Last Train Home

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Strange things happen on the subway.

See, I told you so.

Sometimes it's a mariachi band.  Sometimes it's a butterfly that got on at 42nd and off at 59th, where I assume it was going Bloomingdales to buy a hat that will turn out to be a mistake--as almost all hats are.

Last week, I saw a man get on the subway and proceed to do full-on yoga poses while the train was moving.  We're talking, push ups against the doors (pretty sure that's a no-no), downward facing dog, and everything.  He wasn't even wearing yoga clothes.  Street clothes, warrior three pose, the works.  Dude got off the train at the very next stop.

Then Sunday I went downtown to meet a friend for brunch at Peels.  You all know how much I adore brunch in New York.  It's a whole production, and most New Yorkers do brunch the way some people do church. (Don't worry, I go to church, too.)  So there I am on an early Sunday morning, reading my book between stops at Columbus Circle and Times Square.  And the woman sitting next to me is totally reading my book over my shoulder.  So not kidding.  Lady is leaned over reading what I am reading.  I feel like that's not ok, but I can't really figure out why.  Something about personal space.  Still.

And then, in a truly classic, only in New York moment, this happened...

There I am, listening to music, enjoying a perfectly wonderful Friday afternoon on my way to Chelsea Market, and I notice the cute guy across the subway car looking my direction.  Now, lots of creepy, strange people exist on the subways, but it's a little more rare for well-dressed, professional looking cute guys to exist on the subway.  So I notice the cute guy noticing me, and start to wonder...  You all know what I'm talking about.  You do it too.

And then I realize I'm sitting in front of the subway map.  Cute boy is just trying to figure out where his stop is.  Dang it.

Story of my life.

Strange things happen on the subway.

Bye Bye Bye

Monday, January 23, 2012

Well, it's official.  I broke up with Verne.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "Who is Verne?" or "Why didn't I know that Katie had a boyfriend?"

Verne, if you recall (please see this previous post), was my super fantastic, hard core personal trainer.  The one my new gym assigned for a two-session free trial, then sneakily tricked me into thinking I could not possibly live without.  Smooth move, new gym.  So after two sessions of butt-kicking, I absolutely knew I needed more.

But then came the DTR talk.  That's "Define the Relationship," for all you readers who didn't go to Baylor or grow up dating in the last decade or so.  It's the conversation that inevitably does not go well and leaves both parties confused, surprised, or just disappointed.  The DTR happens when one person is frustrated that the relationship is not moving as quickly as he/she would like and wants to put a label on what's happening.  If you are in a good relationship in which both people are super happy to be together, there's really no need for the DTR...the "boyfriend/girlfriend" thing just happens.

So Trainer Verne and I scheduled the DTR to discuss the future of our relationship.  I was prepared for it to cost me something, but I was ready, you know?  Verne, who was pretty much my therapist by this point, said I needed the 10-session package, and he would even throw in two free sessions to make it 12.  That's two sessions per week for the six weeks I'll be in New York prior to Baby Sister's wedding, which is now an unbelievably short seven weeks away!  That's perfect, I thought to myself.  Verne and I are exactly on the same page about the future.  Success.

But then, he told me what it would cost.  And folks, when the man said 950, I actually thought to myself, "950 what?"  And then he wrote it down for me, conveniently adding the dollar sign to make it clear.  Here is what went through my mind... "Do not act that horrified in front of him.  Wait until you get back to the locker room to freak out."



Sometimes I forget how out of my league I am in this city.

I called Baby Sister and The Chief as soon as I left.  They both laughed, so I figure that was a pretty good indication of where we fell on the whole including it in the wedding budget idea.  Apparently, if I continue to see Trainer Verne, it might not really be that nice of a wedding after all.  Something about having to return the wedding gown...needless to say it was not so good.  So for the sake of Baby Sister and Just Matt, I knew what I had to do.

So bright and early Sunday morning, I met up with Verne prior to an early spin class.  I avoided him at first, then decided to be a big girl and just do it.  It went like this...

"It's not you, it's me."

"That's ok, really.  We can still be friends."

