My parallel universe

I was back in California for the first time since officially moving to New York. After being in New York for 8 months or so and feeling as if I was finally where I belonged it was strange to be back in California and seemingly resuming where I had left off. There is so much comfort in “knowing”…sitting at home watching the U.S. Open with my dad felt normal, going to the movies w/ my brother also normal, happy hour w/ the gang, playing with the god kids, lunch w/ co-workers, wedding festivities w/ the Cal Poly folks all of it felt normal because it was my life. It felt like I had two lives running parallel to one another, my life in New York was on pause. I realized that if I wanted to I could just pick up where I left off, like my life in New York never even existed.

The missing link for me in New York is community. I have a few friends here who I spend the majority of my free time with running around trying to snatch up all of the things the city has to offer. Being back in California made me realize how much I miss having groups of friends and routine. I miss Friday afternoon happy hours with the Nikkei crew, seeing my godson on random weeknight dinners w/ Krista & Jared, trying new things w/ Elaine, large birthday dinners w/ the SLO folks and hanging out with my family.

On the flip side though I realized on the plane ride back to New York why I had chosen this life. I have a job with a company that I love, that challenges and excites me. I get my fill of events with authors, musicians, thinkers that I admire and respect. The New York you see in movies and TV is my backyard, is my everyday. I moved here because I wasn’t ready to settle down, I wasn’t really ready for a routine. I wanted to seize back my life and make it what I wanted and not just let it happen to me.

I miss my family and friends in California a lot. It hurts a little when I think about all of the stuff I’m missing. I’m glad I’ll have these type of visits but it’s the New York life for me for the foreseeable future.

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Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Friday Night…

I had a very interesting evening. It started off very unassuming. I had a date with a boy that I met playing softball. A guy who up to the very point I walked into the restaurant seemed 100% normal. We had gone to a book signing together a week ago and had a wonderful discussion about books. He’s athletic, bookish and not bad on the eyes; ostensibly a real winner until our date yesterday.

We exchanged semi-flirtatious emails and made plans for dinner Friday night.  I walk into the restaurant and find him seated at a table in the corner with an older woman. I walk over a little befuddled but manage to compose myself and say hello. He introduces the woman as his mom. Yes folks he brought his MOM!! At this point I am completely disoriented and actively searching for cameras because I’m surely getting Punk’d. I sat for a moment perusing the menu and making small talk. The crazy thing was they acted like it was completely normal (am I the crazy one here). I excuse myself to “wash my hands” in the bathroom and come up with a game plan.

I have endured my fair share of awkward moments. I’ve sat helplessly enduring boring dates, stood guard as girl friends had cringe worthy conversations with boys, I’ve even sat and played board games with a then maybe boyfriend and his back in town surprise visit ex-fiance. I sat in the bathroom texting friends in a digital cry for help but ultimately decided ENOUGH I will not endure an evening of mortification and confusion. I got back to the table said I wasn’t feeling well and promptly left. Very rude uncharacteristic behavior for me but I pull the alternate universe card because this situation was not normal.

I went to a movie alone (Knight & Day which was pretty entertaining) to indulge in some mindless activity. Grabbed a quick bite, headed home to open a bottle of wine and a new book. If you think that the Friday night mayhem is over you are mistaken.

I wake up to some commotion in the living room sometime after 11ish. I hear muffled cries and my roommate’s boyfriend on the phone with the police. I go into the living room and see both of my roommates huddled together. One of them visibly sobbing and very shaken up. I discern details from the phone call and a whispered exchange between my roommates. My roommate was MUGGED, just around the corner from where we live. A couple of guys ran up behind her, hit her on the head and ran off with her purse. We spent the next hour canceling her cards and she gave a statement to the police. 6 policemen got to our apartment in less than 20 minutes. They canvassed our neighborhood and thought they found the guys. Turns out they didn’t. New York just got very real this evening. My roommate is ok. She is understandably still a little shaken and wary. We are evaluating whether or not to change our locks.

I ended the last few minutes of Friday helping to calm my roommate. It was a horrible Friday evening. Thankfully Saturday started off beautifully. My friend Aaron called at around 1:30 which is weird because he called (which he never does) and it was such an ungodly hour. I called him back and got news that he proposed to his long time girlfriend Lorraine. It was wonderful news and turned my mood around. So today I will think twice before giving my phone number to a random guy, walk a little more cautiously late at night, thank God my roommate is physically ok from the attack, and celebrate the engagement of a wonderful couple. Happy Saturday everyone.

Summer summer summer time..

Yes that’s right, it’s time to sit back and unwind. The unbearable heat has made me call “retreat!” (temporarily) on my battle plans for fun this summer. The air conditioned buildings offer a welcome respite from the wall of humidity that awaits outdoors. Sitting indoors has allowed me wonderful glorious time getting lost in good books and short stories in the New Yorker. There will be book review updates shortly. For now I’d like to share some of the things I’ve learned about the crazy New York summer.

