Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Happy Holidays from NYC!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

shopping village

saturday we decided to take a walk down to bryant park. this is the site of one of the many holiday shopping villages around the city. there is also one at columbus circle, which has many of the same items. i wanted to check out bryant park though, since i had not been there yet. so, we walked down, through the tourist filled shopping streets of midtown. the park is in a really nice area of the city- the scale of the buildings around it is really nice.
the shops were fun too. we enjoyed a cup of hot apple cider with a cinnamon stick while we browsed. i think zach's favorite shop was the one where everything was made of metal parts and ranged in scale from small figures to a life size darth vadar. i think we'll have to go check that place out again!
there is also free ice skating at the park (rentals are at a charge) but we decided to pass, since the line was extremely long. now that we've scouted out all of the stuff, we'll be ready to start our christmas shopping!
bryant park will look very different when its time for fashion week!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

o christmas tree

today, i decided to work on a craft project in between interview stuff. i had this idea for a christmas tree wall hanging, but couldn't find anything online that was what i was looking for. so, i drew up a pattern this morning, and using fabric i had already, i made a tree and ornaments. i decided to hand quilt the whole thing, to give it more texture, which ended up taking much longer than originally anticipated! using ribbons, i hung the tree on the metal gate over our window. now all we need are presents! (and lights). in this photo it looks a bit like we live in jail. i think this photo would look better if taken during the day.

oh... and i accepted a job offer today. i think i start monday! so, this is my last few days before i return to the real world.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

a little snow!

i love snow. it snowed early sunday morning, and i saw some flurries again today. somehow the freezing cold weather and strong winds don't matter when there are flurries. i found this link on the weather channel that charts the probability of a white christmas. snow map
i have started doing interviews. scheduling these, sending out additional resumes, and going to the interviews themselves is keeping me busy. i also have to come up with something to wear! i hate to admit it, but i think i am going to need to buy some more comfortable shoes. heels and cold weather don't work well for long walks to the subway!
Happy Hanukkah, tonight is the first in the eight days of the festival of lights.

Monday, December 3, 2007

remembering a smile

this weekend i traveled to virginia, to be with my family at my grandfather's funeral. he passed away early last week, after a long journey though hospital stays, nursing homes, and finally, hospice. it is good to know that he is finally in peace. the services were really lovely, a remembrance of his smile and sense of humor. he was a good man, who loved his family, and believed in helping others. the list of organizations he has been involved in is impressive. but to me, he's the person who would show me his garden, play silly games, and mail me comics with the punchlines highlighted. thank you to all of you who sent cards to myself and my family, it means a lot.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

exploring the vertical

the cats have decided that our apartment is too small. they are continuing to look for places to hide, and apparently that means on top of the cabinets. we have some boxes on top of the cabinets, since we are also looking to the vertical dimension for storage. then dot is on top of there. i think she likes being able to watch over everything.
while waiting for kinkos to do some book binding for me, i decided to take a walk today and check out the tree at rockefeller center. last night was the tree lighting ceremony. we decided to watch that from the couch, where it was warm. the tree is using led lights this year, to promote green choices. the weird thing is that the blue lights stand out more than others, so it actually gives the tree a weird look.

today while walking back home it started to rain. then i ran into someone on the sidewalk. yes. i literally ran into them. you know that weird situation where you're walking towards someone, and you have that funny little exchange where neither of you can figure out which way to go? this wasn't that. instead, we both picked the same way and neither of us would back down. and then we ran directly into each other. it was very, very weird.i took a walk through the time warner center to escape the rain, and see what stores were actually in the building. the holiday decorations are definitely up in new york, and everyone seems to be doing some serious holiday shopping. this photo was taken from the second floor of the time warner center, looking through the lobby onto central park south.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

free art and farmers market

friday nights are free at moma. so, we decided to take advantage, and go check out the art. the line was rather long, and the galleries full, but things moved rather quickly. we decided to just check out floors 3 and 2 this time, saving 4 and 5 for our next visit. the 4th and 5th floors house the sculpture and paintings, with all the well known artists. the 3rd floor is the architecture and design floor. this was pretty cool, with industrial design objects as well as architectural models and drawings. the 2nd floor is the contemporary collection. there was a photography exhibition going on there, which i really enjoyed.
saturday morning we ran out to do some errands, and on the way back we stopped at the green market on 57th street. this is held on wednesdays and saturdays, and has a slightly differing group of people selling each time. i wanted to make soup with my turkey carcass from thanksgiving, so we picked up some carrots, onion, and potatoes to include in the soup. i also picked up a loaf of walnut oatmeal bread and a small pecan pie. yum. i think this green market will be a weekly event. its less expensive than the grocery store and fresher. what's not to love?

