Thursday, January 31, 2008

15 Minutes of Unrecognized Fame

So I spoke on live national television today.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

To Quote DrunkBrunch, "La Cena Buena"

I joined fellow bloggers for another NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2008 hoedown last night. Still reeling from my crazy day in the office, I tried my best to remain calm when I really wanted to call all of my family members and best friends and jump around in the street on my cell phone.

We met at Rosa Mexicano for what DrunkBrunch has already dubbed "La Cena Bena" on her blog. She has a pretty good summary of the evening so if anyone wants to read about it, I'll let her tell it. And posts like this are why I love FeistyRed - oh, and this, and this, and this.
And this, too. And this. And I'm done for now ... after this.

I will, however, include the camera phone photo ops of my own food.

The appetizer from my three-course prix-fixe dinner

The entrée from my three-course prix-fixe dinner

The dessert from my three-course prix-fixe dinner

Which in typical Katie fashion, I began to devour before I remembered to take a picture of it and before I subsequently inhaled it and began picking at the desserts of my blogger friends. This is also a good place to mention that the quote selected for me by my sorority sisters in college was: “Hey … are you going to eat that?”

I love NYC Restaurant Week!

Monday, January 28, 2008

The City of Diverse Moments

Last night, I had dinner with my new Giant friend. He was running some last minute errands in Manhattan before the team was to leave for Phoenix today and wanted to grab a bite to eat.

I chose a small, inconspicuous Mexican restaurant near my apartment to avoid a scene, and as we were finishing up dinner, a police officer approached the table, "I'm sorry to bother you, but do you play football?" [Clearly not directed at me]

My friend's response: "Yes."

"I knew it!" he exclaimed, "You're [name removed]!" And turning to his partner, "I told you it was [name removed]!"

His partner, approaching the table: "I thought it was you, too, but we were like, 'What's [name removed] doing in this little restaurant in Harlem?"

Then there was a lot of handshaking and, "Bring the Super Bowl back to New York," and "It's an honor to meet you," before they walked away talking about how they couldn't believe it.

Then, the restaurant sent over two Tequila shots on the house. So much for avoiding a scene, but I did appreciate the Tequila.

And today, I had my final presentation for the Founder and the CEO at my company. I stood in the executive conference room as my visual aides flashed on a screen, my palms sweated buckets and I somehow found the words I had been practicing for weeks but momentarily thought I had lost. A few hours ago, I learned I would be on national television. A sudden whim of the Founder's.

Only in New York can you dine with someone headed to play in the Super Bowl, present to a celebrity mogul, and learn you'll be on national television - all within 24 hours. Ok ... maybe stuff like this happens in L.A., but never before to people like me and not once in North Carolina. Regardless, no more details regarding the three will appear in this blog!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Jolly New York Giant

So my girlfriends and I ended up partying last night with a promoter at a club in the Meatpacking District, who was hosting a table for a few of the New York Giants.

This is my hand next to that of one of their starting defensive players.
Holy moly.

Hope those hands can bring a Super Bowl back to New York.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Phone Photo Op - Public Service Announcement regarding Public Sexual Acts

Below is a public service phone photo op to warn you about the consequences of performing fellatio in a car parked under a street lamp in the Meatpacking District.


It probably didn't help that one of my friends - in her drunken stupor - yelled, "Oh my God! That girl was giving that guy head!" just as we walked by and the subsequent undercover sting operation ensued.

I wonder if this couple was influenced by the sumos in Midtown.

Phone Photo Op - Questionable Advertising

Earlier this week (and ironically a few days just before this), I noticed this billboard in midtown while taking car service back to Harlem following late evening errands for my boss. So "Devil Wears Prada," I know.


And I realized this advertisement could be interpreted two ways.

Knicks vs 76ers = Bad Team vs Another Bad Team

I've become a Knicks fan by default. At least there is only one New York team to pick from in basketball - unless you want to count the Nets, who will eventually be in Brooklyn. I chose the Yankees because I like their uniforms better, and a Giants fan was born on December 29 because I sat in the stadium and watched the underdog put up a good fight against the undefeated Patriots. All very girly reasons to root for one particular team over another.

