Monday, December 31, 2012

ode to spending time with family

when i started writing my year end letter to put in my christmas cards this year i realized that every single vacation i took in 2012 had a member of my family vacationing with me.  that has never happened since i left the nest many moons ago.  i think family time has risen to the top of the priority list in 2012.  i actively chose to spend my precious vacation days on time with members of my family.  i always knew that i loved my family tremendously but i think 2012 just solidified how much i love to SPEND TIME with them.  there can often be a big difference between loving your family and loving to spend time with them.  

so even though i worked 6 of the 7 business days i was on "vacation" over christmas this year i still loved every moment i got to be with my family.  and i want to say "you're welcome" to joani for allowing her to dive head first into mommy mode and take care of me when i was so sick.  love that my communication with her while in my sick bed was via text.  she's come a long way.  pat yourself on your back my mommy.

i look forward to my time with the family in 2013 - especially my vacay with joani and flex in europe.  time for joani to get another stamp in her passport and what better places to get that stamp than in london and paris?  and flex is just an awesome and easy going travel companion so he is going to be part of the party.  plus three is always better than two.  just remember to do and go where i tell you and we will all have a great time.

new york fun day 2012

new york fun day 2012 took place in all the hustle and bustle of new york for the holidays.  netter and i added a couple of little somethings to this year's celebration of all things touristy.  we got manicures, ate at a steakhouse, saw the vienna boys choir at carnegie hall and bought fabulous jewelry.

it was a great time to be out in the magic and wonder of christmas decorations, music, shopping, lights, etc.  grateful i had netter to share it with me.  we missed the co-founder doc enormously but know she will be joining in the 2013 festivities. 

2012 - keep calm & carry on

Greatest vacation:  Walt Disney World twice!  Went in January with friends and my brother Corey then again in October with my mom and sister Alyssa. 
Greatest family time: weekend in March visiting the 9/11 Memorial and Highline with my mom, headed to California to celebrate my cousin’s wedding, made classic grandma Jewel “bunny” cake with nephews for Easter, spent a week in July with my entire family - went to the water park, played the piano with my niece, posed for family portrait and took an hour long walk with my 3 year old niece & nephew for entertainment. And our regular Sunday night video chats.
Greatest daily distractions:  Instagram photo sharing, Draw Something playing and Spoiler TV website viewing
Greatest concerts/Broadway shows: Newsies (3x), Kelly Clarkson @ Radio City, Peter and the Star Catcher, Snow Patrol @ Terminal 5 (2x), As You Like It, The Cranberries @ Terminal 5, Into the Woods, Keane @ Beacon Theater, Ed Sheeran @ Bowery Ballroom, Once, Ed Sheeran @ Terminal 5, Paloma Faith @ Mercury Lounge, The Heiress and Alfie Boe @ Berklee Performance Hall in Boston
Greatest evidence that my friends take priority: not attending the Men’s Final @ the US Open (which Andy Murray won in five sets!) to hang out with my friend Megan when her vacation plans changed at the last minute
Greatest guilty pleasures:  Purchase of 4 pairs of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, facials @ Bliss Spa, US Open tickets, using miles to upgrade to First Class for trip to CA, drinking tea, watching TV on my Time Warner Cable iPad app and Call Me Maybe (Carly Rae Jepson)
Greatest songs played on my iPhone: the “+” album by Ed Sheeran, Burn It Down (Linkin Park), the “Our Version of Events” album by Emeli Sande, New York & Lifening (Snow Patrol), Catch My Breath (Kelly Clarkson), Amsterdam (Imagine Dragons) and Just Be (Paloma Faith)
Greatest time spent unwinding in front of my new HDTV: Revenge, Once Upon A Time, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, The Big Bang Theory, Smash, Mad Men, Grey’s Anatomy & the coverage of the 2012 Olympics in London
Greatest hours spent in a movie theater: The Avengers, The Hunger Games, The Dark Knight Rises, The Vow, Les Miserables and Skyfall
Greatest purchases in lieu of annual European vacation:  diamond necklace, Walt Disney World annual pass and Bose home theater system
Greatest New York moments: earning “New Yorker” status on Sept. 19th after a decade living in NYC, taking a bike ride through Central Park with my cousin Ali, escaping the screaming teenage girls cage outside my office because of One Direction concert, an early Sunday morning stroll through Central Park with friends who just arrived from AZ via a red-eye flight and witnessing compassion, service and kindness after the devastation of Hurricane Sandy

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

a merry white christmas

to all a merry christmas.  from the white drenched ground of my grandpappy's house in utah.

