Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Forget Me Not

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Weebles Wobblog and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

I come home, hands, arms and shoulders full; purse overflowing, jacket slung over one arm, camera taking up space in my hands, and a bag of samples hanging from my wrist. It had been a late night, running from uptown office to downtown office to uptown office again, errands, dinner and finally back to uptown office to take some final photos. It was past 10pm at that point and I was debating if it was worth the effort or if I should just go home, but I had started my photography homework at work this morning because it is due tonight (this was sincerely not procrastination on my part, I was actually ridiculously busy for the past 4 days and because of the nature of the assignment, unable to start it). Since I am an overachiever and know that no matter how much I tell myself I don't care about my grades that's not true, I reluctantly take myself back to the office to do what I have to do and get out of there as quickly as humanly possible. I drop all my crap on my desk and look up to notice I had forgotten my trench coat hanging on the door of the closet. I am already carrying a million things, and it isn't even cold out, do I really need my jacket? For a split second I consider leaving it where it is, but I grab it and throw it on the desk with everything else, figuring I will need it tomorrow.

I walk to my friend's work area and snap away. Ten minutes later I am done and 5 minutes after that I am in a cab heading to Harlem. Once parked haphazardly in the middle of my street, I get out of the car, checking to make sure I didn't forget anything in the back seat. All clear. I stand at the building door and attempt to rummage through my purse, but I am barely able to move my hand around; everything but the kitchen sink shoved in there will cause that problem. I try again, nothing. And again. Finally I realize I'm getting nowhere and kneel on the front steps and take every last thing out. I light my cell phone inside my purse just to make sure. No damn keys. Monet's not home. Ciela's probably starving, she needs to be walked, I'm tired as hell and there is no upside to this dilemma. Now what?

I stand up. Wait, I hear a jingle! I shake my trench coat, feel the pocket. Score!

There in the pocket of the jacket I was not going to bring home, that was hanging in the office that I was not going to go back to, to not do the homework I was going to hand in incomplete, was the golden ticket that would let me into my home. It just sings Perfect Moment!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Follow Me

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Weebles Wobblog and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

As I scrolled my way down to reply to a comment on one of my posts, my eyes drifted over the right side of my screen... 17 followers! That must have just happened, I thought, since only a couple days earlier the counter had been at 15; I remember because I had noticed how nicely all the squares lined up, 5 pictures across, 3 rows down, all in an orderly fashion. Slightly anal, I know, but hey.

Not that I was complaining; the more followers, the merrier! When I first started blogging regularly, I had been very interested in recruiting more followers, and used to be... ahem... kinda-sorta-annoyingly-adamant on FB in suggesting to my friends that they should follow my blog, or subscribe via email. Pretty soon though, I realized I had become "one of those annoying people who force you to join their blog on FB", and I promptly stopped, going instead with just adding the link of each new post onto my page. At some point also I became more interested in people subscribing via email (but didn't push it) because then each post would automatically be delivered to the reader when published, as opposed to what happens when one follows, where they have to actually remember to log on to Blogger and check their Reading List.

So it came as a bit of a surprise to me when I saw 17 followers and became as happy as I did. I mean, on any given day, I could tell you how many followers I had, I always kept track. But still, it never occurred to me I would enjoy an increase in popularity as much as I did. When I saw 17, I broke out into a huge smile, got super excited and decided to make it the subject of my next Perfect Moment. But then something better happened; several days passed, a few posts were published, and I realized that I was at 20 followers! Sweet!

So, my lovely followers, my faithful readers, my friends in the blog world and the real world; this week's Perfect Moment is dedicated to you. Thank you for reading, thank you for checking in, for commenting, for caring what I have to say, and for making me feel like I matter in this big, bad blogosphere. It never felt so good to be followed!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: It's Like Riding A Bike, You Never Forget How

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Weebles Wobblog and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

I have the bright idea of riding bikes down the path along the West Side Highway, not thinking that I haven't been on a bike in years. I think nothing of it until the moment of truth comes. I lift one leg over the frame and plant myself on the seat and holy cow, does that hurt! I've borrowed Monet's road bike and figure all will be good; turns out all is less than good. I feel like I have been impaled. Adjusting the seat requires a wrench and there isn't one in sight, and there is only one set of brakes on the handle bars (the set where I would have to hunch down in order to reach them). This is gonna be a long ride, I think to myself.

My friend K doesn't have a helmet on and, even though I am terrified to ride in the streets of New York, I decide to leave my own helmet at the gas station where I had just filled up the tires. The attendant, who I had been joking around with about how log it's been since I've been on a bike, but whom I have never laid eyes on before this day, accepts the helmet and tells me that if she isn't around when I come back, she'll let the other employee know I'd be coming by. I love Harlem! It's still a neighborhood in the true sense of the word.

