Central Park

Central Park

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Song on repeat (part 2)

Sorry for the radio silence of several weeks now. You know what's not very fun or inspiring? Looking for work. But don't worry, I will at some point have fun again. Specifically next week, when I'm escorting my grandpa to his 70th reunion at Notre Dame (wow). Then I'll be staying in Ohio for a bit, which I'm excited for. 

So my current song on repeat, posted above, is from the season finale of Nashville, a show that I adore. Campy television is the greatest television. It's a lovely reminder that you have a responsibility to honor the talents you've been gifted. 

Last year, I kept a dry-erase wall decal above my bed with some inspiring quotes and reminders. Writing something down gives it power. If I still had that, the title of this song, "It ain't yours to throw away," would go on the board. 

Points to anyone who can identify the above. We've got a country music lyric, a theme from my favorite book, a quote from a Broadway musical, one from a giant in the world of sport and one I made up myself when I thought my prom date had become a woman. (Long story short, it was a prank, which he thankfully revealed before I messaged him saying I no longer felt guilty about the crush I had on his brother.)

And now for something completely different, I leave you with what I believe is a pet store, which I drove past in Flushing this week. Flushing is a weird place. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

NYC Consumption patterns: employed vs. unemployed

I've noticed a serious change in my shopping habits in the last few weeks. As an economic major, I thought I'd analyze that data.

Things you consume when you're working a soul-sucking 9-to-5 job in New York City:

They're cheap, they're fast and, in New York, they're gigantic, so you can eat one at 8 a.m. and be full until lunchtime.

Because you had to wake up at 6:45. And you had to be at the office at 8:45. And you're still at the office at 12:45. And if you offer to go get fancy coffee for your boss, you can have a blissful 10-minute walk at 2:45.

Overpriced soup from Fresh&Co
At $5 a cup, still cheaper than anything else you can get for lunch in Midtown.

Always an appropriate office conversation topic. Helps you decide when to take your made-up errand walk.

The classy way to forget your day.

Over-the-counter sleep aids
Because you've had six cups of coffee today and need to wake up at 6:45am tomorrow.

Things you consume when you're unemployed in New York City:

Because you have time to eat at your own house in the morning.

Because you have time to prepare your own hot beverage in the morning.

Scratch-off lottery tickets
Better chances than sending off a resume. Less painful rejection than sending off a resume.

It's Monday afternoon and you've got nowhere to be.

Ben & Jerry's
Screw you, Editor Pants.

Things you consume regardless of your employment status in New York City:

Friday, April 18, 2014

You That Pass: A little less levity on Good Friday

Until recently, all I knew about my great-grandfather, Fred Myers, was that he was an English professor at Notre Dame who died when my grandfather was young.

When I was in high school, my grandpa moved out of his big house into a small condo. My dad and I helped him with the cleaning and packing. My grandpa, the smartest man I know, who can still tell me stories about his day-to-day life as a switchboard operator in 1942, didn't feel the need to keep a lot of things around - turning my dad and myself into curators of what should be salvaged from the garbage cans.

Among the things we saved from the dump was a collection of more than 100 pages of poems, letters, stories, syllabi and more that had been my great-grandfather's. It was a fascinating insight into a man who'd died 52 years before I was born.

Among these items was a letter from The Sign, a Catholic magazine, regarding payment for a poem he had submitted.

After discovering that, I looked up the magazine, which no longer publishes but has a searchable archive. After finding out which issue contained the poem (August 1937), I contacted the archives for a photocopy.

At the time, they were moving. I emailed occasionally after that, and finally received an electronic copy this past fall.

I also looked into my great-grandfather's past, aided by the archives of the ND Scholastic. He was diagnosed with leukemia (which the Scholastic defined as a "rare blood disease") in 1933 and given two years to live. He doubled the prognosis and lived until June 1937 - two months before this poem was published.

I printed the poem and framed it for my grandpa's 90th birthday in December. I was reminded of it today during the first reading at Mass and realized that its message of human dignity in the face of suffering is something we should all be mindful of on Good Friday. The poem as printed is pictured above; if it's hard to read, the text:

You That Pass
by Fred Irwin Myers

Oh, you that pass me by upon the road
With face averted and an eye askance,
And ears stopped up complacently:
You reassure yourselves that here I lie
Through fault of mine.—
My friend, you cannot know the chill
Of wounds grown cold, the agony of one
Who faces death alone and comfortless.