So at last night's game with Iris, Cassie and a friend of hers, we were delighted when they beat the 76ers, which isn't a big deal, if you let real sports fans tell it. But hey, our tickets were free (courtesy of one of the team's coaches); thanks to the Giants, I now know that I love drinking beer and actually paying attention at a live sporting event; and I'm a Knicks fan by default!

How many hockey teams does New York have? Do I have to pick between more than one?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Restaurant Week Winter 2008 - Aspen

I met with Annisha, Gina B., Debasha and Tasha at Aspen last night to enjoy their $35 Prix Fixe Menu for NYC Restaurant Week Winter 2008. I chose the Warm Goat Cheese & Arugula Salad, Tasha and I shared the Pan Roasted Chicken and the Wild Salmon, and I ended up eating the remainder of everyone else's desserts ... so Snow Capped Cupcakes, Sorbet/Gelato and Pumpkin Flan. Add a few bottles of wine and lots of laughter. Equals another one of those New York nights that I always wanted.

At some point, as the last bottle of wine was drying up and some were on their third or fourth glasses of sangria, and I was picking the dessert crumbs off of everyone’s plates, I suddenly thought of Annalisa. I’m not sure why, but I remembered a promise I had made to her via a blog comment. I had promised that I would have a drink for her one night in New York City.

“So guys,” I said, as soon as there was a break in the laughter. “There is a woman in California, who reads my blog [this sounded super nerdy to say out loud, but none of my friends snickered or raised an eyebrow] and has always wanted to live in New York, but she began a life as a mother instead. I promised her awhile ago that I would have a drink for her in the city. So can we toast Crazy Mom of Three?”

"Sure!" everyone said. Odd requests are generally not questioned by my crew once the adult beverages begin to flow.

I raised my glass and my friends raised their glasses without hesitation.

“To who again?” Gina asked, her eyes glazed over by her sangria.

“To Crazy Mom of Three,” I replied, holding my glass aloft.

“To Crazy Mom of Three!” we all said in unison.

We live in a world where technology has the capability to connect across continents people who have never met. It’s kind of amazing. So are my friends.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

"Things I Love" Thursdays - My Friends

I just want to take a moment to blog about how much I love my friends. How lucky I am. How I love this New York life, despite the outrageous cost of mediocre-to-poor living conditions, the horrific commutes and city grit. Because out of the ruff of it all, I have great friends to fill it with all of the cliché moments that make you love life.

When I returned from England last Sunday and my cell phone reconnected with Verizon Wireless towers for the first time in a over a week, I had 11 voicemails and 77 text messages. Jessica and Kamata sang "Happy Birthday" together. Jamario and Stephanie left a joint birthday voicemail. Daphne left her trademark oration regarding the blessedness of my day. Those were the ones that definitely stood out.

Roughly half of the texts were from New York club promoters sending mass messages regarding nightly Manhattan hot spots. Various versions of: "Free entry and comp bottle service on my list at the door." A cellular salute to the aquisitively exclusive New York nightlife. But the other half were from friends who thought of me on my birthday or couldn't wait for me to get back to New York.

Some of my favorite text messages:

"Happy Birthday 2 u, happy birthday 2 u, happy birthday dear K8T, happy birthday 2 uuuuuu! If we aren't married by the time we turn 30-I'm asking u 2 marry me:-)"

"We're missin our girl! Hurry up and come back!"

"Happy Birthday girl! We're doing it up big when you get back to ny."

"Ur gay ass Giants earned themselves another ass kickin by the Patriots on Feb 4th! Go Randy Moss!>!:->"

And now I am leaving to join five girlfriends at Aspen on West 22nd Street for our Restaurant Week reservation. Good food, fine wine, great friends and a fabulous Manhattan.

"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Comparing Ends

Cullowhee, NC. 2003. Rickey and I had not spoken in two weeks. Following a fight over his attempt to illegally fill a forged prescription for pain medication, I had been ignoring his phone calls from Augusta, Georgia. I wanted him to feel like he was losing me, like his behavior was destroying all we'd ever had. And if he didn't get his life together, there wouldn't even be a friendship left. I wanted to make him suffer a little. How immature it seems now. How stupid it seemed immediately after the phone call.