And I'm not even kidding.  But now it's just going to be awkward, you know?


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Oh hey, it’s the 100th post on {the ivy project}.  Yay!

When {the ivy project} debuted, I did not know I was moving to New York.  I had just gotten into Columbia, but since my program is nontraditional, I planned to stay in Oklahoma and just travel for class.  But then on a whim, I applied for a job, which provided an apartment, and before I knew it I was moving to Manhattan.  Now, The Chief (Mom, if you’ve just joined us) always says it never hurts to apply for a job…the worst that can happen is a “no.”  But what I have recently learned is that you have to be ready for it, because then you get to the no turning back point when a “yes” is expected.  So now I live in Manhattan, spend way more time than I dreamed on airplanes, and generally love urban life in the big city.  That pretty much gets us caught up.

So here is what I’m thinking for the next 100 posts on {the ivy project}…

I got a really amazing new camera for Christmas, so expect really amazing New York photographs coming soon.  I’m planning a bit of tourist-in-my-own-city action.  (Please refer to previous two posts.)

I want to write more.  The first 100 were in almost exactly one year.  Expect more to come.

I would like to be a little braver about what I blog, but I am just so careful about blogging things that are in no way questionable, especially when it comes to work.  You people miss out on a lot of funny stories.  Maybe I’ll work on finding creative ways to share the good stuff.

Anyone know how to make my blog make money and help secure my status as one of those women who earns a full-time income solely based on her blog?  Cause I want that.  Soon.

Baby Sister’s wedding.  You’ll either love the ultra-girly, wedding-related posts or hate them.  But there are only two straight guys who read, so I’m guessing everyone else will love it. 

Lastly, I would really like to go on a date with a cute boy who loves Jesus, knows what he wants, doesn’t make me wonder about the status of things, and makes me feel special.  That’s not too much to ask, right?  I mean sure, it doesn’t directly relate to the next 100 posts on {the ivy project}.  But you would all get to read all the good stuff.  And it would be really good, you know?

Well folks, that's the plan for now.  Let me know if you have any brilliant ideas for the next 100 on {the ivy project}...or if you want to come visit and make a guest appearance on the blog.  In the mean time, stay tuned for so many more stories from the Big Apple.  Happy Sunday!

Winter Wonderland

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Ah, New York.  I woke up to four inches of snow and a city that still never sleeps, winter storm or not.  So naturally, this is what I'm doing instead of studying, but look how pretty...

Dream Life, Take One

Guess who got a fancy new camera for Christmas?  I am that much closer to realizing my dream of taking pretty pictures for a living and not dealing with the drama of a real job.  And since I live in the greatest city in the world, I'm in a pretty good place to get a little more practice.  So expect a lot more artsy, tourist-in-my-city posts over the next few months.  

Yesterday I took the subway down to Chelsea Market, a food lover's paradise.  Located in the Meatpacking District, Chelsea Market is an old abandoned factory that now houses tons of tiny little restaurants, food markets, shops, and the Food Network studios.  I could spend all day there.  So armed with my fancy new camera, I took a few not-so-bad shots.  That is, until the camera battery died.  Note to self: in new life as photographer, be sure to charge the battery first.  So for now, here's a little preview of what's to come...

Now, do I brave the six inches of snow for beautiful Central Park snowy pictures?  Yes?  Wish me luck...

All The Right Moves

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

 So if you’re keeping up, you read the whole long saga about Spinning and Special K Red Berries and shedding a whole bunch of weight to be the cute twenty-something New Yorker person I am today.  But people, Baby Sister is getting married in 50 days.  So I have got to step it up.  Now, I know that you will all tell me that I look great and don’t need to lose any weight…that’s why I let you read by blog.  But all of the women out there will understand, and there are only two straight guys who read my blog anyways. 

My previous wedding roles consist of reader, candle lighter, guest book attendant, and probably something else not very important in the grand scheme of things.  I have never been a bridesmaid…much less the star bridesmaid.  (Obviously, we might need to work on understanding who this day is really about…)  Baby sister picked out a beautiful, non-hideous bridesmaids dress, and I want to look good.

