Saturday, July 31, 2010

Who you gonna call? A life coach.

As you all know, I've had a rough few weeks/years and so to help better myself I decided to speak to a life coach.

A life coach is someone who helps you focus on achieving goals. The coach helps bridge the gap from where you currently are to where you want to be. They help set a plan into place and follow up to ensure you are working towards your goals.
I used my life coach twice in the last 8 years or so, but called again since I am ready for a larger life adjustment. My life coach, Laura, is so wonderful and provides non-judgemental information. We spoke for three hours about so many aspects of my issues. This was the first time where I had areas I wanted to work on that crossed so many parts of my life, and not just one, so it will be more challenging (career, love, family, health).
Part of gaining a better control of my life, I am to do something just for me each day. While this seems like such a simple thing, it is something I don't do...and I don't even have my own family that I put before me. I guess after a while you just loose track of yourself and end up in a rut. As with anything, sometimes you need to be ready for it for it to work. I hope I am in fact ready. I am optimistic that this will work and I can help achieve that level of happiness that I want.
Laura's website -- Yes, she does phone meetings too!

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

The Rockefeller State Park Preserve is located in Pleasantville and its operated by the New York State Parks office.  My first time here I was unsure what to expect, there was a $6 parking fee to park in the lot which was near the small visitor center, small museum, and restrooms.

I got out of the car dressed in sneakers but a regular tank top and capri's.  Everyone else was wearing sneakers, short running shorts and athletic tops.  I felt very out of place.  I grabbed a trail map and began my walk...yes, I walked everyone else was running.  I took the Old Sleepy Hollow Trail to get to the other trails, however, the trail crossed a main road where I saw many cars parked on the side - allowing free parking.  I continued and walked about 5 miles on various trails (Eagle Hill, Thirteen Bridges, Pocanatico River and another one) before heading back.  I was hoping the Eagle Hill Summit would have provided a better view of the Rockefeller Estate and the river but since it was the summer, the trees were too full to see much of anything. I did get a glimpse of the Tapanzee Bridge.

It was a very pleasant walk, and I would go back to walk on some of the other trails that I was not able to see when I was there this time.  For more information, visit the Rockefeller State Park Preserve website.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The String Test

About two years ago a few girls got together for dinner. At this said dinner, we were introduced to the String Test. Yes, this is what old, single women do in their free time.

The string test is a test about pregnancies and is surprisingly accurate.

We threaded a needle and tied the thread/string. Make a C shape with one hand, with your thumb towards you and the opening of the C towards the floor. Place your hand out in front but close to you - about belly level.

With your other hand, hold the top of the string so the needle is down. 'bob' the needle 3 times through the C so the needle is below the C (non-sewers, this means to move the needle down through the C, bring back to above the C, and move it below the C again. Do this so the needle passes through the C hole 3 times).

After the third bob, lower needle so it is between the C (don't go all the way through it like before). Watch the needle move. It will go in circles or move back and forth. Remember what it does.

Lift the needle back above the C. Move the needle back into the C (not through it). Observe. Repeat this until the needle no longer moves.

If the needle made a circle, that means a girl. If it went back and forth, that indicates a boy. These are pregnancies, not children, please do keep that in mind.

If you don't have a needle, you can use a (wedding) ring. I even tried once with a paper clip and many claim a pencil can work too.

If you are currently pregnant, I do believe you just have to place the ring, needle above your belly and it will move.

After this dinner, and doing the experiment about 10 times each...I made a needle and had my sisters and mother do this over the weekend. It was dead on accurate. I then had a few friends try it, and it was also accurate.

My results: two pregnancies. a boy and a girl.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Boulder Field

The same day we went for a hike on the "shades of death trail" (which was a scenic 1.5 mile trail which claimed to be a difficult hike probably due the terrain, but it was relatively easy) at Hickory Run State Park, we also went to Boulder Field. Boulder Field is this massive area that is covered in, you guessed it: boulders.

This area is a national natural landmark, which has remained unchanged for the last 20,000 years. The area covered in boulders is 400 x 1,800 feet and 12 feet deep. This area is the result of glacial activity, where the large amounts of water carried the boulders down and deposited them at this location.

Some boulders measure over 26 feet long. There is also a small river under part of this area somewhere in the middle. You are able to walk on the boulders [we didn't walk the whole area] and they ask that you do not move any of them [picture below just is for fun, I wasn't actually trying to move it]. What makes it so amazing is that the area is so flat; you can easily see the large expanse and add the absolutely beautiful day I went there (check out that sky) and it was a great visit.

