Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Holiday Travel

I am back from Christmas in VA. I had a wonderful time with Jake and his family and as always, had a hard time getting back on the damn bus. Back in New York, I've worked two days at the portrait studio. My back is killing me from standing up in the shop all day but I am laying on the heating pad my sweet mother sent me along with my Christmas gifts! Hello Crock Pot!

Tomorrow is New Years Eve and I've been looking forward to spending it with Jake, here in New York for a while now. Unfortunately Jake is feeling really sick today. I'm afraid he's not going to make it on to the bus and he probably shouldn't. While I was still there a few people in his family got the same kind of stomach bug as he is experiencing now and felt better within a day so there's still hope. If he isn't here I don't know what I will do! I can't imagine sitting in the apartment alone on New Years so I will have to go make some trouble somewhere.

There are tons of new pictures from Christmas on my Kodak site.

Monday, December 21, 2009

I've Been Busy and Stressed to the Max, BUT Here Is A

List of reasons why I am happy tonight:

The Redskins are on Monday Night Football.
I have enough time off to go to Richmond and spend Christmas with Jake.
I have tomorrow off.
I got delicious Chinese delivered and got a free calendar with it.
I have chocolate.
I have beer.
I have the apartment to myself.
I have deposited three paychecks this week.
I did three photo shoots today, twice behind the camera!
Victoria's Secret has their bikinis up already.
The Olympics are coming!
I have the best friends in the whole wide world.
My boyfriend is the best ever.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

More Busy Times and More Tree Visits

Yesterday at work they couldn't find enough for us to do as the next shipment of toys they were having us send as gifts hadn't yet arrived. We helped with a huge company lunch (and helped ourselves to free Italian food), made a delivery and straightened a few conference rooms before the let us go early and gave us today off.

After work I came back to the apartment and got Jake and we went into Manhattan to see the tree. First we went to Friday's to have supper but could only afford the half-priced appetizer special. Not too bad, I like appetizers the best anyway. After that we walked to the tree and it made me smile to see Jake snapping pictures left and right. He loved the tree and then we got to see those snowflakes and he loved that too. He thought the techno mix of Carol of the Bells was pretty good. The tree and the lights and watching the ice skaters was very romantic and I was so happy to be there with him.

After a pretty terrific date we came home and talked all the way on the train. I love having him around and miss our time together so much when we are apart.

Today we spent most of the day napping and talking. We did get up long enough to have lunch with Laura and Pete and for the boys to put up some Christmas lights in the living room. Then it was time to take Jake to the bus station and say goodbye.

I went into the studio for a quick shift and then came back here. Laura's kids from St Vincent are here for their big visit and are being very quiet in Laura's room. They went to bed in their new ski gloves because it is so cold.

Monday, December 14, 2009

I Know the Way....

Sunday morning Jake came on the Chinatown Bus bright and early. It was so great to see him. He hadn't gotten any sleep on the bus, even though the trip began for him at 1am. I brought him back to the apartment and then had to go off for a short shift at work. I did two viewings at work and helped some scrapbooking customers. While I was helping someone in the shop a woman came in the door. She had been in the day before to get some things to make a scrapbook for her best friend who had been living in New York but was moving away. I had helped her pick out some embellishments and New York City themed stickers I thought would add a little something to the project. Anyway she came in yesterday just to thank me for helping her. She said the book looked amazing and it was the things I had suggested that really made the book great. Then she just left. It was really terrific.

After work Jake and I had planned to go to a live studio recording of a singer/songwriter called Langhorne Slim who I really love. Unfortunately I misread the e mail the band had sent me and we completely missed the show. I was so disappointed. We decided to make the best of the subway trip we had just made all the way up to Greenpoint so we called my friend Sarah and went over to hang out with her and her friend Sam. We got some beer and headed over. On the way to her apartment we passed a downed One Way sign. When we were at Sarah's she and Sam listed all the things they had done that day: drank champagne, jumped on the bed, ran through a construction sight and attempted to steal the One Way sign. It had been a bit to heavy for them as it was still mounted on a 9 foot sign post. It was seconds before we were all out the door as a team to get the downed sign. After that we sat around and talked for a nice long while and then Jake and I headed back to the train station to come home. I had to work in the morning!

Speaking of working: I am starting to worry that working two jobs is getting the better of me. I've recently become really ditzy and easily confused. Last week when I left work with Steve, the other temp, I started off walking in the wrong direction. When Steve questioned me I told him that that is the way I had gotten there that morning. We walked blocks and blocks in the wrong direction before I realized I had no idea what I'd done and that we were lost. Luckily Steve had an iPhone and led us back to the subway. He didn't even get mad. On the way to Sarah's last night I led poor Jake something like 8 blocks in the right direction, positive I was going the way I'd gone before, not to mention completely missing the rock show I was going to because I mixed up the times while reading the email. This morning I got on the train at my station without looking at what train it was. Obviously it was the wrong train and I had to walk about 10 blocks at top speed to get over to work on time. I don't even know where my head is these days. Time to start paying attention or something. It just isn't like me.

Today on my lunch I bought Jake his Christmas Present and tonight I gave it to him early. A new pair of green Chucks. His old shoes had a hole in the bottom that water came in through, besides being completely icky. I was so excited to give them to him. He loves them. Then I made chili and now we are all watching National Lampoons Christmas Vacation. I wish Jake could stay all the time. I sure love having him around!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Increasing Focus

Today is Saturday and I went to work! I work every day of the week, at least every day of this week. It feels good. Today I worked at the portrait studio. I learned how to edit photos which was a little nerve racking because it involves deleting pictures that the photographer took. We don't show the customers all the photos we take of them, only the best. Otherwise they'd be at the viewing for hours and be overwhelmed about what to print. Besides deleting I learned to how to resize and recenter photos, change the focus (up for children, it makes their eyes super clear, down for mom's, it hides imperfections) and to color some photos in black and white and some in sepia or duo tone. It was cool to see the results but I still felt funny deleting pictures. Sometimes it was easy, like if some one's eyes were closed or if the children's posture made them look like oompa loompas, but sometimes it was hard to pick which of the pose was the best shot.

Tonight I came home and cleaned my apartment because JAKE is coming to see me! He's coming on the Chinatown Bus from Richmond. It only departs Richmond at one time each day: 1am. I am picking him up bright and early tomorrow at 7am. I hope he has a good ride and I can't wait to see him!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Yes, I will have a free snack. Thank you.

I've been temping again this week. This time its at an investment company in Soho. I work with another temp named Steve and we are packing and shipping out investor Christmas gifts for the company. The work is fine. More boxes! But the office is amazing! They have free drinks, and not just canned cokes, water and coffee. They do have those things but they also have two kinds of Vitamin Water, two flavors of really expensive tea, four flavors of Canada Dry (I didn't even know there was more than one!) and all kinds of juices. They have all kinds of coffee and they also have Kashi granola bars and health food chips for free. Free free free! And they keep reminding us to take it! In fact if any of the people we are working for come over while we are working they invariably tell us we are working so hard and to PLEASE feel free to take a break and get a free drink or snack. Its incredible. Today our supervisor thanked us profusely for all our hard work and gave us Starbucks gift cards. What?! Its so nice to be appreciated. I'm glad that there are people out there who appreciate a temp. A couple of the places I worked never even showed me where the bathroom is and this place has free string cheese! Oh and today they had free breakfast for us. Next week we get a free lunch too and today she told us if there are extra we might get the gifts too. Also dress is casual and everybody seems really happy all the time. Too bad I'm not interested in finance.

The work I've been doing this week has been really hard on my sore back. I got muscle relaxants from the doctor and I took one today. It wasn't magic. My back feels cramped from the usual place (my lower back around my waist), all the way up to my neck. I wish I had a heating pad. Also the cold New York City winter is here. Our apartment is nice and cozy though, and I have plenty of layers and one very warm hat! I'll rest my back this evening and tomorrow I work at the portrait studio.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy Christmas (War is Over)

Today was an amazing day.

First work: I made TWO package sales today and designed two customer's holiday cards for them. I did ok with the computer programs and such, and both customers seemed to be really happy after working with me. I also made a new friend at work. A girl named Noor, who I had not worked with before was in and she showed me a lot of the things I hadn't been trained to do yet. It was so helpful. Oh I almost forgot, I also coordinated a play date party this morning with preschoolers and we all painted picture frames together. It was pretty fun.

