January 4th, 2009

Thanks to a wonderful thing called conditioning, Obi gets a treat every time she comes inside from using the lawn as her giant toilet. But she now thinks she should get a treat every time she performs the action of going out the back door then coming in. Even if it means walking out on to the patio and turning right back around. Then she’ll bark incessantly until she gets a treat. Once she gets a treat, she’s quiet. That is, until she realizes we are no longer paying attention to her. Then she’ll bark. She knows that if she barks enough, we’ll get fed up and give her peanut butter.

Ugh. My friend Melissa’s right. She’s completely in control of this house.

A Blank Slate

January 2nd, 2009

Well, a lot happened to me last year. Plenty of blogging fodder, but I was tired. Too tired to write, too tired to think, too tired to really do anything besides work and lose my sanity over it.

I mostly blame it on one situation in my life that basically sucked out any creativity I had left out of my bone. I have a half-finished book, three half-finished websites, two blogs, and a partially renovated bedroom. All were somewhat abandoned for the year (hence, my extreme lack of posting). I couldn’t even bring myself to do any freelancing work to earn some extra money. A writer without any creativity is like a potter without clay. Just doesn’t work.

Anyways, it took me almost a year to get out of it (on top of a bout of mono), but I’m now back to somewhat of a normal existence, I’m looking forward to an exciting year. For the most part, I don’t know what it will bring. I have no plans and it feels absolutely grand. This is actually the first year in a long time that I have a blank slate ahead of me. 

2008 wasn’t a total dump, however. Some highlights:

  • A new job. Different commercial real estate publication, but a lot more flexibility that I needed.
  • Traveled a lot, as usual. Went to Atlanta, Washington D.C., Boston, Las Vegas and Chicago. Missed my annual trip to Miami, thanks to the mono. Las Vegas and Chicago were new to me. I went to go see Journey with its new lead singer, Arnel Pineda, last March. The concert was good, but not exceptional, and I didn’t particuarly care for Las Vegas overall. However, I did get to meet a lot of my friends and did win $150 on just $5. Chicago was a fabulous trip, although it rained the whole time. Attended the Journey To The Cure Sparkle Tie Summer Ball and got to see Steve Augeri perform again, which was amazing – especially since he sang an acoustic “Kiss Me Softly.” And of course, it was lovely hanging out with the East Coast Entourage.
  • Had a great party in July to raise money for the Light The Night walk for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Just got the total in and I raised over $1,200.
  • Speaking of lymphoma, 2008 marked my third year of having no existing disease. Well, I actually don’t know if that’s true – due to an insurance snafu, I actually missed my last appointment with the oncologist and can’t reschedule until this month. But he would have called me had my scans been questionable.
  • Lots of urban trips around New York City, from Knickerbocker Avenue to Fordham Road to Red Hook’s Ikea. Oh, and at least five trips on the Staten Island Ferry, just because I like free boat rides.
  • The discovery of Freecycle, Bananagrams, meat on a stick, and Sophie Kinsella novels.
  • My grandmother turning 90 in December, and getting to see a lot of family members I haven’t seen in years as a result.
  • A splendid 26th birthday that included staying home in my pajamas all day, watching the new Muppet Christmas movie and eating breakfast for dinner.

There’s certainly more, I’m sure, but it’s 18 minutes past my bedtime. So, onwards to 2009 – some goals and things to look forward to:

  • September is going to mark my fourth anniversary of remission – which means I am officially cured.
  • Resolutions this year include spending more time with family, friends and myself; really chiseling away at my debt; and becoming more healthy in general.
  • I’d like to travel some more, but domestically and mostly close to home. In doing so, I would like to save money for a trip to Europe in 2010. I’ve never been there and it’s always been a dream of mine.
  • Actually working on my book, my family tree, and freelancing. I have so many ideas in my head just waiting to break free.

Phew. I forgot how mentally tiring long blog entries can be.

Happy New Year!

January 1st, 2009

Wow, I only wrote one post in 2008’s entirety. That will change this year. Resolution number one. Happy New Year!

Summer, It Turns Me Upside Down

May 31st, 2008

There are two things I hate about post-Memorial Day.

The first is the beachgoers that travel to Fire Island, the Hamptons and Montauk every Friday afternoon and Monday morning. They all travel on my LIRR line. Why are most of them annoying?

