Monthly Archives: June 2011

If This Is Growing Up

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…I’m in.

I survived my first week of work, and can I tell you a secret? I loved it.  The people are spectacular and the work is fascinating. Admittedly, I’m in the honeymoon phase, and I expect that within a few months, the copy editing and spreadsheets I maintain will feel much less novel, but the fact is that the industry is quickly evolving and I’m in an environment where I get to be a part of very interesting work, and perhaps most importantly, by contributions are welcomed and useful. A week on the job and I can already point to instances where my copy was used, my design idea was heeded, and where my insights were considered by decision makers. This comes in stark contrast to my previous job where I felt no less than useless.

And then there’s the part where I get weekends.   Summer Fridays are a perk of this job, meaning my weekend starts at 1pm on Friday.  I kicked this week off shopping with a friend then happy hour in the financial district where we met up with her new beau and a slew of good looking (but not unreasonably so) gentlemen.  (Win)  Saturday was flea markets and enjoying the small town feel of Brooklyn – the independent coffee shops and the extended conversations with the guys at the shipping store.  Then in the evening I headed to a yet another free concert in Riverside Park with some Kappa Delta alumni – great music, a stunning sunset over the river, and when we weren’t listening we we in stitches laughing.   Then Sunday began with brunch in Harlem – at Society with a friend and a roommate, and with red velvet waffles.  Yes, you read that correctly, and yes they did change my life.  Finishing it all off was a little time in the sun, just me, Dave Eggers, and most of Brooklyn in the somehow-still-not-overcrowded Prospect Park.  I could get used to this whole being an adult thing…

image Sisters, picnics, music, sunset.  Also, adorable children and dogs. What else could a person need?

 

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image  Good company, french press coffee, eggs, and mascarpone cheese on top of the red velvet waffles.  Heaven on Earth!

 

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Burning the Moon at Both Ends

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Thursdays are under appreciated.  By no fault of their own, they are a day whose merit is determined simply by the fact that they are almost something else.  Almost Friday.  Almost the Weekend.  but I maintain that they deserve more credit than they are given.

It started at the beginning, as weekdays seldom do, with the afterglow of a birthday party and the ethereal glow of the full moon shining on three strangers who’d become intimates, sharing secrets and searching for something to fill their stomachs, softening the blow of the morning that would begin a second time unfortunately soon.  The numbers on the clocks got smaller and then larger and larger before they were rejected with closed eyes, eyes closed only for a moment before they were opened again.  There was dry shampoo, mascara, perfume, and feet arched in heels with surprising ease.  The late night falafel must have worked, I thought as a grabbed a Cliff bar and headed to the subway.  Skullcandy over ears, this morning was begging for AC/DC and nothing else, and as the Q crossed the river I watched the sun striking the buildings and the face of proud green woman standing tall at the end of the bay.  Others read newspapers, looked at their watches, closed their eyes to avoid looking at their watches, watched someone else.  I smiled at the city that was mine, and the perspective I had to appreciate it, and a man offered me a seat. I thanked him but declined. We went beneath the concrete again and another man tapped me, breaking my trance, telling me if he didn’t get my phone number now he might never get the chance again.  He was carrying a briefcase with toned but lanky arms and his eyes were alarmingly uncomplex.  I couldn’t laugh for confusion, but the man who offered the seat behind me did for the both of us.  I declined again; he shrugged and exited, going on his way.  I needed coffee.

The caffeine didn’t mean much but it didn’t matter much because I was wearing clothes and a face I liked and was being liked for it, even if that liking meant I had to make spreadsheets.  I nodded my head to the song playing in my head and it was lunch.  The sun shone more than was expected, and I sat in a chain restaurant with food and a soundtrack that were also more pleasing than one might have expected just looking at them.  Like Thursdays. There was news in the world and I read about what I cared about, meaning who was moving and shaking and falling in love and thinking about quitting and holding the reins for their own life.  Not driving the car mind you, just guiding it.  Then the elevators, and meeting and strategies and things that were fun and fast and then there was the clock and then there were goodbyes.

And news!  People were moving, and they were quitting, and they were falling in love, and they were learning to listen to their own voices, and they were coming to visit! and I was as excited for each of them as I would have been for myself.  I sat on my steps taking to her, tapping my foot, wondering why I was so filled with so many things when I hadn’t slept and had made a lot of spread-sheets, and it was only Thursday after all.  I took her inside with me on the phone, to the mailbox where I found a card scribbled with writing everywhere in bright colors, and I laughed – I mean really laughed – out loud when I read the words that were written, and I knew this letter wasn’t going on the wall of the cubicle, even if they did like my turquoise earrings.  We said goodbye, both full and happy as if we’d shared a steak dinner and a bottle of wine, and I tied my shoes to go for the run I promised myself.

