Thursday, November 29, 2012

In Case You Missed It: November

This month's posts would have overjoyed the Erin of the early nineties - did you notice this theme? It truly was unintentional, but I ended up having a very nostalgic November, and have zero complaints of my recent experiences with penguins, Monet's garden, Winnie the Pooh, and American Girl Place. Maybe it was from spending the first week of the month living with two of my childhood friends, or that my sister and I spent so much time PLANNING OUR UPCOMING TRIP TO ASIA during which we will be together for the longest time in over 11 years, or that I had an amazing time at home and with my family for our largest Thanksgiving ever. 

In addition to being 10-12 years old this month:

I walked into the MOMA (my favorite museum) for fifteen minutes, walked right up to the fifth floor, and stood in front of Edvard Munch's The Scream, which is on display until April:

I went out with some old coworkers to put some money (and fun) back into the 'hood once the power came back on after Hurricane Sandy and danced to Mariah Carey's "All I Want for Christmas Is You" about nine times:

I captured this gorgeous sunset of downtown through a window at work:

I laughed my booty off at the New York Comedy Festival with a show at Upright Citizens Brigade and a performance at NYU by the funniest (and most inappropriate) guy on Twitter, @RobDelaney (who just happened to favorite and reply to several of my texts that weekend):

But the most important thing I did all month was spend a fantastic few days at home - catching up with old friends, petting a cool dog, getting scratched and bitten by a not-so-cool cat, and having Thanksgiving dinner with the most wonderful twenty-four people I know.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Well She was an American Girl, Raised on Promises

After Katie and I visited Winnie the Pooh at the New York Public Library a few weeks ago, it was only appropriate to continue living out our childhood dreams at, get this, American Girl Place. 

Growing up, American Girls had a SPECIAL spot in our hearts - and in Jessica's too, it's important to note. Katie and Jessica both had the doll of Kirsten, the pioneer girl from Sweden whose friend DIED ON THE WAY COMING OVER TO AMERICA and I had Samantha, the spoiled rich girl who lived outside of NYC (hmm). I mean, yes, every girl our age loved the dolls, but did they all:
  • Read all of the books a thousand times?
  • Have every single possible outfit and accessory minus the "Happy Birthday" table and chairs and the "Learns a Lesson" desk chair, which for Samantha included a miniature bookstrap, ice skates, and an art set with real oil paints?
  • Have tons of outfits and accessories from the American Girl of Today collections - soccer uniforms, miniature American Girl dolls for their dolls to play with, and a school lunch tray complete with a miniature spork?
  • Use shoeboxes to make school lockers, decorate them with pictures from TeenBop and then make miniature textbooks and notebooks for their dolls?
  • Subscribe to American Girl Magazine and play with the paper dolls that came with each issue of a real life girl and dresses from her mothers, grandmother's, and great-grandmother's lives?
  • Cut full-bodied pictures out of magazines and catalogs to create teachers, moms, and dads for all of the paper dolls?
  • Make the paper dolls have weekly beauty pageants and talent shows?
  • Spend hours going through the catalogs, drawing earrings and tattoos on the dolls and writing jokes and word bubbles on each page?
  • Make a live-action movie where my character's Kirsten doll suddenly turns into an evil human girl, played by Jessica, who tries to take over the world?
  • OH here's a good one...TEAR UP A LITTLE at the age of 24 when they heard that they weren't going to be making Samantha anymore?
Oh my Gosh, I could seriously go on FOR DAYS but in the interest of potentially still having any friends after this post, I will stop now. I hope that my (way too short) list of favorite American Girl activities displays the level of excitement within Katie and me that Saturday afternoon.

The. Store. Is. Amazing. A girl's freaking dream. Hell. A 27-year-old's and a 29-year-old's dream. The entire first floor is dedicated to the "Girl of Today" which has gotten a little more intense since we were growing up. It's almost a little creepy (in the most wonderful way) how they display the girls you can choose from:

I thought they had a lot when we were growing up, but they have so many more accessories today! If I were creating the Erin doll of Today, I would probably be able to get a laptop, iPhone, guitar, airplane tickets, a mini New York Magazine collection with mini-crossword puzzles to fill out, a yoga mat, and maybe even a pottery wheel.

The second floor is where the historical dolls live. Each historical doll is displayed with her entire collection and in some cases, with her best friend and her collection. 

Katie and I spoke with someone who worked there and expressed how sad we were that there was no Samantha or Kirsten memorial (they stopped making Kirsten soon after Samantha). He assured us that others shared the same concerns and they may find a way to honor the American Girls of yesterday in some way soon. He also said that they purposely called it "archiving" rather than "retiring" when they stopped making a doll and hinted that our favorites may be back at some point in the future. You heard it here first, folks.

The only memory of Samantha - a miniature doll for your doll

Aside from totally disrespecting Samantha, Kirsten, and Felicity (a Colonial red-head), American Girl Place really touches on every last detail. In addition to all of the dolls and the merchandise, there is a HAIR SALON where you can pay to get your doll's hair braided, her ears pierced, or a hearing aid put in. 

There is a DOLL HOSPITAL where if your dog or brother got to your doll, she (complete with hospital bed, gown, and bracelet) can stay until she gets fixed. There is a cafe to get a snack for you and a snack for your doll, a design-your-own-t-shirt stand, a place to get American Girl Place souvenirs for your doll. Greatest detail? Probably the doll holders in the bathrooms:

This trip seriously made me wish it were appropriate to carry a doll into adulthood. She could just sit at my cubicle while I work, with a notebook, dressed in a miniature blazer and pumps? And then I could maybe bring her to happy hour where she could hold a miniature vodka-sprite with a tiny miniature lime on the edge of the glass? What do we think about this...could I pull it off?


