May 14, 2013 § Leave a Comment
The American Museum of Natural History is one of those places that you have to visit when you are in New York. There is a good chance you will get lost and while you are lost find some of the most amazing things. The butterfly conservatory is amazing and the planetarium lways has something great showing. As all museums do, they get some pretty great traveling exhibits. One of the new exhibits is Whales: Giants of the Deep on tour from New Zealand that I really wanted to see.
Melissa and I have been watching the AMNH’s website and twitter feed for the next TweetUp at the the museum. The TweetUp’s are free and happen after hours, so there are far less people going through and you get snacks and wine after walking through the exhibit during a brief q and a. The requirements are that you have a twitter account, follow @AMNH, some times another sponsor, and tweet during the event. As luck would have it, in April the TweetUp was for the Whales exhibit. Typically the q and a is with the exhibit curators for this there was also two scientist who specialize in whales as well.
The exhibit was pretty awesome. I may be slightly prejudice since I love whales. The exhibit started with the evolution of whales and how the transitioned from land to sea with several skeletons of prehistoric species. The most interesting thing was a chart showing the timeline of the evolution of whales and other mammals including humans.
The next section was about current whales that roam the earth today. There was a video of a sperm whale diving down to catch a giant squid. There was a life size example of a blue whale heart. It is so big you can climb inside. They also have the 58 foot long sperm whale skeleton hanging from the ceiling. You can read all about the different type of echolocation different whales use and all the orders and families of whales, which shows you things like killer whales are the largest dolphin.
The last final section was about whaling and the Maori’s relationship with whales. They was a step by step process of how they caught a whale and removed the blubber. Then they had artifacts from the Maori’s including jewelry and weapons made from whales. Their stories and relationship with whales reminds me of the Native American Plains Tribes that followed the buffalo. The final video before you exit is about Whale Riders. It’s all pretty cool and I am so glad I got to go see it!
May 12, 2013 § Leave a Comment
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would say Happy Mother’s Day! To my own wonderful mother who has given me and my sibling so much freedom, respect, and encouragement to whatever we want to do with our lives. For giving us the disciplined we most certainly needed when we were younger even when we didn’t think we needed it and trusting us to make right decisions as we grew older and not leveling a curfew. For laughing at me when I have told you about the kids who’s parents were still making their choices for them in college. For pushing me to be my best and to travel as far as I can. For not giving us any kind of pressure to get married and have babies as soon as possible. For listening when I’ve need some one to hear me bitch about whatever issue it is and use more cuss words than a sailor can in a half an hour, I thank you. If I ever get crazy enough to go crazy and have a baby or two, I hope I can do it as well as you.
And to my two wonderful grandmother’s who I am still lucky enough to have. Grandma D., you have shown me how to garden, even though I still have the blackest of thumbs, how to make jam, feed calves and fish. I always loved it when I was little and we got to stay at your house over night. We would get to have popcorn at night and in the morning you and grandpa would be sitting in your chairs reading and we would curl up on your laps. Grandma Z., you were the grandma in the city, the house we got to spend many summer hours at, running up and down the stairs, “slamming” doors, having water fights and go carts. We got to have white bread from the store when we visited you and go to McDonald’s for breakfast. You taught me how to make monkey bread and we loved your old station wagon when the seat in the trunk that faced backwards. I remember the times we drove out without telling you to surprise you for the holidays, you looked right at me, looked away with out realizing and then back again. I also remember many “fits” being thrown when it was time for you to head east or us to head west.
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you that my little mad hatter hats made it on to The Soho’s blog post for the April Photo Project. You should definitely check out the other great homemade ideas!
If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that last weekend I did the Cinco de Mayo 5k run in Prospect Park. It was the first time I actually ran all the way around the park even though I have biked it time and time again. I set a new personal record for a 5k by shaving off over a minute per mile. I wasn’t actually trying to do that. It’s crazy how running with a group vs a treadmill can push you. It was a fun run and was followed by a Mexican brunch that included sangria. Food is really the only way to get me to run. Let’s be honest.
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you not to worry yet about my job situation. It’s has been surprising how much part time work has come my way in the past week. So much in fact, that I have had to turn things down and am worried that I will end up busier than I was before and still not get my job/move/life figured out. I have been having so great conversations with some great people in the cities I am most interested in moving to. I also changed my flights in June so that I can go to the National AIA Convention in Denver and hang out with the Architecture for Humanity crew as well as give the city a second chance and maybe do some interviews.
