Monthly Archives: August 2011
I have lived in a lot of places.
Saratoga Springs, New York
On the Road, USA
And, of course, Northport, New York
And for the past seven months, I haven’t slept in the same bed for more than five days in a row. From moving out of DC, to touring across the country, to bouncing up and down the east coast, and commuting in and out of NYC for work, I’ve realized that I’m tired of living out of a backpack. And maybe, just maybe, some stability will do me good.
I’ve contemplated where I wanted to go: Seattle or Colorado? Both far away, but places I know I would fall in love with. But I don’t really know anyone out there, and finding a job before leaving is nearly impossible. It is too risky and too hard to plan. Even for me, for now. Liberia? I canceled the final step of my application to a paid year-long position I applied to. I’d be working with the UNHCR (The UN Refugee Agency), assisting with and overseeing projects implemented for Ivorian refugees in Monrovia. But I backed out last-minute. Who knows if I actually would have gotten it, but with many exciting things happening this coming year at home, I couldn’t justify going away. Vermont? I thought about subletting a room in Vermont, so I could enjoy the fall in all its splendor and totally indulge in me-time. Work at some cute coffee shop, study for the GRE’s, watch the leaves change, and figure out my life. But again, I’d be alone, and probably lonely. And maybe I’d still stay confused. And then there was Boston. I really think I’d like living in Boston; a diverse handful of my friends are there, and it definitely has that New England vibe I yearn for. But…well, I applied to a bunch of jobs there, and interviewed, and didn’t get any of them. So that’s that.
But, I just signed an 11-month lease. Where you might ask?
So why am I moving there? I’ll tell you.
Well, I have a job. That helps. But I was confident I could financially support myself anywhere, even if I had to wait tables until I landed something else. But I was against New York because I felt like my money could take me farther in other places; NYC is literally the most expensive city to live in, and handing over thousands of dollars for a room the size of a closet just seemed wrong.
But, what I pay for my closet-sized bedroom covers more than just my rent. It pays for living with one of my best friends. It pays for being a five-minute walk from my brother and fiancee and a dozen of my friends. It pays for a short-but-far-enough drive to my parents. It pays for having my whole support system a walk, bike, or train ride away. It pays for finally having my own space, where I can develop a new routine and have my own place to go home to every night.
No more toothbrush and deodorant stuffed into a bag with some clothes, my cell phone charger, and book. So-long hour train commutes to the city, plus borrough-hopping to different apartments to mooch off of different friends. Goodbye eating out all the time, and hello to finally being able to cook for myself again!
While I did cry after I signed the lease (yes, money stresses me out, and committing to one space for 11-months really conflicts with my Life ADD), I am excited and hopeful. In New York’s defense, I have never actually experienced living there, which might change my opinion of it. Like DC, hopefully I can learn new city rhythms, and appreciate small, daily nuances in my neighborhood. Maybe I’ll love it, and maybe I wont.
But either way, so what? It’s not forever. If I like it, I’ll stay, and if I don’t, I’ll go to Liberia.
I’m stubborn. Really, really stubborn. Apparently there is a huge hurricane a’comin, and I am convinced it is going to spin due-east in approximately seven minutes. Maybe go this way:
Go south, or straight for Europe, and die down en route. Dissapear.
But I think I’m wrong. My whole office is buzzing. The subway and LIRR are shutting down. And I keep getting emails: NY Times alerts, AAA alerts, Friends. AAA is my favorite email thus far, providing sound advice like ”be aware of fallen trees, limbs, and downed power lines.” (I hope they mean tree limbs?) They also told me to check my airline status if I’m planning on flying (what intelligent advice, how much do you pay your employees?), and if I must evacuate, bring three days worth of food… for my dog.
And with all this discussion of Irene, I keep thinking about that song “Come on Eileen,” just because Eileen sort of sounds like Irene. And then I start singing “there’s a storm front comin, moood indigo!” because I think of storms. And then I wonder if any Hurricanes have been named Laura, and if hurricanes can actually have genders, and if I’m being an idiot for not really caring.
