Thursday, October 23, 2008

tragedy...or just part of life?

This morning, as I struggled to get out of my warm, cozy bed, I suddenly sat straight up and shook off my exhaustion. I realized in that moment that I am so lucky. I got to wake up this morning. I get to wake up every morning. And Rick Bailey doesn't.

Richard Bailey was shot in the head and killed this week in Albany, NY, just blocks from his off-campus house and the downtown campus of the University of Albany. He was 22 years old and eight weeks away from graduating college and becoming a New York City Police Officer. His life was cut short. Way too short. While Bailey wasn't a good friend of mine, I did grow up with him. We went through school together from Gardiner's Avenue Elementary School to General Douglas MacArthur High School. He was athletic and funny and popular. Everyone knew Bailey, and he knew everyone.

So why him? I don't know. There are no suspects; no motives. But more in a fate sort of way, why him? If he had left his friend's house 15 minutes later, would he still be alive today? If he had been walking with someone else, would the bullet have missed? Or was it just meant to be that this happened to him? In times like this I think it's tough to figure it all out. I try to believe everything happens for a reason, but when something this horrible and seemingly tragic occurs, I have a really difficult time justifying that philosophy. Was this in fact natural? All part of God's plan? I don't know if I can genuinely believe that, but I'm trying because I feel sad. So sad. Not only because a great person I knew was killed, but also because it seems like it really could have been anyone. Brian goes to the University of Albany and lives there. It could have been him. Vic walks home on the weekends in Morristown. It could have been her. Katie and Jill were just in LA, where they walked places. It could have been them. It could have been you. And it could have been me.

I'm not condoning staying inside all the time, and being hyper cautious to avoid any potentially dangerous situations. I almost feel the opposite. Life is so short, and we need to live as much as possible every single day. We need to tell those who mean something to us that we love them. We need to smile and laugh, and help others to do the same. We need to get out of bed every morning, because we can. Because we're alive. Because we're the lucky ones.

My heart goes out to Bailey's family and friends. He will be missed and never forgotten.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

fun fun fun

Back home from a really fun weekend in my home away from home, Morristown, with my wifey, Lizzy, Morristown friends and a whole bunch of strangers. The weekend started off a bit rocky, when no LIRR trains were running from Jamaica to Penn Station - major issue. I planned to sort of wing it, and knew there had to be another way to get from Jamaica to the city other than by train. Rather than completely throw caution to the wind (I'm not exactly known for my spontaneity), I called my dad to see if he knew what subway I could take. He told me the E would bring me right to Penn Station - good old dad, always knows what to do. As we pull into Jamaica, and everyone is getting ready to find their way into the city, we hear the announcement that service has just resumed, and we could stay on the train to get to Penn Station. OK, crisis (and adventure) averted. I can't lie. I was a little disappointed. While I'm not exactly the most adventurous person, when I take my little weekend trips, I seem to get a little more gutsy. I was looking forward to a new subway adventure. Oh well.

We still got to Penn a little late, so I had to run through the station to get to NJ Transit to catch my 4:50 Dover Express to Summit, where Vic can pick me up straight from work. This train skips all stops before Summit, so it's only a 35-minute ride, which is great. I figured I'd pay the $5 extra, and just get the ticket on the train, rather than miss it completely. As I get down the steps at track 4 at 4:45, I am amazed at how packed every train car is. I go all the way down to the end and see no where to squeeze in. Hot, sweating and red-faced, I am determined to find a spot for me and my suitcase. I head back down the length of the train and see my space - barely enough room to get in, but I'm on. Turns out, this train has been changed to be a Dover Local, rather than the Express. A NJ Transit train had broken down earlier, so this train included two trains worth of people. It was insane. I stood in between train cars the entire 50-minute ride, squished in between other commuters trying to get home after a long day at work. All I wanted was to hear "Summit - next station," and get to Vic as soon as possible. What a stressful day of travel.

