taylweaver: (Default)
So, yesterday, I went home to my parents' house because I made a last minute medical appointment. On the way to the doctor, my mom and I stopped at Costco - where none of my toiletries existed in bulk. I bought some shorts, but I am probably returning them.

After the doctor, we went to Gap Outlet - where I bought more shorts (notice a theme?) and then to CVS for some summer toiletry shopping.

Then, my mom was supposed to drive me back to the city.

By the time we pulled into Dunkin Donuts to buy dinner, her eyelids were drooping. Yeah, so much for returning to the city.

Of course, I went home yesterday fully intending to return to the city - so I was completely unprepared for the overnight stay.

Except, of course, that we had just stopped at CVS. I had everything from shampoo to contact lens solution - even a case! - to sunblock!

By the time we got home, I realized that all I was really missing was, of all things, a toothbrush. Well, some digging in the closet "bought" me a new one of those. And a quick rummage through my old dresser provided night clothing.

So all was well with the world.

Anyway, how often does that happen? I just happen to stop at CVS on the way back to the city and I just happen to buy most of my toiletries for the summer on the very same night when my mom just happens to be too tired to drive me back to the city. I mean, how often do you find yourself unexpectedly staying by your parents' with a full bottle of shampoo and a brand new contact lens case that just happen to be sitting in your shopping bags?

And by the way, it's amazing to sleep in a bedroom that actually gets dark enough to see the glowing stars on the walls. It's been too long since I had a night's sleep like that...

Sometimes, I do miss the suburbs.
taylweaver: (Default)
So today, I went on an (unsuccessful) hunt for bowls with lids. This hunt took me to the two huge discount stores on Avenue M - Bargain Hunters and Amazing Savings. In Bargain Hunters, especially, before I even walked into the store, there were the rows of mishloach manot - baskets filled with Purim goodies, stacked up in the front windows. Once I got in, Purim was everywhere. A sign wished the customers happy Purim. and one aisle was labelled "Mishloach Manot baskets." There were all sorts of candies and cookies and crackers and other Purim stuff... it was amazing. I wanted to buy and buy and buy (total Purim purchases so far: zero. I obviously restrained myself)

It was such a wonderful feeling to leave with as I picked up my kosher take-out on the way to the subway (well, okay, so it took me a few feet further from the subway to go get the food - the take-out place being on the fat side of Amazing Savings, but you get the general idea.

About an hour later, having arrived on the Upper West Side, I entered my local CVS to buy something - and lo! there were more baskets! Only these were a riot of pastel-y colors. And there were eggs and bunnies and all sorts of colorful - pastel - chocolates! Help! It was the attack of the Easter aisle! And this, before the St. Patrick's Day goodies have been removed from the little shelf space they take up. (As an aside, it's amazing how so many holidays in America have their own special color scheme. Hallmark must have done some great marketing. Chistmas: red and green. Easter: pastel. Halloween: orange and black. Thanksgiving: fall colors. Valentines Day: pink and red. St Patricks Day: green. July 4th: red, white and blue. Granted, some of these were pretty intuitive, but still...)

Anyway, no offense to those who celebrate Easter and such, but I much preferred the Purim aisles. It's amazing how the aisles and CVS didn't bother me until I could contrast them with the aisles in Bargain Hunters. And even more amazing was how I walked into Bargain Hunters and took for granted the fact that it was filled with Purim stuff and bereft of Easter stuff. It's like a little reminder of what it's like to be in Israel - only I was in Brooklyn.

It's so wonderful to work in a Jewish neighborhood...

It felt so great to be in that store and to start to think about how Purim is just two weeks away, and how I have so many resourcs at my disposal to help me get ready for it.
taylweaver: (Default)
Has it really been 20 days since I last posted? On the one hand, that seems unreasonably long. On the other, so much has happened over the past 20 or so days that I feel like it has to have been far longer.

And now for an update:

Days 1-2: Transit Strike, alas, continues. Slightly worn sneakers carry me half an hour by foot to the alternate site I got myself assigned to (so that I could actually call it a work day) and half an hour by foot back home. Day 1 also included a detour to Teachers College (I was sort of in the neighborhood) to order a document I need in order to get my salary up to where it should be. It also included a stop at the Bank Street bookstore on the way home. Did you know they sell packages of blank dice? With label stickers? They're great when you want your dice to only go up to 3 so that your students don't win the game too quickly.

