Monday, June 24, 2013

Half Marathon Training has begun

Oh boy. What in the world have I gotten myself into? Two Saturday practices in, and I am feeling seriously discouraged already. I have grossly underestimated how much of my time this training stuff would take, along with just how badly out of shape I am these days. This ought to be a lot of fun for you guys to read out there over the next few months...

My friend Jena started training about six weeks before I did. She did four weeks of pre-season training with the mentors and coaches before her proper training even started. She also got herself in gear by doing several workouts with the Couch to 5K app. She's in rare form now. She ran six miles with her team this morning!
My TNT running group

I'm not going to hash out the details of my training experiences just yet. Let me just say that I went out with the walkers last week, felt that wasn't enough of a challenge, so I tried my luck with the run/walk group this week. Those guys blew me away with their speed and endurance! I ended up walking the 4 miles we were supposed to cover on Saturday, and then I went home and vowed to start using C25K myself this week.

I posted a bit more about the group above at my fundraising page. Please take a moment to donate if you haven't yet. Every little bit helps!

Charleston buds at dinner in Park Slope
In other news, I've been keeping super busy lately between visitors and work. Work has been fantastic. I really like my new managers and responsibilities. I'm getting managerial experience that I've not had before, and I'm being treated with respect. It's really more than I'd hoped would happen.
Crystal and Brooke

Amanda and Nick and Nick's spiffy chapeau

Me and Crystal 

My lovely friends from Charleston were in town last weekend, and Stephen was here as well. I saw a really strange but wonderful avant garde musical with him called Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.  It was a bizarrely upbeat retelling of War and Peace, complete with musical numbers and borscht. If you're a theater buff out there, I recommend it. Not because of the book itself, but because of how it's executed. It's really an immersive experience, and unlike anything I've done before. (I did experience Sleep No More a few years ago, so I think I can speak with some authority here.)

Stephen and me at the Russian extravaganza
Bayley reluctantly poses on the SNL stage
Stephen and Bayley were both here at the beginning of the month, and we had a fun time walking around 30 Rock when no one was really around. We took pics on the SNL stage. (Oddly enough, all three of us are still big fans.) I met them for a lovely dinner one night too. They went to see a whole bunch of theater, as they always do, but I was delighted they also made some time to come see my new digs at work.

My cousin Ani was also in town at the beginning of June. I am so proud of that kid. He just finished his MBA at Kellogg, and that's his SECOND masters degree. His first one was from Johns Hopkins. So yeah, the kid's a dope, really. He's going to be starting a job at BD later this summer, and he'll be living in Hoboken. So he was in town apartment hunting, and I am super excited that he'll be living near me soon.

Ani's birthday dinner last year

This past weekend was full of my favorite musicians. Falu played in Central Park on Friday afternoon, and I walked over there after work to catch the show. It was a lovely afternoon to be outdoors.
Falu and her band entertain us in Central Park

And then Saturday night, the show I'd been looking forward to for months. Shovels and Rope followed by Dawes. I knew from my Charleston days that Cary Ann & Michael from Shovels and Rope would deliver an energetic and engaging performance, so it was no surprise that they rocked Terminal 5 hard warming up the crowd for  headliner Dawes.

Shovels and Rope rocking Terminal 5

The two bands met on Cayamo, the music cruise I went on earlier this year. I fell in love with Dawes and their Jackson Browne-ness when I saw them on the boat. I even downloaded their album in the Fort Lauderdale airport while waiting for my flight back to New York.  The show ended with both acts together on stage performing a Traveling Wilburys song, and I couldn't have possibly been a happier girl after a concert.

Next week, my friend Amanda is coming up from Athens, my nieces are coming right after that, and then my brother and sister-in-law will be here the week after! July is going to be as much fun as June!

Monday, June 03, 2013

Spring in Overdrive

Lovely walk on Sullivan's Island

Lots of big news to report in this installment! Life took a surprising turn when I returned from Austin in March. I was offered a staff position at one of the places I'd freelanced, and it was a pleasant enough change from my former employer that I decided to take it. So far, so good. I've enjoyed working there a great deal. My co-workers are really nice. There's a fantastic work-life balance. Rudeness and disrespect are not tolerated, and I'm treated as someone with a lot of valuable experience instead of as the new guy.

