Friday, April 27, 2007
As I climbed the flight of stairs to the simple bamboo-floored studio above one of my favorite restaurants - Vynl - my cautious nervousness paralleled a day well over 5 years behind me when I climbed those very steps to try my first public class away from the privacy and security of my home yoga tapes. The entry foyer had changed. I felt a sense of pride in the studio's success demonstrated by the full schedule of classes, the wall to wall mats filling in the practice room and the inviting furnishings in the entry which was a stark contrast to the empty, chairless entry that greeted me in November of 2001. I attended my first yoga class during the first week the studio opened.
My return class was probably more difficult than my inaugural class all those years before. I fumbled and even fought to keep up, falling out of poses and struggling to keep my breath. My muscles ached for a week. But after just a couple of months of weekly practice, I have noticed significant improvement. My ability to endure an intense 90 minute class improves each week as does my strength, balance and flexibility. I love the adrenaline rush that comes after pushing myself into a new pose or flowing through a complex series. But my favorite portion of class and often the highlight of my week comes at the end: lying on my mat, spine nearly flush with the floor, each leg extended evenly with feet falling open, arms flopped out to my side, palms up; my whole body opened toward the heavens, waiting to receive. My mind has been washed clean of the week's cluttered thoughts, worries and fears as I focus exclusively on the air flowing in and out of my lungs in measured and even portions - my job doesn't matter, boys don't matter, nothing matters as my mind is freed for deep meditation. After a week of spending over 50 hours chasing papers around a desk and following 90 minutes of challenging, sweat inducing exertion, my mind is freed and I can slowly coax each individual muscle into letting go and melting into the earth in an extended chavasana........ I love Fridays.
Adding to the enjoyment of the class, my friend Brooke often attends the class as well. Afterwards we will grab a burrito to return to my apartment for a movie or brave getting dinner somewhere along trendy 9th Avenue where we won't look too ridiculous - or I should say, where I won't look too ridiculous. I don't like changing back into my work clothes after class because I'm generally too sweaty so my ensembles are often a bit bizarre. To spare myself the hassle of carting too much baggage around the City, I have resorted to storing my yoga mat at the studio and shoving my clothes in my over-sized purse. To make this work, I don't bring shoes, I wear whatever I wore to work that day.
Tonight I pulled my red trench coat on over my black yoga pants and tank top which wasn't necessarily my worst ensemble, until I slide into my black dress loafers. My hair is wet along my neck and forehead and forced into a sloppy ponytail with clips. I needed some groceries, so we decided to eat dinner at Whole Foods. After stepping into line to check out, I realized I needed to grab a bottle of water and asked Brooke to watch my cart.
I rounded the corner of the line and walked straight up to a boy I quickly recognized. A slow smile spread across his face when our eyes met. I met his smile and flirtatiously said "you caught me in my cutest outfit ever!" He responded with "no, you have caught me in my cutest outfit ever!" We chatted easily for a few minutes and I quickly explained away my bizarre attire as yoga related. It was easier to talk with him than our last meeting nearly two weeks ago when we met in the church lobby after months without contact. During that conversation he asked why he hadn't seen me around in the ward and I felt humbled and slightly embarrassed by my forced confession that I am now in the married ward - revealing my graduated-from-singles-ward-over-the-hill-spinster age.
Not wanting to end the conversation but feeling the pull of my grocery cart which was quickly nearing the front of the line, I invited him to eat with an undefined "us". I don't usually hope for the Whole Foods checkout line to slow down but this was one night I was disappointed with its efficiency. He was only holding vitamins, not food but he initially agreed but then declined after explaining he pulled an all-nighter at work earlier in the week and was exhausted. We said goodbye and I hurried back to my cart.
I suppose I should feel worse about a run-in with an attractive boy when I really couldn't look worse but the combination of my low-key post-yoga zen and the happy Whole Foods environment left me intrigued more than anything. After selecting a table, Brooke reminded me that I had previously felt a connection with him. I brushed off the idea but continued to think about how often I feel drawn to him. You see, he is the spark boy I met at my birthday party last summer. Our eyes were nearly locked throughout our brief conversation and although he declined to join me for dinner, I felt his reluctance had more to do with me already being there with an unnamed friend and his fatigue than a lack of desire to continue talking.