But, I do. This is all just blog-talk. I am leaving the city Saturday morning, at Sometime AM sharp. I will drive
fast cautiously. I won’t book any flights, and I will pick up three days worth of cat food. I’ll be safe in Northport, where I’m a far one-mile away from the water and only have six or seven trees right outside my window. I’ll avoid going running in the rain, even though it’s one my favorite things to do.
Be Smart, Be Safe, You Me & Irene.
I used to be the only young lady in my brother’s life.
And then he met a girl.
After a long struggle with alcoholism *, Jim finally put down the booze and realized that Kati chose to sit behind him in Spanish class for a reason.
They had fun together, but were both going off to school. No one was quite sure how they would handle the distance…
But alas! Through trial and tribulation, they made it!
Having both graduated college, they went on to achieve their own goals. Jimmy passed his CPA exam, became an accountant, and started working, while Kati received her Master’s at Teachers College and started teaching 7th grade English. Kati devoured her free time by drinking english breakfast tea, making jewelry boards, and reading the NY Times Real Estate section. On the other hand, Jimmy found himself keeping up with Fantasy Football stats, making up funny tax puns, and watching weather radars. Even with different occupations and hobbies, they had one VERY important thing in common….
Yeah, I know. Living in sin. But what can ya do? They made it real nice, and even started putting up their own Christmas tree. Serious stuff.
Now that they were living together, they started to learn things from one another.
Jimmy started to eat vegetables that Kati would cook for him (note the picture…that IS a pepper, and that is ALSO a thumbs up) while Kati started to
endure love and really want her own cat.
And as time went on, they grew closer and closer, their love grew stronger, and their lives melded into one. They began dancing on a regular basis, cooking toegether, going to quite a few Mets games, and visiting moi in DC.
Then things got REAL real. They started going on vacations together. They alternated family’s for gatherings on holidays. They even opened up a shared bank account (I KNOW). Cards sent to my family members were signed “love Anne, Jim, Jimmy, Laura, and Kati,” and Kati’s dog Elloise started liking Jimmy (almost) more than her own family members.
So it only made sense for Jim to drop down on one knee.
Luckily, she said yes. They both seemed pretty happy right after it happened.
Jim and Kate, this is my little pre-congratulations to you. I love you both very much, and cannot wait to
get really drunk at your wedding grow with you as you unite our families and continue living together in bliss.
* Jimmy wasn’t really an alcoholic
The guy that came up with the line there are some things money can’t buy, for everything else there’s Mastercard….
Is he really rich right now?
And isn’t it weird that words like “google” and “facebook” and “tweet” are verbs? Apparently they are (or are going to soon be?) in Webster’s. That’s insane. Are they in the Scrabble dictionary too? I can totally beat my Grandma now.
Speaking of words, only in the English language can the word “up” and “down” mean the same thing. Example?
Hey, want to grab a drink?
Sure, I’m down. OR. Yeah, I’m up for it.
And…and..and! While the rest of the cool world is out drinking Bud Light and talking to weird girls and being all fancy, fresh and young, I am writing a fake letter to the Long Island Rail Road.
Because writing is my hobby. It is what I like to do.
Or read it!
First off, I want to say thank you for existing. If you didn’t exist, I would have to drive into the city, and that would suck. However, we do have some things to discuss. I will preface this letter by stating my appreciation for you understanding that I am 100% right about everything I’m about to say, and you will change your policies accordingly to fit my needs. So again, Long Island Rail Road– thank you.
First off: the AC. What the hell? Yes it is summertime, and it is hot outside, but you do not need to remedy this by making the train feel like a tundra. I am not an overweight businessman that gets to wear a full suit to work (aka stay protected while you blast ice crystals through the vents), so please try your best to accomodate all parties. Why don’t you shoot for “comfortably cool” instead of “intolerably icy?”
Also, you really should consider adding a coffee car in the train. Why? Well, I really like coffee in the mornings, and sometimes–I’m human. I’m running late, and don’t have time a brew a good ol’ cup of joe. If ferries can sell alcohol (side note: promotion of drinking and driving, anyone?), then trains with sleepy commuters can sell coffee.
