Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's Making Me Happy This Week(end)


Specifically, unexpected communication with friends

On Friday, on the advice of a haphazard Facebook message sent my way by a friend, I attended a concert/sing-a-long with Sandra McCracken (who helped begin Indelible Grace and led to all of the beautiful musical reinterpretations made familiar to me as a college student through RUF) and Derek Webb.

When I returned home after this (for me) quite emotional event, I received a phone call from a grad school friend—a very happy occurrence for a variety of reasons. First, as I was commuting on the subway that day, I had literally been thinking of how long it had been since he and I had spoken. Second, he was slightly intoxicated, which—I have to admit—is one of my favorite versions of him.  Third, what he said.  He did his best to assure me that while he may have had a few PBRs in him (to to his dismay in failing to adequately grill beer chicken), that in no way affected the truth behind his words: “Leah Rang. You’re one of the good ones, and I love you.  We’re going to be best friends forever.” At the tail end of a long, lonely week filled with career and personal frustrations augmented by the oppressive possibility of New York, I don’t think he knew how incredibly wonderful it was to hear that.
(A sidebar: in all of our relationships, I am a firm believer in constant encouragement and positive words.  We have a tendency only to reveal our true feelings or say kind words in times of strife or sadness; why?!? I could write an entire essay about this, but I’ll refrain here.)

Furniture delivery

A couple weeks back, I once again gave into mass consumerism and bought a chair and bookcase (among other things) at Ikea.  Since one of the items was out of stock, I had it delivered from the warehouse, which took a surprisingly long time. But finally, on Saturday, I confirmed the delivery.
One sign of growing older and more (sigh) adult is how excited you become about objects you once took for granted, such as chairs.  It’s a chair, after all, a receptacle for your posterior.  But now that I have it all set up in my closet/side room, I have created a nook, an escape, a place where all I want to do is curl up in my chair and read.  (I honestly look forward to retreating to my closet for the few minutes I have in the morning and at night when I return home—to read and solidify my old-woman status.) 

Even better, the delivery was early.  Usually when you receive a “11am-3pm” delivery time, it will show up at 5pm; they delivered it at 10am. Such good luck rarely happens to me; I always manage to choose the grocery line that takes the longest or the “express” train that sits in the station for 10 minutes while two local trains pass through.


The early delivery allowed me to accept my friend’s invitation to go to Governor’s Island for an event called Figment.  This brought together all things of which I am fond: picnics, beautiful weather, grass under bare feet, art, friends, history, boats, and events/people/situations of such randomness that you cannot help but laugh and enjoy the moment.

Despite some raindrops, we boarded the ferry at Pier 6 (in the developing Brooklyn Bridge Park) to Governors Island.  After a good 45 minutes of waiting to board and boarding, the actual ferry trip was a resoundingly anti-climactic 3 minutes.  But it did afford some great views of Lower Manhattan.
I didn’t even know that Governors Island existed until about two months ago.  The island is a national monument, boasting a history of exclusivity (NY royal governors only, thank you very much) and military happenings (there are three forts on the island, and it was most recently in the service of the U.S. Coast Guard before becoming a National Park).  Walking on the island is surreal: the financial district forms the backdrop, but it’s difficult to feel its impressive capitalistic power when you feel the grass under you feet as you walk through the “moat” around Fort Jay.  Abandoned buildings (old barracks?  Offices?) surround the grassy areas—I would live there in a heartbeat, making up for the ferry (kayak?) commute with some kickass parties.

According to the website, Figment is a “spectacularly colorful event” sponsoring “over 200 participatory art projects in every conceivable medium, a bigger-than-ever-before TreeHouse, a delightfully whimsical interactive Sculpture Garden and inspired Minigolf Course...And whatever you can think of to make your dreams come true!”

Need I say more?

Familiar Faces on unfamiliar streets

I decided to walk along Atlantic Avenue from the Pier to Target (I’m still assembling my room).  As I strolled through Cobble Hill, admiring the charming store fronts that assuredly contain items that I cannot even dream of affording at the moment—and, of course, wishing I lived in that neighborhood—I came across Adam, a new acquaintance (and in due time—friend?) who also lives in Bed-Stuy.  After a quick hug in greeting and a quick exchange in which we both established that we were just spending the Saturday running errands, we went on our merry ways.  Recap: I ran into someone I know. On the street.  In New York.  (Do I really live here?)

Frigid Air (and sweet friends that have cars)

My high school senior class president happens to live in Brooklyn, and he happens to be my friend.  He also happens to have a car and likes helping friends in need, so he assisted me in buying and transporting an air conditioner to my apartment on Saturday, with promises to come back and help with the installation.  If you know anything about my contentious relationship with summer heat, you’ll know that this was a necessary measure.  I haven’t needed to use it yet, but knowing it’s there is sweet, sweet assurance.


After not seeing (and hardly speaking to) someone for five years, it makes the invitation to their birthday party a little more meaningful.  I had been trying to meet up with a former classmate from my study abroad days in Florence for some time (we took an Italian cooking class together at Apicius), and attending her birthday on Saturday night was a way to guarantee that would happen—that’s right, I had never before seen her in the U.S..  So I made my way to Williamsburg and met up with her and her friends at Good Co., where I found myself having to explain to people what the game of corn hole was and how to play (it’s truly a different world, people.)

Food (that turns out well even when you’ve never made the recipe before)

This Sunday, it was my turn to make the sweet treat, and I decided to try two new recipes (via Pinterest—yet further affirmation that I am turning into a middle-aged woman already): Key Lime Bars and Healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip (that is, surprisingly, made from chickpeas).  Both were tasty enough.  Phew.  Making them also made me miss hosting dinner parties and get-togethers (I say as I squash the suburbanite longings that threaten to rear up within the middle-aged me.)


(Yes, I know I’ve destroyed the alliterative list.  Alas.  I couldn’t figure out a way to turn this into an “f” word (heh) without leading with an arbitrary adjective, thereby demolishing my strict Scattegories ethical code.)

Podcasts are basically what get me through the week: I listen to them at work non-stop.  NPR’s Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me and Pop Culture Happy Hour (from which this title is charitably stolen) always delight, and ExtraHotGreat is a weekly must, but I dabble here and there—and I am always open to suggestions. For instance, I just downloaded some iTunesU podcasts for running.  As I ran my 5k this morning through parts of Clinton Hill, Fort Greene, and Bed-Stuy, I brushed up on my Modern Social Theorists.  Yes I’m a nerd.  Don’t hate.


Governors Island
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
Key Lime Bars
Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me
Pop Culture Happy Hour

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