Wednesday in New York


Yesterday me and my brother Kyle hopped a train to New York City for a day trip! I had such a fantastic day! The main reason we went was because I desperately wanted to see two Dirk Bogarde movies that are only available to view at The Paley Center for Media (blogged about those here.)

The day began with a rough start. My brother is a big railfan and insisted that we sit on the right side of the train so that he could have a better view of the rail freight yards (???) that we'd pass on the way to New York. The train was already crowded by the time we boarded, but there were still plenty of open seats for us to choose from. Despite my protesting that we should sit on the left side where the benches seat two, he dragged us into a three seater and assured me that my giant pocketbook in the third seat would ward off any new passengers who wanted to squeeze in next to me.

I should add here that I have a weird, strange phobia about sitting next to strangers. At the movies, on trains and buses, in cars, anywhere.. I really can't stand having to sit next to a stranger. Anyway, so there I was positioned between my brother and my giant purse, headphones on and reading The Bell Jar. Things were going smoothly. Then at the very next stop, not even ten minutes after we got on the train, this old lady comes over and hovers above me, staring at the third seat with a "MOVE THE PURSE" glare on her face. I gave my brother a cold look, moved my bag and then discreetly inched as far away from her as I could.

For the next sixty minutes I did all that I could to not notice her reusing the soiled tissues she had crammed up her coat sleeves. It didn't help that the train tracks to New York seem to be on a leftward leaning slope, so I spent the entire trip with my leg muscles contracted and feet planted so firmly on the train floor that I'm surprised I didn't leave footprints. I was not going to slide into her and her used tissues.

When we finally arrived in New York, I heaved a huge sigh of relief, informed Kyle that I will never EVER, for the rest of my life, ride in a three seater when two seaters are available, and went upstairs into Penn Station.

The rest of the trip went much smoother than the train ride, thankfully! To make up for the tissue-lady situation, Kyle let me spend almost a whole hour in H&M shopping -- only mentioning once (a new record) that there was a McDonalds next door, and he wanted a coke. (Even when we are nowhere near a McDonalds, he brings this up at least twice per hour.) I finally found red tights, which I've been lusting after ever since I saw Anna Karina wearing them in A Woman is a Woman. And only $5! Score!! I also got two really cute dresses and a new pair of sunglasses. All in all, though, I was overwhelmingly disappointed by the fact that the 80's and 90's had thrown up all over the store. Seriously, who thought that neon lace leggings and gold sequined shoulder pads deserved a comeback??

After H&M (and McDonalds) we stopped by the Empire State Building, snapped a few photos (okay, I took a few and Kyle took 400) and then headed for Rockefeller Center. I've been there before, but not since Sunday in New York became one of my favorite movies of all time and I've been dying to get back there ever since. You know, Rod Taylor and Jane Fonda meet when she goes to the skating rink to find her brother. I had no clue that it was a 16 block trek from the station -- if I had, I probably would have called a cab -- but nevertheless we made it there in one piece, took some pictures (I took a few, Kyle took 400) and then we grabbed lunch. I had originally thought it might be fun to go to the 21 Club (when in Rome..) but gee whiz, they charge $30 for a hamburger! There didn't seem to be any vegetarian options either, except for a mushroom thing that I wouldn't eat anyway. So we just grabbed sandwiches and pasta at a little cafe across from The Paley Center before heading in for the movies.

I had e-mailed beforehand to make sure that the two programs I wanted to see were, in fact, available, and also to ask how I could see three hours worth of film with a one hour ticket. I guess this is a rare request because when I got up to the viewing room the guy enthusiastically asked "Are you Kate?!" I replied, totally unsure of how they knew who I was since I had paid with cash. "You want to see Blithe Spirit and Little Moon of Alban!! Come over here and we'll set you up!!" He was really excited -- either he's a huge Dirk Bogarde fan or he just really loves his job.

For more about the movies and my mini Dirk Bogarde marathon, click here to read the post on my Discovering Dirk Bogarde blog.