NYC: The High Line

I came across information about the High Line from that "How About We..." website where someone suggested it as a date. I looked it up because I was not familiar with this, and realized it was in fact something I wanted to see. The High Line was built in the 1930's and used through 1980 as a way to more safely transport freight to the industrial part of Manhattan. To do this, it was created 30 feet above the street in hopes to lessen the accidents on the street level and allow the trains to pull right into the buildings to be unloaded. The new elevated train tracks were 13 miles long, running from 34th street to Spring Street.

Two people got together in 1999 to form the "Friends of the High Line" which advocated using the tracks as public space. Their wish was granted, and in June 2009 the first phase of the park was open to the public, and hopefully in 2011 the second phase from 20 - 30th streets will be open to the public.

The high line walk was actually very relaxing. The concrete pathway curves with plants everywhere, so it is not just a boring straight walk. Benches and chairs are spread out throughout the path and some benches even have wheels on them to be moved along part of the train track, allowing them to be moved further or closer to a neighboring chair. There is also one area that has stadium seating that over looks the street below.

Unfortunately, even though I planned this visit two weeks ago, I forgot my camera. I ended up just taking a few pictures from my phone that does not have good resolution. I had a nice, relaxing evening slowly strolling the park and sitting on the benches, catching up with SI.

If you are ever in the NYC area, and are in the Chelsea Neighborhood, climb up the stairs to enter this park and just detour the busy streets below. It is currently a short walk, after phase two is complete, it will be 1 1/2 miles long. For more information check out their website The High Line.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My attempt at golf

I had the opportunity to play golf with two of my brother-in-laws and my uncle. I was surprised that the guys seemed to take such good care and pride in the golf course. I don't know what men are generally like at home, some might be slobs, others could be neat freaks; I assumed my brother-in-laws were some place in between. But on the golf course they were different men. They made sure they fixed all their divots and raked the sand if their ball landed in the sand pit.

The game of golf was fun. Three years ago I took a golf course at the local high school one night a week for eight weeks. After that I went to the driving range and didn't do well, so I didn't bother to ever play a round of golf before. Since we were on vacation, I decided to give it a try. The weather this day was pouring but then turned cloudy but HOT. The local place was not busy at all, so there was plenty of time for me to try to hit enough times with out holding many other people up, as I was generally double the par. I had a few really good swings, but most of my balls just went a few yards at a time. My final score was a 146 (although the guys told me that they generally issue a hole total no more than 2x par - but I went with my official score, which sometimes was as high as an 11!).

We rented a golf cart to make the time between holes go faster, but if you golf like me, you end up walking most of the course anyway (although, not with a full golf bag - so that helped!!). This was also my first time driving a golf cart. It was an exhausting 6 1/2 hours (yes, that is right, a LONG day because I slowed them down a lot)!

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I just got back from a family trip to the Poconos in Pennsylvania. By family, I don't just mean my immediate family, but with my mom's family. There was about 30 of us. We did this two years ago, we rented two beach houses in LBI and had such a great time we wanted to try it again, this time in the mountains. I love beaches, so I was not sure if I would enjoy the mountain vacation, but it ended up being a good, active week.

I was informed the houses would have Internet, so I lugged my laptop out there for the sole purpose of blogging and doing about 2 hours of real work. However, they did not have wireless Internet, and no one knew where to find the wire hook up, let alone have an Ethernet cable. My phone also did not have steady bars; so it became a welcoming technology free week!

I really wanted to go to Bushkill Falls which was about an hour away from our house. The brochure looked beautiful, and by the second day of not doing much, I decided to take a ride up there. Two of my sisters decided to join me for the hike. There was a $10 fee per person to get in and we decided to take the red trail, which was the hardest and longest. We hiked this trail in reverse and began with a nice stroll in the woods along a small river. Soon we came to our first waterfall (8 in total). We took some stairs down to another waterfall where we were able to take off our shoes and enter the water and go in/under the falls. I've never really done anything like that before, usually just viewed from afar, so I decided, why not? I loved having the water splash on me while standing in the super shallow water. It was so much fun and it seemed as though all my worries just vanished, and was really able to enjoy the rest of the day and the rest of the vacation. We saw more waterfalls and went up and down more stairs until we reached the main falls. The hike back to the top was brutal, with all the stairs - but we did it and when we left the park I saw one of those penny souvenir pennies that read, "I survived the red trail" and made those for each of us. I am not a hiker by any means, and I did not find this trail to be difficult in the sense that most of it was easy, but the hardest part was all the stairs in a row - not actually hiking. It was more like a leisurely walk with a lot of stairs.

we did it!