When his father's name flashed the incoming call on my cell phone, I assumed it was Rickey. That his cell phone had been turned off yet again. That he was using his father's phone as he had numerous times before. I remember the last thought I had just before I heard the Earth crack in two: "Ok. I'll talk to him now."

The thing that perplexed me the most after Rickey died is that no one else's world came to a deafening halt. The Western Carolina Men's Basketball Team still left for their WCU Canadian Tour a few days later. My best friend still left North Carolina a few days later for her role in "Mother Divine," which WCU was producing in New York.

After the funeral in Augusta, our friends went back to their lives, and much to my amazement, life went on around me. And my mother temporarily moved into my apartment to fully devote her time to helping me get on with mine. Brushing my hair for me or running my baths whenever the simple act of looking in the mirror would bring me to tears. Giving me pedicures while I stared at the ceiling. Finding shows on television when the remote in my hand idled listlessly on the TV Guide Channel. Forcing me to eat when I actually valued the sharp hunger pangs that dulled the intense pressure crushing my heart. It's like my mind could only accept so much anguish at one time. As if soothing the throb in my stomach, allowed my mind to fully bear the agony in my chest. I preferred to feel hungry.

Much of the day after - and the days in the wake of - his death are blurred in my mind, but some moments are clear, defined in the creases of my memory. I remember laying in the bathtub and listening to a repetitive drip ripple on the surface above my feet. If I focused on the tiny sound of the drip and magnified the echo in my mind, I could make the bathroom tiles stop spinning.

I fought sleep because each time I awoke, I had those first fuzzy moments where I had to realize he was gone all over again. There are few things worse than having a dream where everything is alright and waking up in a reality where everything isn't. And then more tears. I cried so much that I began sobbing to my mother about how I didn't want to cry anymore. It is a painful thing to cry because you can't stop crying.

Terrence, a member of Rickey's former basketball team and a good friend of mine, held fast in his vigil by my side, literally and figuratively. On that first night of the rest of my life without Rickey, Terrence sat in the living room with my roommates all night long while I laid motionless in my bedroom between brief fits of tears and even briefer moments of restless sleep. He sent letters and postcards from Canada during the basketball tour. He called every morning and every night. And when the team returned a few weeks later, I could feel him reading my moods. He and I still wonder how that innate need to take care of me sprung out of no where.

That day, after I received the devastating phone call from Rickey's father and news spread across campus, Terrence was at the foot of my bed immediately after basketball practice. Unlike everyone else who tried to touch me, hug me or offer consoling advice that day, he sat there unmoving in the evening darkness of my room for what may have been an hour. I can't remember how long. I know that he listened to me cry. That he listened to me breathe. And then he listened to me cry again. I know that just before he left my room and joined the growing group of friends and a few university staff gathering in the living room that he said something I will never forget. I have carried it with me since.

New York, NY. 2008. As I walked to work this morning, the front pages of every newspaper featured Heath Ledger. The wake of the day after. And while the world is pausing long enough to read the latest news of his untimely death while they sip their coffee and google updates during breaks at work, I know that other headlines will take his place tomorrow. He'll have a few things that Rickey didn't, like memorial tributes at this year's awards shows, entertainment television documentaries chronicling his last days, and piles of flowers on his Soho doorstep placed delicately by fans. But all of the normal things will continue.

I remember wanting to scream at the world for all the things that I no longer felt mattered. Getting out of bed. Hearing the trash man on the curb. Seeing the postman deliver mail. Life went on.

That's life. It makes history. It repeats itself. It brings back memories. It is what it is, if that means anything at all. I don't always like where it takes me, but I try to hang on through the ride.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Endings on Repeat

The news of Heath Ledger's death spread like wildfire in our office just moments ago. Already, his death date has been updated on Wikipedia. The speed of information technology is amazing.

