Thursday, March 26, 2009

Can't Help Lovin' That Man of Mine

I try not to gush too often on this blog - but it hit me that if this is meant to be a forum for my thoughts, a place to refer back to years down the line, I'm going to want to remember this scene...

My sweetheart dashed out of work tonight. He looked up the metro/walking directions to Costco because I had an unexpected call that slowed me down. He walked a mile with me from the metro station to the store to stock up on things to fulfill a church duty that actually is mine. He retraced those same steps - this time, the weight of our purchases weighing us down and the previously light rain advancing to a drizzle. We decided to take everything to the church, where another activity was wrapping up - so he dropped everything to help put away tables. From there, we caught our fourth train of the evening and journeyed the last six blocks to home in the pouring rain. It's 10:20 and there is finally something edible on the stove. But Noah noticed a missed call from a special friend he met at church several weeks ago who has taken an immediate liking to Noah and his very sincere and genuine interest in others.

And so my sweetheart, hair soaking wet, dinner waiting on the stove while I'm sure his stomach rumbles in protest - is in the bedroom on the phone. Engaging and not rushing a conversation that I'm certain means the world to the individual on the other end.

I'm totally grabbing tight to those coattails on my way past the pearly gates.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Heeeyyy Brother.

As I alluded to in the previous post, my little brother Collin and cousin Aaron came to visit for their Spring Break last week. They found a screamin' deal on airfare - the only hitch was having to spend NINE whole days with the Rileys. They probably heard enough "sweeties" in that timeframe that they were ready to hurl themselves out the window. But the lengthy vacay also meant plenty of time for takin' it easy, seeing tons of NYC, eating Cadbury Mini Eggs and catching up on old 30 Rock episodes at night. Sounds like my kind of vacation.

The night they got here, I decided to run to meet them at Penn Station. So their welcome committee looked a little, well, like she'd just run five miles. They seemed so adult when I found them outside Madison Square Garden. I think he's grown up even since January. Though I still can't help but call him my little brother even when he towers over me.
I convinced them to detour just a few blocks before we went back underground so they could be overwhelmed by Times Square on their first night in the city. I thought it was a good/fun idea until I realized how crazy heavy their luggage was and I was the gung-ho hostess making them haul it around midtown.

Since they were here over two weekends, we were lucky to have plenty of time to share the sights with them on weekends and evenings and they got to navigate the city on their own during the week.

There were several highlights to the week, most notably the time we got to spend with these two stellar guys. I'm such a proud big sis.

I love our proximity to Central Park - ideal for a slightly chilly Sunday stroll where we saw the horse dog (this beast is wearing human clothes here, people). Wednesday turned out to be a very picturey, which is unfortunate because it was also free salon pysche-out day. And everyone knows if you think you're going to a salon you don't wash or do your hair. Ah, lovely greasy ponytail.

We met the guys for lunch at Carnegie Deli, where the guys ordered their weight in corned beef and pastrami and I ran into an old friend.(Ashley, do you remember that we had this exact head shot signed and *cough, cough* framed?! Ah, meeting Jodie Sweetin. Top ten most memorable events of my youth.)

By far, my favorite part of the meal was analyzing how each of the guys attacked the 'wich.

"This could use a little mustard, but I just can't put it down." Aaron's approach was to just grab hold and not let go until he was done - knowing it was definitely falling apart if he did.Noah ate his in a very sophisticated manner - knife and fork. Collin just attacked - nothing dainty or methodical about it. And who showed that sandwich who's boss? Who tasted the sweet meat (as it were...) of victory? Who finished the Woody Allen?!

Winner, winner, winner!

That evening, our favorite Jacob R. joined us at the Apollo Theater in Harlem for Amateur Night. Everyone had told us this is a must-do (well of course, any event with it's own theme song... I am still singing the smooth sounds of "Amateur Night" in my head) and especially fun because it's actually in our neighborhood. It's an open mic night where the audience cheers or boos acts off stage. It sounded really fun until I got there and realized I didn't have the heart to boo.