Even with the rocky start, the weekend turned out to be so wonderful. Celebrated Vic's 23rd birthday all weekend long. We ate at our favorite places in Morristown, and some new places nearby. I met some of Vic's Morristown friends. We went to Morristown bars - Sona Thirteen (?), The Office, The Grasshopper and George & Martha's. We did some amazing people-watching. We played drinking games at Vic's, and felt like we were back in college. We got hit on by married men in wedding parties. We laughed...a lot. And we had a great time.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Marjan has gotten me hooked on It makes me both happy and sad. Happy because I love fashion, and this site shows off some great and unique styles from around the world. Sad because I don't have unlimited money, and I can't buy/find the wardrobe I truly want. Some days I feel my outfits really do reflect my personal style, but other days I feel completely dissatisfied with what I'm wearing. Some days I feel so generic.

And yet I spend most of my free time shopping. I guess I don't actually buy all that much though. It's more the going shopping that I'm addicted to. And often I think I make up the things I'm looking for in my mind, and these pieces don't actually exist. Other times I find exactly what I'm looking for, but with a price tag that grossly exceeds my budget.

I've been on the seemingly never-ending search for oversized sweaters and cardigans. Also, I'd really like more plaid shirts and long sweater vests. And ankle boots.

Oh what it'd be like to have unlimited funds and unlimited time.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

shall we atone?

As Yom Kippur begins, I think it's a good time to talk about what I think about this "holiday." My brother's friend wished him "A Solemn Yom Kippur" today. And that is exactly right. It isn't a joyous day. It isn't a day to celebrate. And yet most still consider it a holiday. Hmm.

But that's not even what bothers me really. My gripes are two-fold. First of all, if you're not very religious, and there is one day of the year that you're going to go to temple, Yom Kippur is it. Why? Why only go to synagogue on a solemn day? Maybe this is why so many Jews see going to temple in a negative light. Shouldn't we try to show temple in the best way possible; as a wonderful and joyous place to meet with your community and share the service?

My other issue is why do we have a set day to repent for our sins? I mean, I know there is a reason based on Jewish teachings, but I just don't agree. Shouldn't we repent when we feel we need to repent, rather than do it just because we're told today is the day? I also don't think starving yourself for 24 hours erases your sins from the past year. Although I guess it's not the actual fasting that allows us to repent, but rather the suffering it causes that makes us evaluate our actions, thoughts and feelings of the past year.

While I don't partake in Yom Kippur by fasting, I do think it's a good time reflect, repair wounds that need repairing and let those you love know it. So this Yom Kippur I'm going to start to make positive changes and choices in my life, and begin the new year on a good note. For those of you who are fasting, I hope you have an easy fast. To everyone else, I hope you can take this time to do some self-evaluation and begin your year in the best way possible.

Monday, October 6, 2008

is this me?

Am I sleepwalking, or am I actually sitting at work right now? It's really very hard to tell at this point. After a wonderful weekend at Lehigh, I am left sore and exhausted - I guess I really have become an old lady. I certainly can't keep up with these college kids any more. And simply writing the term "college kids" makes me an old lady. A grown up. Hmm. Not sure how I feel about that. Actually, that's a complete lie. I do know how I feel about it - I feel great. I was never a big drinker/partyer, and never really felt like I fit in at Lehigh. I often tried to make myself love the social atmosphere and lifestyle at Lehigh, and while I fooled myself (and I guess everyone else) for a while, I'm happy to be back to my real self now. Not that I didn't have a blast during my three years in college, or that I don't like to go out at all, but it definitely wasn't really for me in a social sense. I met some amazing friends, had new and fun experiences, and ultimately realized a lot about who I am and who I want (and do not want) to be. It's fun to go back and live that past life for a few days, but I am certain a few days of that is enough for me. Some might say I'm anti-social or boring now, but I've accepted that this is more of who I am. I'm more of a quiet-night-at-home kind of girl than a squeeze-into-a-packed-bar party goer. I prefer small groups of good friends over tons of strangers. I'd take dinner and drinks over clubs anyday. And that's OK with me.

I did have a great weekend though. I missed Katie and Jill so much. Going seven months without seeing them was not OK, and I definitely need to plan another weekend to see them soon. They really are wonderful people, and great friends to me. They are two of the very few people who seem to really "get" me, and I love them for that. It was also really nice to see friends from college who I really don't talk to that often, and hear what they're up to and how they're doing, whether they've stepped into the "real world" or are still doing the school thing getting their master's degrees.

Overall, it was a great weekend. And now I am left absolutely exhausted, but back to work. *Yawn*