Friday, August 27, 2010

Summer Completion

Ok. I can now kiss summer goodbye properly:

I finally had a Slurpee from 7-Eleven! I can't believe I almost went the entire summer without a single Slurpee purchase. Phew! That was close. This is the only Sev for miles! Or at least, it seems that way. I have to say, it felt like home stepping into that corner store, especially with that sign in the window! I actually am a huge fan of chain stores, it turns out. Forget originality and rarity. Give me a 7-Eleven and 5-dollar footlong from Subway instead of a "bodega" (aka: convenience store) and a "hero" (aka: subway sandwich) and I'm happy. Same goes for shopping. I'm more than content to go to Target and H&M than any number of boutique shops that line the streets of New York. Perhaps it's just a comfort thing, and I'm okay with that.

I think living in NYC is the catalyst for my simplicity movement. There's just so much goin' on here, it's overwhelming. I need simple. I need chainstores. I need a massage.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When Plans Fall Through (For the Better)

Well, I am no longer going to London next week. Plans fell through in a number of ways. In just a few days, I went from not having a place to stay anymore to my return flight begin canceled by the airline "due to unforeseen circumstances" (with a full refund as an option given by the airline). But in between those two happenings I was having second thoughts on going, anyway. It was really on Monday, just a few nights ago, that I was lying awake in bed wondering why I was going off to London for a week by myself to gallivant around when I could go home my last week of summer and spend it with my family. Also, the past few weeks I've been trying to figure out how I was going to get home and visit my grandpa, who's probably not going to be around for much longer. I had already booked my trip to London before my mom told me the most recent doctor's prediction. I couldn't see how I could swing both London AND find time, especially once I start school, to go home. I was planning on making it happen somehow, anyway, but this has all really turned out for the better.

I will now be on a plane THIS Sunday bound for H-O-M-E, and I couldn't be happier. London's not going anywhere. And the fact that the airline is going to refund at least the return portion of my ticket (maybe all of it, I'm not sure. The woman on the customer service line was so quick with the transaction), just tells me that this is more than mere coincidence. At least, I like to think so. And isn't my grandpa so handsome!?He's definitely more important to me than a trip to London. I recently began a tradition of calling him every Sunday afternoon as I walk over to the Hudson River/Riverside Park. He always greets me with a warm "Hello, Elizabeth!" and we talk for about 15 minutes or so. He asks how I'm enjoying New York and we talk of our similarity in enjoying travel. He's been so many places I can only dream of visiting, like Greece and Italy! And he's always sure to thank me so much for calling him. It's more than my pleasure to do so, I don't think he realizes. I just wish I would've started this phone call tradition a long time ago, though I have made it a point to visit him every time I've gone home since I moved to New York. And I didn't think I was going to make it home again until Christmas. When we took this photo below in June, I didn't want to think it could be my last visit with him, but I had to be realistic.Needless to say, I'm very much looking forward to this visit and am more than grateful the last week of the best summer of my life will be spent with my family.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Today, On My Walk (Part 2)

I spontaneously decided to hop on a bus going south and got off at 59th Street/Columbus Circle. This is where Central Park begins. I ended up walking north, through the park to make my way home and discovered some amazingly beautiful and serene places along the way. Plus, it helped that it was rainy and overcast to set the melancholy mood. I like Sheep's Meadow better when no one's on it.

This spot was so calm and peaceful. I sat here for awhile (notice my feet in the bottom right corner)Shakespeare's Garden. This was quaint and adorable and I felt like I was anywhere but NYC!
Above is the Swedish Cottage Marionette Theater! Yes, I plan to attend a play asap.

The way out

Another unique gem of a car. Nice.

I'm so glad I did that walk today. There were so many nooks and paths along my way that I had never seen or noticed before. The rain helped slow me down for a change. :)

Today, On My Walk (Part 1)

First things first...ME! ha.
Why I hate people sometimes:Really, I see no reason why alcohol is legal. Is this necessary?? Isn't the purpose of a tag or graffiti to have as many people see it? This was off an obscure path in Riverside Park.

