Tuesday, December 23, 2008

So This is Christmas

And so Happy Christmas 
For Black and for White
For Yellow and Red ones
Let's stop all the fight.

I know I haven't posted in a while, but that will change this Spring when this becomes my London travel blog. But hearing this festive song in the car today inspired me to comment on the close of what has shaped up to be a truly momentous 2008. It seems John Lennon was ahead of his time. 

To recap, we have a new president, a financial crisis, the biggest Real Estate ponzi in history, a week-long hostage crisis in Dubai, bribery by an Illinois state governor to fill the president-elect's seat (then his refusal to step down), a bailout for Wall Street and no bailout for auto makers... and that only sums up the fourth quarter.

I'm pretty sure there has not been a slow news day in months. For the first time in a long time, we Americans are eager to read the day's news to be aware of what is going on in the world. Is it simply because there is so much going on? Is it because we have optimistic hopes for the future when the new administration (officially) rushes in? Or is America only concerned with news now that it affects us personally on a daily basis?... Namely, our pockets. 

I don't have any answers... just something to think about.

Moving on, I do have a few New Year's resolutions...

1. Pack my life (for 5 months) into two suitcases for my move to London
2. Somehow balance work / school well enough to still have a life while in London
3. Do as the locals do... not as the tourists do.
4. TRAVEL. Enough said.
5. Get an apartment in NYC while living in London... somehow... right.

So these are my normal New Year's resolutions... the type you would expect to hear from someone. The answers that are easy to regurgitate when someone asks you what your resolutions are for the next year. 

This sounds corny and lame (because it is), but each year I try to set a personal goal for myself, too. Something that only I could possibly judge the success of.  In past years, my goals have been to communicate better, be more open with the people I care about, and to take ownership of my life by deciding what I really value. This year... I can't figure out what my personal goal is. But I WILL figure it out... there's always some goal to strive for as long as I am not perfect =) Even though it is lame and corny, I challenge everyone to think about it!

On that note, this meager posting will probably be my last before the holidays, so wishing you a week of great times with family, hearty food, and plentiful drinks. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Glass Ceilings and Glass Walls

So we have officially broken through a glass ceiling, right? I know I'm a couple of weeks late on this but... yay! President-elect Obama! And I was lucky enough to be in perhaps the most Obama-happy city on celebration night. Believe it or not, there was more energy in Union Square on election night than when the G-men won the superbowl this past year. 

My question is... what's the catch? There must be something wrong with this perfect man (other than his obvious lack of being white, which is SO last century). He's attractive, articulate, brilliant, and seems to really have a pulse on what most of America wants for the country. So is he the next Kennedy? He even has the most gorgeously perfect and well-behaved young family... just like Mr. John F. Kennedy himself (though Michelle Obama will not be sporting the next Givenche any time soon). 

So if Obama is the next Kennedy, then that means we will all love him despite his many shortcomings. Bay of Pigs / Marilyn Monroe anyone? Everyone loved to worship the Kennedys, but in a sort of childhood dollhouse way. 

We love the Obamas, but I do not think we should dub him the second coming of the Messiah until he actually begins to fix things. So far he has done a lot of talking... criticizing this, saying he wants to fix that. But with every criticism, every weekly podcast urging support for his great ideas... the pressure continues to mount. and mount. and mount.

So I guess the real question is, how great does Obama have to be to meet everyone's expectations? At this point, to be considered good, doesn't he have to be really, really great? Given this handicap, I guess we've got another glass ceiling on our hands.

So as for the glass walls... well, I just walked into one in the library. Not my proudest moment, I know. But it's all part of my charm... 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Bette Midler knows how to rock.

We expect the unexpected on Halloween in NYC, right (especially if you attend the Christopher Street parade)! - But we all know it will probably involve cross-dressing, nudity, drunkenness, and cops... whether real or just in costume (like the creepy old man who hit on me last night). Well, I at least hope he was not a real cop. 

But I don't think anyone ever expects Bette Midler, stain removal kits, organic cookbooks, and the Waldorf=Astoria. This is what happens when you have friends in high places (interning at Walt Disney, that is). 

So as it turns out, Bette Midler knows how to rock. And I hear Gloria Estefan is not too shabby either. After the ritzy Halloween dinner party for the super VIPs (they forgot to put my name on the list), we had free passes to a chic after party in the grand ballroom at the Waldorf. Lots of costumes... but maybe a few too many Hank Paulsons. Open bar all night, live DJ and gambling. 

An overall great night with great friends, free booze, and fun costumes. And the gift bag? A stain removal kit and an organic cookbook: Come to the Table: The Slow Food Way of Living. 

... because it's normal to hand out cookbooks on Halloween. Not bad, Bette, not bad. 

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Stormy weather = boring Saturday nights.

So my would-be fabulous excursion to the meatpacking district tonight - where I would actually get the chance to skip the line and go right into Highline (I'm not the VIP - my friend is) is... cancelled. I thought she was exaggerating about the storm. Then I almost fell over trying to run next door to the deli.

My boring night will now result in a new list. Aren't you lucky. 