My coworkers perused TMZ, MSNBC and other celeb/news sites for the latest breaking news. I was not so much shook by the fact that a young (my age, in fact) Oscar-nominated celebrity had died, but that he died in an apartment downtown. Suddenly it made New York seem really small knowing that someone I've noticed in films since 10 Things I Hate About You had died just hours ago and only a few miles from where I currently work at my desk.

I vaguely overheard one of my coworkers say something along the lines of, "Apparently Michelle [Williams] is completely inconsolable. But she had kicked him out for excessive drug use. Why would you be that torn up over losing a drug addict that you weren't even with anymore?"

I just turned away while the chatter continued and went back to my desk. I didn't say anything, but I do know why.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The London Post

"... And all them other cats you run with, get dumb with, dumb quick,
How the f*** you gonna cross the dog with some bum shit?
There go the gun click, nine one one shit
All over some dumb shit, ain't that some shit
Y'all n***** remind me of a strip club, cause every time you come around ..."

On Sunday, January 13, I looked at Terrence and raised an eyebrow. Pointing upward at the speaker system in the Birmingham Indoor Arena (NIA), I said, "They're playing the unedited version of this song?"

On the court below, top seeded teams of the BBL Cup 2008 were warming up for the final game. Terrence had just finished shooting in the Molten Three-Point Shootout with nine of the other "finest 3-point shooters in the BBL," and we were sticking around to watch the championship match. He didn't win the grand prize, which we could have used for our trip to London the following Tuesday, but I'm sure he was honored to be among the 10 league players in the contest.

As children ran up and down the aisles of the arena, waving #1 foam fingers and team banners, Terrence replied, "Yea. I was shocked the first time I realized that, too. But it's kind of like how there is porn on regular TV."

We discussed how there seems to be less offense taken to arbitrary things over here. Americans generally seem more conservative, which is somewhat ironic given our basic freedoms. That's probably why things like alcohol, sex and swearing might be more appealing to young people in the U.S.; there is such a taboo attached to them. This could be argued either way, of course, but we chose to find humor in the afternoon.

"But that couldn't have been the issue,
Or maybe they just sayin that now cause they miss you
Shit a n**** tried to diss you
That's why you layin on your back, lookin at the roof of the church
Preacher tellin the truth and it hurts"

"They're playing DMX ... unedited ... at a sporting event ... with families ..." I said, half talking to Terrence, half thinking out loud. He nodded, "Yep."

"That's awesome."

Moments, later Dr. Dre and Eminem came over the loud speakers. Terrence and I looked at each other and just started laughing. With every curse word or inflammatory remark, we laughed harder and harder until I was almost in tears.

It reminded me of when I studied in Spain for a semester in college, and my American classmates and I were amazed that an extremely erotic sex scene of a movie was playing on every television screen in the electronics section of a high-end department store. We were the only ones in the crowd who actually stopped and paid attention.

Since landing in London on the afternoon of January 12 (following a 3-hour delay the prior evening at JFK because of suspicious luggage), I had already experienced a handful of eyebrow-raising moments. After Terrence's home game that Saturday evening, the team gathered for the post-match meal and cocktails at a nearby hotel restaurant and bar. While I mingled with some of the other players and their wives and girlfriends, Terrence was sitting across the room with the head coach and his wife.

"I know what was wrong tonight," she said to him (the team had just lost). "When was the last time you saw that young lady over there?"

"September," Terrence replied.

"No wonder," she said. "That is what you should have done before the game."

Other things I noticed while in England:
- The British take basketball very seriously.
- The F-word is roughly equivalent to "damn."
- Sidewalk is pavement, bathroom is toilet, game schedule is fixture, call is ring, cell phone is mobile, trunk is boot, gasoline is petrol, pants are trousers, french fries are chips, potato chips are crisps.
- The exchange rate from U.S. dollars to pounds sucks.
- A lot of people drive Bentleys (Leceister and London), Maseratis and Aston Martins (London); Mercedes and BMWs are common; generally a smaller, practical car is preferred.
- 90 miles an hour on the highway is slow.
- The English may be second in alcohol consumption to the Irish.
- Chicken Mayo Bacon & Sweet Corn (breast of chicken & Dutch bacon mixed with sweet corn & bound in rich mayonnaise) is my new favorite sandwich filling.
- Sometimes round-abouts make sense, but often they don't.
- The wide staircases and hallways of The Park Lane Hotel on Piccadilly [where we stayed for my (early) birthday present: a sightseeing trip to London on Tuesday, January 15] are almost like those in The Shining; and it's an old building so it's creepy and fun (T took pictures of me at the end of a long hallway with my hair hanging over my face like the girl from The Ring).
- Leicester has a severe addiction to stop lights; I challenge anyone to drive through the town without hitting red lights within 50 feet of each other.
- It rains a lot.