After work I met Laura and Pete at Columbus Circle and we walked up Central Park to Strawberry Fields to see what was going on there on the anniversary of John Lennon's death. There was a crowd of people gathered around the Imagine circle singing. It was absolutely amazing. Through patience and fortitude I managed to get all the way up to the circle and see all the things left there in memory of John and the faces of the people gathered around. I was so moved, especially when we all sang Imagine and Happy Christmas; War is Over. I could have stayed there all night, especially if I could have sat down, but Happy Christmas was so perfect and moving that I was crying and figured it was time to go and eat and let someone else get close to the center.

We walked down 5th Avenue to Rockefeller so Pete could see the tree and he bought some roasted cashews so I got to try some of those. Yum! Then we watched the skaters and then the Carol of the Bells snowflakes on Saks. Next Laura had a surprise. We walked over to Grand Central Station and waited to see what it was. At 8pm we were treated to a special laser light show. It was kind of weird. Laura had read about it on a list of 101 things to do in NY in the winter.

After that we went to a nearby pub for supper as we were all starving. Dinner was good but the best part was when two ladies sat down next to us for dessert and coffee. The waiter brought them a delicious looking slab of chocolate cake to share but they were both completely put off by how BIG the piece of cake was. They complained loudly to the waiter and then to us when he had gone about how ridiculously big this piece of cake was. Then they cut off a tiny sliver of of it and gave us the rest. YES! THANK YOU! We will eat some free chocolate cake. It was delicious.

Now we are home and I am getting ready for bed. I have a temp assignment tomorrow for a financial company. I do not like first days but temping is always an adventure. I hope I don't freeze in a skirt!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Just Another Work Day

Today was another day at the new job. Things are definitely getting better. I was able to help people and answer questions and got a small amount of training. Can't wait until I know my way around so I can do more. I really love the company. It was so cold but not snowy here. Tomorrow I will have my first day off.

Our friend Pete from college is visiting now. We've had back to back to back company here lately. Its a lot of fun. Hope we do something fun tomorrow.

Not much else to post, I just wanted to let you know that if you want to see more from our fantastic holiday night last night there is an album up on my Kodak website. The link is always in the upper right of my blog.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Insert Appropriate Carol Title Here

For the first time in a number of years I'm feeling VERY excited about the Holidays. Tonight after my shift at the portrait studio I met Laura, Kris and Kim at the Christmas Market in Columbus Circle. It was SNOWING to beat all. I had left my hat and gloves at the apartment because it was NOT snowing when I left the house, so while I waited for the girls to get to where I was I bought a woolly hand knit ear-flap hat. It was fleece-lined and may be one of the best things I ever bought. It was snowing huge wet flakes. I had my umbrella but I was getting as soaked as if it was pouring rain.

Lights on the trees in Columbus Circle

Once we were all together we walked through the wonderful market for a while and shopped the vendors. Laura and I got hot apple cider and I got a giant ginger cookie. When we'd had about as much as we could take we decided to walk over to Rockefeller Plaza to see the tree and lights. It was a little bit too much walking for the weather. We each stepped in some puddle until we all had wet shoes and socks and toes. Yuck! All the same we were very cheery, walking along in the beautiful snow. There were horse-carriages with tops and millions of people walking.

Laura, Me and Kris at the Christmas market Cider Stand

When we got to Rockefeller it was worth it. The decorations were beautiful to see. We tried to get picture by the tree but the crowds were so thick we had to coordinate umbrellas and crowd control to actually get each other AND the tree and lights in a picture at the same time. The people were so thick that they had to have police at the cross-walks, not just directing traffic but actually holding the street crossers BACK from traffic. We walked over to Saks because Laura had seen a light display there that coordinated with Carol of the Bells. It was so cool I almost cried.

The beautiful tree in the snow

Saks Fifth Ave snowflake lights that blinked in time to Carol of the Bells

Finally we had to get going as we were all freezing and soaked to the bone. We went down in the subway and were treated to a show by a really funny busker who wore a wig and sang a song called 'Baby Mama' that got stuck in all our heads. We finally made it home and I had to hang up everything, including my pocketbook which was drenched on the inside. We all put on sweats and got chinese delivery and have been sitting in our cozy warm living room listening to Christmas music this evening. The only thing missing is a crackling fire and some hot toddies. I love visitors!

Today at work we had a child's birthday party. It was definitely my favorite things I've gotten to do at work yet. Helping kid with crafts I can totally manage. It sure is hard being the new girl. I haven't been in that position in a while. I know how everyone else feels though, I've been on that end of it plenty.

Oh look, we've gotten out the karaoke machine. Gotta go.

I'm Sorry: Today is My First Day....

Yesterday was my first full day at the store and a rough one at that. I got left alone in the front part of the store and couldn't answer a single question or help anyone on my own. It was a lot of, I'm sorry, its my first day, out of me. It was embarrassing at times but most people are really understanding. I can now confidently ring up your purchase or book an appointment. That is all. Anything else is beyond me. Most people calling on the phone do not want me to ring up a sale and few want to book appointments. All in all, I don't think I messed up TOO badly. Everybody has to start somewhere right?

Last night Kris and Kim came up on the Bolt Bus and out to Brooklyn for a visit. We took them to Picket Fence and 773 as they said they wanted to do whatever it was we did in Brooklyn on the weekend. Ok ladies, if we must.

Today I am working until 5 and then we're meeting up in the city for some Christmas stuff.

Friday, December 4, 2009

First Day

I don't have a lot of time to write this morning as I am getting ready to head off to W-O-R-K at my J-O-B!!! Yes I got a job. A real one. A great one! I'm working in a portrait studio/scrapbooking boutique on the Upper West Side. I'll be doing store clerky things and photography. I can't believe I got a job in photography. Its really a dream come true. There are some drawbacks. Its part time so I'll need to do other things to make money in between and it doesn't pay a lot but I don't mind.

Yesterday evening was my first shift and I didn't have much to do. The studio was hosting a little girls birthday party so all the staff was too busy to train me but I got to look around a bit and everyone was really nice. The atmosphere is funky and casual and the owners both work there. Its a father and daughter named Bob and Kim. Bob doesn't look like, but sounds absolutely just like Christopher Walken. Kim has a 3 year old daughter who is cute as a button. I did ring up my first sale. It was embarrassing as hell not knowing much at all about the register system. The woman I was waiting on was patient as she could be but I wanted to run and hide.

Anyway tonight Kris and Kim are coming to visit so after I work I have to come home and clean up my room for them, at the very least. I still haven't unpacked properly from Thanksgiving and everything I own seems to be on the floor between my door and the my bed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Shopping and Schmoozing

Yesterday was a fun and busy day of unemployment! (See that positive attitude?) Laura and I got up bright and early to try and find some inexpensive clothing in Manhattan. We took the train to the Lower East Side and shopped from Chinatown up to Noho. We stopped at a really cool store called Yellow Rat Bastard which was like a really big, cooler version of Hot Topic. They had cool t shirts, bags, Chucks and really cool books about New York. Next we found Top Shop, Laura favorite store from England that only recently opened a store in the US. I fell in love with, but didn't buy, a pretty coral-colored wool jacket there. Next we went to H&M and tried on some winter dresses. Laura picked out a couple for herself as finding some winter dresses was her goal for the day. She tried on a really beautiful gold one though and since it was only fifteen dollars I had to buy it. Its a vintage style gold party dress and I can't wait for an occasion to wear it.

Next we decided to go find a the shop for a brand called Bond No 9 NYC. They are a perfume company based out of Noho that make fancy scents inspired by different neighborhoods in New York City. We knew we wouldn't be able to afford to buy for a long time but we wanted to smell them so we'd know which one we liked in case someone ever asked. I had seen the bottle for the Brooklyn scent and also was hoping that Coney Island would be my favorite. They all smelled beautiful. A young man spoke with us for a long time, telling us all about the scents and letting us sniff tons of different ones. He really knew his stuff and took plenty of time to show us all about the products. We found out that even though the perfume in the signature bottle is expensive you can buy the perfume by the ounce and put it in a pretty atomizer bottle for not too much. When we left we each had some 'Scent of Peace' on our wrists and a sample of Bleeker Street wrapped like a candy in our pockets. The last place we stopped was the LeSportSac flagship store which was a bit disappointing.

