Thursday, August 30, 2012

Quote of the Day: Follow Your Bliss

And I have the firm belief in this now, not only in terms of my own experience but in knowing about the experiences of others, that when you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there were going to be doors and where there wouldn't be a door for anybody else.

If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track, which has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living.

~ Joseph Campbell

In the forward to Amy Thomas' Paris, My Sweet: A year in the City of Light (and Dark Chocolate)

The problem is that aside from reading, crafting, blogging, traveling, and wandering the seashore and off-beat America, I'm not sure what my bliss actually is.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photo of the Day: Natural Silhouette in Blue and White

Johnson Canyon, Snow Canyon State Park
January 2012

More from the vacation photo file. Need to print this for my blue and white decor home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo of the Day: Deserted Discards

Middle of Nowhere BLM Land, Utah/Arizona
January 2012

Remember how I went on vacation in the winter?

So much still to blog, no time to catch up!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Photo of the Day: Smoother Sailing

Off Governor's Island, Saturday, August 25, 2012

Despite a sudden cloud bank dimming an afternoon sun, the tides have hopefully turned and it's smoother sailing ahead.

More on my afternoon of Island Hopping to Governor's soon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Retroblogging 1980: August 26, 1980


I have moved out of Logan. Today is the second day of our trip. Dad went before us because he had to start his new job. Jed and J.J., Grandma [Roa], Mom and me are driving out there. School starts the 2nd of Sectber, the day after Lader day.

Lader Day is an obscure holiday in the month of Sectber.

Sectber being the month where a sect of scholars comes together, decree that we must study ancient texts -- the ones that are stored on the highest shelf of the liberry that can only be accessed by ...

No. Not a traditional ladder.

But a lader.

A climbing apparatus of mythical and mysterious origin.

And to figure all this out,

You must attend school.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Finding the Funny in the Fumes*

You know, I only have myself to blame. I didn't follow-up. I didn't return the voice message. I took the landlord's word for it. I made the cardinal mistake of remembering that the story you've been told is never the whole story - if you even get to hear the story at all.

Let me back up.

This week has been kicking my butt.

I've felt icky since the weekend, so took two, highly uncharacteristic sick days. I guess the fever chills, sweats, queasiness, headache, lethargy, and nap were symptomatic of something, but I don't know what - except maybe an end-of-summer cold, not eating right, stress or something. So two days off should have been fine.

Day Two of the sick days, I tried to work from home. Again, I should have known. If I say I'm taking a sick day, I shouldn't try to work ... but NO! I spent all day arguing with my computer connections. I rebooted numerous times. I hit refresh. I unplugged the "modem" and the cables over and over. I managed to get to the regular Internet, but despite hours and hours of hitting buttons, the work intranet website and my VPN didn't come up -- until -- of course -- 5:15 p.m. Whatever. So I logged on and caught up on e-mail and did a few database things.

Day Two was also the day I prepared my bathroom for what my landlord has said was "reglazing of the tub." I've only been peeling the glaze off my post-war tenement bathroom tub for 3 years and two building owners -- so, you know -- it was a bit ghetto looking. I should have taken a photo, but it shouldn't have been documented. It was gross, even clean. I pulled everything out of the room, cleaned all the surfaces (as much as you can in a 50 something year old bathroom where it's being held together by the dust, grit, and who knows what else), and prepared to be disrupted for about a day. Everything is all over the kitchenette. It's a small studio. It's not good to have stuff all over the place. It junks it up fast.

The plan was to head to work on Wednesday/today. I had to vacate the apartment anyway for the reglazing, and three days out of the office - especially when the bosses are on vacation - is not such a good idea for work flow or accountability. I should have known the day was going to go to crap, when I woke up to the first of the alarms, burst into tears and very maturely started to whine: "I don't wanna go to work." (Yes, I'm a 40-year-old-woman. Yes, I was crying. Not a good sign.)

I regrouped. Did my apartment straightening. Got ready. Got everything in the bathroom clean again. Took the computer apart and hid it. Had my bags packed and was actually early! Plenty of time to leave the keys with the super.... but ... Strike 2 of the day. No one answering the super's bell. No one answering the phone. WHAT TO DO!? So, I waited in the lobby. Missed my train. Started to run late. I knocked again. No answer. Decided to call 1 more time, and then to figure out what to do with keys/calling into office about being out AGAIN. Call 2: Apparently I had woken the super's wife (sorry Sylvia) who was enjoying the last few days of summer vacation with her kids. Many apologies on both sides. Left the keys. Caught slowpoke local train. ONLY 1/2 hour late - YAY but grrrr.

