Kmart nearby. I looked it up and it said 34th St. O goodie! I know where that is, and it's pretty easy to get to. Penn Station is on 34th (that's where I picked up Amanda and Matt). So I decided to try it out. Also, my computer keys have become kinda sticky, so I made an appointment at the Apple store to get it fixed. I figured I'd just make a day of it. So, I gathered my things and headed out.
The Apple store is at 66th St station. When I got off, I made it to the store easily. I waited around for about half an hour for someone to see me. When he looked at my computer, he gave me the bad news...liquid damage...worse news...not covered! AAHHH. So I was confused because the whole reason I bought the extended warranty was because the guy specifically said it would cover everything (INCLUDING liquid damage. I think his exact words were, "You could drop it in the pool, and they'd still cover it."). So, he decided to throw me a bone and they'd fix it for free!! WOW! Thanks. Assuming it's just the keys and they don't find extensive damage inside (which I'm hoping not, and everything seems to work ok, so maybe it's fine), they'll cover it. Now, time to venture to Kmart.
When I looked up directions, Google said to take the A train because the 1 train lets out several blocks East of where I needed to be. Ok, fine. So, I got to the train station only to find out that to go one stop downtown, I have to ride uptown about 3 stations because of all this construction...grr! So, I got on and rode up to 96th, switched to downtown, and rode BACK down to 50th where I could switch to A. I really should have just walked the 10 blocks, but I had already paid. So, I took the A and got off at 34th. Finding my way to Kmart, I realized I could have just taken the 1 as it really wasn't as out of the way as it appeared. O well. I found all my stuff I needed and had planned to take a cab home as much of it was too big and bulky to carry on the train. Then I saw a sign for same day delivery in Manhattan for only$15 (way cheaper than a cab). Nice. Ok, so I did that.
Since I was down by Penn anyway, I decided to stop at the HUGE (an entire city block) post office to change my address since I changed rooms. I don't know why it's so difficult to have these stupid things out, but apparently it is. So, I waited in line for forever, it seemed, and got my form.
Then I decided it would be a good idea to go talk to a human at Amtrak for this weekend's trip to CT instead of booking online. I walked into Penn and realized that was a bad idea. The cue was huge. Nevermind! Forget that! I was so done at that point.
I just grabbed my stuff and headed home. I took the 1 all the way...direct with no stopping...very nice. So, now I'm home and in desperate need of a nap before class. Unfortunately, I still have to finish some homework. O well!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back Home

The shower went very well. The whole weekend, in fact, went very well. For those of you that know my sister and me, this is great news! We didn't fight at all, and it was very nice. It was great to finally see the bar and the house. The baby kicked and moved around a lot for me...that was fun (probably not so much for Becky, though). But after a hot and sticky weekend in FL, it was time to say goodbye to the family and Patrick (tear!) and head back to NY. The flight was fine and uneventful (which is good) other than the obnoxious kids...grr Disney! But now I'm back in my new room (which I get to keep, btw, YAY!) and all is well. When I got back to Whittier, the girls on my floor were having a dinner party in the kitchen (they were just cleaning up). I poked my head in, and Ting said she had knocked on my door to invite me but I wasn't home. I thought that was so sweet! So, I met a few more girls on my floor and talked with them a bit. They even helped me move my AC to my new room and switch out the fridge! One girl is from Westminster! Neat! So, perhaps I have some friendships budding. It's nice. Maybe this place isn't so hostile after all.
But, for now, it's time for some homework!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sitting, Waiting

I've arrived in Orlando only to find out that I now have to wait even longer to see my baby! UG! Stupid Florida rainstorms. His flight is delayed over an hour. So now, instead of waiting about 3.5-4 hours for him, I have to wait 5! Thank goodness for free wifi! But, I got good news today...I get to stay in the nicer room! I have to be out by COB Monday (which could be a trick...not quite sure how to get my ac out, but it'll work). So here I sit, bored already after only an hour. O well, I can do it! :)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

