22 June 2007

Tutaonana baadaye

We have made it, ladies and gents! The apartment is packed, and the last remnants are to be shoved in the back of my sister's van in the wee hours of tomorrow morning, to be shipped to CT for indefinite storage. Then, I shove myself and my 26 pounds of luggage into a van, head to the airport and spend way too much time on a plane... destination: Johannesburg.

The obvious impending news is that I'm leaving for Africa in one day... whoo! But there are so many other events on the horizon that I feel like my brain is being pulled in a million directions. It's fabulous... I'll post it all when I get back, or when things actually get finalized to the point of actual newsworthiness. Until then... tutaonana baadaye...

21 June 2007

Counting down...

Two more days until I board the plane! Wow, I can't believe that it's here. It's amazing how fast time flies when you're not paying much attention to it.

The preparations are almost done - although since I"m limited to only 26 pounds of luggage for the entire trip, I'm having to do some juggling and wardrobe acrobatics to figure out how to make that happen. So far, I think I have about 40 pounds of luggage... and I haven't packed a toothbrush yet. So today is paring-down time, as I try to remember what I brought to Guatemala last year and didn't use. The trick this time is that it's "winter" in Africa... and while one would expect it to be quite warm anyway, apparently the overnights (and our 'sunrise safaris') may be as chilly as 35, while some days are reporting a high of 85. It seems strange to be packing a bathing suit and a scarf.

The movers came on Tuesday and they were brilliant. They started at 8:00am and were finished and in the truck by 8:40. It was a whirlwind, and the guys were very nice. I don't watch much TV (or, I thought I didn't), but it's still strange not to be able to have a television in the apartment. Even though it was never on, the place seems oddly quiet now that it's not available. I've been streaming NPR on the 'puter for the last day just to keep some current events information in my brain. The movers brought everything to the storage unit, which was nice, too, but a tad more expensive than I had anticipated and in a strange part of town. Oh well, such is the way in NYC I suppose... and that's why priority #1 when I return is getting a place to live and some income.

Off to pack... or, "de-pack", as the case may be... ;-)

18 June 2007

Thoroughly NYC weekend

There are times when NYC is a total drag - too many people (Times Square at 7:45pm), too loud (semi truck horns), stinky (cigarettes and rotting garbage), snobby (all I asked for was a glass of water), sticky (I don't want to know what that is on my shoe)...

... but there are times when NYC basically rocks my world. Last night, I went to The Public theater to see Passing Strange, a rock-out modern musical by Stew. It was an absolutely incredible experience. The theater itself is a gorgeous space, formerly a public library. The staging of Passing Strange was brilliant... a tale of a musical maturation of a young boy who travels around the world to learn about "art" and find "the real", all while his mother - back in Los Angeles - also struggles to find herself and love her child while he rebels against her.

The music - awe-inspiring. The cast - brilliant and painfully talented (I think I may have a crush on *all* of the the women in the show, especially de'Adre Aziza.) The staging - inspirational - with a 180-degree theater (and we had seats nearly ON the stage), every inch of the theater was used beautifully. The lighting - artistic and minimal, but expressive and appropriate (the lighting designer was the same for Spring Awakening, which also featured inspiring expression by bare bulbs of all colors and types. Very cool.) The show - sexy, funny, poignant, moving, probing, jarring, and introspective... Daniel Breaker's character's journey through the maturation of his artistic expression opened up a fabulous conversation afterwards with my companion about the meaning and relevance of art, growing older, personal expression and finding what's "real" in the world... a challenge which the narrator - Stew himself - expresses with painful self-analysis at the conclusion of the show. (I do want to note that calling Stew simply "the narrator" of the show thoroughly under-represents his powerful presence, wit, and brilliant musical interludes throughout the performance.)

After the show was over, we walked through the warm streets of the Village, and I was totally energized by the emotions invoked by the show. We strolled to the West Village, and had a delicious late-night dinner at a local restaurant, talking about heavy issues in light-hearted ways. Sitting in the open window, we shared a beer, ate garlicky food, and took in the sights and sounds of the West side's sultry Sunday evening pace, after which we joined in, walking down the streets together. Quite possibly, ladies and gentlemen, I have experienced the perfect New York City evening... and it definitely did not suck.

In other, far more pedestrian news, the movers come tomorrow to put my life in a 5'x5'x8' storage facility box... and I have rarely felt so liberated. To finally be physically seeing the results of over a year's worth of trying to "move" forward... tomorrow, the journey literally begins.

The weather is warm, the sun in shining, emotions are high...

Life... is... good...