Friday, November 23, 2007

happy turkey day

that is the phrase of the day at the parade. such a weird sentiment.
we arrived at central park west at about 6:30 am on thanksgiving morning. i had read online that it was essential to arrive early to get a good spot, so arrive early we did. this is a view of the street at 6:40 am. we sat and watched people and played some video games, and waited. as time passed, rather slowly, the street continued to fill up. next thing i knew, the sidewalk was completely full! finally, it was time for the parade to begin. it starts at 77th street at 9 am, which meant it took fifteen or twenty minutes to reach us, where we were standing between 64th and 65th. the thing that you don't realize, is that performances only happen at particular places, so most of the people are just walking through throwing confetti, and wishing everyone a happy thanksgiving. the weird thing that happened, was that almost all of the supposed celebrities on the floats were completely unknown to zach and i. we only knew who they were due to the screams of the tweens behind us! i think i might officially be old.

we were excited to see the highty-tighties. they were the only band that did some fancy footwork along our part of the route! nothing like a little bit of hokie spirit to make a place feel familiar!
the balloons are fun. although oddly enought they seem bigger on television... we think it might have something to do with the scale of the streets in midtown, where nbc broadcasts, versus central park west.
and of course, santa welcomes in the start of the holiday season- and also the end of the parade. we were walking home around 10:30, which was great timing to start cooking! we followed santa down the street for several blocks, which helped us avoid the mass exodus of the rest of the crowd. we had our own thanksgiving late lunch at the apartment during the afternoon. then that evening we went to an "orphan" christmas event in brooklyn. that turned out to be a really good time, and was a great chance to meet some new people. the food was amazing too. for new yorkers to get such a reputation for ordering delivery, there somehow was a collection of some of the best cooks in the city. all together a very busy, but fun thanksgiving day. next year i'll watch the parade on television in my pajamas.

blowing up the balloons

the balloons are blown up the night before the thanksgiving day parade on the upper west side. we thought that we would swing by and check this out on wednesday evening. in my typical naivety i thought we could just walk up and check out the balloons, with no trouble. i figured the whole thing would probably take about a half an hour. wrong. the nice weather had brought out everyone's curiosity about the balloons, and the line reached about five blocks on the west side of the street, and then five blocks back down the east side of the street! you can see in the picture how the sidewalks were absolutely filled with people!

the balloons were definitely awesome. we liked this funny photo where it looks like ronald mcdonald is eating the world. there was one more avenue with balloon inflation, but we figured that one was probably enough!
check out these facts about the parade balloons: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macy's_Thanksgiving_Day_Parade#Balloons

Friday, November 16, 2007

shopping / errands

doesn't the word errands sound so much more official than shopping? while zach spent the day at work, my day was filled with running throughout the city. i started off with a second trip to the dmv, license express. this time i was actually able to get my new york driver's license. hooray! i made it through the process in a record hour and a half. next, it was off to mood (as seen on project runway.) all i have to say is wow. no sightings of Tim Gunn, but definitely an absolutely amazing assortment of fabrics. the next stop was the muji opening in soho. i had a little confusion about the opening time, because the website said noon and the store sign said 10am, so when i arrived at 11:30, i was pleased to find it was already open. the store was jam-packed with shoppers and media. apparently i don't look interesting, because no one decided to interview me. the store is awesome, i kept walking through and thinking "this is exactly what i have been looking for!" i did manage to leave with only a few things, but i plan to take another trip back before too long. on the way back home, i made a few additional stops. after a quick lunch at the apartment, i decided to attempt to do some laundry. the closest laundromat is two blocks and one avenue over, so i heaved my new laundry bag, filled to the brim, over my shoulder. i've decided that i should give the laundromat a try before i succumb to the laundry service just outside our door. so far, i think i can do a few more trips, but we'll see what kind of experience laundry on the weekend is. i'm willing to bet that will be a whole different story. so, laundry is complete, and i now i'm back home again. its time for some portfolio work, and then i'll have to figure out what we'll be eating for dinner. life is just full of choices. :)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