Pretty flower on Sullivan's Island

I've already gotten some good career opportunities that I would never have had at the old place, so I feel pretty good about this new gig. Honestly, I feel like I've fallen through the rabbit hole most days. I am so stunned at the civility with which I am treated. It's new world order all of a sudden, but admittedly I still have PSTD from the ex. I'm constantly surprised when people are respectful and kind to me.
Best shrimp 'n' grits in town

Before I started the job officially, I took a quick trip down to Charleston to visit my pals Nick and Brooke. I hadn't been back since their wedding in 2010, so it was an overdue trip. Brooke and I had a fantastic time hitting up places like Hominy Grill and Taco Boy among lots of delicious others. We had some great cocktails as well, but I think the highlight of our day together was a long walk on Sullivan's Island followed by a frothy pina colada and lots of people-watching at Red's at Shem Creek.

People watching at Shem Creek
Back from Charleston, I started my new job. I've already launched a new show, and I love my show team. I work weekends now, but I actually like it. I have pretty good hours, so I'm not missing out on much socially. It's much more relaxed at work on the weekends, and it's nice to have weekdays off. I can go to the museum or the movies or get errands done with a lot less hassle.

Happiest stingray ever

I also spent an afternoon lunching and shopping with my friend Doretha, who is an inspiration to me in many ways. And I got to see Adrian and Kim and their lovely new house!  I didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with Nick, unfortunately, because he had to work long hours the days I was in town. But hopefully I'll see a lot of him this year in NYC when he visits for Comic Con and other fun events!

Brooke and Paige at a fancy cocktail place on King St.

Brooke, Adrian, Kim and myself after a dessert spree

I've also had the pleasure of showing lots of visitors around my new workplace, and it's always fun to see remnants of SNL and other NBC properties in the building. My dear friend Jacque was in town for Memorial Day, and we had a wonderful time running in Central Park, visiting the Met, and catching up with our friend Carl and his girlfriend, Hope at Tamarind.

Carl checking out SNL backstage

In other news, my big sis (close family friend) Aparna was honored as a Champion of Change by the White House in DC last month, and my parents flew in for the occasion. I took a train down there to meet them all, and I got to see my pal Anar as well. It was a whirlwind trip, but it was delightful to catch up with my family.

My parents and Aparna in DC

Lots of new shows to report as well.

  • Lucky Guy: Nora Ephron's last play starring Tom Hanks, Courtney B. Vance, Maura Tierney and lots of others- really enjoyed this one
  • Pippin: cheesy '70s revival with a circus theme - blah
  • Orphans: Alec Baldwin and his co-stars are all incredible actors, but the play itself is kind of unremarkable
  • MacBeth: Alan Cumming is a genius, period. 
  • The Last Five Years: off-Broadway revival about a relationship gone awry - I wasn't sure about this at the beginning, but was totally sold by the end - great staging, and good music, too
  • Punk to Chaos: the Met's new fashion exhibit - kind of cool, but don't go during a holiday weekend
  • Impressionism, Fashion, & Modernity: another Met exhibit that has impressionist paintings coupled with actual dresses and suits modeled in the painting (also don't try this one during a holiday weekend) definitely worth seeing if you're into fashion and impressionism at all
  • Falu's Foras Road CD release concert: fantastic new tunes that capture the musicality of her live shows - wonderful show with lots of world musicians, Falu is always a good idea.    

Anar and I celebrate at Delmonico's with Baked Alaska
Anar makes the best Pimm's emergency drinks ever.

And last, but not least, I've signed up to run a half marathon with my friend Jena. We're doing it through the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training program. We are fundraising to support cancer research, families of cancer patients, and cancer treatment for people who can't afford it. It's a really good cause, and we are thrilled to be a part of it.