1. Expect the unexpected:

This has been a typical weather report for the past month or so. Hot as hell with intermittent thunderstorms (WTH?!). This little California girl is used to the gradual relaxed changes in the weather. The weather has been quite temperamental. I’m always sure to pack a small umbrella on any given day.

2. Quality over Quantity:

Summer means free outdoor activities. There are free movie nights on a decommissioned aircraft carrier, in Bryant Park, on rooftops. Free concerts at 7am and 7pm. You can see Al Pacino in a Shakespeare play for free. Not to mention my usual favorite activities of book signings, lectures, comedy shows by various brainiacs & literati. Right now, I could plan something to do every night until the end of August with an alternate B plan. It’s exciting and overwhelming how much the city has to offer. After a mini-break into hermitage for a few days I was once again reminded that I burn out easily and need to take it easy. So now I choose more wisely.

3. Street fairs at your doorstep:

There is a street fair or festival somewhere in Manhattan every Saturday & Sunday. This past weekend there was a street fair right outside my door. Most of these are pretty generic. You can get kabobs, fruit, gyros, crepes, people selling t-shirts, jewelry, the New York Times always trying to get me to buy a subscription. The festivals are a different matter all together. Festivals are usually themed (i.e. bbq, <insert minority group> pride, science). You get better food, performances, lectures, and free stuff at festivals.

That’s all for now, it’s time for me to make myself some cool refreshment. Hope you’re having a nice summer thus far, stay cool.


A Woman’s Wit

One of the great things about New York is that it is chock full of museums. Art, culture, books, music, science, there is a museum for it all. The things that makes me giddy is that most museums offer free hours, most are only once a month but many are every week. I choose this week to take advantage of the free hours at the Morgan Library. They are hosting a Jane Austen exhibit through March, that I was eager to check out.

Now if you are unfamiliar with Austen, you are likely a man who has had little or no interaction with women. Surely you have heard of Pride & Prejudice or Mr. Darcy. Austen’s stories center on the lives of women and are mainly stories about people falling in love despite social constructs and the usual obstructions to love. In other words Austen is the foundation of every romantic comedy you have ever seen.

The exhibit showcased many of Jane’s letters to her sister Cassandra. I am sad that hand written letters are seemingly obsolete. Jane had writing on every nook and cranny of the page. Paper was expensive and therefore precious in her time. Her letters were full of wit and good humor. Like every other Jane Austen fan I think Jane and I would be great friends and pen pals if she were around today.

One of the highlights of the exhibit was a complete manuscript of Lady Susan. This is the only surviving full manuscript of any of Jane’s novels. Looking at the pages you can really see the expertise she wielded in her craft.

We spent a lot of time in the Austen exhibit taking everything in, but we also were able to check out J.P. Morgan’s personal library. Wowzers! I love a grand personal library and this is one of the grander I’ve seen. It is my dream to one day have a library; filled floor to ceiling with beautiful hardbound books.

This was just one of the rooms of the library. He had every type of book there; history, children’s books, novels. I personally wouldn’t put them behind the glass doors he had (books shouldn’t be jailed) but it was beautiful nonetheless.

My roommate was so kind as to join me for my little bookworm adventure and we capped off the evening with some hot cocoa and Sense and Sensibility.

Good Morning New York

I’ve been going to bed at around 3am Cali time so when I got here at 12:30am east coast time I was still wide awake. I didn’t end up going to bed until sometime around the 5 o’clock hour. 4 short hours later I am startled awake by screaming. Turns out my window is right above a preschool with daily play time from 9-10am. I guess I’m not going to need an alarm in the mornings.

This is the view from my window. The neighborhood is pretty nice. Magnolia’s, Shake Shack & Gray’s Papaya are all in walking distance. The Museum of Natural History is a couple of blocks away, which is my favorite place in New York. I want to hang out with Neil Degrasse Tyson and listen to him talk about space. I think I’m going to like this neighborhood.

Firemen

After a pretty comfortable flight to New York, I headed to Manhattan on a shuttle seated between two studly firemen. One was from New York and the other from San Francisco. Turns out the San Francisco guy knows one of my friends from college, small world. Both of them just recently got engaged. San Francisco proposed a week ago and was meeting his fiance in New York to celebrate with her family. The New York guy has been engaged for 6 months with no date set. He gave me a few living in New York tips and even extended an invitation to visit the station. It was interesting listening to them discuss firefighter stuff and compare their stations. Ha, who am I kidding it was awesome sitting between two hot firemen. Thanks for the welcoming committee New York.

Posting from the Air

This photo was from my first ever trip to New York. I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with the city the way I did. After living in SLO I considered myself more of a small, beach town kind of girl. Who knew the city would steal my heart away? Anyway one of my dreams was to live in New York city, even if only for a little while. Well my friends I’m on my way! I’m posting from my flight. Thank you Google and Virgin America for providing free wi fi on my flight. I have no idea what’s going to happen. The crummy economic climate and the general competitiveness of New York life may swallow me up and spit me back out on the west coast. I don’t care though, I’m going to give it all I’ve got. Wish me luck!