walking around the city

So, we've been taking it easy these last couple of days- just resting and getting used to our surroundings. We did make a trip a few blocks over to midtown, to take a look at the tree in Rockefeller Center. Since we won't have room for a real tree in our apartment, I'll just have to take multiple trips over to check out this very large tree! We also went to the MOMA Design Store, a few times, to pick up some MUJI containers and cd sleeves. Their design products are really nice, and since we have such a small space, we have decided to surround ourselves only with nice looking items. The cashier told us that MUJI is going to be opening its flagship store in SOHO on Friday! http://www.muji.com/
In other errands, we tried to go get New York driver's licenses. Apparently you need your social security card, a passport, and your out of state license to do that. And, I have managed to misplace Zach's card in our move. So, that meant that we got to take a super fun trip to the social security office!
I was really hoping that in our free time before Zach started work that we would get to take in a play or go check out a taping of a show. However, with both the writers and the Broadway stage hands striking, it looks like it will be a while before we have the opportunity to do either of those things. I do feel bad for the people that are visiting to see shows, that would be such a disappointing part of a trip.
Zach started work today, so its back to the real world for him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the unpacking puzzle.

Apparently a ten foot truck can really fill up a small one bedroom apartment. I had instructed the movers to place most of the boxes in the bedroom, so that we could set up our desk and couch in the living room. The bed somehow ended up in there too, I guess by that time we had run out of room. After maneuvering the ten foot long i-beam that supports the desk into place, and the couch opposite in the living room we sandwiched the mattress vertically against the wall and set in trying to attack the mountain of boxes. The kitchen and bathroom seemed an easy place to start, since the empty cabinets were just asking to be filled up. While I worked on this part, Zach assembled the desk and started setting up things in the living room. At about 10:30, we finally crashed. Since our bed was still pinned up against the wall, we folded out the couch and slept there instead. The cats had decided to try to explore by this time. This was terribly convenient, since we were trying to sleep. Also, they seem to have a new interest in exploring the vertical, a dimension that was never of interest to them in Richmond. After climbing on top of the refrigerator and kitchen cabinets, they also discovered that they could scale the mattress, and perch high on top. At one point, I was awakened by Dash jumping from the top of the mattress down on to my sleeping body. Dot has also managed somehow to get into the vertical box springs, and wedge herself in there. I think she feels safe in this small spot. On the other hand, I have trouble finding her, and find myself panicked as to where she is.

Friday and Saturday are also spent unpacking, in a slow fashion. I have managed to get a cold, and am moving quite slowly. I also am worried that Zach will contract this cold. We don’t need for him to be sick on his first day of work this week! We are able to work our way through the boxes, but the process is made more difficult due to the small space. Zach compared the process to working one of those puzzles where you slide the pieces to eventually get them in order. In order to make one move, you must first make three others. I can barely maneuver myself through the bedroom, trying to move boxes just compounds things!

Finally I reach a critical point where the bed and bookshelf can be assembled, and the clothes put away. It seems that we really might just be able to fit our stuff in the apartment. The experience is like when we went to Europe. You pack what you think is critical, realize how much stuff you have, and then get rid of half of it. The problem is that we only made it through the first part of this process. At least this will curb my urge to do any shopping!

Now we’re pretty much settled in, I’ve cooked dinner in the kitchen and we’ve finally figured out where to take our trash. Its amazing how little things like trash you take for granted, I’ve just always put it in a can out back. Instead, it goes in a little room, near the front door. Not the first place I would have looked! We’ve also scouted out the several closest grocery stores; there is one within two blocks of the apartment, as well as the Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. Although expensive, that is such a fun place to shop. I get the feeling that there are a lot of lifestyle changes that we’ll be getting used to in these upcoming weeks.