Me & Jena last summer in LA

I've wanted to do this program since I moved to New York, but I finally felt like the time was right. Things are not so crazy at work anymore, and I can devote some time to training. I'm excited and a little apprehensive about the process, but I think this is only going to lead to good things. Hopefully I'll get in shape and meet some cool new people at the same time.

Here's my donation link if you'd like to contribute. (Thanks so much to those of you who have donated already!) I'd really appreciate the support. I'll be blogging over there about the training process, and I'll write more here about the event itself in a future post. The hardest thing is going to be getting off the couch with regularity... stay tuned.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Austin & SxSW 2013

My good luck charm

My theme for 2013 is that every day has been kind of unbelievable. And for the first time in many years, I mean that in a really positive way. I had booked a trip out to Austin in March to visit my freshly transplanted parents, my brother and SIL, and my nieces, who were on spring break. I started telling people that I was going to be out there during South by Southwest, and before I knew it, an SVP friend over at Sundance/IFC comped me a wristband for the event. Who's going to scoff at that? I was completely elated.

Getting ready for some music
Sidenote: I'd attended this event about 8 years ago, and I remember pitching it to my former employer as something I'd love to cover for them. They told me "Nobody cares about that event. It's not mainstream enough." And I specifically remember telling them, "It won't be off-the-radar in a few years. It's going to be a big deal." Um yeah, so this year, I spotted about 10 satellite trucks and countless media set-ups as I was walking around downtown Austin. Ahem.

Josh Rouse at the Paste stage

This event was completely overwhelming to me this time around. Fortunately, I had a friend in town who had credentials and was tipping me off to the things I simply had to see, which was helpful. Otherwise, I was really out of sorts. I didn't have a game plan of any kind, and really, I had simply planned to spend some time with my family on this trip when good fortune came my way. I saw some good music - most of it bands I already knew about (Dawes, Josh Rouse, The Zombies, and I can't even remember what else. It was sensory overload out there.) Chvrches from Scotland was a really cool surprise at the SPIN stage. I overheard Zak Waters while walking by a venue and went in and enjoyed their set. 

Robyn Hitchcock show w/ special guests

My big miss from this year's SxSW was the Green Day show. It was the first public performance since Billy Joe got out of rehab, and I naturally assumed it would be a mob scene (like most of the other venues had been up to that point.) So I opted out of waiting in a long line and not getting in, and I heard later that it would've been easy to get into with my wristband. Oh well... next time. 

Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.

I also bumped into the film crew that had worked on Friday Night Lights as I was walking back to my car one day. I recognized the sign in the truck as one that hangs in the Dillon Panthers' locker room, and I couldn't help myself but to stop and chat with the people in the truck. Turns out they were setting up a filming for a new ABC pilot, and they couldn't have been nicer people. They told me how nice the whole cast and creative team were. Working on that show was clearly a highlight for them also. 

Dawes (in shadow) at Waterloo's outdoor stage

My niece Annika is in high school now, and she and her friends had a blast going to all the free shows that SxSW offers during the day. I took her and her friends to one club the first day, and then they were on their own from there. It was exciting to see her so enthusiastic about seeing new music and finding creative ways to express herself. (It also explains why I don't have any pics of her from this trip. I wasn't exactly Johnny-on-the-spot with the camera either.) 

Anirban & his awesome creme brulee

My cousin Anirban and his wife Ekta graciously invited my whole family over for dinner one night. They made delicious veggie lasagna, salad, and creme brulee! Plus they had lots of wine. It was a good thing. My other cousin, Sumi, made yummy garlic bread, and we basically had fun feasting and hanging out at their cozy place. Austin is so much fun whenever I visit because all these cool people live there!

My grandmother passed away in February this year, and my parents had been in India for a few weeks taking care of the funeral services and whatnot. They returned to Austin in the middle of my visit, so I got to spend a little time with them also. We had a nice outing at IKEA one day while the kids were at school and my brother/SIL were at work. My brother & SIL took me out to lunch at this fabulous sushi place another day while the kids were at school. Ekta, Anirban and I shared some pints on St. Pat's Day, and Sumi got dragged all over downtown with me on the last day of SxSW. So I managed to get in some quality time with everyone, which was fantastic.