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you how happy I am that Madison Square Eats is back. Since it started a week ago, I have been up there twice. Love it so much. The first day was a crazy mad house as expected, but you just can pass it up. So many of my favorites are back and I am excited to try some new ones too.
If we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you that I am excited to be going home in June. I think this is the longest stretch of time that I have had between visits home. I am definitely ready for some time in the country and celebrating a few family milestones while I’m there.
May 9, 2013 Comments Off
The first weekend of May spring finally arrived and I am so happy its here. My only concern is that spring is gonna disappear before we really have time to enjoy it and summer will be here with all it’s horrible humid heat. My friend Christian and I decided to take advantage and headed over to Brooklyn Bridge Park Saturday afternoon. I wanted to check out the new bridge from the Brooklyn Promenade.
The sun started going down and we started trying to figure out what we are going to do for the evening when Christian got a message from his boss asking if anyone wanted tickets to BAM‘s Crossing Brooklyn Ferry festival. I had been hearing a lot about it and had thought about going but never got around to really looking into it. I pulled out my phone to see if I could figure out who was playing that night, but all I could see was the headliners, not when they were up. But who can you really pass up free tickets?
We picked up our tickets and checked out the schedule. We got there just in time to catch Brooklyn Brewery‘s tasting of some beers that they haven’t released to bars yet. We tried a hefeweizen that was pretty heavy for a wheat beer and moved on to the music. The first band we saw was Here We Go Magic. They were pretty good, but I was more excited for Phosphorescent who I had been hearing a lot of on the radio at work. They were great and a lot older than I thought. Bonus point for me since I did actually remember some of their songs. I’m not the best when it comes to keeping up with music.
After Phosphorescent, we went to the theater to catch what we could of the films playing. We came in at the end of one and caught all of Passages by Alex Braverman and Poppy de Villeneuve. It was a really good 12 minute film documenting a father’s trip across the country to the Grand Canyon where he released his sons ashes. Most of the film was of the drive speed way up and it kind of made me a bit motion sick, but still really good, just be warned. That was the last film, so we headed back downstairs for the final music performance, TV on the Radio.
TV on the Radio is phenomenal. I knew some of their music, but I am listening to them a lot more now. The lead singer is such a great performer He doesn’t necessarily move a lot, but when he does, it’s with great precision. He whips his arm around so fast you swear he is double jointed or that his hand is going to come flying off. Then he stops it perfectly in time with the music. Afterwards at the dance party, Christian was trying to copy him. He’s got nothing on that kind of swinging. Go see them. Seriously.
We ended the night at the dance party and I am in love with BAM a little bit more.
May 7, 2013 Comments Off
Remember way back when I told you about Feaster? And I happen to mention a honey cake for dessert? Well I’m finally going to tell you about it. I wanted to make sure I had a gluten free dessert option and something that was quick and able to fit in and around baking a ham. The recipe is from Serious Eats, although I’m sure I came across it somewhere else. Honey cake is a Greek dessert also known as Melopita. It’s a simple cheesecake with a bit of honey and cinnamon and I tossed some raspberries on top, just cause. It was really good and surprisingly light for cheesecake. Give it a try, I think you might like it.
- 4 1/2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 2 extra large eggs
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 4 1/2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brandy
- 18 ounces soft ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 10 inch ceramic pie dish.
- In a large bowl, beat together 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar and eggs until creamy, about 3 minutes. Beat in flour. Add honey and beat until well combined. Add lemon juice and brandy and mix to combine.
- Add cheese to bowl and beat until mixture has blended, about 2 minutes.
- Pour batter into prepared baking dish and bake until golden and just firm in the middle, 30 minutes.
rinkle warm cake with extra 1 tablespoon sugar and cinnamon.
May 2, 2013 § 5 Comments
This week started off pretty rocky to say the least. Over the weekend one of my bosses sent me a text to see if I could come in a half hour early to work on Monday. I decided not to be my usual pessimistic self after 30 seconds and figured she scheduled a meeting and needed things printed. When I arrived on Monday both bosses were there and one of them is never ever there that early, so I knew something was up. Turns out they had a meeting with the accountant on Saturday. Since the new year only one new project had come in, a major project had finished, and a third was stopped by the client before the completion of the bidding phase. Bottom line, they didn’t have enough work. I was the only person who hadn’t been there for five or more years and as much as the didn’t want to, they had to lay me off.
