Category Archives: New York City

36 Before 36

A week ago, I turned 35. I didn’t accomplish much on my list and I’m not sure how I feel about it. I also don’t quite know how I feel about 35.

My 30s have definitely been quite amazing… what “they” say is turning out to be true. But now that I’m officially in my mid-30s, I’m trying not to let it bother me. Am I where I thought I would be? Absolutely not. However, in the last couple of years, I have learned that comparing myself to others (or even my own standards) is useless and unnecessary. Still… it feels strange.

I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t put more of a focus on this list this year. For part of the year, I was looking for a partner in crime of sorts; hoping that I’d have a gentleman to accompany me on some of these adventures. But then I had a revelation this spring and decided that there’s nothing wrong with doing these things alone.

Part of why I started doing this list is to encourage me to do things I wouldn’t normally do. This is something I think I have lost sight of. And I have to say, though I didn’t accomplish all the tasks, I certainly feel that I am enjoying my life the way I want to.

So, for my list this year, I removed some items that I have lost interest in. Also, I’m not going to be discouraged by the items I imagined being done in the company of others. If I want to do it, I’m going to just do it. The first 23 are leftover from the previous lists… the remaining items are the new ones. Here’s to 36!

1) Travel abroad
2) Go to drag bingo
3) Take a class
4) Go to the famous sites in Central Park
5) Take a boat ride in Central Park
6) Go to Atlantic City
7) Go to a Giants game
8) Learn how to knit
9) Take an unusual fitness class
10) Go to a live taping
11) Go skiing
12) Try Ethiopian food
13) Take an improv class
14) Go to the ballet
15) Go to the symphony in Central Park
16) Take a cooking class
17) Volunteer
18) Take a dance class
19) Go ice skating in Central Park
20) Go to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show
21) Go camping
22) Take an art class
23) Go on a day trip outside of the city

24) Run a half marathon
Yes, this is a cheater item. I have already signed up for one in January. Though I haven’t been running as much as I was a few months ago, I am running a 10-mile next weekend… and I’d like to get back into the process.

25) Go apple picking
I have done this in upstate New York, but I would love to do it a bit closer to the city and perhaps with some friends who have never been.

26) Go wine tasting on Long Island
I do love wine tasting and I have heard there are some great places within a couple of hours of here.

27) Go to the Cloisters
This is way too close to where I live to not go.

28) See a movie at Film Forum, the Angelika, or Paris (or all three)
I don’t often go to the movies, but these are some pretty cool places (or so I’ve heard) to see some more obscure films. Seems like fun.

29) Go on a literary pub crawl
I did one in Scotland and it was a blast. I know of a couple here in the city and that’s pretty much right up my alley.

30) Go on a tour bus in NYC
I know this seems silly and super touristy, but the idea is to be able to see the city from a different perspective. It’s one thing to walk around and see the sites… but I think it would be fun to sit back and take the time to see everything.

31) Join a social sports team as a free agent
I have been playing with the same softball team for the last couple of years, and I’m about to play soccer with some friends… but I think it would be fun to join a random team to meet new people. Bowling or kickball or whatever. Especially during the cold months!

32) Go to the Bronx and Central Park Zoos
I don’t LOVE zoos, but I hear these are pretty awesome – and easy to get to.

33) Go site seeing in Philadelphia
I took a spontaneous trip to Philly with my friend Chrissy to see a Mariners/Phillies game. And while we did walk around a bit, we were pretty much there just for the game. It was a great city and I’d love to spend some quality time there.

34) Attend Drunk Shakespeare
This is more than completely up my alley. Drunk actors performing Shakespeare. YES.

35) Go to a baseball game outside of New York
I have been fortunate to have been to a lot of ballparks in the US, but I’d like to keep that challenge going. Maybe Baltimore? DC? Boston?

36) Perform at an open mic
This has been on my silent to-do list for most of my life. Maybe by putting it in this list, I will actually be held accountable. Wish me luck.