This next thing isn’t really a request, but rather a question. Is there a method to your incessant ticket-holepunching? Are you really punching a certain place on the ticket, or is it random? And why sometimes one punch, and other times two? If I tried to patch my ticket back up, would you notice? And, do you really look at those monthly tickets people wear around their necks? Could I duplicate one? Would I get arrested? I’m young and cute. You wouldn’t arrest me, would you?
Where are all the bathrooms?
And why do you keep raising ticket prices? In fact, how much do you get paid? Do you have to do anything besides walk up and down the train and go on a hole-punching rampage?
Do you guys throw good parties?
And lastly, I want curtains. Yes, curtains. There are a couple advertisments that I see everyday on my commute that are obviously placed specifically for LIRR commuters. And I don’t really like them. The first one just bothers me; it’s placed on a really crappy, run down apartment building. It reads: “ if you rented here, you’d already be at work!” Hello? Your building looks like a piece of shit, I would never want to rent from you. And also, I don’t want to be at work right now. If I did, I’d get on an earlier train. The other advertisment is from Lamentations 1:12: is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? (I “googled” this). Could you be a little more specific? What is “it”? I do poorly when things are taken out of context. Also, I feel like I’m being yelled at. Is “it” nothing to me? Of course not! “It” is everything. Please don’t get angry at me on the train. I just need some coffee. And I’m freezing. Besides these things, and like I said earlier, I really do appreciate all you do. Thank you LIRR, for getting me to Manhattan when I need you to. You’re rarely late, your seats are comfy, and sometimes you come in fancy double-decker sizes. NJ Transit got nothin’ on us!
There are places I need to go. I want to experience the rhythms, the scents, the philosophies. I want to see the mountains, eat the street food, and talk to the elders.
And then there are other places that I don’t want to go. Like New Jersey.
My 11: Where I need to visit, potentially camp out for a few months, or even live. Forever.
No, it’s not because I saw Eat, Pray, Love. The anthropologist in me has always been fascinated with Indonesia, thanks to Clifford Geertz, the Javanese Gamelan, and the Bali Cockfight. Not to mention the view.
If the Lonely Planet says Dharamsala embodies “a cool mountain air and calm serenity,” I’m sold. Plus, I love monks and momos.
Ft. Collins, Colorado
I think I would be satisfied if come 40, I was married, had a few kiddies, managed a nonprofit, and lived in Ft. Collins (as long as my vacation home was in Africa). It’s always rated as the “happiest and most affordable place to live,” and I’ve already been there to see that it is pretty spectacular. It’s close to the Rockies, too, which pretty much seals the deal.
Jackson Hole, Wyoming
It’s a valley encompassed by mountains. I can ski, I can hike. There are two national parks. Done, done, done and done.
Deemed the “Pearl of Africa,” Uganda is known for encompassing all-things-African. I want to ride a boda-boda, raft on the Nile, go to the plethora of open-air markets, and eat matoke.
Kolkata (Calcutta), India
“The Paris of the East. ” The colors, the culture. Everything. Kolkata has long been known for its literary, artistic and revolutionary heritage, and as the former capital of India, Kolkata was the birthplace of modern Indian literary and artistic thought. I dig.
Kyoto’s mysticism has always allured me, and I actually seriously looked into studying abroad there. I needed a Japanese language pre-requ though, so instead of taking a Japanese summer language course, I took Japanese Taiko Drumming at Skidmore. Close enough, for now.
The two things I love most: mountains and Africa. This is a no-brainer.
Alright, alright, it’s touristy. I get it. But it’s totally okay. I mean, look at it?
I love rain and all-things West Coast, so Seattle seems quite fitting. Also, I just went on a five-mile run, despite the fact that it’s raining elephants and gorillas. I think I’d adjust just fine.
I sort of have it planned out. After I climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and raise my kids in Colorado, I’ll retire in Vermont, enjoy a diet of maple syrup and cheddar cheese, and breathe my last in the Green Mountains. Not morbid.