I do not ask that you should carry me
Up to the inn; or that you extend yourself
For my amending; I would not have
You oil my wounds with hands that shake
Through fear of my contagion; you need not
Dip the water from the ditch to wash my face
Or bathe my aching throat and eyes:
I have become inured to these!

But could you tarry one short while
That I might sense the warmth of sympathy
The comfort of community and the feel
That though your flesh does shrink from me
You would not leave me quite alone,
Not utterly alone and comfortless.
Just stand across the road while you say
"Hail, brother!" and I shall bless you everlastingly.

A little levity on Good Friday

Happened to watch this episode on Netflix last week - good timing! Barney Stinson explains why Jesus waited three days:

Thursday, March 13, 2014

An early dispensation

Well, my Lenten promise hasn't fared too well this week. On Sunday, as has happened more than once in the last couple months, I became pretty sick. Like, no appetite for days sick. When moving makes you more sick, morale does not improve if there's nothing to do but stare at your cat.

He'd be pretty if he'd let me wipe the goop from his eyes.

So, I've given myself a sick dispensation (that's allowed, right?) and taken to Netflix while preparing dinner, and social media while watching basketball and eating my dinner. But, to make up for it (and to figure out why I'm keep getting sick/to attempt to get better), I've given up gluten, dairy and alcohol.

I would take wine over the internet any day. Trust me on this. You know what Wine Wednesday is without wine? It's a freaking Wednesday. 

My dinner every night this week. Not that I'm complaining.

But if a diet consisting of nothing but fruit, peanut butter and avocados fails to make me feel better, the answer may lie in my gall bladder, a tiny organ no longer possessed by several members of my family. In which case, I ask for some intentions that I win the billion dollar bracket next month. I could get so many gall bladders taken out of me if I won that. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Song on Repeat

I know I'm not the only one of my friends who does this, but I enjoy listening to the same song, on repeat, for long periods of time. If you've never tried it, do. Start with Adele's "One and Only." It's a very cathartic experience.

With no internet outside of work, I need to rely more on my limited iTunes collection. Because I can listen to the same songs all the time, it's not much of a problem. I've been rotating two songs very heavily in the past week, but this is my newest favorite.

Yes, Hunter Hayes is basically the male Taylor Swift. I'm actually pretty sure that several of his songs are about Taylor Swift. When I first heard him, I thought he was a Canadian "American Idol"-type show winner. But it turns out he's been doing this forever and once played at the White House for President Clinton. So, validated.

Anyway, this song is incredibly uplifting. It speaks to what I wrote about yesterday - namely, enjoying life as it happens. I highly recommend it.

Thursday, March 6, 2014


People spend nearly all of their time moving in ways they don't need to control consciously: breathing, blinking, swallowing, etc. We came into the world knowing how to do those things. Other movements have become so common that we no longer have to consider them. Feet on the sidewalk. Fingers on a keyboard. Once upon a time, I would have listed front crawl and flutter kick.

Last night, I realized I have another unconscious movement, something I do without even thinking about: thumb on a touchscreen.

Which brings us to Lent. I don't know about yours, but if my ashes had been a Pokemon, they were most definitely Squirtle.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Jimmy Fallon is probably not my future husband

I love, love, love made-for-TV Christmas movies. They are all exactly the same, and I can't get enough of them. This year, one such movie starred Candace Cameron as the daughter of a real-estate mogul who goes to check out a small-town skiing resort they had purchased with plans to turn it into a party destination rather than the family-friendly, log-cabin haven it is now. She naturally goes cross-country skiing with the son of the people selling the resort, who happens to be very attractive and nice and teaches her all about how family is important and blah blah blah. This one was actually not the greatest. The point is, at one point Candace Cameron is talking to a little girl while at a buffet line. The little girl tells her about the Feast of St. Thomas, during which if an unmarried woman steps into bed over a stool, throws her shoes at the door and sleeps with her head at the foot of the bed, she'll dream of her husband-to-be.

I happened to be at home in Ohio when I watched this movie, and the Feast of St. Thomas happened to be Dec. 21st, which was the next night. So, why not? I did not step into bed over a stool (What does that even mean? Use a stool to get into bed? Place a stool next to the bed and then physically step OVER it?) and I'd been in my PJs for hours, so I had to go track down my shoes in order to throw them from my bed. I put my head at the foot of the bed, and I fell asleep.

That night, I had a dream about Jimmy Fallon.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Slice of life

I made chocolate chip banana bread for my roommate yesterday afternoon. I think he liked it.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday reading

I have an impressive/useless skill regarding my books: Pick any book off my shelf, and I can tell you where I acquired it.