After that we had to come home and get ready because Laura had gotten us invited to the Roanoke College NYC Alumni reception! My back was hurting so I was hesitant to go but I'm so glad I did. The reception was at the New York Athletic Club, which sounds like a gym but is in fact a fancy fancy club. Like the wood-paneled, leather furniture kind. We were on the tenth floor in a reception room where there were two open bars and waiters walking around with fancy oers devours. I was surprised at how many Roanoke College alumni were there. We saw a girl from my orientation group and a couple people from our RC era. There were also tons of older alums and a few younger. Laura and I spoke with Ness, a girl we had gone camping with at college who is now married to Sandy whose dad had been a trustee of the college and whose mom still is. It was a lot of fun catching up and gossiping with her. Then the president of the college spoke and so did a trustee. It was a lot of fun, I'm glad we went.

After the reception Laura and decided to finish our night at 773. We came home late and made ourselves midnight snacks before going to bed. Today Laura's having a hair cut and then her friend Michele is coming up on the bus for a visit! I need to get this apartment cleaned up before we have company and I still haven't unpacked from Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Its a Brand New Day

I am back in Brooklyn after my Thanksgiving break. The week before I left was pretty hard for me emotionally so I wasn't able to blog. I had a rejuvenating few days at home. Mom and Jake were very supportive and encouraging and although I may have begged and cried they got me back on the bus to NY. Now that I'm back I'm feeling good and ready to start again with a good attitude about finding a job and having my New York adventure.

Last week besides feeling sorry for myself I had a two-day temp assignment for Clinique. The offices were amazing. They were on the 37th floor in the same building as CBS and FAO Swartz, right across from The Plaza. My job was to read press releases that come in any time the company name is published. I think that means my blog will be on the desk of some other temp in about a year. It was entertaining and I got to see CBS taping the Early Show each morning outside.

View from the window at Clinique

Also early last week I decided to look up the options for scrapbooking and crafting clubs and stores in the area as I always feel better when I'm being creative. I ended up finding a portrait studio/scrapbooking store in Manhattan. Thinking that that sounded like a business hand made for me I sent them an e mail saying I was an avid scrapbooker and photographer specializing in children and would love to send them a resume or small portfolio of my work. I send these e mails to businesses often and never get any response except a few regrets e mails now and then, so I didn't expect much. The e mailed me back and wanted to schedule an interview for Tuesday!! I couldn't believe it. I don't even HAVE an actual portfolio or any professional photo experience. Laura and I sat Monday night picking out the best of the pictures I had taken at my last job and while I was working Tuesday she picked up a pack of 8x10s at Target and a black folder. I went to the interview not even knowing what to expect. I think it went really well. They introduced me to the owners and gave me the run down on what my job would be like and even gave me a tour. They said they'd be excited to have some more people on staff that were interested in scrapbooking AND photography as a lot of the photographers they had weren't as excited about crafts. They said they'd get in touch with me this week. I can't believe it and don't want to get to excited until I hear for sure but what a fantastic opportunity this could be. I'd be a professional photographer in NYC!!

In case that doesn't pan out I have a week + assignment lined up through one of the agencies for next week. So for now I'll try to just relax and enjoy myself. Contrary to how I sounded at home yesterday I am feeling good about being in Brooklyn.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fine 'N Dandy

I know my blog posts are coming farther apart these days but so are jobs and adventures. I'll try to get back on the ball. Its been a little rough being unemployed this week. I'm really looking forward to coming home for Thanksgiving!

A couple of days ago Laura and found a new bar to go to in our neighborhood. Its called the 773 Lounge and it was a lot of fun. They have a lot of regulars and an active Darts league. Everybody there was happy to have us and friendly. They gave us free food and one man took my card to see about a job workign for his friend who distributes toy trains. Another man gave us two-dollar bills and a third offered us Circle Line cruises whenever Laura's children are visiting. It was really fun and we'll be going back.

Yesterady I got one of my rare temp assignments. This one was by far the best. An advertising agency was doing a big pitch to land an account with Sweet n' Low and because their staff was relatively small almost everyone in the office would be in the pitch meeting that day. They hired a handful of temps to sit at desks around the office and look busy so when any of the Sweet n' Low people walked around the office it would look like there were plenty of busy employees working away. So we were being paid to pretend to work there and all we really had to do was sit at desks with computers. We got some busy work tasks but mostly we just hung out and had free use of the pantry and chatted. I loved it. We even got name plates to match the special pitch-day nameplates everyone else in the office had.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Welcome Visitors

Sorry it has been so long since I updated. I didn't do a THING all week last week. No work and no responses from any of my applications or resume submissions. I was feeling kind of crummy. Its so frustrating to not be doing more. My friend Sarah came by on Wednesday and we walked all the way around Prospect Park and that felt good. Thursday and Friday the weather was too spiteful to do that.

Friday night I went to Target to get a new mop and then cleaned my apartment from top to bottom because my mom, sister and nephew were coming to visit this weekend. Laura bought me The Perfect Brownie Pan for my Birthday so I also made fresh brownies. Going to bed Friday night felt like trying to go to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Saturday I met my family on 34th street where they got off their bus. We had steaks and then waited around a bit for Gage's friend who was looking at colleges in the area. We got caught in some rain and then finally got a taxi back to Brooklyn. When we got here we ordered from Picket Fence and then played Catchphrase until the food came. Then we ate a delicious dinner and then watched Almost Famous and went to bed.

Yesterday my sister and the kids went thrift store shopping and mom and I were on our own. First mom took me to the grocery store and I got to stock up on some stuff. Then I took mom on the subway and we got off around Rockefeller Center. She got to see the NBC studios and we went into the NBC store. We also go to see the skaters on the ice rink and the big Rockefeller Center tree with scaffolding all around it. We kept seeing bags from the American Girl store and so we thought we'd go have a look. After that we sat by St Patrick's cathedral and then took a taxi to Herald Square where we looked at the newly decorated windows at Macy's until it was time to catch the bus. We had a really pleasant day looking around and it was very hard to say goodbye when everyone got on the bus. I miss my mom so much.

The Rockefeller Center Tree in progress

Only two weeks until Thanksgiving. That is what I am looking forward to now.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Another Cover Letter Down

Its late Tuesday night and I only just now feel like I even deserve to write a blog. Yesterday was a whole day of NOTHING. Oh well unless you include dish washing, television watching and mail checking. Ok so I also went to the library. Something I didn't do: WORK!!

Today was a bit more of the same except I did venture out of the apartment to meet Laura DeWitt for Birthday Tea at her favorite Brittish restaurant in Greenwhich Village. The restaurant is called Tea and Sympathy and it was delicious. I had a cornish hen with all the fixings, like a fantastic Christmas dinner. Laura had Sausage rolls and some great macaroni. THEN we had dessert. Laura got chocolate cake and I got amazing Apricot Crumble. We got to sit right in the front window and watch people come up and read the menu or walk by on the street. That was great. Thank you Laura for the birthday dinner!

The only other thing is that I did just write another cover letter and submitted another resume. Maybe one day someone will actually respond to one of these.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

We Love Karaoke

Last night Sarah came over to our apartment and we all walked over to Shenanigans for Karaoke night. What fun. Laura and I sang a song each and then dueted on Shoop. Sarah loved our bar and everybody there was having even more fun than the last time we were there. Everyone in the place sang along to every song. Even the bartender was into the music.

Sarah and Laura at Shenanigans

Today my back is hurting me a lot, maybe from standing at the bar for so long last night. Laura and I went to the farmers market a bit ago for eggs and now we're home watching tv. I'm hoping for some work this week and looking forward to birthday tea with Laura DeWitt.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Deep Fryday!

Yesterday afternoon my friend Sarah of Funemployment Brooklyn hosted Deep Fryday. The idea was to come over to her apartment with something you'd like to try and deep fry and she would provide the drinks. Of course I had to take oreos. When I got there it was Sarah and her friend Samantha. They had gone all the way to Target to get a Turkey fryer but after assembling it realized they'd need a propane tank. We decided to try deep frying on the stove instead.

Homemade Fries

First we made sweet potato fries and then regular french fries. They were delicious! I never knew I could make french fries so easily. Then we used the internet to find a recipe for crispy fry batter and mixed it up. We used the batter to coat some onion rings and then some asparagus. Wow was that asparagus good too! Finally we fried some brie because Sarah had had that once and loved it. It was pretty fantastic.

Onion Rings

By this time Laura was getting off work so she headed over and we started to mix up funnel cake batter. When Laura got there we started a new pan of oil for sweets and used the batter to fry oreos, twix bars, coffee beans and sweet tarts. The last one was just for science. The oreos were perfect and the twix was amazing too. We used the last of the batter to make a little funnel cake and then we were all really full of greasy food. Mmmm. It was so fun and delicious. Now that I know how I feel like I would like to deep fry everything I eat. We had a good time talking and Sarah and I realized we both love Girl Talk and made plans to go see him in concert if he is ever close by. Sarah and Laura realized they both love Top Shop and we made plans to go to the new New York one today. Yay for new friends and fried things.

