Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Coming home

I've been unusually excited to come home for Christmas this year... and not sure why. I mean I've been away from Calgary for 6 years now...so this not being home thing isn't unusual...but I realized today that it's been a YEAR since I was home for any length of time (my one day trip in July doesn't really count)- which is the longest I've gone without being in Calgary before.
AND I'm also looking forward to not just being in Calgary- but being in Canada... there is much I miss about my home and native land.
I just hope my flights aren't delayed tomorrow...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Finally some pictures of NYC

It's been a pretty dry blog the last couple of months as I haven't been posting any pictures... it's just been my ramblings. I used to be quite disciplined about always having visual aids to supplement my rantings but it's hard to put a picture to "I hate Citibank".
I went wandering around the city today and took some photos...

...of my street and my first apartment in New York...

...of central park and the Plaza hotel...

...and the tree at Rockefeller Center. The one with the two people in the middle of th e skating rink was taken JUST after he proposed (on one knee). Kind of sappy but also a tad romantic.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Toronto 1 / NY 0

I went to the New York philharmonic yesterday to see "Handel's Messiah" (I think I've seriously mentioned it about 16 times in the past couple of weeks or so). My expectations were high- this is something I go to see every year and it's usually a beautiful performance. And my assessment of NY? Not as good.

The principal performers were amazing and obviously at the top of their game. The musicians were wonderful... though my ear is not disciplined enough to tell one top class philharmonic orchestra from another.

What was disappointing was the chorus. The best part about Handel's Messiah is the large chorus singing throughout- especially when they sing "Hallelujah" near the end of part 2. It's incredibly majestic and inspiring.

The choir in Toronto was 200 strong. The one in NY?
Of college students.

I thought that perhaps they would be stronger singers and what they lacked in numbers they would make up for in skill. But that was not to be the case.
You need the numbers to be overwhelmed by the sound.
I was not overwhelmed or inspired.

But it was not all bad. Like I said the music was still beautiful. It just wasn't as awesome as performances I've seen in Toronto.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas Tradition

Tonight I am going to see Handel's Messiah at the Lincoln Centre. It's an annual tradition and as part of the tradition I usually take a friend as a thank you for something. I'm taking my good friend Rose this year- as a thank you for ALL she's done for me during my move. My aunt once said to me that two of the most stressful things in life are death and moving. I've had a big move before (Calgary to Toronto) and it was pretty easy- but moving to New York was a bit more stressful. I don't know why- but maybe because it's a new country, it was last minute etc... and it's been made so much easier by having Rose here. She's been absolutely amazing and thoughtful and above and beyond in making my transition as seamless as possible.
She went to meet my roommate and check out my apartment before I moved here -to make sure I wasn't moving into a ghetto place with a crazy person. And she's continued to include me in her activities, introduce me to her friends and make me feel welcome, loved and at home.
Thank you Rose!!!
I'm looking forward to tonight- we'll see how the NY Philharmonic measures up to Calgary and Toronto. : )
ps. It's finally SNOWING!!! It looks like there WILL be snow for Christmas here in NYC afterall.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

New Look

Oh and yes- you might have noticed my blog has been 'updated' with a fresh new look. A country look yes- harkening back to my country roots. A little bit of nostalgia in the crazy busy city... in a few months I'm sure it will be all black- but for now enjoy the flower power.

I downloaded the background courtesy of a blog called "LeeLou Blogs" - a new friend of mine from Texas (Laine- her blog is called "Sugar and Spice and can be linked on the right side) told me about it.

http://www.leeloublogs.blogspot.com/ Is her blog- and you can download many different colours/backgrounds. It's pretty cool. Thanks Laine and thanks LeeLou. (yes LeeLou).

Making the effort

Now that I've figured out the subway system, am not feeling completely overwhelmed at work, and have settled (mostly) into my home I'm ready to start exploring New York and taking advantage of all it has to offer.
I'm starting at the bottom of the pyramid and working my way up. (The generic easy to access standard activities are at the bottom with the more esoteric stuff at the top)
Yes there is the shopping. Yes there are the restaurants. Yes there is Broadway. And I've done those.
But there is also world class music, art, (indie)theatre and comedy in which to partake. There is the more mainstream fare that I'm beginning to see:
The New York Philharmonic is performing Handel's Messiah and as part of my Christmas tradition I'm taking my friend Rose. On Sunday I went with a friend to see one of the world's top pianist- Daniel Barenboim at the Metropolitan Opera House. He gave three encores-such love from the crowd and he was AMAZING. I've never seen anyone play the piano like that. I was literally spellbound.
And in the new year I want to start exploring the 'underground' or 'indie' spots for art and music- bands, up and comers etc... That's what New York is all about. That's what New York has to offer more than any other city- and while I'm here I want to be a part of it.
On a personal note (what is this blog if not personal?) I was even thinking of taking an improv class. Can you imagine?!??!! A friend's friend just took a class and as part of the exercise they had to put on a show in front of family and friends. I went last night... and while it wasn't exactly SNL there were still some comedic moments and I admired their bravery. Something to think about...