My First Night Outing

I haven't really posted much in a couple days, because I haven't really done anything worth reporting (not that today really was, but here goes). I spent pretty much all day doing homework and then went to class (so much fun, isn't it; the life of a student?). However, after class I decided I needed to go down to B&N yet again to finish getting the books for class that I need. I didn't really realize what time it was until I was boarding the train and looked at my watch: 8:30. I stayed at B&N till they closed (10) and made it home. It really was uneventful, but I realized that it really was my first solo nighttime outing. Yay. This city, as I'm learning, really is a magical place, and I'm learning to love it more and more (which I suppose is good as I'm stuck here for a while).
Tomorrow I'm off to Florida for Becky's baby shower, and I'm SOOOO excited. Many reasons, really, but namely because I finally get to see her pregnant and feel that it's real. Everyone asks me if I'm excited to be an aunt, and while I am, it just doesn't really feel real yet. So I'm excited to see the little bugger there! And I haven't seen Kevin since my brother's wedding last summer, so that'll be nice. :D Plus, Patrick is coming, too. Needless to say, I'm wicked excited to see him. :D I've missed him a lot, but Skype is a great thing! And Mom will be there, so I'm excited to share my stories with all of them (they read this, but it's different in person). I wish Jeff were coming, but I understand. And Kevin's parents will be there. That'll be fun.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

O Happy Day

Today has started off wonderfully! I finally got to sleep in some (the first time since moving) and sauntered out of bed at 10:30! After getting ready to go, I took the train downtown a ways (luckily the construction is only Wed-Sun) and picked up my textbook from B&N finally. Before getting to the bookstore, I stopped at my fave little eatery for some breakfast...ok, so totally not healthy, but I had to have something, right? :) Making it to B&N (I might add, without getting lost or turned around at all on this entire trip!), I picked up my text and located a play that I had been thinking about lately. It's the play my dad and I did together twice that was one of his favorites. It's funny and we got to blow stuff up...can't get much better, huh? Anyway, it's also the play we had started when he got really sick and I had to finish for him. So, I bought that script. It was just starting to drop a few drops of rain the whole time I was out and about. Then, coming home, I could tell it was about to pour! As I walked into my dorm, I checked my mailbox to find the sweetest card in there. It really made my morning. As I walked into my room (the new, hopefully permanent one), it started really raining hard. It sounds so peaceful and calming. I love it! I really am enjoying myself here, as hard as it is. I am learning to make the best of things (not that it wasn't really in my nature, anyway). Julie, I know I can do this! :) I love you all and miss you terribly!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Can You Become...A New Version of You

I admit, I have a bit of an obsession. I love the show Felicity. I always have (well, always since it's been on). But, I never really realized how real it was until fairly recently. In season 3 they changed the opening song (Amy Jo Johnson left the show, so they stopped using a song she sang), and the opening line asks, "Can you become a new version of you?" and it really hit me. Just now. I took this journey to NY to further my education, better my job prospects and become a better teacher. But, I think I also had some personal issues underlying it that I didn't really realize or maybe just didn't want to admit. I feel kind of foolish, now, realizing that maybe I wasn't as mature and grown up as I thought I was. Or maybe that's the maturing process, right? Realizing? I don't know. Anyway, this song really hit me tonight as I'm realizing the growth I've had in just the past week. I know, I know, it's only been a week. But, it's been a very trying week and a very difficult one. So, I feel like I've had many opportunities to grow, and I've changed some. Hopefully it's for the better. One thing that resonates with me a lot right now is a conversation I had shortly before I left about letting little things bother me. I admit, I do. I let them irk me or irritate me or even sometimes freak me out for a bit before I can really deal with them and move on. I still do that, but I am working on it. I feel like I'm making progress, too, as I'm realizing that I'm on my own out here. Yes, I have friends and family just a phone call or text away, but physically, I'm on my own. So, when something presents itself, I have to deal with it. I think I'm becoming a better person. I'm learning my independence and my own strength. It's kind of like when I first got divorced. I learned a lot about how strong I can be and how independent I can be. But even then I had a lot of people to lean on that were physically there and totally supportive and completely wonderful. Now, those same people are filling that same role again but 3000 miles away. I wonder, can we become a new version of ourselves? If we can, will our old friends still like us? I certainly hope so, because I feel I'm being forced to grow and change out here and can only hope my friends still like me when I return a little more worn.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Say Wha....?