  • They pack three full-sized suitcases for a two-day weekend. I was able to go on a six-day Alaskan cruise with one carry-on.
  • There’s an abundance of grating Long Island accents. You’ll, like, hear, like, the word “like,” like, interjected every three seconds.
  • They’re glued to their cell phones, usually involved in some drama than invokes the grating Long Island accent. Peace and quiet doesn’t exist on Friday afternoon trains anymore. Pre-Memorial and post-Labor Days, you can hear a pin drop on the 5:09.
  • They are often accompanied by yapping pocketbook dogs.
  • They have no respect for daily commuters. They think their pooches and Vera Bradley duffel bags deserve a seat, when neither carry a ticket. They also block the aisle. The daily commuters loathe them. We talk about them before the summer starts and how much we hate summer Fridays.

Well, they’re back with a vengance. Read the rest of this entry »

Under The Sea

May 29th, 2008

Well, even though my creative energy has been zapped, I was able to muster a slight recharge this past weekend so Lex and I could construct a five-foot replica of an R-36 Redbird for the Coney Island Mermaid Parade. Yes, us crazy cats are going to march in the parade carrying the replica, which has been decorated in marine life, to commemorate all the reefed subway cars. They are now now part of the underwater ecosystem!

Took us about two days to go about doing so, and involved a lot of cardboad, paint and posterboard. But it looks great, even though we took some creative liberties with it. We’re sure to get yelled at by some foamers. We’re not going to publish photos until after the parade, so come see us or even march with us.

Other than that, life’s been good. Not much has been going on, except for work.  Haven’t traveled since Atlanta, but tried to relive the experience by ordering grits at the deli near my office. New York grits ? Atlanta grits. I highly suggest you stay away. Even McDonald’s has been trying to bring Southern cooking up here, but their attempts to copy Chick-Fil-A = ultimate fail (in fact, a Tulsa Chick-Fil-A was letting people trade half-eaten McDonald’s chicken sandwiches for the real thing). They were giving away their chicken sandwiches for free a few weeks ago. I had one for lunch, but it was bland and slimy. Ugh. But I did discover that a Chick-Fil-A does exist in New York City, at NYU’s student center. I have to see if I can sneak in one day – my co-workers and I are on a mission. Yes, I work with a bunch of Chick-Fil-A addicts. If you’ve never been to one, go – your life will never be the same.

Did go to my annual work Mets game the other day. Boxed seats, sushi, Cracker Jacks – who could ask for more? Had to leave before I saw my name on the Jumbotron, but we always get pictures later. Weird that it’s probably the last time I’ll ever be in Shea Stadium. Chicago is also in less than two months, so that should be exciting. I’ve never been to the Midwest before, unless the boondocks of Western Pennsylvania count.

Nothing much else to report, but I suppose a recent scorecord is in order. Presenting Amanda vs. The World, Part IV: Read the rest of this entry »

Wow, An Update?

May 4th, 2008

Looks like I’ll have to blow some dust off this blog. Haven’t been writing much (well, besides work) because my creative energy has just been zapped. Plain zapped. But I am hoping to remedy that shortly.

Contrary to my last post, life is good and I’m finally getting back on track with things. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling since February, including Washington, D.C., Connecticut, Boston, Las Vegas and Atlanta. Thankfully, not all has been for work and I’ve been able to enjoy myself by visiting with friends, going to shows and just walking around. And, of course, I spend many a day toodling around New York.

Vegas was certainly interesting. I went to go see Journey and its new lead singer, Arnel Pineda, at the Planet Hollywood Casino in March. It was sort of a last minute thing for me – I had free tickets from Southwest so I pretty much hopped on a plane and went for the weekend. The show was okay – definitely wasn’t the best Journey show I’ve been to (if you feel like watching it, the whole concert is here on YouTube). Arnel is the spitting vocal image of Steve Perry, so it was just like listening to my Greatest Hits CD. I did something I normally don’t do for concerts and sat throughout most of the thing. I just felt strangely apathetic to the whole experience. They’re coming around to Jones Beach in August with Heart and Cheap Trick, but I’m just going to to get the $31 nosebleed seats. Orchestra is $131 – yikes! I remember paying $60 for third row in 2001 and getting a backstage pass to boot. The “I Love All Access” packages – which give you a chance for a meet and greet and tent access – cost something like $400. Rip. Off.

Best part of Vegas was seeing my West Coast friends. Even though I saw a lot of them when I went to San Francisco last July, I hung around with a lot more people I’ve talked to for years but never met in person. My overall impression of Vegas was “Eh.” I like Atlantic City so much better. Vegas is just so damned expensive ($11 for a White Russian!), even though I wound up spending only about $250 the whole trip – and that included the hotel, food, the concert, gambling and sighteseeing. I did win $150 towards the end of the trip, so that offset a lot of my costs. But I did get the Vegas thing done and over with, and don’t know if I’d go again unless I had a compelling reason.