Maybe it is nothing, but to steal a phrase from Sex & The City: I couldn't help but wonder, is there a reason I keep running into this boy in particular?
As you all know by now, I love to have ridiculous internet quizzes teach me about myself. I found this fun and different one on Pepper's blog. It has more flexibility in giving a response than the standard yes or no choices to questions like "I always eat french fries." (this was not an actual question on the quiz)
I especially loved that this test has termed me a "Benevolent Creator" and explained that "your imagination, confidence, willingness to explore and appreciation of beauty make you a CREATOR" and "You are a great person to interact with--understanding, giving and trusting--in a word BENEVOLENT." However, I was concerned that I have "slightly high masculinty" and "average feminity." Must be the tom boy in me shining through or maybe it was just that it failed to ask how many pairs of shoes I own.
Give it a try.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Although PJ and I haven't spent a lot of time together (he really hasn't quite started texting yet but I think kids start pretty early so it shouldn't be too long now) but from what I have gathered, that is pretty much his attitude about everything.
Don't you want to squeeze him and kiss those big cheeks? Can't wait to see you again PJ!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
- Where is your cell phone? edge of desk
- Boyfriend/girlfriend? not right now
- hair? in a ponytail
- Your mother? my best friend
- Your father? loves his van
- Your favorite item(s)? ipod and cuisinart
- Your dream last night? animal-print shoes
- Your favorite drink? herbal chai tea
- Your dream guy/girl? intelligent, witty, tall
- The room you are in? 18th floor office
- Your fear? staying single always
- What do you want to be in 10 years? wife and mom (hopefully sooner)
- Who did you hang out with last night? Jazz on TV
- What are you not? patient, bubbly, sweet
- Are you in love? I only wish
- One of your wish list items? exotic vacation NOW
- What time is it? past quitting time
- The last thing you did? picked up food
- What are you wearing? boring work clothes
- Your favorite book? Pride & Prejudice
- The last thing you ate? edamame and sushi
- Your life? one dimensional: work
- Your mood? tired, irritable, yearning
- Your friends? don't see enough
- What are you thinking about right now? a clever response
- Your car? lives in Utah
- What are you doing at this moment? staring at screen
- Your summer? finally almost here
- Your relationship status? stop asking this!
- What is on your TV screen? I assume nothing
- When is the last time you laughed? with my dad
- Last time you cried? almost Friday night
- School? far behind me
That was fun. Now you try!
As we reluctantly walked back to my office, LS mentioned how nice it was to have lunch with me and then proceeded to tell me about a comment his wife made this morning. She asked what he was doing today and he said he was meeting me for lunch. She then explained how she was glad and that it would be weird if he was meeting another girl, but for some reason I am okay. He said he agreed and explained that he wouldn't even think about having lunch with one of the other women they socialize with because that would be weird but somehow it was okay with me. I wasn't sure how to take that exactly.
This isn't my first experience being the "safe" girl. Several years ago I was friends with three boys who lived in my building. One was engaged to a girl living in Utah. He would often call me to go see a movie or go to dinner - sometimes just the two of us, sometimes with one of the other roommates. At one point his roommate asked me why I was dating his engaged roommate. I guess I just have a non-threatening vibe.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Thankfully, spring also hit New York. I didn't have a lot of time to enjoy it this weekend between sleeping and working but I did manage to take a long walk with some brief spurts (very brief spurts) of running along the Hudson River which was inspired by Mickey. I think next time I'm just going to rollerblade - my knees, shins and lungs will probably last a bit longer.
Monday, April 16, 2007
Plus, look at the fun avocado on the album cover.
P.S. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I was playing around on itunes and discovered that Pearl Jam did a cover of Love, Reign O'er Me and it is fantastic! The original was something my dad would blast so I always liked The Who's version but Eddie Vedder did a great cover I think even my dad would appreciate.
By the way, this is why I don't normally allow myself to play on the computer late at night - I get sucked into blogging and iTunes past my bedtime.