17 June 2007


I've been sadly neglecting the blogging lately, admittedly because I've been distracted with packing, moving preparations, and overall lack of blog-worthy events happening in my life. I'll also admit that last week was a pretty extreme emotional rollercoaster, with some pretty low moments. But somehow that's alleviated itself, and the feelings have swapped into a more upbeat rythm in the last few days. (I will fully admit that maybe that has something to do with recent social interactions with a specific person, but that's for later. For now, let's just say walking around New York City is so much better when you're holding hands with someone. *smile*)

I did see "Company" on Broadway the other day, which was a thoroughly enjoyable, if disturbing, view on relationships, marriage and singledom in New York City. I've also been doing a lot of reading lately, though for the life of me I can't figure out where I've found the time to do that. I forget how much I enjoy reading the Sunday New York Times. (I also forget how good I feel after I do a workout, but a regular return to that routine is going to have to wait for post-safari.) But most of the last week has been spent cleaning, organizing, packing, repacking, and preparing for Africa.

As for Africa, I can't believe that I'm actually going - it's been a dream for so long that to think that it's going to be a reality is almost too much for me to process. It's such an abstract idea and long-held goal that to reach the point where I'm boarding a plane for the continent has not sunk in yet. Africa - and staying in an overwater hut in Fiji - have been the two places that have been on my list since... well... since there *was* a list. Fiji I'm saving for a honeymoon (aren't I optimistic?)... but one dream coming true is so exceedingly liberating and exciting that I can't begin to describe how bizarre it feels to say "I'm leaving for a month-long safari in Africa in 6 days." Joy!!

New favorite magazine du jour: Wired (which doesn't replace my always-fave Discover).
New favorite TV show du jour: Who's Line is it Anyway? (the original version from London, which doesn't replace The Daily Show, but is better for lifting spirits during depression spells.)
New favorite song du jour: Sea Lion Woman by Feist (inspired by an old folk song. The dance track version - which is also awesome - is only available on the album download though, so I'm passing on that for now.)

09 June 2007

Gettin' old...

After four straight days of massive progress, massive box-moving, and massive upheaval of my life's acquired piles of 'stuff', I kind of crashed a little bit today. I did manage, this morning, to go through all my paperwork and files, and clean out the old stuff and organize the new (as well as make a respectable load of shredded papers that I'm saving for packing up the fragile items.) But it wasn't nearly as visually productive as previous days. There were a lot of emotionally-charged items that I saved from last year that were cathartic to shred, were difficult to deal with. The lack of progress doesn't bother me too much, though, because my back is killing me from moving around my overstuffed boxes yesterday. Ugh. I feel old. (I should learn that filling boxes full of books isn't a wise move. But I haven't learned that yet, and re-packing *anything* at this point is simply not an option.)

So this afternoon, instead of packing, I rode the train north to babysit my nephews while my sister and her husband enjoy a night out at a restaurant that doesn't have paper table coverings or crayons (a rare event in their lives.) I figured that if I'm going to be moving in, I should at least give them the perks of free babysitting while I'm here. Plus they bought me pizza so it's the least I could do.

Tomorrow is a BBQ at a friend's house - and a day off from packing until Monday. Next week, I also need to decide if I'm going to replace my desktop PC (which has been acting decidedly ornery lately) with another computer... and if I do, should I get a Mac laptop or another PC desktop? The laptop route makes sense (since I'm sure I'll be moving into a postage-stamp-sized apartment eventually), but the point might be moot if I don't get a lead on a job sometime soon. Still just window shopping at this point... but if it's going to happen, I will need to clean up the 'puter, back up the files, make sure everything works on the new system, and then donate it... all in the next 2 weeks. Phew!!

Okay, I'm off to brush four sets of teeth, read a million books, and try to get 4 boys into bed before they convince me that "ice cream IS allowed in bed! mom let's us do it ALL THE TIME!"

p.s. Only 14 days left until I leave for Africa... excitement!

08 June 2007

Living room

Wow. Moving sucks.

And for the record, living room is MUCH harder to pack than wardrobe. There are lots of emotionally-charged items here - more so than in the closet. And not nearly as much Salvation Army stuff to donate, which makes me a little sad that I couldn't fill up the suitcase again. But I barrelled through, after a bit of a late start (breakfast with a friend), and decided to start by piling everything into the middle of the room and taking a look at the entire bunch before diving in:
Three and half hours later, things looked much worse (see below.) But my sister encouraged me via email, and I took a quick field trip to the bank to turn some collected change into bills, and that re-energized me (along with a brownie-snack).Oops, I got slightly distracted and was trying to be artistic with my new camera for a second....End result, after 6 1/2 hours straight of packing is a 80 pound bag of garbage, a few items for the women's shelter, a pile of books to donate to the library, and 4 packed boxes. Oh, and the random pile of stuff on the right is stuff I'm taking up to my sister for storage / gifting / etc.