illness befalls home for the holidays

decided to party with the family for christmas this year.  woo hoo.  arrived on tuesday.  hung with clare on wednesday.  thursday was lunch with joani and grandpappy then later viewing the lights at temple square in salt lake city with the whole motley crew.  friday was all day with the monkeys, sunshine, joani and moocher at BYU.  then the illness came.

around 3:30am on saturday morning i was awoken with illness that decided to linger for three days - all the way to christmas eve.  my sister and i both caught a bug gifted to us by our nephews.  we endured stomach flu and a 103 degree fever for me.  haven't felt that ill in quite some time.  put a damper on all of our christmas revelry. 

then grandpappy caught the bug on sunday.  and today joani is dealing with the bug.  crossing fingers and toes that the remaining healthy member of the family, flex, does not succumb to the ickyness that is the stomach flu/fever combo.  need at least one person to run the household while the rest of us drown our sorrows in lots and lots of ginger ale.

a couple of pics taken at temple square prior to the christmas plague of 2012:

Friday, December 14, 2012

much too close to home

when hearing tragic news of a horrible event in the world it is somewhat natural to be disgusted yet not truly emotionally affected.  there were two instances that i can remember shedding tears for the pain and plight of an awful event - the 1999 Columbine shooting and the 2008 Chinese earthquake.  i was horrified by all of the human produced tragedies like the shootings at Virginia Tech, Colorado movie theater, sniper targeting Washington DC, etc.  however, none of these has hit as close to home as the tragic event of this morning at sandy hook elementary school in newtown, connecticut.
i have spent many, many, many hours of bliss and fun in newtown, connecticut.  my bff 4-eva clare lived and worked there for five years.  she was a nanny to two adorable little girls.  my first thought when i learned the location of the shooting was to call her to make sure the girls were ok.  thank goodness neither attended sandy hook.  but then i remembered all of the people in that community that i saw while shopping at the local target, enjoying a $1 movie at the local theater, eating with, etc who have just entered a new reality.  i hope and pray that they will be surrounded by family, friends and an army of angels.
this year seems to be a lesson in learning to cope with the devastating effects of natural disasters like hurricane sandy in my back yard and the inexplicable choices made by men who care so little that they would target people, especially children.  it honestly hurts my heart. 
last night i finally watched the barbara walters special on the most fascinating people of the year.  one of those she chose was secretary of state Hillary Clinton.  barbara asked her if there was a motto that she lived by.  secretary clinton simply responded by reciting the golden rule.  she treats people how she wants to be treated.  there's a reason that her "motto" has been called a rule.  just think how wonderful this world would be if everyone followed this one simple rule. 

Friday, November 23, 2012

movie withdrawals

i've said before that i enjoy going to the movies as often as possible.  primarily because it is the cheapest form of entertainment in new york city.  i mean it is an at least once a month event in my life.  the funny thing is that i haven't been to a movie since the first week of august.  last movie seen was "bourne legacy" at the lincoln center AMC theater.  was supposed to go to a movie tonight but the afternoon rock band and just dance 4 party wore me out that i couldn't pull myself out of my apartment to see daniel craig save the world by driving a really nice and expensive car.  

i feel like there are so many movies and so little time.  skyfall, lincoln, final twilight, etc., etc.  plus the one thing that my brother pookie has asked we do while i'm with the family for christmas is to see les miserables.  i mean, if i must, i will sacrifice my time to spend it in a movie theater listening to music that never fails to make me cry.

love me some movies.

Friday, November 16, 2012

ode to helping hands and yellow vests

Hurricane Sandy Helping Hands from Joshua Brown on Vimeo.

this video shows the efforts made by some of my family (looking at you gooch), neighbors and strangers in the rockaways after the devasting superstorm sandy blew through area.  it reminds me of something my grandma jewel and then my mother always said "many hands make light work". 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

self portrait in iPad reflection

me and my madison avenue

i ride a bus home each night.  the bus takes me up madison avenue from 50th street to 96th street.  i think i choose to take the bus home because i love looking in the windows of certain shops along madison avenue.  those certain shops include the following:

laduree macaroons @ 70th Street
graff diamonds @ 61st Street
christian louboutin @ 76th Street
dolce & gabbana @71st Street
whitney museum @ 75th Street
hermes @ 76th Street
crate & barrel @ 60th Street
vera wang @ 77th Street
valentino @ 65th Street
amsale @ 58th Street

but my absolute favorite store to look into its windows and dream belongs to carolina herrera on 75th Street.  the clothes in that store's windows beckon to me like no other.  they are so beautiful - like beacons of light in a dark and dreary world...ok, that might be a bit melodramatic.  i just love, love, love her clothes.  i could maybe only afford a belt with her name on it but a girl can dream.  so thank you carolina herrera and the other designers that broadcast their wares along madison avenue.  you make my commute home just a little bit brighter.

maybe one day i will have the courage to actually walk into one of the stores.  baby steps.