- If you actually know me in real life, it is not so little known that I dislike franchise restaurants generally and fast food chains specifically. My mother may try and refresh my childhood recollection but I really don't remember getting too excited about McDonald's, even though eating out was a rarity. I think I was more of a pizza kid. However, here is the confession part: I LOVED Rax Restuarant. The one I remember most vividly was on 9600 South in Sandy, Utah. If you don't remember Rax - or you were the unlucky child that never tried Rax - it was based around the roast beef sandwich like Arby's, only much better. As Wikipedia points out, Rax was best known for its "endless salad bar" and solarium. I loved sitting in the solarium portion of the restaurant that was done a few steps from the salad bar and the brownish windows made the whole section warm and sunny. They had the best kids' meals mostly due to their mascot - Uncle Alligator. The kids meal even came with an Uncle Alligator shaped cup. I believe Rax was the first place I ever tried curly fries too. One year, my youngest brother had his birthday party at Rax. Honestly, it was the best birthday party! I think I was getting close to my pre-teen years so it was hard for me to admit I was like the other kids rather than a supervising pseudo-adult. But I remember when we had the tour in the back our tour guide showed us where they kept the bucket of elephant snot. Looking back, I have no idea what that the real purpose was of that bucket of green goo but it sure made a lasting impression. So sad that Rax is no longer around. Maybe that would be a fast food restaurant I would get excited about.
- I have had stiches three times in my life and each time I only needed 2 or 3. The first time I was a young Beehive at one of my very first young women's activities - volleyball in the church gym. Oddly enough, I still remember that it was the first and possibly the last activity to which I brough a non-member friend. Anyway, we were playing volleyball and I was barefoot (not surprising since I prefer to be barefoot whenever possible), I stepped back to the curtain to try and get the ball and lifted my heel up under that big metal curtain. Initially I looked down and thought it was just scraped and continued to play. But a few minutes later my visiting friend started screaming and squealing (we were 12 after all) and pointed at my foot which was gushing blood with me oblivious to the whole thing. Eventually (Mom I won't make you feel guilty by explaining the delay), I received 5 stitches in my right heel. The second incident was even more obscure. I was a sophomore in college and for some reason I was climbing in the tree outside my apartment with my roommate and her then-boyfriend watching. I wasn't climbing it so much as just standing in the crook of the Y. When I shifted my feet (surprisingly, I was wearing shoes), I lost my footing and balance and slid the 3-4 feet down the trunk of the tree without really falling. Once I was on the ground I looked at my legs to examine the damage. I swear I saw the white of my left tibia then a rush of blood oozed out the small hole (sorry if you are squemish). Suddenly I was really concerned about not getting blood on my new white sneakers so I hurried to remove my shoes and socks as quickly as possible to avoid ruining them. As I did so, Kevin was yelling and wildly gesturing to me that I should "Wipe the blood away! Wipe the blood away!" Because logically, it would be easier to redirect the stream of blood running down my leg than it was to remove a shoe and sock. I was in some sort of shock and continued to tug at my shoe so Kevin swooped in and wiped up the blood saying "you better not have AIDS or anything. . . " After some discussion, a call to the student health clinic and me nearly passing out on the couch, the two of them walked me to the clinic for 1 stitch. The third minor stitching was a result of me slicing my hand while opening a can of soup. I was home alone so I called Michele for her daughter-of-a-doctor advice on whether it was serious enough to do something about and she invited me over for her dad (the OB/gyn) to take a look. After inspection Dr. Curtis said he should stitch it up to be safe but suggested we defer it until after dinner. Michele offered to stitch me up herself since she once stitched up an orange but I opted for Dr. Curtis who was kind enough to give me free stitches and free Chinese food.
- In 7th grade I went through a very strange phase where I wore a sailor hat all the time. I stored my collection of pins (very 80s) on the hat, including a lobster pin I loved. I have no idea where I got the sailor hat or why I thought it was a good idea to wear it to school or in public at all but I remember thinking I was the coolest kid ever when I wore that thing! I wonder what happened to that hat . . . and the lobster pin too.
- I am currently on jury duty - today was rather dull. A lot of sitting around and my name was never even called. I have to go back tomorrow.
