Who Knew

Monday, October 31, 2011

The way I see it, being a hall director is a lot like being a parent.  Or at least, what I can tell parenting is like from movies and reality TV and Parenthood.

Here are my wise observations from being on call on Halloween weekend in New York City...

1.  No one really tells you what it's like until you're in the middle of it.  You think you know, but then you know that you have no clue.

2.  Sleep when the baby/duty phone is sleeping.

3.  Pray for quiet.  Enlist other people to pray for quiet.  More than that, pray for patience.  A lot of it.

4.  No matter what, you have to pretend that what you see at the hospital doesn't bother you in the slightest.  Put on your brave face and pretend like that is absolutely the place you want to be.

5.  Drink stronger coffee.

6.  Having the duty phone/baby changes the game.  Even when it's quiet, you just don't really sleep, because you're busy listening for the slightest sound.  Nervous takes on a whole new meaning.

7.  Your sleep patterns might never be the same again.  This should be appropriately mourned.  Attention should be paid...if only you had the time/energy.

8.  You absolutely must resist the urge to say what you really think.  Again, pray for patience.

9.  Have one single bag that has everything ready to go.  My friends with babies say that having a purse and a diaper bag is too much, because you will forget something.  My hall director friends have a duty bag...I always have wallet, keys, duty binder, phone charger, hospital book, snack, and emergency contact info.  Baby or duty, you always carry way more stuff than you really need.

10.    Everything seems like an emergency at 2 a.m.  And 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. and 5 a.m.  It is a never-ending cycle of panic attacks and hard phone calls and scrapped knees and necessary hugs.

For the record, I am ridiculously excited about having no plans tonight, which is actually Halloween.  I plan to do absolutely nothing productive with my life other than watch How I Met Your Mother and Castle.  Thrilled about this.

And yes, I missed out on the whole cute baby thing and went straight to college student drama.  But maybe, just maybe, when I actually have the cute babies, maybe I'll be a whole lot more patient.  Or maybe I will still have no clue, because you can never really prepare, can you?  And I will have plenty of lattes and prayers to see me through.

Let It Snow

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Oh. My. Goodness.


I can hardly even believe it.

I am also ridiculously excited.

Today, October 29, 2011, two days before Halloween, I looked out my window to one of the best sights you can ever see.  The first hour of the first snowfall of the season in New York City.  Ridiculously romantic.  And it true New York City fashion, it wasn't one of those sloppy, icy midwestern snows.  If you've never experienced snow in New York, it is just so beautiful.  Huge, perfect snow flakes like confetti lit by bright city lights.  It is magical.

No longer even slightly concerned about studying research methodology, I threw on my trusty Hunter snow boots, scarf and gloves and was out the door in about two minutes.  I may or may not have forgotten to actually put on a coat.  Didn't even matter.  Because it was a beautiful day to walk on my beautiful campus...

And I know that I am perhaps the only person in this city who was this excited, because to the rest of Manhattan, it just means mess and train delays and the impending winter weather.  But I just love it when it snows on my iPhone.

It happens to be the earliest winter storm in New York in 40 years.  If you're counting, that's one more for me...earthquake, hurricane, and freakishly early blizzard in Manhattan since I became a resident.   What can I say?  I have talent.  That said, I took the combination of early snow, open ice rinks, and decorations at Macy's as full permission from God to start listening to Christmas music.  Because life is just too short to not hear Michael Buble sing "All I Want For Christmas Is You."

And today was almost perfect...


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

After all that You've Got Mail sightseeing this weekend, I just couldn't resist...

My daily run route?  Right through Riverside Park, right where this scene was filmed.  Heavenly.  Maybe one day you'll be there waiting...

Don't You Just Love New York In The Fall?

"Don't you love New York in the fall? It makes me want buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address. On the other hand, this not knowing has its charms."

