Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Auto Awesome Auto Memories

The nifty thing about Google's Auto Awesome is coming home from a fun day in the city and watching a nifty little highlight video.

Win for Google.  Win for us.

We also enjoyed the view from a great park.

Enjoyed the "meta" moment.

Saw a neat little stained glass house.

Enjoyed our awesomeness.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

She Sang

Last Wednesday I needed to get home quickly to meet up with an important houseguest.  My need to get home was more important than my need to avoid the 2 train.  I will do anything in my power to avoid the 2 train.  The 2 is crowded, loud, and filled with with all varieties of underground life.  When I saw a 10 minute wait for the 3 train, I chose to endure the 2 and get home faster.

The train was crowded, loud, and within minutes a frail woman raised her voice to announce that she was going to sing us a song and hoped that we would enjoy her performance.  (Sidenote: when anyone makes any kind of announcement on a train it is always annoying.  They may wish to sell us snacks, call us to repentance, or solicit donations for any number of ailments.  In all cases, the riders drop their heads and avoid any form of acknowledgement of the speaker.)  There we were, a train car full of people wanting to avoid the aspiring musician, and she sang.

She sang, and the train was no longer so crowded.

She sang, and the train was no longer so loud.

She sang, and the train experienced the beauty of life underground.

There aren't many times when an entire subway car of people connect with each other, but this was one of those times.  When she finished we clapped, dropped crisp dollar bills in her bag, and asked for one more song.  She sang again, and I was tempted to pull out my phone to record this memory but decided against it.  I wanted to enjoy that moment.  I didn't want the distraction of holding on to the present.  My stop came, and I got off the train.  Walking home, I smiled.  Sometimes when you live in the Big Apple, it is easy to get lost in the grind.  Other times it is easy to find solid ground.

You just have to listen to the song.

Monday, May 11, 2015

We are Fancy

Before moving to NYC, I envisioned a life of sleek apartments and fancy parties... then I lived here and decided that life is best when the ceiling doesn't leak.  Our garden apartment (just a fancy term for ground floor) has a leaky ceiling and a lot of street noise, but it also has access to the backyard.  This sounded great when we moved in until we realized that the backyard was full of weeds, a broken cement slab, feral cats, glass shards, and garbage.  After living here for a couple years, we decided to finally start cleaning it up.  It took around two weeks to go from this:
to this:

Now that we have it mostly clean (mostly because the only way to get all the debris out is through our kitchen, so it will just stay piled up in the yard) we can start a garden, maybe plant some grass, get a trampoline or just enjoy the glass-free dirt.

While cleaning we did see Willie's recent kittens.

 I also took a lot of breaks just to take pictures of me doing yardwork.  (I never thought that I would move to Manhattan and spend my time gardening)

But most importantly, we had a great time creating a space for more adventures.  Hopefully we can get a grill and start having some of those fancy parties at our sleek garden apartment.

Friday, May 08, 2015


A couple weeks ago we had our NORTHEAST REGIONAL CONFERENCE.  Normally when any kind of Stake or Regional Conference happens I look forward to a weekend of no church, but something about the NORTHEAST REGIONAL CONFERENCE caught my interest.  The announcements regarding the NORTHEAST REGIONAL CONFERENCE were a bit vague.  We were told that it would be a broadcast from Salt Lake City, and while each building in the NORTHEAST REGION would have its own opening to the conference, we would all start the main broadcast at the same time.

Let me say this: the only reason I went was to complain.

I know the LDS church is large and it is difficult to get people together for a combined meeting, but just because it is difficult doesn't mean we shouldn't try.  I really don't like the idea of broadcasting these meetings.  I know we broadcast general conference twice a year, but why not gather the members together whenever possible?  Are we going to start broadcasting our weekly meetings?  Can I Skype my home teaching visits?

So I went, and I learned a few things.

1- The opening portion of the broadcast was just another broadcast from another building in our stake. (that sucked)
2- People in our stake like to speak loudly into the microphone.
3- Musical numbers broadcast through the internet sound just as awful as you would think.
4- The NORTHEAST REGION is a lot bigger than I thought. (there was no way we could get everyone into one stadium) (and it would take way too long to drive to a middle spot)(See the picture below- Region 4 is us)
5- The broadcast from Salt Lake City felt more like people reading old talks from a different regional conference and changing the area to the NORTHEAST REGION.

Despite having a list of what I hated about the conference, there were a couple of things I liked.  Neil Anderson and Robert Hales gave talks and each shared a little nugget that kept my attention.

In sharing his admiration for Elder Hales, Neil Anderson said "The Lord loves Elder Hales, and Elder Hales knows the Lord."  It is a simple phrase but it made me think about the quality of life Elder Hales lives so that others do not doubt his commitment to the Lord.  I have a lot of complaints.  I have a lot of grievances.  I also have a lot of admiration for those dedicated to sharing a message of peace and love.

Robert Hales, who was born on Long Island, said "never shut the door of your heart to any of your children."  I think about this every day.  I certainly don't envision a future where I would cut my children or family out of my life, but there are times when I feel like it might hurt less to have the door only halfway open.  I have shut the proverbial door before and it has taken me a long time to reopen it.  I decided that I just need to keep it open to everyone.

In summary: I went to complain, and I left grateful.  Church wins.