As always: more photos are up on my Kodak Gallery. Just use the link in the upper right of the blog.

Friday, November 6, 2009

I'm More Than Empty Boxes!

Today I had a one-day assignment at Prada. I was assembling empty boxes meant to resemble large heavy books for a book launch party they are having. Unlike my last empty box job though, I got to work with others today. There were six other temps sent from my same agency and two interns working on the same project. They stuffed the eight of us, as well as the four thousand unassembled boxes into a fitting room. Granted the fitting rooms at Prada are bigger than our Brooklyn kitchen, but it was still a tight fit. The task itself was mindless and of course I cut my finger on a box, but I got to spend lots of time talking to new people and it wasn't a bad day at all. The two interns were international: Jay from South Korea and a quiet young lady from Romania who didn't spend much time with the rest of us. Dusti and Paul and Michael were aspiring actors and they exchanged lots of tips on getting jobs and auditions and managers and agents. Dusti moved here from Alabama two weeks ago and was the most outgoing of any of us. It was great for me because she asked everyone all the questions I wanted answered and I got to just sit back and listen. Trent just moved here because his wife got into Columbia. He went to school to study interior design and was really excited about the design in the store. Dylan did not want to be our friend or talk to us and he put his iPod on and peaced out pretty quickly after we got our instructions, but I did get out of him that he was from Sterling, VA. Later on I told everyone about Sheetz. They didn't understand. Someday though, they'll be driving down the coast and they'll see that sign on the Gas Exit XXX and they'll stop and then they'll know.

At the end of the day everyone went home but I got to stay a little late and put necks on the mannequins. People there were very very very fancy. It was fascinating eaves dropping for me.

I came home tired and sore and cranky but not for long! The UPS man came at 8pm with presents! I got Elvis Pajamas from Jake's Grandma, a new rolly cart from Mama but best of all: Mama also sent me a COFFEE MAKER!!! Hooray hooray hooray! I'm saved.

Laura came home and we watched Grey's Anatomy.

No work tomorrow it looks like. Hope I get something good next week. I hope I don't only get jobs involving empty boxes. There's so much more to me than that, right?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Funemployed it is!

Jake left last night and today when I woke up I was feeling really down. The sink was full of dirty dishes, with more dishes that had to be put away on the counter, my boyfriend was all gone and I was still unemployed. I felt useless and didn't see any reason to get up. I started to watch a DVD on my computer in bed and feel sorry for myself. After a while I thought I'd use the computer to look up a book club on Craigslist so maybe I could make some new friends. I searched under 'Groups' in Brooklyn and didn't find a book club but I did find a listing for a group called Funemployed in Brooklyn. Here is what the post said:

Are you an UNEMPLOYED Brooklyn resident under the age of 35, interested in
replacing Facebook-stalking, The Price is Right, and week-old takeout binges
with stimulating, social, and FREE activities? Do you have a practical, unusual,
or supernatural skill or ability you’d like to share with other people in your

We are a small group of highly creative, educated, and currently
unemployed individuals looking to share our useless/useful knowledge and talents
with other people who are free during the day. We want to improve our own
skills, explore new interests, and help others discover and improve upon their
own --- all for free, because we don’t have jobs.
To be considered for
admission to the group, you MUST:
-Be under the age of 35, and open-minded
-Have the desire to remain creative, collaborative, and motivated while out of
work -Be able to make at least one contribution to the collective betterment of
the group. This is a purposely vague requirement; we really hope you have
something to offer that we’ve never even thought of wanting to learn.
examples of valuable things you might share with the group are:
-fluency in
a foreign language -HTML/flash/photoshop/dreamweaver/protools/finalcutpro
skills, etc. -creative writing skills -culinary skills -athletic skills
(preference given to experts in obscure/foreign sports) -musical skills
-pool-hustling skills -card-gaming skills -drink-mixing skills -belly-dancing
skills -bow-hunting skills -and the list goes on…
If you’re interested in
hanging out, teaching something, or learning something new, send us a note
telling us a little bit about who you are, why you’d like to participate, and
what you hope to bring to the table. If we think you’re a good fit, we’ll
schedule an interview and help you get to know us as well. This is just a fun
way to collaborate with your peers and explore new interests, while preventing
muscular and neurological atrophy in this dreary economic climate.
No cover
letters or resumes, please.

Laying there in my bed I didn't see any way I could not answer the ad. What did I have to lose? I came here for adventure and to meet new people, not to lay in my bed at home and be pissy about not having a job. I e mailed the given address and heard back pretty quickly from Sarah. The group was meeting in a bar in a neighborhood called Greenpoint at 2:30 today to play Scrabble. I jumped up from bed, washed and put away all the dishes, cleaned the bathroom, showered, got up and headed out to make new friends and play some Scrabble.

Greenpoint is in the northern part of Brooklyn, almost to Queens. It was a bit different than our neighborhood and it took an hour and two transfers to get me there. Once I found the bar I met Sarah, Kate and Amanda. They were really nice and we had some nice chatting and began to play Scrabble. During the game we all talked about job hunting and what we were doing last, where we came from etc.

During the game my cell phone rang with temp assignments from BOTH temp companies!! I accepted the first assignment before the second company called so I had to turn them down, which really hurt. I couldn't believe it and the other girls were really impressed. I tried to assure them that the temp companies NEVER call me really but I don't think they believed it.

After Scrabble we all walked to the train together and rode together a while. I stayed on the train the longest. When I got home I got online and looked up an infant and toddler dance program I had seen a poster for in a different, fancier neighborhood. The program sounded really cool so I e mailed them and then followed the ads on that site to other interesting child-centered websites. I ended up also e mailing a kids photography studio.

Finally Laura and I had to take our laundry out. We had a tip from a woman on the elevator that there was a 24 hour laundromat on a block further down than Courtelyou. Since both laundromats on Courtelyou are cramped and there's no place to sit and never a table to fold on we decided to try it. We ended up having walk about four blocks and then some over to get to it but it was much larger and fancier than the ones close by. It was really big and most all the machines worked AND they had seats, tons of folding tables AND TVs!!! It was a bit more expensive for washing but the dryers cost the same. Instead of a coin-op it had a card system where you had to go to a sort of ATM and purchase a card for $3 and then put the money you wanted to use on laundry onto the card and then use the card in the machines. You can't get your money back from the card but you can get the $3 back if the card is empty. Well whatever: They had TVs and seats and tables!! Oh and video games! NOT that I have video game quarters at this time. We watched some of the big baseball game and listened to all the Yankees fans around the place cheer for their team.

Tomorrow I have work so that is good. I'm supposed to wear all black so who knows what I'll be doing. For a day that started off on the blah and mopey side today shaped up to be pretty good.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I Don't Wanna Grow Up!

Yesterday I took Jake to see Times Square and Central Park. We took the train to Times Square and looked around at the lights and signs etc. Bless his heart, Jake wants to talk to every promoter, etc that is handing out a flier. I don't know how we got out of there without theatre tickets, bus tickets and some hip hop artists CD, but we managed.

Jake and I spotted a Ferris Wheel INSIDE Toys R Us simultaneously and were so excited to go inside. The ride costs money but I had fun taking pictures and then Jake spotted the Nintendo station. We ended up spending at least an hour exploring the wonders of Toys R Us. It was so cool. I picked out multiple gifts for everyone I know there (for when I have the money to buy gifts, of course.)

Next we walked up Broadway to Central Park. We stopped at Bethesda Fountain and watched a busker who was blowing enormous bubbles with some rope. Wonder how much he makes blowing bubbles in the park each day... The bubbles were beautiful and we sat on some steps and watched for a little while. Then we walked over to Strawberry Fields so Jake could see it. He got into a conversation with the man who places flowers on the Imagine circle each day. He's been doing it for sixteen years. He also gave us a piece of his mind about the government and peace. After that we walked over to the Dakota and then to the subway to come home. When we got here we had some chocolate fondue in my fountain and played Trivial Pursuit with Laura.

Today Jake went back to VA so its back to the never ending job hunt. I heard from another temp company today so maybe they will have some leads. I'm so grateful for a wonderful weekend and birthday.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

It Doesn't Get Any Better.