My Other 11: Places I don’t want to go: Either for good reason, apathy, or I’m ignorant and stupid
-Baghdad, Iraq: According to the BBC, “In almost any other country, daily violence would be cause for a state of national emergency. In Iraq, it is called progress.” Political rant aside, I don’t really feel like venturing to place where an unstable and stubborn insurgency continues to kill hundreds of people every month.
-Hong Kong, China: I’m not quite sure about this one; I’ve just never had a desire to go to China. I’m sure I’d like it if I went (it is a huge-ass country, there’s gotta be something neat), but for now, I’m completely content tackling the above list.
-Honolulu, Hawaii: I don’t really love the beach, I’m not a huge fan of lei’s, and apparently there are tons of ghosts. I’ll pass.
-Juarez, Texas: You know when you start typing in something in google and it finishes your search for you? I typed in “Juarez, Te-” and immediately “Juarez Texas Violence” came up. This a bad sign. It’s a major center for narcotics trafficking, and over the past 10 years, there have been over 400 feminicides. Not good.
-Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo: The DRC is experiencing our world’s bloodiest war since WWII. It’s absolutely awful and I feel incredibly helpless. I need to help, but right now, I can’t go there.
-Las Vegas, Nevada: Apparently dealing yourself first in a game of cards is a huge no-no. I’d get kicked out of any casino in about four minutes. Aaaand I don’t really like gambling anyway.
-London, England: Is it the fish n chips? Or that I need to look fashionable? Not quite sure why I have no desire to go to London, but I don’t. Want to prove me wrong and buy me a plane ticket? I won’t say no.
-New York, New York: I think we all know why I don’t want to live in New York. It’s expensive, it’s stressful, it’s too fast-paced, too gray, too unfriendly. It’s too much.
-Pheonix, Arizona: Cops in Arizona suck. Immigration laws? Let’s not go there. Why live in Arizona when you could go next door to New Mexico? Looks almost identical, but is way cooler. Taos > Phoenix.
-Sana’a, Yemen: Currently, it’s not safe. And I’m not stupid.
-The Whole Damn State, Florida: I’m sorry Grandma, I love you and I’ll continue to visit a few times a year (you and the Harry Potter Theme Park are my only reasons for going). Aside from that, Florida has absolutely nothing for me. The Villages? Tons of old people? Strip-mall overload? Humidity…all the time? Ehhh.
I am super busy at work interviewing
pretentious assholes qualified, intelligent writers, reviewing hundreds of charities, and trying to write up events that are all happening on…Monday.
But I’m also working on a feature article for THIS ORGANIZATION. Just visit the site, as I don’t have time to explain it.
I will later, I promise. I have a lot to say.
Watch this for a detailed explanation, too.
Well, well, well. I woke up this morning excited that I had conquered day one of my “fruit fast” and thrilled that I would only feel full of energy for the next two.
Lies. lies lieslies lies! You fruit people lie!
Despite my nonchalance on the blog, I actually did quite a bit of research on this. I read articles, checked out some info at the library, and followed a couple of bloggers that also took the fruit challenge (it often goes along with this yoga-hippie i-love-life- namaste! thing). It seems like for every other fruit-eater, they had to adjust the first day, but then were greeted with energy, glowing skin, and the lack of a ravaging appetite.
Well, good for them! (not bitter). I woke up starving… and had a banana, an orange, and some avocado for good measure. I practiced yoga, lifted some weights (don’t ..laugh), and went for a nice long walk. At this point, my body was like…wtf where is my coffee and peanut butter and hummus and what are you doing to me you asshole and decided to give me a wonderful lil headache and absolutely no energy.
Blah blah blah I ate more figs and blueberries and a tomato and an apple and then found myself having to take a long nap at 5pm and woke up starving, again, and did NOT want to eat a cantaloupe for dinner. I felt awful and so… I went out to dinner with my family.
I ate salmon. With coleslaw. And rice. And corn. And it was delicious.
And I feel so much better.
I was contemplating just making up a fake day two and three of this fruit thing, and making you all proud of me, and totally lying to the internet! But, I felt I had to tell you the truth, because, well….don’t ever, ever, ever, eat only fruit for any extended period of time. It totally sucks. And it made me hate fruit! Eat your chicken! And your cake! Veggies! Bagels! Life is too short.