The rest of the main part of the day mostly had it's moments of meeeeeegh. I enjoyed having the office to myself, so I could sit in the dimly lit room, ALONE, and power through a bunch of projects with a headache and still some chills. However, the rumor mills started to churn, especially as we arrived and noticed all the NYPD barricades. We knew that POTUS (The President of the United States) was going to be in town for fund-raisers, what we didn't realize was that he was going to be right next door giving speeches and that all of our normal exits would be blocked, the subway would be closed, and that just walking across the street would be impeded. Fine, I thought. I'll just work late and he'll have moved on to the next engagement.


Day goes by. Some people desert at 4:00, others linger, like me. Office finally clears out of everyone else at 6:30. I do a few more things, hit a good pausing point, and I notice it's 7 p.m. Hey, maybe I should go home! I figure: It's a beautiful night, I'll just walk to Grand Central again, and avoid all the areas with closures due to POTUS, except...


SERIOUSLY. We couldn't even get near an exit. The frozen zone extended all the way up to, and past our main entrance, on the 1st floor - of the building NEXT to the building that he wasn't even going to be near.



The NYPD (through no fault of theirs I am sure) had to freeze us in the building for another 20 minutes. Good grief. I'm all for safety of the head of state, but ... ENOUGH WITH THE NYC FUNDRAISERS. YOU ARE ALIENATING A MAJOR PORTION OF YOUR POSSIBLE VOTING BASE BY FREEZING THE UPPER WEST SIDE, MR. POTUS.

I had a moment of: Do I go back to my desk and work or do I bang on locked doors screaming "Attica Attica" 'til the NYPD or Secret Service free me from the Big Grey Box that is my office building?

I wisely decided that getting arrested was not a good idea and spent few minutes huddling with a colleague in her office, since we were both stuck and we needed to discuss a few things anyway. (Pretty sad that we finally have time to have a meeting after 7 on a work day, just because we can't leave the building - but that's how it is.)

When we were finally sprung from the Big House, we still couldn't quite get to our subway so we wandered down and around and through the side streets and back alleys of NYC until we got to Columbus Circle where upon I decided to skip the walk and take mass transit home. Spent the ride and lots of time at Times Square Shuttle area continuing "discussion" (aka thinly veiled snarkfest) with colleague about work until I realized I really needed to go home ASAP! Her too. To be continued. RUN to shuttles for the trains.

P.S. When did the sun start going down before 8:00 p.m.? Because that wasn't fun to see when the train pulled out of the Park Avenue tunnel. The days are getting too short, especially when you are at work for 10 hours.

And, now we hit the real high point of the day. (And I use HIGH on purpose.)

I arrive to my apartment to find a note on the exterior door reading:

Please if you can don't use the bathtub till Friday evening. So it can dry off completely.

Thanks Super.

Excuse me?

No one said ANYTHING about NOT having shower access for 2 more mornings?!

So I open the door to my apartment, about get knocked out by fumes like I haven't inhaled in years
(accidentally, while painting, or doing automotive work or working in fast food with industrial cleaners), and saw this:


This is not a usable bathroom in anyway shape or form!

I ran back downstairs to the super's, got my keys from poor Ms. Sylvia, and she assured me that I could use the sink and the toilet, but ... no go on the shower until Friday - which means Saturday really. No other units in the building are free so I could sneak in and use their showers, because the ones that aren't occupied are in the same situation as this. And, I'm sorry. I am not going to use the super's bathroom, no matter how sweet his wife is, because she has two kids home from summer break and it's not her fault the landlord didn't tell either of us that THIS was going to be the situation. I would have stayed in the dorm, with a friend, or gotten a hotel room or something. I'm going to be going old-school with a sink shower in the a.m. (It's good to be reminded that at least I have the option of a sink shower - not everyone does. Yes, these are all First World Problems and my ancestors are up there laughing their angel wings off at me.)

Even with a window open, the air conditioning on, and a fan blowing on the tub in the bathroom, the fumes are .... a tad ...... WHEEEEEEEE. I'm not intentionally huffing, but I can't help it. There's no choice.

Imagine fumes from old fashioned paint + wallpaper adhesive + linoleum + magic markers = Still not as strong as glazing fumes here right now.

However, I am remembering why I actually LIKE paint fumes. They are an appetite suppressant. If keep inhaling glazing fumes, will I lose weight? Because I am losing brain cells. Pretty sure that's what the headache is from.

Who says living in/near NYC is glamorous? 'Cause it ain't.
Old apartments are ever so delightful.
You never know when the City is going to grind to a stop because of some out-of-towner.
And the best laid plans of mice and men? Often go astray.

I want a do over for this week.

Though, I only have myself to blame.

P.S. Also, even though you think 10:30 p.m. may be too late for your super to visit to check in on you, and you may have decided to get into some of your p.j.s and "liberate the girls," it's probably a good idea not to leave your unmentionables drying on the fan by the bathroom. You just never know. It's hard to whisk somethings away discretely without embarrassing yourself and the super. I think I need to leave a bigger Christmas tip this year. Poor guy.