Um that's it. Just wanted to share.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I heart new york cuz it's easy

I went to a tasty delicious Indiana restaurant tonight called "Mantra". A good friend of mine had her birthday party there. It was an intimate dinner party of 8. I was oh- about 2 hours late.


Because this restaurant- lovely as it was- was in New Jersey.


I drove out there with crap directions from crap google maps, to a made up fake address from the crap restaurant web page. I swear to Jesus (as He was probably watching me and laughing as I drove around for 2 hours) that I drove nearly to the border of Canada and back. Eventually I just gave up following my "directions" and drove around aimlessly- thinking "oh this road looks like it might lead to a restaurant called "Mantra"- I'll just turn here."

And of course it didn't. And I'd eventually turn again at a junction that looked "familiar" (keeping in mind of course that I've never actually been to Jersey- so nothing could possibly under any circumstances look familiar unless perhaps I retained some memories of my previous life as a sewer raw who lived in new jersey and entertained young children by fulfilling a dream of working in a kitchen as a sous chef).

Finding nothing I recognized, I called my friend for help. She asked if I'd crossed the Washington bridge because they were 10 minutes away from it. I'd crossed it. About 1.5 hours earlier. Crossed it and almost looped back to it again. (The bridge was like a beacon beckoning me home with whispers of love "Sarah you don't want to be in New Jersey... lookit me- the bridge- I'm here. It's so easy for you to cross and come back home to the safe easy streets of New York City...") Since I was so close to said bridge it was easy to find her with the right directions.

I'm glad I persevered... I didn't let Jersey win. I found the restaurant, joined my friends for dinner. Had a good time before hauling ass back to the city. And at least the traffic was on my side (funny enough- not a lot of people heading INTO Jersey for a Saturday night).
And lest my friends think I didn't have a good time- I really did. It was good food and great company... well worth the journey.

I think next time I'll recommend a place in the city. : )

Friday, December 12, 2008

Not for the sensitive ...

I am in love with SNL again. It had a few (dozen) rough years where it was mostly unfunny sketch comedy appealing to ... I don't know what. But in the last couple of years I feel it's regained some of it's more intelligent and sophisticated humour- especially as of late as they've parodied the US elections (too bad they didn't cover the Canadian elections as well... I'd love to have seen their take on Harper though he's mabye too bland to be entertaining).

There is one not ready for prime time player who I am in particular like with- Andy Samberg- and if there is ANYONE in New York that I would love to see/meet- it would be him. This guy is brilliant. Goofy, smart and uber funny.

He just did another digital short (similar to his "Lazy Sunday" rap and "D*** in a Box" efforts) and it's fantastic. It's crude(ish) (just after I said this crew of talent has gone away from that I am appearing to contradict myself) but very smart and polished in it's execution. Mostly it had a good beat and made me laugh. It's gotten about 5 million views in the last week on youtube so clearly I'm not alone in my appreciation.

Watch as long as you're not offended by the mention of certain body functions...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

One of the lucky ones

I just to say... I love my job. I've been fairly lucky throughout my life (knock on wood) that I've never really had a job that I hate. I've never dreaded going into work on a continual basis (obviously there are moments or times when I have- who hasn't?!) but for the most part I've really liked what I've done and who I've worked with.
(noted exception is J from my old agency... he knows who he is!!)

But here... well I was a bit nervous- big new york agency and all that... but it was really like coming home. The people are smart and kind and supportive and AMAZING. And the clients are smart and like to challenge but also respect our agencies' opinion and want to work with us not against us. And the work we're doing is good and strong and intelligent. I'm just really happy to be here, be part of this team and doing the work that I'm doing.

yay life.

Friday, December 05, 2008


I joined Citibank because they are the bank partnered with my employer. I have had NOTHING but trouble with them from the first day I signed up for an account. I think they are horrible and their customer service, while friendly, is completely useless. They constantly debit money from my account- don't know why it's done and then reverse it. Then they do it again. And the phone service doesn't help so I go in. And when I go in they say they will fix it and they don't. I HATE them. I have been in to see them about 6 times because they have screwed up pretty much everything it's possible to screw up in opening and maintaining an account.

I have received nothing but great service from Bank of America.

But Citibank??? They suck.
Don't use them.
Avoid them.