I can’t wait for coffee tomorrow.
When does Saturday come? I keep reminding myself that the first day will be the hardest; my body is in complete what the hell are you doing Laura mode. Despite the fact that I’m literally stuffing my face with fruit to try to reach any sort of “full” feeling, I’ve been constantly hungry. Not to mention my all-day headache. I think it’s the sugar, OR.. it’s probably because I didn’t have coffee today. I didn’t realize until this morning when I grabbed my loon mug that to be fair, I shouldn’t have coffee either. Things are getting real.
But! I’m proud that I’ve gotten through the first day, and I have been writing down what has been going through my mind –and what I’ve been eating–to keep track of my..eh..”progress.” Let’s just hope it’s all worth it.
Breakfast- 1/2 cup orange juice, one large banana, bunch of cherries, buttload of H20
After this, I decided to go for a run. I was a little nervous to do so; after I run all I want to do is devour a sandwich or hang out with a jar of peanut butter. But an apple? I’m glad I decided to run though; I covered six miles and felt great. Then I proceeded to go the grocery store and purchase apples, mangos, strawberries, blueberries, cantaloupe, figs, and avocados.
I was full after eating lunch, but within 30 minutes found myself hungry again. I know my body wants protein right now, but I’m just trusting that it will get used to this change. Also, how the hell do you know when a cantaloupe is ripe? I want a sandwich. I’m going to go drink more seltzer and eat a fig. Sigh.
Snack- 2 figs, glass of seltzer x 1
Other thoughts: as I ate my “snack,” I flipped through the TV; I usually go to the Travel Channel, but there was some special on “Best Steaks in America.” I opted for a show on the Discovery Channel where a man survives on a raft out at sea for 76 days with hardly any food or water. You think I’m kidding.
Afterwards, I drove to the library to get some books to distract me. When I stepped out of my car, that was the first time my body felt really…weird. I wasnt hungry, but something was up. I took out a book called Brainstorm, which explains the differences between the male and female brain. I’m trying to understand the other gender. Really. Trying.
On my way back home, I was happily listening to Neil Young with my windows down when I had to stop, for two cars in front of me were trying to make left turns on a narrow road. Unfortunately for me, they were turning into the Northside Deli, so I was hard chillin with a heavy, delicious waft of bacon while I waited for them to turn.
Right about now, I am cursing every fruit known to man.
More snacks- Granny smith apple (they apparently have caffeine), 1/4 avocado
I’m tired and cranky and HUNGRY and these peanut-butter pretzels are staring at me.
Dinner-Cantaloupe with blueberries, more blueberries
Turns out I do know how to pick a ripe cantaloupe. Just smell them.
This my friends, is not going to be easy.
Also, why is fruit so expensive?
What am I doing?
Today I have decided to do something.
I consider myself a tough person that enjoys a challenge. I thrive on pushing myself beyond my comfort zone and trying new things; I’m up for traveling to any country, running any absurd amount of distance in any questionable type of weather, and forming new relationships with all sorts of people (insert: homeless man I talked to for thirty minutes today on my lunch break).
And lately I’ve felt weird. I’m definitely a bit run down and discombobulated, and have thought about changing up my diet to try to tackle the issue (you are what you eat, right?). However, every time I become motivated, I always find a way to dissuade myself. I want my muffin and coffee for breakfast before work, my falafel or slice of pizza for lunch, and nachos for dinner! NACHOS ARE THE BEST.
I give up too quickly.
Well dudes, that all is going to change now. I have decided that starting tomorrow, I am going to only eat FRUIT for three days!!
I’ve done harder, right?
- I’ve survived three days of jury duty. (loved it, actually)
- I’ve endured sitting in a cubicle three days a week. (so far..)
- I like odd numbers. (like the number three)
- I’ve DEFINITELY gone three days without showering.