- Yesterday was my sweet dog Malcolm's 11th birthday. We met in mid to late May 1996 when he was a very small, very clumsy puppy. I had just finished up a day of rockclimbing (accompanying party omitted to keep the story on the positive side) and was driving through Leeds, Utah when I saw a large sign in front of a house that read "Free Puppies" and there were two beautiful lanky black labs lounging in the yard. I insisted we stop "just to look" despite the fact that Stuart, my charpei/chow was barely housetrained and not officially allowed in the apartment we currently lived in. The nice owners of the dogs showed me to the backyard where I was immediately swarmed by 11 beautiful black puppies. I squatted down on the pavement to get a closer look and the puppies knocked me down with all their affection. One was chewing on my teva strap, another attempted to crawl in my lap and they were all whining and yipping for attention. But one caught my attention more than the others. He simply put his little head on my right thigh and looked up at me with those empathetic eyes. He knew me. I knew him. I had to keep him. He had the biggest ears and paws that were better proportioned for his current 90-pound size than his 10-pound puppy size. His paws were so big he had to run sideways so he didn't trip over them. Our bond was immediate and has survived 11 eventful years. He is a co-survivor of those last ugly months of my marriage and he literally took the worst of it at times. We made it through accusations of him eating a futon (a complete lie!), both of us being attacked by a swarm of hornets, his dramatic rescue from a rock in the middle of spring run-off Little Cottonwood Creek, hours and hours of neighborhood walks and mountain hikes, roadtrips and camping trips, canoe trips, him flushing out a bull moose, him capturing a couple of sheep for me in the Uintas, the pound, a torn paw, my coming and going over the years . . . and through it all he can read my emotions better than any friend I've ever had and I can't bear to think about how I will feel when it is time for him to go. "A bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth wil ever be." Konrad Lorenz
Wow, that all became far more reflective than I originally intended. My turn to tag - Brooke, Pepper, Liz, Nadia and Mom.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Thankfully, the Easter bunny brought us these fun pancake molds with some blueberry pancake mix so we could make up for our loss Sunday morning. The molds were a bit tricky at first but here are some tips I recommend if you try them:
1) use lots of Pam - on the pan and on the molds; 2) cook on a lower heat than usual; 3) only fill the molds about half-way, the pancake batter grows more than you would expect; 4) don't fill the holes - I got a little carried away initially; and 5) don't remove the mold until there are lots of bubbles to ensure the pancake is fully set.
After church, we tried to multi-task by decorating eggs and making dinner at the same time. Neither endeavor turned out quite how we had hoped. The egg colors were much more pastel than we were hoping for but we added some silly faces for photos before turning them into deviled eggs.
For some reason, the East Coast is not a big fan of shredded hash browns which are essential for the Easter tradition of funeral potatoes. I've encountered this problem before and suggested we make them from real potatoes. After being distracted by the egg decorating, I let the potatoes boil too long which means instead of shredding in the Cuisinart - they were mashed. We decided to continue as usual and made an odd mashed-Funeral potatoes concoction that was a bit odd but not bad. We also overcooked the ham a bit but Nadia's cucumber salad was tasty (and did not have too much vinegar! or make me lose my appetite) and so were the fresh green beans. I had to rush off to the airport but it was fun to spend Easter with family.
Friday, April 06, 2007
A bit disappointed, I opened the book to the first page to a photo of a puppy climbing up on an overflowing pile of dog food. Underneath the photo, my mom had written "Happy Easter" above "To: Alyssa" and "From: Malcolm". Malcolm is my dog.
In what turned out to be a needlessly frustrating Friday, this little Easter surprise was a bright spot. Thanks Mom!!
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
But I cast aside my bitterness and put together an office-warming gift for her. I had a gift bag left over from a fantastic gift from Target I received earlier this week (thanks again Tiff!) so I looked around my office to see what I could stuff inside. Well over a year ago I did some firm recruiting work and I still have giftbags full of firm-logoed goods that helped fill the bag nicely along with other odds and ends I collected from drawers and shelves in my office. It is amazing what I found. Here is the list:
- a small black notebook with the firm logo
- firm logo tin of mints
- firm logo highlighter
- firm logo pen
- post-its (because you can never have too many)
- an odd item from the recruiting bag that is supposedly a radio/compass/flashlight - we couldn't get the radio to work but the compass worked well in my "use this to find your way back" ploy
- a mini-bottle of wine (I have recently been receiving these free when I order dinner from a certain Japanese restaurant - they have been decorating my shelf so I figured I could spare one for the occasion)
- a chocolate truffle from the box I got for Christmas which we dip into to celebrate or comiserate depending on the circumstance
- a box of Dots from the forbidden candy bowl - because she loves them
- my business card with my room number hand-written on so she doesn't forget where to find me
- and for the big FINALE - I printed a full page of my photo from my firm bio page (you can find it by googling me) so she wouldn't forget what I look like
AS loved the gift and immediately put my photo and business card up on her blank bulletin board. While we were laughing over it and trying to make the radio thing work a couple of co-workers stopped by and inquired about the photo. I think the people over there are more serious.
