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!