Saturday, January 31, 2009

NYC Day 3

Saturday we had a slow start. We were enjoying being indoors and warm and finally around 4 we decided to go out. We went to the West Village where Megan and Daniel used to live, and I have to say, that has to be one of the cutest places in the city to live. If there were a neighborhood like that here, I'd consider living there, even with the small living space.

Then we grabbed another quick slice (YUMMERS) and walked past NYU and took pictures by the arch at Washington Square. We didn't walk through it though since it was dark, and I hear it's quite the meeting place for certain salesmen.


Across the street is where Will Smith lived in I Am Legend.


Then we strolled down a street with lots of random vendors and little restaurants and ended at Milon the Bangladesh Restaurant! This is where the fun begins. As soon as we walked in the door I noticed they were hanging chili pepper lights so I told the guy "nice lights!" and he said "thanks, they're new!" And then I noticed there were tons of lights and colors and sparkly paper all crammed into a restaurant the size of a trailer. YES! Megan and Daniel told me what I was experiencing was actually after they took down 90% of the decorations.

I took one with the flash on, but isn't the red more fun?

Daniel looks so hardcore in this one because he's holding the camera
So then BABU comes out and Megan and Daniel get all excited that he's there and he hugs them and kisses Megan's head (they say he's pretty touchy most of the time). Then I had the pleasure of meeting him. THEN after we order he brings me this drink (can't remember the name) but it's like liquidy fruity yogurt with ice cubes in it ON the HOUSE. Babu, you shouldn't have! Daniel told me things really get exciting when they play the birthday song.

Our food was quite scrumptious. I wasn't really sure what the true color of all the food was, but when we got into normal light again, I noticed my fingers were dyed in yellow pigment (you can see it on Megan's lips in the photo with the flash on too). It was very tasty and I want to go back right now! Oooh and the banana things that tasted like they had doughnut on the outside...ahhh...can't remember what those are called either. THEN the music starts. I didn't know exactly what was going on, but I got SO excited and started clapping with the music and everyone was cheering and clapping and out comes the ice cream with a candle in it! We were all watching to see who it went to, and it was ME! Yaaaay!!! I've decided if you really want to make me happy, all you have to do it put on fun music and cheer and bring me out a treat. Well Babu definitely made my night. So of course we all had to get our pictures taken with him. Oh, I almost forgot. Babu gave me his card and wrote his name on the back all slow-like. Not sure if it was an autograph, or a way of giving me his number, but it was pretty special.

Later I was told you get mango ice cream at the end of every meal anyway. Haha! Whatever it was my special night!

Megan looks semi-embarrassed right here.



Thumbs up for brotherhood and friendship!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday, NYC Day 2

Sorry about the delay.

Friday Megan had to work (people work on Fridays) so I got up that morning and went to get my touristy double-decker bus boarding pass. I was all proud of myself for knowing where to go. So I get on the bus and our tour guide had craaazy teeth. I felt bad, but not enough to not blog about it. Imagine someone blindfolded placing each tooth in your mouth...they were just facing all different directions! Haha...

Anyway, I did the downtown loop. It was one of these tours where you can get off the bus at a stop, and then get back on a different bus whenever you want. I got off where the biggest department store in the world Macys was, because the Empire State building is on the same street. 2 4 1. Of course, when you stand under the Empire State Building there's really nothing to see. I didn't go to the top because a) I'm cheap and b) It was freeeezing!

So here's my view of the two together. That was my view from the top of the bus (who sits on the bottom?) Empire State Building on the right, Macys on the left. The cover is all scratched from branches and low signs.