Sunday, November 18, 2012

Quiet! This is a Library!

Libraries and I have a good thing going. When I was younger, I would beg my parents to take me to our township library almost weekly. Our local librarians were just like Lori Beth Denberg in All That in that they were loud, obnoxious, mean and they also always made me pay extra money when I lost my library card every few months, but I loved going there. Whenever I cleaned my room I would find five way overdue library books under my bed. Katie, Jessica, and I would frequently set up our own library with all of the books we could find in the house and play different absurd characters who all wanted to borrow books (we also had a similar game with a hotel, I believe it was called Potamia Casta Hotel) – we were pretty awesome. Junior year of college, I got a job in the library computer lab and became great friends with Caitlin of amour fou(d) while we got paid for gossiping, doing our homework, and surfing the web. 

But up until last weekend, my relationship with the New York Public Library was basically nonexistent, aside from the card I carry with me on my keychain, which I was excited to get but have been hesitant to use. I think I was just a little too intimidated to go inside and explore even though I love walking by the NYPL main building right next to Bryant Park. I think the building is beautiful and I’m kind of obsessed with statues of lions – these particular lions are named Patience and Fortitude. These photos were taken on the day after Christmas, 2010.

Last weekend, Katie and I skipped out on Saturday brunch and went to the NYPL for one of their free building tours, 11 am and 2 pm on Mondays – Saturdays and 2 pm on Sundays. The Bryant Park location of the NYPL is considered the “main branch” but is also called the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. You can only take books out here in the Children’s Center, the rest of the books here are for research purposes, specifically in the Humanities and Social Sciences. They are going to be changing this in the next few years and making this location a circulation library. There are lots of reading rooms, special collections, and historical items, such as an original copy of the Declaration of Independence in TJ's handwriting that is displayed during July.

The Periodicals and Microform Reading Room:

The Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division:

Hint hint...

The McGraw Rotunda:

This is Gutenberg and his pals hanging out without pants on.

The Gutenberg Bible:

My favorite part of the library was the Children’s Center for a very exciting reason. Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, and Piglet, the original stuffed animals that inspired A. A. Milne’s books are on display. I LOVED anything related to Pooh as a kid. I had about 25 Pooh key chains on my backpack and my first website ever was called “The Eeyore Page”, established in 1996, when I was 10 or 11.

A dream coming true.

There were a few special displays while Katie and I were there – a room about the characters of Charles Dickens (I don’t actually think his characters are as good as Katie’s, Jessica’s, and mine while we were playing “Library” as kids) – and a Lunch Hour NYC exhibit which we skipped out on because we were too hungry at that point to look at old photographs of people eating when we had deprived ourselves of that so far that day.

Our tour was a little adapted because there was a wedding taking place later that evening and people were setting up for it. I will forgive them because I will get to see the rest of the library when I have my wedding reception there, at some point in the future. You’re all invited.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Erin in Monet's Garden

One of my favorite books growing up was the fabulous Linnea in Monet's Garden, about a girl who traveled to Giverny, France and visited Monet's house and gardens. I have been a huge Monet fan since childhood, when I dressed like what I thought an artist/poet looked like for a year of my life. Sorry, I can't resist posting this picture again:

When we didn't make it to Giverny while I was in Europe, I figured the next best thing would be to go to the Monet's Garden exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden. As mentioned in my October wrap-up, my parents and I went to NYBG the Saturday after I returned from Amsterdam. You may recall that Aubrey and I went to the NYBG in December last year and although it was a wonderful day, there were not that many flowers around, so I was curious to see what it would be like in the early fall.

I admire Monet for many reasons. His art (I attempted my own version of his famous waterlily paintings earlier this year); his botany skills (I have two plants, a philodendron named Phil who I’ve been struggling with for a few years, and a new guy at my desk at work, a bamboo plant named Boo; and his sweet beard. 

The Monet exhibit at NYBG was fantastic. I'm sure that it helped that we went on the most gorgeous day of the fall. The exhibit was a reproduction of Monet's gardens, waterlily pond, and even the famous Japanese bridge, prominent in so many of his paintings. They also had two of his paintings ("The Artists Garden in Giverny" and "Irises") and (get this, Monet nerds) one of his actual palettes of paint on display in the library, which I was unfortunately not able to sneak pictures of, but I certainly enjoyed looking at it and picturing him using it.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

I Want to Live Like Animals

The Saturday before the hurricane, a friend from Houston was in town and after catching-up and eating a delicious brunch at Elmo, we traveled over to the Central Park Zoo which has been on my to-do list for years. The zoo is tiny, but it has PENGUINS which I have been obsessed with since I was ten.

The sea lions were pretty active and while we were watching them we were standing next to the cutest little girl who kept telling her dad "Maybe we could get some...maybe they could live in our house...maybe they could take baths with me..." As we were leaving the park later, we saw the sea lions were actually putting on a show with their trainers, so that's definitely something to try to catch next time around.

We spent a while watching the red-butted monkeys, watching them jump around the rocks, roll on their backs, and groom themselves, in typical monkey fashion.

There are a bunch of other mammals in the zoo as well, including snow leopards and a polar bear, but they weren't really bringing their A games that day.

The tropic zone was full of birds but pretty sweltering so we didn't spend too much time in there, although I did find two birds with UD colors. I love seeing blue in nature because you don't really see it in living things that often.

The penguins are absolutely the zoo's highlight. They have Chinstrap, Macaroni, Gentoo, and King Penguins. Most of them looked like they're having a really good time, diving and zipping through the water, although some of them were pretty sleepy.

I loved the penguins and probably could have stayed there watching them (and trying to talk to them) all day. I even tried to take one home with me.

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