 

Here’s what I was able to do before 35… not a grand list, but I had a blast with all of them… and I even did a few things I didn’t plan for… a movie in Bryant Park, a visit to Philadelphia, a visit to Charlottesville, VA, a couple of shows (solo), a 10K, a women’s baseball clinic at Citi Field, and MANY new friends were made. A good year, I must say.

Run a 5K*
Go to roller derby*
Participate in a Hash*
Go see a cabaret show*
Go to Coney Island
Get a new tattoo
Visit a new city in the US
Go on a spontaneous outing


Don’t stop now, just be the champion…

I’m a runner.

Well, not quite yet, but I’m getting there.

I had an item on my 35 before 35 list that had carried over from the previous year’s list: run a 5K. I can’t remember exactly why I chose this but it was there and had a good chance of sticking around for yet another year. Thankfully, I have many runner friends, and one in particular who decided he was going to help me to get this goal accomplished.

He found us a 4 mile run through New York Road Runners and I signed up. Yes, this was more than the 5K I had in mind, but I didn’t think much of it. I got some new Nikes and joined a gym to begin training. My goal was to run the entire 4 miles… no walking, no stopping. A grand feat considering the last time I ran was to chase a kid who stole my phone.

Unfortunately, right after I signed up, the weather turned ugly. And stayed ugly. I was not motivated to leave the house unless absolutely necessary – and running, in my book, was not necessary.

The run was quickly approaching and I wasn’t ready. I kept hearing (from others and from my internal monologue) that it was “just 4 miles” and that it “wasn’t a big deal.” And that was keeping me motivated, for the most part. Until I went to pick up my Run for the Parks t-shirt and saw this:

Shit just got real.

Shit just got real.

I didn’t know I had to wear a bib for this!!! Again, it was just 4 miles. But somehow this made it feel like a bigger deal. It was real. And it was fast approaching.

The night before the race (yes, this is what I started calling it after the whole bib thing), I went home early and attempted to get a good night’s rest. Which I did. For the most part. I was excited to run but I was nervous. People kept telling me not to be too hard on myself or feel let down if I had to walk or even stop. I kept telling myself that this was my first time and if I enjoyed it enough there would be more. This took the pressure off a bit.

I got up bright and early and met my friend at the corrals. I was obviously in one of the last corrals because I’m slow as balls, but I told my friend that he definitely didn’t have to keep pace with me (he’s a REAL runner and I didn’t want to hinder his personal goals). And 10 minutes after the fast people up front had crossed the start, I was on my way.

Many thousands of people were in front of me. But I was really ok with that.

Many thousands of people were in front of me. But I was really ok with that.

It was a chilly but gorgeous morning in Central Park and as I started the first mile I was encouraged by the scenery. The Guggenheim to the right, the Reservoir to the left. Oh, and look! it’s the North Meadow softball fields where I spend every Saturday from April to August. I was also encouraged by the people. Not only were volunteers cheering us along the route, but the pack of people running together felt like a community in a way I wasn’t expecting.

Something in me just kept going. I am quite stubborn (or strong-willed if you would like to put a positive spin on it) and despite the advice about not being too hard on myself, I did have a goal in mind. My body didn’t hurt too bad and I was keeping my breathing under control. Pretty soon I was another mile down… and then another… and then I was in the home stretch. I had been keeping a steady pace the whole time, but then Britney Spears’s “Work Bitch” came on in my earbuds and I could’t hold back- I was either going to stop on the spot and break it down club-style, or run like I was on fire. I picked up the pace and managed to cross the finish line at 46:26 with a pace of 11:37 per mile. Not the best, but I’m proud of myself.

Sweet victory... well, MY victory at least.

Sweet victory… well, MY victory at least.

I set a goal to run a 5K and I ended up running a longer race, AND managed to do it without stopping. Even better than that, I’m motivated to keep going. I have signed up for a 10K in June and I’d love to do a half marathon before the year ends. I have even been going for runs on my own… like, for fun and exercise. Whaaaa? Looks like I definitely drank the runner Kool-Aid.

