Where In The World

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

(Cue Carmen San Diego theme song.)

I used to be really awesome at geography.

Then I moved to New York.

Random Airport Thoughts

Friday, December 23, 2011

I am stuck at La Guardia, running on no sleep, and just praying that I make it home tonight. So here's what I'm thinking...

Having to travel home for Christmas makes me want to move home.

I wish I could afford to fly first class, where they have those nice comfy beds that lay flat.

Where did the people sitting next to me get Chipotle? Jealous.

I am getting tired of flying. Not just today. In life.

Why do people fly with dogs?

I don't understand why if takes four hours to fly to Dallas but only three to fly from Dallas. Four hours is an eternity.

Please don't let me fall asleep waiting and miss my flight.

Maybe the upgrade is worth it after all.

What happens inside the rich people lounges?

I would rather be driving down I-35. Yes, I just said that.

Mom better bring cookies to the airport.

I just feel so much better when I've at least made it to Texas.

It doesn't feel like Christmas yet.

New York is a pretty cool place. But it's not home.

"If I ever get back to Oklahoma, I'm gonna nail my feet to the ground."

If You're Gonna Play In Texas

Thursday, December 22, 2011

If you're gonna play in Texas, you absolutely must have: faith, Friday night lights (the real kind), fantastic BBQ...and of course, a fiddle in the band.

My obsession with all things Texas and Oklahoma is old news by now.  I always loved living in those places, but I never really knew how much until I moved to New York.  I longed to live here, dreamed about living here, secretly shopped for apartments on my lunch break.  But as much as I love the big city, I am constantly homesick for the only life I've ever really known.

And when you grew up in Oklahoma and spent a major part of your life in Texas, one thing is certain...

BBQ is a way of life that few outside that area truly understand.  Sure they think they have their own way of doing it, but you all know that it's not the same.  And let me tell you, I have never craved BBQ as much as I have in the last six months.  I'm not entirely sure why it took me nearly six months to give in, but it probably has something to do with being scared of New York City BBQ.  It had the potential to be really, really bad.  So armed with recommendations from my Okie-in-the-City friends, it was finally game time.

My school friend Brian (who is from NY) and I ventured to Dinosaur BBQ this week to work on a research project (and figure out this whole BBQ business).  It's really not too far from me, and it is somewhat famous among New Yorkers who think they know what they're talking about.  So settled along the Hudson River just into Harlem, we found Dino BBQ...

And people, it was like walking into Texas.  So much so that I immediately texted my favorite Texan to tell him so.  The smell of BBQ, rustic painted menus, country music.  Ahhhh...home.  We had to wait a while for a table, but it was worth the wait.  The Texas-sized atmosphere was worth it.  But then here's what happened when we ordered...  When the waitress asked what I wanted for my two sides, I asked about her favorites, since there were so many choices on the menu.  And then here is what she said...

"BBQ Fried Rice"

Yes, you read that right.  And people, I wish there had been a camera to capture the look on my face.  Brian said he had never seen me look that confused...and he sits next to me in Ivy League doctorate classes where I am always a bit confused.  But are you kidding me, BBQ fried rice?  Never in a million years would something like that be even considered in Texas, much less actually put on a menu.  Just to set the record straight, I ordered BBQ Beans and Mac and Cheese for my sides, and they were pretty good.  The food was definitely not Texas, but all in all it was a pretty good substitute until I get back to where they know what BBQ should be like.  BBQ Fried Rice...

So research project planned, I went home smelling like BBQ...you know what I'm talking about, that smokey smell that lasts for days on your clothes.  Normally, I avoid it, changes clothes after BBQ, and do my best to not smell like BBQ in my daily life.  But I realized that I kind of missed it.  The next day, when my classmate sent an email following up on our research project, he mentioned that he felt like he still smelled like BBQ.  And it's funny, because that's such a novelty to a New Yorker.

But it's just how life smells in the great state of Texas.

Baby It's Cold Outside

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hey, you know how I moved to New York City on July 31?  I jetted away from the hottest summer on record in Oklahoma history and settled into beautiful, perfect, 85 degree New York summer.  Now, just so you know, it always feels so much hotter in the city than it really is, since there is so much glass and steel and concrete.  It was hot on the subways, hot in my un-airconditioned apartment, hot everywhere.  And I loved it.  Summer in New York, I have decided is my favorite.  You just can't beat long, lazy dinners outside, the perfection of reading a book for hours in Central Park, or running (well, you know...fast walking) along the Hudson.  I am a shorts and flip flops and summer dresses kind of girl.

So why am I going on and on about summer?

Because, apparently, it gets cold in the northeast.  Who knew?  (Stop laughing.)  Like, really, really cold.  Cold on the subways, cold in my apartment, cold everywhere.  I think I've bundled up enough to handle it, and I am always wrong.  The thing is, it gets dark around 4:30 p.m., so the nights seem longer and there is less time for the sun to warm things up.  And so when I went downtown last night to meet friends for dinner at 8:00 p.m., it felt like the middle of the night, because it had already been dark for so long.  I am getting used to the cold, because I know it hasn't really even gotten cold here yet.  The days when 25 is the low will soon become the days when 25 is the high.  Still, makes me miss Texas and all those years I drove home for winter break in shorts and flip flops.  Ah, Texas...

