Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I love my apartment building. One of our neighbors just came to the door and asked if she could climb through my window. It cracks me up to type that. Perhaps I should clarify. She didn't have her keys and her roommate is traveling, so she was stuck out of her place. I have access to the fire escape through my bedroom window and it leads to her roommate's bedroom window as well, so out the window she went and into her apartment. The same thing happened a few months ago, except that neighbor was going to the apartment above me. It's funny to be able to help each other out in such an unconventional way.

I've never posted any pictures of this apartment for all of my far-away family members to see. I suppose this is an appropriate post in which to do that. So below you will see my bedroom, our dining room and our living room (with festive party decorations), and our skinny kitchen and skinny bathroom, followed by a short video of my summer street-view from the well-used fire escape. And I apologize in advance if you've never wanted to see someone's bathroom posted online. I'm just trying to give you an overall sense of my space.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Glass and Light

I thought tonight I would share some photos I've taken which show light and shadow on a few of the beautiful glass buildings in Manhattan.

The first photo is of the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle. After spending the day watching some great kids for a friend, we came out of the subway at 59th Street to see a large and ferocious-looking storm approaching. I told the kids we were going to make a run for their mom's office because we didn't have an umbrella and it looked like the rain would come any moment (though I obviously found time to stop and snap a picture). You can see the storm clouds reflected on the top portion of the buildings and the bright sky reflected below. I was pleased with the picture, but of course the image is not nearly as striking as the actual sight. (And in case you are wondering, we did make it indoors before the rain started.)

The next few photos were taken just outside of Ground Zero. SeaTac and I were on our way to meet friends at Michigan's place a few days before the September 11th anniversary. I attempted to take photos using a variety of settings on my camera, but one can only do so much with a point-and-click, so most of them did not turn out very well, but I did find a few interesting images. The glass building on the left is World Trade Seven.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Fresh Job Idea

I have some great friends who pass along job leads to me when they find something that might be a good fit. Michigan sent me the following job post from Craigslist today. I really do need a job, but I'm not sure if this is the career path that I want to pursue.

need someone to sit on lap

Date: 2009-09-22, 5:45AM

I have bad back problems, and need someone to sit on my lap for four hours a day ,it helps me straigten my, back I know it sound weird but it helps , willing to pay ten dollars and hour for four hours , twice a week , has to be in good shape and looking for a male to do it because they are stronger to do this sort of job, if you are interested e mail , this is not bs ,you could watch tv, use computer I will even give you food, please respond , thank you

  • Location: lynbrook
  • This is a part-time job.
  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
  • Please, no phone calls about this job!
  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

Original URL:

Friday, September 11, 2009

To Remember and To Act

It's a blustery and rainy day in Borough Park. I love the feel of a cool and rainy September morning. One of the joys (and sometimes pains) of living in a mass-transit city is that you get to walk in the midst of the weather, instead of being more insulated and apart from it. As I was walking to the laundromat just before the rain this morning, I saw the flag at half-mast in the local elementary schoolyard, and the memory of September 11, 2001 came back strikingly clear. The weather today is much different from what I saw in New York on the television eight years ago, but somehow it seems fitting that the weather is so dreary on this day of remembrance. I don't remember feeling this sad about that day for a long time.

It is important and right that we move along and progress and improve after those terrorist attacks, but it is also appropriate and right to take time to remember and reflect and mourn the losses of that day as well. And I hope that in remembering, we will be motivated to make choices and take actions that improve ourselves and the world around us. It is fitting that the President declared September 11th a National Day of Service and Remembrance and that volunteerism was such a central theme of the memorial service in Lower Manhattan this morning.

These are pictures of the Tribute in Lights from 2008. The first picture is from City Hall Park and the second is from my fire-escape in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Look! Up in the Sky....

....It's a bird!

It's a plane!

No! It's a cleaning lady!!

I was visiting some friends at the mid-town school office recently when Michigan noticed this woman holding onto a window so she could clean it. I estimated that she was probably about ten or eleven stories above 56th Street. We just stared at her in amazement... but not the kind of amazement which leads you to want to emulate the person you are amazed by. The kind of amazement that just makes it almost impossible to tear your eyes away from the person doing the stupid thing you are "amazed" by.

I suppose I should clarify that I didn't just stare at the woman. I obviously took the time to find my camera and take some pictures. Michigan was the compassionate one, repeatedly saying, "Please don't fall. Don't fall, lady. Please don't fall..." I mean, really? Come on, lady! How badly do you need the outside of those windows cleaned? If the windows were for her, then she needs to re-think her cleaning chart. If the windows were for an employer, either she's just an over-achiever, or those employers need to be taken to task for expectations that are WAY too high (no pun intended). We have equipment for those sorts of jobs!

