Monday, January 21, 2008

So sick!

(At left: interesting graffiti I saw when I went to the post office.)

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

I am not at an optimum level of happiness right now. Well, on the positive side: I got the apartment all cleaned up, I bought some cute new bookshelves to hold my new school books, and I had a lot of fun teaching my new class of students.

Not fun? Puking. Friday I woke up in the middle of the night feeling awful. I went into the bathroom and woke up hours later on the bathroom floor. I went back to bed, then woke up at 5:15 a.m. and had to run to the bathroom to toss my cookies. No fun at all. It's the first time I've thrown up (without alcohol involved) since junior high. Ugh. I couldn't reach anyone to call in sick, so I ended up teaching my class anyway. I don't think my students knew anything was off. I tried to stay away from my students, though, and not hand them anything I'd touched, just in case I was contagious.

I spent the rest of the day in bed, drinking a liquid diet (mostly sprite, bouillon, apple juice and Jell-o). I spent the next day on the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast). Yesterday I added soup for lunch, a honey-brushed baked chicken breast for supper and some pudding. Today I may add herbs and spices. Wild, right? Wish me luck.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Thieves are mean!

Remember that “funny” burglary story? The one where someone broke into my apartment, ate ice cream and fled? Not actually what happened at all.

I got home Tuesday feeling exhausted and emotional. I was so sad to leave my friends in New York, and I just wanted to relax. Then I saw the huge mess in the kitchen. There was a ton of mud on the kitchen floor, not to mention melted, molding ice cream. The ice cream was also pooled and molding on the counter. Then, I glanced in my room and noticed that it had clearly been tossed.

My jewelry box had been dumped on my bed. My drawers had been dumped. Storage boxes had been pulled out of my closets and from under my bed and dumped. The box containing my financial info and my checks was open, and the checks had been disturbed. They had even taken the time to pull apart my decorative martini shaker to see if anything was hidden in it. In other words, the story I heard did not match what happened.

I called Todd to ask him again what the story was. He was not happy to hear that we’d been mislead. I could see that a box of checks had clearly been disturbed in his room, too. I’ve since found out that the burglary actually happened Christmas Eve. As I cleaned, I discovered that the thieves took the opal ring I Mom and Dad got me for Christmas when I was 13, the ruby earrings I got for my 17th birthday, the digital camera I they got me for graduating from Buena Vista, the fabulous Nikon N50 they got me for graduating from Fordham, my old cell phone, my tape recorders, all of my DVDs and my credit cards.

Our landlord thought he was being nice and not spoiling our holiday by waiting to tell us, but he could have destroyed us financially! The thieves could have emptied our bank accounts and run up our credit card bills! Since I got back, I’ve been cleaning up the mess and trying to protect my finances. I opened a new checking account and ordered all new credit cards. I stopped using credit cards a long time ago. I only had the cards stashed for a major emergency…thus I don’t really remember what they were. Oops. I’m just so afraid that I may have missed one! On a daily basis, I’ll probably miss the DVDs most, I’m most worried about the financial stuff, and I’m most upset about the sentimental items I received as gifts. I’m working on coming to terms with it, though. I remind myself that I’m lucky for all the things they didn’t get, lucky that the thieves hadn’t yet used my checks or cards, and lucky that they can take my mementos, but not my memories.

Now I’m trying to get ready for school on Monday. I’ve been buying textbooks, writing, getting my laptop worked on by the techies (it’s not dead, Hooray! Just the battery’s kaput.), and tweaking my syllabus. I’m so nervous to get my new classroom and my new class! Wish me luck.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Divine, Serendipity and Art.

January 2, all my teacher friends had to go back to work. Riza’s landlord is nosy and makes illegal complaints. The landlord doesn’t allow her to have visitors in the house when Riza’s not home. As such, I had to leave the house by 7:30 when Riza left for work. I was in the city before anything was really open.

