Thursday, July 31, 2008

Hannah and Ben

I never posted any pictures from our Fourth of July vacation in Cape Cod. We stayed with our friend, Sarah, and two of her friends at her family's home. I love these three photos of Hannah and Ben. I forget what they laughed about in the car, but it gave me great shots.

Besides my father, Hannah is the most fun person to photograph. She's animated and conveys tons of energy and life through pictures. Plus, I like her big smile.

Monday, July 28, 2008

New York City

I met a guy that moved to New York only two months ago. He mentioned that the move has been harder than originally anticipated. I empathized. Completely.

He described exactly what I went through almost one year ago, the feelings and emotions of despondency that lasted seven months. Seven looooong months as I searched for jobs, interviewed at places, and stuffed my face with nachos as I watched Ellen, Oprah, and very bad made-for-TV movies.

Oh, I did start this blog when unemployed. That was a bright moment.

My mom mentioned that even when she knew I was down, I always sounded happy and excited in my stories. I told her that’s the mark of a good writer… or liar. Unfortunately for me, probably the latter.

Anymore, I forget the feelings of loneliness and frustration that accompanied returned resumes with a “sorry, but…” attached to it. I even forget that New York made me pay hundreds of dollars to retake state exams because of no state reciprocity with, well, basically anywhere. Now, all I can remember is the excitement and rush of moving to New York City with the man of my dreams, the anticipation of starting something new in one of the wildest cities in the world.

The girl that I was then is not the same person that I am now. My view of New York has changed for the better, and I get to do and see things that would be impossible somewhere else – hidden restaurants, Broadway plays, celebrities, public transportation, any food any time. It’s all an experience.

My advice to the new guy was to just hang in there because it gets better. At least, I can say, it got much, much better for me.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Lip in the Slammer

On Sunday, we met friends at a German/Czechoslovakian beer garden in Queens for lunch. One friend recently started working at Riker’s Island, a New York City prison, as a case manager in the women’s facility. Naturally, he had FABULOUS stories to share.

The best stories involved the inmates giving him lip. Apparently, his blonde hair and blue eyes do little to scare the women he interviews at the prison. They tell him he either looks yummy or like a Backstreet Boy. One particular lady always has a line for him, and this one is my personal favorite.

“Boy, you’re shirt is so tight it gonna give you an asthma attack.”

As my kids would at school would say… snap.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

History Lesson

Last week, my family visited me in NYC and we hiked to every pricey tourist attraction. When we visited the Statue of Liberty we decided to forgo the eight bucks for the guided tour casette tape, and instead opted to just walk around it. Aunt Patty evenutally succombed to thirst in the 90 degree heat and paid (most likely) an obscene amount of money for a bottled water. Luckily for us, they printed "All You Need To Know About the Statue of Liberty" on the back - saving us mucho money.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Billy Joel

As expected, the Billy Joel concert at Shea Stadium was incredible. Five guest performers wowed the audience - Tony Bennett, Roger Daltrey from The Who, Steven Tyler from Aerosmith, Garth Brooks, and Paul McCartney from The Beatles. Only in New York City would an event this amazing happen.

Billy Joel performed nonstop for three and a half hours and sent the crowd into a frenzy during "We Didn't Start The Fire" and "Captain Jack". The entire stadium swayed as partyers danced. I got a little nervous as we watched the overhang that covered our section of the bleachers bounce up and down. My anxiousness was well founded considering we sat second row from the top of the stadium.

Oveall, the concert was awesome. I can now say that I officially saw a Beatle perform. Amazing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Jealous Yet?

Just wanted to inform everyone that we are on our way to sing and dance like crazy FOOLS at the Billy Joel concert at Shea Stadium. It will be quite a historic event, only eight bands have ever played at Shea including the Beatles.

Last night, to prepare for the big event, Ben and I attempted to memorize all the lyrics to "We Didn't Start the Fire". You can imagine how well that went. I felt like I was cramming for the GRE again as I tried to pronounce and commit foreign words to memory. Ben lightened the mood by serenading me with "She's Got A Way".

After listening to Billy Joel nonstop all week on our iPods, we are definitely ready. Wish you were here...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Family Visit

I have a good reason for the lack of posts since Friday… family visit to NYC. Five female family members traveled 900 miles to share in the adventures the Big Apple has to offer. They left me in their wake this morning at 6am – exhausted and happy.

Many funny moments happened throughout their 2.5 day visit and we covered so much ground – the Empire State building, Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero, Brooklyn Bridge, Union Square, bus tours in the day, bus tours at night, Battery Park, Broadway, Times Square, and Central Park. Hence, the lack of time (and energy) to post new stories.

Aunt Patty, constantly amazed by the city, was even more fascinated by the massive amount of PDA (public display of affection) found in Central Park. She couldn’t help but point out the park goers that indulged in some good old fashioned make out sessions. Anonymity, a perk the big city offers.