While Annika was out with her friends and the other adults were working, I was able to spend a lot of time with her sister, Saira. We did a little shopping, talked viola (hooray!!!), made jewelry, drank tea, and got pedis together. 

Morning tea time
One night, the girls and I watched Pretty In Pink together in my brother's fabulous media room. It was really quite fun seeing that particular movie with them. Surprising to me - THEY LIKED IT! I mean, I like it, but it reminds me of a fun time in my life. I honestly expected them to think it was super lame, and by the end of the movie, we were all swooning over Blaine, hating Steph, and loving Duckie. And we all three unanimously loathed the dress that Andie makes for the prom. That is universal, I think.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Snowy night in Park City

Me & my friend Clayton at the Sundance resort

Park City ski lift
I came back from Cayamo, rested for a couple of days, and then headed out to Park City, UT for the Sundance Film Festival. It was, as expected, an amazing experience. I met my friends Eric and Clayton out there, and because things had been so hectic at the end of last year, I'd allowed them to pick the films we were going to see. In retrospect, I should've looked at the catalog myself because there were a few more I wished I'd managed. But I also realized that I'm not the type of person that can see 3-4 art movies in a day without my head exploding. So the average of 1-2 per day was fine with me. Highlights for me were: Gideon's Army, The Look of Love, & Jiseul.

Awards night party!
Park City is a beautiful ski town, and we enjoyed walking around it. There are quaint shops and restaurants. We found a couple of great coffee shops and bonded over them. It was surprising to me that all the theaters are spread out the way they are. Some venues are in downtown Salt Lake City while others are about an hour's drive away in the mountain towns. They had a great, FREE public transport system set up to shuffle visitors from one place to another, but it was easier many times to get in Eric's car and drive to the next place.

Yep, the biggest one is the one I ordered. 
My favorite venue was the Sundance resort itself. It was so funny just to walk in there for a film while people were actually skiing. It was the first place we went for a viewing after I arrived, so I was pretty mesmerized going in. It wasn't too cold, but there was a lot of snow. It is really beautiful out in Utah in general, and I'd love to go back sometime to just enjoy the resort areas. One nice lady from Atlanta who was in line with us mentioned that the summers are quite fun there. The resorts bring in live bands to drum up business, so it's quite relaxing and happening at the same time. Hopefully my overwhelming sensory overload will be less next time, so I can actually enjoy more of what's happening around me.
My friends Eric & Clayton enjoying a pre-film caffeine fix

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cayamo 2013 - San Juan, Antigua, Tortola, & a whole lotta music!

The Norwegian Pearl was our home on the seas last week. I finally went on the Cayamo music cruise with my girlfriends who've been insisting I join them for the past five years. I've never been so ill-prepared for a trip in my life, but things were so hectic leading up to my departure that I literally threw some clothes into a suitcase and joined them in Miami.

I knew almost nothing about the ports we were scheduled to visit or the bands we were meant to see, and in a way, that was a good thing. Everything felt fresh and amazing, and it was fun to talk to people and learn about their music and the sights we were seeing. I'm still recovering from all the sensory overload and the boat moving feeling hasn't quite dissipated yet, but each swoosh is a reminder of how fabulous my trip was!

This little guy greeted us the second night in our cabin. My roommate Alana & I are still debating the type of animal - my vote is that it's an elephant. (As it should be.) 
I didn't take a whole lot of pics on the boat. I was too busy taking it all in. To quote my friend Patty, it was a marathon, not a sprint. There was so much music, and so little time, and I was so very tired going into this adventure. But I am glad to say that I am catching up on sleep this week, and I powered through every night on the boat last week!

Highlights for me were: Lyle Lovett (*swoon*, 'nuff said), Dawes (my mind is officially blown by these Jackson Brown-esque rockers), Shovels & Rope (Cary Ann was channelling Dolly Parton and she and Mike rocked the house down, y'all), Liz Longley (adorable singer-songwriter from Nashville), Teddy Thompson (hilarious Brit singer-songwriter and son of legend Richard Thompson who we also saw), Brandi Carlile (holy rock 'n' roll!), and Joan Osborne (she kicks a$& live - so glad I finally got to see her perform on stage.)