Blog song title: “Work Bitch” by Britney Spears (seriously, put this jam on your workout/running mix… guaranteed motivator)
Photo credit: Yours Truly


Stand in the mirror… you look the same…

Many people have been asking me about my travels… which now seem more distant than ever. I’ve been back for two months and haven’t quite gotten around to really discussing or writing about what I gained from my trip. But I’ve realized something recently.

I met some amazing people from all over the world… seriously… everywhere. Every continent except for Antarctica was represented. And I spent time in some amazing cities. But when my plane touched down in New York City, I was so happy to be home.

When I first came to New York, I was desperate for some new experiences. I needed them. I needed change… so much change. I needed things to be different from what they were before. And they were… almost instantly.

But then I seemed to fall into a rut. Same people, same places, same drama. I had always wanted to travel and for most of my young adult life, I put it off. The timing of my trip this year was perfect without me even realizing it. I needed to step away from my life here. And I did. And it was, as I mentioned earlier, amazing.

So now that I’m back and have had adequate time to think about what the trip meant to me, I just keep thinking how grateful I am to be here in New York. However, things are different. Some of my friendships have fallen to the wayside and some have become stronger. Some of the things I used to do are not as interesting to me anymore. And this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

OK… so this is my main takeaway: I need to stay dynamic. I used to find comfort (complacency?) in routine, but now it makes me anxious and frustrated. For example, lately I’ve been “cheating” on my alumni group with another school. Is it because my new (and very dearest) friend is involved? Sure. Is it because I have a little crush on a boy in the group? A bit. But mainly it’s because it’s different. New people, new environment. It’s refreshing.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love and appreciate all of the people and experiences I’ve had over the past 2 years here in New York. But my trip reminded me why I’m here. I need to continue to branch out… to meet new people and to seek out new experiences… to keep things shaken up.

Do I have more to say about my travels? Sure. But some of my stories/lessons are going to come out in other ways… stay tuned.

Blog title song: “Home” by Foo Fighters


35 before 35

OK… here it is… the 35 before 35 list. For those of you who don’t know… every year I will create a sort of a birthday bucket list. The idea is that these items are accomplishable. I typically aim for things that are a bit more NYC-centric so that I am sure to take advantage of living in the greatest city in the world. Anything that doesn’t get done will go onto next year’s list. The only rule is that there are no rules. Items with an asterisk are carried over from last year’s list.

1) Go to Australia
Starting big. And this one is kind of a cheater… I am still abroad, but already planning a trip to Sydney in September 2014. My favorite Aussies (and Berlin buddies) are getting married then and I’m more than honored to attend the festivities. So the savings start… NOW.

2) Get a new tattoo
This might get accomplished next week… while I’m in England. Yes.

3) Visit a new city in the US
Traveling to Europe isn’t so easy… but traveling within the US isn’t so bad… especially on the east coast. Philadelphia maybe?

4) Go to drag bingo
This has come up many times… but has never actually happened. If you know me, you know of my obsession with drag queens. This must happen.

5) Take a class
Could be anything from a literature class to a history class to science class. I just want to keep the noggin running.

6) Go to the famous sites in Central Park
I’ve spent plenty of time in Central Park… playing softball. But somehow I’ve never been to any of the iconic sites… the mall, the fountains, the boathouse… nothing.

7) Take a boat ride in Central Park
Touristy, yes… but I think it would still be fun.

8) Go to Atlantic City
I really have no motivation for this. Just seems like something I’m supposed to do while living in NYC.

9) Go to a Giants game
No, not much of an NFL fan, but I know many people who are so I’m sure I won’t have trouble getting to see a game… and tailgate

10) Learn how to knit
I’ve wanted to do this for some time. I think if I start towards the end of winter 2013, I’ll have a great scarf for winter 2014.

11) Take an unusual fitness class
Could be some weird yoga… or strip tease aerobics… but I want to do something different.

