The numbers don’t lie

Shortly after we booked the wedding reception venue for our date in December I got a FaceTime call from my dad. My dad loves cell phone technology and will FaceTime at any opportunity he gets.

“Hi! Your mom wants to talk to you.”
My mom on the other hand is terrible with cell phones. She has an iPhone solely to take pictures and post to Facebook while on the go. Because of this I ended up FaceTiming with her nose.
“It’s a bad date!!! You picked a bad date!!! You have to change it!!!”
It took me a while to figure out that it was her nose I was looking at.
“What are you talking about??”
“The numerology of your wedding date! It’s a bad number! You have to change it to November!!”
Surely someone else can explain the concept of the auspicious date much better than I can, but essentially the auspicious date refers to the luckiest or best date to do anything — get married, buy a house, etc.  Depending on one’s culture the auspicious date can be determined in a number of ways, including numerology. While I knew this was a thing in the Chinese culture, this was the first time I was hearing about it in my own. I knew my mom dabbled in numerology from time to time, but more so just for kicks. The numbers never played a part in selecting other milestone moments in our family’s life, so imagine my surprise when this was suddenly a big deal.
I tried to get a better understanding of the situation. “How are you coming up with this? Are you sure you have our right birth dates? And who is your source? Because if it’s Uncle R, he’s not really an expert. Mr. S and I don’t really believe in that stuff anyway so we should be fine.”
The nose spoke frantically, “NOOO!! Your number signifies hardship and struggle!! Do you really want your wedding to start off that way?!? Move it to November!!”
Was she being serious??
“November costs $3,000 extra!”
“Well if you ask me, that is a cheap price to pay for starting your marriage with the perfect number!!”
Well then. “I don’t trust your source. I will find my own.”
And with that I went to my authority on all things big and small – Google. Turns out there are lots of resources to explain numerology and how to select an auspicious wedding date. I happened upon one that was decorated with rainbows and butterflies and included an auspicious wedding date calculator. Obviously, the accountant in me felt right at home.
I entered our birth dates and wedding date into the little calculator which spit out this result: 6. That meant absolutely nothing to me, so good thing it had an explanation:

A personal year, month or day of 6 is a number of family, responsibility and the home. Of all the numbers in numerology this number is the most auspicious number for creating a home with someone, settling down and perhaps having a family too if that is important to you. Try to have a 6 in the personal date numbers of both the bride and groom when picking a date for a wedding. In Tarot’s Major Arcana The Lovers is card number 6.

I zoned in on the key words — family, creating a home, lovers. Looked good to me! In addition to all that, it told me that Mr. S and I have the same personal day and personal month numbers despite us having different birth dates. Again, meaningless to me, but matching numbers had to be a good sign!

I sent my findings to my mom expecting her to come back with a reason why my numerology website (which could have been published by My Little Pony for all I knew) was a bunch of bull.
“Did you see what I sent you? It says our date is fine!”
I was silent for a few seconds, not really sure what was going on. 15 minutes ago her flared nostrils were telling me my future marriage was a future disaster and now all I was getting was an “Ok”??  If this was some reverse psychology shizz I wasn’t falling for it.
“Great, December Xth it is! Bye!”
The numerology thing never came up again. Maybe during the time I was Googling she realized she had a mathematical error. Maybe she decided that My Little Pony was a better source than my Uncle R. I’ll never know. And as long as we get to keep our bargain date, I don’t really care!

Mawiage. Mawiage is what bwings us togethahh todayyy.

The Princess Bride is my favorite movie. When I was younger we had it on Beta Max. And then one day Beta Max became obsolete and replaced by VHS and I could no longer watch The Princess Bride whenever I wanted. It sucked.

Anyway, this post isn’t about my favorite movies. It is yet again about the wedding. Bride brain…bride brain…bride braaaiiiin!!! Imagine I said that like a bride zombie, because really that’s what I’ve become.