And then there was "Maria y Hector". I bet they're no longer together now. Don't they feel stupid. ha.

Now, for some positivity. Behold, the beauty of undamaged nature and things!

Last, but not least, a few things that made me smile/laugh on the way back:I never really understood the term "curb your dog" until now. It just sounds so violent and wrong.
Something tells me this car was not purchased in NYC.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

'Tis a Gift to Be Simple

Lately, I've been feeling the need to simplify my life, de-clutter my environment, find solitude in being alone.

First, I have felt the need to change my diet a bit, meaning I have decided to stop eating meat for awhile. There was one particular week where I started to notice, or at least that week I noticed, I was eating a lot of chicken and beef. This was unintentional (I was over at others' apartments and it was the meal being shared). It hit me, then, that I wasn't even enjoying it, but it actually grossed me out a little. This week I made a ham and cheese sandwich with this delicious rosemary ham I get at Trader Joe's, and I couldn't even finish it! I also had bought some BBQ pulled pork from TJ's, and same thing happened with that. These food items had already been purchased before my realization that I wanted to go meatless for awhile. Now, I'm not about to be extreme or anything. I'm not necessarily claiming vegetarianism forever, but I'm just saying I think my body is telling me something, and I'm trying to listen. But ya know, shopping at Traders tonight was a much simpler experience, and I quite enjoyed it. Thank heaven for this grocery store, because they offer so much in the way of non-meat items and it's cheap! I love me some TJ's!

Second, I have decided to get rid of the clothes, shoes, books, etc. that I do not use or need. I stayed up till almost 3am last night, clearing out my closet and drawers of unnecessary or just really old, worn out stuff. And, let's be real; I am NOT going to read the books I bought that have been uncreased, sitting on my shelf for months and months now. I had good intentions, I did read some of them and some in part, but they're just sitting there, collecting dust while trying to make me look "cultured". I must say, I did a dang decent job, though, with reading this summer, like I planned. (Don't ask me about re-learning the guitar or the Spanish language goals, please, 'cause those never got off the ground. Another time, perhaps!). I already filled one garbage bag full of stuff, and I'm sure there's more stuff awaiting their fate. Baby steps, guys. Baby steps.

And third, I haven't been feeling very social lately. And maybe that's because it seems no one is seeking my company. Everyone seems to have their niches or their clicks, and I'm still not really in one at this point. And that's okay. Besides, I'm a full-on adult now. I shouldn't be in any "clicks", right? It's okay that I had no plans Friday or Saturday night. Oh wait--I did have plans to babysit tonight, but then that got canceled. No one text-messaged or called to see what I was up to. I actually have experienced this each place I've lived, at one point or another. And frankly, I felt this way during some of my adolescence. I have almost always been the one to do the calling, rather than be the callee. I've accepted this fact, but every once and awhile it gets to me a little. Growing up, my best friend forever lived one house over from me, yet, I was 99.99-percent of the time going over to her house (and in fact, when I go home for a visit this is still the case, though it's more understandable now, since she's married and has a child in her own house). However, I must say, since I've moved to NYC she definitely calls me more than I call her. Too bad we're too far apart to meet up and hang out on the weekend! Anyway, my point in mentioning this is that it used to get me down, this whole "not being included or involved" thing. Even though I knew and still know it isn't personal and that I do have friends who like spending time with me and I do fun, social things often, I used to let it get me down. After thirty years (at least half of that spent in the "social world"), I'm learning to appreciate my alone time. Time to myself. Time to think. Time to just be with me. I saw this on a friend's blog and had to steal it and re-share it, because it is truly perfect to how I feel and beautifully stated in a poem by the poet herself (Tanya Davis).