On Day 2, (3rd day of the strike, as my last post was the first day), the strike officially ended some time during the day. It did not end on a more practical level until the following day, however, so my now considerably more worn out sneakers carried me home to pack a heavy suitcase, and then outside to catch a cab so I could catch the charter bus that I rode to where I spent the next seven days...

Days 3-9: USY Convention. For those who don't know, this is a gathering of over 1,000 Jewish teenagers (was it 1,150 this year?) from all across the US and Canada for a week of learning, praying, social action, socializing, and other general fun.

Day 3: Now worn-out sneakers and worn-out feet carry me all over the hotel as I help to get ready for the teen-agers, who will arrive on Day 5. This year, I got to make signs (as usual) with schedules, room info, etc. Then Shabbat began - but I will call all of that Day 4 (a la Jewish calendar time)

Day 4: Shabbat. A very special Shabbat that I look forward to every year. This is a day when my dress shoes get to carry my tired feet and body to amazing services (because the people on staff care) and some okay meals... but the special parts are the Friday night gathering in the director's suite (some of you know who the director is - but I will give no further detail in a public entry) at which home-made dessert foods play a starring role - my own bar cookies included. This year, I was too tired to enjoy all this - but I did enjoy a good night's sleep in the cozy hotel bed ([livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer would love these beds - all poofy and squashy and down-filled. Those with allergies to down would probably hate them.) The following morning, I got to enjoy waking up when it was already light out, reading from the Torah - and pretty well, too, I think - and hearing my father teach about the weekly Torah portion - specifically about Joseph. There are times when I really love hearing my father teach, and this was one of them. He is all about group discussion, and it was pretty interesting to think of Joseph in new ways. One take on him that I really appreciated: Joseph as the equivalent of the straight-A student who wants people to like him, and thinks that boasting about his good grades is the way to get there - because he has little concept of how to be liked by others. Or something like that. Another interesting idea that came up: Maybe he wasn't in touch with his father during his time in Egypt because he thought his dad was in on the conspiracy - having sent him out to check on his brothers in the field (which leads to the pit and the sale and Egypt) when his dad knew his brothers disliked him. Shabbat also included an extra long nap.

Saturday night, it was back to work, getting everything ready for...

Day 5: USY Convention begins. The usual excitement. Plus an unusual event: family Chanukah party in Philadelphia with a combination of local relatives and cousins who were visiting other local relatives. Cousins as in three little kids who were very cute and photogenic. Yay digital camera! So the first night of Chanukah was really special.

Day 6: Convention, second day. A highlight: the keynote speaker was a family friend. She is disabled, and spoke about her experiences in USY, her disability, and her life story in general. The USYers gave her a standing ovation, and I learned things about her life that I never knew before.

Day 7: Convention, third day. Since the educational theme was disabilities, this day of social action projects, which carried groups of USYers all over the Philly area, ended with all of us at Temple University, watching a wheelchair basketball game. Then some USYers who won raffles got to try out wheelchair basketball for themselves. I got to give out boxed dinners. And then I got to help man the lost and found, which had tons of stuff in it, because things fell beneath the bleachers and had to be collected afterward.

Day 8: Fourth day of Convention. Concluded with a dinner dance. Loud and chaotic for the USYers, quieter for the staff - we ate, then began packing up - more wear on my shoes...

Day 9: Convention ended. We watched a fun video, then said tefillat haderech (the traveller's prayer) together before heading our separate ways until next year. I got to go home via NYC, so I could get my computer. Then home with my family for a few days (as opposed to at the convention with them)...

Day 10: Got to sleep in late. Put in an effort to find time for the purchase of new sneakers - except that my sister's coat made its way into that same lost and found (not via the bleachers, but because she was helping to sort the stuff back at the hotel and forgot to take her coat at the end of that) and so her coat was in a box, being shipped back to the USY office, so her issue took priority - but in the end, we got to neither.