First stop in San Juan. We are SUCH Americans. (But the coffee on the boat was pretty wretched.)
Here are some other pics from the trip - my friends took more photos, and when I get some pics from them, I'll post. I didn't have a waterproof camera, and I figured they would get better shots than I could. I also didn't carry my iPhone around too much this week. It was glorious being completely unplugged for an entire week. I should get a waterproof watch for next time, though. It was kind of stressful not knowing what time it was b/c there was almost always another concert to attend. This vacation was a lot of work, y'all!
This is the view from one of the forts in San Juan. 
Tuesday - We walked off the boat in San Juan and wandered into town (after our coffee fix, of course.) We visited two beautiful forts that were used to protect the island and got a very nice view of the town and its shores from the top of both. We also did a little shopping before heading back to the ship. It was a really nice, relaxing day.
Another view from the fort in San Juan. 
Wednesday - Antigua was kind of a weird place to hang out. The port area itself is not in the best part of town, so we wandered around in a sketchy 'hood a bit before discovering the duty-free shopping center nearby. We had some fruity drinks, did some shopping, and then decided we should try to do some actual sightseeing before heading back to the Pearl. We walked up to an old Catholic church in town that was unfortunately closed and kind of a wreck. Then we went back on the boat for more music... after indulging in another round of fruity drinks, of course.
Antigua - we were looking for a place to have fruity drinks.  No fruity drinks here - just pizza. And an anatomically correct banana. 

Coasters in Antigua - If I tell you what it means, will you buy me a drink? 
Thursday - in Tortola, our group split up. Patty and her bf went on a catamaran excursion with the Sixthman crew and some of the artists. They got to hang out at a bar called Soggy Dollar, and everyone seemed to have had a really good time. Alana and I decided to take a tour of Virgin Gorda, which was a cool trek through some beautiful rock formations that finally ended in a beautiful lagoon called Devil's Bay. We had a wonderful time taking in the sun and swimming in the turquoise water. (She has all the pics from that day b/c she was smart and brought a waterproof camera bag.)
Everglades National Park
On Sunday I had some time to kill in Miami before heading back to NYC, so I did an excursion of the Everglades. Everyone on my tour was recovering from Cayamo, and it was kind of hilarious how tired everyone was. The puzzled tour guide even commented that he usually has more enthusiastic post-cruise crowds. But we rallied and saw the crocs, rode the airboat, and walked around the native hut before being deposited at our respective airports.
More Everglades

The folks that live in the Everglades are my kind of people. They like to sleep in the sun, eat, and do little else. 
That's all I've got for now. I'm heading off to Park City, UT tomorrow for Sundance. Guys, I can't even believe my life right now. I really can't. I think reality is going to be tough when I have to start working for a living again in Feb... but in the words of Scarlett O'Hara, I'll worry about that tomorrow.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

2013 is going to rule!

(Photo courtesy of Prospect Park. I spent NYE in Brooklyn, inside a warm apartment, not outside in the park, though.) 
Happy New Year! It's been a whirlwind these past few months, and I have no photos to accompany this post. Big news to share: I quit my job at the end of last year, and I couldn't be happier right now. I was very lucky and picked up a few freelance gigs right away, and I've been doing a seasonal job at a cooking store on top of my early-morning shifts. Oddly enough, I like the retail job so much that it was one of the reasons I decided to quit my full-time gig.

There were several reasons actually. It started with a TV writing course I took in mid-October. I felt so inspired and enthusiastic just sitting in that classroom talking about all things TV with the instructor that I started actively thinking about ways I could get away from my "day job." Then Hurricane Sandy happened, and it was horribly mismanaged by my bosses, which I was tangibly able to compare to the superior tactics of the cooking store managers. And then the hospital visit happened.