Here's a couple more clear ones:


I walked into the Empire State Building to check it out, then I went to H&M and Forever 21. Can you believe I didn't buy anything? Then I went to THE Macys. I was really not in the mood to shop at all, I just wanted to experience it's hugeness. And I don't even know if I saw most of it. Think of just one department you're used to in your town's Macys. Baby Department? Okay, now imagine one entire floor JUST for baby clothes, oh and this floor is 4x the size that you're used to, and instead of each corner of the floor being for Baby, Men's, Women, etc, it's a different brand of baby clothes. And one end of that floor is fancy brands from which you'd think people would be crazy to buy their baby clothes. Wanna shop petites? One entire floor. Bags and accessories? One entire floor. That place was crazy. There's at least two sets of escalators on each floor too, and one set is really cool and old and wood and creaky.

I got back on the bus and this time our tour guide was an Italian/Latino guy that was pretty funny. He'd be like, "You gotta try the cheesecake while you're here of course...they got strawberry, blueberry, and ladies, LADIES...CHOCOLATE." And though Chinatown, "They've got watches, DVDs, and ladies, LADIES...PURSES." He also told us LADIES to go into Gucci, take pictures of us holding bags, and then leave. Haha. Here's some nice pictures of buildings on that leg of the trip:

My next stop was Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center. I had to get off there. I finally found the little visitor's center. I was surprised there wasn't anything bigger to visit, but I suppose that's part of the re-construction. It was SO awesome anyway. They had guided tours by people that were survivors of 911, or you could do an audio tour. I did that so I wouldn't have to wait, but along the way I paused my player and eavesdropped on a tour that caught up to where I was. Amazing.

On my player was a bunch of people's stories that had been recorded, and you'd walk to certain points and listen to them talk. It was very touching and emotional a lot of times, but even though I'm a crier, I held back for appearance's sake. You walk into this financial building, and there's some spots with big windows where you can look out at Ground Zero. I don't remember if they were always there and re-built, or if they are new, but it's very eerie looking out and seeing nothing where you knew there used to be a spectacular view of the two tallest buildings in the city.

These pictures of course don't give the same experience, just imagine how huge that space is...nothing is open like that there except for parks. And there's a mess of construction stuff. They're building a cool memorial and the Freedom Tower which is going to be 1776 ft. tall. See the tall shiny glass building on the left? The Twin Towers were twice that height. It was hard to fit into most of the pictures, so you can imagine how tall even that is. The last one is of another angle, further into the building in front of the biggest window...you can see how small those people look.




Next to the visitor's center is Ladder 49 I think. Anyway it's a fire department that is RIGHT there. There's this huge memorial on the side of their building showing fire fighters doing all the things they had to do that day. It says "Dedicated to those who fell and to those who carry on. May we never forget."It's long.
Inside the visitor's center is incredible, and I wish I had more time to spend in there. There's a wall covered in "have you seen this person" fliers of people never found. This is a picture of one of the steel beams from the buildings found.
And this was spooky to look at. It's an airplane window found in the wreckage. Can you even imagine what it had been like to discover that? I had just been looking out my own window two days before. It makes it very real.



It was about dark by the time I was done so I got back on another bus. This tour guide knew tons and spoke very eloquently and annunciated her t's distinctly. That's the only way I can explain how she spoke without doing an impression. It was cool. This is the best picture I got of the Chrysler building the whole trip:
I met my sister back at her office. That's where I finally got a good shot of the New Year's Eve ball. They had a better view than anyone!
I also got a picture of this building. The night before my sister had shown it to me and said apparently at 7:30 pm there's red lights around the stars that light up, and the globe on top blinks, calling you to Broadway. Well she had to work late so we got to see it :) You can see the cubicles and office lights in the reflection. Hehe.

We caught up with Daniel and we got a dollar slice. I was warned the pizza cart would be a street where there could be some trannys. Well, unfortunately I didn't meet any. Anyway, that pizza was darn good, and it was super thin crust with a little cheese and a little sauce. I'm convinced that's all you need. Then we got on the subway. Snow slush mixed with street grime mixed with the slight smell of urine was what I climbed on down the steps. Ha. Gross. Thanks again for letting me use your Metro card Megan!

