Tuesday, September 28, 2010

For The Love of Letters

In today’s world of technology, digital messaging, and video chat, I still find myself fascinated by the beautiful simplicity of a personal letter. There is no comparison between opening my email inbox of 14 messages to that of opening my mailbox to one, handwritten envelope.

Don’t get me wrong. I greatly appreciate Twitter, Facebook, and Skype just as much as the next Generation Y computer wiz. In fact that may, indeed, be why I find this older method of communication more idealized and romantic, even in it’s antiquated style.

For this reason, I greatly appreciate the yellow legal pad clippings sent to me every so often by my grandmother. Sometimes she has news to report; sometimes she pens that there is “nothing of interest” to discuss but that she was simply “thinking about me.”

Maybe it’s the writer from within, but each time a personal letter comes my way I can’t help but excitedly rip open the message almost immediately, as if it were a toy a child received on Christmas day. My only regret is that I rarely respond in the same manner, hence my persistent phone calls to those who send cards (although I am trying to improve!). I simply wasn’t trained to respond by snail mail, though I adore the personal implications.

So this post is in tribute to my Grandma Barbara, who sent me a letter nearly every two weeks throughout my four-year college experience, and who from time-to-time still sends a note my way.

Thank you.

Maybe I’ll write you a copy of this blog post so you can understand my immense gratitude. Practice makes perfect, right?

On another note (no pun intended), I am also extremely proud of my Grandma Helen who just used Skype for the first time. How’s that for a technologically-savvy grandparent?

Bulletin board in my room with notes from many, including my grandma.

"Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it." - Mark Twain


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursday's Things New Yorkers Say... To Themselves

“Getting myself lost…”

“She freaking… then she freaking….”

“Get out of my face motherfu…”

“Where the hell is this…”

“Halleluiah sweet God almighty.”

I don’t know what it is about New York. Or maybe it’s every city? But something about the “concrete jungle where dreams are made” promotes constant muttering or flat out conversations – with yourself.

All the above quotes are an ever-present reminder that people from all different backgrounds and socioeconomic standings are, in fact, crazy.

Take for example the typical “I’m-at-the-wrong-side-of-the-platform-for-the-subway” conversation between one’s self:

“Oh (insert any explicative here).” “I think this is wrong.” “I wonder where I am going…” "Am I in Brooklyn?"

Or how about the “mid-town-stressed-out-walker:”

“This is ridiculous.” “So many people… so many” “I hate mid-town at rush hour.” “(Insert multiple explicative’s here).”

And then there is the actor. He sits on a subway, fully engrossed in a manuscript or play. Suddenly his head pops up and he looks to the sky. Silently he mouths word you can’t hear and changes his expressions into obscure emotions you can’t understand.

You wonder to yourself, “Why is that man noiselessly screaming to the ceiling of the subway and then looking back at a sheet of paper?” It took me several of these instances before I realized they were actors, cramming lines into their skulls.

Finally, there’s people that are truly crazy and have conversations with the wall. I won’t go into these poor souls because it’s kinda sad. And they actually freak me out. Particularly when I happen to be sitting by that wall they are talking to – I just get very confused.

I’m not even mentioning all the iPod sing-alongs and incoherent numberings I have encountered! And I was thinking all of this one day in the subway – when everyone seemed to be talking to himself or herself! Why was that man speaking Chinese to no one? Who said it was okay for you to give me a free concert of the latest rap crap streaming from you headphones? Why, old woman do you randomly nod your head up and down, saying “uh huh?” And you! Yes you, you crazy actor! Don’t you realize you look ridiculous!?

And then it happened.

I let out a quiet, but ever so audible “Oh my gosh.”

Just like that I joined the ranks with the rest of them. By breathing out this simple, unobtrusive phrase, I destroyed my reputation of sanity and stability. The pressures of the city had induced a haze of chaos and infiltrated my traditional “filter.”

Was it excusable? Hadn’t frustration just gotten the best of me?

Maybe in most cases. But I looked around my surroundings. There was a younger girl sitting directly across from me, starring into my horribly embarrassed soul. She was my witness, observing my drop into craziness.

She heard that phrase. She knew “oh my gosh” was said to myself. I swear I saw her cruelly smile as she sat silently content in this loony asylum better known as the R train.

I talked to myself, and the world knew it. I am crazy.


Maybe I’m just well-adjusted ;)

Eric's birthday was this week!

Beautiful New York... even if everyone's crazy.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

First Day of School

I sat towards the front of the classroom next to several other nervously smiling faces. This was Publishing 607, Magazine Production and Design. There were about 13 to 15 students, ages 19 - 35 attending Pace University’s graduate program on the corner of 5th Avenue and 45th street in mid-town Manhattan.
I flipped through our text “The Magazine: from cover to cover” and hoped that three night classes, homework, exams, papers, and Bloomingdale’s would not be a fatal blow to my otherwise decent record as a student in higher level education.
The session was long, but informative with the majority of students in a similar situation as myself: new to the city, recently out of college, and trying to discover what they will do in this world.
Not that our futures will be found in a classroom – but it’s a good place to start.
Tonight I’m enrolled in Publishing 636 (Book Acquisition), and Thursday is Publishing 610 (Electronic). Optimistically, between these classes and the contacts I encounter, some course of action will materialize. Eh?
But now: the real reason of this post.
It is tradition in the Fitzgerald household to snap a “first day of school” picture. As is custom, one must dress up in their newest outfit and smile for Mommy and Daddy.
Well, this is the best I could muster by myself. I was also on the phone with Kathryn, so pardon the distraction, but here I am parents – first day of school! For the 17th time…


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursday's Things New Yorkers Say: Number 2

Since I have inhabited New York City, I’ve met and socialized with many characters right from a movie or book. I’ve also overheard fragments of conversation or been approached with the strangest requests or suggestions. Much like someone contributing to overheardinnewyork.com, I too have been writing down all the interesting blah blah blah I encounter.