Time to start catching up with your blogs. Stay tuned for more about my trip.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Bio-Luminescent Experience

One of the most amazing experiences so far, was my kayaking trip through the bio-luminescent bay (in Farjardo) in Puerto Rico.

In November 2009, I had a business meeting in Puerto Rico and invited my sister to come along. We planned to see Old San Juan, hang by the pool and most importantly I wanted to visit El Yunque and the bio-luminescent bay in the North East part of the island.

We spent the early part of the afternoon at the rain forest (my first time at a rain forest, not quite what I pictured) and then headed over to the launch area about 20 minutes north-east of the rain forest. Puerto Rico actually has three of the five bio luminescent bays in the world. One of the other bio luminescent bays in Puerto Rico takes more planning, it is, I believe on the South West part of the island, and you need to take a helicopter or boat over there. Mandatory night stay is required on the island.
When we arrived we were given a short talk on how this worked and then we were given life vests and headed into our two person kayak. I have only kayaked 3 times, my sister had never - so we had to spend a while teaching her what to do. Many people did not know how to steer their kayaks. So we all line up and proceed through the bay to the lagoon. The voyage starts off rough - choppier waters, getting bumped, going off course, etc. But then we make our way through a 'river' which becomes really dark. Oh right, did I forget to mention you have to do this at night time? So it is pitch-black you can barely see the kayak in front of you and you don't see the tree branches that hit your head or arms. At first I was getting a little spooked. I mean, I hate bugs. And who knows what is on these branches. The bugs were eating us like crazy too. But the moon was small and it was a beautiful warm, clear night. And then....then it happened. All of a sudden the water lights up. And as you are rowing, you see the lights appear and fade. I had to reach out and touch it. It was amazing. Our tour took us through this narrow passage way to the Las Croabas Lagoon where we were given a little history about the plankton and then some free time to paddle around and enjoy. The lagoon was beautiful, we were all paddling everywhere and you look up and the stars were shinning - it was so peaceful and relaxing. Our return trip was much better - as my sister figured out how to paddle, and the others were getting the hang of it too. Although at one point I thought I was going to be decapitated by a branch that snuck up on me.

So, how does the water light up? At our location, in Las Croabas Lagoon, there are 500,000 to 700,000 of bioluminescent dinoflagellates ( a plankton) per gallon. These plankton when disturbed light up. They thrive in warm water - and in Puerto Rico, they can be seen every night.

I did not take my camera on the trip, and for that I am actually happy as got kinda wet. You need to know how to use your camera and change the settings to something I am not familiar with. We were not allowed in the water, so all those pictures you see, are done by 'real' photographers and most of the time with special permission. They told us that human oil kills the plankton or something like that. So the pictures I post, are from those that can easily be found with a google search.

I think our trip cost $65 per person? At first I thought it was a little pricey - but when we got off the kayak, I thought it was completely worth it! That is definitely something I would do again with my future husband and/or children.
(bio-luminescent seem strange? NO, think about fireflies. There are actually lots of things that light up.)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sassy Water

In the beginning of the year I read the Flat Belly Diet, written by the editor of Prevention Magazine. NO, I did not end up following it, but I did try the Sassy Water (supposed to drink the recipe in one day).

I was never a huge water drinker, but about 7 years ago, I went off caffeine. I love de-caf iced tea (Crystal lite) and started to drink a lot of water, even if it was boring. However, I liked my water without lemon. At restaurants I would either quickly grab my lemon and throw it aside or ask them not to put it on the rim of the glass at all because sometimes I couldn't even drink it with that taste. However, the Sassy Water was surprisingly refreshing.

To make Sassy Water:
2 liters of water
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 cucumber peeled and thinly sliced
1 lemon thinly sliced
2 spearmint leaves

I have made this without ginger (the first time when I didn't have any) and with out mint (yesterday when I wasn't even thinking about making water) and both ways taste fine. I think it is the cucumber I like that is addicting and refreshing, which is surprising, because I am not a big cucumber fan either.

Give it a shot. Especially in the summer it is a nice other thing to drink.

How About We...