Well you know about the first-time guy trip, the culinary tour, and the practically a native weekend in New York City.  But here's a first for all you wonderful blog readers out there...  The "baby sister has pneumonia and big sister has an eye infection tour."  Yep.  Lot of fun we were.  Quite a sight to see...or avoid.  

Baby sister and pseudo-baby sister headed to the big city for a girls weekend full of shopping, dessert, broadway, and all things girly and wonderful.  Lucky for baby sister and I, Lindsey was a trooper putting up with our poor, pitiful selves who could not breathe or see.  Good times.  

Baby sister and I pretty much set out to recreate our childhood.  Oh what fun.  

There was a really exciting trip to FAO Schwarz, every little big girl's dream come true.  Lindsey and I found a really spectacular Barbie foosball table, which could be your's for the low price of $24,999.  

Baby sister reconnected with her childhood passion of rock collecting.  Yep.  She really, really loved rocks as a child.  Don't tell her I spilled the secret.

Next stop?  The American Girl store on Fifth Avenue, another Treadwell girl childhood love.  There are countless boxes of Molly and Samantha dolls in the garage, as well as a whole collection of Bitty Babies.  Too bad we were so deprived of all things fun as children.  Plus, they made us wear Laura Ashley dresses all the time.  Torture.  :)

(Obviously, baby sister is the funny one.  Sorry to disappoint, folks.)

There were plenty of shopping trips and taxi cab rides and other grown up things, but what fun is that?  It's actually much more exciting to pretend that, at 24 and 28 years old, it is perfectly acceptable to shop in the Eloise store at The Plaza.

Lindsey's first Broadway experience was a hit, as I am sure she's decided to move in with me and audition instead of doing real, important grown up things.  We had to see Billy Elliott before it closes in January.  There may or may not have been a recreation of Mamma Mia on the walk home.

In true efforts to recreate my favorite movie, there was a trip to Cafe Lalo, a children's bookshop, a nut shop, flower markets, hats at Bloomingdales that turned out to be a mistake, and a rooftop killer (I'm telling you...the local news is scary).  Life should be more like You've Got Mail.

And, come on, what would a weekend with visitors be without a trip to the Empire State Building?  Just in case you're counting, that's three times in five weeks for me.  Care to come visit?  I would absolutely, positively love to take you to the Empire State Building too.

Seriously...can you really believe that I live here?

I'll be waiting.  Oh how I wish you would...

No Day But Today

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fluffy Bathrobes and Warm Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

In case you haven't heard, I'm running a hotel here in New York City.  It's a full service place...complete with restaurant reservations, personal shopping excursions, and every tourist attraction and off the beaten path local hotspot you could ever hope for.  I am an awesome host.  I am considering investing in fluffy bathrobes for my guests.  I will totally bake you chocolate chip cookies.  Just make sure you check with me before you buy those plane tickets, because I'm pretty much on fully-booked every weekend schedule through Thanksgiving.  :)

So you've already read about the first-timer to NYC tour when my cousin came to visit.  A few weeks later, The Chief (mom) and my aunt came for what quickly turned into the culinary tour of NYC.  We walked to pretty much every dining destination in the city and tried more appetizers, snacks, and desserts than I care to admit.  In case you haven't been, definitely stop by Chelsea Market.  In addition to being home to the Food Network studios, there are amazing markets and restaurants in this Meatpacking District destination.  So worth the trip (and the trip back!).  

Also, Little Italy is amazing.  With cafes full of cases full of pastries like these, how could it not be.  Check it out...

While mom and aunt were here, I added another Empire State Building ticket to my collection.  I also added a few more Lululemon items and a new yoga mat to my stash, thanks to The Chief.  It was a great weekend.  I worked out a lot afterward, but it was totally worth it.