10 Random Things I Hate... in no particular order.

1. Kathy Griffin's bangs. As if she isn't ugly enough without them.  

2. Salads that come with olives that are not de-pitted. Are they trying to tell us not to eat them or to play with our food to take the pits out? 

2. Subway "dead zones." Trying to get from FIT to NYU? Better put on your walking shoes (or your cab-hailing shoes). 
... I hear the Verizon network gets rid of dead zones. They should contact the MTA. 

3. 24-hour delis that close whenever they think it won't be busy. They can't call themselves 24-hour delis. They are pick-and-choose-hour delis. 

4. Feeling so rushed while you're paying for something that you feel guilty for taking the time to put your change away. Is it really that inappropriate if you stand at the counter for three seconds?!

5. Larry King's shoulders. I can hear them screaming "please feed my country." 

6. Italian restaurants that don't bring you bread. And Mexican restaurants that don't bring chips and salsa. We all know that's the real reason we go there anyway.

7. Running out of gum. It always happens after you ate that piece of garlic bread or the sour cream and onion chips. 

8. Ordering a drink at a bar with the thought that it must be cheap since the bar is such a dive. Then being told "That's $16." I hope I'm not the only one whose next thought is... "oh, can i just give this back?"

9. That guy who keeps looking at you but is not cute... and then you just happen to look in his direction accidentally a few times and it seems like you're looking back at him. Those times when you want to walk over to him and say "Hey, man, I'm not actually looking at you b/c I think you're cute. I just keep forgetting you exist and then I notice someone looking at me so I look up. And it's you... again." 

10.  Pedicure-ists who look up at you and giggle if you have not shaved your legs within the past... i don't know... hour. Do they really think we should go out of our way to shave right before we go to the nail salon? Sorry, lady - you're not my type. 

So that's all my venting for now. Feel free to add some more obnoxious things we all probably hate. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The pre-marathon Running Crunch

So today is October 12... which means there are 27 days until the day I am so excited for / dreading is here. Marathon day. November 9. I was supposed to run the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC later this month, but when my marine friend was injured, I decided to run a much smaller venue in Harrisburg, PA. 

According to the website (credible source?), it seems like an intimate setting, small (800 people), lots of foliage, and very mom-and-pop-esque. I was becoming increasingly more nervous about running the HUGE Marine Corps marathon, filled with military men and intense runners, so the thought of running this smaller one has definitely made me less anxious. 

I don't know whether I feel relieved and comforted or even more anxious now that my parents and sister have decided to accompany me. I guess it is much easier than finding my own way down there and my own hotel room, but what if I don't make it to the finish line?! They will have trekked all the way down there to see me fail. I have been training - but in all honesty, what do I know about training for a marathon? My training regimen is as follows: Run. Run a lot. 

Today I ran about 18 miles. That is definitely a decent amount, and I felt pretty good post-run, so I take that to mean I could have gone a few miles further. I just hope I could have run at least 6 miles further. But I don't know what the protocol is for these long runs... should I stuff myself beforehand? Should I stuff myself afterward? I opted for cereal and oatmeal before, omelet and fries after. 

Most people eat "goo" during the race - neon green globs of carbs with peanut butter consistency and drink lots of water. I have never done either. I just run. Would these tricks help me out or should I keep to my routine? They say not to switch anything up for the big race.... but what if I am putting myself at a disadvantage?!

So many questions. So many worries. Apologies if this post is excruciatingly boring, but this is always in the back of my mind and it's time I start getting answers! Any suggestions, by all means let me know. 

Friday, October 3, 2008

All the World's a Stage

I've been reading a lot of Shakespeare lately, and I think any Shakespeare fans out there will agree that no matter how absurd, unrealistic, historically inaccurate, and overdramatic Shakespearean plays can be, they really are timeless because we can completely relate to the relationships between the characters. 

There is awkwardness, love, rejection, absurdity, and an infinite amount of emotions... all of which we experience (whether we admit to it or not) in our romantic experiences (mishaps). But one thing that is persistent in Shakespeare (or what I've read at least), is the phoniness and superficiality of love. People fall in and out of love over and over again... and usually all in one day! 

So it's got me thinking, can we all just love anyone?

As I'm writing, I'm sitting in one of my favorite coffeehouses... it's called B Cup Cafe in the East Village. There are only a few people here, but each one of them looks perfectly... lovable. Everyone has their own story and history, their own tastes and preferences, they all have jobs (or auditions for those starving actors) and they are sitting in a coffeehouse, wondering and people-watching just like me. 

I guess my point is, I think most people are good people. It may take a little while to figure out where that goodness is within someone, but if it's not obvious... there is usually a reason for it. Tough childhood? Trust issues and emotional baggage? Whatever the reason, if we take the time to figure it out, suddenly that human connection that comes from really understanding someone may start to take hold. And it really is all about that understanding, after all, right? 

Shakespeare makes me wonder... could we all grow to love any one of the people we interact with on a daily basis? Maybe we aren't all meant to be with one person, but rather we choose people we could be with... and because people are good and people want connection and intimacy with other people... we grow to love some person so much that they become our one person.