My friend just send me a link to this relatively new dating site called How About We that focuses on actual dates, not all that back and forth communications and maybe a date. HowAboutWe is new, so there are not a lot of users yet and the fee is much less than match or eharmony. I quickly checked it out and started to read through the proposed dates. They all start with "How about we..." and then you fill in what you want to do. Some are "How about we...catch a movie under the stars in Bryant Park" or "How about we...walk across the Brooklyn bridge then get dinner" essentially whatever you want to do - you tell everyone else and if you have that in common you perhaps meet to go on this date, at which time you learn about the person in real life.

What is great about this concept, is that it still brings people together but doing something more fun/social then chatting online for a month liking what you read and hating the person when you meet them. And best off, you don't like the person, at least you did something you enjoyed.

I am not sure if I am going to actually try this or not, but it seemed like a 'why didn't I think of that'.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Review: Tatiana De Rosnay - Sarah's Key

I saw Sarah's Key by Tatiana De Rosnay book on the Barnes & Noble website numerous times. The cover made me click to read about the book (who says not to judge a book by its cover?). Part of the book is set in WW2 in Paris and the other half is 2002 Paris. Each time, I thought, this book sounds too serious for right now, and I wouldn't add it to my library list.

At my last book club, my friend mentioned she just read this book and really enjoyed it. I said, oh yes, I liked the cover and wanted to read but was afraid it was too serious for my current mood. She let me borrow it from her. A few days later I finished my book and didn't get around to going to the library to pick up my other books on hold, so I grabbed this book before I walked out the door.

The book itself was easy language, easy to follow/understand. It was a historical fictional story about true events, which was quite sad. But I flew through the book in 3 train rides. I really enjoyed the two different stories that eventually come together at the end. It made you want to keep reading to find out what happened.

Sarah was a ten year old Jewish girl when her family was arrested in Paris during the Vel' d Hiv' roundup. I really enjoyed the story from the 10 year old's perspective; such an innocent and naive narrative. In 2002, Julia, an American journalist in Paris is writing a story about the 60th anniversary of the Vel' d Hiv' roundup. Astonishingly, Julia discovers many Parisians have no idea about the Roundup or don't want to admit to knowing anything. Little by little details emerge and Julia is obsessed about finding as much as she can about Sarah and her family and in turn, re-evaluates her life.

As soon as I finished this book I called my sister and told her she had to read it - she finished it in one day and called me to tell me she cried the whole way through. That surprised me, since I am the emotional wreck, and I did not cry - I thought I might at one point, but I didn't. It was one of the best books I have read this year. I never heard of this tragic event and it touched my heart that such horrible things happened and the struggles so many people had to endure. I highly recommend this book.

Breaking up with Bank Boy

Can you break up with someone you aren't even dating?

Last night BankBoy instant messages me. this is the first time he has made contact in 2 weeks after I told him I was going to block him because of all the harassing messages.

So, of course he asks when we are going to hook up again...I say we are not. He says, I don't want a relationship. Me - I know that, but I do, and not with you. How can I meet my husband if I am messing around? blah blah blah -this continues for like 15 minutes. Then he proceeds to tell me I am 'full of myself'. I ask if he is serious, because the last thing I am is full of myself, I am actually quite insecure these days. So then we are practically yelling/fighting/arguing over IM. I finally say "look, I don't care what you think of me. I am not going to argue about this. If I am so 'full of myself' you shouldn't even want to talk to me anyway." A few more words were exchanged, and then I abruptly log off.

Maybe now he is mad enough not to harass me. And since when did it get so complicated telling someone you don't want to pursue anything? Were his reactions to me not wanting to sleep with him normal? And why should I be questioned so much about WHY NOT?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Matchmaker Matchmaker, Make Me a Match

During a lazy Saturday, I happened to come across the NBC show "The Match Off" which is about two match makers trying to set one person up. And I think, Oh, I haven't really thought about a match maker. Well, I did a few years ago but it was expensive. After watching the show I realized this is probably a good way to met a decent person with long term possibilities. So I just checked out a few matchmakers in the NYC area. Wow, they shattered my dreams. One focuses setting up men with women, another one was between 5,000 - 10,000 dollars. HAHA. Yeah, I can't afford groceries. Others don't have any sort of prices listed (probably for a good reason) but I can't fill out questionnaires and/or go there and be like, oh are you crazy? Maybe the rich guy they set me up with that I will eventually marry would be willing to pay my fee just for finding me :)

Sometimes I wonder what I am doing wrong, that I get zero attention. I can go out with a girlfriend to lunch/dinner, and she is single & pretty, and no one talks to us. I go grocery shopping, to the park, the library, ride the train - no one talks to me. I know I can give off a don't talk to me signal - but I don't mean to most of the time...but when people cat cal at you a lot, you just learn to ignore people.