Day 11: Quiet Shabbat with my family. After such an exhausting week, not nearly enough time to nap. Also gave my sneakers another good workout with a 30-minute walk to shul, and the same walk back. Wore my new Shabbat coat for the first time - and got snow on it! Managed to nap through an an exciting snowstorm in the afternoon. Also managed to get a ride back into the city that evening - New Years party at NU's - only she was sick, so we only saw her roommate. Fireworks from the roof of [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and [livejournal.com profile] wildblueyonder2's building - they looked small and less impressive than last year - I guess I wasn't in the same mood. Oh well.

Day 12: recovering from Day 11 - no, didn't have anything too toxic... - and also a little Chanukah get-together at [livejournal.com profile] mbarr and [livejournal.com profile] wildblueyonder2's apartment. They let me fry beignets in their kitchen. Much fun. Much tasty sugary goodness.

Day 13: last day to recuperate before returning to work. I think that was also the day I realized that wearing the sneakers was hopeless, as they had worn too far and were now rubbing my toe. Didn't do anything too interesting that I can recall.

Day 14-17: Back to work. Wearing shoes other than my sneakers. A different pair each day, as each set was rubbing in a different place. Also saw two doctors - turns out I have enflamed eyelashes - or eyelids, anyway. And $35 later (plus the appointment cost), I have a prescription cream to put on my eyelids. And was it on Day 16 that I went to Barnes and Noble and had fun buying calendars half price? A crochet calendar (as in, a whole box of crochet patterns that just happen to have dates on them) for myself, a magnetic poetry calendar, and two weather calendars for my students, since I may be teaching Earth Science next quarter. And on Day 14, I ordered new sneakers online.

Day 17 also included a trip down to JH's synagogue, and the usual hour walk back up - which my feet somehow survived.

Day 18 saw me reunited with [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild, who was here too briefly, but who also got me back in touch with [livejournal.com profile] terriqat and [livejournal.com profile] shirei_shibolim, and I followed them back to their apartment after lunch for more hang-out time. That evening, [livejournal.com profile] rymenhild was off again, and I got to see the second Star Wars movie (as in, the second one made, NOT Episode II) with friends.

I also began to crochet a mobius strip shawl. As [livejournal.com profile] mysticengineer pointed out, this is not only a fun project for me, but a way for me to understand the mobius strip a bit better.

Day 19 was mostly spent cleaning up from Day 18. And I think I did some other random stuff too...

Day 20's big highlight was hearing Neil Gaiman speak at the 92nd Street Y. He spent a lot of time speaking about the writing process, which I found useful. And he is also rather entertaining. Plus, I got three books signed (two of which I have actually read before...) I bought all three at Barnes and Noble beforehand - and the best part was, one of them, Anansi Boys, was 50% off - just begging me to buy it! So that was a really great evening.

Which brings us to today. I wonder if my new sneakers have arrived yet...
taylweaver: (Default)
So I am posting a new entry at last and it's about - of course - the subways.

But this time, it is no random story or observation. As all of you probably know by now, there is a transit strike in NYC today. And in case you can't tell by the time on this entry, I am very much not at work.

Granted, I needed a day off (even if it involved taking one - school is open), but if it is any longer than one day, I'm going to have a problem.

I will once again ask: does anyone know of a good way for me to get from Manhattan to the middle of Brooklyn? No? I didn't think so.

And now, of course, for the random story. (Yep. I lied. This is pretty much another subway entry like all the others...)

Yesterday, I think I must have been hoarding subway rides in anticipation of today's strike. Well, that wasn't entirely my thinking - but I think that, had it not been for the strike threat, I would have been on the subway a bit less... but now I should explain:

Yesterday, I rode on a total of ten different subway trains over five different trips. The fun part is, only one of those transfers involved walking any further than across a platform.

And now I shall elaborate:

My day began with my usual commute to work (1st and 2nd train). Then, mid-day, my usual travel to the second school I work at (3rd). After that, my day got less usual - I had a staff meeting back at the first school (4th train). Then, because I was in the neighborhood, I went to Amazing Savings to buy things like chocolate - and a few gifts, like a photo frame for my parents. This did not involve the subway, because that's the neighborhood of my first school - which is why I went - I usually don't end my day there. It is important to note that i went there because I left with a few heavy bags, and therefore wanted to minimize my walking.

But I also wanted to go clothing shopping in Manhattan, which is why I stopped at a kosher Dunkin Donuts - conveniently located right next to the subway - and bought an egg and cheese croissant sandwich for dinner. It sounds like such a non-Jewish sandwich... But it was $2, and I was able to eat it on the train. Which is good, because I got home late.