At some point soon, I'm going to have to work on organizing the stuff for my Africa trip a little better, though... think all that stuff weighs less than 26 pounds? Somehow I doubt it...
For now, though, dinner, and maybe a quick trip to the local Mexican restaurant for a pina colada. Anyone want to join me? (After I shower, of course. I kinda smell funny.)

07 June 2007

Summer wardrobe

Packing continued in earnest today, aided by the fact that I could actually SEE progress yesterday (provided that you opened the closet door.) Today was a bit more complicated, since it involved packing up the spring/summer wardrobe - a wardrobe that I happen to also be wearing, and simultaneously using as a basis to pack for my trip to Africa. Plus I needed to keep a few items out of the boxes in order to take to my sister's for post-trip (since after several weeks in the same 3 pairs of pants and 4 shirts, I'll have no desire to have anything further to do with them except perhaps watch them burn in the fire pit.) So the usual three piles turned into ....

  1. Items that will be put into storage
  2. Salvation Army donation pile
  3. Throw away (today, nothing was thrown out! Yay!)
  4. Things to bring on my trip to Africa
  5. Stuff to keep at my sister's for when I return
This made things a bit more complicated, and I found myself at times simply staring into the closet with a blank look on my face trying to figure out how all of this was going to actually happen.

End result: Success! (If you round up, which I do.) A few stragglers remain (a pair of sandals that are ugly, but waterproof, so may have some value while traipsing around Victoria Falls) but overall, a banner kind of day. And another heavily laden trip to the Salvation Army Women's Shelter. Today's stuffed-to-the-point-of-exploding suitcase load included:

  • 2 dresses
  • 1 sweater
  • 8 shirts/blouses/tops
  • 3 pants I'm too fat for
  • 1 pair jeans I'm too skinny for
  • 2 work blazers
  • 1 fleece
  • 10 purses/bags/totes (!?!!)
  • 2 scarves
  • 1 hat
  • 1 pair of pantyhose (unused, thank you very much)
  • 1 pair of dressy 'going out' shoes (they gave me too many blisters)
  • The remainder of the bottles from the collection previously mentioned, which came to 76 bottles/tubes/boxes (Yes, I counted them. Anything for procrastination.)
The apartment is a disaster area, but progress is being made. And can I just tell you, there's something extremely rewarding about taking a daily trip to donate to a shelter and unloading a MASSIVE suitcase full of stuff for a good cause. It made me smile the whole way home. (They were a little bummed, I think, that I didn't donate the suitcase... both times I've stopped by, they have asked if I'm leaving it as a donation, and eyed it longingly.) Still, it makes me appreciate what I have, even in this time of extreme personal life upheaval.

There is a lady at the shelter who sits at the front door - I think she's a resident there. A little lady, with white hair. Yesterday, I said "Hello!" and she didn't respond. Today, I said "Hello!" and she said "Hello" back to me. It made me smile.

Now, dinner and bed. I'm *exhausted*.

Tomorrow's task: Pack up the living room (including taking LARGE amounts of coins to the bank. Perhaps it was a bad idea to donate all of those tote bags today... hmmm.)

06 June 2007

Winter wardrobe

So today's task was to pack up all the winter wardrobe stuff. And by packing, of course, it means taking everything out of storage, pulling everything out of the closet, putting it out on the living room floor, dividing it into three piles: Salvation Army, Keep, and Toss. The apartment is a disaster. It's absolutely stunning to me how much crap can fit into such a small space. I mean really, this place is only 600 square feet... and half of it's not even mine!!

I'm happy to say that only 3 pairs of shoes were in such bad shape that they had to get thrown away. And I took one HUGE overstuffed suitcase load down to the Salvation Army, which included:

  • 14 sweaters (do I even *wear* sweaters!?!?)
  • 1 long knitted skirt (which I love, but was only worn once in the last year)
  • 2 sweatshirts (don't wear them, ever, unless I'm at my sister's house, where I freeze my tuckas off regularly, so I borrow her sweatshirts.)
  • 1 jacket (I bought a replacement this past fall)
  • 1 knitted poncho (remember when those were in? Very "Martha post-jail")
  • 1 pair of men's jeans (No, they are not my ex's. I honestly don't know whose they are... and clean up your dirty mind - they have been stuck in the closet for YEARS with no claims of ownership.)
  • 7 pairs of women's shoes (That's one-third of my entire shoe collection, ladies and gents! Be proud!)
  • 1 cordless phone and extension phone
  • 1 Yumi Katsura wedding dress with matching veil

I have to say, as much as it pains me to see my wedding dress "go" like that, I felt a huge wave of relief that it is all going to a very, very good place (the Salvation Army donation center is in the same building as a shelter for women, so I hope they get first dibs on the stuff.) This collection of stuff didn't include 2 more sweatshirts, 2 more sweaters, 2 blazers, and 70 bottles of beauty products that I simply couldn't fit into the suitcase. Those will have to go in the shipment to donate tomorrow.