So this weekend, when faced with the idea of no class projects, no on-call nights, and no visitors, here is what I did...saw New Years Eve in theaters, watched the entire eight-hour Kennedys mini-series, laughed through Home Alone one and two, designed wedding invitations for baby sister, and read two Nicholas Sparks books.  (Stop judging...sometimes a girl just needs a Nicholas Sparks love story.)  I even attempted to enjoy tex-mex in New York City, but it was sort of a disaster of Texas-sized proportions.  Kind of reminded me of that commercial around the campfire where the guy gets his salsa from New York City.  It just can't be done people.

But now there are only 4.5 days until Oklahoma.  I'm a little nervous about attempting to fly out of New York during the holidays, so say a little (okay, big) prayer that my flights are on time and everything goes smoothly...this city girl needs some major family/holiday/Okie time.  Like, soon.

Happy Christmas, blog friends!

Merry New York Christmas

Saturday, December 17, 2011

So this is one of my all-time, year-round favorites, but it is especially true and especially meaningful this year, at this time of year...

Call on your angels
Come down to the city
Crowd around the big tree
All you strangers who know me
Bring your compassion
Your understanding
Lord, how we need it
On this New York City Christmas

Yeah I'm sending you a merry New York Christmas
and a prayer for peace on earth within our time
Hear the sidewalk angels echo hallelujah
We understand them, now more than ever

So call on your angels
Your beaten and broken
It's time that we mended
So they don't fade with the season
Let our mercy be the gifts we lay
From Brooklyn and to Broadway
Celebrate each and every day
of this New York City Christmas

(A New York City Christmas, Rob Thomas)

Merry New York Christmas, friends...hope it is simply wonderful.

I'll Be Home For Christmas

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

When you live 2,000 miles away from home, it's not presents around the tree, just begging to be opened.  It's, "how much more will fit in this box before I ship it halfway across the country?"

Case in point...

I once thought I could just put all the gifts in my carry-on suitcase and take it with me on December 23.  Um, yeah...

Now, in case you are wondering, gift wrapping is kind of my thing.  I get really into it.  It's an art form...which is part of the reason I spent hours picking out gift wrap in SoHo today.  In all honesty, you could easily spend as much on the wrapping as you do on the gift.  Stationery stores are my absolute favorite kinds of stores.  I could get lost for hours in the paper stores on 18th street or scattered throughout SoHo.  Today I picked up a greeting card that was $10.  And then I put it right back where I found it.  Seriously, don't take me to a paper or stationery store and expect it to be a quick, cheap trip.  But on days like today that just generally are kind of ugly and make you realize how big the city is and how short life is, the best thing I know to do is make pretty things.  

But back to the Christmas gifts...they wouldn't even come close to fitting in my largest, non-carryon suitcase.  Not even a little bit.  So instead, I put everything in leftover moving boxes hiding in the back of my closet.  And then I took them out, rearranged, and repeated this process approximately seven times until all the gifts fit perfectly.  It was kind of like playing Tetris.

I mean, maybe it doesn't look like that much.  But that big box?  I could sit down inside of it.  Definitely too much to travel with all the way to Oklahoma.  So very glad that FedEx is literally next door.  Not so very glad that I still have to wait nine days to see my most favorite people.  But I will definitely be home for Christmas, so very soon...

Love is the Heart of the World

Monday, December 12, 2011

"Oh, and hope is the soul of the Dreamer
And Heaven is the home of my God
It only takes one true believer
To believe you can still beat the odds"

(Lady A)

Forever Kind of Moment

Sunday, December 11, 2011

‎"To Baylor nation, I say this is a forever kind of moment, and may we be blessed to have many more like it in the future. God has a plan, and it's our job to fulfill it, and in this moment we have." (RG3's Heisman acceptance speech)

In the midst of a crazy weekend, I ditched the cab ten blocks away and ran through Times Square to arrive just as the ceremony was beginning.  (Note: If you've never been to NY, you don't know that running through Times Square on a Saturday night is like running an obstacle course around tourists and Disney characters and street corner salesmen.  It takes talent.)  I had just wrapped a week of insane work, multiple papers, charity party the previous night, and two days in a row of very intense doctoral-level classes.  I finished my second semester at Columbia and skipped out early on the class party to represent my Bears at the official Baylor Alumni New York watch party, just around the corner from the actual Heisman presentation.  I had to be there.  And it was so very sweet.  The announcer lady just had to say "Ro..." and the place was a beautiful blend of tears and screaming and Sic Em Bears.  Pure joy.    

Over the last few weeks and months...and really, decades, there was a lot of talk.  A lot of negativity.  A lot of people out there who all shared a common thought...that Baylor University cannot win the Heisman.  They said it simply is not possible.  That a seemingly insignificant school in the middle of nowhere Texas had no shot at football greatness.  But you know what?  

We never stopped believing.  