Monday, November 05, 2012

a city in light and dark

a photojournalist named iwan baan with the new yorker magazine was able to snag a helicopter with enough gasoline located in a hanger with no electricity to take some amazing shots of a city left in both the dark and the light.  the images are really beautiful and almost chilling at the same time.  (here's a link to more photos from his late night flight over the city)

photo by Iwan Baan for The New Yorker
(click for a larger view)

this place is my home and to see so many living in the dark was heart wrenching and humbling, especially as i sat in my home with power, hot water, heat and gas to cook.  i was truly amazed at the sheer number of people ready, willing and able to help our fellow new yorkers who were suffering in the dark.  the red cross literally had to turn away volunteers and donations because they didn't have the man power to sort the huge inventory of coats, blankets, clothes and shoes.  the hardest part was the locations that needed these items the most were still inhabitable or unable to be accessed because of the sheer destruction of our landscape.  

i'm not one to push my beliefs or agenda on anyone, but if you are able to donate to the red cross's efforts to help those who have lost everything, i urge you to do so.  please help any way that you can.  the website is

Saturday, November 03, 2012

alfie boe and the fan with a cane

netter and i went to see alfie boe in boston.  it was a fun concert but i must say the demographic of our fellow concert goers was somewhat older than netter and i.  like seriously older than us.  at one point alfie went into the aisles of the crowd to allow his fans to sing along with him.  when the time came for him to get back up on the stage he started running down the aisle to the stage steps.  only problem was that there was a woman who had basically made a personal wall in front of the steps so that alfie could only get up the steps if he went through her or around her.  well he did a combo and the lady ended up on the ground after doing a 360 degree turn.  the unfortunate part is that this woman was also employing the use of a cane.  poor alfie.  he took down a late middle aged woman who used a cane.  but at the same time the blame for the sprawled position can be placed solely on the fan who made a personal wall in front of the steps.  i mean if you plant yourself in front of a man running down hill then you kinda have to be prepared to end up thrown to the ground, cane or no cane.

one at a time is always best

have you ever sat down and let your mind wander until it settles on all the things you want to change about yourself or your life?  no?  well it seems like my mind likes to torture me in this way by showcasing what i want to change but because of laziness it hasn't happened yet.  i guess for most people this type of self reflection happens around the month of december and generally towards the date of the 31st of that month.  well i say why wait?  jump into the deep end of resolution to change and be a bit better right now!  who's with me?  anybody?  somebody?  one body?

there is so much pressure at new years to do all of the change immediately.  that just seems like a full proof way to burn yourself out on changing things that have been routine for probably years upon years.  instead let's take one thing at a time.  much more manageable that way.  and hopefully if the concentration is on one thing at a time then it will become habit so it is already in effect when the next month's change happens.  takes some of the worry out of whether or not you'll revert to your old self and old habits.

so now out of the many things that i want to change or learn do i choose for november....hmmm...i'm going to choose...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

who's laughing now?

for my 30th birthday my mommy asked me what i would like as a gift.  as previously posted, i am a terrible person to shop for but for this momentous birthday i knew exactly what i wanted from my joani...a 72 hour emergency preparedness kit.  woo hoo - par-tay!  joani graciously purchased the requested 72 hour kit for me.
the box arrived at my office since it is easiest to ship everything to me via my office.  i of course waited until my birthday to actually open the box.  i opened it at the office and was really excited for my gift.  my excitement drooped a bit when my co-workers started walking by and noticing my glee at my new 72 hour kit.  as most would expect, they began to mock me mercilessly because of my desire for this type of gift on my 30th birthday.  they thought i missed a great opportunity to get something good but instead chose this ridiculous gift.  well i say to them, "who's laughing now?"
since my 72 hour kit arrived new york city has had two monstrous snow storms, an earthquake, a tropical storm and now a hurricane.  hmmm, seems like someone is prepared for these natural disasters and some others aren't.  and when i say "someone" i refer to myself.  apparently i am one of the 5 virgins who is ready to greet the bridegroom with oil in my lamp. 
thanks joani for my 72 hour kit that was packed and ready to go over the last two days.  i'm sure it made you feel calm knowing i had it as much as it made me happy to have it. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

say it ain't so mr. weatherman

ok, here's the deal...i moved to new york partly because i have serious anxiety attacks when i drive in any kind of adverse weather.  this "issue" basically rules out large portions of this country that i could call home.  apparently new york city didn't get the memo about the kind of weather i would like it to provide for my piece of mind.  let's chat about what you have provided over the past 10 years of our relationship:

#1 worst snowfall ever in february 2006 with 26.9" on the ground
#4 worst snowfall ever in february 2010 with 20.9" on the ground
#6 worst snowfall ever in december 2010 with 20.0" on the ground
hurricane/tropical storm irene in august 2011
hurricane sandy in october 2012

los angeles has not done any of the above to its residents.  just saying that you have some competition so you better watch it.

the girls take disney world

me, my mommy and my little sis went to disney world.  woo hoo!  we rented a condo, i drove everywhere and we spent some quality time with the mouse and his good buddies.  the good thing is that joani and mooch basically did what i told them to do since i was the annual pass holder.  we had such a good time even when i was wheeling joani out of the magic kingdom in a wheelchair we managed to laugh and hum the "chariots of fire" theme.  i love my mommy and my moochie.

it was a good time at magic kingdom, animal kingdom, epcot and hollywood studios.  i would like to say that it was in the top 5 vacations that my mommy ever took.  the look on her face when she first saw the cinderella castle at magic kingdom was priceless.  oh the childlike wonder.

we got an extra bonus when the peeps at the magic kingdom allowed us to see the new fantasyland.  the new rides and "experiences" were up and running for a dress rehearsal.  it was really fun!  probably enjoyed the little mermaid ride the best. 

mommy got her caricature.  mooch bought her mug.  i got a shirt from england because of my british obsession.  we ate good food and slept in on sunday morning.  the favorite ride was probably the toy story ride in hollywood studios.  joani really enjoyed epcot.  mooch really enjoyed the lion king show at animal kingdom.  i really enjoyed my first class upgrades both to and from orlando.  :)

i kinda want to do this every year.  right mommy, same time next year?!?!

what happened to october?

so tomorrow is the last day of october.  i'm in a bit of a shock about that fact.  this month has been a little of this and a little of that but it added up to probably the quickest month ever.  so much of the october events were either really awesome or really wretched.  of course the month ends with a hurricane hitting my home in new york city.  

october i will wait impatiently until you return to me.  so sorry i missed you and didn't give you as much love as i generally do.  just please promise me no more hurricanes.  muchas gracias. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

just ed, me and hundreds of screaming teen girls

i've mentioned before that i HEART ed sheeran.  myself, netter and our buddy cara got tickets to attend his show at terminal 5 which occured last friday night.  i was so ready to rock out to his voice, guitar strums and loop harmonies after a long week.  we arranged to meet at 7pm when doors would open for the 7:30pm show.  when we arrived to get access to the venue we noticed not just a huge long line that wrapped the block but also the demographic that was standing around waiting.  they were teenage girls.  lots and lots of teenage girls. 
let me back up - i've now seen ed perform a total of four times in about five months.  the first three shows had a crowd comprised of people like me - professional, late 20s/early 30s somethings or ex-patriots of the UK.  we, as a concert going demographic, tend not to have a high pitched scream when we're excited or happy about a performance.  nor do we yell at every possible opportunity 'i love you ed!'  we are courteous and keep our mouths shut when the artist asks us to shush so he can sing a sappy song.  in effect, we are great group to spend hours listening to music together.  the teenage girls have yet to learn proper etiquette at ed's shows.  kinda worried they won't learn in the near future either.
for a very specific reason that netter educted me about, the young teenage girls found the magic of ed and convinced their parents to shell out $30 so they could go to his concert on a friday night in september.  apparently my buddy ed wrote a song for a little boy band called one direction.  since one direction is the boy band du jour, their fanbase will ravenously grasp anything or anyone that is in association with this precious british quartet.  hence, they found ed because he wrote songs for them and is there "mate".  which resulted in me spending my friday evening with a bunch of kids who made me feel deaf by their screams rather than the rocking goodness coming from huge speakers suspended from the sky.
one positive is the girls were all short so i had a relatively clear view of the stage.  bonus.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