However, what the "they" neglected to mention was how it may potentially be the most confusing/offensive evening in a long while, though the "they" could not have anticipated it. It all started just after intermission (I guess, in truth it started during intermission for me when I ran to the restroom just as intermission was drawing to a close and I heard the restroom attendant tell another woman she was sorry all the toilets were wet because intermission was over. Wha? I don't want to know.) when Al Sharpton strolled onto stage. I thought it was a joke at first - someone dressed as Al (a very good impersonation, indeed!). But nope. Real deal.

That was not nearly half as confusing as his resounding endorsement of Kathy Griffin (naturally). Who then came out on stage (naturally). And offended every fiber of my being (naturally). We were ready to walk out when the band played her off the stage just at the end of a really rambling and pointless story. Thank goodness. It's too bad, really - it soured an otherwise really fun evening at the historic Apollo. I just wish our boos would have caught on and we could have booed her off the stage like the girl who sang Brandy's "Almost Doesn't Count."
Friday, Collin and Aaron brought us a midday treat from Magnolia (aren't they so sweet?!) and that evening we hit the MoMA and a quick walk to the diner of Seinfeld fame. It was busy and the menu wasn't really screaming to us, so we opted for Chicken Caesar Wraps at home instead. But we have the photo. That's what counts.

By Saturday, the guys had seen more of Manhattan than we have in two and a half months - so we hatched a plan to get out of Manhattan... all the way to Coney Island for famous hot dogs at the hallowed site of the hot dog eating contest (Aaron watches this every year. I was impressed. Not a bandwagon hot dog eatin' fan there, nosiree.) and a cold, cold walk along the pier.

We loved having Collin and Aaron at our place, mostly because they buy the good cookies (not just whatever happens to be on sale) and they always left the house spic-and-span when they headed out for the day :). But also partially because a few days after their visit, baby brother Collin received his mission call! He's the first Furniss sibling missionary, so this is a new thing for us. It probably hasn't hit me yet what it's going to be like when he's really gone for two years and I can't just text or call when something makes me think of him - but we're sure glad we had 9 days with him before he heads out to serve the good people of Raleigh, NC in a few months.

Friday, March 20, 2009

"New York as we know it will no longer exist tomorrow."

"It'll be the 1970s all over again. People will get mean. The streets won't be safe -- there'll be graffiti everywhere. And the movies will only cost $3."
-Tracy Jordan, 30 Rock

I find myself quoting an awful lot of NBC Thursday nights around this blog. Which means either NBC is secretly spying on me for sitcom fodder or I watch too much TV. I'm fairly positive it's the former.

This actually happened a few weeks ago - but it was just before my mom and aunt sent their baby boys out to visit for a week (Yeah! Collin and Aaron were here and I didn't even tell you about it! An update is coming soon...) and I didn't want them revoking spring break privileges on account of my freak Subway encounters. (Let us all pause to remember the Pantsless Subway Ride 2009.)

We had friends from the office coming over to our place for dinner, so in an uncommon 6:00 on the dot departure from work, we hopped on the Subway bound for home. We were missing one key ingredient for dinner, so the plan was for Noah to get off the train at 59th so I could keep heading toward home and have the rest of dinner ready.

The trains were running a little late and it seemed people were a bit testy overall. It doesn't help when you wait an uncommonly long time for a train just for a jam-packed one to show up, so 12 too many people try cramming through each door and it's all armpits in faces and uncomfortable bum touching. Add in a lady doling out passive-aggressive comments about the man five people away she doesn't think slid down far enough and you could say tension in the ol' tube was running high.

We rode two stops in this uncomfortable manner, at which point Noah disembarked in search of higher ground. And peanut sauce from Whole Foods.

Noah was gone and I was doing my best not to guess what the stranger whose face was 3.5 inches from mine ate for lunch. Minutes passed and the train still hadn't moved. Finally we heard, "security... police attention to the uptown-bound D as in delta train. Security..."

An audible groan rose from the crowd as people reshifted bags and briefcases in antsy anticipation.

