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On life in black and white.

In one of the first posts on this blog, I wrote about life in black and white. It was last July, and I had just watched Lucille Ball and Bob Hope’s “Affair to Remember.”

It made me wonder how many people in 2011, outside of the 9th grade and away from the trap that is seven minutes of “Stairway to Heaven”, fall in love dancing and chatting. Is it still an issue I have no sense of rhythm? I also wonder if everything would look prettier in black and white. I’d like to film a date, then replay it colorless. Does my hair look better? Does he look like he’s being more romantic?

How are my pores?

It was later explained to me that only I had the luck of getting stuck multiple times in an awkward Stairway to Heaven arms-extended, elbows-locked marathon slow-dance.

Anyway. Black and white and romance. I was home tonight, contemplating writing, not sure about what, when I started looking at movie times. “The Artist” was playing at 7:00. It was 7:04. Shucks.

And then I remembered I live two blocks from the independent movie theater. Black jeans, gray shirt on, (by the look of my wardrobe sometimes, my life is in black and white), I ran a brush through my hair, then ran down the street. I walked into Theater 4 – panting – as the screen blurred from opening credits to “1927.”

And there it was – black and white and romantic. Full of mugging for the camera.

And I started thinking about life in black and white again.

The first (and only other) movie I saw at this theater was “Midnight in Paris” this summer. In September, I’d take the following photo in Vienna.

I’m guilty of editing too many photos to be monochrome. It’s become an addiction, a fascination – In Europe, it was a simple step to making every situation seem movie-like lovely.

And sometimes I choose to view the photos of life in B&W because, in B&W’s natural way of romanticizing everything, it disguises flaws.

Like these goofs from the other night.

Never mind the fact that I talked through 12 of them.

Never mind the fact that we couldn’t be serious.

Never mind the fact that I unintentionally “say cheese” my face off to an almost unnatural extreme, and all that’s missing to make them 1920s silent film mugging for the camera worthy is a super wink.

They make me smile.

But now I’m sitting in a coffee shop, and it’s Saturday night. The lamps are orange, the window seat cushions purple. The paintings on the wall are blue. And for the first time since Europe, I’m sitting and people watching. I even talked to strangers tonight, two older couples out for a movie. I turned down sitting at their table. I try not to crash other people’s dates.

And Beach Boys is playing in the background.

And God Only Knows just played twice in a row.

And it’s real life.

And it’s happening in color.

And that’s the way it ought to be.

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150 Words.

Living vicariously. I heard that a lot from everyone when I was in Europe, and it made me smile. You were living vicariously as “we all” talked to strangers, didn’t fall off castles, got woken up by strange men in hostels by the rub of an arm (and we were on the top bunk), and we all never had the correct change.

So it was fun, and funny, to hear it this week. You living vicariously means 1) always, always, always pulling the cord that turns the ceiling fan on instead of the light, 2) sleeping on an air mattress that deflates throughout the night – but hey, we do sleep with an electric blanket, so at least we’re warm, 3) making pb&j big girl lunches for our big girl job and 4) we might have just gulped straight from the milk carton.

You all still with me?

I hope so.

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Feels like home.

I get antsy when I don’t blog. Four times in February just doesn’t cut it…

But I think, after a few weeks of getting prepared for New York life, I think… I’m ready to LIVE my New York life.

And it feels great!

I have an apartment. One with exposed brick walls, wine bottle wall paper, black pantries… If the place didn’t come decorated enough on its own, cousins and aunts helped my cousin and me this weekend. After trips to Target, Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, Big Lots, Marshall’s, Pier 1 Imports, Goodwill and the grocery store…

We have salt and pepper shakers that match the island.

A teapot that matches the wall paper.

Urns (URNS?) that match the candle that matches the quirky decorative stove in the room we don’t know how to use. I’m thinking hammock.

We have a home.

A home I might have been cursing for being uncleaned between tenants – and the last tenant was a male with terrible aim – but a home that is bright and shiny and mine.