Society is afraid of alone, though
Like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements
Like people must have problems if, after awhile, nobody is dating them
But lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless
And lonely is healing, if you make it

So perfect. So true.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oh, What A Beautiful Morning!

Oh, what a beautiful month, actually! August has been divine, weather-wise. This time last year was the hottest, most humid week of my life and my first week in New York City. This year, so far it has rained a bit, and there has been cool breezes to enjoy. I guess a few days have been a bit on the warm/humid side, but not enough to cause memorable misery.

I'm kind of over wearing sandals, at this point. Frankly, I'm a much better dresser for the colder months, or at least I enjoy the fashion of the fall and winter much more than summer. I did, however, embrace the wearing of skirts and shorts this summer for the first time in YEARS. And I mean YEARS. My self-conscious self got the best of me over all this time. But finally, in New York City where there's a billion and one people who I walk past every day, I realized that not a single person is gonna notice my legs or care if I have noticeable spider veins on them. I managed to get a bit of a tan this way, too. That and I got super sunburned twice at the beach. I must say, though, I am beginning to feel prepared to dust off the jeans soon and where socks and shoes again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Something to Celebrate

Today marks one year for me as a dweller of New York City. I swear, the more time that passes, the quicker it goes. Does that make any sense? When I arrived here a year ago, I had some idea of what it may be like living in New York. I knew I wouldn't have a car, I knew I would be a student again, I knew I'd be poor, I knew I'd be challenged, and I knew I would learn a lot. I was right on all of those things. And after going through a year of grad school, not only surviving, but doing well at it simultaneously, and exploring and playing quite hard this summer, I feel much more confident where I stand in my life and what I am doing. Little by little, I feel more and more sure of the direction I am choosing to go. I had a sweet moment today in church that solidified that feeling for me. I also felt the feeling of gratitude. I have a fantastic life and have been so blessed.
Is it just me, or does August 15th look more like September 15th?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Four Weeks and Counting

Well, the summer is swiftly coming to a close. Week one of August has come and gone already, and I'm one week closer to my trip to London! Crazy. The last few weeks have been full of kid watching and temple working and I don't know what else. A lot of walking. I have been avoiding riding the subway this summer because it's like walking into a sauna. Nothin' but sweat and stink. So yeah, I've been opting to walk and/or ride the bus, when at all possible.

Last week I went to Madison Square Garden for my first time.

The band Arcade Fire played. I saw them once before in Salt Lake City a few years ago. I love their music and they put on a fantastic performance. It was my friend Kirsten's birthday, so we celebrated via live music.

It was a lot of fun. I haven't been to that many concerts here, yet, despite the fact that every band I could ever want to hear comes to NYC. But this city comes with a price, and a very costly one, at that. Concerts are not cheap, but I am. Ha.

Also, last week, I stepped out of my apartment to find this:

It's a movie trailer. I've seen these around the city before, but never literally right outside my front door. There were many more just around the corner. I found out that a movie called "Premium Rush" is being filmed. No celebrity sightings, though. But come next year, I'll be looking out for my neighborhood on the big screen!

Monday, August 2, 2010

SLC Visits NYC

Naomi and Dianne were here last week, and I had a blast hanging out with them. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
I became a little obsessed with a new iPhone app I had downloaded while they were here that gives photos an interesting effect, hence, the unusual colors and such. It was a great time. I love when friends come to town.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

I Got Nothin' But Time

I was writing in my journal earlier and the topic of time came up (naturally) in my stream of consciousness. It's a popular topic at this point in my life. And it'd dawned on me lately, time is one of the most precious gifts I have been given. I've come to realize over the years that life is all about time, and I've realized this very much so during this summer, as I've had quite an abundance of time on my hands. The tune "Turn, Turn, Turn" popped into my mind, and then I remembered that song actually stems from an Old Testament scripture (that's a sign I need to start reading the scriptures). So, I looked it up and will repeat it here, because it's pretty fantastic:

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Ain't it the truth?