That night we went to the Upright Citizens Brigade to see a comedy show. It was pretty good. Not really stand-up comedy, more like 2 guys doing sketches. Daniel thought it was hilarious. I had a good time, but I wasn't laughing as hard as he was. Haha!

Then we went to a diner-type place that Daniel later compared to Denny's. It wasn't too fancy, but whatever, it was late and we were hungry. OH and next to us was a long table full of people that thanks to Daniel's eavesdropping, we learned are part of a club where they battle it out with light sabers. Their memberships fees go to stage rentals. That's what their heated discussion that night entailed. Nerds are so cool.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First day in NYC

I got on my red-eye flight Wednesday night. I have to mention that JetBlue is really cool and gives you ear plugs and an eye mask. I arrived at JFK at 5:30 am. And Megan and Daniel were all dressed up for work and awake! Then we drove into the city to their place, and then they went back to bed. I had a really hard time falling asleep and laid there looking out the window at the skyscrapers thinking about how unfamiliar that view was. Plus I was super mesmerized by the air mattress they bought. Before I got there, I knew there was going to be an air mattress for me. When I got there, I casually noticed the queen-size bed in the room. OH WAIT! It's a really cool double-stacked-with-a-headboard air mattress! SO cool.

My first photo of the trip:



A few hours later (it felt like a different day) I got ready for my first day there. Megan told me, "just go out the front door, turn right, keep walking for two blocks, and you'll be in Times Square." The night before I saw total darkness and had no idea where I was, but it turns out her directions were perfect. Aaaand Times Square is hard to miss, so it's impossible to go too far.

I went to where she worked and we met up for lunch. My first exciting eating experience was at....drumroll...Subway! We shared a 5-dollar footlong. Haha! This is about the time when I figured out I should have packed/worn thermal underwear and warm boots. Megan gave me her earmuffs which pretty much saved me that day, and every day after that. HOLY moly that place was freezing.

So we went back to Megan's office where I saw all her cool awards in her glorious cubicle. And Chocolates that look like poker chips. No thanks. She looked for a good map for me online, printed one out, and we drew what would be my route that day. Start on Broadway, turn to go to Bryant Park and the huge city library, and then turn up 5th Avenue for more cool stuff.

Bryant Park ice skating with a few cool looking buildings. I was afraid of looking too touristy so I didn't take very many pictures for a few hours.


Then I went into the library. The place is huuuge and let's just say I wasn't interested in reading any books, so I got some pictures of the cool architecture and skidaddled. On to the fancy stores!

A glimpse of the rotunda

Entry


The Rockefeller Center was really cool. The ice skating there made it look pretty magical. So I called AJ and told him I was hanging out with Tina Fey at 30 Rock. Har har.



I went to the NBC store which was sooo cool. I didn't do the tour, but it looked fun. I realize all my friends are on TV because it was pretty exciting being around my friends' merchandise. Oh, The Office. They had a dog collar that said Dunder Mifflin on it! And these coffee mugs:

And they had lots of other really cool things, but you must remember, I had a budget.

AJ advised/threatened that I had $50 in my wallet, and I couldn't go over. Did I want to? No. Did I think I probably would? Yes. But we were suddenly income-less so I didn't get any Office souvenirs and I stayed out of all the stores I thought I'd want to spend money. Which is mostly clothing stores, and I don't need more clothes anyway. So...I went to The Apple Store!

The sun was going down and this picture turned out really neat.

That place was crazy, so I tried out CS4 for a minute and got out of there. See how it's all underground, under the cube? Kewl.

Window shopping at Tiffany's. Did. not. go. in.
Next door to the Apple store is another wonderful place for people who aren't going to buy anything. FAO Schwartz! Well, if I had kids I'd probably have gotten something, but it was just me :) I was greeted at the door by a guy dressed up as a nutcracker (?) who said "Welcome my lady". Hahaha... OH they have the coolest thing where you can put all kinds of Muppet parts together and make your very own customized Muppet character to take home. It's amazing! And expensive. But when I'm rich I'm gonna get one.