Shelf 1 of 2

That Roger Angell collection up top? Bookstore on S Craig Street in Pittsburgh. The Scripps family history? Salt Lake City. Those Nora Ephron essays? A Friends of the Library tent at the TB Reads festival in St. Pete last fall. And so on. 

I love old books for the same reason people collect coins and won't buy used mattresses: You can imagine their previous life. I've found pictures, postcards and even plane tickets in used books. Which brings me to the Sunday reading list. It's hard to have a weekly feature on a blog that's existed for three days, but let's try it out.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Warm things

It turns out that waitressing in Queens is not an incredibly lucrative enterprise. 

As the weather turned cold this fall, I went through the supplies that had survived my year in Florida and found a single glove. I went to Target to buy new ones, and couldn't bring myself to pay upwards of $20 for a new pair. Screw that, I thought. I can buy a $4 skein of yarn and knit my own winter gear.

So, I made a hat

and started on a mitten. The first one, I forgot to add a thumb. It was an elaborate sock.

The second one was a success that I marveled in for weeks. Which was a problem, because I only had one mitten. But, over New Year's, I finally made a second one.

I had a pair of mittens for nearly two weeks when I left one on the Subway.
The widow

My goal for the long weekend is to replace that mitten.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Why-O Why-O

When I was 16, I lied about my weight to the woman printing my driver's license.

"130!" I said, hoping she didn't notice the quaver in my voice or the extra eight pounds that were, at the time, hidden in my calf muscles.

Five years later, when I renewed my license prior to my 21st birthday, the clerk didn't even ask - she just printed the 130 again. She clearly didn't see the extra pounds that had migrated to my hips, or she simply didn't care.

Today, I lost that 130 pounds. The category doesn't even exist on New York state licenses.

So long, Ohio license

I had to switch my license over, because it expires on my birthday, as do my car's plates. After putting it off for as long as possible, I went to the DMV after work today. Fifty-six minutes, two forms and $60.75 later, I was a New Yorker.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A bit about me

Here's a brief overview of me (and, most likely, what I'll blog about).
  • I'm a big, huge unapologetic Domer. Go Irish forever and ever amen. 
  • I'm also Catholic, but not unfailingly so. (Is anyone?)
  • I own more than 250 books.
  • I subscribe to six magazines and one newspaper.
  • I read a lot.
  • I mostly stick to the five main food groups: Cereal, Cheese, Mac & Cheese, Bagels with Cream Cheese and Wine. 
  • I carry a corkscrew in my purse, just in case. 
  • My dad thinks my writing is funny.
  • Pandora stations: Frank Sinatra for cleaning and cooking. Ke$ha for the gym. Charlie Worsham for everything else. 
  • My best friend's name is Michelle and she makes peanut butter for a living. Kind of. 
  • I'm terrified of ceiling fans. 
  • I'll be 25 in February. Rachel and Monica were 25 when Friends started. 
  • I like sitcoms.
  • While I watch sitcoms, I knit.
  • Baseball. 

An experiment in openness


I have spent a good bit of time this week reading the (adorable) blogs of good friends, of people I've never met and of people I once had an econ class with who now have incredibly cute children. I admired the level to which these bloggers desire to share the ups and downs of their lives with friends and strangers on the web. I decided to join in.

For years, I've resisted this urge to blog for one reason: I hate the word 'I'. I don't like writing about myself, talking about myself or, frankly, sharing in any way. That needs to change, and here's why:

Six months ago, I made a fairly disastrous cross-country move to New York City. From the outside, it didn't look that bad; I quickly got a job as a waitress at a bar in Queens (so NYC struggling writer) and found a real job at a prestigious institution not long after. The reality was different, though. 

I left my fun sportswriting job in Florida and moved north all on the word of a friend who wanted us to be roommates. He told me to get a one-month sublet for the month of August so that we could find a place to call our own starting Sept. 1. I'd been in the city for two weeks when that friend, one of my longest and closest, stopped returning my calls. We never saw each other. I have no idea if he even still lives in NYC.

I still live here.

I moved with the idea that this friend (and his myriad friends) would help me to become a more social, well-rounded person. What happened is I became even more withdrawn, which a young person in the city so nice they named it twice -- the second name is Manhattan -- has no right to be. And so, this blog is my experiment in openness, both to the world around me and to the idea of sharing that world. Wish me luck.

- Laura