Walking 4 Love

Enough complaining about commuting! For now. Despite what you may have heard (or read here) I am determined to deal with commuting better than I did when I was 22 (story for another time, perhaps). 

On Saturday I did something really cool: The Jana Piccola Walk 4Love.

pink and blue everything!

I had heard of the walk but never thought to sign up. My friend Greg told me that it was a mini HHS reunion. This did not particularly entice me. Plus I wanted to have one free weekend after all the moving and non-wacky chaos.

Greg then tried to guilt me into going but nobody can guilt me but me. Which is exactly what happened when I read this story about Jana. So I signed up and roped my friends Jenny and Erin into going as well.

you can tell we’re really serious about this race

The event started at Mill Dam, which is a place that the cool kids would often mention in high school and I never knew if they were referring to Mill Dam Park or Mill Dam Road or if there was an actual dam somewhere… And I never knew why they were hanging out at whichever one of those Mill Dams they were at, except presumably to drink and smoke, and I still don’t know to this day. Any former cool kids reading this, feel free to enlighten me.

There were around 600ish? people there, which seemed like a lot for this little event…

…but luckily or unluckily, the high school reunioning was kept to a minimum.

And then there were some middle aged women dancing to Gangnam Style for some reason…

Then the “race” started. Greg, his girlfriend Kristin, Erin, Jenny and I set off on a leisurely walk around the Southdown area of Huntington.

Huntington is, like, seriously beautiful sometimes

Greg had originally said that he would be embarrassed to walk, rather than run, because last year he finished the 5k in 24 minutes. (And wordsmith that he is, he managed to phrase it in a way that Kristin thought he was embarrassed to walk with her.) But, hobbled by a toe injury, he was forced to walk anyway. And I was on a stroll….

About halfway through the walk, there were kids set up outside their houses handing out water and granola bars (aw). A little while later, we got cheerleaded. I found it cute; Greg felt patronized.

go free spirits! get there when you get there!

Don’t be too impressed but we managed to walk 3 miles in under an hour, which is just slower than the average person not in a race walks on a hot day going uphill.

did it!

Finally, the sweet, sweet finish line…

And the results…

at the last second, I sprinted ahead yelling “I beat Greg! I beat Greg!”

Jenny and Erin got out of being timed because they signed up on the day of. Cheaters.

Afterwards, we hung around for the medal ceremony (yes, there were medals) and then went out to lunch and cupcakes.

Sunny day walks and cupcakes? Maybe I like living in the suburbs.

On Commuting

Some thoughts on commuting…

Ok, so… I’m going to commute for a few months… possibly longer (eek!) and it’s going to suck. But then I’m either going to move back into the city or, failing that, get a job on Long Island. I don’t understand people for whom this is the life plan. Like, you’re ok with never having a life or seeing your kids and shit?

Alice: Yeah, no. I can’t. I’ll just get a job curating the Hecksher Park Museum.

Aunt Kath had to commute into the city last week for training but she works on Long Island…

Aunt Kath: I don’t understand it! Who are these people? Who would choose to do this everyday?
Cutie (realizing I’m right there): Yeah, it’s for the young.
Aunt Kath: It’s for the stupid!

Well said, Aunt Kath. Well said.

But my new blogfriend from blurtblog made me realize I should just be grateful for the option of alcohol during the commute.

Alice got fancy wine (and fancy wine glasses) for Monday’s ride home
credit: Alice

So, explain it to me! What makes you ok with commuting 1.5+ hours indefinitely? Do you just love your job but can’t move? Do you love where you live so much that you would never think of moving? Or, if you don’t commute, feel free to rub it in my face.

I need answers, people.

First Week Commuting

A Journal.

Day 1: Did you know that it’s dark out at 6am? 

yeah, I was really tired but that’s a window 
(with a Christmas candle in it because my mom thinks they’re for year-round)

“The first day isn’t that bad. It’s the second day that makes you want to die…” Alice warns.

Evening – get a ride home with Daddy. Would have been faster to take the train.

Day 2: Did you know it’s cold and rainy at 6am? (sometimes)

Umbrella? Check. Coat and boots? Packed: whereabouts unknown.

