Saturday, December 09, 2006

This Week in Transit: Mostly Mass, Some Otherwise.

People fascinate me.

I'll admit it. I watch people on the train. It is hard not to, but we all try to pretend we are in our own little worlds and no one else can affect us, especially that crazy guy picking his nose at the end of the row. But it just isn't true. At least not for me. Maybe I'm not "New York" enough.
This week on the train was more eventful than most *maybe because I'm currently at a loss for reading material.* I hope the following list of characters amuses you as much as it amused me.
  • Haitian Man: Six and a half feet tall with legs like tree trunks. Herringbone pants with pointed leather shoes. Spoke french. Absolutely gorgeous.
  • Gypsy Woman: Short and rotund. Long patchwork animal print dress, leopard print scarf, multicolored woven coat, and seashell ring. Short, spiky blond hair. About 55. Sat with legs spread apart, underneath her floor length skirt. Looked sage-like.
  • Man #1: Average looking. Wore jeans and a sweater, or something equally less noticeable. Pulled out a boom box from underneath him. Listened to it with headphones. I thought, "Bad ass! Way to fight the man. You don't need an ipod." Unplugged the headphones. Played a song from "Motown Christmas" for the entire train. I thought, "Asshole."
  • Jamaican Cowboy: Thin. Wore dreadlocks and a black leather jacket. With fringe. And a bolo. And Wranglers.
  • Teenage Girl: Fat. Asleep. Wore a white, puffy jacket. Zipped all the way up to her lips. As she drifted further and further into dreams her head would slide back, searching for a resting place. Her bottom lip, however, would get stuck on the inside of her white, puffy jacket and expose her teeth like a horse. Every single time.
  • Man #2: Large, older, statuesque man. With a very round face. Could have been someones uncle. Except for the fact that he had on sunglasses that I own. Outrageous sunglasses. Women's sunglasses. Illustrated below.

These people make my hour long train ride much more tolerable, but it is still an hour long train ride. So, sometimes I drive to work. Even though I have to pay tolls. Because it takes half the time, and sleep is important.

I'm sure it comes to you as no surprise that traffic in New York City is awful. And the drivers are even worse.

Also, as no surprise, I encountered an awful driver in a Porsche last night. He was weaving in and out of traffic. I saw him nearly get into an accident twice. He rolled down his window *in 20 degree weather* to yell at people. As I passed him, I saw he had spectacles on the tip of his nose and was reading the New York Times. I thought, "Asshole."

There were other much less notably awful drivers, as always. Someone cuts me off. I honk my horn. I make an expletive gesture. *Yes I'm not always proud of who I am when I'm on the highway.* But by far, the worst driver I have seen to date, and I wish I were exaggerating, was a small bus labeled "Cerebral Palsy Transport." Sad but true.

I leave you this frigid Saturday morning with pictures from my trip home for Thanksgiving. Robert's mother has a pet goat *I love the South.* It is still a baby, just 3 months old I believe. I had no idea how cute goats really are. They totally want to snuggle. Just watch out for the horns.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas Came Early

So I haven't posted in a while. I know, I'm an awful blogger. But, i was viciously attacked by the spirit of christmas. More to follow, but for now a few photos of my tree.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Recent Reminders of the Constant Passage of Time

Today it was cold when I got off work. The standing air was still warm, but I could feel a sharp chill in the wind. There is something about subtly drastic changes in the weather that make me very sentimental. I evaluate my life quantitatively, almost like a quarterly business report: where am I, what am I doing, how did I get here, where will I go, should I wear better shoes? I usually end up with more questions than I do answers. But that is refreshing in itself, I suppose.

I have an hour long subway ride home from work everyday. Today a rather large, older man sat down next to me at the 42nd street stop. He was whistling. The tune was excrutiatingly familial; something I recognized from my childhood, associated with my grandma. He was a beautiful whistler. His song grew softer and slower and then stopped completely. He lulled himself to sleep. Almost in tears, I wanted to hug him all the way home.

I was given a very tedious project at work Tuesday that took up most of my day. The instructions were simple: "use a paper cutter to cut down sheets of paper with the updated prices for the catalog, which would then be pasted into the catalogs. (Not by me. That would be sadistic.) Do this 2400 times." My eyes began to blur, my brain turned off, I became a machine. I went home in a complete fog. I don't remember the subway ride.