I really hate it when my pessimistic side is right. I really do. I typically end up pleasantly surprised. In this case there was surprise, but it wasn’t so pleasant. I was kind of numb, for lack of a better word,as they talked about how sorry they were and that they didn’t want to do it. They said they would put my name out to others, give me the highest recommendation, and would call me if anything new came up. I packed up my stuff, said good bye to the one colleague who had shown up like I was just headed out to a site visit, and walked out the door. It was a perfect drizzly, terrible day to be laid off too. I called my mom and walked to the coffee shop I knew Melissa would be picking up her morning drink. My mom couldn’t believe me, neither could Melissa. I was thinking how I wished more than ever that I had been offered the job in Santa Fe so that I wouldn’t have to deal with whatever this phase of my little life was going to be.
Fast forward to later in the day after a couple long conference calls for Architecture for Humanity, setting up unemployment, a few conversations with family members and emails with friends, and I realized that I wasn’t really that upset. The only thing that I actually cared about was making sure I had enough money to survive. Was it a job I liked? Yes. Was I learning something new? Sure. Did I work with and for nice, normal people? Most of the time. There was nothing really to complain about as far as the job went. I was enjoying it for the most part even it is not exactly what I want to do. Did the timing of this suck? Yes. I was just starting to reach out to contacts in Austin and Minneapolis about opportunities and firms that I should look into in those locations. Am I ready to move tomorrow? Not really, but I guess this was just the thing to get me going.
Truth be told, I have been very busy with work, Architecture for Humanity and life in general. I have been talking about moving for over a year now. I have been active in applying to fellowships and making connections in other cities, but haven’t really started the search. New York is excellent at keeping you here. It has found ways to keep me from sitting down and really committing to the task at hand, which is why I have often referred to it as planning my escape. Was I going to get it done before the end of the year? Yes. But finding time to search for the kind of job I want in the more public interest design side of architecture has not been easy to carve out. So in all reality, this lose has just given me the time to really search for what I want.
By the end of Monday I had a plan in place for my next steps. I have reached out to people in New York asking them to let me know of any part time/ temporary positions they hear about so that I can continue to pay the bills and stay here. If I can find something full time great, but instead I want to focus my efforts on finding a position outside of the city. I have already kicked it into high gear reaching out to those people I know who are connected in the cities I want to end up in, but I am open to pretty much anywhere. I think the job is going to trump the place, as long as it’s not New York. I plan on staying here until the end of June at least. If things are going okay for the month of May, I’m finding work to keep me afloat and conversations about work in other places is going well, I’ll plan on staying through July. Hopefully by the end of the summer I will have something lined up somewhere else. If things are not going so well and I am just burning through my little savings, then I will head to Wisconsin and stay with my brother while I continue to search for a job sans living expenses. I am hopeful that through all the connections I have made here, through Architecture for Humanity, and all those friends and professors from MSU, that I will be able to find a job I am really happy and passionate about.
I guess what I’m saying is that I am fine with this. I am hoping this is actually a little blessing in disguise. As much as I have loved New York, it’s time for me to leave. On to new adventures. I’m going to try not to stress out about the money issues, enjoy the weather, snapchat with my little sister on the regular, and have faith that the right job is going to come up. So wish me some luck and if you have any suggestions on where to look, let me know!
April 30, 2013 Comments Off
One of Melissa and my regular monthly to do’s is attending Apartment Therapy’s Design Evenings. The guest for April was Nate Berkus. He is incredibly talented, down-to-earth and attractive. His new book, Things That Matter was published last fall and after hearing him talk, I think I will have to pick up a copy. One of the things that he kept coming back to was how you should absolutely love everything in your home. It might start out as only a few things, but hopefully it continues to grow. He said he would site on the floor for however long it took for him to fine the a couch he loved. Hopefully those things help tell the story of your life too. Nate discussed how he realized that the events in his life, like being in Sir Lanka when the tsunami hit in 2005, taking his partner, had influenced the way he designed and the things he filled his home with. He and his boyfriend had just got engaged, I think earlier in the week, (they were so cute together,it just made you like him that much more) and talking about how that relationship has also influenced his design. You should check out Melissa’s great recap and pictures.