I turned 28 on Friday (January 18) - my second year into my Late 20s. Twenty-seven in New York City and 28 in England. Not so bad for this life. A year ago tomorrow, I had a conversation with a coworker about life decisions, specifically my long distance relationship with Terrence and the separate lives we were choosing.

For a few days last week, I felt like I could drop my New York life entirely and follow Terrence around the world on his overseas adventures. But when I saw the halos over Manhattan glowing under the purple night sky on the return descent into JFK, I was reminded of why I chose to become a New Yorker.

As I disembarked from the plane, I thought about how Terrence and I have become a commuter couple in a relationship filled with last looks. New York-Atlanta; New York-Sacramento; New York-Seattle; New York-Florida; New York-Leicester (England).

I passed through customs, claimed my bags and looked toward New York.

Friday, January 11, 2008

This is Katie signing off in New York City.

Leaving shortly to catch an 11:45pm flight from JFK to Heathrow (I booked car service with a portion of the $100 in cash that my boss left in a birthday card on my desk this afternoon; how many times can I say how cool my boss is?). More from England ... or from Harlem when I get back.

Eternal Battles of the Insatiable Appetite

To further embrace the healthier lifestyle I have been more-fully adopting since August 2007, I substituted whole grain over the “everything” for my Friday morning bagel with Lox cream cheese after I left the gym. And I chose an orange over the Friday morning nonfat café latte from Starbucks, which my wallet appreciated, and proceeded to the office.

And then moments ago, Sam appeared outside my cubicle: “There is pizza in the kitchen.”

Damnit …

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Know How You Like [It]

Regarding a clean bathroom, that is the sweetest thing a man can say to a woman with undiagnosed mild OCD. I called Terrence this evening to let him know that I could not find the XXXXL items from Foot Locker that he wanted me to bring to England. I had been to two different Foot Lockers in the city and could only find up to XXXL on the days that I went.

“That’s because all the short dudes, who don’t really need them, want to wear big clothes,” he said. At 6’9” with a 7’1” wingspan, clothes shopping can often present a challenge. After some brief chitchat regarding my travel preparations, I said, “Let me call you later so I can enjoy this pedicure.”

A few minutes later, he called me back, “Are you ok?”

It is generally easy to gauge my moods, but I was reminded of how he can read me like no one else can – even from across the Atlantic Ocean, “Just a little stressed.”

“Why?” he asked. I replied that I was just trying to wrap up everything at work, run my own errands and get the list of United States items he had requested [e.g. Texas Pete hot sauce, a framed photo collage of me (a belated-Christmas/birthday present per his specific request, which I have felt like a total narcissist creating), Lupe Fiasco and Cassidy’s newly-released CDs, in addition to the long-sleeve thermals].

“Let those be the last of your worries,” he said, “If you can’t get it all, don’t worry about it. Enjoy your pedicure and relax. I’m going to go clean this bathroom (he shares a 4-bedroom house with three of his BBL teammates).”

“Don’t forget to scrub under the toilet seat,” I laughed.

“I’ve got this,” he replied. “I know how you like the bathroom to be. I’ll call you later.”

I spent the rest of this evening at my apartment with Ra (a shoe designer from Orlando) and Mayra (an international manufacturing, research and multimedia supervisor from Ecuador by way of NC – yet another Carolinian up here), who came up to Harlem to enjoy cheap manicures and pedicures, a large bottle of Trader Joe’s wine and take-out while I packed for my trip. At some point during the random girl talk, Mayra said in her gorgeous South American accent, “I am so glad I found good friends in New York. I was so afraid I wouldn’t.”