This past weekend, a friend from home made an unexpected trip to NY for business and let me tag along to a cool restaurant or too.  Now, I love my coworkers and new New York friends, but it's a lot more fun to catch up with people I've known for longer than I remember.  We even got to see Rent off-Broadway, and I'm still singing the songs.  Incredible.  Well worth the ticket price and the three hours of your New York time.  (And just FYI...off-Broadway just means that it's in a slightly smaller theater.  It doesn't necessarily imply that it's not as good of a show or anything.)

And just because it's beautiful, here's a nice shot of The Plaza Hotel at night...

And just because I have always and will always be a hopeless romantic, please take a moment to indulge  my ridiculously exciting moment of the weekend, when I randomly ran into Nicholas Sparks outside Barnes and Noble on Fifth Avenue.  I was just walking down the street and noticed a long line outside, and then I found one of my favorite authors at the front of the line.  And yes, I made my friend stand in line while I ran inside to buy a book, which he graciously signed.  And yes, I am reading the new novel instead of my research methodologies textbook.  But come on...

(Please stop making fun of me now please.)

So that's all for now...just a random collection of my recent weekends entertaining out-of-towners.  I pretty much always feel like a tourist in this city, since I'm always making the tourist rounds.  But really, I kind of love it.  Because it means I get to spend time with people I love.

And baby sister is coming to visit this weekend.  Get ready New York.

A Tale of Two Evenings

Friday, October 14, 2011

What a 48 hours it has been...

Two nights ago, I celebrated in style with one of my best friends.  It's a good thing to have good friends, and this particular one has been around for about the last 20 years of my life.  Yes, we were eight years old.  That's saying a lot people.  That's also a lot of experiences and stories that will never be told. 

Folks, we hit the town.  Celebrated my friend's last year in the 20s big time.  First stop?  Gramercy Park Hotel rooftop terrace.   I am just basically so in love with this place.  Ever need to plan a grand romantic surprise for me?  This would be an excellent location choice.  Amazing.

Next, we headed around the corner to ABC Kitchen.  Yes, it sounds like a shady deli.  Turns out it was the 2011 best new restaurant of the year in the entire country. 

It was, without a doubt, the best meal I have ever had in this city.  One of the top five meals I've ever had anywhere.  And folks, it came with the price tag to prove it.  Lucky for me, I have friends in high places.  Again, if you're looking to bank roll a fabulous New York evening, I will happily be your guest.  Our 9:30 p.m. dinner reservations were nearly impossible to get, and it was packed on a Wednesday night.  In classic New York beautiful people style, we closed the place down at 1:00 a.m.  Always thankful for a late night taxi when it's raining, I sleepily fell into bed at 1:30 a.m.  If you're counting, that's about four hours past my bedtime.  But it was so, so worth it.

Which brings us to last night.  And what a reality check it was.  Because this is where I spent my evening...

Part of my role as hall director is to accompany students to the hospital if it happens to be my night on call.  There are nine of us hall directors, and until last night I held the title of only hall director who had yet to respond to a medical emergency or go to the hospital.  I actually front-loaded my on call nights, so I'm almost done until after the winter holidays.  I've just been lucky. 

But last night... I returned from staff meeting at 9:45 p.m. and had just switched from jeans to pajamas when the phone rang.  I met the abulance, resolved the situation, and returned to my cozy apartment and cozy pajamas.  And then the phone rang again, which is how I found myself at a hospital in Harlem at midnight on a Thursday.  Luckily, the student is fine, and I was able to be a friendly face in a scary ER.  Still, way past my bedtime.

And as I fell sleepily into bed at 1:30 a.m., I couldn't help but long for the previous night and fabulous food and pretty shoes.     Because life should have more pretty shoes.

That Good Old Baylor Line

Thursday, October 13, 2011

To the hopefuls, the loyal few, and all who are members of That Good Old Baylor Line…

We always knew you could do it.  We believed in you when no one else cared.  Defended every single joke about not having a football team.  Cheered at every single game, regardless of how empty or full Floyd Casey Stadium was.  Tirelessly insisted that you could, in fact, make it to a bowl game, even in the seasons when you only won a single game.  To us, you were always winners.