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It’s a bit comical – my bed is an air mattress. My cousin: “You know, if I were to walk into a girl’s room and she had an air mattress, I’d be like ‘Oh, yeah… Let’s rock this thing.'”

It’s a work in progress.

So, now, sitting at my kitchen table, coffee mug by my side, music playing from my bedroom…

It feels great. And more stories get to come this blog’s way again.

I’m not sure about what.

But I’m six weekdays in to life as an employed person again… and it’s more than wonderful.

Thank goodness – we all know I was coming to New York February 4 either way.

But I definitely landed where I’m supposed to be.

Case in point, my manager and I can bond over being Syracuse grads and a mutual love of Hall and Oates. Really, what more do you need?

Car, job, apartment.

And heck, there might even be a boy. But that’s personal (and I do have a filter, dontchya know). Plus, why embarrass him?

Totally random side note, isn’t that singer in the last post cute?

Happy sigh. Goodnight from New York, everyone.

Peace, love and all sorts of knickknacks.

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New Yorker (Week One)

I didn’t quit the blog.

I just was insanely and fantastically busy.

Let’s see – Monday we found out I have the credit score from h*ll due to a $24 modem. Awesome.

And I can’t quite put together what I did Tuesday.

But Wednesday? Visited an apartment. Loved the apartment. It has an exposed brick wall, already decorated kitchen, decorative old-fashioned stove in the dining room… Love.

And thus the mad rush to beat the next three people with showings to leaving a deposit. Just made it.

Lots of work. Everything related to what comes with signing a lease for an apartment. Should I mention I’m moving in with a couple suitcases and an air mattress? Starting from scratch here, folks.

Keys to the apartment Friday.

Keys to the car Saturday.

Family in town Saturday and Sunday.

First day of work today.

Insanity.

Insanity.

Insanity.

I haven’t slept much. I just got in the biggest fit of giggles of my life, doubled over laughing, tears down my face, on the cleaning supply aisle at Walmart.

But I just had a fantastic weekend, with photos and video better for sharing than the sentences I’m able to construct at the moment.

Anyone who has followed this blog at length knows I spent the summer drinking too much coffee because I had a big ol’ crush on the barista.

Well, he’s lead singer in a band, too (btw, the band in the Relay promos I made and posted a few weeks ago!).

So, yes, it’s just fine being back in New York after six months away. Especially after my 11-year-old sister visiting from CA had one of the coolest days of her (and my) life by learning the ins and outs of what goes on at a recording studio the day after she found out she made Honor Choir.

It’s good to be back.

Photos and videos, from this weekend.

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Give Me Some Credit!

And here we are in Albany, New York. 

I left Southern California Saturday morning with three suitcases and a carry-on bag with five things capable of taking pictures and three blank journals. Did I look like I like to document life? You bet.

We landed in Vegas at 11:11a.m. Made a wish. So did Randy, guy in the exit row who was celebrating his birthday. I know this because the overhead lights were turned off, every passenger closed their windows, and then we all hit our call button and reading light “birthday candles” and sang to him.

It was pretty great.

I stepped off the plane and sat at the first slot-machine I saw. Wheel of Fortune theme. I put a $5 bill in, got up to $27.50, walked with a $20 bill.

But then I had another two and a half hours.

So I lost a $5 bill.

But awhile later I was bored and I still had another hour.

So I put in another $5. And… got up to $40.25!

And a few minutes later, I left Vegas +$30.25. Not a bad layover.

Two days later, I’m sitting here hoping to get the keys to the car I’ve put a deposit on at the dealership. But everything is a process…

The car salesman is great. Said I look and sound like Helen Hunt, and I have a good handshake, too. Maybe he’ll be my first new New York friend.

But the process.

He asked for my driver’s license. Being a “New Yorker” for just over 36 hours at this time, I produce a CA license from my wallet. That’s not 6-points of identification in NY, so he asks what else I’ve got.

Well, old habits don’t die quick. I pull out my passport.