We start at 150th and St. Nicholas and 'nervous' does not adequately describe how I am feeling right now. We have to ride in the street in order to get to the bike path. Anyone who has been to NYC knows how perilous it can be to walk in the street. Now I have to maneuver through the grid on a bike. I mean, at least I use my legs everyday, I trust my legs! These 2 wheels, not so much. Realizing that, with the exception of riding in Central Park almost 2 years ago and a few rides here n there before that, that I hadn't consistently been on a bicycle since I was 11 didn't help matters at all.

Somehow we make our way across Broadway and then to Riverside without any incident (on my part, of course; K is a pro and is kindly turning to check on me every so often to make sure I'm still alive) although I'm sure more than one driver cussed me out. We ride about 25 blocks south and cross over to the bike path at 125th St.

We ride along for a while. This side-by-side thing other people are doing is out of the question I discover after I practically slam into K when what I was trying to do was, quite simply, stop. I decide single file is the way to go if I expect to make it today without injuring myself or anyone around me, especially since the further we go, the larger the walking/biking/rollerblading crowds seem to get. I mention that I don't want to kill any kids on a Sunday.

There is nothing smooth or elegant about how I am riding; I am all tension and swerve. However, being the stubborn Assyrian woman that I am, when K asks if I want to ride down to Battery Park, all the way at the southern tip of the island, I respond with "Well, I like a challenge, so if you said let's bike to Jersey, I'd say let's bike to Jersey. So Battery Park it is!" Silly, silly me not thinking about geography at all when I gave that response.

Besides the nervousness, I am enjoying my day to the fullest. The weather is beautiful, the sun is shining, the Hudson is sparkling to my right, the highway is buzzing to my left. I am pleasantly surprised by the amount of green and other surprises I see along the way; the whole path along the highway is covered in what looks like wild grasses, trees, hills and lawns, basketball courts, soccer fields and more things I never knew were hidden between the highway and the Hudson. I later find out this is Hudson River Park, which is the 2nd largest in the City after Central Park, and I am in love with it.

By the time we reach the Boat Basin on 79th St, I am still so swervy the other riders must think there's something wrong with me. Dealing with the brakes is beyond frustrating; hunching down to use them is physically uncomfortable, not to mention I'm worried I won't get to them in time if I need to. Add to that that they're very tense, so I have to squeeze extra hard. Which for me and my hives will mean extremely swollen, itchy hands tomorrow, which I am not looking forward to.

Worries about physical ailments aside, things are going very well. When I look up and see the USS Intrepid and realize we have reached 46th St, I am amazed. I love that I am riding right next to all the cars on the highway, barely 10 feet away from me. I pull out my BlackBerry and start snapping photos. While I'm riding. So much for being scared. I am so pleased with myself!

View of the West Side Highway while I am biking... poor quality in-motion photo, but still!

By Chelsea Piers (23rd St) I'm smiling but the fatigue has set in and a yawn escapes from my mouth. We reach Laight St. Laight St?? That's so far downtown that I've never even heard of it, so cool! By Chambers St, I realize how far we really have come; my friend T lives here and I know the train commute between my house and hers takes almost an hour, and I have just biked it. I feel awesome.

After Chambers we have to start crossing main streets and become cognizant of traffic again, but I feel like a pro at this point. We maneuver through the streets and sidewalks of Battery Park City - not even a huge public bus sharing the street with me freaks me out now - and make our way down to the Park. Thankfully K knows exactly where he's going, and all I have to do is follow, not actually think and navigate.

We reach the Park and I pass under an archway and have an 'angels singing aaaaah' moment; I realize that in 6 years of living in Manhattan, this is another place I have never been to, and the reason is bc it's so far away from where I live. The view of the river is gorgeous, and I can see the Statue of Liberty in the distance. Accomplishing something never felt so rewarding.

I made it!

We rest for a while and about an hour later, finally start to make our way back uptown. We ride to 72nd and then I catch the train to Harlem. Once comfortably on my couch, feet planted firmly on hardwood and not on bike pedals, I take an Ibuprofen and 2 Zyrtec to help fight off tomorrow's impending pain, swelling and hives. I sit on 2 ice packs while I calculate our route in miles. I do it twice just to be sure.

Riding through multiple busy New York City streets and a beautiful riverside park, not killing myself or anyone else in the process, seeing parts of the City I have never seen before and having fun whilst doing so - that's definitely a Perfect Moment. Realizing later, when all is said and done, that I rode 17 miles on a leisurely bike ride after years of not being on a 2-wheeled vehicle - that's a Perfect and a Badass Moment.