7.30.2015

I live inside an iron.

It just rained, which means all of the wrinkles in this city should be steamed out completely. Instead of it getting less humid and cooling down like I'd hoped, it just amped up the whole sweaty experience.  Now I know why they call it an urban jungle!!!

I'm fuming......literally.
My favorite thing so far is biking behind a bus. Oh that's just lovely. The hot concrete and hot air shooting out the tail pipe of the bus...the lovely noise of the bus completes the zen like tranquility of animalistic panic taking over....it happened yesterday and my entire body immediately drenched itself in sweat as a protective shield...like some kind of tropical fish in a barrier reef poofing into a stinky spikey ball for surivival....where as I'm a slimy gross mess instead of a cool spike ball.

Pretty soon I won't have skin left, as I'm pretty certain it's melting off every time I take a shower, like a bad horror movie.

If only I had a big lake to jump into. Sigh.....;)

7.24.2015

Wednesday morning

6:25am marimba ipad alarm goes off...soothingly crescendo-ing in and out...a meditative trance...like an old friend I once knew well welcoming me into active life again...and I look over at my sleepy husband and kiss his curly locks and take a deep breath in...he smells like sleep....there's a grumble, his body...not his face, makes a deep rumbling noise into his pillow  with a meaning of "I love you, have a nice day, see you tonight, don't worry I'll cook dinner" but sounds kind of like a....fog horn in the distance...it's a daily comfort...I kiss his curly haired head and figure out with confusion at being almost awake how to stand up.

6:30am bathroom stuff..you know..boring...except the large amount of sunscreen I slather on my face every morning now.  I'm getting wrinkles around my eyes.  I kind of secretly like these wrinkles because I'm no longer getting unnecessarily hassled and carded at bars and liquor stores and am hopefully never mistaken ever again as someones lost child at a library by a homeless man, ugh....but back to the sunscreen...I do believe the sun is harsher here...maybe it's the reflection off the intensely hot streets and sidewalks when I'm biking and walking around the city...less trees, more concrete, like a giant easy bake oven cooking me from the outside in.  Sometimes I apply a layer of coconut oil to my drying wrinkled lines, completing my curiosity of what it feels like to be a cooking turkey, all I need is a good basting every 30 minutes and I'll be ready to eat by Christmas.



6:35-6:40am I somehow sleepily wander from the bathroom to the kitchen to grab my bike bag and keys, put on my helmet and bike gloves...the bike gloves are a critical part to feeling bad ass, being bad ass is necesary for what is about to happen next in my day.  I always believe I am doing this 'leaving for work thing' in a ninja like stealthy state of silence, that Rodolfo can't hear every single STEP as I CREAK from CRANKY moaning floorboard to floorboard and gently SLAM our gigantic HEAVY door shut and CLAMOUR the RICKETY metal lock with my key, securing my sleeping, beautiful, darling of a man into what I believe is a caccoon of safety...but is probably yet one more annoyance keeping him from dreams of lemon pies and paltas hanging on trees by the ocean.

 


6:45am I walk one short stone staircase down to where our landlord has given us permission to lock our bikes beneath an alcove on the main floor.  A giant silver chain we purchased at the hardware store down the street hangs off one of the black metal staircase bars.  Every evening we have to discuss who is leaving and biking first and then lock one bike on top of the other connecting them to the chain and settling them in against the stone wall beneath the stairwell.  We are lucky we don't have to keep them in the apartment, but we do pick off cigarette butts and sticky chemical liquids from the seats occassionally, when things of that nature fall from the flights above. We are so lucky that we live on a second floor...a luxury in a town of 5-6 floor non elevator walk up apartments.  I don't know how this happened, we will probably pay for this awesomeness in some other karmic way to come.  There is an elevator with a permanent smell of urine and odd mechanical sounds if we did need it.  Kind men offer to hold the door for me as I lock my bike, which is nice; it's also nice to decline their offers and walk up my one flight of stairs as I imagine the awkward and slow climb up with the smell even more pungent with heat in the air and bodies cramped in with the harumphing box slowly moving upwards, all of us considering our impending doom one day as it finally gives out....or is this something only I consider?  I like the stairs.