I recently joined a new gym in Manhattan, because the creepy, sweaty Columbia gym just is not doing it for me.  I need spinning and air conditioning, thank you very much.  As part of my introduction to the gym, I received a few demo sessions and perks and things. 

So yesterday, fresh off a mini-makeover at Macy’s, I put on my cutest Lululemon outfit for my Pilates reformer session.  Pilates is kind of like yoga and uses your body weight and breathing to tone and sculpt and stuff.  If you’ve done Pilates, it’s probably on a mat in an exercise studio, but apparently it originally started with this crazy scary machine…

My super cute private Pilates instructor sounded exactly like Sofia Vergara, so you can only imagine.  Michele put me through an hour of near-torture, but in that addictive way that leaves you wanting more.  (You can watch her demo video for proof.)  When she finally unhooked me from this contraption and I wobbled to my feet, Michele very sweetly informed me that the sessions are priced at a very affordable six for $210.  Lady, I don’t know how they do it in Brazil, but that’s not so much “affordable” by Oklahoma standards.  I keep forgetting that I don’t live there anymore.

Now for today, we meet Verne.  Verne was the boot-camp style personal trainer assigned for my kickoff session.  Within about 90 seconds of meeting me, Verne knew my entire life story, fitness history, and that Baby Sister was getting married.  And he said to me, “Oh, so you need the sexy dress shoulders.  Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.”  So I already loved him.  I suppose it was a pretty standard personal training session, but again in the way that leaves you wanting more.  Definitely took my normal routine up a notch.  Then at the end of our session, Verne asked if I had turned 21 yet.  So I’m pretty sure I’m going to give him money.   We scheduled another comp session for Friday, at which point he will give me the pricing options.  Maybe The Chief will count it toward the wedding budget?  

Deep Dark Secrets

Monday, January 9, 2012

I'm pretty sure I just became an official New Yorker.  Or at least an official Upper West Sider.  In the most Manhattan thing I've done to date, I just ordered groceries online.  Yep, seriously.  I am that girl.

Now, one of my favorite things is grocery shopping, and I'm not even kidding.  I am a total foodie.  I really love buying groceries, especially if it is at a really cool market or grocery store.  I love cooking, so grocery shopping seems like a pretty natural extension of that.  One of my favorite things about living in New York is all the farmer's markets and different places to pick up exciting ingredients for dinner.  One of my high school BFFs pretty accurately summed me up when she said that she takes some out of town visitors to amusements parks or museums, and she takes me to Whole Foods.  Chicago introduced me to Trader Joe's, and I'm pretty sure I would move to Seattle just for Pike Place Market.  So you get the point...

But here's something else, and you probably only know it if you've known me a long, long time.  I am a former fat kid.  Laugh if you want...I'm kind of proud of who I am now.  But yes, there are about eight years of school photos that will never be shown.  It was bad.  In total since high school, I've lost around 70 pounds, and about half of that has been post-college.  So I have worked really, really, really hard to get to the size four I am today.  And here's how I did it...

Spinning and Special K Red Berries

I am so serious.

(I promise, this all relates to buying groceries online.  Hang on.)

Almost three years ago, a New York friend became religiously addicted to Spinning.  I had never been, and really only exercised sporadically.  But in a mix of trying to prove that I too could be a New Yorker and trying to impress said friend, I gave it a shot.  And I was sure I was going to die.  But then I went back.  And then I went every day.  And it was the first exercise that I wanted to do, not felt like I should do.  Loved the stress relief of a post-work spin class, loved the lighting, loved the music, loved my new gym friends.  So with my daily hour of super intense spinning, other things started to change too.  I ate a little healthier, cut out my beloved Starbucks drinks, etc. etc.  It worked pretty fast too.

Now, I had tried the whole silly Special K diet off and on in the past.  You know, the tv commercials for replace two meals a day with a bowl of Special K and lose six pounds in two weeks?  I never, ever made it through the two weeks.  But armed with a new healthier lifestyle, I tried again.  I don't remember why I tried again, but it made sense at the time.  And I made it all the way through the two weeks, and then I just kept going.  Took milk and cereal to work and everything.  My coworkers were a little worried.  Somewhere along the way, I stopped counting and just ate it because I liked it.  It is good stuff.