Evening - resist the urge to buy beer on the platform.

Queens hotspot

Day 3: Did you know that it’s even darker at 5:30am? 

Leave the house at 6:35 to be at work at 8:30.

Evening – train home smells like a urinal cake, which is preferable to alternatives.

Day 4: Snoozed 3 times.

Complete thought: Penn Station is bad for your mental and physical health.

Evening – take the 7 train the wrong way one stop. Sounds about right.

Day 5: Don’t act like your’e doing me any favors, Friday.

Just can’t get excited about Friday today; it was too hard-earned.

Evening – train cancelled. Do not resist the urge to buy a beer.

But first have to go to this ATM that will definitely not steal my identity.

watch the happy dancing guy :) nothing shady

You heard it here first: the cheapest beer in NYC is at the Hunters Point LIRR station.

I sprung for an imported

these are my people now

Upshot: I survived the week.

Photo Shoot Fail

Sorry for the delay in posting this week.  I was trying to get a good picture of Alice and me before I posted her intro.

This was the result…

take 1

no glasses?

with flash?

nailed it.

Alice is the least photogenic person I know and I mean that as a compliment. Not my best work either.

Update!  I had this photo on my computer the whole time!!! *smacks head*

Guest Post: Alice of Huntington

My first week of commuting would have been infinitely more miserable without the guidance of my friend and seasoned commuter, Alice. More on that later…

Alice and I have come up with a mutually beneficial arrangement whereby I get a break once in a while and Alice gets to vent her frustration without the effort of starting her own blog.

If this helps my blog go viral (which she’s assured me it will) you’ll be hearing more from Alice…

couldn’t find a non-drunk pic of us
so why not go all out? cir. 2007

In June 2011 I decided to pack up and leave the east coast for a job at Crystal Bridges Museum in Bentonville, Arkansas to follow my dream of working in the arts. It went pretty well for a while, but for a myriad of reasons in July of 2012 I loaded all my possessions into a pod and headed back to NY.

Everyone keeps saying “Wow you must be so happy to be back!” Well, yes. And also, no. See, moving across country is really expensive and in Arkansas I paid $750 for a three bedroom two bathroom duplex. I’m not sure I could rent a closet in the south Bronx for that amount. So in order to get my finances in order I’ve moved back home.

Well, not exactly “home.” I’m living with my ex-stepfather Brian (my mother’s second husband, she’s now married to someone else) in his recently deceased ex-wife’s (the woman he was married to before my mother) house in Dix Hills. Still with me? My commute is a little over two hours each way and Brian very nicely drops me off and picks me up from the Huntington train station – kind of like when I was 12 and would go to the mall.

Soo…this is going to be interesting. At least I now have Jill to commiserate and have drinks at Tracks with.

The Cast

In case you don’t think like me for some reason (weird), you should know that I think of my life as a sitcom. Before I get any further into the story arc of this season, allow me to present the characters.

Main Characters

Jill (me) - Typical 20-something professional. I lost my burning desire to climb the corporate ladder a couple years ago but I work in a semi-important job to pay the bills. Like most people of my generation, I spend most of my time at work fantasizing about going back to college.

Tom (my husband) - A disillusioned chiropractor that actually is going back to college. But not in the fun way. Before he goes to PA school, he has to retake some of his prereqs from college because his credits expired (already? seriously?) so he’s the “old” freshman on campus. He goes to school 4 days a week and works 3 days so I should just stop complaining right now. But I won’t.

Daddy (my dad) - There is no need to give my dad a name other than Daddy because that is what he calls himself. Confused? You know the way a young father might talk to his two year old? “Daddy doesn’t like it when you bite me.” That’s how my dad still talks to me. “You know Daddy’s not big on birthdays.” But you gotta love a guy that loves his little girls that much. 

His house is a mess but he’s working on getting it cleaned up for us (at the last minute – wonder where I get it from).

Secondary Characters

Amy (my sister) - Amy has lived with us for the last 2 years in the city. She’s renting a room from a girl in Queens for the time being. I’m going to miss having her around but Tom will not miss her cat Frosty and her constant shedding.