In the hospital, my roommate was a feisty, elderly woman who had stage four cancer. She'd lived in New York her whole life and was a maven in the fashion industry back in the '80s. She had been a model, and then she managed to shift into the business side when her looks "faded." She was still a beautiful woman, who was clearly in a lot of chronic pain when I met her. In between complaining about the nurses, she would throw me a morsel of serious wisdom every couple of hours. One of those nuggets was to make sure I didn't throw away my 30s chasing my career. *gulp* How did she know?!

Basically my takeaway from that experience was that I really wasn't doing anything to build up my own life at that moment. I was slaving away at a job that I absolutely loathed. And I'd been doing that for four years fooling myself into believing it would get better if I worked harder. Truth is, it never did. It just kept getting worse. I'd tried to like it for four long years, and while I liked living in New York City, it wasn't enough to spend most of my time at a job that literally made me dread going to bed at night b/c waking up meant I had to go to work. At some point, a person has to call the game and move on. And the universe was clearly sending me some strong signals to get out fast.

So I set a deadline. I was going to resign on Dec. 3 no matter what. I wanted to have the holidays to relax a bit and then start 2013 fresh. I had been interviewing for other jobs off and on over the past couple of years, but things never seemed to work out quite right. At the advice of a career counselor, I started asking around about freelance projects, and the Tuesday before my deadline, two projects landed in my lap. I felt freedom was near, and I suddenly had the confidence to hand in my resignation on my scheduled date!

Things never work out exactly as planned, and my bosses convinced me to stay on through the holidays (which resulted in one freelance gig completely disappearing, much to my horror.) But working the holidays at my old gig is usually low-key and not entirely unpleasant, so I stuck it out till the end of 2012. As one freelance gig disappeared, another one materialized just before Christmas (let's call it a Saturnalia miracle!), and I am happy to say that I start training over there on Monday.

Unfortunately, I didn't have very many days off to relax as this week was full of running to different offices all over Manhattan to fill out paperwork, etc, but I did manage to do a lot of organizing. I bought and sold some furniture, I cleaned out my closets and drawers, and I gave a crap ton of stuff away to Goodwill. I even spent some quality time with my mother who's been visiting for the holidays. I celebrated both the start of 2013 and leaving my job with some close friends from grad school. I spend New Years Day night at a Joseph Arthur concert without the worry that I would have to wake up the next morning at 4am to go to work!

As 2013 begins, I feel hopeful and happy for the first time in many years. I am training at a new place this week, and then I head off on a seven-day cruise to Tortola, Antigua, and San Juan with two of my favorite girlfriends. I come back to NYC for a few days, and then I am heading out to Park City, Utah for Sundance (and I am also doing some consulting work while I am out there.) So it's going to be a busy month, and I pray that some work for Feb lines up while all this is going on. I can't imagine it won't. I've not felt this secure in a very long time. Wish me luck guys! And may 2013 be amazing for all of us!

Monday, November 05, 2012

The 4-H Club: Hurricane, heroism, hospital, and hysterics.

(Photos are from my Saturday morning walk by the East River.)
As I was getting ready for work on Friday morning, a spot beneath my left knee started to itch, and I noticed what looked like a routine bug bite. I put some hydrocortisone on it, pulled on my tights, and went to work as usual. When I got home that afternoon, the bite seemed to be itching more than usual, and so I kept on putting hydrocortisone on it and went to bed. The area started to swell, but I am sensitive to just about everything both inside and out, so I didn't bother too much about it. When I woke up the next morning, it had swollen to a red, hot spot about the size of a third of a grapefruit. I did a little Googling, and decided that since I didn't have a fever or trouble breathing, it must've just been a doozy of a bite. I took some homeopathic pills that I read might be effective for bug bites, and then I put on exercise clothes to go meet my friend Deb for our routine Saturday morning walk along the East River.

