Friday, December 22, 2006
By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms: This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for her/himself or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.
Disclaimer: No trees were harmed in the sending of this message; however, a significant number of electrons were slightly inconvenienced.
**I can't take credit for this gem, it came from here. Aren't lawyers the best?
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
I am sure these aren't the details you were looking to be recounted but there isn't much else to tell about the date. We met at my office and chit chatted on the subway ride there, missed the tip off because we had the slowest concession lady ever - it took her at least 5 minutes to find a lid for my date's drink - and then we talked on and off throughout the game. I think I asked most of the questions. I think he might be interested in me but I really don't know, I'm not even sure if I am interested. We left Madison Square Garden in the surge of shocked and excited Knicks fans out to 34th Street and immediately went back underground to the subway. The night ended as I jumped off the 1 train at Columbus Circle - hard to have much of a goodbye with all those people around and the doors threatening to close. So that was it.
This morning I woke up and soon realized I couldn't speak. My voice was gone. Lucky for me, I have a "usual" breakfast and lunch order so I didn't have to be vocal to get fed today. Work however is a different story - I spend a lot of time on the phone so I spent a lot of time returning phone calls with emails. The bigger problems are coming tomorrow when I have a 9 am conference call and Thursday when I have a hearing . . . I think I drank about 6 liters of water today (that is not an exaggeration, I have filled my 1L water bottle at least that many times) and a couple of cups of tea with milk and honey. There has been some improvement but certainly not enough to have a phone conversation let alone talk to a judge! Hopefully tomorrow will be better!
Monday, December 18, 2006
Then we headed down to Spring Street to see this street art gallery. It was 4:00 by the time we headed down there but unfortunately it was closing at 5:00 and when we finally found the end of the line wrapped around the corner and down the block, we were told we had more than an hour's wait ahead of us. It was a fun artsy crowd with an unexpectedly high number of attractive men. Instead of waiting in line we wove in and out of the line to look at the art on the outside walls - some samples are pictured here.
Saturday, December 16, 2006
The party started at a karaoke bar in Korea Town. I had not been karaoking in years and forgot how much I LOVE it! I think I was a bit of a microphone hog because I was up singing nearly every song, but when I tried to sit one out, I was summoned back to the front! Songs that I found fun to karaoke include: Tiffany's I Think We're Alone Now, Toto's Eye of the Tiger, Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive, I Will Survive and Guns N Roses, Sweet Child of Mine. What I couldn't believe was how many words I already knew without looking at the screen - especially anything from the 80s!
Songs that didn't work as well include Salt-N-Pepa's Let's Talk About Sex (which reminds me of Mickey for whatever reason, I think we sang it to annoy her in high school) and Sir Mix-a-Lot's Baby Got Back which I was surprisingly good at but goes really fast and having the words up on the screen made everyone realize how nasty some of the words really are! One girl kept insisting on The Gambler by Kenny Rogers which no one really got into. Bottom line, I think I need to make an effort to go karaoking a bit more often! Joo suggested it for my next birthday, I will have to remember that.
After karaoke we went to a bar in Hell's Kitchen where some of Joo's guy friends were waiting to make the party a bit more co-ed. Since I have known Joo so many years, I have met many of her friends multiple times. Several years ago (close to 5!) Ruby was having a party and Joo brought a bunch of her friends. At one point I was on the roof admiring the view of the City with a group of them and one decided to kiss me. It was quite the romantic moment - stunning views from 40+ floors up, looking at the Empire State Building, the wind swirling around and an attractive stranger who decided to put his arm around me after I shivered. We hung back when the rest of our group went back to the party, he then pulled me over into a corner and kissed me. It was probably one of the sexiest kisses I have ever had. I remember walking back to the elevator in silence, riding the elevator back to the apartment in silence and parting as soon as we walked back into the mob of the packed party. We never exchanged words again! Our paths have crossed a few times since then but I don't think we even made eye contact let alone spoke to each other. He was at the bar when we arrived last night. For most of the night I was talking to other people and although I didn't avoid him, I didn't make any effort to talk to him. As our group dwindled in size I found myself talking with Ruby and two of Joo's friends - one my rooftop kiss ("C"), the other a recently out-of-the-closet boy who I always get along with well. Finally, C and I broke the silence and got past the awkwardness (isn't that word awkward to even spell?) of a five-year old kiss and participated in the group dynamic.
