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. :)