The announcement sounded again just as an uptown C train rumbled onto the track across the platform. I quickly weighed my options - run over to the local and have to stop every six blocks until home? Wait out the security threat? I debated for a moment until the voice sounded again, "ladies and gentlemen, due to an investigation on this train, the uptown-bound D train will be stopped momentarily. We apologize for the inconvenience."

Well, I've used the word "momentarily" enough to know we weren't leaving anytime soon. I held my bag against me and slipped out the doors of the D train bound for the slower train across the platform. A few others followed suit, and I found myself on the same train with Miss Passive-Aggressive. This time, speculating loudly about what had happened - something about mace and the conductor and who knows what else.

In a moment reminiscent of routine traffic stops in sleepy Logan, UT - no fewer than 10 police officers stormed down the stairs and spread out along the platform. I was half absorbing, half zoning out when four officers - two at each door - stepped on to my car and said, "Sir. Get off the train."

Nobody moved or even acted like they'd heard the cops.

So they repeated themselves. "sir - I mean it. Get off the train immediately." With that, all four officers converged on the man standing next to me! They shoved him out the door and into the wall of the staircase. As they cuffed him, the overhead voice chimed in with a similar momentarily stopped routine about the uptown C train and I thought to myself, "I'm never getting home. It's like he doesn't even care I have dinner guests tonight..."

I ventured out of train number two, steering seriously clear of the commotion (if shrapnel has taught us anything, it is this) and hustled up the stairs to the 1 train, hoping the scene hadn't affected those trains. I hopped off at the last possible 1 stop that made much sense (though, in hindsight - there were several more stops that made much more sense, but evidently standing next to a man apprehended by the authorities clouded my judgement in simpler things) and ended up hauling booty toward home.

One painfully slow local train, twenty blocks of full-on running in my coat and scarf, and one bratty teen yelling "OMG - Run Forrest!" as I hauled by - I finally arrived home where Noah had beat me to it. How does that happen?!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

To - Ur

I am slowly but surely taking enough photos of our place to give you a glimpse into the place we call home for about 35 awake minutes in the morning and 3 hours at night.

I finally took a few photos but had to wait to upload them at work (since our little iBook decided to call in sick). So without further adieu, welcome to our pad. All three rooms of it.
This is the view out the front door. Lovely, non? You'll be pleased to know we have filled what was formerly a hole and this view with a deadbolt. I know, it was difficult to part with such a classy touch, but safety first. Although in our case, it was more like a few clocks/picture frames/shelves first and safety once we got around to it.
So then you come inside and you're standing heah - in the kitchen. It was renovated before we moved in - translation: if there is a mess in the kitchen, it's OUR mess. Ah, bliss.
Plus, the cupboard space is pretty much unreal. Which is good, because even with our cloth bags we normally try to take to the grocery store, our collection of plastic grocery bags is also pretty much unreal.
You're still standing in the same spot, but now you're glancing right. Oh hey! there - living room slash dining room... If you were here for real getting the tour in the flesh, I'd likely detail all my screamin' deals. Why deprive you now? You've already met the table (hello, again) but weighing in on the opposite side of the room are the free couches of 10th Avenue hauling fame and the FREE armoire we scored on moving day.
Also of note - the sweet-a clock we found at Jack's World. Most random store, probably ever. A distant and even more bizarre-collection-of-things relative to Big Lots (or MacFrugals as it used to be called in the days when I was SO sure my friend Lora would love that Mickey Mouse Club t-shirt for her birthday). Which meant (you guessed it!) a cheap and funky find. Right up my alley. Although I should probably point out - as Noah did to me upon purchasing - this is the fifth big decorative clock we own. Three are packed up in Utah (or hanging on my mom's walls...!) and two are here, so it's not like we have clocks on every wall. But still, a bit much I suppose - particularly for a gal who seriously dislikes the sound of ticking clocks.
And the table decor I pieced together at TJMaxx one evening. I wasn't so sure about the collection of things found on three separate shelves. So I did what any logical individual does - set it all up in the middle of the aisle so I could visualize what it may look like in our place. I mean, we try on clothes, don't we? It was working fine until what began as a quiet aisle filled with folks as I'm trying not to make a scene with my spread. I was still on the fence until one of them said, "I love it." And I was on the fence no more. Thank you, stranger, for your third party validation.