As students, we followed other Baylor sports too, loving it when our teams took national championships and Olympic medals.   But we knew the reality…Texas is a Friday Night Lights kind of place, and football is a sacred sport in the great state.  We documented that night senior year, when Baylor’s win over Texas A&M truly was the greatest night of our lives until that point.  We tore down goal posts because one win a season still mattered to us.  As alumni, we endured endless jokes from coworkers, bosses, and random people in the mall who commented on the Baylor sweatshirt.  Put up with it, because we knew what it meant to be a fan. 

Even still, we longed for a day when our arms tired from too many Sic Em Bears. 

But you can never have too many Sic Em Bears. 

We always knew you could do it.  Number one in all of Texas football?  No surprise to us.  You’ve always been number one. 

And for all those who doubt, who question, who trash talk, who only cheer for the team when the stats show a W…

There are a lot of you out there.  A lot of people in my home state who cheer for the home team when the game is good and are the first to boo when things get tough.  If you really want to know what it means to be a fan, spend a little time with a Baylor Bear.  Because fan loyalty isn’t loyalty if your team is winning.  It’s when things aren’t going so good, but believing in your team anyways. 

Baylor Bears?  We’re awesome at believing.  And every single member of That Good Old Baylor Line is so proud of you today. 

But the truth is, we always will be. 

Because that’s what it means to fling your green and gold afar…

Oh Happy Day

Yesterday I went to Costco. 

And people, I was really nervous about it.  I heard horror stories about the warehouse store.  There's a whole How I Met Your Mother episode about how this place is everything wrong with New York City, because it's not actually New York City.  It's this alternate universe where shopping in bulk seems like a perfectly normal thing to do. 

Now, we have Sam's in Oklahoma, which is basically the same thing.  I do not like Sam's.  Shopping in bulk is pretty much everything that's wrong with America.  On a related note, I'm not a huge Wal-Mart fan either (sorry to disappoint).  I'm a Target girl. 

But on to Costco.  My supervisor, co-hall director, and I trekked to East Harlem to stock up on snacks, treats, and supplies for the 500 or so residents in our area.  I was told to wear comfortable shoes and plan to be there awhile.  Still, I was not so thrilled about the trip.

But imagine my joy when the taxi arrived and I saw this...

Oh man.  I was ecstatic.  Beyond thrilled.  Crazy giddy.  It's embarrassing, really.  I know I live in the shopping capital of the world with Macy's and Bloomingdales and all sorts of beautiful things, but I could not contain my joy in an unexpected Target trip. 

Now, just to set the scene, here is what the aisles in my corner "supermarket" look like...

Not so super.  The aisles are just wide enough for me to fit through with a hand basket.  A Texas-sized person simply would not fit in this grocery store.  (Again...think Marshall on HIMYM).

Now, here is what Target looked like...

Beautiful.  Just like a real store and everything.  Once I walked in, I could have been in Oklahoma or Texas or anywhere my heart dreamed.  I could push a basket as large as I wanted and buy all my Target favorites at Oklahoma prices, not expensive Manhattan standards.  I was on cloud nine.

My co-hall director, in her adorable South African accent, asked more than once, "Katie, why are you taking pictures of the Target?"  But it was a momentous occasion. 

To clarify, this complex was built like a parking garage.  Costco on 1, Target on 2, Best Buy on 3, Old Navy and such on 4.  Yes, we did make it to Costco.  No, I did not like it.  Yes, I did buy a five-pound tub of cookie dough to bake cookies for my RA meeting tonight.  No, I do not plan on eating the five-pound tub of cookie dough.

We purchased so much at Costco that we barely fit in the cab.  And by cab, I mean gypsy cab.  Literally a guy with an explorer that my boss paid to drive us back across Manhattan to campus.  This seemed to be a perfectly normal thing for my fellow shoppers, but I was worried people.  Don't tell my dad about that part.