O, NYC, the adventure never ends with you does it? Today's adventure, however, I could have gone a lifetime without. I've woken up every morning since I moved at 4:3o, 6:30 and then 8:30. I blamed the 6:30 on the sun hitting the building across from me just right. But now I know why the 4:30 one happened. I have also been noticing strange bites here and there since I've moved. Last night, however, when I woke up at 4:30 (ok, technically this morning), I realized there were many many more. I have bedbugs. Yup, you read that right. Bedbugs. They are vile, disgusting creatures. The more I learn about them, the more grossed out I am. So, I went downstairs at 4 in the morning to ask the guard on duty what I should do. He was shocked it had taken me this long to report and assured me he would contact his manager and get something figured out for me as soon as a decent hour approached. (I didn't know at first what they were, but in putting all the pieces of the puzzle together, I can't see that it could be anything else, now. Especially realizing that they detect food by carbon dioxide. So they realize I'm breathing and come feast. But why did it take them so long to really come out? My only theory is that yesterday we stirred them up when we installed the air conditioner as I think they live in that wall/outlet. Also, last night was my first night to sleep with the windows closed, so there was a lot more CO2 in the room to detect.) Anyway, not wanting to go back to bed (obviously), I piddled around online. About 7:30 I got a call from the CA on duty. She told me the process of getting rid of bedbugs. Boy is it a process.
First, I have to gather up ALL my clothing and washable sized fabric anything. Anything that can be washed must...right away...in HOT HOT water. (I wash everything in cold...this is gonna suck!) Then, I have to take the rest of my belongings and put them into trash bags. We then have to take the trash bags outside and let them sit to kill whatever bugs or eggs might be in those things. EW! But, being in the city, that means I have to be out there too. GRR! But, they were gracious enough to give me a prepaid laundry card and keys for a new room until the exterminator can come tomorrow.
After gathering all my bedding and laundry, I proceeded to put everything in the giant industrial trash bags they also provided. I spent most of the day doing laundry and putting it (once clean) into trash bags and into my temporary room. I couldn't put them back into my hampers because those, too, are cloth. We decided that there was too much conflicting information about the "sun baking" for the bugs and that we'd wait and ask the exterminator tomorrow.
My hope is that it is a small infestation and probably hasn't spread to the rest of my things. So, I sit here in my temp room sweltering without my spoiling AC and wishing none of this had happened. I also giggle because now my mattress cover is pink from the red pattern on my sheets and having to wash it all on hot. hehe :) So, like typical me, I find something to make a little light of the situation. Because, after all, it's a pretty sucky situation!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yet Another Adventure