From the dining/living room, you come to our little hall with doors to the bathroom, bedroom and closet - one of TWO large closets! Can you tell where my priorities are? As a self-admitted no-clutter fan, a place for everything and everything in its place is my version of heaven. Oh man, I have a really boring heaven.

A few shots of the bathroom and an explanation of its contents...

Shower curtain - two trips to Target and the final cash-in of our wedding gift cards (I know, right?!) later, this baby was mine. How I love that you have a Target, Bronx. I don't care if it is obnoxiously located off the 1 train. I will walk home from 157th and Broadway with no straight shot a hundred times for you. Clock, garbage can and toilet paper roll - Marshall's and cheap, cheap, cheap.

Finally, the bedroom. These bare walls are SCREAMING for something, I know. All in due time. For now, let's focus on the hugeness of this room, shall we? Bed ($100), huge shelves (free!) and chaise lounge (free!) at a diagonal and still room for the women's gymnastics qualifiers routine. Probably.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Luck o' the Irish

Evidently I've been hiding under a rock. That or I don't spend enough time looking down.

I had no idea that a) NYC had a St. Patrick's Day parade, 2) it was a big deal at all or iii) that the marching bands were lining up just outside my window all day. Sure, I could hear the occasional sound or burst from the crowd floating up 10 stories to my office all morning, but this is New York. It tends to be noisy.

Fortunately for me, a few folks around the office, my significant other included, were much more hip to the Irish scene and knew we needed to get out and survey the festivities on our lunch.

It reminded me a little of the parade scene on Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Growing up, my friend's mom always commented on that scene - "if there is something going on that's big enough for a parade of that size, what are kids doing in school anyway?!" That was totally me today. How was I inside oblivious to the mayhem below? And why don't any of those 2 million parade-goers have jobs? (Insert insensitive to the recession comment here.)

Bag pipe bands, a borrowed green scarf and St. Patrick's Cathedral on March 17. That'll do.

I did wear a green top today (it's under the coat... don't pinch!) and thought I was pretty festive until the rowdy Guinness-induced crowds called me out in my lameness. They didn't literally call me out. I just felt a little overdressed, and somehow underdressed, for the occasion.

Next year I'll take some wardrobe advice from the crowds surrounding everyone's favorite Daily Show correspondent, John Oliver. (Yeah! First celebrity spotting in NYC! Unless you count the time we walked past the Morning Show with Mike and Juliet and Brett Michaels was on...)
Black tank top - check. Green wig and sunglasses - check. Fightin' Irish fist - check.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Chapter Five: No Such Thing as a Free Day at the Salon

This is going in my book on Craigslist finds and fails. This will be the chapter on fails.

After making the hair appointment yesterday, I did a quick search to verify the salon was legitimate and actually located where the girl on the phone claimed it was. It appeared legit and its location is in a nice part of town above a large designer store (not like they were luring me to a creepster apartment building or anything...) so I felt secure in the sense I could confirm with the doorman of what was in the building before I hopped on the elevator bound for the 9th floor.

The alarm sounded earlier than usual this morning, and that - combined with daylight savings' darker mornings and the overall gloomy gray weather - made me want to stay in my cozy little cocooon under the covers for another few hours. But the siren song of being blonde for free willed me out of bed and onto the Metro with the early crowd.

There was something so delightful about walking along Central Park South while the city was waking up. It's fun to see who's out and about in the hours pre-empting the work day... dry cleaners dropping off freshly-pressed shirts to lavish apartment buildings, delivery trucks stocking corner markets in advance of the stream of the day's customers.

