Tuesday, July 31, 2007

New York State of Mind

My Alabama license expires on 08/04/07. I tried to renew it before I moved, but it was 64 days away from expiration and it HAS to be 60...and I was flying to New York the next day. So, I figured I would just find a way to renew my Alabama license remotely - can't give it up!

Well, today I found myself in the New York State DMV to exchange my out of state license for a New York one. That's right - exchange, surrender, give up, no longer yours, watch as they put several staples through it and toss it in a pile never to be seen again. Might as well have put a dagger through my heart!

What to do now to prove I'm from Alabama?? Lay on a thick Southern accent? Name all the Birmingham American Idols? Sing the Alabama fight song? Don't make me whip out the batons!!

Monday, July 30, 2007

A Different Perspective

I went to Brooklyn Saturday night for the first time with some friends. Thankfully we met at the subway near my apartment and rode together. I had no clue about Brooklyn or how to get there!

The girl’s apartment was so cute – on the third floor of an older brownstone in Park Slope. It was luxuriously large to me on the inside – a hallway lead to the kitchen that had a galley window to the den that had an archway into the bedroom. Really small by Birmingham standards, but – oh my, all that space! And all to herself! Wow!

Some of us went up to roof where we were pleasantly surprised at the view of all of lower Manhattan and up the East side to near my apartment. To the left was the Statue of Liberty. It was so beautiful!

It was close to midnight and very still, and we could see all the twinkling lights of the city and actual stars in the sky! I was with fun people I would consider my “group” in New York, and we were trying to be quiet because we weren’t supposed to be up there. I took a step out of myself and just smiled in bewilderment. I was so thankful for where I was and who I was with and what I was seeing. It was just this cool, interesting experience – and we all stood in awe at where we were – New York! We all live in the city, and it just becomes part of you and you part of it. It was amazing to see it from this perspective - I forget the enormity of it, and what it represents to so many people.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

"Happy am I each day, going along life's way"

My Grandma turned 103 today! Maudie Clara Mashburn from Five Points, TN. A little country lady from a country town...she loves to say "you couldn't pay me to live in the city," and she means it!

She planted a garden into her 90s and lived alone for many years after my Granddaddy died in 1990. She could make anything grow - flowers that were wilted, garden vegetables during a dry summer...my favorite is a small pine needle tree she used every year as her Christmas tree. It was just supposed to be big enough to sit on a table, but by the last Christmas we had at her house a few years ago, she had it so big the top touched the ceiling and curved over!

She always loved to sew and would make us things out of scraps around the house. Granddaddy would build doll cradles out of wood and Grandma would make blankets and pillows and decorate the inside. The cradles were the centerpiece to the millions of times my sisters and I played babies growing up.

She lived on several acres and there was a big pasture with a pond behind the house. I remember a little calf chasing me one time! And how the cows looked when they would chew the corn husks we threw over the electric fence. If you stood at the back garden and yelled into the pasture, you could hear your voice echo against the forest. That was where I first heard an echo - we used to always yell "hey!"...I can just hear our drawn out southern "haaayyy-ay-ay-ays"!!!

Every time we came to visit, Grandma would have cold biscuits - homemade that morning - sitting in the oven. Oh, it was so good to eat the yummy cold biscuit and drink a Coca-Cola! When we spent the night there she would cook breakfast in the morning - eggs, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy. I can remember her trying and trying to get me out of the bed. I love to sleep in the morning, but even more there - the sun came in the window so pretty. It's been so long since I slept there, I guess the sun would still look the same... She would come in the room and do her "Heyuu!" call and say, "Get up, sister!"

It always seems like everyone knows Grandma and thinks so highly of her, and I am always so proud that she is my grandmother.

I think of her when I see birdbaths, pretty flowers, a blue sky, the moon...and I wonder what she would think of New York. It would probably kill her to be here! It's amazing to me the completely different lives she and I have in just two generations (granted, two generations spanning over a 100 years!), but I still feel so connected to her. I'm glad I have the country in my heart.

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round...

I took the bus for the first time today, and it was so much fun! I hear these things I say, and I know I must be the biggest dork ever, but I really had a good time on the bus! It was so relaxing. And in comparison to the subway, it didn't stink, it wasn't hot, it wasn't crowded, and I didn't have to walk 10 minutes to get on it! In fact, there is a stop right at the back of the apartment building!

It was raining, so I got to stay under the scaffolding at the back of the apartment and didn't get wet. As we drove up 57th St, I had the best time looking out the window watching everyone on the street - umbrellas flying, people without rain gear darting here and there. I noticed the wipers on the bus and out of nowhere realized I was singing the "wheels on the bus go round and round" song! Had not thought of that song in forever!! I think my favorite line is "the driver on the bus says 'move on back'" - I love it because of the "move on back hand" motion in the song, and I've always had a mental image of what the driver would look like yelling that over his shoulder.

I kept waiting and hoping our driver would tell someone to move on back, but, unfortunately, he didn't say much of anything - unless you count the occasional grunt!

