Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Done and not dead...

Deep breath and sigh.

Now I remember why I procrastinate...because it works for me. The stress of the moment pushes my brain into super high gear and I become a word producing machine. I thought things weren't going to come together yesterday. The worry was real, as was the chest pain. Miraculously, things did. All the work was done by 10, delivered at 10:37, and I was left to the sweet relief of completion. I did cry all the way home about how my thesis was the worst thing I had ever written....EVER! Though, when I reread the finished product this morning it turned out to be okay. Not the best work I've ever done, but it was slightly above papers written in freshman sociology and the American Lit paper I wrote for Dirty Deter. Only five typos and two missing words. Regardless, it is done and my fate is in the hands of the grading gods.

Here's to hoping they'll be kind.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


I am a chronic procrastinator. I mean chronic. I mean as in I never learned to avoid such extremely stressful situations as grad school deadlines and your thesis was supposed to be in yesterday deadlines and you were supposed to use edition 5 of the APA Style Manual deadlines and you were supposed to be keeping a daily journal but I forgot to tell you and now you must recreate it deadlines and you are defending next THURSDAY are you ready deadlines and I'm not sure you can use that as your student artifact deadlines and I can't get the last six pages on paper deadlines even though they are perfectly clear in my head deadlines.

So, I'm stressed. I did it to myself. I should have learned by now, but what's the fun in learning from the past so you can avoid a heart attack in the future. Just wondering...

See you when I am done....or....dead!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The New York Chronicles...

Last week was my third visit to the famed city and I loved it as much as I did the first two times. I realize now that I never finished chronicling my previous trip. Someday that will be remedied...someday. For today, I can only dwell on the present.

Day One--I took the red-eye, but it was better than previous red-eyes. The flight was oversold and exceedingly full, but the fates were smiling on me and the only empty seat on the whole flight was the one next to mine. Thank you fates. I slept pretty well and was bright eyed for my subway journey. I arrived at the apartment and said hello to the boys. Steve was sleepy, but still nice. Loren seemed happy to see me. Hugs and hellos were exchanged. Loren went to school and Steven and I commenced catching up. It was nice to be with him. We have been friends for so long, we fall into our old patterns very easily. I slept a bit and then we were off to the city. We made our way to the Lower East Side, where we at delicious macaroni and cheese at a restaurant called S'mac. My nosh was filled with mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil. It was delicious! Steve's was a southwest mix and was delicious as well.

Afterwards we walked through a street market at Union Square and visited Trader Joes for some food essentials. (I want a Trader Joes in Utah so bad)! With our grocery bags full we made our way home through the beautiful Grammercy neighborhood and I picked out the building I want to live in someday. It is red brick and beautiful and must have been a single residence at one time. It is across the park from Steve's future house, so we can meet in the park when we are old, exchange pleasantries and complain about our spouses. In Grammercy Park there was the most beautiful blooming tree. It was the first showing its splendor amidst those still steeped in winter bleak. I will post a picture another day.

Later that evening Steve, Loren, and I attended an Episcopal Service for Maundy Thursday. I had never heard of the day before, it is a rememberance and is also called Holy Thursday. The ceremony documents the last couple of days of Christ's life, including the Last Supper. The sermon was nice and the music was beautiful. The choir sang Ubi Caritas, part of the Four Motets by Maurice Durufle and it sounded wonderful echoing off the walls of St. Bartholomew's cathedral.

After the service, Steve and I went to Lower East Side again where I sampled my first Chinese dumplings (get the pork and chive--amazing) and sesame pancakes (wonderful). They were both incredibly delicious. We completed the night with a walking tour of the neighborhood which was very informative and enjoyable. Pink Berry was our last stop before home and was also delicious.

Day Two--I woke up with a migraine. I think migraines should be forbidden on vacation, but they do what they will. Steve was very sweet and let me rest my head. Unfortunately, it took the morning and part of the afternoon to clear up. When I was feeling better we went to Chelsea to a gallery exibit or Lego sculptures. I was a bit skeptical at first, but they were surprisingly beautiful and incredibly detailed. The artist was both ingenious and talented. A man was there to buy one of the sculptures. It was selling for $11,000! Amazing or completely nuts, but I would own one if I could. We walked down from the gallery to the Chelsea pier. The day was bright with a warm wind and sunshine glinting in off the water. We had a really nice time walking, talking, and drinking Slurpees, which we both love.

We met Loren at the apartment and the three of us headed to St. Patrick's Cathedral for a Good Friday service called Following the Cross. I hadn't heard of this ceremony either, but it was interesting to attend. The service is very repetative and includes a lot of kneeling and standing with very little music. Loren said that in a town in Lithuania, the stations of the ceremony are located in fourteen chapels around the city. Worshippers walk between chapels and some do all the traveling on their knees. I am partly moved by such devotion and partly left to wonder about the purpose of such devotion. I enjoyed the Thursday service much better, but the Friday service was interesting and I am glad we went.

Afterwards we took the train to Brooklyn, where we ate pizza from Grimaldi's in the pier park. It was cold, but really fun. I got to meet a few of Loren and Steve's new friends. Everyone was very nice and I am glad the boys have met so many people in the city. My favorite girl was Kristen. She was very kind and a great conversationalist. I knew we would be friends. We walked home via the Brooklyn Bridge. I was less scared going on, but more scared in the middle this time. Still, two times across for someone terrified of open slat bridges is quite commendable. Everyone came back to the apartment where we played Catch Phrase. Loren and I were one person and tried to make up a conglommerate name. Some of the choices were Meloren, Meron, Lorissa and several others, but I think Meloren was the best choice. There was a lot of laughter and a lot of fun; a perfect way to end the day.