Other people jump from one person to another so quickly, but I can't find one decent one. Is it normal that after 2 years, I have not had a rebound relationship? No, I don't think so. Sure, I am a little picky, but that shouldn't mean I get nothing. And, I don't think that me being a broke, single gal trying to be independent should mean I remain alone because I can't afford to date or pay for help.

Maybe I can set up a fund and ask for donations. If anyone deserves to find love, I do think it is me.

If I knew more people, I could specialize in affordable matchmaking for young adults.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Walk along the Brooklyn Bridge

I was a tourist today. I took your advice and on my summer Friday a co-worker & I decided to walk the Brooklyn Bridge.

The Brooklyn Bridge was designed by John Roebling who became the chief engineer. Unfortunately John Roebling died in 1869 - soon after the construction began. The bridge opened to the public on May 24, 1883 after 10+ years to build and cost $15.5 million dollars (twice more than what was originally estimated).

I was not sure why tourists walk the Brooklyn Bridge - so I did a little research (no surprise there, I am nerdy) and found out at the time, that the Brooklyn Bridge was the largest bridge ever built - almost twice as long as the Menai Suspension Bridge (between Wales and Anglesey) which opened in 1826. Additionally, suspension bridges were also previously made of iron, but Roebling decided to use steel to make the bridge stronger. Additionally, J. Lloyd Haigh who sold the wire rope for the bridge construction was faulty - but still remains within the cables. Approximately 27 people died during the construction.

The bridge is 135 feet above the water (high enough for the large boat traffic), spans 5,989 feet (1.13 miles), and the towers rise 276.5 feet from the water. On opening day the toll was only 1 cent but then rose to 3 cents. That first day, 1,800 vehicles and 150,300 people crossed the bridge. Within that first month there was a lot of controversy over the bridge and many were worried the bridge would collapse (12 people died in a stampede) and fall into the water. To help but that rumor to rest, P.T. Barnum led a parade of 21 elephants over the bridge. Because of the use of the steel and the truss system which was 6 times stronger than it needed to be, the Brooklyn Bridge is still standing, while other bridges built during this time have been replaced.

The Brooklyn Bridge is three lanes in each direction and has the bike/pedestrian lane raised, which turns into wood planks, which is kind of neat that you can see the water below. Getting on the bridge from the Manhattan side was really easy. It was so crowded on the walk to the first tower. We stopped a lot to take pictures - making the walk about 30-40 minutes. Once we passed the first tower, the crowds died down - as they probably walked back towards Manhattan. The view was beautiful; able to see New Jersey, Staten Island, the Statue of Liberty, Manhattan, Brooklyn, a few other was relaxing.

Other Fun Facts:

  • Suspension cables - four 15 3/4' diameter wire ropes
  • 19 strands in each cable
  • 3,600 total miles worth of cable
  • 1520 suspenders
  • 400 diagonal stays
  • bridge weight 14,680 tons (not including caissons, towers or anchorages)
  • The first jumper was Robert Odlum on May 19, 1885
  • The first bungee jumpee was in June 1993
  • A bunker was discovered in 2006 from the Cold War which still had emergency supplies in it
  • In 2003, Lyman Faris was sentanced to 20 years in prison for supplying information to Al Qaeda to destroy the bridge by cutting through the support wires with blowtorches

After we reached the Brooklyn side, we took a short 1 mile-ish walk and then took the 5 train back to Grand Central. I was able to catch my everyday train.

A nice fun (and hot) day. Thanks to JW for keeping me company on this quest and now I can cross out one more item on my bucket list.

Friday, July 9, 2010

I'm not a badge bunny

Doofy once called me a 'badge bunny' that is a girl who likes to date cops. This isn't necessarily true.

OK, so there is Cop#1 - which I refer to in this blog, and has in the last two years changed nicknames to cop#1 when he re-entered my life. I met cop#1 in college, we had the same class together. I noticed him that very first day and made a point to sit near him when I could. I then would ask to borrow a pencil...which eventually led to talking and then a date. He was exactly the kind of guy that I think is sexy/good looking. We dated for 9 months or so, and then unofficially dated for another 2 years.

Cop #2 was someone I met at a bar many many years ago. It was after I cut the ties with Cop#1 and was newly single. Of course at the time of the meeting, I had no idea that was his profession. We started chatting, and while he wasn't really my kind of guy, we had the connection, as it turned out, that we went to the same high school and knew some of the same people. We sorta dated for about 2-3 months. Dating is a loose term, he was in the NYPD academy so he actually would just sleep at my place. I don't remember too many 'dates'. I haven't spoken to him since it ended.