I read an article in this month's issue of Harper's on the subway yesterday. A woman was recounting the descent of her grandmother from an active being into an inert mass of flesh. She told passionate tales of Saturday night dances and dress making with sisters, which were promptly rebutted with scenes of delirium and terror when the grocery store, and her own living space, became unfamiliar. She slowly began to lose her vocabulary. She forgot her loves, one by one. Her life was erased in her own mind.

I have been very melancholy lately. I am extremely content in my new job and am generally happy all around. i just feel more aware of my surroundings. i notice the details that make my life unique from everyone else's life. i'm terrified of growing old, feeling like i've wasted my life and losing those i hold most dear. I'm not sure what it is about autumn that makes me feel this way. i think it could be the leaves.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Momma in the City

My mother came to visit me in New York City. She stayed exactly one week. I can't be sure if she'll ever come back, but we had a good time.

In front of my apartment. This picture was taken on the morning of her flight home. We look very tired because we are very tired. And it was early. I didn't sleep very well the entire time my mother was in town. She slept with me while Robert slept on the sofabed. I kept having nightmares in which Robert would leave me for another woman. After living hundreds of miles away from someone and adjusting to only talking to them on the phone, it is difficult to share the same bed for a week, no matter how much you love them. And yes, I understand that it is weird, but come on y'all, she's my Momma.

At Toys'R'Us in Times Square. Spiderman is in the process of saving us from an awful villan. No? But Robert did take a great picture, right? Yeah he did. And look at how afraid my momma is. That is REAL. My mother has no interest in toys, but I just wanted to show her that even though most of the apartments are tee-tiny, New York City knows when to go big. Inside the Toys'R'Us in Times Square one can find a fully functional, full size gondola ferris wheel, a massive lego cityscape, and a GIANT T-Rex that moves and roars (like in Jurassic Park.) Momma was impressed.

Under a tree in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Momma, like some other people from back home, only knows New York City from what she sees on TV and in movies. When calling home to talk, I would often hear comments like, "Don't you miss grass?" and "Do you have ANY trees there?" I showed Momma lots and lots and lots of trees. She agreed that my neighborhood is charming.

On the steps at the Met. Momma's first full day in the city. We walked a lot. She kept up. I was impressed. The Met was really overwhelming. We tried to pace ourselves, but only managed to see the Egyptian wing, European paintings, and a photo essay on the aftermath of Katrina in New Orleans. Completely exhausted we took a rest on the steps. The weather was nice.

On the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry is amazing. The view of lower Manhattan is breathtaking and it goes right past the Statue of Liberty. We rode to Staten at sunset and came back when it was dark, after the city turned on. The moment right before docking in Manhattan is really overwhelming. The city seems to be right on top of you.

First ride on the subway. This was exciting. Despite all the other differences, the people and the food, in New York, the subway was the most foreign to my mother. She studied people intently. She was perplexed by the subway map. She loved the crazies.

In lush, green Brooklyn. We had a fun week together. We argued about everything, like you do, but it was wonderful to have the opportunity to share this new, exciting part of my life with her. It was a very special time, and I feel very fortunate to be able to appreciate that immediately.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

The Life and Times of Robert Murray

Yesterday I began Googling the names of people I know *don't pretend you don't do it,* because I was bored. Typically, I just Google someone's name and see if I can actually find a reference to the person I know. Yesterday, however, I became bored with this more quickly than usual and was about to give up when I had an epiphany. I should use Google Images to find PICTURES of friends and loved ones. This yielded an endless amount of entertainment, for I did not actually find pictures of people I know, but pictures of their dopplegangers instead.

My boyfriend's name is Robert Murray. Below is his story, told with images from Google and a little creativity on my part. Remember, all pictures are of "Robert Murray."

The Life and Times of Robert Murray
as told by Robert Murray

I was born a poor Ukrainian child. My mother stayed at home with me and my five brothers. I rarely saw my father. He worked long and hard to support our family.

When I became old enough, I started ice skating for money. The first few gigs were free, but when they realized my talent, they started throwing money at me. People knew my name and it felt good.

Ukraine had grown too small for Robert Murray. Or had I grown too big for it? I needed more space, new scenery, a big pond. My big pond was called the USA. I had dreams of becoming a male model. I moved to Florida, shaved my head, and became very tan. I was pursuing the American Dream.

This picture is from the only shoot I worked when I was young. It was a cologne ad with a reminiscent feel, a memory of days gone by. They said I was too genuine, too enthusiastic and they called me fat.

I had hit rock bottom. I developed an eating disorder and an affinity for facial hair. I wanted to throw myself in front of a train. I became a school teacher.