Friday night Courtney, Laura and I went to a club called Mercury on the Lower East side to see Harper Simon perform. I had seen an ad on facebook or myspace about the show and thought it would definitely be worth the $15 tickets to see Paul Simon's son live. We got there during the opening act, a band with horns called The Americans. When they finished their set we started scoping out the crowd, just in case Paul Simon might have come out to support his son. We didn't have to search long; he was sitting five feet behind me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The three of us immediately began to freak out. After 90 seconds of gasping and giggling but trying to still look calm and cool I decided we'd have to go and shake his hand. Then we had to gasp and squeal silently another 30 seconds. Finally I walked right over to Paul Simon, who was seated on a bench against the side wall, with his younger son sitting beside him, wearing black and a black leather fedora, and shook his hand. I said, 'Hi, I'm Katy. I'm a really big fan. Thank you. Then I stepped aside and Laura and Courtney shook his hand too. We returned to our standing spots five feet away and freaked out for a few more minutes. Then we went and bought ourselves some beers. After that Harper came on to perform.

The music was really good. I'm pretty sure I was standing there savoring this amazing moment in my life when I looked over and noticed a small woman moving into the front row to stand next to Courtney. She was wearing a top hat and sunglasses and she turned and handed her belongings to a young man standing behind her. Her body guard. It was Yoko Ono. Standing directly beside Courtney who was standing directly beside me was Yoko Ono. For real. No joke. I began to hyperventilate. I had my hand over my heart and was standing there with Paul Simon right behind me, his son playing pretty music on the stage, and Yoko Ono dancing beside my friend Courtney from camp. Yoko was very happy to be there, smiling and dancing with her top hat and her sunglasses. She kept smiling at us three girls so after a few songs I waved a little and said hi. Yoko happily waved and said hi back. At the end of the next song I reached around Courtney and shook her hand and said 'Hi, I'm Katy.' She said hi back but before Courtney and Laura could shake her hand somebody elbowed in and took over. We stood next to her and danced and enjoyed the rest of the set. Unbelievable.

After his set, Harper Simon and Yoko pose for a photo.

After Harper's performance I had to go outside and call everyone in my family. On the way back in I hugged the bouncer. This is certainly the most exciting thing that's ever happened to me.

Yesterday Laura and I went for groceries and cleaned the apartment. On our way back from the store we saw tons of Trick or Treaters in the neighborhood. On Church Ave they had a DJ in the Verizon store and the kids were trick or treating at all the stores. It was really cool and there were so many cute kids. We walked back on Marlborough, the street across the tracks from our windows with the huge mansions. Some of the houses were decorated and the street was FULL of kids and parents. At the house directly behind ours there were tons of people in the yard. Once a group of kids gathered in the yard, a man dressed as Leatherface would come around the house with a chainsaw fired up and all the kids would scream and run. It was hilarious. We heard the chainsaw from our apartment windows for the rest of the evening, followed by the screaming and it was funny every time.

Jake came for my birthday and he got here around 7. I took him to Picket Fence and we had a nice dinner. Then we came back to the apartment and did Karaoke with Laura until the early morning.

Today is my BIRTHDAY! HOORAY! Laura went to the New York Marathon this morning but Jake and I slept in. Then I got my presents from him. He got me a shiatsu back massaging pillow with heat! AND a chocolate fondue fountain!!!!!!! WHAT? I have the best boyfriend ever. A massager and a chocolate FOUNTAIN! Laura and I just had strawberries dipped in hot melted chocolate.

We're going to try and find some decent cheese fries and wings tonight for my birthday dinner.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Suprise Art

I finished my assignment and am without work again. I spent a day and a half packing boxes with empty product boxes for Estee Lauder. It was not boring and I was happy to be at work for at least a little while.

Today I got a hair cut in Manhattan, using a special discount card we bought as a promotion from a new salon that is looking for clients. Its not fantastic but maybe it just takes getting used to. Then I used an Old Navy gift card I got from one of my parents at work to buy a new shirt for my birthday. Thanks! I also came home and cleaned the apartment and hung some pictures in my room.

I'm feeling really discouraged and am just trying to keep busy. I signed on to an employment website last night and applied for a job at NYU. Other than that I just don't know what else to do. Today I was looking through photos and saw a picture of one of the kids in my old class. Looking behind him though I could see a bulletin board I had worked really hard on and my language board and I burst into tears. Its so far away and I can't believe sometimes after those years of hard hard work and love I left it behind. It wasn't always easy to work there but I sure miss it sometimes. Feeling like I was good at something and needed and appreciated. Now I just feel useless and lame. My apartment sure is clean though.

Here's something interesting and not depressing though: I live on the Q line of the subway and I noticed something fascinating a few weeks ago. If you get on a train that is heading to Manhattan and sit on the inside side, facing so that when you cross the Manhattan Bridge the Brooklyn Bridge is behind you, and you look out the windows after you go through the DeKalb Ave station, before the bridge, there's an illuminated animated cartoon painted on the wall of the tunnel. The train passing it makes it be animated, like a flip book and it goes pretty quick so I had to remember to watch for it a few times before I saw the whole thing. Sometimes the train slows because of congestion and then you can really see it but most times its over in a flash. Anyway today I finally remembered to google it and found out its an art installation called The Masstransiscope! That's something I really love about the Subway. So many surprises like buskers doing any imaginable kind of performance or music or unexpected artwork.

I guess that's why I'm here. A change of pace and the potential for surprises in my daily life.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Off to Work; Today Only.

Yesterday morning I went into Manhattan to interview at another temping agency. It was early but pretty and the office was directly across the street from the Empire State Building. So close in fact, that you couldn't tell it was the Empire State Building. The interview went fine and afterward I called mom to ask permission to buy some flat shoes. Walking in the city, up and down stairs to the subway and crossing 6 lane streets is way too hard in heels. Maybe when I get older and cooler, but right now I just don't want to fall over or get a cramp trying to get to work. I found a store called Shoe Mania that was having a 'Buy One Get One 90% off' sale and bought a black pair and a brown pair. Much better.

I came home after that and took my laundry to Courtelyou and then cleaned the house. Nothing too exciting. Late yesterday afternoon the first temp company called with a one day job filing. I haven't heard from the place I interviewed yesterday.

I'm off into the early morning rain to my first work in New York City. Hope its just the start of a new chapter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009


Yesterday I slept late. After noon Laura went into Manhattan to meet our friend Tim from Roanoke, who was in town for a business trip.

I had to go to Manhattan too, to go to Wachovia and deposit my check from temping at Talbots last month. It was wet out but not yet raining when I left the house. Once I got to Chinatown though it was raining and the streets outside the Canal St subway stop were packed with shopping tourists. Yuck. I missed the memo because apparently Saturday is Official Walk-Four-Abreast day. Add to that Poke Your Fellow Man in the Eye with Your Umbrella Month and getting to the bank became a game of survival. I was getting cranky. I was also getting wet. I needed an umbrella and there wasn't going to be a better time to find one. The sidewalk stands sell them for over ten dollars but I fear those are too cheap to depend on and not worth my money. I looked last week at Target but they didn't have any nice ones either. I looked up TJ Maxx on my cell phone and found one on 6th Ave so I took the L train over there to find it. TJ Maxx had much more stuff than the ones at home. It also had more people and a checkout line longer than any I've ever waited in, including the DMV. There were over 15 checkout lines though so the line moved fast and I got a name brand umbrella for less than $10. Good thing because when I came out it was completely pouring.

I took the train home and soon after Laura came back from hanging out with Tim. He had a business dinner so we had our supper here and waited for him to be finished. We planned to go to Shenanigans, the bar in our neighborhood that our Irish friend Garry had recommended.

Tim got here around 11 and we walked over to Shenanigans. It was a little Irish pub in a neighborhood with not much else around. Inside the clientele was very hip and very enthusiastic about karaoke. Everyone was wearing glasses and Chuck Taylors and they all seemed to be friends. It was a great atmosphere and very low key. Garry bought us a round and a little while later a friend of Tim's met us there with her two roommates. She lives in our area and works at Picket Fence! We stayed at the bar until late watching karaoke. They gave us some Brooklyn pointers and we told them about the wonder that is Sheetz. It was a cultural exchange.

Here's our friend Garry with his Halloween teeth.

Today we slept late and when we got up decided to go out to Coney Island to see if the Wonder Wheel was running today. It was a beautiful day but when we got there there weren't even cars on the Wonder Wheel. Guess its closed down for the season. We got food at Nathan's Famous and then went to the Coney Island Museum, which only costs a dollar. After that we went for a walk on the boardwalk before coming home.