I forgot about THE big piano and then I started seeing signs for it everywhere, so I followed. There was a group of friends playing on it and getting pictures taken, so when they were done I asked the guy who worked there, "uh, can you take my picture on the piano?" And he was SO excited. It was funny. Yes I know he does it all day, but his enthusiasm was great. I just realized he probably wanted a tip...

Anyway, he took a few shots, and I look like a nerd, but hey, no one there knows me.


By then it was almost dark so I headed back to my sister's office. I took the scenic route. Here's the big snowflake.



Did. not. go in.


Pretty good shot of the Times Square splendor.

This is me trying to show the New Year's Eve ball. See it up there? It does NOT drop very far, and if I was there that night I would have been even further back than this. Sad huh!

Well that's about it for the first day. Hopefully the other days won't take so long to read :)

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3 months old

I'm home! I had an amazing time in NYC with my sister and bro-in-law. I will post about my trip later. I had over 200 pictures from my camera, so I need to sort those out!

The day I left, Grizzly turned 3 months old! Yay! And I'm going to talk about how awesome he is, so deal with it.

Maybe about a week after we got him, we weighed him and he was 15 pounds. Now he's 25! He's growing pretty fast. After not seeing him for a week I'm pretty sure his hair is longer and more out of control than ever, too. As you'll see in the pictures, the hairs on the top of his head look like little bean sprouts or something. And I love them.

A.J. said he wants to get him shaved/groomed, but I don't wanna. Not yet! I love his scraggly hair. He doesn't even have more than a baby beard, come on.

He's been so curious about EVERYTHING. Including our shower, so every once in a while he'll put his head in, and we'll just grab him and give him a bath. He doesn't hate it (yet?) He's finally tall enough to reach the water in the toilet bowl (he stares at it flushing) so now we have to keep the lid down. He's also tall enough to put his paws on my kitchen counters. Not cool. Curiosity=things getting eaten or ripped up when I'm not looking. Cute right?!

I tried to take pictures of me holding him, to show how big he's gotten relative to something besides the floor. That was difficult to get him to look in the mirror once I got my camera out. He usually does it all the time...and barks at his reflection. Haha.


He knows what "what's this?!" means, so he'll immediately come over and check out whatever I've got. So a while ago I showed him a spider crawling on the floor. And then, he ate it. He also loves eating...everything. Especially drawstrings and paper.

He also knows what "Look!" and "you wanna go?!" means. Not "go outside" or "potty", but he'll go when AJ says that. We've taught him to sit, lay down, and shake. And kind of stay. We're proud. He knows "no" and "down" too, but he doesn't always obey.

Grizzly thinks he's a horse...either that or he just recognizes that he's a large breed, and has absolutely no fear as far as large animals go. On our walks we go see the horses and he tries to kiss them. Or play with them. He noticed me feeding them grass, so now he thinks he gets to eat grass too. I let his leash go slack for just a second and he was already under their fence part-way and hanging out with them. He's lucky he doesn't get trampled.

Eventually Grizzly will be all tan with just a saddle-shaped black spot on his back. It's been fun to notice when his black ears, face, and legs have been losing the black. Unfortunately, black curly hairs are not fun to have laying around your house. 

He's still funny about going down the stairs. This time I got it on camera :)

Here he is at the top...laying down as he refuses to go downstairs on his own.



Then he growls and only gets this far–butt on the top, front legs on the first step. It takes him words of encouragement before he starts going again. :)


And then he just goes for it! This time he's not growling as much as he usually does, but he's still pretty cute, looking all bouncy and floppy. When he gets to the bottom he usually wants to eat me.

Sorry for the horizontal-ness...



Well, I could go on for a while but I know you're sick of reading about him today. To be continued!