And the greatness of the achievement is nothing compared to a young man from Texas who stood in the national spotlight and made it clear that it wasn't about a game or a win or a person.  We do love the game, because we grew up in the middle of Friday Night Lights country.  But for thousands of Baylor fans, it is so much more than a game.  It is the knowledge that God has a plan and that our job is to faithfully follow.  It is patience in the face of adversity.  In a way, it is the embodiment of everything we have ever believed...

That faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.

So we will Sic Em like we never have before, because we are so very certain that God works for the good of those who love him. 

And we will pray not for football wins and trophies, but for so many more forever kind of moments... 

A Few Words Too Many

Sunday, December 4, 2011

The way I see it, life is just way too short to be mean.

Now, I realize that this sounds a bit like something you tell a kindergartener or plaster on a bumper sticker for your mini van.  But really, just stick with me.

That whole, "stick and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me" business your parents taught you when you were five?  Total lie.  One of the biggest lies you will ever be told.  Could not be farther from the truth.  Because for as strong and in control and impressive you are, one person's words have a really big impact.  Like it or not, it's just the way it is.

The Chief, Baby Sister, and I are generally in agreement that life would be so much easier if people were like us...kind and thoughtful and more concerned about making other people happy than satisfying our own selfishness.  We go out of the way to take care of the people in our lives, and the favor is not always returned.  And really, there just aren't a whole lot of people like that in the world.  So when you find one, whether that person is a friend or boss or someone else equally as awesome as you are, you do everything you can to treat the other person as great as they treat you.  And, most of the time, when people don't live up, it makes being around them frustrating or discouraging or just downright miserable.

I fully realize that the mean people have their reasons for being mean, and my counseling background tells me that it's because of their own horrible pasts or selfish issues or whatever.  Sad for them, really.  The thing is, I do not care why a mean person is mean.  Their bitterness or need to make other people feel awful about themselves just isn't ok.  I mean, I am generally an awesome, beautiful, humble, Ivy League educated woman who at least makes you think I have it all together (also a lie).  So the one or two mean people in my life?  I'll get over it, even if it makes me not like the day-to-day one little bit.  But the ones who are facing things much worse than me, or still trying to figure out who they are, or just trying to get over what happened a long time ago?  One unkind person can destroy it all.  A few words too many can last forever.

So for just a little bit, maybe try to approach everyone you encounter with trust instead of doubt...encouragement instead of challenge...peace instead of conflict...love instead of hate.

It could change the world.

The Good Stuff

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"Most of all let love guide your life." (Colossians 3:14)

So, by now you know that Baby Sister (yes, the wedding planner) is getting married.  Matt proposed in Riverside Park a couple of weeks ago, and life has been a whirlwind of wedding planning and bridal boutiques and save the dates.  So incredibly fun.  Baby Sister and I (along with The Chief and Maid of Honor #2) bought one breathtaking wedding dress and six beautiful bridesmaids dresses in the span of about two and a half hours last weekend...be impressed.

Here's an engagement day picture of the happy couple in Riverside Park.  In my dream life, I am a photographer who can afford to do nothing but take beautiful pictures of happy people.  Let me know if you have any interest in financing this lifestyle.

But more importantly than all the wedding fun, they are the good stuff...the kind of sappy perfect love story that romantic comedy endings are made of and girls like me live for.  Because apparently, it really does exist in real life.  Who knew?  

Now, my beautiful RAs couldn't get enough Baby Sister stories from the beginning...they absolutely adore that she is a wedding planner.  Even though they have never met her, they were thrilled when she got engaged.  At last night's staff meeting, I told the story of Just Matt's (that's his new nickname I gave him...had to have a nickname for my new brother-in-law) latest surprise for Baby Sister.  The story about how yesterday morning the church receptionist called Em to come to the front desk, where she found her fiance with roses, waiting to take her to breakfast.  Nice story, right?  Even better when you remember that he lives two hours away in a completely different state.  Let me tell you folks, we didn't get anything accomplished in staff meeting after I told that story.  My staff (all girls, all 21 years old) left literally telling themselves, "Find the kind of man who shows up from Kansas on a Wednesday."  Adorable.

(Sidenote: I am convinced that Baby Sister and Just Matt will be totally embarrassed by this blog post.  But that's ok.  They're happy and sappy and in love and stuff.)

But really, even though we might not believe it happens in real life, that's all a girl really wants.  To walk to her doorstep or office or some other completely routine place and unexpectedly find the love of her life, just because he missed her.  For someone we are dying to see to do something to prove that he feels that way even more.  Now, we will never, ever tell you that's what we want.  But really, it's the stuff dreams are made of.  So for all the girls like me who convince themselves it doesn't happen in real life, wait for the guy who shows up from Kansas on a Wednesday.  Because that's the good stuff. 

And guys, would it kill you to go out of your way to make the girl you dream about happy?  Try it sometime...  

Happy December

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here.  One day the trees are golden and cherry colored, and it's a perfect fall day in Manhattan.  The next day the leaves are gone, bells are ringing, and holiday windows appear overnight.  And there are Christmas trees...everywhere you look.  

Love it.

Rockefeller Tree...

Sidewalk tree stands along Broadway...

My little apartment tree...

Enjoy the holidays, friends.  Here's hoping it's everything you dream of...