Vintage Ride

There are very special moments in NYC, where you get lucky. Lucky to see things, experience things, that are not possible anywhere else in the world. Last Wednesday was one of those.

Apparently The Bahamas, yes the chain of islands, has a lot of extra money to spend. So they revived a vintage NYC subway train, a whole train! Not just one car! It was celebrating Duke Ellington Day, so it revived the subway cars that were put into service around the time that the Duke hit NY. Late 1930s early 40s. The Duke Ellington Orchestra performed at the 125th St. mezzanine station, then the vintage A train departed from 125th St, down to Howard Beach/JFK (fastest way to the bahamas!), then back to 125th St. 1 round trip. And I was on it from West 4th to 125th.

The Duke Ellington Orchestra and another jazz band played on the train cars for most of the ride. Everyone had a blast. Old people were amazed to be inside the trains that they saw growing up. Us youngins were thrilled to experience a blast from the past. When I got off the train, I actually had to adjust to being back in 2009, absolutely wild and so fun! I hope they do this every year!


Unfortunately, Becky...

Nabbed from Stephanie and many others out there, purely for fun.
Google the term "Unfortunately, [your name]" and see what you get...

Some are quite amusing... 

  1. Unfortunately, Becky decides she should know the truth and tells her.
  2. Unfortunately, Becky was not feeling up for the trip, so we had to decline.
  3. Unfortunately, Becky is now gone, however, with her last offspring (Convincer) ariving in Spring 2001.
  4. Unfortunately, Becky didn't get to experience living life as a grandmother for too long-her oldest grandchild was 6 years old when she died from pancreatic cancer.
  5. Unfortunately, Becky offers no assistance sealing the deal at the end of the night, Romeo. 
  6. Unfortunately, Becky berating Honey will be the thing that many customers will remember that day, and that is NOT good for business. 
  7. Unfortunately, Becky's compulsive shopping and growing debt threaten to destroy her love life and disrupt her career.
  8. Unfortunately, Becky is unable to complete the race, though she does win a special award given to the person who best exemplifies the spirit of the sport.
  9. Unfortunately, Becky lost and Amjad bowed out, but Kris and Jon got elected.
  10. Unfortunately, Becky is captured and given to Michelle as her way to shed her mortal ties. 
  11. Unfortunately, Becky hadn't arranged any questions, and he was rather drunk, so it was a bit of a shambles.
  12. Unfortunately, Becky decided at the last minute that she did not want to walk down the aisle by her self.
  13. Unfortunately, Becky, I think exploding is the wrong term.
  14. Unfortunately, Becky's husband, Herb, wasn't quite as enthusiastic. 
  15. Unfortunately, Becky came downstairs, screamed, and Gilley's instinct was to quiet her.


Making vs. Buying

Came across this bit on Slate that investigates the cost-effectiveness of making vs. buying various foods.  Bagels are cheaper (and apparently pretty easy) to make!  Who knew??  I did know that yogurt is a no-brainer when looking at cost-effectiveness, and taste too.  Since I'm hooked on the expensive greek stuff, I'm going to try making a batch.  And maybe a healthier version of Alton Brown's granola, if only because I adore him.
Jam seems too intense, though I'm sure delicious, I just don't eat enough of it anyway.  It wasn't in the article, but I have a kit for making ricotta and mozzarella, though I don't know if it'll become a regular occurrence...
What would you make instead of buying?


My City is Cooler Than Your City

Stuff is happening in Jersey City.  I'm sure people have been saying for years that it's "up and coming".  But for real.  I mean it now.  It's up and coming.  Take a look at the indie (and not so indie) world that is Jersey City.


Urban Groundswell

Illustration by JCI - N.I.

Check it out! A little story on gardening and compost I did for an online paper...

Urbanites often forget the worms, and often even the grass. But for a growing number of Jersey City residents, it’s all about the worms. This Earth Day, we’re not only celebrating the groundswell of environmental activity happening around us, but also the literal groundswell in our backyards, parks, and abandoned lots. Soil is being turned, spaded, and hoed all over this town with more than a little help from the worms.
Read on at the Jersey City Independent.


Responsible Consumption

The Interdependence Project, a meditation/activism group I participate in (when I have time, ha!), does a Responsible Consumption monthly challenge every once in awhile.   There's a pledge, suggestions for individual areas to focus on, and a place to log any 24 hours of your consumption practice.  (They have lots of great projects and classes, if you're in the NY area, I definitely recommend checking them out.)