My shoes hit the pavement as the sky began to darken, and I there was music playing when I reached the park.  It was only Thursday, I thought, but it is Thursday in New York.  The wind was hitting my face, cool against my warm limbs,

Hallelujah.  It was Helio Sequence, and it was the whole day and everyone in it and everything about it.  And then it was everyone there was, everyone that mattered, and it was everything had ever happened and everything that had ever been.  It was Wednesday, truly good people, people who believed in things and still believed in love.  There were strangers who became friend and continued to care even when it wasn’t their job to anymore.  There were suitcases and mortar boards, and mortar boards bent by the pouring rain and wine with gold flecks in it and that we were drinking from the only glasses we had in that house that didn’t end up broken.  Oh, the places we would go from there.  There were lakes and oceans and fish on hooks champagne and Issac Brock was crooning.  There were men who haggled for pottery and us, and there were sunburns without tanlines.  There were tears and hysterics and plane rides and ashes, and there was the Vatican standing where it always has and we were leaning up against it.  It was 5 in the morning with the street signs in French as I was barefoot and he was carrying me, and he was running across the street to the Arc de Triomphe.  There were candles glowing, ground shaking from the passing trains, and we were driving and there were lights outside the car flickering, each one different like each of us.  I was lying there on my back, filled, looking up at the blanket of stars and there was a woman with her long hair draped over her face and her body draped over a black cloth.   There were boys, and the was us, and we didn’t understand yet what that meant.

And there was applause and marching, a couple in a mustang with his hair blowing more than hers in the wind, and walking out and protests and silence.  There were bonfires, fleece blankets, frosting and the sweetness of youth.  There was a boy with his arms stretched out on a cross, a beautiful tenor quieted only temporarily, readying for his big entrance again in white.  And there was the stench of hospitals, sterility, and a girl with a marker scribbling hearts furiously on a dry erase board.  And the smell of coffee, of wood and building and paint and hundreds of miles of corn.  Soap operas and first kisses, and pretending you’d had yours, and

There were two girls giggling and pretending they weren’t scared of the shows they were watching before bed just to prove to mom that they should be allowed, and the chorus of crumbling oragami paper during church, and a boy and a girl with identical bowl cuts beneath a table at a restaurant and a little sister picking up lady bugs with her fingers.  A girl afraid of the lunch line and the boy holding her had.  Two small bodies, sisters, asleep in opposing doorways with their arms stretched out toward each other, and a hospital room with the older proclaiming “Here name is Kristy Kruger” and dad rolling his eyes but his toes were a foot off the ground and his little girl was standing there in a diaper with her brows – the only hair on her cue-ball head – furrowed in determination, determined to prove that even though her legs were short and thick she would climb that step and nothing in this world could stand in her way and she was crying and it was a girl and they were cutting the cord and there was push, push, pushing and a then the water broke..

it broke from my eyes and I was heaving.  I couldn’t run any more, it was all I could to to breathe, and it was Thursday.  But it was the other end of the moon, the moon that was rising in the sky and glowing and knowing and smiling and sitting back to watch all these Thursdays and every other day unfold.

“It was one of those days when it’s a minute away from snowing and there’s this electricity in the air, you can almost hear it… And that’s the day I knew there was this entire life behind things, and… this incredibly benevolent force, that wanted me to know there was no reason to be afraid, ever. [Writing is] a poor excuse, I know. But it helps me remember… and I need to remember…

There’s so much beauty in the world.

Sometimes I feel like I’m seeing it all at once, and it’s too much, my heart fills up like a balloon that’s about to burst… And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it, and then it flows through me like rain and I can’t feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life…You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure… but don’t worry, You will someday.”

yours.Rachel

Last Hoorah

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This update comes a bit belated, but sometimes sucking the marrow out of a city means no time to blog – the real world always takes precedent over the digital one.  In any event, my last weekend before beginning work was filled, appropriately, with buckets of New York fun! Friday one of my roommates and I took the free ferry to Governor’s Island and fell in love. Not with each other – that’s too much drama even for my life – but with the tiny former military base situated right below the bottom tip of Manhattan. It’s open Fridays-Sundays in the summer, and it is populated by parks and people escaping the city, meaning it is virtually tourist-free.  There are plenty of spots for picnics, and large sculptures punctuate stretches of open green.  Plenty of smaller works pop up as well, giving the whole island the feeling of an outdoor gallery.  Bikes can be rented, and on Friday they are free for up to an hour – more than enough time to circle the small island.  My roommate and I grabbed a couple of adorable baby-blue bikes and enjoyed a beautiful day out in the sun.