I thought of my blog and all the young, unmarried women like us, striving to make it in New York City because we couldn’t find the life we wanted anywhere else. Queue cliché quote from my favorite episode of “Sex and the City”:

"It would be childish of us to deny that our lives weren't changing. But for this night, none of us were going anywhere. That's the thing about really good friends and a really great Manhattan."
~ Carrie Bradshaw

New York knows how I like it.

Bankers at Play

After reading about the Bear Stearns squash tournament iin Grand Central Station on Joe.My.God, the following email correspondence ensued.

From: (Me) [mailto:(email removed)]
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 1:31 PM
To: (Name Removed) [mailto:(email removed)]
Subject: Ummmmm?

What the heck are yall up to over there?


From: (Name Removed) [mailto:(email removed)]
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2008 3:11 PM
To: (Me)
Subject: RE: Ummmmm?

That’s all we do over here, play games…

"Things I Love" Thursdays - NYC Bloggers

I love that there are millions of us experiencing this city in different ways and living to blog about it. But I also love that sometimes a few of us are blogging about the same damn thing at the same damn time. Then again, it is a city of 8.2 million residents living within 322-square miles (all boroughs withstanding) and a large portion of those 8.2 million working within the 22.7-square miles of Manhattan, 5-7 days a week. The odds are in favor of running themes throughout NYC blogs.

MTA (general incompetence)
A Casual Look (Dec. 10)
This is a No. 2 Express Train (Dec. 7)
The long, slow trek from Coney Island to Jamaica brings home a C-minus* (Dec. 5)

MTA (performers)
Subway Hottie* (Dec. 23)
Subway Gymnastics (Dec. 21)

MTA (rush hour)
Please Use All Available Doors ... If You Can Get There Before I Shut 'Em (Jan. 7)
The 1 Train Sucks Lately* (Jan. 7)
Applause on Subway platform (Jan. 3)

Yet Again, 1 Train Makes Me Want to Kill Kittens (Jan. 10)
A Post-Holiday Carol (Jan. 9)
Random Musings (Jan. 9)
Winter Temps Revisiting Retirement (Jan. 9)

Corporate Calories & Gift Exchanges (well, that's everywhere) / Holiday Party Overload (more likely in the city)
Corporate Holiday Spirit (Dec. 22)
Cabs are Nice (Dec. 20)
Don't Count Calories (Dec. 20)
What I Love About New York (Dec. 20)
Karma (Dec. 19)

AYO! I'm Tired of Using Technology
"Happy New Year" is a presumptuous phrase, no?" (Jan. 2)
Ringing in the New Year in Times Square (Jan. 2)
Me Phone Knows Me Too Well ... It Must Be Destroyed (Dec. 26)

Blogger Happy Hour (because some of us decided to be in the same place at the same time ... on purpose)
Blog Business Cards (Dec. 19)
Morning After Blogger Beers & Secret Service Soiree (Dec. 19)
What, your happy hours don't last until 11pm? (Dec. 19)
Things I Regret from Last Night (Dec. 19)

*Granted, these are subway blogs

"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Winter Temps Revisiting Retirement

The warm weather is back ... in my second January in New York City (last year's January 5th colleague reactions).

The ads for the Scottsdale Take Pitty on Me! Contest, which currently line the wall adjacent the Times Square shuttle to Grand Central, tend to lose their appeal in this warm wintery weather.

From the contest website:
"Tired of shoveling snow? [No.] Ready to wave bye-bye to wind chill? [Could always do without, but haven't had to deal much.] Done with frozen nose hairs and snotsicles? [Meh. I always look forward to those.] As temperatures plummet in the north this winter [or once or twice in January], Scottsdale will be enjoying sunny blue skies and warm winter days. Enter the Take Pity On Me Contest and you could win a trip to thaw out in Scottsdale! Just submit photos or a video of yourself suffering in the worst winter weather conditions [can I Photoshop myself into an Antarctica scene?] and you could win a trip to sunny Scottsdale!"