All in all, I fit all of my remaining winter wardrobe and shoes (including formal gowns) into one wardrobe box, which I'm pretty proud of. Granted, it's pretty squashed in there, but hey, I'm a girl... what do you expect?

Tomorrow's task: Pack remaining clothing, shoes and bags (except for the stuff I'm bringing to Africa). And then get a margarita. Or three.

P.S. Totally random addition: Last week, the cleaning lady who has been with me for 5+ years was here for her last day. (Or at least her last day until I find a new home.) I have, over the last 8 months or so, slowly been replacing my cleaning products with more environmentally-friendly versions - mostly Mrs. Meyers Clean Day or Seventh Generation brands. Well, she LOVED them and has now swapped all of her own cleaning products to Mrs. Meyers, and is encouraging all of her other clients to do so as well. Yay Earth!

05 June 2007

Obscenity on the internet

I'm usually against obscenity on the internet. And honestly, I was almost too embarassed to post this online. But what I happened to find today in my cleaning up of my bathroom was absolutely gross, so I had to share.

So okay, I know I'm a pack rat. And I know that I work(ed) in a profession where this kind of product acquisition is pretty status quo. Keep in mind as you gaze upon this collection of beauty products that I had stashed in my bathroom that I have managed to gather over 125 bottles, tubes, tubs, and boxes in the last few years... and I never spent any money on any of it. There is probably $2,000 worth of goo on my kitchen table. I have moisturizers, soaps, anti-aging goo, lotions, wrinkle creams, exfoliators, foot treatments, eye creams, hair removers, hair creams, shampoos, bubble baths, bath oils, loofahs, makeup... You name it, it's probably in here, and I probably have it in three different scents...

None of this has ever been opened or used. None of it was purchased - it was all sent to me at work (with a few exceptions where they were gifts. If you gave them to me - sorry.) Now, if that's not obscene, I don't know what is.

Maybe I am high maintenance after all. (*sigh*)

Anyway, if you want any of it, just let me know.

And can I just say it's a nice coping mechanism to bury myself in physical labor when my emotions are a wreck. It's either a coping mechanism or total denial. I'll figure out which later.

Tomorrow's task: "Pack clothes, bags, and shoes - except what I need for Africa." Ugh. I'm going to need brownies for this one.

Spinsters and the pets that love them

After a full day of packing yesterday, I threw out 3 HUGE garbage bags of stuff, filled the shredder three times with old paperwork, filled my obnoxiously huge suitcase to the brim with donations for the Salvation army, and packed two (heavy) boxes for storage.

Unfortunately, I threw out 3 HUGE garbage bags of stuff, filled the shredder three times with old paperwork, filled my obnoxiously huge suitcase to the brim with donations for the Salvation army, and packed two (heavy) boxes for storage.... and my apartment doesn't look any different than it did before I started. Hrmph.

So in the interest of being very Capricorn (and unable to keep a train of thought from one room of my apartment to the next), I made a list of what I'm packing every day. And to keep me on track, I'm going to make the process public by listing the tasks du jour: (Yes, I'm boring. I've already been told that. Moving on.)

Today's task: Pack the bathroom

P.S. I had a revelation last night... I won't grow up to be a spinster with cats. Why? I'm allergic to cats. So instead of cats, it'll have to be... fish. I'll grow up to be a spinster with fish. One of those really big, huge aquariums with lots of pretty fish... and maybe a turtle.

04 June 2007

This is why my family rocks

The perfect email from my sister this morning:

I know it is rainy and yucky and you are not exactly chipper today because of it. But you MUST GET OUT OF BED.
We love you.

it worked. i'm up.

03 June 2007

Rainy day.

it's pouring rain in New York City.
the city lights shimmer on the streets.

i donated my wedding dress to the salvation army.
i sold my rings to a stranger.
i honestly hope they bring some joy to someone else.

but me... i'm sad tonight.
very sad.
it feels weak to admit that i'm afraid of being alone...
afraid of not having someone to share life with...
grow old with...
tonight, the feeling looms large.

the rain is appropriate, somehow.