12) Go to a live taping
Ideally it would be the Daily Show or SNL… but anything will do (and yes, I’ve done this before in California… but time to give NYC a go).

13) Go to Coney Island
No idea how I haven’t done this yet…

14) Go on a spontaneous outing
Yes, this is vague. But my thought is to get one of my friends to play hooky and then go do something… go to the zoo, go bowling, get a train to Ossining, stay in the city and take a bus tour… just do something!

15) Go skiing*
16) Try Ethiopian food*
17) Go see a cabaret show*
18) Take an improv class*
19) Go to the ballet*
20) Go to the symphony in Central Park*
21) Get a bike*
22) Get paid to write something*
23) Take a cooking class*
24) Go to a magic show*
25) Participate in a Hash*
26) Volunteer*
27) Take a dance class*
28) Go ice skating in Central Park*
29) Go to a midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show*
30) Go camping*
31) Take an art class*
32) Write every day for 7 days*
33) Go on a day trip outside of the city*
34) Run a 5K*
35) Go to roller derby*


34 before 34… in summation…

Yesterday, I celebrated my 34th year of life… in Paris, France. Thinking about this list I made last year (34 before 34), I never would have guessed that I would be in Europe at this time. I also feel that this trip has been a major accomplishment and it kind of overpowers most of the 34 before 34 list. However, I did cross a few items off before I left so here are my thoughts on those. I didn’t get to everything… but if we want to get all technical, I did start my list a while after my 33rd birthday. SO YEAH. And you know… Europe.

24) Go to 10 different museums
OK… I didn’t get to 10. But I did quite a few: Guggenheim, MoMA, American Museum of Natural History, the Met, New York Historical Society, Ellis Island, and the New York Public Library (yes, this counts because I visited a curated exhibition). 7 out of 10 isn’t so bad. I had wanted to go to the Transit Museum and the Museum of Sex, but never got around to it. And yes, I can still go and I plan on doing so in the near future. I’m not much of a museum person, but when I made the list, I worked for the Guggenheim and had free admission to every museum… so that made it somewhat easy to do. And I’m an idiot for not going to EVERY SINGLE ONE while I could. But that’s a lesson I’ve learned… take advantage when you can.

2) Go on a sailboat
OK… again, I’m checking this one off on a technicality. It wasn’t a SAILboat, but it was a boat that cruised the Hudson River. So I’ll take it. The Pac-12 Alumni group does an annual boat cruise around the start of summer. Free booze, gorgeous weather, great friends, and ridiculous views of Manhattan… yes, please.

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Part of doing this list is to do things somewhat out of the ordinary. I didn’t know this cruise existed when I made the list… but just the nature of being open to new things has encouraged me to do things that just come up.

17) Go speed dating
Somehow this came up with a friend of mine and I was more than happy to oblige her and go along. Though I didn’t care so much about actually meeting someone, I was excited to cross something off my list and have a unique experience in the process. It was pretty funny… a true practice in small talk and quick conversation. Most of the guys start with the same types of questions: “What do you do?” “Where are you from?” “Have you done this before?” But occasionally a guy would just totally be himself and we’d just have a bit of banter. Nobody really struck me as dateable and perhaps my approach to the whole thing was a bit too casual. It was a fun time though.

A few weeks back, comedian Tig Notaro was on the Nerdist podcast. She has a saying that she’s used for a long time, but after all she’s been through (look her up if you don’t know) it means a lot more… and it totally resonated with me: “How about now; how about right now?” Part of creating this list is about forcing myself to do things I normally wouldn’t do. But I as I said before, the creation of the list has pushed me to do other things as well.

It has been a hell of a year… a lot of ups and downs, but I feel accomplished in so many ways. Obviously it’s my intention to continue these adventures. I want to do things now; do them right now.

Stay tuned for 35 before 35!