Cop#3 (doofy) I have known for many many years, actually while I dated Cop#1 10 years ago. We were friends in the sense that we saw each other out at the local bar, knew some of the same people, were connected through the firehouse, etc. I never imagined he'd be anything more than a friend - and even that was a loose term. You have read enough about him to know we had zero chemistry and are polar opposites. What it comes down to is women like attention. And if no one else is giving them any, they will take it where ever it is, even when your head is saying 'you know better than that'. Whatever, it was fun at times.

I don't consider myself a badge bunny since when I met 2 of the 3 of them, they were not yet police officers. Don't get me wrong, I find cops to be sexy - in the sense they wear a uniform, have power, broad shoulders, and could be tough. There are a LOT of not-sexy police officers...which I would never consider. If I wanted to marry a police officer only, I know of a few cop bars...which I do not go to. It isn't like I am chasing them down or throw myself at them. It just happens to be a profession that the type of guy I like does.

Just as there are professions I stay away from - sales representatives for example. The reason for this is simple - sales people will tell you anything to make a sale. They are always 'on'. They have the personality that is outgoing and friendly (which I love) but I find they can be dishonest. Sure, this is a huge generalization - but I can not do it. I've been out with a few to know that isn't the type of guy that I like. I do not trust them.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Are you like me? Do you find yourself constantly re-reading emails or doing things to torture yourself?

I am having a perfectly fine day. Work gets a little slow so I decide to re-read my emails from SI from 2 weeks ago about the forgiveness thing. I tear up again. I don't know why I do it. But I do. And it isn't just things to do with him, I do it with other people too, I have re-read the nasty email my neighbor sent me, emails from potential suitors, or the emails from SI's mistress (thank goodness not recently, but I refuse to delete them...just in case) and of course my responses I will re-read over & over again long after they are sent. I re-play in my head conversations that I wish I said other things. Maybe I try to find more subtle meanings or wish I responded differently, I don't know.

I over think a lot and I am now very cautious about a lot of things. It does interfere with not only my job, but my life. Sometimes I wish there was an easy way of turning that off.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

2010 Summer Scorcher

NYC will be 100+ degrees again today. Yesterday I wore a skirt to work, thinking a skirt would combat the heat better than pants...I don't know, my legs were hot and sweaty and felt funny when I waked - but it probably was better. I even put the air conditioning on in my apartment, which I rarely do because 1) I prefer fresh air and 2) it is expensive to run. But why should I suffer and sweat when I sit on the couch doing nothing? Or need to re-shower after I straighten my hair because the sweat is pouring off my body?

Today I decided to wear a cotton dress. The dress is simple, I can wear a normal bra, and comes up to right above my knees. I am not one to normally wear dresses/skirts to work and my walk this morning was very difficult. As posted previously, I have large breasts, in the summer, they are not covered by coats/jackets so walking the streets I feel the staring and it makes me very uncomfortable. So I put on my sunglasses at 7:50am when I walk out of Grand Central Terminal and walk straight with no smile ignoring everyone in sight. As soon as you exit Grand Central, you can SMELL the stuffy gross NYC air. For a few weeks I thought I was going crazy, getting a headache as soon as I got to the city (subconsciously thinking I needed a new job outside of NYC) but I am not crazy, the summer air is different. Sickening. All the smells are intensified and you hold back that gag feeling for too long when you pass garbage, homeless people, food stands, etc. The smell is everywhere.

So, I arrive at work and take my black flip flops off - and decide between the two pairs of shoes I have under my desk. Brown or black. Hmm, this is tough - the dress is purpley-pink. Perhaps brown would look better but either shoe option looks horrible with the dress - a work policy is no open toed shoes, then again wearing stockings is too - but that I refuse to do this week. But who cares how much the shoes don't go with the dress? I sit at my desk and most of the time I have my shoes off anyway. If the boss says I look bad - then I'll tell her that my budget does not allow me to purchase many options for 'work' shoes. I keep my light in my office off until 1pm and I do not plan to leave the office at lunch time because of the heat (actually, I rarely leave the office at lunch time anyway, that is just today's excuse). Then I sit here thinking that I should have called in to work and stayed home. I'd rather be at the beach and in the water. Then that gets me thinking that I'd rather not work...ever. Which leads me to want to look for a new job...but I probably won't. I spent the last few weeks looking into college degrees too, but haven't decided on anything.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Fantastic Fourth Fireworks

It's that time of year again that marks our independence and time to reflect on how far we, as a society, have come in fighting for our rights. It is also the time of year where summer appears to already be half over! This year, NYC is having beautiful HOT weather, in the upper 90s but thankfully not too humid.