After the lackluster Journey show, some of my East Coast friends got together to go see tribute band Evolution in Bay Shore. Now, if you want a Steve Perry clone, Hugo would be it. We had a lot of fun; might I mention that it’s pretty pathetic when a tribute band does better than the band it’s emulating. It was great seeing my girls again, and we’re all heading to Chicago this July for the Journey To The Cure Sparkle Tie Gala, where Steve Augeri and Kevin Chalfant will be perfoming.

And in other concert notes, New Kids On The Block got back togeter. YES. What a way to take me back to being seven again. A co-worker and I spent two hours in the pouring rain to see them on “The Today Show” on April 4. Rumors were circulating that they were going to sing, but to my disappointment, they only announced that they were back together and that an album and tour were in the works. However, I was only four feet or so away from Jonathan Knight, so my life is somewhat complete. They’re going to be back on “The Today Show” on May 16 to actually sing, but after standing in that crazy NKOTB crowd, I think I might skip it and just go to one of their shows in September. (Yes, there were 20- and 30-somethings shaking and crying. And screaming, “Marry me, Jordan!” Some things never change). I am amused that their first show will at Z-100’s Zootopia, also starring Miley Cyrus and the Jonas Brothers.

My brain is fizzled. More later.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

February 16th, 2008

That’s how my life has been lately. I just wish something would in the intended direction for once.

Not much to write about. Well, I’m sure there is. I guess I just haven’t been in a writing mood.


Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2007

Oh, 2007. It was quite an interesting year. A lot of events and people have changed my life. I fell in love, and felt my first real heartbreak. I made new friends, and lost touch with others. I celebrated my 1,000th day of being cancer-free. I discovered Apples to Apples, Seamless Web, Philadelphia rolls, and Cover Girl LashExact mascara. I traveled far and (U.S.) wide, and discovered places like San Francisco, Hoboken and Port Henry. I finally got my new bedroom after years of planning, and painted it to match my blog (seriously, I tested out the color scheme here first). I learned that I am a really good bullshitter, yet I still can’t hide my emotions. I finally let my sister cut and color my hair. I watched my favorite band can yet another lead singer and find #6… off of YouTube, no less.

I turned 25 -Â quarter of a century – and no longer have to pay crazy age-based premiums on car rentals. I’ve found it to be an otherwise uneventful age. But, yikes, I’m in my mid-twenties. My friends are getting engaged, married and having babies. When did I get so old?

2008. Will it be even better? I know I have lots of things to work on, but I’m not going to make any resolutions (wait, is saying that I’m not going to make any resolutions a resolution?), just to set myself up for disappointment like I did in 2007, 2006, 2005 … all the way until 1988 (I figure that’s the first year I actually understood what resolutions are). But I really should work on getting healthier, more organized and maintain better relationships with my family and friends. And maybe update this blog more.

Happy New Year!

It’s Christmas Time In The City

November 30th, 2007

Tonight, Lexcie and I went on our self-guided New York City Christmas windows tour, as well as a few other prime holiday spots in Manhattan.

Our first stop was Bloomingdale’s, which had the strangest holiday-themed windows I’ve ever seen. They apparently took ideas from kids at the Children’s Museum of the Arts and ran with them – which included candy-covered robots and a four-eyed, two-mouthed princess. Oh, and lots and lots of glitter. It was just… strange. And didn’t feel very Christmas-y at all.

Barney’s, on the other hand, was a breath of fresh creative air. Read the rest of this entry »

Thanksgiving and More

November 25th, 2007

It’s been quite a busy Thanksgiving Day weekend. On Thursday, the whole famn damily came over for dinner – there were about 20 of us in my small house – and pigged out on the usual Thanksgiving fare: eight-cheese platter with salami and pepperoni, spinach dip in pumpernickel, herring and sour cream on Wasa crispbread, turkey, orange/cranberry compote, green bean casserole, peas/bacon/mushrooms/pearl onions, stuffed mushrooms, mashed turnips, sweet potatoes with marshmallows, stuffed artichokes, celery salad, feta salad, pound cake, berry/apple/chocolate/sweet potato/pumpkin pies, three cheesecakes, sugar cookies, a fruit basket and chocolate. Oh, and shots of DiSorrano. My stomach hurts just writing all of this.

I thought Friday would be spent in recovery mode Read the rest of this entry »