We strolled past a young couple as the woman straddled the man’s back and massaged him while he lay face down on the blanket. I pointed them out to Aunt Patty, who gasped and with widened eyes exclaimed, “I can’t believe people do that in public!”

Marilyn then stated, “You know, that’s what they call foreplay.”

To which I turned to Aunt Patty and asked if that’s what she did to rouse my uncle.

“No, no. You do that and then they always want more,” she said as she continued to make sense of the situation. Finally, Aunt Patty declared, “She MUST be a chiropractor.”

Friday, July 11, 2008


Luckily, I inherited the best genes from my parents. I got my mom's temper, levelheadedness, sweetness, her ability to emphasize with others. I got my dad's sense of humor, outgoing personality, and crazy laugh that my grandpa passed to my dad and then to me.

I'm not bragging on myself, just my parents.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Perspectives: Part IV

Some people spend lots of money on toys for kids – the bigger, brighter, and flashier… the better. Ironically, kids like the cardboard box more than the toy. Or, they lose interest in something that allows them little use of their imagination. My nephew’s Christmas list from last year best sums up this idea. He wanted a broom, a cape, and a cardboard box.

Some kids get older and the simplest things still make them happy… like a first grader on my caseload.

I asked him what he was most excited for about his upcoming field trip to Central Park. I expected him to tell me about the merry go round, the jungle gym, the picnic lunch, anything normal.

Instead, he gave me a new perspective.

“I can’t wait to walk through the tunnel by the trees because I’m going to show my whole class the homeless man that lives there,” he said earnestly. “He eats and sleeps there!”

Swings, slides, and sprinklers are sooooooooooo overrated when you live in New York City.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Rock Star

My boss hosted a party at her apartment in Hoboken, NJ several Saturdays ago. My favorite part of the evening was not the Manhattan skyline at sunset or the incomprehensible 1,400 square feet of living space. Rather, it was the Wii game “Guitar Hero”.

Normally, I would have refrained from making a fool of myself in front of coworkers, but after a glass (or two) of wine it became my civic duty to entertain and perform the best rock concert humanly possible. As soon as I strummed the first note, energy surged from within and stirred emotions not tapped during a routine workday.

I basked in the cheers and chants that erupted behind me as I hit note after note and ripped sweet rifts. I became one with the plastic guitar; one with the music. I had finally found my calling… a rock star reborn to play “Slow Ride” over and over and over. (How did my parents miss my music potential?).

As a true artist, my musical skills extended far beyond the realm of just playing guitar. I incorporated vocals with notes so high that the Wilson sisters only wished they could hit. I rocked Mississippi Queen and Barracuda. I really upped my performance with a few body rolls and guitar thrusts. Ben ensured me that the thrusts really added to the overall quality of the show.

Speech therapy will do for now. I know I’m no Leslie West, but it’s comforting to have a fallback plan.

Thursday, July 3, 2008


Beau loves dad. Dad loves Beau. The feeling is mutual. Although, I'm pretty sure when I took this picture my dad mouthed, "Who's the dominant dog now?"

Beau, an Austrailian Shepard, has been with my family since we first crossed the Mason Dixon line and moved to the south in 1998. He is playful and sweet - although my husband, my neighbor Kyle, and the mailman disagree.

Beau protects his home and herds visitors like sheep, which isn't too scary if you don't mind a few nips on the ankles from a strange dog with big teeth. He used to get a little too, ahem, excited around visitors, but with old age (like many things) that habit faded. Here's to you, Beau!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

School Days

Thursday, of last week, was the final day of school before summer. The last day at a place I love. A tiny school nestled between housing complexes and a sketchy corner store that sells everything from dougnuts and coffee to a few things not found at the local Duane Reade.

I remember my interview (fifth that week) for the school. The desperation to find a job resounded in my voice. My outlook was bleak. I arrived at the front office sweaty and frazzled, a product of hopping on one subway and several wrong buses. I flopped down in the only available chair and prayed that this school would be nice to this small town Kentuckian because I couldn’t handle more rejection or disappointment. I was like Goldilocks that week – one school was too scary, one school was too far, one school was too crazy. Then, I met everyone at this school and found it just right.

Some of my kids come from nice homes and happy families. Some come from foster care and parents that work three jobs. But, it’s pretty hard to tell the difference. The school comforts and supports them, gives them the chance to develop into the people they can be when not pushed and beaten down by outside forces.

I was sad on Thursday. Sad to wave goodbye to the brightly painted murals. Sad to say goodbye to an amazing principal and staff. Sad to wave goodbye to the boys with toothy smiles and the girls with tiny braids. I love the students. I love the teachers. I love my little, sweet school and I can’t wait to return next year.