After we were done with the movies, I thought it would be neat to continue my Sunday in New York on a Wednesday adventure and go back to Rockefeller Center to eat at the cafe that Jane & Rod ate at in the movie! Things have changed since the 60's. When Jane Fonda and Rod Taylor ordered simple toast and coffee, I don't remember the waiter glaring at them with the same hateful intensity that we received when we ordered coke and fries. Okay, Waiter! So the cafe is obviously a little more high-falutin' than it was when the movie was made, but that's no reason to look at us as if you wished you were shoving the utensils down our obviously-going-to-leave-a-small-tip throats.

Me and Kyle got a kick out of our surly waiter and continued to make fun of him whenever he left our table. We must have looked hilarious though; most of the people in the restaurant had on suits and here was Kyle with a "Hi! I'm a tourist!" backpack, baseball cap and jeans. I, of course, didn't look much better but at least I didn't have the backpack making me stick out like a sore thumb ;-)

After we finished our "meal" (and left a rather good tip considering our waiter's crummy attitude) we stopped by the NBC shop (why do they sell so many golf balls??? It was weird!) to get our dad a birthday present. Then we started the long trek back to Penn Station, stopping at every vendor along the way, on the lookout for a pair of mirrored aviator sunglasses for Kyle that my parents had instructed me not to let him buy, but I did. (That turned out well.)

We managed to find a two seater on the train, though it was unfortunately situated in the same car as a hoard of senior citizens on some kind of group trip. It looked like we had walked into the grocery store on a Tuesday afternoon. Luckily they kept to themselves (albeit loudly) and I enjoyed a nice peaceful ride home while Kyle took pictures of whatever was outside the train window.


The peon (with awful wind-blown bangs) eating with the well-to-do


Me and Kyle at the Empire State Building
(note to self: pin back bangs next time you go out on a windy day)


Cafe from the outside (would have looked better if the rink was there)

Animal abuse is never okay.


Today the Supreme Court overturned a law that banned videos showing cruelty to animals, citing freedom of speech. I'm sorry, but abusing defenseless creatures is NOT freedom of speech and it is NEVER okay.

Animal abuse is a subject that hits very close to home for me. My cat Chloe was abused before we adopted her, and the effects of that cruelty are still with her some 7 years later. Aside from the physical effects of the trauma - part of her tail is missing and she has neurological damage - she still shrinks when humans try to touch her, even the family that she has lived with for almost a decade.

My mom's friend adopted a kitten who was found with string tied around her tail. She was discovered by a lake where teenagers were whipping cats around by their tails and then tossing them into the water to drown.

Animal abuse is violence towards a living, feeling creature. There's no legalese that could make that untrue.

If this kind of violence was directed at women or children, it would never be tolerated. So, why animals? According to the law, animals are still "property", something with which anyone who has ever lived with a pet would disagree. When my cats are sick or in pain, the look in their eyes is as sad and hurt as a child with the same affliction. They are living beings, they feel pain and they can sense fear. If my dad accidentally stomps his feet too loudly in Chloe's direction she goes darting down the hallway to hide. The abuse that she endured eight years ago still lives in her mind and informs her daily life. She has a memory, and she has feelings.

I'm very attached to my cats, and anyone who knows me would agree that, to me, they are like my children. Sometimes I look at Chloe and have to fight back tears when I think that someone abused her. Me and my brother have been volunteering at a local no-kill shelter for about nine years now, and there are countless stories like Chloe's - or worse. It absolutely breaks your heart.

I know that the Supreme Court is supposed to rule by law and not by feelings; that empathy and sympathy are not supposed to factor into their decisions. But there are some times when even the most strict constructionists need to just take a stand and say "this is wrong." Abusing animals is wrong. In this case, I really don't care about precedent or whether or not something so vile and cruel could fall into the category of free speech. Overturning this ban is a wink to the monster who tortured Chloe, the teenagers who tossed the kittens into the lake, and all of the sickos who are now preparing to shoot more crushing videos.