With only six of us left at the bar, one of Joo's friends pulled me aside.
Friday, December 15, 2006
I have to admit I am not the most hyper-sensitive person to the usage of four-letter words. I am, afterall, a lawyer in New York City where the f-word is freely mixed in with latin phrases such as quid pro quo and res ipsa loquitor as if it is part of the specialized logic we gain in law school. Then again, I went to BYU law school. For all I know, at other law schools across the country the f-word just might be part of the curriculum and is probably included in Black's Law Dictionary with such recommended usages as 1) turning down a low-ball settlement offer or 2) venting about a demanding senior partner or maybe even 3) coaxing the computer to recover that brief that just disappeared from the screen.
That being said, I think the above-linked article is great and I LOVE the quote. It is referring to the fall-out after Eddie Murphy's 1987 movie "Raw" which despite the somewhat lax rated R standards of my home was still off limits and I never saw it. For whatever reason the running-around-in-public-where-it-didn't-belong bit really cracked me up.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
- a warm and peaceful visit with family and friends when I make my way home to Utah on December 22nd
- senstivity and awareness of the simple things I take for granted now for which I will one day be nostalgic
- a greater appreciation for the friendships I currently enjoy
- openness toward accepting new friendships in whatever form they might present themselves
- a less polarized world where differences are accepted and even celebrated and similarities are sought out and cherished
- an increased ability to focus on the giving/charitable side of Christmas
- to convey my sincere gratitude to each person who has managed to touch my life over the past 31 years and helped shape me into who I am today
- Love - I generally want to bury my vulnerabilities and avoid admitting my ever-present desire to find a best friend with whom I can discover a deep and enduring love but to you I will admit this is my number one Christmas wish
- a deeper appreciation for God
However, over the past few weeks I have started to look like a teenager - and not in a good way. No sooner did I finally vanquish the two and a half week interloper perched on the tip of my nose (it glowed just like Rudolph for the holidays) than three more erupted in an extended line from my chin to my left cheek bone with a cluster on my forehead as well. I have been doing my best to ignore the nasty things when I am not scrubbing them with every weapon in my arsenal but today I realized it just isn't working. I am doomed to having both zits and wrinkles and I am fooling myself if I think no one notices.
A secretary with whom I work asked me - very gently - if the blemishes are from stress. Tomorrow I think I will just opt for a paper bag over my face because no foundation is strong enough to hide these bastards.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
My office is located a short two blocks from Rockefeller Center and all of the Christmas madness that the giant tree attracts. I don't want to be misunderstood. I am pro Christmas and I am pro festive decorations and traditions and all of that. In fact, I have been hoping to find time to photograph some of my favorite lights, decorations, etc. around the City - just haven't been able to squeeze it in yet.
However, I must say that I am anti-crushing throngs of slowly shuffling gaping tourists who travel in herds at least 3-5 people wide as they meander down Fifth Avenue. I am also anti-Saks Christmas light show. Okay, not so much the light show because that has no effect on me but the music accompanying the light show. The music starts around 4:30 p.m. (when it gets dark here) and plays every 15 minutes ALL. NIGHT. LONG. I know this because I have in fact been here all night to witness it (as has a co-worker). Every 15 minutes I can hear the tinkling of cheesy, synthesized Christmas bells playing a bastardized version of Carol of the Bells. The higher tones ring at just the right decible level to resist being drowned out by telephone calls, conversations or even an ipod unless really cranked up (at least in a docking station, I haven't tried with headphones). The bells have now seeped so far into my brain that they are imprinted on my auditory nerve center and now play every 15 minutes whether I can actually hear them or not.
Here is someone's bad video version I found on the web. I think it is pretty and I remember admiring it last year because it is quite clever but I do not remember the music being quite so ear piercing. I have avoided viewing it in person this year because I cannot bring myself to endure the crowds or subject myself to the bells on purpose.
|Saks 5th Avenue Christmas Lights|
I'm sorry the video doesn't work. I have no idea how to fix it...........