- I’ve survived 8,513 days without a smart phone. (yes, I calculated how many days I’ve been alive, leap years included)
- Aaand I’ve walked in a cracked-out torrential downpour for thirteen blocks to Penn Station
So why fruit? To be honest, I don’t really know. I didn’t want to do some weird mega-crazy cleanse and consume chili peppers and lemon water while cursing the world and dreaming about pancakes. Fruit is obviously fantastic for you, and I actually don’t eat too much of it. The summer is ending, and many fruit will no longer be in their prime. So why not give them a lil lovin for 72 hours?
I also really want an excuse to eat an avocado with a spoon.
I’m hoping that my mind and body will feel better come Saturday, my skin will be glowing, and I’ll be one happy camper. And side-note: I am ONLY doing this to challenge and revamp myself. That, and I’m a little bored.
So starting tomorrow, I’ll (only) be stuffing my face with raspberries,bananas, dates, avocados, cantaloupes, and whatever else I can get my nifty little fingers on. Could be worse. Let’s just hope after all is said and done, I don’t end up looking like this:
The bigger the tank, the bigger the goldfish, right? Same goes with a woman’s bag. The bigger the bag, the more shit you decide to put in it. For me, at least.
I used to always carry around an incredibly small purse. I never needed much- just my phone, some cash, and my license. Unfortunately, after 4 + years of a small faux-leather Target purse-thingy, I decided to “upgrade” to a larger, also faux-leather, also target..BAG. However, with my new bag, I’ve found that I tend to carry around a lot more stuff, just cause I can.
So tonight I emptied my bag.
I took a picture of its contents.
And now I am going to write about them. Isn’t this interesting?
First up are my headphones. They are shitty SONY “noise-cancelling” ones. Don’t buy them. (I’m glad that I don’t even have my ipod in there. This is not logical).
Bandaids. One day, I wanted to look extra nice for work, so I wore heals. Worst idea ever. Three blocks south and my heels were already on their way to forming gangrene.
Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. I’m learning from my H-boy how to live by myself in the woods for two years. I wish this was foreshadowing my real life!
On top of Walden? Yeah, tampons. Sorry guys… I’m a woman…and I get my period. Pretty crazy, right? At least now they come in cool colors! What for though? To disguise? Lessen embarrassment? Not quite sure. But boy do I love lime green!
My corkscrew. You never know when you’re going to have to
stab someone open up a bottle of wine!
Then there is..a rock. Someone gave me a rock from a beach. And I carry it in my bag.
Lip gloss. Pretty standard explanation: stocking stuffer, smells great, makes my lips all sparkly.
Then there’s my extra special cellphone. This thing is genius–it can make calls and text without the internet!
A receipt from Westside Market. I bought three avocados for $7.50. Ripoff.
12 cents. I’m rich.
A deck of cards. I’m weird.
Earrings. Should take those out.
Gum. Spearmint > Peppermint. Fact.
Oof. Confession time…I don’t own a wallet. I put all my “wallet stuff” in a little sachet zippy thingy from Ghana. In it is my license, debit card, health insurance card, metro card, train ticket, student ID, and library card. Cool, right?
Pens and pencils. One of which is a golf pencil. I have no idea where that came from. Another is a pen that fell apart. Or, in fancy words, a deconstructed pen. I write down many things and need many utensils.
And I write them all down in my little moleskin. Like a good little hipster!
Deodorant. I have a sweating problem. Moving on.
Ew. That yellow piece of paper? A receipt to my LIRR ticket refund. You used to be able to purchase a train ticket and use it within 6 months. Apparently 6 months changed to…14 days …and TWO of my round trip tickets expired by one day! So on top of losing over $50, I had to purchase a one-way on the train, which cost me $20. I was very, very angry. But alas! You can refund them, with a $10 refund fee. And then you have to wait for four weeks. I am still very angry.
Speaking of money and receipts, I also have a tag to a dress I purchased on my lunch break one day. I found out I was going to a jazz club that evening, so figured I should pick up a nice lil dress. I kept the tag incase I wanted to return it after I wore it, but ended up liking it enough for keeps!
Sunglasses, Car Keys, mundane duh duh whatever etc etc.
Lastly, my newspaper horoscope. It reads: Act on your creative inspirations. Where there is a will there’s a way.
I hope you’re right, Newsday.