So I share with you some culture of the city. These short excerpts are directly from my notebook and completely unaltered (except for spelling mistakes because that’s just embarrassing):

1) Man in mid 20s talking to woman in mid 20s walking down Crosby Street in Soho:

“So I put on my face this morning and then realized I looked like my boyfriend when he dresses in drag!” Both laugh at this everyday occurrence.

Huh. That explains the random glitter spots on your face.

2) Three obnoxiously loud people on the Path train from Newark to New York at 1 am. Two men, one woman, between 25-28. One man says to the other:

“Take a train to Ocean City and you’ll drink like a god.” The other replies, “I always drink like a god,” to which Loud Idiot #1 says, “I’ll make you drink like a super god.” Insert stupid grin here.

Wow. Lot’s of deep, religious, God talk on the train tonight…

3) Same group as above. Now the woman would like to say something. In a piercing voice she exclaims for the whole train to here:

“I CAN’T BELIEVE MY EX MARRIED MY BEST FRIEND!!” Luckly Loud Idiot #2 was there to console her. “Um. It will be okay.”

Nothing like some good old compassion between a few close chums.

4) While I’m paying for my food at the bagel place, a new guy rings me up:

“$3.80.” (Pause) “Red head?” he says it almost like a question. “Yeees,” I respond. He smiles and turns to get my coffee. He comes back with my coffee. “Yes. Red head?” (Pause and tilted-head-look) “Red.”

Huh. Glad you came to that conclusion on your own. And when will the usual guy, Anthony, be returning?? Just a question… no don’t get upset. Yes, dangit. I’m a red head. And if you ask again I will throw this bagel at your face.

And now some pictures from my rooftop. I had no idea I was getting such a treat when I moved to Astoria, but these pictures don't do the view justice. Next clear night, I'll have to shoot the city in it's prime:


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


The church bells ring in the near distance, their sound seeping in through my open window and announcing with a cool breeze that it’s promptly 10 a.m.

It’s also my day off.

I rolled sleepily out of bed at 10:30, which is now considered much later than usual. After a breakfast of eggs and fresh tomato bought from the local out-door market, I gather my purse and the “the usual suspects,” which are several items usually crucial to my purse.

“The Usual Suspects”

1) Map of NYC that has block-by-block directions (thank you Laura Comeau!) - I never know when this thing is going to come in handy.

2) Cell phone and wallet with keys attached - Duh.

3) Brown reporter’s notebook and pin – This book holds phone numbers in case my cell dies, directions to frequently visited spots or new destinations I want to check out, and of course my observations or notes about funny conversations I overhear. There are also calculations from trying to split bills with friends, to-do lists, and random suggestions from even more random people. I’m surprised by how reliant I am on good ol’ pen and paper.

“The Sometimes Suspects” – a.k.a. if my purse allows space

1) Ipod and headphones – depending on how long I’ll be on a train this can be crucial. I HATE hearing people chew in my ear and please Lord don’t pop your gum.

2) The “Not for Tourist” guide with list of banks, cafes, grocery stores, etc. (thanks Brooke Huley!)

3) Mace, hand sanitizer, sunglasses, book, and flip-flips.

So I grab the usuals, plus the Ipod and book . I turn unexpectedly onto the 30th Avenue and run smack into a festival including food from every country, toys, plants, jewelry, and local art. My mind tries to accept reasoning and then…click: Labor Day, of course!

The afternoon was spent taking in Astoria in its prime, and the evening was spent in Union Square with some friends, new and old.

PS – Best deal in NYC: The Crocodile Lounge serves you a FREE 8 inch, homemade personal pizza with every drink ordered. So at happy hour I got a beer and dinner for…yes… grand total = $3!

That’s life… more to come. And Thursday’s “Things New Yorkers Say” is up next ;)


Thursday, September 2, 2010

Thursday's Things New Yorkers Say

Since I have inhabited New York City, I’ve met and socialized with many characters right from a movie or book. I’ve also overheard fragments of conversation or been approached with the strangest requests or suggestions. Much like someone contributing to overheardinnewyork.com, I too have been writing down all the interesting blah blah blah I encounter.
So I share with you some culture of the city. These short excerpts are directly from my notebook and completely unaltered (except for spelling mistakes because that’s just embarrassing):
1) Woman in Astoria talking to friends as she exits the N train:
“He hasn’t called. But I mean he said he would call. And I mean… he’s Greek. He’s crazy. So he’s going to call. It’s only been a week. And he said he was going out of town.” All friends nod in agreement.
Oh girl. This sounds like a scene out of “He’s Just Not That Into You.” He’s not going to call but your friends are too nice to tell you this.
2) Man talking to woman walking in SOHO:
“What if I murdered someone? Like, what would happen if I murdered someone?”
Stay away from me sir…
3) Man walking near Union Square, comment directed at moi:
“Yez eyes is pretty. You can stare and theys stars between em.”
Why thank you sir. Now help me find Bed Bath and Beyond because I’m ever so slightly lost…
4) Dude (who looks to be about 25) on the N Train talking to everyone:
“Hi my name is Swiss Cheese. Would you like to buy candy to help raise money for my senior trip?
I thought strangers were supposed to lure you with candy, not sell it. And has anyone ever joked with you about your name being holy? No… okay. Never mind, sorry. Forget I mentioned it.
Out and about in Late August:

Another birthday!

Shout out to Aunt Tracy for this recipe . They loved it :)

Favorite bartender.

So happy when Betsy's in town...
Pictures from Astoria Park:
NYC. The place to be.