Prior to the Design Evening, I had been doing some serious thinking about moving. I interviewed for a position across the country that would have meant moving by the end of April. I didn’t end up getting the job, but it definitely got me thinking about my escape from New York by the end of year and what would go with. because it was going to be a fast, move I was really thinking about the fastest, cheapest way to move. Do I just get rid of everything and get new stuff there? Do I pack it all up cause buying new would cost more than just moving it all? I started a list of must go, goes if there is room and leave it. There were definitely a few things that I really did not want to leave behind. After Nate’s talk, I started thinking about the things I have and where or why I got them. I will be the first to admit that most of my furniture pieces are hand me downs or street finds. I moved here with very little. The only piece of furniture was the high table and chairs my parents gave me for my birthday the year before and that was because they broke down to fit in my car.Everything else I have was free or cheap and fit a need, like my bed and dresser. They may not reflect my style so much and maybe I don’t think they are beautiful, but then, I don’t think I have ever not had things that are not a bit misfit or looked that put together, which actually may be a perfect reflection…
Anyway, as I said, out of all these things I have collected, there are some things that I really love. And I am slowly collecting things I really love and find beautiful to replace the things I don’t. At the same time, I think knowing that New York was not going to be a permanent home, I may have been more concerned with function instead of beauty and function. Which is really kind of silly. Why shouldn’t it be both. If you’ve see some of my shoes, you know that I sometimes only swing toward beauty, so it really shouldn’t be that hard for me to find things I even just like, instead of, “oh it was just given to me and I need it, so just live with it.’ I mean, you do actually have to live with it every day. So as I start to sort though my list and put things in piles or color coded dots, I am going to be thinking about taking on the the things that I really want and will definitely use or have on display at my new home. The absolutely must take list includes a KitchenAid mixer, library bookshelf, Otto (the Room and Board ottoman I won a few years ago), a huge trunk, an India bell, two bikes, a sewing machine and my handleless mugs. Once I get myself to my new destination, I will try to remind myself to not worry about having the things that fit a function and wait for that chair or desk that is perfect for me and I know that I can’t live with out it.
April 28, 2013 Comments Off
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you that I had an awesome ride up the West side to the George Washington Bridge and back this morning. I was out the door by 7am and back by 9am. Perfect timing, barely any traffic or people in the way. Though there was one little dog not on a lease who had slight suicidal tendencies. He did get out of the way though. Don’t worry.
Speaking of biking, if we were having coffee this afternoon, I would tell you I am super excited for the bike share that is about to launch in New York! I don’t really need it since I ride my own bike everywhere, but I am excited to see others on bikes. Some of my friends don’t ride everywhere like some the rest but would like to do so after work as we move from place to place. One big bike gang!
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you that Architecture for Humanity New York had a great happy hour with Lomography last week. They are an awesome store you should totally check them out. I think I would like to do one of their day trips. We also launch a collaboration/competition with Lomography. We are looking for sites for our next art installation which will be a piece designed by a well known artist and we get to help create it. Do you know the perfect spot for it? Let us know, details here.
If we were having coffee this afternoon we would talk about another successful beer book Friday in Williamsburg last weekend. We started at The Gibson and after a delicious taco break headed to Soft Spot. We were suppose to go to K&M, but some of our friends who met up with us half way came from there and got into trouble there or didn’t like the service or something. We like the place so who knows what they did. Either way the rain was coming so we hightailed it home before we got soaked.
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would show you my new Rifle iphone case. Melissa and I couldn’t wait for them to come out and each got one as soon as we could last weekend. And we absolutely love them. We had to instagram them right away.
If we were having coffee this afternoon I would tell you that I am getting pretty busy at work with three projects now under construction! The first one will be completed in June and is moving into the finishes phase. The second just finished demo and has been repair the floor structure and is getting ready to layout the walls. The third is right behind it, completing demo this week and next week we will be doing some fireproofing before starting the subfloors. Needless to say, I’ve been spending a lot more time on site, which is a nice break from the office all the time. I love the more collaborative relationship we have with the contractors. So much better than how it was working at my old firm where it felt like we were always fighting with them.
If we were having coffee this afternoon, we would be sitting outside because it is finally spring in Brooklyn and absolutely perfect weather. Yesterday I meet up with a friend in Brooklyn Bridge park and I think I’m going back this afternoon. Maybe we will dare to have ice cream instead of coffee…