Perhaps if the eight justices who voted to overturn the ban spent some time with shelter animals, listened to stories of cruelty and looked into the eyes of abused animals they might understand that animal abuse is never okay.

I don't usually say this, but if you disagree with me please don't leave a comment. This decision really upset me today and I honestly don't feel like getting harassed or arguing with anyone about it.

hilarious video by my brother!



My little brother makes corny tv commercial parodies on youtube, and his latest is absolutely brilliant! He'd kill me for saying this, but the whole gnome seller thing? TOTALLY my idea. Oh, and watch out for the mean "creampuff" lady. That is my GRANDMOM! LOL!!!

tax day fun!

Ok, so tax day isn't actually fun. In fact, it might be the most un-fun day of the whole year. At least it usually is for me when I find out that I owe like 25% of my meager little income. Boo hoo.

BUT there is one way to make tax day kind of awesome, and that is to watch one of my favorite Mary Tyler Moore episodes, 1040 or Fight. Mary gets audited by a really, really shy and pretty cute IRS guy. It's a really adorable episode, and for at least a half hour you're transported into a world where IRS guys are sweet, you only owe like $6 and all of your tax documents fit neatly into a tiny shoebox.

Day 17 - an art piece

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fiction book
Day 15 — A collection
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy


I don't think many people know that I also do pun-paintings, which is kind of weird since I only started doing classic movie and flapper art last year... the puns have been my "thing" since about 2005. This one is my personal favorite, I price the original really high at my art shows so that if it ever sells, by golly it will be worth parting with it :)

Day 16 - a song that makes me cry (or nearly)

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fiction book
Day 15 — A collection
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy



This is the song I listened to on repeat when my cat Hypatia was deathly ill in February 2008. We didn't know if what she had was contagious, so I was keeping our other cat, Chloe, locked in my bedroom while we waited to find out. I'd put this song on repeat, and lie on my bed petting Chloe and sobbing for hours.

A cat's illness might not seem like a devastating thing to people who don't have them, but to me it was the single worst time of my life, and this song always brings back those memories now, yet it is still remarkably comforting. It also reminds me, though, that even though we steered clear of anything serious two years ago, one of these days I will have to face my cats' mortality, and it will be even more heartbreaking and soul-crushing than how I felt then.

Geez, great post for "good mood week", huh?

a question for the glass-half-full crowd :)


Day 2 of good mood week, and I am trying VERY hard to keep a happy face, but, as always, that's not easy for me. So I have a question for people who have a naturally sunny disposition: do you have bad things go wrong all day long (like moi), and you just happen to have a stronger ability to deal with it than I do, or do you usually have such good luck that there's simply nothing to be blue about? I'm really curious! If you do have awful luck and manage to overcome it each day, any tips?

Anyway, I've just poured myself a glass of grapefruit juice and I'm going to take some deep breaths and try not to let anything get to me. My printer, my brother, the weather, the UK immigration department and life in general are really testing my patience today so it'll take a lot of grapefruit juice and happy music to keep me feeling remotely bubbly.

Oh, and I decided I'm going to draw some of my "cheer up" posts instead of finding photos online, I thought that would be fun! :)

things that cheer me up!

Day one of good mood week is almost over, and I think it went swimmingly. I had a lot of minor inconveniences like I do most every day -- losing the internet, and the like -- but I took it with a grain of salt. I focused on the happy things and didn't let other stuff bother me. Also, I've realized that it is physically impossible to feel grouchy whilst My Boy Lollipop is playing on repeat, so I intend to keep it going all week, or for my entire life if necessary.

For the duration of good mood week, I'm going to post some things that cheer me up. If the week goes well, I'll probably continue this series but if I feel like crap by Sunday then I'll chuck it and do a "things that make me angry" series instead.