“Seriously, who carries their passport in their purse?”

I know, right?

Credit app time. Employed? Uh… I will be in a week. Annual monthly income? Uh… in a week… Home address – aunt’s house. Nearest closest relative – um… my aunt? Can I just list my dad in California?

I look at my new friend. “I’m not doing too well here, am I.”

But then my second NY friend, the finance man, and I meet. 

Here is the mission: 

Put down most of the payment for the car. About 70%.

But then, take out a car loan for the remainder so 22-year-old me with no credit history can build some credit.

Great.

Except when the finance man says, “Sooo… your credit score came back really low.”

HUH?

Like, laughably, joke low. He said “You only have one thing on your credit history – an overdue payment from (name) cable company?”

No, I personally closed that account over the phone. My roommate lived there two months after me, but I did it all by phone. The only thing she had to do was return the -

And the word “modem” hangs in the air.

NO.

So with the promise he’d call the banks to find out loan options to solve this little fiasco of “I need credit to get the bank loan, and now I need the bank loan to boost my credit”… I get on the phone with the cable company.

So maybe this was a little my fault. Maybe I could have followed up.

But a minor frustration. I paid my bills online for two years. I got an e-mail a week from them with regard to statements, promotions, updates. If I had a question, it was dealt with by phone or e-mail.

“Yes, we sent you a letter. It got returned to us.” 

Right. Because I hadn’t thought to get a forwarding address from my college apartment, because the only mail I received were the paper copies of the cable bills.

So I asked, after two years of predominantly online activity, with my e-mail address and phone number on file… there was no attempt to reach me that way? When the account has been closed – doesn’t that suggest maybe I moved? At all? Said with exasperation because my credit score is in the tank because of a $24 modem.

Best line from the company I bought internet from for two years:

“Yes, our company does not send many e-mails.”

1) Yes, you do. Annoyingly often- Just not for subjects of vital importance, apparently.

2) REALLY?

Argh. Come on.

End of rant.

Thank goodness they don’t happen often.

Maybe twice a year.

Life is just fine.

If with a super-sized interest rate and potentially apartment-less without a co-signer.

Sigh.

Credit score schmedit score.

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Parking Lot Positivity

Moving through Europe = plenty of time to write.

Moving across the United States = zero time to write.

I do miss writing every day.I woke up homesick for Lisbon a few days ago, the last place I drafted a children’s book. I miss having a camera on me at all times – I forget to pack it and miss capturing all those couples holding hands, the sunsets, the funny signs… I dropped habits I’d hoped to keep. There hasn’t been a journal in my purse lately and I stopped saving receipts. I certainly stopped walking everywhere. I haven’t talked to enough strangers.

I’ll work on that in New York.

Two days and I’ll have landed. I packed my bags today. Ella isn’t coming with me, but Eeyore is.

Move to New York, search for an apartment. My new job (I couldn’t be more excited to meet everyone) starts soon after.

Which reminded me. A couple years ago, the owner of the restaurant I worked for looked at me and, in front of multiple people, said “You remind me of a cartoon character.” When I asked what in the world that meant, he said “I don’t know! I can’t place which one.”

So seeking comfort, or at least understanding of whether or not a cartoon character comparison was a good or bad thing, I asked a male coworker, who came up with “I think it’s because you have such big eyes. Like, really big eyes. And your mouth. Probably that.”

Another coworker, who I’d end up living with later, just said “HAH! I TOTALLY SEE IT!”

My new coworkers haven’t met me face-to-face yet. I hope I don’t scare them off with my E.T.-like features.

Which, based on home videos we dug out of my garage yesterday, have always been around. And let me tell you, I might have more smile in my upper teeth than most people need in their entire mouths, but I really dodged a bullet when I got braces. 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade me… rough years.

I do miss the overalls, though. The 90s were great.

Things that make me happy: This parking lot. Camera-less yesterday like the dummy non-tourist I am now, I drove back today because it really made me smile.

The CAMP, Costa Mesa, CA