Take me out to the ballgame…

I love me some baseball. And since I’ve been playing softball, I enjoy watching games even more. However, I don’t really have a team allegiance. Being from Southern California, I used to go to Angels games frequently but I enjoyed the experience more than the actual team. I’m one who tends to root, root, root for the home team – and being in New York with two home teams, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get to some games. In the process I’ve accomplished something from my 34 before 34 list: 26) Go to a Yankees game

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Hi, I’m in the Bronx.

Many of my family members and friends back in California are fierce Angels fans and have sworn to disown me if I became a Yankees fan. But the fact of the matter is that I’m a baseball fan… I never claimed to be some die hard Angels fan. Plus, my dad grew up a Yankees fan… so I didn’t feel too bad rocking a hat from the Evil Empire. And when he won the game with a walk-off homer, I gladly joined the crowd in the “I-CHI-RO” chants.

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Come on, I look great in hats…

It was pretty awesome… and my favorite part was after the victory, they play Sinatra’s “New York, New York.” It doesn’t get more Big Apple than that. Yankee Stadium. Frank. Victory. I could have cried. Another one of those moments that made me relish in the fact that I live in the greatest city in the world… and I’m freakishly grateful.

BUT because many of my friends here say that Citi Field is far superior to Yankee Stadium, I had to give the Amazin’ Mets a go.

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Hi, I’m in Queens.

The major downside of Citi Field is that it is in Queens… and it took me about an hour to get there from where I live. (Yankee Stadium is 5 stops away from me on the B train). It definitely felt more like a theme park with the chain eateries and sponsorships everywhere (um, is that a Verizon store in there?)… but they did have a ridiculously good beer selection and the place was fairly immaculate. Yankee Stadium didn’t have all the bells and whistles… but because it’s new Yankee Stadium, it didn’t really have the charm of an old-school ballpark either. So really, it’s a wash.

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See? Good in hats.

I enjoyed both of my experiences immensely and I can’t wait to get back to more games. My allegiances are with both teams… can’t say I like one more than the other (though with Matt Harvey pitching for the Mets, I can be persuaded… meeeeowww). You can call me a bandwagon fan all you want… but I enjoy walking around this city wearing a Yankees or Mets cap. While I may never be considered a real New Yorker (whatever that means), I sure do feel like one rocking these logos on my head… and meaning it.


Red letter weekend…

Spring has sprung in NYC and it is truly awesome. There was quite the buzz in the air all weekend as the lingering winter weather is finally gone and moods have lifted.

Every Saturday I play softball in Central Park with my alumni group. The weather this past Saturday was absolutely gorgeous… lots of familiar faces came to play and because it was so nice out we drew in some new ones. And post game beers led to my newest friendship (and greatest dart game ever played).

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LOOK AT THAT SCORE (Q and J were victorious)

When my friend Lauren and I decided to get some afternoon drinks on Sunday, we reached out to our new softball buddy and he invited us to a picnic in Central Park with his friends. Of course, it wasn’t until we got to the park and started talking with these new people that I realized I was accomplishing something from my 34 before 34 list! Well, mostly:
27) Organize a picnic in Central Park

(Though I wasn’t the organizer, I feel that this can get crossed off… I attended a picnic in Central Park… close enough).

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Wine, snacks, blankets, catch, boom.

Sheep’s Meadow was packed with blankets and people and frisbees… the atmosphere was so cheerful. Our new little group of friends was getting along so well and wanted to keep the party going… so when the weather began to turn on us (also, we were out of wine) we retreated to a Midtown bar. We were halfway through our beverages there when we got the sudden inspiration to go sing karaoke. It was spontaneous and random and an absolute BLAST.

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Dart Champions, Q and J… and Lauren (of the losing dart team)

I am hurting a bit today (wine+beer-dinner=OUCH), but it was totally worth it. As I have said so often, I love meeting new people and making new friends. And I love how frequently this happens here in NYC.

And though the weather isn’t as great today, I’m so energized by the spring and can’t wait to see what else is in store. If you can’t tell, I’m a happy lady these days. Smiley face.

 

(Remember my last post where I said I was changing the rules a bit? Yeah, blog titles are going to be originals from now on…)


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