Wouldn't that explain the high divorce rate? I doubt that the world we live in today is cursed with the inability to find "soul mates." Maybe our grandparents and their grandparents were just taught to be more tolerant, accepting, and appreciative of their spouses. 

They are still in love after decades and decades of marriage because they still pay attention to the person they are with and continue growing to love them... whoever they are. 

Here's my concluding thought: Maybe if you "stop to smell the roses" of any person (within reason, of course), it is easy to become infatuated with their idiosyncrasies, thoughts, and the general world that they live in to the point of love. And if it's mutual? Well then my friends, you just may have yourself a love saga destined for the silver screen. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Dear MTA - We are no longer friends.

If you're anything like me, it's not stepping off of the sidewalk and hailing a cab that gives you that "I am such a New Yorker" feeling. It's being able to casually tell your friend "Oh, where are we going? Oh, easy. I can just take the -- and transfer to the -- at -- and it's right there." 

When I take the subway it's like "Take that New York! I can navigate you for $2!" It's like being one step ahead of the game, like a true New Yorker.

Well, New York MTA. You've officially kicked my ass. Congratulations. You win. 

As some of you may know, I live in the Financial District, or as people cooler than me call it - Fi-Di. Despite its rep as the financial center of the city - and, dare I say, the world - it is only accessible from ONE subway station. 

And for the past THREE weekends the 4, 5 has not been running. Since I'm a newbie to the area, I learned this the hard way, as my fabulous friend Andy can attest to (when I arrived at his apartment in tears). 

 The worst part is... I was in my this-will-look-super-cute-at-the-trendy-bar outfit... which is never the this-won't-look-skanky-on-the-subway outfit. SO, after walking 5 blocks to the subway, then another two blocks underground, I, along with a dozen European tourists, tried to make sense of the hand-written "service changes" note inconspicuously taped to the wall, with an arrow pointing to the J. The note conveniently forgot to mention that you first have to take the A to Chambers to catch the J. Three trips around the station - in my new black pumps, which are apparently too big - and I finally hopped on the A to 42nd, then took the N to 23rd and had to walk over 3 avenues just to find my friend in Gramercy. Estimated trip time? 80 minutes.

After sweating it out on the subway and dodging the creepy looks, all the while trying to walk in my big shoes without looking like I was already drunk at 9 p.m., I finally made it. But my love affair with the Subway is over. I gladly took a $15 cab home, as if I were... I cringe at the thought... a tourist.

But at least I maintained some semblance of New York knowledge by yelling at the driver when he tried to take Bowery instead of FDR drive =)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Why love New Yawk?

I often wonder, what is it about this city that keeps us coming back for more? Why is the New Yorker - the fearless, trendy, subway-riding, taxi-hailing, overzealous city slicker - afraid of what lurks beyond the boroughs? We prefer our over-priced, undersized one bedroom apartments to backyards, picket fences, and the deed to a house. We devote our lives to maintaining a suitable living environment given less than ideal living conditions...

So why do we call these bustling streets home? (This question is not rhetorical). I think I'll make a list. (Add to my list!) 

And continue it indefinitely, since there will always be another reason to love this city... 

OH, by the way, read this article from the Smithsonian Magazine for some always welcomed New York pride: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/travel/mytown-newyork.html

  1. There is nothing that cannot be found here: Horseback riding in the Bronx, Ethiopian food on Macdougal St. & weekend barbecues on the FDR Drive (If you're sneaky, sometimes you can snag a hot dog)
  2. Breaking the mold = fitting in
  3. The New York Marathon (which I will hopefully run one day...)
  4. Need a vacation? Little Italy!
  5. Poetry slams on the Lower East Side
  6. Every blink of the eye in the West Village is like flipping pages of a J. Crew magazine
  7. Political protests in Union Square (except at 6 a.m. on a Saturday)
  8. Cheap (& clean!) fruit vendors

My very first blog post.

...So you are not allowed to judge me if you think my blog is lame.

A lot of people begin their blogs with "My friends have always told me to write a book."

My friends have never told me to write a book. Ever. The closest I have come is a passing comment over dinner (check out my sidebar!) from my oh so fabulous sister: "You should start a blog... I bet Grandma and Grandpa would love to hear what you're up to."

Glamorous, I know.

But at any rate, a few (spilled) glasses of wine later, and here I am, entertaining the mildly vain hope that someone may actually find my thoughts and writing not completely uninteresting.

To tell you the truth, I've never really wanted to write a blog (or read one!) Call me old fashioned, but I still use e-mail and Facebook to keep tabs on my friends. 

But as much as I've tried to deny it, blogging is a great way of communicating, really important in the media, blah blah blah... so I figure since I'm in the communications and media relations field... I should stop pretending blogs don't really exist.

And okay, fine, it might be kind of fun.

So anyway, I'll be posting regularly about my life, New York, friends... and anything that pops into my head. 

Comments (about anything) are ALWAYS welcome and encouraged! (Example: "Your life, thoughts, and blog are uninteresting. Please stop.") But really... please comment about whatever. 

Hope you enjoy.

Xo, K

Today my pulse beats to Miles Davis's Kind of Blue.