U-Haul Not My-Haul

Now that we are finished unloading the truck it’s time to get rid of this thing. When we picked up the U-Haul in Richmond we got a number from the U-Haul guy telling us to call this number when we got to NY to find out where the closest place to return it was. Of course, we already knew where the closest U-Haul place was, there was no need to call. He told us it would be a good idea anyway, and there was something weird about the way he said it, as if he were tapping his fingers together wickedly and snickering. We had planned on taking it back to the U-Haul rental place on 50th street. However, we decided to call the U-Haul number just incase. To our disappointment and to confirm our suspicions in the comment made by the previous U-Haul guy, that drop off place was full and was not going to take anymore trucks. We would have to drive our truck to Brooklyn or The Bronx!!! We refused to believe this and decided to drive by the one on 50th and were determined that they would take our truck. Nope. Jennifer begged the guy, and the guy genuinely wanted to help us out but it was simply impossible for him to fit anymore trucks. He gave us directions to the U-Haul place in The Bronx which was apparently the easiest to get to. So, between his directions, and Jennifer on the phone with her dad who was tracking us on Google, we were able to navigate through the upper west side and across the 145th Street bridge to The Bronx. I think this trek, in a U-Haul truck, should qualify me automatically for a New York driver’s license. Anyway, after a long day, we took the subway back and began the arduous task of unpacking.

five floors, one full truck: unloading

After the drive into the city and finally figuring out where to park (do you know the difference between no parking, no standing, and no standing?) we met our super to get the keys and copy of our lease. I was able to take a few loads of oddly packed things and the kitties up before the movers arrived. To help minimize the stress on the cats, I shut them in the bathroom. They didn’t need to be exposed to all of that commotion, or even worse, be able to escape.

When we took the movers to where our truck was parked, the look of horror was not promising. We also had to park around the corner, as the only available space on our block was at a bus stop- a sure way of getting a ticket. The move was rather uneventful, just lots of ups and downs. All I can say is that I am glad we hired people to help. I can’t even count the number of trips up our five flights of stairs I made, and I wasn’t carrying the heavy stuff. I figured that I would help with the more fragile and oddly packed items. We quickly learned that movers prefer boxes. They did not seem to appreciate my laundry baskets filled with last minute, miscellaneous items. They worked hard though, and amazingly finished in the two hours that we had hired them for. And in the end, we had one very full apartment, two confused kitties, and still had to return the u-haul. Did I mention that it was now about 4pm and we hadn’t eaten since our stop at 7-11 that morning? But since we weren’t supposed to be parking, only unloading, we needed to return the u-haul immediately.

on the road

The morning begins with that panicked feeling of waking up and not knowing quite where you are. Staring up at a cat, Dot in this case, whose settled on my chest in a effort to keep warm in a our now bare apartment, things begin to come back to me—I have to drive to New York today. After blinking through sleep crusted eyes, the realization of what’s to come sets Jennifer and I into action. It’s 4:30 in the morning and we both take showers and set about the final few items we have to pack in our 10’ U-Haul which is by this point beginning to bulge at the seems. We make quick stop at the local 7-11 for some “breakfast.” Jennifer, decides on a donut, banana and a coffee, I, however, opt for a more filing fare, sausage egg and cheese biscuit and a large coffee. We have to make a stop at our now former landlord’s home to drop off our keys and then we hit the road. We eventually leave town about 15 mins later than we were planning but this wasn’t really a big deal.

The trip was fairly uneventful until we reached the DC area, where traffic began precipitating around the beltway exits. Google maps suggested we take the 395-495 exit toward Tyson’s corner which, at the time of arrival, 7am rush hour had the traffic pretty much bumper to bumper. The road signs in this area, however, informed us that we should take the 495 eastern route of the beltway. Faced on the one hand with the assurance of Google maps but the obvious delays, and on the other with a quicker route and the uncertainty and fear of drawing outside the lines, we stashed the Google Maps and set about figuring out the route on our own. Fortunately, in our whirlwind of purging our old apartment, I managed to salvage an old road atlas from 1995 which we hoped was good enough to get us there.