So. Onto the local train (5th) - but it wasn't going where I needed to go. Well, actually, it was, but I would have needed to walk an avenue block once I got there. So I transferred to the express (6th train) as soon as I could. But the express, though it would run up the correct avenue in Manhattan, was also express in Manhattan. So I switched to the local - a different local - (7th) to get to my final destination. Both transfers involved walking across a platform. Which was nice.

Went to Burlington. Shlepped around my heavy school bags and Amazing Savings bags. Found a coat. Agonized over the coat - can't return for cash there - waited on an insane line to buy the coat. Left the store with the coat - plus all my heavy bags. Could have walked one avenue block and taken one train home - would have dropped me two avenue blocks from my apartment.

But remember, I was carrying heavy bags. So I got back on the same train (8th one), and then switched twice (9 and 10!), because the wrong express train came first and I was impatient. Those were also same-platform switches, though one was a very long wait. And once I got to my street, it was only five minutes to my apartment where I could finally put everything down.

I know that all sounded rather confusing. Especially because I didn't put in all the subway lines - I decided it was too much info for an unlocked entry. (If you want to know, feel free to ask.) Let's just say I spent a lot of time traveling: hour in the morning, half an hour each way in the middle of the day (some of that is walking time, though), and probably 45 minutes to the store and 45 minutes home.

That having been said, I did buy a winter coat, and had I waited even one more day, the coat would not have been there for me. I would have bought another one there, I think, but the other one was not as nice. I got the last coat in my size of the style I liked - and they had petite sizes! - and the woman looking next to me was looking for the same size and might have discovered it first had I not been there.

So yeah, I have a fancy wool winter coat now.

And I spent a lot of time on the subway.

Today, I plan to spent a lot of time on foot instead.
taylweaver: (Default)
Today, in honor of Independence Day, I did something incredibly American - I shopped. For many hours.

AF and I began our adventures on the Upper West Side with a failed visit to Ann Taylor - which was closed - and a more successful visit to Staples, where I bought chalk - in case the school doesn't have any tomorrow. (Did I mention I begin my new job tomorrow?)

Then we headed down to Loehmanns (or however it is spelled) where we spent... was it four hours? That store has that effect. After trying on tons of clothing, I managed to purchase an entire two skirts.

After a quick lunch at J-2, AF and I parted ways, and that was where my adventure truly began - with a trip to Conway, where I bought four skirts, at least one of which I knew I was going to return (I bought two in different colors and need to make a decision which one to keep). I was satisfied with the knowledge that I have 30 days to decide.

Then I got to H+M - and discovered that I had lost the receipt.

This was a bad thing.

At first, I didn't panic. After all, my gut was telling me all was not lost - or rather, that the receipt was not lost. If it had truly been irretrievable, I would have had that icky, sinking feeling in my aforementioned gut. The kind that means, react how you want - it's not getting found. Say goodbye to whatever it is that is missing. (Incidentally, I get that same feeling when I have forgotten to pack something like my toothbrush - or when I have made a particularly bad decision.) This time, there was a noticeable absence of such a feeling in my gut.

I still panicked. At first, I was calm. I looked around the dressing room at H+M, shook out all of my purchases, then searched the store... then, I started to ignore the absence of the sinking feeling in my gut, and began to panic. A frantic walk back to Conway followed, in which I turned over every stray paper on the pavement, and wondered if my receipt hadn't decided to float over to the East River to watch the Fireworks.

Then I got to Conway, and, in a total panic, began to ask people what I could do - would I still be able to at least get store credit - no, just an exchange. Could they print me another receipt? Of course not. (Macy's, by the way, can apparently do this if you have paid by credit card. But not Conway.) So I was freaking out in a big way. Of all the receipts - this one was one I knew I would need again.

In desperation, I searched the floor by the cash register - where I had stuck the receipt in my shopping bag specifically so that I would not lose it. The bag was even stapled shut - not that this had stopped the receipt from falling out, it seems...

I stumbled toward the exit, incredibly upset, still searching the floor - but no longer expecting to find anything - and then, about ten feet from the door - and not even the door I originally exited through, there was a piece of paper. I turned it over - and I was very happy and relieved.

Then I went to Macy's.


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