Later updates:

The week got a little more interesting after this was posted on the Wednesday it happened. Thursday night around 11 p.m. I returned a call from dear friend Wendy - who was out West with Ms. Emily visiting her father, dropping her eldest off at the MTC, and seeing my parents. She and Emily were due to fly back to NYC and see me on Friday for dinner, but her transport plans hit a snafu and she was wondering if ... they could stay over with me! WHAT?!

UM, sure Wendy? As long as you don't mind sleeping on the floor in a crowded studio apartment with no access to the shower because even though the super said that the shower should be okay by Friday night, they called and said to let it cure for another night -- Saturday by this point? Oh, and I need to be back in NYC at the train station by around 8:30 a.m. because I already have plans?! Come on over! The more the merrier and it's almost like those times at Girl Camp, except we do have an indoor toilet and air conditioning and take-out, and cable t.v. and a computer! However, the 13 year old is sleeping on the floor and you get the air mattress.

So that happened. No shower for a few days. Horrid fumes that gave me the fume-fugue for two days of dopiness. Last minute house guests. Three people in a tiny studio.

And then...

When I FINALLY got to take a shower on Saturday night around 9:30 p.m. when I got home and had unwrapped the bathroom, and cleaned it up, and scrubbed my self down, and then washed my hair twice and conditioned, and groomed, did I have to deal with the fact that I was standing in calf-deep water because ...


At 10p.m. I had to bail it out, 1 cup at a time, clean it all over again, and then spend 2 days dumping Liquid Plumber and hot water down it to get it drain correctly!

I REALLY WANT A DO OVER FOR THAT WHOLE WEEK! So I could have gotten a hotel room or something. I feel horrible about being a bad hostess with no shower for weary travelers!

*A couple of friends told me later that this should have been subtitled: The Huffington Post !

Summer Weekends 2012: Signs from Summer Streets

Summer Streets was held again this year. From 7am to 1 pm, the first three Saturdays in August parts of Park Avenue from 72nd Street south to the Brooklyn Bridge are closed to automotive traffic.

It's a good way to explore another part Manhattan. What with my wanderings this summer, I'm finally starting to get a sense of parts of this place from the ground level.

The Saturday I went, I started north of the prescribed area and wandered south from 96th to 14th Street. It was hazy, hot, and oh, so humid, so I wandered alone on the streets aside from runners, dog walkers, doormen, and the bikers out early in the morning until I got to the Grand Central area--when it really started to get crowded.

Along the way, I let the scenery begin to speak to me - and started to see some amazing street signs/urban art.

I was encouraged to write.

I got some new perspectives on the City. (I could have flipped these, but I think a new way of looking at things is a little illuminating once in a while.)

I started looking at utility poles and boxes for little surprises.

The Park Avenue Amory is proud of itself.

Meanwhile ...

The music nerd that I am wants to know more about the metronome.
And I'm starting to see these tags more and more often throughout the City.

I first spotted one of these last year -- now I'm on the lookout all the time.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Summer Fridays 2012: Afternoon in the Garden III

June, July and August have flown by, whipping through my allotment of Summer Fridays off from work. I decided that I should escape the Attic and the lists of projects and UFOs (unfinished objects) calling my name.

I filled my Sherpa bag with the camera, two books, a pillow, a huge thing of frozen water, a Toy Society donation, and a large floppy hat and headed off to the New York Botanical Garden.

I should have explored more. I know the roses are in bloom, the Monet Exhibition is changing for the season, plus there are his paintings in the Library, not to mention the Bronx River and my waterfall, but I headed back to my bench -- for the shade, nostalgia, and proximity to shops and restrooms. I lucked out too, the gardeners had two of those large fan sprinklers going on the hedges. When the wind was just right, I got a refreshing misting.

Afternoon rediscoveries: If you are still and really into your first book of the day, the sparrows will play in the puddles at your feet - drinking, dipping, and splashing in avian delight. If you move, you disturb them, so you learn. You learn to rest your camera on your chest and freeze until the other wildlife feels comfortable enough to come out and play. (Hello Mr. Chips.)

Solitude is a catalyst for innovation. ~ Susan Cain

Reading through Susan Cain's Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking, you also discover answers and a fellowship of other introverts. You decide that you MUST copy pages and pages of this novel to present to supervisors and human resource representatives to explain your difficulties and dilemmas in your current working set-up. It's a relief to see written down the whys and hows, and oh, yes - that's me ... that's always been me and thank goodness someone else gets it, and discover that not only have you already learned how to cope/function with scenarios over the years, but why some other situations have been so much more difficult lately.

Seriously, even though I glossed over some of the more technical scientific/psychological stuff, I devoured this whole book in an afternoon -- in the quiet seclusion that I need and crave after a week commuting to New York and dealing with all my work stress. Check out the author's website about the book at:
[Yo - this means you DAD, J and Ms. Jenn!]