Now we are having tea and watching 60 Minutes in our cozy living room. Tomorrow Laura starts working a temp job at the Showtime Network and I have an appointment at the temp agency that got her that job. Hope I get one too!

To see more pictures of our weekend feel free to go to my Kodak Gallery. The link is in the upper right hand corner of my blog page.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Infinity-Day Weekend

Yesterday I spent all day submitting my resume online. The weather outside looked beautiful but my eyes were swimming from online job postings. I signed on to new temping agencies too but didn't hear back from any. Laura had a bit more success. She went to the first temp agency I had signed on for and filled out her paperwork. While she was there one of the other temping agencies we'd both submitted to that morning called and she met with them and signed on there too. Through some error they lost my information and didn't call me back at all. They got her a job this morning. She starts on Monday.

Last night we went to Jim Brady's pub around Wall Street to see my old camp friend Thom Miller play an acoustic set. It was so fun to see Thom again and meet his friends. We also met a couple new people from Brooklyn, including an Irishman named Garry who gave us the scoop on bars in Brooklyn that charge a little less for their draughts than the pub we were in. We closed down the bar and then headed back to Brooklyn, stopping at an Indian diner where Laura's friend Katie got a delicious sandwich. We came home, Laura and I had hot dogs and we watched Cash Cab before going to bed.

The weather is so dreary today and I don't have a job yet, nor have I heard from anyone that I've tried. I will go do my paperwork for the new temp agency Monday morning and hopefully they'll give me a job as quickly as they did Laura. This morning I made french toast with the old bread we had and made Laura a birthday cake. Once I've washed all the dishes, cleaned the kitchen and had my shower, my to do list will be all done until Monday. Hope we find some fun this weekend. I can't wait to have some visitors. Jake will be here next week for my birthday so that's something to look forward to.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Subway's No Way for a Good Man to Go Down...

Man do I ever feel discouraged. I just had to transfer half of my already completely piddly savings into my checking account to cover a check I wrote for groceries to Laura. I haven't heard back from a single one of the places where I've applied or interviewed. Today around 12:20 the temp agency actually called with four days of work but I had left my phone in my room with the door closed and when I got the message and returned the call ten minutes later the position had been filled. I don't know what kind of job I even want anymore. Something fulfilling and interesting that pays whatever, or whatever just to pay the bills? Doesn't really matter at this time; I guess I have to take whatever comes. Beggars can't be choosers and I am definitely feeling like a beggar. Clearly I'm just not doing enough.

Laura and I decided to get out of the house again today and went into Manhattan to see some sights. We went to Rockefeller Center, saw the lights of Broadway, had New York style pizza slices, visited the Dakota and walked through Central Park and then FAO Schwarz. It was really lovely to see some New York-y things. Can't wait until I have the cash to buy the floaty pens I see around. I also saw a lot of things I'd love to give as gifts if I ever can.

Tomorrow I'm going to get up early and redouble my efforts. Better to have a plan than feel sorry for myself I guess.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pretty Fall Days in Brooklyn

Guess who's still unemployed! This girl! Haven't yet heard from Talbots but I sent my resume yesterday to a job posting for a general admin job and today I sent my resume and a cover letter to a really cool non-profit. Its an outreach program in Harlem that gets kids involved through baseball! I would really love to hear from them. Its a really exciting program and I'm sure I would really like the work and the environment. Also, benefits!

Sunday night Laura and I met her Peace Corps friends Molly, Mollie and Steph. We went to Union Square, near the NYU campus where the Mollies go to grad school. We got margaritas at Happy Hour price which was great until I dumped a whole one into my lap. Not fun and I had to sit in cold margarita-jeans for the rest of the night. Next we went to a really nice brewery called Heartland Brewery. They had Smiling Pumpkin Ale with a crazy faced man on the logo and other cool specialties. I got Berry Champagne Ale which was delicious and came in a pretty glass with fishnet stockinged legs all around it. We wished we could keep the glasses, although lord knows Laura and I need glasses the least at this time.

Yesterday was not too productive. I sent my resume to that one admin job and did some cleaning and dishes. Laura and I packed up our laundry in the rolly cart and headed to Courtelyou to try the other laundromat. It was much smaller than Mr Wash but more of the machines were working and there was at least one seat. Lots of interesting people watching too. We came back and had some vegetable stir fry over pasta and then watched some TV and went to bed.

Today we hung out a bit at the house. I applied for that job and then we walked up to the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library. We decided to walk up the street a couple blocks over that backs up to the train tracks on the other side. We had noticed that one of the houses we can see from our windows has chickens in the back yard and we wondered what kind of neighborhood it was. Wowee. Every house on the street was a gorgeous Victorian mansion. So beautiful. We figured out that the one with chickens is one that looks a lot like Tara from Gone With the Wind from the front. Nice. It was beautiful weather and we had a nice walk up the park to get to the library. We got our library cards, picked out a few books each and then got on the subway to go and find Target!

It was nice to see familiar retail, silly as it sounds. We got some necessities for the apartment and then headed back here. We got off the train at another station and walked 13 blocks back to our street just to get a new look at part of the neighborhood. We saw a giant Sears store so now I know where one is, and a lot of duplexes. Some parts of it really reminded me of DC.

Now we are having some wine and we just tried out some Milli Vanilli dance moves. Next is Trivial Pursuit, making it a perfect Laura and Katy evening at home. This is what I'd always imagined we'd do.

Have I mentioned how much I'd like to get that non-profit job about kids and baseball?

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Groceries and Karaoke

Winter seems to have come without waiting for fall and its cold, damp and windy here in Brooklyn. Luckily I have plenty of coats and scarves and our apartment heat is highly effective at all times. Friday night Laura DeWitt and I went to see Mika at the United Palace Theatre in Washington Heights, way up in the top part of Manhattan. The show was so much fun, Mika is such an entertainer. I had a lot of fun and the crowd was a blast to sing along with and to watch. There are a few pictures on my Kodak site.

Yesterday I came home after having a delicious breakfast of delivered French Toast and watching home improvement shows with Laura. When I got back I had a shower, cleaned up the apartment one last time before Laura and her parents arrived back and relaxed with my tv. Laura and her mom and dad got in around 6 and we carried some things she'd brought back from home. After some unpacking, and setting up our new wireless router and coat rack we went over to Picket Fence for supper. Picket Fence is quickly becoming my favorite restaurant in the area. Besides sweet potato fries, one of my new favorite foods, they have the most delicious macaroni and cheese I've ever had, and fantastic fried chicken. Laura and her mom got salmon BLTs and Laura's dad got chicken pot pie. Yum! Also Picket Fence delivers to our door and we can order online. We came back to the apartment and introduced mom and dad to Catchphrase, had some Brooklyn Lagers and some box wine and went to bed.

Today Laura's mom and dad left in the morning. Laura and I initially decided to take our laundry out and go to a farmers market and the grocery store, but when we saw that it was raining, we axed the laundromat. We decided to go on a weekday when maybe it is less crowded anyway. There's a year round farmers market by our branch of the library on Courtelyou so we hit that up first. We took our little old lady rolly cart and bought apples, garlic, eggs and lots and lots of vegetables. Then we went to the Met for our groceries and came back to the apartment with a full rolly cart and several bags besides. Now we have full full pantries and lots of delicious local produce and we are trying out the new karaoke system Laura got for her birthday. Too bad my blog doesn't have audio, you're missing Laura killing with a rendition of Piano Man. I'm so happy she's back.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The V train is not only unreliable, its also really bootleg.

Today I had my first job interviews at Talbots. First though I had to go to the post office and pick up a package there. I walked in the freezing rain to the Post Office on Church St and had to wait in line outside fifteen minutes for the doors to open. Once inside I learned why some postal employees might lose their mind working there. At home the mail man is just another friendly face in town. There isn't usually a line and there's not a lot of fuss either. The postal workers in Brooklyn are behind inch thick bullet proof glass. Once the line got to come inside we got into one of those ropey amusement park corral type lines and waited for the little light and doorbell sound to let us know it was our turn. I was fifth or sixth in line and the lady who was third went to one of the windows and proceeded to cause trouble. Whatever she wanted to do the postal worker wasn't going to let her do it her way so she got on her cell phone and loudly bitched for probably 20 minutes about the poor lady and the entire US Postal Service. Anytime the postal lady tried to stand up for herself and let the woman know that she was doing things the easiest way available to her the woman on the phone would loudly tell her to step off because she was having a private phone conversation. Real nice. Thanks for making everybody's morning a little more pleasant.