Today was yet another adventurous day. Amanda (friend from middle school from CT) and her boyfriend came to visit me in the city today. It was, like everything else in this place has proven to be, an adventure. Matt had offered to help me install (pick up and install) an AC unit for my room. What a great guy, right? Boy did he not realize what he was signing up for! :) We all jumped on the train (having to go uptown some before going downtown yet again) and trecked down to the Target in Brooklyn once more. We finally got there and realized that not only do they not have any ACs but they were not ordering any more. GRRRRR!! I called around to some different places around town, and after finding out that everywhere else is way expensive, I decided to forgo the idea of AC and just deal. As we were walking out of the Target, we saw a sign for the appliance store across the street advertising that they had ACs and they were on sale! Huzzah!! YAY! So we wandered over there and got one. It was even about the same price as Target...double yay! As we were leaving, a man greeted us at the door and asked if we needed a taxi. In fact we did. So, he lead us over to his car. It was completely unmarked and he did not even have a LTS plate (Limo/Taxi Service) on it, so we decided to pass and find a Yellow Cab...just seemed safer. When we flagged one down, we got in and told the driver where we were going. He then hemmed and hawed and decided it would be too much work to turn around and go the direction we needed. And get this...he kicked us OUT!! WTF! Yeah! So we crossed the street and got another one. His loss, cuz that was a big fare. Anyway, we made it home again safely and in one piece. Now it's time to figure out how to install this thing. Matt assured me that it was pretty simple, and he was confident he could do it. He's mechanically inclined, so I trusted him.
When we got the thing out of the box (which halfway required an engineering degree with all that crap in it), we heard a rattling of a loose screw. It sounded like one had dropped into the unit and was rattling around. O well. Once it's in, it will be stable and won't hear it, right? Ok. So we plugged it in and OMG! It sounded like a small plane was trying to take off out of my room! We quickly unplugged it and Matt set to work to disassemble and find that screw! Obviously it was causing more problems than anticipated. Once Matt had torn apart the cover, he found the screw and removed it. Yay! Fixed! We plugged it back in, but no avail...still a Cessna. Ok, Matt...have at it. He dug deeper and found out that the little screw had knocked some small piece of plastic loose inside that was hitting the belt or something like that and was causing the awful noise. Once he removed this and fixed it, we tried a third time...success! He reassembled my machine and again tried putting it in the window. It now sits there quite beautifully and cools VERY well. Thanks, Matt!!!
After a rest and enjoying the AC for a bit, we set out to go back downtown (up a few first, of course). Once we made it downtown, we had some Nathan's for dinner (mmm) and it was time to go to the train station to say goodbye. Upon arrival, though, we realized that the Amtrak to get Amanda and Matt home had been "indefinitely suspended" due to downed wires on the track. Great. Just what this day needed. So, we schleped it over to the Port Authority Bus Depot and tried to find a bus for them to get home tonight. Luckily they made it and are on their way home now.
Overall, a successful day but quite an adventure, indeed!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Spoke Too Soon

Ok. I guess I spoke too soon. Target was a bit of an adventure, but not nearly as bad as WalMart. I should have known better when, as I was walking to the train station, I thought...hmm, maybe I should save this for tomorrow, since I have nothing to do at all...nah! So, I got to the train and filled up my card. Once I entered the loading area, I realized that the downtown rain area was blocked off. Due to construction, downtown trains were skipping the 3 or 4 stations all around me. So...I had to ride UPtown about 3 stations, transfer to downtown (which, luckily, they provided for free) and head the bajillion blocks down to Brooklyn to get to the Target. So, what should have been about a 45 min ride ended up being an hour and 15 min! Ug...it takes FOREVER to get anywhere in this city! At least I'm learning. It's funny, I used to allot myself about 20-30 min to get anywhere at home, now I have to allow an hour. Erg. So, anyway, I made it to Target and got my stuff (plus some, of course) and made it home all in one piece! Yay for an exploration day! I had fun and feel very accomplished. :D

Out and About...On My Own

Well, yesterday was my first day all by myself in the big bad scary city. :) It wasn't so bad. But, I didn't really go anywhere, either. I stayed in the AC as it is still wicked hot and read my book for class. It was nice to just retreat and ignore my circumstances. It turned out to be a fabulous book, too. It was Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Anyway, after reading my first two books (yeah, that's right...two books in one day! I know, who am I, and what have I done with Kim that she's actually reading books for class and 2 in one day!), I attended a movie night in my dorm hall. I met some nice girls that live in my building and are also brand new. It was nice to just sit and chat knowing we're experiencing the same feelings, fears, doubts, and worries. One girl has also left behind a boyfriend, so we commiserated together. :)

Today, however, I decided I needed to get out, as I am out of reading material and I had some errands to run. So, I braved the streets and headed uptown into Harlem. I found the post office to mail my first package to Patrick (stuff he forgot while he was here) and found some neat things along the way. I found a branch of the NYC Library (YAY!!) and a closer DD (uber yay!). There is also some shopping down by the PO that is nice to see (Old Navy, a decent-sized grocery store, etc.). It was nice to get out and explore some. Now I'm headed way downtown into Brooklyn to go to Target. I'm hoping it's not nearly as adventurous as WalMart. :)

Until next time...