How could anyone be mad at this face?
credit: Rae
Gail (my mom) - Pretty awesome mom. Retired, lives about one mile from my dad. It’s no secret that I wish we could live with her, but her house is smaller and fuller than my dad’s.
Cutie (my stepdad-to-be) - Ok, his real name is Ron but my mom calls him Cutie and then my sister and I started calling him Cutie too because, I don’t know, it’s cute. He and my dad kind of have an Ashton-Bruce-8-years-ago thing going on, in that they get along and both cook (occasionally together) for family dinners. As a divorced kid, this is the most one can hope for.

Recurring Characters

I don’t really know yet… my sister’s boyfriend Ben? My mom’s friend Aunt Kath that lives with her half the time? Maybe.

My friend Alice, who is also stuck living with her dad in Huntington? Definitely.

My in-laws, various Long Island friends of both Tom and me, my desperate alter-ego that attempts to manipulate a move back into the city? Probably.

Futon Week

And now…

The suckiest things about futon week (as it shall henceforth be known):

1- Having no TV in the living room. Don’t worry, I survived with a combination of Netflix and the TV in my bedroom. Close one.

2- The futon. It wasn’t so uncomfortable, but it was so not like a bed that I couldn’t sleep at all the first night and slept crappily the rest of the week.

3- Packed our curtains + position of the futon + position of the sun relative to the earth this time of year = sun directly in my eyeballs starting at 7am.

Doesn’t capture the true blindingness of it but you get the idea.

4- When my procrastination paid off and I had to stay up all night packing/moving, hopped up on Jamba Juice energy drink and Wendy’s iced tea.

5- I miss Frosty! (My sister took her to their new apartment.)


Bye Brooklyn!

Marcy Ave train station

North Williamsburg ferry stop

Crashing on Our Own Futon

As I mentioned, we moved the majority of our stuff last Sunday, but we still had a few things to move. Ok, so maybe we had all this to move…

Ugh, I realize now I got my bra in the shot but I don’t have photoshop and
really? It’s a bra. Get over it, my god.

…and more.

So while Tom packed and I procrastinated packing, we spent our last week in Brooklyn on our old futon that we then left at the curb.

Couch and bed?! What an invention!

Note that my husband built that “table” all by himself (oh, and he cooked).

More to come…

Meet the Neighbors, Part II

As I was saying, we moved …our stuff.

First we had to drop my sister’s stuff off at her new place in Bayside… or Flushing? eh, Queens, anyway. Speaking of neighbors, Tom mentioned more than once that he’s jealous that Amy lives so close to Dunkin’ Donuts.

On our way to Huntington, we made a quick bagel stop and by the time we got to my dad’s, our Super-Movers had unloaded almost all of our stuff.

As they finished up, we (re-)met the neighbors.

Bill, from next door on the left just said a warm hello and welcomed us.

I have to admit that the first “welcome back to the neighborhood” kind of sent a shiver of panic (is that a thing?) down my spine… or up it? Spine idioms are hard.

Then Jay, from across the street, who is my age and was just visiting for the weekend …because he’s doing enough with his life not to live with his parents.

Oh and hey! Running into someone from high school! So glad that I had decided that it was pointless to shower on moving day, that I’d rock my holey Bearcats sweatpants and my Jen’s Pink Lady Bachelorette Party “NOT too pure to be pink!” t-shirt*, and that I’d throw my greasy hair back in some claw-clip/bendy-clip monstrosity.

I’m starting to get a glimpse of the awkwardness that awaits me.

Next was Jay’s dad Andrew, who offered to help my dad clean up the house (which my dad refused, sigh).

And finally, Jean, from next door on the right. Her daughter Alex, a photographer/filmmaker, used to take photos of Amy and me. Alex also happened to be home because she was using her parents’ house as a set for her latest project for the LA Film Festival (doing something with her life).

Also, Jean informed us that Alex is pregnant with twins at the age of 42 (go girl!) and that she’s considered a geriatric obstetrics patient… ugh, I better get on this whole “kids” thing, one of these days…

and I’m gonna be 40! …someday!

…ok maybe I have a few good years left.

*No offense, Shea, that shirt is awesome.