Here are parts  of the pledge I particularly like:
  • Remembering that everything in the world is connected, I pledge to do my best to be aware of the damage caused by lack of attention and careless convenience.
  • Knowing that it’s impossible to cause zero harm, I pledge to maintain a sense of humor about my actions as I practice, while still working to limit the negative impact of my consumption choices on myself, others, and the planet we all share.
I love the idea of mini self-improvement projects like this, challenges to your normal daily operations.  Small steps seems to be the best way to make these types of little life changes, because they're not difficult, they just require a small shift in your regular activities.  Take the water bottle issue... I've finally gotten into the habit of carrying my resuseable bottle with me, EVERYWHERE.  I drink a ton of water, and if I leave without it, I end up dehydrated for the day.  But it took a slight adjustment.  Now when I leave in the morning, I check to make sure I have my wallet, keys, phone, and bottle.  Done.

I think I've also (mostly) conquered the resuseable bags, energy efficiency, composting and reducting waste, minimal shampooing and healthy food areas.  I'd like to work on carrying a coffee mug (I probably waste at least 1 paper cup a day), carrying a tupperware or glass jar for leftovers for when I pick up food on the run to reduce packaging and waste, and minimizing other unhealthy personal care products.  The goal of the month is to really focus on a particular area, so I think I'll go with the coffee mug / tupperware practice.   It really just seems to be about planning.  Here on the IDP website, they suggest a basic kit:

Low Impact Survival Kit
One of the big insights that came from those of us who did the practice last time was that if you started out with a few key pieces of equipment it became really easy to cut down on waste and actually saved money too. 

- Drink bottle : check
- Container for food/left-overs: this month's practice 
- Shopping bag: check
- Chopsticks, silverware: 
- Cloth napkin

So with a sense of humor and more awareness, it begins.  One step at a time...  So what could you work on?


Encouraging or Unnecessary?

I came across this post today from Apartment Therapy - they're recommending a circular hunk of wood that you can roll old newspaper around to make a little seed-starter pot, that you can then plant directly into the garden.

Does this seem totally ridiculous and unnecessary to anyone else?  A $15 hunk of wood.  When any circular object you have in your home, or no object at all!, will do.  You're rolling the newspaper into a cylinder and tucking it in at the bottom.  Really?  You need a tool for this?  

I'm all about encouraging people to plant things, re-use paper, be generally environmentally-minded.  But I will seriously rethink our friendship if I find this in your house.  Call me instead.  I will come and help you roll newspaper seed-starters.  Urging frivolous consumerism is the opposite of what we need right now.   Hmmph.


My Best Yet!

I just finished my best sewing project yet! It's a blue springy tunic, based on a top I brought back from India and an Amy Butler pattern. The fabric was a gift from Court, from Purl Soho. I'm SO happy with it! The fit is perfect, even though I altered the pattern big time. I skipped the lining, back darts and zipper, sleeves, and shortened it a bit. Did a lot of things by eye and I'm thrilled with how it turned out. Forgive the sleepy look in the pics. I still have a cold!

The best part is it only took a few hours of sewing spread over 2 days!

listening to: Belle & Sebastian - Song for Sunshine


New Wedding Dress Blog

Courtney had the brilliant idea of starting a blog to track the design and creation process of my wedding dress! It'll remain pretty specific to dress planning, because who wants to know the nasty details of general wedding planning. Follow it here. We'll both be posting here and there. And many thanks to Andy for designing the header!


Spreading Love

My friend Stephanie shared this lovely story recently, reminding me of the mysterious ways people spread love.  Even in the subways of NYC.  
Last week as I was walking down 34th St, I came up to 2 girls that were carrying homemade signs saying 'free hugs'.  Without a pause, I said "I'll take one!"  We hugged, I continued down the street, smiling.  And much happier for the rest of the day.  How hard is that?


Urban Exploration

Jersey City is full of nooks and crannies of goodness. We've been exploring new streets, neighborhoods, shops, and parks all over town recently. This weekend, we finally got to the elusive Bergen Arches, an abandoned railroad line that runs from downtown JC to Tonnele circle, parallel to Rt. 139, some 85 ft. below the above cross streets and highways. It's now 30 years overgrown, and while it feels a world away from the circus of NJ's highways, it's still an urban retreat, and probably the best gallery of graffiti I've ever seen. Looking forward to seeing it in summer or fall bloom.