Visit for more information*

*Unpaid advertising opportunity under the pretext of editorial content.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Phone Photo Op - NYC Real Estate: You Do Not Get What You Pay For

The giant, leaking hole ... in the hallway ... across from the front door ... to my 350-square foot studio apartment ... for which I pay $1200 in rent ... every 30-31 days.


Monday, January 07, 2008

Please Use All Available Doors ... If You Can Get There Before I Shut 'Em

Dear MTA,

I understand that rush hour is a busy and hectic time for your staff. However, if your conductors are going to instruct passengers to use all available doors and then immediately thereafter shut the doors promptly before one can get to the next nearest available door, maybe the conductors should consider leaving the closing doors open a few seconds longer so that passengers can use the other available doors.


P.S. And please stop telling me that there is another train directly behind this one ... when there isn't.

P.P.S. And about that other thing ...

Thursday, January 03, 2008

The Moments That Make the Ride

Have you ever wanted to run through the streets of New York screaming? I have and I did. As I recall, very few people paid any attention to me. And granted, it was the one night of the year when 90% of the city's population was looking, doing or watching what would normally be considered weird by society’s standards.

And just like on Halloween, my best friend did it again. She tricked me into believing that her late-night phone call was just an average chat. It was indeed not an average chat, and now I am wide awake, can’t sleep and am up blogging.

“You sound like you’re already in the bed,” she had said when I answered my cell. I was (and thinking of the 5:30 a.m. alarm prepped to send me off to the gym) but for her I make exceptions so I responded, “I am. What are you doing? You back in Jersey?”

“No, still in Atlanta [three days each week, she is filming new episodes of ‘Tyler Perry’s House of Payne’ scheduled to air sometime in the near future]. I just got back from having dinner with Shameika and Scott,” she replied, “How’s your 2008 been so far?”

I think I said something like lovely or fabulous, and I had a quick flashback of my all-night-and-into-the-next-morning New Year’s Eve/Day. For a second, I wondered if I had returned her New Year’s midnight phone call, which I had missed because of Veuve Clicquot (this hot French guy I know). Then, I remembered that I had left her a voicemail shortly thereafter. Rather than relay first-of-the-year details, I just yawned: “How about yours?”

“I would say it’s starting pretty well considering that today Tyler Perry offered me a role in his next movie.”

I bolted upright in my bed. I am glad I don’t sleep on a loft in my tiny studio. Otherwise my head would have gone through the ceiling. Out of respect for her professional privacy and that of our friendship – as with other good news and discrete moments we’ve shared – I won’t go into the details of our conversation in this blog. Suffice it to say it included a lot of laughing and crying and ended in reminiscence of the last decade.

Tokii: “Can you believe it?”
Me: “Yes! [pause] I absolutely believe it! It’s just that I have been waiting almost 10 years to hear you tell me that you have been offered a role in a major film project.”
Tokii: “Wow. You just put a whole new perspective on this for me ...Ten years.”

I thought of the seemingly endless rehearsals she endured at WCU while I waited for her in our dorm room watching late-night television (I usually didn’t make it to see her return). I thought about how she busted her ass taking more than the customary 15 credit hours each semester so she could graduate in 3 ½ years. I thought of the play she worked so hard to script, direct and choreograph as part of her senior year project; it was a raving success and she received many local accolades. I thought of the nights she spent working as a security guard before she finally auditioned for The Juilliard School. I remembered how confident I was that she would get in. I was almost arrogant about it and had to back off a little for fear that I might jinx her talent. When she told me she had received the acceptance phone call, I was absolutely delighted but barely excitable (I had already gotten over the initial exhilaration of Tokii attending the legendary school for the performing arts when she had first told me she was going to audition). I think I had replied, “Girl, I know.” I thought about the grueling schedule she endured while studying in New York City, which often pushed her close to her breaking point, but would ultimately prepared her for the real, bitter - and often cruel - world of acting. I thought of her fourth-year showcase and graduation with scholastic distinction, a recognition for completion of an honors program for exceptional undergraduate performers and composers who wish to expand their scholarly activity by engaging in an extended independent research project in their senior year. All those thoughts and everything that has happened in New York since her graduation in May streamed through my mind within a matter of 10 seconds.