And while I don't plan on making the journey across town often, it just makes me happy knowing that Target sits just one (gypsy) cab ride away.

Days Like These

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Be honest.  Unless you are one of my student affairs friends, you don't really know what I do, right?  You can probably make a pretty good guess...something about college and students and school.  You get the general idea.  You are probably secretly wondering why in the world I need a doctorate to do what I do.

Some days, I'm not so sure either.  There are days when I spend more time than I'd like to admit making craft projects and collecting glue sticks and making sure there are enough cookies.  Those days make me wonder why I have two degrees from Baylor University ($$$)  and am working hard on a doctorate from an Ivy League school ($$$$$$$$$$$$$), because those days feel more like kindergarten than college.  There are days when I feel like all I do is fight the system and deal with administrators who just don't get it or understand students.  There are days when every single student seems irrational or angry or so self-centered that I can't even see straight, and I daydream longingly about getting paid to sit in the park and write novels.  There are a lot of days I just want to give up.

And then there are days like today, when I am reminded that what I do matters in a big way. 

Days that could frustrate me, since I had two intoxicated students and an incident report form before 10:00 a.m.  Days that could frustrate me, since the RAs were late to their one on one meetings.  Days that could frustrate me, since I accomplished nothing that I planned and it's only Tuesday.

But on days like these, I get to reassure scared students.  I help the student who just can't handle it anymore feel like she might get through the day after all.  I realize the imporance of the words, "I will be here for you."  I see a hug change the course of a really awful morning.  I might get to be the first person to say, "You are worth it."  I listen.  I play mom to girls who just need someone to love them.  I get to be big sister for the things they can't tell their real moms. 

I get to be a little bit of light and peace in a really dark, stressful, overwhelming city.

My good friend Kali shared this blog last week, and I've become obsessed.  Though I've never met the author, I feel like we have much to share and highly recommend you read this post...  A Job Called Hope

And on days like these, when I want so badly to stay in bed and watch morning news shows, God does a really good job of reminding me that I have more to do than that.  And that just maybe, this whole crazy move to New York City wasn't so crazy after all for a little while, just "for such a time as this" (Esther 4:14).

Because at the end of the day, that's all this job really is...hope.

What's Up, New York?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

When I moved to New York, my parents had to stop watching crime shows set in Manhattan.  Mom and Dad didn't need to watch the CSI/Law & Order/SVU/etc. etc. etc. lineup of young girl in the city ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time type of "entertainment."  The city makes an awesome setting for television drama, crime-focused or otherwise.  And there's a reason.

Let me tell you.  The local news is worse than any crime show on television.

You really have to have thick skin to watch the daily news in this city.  Every morning when I turn on the TV, it's something new.  And it is never, ever positive news.  That's why they follow it up with the Today Show and proposals on the plaza and all that other happy stuff.  Because when they cut to the local news in the commercial break, it's all serial killers and subway attackers.

Today it was a helicopter that crashed into the East River.  Since moving, it's been the Long Island serial killer, multiple subway attackers, gang violence, and more.

I must say, I have never felt safer than I do living in my quiet, cozy Upper West Side Manhattan neighborhood.  I have a doorman (i.e., 24 hour security) and the area is swarming with Columbia campus safety officers at all hours of the day and night.  Honestly, I firmly believe that I am safer living here than I was walking into my south Oklahoma City office every day.  Those of you who know me well enough know why.

But also, I don't do stupid things like head down to the financial district in the middle of the month-long "Occupy Wall Street" protest.  Sorry to my upcoming weekend visitors...we'll go shopping instead.  I'm a smart kid.

So I don't feel too terribly bad when I skip the evening news for Friends or How I Met Your Mother.  And I will happily continue watching Castle, my favorite show which happens to be a crime show set in my city.  Because it's nothing compared to the news anchors that follow prime time television.