Just kidding! ;-D


Ok, first up is I Dream of Jeannie. I got the complete series recently and have been watching it a lot while I work. My favorite character is Major Healey, but unfortunately the only good photo of him from the series that I could find online was like 200 pixels wide and really stunk so you get this one of the equally cool Jeannie and Major Nelson instead... my favorite episode is Divorce, Jeannie Style which *yay* is available on hulu so you can go watch it and see why I love it so much :)

(I love the look on Major Nelson's face. GOSH this series cracks me up!!)

By the way, I have this thing about characters and actors names... if I watched shows when I was a kid I still refer to the characters by their fake names. Whenever I watch Fail Safe I say "Look! It's Major Nelson!!"


Also, I adore the smell of blown-out candles. It's almost enough to celebrate my birthday twice each year so I get one more opportunity to smell burnt out birthday candles more often. (The extra helping of presents and cake wouldn't hurt either, I guess...)


ANYTHING grapefruit. Seriously, anything. Confession: I do have pink grapefruit body spray and shampoo. I know, I have a problem.

But I just found this recipe online for pistachio & grapefruit macarons, and I think it is the single best reason that somebody needs to invent a machine that lets you eat things you see on your computer screen. Wait to go to the grocery store, buy the ingredients and make these myself? Ok, that's all well and good but I'd much prefer to reach into my screen and eat them this minute.

Photos link back to their original sources :)

Day 15 - a collection

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fiction book
Day 15 — A fanfic A collection
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy


I had no idea what to do for fanfic, so I changed it to a collection :)

When I was little I wanted to have glasses so desperately that I used to lie during my eye exams and say different letters than the ones that were being displayed on the chart. I guess the doctors always caught on or something, because I never got glasses. As recently as a few years ago I'd hope so badly when I showed up at the eye doctors that they'd tell me I was just a little less than 20/20 and could finally get some specs.

Thankfully fake glasses caught on during the last year or so, and I've been stocking up like mad. They're bound to go out of style soon, so I need to hoard them while I can. It's one accessory that I absolutely adore, and despite my earnest attempts at cheating for cheaters, I'm kind of glad that I can finally wear them AND still have 20/20. Very win-win.

good mood week


Despite the fact that, by all accounts, I was a very happy child, I've somehow become a very bitter adult. It's not that I want to be crabby all the time, but I let circumstances overwhelm me and somehow wake up every single day on the wrong side of the bed.

Even on days when I wake up feeling refreshed, turn and look at my sweet little cat sleeping in her cat bed beside me, take a sip of the grapefruit juice I had left for myself in the morning and listen to birds chirping outside my window... something always happens to ruin the cheer. Whether it's stepping in a present left by my other cat (presents left by cats are not good things, just in case you don't have one and were wondering), checking my email and finding a complaint from a customer or going downstairs to find that the jar for the Nutella I had my heart set on for breakfast is empty -- something happens every morning to make me think "great, another bad start to another bad day."

Last night before I went to bed, I was completing a major printing project. I have to print 300 flapper doodle cards for an event, and my printer decided after the 20th or so card that it didn't like feeding my paper anymore, so I've had to manually feed each piece. I finished all 300 fronts and got through about 100 insides before my printer gave me this lovely notice:


Considering the fact that I'm practically broke, all I could think of was that my ink would run out before the project was completed & I'd have to run to Staples and spend my last few dollars on ink. I was pretty miserable.

I immediately thought -- (this sentiment is absolutely dripping with sarcasm) -- "this week is going to be just dandy."

But instead of preparing myself for yet another lousy week, I decided that this week was going to be different. I'm going to try to be in a good mood, and not let the little things get me down. It's been tough so far this morning, already. I woke up feeling really crappy, my nose was stuffy all night so I slept awful. (Oh, did I mention that I absolutely detest this time of year *cough* hay fever *cough*) I came online and saw that I had no orders again (I've been having a major dry spell for a week and a half), and someone made something that I had said I was going to make on one of my blogs two weeks ago. Then I turned my head away from my laptop and noticed the ink light blinking on my printer.