I finally got up to my window and picked up my brand new rolling old lady cart from mom!! Thanks so much! Now we can transport our laundry and groceries around the neighborhood a little more easily. Mom also included a really ugly but totally useful plaid old lady cart liner! We're gonna look awesome and our panties won't fall out on the way back from the laundromat or get wet if its raining. Hooray!

After that I came back here and got ready for the interview. I was showered, dressed and made up with plenty of time to leave the apartment with an hour and a half leeway to get to Madison Avenue. I caught the train from here to Herald Square, which I must say is the subway station with the best buskers I've seen. This morning I was treated to a fat Asian man singing Ave Maria on the main floor and a happy man playing steel drums down on my platform. I waited there for the V train.

And I waited.

And I waited.

Six F trains passed by but not a single V train. I was getting really antsy and soon 11:30 turned to 12 and 12 turned to 12:30. I checked the map and the platform signs several times and knew I had to take the V train to get to the 5th Avenue station. When the seventh F train came at 12:45 I was panicking a bit. I ran up to the street and hailed my very first taxi. I'm so glad I had grabbed cash on my way out the door. From the taxi I called Talbots and let them know I was going to be late. I can't believe I was late to a job interview. I'm never late, especially to work, and especially to an interview. I had waited to long for the stupid V train that never came and now it was already 1. I decided to stay calm and if anything it was a sort of sign that it just might not be meant to be. My taxi driver kindly raced me through the streets dodging between cars and other taxis just as you'd expect from a down to the wire New York taxi scene. I got there at 1:06.

The interview went fine I guess. This is the flagship store and its six floors high. I would be expected to work weekends and the pay isn't ideal. I did ok on my interview questions and got leveled up to a second interview there and then. That went about the same and they said they'd call me in about a week for a third interview or send me a regrets letter. We'll see I guess. I'm not on fire about it at this point. The clothes are really nice and the hours are ok too, except for the weekend part.

Tonight though, I'm going to my first New York rock show. Laura DeWitt is taking me to see MIKA who sings Grace Kelly. It should be really fun and I'm excited. Laura comes home tomorrow! Then I'll have a roommate again and I'll think about what to do about a job later.

Finally, another sign that I live here: got our first gas bill today! And the lease. Besides the obvious, this means I can get a library card!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

Nothing too exciting really today. I woke up and called about the job at Talbots but was told to call back after noon when Tammy, my manager friend would be in. I decided to go into Manhattan and buy Laura's birthday present so it would be here when she comes home on Saturday. Her Birthday is tomorrow! When I got back I had a small lunch and finally talked to Tammy who set me up with the Talbots on Madison Avenue. I put on my job gettin' outfit once again and headed there to fill out an application. I should hear back in the next couple of days about an interview so hopefully that will go well.

Its very quiet in my apartment and I'm dying for a great big hamburger and some company. I better save my last bits of cash until some money comes in so I will have some beans instead. It looks like I might get to go to my first NYC rock and roll show on Friday night! Laura DeWitt is taking me to see MIKA who is one of her favorite artists. Should be really exciting and hopefully by then we'll be celebrating my employment!!

Oh a couple very small cool things happened today. To be prepared for going into Talbots today I ironed a shirt but when I plugged in my iron it completely fell apart. I had met the lady next door in the hall last week and she had told me to come over if I needed anything so I rang her bell and borrowed her iron. I don't know why but it tickled me to borrow an iron from my neighbor, because you see, I live here. Her name is Millie and she is very nice and two doors down on the right is Sondra who has a walker. They told me that everyone on our floor except us and the other next door apartment have been here for close to 20 years. That explains why its so quiet.

The second thing is that on the Subway platform at Courtelyou Rd I ran into one of the mom's from the coffee shop that I had given my card to last week. We smiled and said hi. Its starting to feel a lot more familiar around here.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back in Brooklyn

I got back to my apartment after 2am last night so I'm really wiped out today. The camp reunion was a lot of fun, although at times I was an emotional wreck. Not having a job to come back to and with my roommate out of town I just couldn't imagine leaving Virginia, family, friends and Jake to come back here alone. It was rough but everyone at the reunion was so super encouraging. I was so tired after coming home on the bus last night I actually fell asleep with the keys still in the apartment door. Not good! This morning the cable man came and set up cable and internet for me so I've been in my pajamas all day trying to recover and get this foggy feeling out of my head and chest. I guess all the fun of the weekend is really catching up on me.

Pastor Kenn Nilsen, my friend Sarah's dad and my former boss at camp recommended I try to find a year-round job at a Lutheran camp up here in NY. I got really inspired thinking about it and sent them an e mail this morning. I also decided to go ahead and start working at Talbots, the place where I temped the week before I moved, until something that is a good fit for me comes along. That will be a paycheck for rent day and I can build up a business wardrobe. I had my sister call one of the managers I worked with and am waiting to hear back. I told her I could start tomorrow so that would be really terrific! Retail isn't my favorite but neither is unemployment.

I added two new albums to my Kodak website: One of the apartment hunting/moving process and one of the fantastic camp reunion. The link is on the right side of this blog.

Thanks to everyone who put up with my tears and anxiety this weekend. You were all right, I'm fine. I appreciate everybody's faith in me.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Keeping At It

Courtelyou Rd, where Vox Pop, the grocery store, library branch, and the laundromat are.
E 17th St, about a block down from our house. These houses are huge!

Tuesday evening I met up with a very old friend: Courtney from way back in my music camp days. She hasn't changed a bit. We went for dinner and beers at a little bistro called Picket Fence on Courtelyou Rd, the same street where my coffee shop is. The food was Delicious and not too expensive and they deliver so once I am making delicious food money I will probably get food from there a lot. I had a hamburger and sweet potato fries and tried a Brooklyn Lager, Gee's favorite beer in America! All were terrific.

Yesterday I woke up and got ready for work, and called the temp agency. No dice. I went back over to Vox Pop and started trying to think outside the box. I researched portrait studios and applied on the online generic form for Sears Portrait Studios. Not sure where there are any Sears here so that might be a dead end. Other portrait studios seemed to be singular artists, not the kind of place that will let me take Christmas card pics for families. I also checked Craigslist for ads about babysitting and nannying. There were many more Nannies than Nanny wanted ads. Then I looked at local independent bookstores. I emailed a couple and then saw a website for Strand Books. It looked amazing, downtown on Broadway and right off of the Q train that runs by my house. The employment section of the website said they had regular job openings and to come in and apply. I walked back to my apartment, put on my job-gettin clothes and went to check it out. I thought I was so clever and that when I got there they'd be so happy to have an applicant. "Oh there you are!" they'd say with open arms as they rushed to submit my direct deposit form and w2. Sadly, when I got there and smiled winningly at the clerk and told him I was there to apply he directed me to the 3rd floor where they have an application station. Apparently a lot of people apply to work there. The application went really well until the end where they had a literary match test. Matching ten authors with books they had written. Unfortunately the books listed weren't the authors most famous works and I bombed it. I DO read!! Ugh. I put my pretty little application on a big fat stack of other applications and headed home. I'd really like to work at that bookstore, friends. I looks like a cool work environment where I could do a good job at something I care about. They said if you application is accepted you'll hear in about a week so keep fingers crossed. Then I came home to charge my cell phone, called the temp company again and ventured out to do laundry at the laundromat.

I need one of those urban wheely carts you see sometimes. Lots of people here have them to get their things back and forth from the laundromat or grocery store. I had to carry my basket the two blocks to Courtelyou. I went to Mr. Soapy where there are no chairs and lots of broken-down machines. It was not a lot of fun.

This morning I got up for work again and again got a 'I'll call you if' from my temp counselor. So here I am back at Vox Pop. I just gave my card to two young mothers who were chatting about babysitters though. I was nervous and felt like a creep interrupting their conversation but it can't hurt to get my name out there. I have references and experience and I'd much rather find babysitting work by word of mouth than Craigslist. After being so brave and forward I treated myself to a bagel with cream cheese.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Since when is the idea of a new wardrobe upsetting?