Luckily, I could get into the Time Warner Center even though the stores themselves were still closed. I sat on a bench, reading and eating my breakfast. Then I went into Borders to trade in a book I got from two people. I got an amazing book called “Writing the Australian Crawl” and an amazing collection of poems by Wislawa Szymborska. At Best Buy, I discovered that my broken laptop’s warrantee had expired in November. Aaargh!

That afternoon, I couldn’t get a hold of Riza, but I went back to Queens anyway. Just to stay warm, I checked out all the stores in the area and, then went to a local Thai restaurant. I got nervous, so I called Jenny, and she agreed to let me stay with her for the rest of my trip. Finally, Riza called me. She’d been MIA because she dropped her cell phone and it shattered! She had to go buy a new phone, then she had to get my phone number from Laura. On top of it, when she got home, her landlord reamed her for having a guest. (The landlord’s behaviour is illegal, illegal, illegal!) Anyhoo, I headed back to her apartment, thanked her for her hospitality and hit the road.

I had the strange experience of being freezing cold and sweating at the same time as I hauled my three bags from 86th and Lex to 83rd between 1st and York. Halfway there, it got a lot harder when a wheel from my suitcase shredded. Once I made it to Jenny's place, she and I chatted for about an hour, most of which was spent admiring her cats.

The next day, I met up with Tom in Brooklyn. I needed to use his computer. Then we were supposed to go to the museum, but it was SO COLD, so we ended up staying in and watching movies instead. It was so good to see him. He had recently gotten a haircut, so he looked adorable. “When I look at pictures from last summer,” he said, “I’m amazed you never told me to cut my hair! It looked crazy.” Hee. A little bit, but I didn’t care. (See non-crazy last January above left vs. crazier last April above right.)

Friday I planned to spend all day going to museums, but I was slow to get around. That afternoon, I ended up at the Museum of Modern Art. It was the free night…big mistake. I had to stand in line in a parking lot forever, then stand in line inside for longer because they forced me to check my backpack. While I was in line, I got a call from Todd informing me that our apartment was broken into. Apparently, the guy broke our back window, ate our ice cream, and took off. Okay…. Well, if you have to get robbed, that’s about the best possible outcome.

Anyway, in the end, I spend an hour and a half in lines to get into the museum. Then I only had a hour to look at art before I had to go. On the plus side, I made it through the second floor and the sixth floor, including the amazing Seurat exhibit. The exhibit focused on his sketches, not the pointillism that made him famous with Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte. It was really gorgeous.

Then I met up with Tom for dinner. He got a scrumptious bucket of clams, but I got a desiccated plank of chicken. Seriously, it was like sawdust, so for the first time in my life I sent it back. My reward? A savory, juicy flank steak. Hooray for sending back overcooked food! Hooray for lovely restaurants that want to please their customers. Yay!

The next day I basically chilled out in Jenny’s apartment, reading a book. That night, I met up with Laura, Madrid, Carolina and Riza at Divine Bar. It was indeed fancy (see photo of food at left). I think the girls liked their boxes, especially Laura. Carolina had bought me a pretty necklace, and Laura had made me one. After some great eating, Carolina and Madrid hit the road and Laura, Riza and I hit the club. We spent hours on the dance floor.

Sunday I went shopping, but didn’t find anything I liked except a hostess gift for Jenny. I did, however, find a table at a restaurant I’d always wanted to try, Serendipity 3 (See photo at the very top, left). The food was delicious, especially the hot chocolate. Technically, one is supposed to order the frozen hot chocolate there, and the sundaes are legendary, but I was full and it was cold out! As it was, I gave myself a bit of a tummy ache.

The next day, I met up with Chris. We went for hour-long walk in an Inwood park. It was so pretty. We went back to his apartment to watch Sherlock Holmes and Joan of Arcadia. Madrid got home from work and heated up an amazing pizza. Then I was off to meet up with Tom again. I’m glad I got to spend so much time with him, but it was hard for me, too, because nothing has changed. We’re still not together.