Luckily, IM does still work between that side of the floor and this one and AS has already confessed she is ready to come back, sort of:
AS: i just got injured on the job!
AE: what happened???
AS: I was taking a rubber band off of some stupid documents to review and it snapped me in the eye!
AS: And across the forehead
AS: I have Alyssa left eye syndrome! [because yesterday my left eye was red and puffy and bloodshot and stinging for no reason]
AE: that is terrible and I'm really sorry that I am laughing
AE: can't type.
AE:laughing too much
AS: I can't tell if i'm imagining it, but i think i see a faint red line across my forehead
AE: I'm sure it would leave a mark
AS: So far this new office is nothing but trouble!
AE: you can always come back. . . .
AS: I'm so much the worse for wear
AS: Everyone would laugh at me
AE: no, they would understand. just come back.
It hasn't even been a whole day and I already miss her.
Sunday, April 01, 2007
We spent most of the afternoon eating and then killing time until we could eat again.
The first meal was at Boca Chica, a fun Brazilian/Caribbean place on 1st and 1st, ie, the "nexus of the universe" for Seinfeld fans. It has a real kitschy style as you can see from the bright yellow tables, the cheetah print banquette and dead head skeleton tapestry on the wall.
After Boca Chica, we took another subway orientation ride back to their hotel so they could check into their hip and swanky rooms. I have to say, the Hudson Hotel is even cooler than I imagined it. And trust me, I have tried imagining it. I walk or drive by this hotel once or twice a day every single day - it is only two blocks from my apartment and on the way to nearly every destination. For years I have heard about the fancy bar but I've never visited. I've just admired the hip and always attractive doormen grabbing taxis for the patrons. As the boys checked in, Tiffany, Mrs. Smith and I wandered the lobby and admired all the little seating nooks tucked in cozy corners. We admired the ivy ceiling at the front desk and the massive chandelier as we searched for the library. An impressive room with a pool table, a bar and small seating arrangements full of chatting and lounging patrons. The library opened onto a roof deck that seemed to be getting renovated so we were only able to peer over benches at the giant watering can potter and the other funky patio furniture.
Their room was the best, much bigger than expected and really fun design. Especially the shower. The odd Tiffany behind the curtain photo is actually Tiffany standing in the shower and me standing in the room. You really have to be comfortable with your room companion to stay in that room. Ryan had to ask me to step out so he could use the restroom. . . awkward!
This last photo was taken at my favorite new found red velvet cupcake establishment. Oddly enough it is a bbq place on 11th Avenue (nothing is on 11th Ave but my apartment and car dealerships) about 10 blocks from my apartment. The cupcakes were fantastic. Even better was when Tiff claimed mine are better : )
Unfortunately I wasn't the best NYC hostess - I misjudged TKTS and they were sold out of Broadway tickets by 730. Then it rained. We sloshed around Times Square for a bit and then headed up to Lincoln Center and the Upper West Side where they saw the temple (through the rain) and we had yet another meal at Pasha - a fantastic Turkish restaurant with dim lighting and waiters who did not sneer when only three entrees and two appetizers were ordered for five people with no alcohol.
After our second dinner the Smiths took a cab back to the hotel and Tiffany and Ryan and I enjoyed a quiet walk down Columbus Avenue to Lincoln Center Plaza to see the Met and my favorite Chagall paintings. The misting rain created a hazey fog that hovered at the tops of the surrounding buildings creating a fuzzy, surreal lighting that was a welcome contrast to the neon and frenetic pace of Times Square. We slowly made our way back to their hotel and said our goodbyes for the evening. I'm hoping to see them again before they leave Wednesday.