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

I've made it! Now what?

Since I still don't have internet in my room, I'm having to post from the student lab in my building. Hence, there aren't pics up yet...but I hope to post tomorrow! :) As for my big move-in weekend, it was quite exciting (in both good and bad ways). It was also very hot! NY was experiencing a record-setting and tying heat wave with actual temperatures hitting 103 and "feels like" temps reading 110! Plus the humidity! Coming from CO where a humid day is when the humidity is 20%, NY is gross with its 40%...ik!

Satuday, July 3, 2010:

Today's the big day! I'm leavin' on a jet plane. Don't know when I'll be back again...those words were never so true. So tragic. I really do love Colorado, and I will miss it terribly. I keep telling myself that it's only temporary, and I'll be back to visit in the mean time, too. However, as I arrived in NY (at Laguardia), Patrick and I decided that it would be worth the extra cost to take a cab from the airport to school rather than try to figure out how to put all my stuff onto a crowded bus. Good plan! The cabbie was so nice! He answered all our touristy questions and explained everything very well. We tipped nicely! :) So, we've arrived. We pull up to my new home at 1230 Amsterdam Ave and are overwhelmed by the grandure of it all. The ten stories tower above us and make us cower in its wake (or me anyway; I suppose I can't speak for Patrick). As we enter the building, I am in awe of the beauty. It's breath-taking. So after realizing I have a task at hand, I walk up to the security desk and announce my business here. They have no idea what I'm talking about or who I am or have any record of expecting me...great! Fabulous! I've just traveled 1700 miles and have no place to live? Are you kidding me? The security man calls the CA (Community Assistant-kinda like an RA in undergrad) on call. She comes to my rescue! She found my packet and keys and whatnot in the office and let me move in (YAY!! THANKS!). After carting all my stuff upstairs (not super hard as there was an elevator, but the map to my room was kind of confusing), Patrick and I had a good freak out. What have I done? Where am I? What did I sign up for? So, we decided to walk around the neighborhood to get familiar and figure things out. Maybe that will calm us down....it did. We wandered around and grabbed some dinner. It's a very nice area, and I think I'll like it here. Then we crashed...sooo tired.

Sunday, July 4, 2010 - Happy Independence Day!

Today we decided to take the ultimate adventure: WalMart! So, we checked our list, grabbed our things, and headed for New Jersey...yup, you read that right...Jersey! The closest WalMart is in Jersey (as I really am on the state line, it's not so surprising, but getting there is a BEAST!). We headed out for the 1 (train) and took it down to Time's Square. Upon arrival, I realized that Patrick had never been to NYC before, so we kinda took our time poking around and getting to the bus depot so he could see it. We knew we'd be back later, so we still kinda rushed. At the bus depot, we knew what bus line we needed, but had no clue how to get to it or the tickets we needed. Apparently to get to Jersey, you can't use the same MTA (Metro Transit Authority) card we did for the train to get there. So, we finally found our way to the appropriate bus. We got off at the stop Google told us and realized WalMart was nowhere near us. When we asked the guy at the stop, he chuckled and explained we'd gotten off too early and graciously gave us continuation tickets for the next bus. Now we're at WalMart...o the joy...ug. So you think WalMart is bad at home? It's not New Jersey! haha. Anyway, we finally finish up and somehow manage to stuff it all into the bags we've brought. We get back on the bus and decide to not tackle the train with all this stuff. We got a taxi from the bus depot home.
After making it home, we went to the local market for some groceries. I found Poland Spring water, FLUFF, and some other local goodies I'd missed over the years. Surprisingly, though, and very sadly, Dunkin Donuts is not a convenient trip as the nearest one is about 15-20 blocks from me! Although, I suppose this is probably good news for my waistline! Anyway, we made it back home and unpacked everything (groceries and the stuff from home and WalMart) and decided it was time to get out. It was the 4th of July, afterall. So, we headed back down to Times Square and fought the mob. It was CRAZY busy. Granted, it's the most popular place in the city on a holiday weekend but still! Oy! I think the only place more crowded might have been down at the Hudson watching the fireworks, but I'm not even sure about that! We ate dinner at Bubba Gump's, and I finally got my chowda! Mmmm New Englad Clam Chowder (even though I'm technically not in NE, I'm close enough!). After that we headed home and called it a night.