I took a crummy video (I always forget I can't turn the camera sideways) that you are welcome to watch below.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Tonight I want to reiterate the fact that I love my town. Sometimes I am a little disheartened when others visit New York City and don't really like it here, or don't even seem open to visiting the city and giving it a chance. New York is certainly not for everyone. I get that. But it is for me, at least for this time in my life. I fell in love with this city and I am truly happy to be here.

I will obviously never be a native New Yorker. I'm not even sure how many years I have to be here before long-time New Yorkers will truly feel I am worthy of the title "New Yorker" (if ever). I will always be a native Kansan. Kansas is my homeland, which I also love. El Dorado and Wichita have been long-time and life-shaping homes for me. And I know I always have a home waiting for me in El Dorado or wherever my parents reside. The word "home" can carry various meanings. I want to stake my claim where I am and be a part of what's going on around me, and I like to make a home for myself in that place. And right now, New York City is my home.

I feel like some people will not understand this, and I guess that's okay. I don't mean to offend with these statements. But sometimes I want to throw these thoughts out there and let them be known to whoever happens to stumble across them. And maybe in trying to express myself in writing, pieces of my life will become clearer to me, and to others if they want to follow along.

My dad and I were recently laughing about how we used to say, "I'll never.... [fill in the blank, i.e. go do such-and-such, or live in this place or that place, etc...]. We've learned we ought not to say that, but when we do, we quickly repent and say we didn't mean it. I have come to the understanding that I can rarely predict what will happen in my life. And I see that life has a way of surprising me with what's next. And even though sometimes that seems really crappy, it can also be really exciting and positive.

Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

So I plan to be in New York City indefinitely. I refuse to use the word "never" when trying to make decisions and plans for my future. I don't know what's in store. But for now, I am happy to be at home here. And even if this town is not for everyone, I hope that when people visit, they will discover some of the things that I think make this place really wonderful.

By the way, I seem to recall saying on more than one occasion that "I could never ride a bike in New York City. Those people are crazy!" Click here to read how that turned out. Or here. Or here. Or here.

Monday, June 29, 2009

An Early Birthday Party

My roommate is from Sterling, Kansas (which is about a two-hour drive from my hometown), and she will be flying there tomorrow to spend a week with her family, so she will miss my birthday.

This evening when I came home, I had birthday greetings posted on our doors from the previous and current presidents of the United States, a birthday banner (with some Christmas tinsel) over our dining room table, fresh flowers and an American flag in the vase, birthday rubber ducks, a card, cupcakes and food on the table, and a birthday greeting on our chalkboard wall (which reads "Happy Birthday Matthew and America!"). It really made my night. For supper it was cheese doodles and fruit salad, washed down with hard cider. The salad had pears chopped up in it. I rarely eat pears, but when I do, I always remember my late Great-Grandmother P, who had a pear tree in her yard.

While we ate, we watched the first four episodes of "Greensburg: A Story of Community Rebuilding". This is a series about Greensburg, Kansas trying to become a "green" city as it rebuilds from a tornado that almost completely destroyed the town in May of 2007. It was nice to see scenes from a familiar part of the country with a fellow Kansan (even if she did go to that other Kansas university).

For dessert we split three different types of vegan cupcakes. Sterling said they're supposed to be the best vegan cupcakes in town.

I had a good early birthday party. Thanks, Sterling!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Need a Job

I am looking for a job and I am about to go stir-crazy from staring at employment-related documents and websites for days. My brain feels lazy and doesn't want to concentrate for very long, even though I have given myself plenty of breaks. I will be so glad for the search to be over.

I have applied for support positions at two local universities (which shall remain nameless, pending successful employment), and I think they would be great employers. Hopefully they will respond positively in the next day or two. I've also registered with two temp agencies in the City. It's not the best time for temp work, but we'll see what happens.

Tuesday morning I found myself talking to a few men who were representing one of the jobs I applied for at a university. While they were standing and talking around me, a sturdy and stern-looking woman in a woman's business suit came riding up to us on a horse. As she approached, the men cowered a little and backed up. She was holding a collection of papers, and as she briefly and nonchalantly glanced through them, she said to me, "I see you applied for these positions. I am the Dean of Academic Excellence at [Such-and-Such University] and I want you to accept my position." After that announcement, she promptly turned her proud steed around and rode away, leaving me with a great sense of excitement at the offer, and apprehension as well, wondering if I would have what it takes to assist a woman of such caliber.