6:50am We have a giant golden painted lobby the length of our entire building...it's so long and bright and confusing to me.  From the ornamented detail of gold leaf against bright white painted brick and cement, it speaks to more eloquent times, calling for lounge chairs and plush velvet sofas.  Women in ball gowns and men in fitted suits wearing gloves and hats.  Lounging and speaking in whispers, gathering at the end of the day with perhaps a tea or a cocktail.  Now, it's empty, except for the line of metal mailboxes, perhaps some empty fast food bags and piles of dust in the corners, a few cigarette butts and a few small metal signs from past times stating...."no 'this', no 'that', no ....being, having fun, lounging, speaking to neighbors, cleaning this beautiful space up and making it what it once was...ever....we ARE watching you potentially on a security camera which is here for your own good, but probably doesn't work if you actually were assaulted in this beautiful old giant echoey empty lobby of olden days.  Sometimes I hop on my bike and let it coast thru in silence from one end to the other if no ones around.  It completes my preparedness for badassness.  I like breaking empty stupid rules and it's quieter than my footsteps and the clicking of my bike chain in consideration for the neighbors still trying to sleep in their own personal coccoons along the edges of the lobby.





6:55am I break open to the city streets thru thick metal doors.  Good morning tired people walking to the bus!  Good morning cars!  Good morning sunshine!  Good morninng giant vans parked illegally in the traffic lane along the already parked cars.  Good morning car horns and loud trucks and city buses moaning and waking up themselves and I'm ready to speed into the mayhem like a bullet, fully awake with the wind in my face and the city all around me, aware of every slamming car door, watching everything...my mirror, the ground for glass, the street lights changing, ladies in bright floral suits crossing the streets from just around a parked car....danger around every car and corner and crevice.  Badassness time!  Let's get to work!  35 minute countdown begins!

7.08.2015

Butterfly

I'm a little afraid of taking public transportation here in NYC by myself.  It's like birthing stories...everyone has a horror incident perhaps involving defecation, blood, mean people, drugs... Needless to say I'm aprehensive....both with having babies and taking the train.

Today, I did it. I transported myself, and almost immediately the man sitting next to me started talking to me on the bus 5 minutes in...probably my worst case scenario coming true.

He had been occupied folding something,  I had noticed just as he was finishing something origami looking, because I was very busy staring blankly at my cell phone trying hard not to make eye contact with anyone.

He turned to me and said that I had a pretty blue bag that matched my blue eyes and that my blue eyes and bag complimented my bright yellow shirt and it made him think of butterflies. 

At first when he started talking I will admit I started scooting away. Ok.....what's this nut going to ask for?  Is this my cue to run off the bus?

But then it starting to dawn on me slowly, how he was dressed his age, how he was talking, he was a young man with a slight mental disability on his way to work and he liked origami.  That's it!  He just liked pretty colors and butterflies. How non creepy can you get?

He then told me that I should keep the butterfly as a souvenir. He had more at home. He repeated that a few times.

I took it and thanked him..cautiously waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Then we both sat and stared at our phones.

That's it!  Nothing happened. Nothing at all. Just a nice person giving another persona butterfly because he was inspired by bright colors.

Thanks karma!  I needed that!!!

6.26.2015

Gettin' schtuff dun

It's a nice feeling to be settled.  Shoot.  I even bought a clothes drying rak last week!
There is not single thing I can think of now that we still need to buy (thanks to a store called bargain hunters a few blocks away and IKEA)  I even have the pantry stocked with stuff like baking soda and flour!

Tomorrow will be the first Saturday we've even had where we have no plans set, no events to go to.  No apartments to hunt for.  No jobs to look for.  I honestly don't even know what we are going to do with ourselves for a whole day!  We may even just get bored out of our minds!  I'm looking forward to it!

Now it's just fun stuff like...hmmm...maybe I want to buy a basil plant!  Where and how would I go about doing that?!?  Don't know!  Time to find out!

Perhaps we could check out the farmers market together, or wander a new neighborhood.  The world is our oyster.

So happy summery weekend everyone!  Here's to chilling out and doing nothing!  Hoorah!

6.17.2015

Regulars

Medium, one shot skim.
Large iced coffee with room. (Ok, that one is easy, but popular!) 
Vanilla iced, 3 shots with foam on top. 

For better or for worse, I love my regulars. It's kind of a love hate thing. 
They are picky sons of bitches that expect miracles, but I give them miracles because it's a mutual appreciation love fest and I'm needy of positive attention!  ;)

Plus, there's something beautiful about seeing a stranger.....someone I'm not in a relationship with and isn't a friend required to say nice things.....this is someone who really loves and pays money for something I make them. Face to face!  That's kind of awesome!

Also, I know it works the other way. As a customer, when someone knows and recognizes me and makes a point of making me feel special, that can change a whole bad day around. That is perhaps the difference between making or breaking a job interview or a tough meeting at work. Or just having a good day.  It's important. I know when Rodolfo worked at home for a while he wouldn't talk in person to another living soul all day accept me and the barista lady down the street. 