I survived 24 hours alone in New York friends! Wow. I went home via the Met grocery. I picked up the Katy necessities: Triscuits and cream cheese, cereal and milk, ice cream and cookies. When I got home I unpacked the groceries and then unpacked several boxes and really neatened up my room! It looks great now. Laura DeWitt came over for dinner and we had Italian delivery and I got some leftovers to have. We caught up and she spent a lot of time admiring our gorgeous apartment. After she left I did a couple chores (note to mom: Yes, I ironed a shirt. Don't pass out!) and then settled down to watch Hancock and half of The Golden Compass. Thank goodness for NetFlix. I changed my shipping address and put Hancock in the mail so I hope I can get a next one really soon. A nice thing was all the people who called me yesterday afternoon and evening. Thank you! I love you! It made me feel much less lonely.

Today I got up and put on my business clothes and took my laptop in my briefcase downtown to see the counselor at the temp company. I met Laura DeWitt at her work to get printed copies of my resume along the way. THANKS LAURA! It went pretty well. I managed the Subway just fine and found the building too. The temp visit went pretty well. I apparently did excellent on my computer skills tests and she said I wouldn't have any problem but I'd need a more corporate wardrobe. Yikes! I was wearing my dressiest interview clothes. It was black slacks, black pumps and a Burgundy buttoned blouse, tucked in. I don't have any suits that fit and only one or two skirts of inappropriate length. And I'm BROKE! I sure hope Laura has something in her closet. Not even sure what is more corporate than slacks. She didn't have anything for me today but she asked me to call her back this afternoon. For now I'm relaxing at Vox Pop with a great big mocha.

Monday, October 5, 2009

My silent apartment.

Gosh I'm nervous. This morning Jake, Laura and Katie got in a car at 7am and drove away from me. I'm all alone in the big city!! I won't lie. I definitely cried and called my mom. Happily I found a coffee shop with internet where I am sitting right now! Its real funky, called VoxPop and the clerk gave me my coffee for an IOU because I didn't meet the card minimum. They're playing reggae and on one wall it says Viva La Revolucion. I have so far ordered cable and internet ($91 per month! Yikes!!) gotten the address of Wachovia so I can deposit a check (financial district: Manhattan. Not close by at all!) and written three blogs!!! Are you all so relieved to hear from me? I'm happy to have found some friendly faces and some blessed internet. Next I'm going to take my temp agency tests, grab some groceries on my way back to the apartment, find my Passport or Social Security card, and shower. Maybe I can make it to Wachovia and the temp agency all today! I hope I can get home before dark but if I do what will I do there? No internet, tv or even an iPod! Somebody come and visit quick!

Coney Island Baby

Don't we look amazing in these pictures?

Saturday morning we got up late and began unpacking some boxes in our pajamas. Jake and I set up my bed and dresser and hung some curtains and my room began to look just like home to me. Outside our windows is the Q train to Coney Island. It makes me happy to see all those trains bound for Coney Island going by. After a few hours of unpacking we decided to take that train and go have hot dogs on Coney Island. We got off the train at Brighton Beach which was a really cool ethnic neighborhood called 'Little Russia by the Sea' on signs. We walked from there to Coney and it began to rain.

I was so very excited to see the Wonder Wheel and can't wait to ride it though! We went to Nathan's World Famous Hot Dog Stand and all had delicious, if a bit expensive, lunches. Not long after that the day before caught up with us and we all needed naps. We took some trains back to our neighborhood and got some rest. Laura and Katie went out with their friends The Mollies from Peace Corps, and Jake and I ordered Chinese and watching Finding Neverland on my computer.


Thursday evening Laura arrived in the evening and with help from Cyndi, Kris and our parents we managed to load almost every little thing into the U-Haul. It was packed tightly with a love seat, a chair and a half, two beds, two mattresses and box springs, my dresser, shelves, lamps, crates boxes and loose clothing in the dresser drawers. It took us probably an hour to load but we were proud of the neat and efficient job we did. Then we met all went to Melting Pot and met Amy and Jason for some goodbye pizza, wings and beer.

Friday morning we all got up as early as we could. We boarded Jake's dog and Laura's friend Katie met us and we hit the road. Laura and Katie took Laura's parents Buick and Jake and I were in the U-Haul. It was a long cloudy drive to NY. Everything went pretty boring at first. Jake and I played 20 questions and Catchphrase and talked. Laura and Katie had gotten a head start on us while we were taking Oren to the kennel so they were about an hour ahead.

We had gotten our directions from Google Maps and Laura and Katie arrived at our new place and called back to us on the NJ Turnpike to clarify some points with us. We pulled into the toll line at the Holland Tunnel and were so close to arriving around 3 at our apartment giving us plenty of daylight to unpack and return the truck. What a good moving day we were going to have. When we got up to the window though the toll taker told us that trucks were not allowed in the Holland Tunnel and we would have to pull forward to the waiting police officers for further instructions. Oh no! We pulled up and the police asked us to open the truck!! Yikes. When opened the only thing visible was mattresses. He asked what else was in the truck and I told him housewares and that we were moving and thankfully he let us go without actually searching it. This is great news and was helped, I think, by my girly behavior when opening the door latch on the back of the truck.

The officer told us we would have to redirect to the Lincoln Tunnel and made it seem to us as though it would be simple and evident when we got there how to get to Brooklyn. He also made it seem like the tunnel was very close by. We followed his directions to get to the tunnel. We trucked along a bit and I got out the handy dandy road atlas mom had stuffed into the truck cab that morning. Of course we missed the tunnel the first time by and ended up way out in NJ, but we got to see the Meadowlands! We stopped at a service station for directions, turned around and finally found the tunnel. We could feel that we were really close to getting there now!

When we finally got through the mayhem at the tunnel we found ourselves in MIDTOWN MANHATTAN. Also there were no signs for the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel or any other thing related to Brooklyn. At all. And we were in a U-Haul! Yikes! I used the map to get us from the tunnel to the other side of Manhattan. The streets were gridded and things were pretty simple so far. Well not simple, we were driving a box truck in midtown Manhattan after all. Now we needed to find a bridge to Brooklyn. I found the Williamsburg bridge on the map and managed to direct Jake there but when we found it we were beneath it. We turned back toward Lower East Side Manhattan and snaked through one ways to get to where the bridge began. We followed signs all the way up to a nice jersey-walled dead end. So we backtracked, backtracked, lefted and righted until we got on the bridge. The bridge led us to the Brooklyn/Queens expressway at rush hour. Awesome. THEN there was a break in the Jersey walls where you had to cut across to go to Brooklyn or stay in the lane we were in to go to Queens. We couldn't possibly make that cut in the U-Haul so I told Jake, its ok, we'll find a way off this freeway and turn back once we were in Queens. That opportunity didn't come to us until we had already hit the Bronx. We got off in the Bronx and then I learned that a general road atlas will not help you find surface streets to get you to your apartment in Brooklyn. I called Laura pretty frantic and she guided me through Queens into Brooklyn.

Now we just had to take one road to a stop light and turn left into our neighborhood. Hallelujah! We could just TELL we were going to be there really soon! We followed the road and just like Laura had told us it led almost right up to our neighborhood but just before we got to where we could turn a car pulled up beside us and shouted that we couldn't go that way. No commercial vehicles and we would definitely get a ticket.

Before I go on I should tell you about the mood inside the cab of the truck. I have a terrific boyfriend and I love him so and he loves me too. However, we came very close to killing each other on Friday. Everything was funny when we couldn't go through the tunnel. It was cool when I accidentally directed us to the Meadowlands. Things were tense through Midtown and nobody was happy around the Williamsburg Bridge but by the time we got on the expressway to the Bronx I was crying and I definitely screamed 'JUST GET OFF THIS FREEWAY' in the kind of tone people usually reserve for phrases like 'SOMEBODY SAVE MY BABY' or 'YOUR HAIR IS ON FIRE!'. So by the time this man shouted up to us that we, once again, would not be able to follow the directions we had to get to the apartment I was just plain desperate. I told him we needed to get to Beverly St and when he told me we'd have to take a service road I shouted down ' Can you LEAD us to Beverly St????'

And he did. He lead us off onto the service road and almost all the way to my street. He got out at every couple lights to come back to the truck and tell us where he was going next and he wouldn't take any cash from us. What an angel.

When we finally got to our building it was dark and Laura and Katie had been there hours, unpacked her whole car and eaten supper. We double parked the U-Haul and unloaded it into the lobby. Laura and I decided to return the U-Haul so that Jake could have a break and so that Laura could use the maps and her superior knowledge of the area to save me from feeling lost anymore that day. So after all that I actually DROVE the U-Haul in New York City myself. Something I never thought I'd do. When we got back to the apartment we were all exhausted. We had some beers and champagne and chatted and played Catchphrase. Then we went to bed for our first night in our new home.