This year was the first year in many that I was not out in the Hampton's with some very wonderful people, but decided to check out the Macy's NYC firework display. About three years ago while watching part on TV, I was amazed how wonderful they were set to music, that particular year they also had the display on the East River, West River and Downtown which was truly amazing be so synchronized like that. This year, the fireworks were just on the West side.
So why this year? Last year on Facebook Cop#1 sent out a message asking if anyone wanted to see the fireworks to let him know. This year, when I was trying to decide what to do - I contacted him to see if he was working again this year, and if so, I wanted to get down there to check it out...could he let me know. He did, so I invited one friend to come with me.
We take the train and start heading over, when Cop#1 says he will come and pick us up. Nice. So we wait and he comes and finds us and drives us down to about 14th street. He escorts us in to one of the piers so we didn't have to wait in line or go through security or anything like that. We didn't get VIP seating or anything, but this was just perfect. He said some people got there at 2 in the afternoon....could you imagine, on a 99 degree day to be waiting and waiting for hours in that heat?? This couldn't have worked out better for us. There was such little waiting time it couldn't have been better.
The show starts and we had a great view. It wasn't completely un-obstructed, there was some sort of building pier, but we were able to see just fine! The barges were between 24th - 50th streets, so we didn't have to hurt our necks looking directly above us. There were 6 barges getting off the fireworks in a row the whole time. About 40,000 firework shells were lit. It was truly wonderful. After I snapped a few pictures, I took a moment to think about what the day was really all about. The show was about 30 minutes.
What was missing, seeing the show live, was the music. I know there was music somewhere down there, I think that Justin Bieber kid was singing, but there was none of that on our pier. Although, I think a few speakers would have been a nice touch!
I am glad I went. I do believe it is something you should try to do ONCE. I don't think I will go back again, unless I have children. The fireworks from the Hamptons are good, as well as the ones that are part of the carnival I mentioned yesterday. But it was a perfect evening with the weather, and we lucked out with timing getting back from the city.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A part time carnie

I am a carnival worker, for one week a year. Yup, that is right - I volunteer my evenings at the town carnival. Some think I am a little crazy. A carnie is someone who runs a booth/game/ride/food stand at a carnival.

Carnivals date back to pre-christian times but became even more popular during through the religious time before lent. As many of you know during lent you were/are not supposed to eat meat (carne) and parties were not held. The carnivals were a celebration by the whole community and often masquerades, parades which had some elements of a circus and such took place before you gave those things up.
The volunteer fire department hosts the week long carnival as a fundraiser, which does start off with a parade. Way back in the day not only did the department host the carnival but they also rolled up their sleeves and sold food/drinks. That is where I got my foot in the door. I helped them collect food tickets/flip burgers etc. I LOVED it. It was a rush, the line, helping people, serving them. It was a good time. A few years back they decided that they would no longer be cooking themselves and outsourced that to town restaurants that wanted vendor space. I was then volunteered by my father to work in the ticket cage where there is a large sum of cash. Since I worked in a bank, and I am fast and 99-100% accurate, my father asked if I can help, and I have been ever since. The food was great, but the ticket sales is more action packed and at the end of the night, you hope for the draw to be even.