Today I packed up my stuff and splurged on a cab to the airport. Part of me is so sad to leave New York and my friends, but part of me looks forward to getting back to my everyday life in Virginia.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year!

On Dec. 30, I landed in Newark at 8:15 p.m., and it took me quite a while to make my way into the city and, subsequently, to Riza’s apartment in Queens. It’s funny, my friends were all, “We miss you, we miss you, when are you coming to New York?” Then when I announced I was coming, they were all, “Yay! Erm…who are you staying with?”

It’s not really their fault. Most of my friends have cramped quarters. Laura and Ryan share a one-bedroom apartment. They both teach in the Bronx, and Ryan is in the Teaching Fellows program getting his degree at night. Madrid and Chris share a one-bedroom apartment, and Chris is rather ill. Well, he’s getting over being rather ill, but he’s not up to a long-term visitor. Plus, it would be super crowded with his home-care nurse there, too. Carolina lives with her parents up in…Northchester? Westchester? I don’t know, one of the Chesters, too far from the city and public transportation. I apparently don’t have Lex’s correct phone number, still. So I started out at Riza’s.

I’ve always liked Riza. We’re just not quite as close as I am with some of my other NYC friends because she entered a rather consuming relationship right after we met, so she and I didn’t get to hang out as much. We were always, "Aw, Riza's not coming? Maybe next time." She has been much more social as late...impressively outgoing and adventurous, in fact. Riza is turning over a new leaf. She is also a consummate hostess. She and her dating-friend Aki (spelling?) met me at the subway station and helped me to haul my luggage to her apartment. He seems like a nice guy. I was tuckered out, and ended up going to bed while they were still watching movies.

The next day, Riza and I went shopping for some supplies. I needed stockings, gloves and an umbrella. Riza wanted to find a specific present to give the girls. She wanted us all to have the hugging salt and pepper shakers we used to play with at Blue Angel (see photo above, left). I had seen them in Union Square, so we went to Filene’s Basement for my supplies, grabbed a yummy lunch at Coffee Shop Bar an then found the shakers. Then we went back to the apartment for a nap, followed by primping.

We met up with Aki, bought some champagne to bring to the
party and rushed off to Pangaea to meet Carolina, Ryan and Laura for dinner. There was so much food! I ordered an appetizer (scrumptious shrimp in a lemony wine and white bean sauce), and it was enough to fill me up. Riza is a tiny girl, but she ate a huge meal and ordered dessert, God love her! Thankfully, she gave me
a bite or two.

Then it was off to Teke (TK?) and Jay’s party. (Note to self: kneeling and bending sideways does not make one look attractive in a photograph.) This is my third time at their party, and it’s always great. It’s held in this amazing loft that belongs to their parents. They occupy it when the parents are out of the country…which is often. I’ve met the hosts several times, but I don’t actually know them. They don’t mind. In fact, they told Madrid everyone bearing booze was welcome. We all met up with Madrid, as well as Jenny Levy, Irena and their boyfriends. We all had so much fun talking and laughing and drinking. My, oh my, the drinking. I am ashamed to admit I got in too deep and had to resort to tickling my tonsils in the bathroom to avoid extreme inebriation. Soon, I was glad I had.

Eventually, several of us left and ended up at Bull McCabe’s…which is precisely the routine from two New Year’s ago! Huh. Before too long, some up us were all partied out. Well, to be honest, Carolina started puking her guts out (and continued to do so all today) so we all headed home. I hope Laura doesn't tease her about it too much. She loves that stuff. (Just kidding, Laura. You know I love you.) Riza, her friend (grr…what was that girl’s name?) and I were shivering because we had worn dresses out into the cold January night, but we strutted down the street pretending to be warm. Soon we were warm in our beds.

This morning, Riza informed me that she wanted to go out in the city. I was exhausted, so I hoped she would change her mind. Aki came over and she made us a huge brunch with fruit salad, blueberry pancakes, strawberry syrup and bacon. YUM! After that, she was tired so we stayed in (Yay!) and watched movies. It was a nice low-key start to 2008.