Around the time we reached Baltimore and the first of many toll roads we eagerly extended a fistful of dollar bills to the cashier. To our bewilderment, which quickly turned to panicked horror, there was no one in the booth to accept our cash. As horns from angry motorists behind us blared we realized we had driven through the EZ-pass only booth. After a few seconds of looking back and forth at each other we realized the only thing we could do was keep on driving. We fully expect a bill from U-Haul within the next few weeks for this infraction. I would love to have seen the toll-booth photo of our faces. Needless to say we kept a sharp eye out for EZ-pass and Cash Only lanes from then on.

We made a brief stop somewhere in Maryland for a bathroom break, coffee, and a pack of chocolate donuts (for energy of course). It was a gas station on the top of a hill with no parking spaces to be had, so we parked at the bottom of the hill and hiked up. When we returned to the truck we checked in on the cats, to which we administered pills supplied by our vet to calm them down for the trip, were groggy and trying to fight of the drug induced slumber, without much success. They rode between us in their cat carrier, perched on a couple of boxes which would not fit in the back of the truck.

Our first fill-up occurred at the very first service center on the NJ turnpike. I think it was about $65 dollars to fill-up and apparently it is NJ state law that the gas station is full service or at least that is what the sign said at this particular service center. We tipped the guy a couple of bucks got out stretched our legs and got back on the turnpike. I have heard terrible stories about the turnpike but I actually found it to be quite a pleasant drive, at least for most of it. It did get a little bit rough once we could see Manhattan in the distance. I image I would have been a lot more freaked out if I had been driving the Fit on this road as opposed to the massive U-Haul. We got across the George Washington Bridge without incident and made our way onto the Henry Hudson Parkway. We chose this route because we thought it might be easier than the Lincoln Tunnel. We also heard that they have a problem with letting out of state U-Hauls through the Lincoln Tunnel, so we decided to avoid it altogether. I’m glad we did because the Henry Hudson Parkway was a beautiful drive. It was difficult for me to keep my eyes on the road with so many other things to see. We took the 56th street exit (apparently a little too closely as I rode up on the curb to a cacophonous crash—gotta love alliteration) and parked. We are home. Time to unload….

how many architects does it take to pack a u-haul?

Monday through Wednesday were spent packing our stuff and getting rid of those things not necessary. This included a large deposit for recycling, of a magazine backlog of four or five years, two trips to Goodwill, and lots of giving things away. Not to mention the trips to the trash cans. It seemed that every time we turned around, we had somehow accumulated more trash! And yet, amazingly, we fit almost everything into our ten foot u-haul truck. Zach’s mom and dad came by on Wednesday to help us make our way through the last items of packing and cleaning. They also drove the fit, full of one last load of storage, home to Covington. The one thing we weren’t able to fit was the guitar, but the cats will be grateful for the reprieve. We finished up with all of the packing around 11 on Wednesday night, and slept in the living room on the floor, ready to get up early on Thursday morning, to set out before the sun comes up. The cats are totally confused about what is going on, they are seeking refuge on my coat in the middle of the floor. I can’t remember the last time they curled up together like this, they must really be concerned about what could possibly be going on.

Dash also seems to be concerned that we don't forget to pack him. He doesn't seem to suspect that he will soon be drugged and in a cat carrier for a long ride!

Back Home

First load is back home...We spent a quick night at each of our respective parents homes (gained an additional hour thanks to daylight savings time) and after a couple of visits with family, we hit the road for our trip back to Richmond. We took a couple of shots looking back at Selma, my hometown, from the on-ramp of interstate 64. My apologies to Selma for decreasing it's population from 485 to 484 ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Selma,_Virginia ).

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

and the move continues

and we're cleaning... and boxing... and hauling. So far, we've taken one truck and one load in the fit home to our parents' "storage" facility. One large load has gone to the Goodwill, and there should be another today.

At least next time we move, we should have about 1/4 the stuff to deal with! Its amazing how much stuff begins to accumulate after a while. The trouble is, we don't take the time to examine our priorities until we are moving. And then its exhausting!