Thursday, July 19, 2007


I finally saw my first rat!! Make that rats!! It was just as exciting and scary as I had thought it would be. :) Walking in Union Square Park around 6:30 p.m. (neither the time nor the place I would have expected to see one!), I saw what I thought was a squirrel running in the grass...but no squirrel I've ever seen has a skinny tail like that!! And it had friends! Ansley was with me, so we just starting jumping and hitting each other - there was no time for words! We sat down on a bench to recover from our heart attacks, but within 15 seconds one of the biggest rats ran right toward our feet!!

Now that I've been christened by a New York rat sighting, I've developed a tendency to scramble when I see tiny rat dogs, birds hopping under park benches, or the occasional paper blowing in the wind!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Midnight - Lights Out!

The lights go out on the Empire State Building every night at midnight. I keep telling myself I should do the same.

When it gets to be dark outside (around 9 pm) and I'm sitting on the apartment balcony, I can see camera flashes from folks taking pictures of the view from the Empire State Building observatory deck. Sometimes it's like papparazi flashbulbs - lots going off one after another all around the 86th floor. It's so funny to me that I know exactly the view they are trying to capture - from the ESB looking toward the apartment it is a gorgeous view of the Chrysler Building. It's my favorite view, and I used to take pictures of it when I would be up there on vacation. Little did I know one day I would be part of the scenery in that famous shot!!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Count your blessings!

After two really hot and HUMID days here, today is absolutely beautiful! I woke up early and the sky was so clear and blue, I decided to walk to work. I just rode the subway part of the way and got off one stop before my normal stop. I'm so glad I did. As I started up the subway stairs, a man who couldn't walk was using his crutches to slowly work his way up the stairs. He was dressed for work and had his briefcase across his shoulder just like everyone else. Then as I started down the street, I saw a blind man coming toward me, steadily walking with his cane. Wow! To top it off, a block later I saw another blind man doing the same! I can't get over the resiliency and bravery those three have. And to think of the extra struggle they have just to get through a normal day like you and me. I complain of "I wish the station were closer to the apartment!", "My makeup sweats off by the time I get to the subway!", etc - oh, come on! I am so blessed to be able to jump out of the bed and WALK wherever I want to go and SEE all these amazing things around me. What a beautiful reminder to count my blessing and be thankful.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sailing on Rugosa

I have a new love! Sailing! Jane's friend invited us to a weekend of sailing at the Classic Yachts Regatta in Newport, RI. It was the most beautiful weekend, and Newport was just the most beautiful town! We stayed at the New York Yacht Club's Harbor Court which was just across the bay from the race site of Fort Adams.
Friday evening we drove around and saw some of the fabulous mansions. There is a 3 mile "Cliff Walk" running between the water and the mansions. We didn't walk it, but this is a picture of it - so pretty!
We were lucky enough to be part of the crew for Rugosa and raced with them Saturday and Sunday. Saturday we sailed around the island - it was 18 miles and took a little over 3 hours. The Rugosa is a classic yacht built in 1926 by Nathanel Herreshoff. His son, Halsey Herreshoff was the captain of our boat for the weekend, so it was really an honor to get to race with him.

I had not a clue what to do on the boat! My job was to release the stay sail - the hardest part of doing so was getting in place to do it - I was constantly having to switch sides of the boat to get to the low side where I would release. When I wasn't "working", Cameron and I sat on the high side of the deck. We learned all sorts of sailing terms "starboard tack", "check the mizzen", "trim the jib", "prepare to tack", "ready about", but mostly we learned how to curl up in a little ball and stay out of the way!

On deck and staying out of the way, and pretending to know what to do!

They never let us steer...hmm, wonder why?! And the secret to my success - SLAM gloves!

Real Sperry's = Real Sailors! With some of the crew at cocktails at NYYC after Saturday's race.

Posing with NYYC in the background - BEAUTIFUL! Adirondack chairs lined the entire top of the hill! Gorgeous to relax on and look at the docked boats. A view of the water from the adirondack chairs.

Just a picture from the grounds I think is pretty! Yes - trophy's!! We won first place!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Hello Deli

What a fun time!! My newest friend in the city is none other than Rupert Gee - the deli owner David Letterman talks to a lot on his show. My friend Mark is good friends with Rupert and his family, so we all met up at his famous Hello Deli on Broadway and 53rd. It was fun to see Rupert in action and all the tourists who come to get their picture made with him. You should have heard all the excited people coming in and out of the store - many on their cell phones saying "We just saw him! He's so nice!" Rupert says he poses for countless pictures everyday and it usually takes a good hour to close the store - he's so nice and doesn't want to turn anyone away.

Rupert and I walked the several blocks from the Deli to the restaurant talking about Alabama - he has several University of Alabama t-shirts! - and me moving to the city, his deli and life in New York. We all had a great time at dinner, and I know just where to go when I'm hungry for a good deli sandwich!