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That evening I went to Prospect Park for another free concert – this one Andrew Bird sponsored by the Celebrate Brooklyn series.  He put on an amazing show, and even though  I didn’t make it into the pavilion, I camped out on a blanket and enjoyed a little picnic.   Saturday the weather cooled off but got rainy, spoiling plans for a Kappa Delta picnic and jazz concert in Central Park, but instead I headed home and stayed up chatting with my other amazing roommate who I see not nearly often enough!  This morning was brunch – my favorite meal and a New York tradition at Tom’s Diner (famous, cheap, and fantastic!) and a mini-high school reunion with a the roomies and an old friend.  Tonight I’m back at the apartment readying myself for my new job to start tomorrow, and I’m watching the Tony’s with my mates, getting to know one more aspect of my backyard.  A perfect end to a wonderful week and weekend!

So long for now, and wish me luck for tomorrow!

yours.Rachel

No Rain, No… Anything?

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The beginning of this week was packed with adventure, bustling in and out of Manhattan, seeing beautiful things, and milking the exorbitant tax dollars I will soon be paying to this city for all they’re worth, but as anyone who’s ever left college knows, sometimes the real world calls.  Wednesday and Thursday were disgustingly hot, and in an attempt to prepare for the life that awaits me, I spent much of my time on these days doing mundane grown up things.  Groceries.  Laundry.  Etc.  There is, however, an advantage to doing these tasks during the week – one not to be scoffed at and probably the only thing I will miss about working in retail – the lines are reasonable.  Dare I say it, even, suburban?  Waiting in line behind only 6 people at Trader Joe’s?  That in itself makes Wednesday as success.  Add to to that Leroy Jethro Gibbs (my serious old man crush) keeping me company in the laundromat, and you could call my errand running almost enjoyable!

I made an effort to spend time in Prospect Park each day as well, and though it feels like my backyard, I am in fact very lucky to have it as such.  Designed by the same man who created Central Park, Prospect is simply magnificent, and Brooklynites like to consider Central the rough draft for Prospect.  Even in the sweltering heat, the shade of old, wise trees and hidden trails are probably the most pleasant place to spend a summer afternoon in BK.  Plus, Vitamin D is another great free resource in this city if you take the time to go out and seek it.  Stop and grab an iced coffee from the shop on the corner, and you’re set to go. Unless of course you’re one of the prohibited parties, in which case you’ll probably have to go to Starbucks.

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Probably the most interesting and epic part of the last two days was something that came unexpectedly. (I know, I know.  No matter how good at the universe I get, I’ll never fail to be subject to its surprises, and I would not have it any other way.) Tonight I’d planned to go to another free session of yoga- a class offered in the ever lovely Long Meadow of Prospect Park – and as I was tying up my hair my roommate mentioned she’d not be going.  She had the weather up on the macbook; the other side of the little glowing apple said it would rain.  I shrugged, never being one to be deterred by the weather report, grabbed an umbrella and mentioned that I might come back soaked.  She laughed, puzzled.

I did rain.  It poured, actually.  On the way to the park, the sky was gray. It was darker than it should be for 6:30pm, and people were scurrying around, calling their loved ones and almost tripping over their work heels as they looked up at the dark sky above.  Passing by one gentleman, a young man about my age in an expensive suit with a tie that no straight male in the Midwest would ever even consider, I overheard him say well hopefully I won’t get struck by lightning or anything.  I looked up.  Come on people, the sky isn’t even green!  It’s not like there’s going to be a tornado or something; it’s just a little rain.  It’s funny how a little precipitation shuts this city down.  New York, the center of the universe as my father affectionately calls it, is terrified by a little bit of rain.

I continued walking cheerfully, calmly, to the park.   The sky was getting darker.  My roommate was continuing the new show she was watching on Netflix.  Traffic was flowing out of Manhattan but almost none was flowing in.  The wind was picking up, blowing wisps of hair out of their place.  Little drops started to spit from the clouds above just as I was reaching the park.  The class had certainly been cancelled, so I ducked into a nearby subway and headed to run the last of my errands.  When I got back out of the subway, with Cliff bars and cheese and shampoo in my bag, the skies had opened up and the streets were flooding.  People were running and swimming through the air, arks were being built and animals were being herded on to them.  I popped up my umbrella and walked.  The umbrella was more of a statement of the obvious than anything else as the wind was drenching my arms and legs.  Finally Moving by Pretty Lights came on shuffle on my mp3 player.  Setting my umbrella over my shoulder I spread my arms out to my sides to soak it in.  I would call Thursday a very free success.