"We have been through some things," I said as I briefly thought of Rickey and remembered my one-year, three-job struggle to save money to move to New York. Without hesitation, she replied, “Yea, we have.”

"I mean, there will be more things to go through.”

We’re both smart enough to know (and I’ve watched Tokii and her classmates go through enough to know) that an acting career is a roller coaster of peaks and valleys, highs and lows, big breaks and breakdowns.

“Oh, of course,” she said. “That is for sure.”

Laying back on my pillow, smiling at the ceiling, I responded, “But moments like this are what make it all worth it. These are the moments that we live for."

These are the moments that we sometimes create, that sometimes we wait for, and that sometimes just happen unexpectedly. I’m so grateful that I have family and friends who will celebrate mine as eagerly and sincerely as I celebrate theirs, who will be there for each other through every twist, dip and loop of this ride we call life. These are indeed the moments we live for.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, your body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming, ‘Woo hoo! What a ride!’”

I hope I am screaming the loudest.

UPDATE: Tokii may not be able to take the role because of a Connecticut-based play in which she is starring.
UPDATE: Tokii was unable to take the role in A Family That Prays, but did take a part in Madea Goes to Jail. You can follow her work under her stage name: Bobbi James.

"Things I Love" Thursdays - The Gym

I love going to the gym in the morning before work. However ...

While I commend the 2008 road to fitness paved with good new-gym-membership intentions, which many New Year’s Resolution-ists are currently attempting to trudge, I am looking forward to the months when the new crowd begins breaking their initially determined and earnest pledges. The mirrors and hairdryers were crowded this morning, and I was almost late to work.

I am sure the 2006 regulars felt the same way about me when I joined my company’s corporate gym membership with Equinox in January 2007 and began crowding the regulars’ informally claimed areas. And consistent with the natural cycle of gym life, eventually a few of this year’s newbies will become oldies with the rest of us, and we will again share the annoyance of the temporary gym attendance surge when the 2009 New Year's Resolutions kick in.

While I sincerely encourage overall health and wellness for the general population (especially my family, friends and coworkers), the odds of continued overcrowding in the locker room are in favor of the regulars' comfort and ability to apply makeup without elbowing someone else in the ear.

“Between 55% and 65% of new gym members drop out in the first three to six months, according to a 2003 study published in the European Journal of Sports Science.”

Equinox knows this so I doubt they’ll be remodeling to enlarge the women’s locker room anytime soon. In the meantime, I guess this gym rat will just have to wake up a little bit earlier.

"Things I Love" Thursdays are inspired by "I Love New York" (BNY, February 14, 2007).

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

First (Maybe Only) Freeze of '08

It is so cold outside right now (at least for this New York transplant who has yet to experience a truly harsh New York City winter thanks to the "earth-warming gremlins who've been hired by Al Gore to win him awards*"), my entire face chapped during my evening commute. I just finished lathering my face with Vaseline.

Quite a contrast from this last year.

However, I did warm up while laughing at this in my not-warm-enough-because-the-building-management-is-stingy-with-the-heat apartment.

*BNR Theory

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

On the Brink of 2000-Great

"On the Brink of 2000-Great"
Last night's theme and multiple plays on words per our circle of NYC friends and associates

After shots, schmoozing and the televised Times Square countdown to midnight champagne toasts at Kevin’s gorgeous Bleecker Street apartment, my girls and I left the West Village around 2:30 a.m., argued with some drunk chics over a cab on Seventh Avenue, checked out an after-hours party at Kush on the Lower East Side, almost joined friends at Puck Fair at 4 a.m., but instead found ourselves speeding through the Lincoln Tunnel in a black Suburban around 5 o'clock and in a random New Jersey diner around 7:15. I finally made it back to Manhattan around 6:30 tonight.

Clicquot camera phone photo op. My nail polish matched my dress, which was pretty awesome since I found my New Year's Eve dress yesterday with only a few hours to spare after I had already gotten a manicure.