The hard part about working the ticket sales for the rides is that you share the same till with someone else. My first year if we were over/short and I was convinced it wasn't me, I would have no way of knowing. So far this year we have been dead on for the last three nights, which of course is fabulous.
Of course you think, Ohhh, you get to work with firemen? They can be sexy...well, not necessarily in my town! I have know some of these guys for years. Some are nice, some are married and some are single and for excellent reasons. In the last 4 years I have been on dates with two guys. The first guy was so nice and we went a bunch in one summer, I wasn't ready to date, but I tried, and the kid refused to kiss me or anything! I think he just never really dated - maybe he is gay...I don't know. I still see him and he is still such a nice guy. The second guy is the guy I went to Mexico with last month, I just re-labeled him 'doofy' in this blog (read some of his stories) he is a big (not fat, not muscular, tall but with lots extra) guy with a nice smile with super crooked teeth and outgoing but with an ego that is larger than I have seen. He is outspoken and harsh and essentially the complete opposite of me. {who when I saw yesterday, on his 35th bday, walks into the carnival holding hands with some gal and made a point to tell me he has a girl friend....WOW, good, believe me I am NOT jealous. the LAST thing I want is you to think about me or think that I want you.}
ANYWAY....I am getting side-tracked. So the firemen in this department are not really for me, so one hopes to meet single dads at the carnival. You would think this would be an excellent place. The father has the kid(s) on the weekend and needs something do to. As most fathers, they tend to do 'fun' thing with their kids if the mother is the one that has them 90% of the time, she does fun things with them, but she disciplines them more and has more of a routine...the dad's though, they need to make up for the divorce and they tend to spoil the kids with fun things (maybe because many don't know how to do other things with them( [note: this is just from what I have seen/witnessed - I am by no means an expert]. But surprisingly not too many appear to be single.
I was sorta hit on tonight. This one guy was buying tickets for two older kids and I had to explain XYZ about ticket quantity and cost, and he said what happens if I have extra tickets? I reply - one can go on another ride, give them to someone else, or purchase more individually. He replies, well, maybe you & I can go on a ride together. I giggle, and reply, perhaps. yeah, I didn't see him the rest of the night, which was OK with me. The second kid (and yes KID is the operative word) didn't hit on me, but just said "wow, I love the way you just said "absolutely" wow that was great". Cute.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Chicago: Take 4

My first time in Chicago was three years ago on a business trip. For about 4 1/2 days I worked a booth at a conference and had free time to explore this amazing city. I had a fabulous time...and of course it helped that I met a young, semi-nerdy cute doctor who showed me around and we spent the rest of the days hanging out or getting something to eat together. It was by far a much better experience sharing it with someone then doing it alone. The second time I was in Chicago was the following year for the same conference. Doctor was not there this year, as he began a new relationship very soon after we parted ways - so I was on my own. It was also much colder in Chicago last year (March) and my visit wasn't anywhere as noteworthy. This past March was my third time in the Windy city. I was not alone at the conference - my clients were there as well so my 'free time' was not on my own but spent with them = no fun (I had to sneak out of a meeting just to check out the green Chicago river on St. Patty's day because there was no other free time :( ).

Then another one of my clients invited me to speak at their conference in Chicago in June. All I kept thinking was - Chicago AGAIN??? But it was only for 1 1/2 days and my role there was much different than it has been in the past.

I was very nervous about giving a presentation for 90 minutes. That is by far the longest I have had to speak on one topic to a group of people. I started working on my presentation in February and continued to tweak it here and there. The time comes to present it, and I have to wear a clip on microphone! There were only about 30 people in the room, but still, it is intimidating when you don't know them...and they are ALL older than you and you follow a presenter who is well known in the field and an excellent speaker. I was the second (and last) speaker; and I have to say it went really well. Of course I was very nervous for the first 10 minutes, but once I got past the hard part of the presentation, and the information became more interesting to the group, I started to relax. The evaluations came back with 98% of all 4's (best response) for both presentations and some people came up afterwords or I saw in the elevator and they were very enthusiastic about what they learned. They received 3 Continuing Education credits for coming to the seminar.

Usually with my other clients, they want to spend every second with me. This client did not. After the meeting, we all went our separate ways. What to do in Chicago the 4th time around? Turns out the Taste of Chicago was going on. Part of Grant Park was closed off and all these restaurant vendors were there selling their food. You could either purchase normal size portions or do a 'taste' portion - all the groups offered two different tastes. Like any street fair, you purchase tickets in advance and then just hand over the tickets in exchange for what you want. I decided to do all tastes. A little of this, a little of that. But you have to be selective since you can't possibly taste everything in a short amount of time. My first pick was a mango with cranberry rice pudding. It was actually a lot better than it sounded. I tried an apple dumpling which was very good but dry (see picture), a spinach deep dish pizza, an eggroll, a chicken taco, a something like a gnocci but it wasn't - it had eggplant in it, and a few other things that I am forgetting.
The festival also had some live music and entertainment. I stopped to listen to this one act for a few songs and then made my way over to the Man Versus Food table and actually got a chance to see Adam and he spent about 15 minutes talking about the show, his background, etc and then he signed autographs. I didn't stay for the autographs since the line was really long.

After I decided to see a movie since it was only about 7:30. I saw Grown Ups since it was the next available movie. Some parts were funny, but I will not be putting it on my favorites list. On my way out, I was FINALLY picked up by a man. But he was Indian, I had a hard time understanding him, and he was like 60 years old. No thank you. So I went back to my room and went to bed.