Day Three--Steve, Loren, and I got lunch at an Italian deli and then went to the park to eat. I got a Margherita sandwich--fresh basil, tomatoes, balsalmic vinegar, and a ton of fresh mozzarella. It was delicious! (New York has the best food). Steven left to fulfill his church duties and Loren and I want to Strand Bookstore. Their tagline boasts that they have 18 miles of books and it is true. There were so many books to look at at and we spent time just browsing through the stacks. I was able to limit myself to 3 books and a book bag. Impressive considering I am an absolute book nerd. From the bookstore we walked to Washington Square Park, which was teeming with people, musicians, and an artist make pictures with colored sand. We visited the courtyard of NYU's law school. I sat on the benches beneath blossoming Magnolia trees while Loren went in to print a paper. It was cool and quiet.

The rest of the day consisted of a lot of walking and a lot of talking. Loren and I haven't spent a lot of time alone, but it was so nice to be together. We had great conversation and a really nice time. We walked through the West Village, down the street where Loren had a perfect New York moment right before Christmas, and then ended up taking the subway to Lincoln Center. We visited The Met and saw the huge Chagall murals in the upper windows. They cover the murals during the day, but they were uncovered and amazingly beautiful. (I feel like I have said this a lot, but what else can you say to describe something other than it just is)? We sat on the marble shelf by the fountain and enjoyed the warm afternoon. We ended up walking to Central Park where we found a park bench and read our books until Steven found us. It was a very pleasant way to spend a day.

Loren left us and Steve and I spent the rest of the evening exploring the Park Hotel, Fifth Avenue, and the Village. We ate at a delicious restaurant called Philip Marie where I had artichoke and spinach stuffed chicken on garlic mashed potatoes. So good! We got dessert from Magnolias (key lime cheesecake, banana pudding, and vanilla layer cake) and then went home to make breakfast casseroles for the ward breakfast. Afterwards, the three of us ate our desserts and tried to watch a movie. I think Steve and I lasted 30 mintues. I woke up to Loren smiling at me. I don't even remember falling asleep...tired girl!

Day Four--Sunday was low key day as all Sundays should be. The Easter Bunny, aka Loren, had left us Easter baskets filled with treats. It was very thoughtful and sweet. The three of us took a taxi and four breakfast casseroles to the church for the ward. They were a huge success. We watched conference at the church and both Steve and Loren fell asleep. After, Kristen and I started talking and I invited her to come to the apartment with us. Loren needed do homework and Steve had things to do as well. They didn't get much done, but we all got lots of talking and laughing in. Kristen and I whispered to each in the kitchen much to the boys' annoyance, but what has the world come to if women can't whisper their secrets to each other? We watched afternoon conference and then went to Karen's for the Yankee opener. I'm not a baseball fan, but it was fun. If I move to New York, Loren says I have to cheer for the Mets because they are the people's team and his team. I think I can live with that.

Day Five--I was alone in New York, but not scared. I had a quiet morning and then braved the subway system to visit The Whitney and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. I got off the six at 77th Street, oriented myself, and found The Whitney. Unfortunately, the museum is closed on Mondays. Undaunted, I boarded the subway again. Made it to 86th Street, walked in the wrong direction, but finally found the museum. Unfortunately, it too is closed on Mondays. Still determined, I walked across the park to Museum of Natural History, which was open. It was very interesting and there was tons of stuff to see. I spent a few hours there and then an hour or so sitting in the park reading in the sunshine. I made it home without a hitch. I am practically a New Yorker!

Steve and Loren came home from school and we went to dinner at a small cafe near Union Square. We stopped for hand spun shakes at the Shake Shack and then walked through the cool spring evening to the apartment. We finished the movie and no one fell asleep.

Day Six--I woke up early to say goodbye to Steve and felt sad as I watched him eat his cereal. He is a dear friend and I know I will miss him. There is something warm and comforting about old friends, and saying goodbye, even if you've said it before, is never easy. He left for school and I went back to sleep.

I was going to try to make back up to the museum of art, but it felt like a lot of trouble for a limited amount of time, so I put that on my list of things to do next time, and went for a walk. The day was beautiful and it felt wonderful to have the sun in my hair and on my back and face. I walked like I knew where I was going and actually ended up exactly where I wanted to be. I spent a couple of hours reading in Madison Square Park, walked home through Grammercy, and got to 3rd Ave and 27th Street like a pro. Then it was time to pack to go home. I did so, sadly.

I was packed and ready when Loren got home. We spent my last couple of hours talking about interesting topics like education and immigration. It was intelligent and delightful. The time flew by and I didn't want to stop talking. Loren was encouraging. He carried my bag down, we hugged goodbye, and I walked to the subway stop on 28th for the last time of the trip.

I am always happy to visit new places and always happy to come home. I am grateful to friends like Steve and Loren who let me crash on their couch and go out of their way to show me a good time. It makes me grateful for my life, for my relationships, for the chance I have to experience different parts of this wide and beautiful world. I can't wait to go back.