Monday, July 5, 2010:

Today's agenda was simple: bookstore for the books and supplies I need, and then touristy stuff! Enjoy the day! So, we headed to the bookstore and royally struck out. The books I needed weren't instock at all. So I settled for just getting my supplies and each of us a shirt. After getting home and feeling utterly dejected, we headed for Central Park and the Natural History Museum. It was WAAAYY too hot to do anything outside. When we got to the museum, it was amazing! Air conditioning! YAY! But besides that, they had a really cool space exhibit that took up a good portion of a couple floors. It was nerd heaven (and therefore us heaven! :) hehe)! After the space stuff we saw the rest of the stuff and the dinos and headed home...afterall, it was to be the night we celebrate my birthday since tomorrow Patrick leaves. Anyway, on the way home, we stopped at the bookstore where I was MUCH more successful. I got all the books I needed. But, alas, once we got home, we were both too tired to put in the energy to get dolled up and go out. So we found a local neighborhood greasy spoon place (one of our favorite genres) that called itself "truckstop gourmet"...how fantastic! And fantastic it was! It was way better than getting dolled up and being uncomfortable all night. So we walked up to Harlem to Toast and had a fabulous comfortable dinner. Then on the way home we tracked down a DD (Dunkin Donuts) for breakfast. I call that a successful day!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010 - Happy Birthday to ME!

Today has been a roller coaster. The plan was to just enjoy it doing uber touristy things and then go take Patrick to the airport. I had a little bit of business to do this morning, as this was the first day offices have been opened since I've been here. So I got my ID and we took off. We headed down to Grand Central Station...how marvelous! It was great. Patrick really enjoyed it, I think. Then we headed down to Battery Park to catch the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. That didn't happen, though. When we got there, the announcement said the crown tickets were already sold out (the ones that allow you to go up IN the statue) and so all you could do was walk around it. Plus, the wait for the next ferry was an hour and a half...in the hot sun...without shade....O HELL NO! Today was the record day...103 with a feel temp of 110! Instead, we wandered around the park a bit and decided to find the Wall Street Bull. That'd be fun. Right? Well, once again, Google tells us wrong and we never found him. We got to Bowling Green and decided it was time to head home. Once we got back up to my neck of the woods, we had a nice sushi (yum!) lunch and headed for the airport (tear). As one can imagine, it was terribly hard to say goodbye. I know I'll see him often throughout my time here (a lot in July, actually), but it's still not the same. I'm still missing him a lot! But, I'll be strong...I know I can.

So, here I sit, alone, in a strange city with no friends on my birthday, missing everything and everyone I love. But as a very wise and great friend often says, "I can do this, whatever this is."

I love you all, and thank you for your love, prayer, and support!


Friday, July 2, 2010

In the beginning....

Hi World!

I'm leaving on a plane to New York tomorrow. Starting a new adventure is always exciting, but scary. I made this blog to keep track of this journey.

I can't wait to share it with all of you!