Then I woke up.

I think I may be losing my mind. Man was not made for unemployment.

I am, however, still waiting with anticipation for a horse and rider to show up at my door. I don't know how she will get the horse up to the third floor. I guess she'll just have to ring the buzzer and wait for me to come down.

I'm gonna take a break now and go to the beach for a little while. Maybe the fresh air will do me some good.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Biking Again

I finally took my bike out for a ride after months of watching it sit idly in my apartment. I've been building up to this for a few weeks now and finally decided it was time. Two weeks ago I went on two short runs and afterwards my left heel was in quite a bit of pain. My heel is better now, but I know that biking doesn't hurt my heel, so it seems like that's a good alternative for exercise.

Last night I came home exhausted from the day and sat down in the living room where my roommate was watching TV. Without much warning I fell asleep on the couch. My roommate put a blanket on me and left me alone, and a thunderstorm woke me up a little before 5:00 a.m. Since I was up I decided to check a few things online (I am currently job-hunting) and by 5:45 the rain had stopped and it looked like it would stay dry for awhile. That was when I decided to grab the bike and head out.

Fortunately, Prospect Park is a short bike ride from my apartment and there are beautiful paths that pass through trees and around a large meadow and lake, so I decided to try that and I loved it. It was beautiful and quiet, and traffic was light so early in the morning. I hope this will be the re-start of habitual biking for me.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Recommended Reading

Last Christmas my parents gave me a great book from my wish list (because they are rock stars).

Many people will find this a bizarre request, and perhaps even in poor taste for a holiday wish list, but it has become one of my favorite books. I recognize that it will not be recorded in history as an important piece of literature, but it was an entertaining and (surprisingly) intelligent book.

If I didn't have a headache tonight, I would take the time in this post to explain why I think so. But since my head is pounding, I am simply going to suggest that you give it a chance. Why not? You never know. You might like it. And it might even help to enlarge your literary boundaries. This has been the case with me. Just last night I stopped at the Borders in Columbus Circle and purchased a Jane Austen novel, which is something I never would have done before. I am engrossed in the book and have already read eleven chapters. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has held my interest thus far, and I don't think I will lose interest in it before the end.

Okay, so Seth Grahame-Smith has expanded on the original text to create a new "edition" of Jane Austen's original novel, but I think it has really enhanced the story. True, I never read the story in its original form, but I can't help thinking that the addition of the undead in the English countryside has enriched the bantering and prattling on of the characters. And for those offended by these changes, please note that according to an article I read in The Week, "85 percent of the original text hasn't been touched". Isn't it worth sacrificing 15 percent of the original writing to get more people interested in such a classic piece? I think so. (I'm even willing to let people on the subway see me reading Jane Austen now, without embarrassment!)

Fight on, Miss Bennet!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Año Número Uno

Today marks one complete year of me living in New York City. I still love it.

I will not be celebrating this milestone here in the City, however, because in four hours I am supposed to be out of bed for a ski trip to Hunter Mountain. Just a day trip. It's been years since I donned a pair of skis. We'll see how it goes. My knees feel older than they did in 2002. Or was it 2003? My mind is slipping, as well.

I can't wait to see what Year #2 has in store for me.

For now, I suppose I should go to bed.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Taking Candy from a Stranger

While waiting for the D-train to Harlem from the Atlantic-Pacific Terminal in Brooklyn a few nights ago, a woman on the platform told me that it makes her think about going out at night when she has to wait on the D-train. This started a discussion about the reliability and frequency of specific trains and how that affects our decisions and plans.

She seemed like a nice lady and as the D came into the station she told me to enjoy my evening. And then as we were walking into the same door of the train she handed me a bag of Mango Balls candy and told me if I ever go to a 99-cent store I need to get these because they are really good. She insisted I take them and showed me that she had another bag in her purse. She also told me where I could find a 99-cent store in downtown Brooklyn and that Mango Balls are available at CostCo and BJ's, as well.

I have to be honest. They weren't the best candies I've ever tried, but getting them as a gift from a nice lady made them some of the best candies I've ever received as a gift. It just reinforces the sense of camaraderie I love about New York City and is another example of the acts of kindness and love I see around me as I traverse the streets and tunnels.

P.S.- I gave her a bag of gummie cola bottles (one of my favorites) as I was getting off the train. Share the love, right?