It also creates a feeling of neighborhood.
I love my weekly conversation with the lady at the laundromat.  It's mainly non verbal. First there's smiles. Big smiles. To eachother. This is really the big part for me.  Then I say hello. More big smiles. Then she asks...."1 small?"  (1 free detergent for 1 small washing machine?)   I say yes. She hands it to me.  We do a little bow thing and more smiling.  That's it!  But I love it!!!!   So great. Just like a burst of friendly consumer happiness!  What I love the most I think is that every time she sees me, there's even more smiling and bowing from both of us exponentially, like we've both been looking forward to it all week....is it going to happen again?  Ooh!  It is!  She's still there!  I'm back again!  Yay!!!  Perhaps I should speak for myself?  Because I absolutely do!  I love my awesome happy laundromat lady!  And my librarian!  And my bank teller!  They make me feel part of something. I'm a regular!

Did I mention the love hate thing?
Working at the neighborhood spot has its drawbacks.....
Names....
I don't remember people's names. Never have. Plus....let's face it. The odds are against me. I have 100 people walk in and out the door every day and a lot of them look exactly alike!  (Sorry hipster white boys). So.....I animatedly say "Hey!  How are you?!?"  To every one equally. I deflect. I ask how babies or dogs are, but I avoid names like the plague. I avoid even first asking names from the beginning, because one day someone will walk in and say, "hello Sarah" and I will have nothin'.  No back up. Nada. I fear that day because they will feel disappointed and unloved. I don't want that to happen. Best to just avoid it completely. 

Busy mornings.....
I will make a  3 shot 2 percent mochaccino iced latte with hot soy foam on top at 3pm for anyone who asks for it, but if you dare ask me for that with 4 people behind you at 9am, you better believe I'm swearing at you silently while prepping your spro, day dreaming about spitting in your cup when you're not looking. You asshole. If you love me like you tell me you do and trust me, I love you too and truly want to believe you bestest beloved regular who I count on to come in daily, you lovely thing you, you will order an iced Americano like everyone else in line, you will know where the creamers and sugars are already, you will not ask for a lid, you will get it yourself and you will smile and say goodbye. Easy!  So easy!  Just do it...then come back at 3pm and ask for the fancy drink....becuase otherwise I'll have time to write a mean blog about the earlier mean you. It's a reciprocity thing, the mutual love.....it's part of being a regular.....you know what to order already, I know what you're going to order already.....it's our daily Schtick. Stick to the program!

Now for the love part.....
Most New Yorkers are far away from where they grew up, so except for a yearly visit to the homeland, friends are family, however, with work and commuting and yadda yadda, really, the people we see the most every day and smile and laugh with are our coworkers and the shops and stores we go into on a regular basis....Yep, the coffee shops, the fruit stand people, strangers on street corners....I don't know how many times now I've experienced a random therapeutic laugh and smile at a traffic intersection with a stranger over some crazy thing we are both seeing, it's a great feeling.  sometimes I catch someone else doing something kind hysterical, like walking into busy traffic or picking their noses, catching their eye that I saw it and then the next thing you know, we are laughing at the situation together. It's pretty great. I've had my fair share of my own embarrassing intersection moments....not sharing.  Ahem. 

So there's your coffee shop corner talk for the day. 
Don't forget to tip!




6.12.2015

summer heat

Every time the temp warms a little bit more and the humidity peaks it's head out here in NYC, there is a group harumphed statement of:

Oh.  You just wait!  The heat is coming!

Well, I've seen the movies and and comic sitcoms of college kids carrying their AC units from Best Buy to the train and up the 10 flights of stairs to their apartments and maybe even accidentally dropping them out the window.  I'm certain we will be joining them all too soon.

However, in all my uncertainty of what's actually going to be the horrors to come.

 - I think a lot of people are little weakling babies now adays when it comes to body temp and staying mellow and chill and still and just letting the breeze blow....and I don't actually enjoy AC blowing into my face all day, we've had an ac unit over the last few years, but generally only use it 2-3 days at most.

I have fond, fond, happy memories of summer miserableness for more then a decade with no AC, growing up in the Twin Cities, or as us Midwestern MN folk say, "The Cities" 

Here's a few that flash thru my mind with a feeling of euphoria....

Making gigantic pitchers of lemonade (1 cup sugar, 1 cup lemon juice concentrate, fill with water) and taking it in the backyard and drinking the whole thing with my neighbor friend Becky along with giant bowls of chips and salsa.