We started out as usual, but by the time we made it over to the riverwalk, something didn't feel right. I showed her the bump, and we agreed to talk to the pharmacist at Target once we got up there. (Sidenote: We discovered that there is no pharmacy at the East Harlem Target.) Our stroll along the river was stopped short by carnage from Superstorm Sandy that had just passed through town on Monday night. Trees were down everywhere, and yellow caution tape stopped us from using the walkway. We were both surprised at how much of the park had been cleaned up already. There were fallen trees cut neatly into uniform length pieces stacked up along the sides of the green areas.

We continued on up 1st Avenue and witnessed the patient drivers in line at the gas stations that seemed to still have some supply left. We watched less patient drivers back up and make U-turns to exit on the entrance ramps to the FDR. Patience is not a virtue in NYC, that's for sure. Where else could mass transit be back up and running (even at 40% capacity) within 48 hours? Not in Atlanta, that's for sure. People walking across the Queensboro bridge to get to work on Wednesday because the buses were too full? New Yorkers are tenacious, and I guess that's what gives this town its paradoxical notorious and glorious energy.

I suppose I should back up and talk about the hurricane that swept through town on Monday night. Subways closed down at 7pm last Sunday night in preparation. Stores and shops were quickly out of supplies, and I observed some really atrocious behavior as Upper East Siders fought over the last gallon of milk at Duane Reade on 1st Avenue and 76th St. I decided to forgo the insanity and walked across the street to the health foods store that seemed to have endless supplies of overpriced milk, bread, and foodstuffs that promise all kinds of miraculous health benefits. I grabbed one of each, and made my way to the counter. I also grabbed a few bottles of water, which were oddly, not overpriced at all. In my opinion, that's the stuff to mark up, because you know, there was a hurricane coming. I always have extra water in my apartment, just in case, but I grabbed a few more bottles jumping on the mass hysteria bandwagon. (One time I had to brush my teeth with Evian b/c they decided to work on the plumbing in my building with no warning. This is when a gym membership comes in handy for showering.) Then I went back to my apartment and just waited for Sandy.

The clouds had been ominously churning overhead since Saturday, but Sunday afternoon, the temps rapidly dropped and you could feel the gusty wind chill your bones. I couldn't stop watching the local news either. I tried to watch DVRed shows, but I couldn't concentrate on anything really. I was panicked that I had to try to go to work in this mess because my managers decided that since I lived in Manhattan, I didn't need a hotel near the office. So I was super anxious about that as well. I knew I wasn't going to sleep much, and that work was going to be a total trainwreck every day. I wasn't wrong on any level.

Monday morning was pretty uneventful. I ran home as soon as my show was off the air, and I didn't wait around to finish my shift. (This is when being salaried comes in handy. TTYL, fools.)

Monday night was terrifying because I couldn't stop watching the local news reporters that were out in this mess broadcasting from dangerous locales. I finally went to bed at 8pm when the storm had arrived in Manhattan. To me, it seemed like a really bad rainstorm just outside my window, but I knew Sandy was causing all kinds of havoc in more open areas. I had to go to work at 2am the next morning, which was originally the predicted peak time of the surge in Manhattan. My managers didn't understand why I was worrying so much about being asked to go in at that ridiculous time mid-storm surge, and fortunately for me, the surge happened earlier than predicted, around 10pm that night. It was all over by 1am.

Tuesday morning at 2am, my co-worker Roger, a CNN cameraman who is also an auxiliary police officer, picked me up at my apartment. He had a decked out Suburban and a whole lot of common sense, so I felt we would probably be ok. Two of my co-workers were in the same boat and live in my neighborhood, so Roger picked us all up and then drove us to work with the police lights on. It was pretty damn fabulous, but only because we were no longer in danger. I think all three of us went to bed terrified the night before because we were being asked to risk our lives to get into work on time. Our managers were so proud of themselves for working out this “excellent solution.” But the three of us were super pissed about it. Thank God Mother Nature's timing worked out for us. Or else we might have become the news.

Quick sidenote of heroism – Roger had been up all Monday night helping evacuate NYU hospital patients, and he was in most of the b-roll video that we aired of the story later during the morning show. The dude is seriously awesome. He hadn't slept all night, helped those patients and EMT crews, and then still came to pick us up and deliver us to work on time. And then he worked a full shift at our news org before heading home to sleep.

