Friday, January 31, 2014

End of January

I prefer looking at older buildings but sometimes the contrast between old and new is interesting. The building with round windows is Dream Hotel. You can get a room there in March for $375 to $1000 per night.

It's the last day of the month and a good time to do a recap of my goals for 2014. According to statistics most people gave up on their resolutions about a week ago. I am hoping to continue with mine.

Be Adventurous

I haven't set any records on adventurousness yet. I did manage to try some new recipes for meatloaf (my second ever), white chili, muffins, mojito jello shots, pork tenderloin, bread pudding, hot fudge pudding cake and broccoli scalloped potatoes. Also tried a new brownie recipe and a chocolate cake recipe. I always make brownies from scratch but that might have been my first chocolate cake from scratch.

Learn Things

Not doing well here yet...other than some interesting magazine articles and internet searches.

Organize & Clean

I worked on the pantry so far. Have some plans but no other progress.

Be Charitable

I was able to

   buy a coat and donate it to the New York Cares Coat Drive
   send some handmade cards to Splashes of Joy
   donate some stickers to the Stick it to Diabetes sticker drive

I am trying to keep Random Acts of Kindness in my head. I'm not keeping a list of those because I hope they will be too numerous to count. Sometimes I need to be more aware. It's easy to hold doors for people but I almost passed the blind man who was about to run into a snow bank. I did speak to him before he hit the bank though I need to practice how to verbally guide someone who can't see. Also working on giving out more compliments which sometimes is hard as well. It was easy to compliment the researcher who was leading a study and she was quite grateful which was a bonus.

So here's hoping I keep on track!

Morning temperature: 28 degrees
Morning steps: 6020

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursday in the Neighborhood

This stone bench at Chelsea Market is more comfortable than you might think - although my feet dangle!
The weather people keep promising some warmer temperatures but everyday it's still plenty cold and that is curtailing my morning walking. It's too cold to walk far and there aren't enough open businesses to duck into for a warm up. Actually there are plenty of delis and coffee shops open but they are small and loiterers are pretty obvious.

This morning I had big plans and started off for a nice walk. Within 4 blocks I realized I was not going to make it to my destination so I improvised. The rising sun was blinding. I had to shade my eyes to keep from tangling up with the guys who were off loading equipment for today's film shoot for Law & Order: SVU. They are using an out of business bar and sushi restaurant around the corner from my apartment for the shoot. If it's mainly interior shots it won't be as fun to look for in the show.

I have been off a day most of the week. I guess it's not Friday yet!

Morning temperature: 17 degrees
Morning steps: 4592

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Bright & Sunny & Still Cold

Looks like they will be filming Law & Order: SVU in my neighborhood this week

I went out for a walk a little later today. I thought it would be a few degrees warmer AND that the library would be open so I could pick up a book I had requested (in May).

It was 2 degrees warmer than it had been at 6:30am so I guess that wasn't worth the wait. I like the early morning walk because there are less people on the streets. Today I had to figure out how to get around 4 boisterous boys who were stealing each other's hats and tossing them around. I'm sure they were just happy to be on their lunch break. I was hoping to stay alive till the next block!

And, wow, was the sun bright! I have had Transitions lenses in my glasses for years but I have never seen them get as dark as they were today. When I stopped in a store they were so dark I couldn't see at all (and when I took them off I couldn't really read!)

It was a disappointing trip to the library. Two days ago, I had received an email telling me the book was in...but today it was nowhere to be found. The overworked librarian did his best to search in person and on the computer but we came up empty.

I had a problem some months ago with the last book I requested so I must be having some bad book karma. I was told that book was in but could not be released. I'm just hoping that I don't get a reputation of being the person who requests books and never picks them up.

Manhattan branch libraries have relatively few books in their spaces though they are stocked with periodicals, reference books, computers and children's books. They prefer that you request books online and they will be located within the various libraries within the five boroughs of New York City. Then they are delivered to the branch of your choice.

It works if you don't mind a wait but you don't have much success if you drop by the library hoping to find an interesting book to check out.

Temperature: 16 degrees
Steps: 4314

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Dreaming of some Heat

A warm beach sounds pretty good right now...even if I don't like hot and sweaty!

Morning temperature: 14 degrees (feels like -5 degrees)
Morning steps: 4113

Monday, January 27, 2014

Happy Monday

Not a sign I expect to see on a Manhattan office building

Morning temperature: 38 degrees
Morning steps: 5454

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hudson in the Morning

Way in the background is the shadowy Verrazano Narrows Bridge and the Statue of Liberty

Friday, January 24, 2014

Reality or Not

I picture comedians serving up jokes with the sandwiches at the Ha Ha Fresh Deli

Do you remember TV before "reality" shows? A generation of kids is growing up watching these shows and thinking they are real...when they are the farthest thing from it. People become famous or infamous and make money being bad guys using all the bad behaviors that kids otherwise are taught are wrong.

If it's not a reality's a competition show. Who is the best cook, singer, designer, dancer etc?

I admit to watching a few of them though I've never seen Survivor, any Real Housewives, America's Got Talent, the Voice or many more of these types of shows. I don't watch the shows about raising lots of children or wealthy families letting cameras follow them around.

Give me something with a plot and real actors and I'll check it out.

Morning temperature: 10 degrees (felt like -3)
Morning steps: 3763

Thursday, January 23, 2014


Picnic time at the Super Pier

Then there is the use of the word "super". It's not just's super fun...even if it's really barely fun at all. Super is the word you have to use in every other sentence. It would be super weird not to use it. I use it when I want to be super sarcastic.

Who starts these things? And, I guess, we all jump on the bandwagon because we want to be super cool.

Morning temperature: Super cold at 9 degrees (felt like -4)
Morning steps: 4018 - Super few but it's too cold!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Awesome or Not

I miss the word "awesome". Miss is not the right word since you can hear the word awesome spoken within 60 seconds of most any American opening his or her mouth these days. I remember when it meant something and wasn't just an empty place holder.

Seeing the Rocky Mountains was awesome as was the sight of Mount Rushmore and the seemingly endless views of the ocean. Finding a penny in the street or finishing up the laundry is nice but not really inspiring me to be full of awe...though my neighbors declare those things are "awesome".

Speaking of full of awe...apparently the word awful was originally a good thing.  Awe is good.  Being full of awe is good. Awful has become a bad thing...probably in the same way that awesome has become a mediocre word.

But the next time I'm introduced to someone and that person's response is "awesome" I am just going to believe that meeting me truly was an event inspiring awe.


The snowfall is over for now. It seems that Central Park had 11.5 inches of snow. There is a lot of snow on the rooftop outside my window but at street level it doesn't seem so bad. NYC has over 6000 miles of streets. That's a lot of plowing and there are always complaints but to me it looked like a job done well. Sidewalks are always hit or miss also. Apartment dwellers don't have to deal with shoveling snow but someone does. Building owners can be fined for not clearing sidewalks.

My question of the day: How can it be 7 degrees and there are still puddles of slushy water at many streetcorners???

Morning temperatures: 7 degrees (felt like -16 degrees)
Morning steps: 3666

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Another Snowy Day

Here comes the snow! A storm was predicted for today but the snow was supposed to start late morning. I don't think 7:45am is late morning. (I supposes if 12:01am is morning that means 7:45am is late morning but I'm sure that's not what the weather people meant.) Tiny flakes started piling up immediately.

Yesterday they were saying schools would close early due to the expected accumulation in the afternoon. It was snowy wet and a bit nasty as kids made their way to school.

We'll see what happens as the day unfolds.

Morning temperature: 25 degrees (felt like 16)
Morning steps: 6168

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Day

This was my morning...a little orange...a little fuzzy...and "chim chiminey, chim chiminey, chim chim cheree" running through my head.

I read Martin Luther King's famous 1963 speech today. It's forever known as the "I have a dream" speech though that phrase does not appear till around the 13th paragraph or so. It's a speech peppered with the word "Negro"...a word not used so much 51 years later. Some things have changed. Some things...not so much. It remains a great speech.

Lesser known fact: He was christened Michael King Jr. His father changed both of their names to Martin Luther King in 1934.

He would have been 85 on January 15. You have to wonder what could have been...if he'd had a few more decades.

Morning temperature: 37 degrees (felt like 25)
Morning steps: 4805

Friday, January 17, 2014

Paddleboat Morning

It was a cold walk around Chelsea Piers and the Hudson Riverwalk this morning.

It's Friday and there's a long weekend coming up!

Morning temperature: 34 degrees
Morning steps: 6270

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Shooting Film in NYC

These are some vehicles for a film trucks and dressing rooms. They must appreciate being in a less busy part of town where they can park their trucks so close to each other. Usually they would be spread out over several blocks.

The trucks were just coming in this morning so filming must be later in the day.

The posted signs indicate that filming is for a project called Power which may be a Starz production.

Morning temperature: 39 degrees
Morning steps: 7111

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Stick it to Diabetes

Caylin, a little girl with type 1 diabetes had a great idea to donate stickers to her diabetes clinic in Nashville. These stickers are used as treats for the kids as they leave after their appointments.

Stickers are something I have in my crafting stash so I am happy to be able to donate some to Caylin's cause.

Read more about it on Caylin's mom's blog. Their deadline is the end of the month.

Morning temperature: 39 degrees
Morning steps: 8116

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Rainy Day Toilet

When I wake up and see that it's a rainy day I do not immediately decide I'm in a bad mood.  Some people do. Some rainy days the mood in the office can be a little tense. On rainy days I have been known to stop at a store to buy some kind of treat to cheer up my co-workers. I'm not all that's more like self-preservation.

Keeping extra shoes and socks at the office helps a lot. Wet feet can bring you down quickly.

Maybe it's just me but seeing a toilet next to the trash heap kinda makes me laugh. I was still smiling a few moments later when I narrowly missed stepping in a pile of dog diarrhea poo.

Morning temperature: 50 rainy degrees
Morning steps: 4552

Monday, January 13, 2014

High Line Art Billboard

The High Line Art Billboard

Today is National Clean Off Your Desk Day! Sounds great, right?

I swear that cleaning off my desk is my next big cleaning and organizing project. But not today! When you see the "Before" picture you will see why this is taking a period of meditation and psyching up before I can begin. It's a really big project that will impact other storage in the apartment.

I look forward to a clean desk and therefore more room to work in but I also believe that a messy desk equals a creative mind!

Morning temperature: 37 degrees
Morning steps: 8281

Friday, January 10, 2014


My Michigan friend, ML, sent me photos of the ice boulders that form in Lake Michigan when the water temperature hovers around freezing. No boulders in the Hudson but I did see these ice floes which the seagulls like to use to hitch a ride...or take a rest.  Just thinking about standing on an ice floe makes my feet cold.

I'm still taking those weekday morning walks (#180) around my neighborhood but the really cold temperatures make it difficult to stay out long. This morning at 31 degrees it was more comfortable. There was no precipitation for the first half block I walked but then tiny snowflakes started to fall. Over the next hour those snowflakes became icy---maybe rainy---and then big fluffy snowflakes. As the temperatures rise today it will change to rain and there are flood warnings posted already.

I had been staying away from the river because I figured it would feel even colder there but now I think I've missed some good winter scenes.

Morning temperature: 31 degrees
Morning steps: 8391

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Yay! Handmade Greeting Cards

These are some easy cards I made to donate. When I saw the "Yay" on Kristina Werner's blog I knew it would be perfect to use on some of the backgrounds I have been stockpiling. Kristina had been inspired by a card she saw on Emily Ley's site. Kristina's background is a diagonal design made by a different technique.

Yay seems like a great lead in for all kinds of greetings. In this case, the inside reads "It's your birthday!" But it works for "it's your anniversary", "you're a graduate", "you're retired", "your baby is here!", "you have a new house", "you have a new job" and more.

I had been making the backgrounds with decorative washi tape while watching (or listening) to TV. I like clean and simple cards and these backgrounds are easy. My vast collection of washi tape yields lots of combinations. I've done the technique with paper scraps too but the washi tape eliminates the adhesive application step which is perfect for a lazy person like me.

The colors in my photos are a little off. Natural light and my apartment are not friends. I had to resort to a weird little spot outside. But you get the idea I'm sure.

I'm planning to send off a package of cards to Splashes of Joy. Their mission is to help ill or homebound people. Most of their services are more hands on but they also accept handmade cards to send or give to the people they serve.

Morning temperature: 22 degrees
Morning steps: 4294

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

It could be worse!

Little trailers like this sell coffee and various foods to passersby.
This one is not just preaching that you should boil an egg but is trying to sell some boiled eggs!

The frigid weather continued this morning. Somehow I thought it would warm up overnight to the 20's but I found the temperature not much warmer than yesterday morning.

Weather is always a topic for small talk but EVERYONE is talking about this band of cold air. Whatever the weather - it could always be worse!

There was the Blizzard of 1888 also known as the Great White Hurricane. In New York City, it started on March 11 with rain which gradually became snow...a LOT of snow.  Two to five feet of snow piled up in the city with drifts up to 30 feet in some areas.

Being stuck in a train on an elevated track was not pleasant. The city was handicapped by downed electrical lines and stores were unable to get shipments of supplies. Although it took awhile, this storm made people realize that it was time to take trains underground and also to bury electrical and communication lines.

I have been trying to find the right combination of clothes to wear outside so I am warm but also able to move. I can't imagine what it must have been like for a woman in a long dress to navigate the snow drifts.

A little cold...maybe not so bad!

Morning temperature: 9 degrees (feels like -6)
Morning steps: 3273

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

New York Cares Coat Drive

Booties for the puppy and boots for his dad

This morning the temperature broke the previous 1896 low record by 2 degrees. Seems like the perfect cold morning to report on my "Be charitable" effort.

I took that $20 bill that I found in the street and put it towards the purchase of a coat for the New York Cares Coat Drive.

The Coat Drive accepts new and used coats until February 7 and has requests from various organizations for 107,000 coats this winter. I had heard before Christmas that they were behind in reaching their goals. They attributed this to, perhaps, SuperStorm Sandy. After this storm devastated the area New Yorkers dug deep into their closets for coats to meet the huge needs.

My closet yielded nothing but ratty winter coats so I looked for some post holiday sales. New York Cares Coat Drive also has links on Amazon and Target websites where you can purchase a coat to be sent directly to the Drive's warehouse.

Share the warmth!

Morning weather: 5 degrees (feels like -16)
Morning steps: 2494

Monday, January 6, 2014

Cleaning the Pantry



I know you are laughing at my before & after photos because they don't look that different. But they are!
For my first organization & cleaning project I started small.  Baby steps…to give me confidence! I cleaned out and reorganized the pantry cabinet. The pantry is now emptier with all the items pulled to the front of the shelves. And clean is good too.
I took out every single thing and wiped down the shelves and entire inside of the cabinet. I threw out things that were outdated and/or half consumed but long forgotten.  By threw out…I mean that I emptied and cleaned every glass and metal container for recycling and put what I could in the compost container…important steps.

I am not proud that I tossed 25 containers in that recycling bag. I am guilty of receiving gifts of or buying specialty foods and “saving” them for a special occasion that never comes (at least before I forget!) I was seeing dollar signs going down the drain but it at this point it couldn't be helped. There was a jar of sauce that had expired in April 2007 and a couple other things with expiration dates of 2008---but most were not that bad! Still I was surprised to find the really old things because I thought I had done this more recently!
Did you know that 5 year old yellow mustard turns really quite brown?
Why did I have 2 bottles of Grapeseed Oil – something I’ve never used? How did I get 3 bottles of Sesame Oil when I rarely cook Asian recipes?  And, Fish Sauce?  What the heck? I’m not cooking recipes that would call for it and I am not a fan of fish! I probably ended up with 3 bottles of Almond Extract because I couldn’t remember if I had any so I bought more…and the same goes for 2 bottles of Peppermint Extract plus a Crème de Menthe.
Now I know what I have, it’s better organized…and clean too.

Morning weather: 52 degrees, fog & rain
Morning steps: 5602

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Saturday Night Crafters

Crafting, Posing for self-timer group photos, Crockpot White Chili and Mojito Jello Shots...what a great Saturday night!

Friday, January 3, 2014

First Snowstorm of 2014

There will be some people riding those bikes today

What good is a snowstorm if you can't stand in the middle of the street to take pictures!

New Yorkers love their umbrellas

High Line

A snowy day in the neighborhood! At about 7:30am, I took a short walk around looking for photo ops but I was not early enough to see much undisturbed snow. It was definitely cold enough for me and occasionally wind gusts froze my forehead.

I expected that the High Line would be closed but I checked it out just in case because it usually makes a good photo vantage point. I was offered the opportunity to help shovel snow in the park just as I was reading their sign asking for volunteers. I appreciated that they took one look at me and actually thought I was capable of doing that!

I grew up in a snowy climate. This six inches or so of snow would be a minor event. It's crazy to see how nuts people are about snow in the city. I do agree that an urban setting has additional problems. The snowplow crews work constantly. They have GPS and you can check online to see when your street will be plowed.  Space is a premium here and there is nowhere to put all that snow!

Morning Temperature: 10 degrees (feels like -5)
Morning Steps: 2587

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Cards & Mail

This is a New Year postcard that I sent some of my crafty friends. Paint splattered book pages, punched numbers and some washi tape from my vast collection.

I love getting mail...that's real mail, of course, not bills and junk. I still send cards but I admit to not writing as many letters as I used to write. It's SO much easier to type up an email. Typing is especially addictive to someone who HATES to have to cross out a mistake and have an ugly spot in the letter!

I have not purchased a greeting card since 1996. I remember standing in the pre-1996 greeting card displays reading cards for hours to find the perfect one. Now I pull out some rubber stamps and cardstock and make my own. And, although buying supplies is fun (and gets out of hand sometimes) I think my investment has paid off over the last 18 years!

Making cards is also a way that I donate to various causes. I've sent cards to deployed military personnel through Operation Write Home and to various other card drives for nursing home residents, seriously ill children and other organizations that I find listed in Cardmaker magazine. I'm also happy to send cards to my mom who sends them out to members of her church who are unable to attend services.

Morning temperature: 28 degrees (feels like 19)
Morning steps: 6363

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: Bring it!

Finishing that Freedom Tower is taking a long time but it still strikes me as a symbol of hope every time I see it

To many, a new year signifies a chance for a do over...a clean slate. Some people get that feeling with the change of season, a birthday or even the monthly turn of the calendar. I am not one of them.

I am not a resolution person. I have "fear of failure so why bother syndrome." says only 8% of people will achieve their New Year resolution goals. Wiki says most will have tired of the effort by the second week of January.

Regardless, I am making some goals for 2014. Here is what I plan to do.

Be adventurous

Do things. Try things. Go places.  Though exciting trips are not in the budget...maybe a new hobby, new recipes, museum visits.

Learn things

This can be little things like reading and listening or big things like taking classes and studying.

Organize and clean

Scary! I am allergic to cleaning and I am organizationally impaired.  Okay...I am not allergic to cleaning though I AM allergic to dust.  Sometimes it seems like leaving dust alone bothers me less than stirring it up and sneezing it across the room. But I am going to try to clean more and organize my stuff for a better quality of life in my little apartment.

Be charitable

More than just giving money, I want to donate time and things. Giving is something I do but this year I want to do it more often (maybe monthly) and not wait for the next natural disaster to kick my butt in gear.

I also want to be nicer, give people the benefit of the doubt, pass around some random acts of kindness.

This morning on my walk I was running this blog post through my head. As I thought the words "donate more" a tiny voice in the back of my head said this might be difficult since I'm currently unemployed. At that exact moment I focused on the street along the gutter where a twenty dollar bill was looking up at me! The first drop in my donation bucket!

So, here we go. A new year...and it's going to be good!

Happy New Year!

Morning temperature: 25 degrees
Morning steps: 5703