Monday, December 11, 2006
|What American accent do you have? |
Your Result: The West
|The Inland North|
|What'>http://www.gotoquiz.com/what_american_accent_do_you_have">What American accent do you have?|
Quiz'>http://www.gotoquiz.com/">Quiz Created on GoToQuiz
Shirking my work, I took a couple of fun quizes I found here. This is the first one and it reinforces countless comments I have had throughout my life that I do not have an accent. This was especially disappointing to me when I was an 11-year old transplant to Northern California and the other new girl had a really cool Oklahoma accent. No one sat around asking me to repeat words or phrases. When I was in Australia on a tour with people from all over the world everyone was talking about accents - there was a guy from England, some native Australians, a New Yorker (with a thick accent) and a handful of non-native English speakers. I remember the New Yorker saying to me - you just enunciate really clearly. Despite this, I sometimes catch myself with the slight Utah accent that my sister dreads, mostly when I am in SLC I hear some of it slipping out. But I guess the quiz didn't know to ask how I pronounce words like mountain and fountain - then my Utah roots might be revealed!
Thursday, December 07, 2006
Despite the twelve years between where I sit now and that Tuesday in early December when my aunt told me my dad was in the hospital, I have a vivid recollection of the sequence of events and many of the details. I was alarmed that my dad was at the hospital initially not just because of the normal connotations of hospitals but also due to the fact that my father never went to emergency rooms, doctor's offices or hospitals for any reason. My dad's answer to everything is elevate it, take an asprin/tylenol/excedrin/ibuprofren and ice or heat depending on the malady. He is tough and waits things out. Later I found out he tried that approach until he found himself lying flat on his back in his office trying to negotiate a deal with his business partners, to weak to even sit - then he went to the hospital. He had to insist that doctors ran certain tests because he feared it wasn't just the flu. It was too similar to the time before I was born when he had strep which had a similar attacking effect on his heart and he ended up in the hospital for 6 weeks. My mother had told me he went in for tests but I was surprised when he stayed and scared when she told me the result was staph. I feared he would die and I would never see him again.
In 1994 email was new and not so easily accessed. My parents had it and we used it with some regularity but I had to go to a computer lab on campus to use it. I don't believe the behemoth computer I fondly called my Tandy dump (it was actually called a Tandy DMP) with DOS bootup and green lettering was capable of email. And long distance cost a lot, as my father was happy to remind me. I used to frequent pay phones because there was some sort of cheap long distance availble from them. The lack of affordable and easy communication combined with my mother's fear of admitting to her children that their father might die, left me in the dark. The three and a half hour drive from home in 1994 felt further away than New York in 2006.
With roommate relationships extremely strained and a boyfriend who suddenly went MIA, I felt more alone than I had ever been before and rivals only the loneliness I experienced in a dysfunctional and damaging marriage. Outside my roommates I had a few friends but most of them were connected with the oddly absent boy. I was alone and I was scared. My normal coping mechanism was to retreat into myself and seek out a beautiful part of nature where I could think. I remember taking a long drive up Cedar Mountain and reaching a pullout. There was some snow and it was cold. I got out of the car and cried. I cried and asked God why. Then I prayed like I had never before prayed and like I have rarely prayed since. I do not recall making any sort of bargains or promises to God, I just remember begging to have something in my life improve and mostly to let my dad live.
After the drive, I returned to my apartment and decided to bake. I was supposed to be studying for finals but I decided to bake instead. I don't remember specifically what I baked but I know it was more than just a batch of cookies. I remember arranging my baked goods on small plates and delivering them to friends. Even though I needed and wanted to take, it felt good to give instead. Despite my aching need for support, I don't believe I shared with anyone what was really happening, why I was breaking inside.
The strained relationship I had with my roommates snapped. I became bitter over their seeming insensitivity toward my situation and they resented my moping and sulking. I don't think they understood what was happening with my dad and I resented that although I doubt I tried to explain. At one point they misjudged the cause of my depression and made an attempt to cheer me up with a card - they thought it was about the absentee boyfriend. At the last minute they convinced me to go to the school Christmas dance with the guy next door who also didn't have a date. I agreed because I needed so desparately to find a fit somewhere. The dance wasn't the right fit. My date barely spoke to me or even sat near me. The roommates were caught up with their own dates and I felt even more isolated. At another point during finals the roommates and the boys next door decided to go to Las Vegas for the night and coaxed me into going. I consented because I again wanted to fill the void by fitting in but I was miserable.
Meanwhile, on December 7, 1994, my dad had emergency open-heart surgery (I believe on the day of my bake-a-thon but I can't be sure). He had an aortic valve replacement. The doctors were not optimistic for his survival or necessarily his recovery. I was desperate to go home but stayed in school to finish finals because my mother kept down-playing it all.