And then came the most emotional week of work I've had since 9/11. (Jen Belknap, I really thought of you a lot last week.) Not because it was any more or less devastating than the South Asian tsunami, Katrina, or Rita. Sandy certainly was handled better by the authorities, and for that I commend them. But this time, it was completely personal. I had visited so many of the storm-ravaged areas that are now completely unrecognizable. I have friends and co-workers that live in many of those places who lost not only water and power, but their homes in many cases. I couldn't believe how many people at my office decided to come to work despite the carnage at home. I do think a lot of people felt they didn't have a choice, although, others in our office seem to live for this kind of storytelling. I do not. I am selfish these days, and I value my safety entirely first. And I very much resented having to go in without any reasonable protection.

Watching the city clean up and endless press conferences giving updates on power outages, food supplies, gas shortages, etc etc etc made the week seem endless. And I couldn't just leave it at work. When I came home every day, I watched local news constantly until it was time for bed. I was happy to try to resume some normalcy when the weekend arrived, and I was exhausted from the adrenaline rush of the week's coverage at work.

So anyway, that brings me back to Saturday morning. Deb and I went for our walk, went to Target, bought groceries, and then came home. When I finally got home around noon that day, my calf had swelled up to twice the size it had been earlier in the morning. I got super nervous and called the nurse's hotline on the back of my insurance card. The nurse on the phone told me to get to the ER because I'd probably need aggressive antibiotics. She said it sounded like a case of “cellulitis.” Awesome. (That sounds like something you need to just get a spa treatment for, doesn't it?) Deb and I had plans to go see a play that afternoon, but Mr. Gyllenhaal would have to wait.

We spent seven hours at the ER with Dr. McDreamy and his glamorous staff. Everyone at Lenox Hill looks like they should be on TV. I think they are secretly filming a show there. They must be. I've never seen so many good-looking people at a hospital in my life. Seriously, Deb and I made it a game to spot ugly people working at LHH. We found none. So to change up my usual weekend routine a bit, I spent this particular Saturday mingling with lots of good-looking, professional adults. I, myself, was wearing a delightfully attractive V-neck, abstract print hospital gown that inadvertently flashed everyone every time I got up. What's sexier than that?

None of the doctors seemed particularly worried about my condition. What did stump them was the fact that I am allergic to most of the common types of antibiotics they use to treat this cellulitis problem. I'm special, you see. Regular people meds don't work on me. So they tried a couple of different things before they found one that didn't make me turn red or break out into a rash, and then they kept me overnight for monitoring because of the adverse reaction I had earlier in the day to drug number 2. I was discharged yesterday afternoon, and everything should be ok in the long run. I am on antibiotics for the next 10 days, and then I'm supposed to check in with my regular doctor.
The great news is that I am on bed rest for most of this week, so I will be missing all the crazy hours and the election coverage that I was scheduled for at work. I am armed with Netflix, DVDs and library books. And my local friends have been absolutely amazing as well. Anar, who was in town covering the hurricane for her news outlet, came by the hospital on Saturday night. Deb wouldn't leave LHH on Saturday until they settled me in the overnight hospital room, and then she came by on Sunday to oversee my discharge too. And Shalini came over last night and hung out after Deb left for church. Not to mention all the other friends that checked in when they heard the news. I was also really touched by all the co-workers that asked if I needed anything, especially since most of them are dealing with bigger life and housing problems at home themselves post-Sandy.

So that recaps my adventures last week. I am completely bored at home now, so please call, write, or carrier pigeon me for entertainment if you like. I also should mention for my Food Network-loving friends out there, on Friday, I got to meet Marc Murphy (he's the nice judge on Chopped). He is super nice in real life too and owns a restaurant in the building where I work. I see him in there all the time, but have never worked up the nerve to actually talk to him. Luckily, I was hanging out with our sociable floor director who does this sort of thing all the time, so he wrangled Mr. Murphy over to our table and introduced us all to him. (And it took all my willpower not to gush about the show to him, but I succeeded.) Pretty cool!