My Mary Tyler Moore stroll through the city (truly, I almost tossed my hat, I was in that sort of mood) came to a screeching halt when I approached the building to find every door locked and nobody answering my calls. I secretly hoped when I didn't show they'd give me a call to inquire as to my whereabouts and all would be right in the world. But alas. They did not. I was duped.

But last night we did pick up a 12 amp stick vacuum for free on our way home from work. So net-net.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Free Goes Fifth Ave.

You're all well aware I'm borderline psychotic with my Craigslist finds as of late.

Well, it had been a few weeks since I checked in with Craig - but a slower work day reminded me he was still out there and I wondered what he may hold in store for me today.

Peeps, I'm getting my roots done tomorrow for free.

Yeah, I know.

I don't know either if this will be a good or a bad thing.

Something tells me the odds are stacked against me and yet, somehow that's the thrill.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


I forgot to follow up with these...
I must have exceeded my photo allowance on the previous post. I'm salivating just remembering these treats in all their richness. I didn't want to suffer alone. I'm going to torture you for a moment, too.

From whence they came...
We couldn't settle on chocolate or fruit... until the gal pulled these out of the oven while we were standing there. Then we quit debating chocolate/fruit and started debating apple or berry-pear. It would have been unfair to pick just one.

Oh. My. Gosh.


"That town smells like cheese steaks."
"That town is full of history!"
-Meredith and Angela; The Office

You know what? I think they're both right.

To celebrate the day of love, Noah and I headed to {where else
?} the City of Brotherly Love on Februrary 14.
Because we're all fancy pants these days, we boarded the luxury Chinatown bus bound for Philly and from that moment forward it was all Cooleyhighharmony stuck in my head. (And as I sang the words in my head, I paused to ask myself, "self? did BoyzIIMen really include, among the famous in Philly perks, all the Philly steaks you can eat?" substantiates that yes, in very fact, the Boyz were looking forward to all the town's signature sandwich they could handle. So much so that they gave that line to the sultry-voice guy.)

We wandered around Old City Philadelphia to visit all the must-sees, including the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. From there, we strolled down Elfreth's Alley, the oldest residential street in America. Get used to this view, people. Because one day when money is no object Noah is going to drink Naked juice with every meal and I will insist we own a home on this street.
On our walk back from Elfreth's, we passed this deliciously adorable pink bakery, Tartes. Decadent fruit tarts fresh from the oven at a quaint pink bakery on Valentine's Day? It was a no brainer.

We touched base with the Vests about getting together sometime over the next few days, and within three minutes of the phone call, we had an invitation to a dinner with their church friends and a place to stay in Philadelphia (our initial plan was to stay with some friends outside the city). Kurt and Dani were so welcoming and hospitable - we were well fed (this gal is gourmet, folks), enjoyed great conversation, revisited season one of A-Dev (how I have missed the Bluth family in my life) and every morning we had a little note with directions to our day's destination complete with train tokens. I know, you kind of want to move in with them, huh? Add in their wicked smarts and their cute home's proximity to the Pottery Barn outlet and you kind of want to be them.

Sunday morning we headed to the Philadelphia Museum of Art after church. But first it was this photo with the statue of the steps' most famous ascender and my quote from Baby Mama that Noah didn't recognize, which elicited a raised eyebrow and a slightly sour look.

The museum was incredible! Though Noah and I tend to absorb at slightly different paces and I had come down with a serious case of the shopping legs (shop - ping legz: a tired and weary state or condition of a man's legs most commonly brought on by long shopping expeditions with the opposite sex) by the time we made it to the very last exhibit. We were blown away by the museum, the collections and especially the elaborate rooms representative of different countries and regions. We saw Cezannes, Picassos, Van Goghs, Monets, Degases, Manets... a beautiful way to spend the day.

We spent the last day at City Hall and Reading Terminal Market where I literally skipped through the rows of inexpensive produce ($1 for FOUR orange bell peppers? $2 for two full bags of tomatoes? we've been eating salsa for two weeks.) and we finally chowed down on Philly cheese steaks.

I can see why one would include these in a classic early nineties hip hop track. For a further tour of Philly's finest, please enjoy.