Making marshmallow bars, because at this very moment I've realized the brilliance of my mother in this...you don't have to turn on the oven!!!

All day trips to museums down town on the city bus....this was reserved for the super hot days we had to get out of the house and AC was a much needed treat/break.

Hiking out in State Parks under the breeze and shade of trees and camping under the moon.

Just sitting in the backyard listening to birds and cars and the sound of giant cottonwood trees swaying in the wind. 

Water gun fights

Jumping thru water sprinklers

Biking up and down our dead end street over and over again. 

Reading for hours in the basement, where the damp cement walls kept everything cool.

Growing up sans ac was a great thing, probably due to the creativity it took my mom to come up with things to do to stop our bratty whining!  Bring it on summer!  Try to make me whine!  Just try!


6.08.2015

Getting ahead...of what?

Perhaps this is a new creative writing weekly theme now every Monday, but an article in the Times has once again inspired me to elaborate on a current war of the worlds inside my mind about my existence on this planet/in this city/in this apartment on the dodgy side of Brooklyn. 

What is "getting ahead" exactly?  What are we getting ahead of?  What is it that we are getting away from that was so bad to begin with that we didn't want to do anymore? Why did we do it? What are we doing now?

Thinking about it physically in terms of a race, once a race car 'gets ahead', doesn't it either eventually get passed by another driver so it is no longer 'ahead'?  What happens after the goal is accomplished and the finish line is reached and getting ahead is just in time itself, behind us?

Perhaps this concept of 'getting ahead' was possible for the former generations of - mad men and suburbanite stay at home moms - the carrot on the stick for the buzzing worker bee to believe in, but I don't.  I now see the devastation that fallacy has had on my parents generation with broken promises and dreams of travel and adventure never lived out.  Maybe the cookie cutter cutout just doesn't fit all of us?   - Maybe it's just me being lazy and useless in my jammies not contributing to the greater good once again on a Monday morning -

In the New York Times Sunday styles section yesterday, Foster Huntington was featured in "Escape to Bro-Topia, telling the story of his fashion designer lifestyle coming to an end and choosing to live out of a van on the west coast for a couple years living off the grid and working online and then building himself a tree house to live in on his parents land.....literally living outside of the box...his tree house is octaganal...who doesn't love a good tree house story?  SERIOUSLY!

The part I don't buy into if you read the article, is that New York City is some kind of toxic poison to creativity and adventure, that if you live within the grid, you're choosing the robot life.  "Mr. Huntington soaked in the tub and reflected on his time in New York: the overpriced apartment on the Upper West Side, the corporate job, the more-more-more rush of it all.  That world seems so distant"

What he has done is no doubt awesome, and I believe in his adventurous courage and inspirational can-do attitude and what is becoming a popular unknown choice among my age group of choosing the "other" box when given choices that don't and won't make us happy.  I love all of that.  However, I think that life can be chosen and happen anywhere, not just in a tree house in the woods.  I look down from my own window and hear birds and music and street sounds that make me feel just as alive and part of something as I did standing at an overlook on the Drakensburg mountainside of South Africa or a cliff sides in the Golden Triangle of Thailand, but here I can walk half a block and buy a carton of milk after my adventure to the duck pond in the park and go to sleep in my own comfy bed....not to mention, I'm a little scared of heights.  My point is, adventures come in all kinds of packages, not just the octaganal kind. 

What I love about this article is the inspiration to choose NOT getting ahead as a life choice, but instead, choosing a simple life in the present.  One of my good college friends is currently living in a trailer home hitched up to her truck, slowly wandering thru the southern regions of the country as she works online.  Another friend recently posted photos of her tiny home she built herself recently replanted into an unknown forested region, yet another friend purchased a home in Detroit for a few thousand dollars, these people amaze me!

My/our choice for adventure is to live simply as well, to try something different and new and crazy, it just happens to be a little more permanently structured inside of a gigantic brick building overlooking other gigantic brick buildings....this is our personal tree house adventure and we came to the city exactly for  that experience, not away from it.  I believe in the inspiration to break out of the mold, go against the grain and do what feels right to your heart.  Especially if it doesn't make sense for the goal of 'getting ahead and making it big'.  

Settling down with a house and a dog and a subaru for us young folk may happen for some, but not for all of us.  Enjoying the experience of living...traveling, cooking, sharing time with friends and being present in the moment while doing some kind of work that contributes to that adventure, getting into the now, that's a concept I can get behind, not ahead of.