My last night in Cedar City was a Friday night. A few days earlier my supposed-boyfriend had called, given some excuses about finals and invited me to a post-finals party at his house on Friday. I decided to go. I had found a new apartment and was packing my belongings for the move. I must have had a late final because my roommates had already left for the break and I was alone in an apartment that normally housed 6 girls. I was in such a depressed and defeated state that I decided not only to go to this party but to go and actually party. I had previously resisted all offers to drink and had passed along joints at parties I probably should not have attended but I was never really tempted by alcohol or drugs. That night I wanted to try anything or everything to cover up my pain. My dad had made it through the surgery but it wasn't over and I felt rejected and abandoned by everyone. I went with a plan to smother the pain.
My plan did not work. I was too timid to grab myself a drink - I had no idea what to select. Instead I danced. I flirted and danced with every guy there and at 19 that got me the attention I was craving. I wanted the boy to be jealous but I think he was too stoned and drunk to notice (great boyfriend, right?). Near the end of the evening one particular boy was paying me a lot of attention. We started talking and he asked for my number. He had to settle for giving me his because I no longer had one since I would be in a different apartment in January when I returned to school. He did. He was the only other sober person (or so he claimed) at the party. I gave him and his brother a ride home. His brother passed out in the back seat and tried to give me money - he thought I was a cab driver I guess. My one major temptation to drink and I ended up meeting the boy I later married instead. I sometimes wonder if the better choice would have been to drink . . .
When I finally made it home I spent hours at the hospital with my dad. He was changed. The high-energy unwavering strength of my dad had been with me for 19 years and there he was emaciated in a hospital bed with an ugly scar down the center of his chest and various tubes connecting him to monitors and IVs near the bed. I worked over the break as well. During the day I sat next to his bed talking to him and reading and just not daring to leave his side for fear he would not get better and I wouldn't see him again. During my hospital visits I noticed that he ticked. At first no one believed me but eventually everyone realized and a doctor confirmed that his artificial heart valve ticks. It reminds me of the crocodile in Peter Pan that swallowed a clock. It seemed so loud and abnormal then - now it is a familiar comforting sound that reminds me to cherish my dad.
It didn't feel much like Christmas. At my mom's request, my brothers tried to throw the lights in the trees out front but that is exactly how it looked - they were clumped up at the top somewhere in a wad with strands hanging awkwardly this way and that. I don't believe we even bought a tree until a few days before Christmas. I have no real recollection of anything but my dad finally coming home medical supplies in tow and the incredible fatigue my mother carried with her. My mom and I had handled things similiarly - crawling into ourselves and not allowing others to lend support. A nurse came regularly and eventually taught my needle-fearing mother how to give him medication through his Hickman line. My dad moved excrutiatingly slow but he was alive and he healed.
With the anniversary of his surgery on Pearl Harbor (now called Remembrance Day), it is easy to remember. I originally wrote the above post on December 7th but got busy and thought I would finish it later and never got the chance. What I wanted to comment on I guess is how grateful I am that my dad lived, that no matter our differences (and there are many) or our conflicting tempers, I am grateful to have him here. I don't know what kind of turn my life would have taken if 12 years ago his surgery had not been successful. In some ways I wonder if I would have ended up where I am today if I didn't have his support and encouragement. I'm grateful that I will never have to know that.
Monday, December 04, 2006
I will be moving the black love seat and the cubes into my bedroom during the party to open the room up some more and allow easier access to the table (which will be piled with desserts!) but any thoughts/comments on the decor (to the extent you can see it) is appreciated. My main concern is with the hanging snowflake lights which don't look bad in the photo but I worry that they are overkill with the small lights around the window that aren't really visible here. I'm planning on picking up some pine boughs to arrange in the window since I won't have a tree and I really need the fresh smell of pine in my apartment for it to feel like Christmas. Any other fun tips or suggestions? Any reactions to the ribbons with decorations? I really like them but if you are opposed for any reason fill me in . . .
And for the record, here is an update on the numbers:
6 days until the Party
71 people plan on attending
11 more people might attend
11 dessert recipes selected
3-4 items left to purchase
3 cookie doughs made and chilling in the fridge or freezer
Decorations: nearly complete, I just need mistle toe and pine boughs
Brooke was so surprised that she was crying - I can't tell you how great it felt to do something that took so little effort that meant so much to a good friend. It makes me question why I don't make the small efforts more often. I had planned on having everyone share a favorite story/thought/memory/talent of Brooke's over dinner but with all of the excitement of the surprise and the loudness of the restaurant I was distracted and forgot. But I want Brooke to know how much I appreciate her as a friend. Brooke is one of the rare people who I can call an individual - she follows her heart and gives far more than she receives from people. She is incredibly well-versed in all things "indy" and has introduced me to some great music and keeps me updated on what is new and hip in the art world. We have fantastic conversations about everything from politics to art to music to the Church to boys. . . I am so happy I can call her my friend.