So the kitties are totally freaked out by the move, Dot has spent most of the weekend underneath the bed. Dash has the opposite reaction, and has become really clingy. Anytime anyone sits down, he is in their lap, seeking comforting snuggles. I keep telling them this chaos is almost over. They just have to make it through a little bit more.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

did i mention i love craigslist?

I know I've talked about this before, but I really, really do love craigslist. I'm not really sure how I've never used it before, but it is definitely awesome! So far, I've rented my apartment in two days, sold my honda accord in one day, and sold my couch in two days. We still have one car to go, but overall, these are definitely good results. Now I keep trying to think of other things to sell. It's like reverse shopping!

by the way.. happy halloween. The photo is from our recent trip to Chicago, in the entrance to a buisness in Lincoln Park.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

visiting the site

Well, today I went on my last site visit, since my last day at work is Friday . They will be pouring the concrete floor tomorrow for the basement. Finally we have gotten out of the crawl space! Fortunately, I can continue to watch the progress on the contractor's webcam.
The owner made a funny comment about us small town mice in the big city. This project site is just a county over from our hometown.
Now if only I can finish those architectural precast shop drawings by my last day on friday...

Monday, October 29, 2007

paring down

In our time in Richmond, we have managed to accumulate a lot of STUFF. Obviously, we won't be able to bring most of this with us to our new apartment in the city- which means we have to either store it, give it away, or sell it. So, that's where Craigslist comes in...

This is my new favorite thing in the whole world.

Who knew that there were people out there just waiting to buy your stuff? Its like ebay without shipping! Now we will set out to sell the couch and both cars. Only time (and my inbox) shall tell what response we will get.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

the new apartment

After a weekend in Richmond, and a weekend in Knoxville for our friend Lisa's wedding, we're back in the city to find an apartment. I want to wait to get a job until we have moved, because I want to take my time. The culture of a firm is very important, and I don't think this is a decision to be rushed in to. That being said, apparently people in New York don't want to rent you an apartment if you don't have a job. Go figure. Fortunately, we stumble across a 6 month lease with a landlord who is a bit more flexible. And then, just like that, we have an apartment in New York.

Twice the rent and less than half the size, but its still awesome!

We measure and photograph the space carefully. We'll model the space and our furniture so that we can plan what we can take. All I know at this point is, we'll be getting rid of a whole lot of stuff.

a very long night

It is about 6 pm on Friday, the 28th of September. We are putting the finishing touches on Zach's portfolio, and printing a final copy. I have decided that we need to upload some photos using our new card reader, and go ahead and plug it in. It is then that everything falls apart. The computer freezes, and won't respond at all. We turn it off, turn it back on. It won't restart. There isn't power to the keyboard OR mouse. You know that feeling in the pit of your stomach, where you think you are going to throw up with panic? Multiply that by about twenty.

This is the image we were trying to get off the camera. A photo of our thesis book. The one that almost ruined it all.

In our rush to finish everything up we haven't backed up the files. We have piles and piles of backup laying around here... and we didn't backup these particular files. And of course, the computer is doing horrible things, that we have never seen before. Zach begins to rip things out of the computer, trying to discover the source, and shortly thereafter I begin trying to rebuild a week and a half of work in twelve hours. I have given up by now, there is no way we are getting those files off the computer. We continue this panicked mode into the night, working as quickly as possible to salvage what little information we have remaining. And then, amazingly, Zach somehow is able to use another hard drive, in a different computer, and reinstall windows. We plug in the external hard drive to the excruciatingly slow usb 1.0 drive in this old computer, and start pulling the files that we need. At about 5am, we are printing again. We are
back to where we were 6pm the night before. I pack our stuff, we take a shower, and walk over to the bus at 6:30. Somehow, amazingly, we had managed to get everything done.

We decided to take an early morning bus from Richmond. Although the bus is always an interesting experience, nothing beats the price. The bus leaves at 7:15 am, which means we wait amongst a desolate landscape on Broad and Boulevard. But, we are on our way to New York, portfolio in hand...