yours.Rachel

SuperTuesday

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Can I tell you a secret?  Tuesday might be the coolest day in this city.  Not weather wise, as it cleared 90 and the air between the buildings felt like the city was one of those models submerged in a fishtank, but because there is so much to do on a beautiful summer Tuesday like this one.  I woke up this morning at 8am, atoning for my lack-of-morning yesterday, and headed into Manhattan for some free for yoga!  Bryant Park and Lululemon sponsor a free class Tuesday mornings, and this particular day was a fantastic flow session leaving me feeling centered and ready to face the day.  Plus I met a slew of very friendly yogis – who said New Yorkers are all jerks?!

From there I headed to the New York Public Library to admire the architecture (coming back to look at the books will be another trip entirely!) Making my way back to Brooklyn I passed through Grand Central Station to continue the survey of historical NYC beauty and stopped off for an afternoon stroll in the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens (also free on Tuesdays!)   The grounds are much more extensive than I expected, and the rose garden was simply spectacular. This, I should add, is high praise from a woman who usually dislikes roses on principle; the unusual hybrid roses defied the dreadfully average stereotype, and I can actually say I would find receiving a such a bouquet very romantic! Incidentally, they also have the most delicious chocolate chip cookies I’ve had in the entire city!

Finally I headed home for a quick shower and then back into Manhattan for a free concert in Central Park!  One of my roommates and I went to see Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble as part of the SummerStage program.  And, though we were 6 PEOPLE away from getting into the actual pavilion (not that I’m bitter or anything), we spread out our blanket and enjoyed a picnic just outside.  Munching on trail mix and riding the exquisite roller-coaster that is Dave Eggers’ writing, we enjoyed the music and had a lovely evening.

Unfortunately, the technology gods were not on my side and my smartphone camera wasn’t smart enough to fix itself, so you’re going to have to trust me that today was spectacular.

Monday Funday

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Today’s first free activity was a bit of a cheat; I slept in until noon.  Granted it’s not one for the tour books, but it’s probably the last time I’ll do that… oh, maybe ever.   BUT, after that, I decided that in true Monday spirit, I should see how the other half lives.  I hopped on the train heading for the financial district, stopping to look at the World Trade Center site, Trinity church, and tons of tall, powerful, handsome, and rich pieces of eye-candy. I’m talking about the art deco buildings, obviously… Anyway, after savoring these I reveled in the joy of not being any of them, hopping onto the Staten Island Ferry for a little free river cruise action.  Chomping on a chocolate brownie Cliff bar (my favorite not-free-but-cheaper-than-eating-out standby) with the sea breeze blowing back my hair, I enjoyed the views – the skylines of New Jersey, Manhattan, and Brooklyn plus our friend lady Liberty.  Took the ferry round trip and walked back home to Brooklyn via the Brooklyn bridge.  All and all, not too shabby for a Monday.

Ahoy Manhattan!

Pirates!

Hey girl haaaaay!

BK blue

Free Week in NYC

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My publishing debut is set for June 13th, meaning I have one week left of “funemployment” as a friend called it. What are you going to do? He asked. Hit the town! Party it up!  Friday I was contented just being – doing nothing more than sunbathing and existing.  Today however, I am existing as a lobster/Coppertone girl and being, typically me, bored.  There’s a problem – I mean beyond the fact that I’m constantly restless and less constantly but no less importantly at present the color of a tomato  – the lack of cash. Funny, there’s no way to fit the word fun into the word broke. (Broke is an overstatement perhaps, but I’m certainly not in a position to be ordering bottles of Belve at the hottest new club anytime soon) For a moment I was distressed and frustrated, until I remembered – you live in NEW YORK CITY! It’s the summer! There’s tons of fun free things to do, right?! So I challenged myself: for the next week, I plan to do at least one fantastically free (or outrageously cheap) thing each day. Then, I’ll share my findings with you, for the benefit of those in the New York area but also to keep myself accountable.

Well here we are today off to a good start! I stopped by the Housing Works bookstore/cafe in SoHo for their annual street fair!  This meant super-cheap books and vintage finds, even an everything-you-fit-in-this-bag-for-$20 fashion bin (take heed my Brooklyn brethren!). I skipped the clothing but stocked up on reading materials – six books for 5 bucks! One off the reading list, one swell anthology, and four more that could be fascinating (or if all else fails will be very aesthetically pleasing on my bookshelf).  Day one is a success!

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