That year teaching gave me inexplicable joy. I loved my students the way I've never loved anyone before. It made me reevaluate my life. It made me question everything I knew. It made me realize that there is a place for middle aged men in the modeling world.

The work was a little slow at first, but then it came more and more. Life is so good when you are in a glamour profession. Everything is available for your consumption. The world is your oyster.

The older I get, the more work I get. Period. Here I am modeling JC Penny's "Summer Sunsets" line.

When I was a small child in the Ukraine living with my large, impoverished family, I don't think I could even imagine this kind of success. No, I don't talk to my family much. No, I have never been married. No, I can't afford that hip replacement. But what's the big deal? I'm livin' the life. La vida loca! This is it people. This. Is. IT.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Ready, Set, PHOTO!

This is a very big week for me. I have crossed two things off my "Coveting" list.

The first strike was "a great job."
I have been hired on as a sales rep for a theatrical lighting company here in the city. I will have health insurance and even a 401K. I could not be more thrilled. My boss appears to be a very good-natured man. I start October 9th.

The second, and most interesting, cross from the list was "a digital camera."
So, now I'm addicted to EBAY. My mother would have a thing or two to say about that, but we just won't tell her. If she catches wind of it, here's how the story goes.

Maybe I researched new digital cameras. And maybe I signed onto EBAY, just to browse, of course. And maybe I found a perfect camera. And bid on it. And WON IT! It was perfectly innocent and very rewarding *the bidding was intense y'all.*

My camera comes to me this Friday and I cannot wait to start snapping those moments that, up until now, would be great memories if I had not been too drunk to remember. It is true, the main purpose for my owning a digital camera is to document the time between my first drink and my head hitting the pillow.

I do, however, really want to document more than just crazy nights out and the occasional rowdy cookout.

I've become very intrigued with the idea of creating photo essays, a set of photos that conveys an idea or feeling. Maybe it is because I've been wanting a new camera for months, or maybe it is because I've felt the need to express myself more artistically. Regardless, I think this is the perfect occasion to have my very first, long awaited, LOVE, SUZY STYLE: CONTEST.

*read in cheezy DJ voice*
That's right folks, Suzy's very first contest. And you, creative reader, can be a part. Please submit titles or ideas for a photo essay in the comment section of this post. Suzy will choose the most interesting/feasible idea and create a photo essay based on that concept. If she gets no responses at all to this post, she will create her own concept and you can all go to hell.
*end DJ voice*

Either way, in a couple of weeks I will post the final draft. It may very well be based on crazy nights out and/or a rowdy cookout, but hopefully if you get involved, I'll branch out a bit from my usual subjects.

Oh, it is so exciting I can hardly stand it!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Things That Have Been Going on in My Life as of Late

In no particular order...

I went to my second job interview with a lighting company this past Tuesday. I am waiting to hear back from them, but it felt good.

A friend had a gallery opening last Saturday at PS 122 in the East Village, where he was an artist in residence for one year. The reception was the first time I have ever been on a roof in New York City. I saw the sunset.

I attended a burlesque show at a bar in my neighborhood. This is the second show I've seen there and both were absolutely amazing. I now harbor a small, discreet desire to become a burlesque dancer.

The "t" key on my keyboard is sticking and it is a bitch to type anything.

As a favor for a good friend, I was in an 8 minute short film that is being submitted to Sundance. I had one line, "Not so institutional." Those of you who know me know I am no actress, but I enjoyed being on the "glamour" side for once instead of being a techie.

I broke out in a vicious case of "long term hives." I had an allergic reaction to some unknown something, (most likely my cat.) I refuse to verbally admit that to anyone. I pretend the hives are freckles. It makes me feel better about the situation.

I have realized that the "t" key is possibly the most frequent keystroke I use when typing.

I went to a going away party for my friends, Paul and Nikki, who are moving to Scotland for a while. Paul got accepted to a furniture making program. I am in the early stages of planning a trip there for my birthday.

Because of the hives, I have been taking Benedryl. Because of the Benedryl, I have been sleeping a lot. Because of the drug induced sleep, I have been having crazy, drug induced dreams. Last night I was trying to save a sweatshirt from a summer camp, capture the flag style. My only enemy was one of those ghosty, screeching things from "Lord of the Rings."

I have been working a lot recently as an electrician. As a result, I am bruised, cut, and sore. It is 1000 times better than my last job as an administrative assistant.

Autumn is descending upon us quickly. I am falling in love with the concept of seasons.