It's going to be really tough. For the past few years I've been in a chronic bad mood, and I'm used to it. The world seems to conspire to make my days as trying as possible. But for one week, I'm going to see if I can get through it all without adding any gray hairs or wrinkles to my poor little 23 year old head.

Be back later, I think I see a rainbow outside...

Day 14 - a nonfiction book

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fiction book
Day 15 — A fanfic
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy


I really read fiction more often than non-fiction, so this was pretty tough. I loved Pre-Code Hollywood by Thomas Doherty when I read it last year. I also really enjoyed Charles Boyer's biography by Larry Swindell and Joan Blondell's autobiography (disguised as fiction with names changed, but come on, it's non-fiction) Center Door Fancy. Once I finish Snakes and Ladders by Dirk Bogarde (the second installment in his autobiographical series) I'm sure that one will top my list as well.. so far I love the way he writes!

Happy Easter


I'm such a dork. lol

Day 13 - a fictional book

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie

Day 03 — Your favorite television program

Day 04 — Your favorite book

Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad

Day 09 — A photo you took

Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago

Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently

Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy

Day 13 — A fictional book

Day 14 — A non-fictional book
Day 15 — A fanfic
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy

Just any book? (Is it just me, or did the person who made this up start running out of good ideas after Day 5?)

Well... my favorite author is Kurt Vonnegut, and my favorite book of his is Slapstick, which is a "fictional book". I have a hard time describing his plots without them sounding too far-out, so I just won't. A lot of people seem to think of him as a Science Fiction writer, but I really wouldn't classify him that way. His stories often have elements of sci-fi in them, like aliens or futuristic worlds or nuclear war, but they are works of literature, not dime-store science fiction.

Kurt Vonnegut is my dad's favorite author, too. I'm pretty lucky, I have really similar tastes in literature to my dad who happens to have like a million books so I have my own personal library in my house ;-D

I got this great silkscreen print (we have number 6 not 1, this photo is from his site) a few years ago for my dad for Christmas and it's probably the most cherished possession my family has.


I think when Kurt Vonnegut passed away, it was the saddest I've ever been over a celebrity death. A lot of his unpublished works were destroyed in a house fire, so it's unlikely that many new stories will be released anymore. To me, that's one of the saddest things ever.

braids

braids

I've been growing my hair out for a year and a half now (it started out around chin-length) and it's FINALLY long enough to do braids across my head! This is the first time I've ever been patient enough to get it this long.. I usually end up chopping it off after the first time I get frustrated with knots after a shower ;-D

I skipped the "Day 11 - a recent photo of yourself" tag, so let's just say this is it.

Day 12 - whatever tickles my fancy

Day 01 — Your favorite song
Day 02 — Your favorite movie
Day 03 — Your favorite television program
Day 04 — Your favorite book
Day 05 — Your favorite quote
Day 06 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 07 — A photo that makes you happy
Day 08 — A photo that makes you angry/sad
Day 09 — A photo you took
Day 10 — A photo of you taken over ten years ago
Day 11 — A photo of you taken recently
Day 12 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 13 — A fictional book
Day 14 — A non-fictional book
Day 15 — A fanfic
Day 16 — A song that makes you cry (or nearly)
Day 17 — An art piece (painting, drawing, sculpture, etc.)
Day 18 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 19 — A talent of yours
Day 20 — A hobby of yours
Day 21 — A recipe
Day 22 — A website
Day 23 — A YouTube video
Day 24 — Whatever tickles your fancy
Day 25 — Your day, in great detail
Day 26 — Your week, in great detail
Day 27 — This month, in great detail
Day 28 — This year, in great detail
Day 29 — Hopes, dreams and plans for the next 365 days
Day 30 — Whatever tickles your fancy

I am so hooked on this song right now. Seriously, on repeat ALL DAY LONG. It's My Boy Lollipop by Millie (no, not that Millie) ;-D