After finishing this book, the afternoon public hours at the Garden were drawing to a close, so I packed up and decided to meander back to the train. I inadvertently almost crashed a wedding. Nice venue - and later - whoops there's the bridal party. Let's get out of the way before the wedding photographer gets annoyed.

I also left a Toy Society token behind for someone to take home with them. Maybe a wedding guest found it? Or one of the bunnies grazing around the various beds and walls thought it was a special friend?

Hints of fall already are creeping in, (and I don't mean the Christmas Creep which is a whole other thing that is super annoying about the "end of summer"), with the beginnings of leaves falling, blooms moving into the yellows, browns, and golds of fall, and summer twilight casting a rosy glow.

Bye bye "official" Summer Fridays. I shall miss you, so much!

Unofficially, I will be "sick" a lot of Fridays/Mondays in September/October, just to tide me through 'til Thanksgiving. (Or something. I'm pretty sure my supervisor(s) and HR don't read this. I hope so anyway.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Toy Society Drop: New York Botanical Garden

It's been a long time since I did an "official" Toy Society Drop*, but it's time to give some of the many many many stuffed animals in my Attic the chance at a new home. (I think Grandmary has been releasing some toys into the wild with the kids, but I don't have the details!)

My apologies to the gals trying to run the site down in Oz, who have asked for photo submissions via Flickr. I just can't sign up for one more social media thingy. The animals have taken over the zoo, and so I have to free them this way.

Who: Made and released by me, Auntie Nettie
What: Mr. "Don't Button-hole Me" Bear
When: Friday, August 17, 2012 at around 5:30 on a sunny evening
Where: New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, NY, somewhere near the Home Gardening Center

Hopefully Mr. Bear found a new home very soon.

Check out some of my earlier Toy Society toys submissions here.

*I left a surprise Toy Society rainbow bear in the Avalon beach rental in the game console, so hopefully it's been found by one family or another since then. It's been a few months, so hopefully!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Summer Scenes 2012: Commuting Views Part 3

Walking to the train has been a bit erratic lately, just like me, the weather, and my schedule. However, when I have been walking, it's been interesting to see the little things the Big Apple reveals along the way.

Things like this hidden park nestled in the midst of a busy Midtown set of office towers. Scenes like this make me wish I could paint. The waterfall wall and the summer light had such a glow that the moment really needs to be rendered like an Impressionist painting. The iTouch camera almost captures it that way, with no filters required.

Where were these crystal clear skies when I was walking during Summer Streets? No haze really shows off the various facets of the various kinds of architecture.

As you wander the streets you can get some wonderful decorating ideas for your home or office (If you don't fear picking up bedbugs or some other "thing," you could actually take the things home.)

Why cart around clothes in a suitcase? In New York, you carry around books (or bodies).

Within inches of this book sale, you could get a soda out of the fridge, and then take a seat. Literally. You could take a seat.

New Yorkers eke out as much liveable spaces as possible. If your landlord is lenient (or the Fire Marshall hasn't cracked down), your fire escape can become a garden. The tenants in the picture on the right has creaked a patio, complete with a picket fence, furniture, and a grill.

Sometimes the art you see is a bit hare-brained, but then you see a wall that you totally wish you could copy in your own home.
I walked by this charming piece twice before I actually remembered to stop and take a picture. It was meant to be sculptural, but you could create something like this from an old bike and baskets and spray paint. Look at the votive jars. The rear basket is filled with corks.

Typos aside, cute sign. New Yorkers love their dogs.

This pup had his own care bear to take care of his boo-boo.

What I also love about New Yorkers is that they just do their business anywhere, anytime, no matter what. Glare from ballerina reads: Just toting my tutu - you gotta problem widdat?

Advertising is not always representative of the quality of the dining experience or the food. Take Island Burgers and Shakes: nondescript marquee, apparently really good food. It's on my Island Hopping agenda for sure, but not the burgers, (darn you e coli), the chicken. On the other hand, sometime prioritizing your marketing message is important.

Too many drinks though, and anyone starts to look like a hard chiseled body. "Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy. But here's my number, so call me maybe"

Despite the name, I found a lot of religious message scattered throughout Hell's Kitchen.

I don't really hold much with horoscopes, though the day I wrote this up, two were pretty appropriate:

Whatever has transpired this week, it's time to let go of any intense or negative energy and clear your mind. During these periods of relaxation, when you allow your mind to go into a different space, you can subliminally sort through any issues.

Some things will never change and you need to accept that fact. You may be one of those people who want to improve the lives of others, but you've got to be sensible about it. Even an Aquarius can only do so much.

I do need to reflect upon these, and then let the exercise and the river wash away the stress.

Acts 2:19 And I will shew wonders in the heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath.