Thursday, January 29, 2009

I love him

What can I say? I am a very lucky girl.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Have no eny, no fear

Last year Jamie surprised me with tickets to a concert of one of my favorite singer/songwriters, Joshua Radin. Now, usually, I am the one who is tuned into the tour dates for any group of interest, but somehow Jamie pulled off this great surprise. Ever since, I have been trying to get back at her (or be like her--isn't emulation the highest form of flattery?). So, when I saw that Joshua Radin would be coming to New York (which musician doesn't come to New York?), I bought tickets and stuck them in her stocking. I believe she was genuinely surprised--I think that's what a high-pitched scream means.

Joshua Radin is part of our history. Early on in our dating days, I lent Jamie a copy of my CD. I figured that if I could give her something that she would have a hard time giving something back--like a great CD of melancholy love songs--that she would be inclined to stick around. My theory proved true, and here we are today: married and merry. If I wasn't that interested in her, I would have given her a Blind Melon CD, or maybe Michael McLean sings his hits.

Friday night we met up at Times Square and took a train down to the East Village, near NYU. Since the concert was starting a little later, we went to a hole-in-the-wall Thai restaurant, Zabb City (sounds like a Star Wars metropolis). The food was delicious and had just the right amount of spice.

The concert was in one of New York's most famous meeting places, Webster Hall. Once called the "Devil's Playground", Webster Hall has a rich history from Samuel Gompers to Bono. Today it is one of New York's historical landmarks and the host of many college-targeted parties. Webster Hall was once a recording studio for Broadway plays and people like Elvis and Frank Sinatra.

Jamie and I made our way up near the stage and found a pack of short women to stand behind. As we casually listened to the opening band's banjo strums, we congratulated each other on finding the perfect spot to watch the concert. I even secretly said, "Short people DO have a reason to live!"

In our joy we failed to notice that these short women were also Asian. I like to think that it was because racism ended on Inauguration Day and races (and their often-true stereotypes) do not exist. We soon found ourselves behind a line of cameras held straight up, elbows locked. Occasionally, the camera would dive down, only to quickly resurface into our line of sight. We don't think they knew any of the songs, but they new a photo op when they saw one.

The concert was wonderful--he played a short set of some of his most melancholy tunes, and we left feeling subdued and glad to be sober (unlike some other folks around us). I think that Joshua Radin is the reincarnation of James Taylor--just with more hair, and I guess James Taylor is still alive (can you be the reincarnate of somebody who is alive?). In that case, maybe he is more like Dan Folgerburg minus the crumb-catching 70s beard.

One final thought. I grew up forced to watch the Music and the Spoken Word on Sunday mornings where Lloyd Newell would give a short sermon and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir would sing some righteous tunes. So something that Joshua Radin said during his concert sort of became my new mantra. He told the story about when Bob Dylan moved out to New York, that someone gave him the advice to "have no envy, no fear". Mr. Radin liked it so much he wrote a song about it. I think the advice that Dylan got was spot on--this city is so full of talent and ego, that you can fill stifled and little no matter how brilliant you are. Too often I see intelligent and successful friends, and I balk at my lackluster skills. I want to try to have no envy, and no fear. So have no envy, no fear.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

I don't like taxis

The kind taxi driver exited his car, stowed my suitcase in the trunk, opened my door and then closed it once I was settled. "Where to?" he asked as he plopped in the driver's seat. "The Upper West Side," I instantly replied, and we were on our way. The first 20 minutes we zipped down Grand Central Parkway making good time as the clock inched closer to rush hour. My hopes were high as I started to think this might not be the hour and half ride that it usually takes to go 20 miles from JFK Airport to home. Once we reached the bumper-to-bumper traffic across the Triborough Bridge (recently renamed the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Bridge), however, my hopes were shattered.

As we started the crawl across the bridge the driver's cell phone started to ring. My eyes immediately glanced at the "Taxicab Rider Bill of Rights" posted so clearly on the back of his seat. As a passenger in a taxi you are entitled to, "A driver who does not use a cell phone while driving (hand-held or hands free)." He started into his long unrecognizable foreign language conversation as my body instantly resorted to its usual taxi-riding state: nausea.

As he jabbered away on his phone I tried to distract my mind from what my body was now feeling. The TV in the back seat only added to my car sickness. Thirty minutes later I finally figured out how to turn off its flashing lights and noise. We finally emerged to the familiar streets of Manhattan and started the brutal game of Red Light, Green Light. I rested my head on the glass, trying to cool down my now trembling body as I sat anxiously in the stuffy, stale-aired cab. At every intersection the cell phone chatting driver punched the gas pedal down the crosstown street and seconds later slammed on the brakes as we neared the red light of the next intersection. Amsterdam and Broadway have never felt further away. Nearing the end of our journey, the driver finally ended his conversation.

"Which building, Miss?" he politely asked. "220," I silently muttered hoping that was the only thing to escape my lips. The car screeched to a stop. I opened the door as my legs weakly felt the ground. He grabbed my bag as I reached for my wallet. Coming from Las Vegas where the ATMs dispense $100 bills rather than $20s, I handed over Ben Franklin to cover the $55 fare. The driver pulled out a wad of money and returned my change with one ten, two fives, and twenty-five ones. At least Redken was covering the fare, and the bonus is I now have wash money.

Sidenote: We NEVER take a taxi. Instead we opt for public transportation and ride the subway everywhere we go. In our eight months of living in the city we have taken a cab twice, and both were extremely good excuses: 1) moving five pieces of heavy luggage from our temporary Queens apartment to our Manhattan apartment and 2) coming home from a red eye flight. The fare for a taxi isn't worth it, and as you can see, every time we take a taxi I get sick.

I dizzily made my way into the apartment building, lugged my suitcase up three flights of stairs (the elevator is currently out of service) and hurried to open the apartment door. I threw my bags on the floor, turned on the light and walked into a crystal-clean apartment. A welcome home note attached to beautiful bouquet of flowers sat atop the dining room table. How did Jonathan know this was exactly what I needed after six days away at the Redken Symposium (business meeting) in Las Vegas topped off with a stomach-churning cab ride home from the airport?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Christmas in Utah

We were so spoiled to get to go home for Christmas this year! Our favorite part - spending time with family and friends. Looking through our pictures now I wish we would've taken more to capture all of the fun (especially Jonathan, Marie, Nick and Trev hula hooping on the Wii Fit, skiing and a picture with my mom and dad).

Our last night with Sam and Amy before they head off to China.

My favorite sister whom I miss terribly...already.

This is the view we wake up to every morning at my parent's house in Heber City. It's moments like this that I sometimes wonder why anyone would ever want to move away.

Furthering our contributions to the Yankee payroll.

Trevor finished two Calvin & Hobbes 500-page books within one week.

I love this. Trevor asked for a pull-up bar, and sure enough, Santa brought it!

We made sure to practice driving on Mario Kart before attempting to drive in real life.

Some say we are the same person. I like to think so.

Day before Christmas breakfast with the Curtis family!