(See, now we're back to groceries.  I told you.)

So as you can imagine, I buy a lot of Special K Red Berries.  In a normal day, I do cereal for breakfast and lunch, then cook something yummy for dinner.  I'm not obsessive.  If visitors are in town, we go to the Hungarian Pastry Shop and Shake Shack.  I just try not to go overboard when it's just me.  But here's the problem.  I moved to Manhattan, where cereal in my neighborhood is $7 a box.  For the small box.  So for a girl who goes through at least two boxes of cereal a week, that adds up fast.  Last semester, my boss took me to Costco, where I seriously stocked up.  But when I came back from Christmas in Oklahoma, my cabinets were sad and empty.  Naturally, I wandered down to the neighborhood grocery store on my corner, where two boxes of cereal cost me $18.

So I obviously needed a new plan.

Thus, my online grocery shopping.  Thank you, FreshDirect.  Seriously, it was amazing.  You can buy eggs and tomatoes and lobster and everything online, and they deliver it right to your door when you tell them to.  And here's the best part...I bought 12 boxes of Special K Red Berries for $36 with only $5.99 delivery.  My mom thought it was the funniest thing she'd ever heard, mostly because my level of excitement was a little embarrassing.  But it was really, really exciting.

The moral to the story?  Find something you love to do (spinning) and make adjustments where you can (cereal).  I don't deprive myself at all.  I love pasta and Mexican and cheese and cake a lot.  I just don't do it at every single meal.  I would rather be happy and not a supermodel than super skinny and miserable.  But if the Special K company could hook me up with a spokesperson gig (like Jared and Subway), that would be awesome.

2012 Dreams and Plans

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A lot happened in 2011.  A lot.  Just to recap, I...
  • Accepted the admissions offer from Columbia.
  • Went to Philly with some of my favorite people.
  • Quit my job with no real plan.  (Um, I really secretly loved doing that.)
  • Miraculously got a new job.
  • Started a doctorate program at an Ivy League school.
  • Went to my high school reunion (not that I am old enough).
  • Moved to New York City.
  • Earned a whole lot of frequent flyer miles.
  • Celebrated Baby Sister's engagement.
  • Did a ridiculous amount of Sic Em Bears for a win over OU, impressive national ranking, Heisman trophy, and bowl game victory.  (Remember the Alamo!)
  • Met really cool new people I happen to kind of like.
So here's what I know is happening in 2012...
  • Baby Sister and Just Matt's wedding.  (Who wants to be my date?)
  • At least five Oklahoma trips.  Again with the frequent flyer miles.
  • Gonna go to Kansas to visit the Canfields.  (As in, my little sister and her husband.  Strange.)
  • Three more semesters at Teachers College, Columbia University.
  • Qualifying paper, certification exam, and dissertation proposal for said doctorate.
  • Fancy new gym that is currently the reason I am having trouble sitting, standing, or generally moving like a normal person.  (But worth the money?!?!)
  • Last full year in my twenties.  (Insert mild panic attack here.  But, I will still be in my twenties for the entire year.  Don't go getting ahead of yourself and making me feel old.)
And here is what I really, really want in 2012...
  • Warm, sunny, happy weather and pretty spring clothes.  I know I'm probably fighting a losing battle, but if we could just skip the whole New York winter thing, that would be great.  I just love New York in the summer.
  • The beach.  I'm not too particular...could be the Hamptons, Martha's Vineyard, Texas, West Coast, or some man-made Las Vegas beach.  I really don't care.  Girl just needs a break from the city sometimes.
  • Decent Mexican food in Manhattan.
  • New York visitors.  (One in know who you are.)
  • Church in New York.
  • Good dates with a great boy who loves Jesus and me.
  • Romantic comedy season to hurry up and get to the theaters.
  • Max Brenner Melting Chocolate Truffle Heart Cake.
I mean, that's not too much to ask, right?  Love and chocolate cake and sunny weather?  

Happy 2012!