My friend Jess recently moved to New York and it is wonderful to have someone to share things with again. Until I published this post, she was the only person, besides my boyfriend, who knew about my hives.

I am saving to buy a digital camera. These blog entries are on the verge of becoming much more visual.

I am happy here in New York. It is starting to feel comfortable.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Possibly Another Addiction

It started out as a normal morning.

I woke up as Robert was leaving the house this morning. I had the day off and my plan was to make the most of it. I was going to do some cleaning around the house, take a walk around the neighborhood, read some, maybe work on some projects that I have been putting off. It was supposed to be a very productive, yet relaxed day.

First thing in the morning I always check my email, the weather, and the handful of sites to which I am extremely loyal. This morning, however, with nothing in particular to pull me away from the computer, I decided to "surf" the web for a while. After a few games of Scrabble online, I got bored.

It is at this point that everything becomes blurry. Before I knew it, I had tracked down some supercraft website. I haven't crafted for years *those of you who are close to me probably have some relics from that time in my life I refer to as "high school."* It seems one of the major trends in "hipster crafts" *possibly an oxymoron* is clothing reconstruction. This process requires old clothes, sometimes a sewing machine, and a lot of creativity.

Like a mad woman, I pulled all of my old clothes out of the closet from the "give away" pile and threw them on the living room floor. I felt like Edison right before he discovered electricity, Bell when he got the idea for the telephone, the Olsen twins when they were on Full House. I knew I was on the verge of something amazing.

This is my cat, Mackie Di Pippo.

He now has a hat that was once the sleeve of my favorite sweater. I swear I don't know how it happened. One thing just led to another. I am very sorry.

But you just wait, I really will make something great. Something.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Thanks for the Advice, Momma!

My mother is an incredibly sweet woman. We talk on the phone nearly everyday; she needs the contact to ensure that I am still alive, and I think it is important to stay emotionally close to family. Mostly we talk about small things: plans for the day, what we ate for dinner, my brothers, blah.

Two days ago, in a conversation that was pretty average throughout, I mentioned to my mother that I started a blog. Then I had to explain to her the concept of a blog and my reason for wanting one, which, by the way, is supposed to be a writing exercise to keep me from getting rusty while I await acceptance into a journalism program *fingers crossed.*

Her response was one that I have heard many times, "Oh, uhh, mmm, okay," which I have learned to read as her way of receiving information and beginning to process it. I heard this response during the "Mom I'm moving to New York City" call, the "Moving in with my boyfriend you have never met" call, as well as in the "I started an online journal" call.

The element that ties all of these conversations together is not what happens in the moment of that response, but hours, possibly even days later. I inevitably receive another phone call, which poses itself as another of the average, daily calls, but in actuality is the result of her thinking about my decisions incessantly. She expresses to me in these exchanges her doubts, fears, and general feelings on how ______ will affect my life.

The blog response was a bit surprising, even though I should have expected it, because, in my mind, creating a blog as opposed to moving hundreds of miles away to the big city are two completely different scenarios, requiring different responses. Regardless, I receive this call from my mother in which she informs me, *I have inserted a photo to help your imagination, also read in a sweetly southern accent.*

"The internet is dangerous. You should be careful about who sees your information. A criminal could find you on there and pretend to be someone nice and lure you off to somewhere and steal you. People can lie on there, you know."

My mother views the internet not only as a gateway to knowledge, all at one's fingertips, but also as a way for low-lifes, degenerates, and other generally scummy people to extend their grasp on society, claiming the lives and reputations of "sweet, innocent girls" like me. I responded fairly rationally, because I am an adult *mother,* by explaining the difference between a blog and an online chat room, informing her that anyone with an intense knowledge of the inner workings of the world wide web could retrieve any and all information about me, and her, if they so chose, and assuring her that I was not going to get intertwined with a trap some pervert laid to ensnare helpless, eager teenage girls searching for attention. This calmed her, somewhat, into submission, but she reserved her cautions. And I can understand that for a woman who did not come up in the age of intelligence, and has refused to become a part of this age, it can be scary. I share this fear of the unknown, as well, and admittedly as irrationally.

So, for my mother, I want to insert a disclaimer, of sorts, into my blog.


Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Pursuit

It is 7:30 in the morning and I'm awake. No, I don't have to work today. No, I didn't go to bed at 9 pm last night. No, I don't love "me" time early in the morning where I have a cup of coffee and read my Harpers. I am awake so early on this dull, dreary morning because in New York City there is this phenomenon known as "opposite side of the street parking." For those of you who don't know, in New York, the street is cleaned once a week, one side one day and the other side the next day. My street gets cleaned Wednesday and Thursday. So, for those of us stubborn enough to have cars in the city, we have to move our cars, ideally, Tuesday night and Wednesday night to avoid getting extremely expensive parking tickets. However, most of the time I forget to move my car or I come home really late, or really drunk, and have to move it the next morning. This is why I am up so early this morning. And sitting here in this decidedly New York situation I realized that I have lived in this fair city for an entire year, the anniversary being tomorrow. To, er, celebrate, I want to share with you, capricious reader, my highlights and heartaches, small, small heartaches, of this year in New York City.

I was born and raised in South Carolina. Most of you who will read my blog are probably familiar enough with South Carolina to know what it is like to live there. For those of you who don't, I have included a picture that encompasses, to me, the essence of the good ole' SC.

Don't get me wrong, I loved living there. I love most of the people and I love southern cooking, but I always felt a bit misplaced. I was looking for somewhere with more people like me. And y'all, New York City is where I found that connection.

I moved to the city to follow my "dream." I was going to be a lighting designer. Turns out, it isn't that easy to get into the business, and maybe I didn't really have the passion to pull me through those first few years of sacrifice for my art...

I moved to the city to be an electrician and work as closely as I could to my chosen profession of lighting design, hoping that one day someone would drop dead and I would be asked to fill their shoes on the spot. Being an electrician, however, requires strength, agility, efficiency, speed, and endurance. I possess few of those qualities, at my best, and had a difficult time convincing myself that I was enjoying the process...

I moved to the city to work with a temp agency in order to "find my dream." I had a strong background in theatre, but that was all that I knew. Maybe I would get placed at some fashion agency or a publishing house, and find my purpose in life. I ended up at a marketing company that produces direct to consumer items and the long form television broadcasts, read infomercials, to support each product. I didn't even have a real job. I was administrative support. My duties were to support someone else's job. I am entirely too independent for this bullshit.

Now, New York is not entirely a bust. I do have an amazing boyfriend. And we have the cutest little apartment in Brooklyn. And I have lots of great friends who I brunch with frequently. But I just wasn't satisfied with my career path. It should be easier than this, at least that is the way it seemed in college.

I thought about moving back home and going to dental school. I thought about becoming a pharmaceutical sales person. I thought about selling plasma and eggs to get money while I was thinking about getting a career. Then I thought about becoming an electrician again. It wasn't my dream, and it wasn't my personal best, but it wasn't awful either.

So here we are, almost full circle, a year later. I am:

  • Working as an electrician in Off Broadway theatre houses.
  • Becoming more patient with the pursuit of my American dream.
  • Extremely happy that I have wonderful friends moving up here very soon.
  • Interviewing for a job, that sounds amazing, this week.
  • Content.

I still get homesick, and I still want to go back to school, but for now everything is stable. I had the opportunity to program lights for this hilarious show "Bach at Leipzig" last October. One line from that play that really described where I feel I am in my career right now is, "We boldly march forward only to find that we have been facing the wrong direction." For now, I've decided that I will live in New York City, and I will love it, and maybe I'll stand still for a while and see what comes to me.

And I did, eventually, find a parking space.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Bolos instead of Blogs

Shortly before publishing my very first blog entry, mere moments ago, I ran the spell check function on the Microsoft Word-ish composition program this blog site is allowing me to use (what an embarrassment it would be to have a spelling error so early on in the life of my blog.) I found it a bit ironic that the spell check did not recognize the word "blog" as a real word, when in fact, I was currently writing a blog. Some words the program suggested I use in place of my "error" were bloc, blouse, blows, and my favorite bolos. This prompted me to do a bit of research, and I found the blog of another guy who did a bit more research than I did, and he found that the first use of the word blog was in 1997. It began as "weblog" and, as everything tends to do, became abbreviated, in a way, to "blog" (we are all much too busy to bother ourselves with two syllable words!) Seeing that we have been using the word for almost 10 years, I would think someone would take the time to give a heads up to the spell checker to ignore the word. But they haven't, and I can't, so I'll deal.

FYI: When running spell check on this posting it also didn't recognize "weblog." Hmm.

And so it begins...

So, I'm starting a blog. I will probably get sucked in to the act of publishing my meager social interactions and incessant rants/raves, as I do compulsively with so many other things, and you, unidentified reader, will get sick of me. But hey, it'll be fun, right?

Picture taken from Sam Brown's site He's great. Check it out.