ode to new york city

if i could write poetry this would be the post to bust it out.  but alas, my talents lie elsewhere.  the reason for my wish to write in verse is that today is my 10 year anniversary with new york city.  i can officially call myself a new yorker.  this city is the one place i have lived the longest consecutively in my young life.  here's a brief run down of the biggest highlights of my relationship with new york city in chronological order:
  • moved to new york with two large suitcases and a box of linens
  • my first apartment was on 92nd and 2nd street on the fourth floor of a building with a pizzeria on the ground floor
  • three weeks after moving i got a job with the NBA retired players association as a coordinator - also worked at bath & body works to supplement the income
  • new york fun day was born in december of 2002
  • in spring of 2004 i flew on my first international flight to land in paris - spent 5 glorious days in the city of lights with netter and doc 
  • survived the blackout that turned off the much needed A/C in the heat of august for three days
  • in june of 2005 i left the nba retired players association to take a job with a hedge fund
  • moved into my very own apartment in june of 2007...didn't even care that it was on the 5th floor of a walk up because it was my first home
  • took more trips to the european continent including rome, florence, london (x2), prague (x2), vienna, budapest and again to paris
  • spent 6 weeks caged in my apartment due to a broken ankle sustained at the home of my buddy clare
  • took a helicopter tour over the city with my brother flex (my gift to him for helping me move)
  • moved into my second very own apartment in 2009 and this building had laundry AND an elevator
this city is hard to live and thrive in.  if you don't absolutely love it then it makes absolutely no financial sense or common sense to continue to call it your home.  there have obviously been times that i have thought about leaving to be closer to family but i also have a family here in the city.  i'm grateful for the many wonderful people i have met throughout my 10 years in this amazing city.  that is what has made these 10 years fly by and mostly filled with happiness and joy.  the opportunity to watch amazing broadway productions and museum exhibits not to mention the great food doesn't hurt either.

i love this city.  those cheap touristy shirts that everyone has to take home really mean something to me.  i love new york.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

personal realization #12 - doc's example

like most people i have an end of day routine that includes the customary washing face, applying eye cream, brushing teeth, putting on the comfy pjs, turning off all the lights in my living room/kitchen and then grabbing my "put me to sleep" book of choice and catapulting myself onto my queen size bed.  there is one thing that i have rarely taken advantage of in my nightly routine and that is to write the days events, feelings, observations in a journal.  

my former roomie doc was a shining example of one who wouldn't end her day without taking the time, whether short or long, to document her day.  she filled up journal after journal with details of her life and those moments that were important or mundane.  i was always very impressed by her dedication.  (she also was my roomie who helped me make a habit of making my bed in the morning but that story is for another time.)  i just wish i had doc's journal writing routine as part of my evening activities.

tonight i wrote in my journal.  i do actually own one.  it generally sits on the bottom shelf of my bedroom bookcase collecting dust.  i think tonight's frame of mind spoke to the activity of journal writing.  there are many thoughts going through my mind and many emotions going through my heart.  i wanted to remember and i didn't want to share on this blog so i grabbed that buried journal that i bought in 2008 and wrote some things down.  i don't necessarily know that i feel better or worse after documenting but i do know that i was able to see things just a tad bit clearer.  maybe that is what doc obtains when she writes as well...a bit of clarity and the willingness to listen.  

the journal is now going to be placed in a more prominent spot on my desk/vanity.  visibility of the journal will hopefully remind me of this evening's moment of clarity and emotion purging so when i might be feeling overwhelmed, happy, joyful, sorrowful or anything else, i can document it and obtain the achievement of self reflection.  so i thank you doc and your exemplary ways.  love you.

my friend doc who always makes me smile

Monday, September 17, 2012

devotion to a friend

this year's U.S. Open has been one of the best i can remember.  i got to go three different times.  the tornado that causesd the 2nd men's semifinal to be postponed so i couldn't go on sunday didn't even dampen my spirits because it meant that i could buy a ticket for the men's final that would now take place on monday.  as i went to my trusty friendly website stubhub looking for my ticket i got a text message from my bff 4-eva clare.  she was coming to new york and would need to slightly change her plans to include a sleepover on monday night.  my dream to attend the men's final and potentially see andy murray win his first grand slam title were now replaced with excitement to hang with clare.  but if ever there was an example of my devotion to a friend it was the night i chose to spend time with her over watching amazing tennis produced by mr. andy murray and mr. novak djokovic.
and thank goodness for the us open app on my iPhone that allowed me to check the score every 5-7 minutes.  i'm sure clare didn't mind that my mood would swing depending on what i found on that app.  that evening did teach her that she never wants to go to a live sporting event with me.   like never.
congrats to andy murray.  well deserved and i hope the beginning of many more to come.