To the left is a group shot in front of the restaurant with most of the group - a few people left early and another girl had to take the photo.
The top photo was taken when the restaurant was bringing out the dessert and shaking tamborines and singing to "You Say It's Your Birthday" a much more lively and exciting presentation than your typical restaurant.
This is what the street I work on looks like at 5:00 a.m. Why do I know this? Because that is what time I left work last Thursday morning after working 19 hours straight. I had to walk a block before I found a cab. I am not sure why I took this photo but thought I would share it since I have it. I was back at work by 10 a.m. and worked close to 12 hours and close to that on Friday.
Oh and my all-nighter took place the same night as the nationally televised tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center a short two blocks south of my window, all of which I could hear only slightly muffled from my office chair. There is nothing like working and listening to people cheering for the largest Christmas celebration of the season. I felt like I was on Santa's naughty list and was being punished.
They arrived early enough Friday afternoon to wander around the City before we met up for Thai food in Hell's Kitchen (yum!). On Saturday morning we slept in a bit (because we always stay up late talking) and made cinnamon spice pancakes with a mix I had from Lehi Roller Mills. Seriously, they were amazing! You just add water and they are the perfect level of fluffy and the flavor was great. After stuffing ourselves with pancakes and lazing around a bit more we forfeited our Bronx Zoo plan in favor of the Museum of Natural History. We walked up through Central Park (where we made memory videos for our grandparents) and enjoyed the leaves and the slightly crisp fall air and came out of the Park almost directly in front of the museum. My firm has a corporate membership to the museum which means free entry. We wandered through the various mammal displays, dinosaur bones and skipped out on plants. Afterwards we walked back to my apartment with a brief stop in an Italian bakery where both Jason and Nadia excitedly spotted a certain bag of cookies they both loved from their missions in Italy.
Then it was off to the opera. We had dinner at an Italian restaurant called Bello - it was good but not as good as the one I was originally planning on - Puttanesca - but for which I failed to make reservations.
I have to say that I find the Met to be one of the most magical places in the City. I love the plaza with the fountain in front of it, I love the architecture of the building itself, I love the large Chagall murals and brilliant chandeliers that can be viewed through the giant windows from the Lincoln Plaza when the building is lit up. I love the plush red carpeting and the well dressed patrons. Even if you don't know anything about opera I recommend a visit.
Before the opera began we each bought opera glasses - Nadia and I opting for the fancier ut less practical versions and Jason getting the un-glitzy field glasses. Mine are blue and gold with a handle - very elegant. Madame Butterfly is (like most operas) a heart-wrenching story and the new production is beautifully staged in a minimalist style with very little change to the set in each act save differing colors on a light box at the rear of the stage and Japanese sliding paper doors. At the end of the first act during the main aria after the wedding (Nadia, you need to help me out with the name, it isn't Un Bel Di is it?) a curtain of pink flowers was lowered and more flowers floated down onto the stage throughout the piece. So moving! Nadia noticed some mistakes by the soprano but being untrained and caught up in the beauty of it all, I never noticed. The soprano turned out to be sick and unfortunately left after two acts. My only complaint was their use of a puppet for the son which was fascinating (technically) but distracting. The other part of the production I really enjoyed was the use of large wide red ribbons that were pulled from Butterfly's kimono to symbolize blood. The ribbons flowed the length of the stage and paralled the opening act which started in absolute silence - no orchestra or singing - with Butterfly acting out a geisha dance with large swaths of fabric flowing behind her as she walked down the length of the stage. I cannot describe how beautiful and poignant it all was. The costumes were stunning and added to the beautiful performance. But Marcello Giordani, the tenor who played Pinkerton (the American sailor who ultimately abandons Buttefly and breaks her heart), had the most incredible and pure voice I have ever heard. I wanted to fall in love with him too, even if he was an unfaithful scoundral.
[Okay, I have a bunch of photos I am trying to load that go with this post but blogger is not cooperating, check back later for the photos.]