Getting married in the Catholic Church was a given. Mr. S and I both grew up Catholic and have received all of our sacraments to date. Plus, I really like the tradition of getting married in church and repeating the vows that have married so many generations before us. So it shouldn’t be a problem, right? Riiiiighhhtt…
To be married in the Catholic Church, one must be “a Catholic in good standing.” I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, but considering Mr. S and I didn’t attend church on a regular basis, weren’t officially part of any parish, and have been living together in sin, I felt there was a good chance that we were actually “Catholics in very bad standing.” Throw into the mix that we are having our reception in Brooklyn and want the church to be relatively close to our reception location. This criterion pretty much narrowed the options down to one church. One.
I emailed the church rectory asking if they allowed non-parishioners to wed there, and the priest himself replied back saying that he does make exceptions. Allelujia! He added that before meeting we should attend mass at the church to see if we like the look and acoustics. The look and acoustics? They seemed like pretty odd details for a priest to point out, but I agreed that attending mass made sense.
I’ve seen lots of churches in my life of all different types, and I’ve never been in one where I said, “Ugh, gross.” Needless to say, I didn’t have any strong feelings about what the church should look like as long as there was an aisle for me to walk down. Maybe my low expectations contributed to my reaction, but when we walked into St. C, I got the feeling…similar to what a bride feels when she finds the dress, I had a feeling of this is the church where we are going to get married.
The church is on the smaller side, which I love. I grew up attending a larger church where it felt like half the church was empty most weekends. St. C is done in a gothic style with dark wood, columns, and large stained glass windows throughout and behind the altar. This was a HUGE bonus to me. I was never a fan of saying my vows directly under a crucifix of a dying Jesus, but resigned myself to this fate since that’s how most churches decorate their altar. But with stained glass windows…I could already picture us being bathed in colored sunlight as we stood at the altar professing our everlasting love.* Princess Buttercup, eat your heart out.
My anxiety levels were up when we arrived the following week for our meeting with Father E — this church was seemingly perfect for our wedding and what if he refused us for all the reasons that make us bad Catholics in bad standing?! We didn’t even have a good excuse! Maybe we tell him that yes we live together, but we sleep in two separate twin beds? My dad goes to mass everyday…does that count for anything? Yes, I actually entertained all of these options, but in the end I decided that we couldn’t lie to a priest. My co-worker had the best advice: Don’t lie, but don’t embellish either.
It turns out we had nothing to worry about. Father E is quite possibly the hippest priest I’ve ever met. He took great pride in telling us how he conducts his weddings so that the bride and groom get the perfect photo ops and was totally understanding about the co-habitating part, noting that rent in NYC is expensive.  Preach on Father, preach on! He even used curse words and the middle finger when telling us stories of his childhood. Mr. S and I were shocked! After the fantastic storytelling, Father E took down our information, asked us to provide baptismal certificates, and gave us information on Pre-Cana. He let us know that once Pre-Cana is complete, we could discuss further logistics of the day.
That pretty much sealed the deal. Up until this point, we were planning an elaborate party: reception venue, catering, flowers, music, etc. Now that we actually found someone to marry us, our little shindig is officially a wedding!
* Reality check – that sunlight bit probably won’t happen as we are getting married on a December evening. We will probably be holding flashlights up there.

An URB wedding

Planning a wedding. The thought makes me giddy and nauseous all at the same time. On the one hand, I love to plan, and I love to be pretty and surrounded by pretty things. Oh, and I also love Mr. S. On the other hand, our wedding is a BIG MOTHER TRUCKING DEAL. Why?

  1. I am an only child. No other siblings to get “do-overs” with, 
  2. I am a girl. Weddings are always bigger deals for girls than boys. 
  3. Mr. S and I have been together for 13 years. We have a lot of “shared” people. 

And so, the pressure is on, along with all the options, decisions, and expectations to consider. Every time one decision is made, another one rears its ugly head before I can even think of congratulating myself on a job well done.

When are you getting married? Where will you have it? Picked a date! Booked the venue!

What about the church? Oh right, ok, booked the church!

What about the photographer? Yes – so important! Picked out a photographer!

And the videographer? Um…

And florist? Um…

And an aisle runner? And then before you know it, you’re bald and cooking the books in the budget tab of your wedding spreadsheet.

Mr. S and I are barely three months into this endeavor and this has happened to me more times than I can count. The budget tab in our wedding spreadsheet resembles a Sudoku puzzle – change one number here, and another number somewhere else must also change. And why? Because all the wedding gods tell you that the first part of wedding planning is making a budget. And the second part of wedding planning is sticking to it.

Those close to me will tell you that I have no problem spending money (really, it just seems to spend itself). But the wedding budget…I could never get my head around spending all that money on one day. And that argument about memories for a lifetime? I’m pretty sure we will have memories for a lifetime no matter how much money we spend.* And after reading various wedding blogs and attending a few weddings myself, I was convinced that having the wedding of our dreams did not equate to sacrificing a down payment on a future home.

From the beginning, Mr. S and I had very similar ideas of what we wanted for our wedding – fun, cozy, informal but still special, and very dancy. Surely we can evoke those feelings on the big day without spending ridiculous amounts of money? And so I set out to research/obsess what those feelings would realistically cost us.

The budget started arbitrarily at $25,000 – tented backyard wedding at my parent’s house, barefoot bride, iPod DJ, pour your own drinks, etc. That budget evaporated once I saw that a tent and dance floor alone would cost $25,000. Not to mention our family members are not hippies and would be digging holes into my parent’s backyard with their stiletto heels. Ok, maybe I was being a bit naive… bump it up to $40,000. And while we’re at it, let’s move it to NYC. What, you need $100,000 to have a wedding for 150+ guests in Manhattan? Uh ok, let’s back it up to Brooklyn and call it a deal.

Fear not, Mr. S and I are not starting off our marriage in debt – actually we are because we both have student loans…but at least not in debt on account of our wedding. The issue wasn’t that the money isn’t there, more so is the money really necessary? And what I soon found out was yes, yes it is.

So there you have it – step one of wedding planning. We’re already a little iffy on step two.

*And just in case that’s not true, I doubled the budget allocated to the photographer.

My deep, dark, and dirty secret: I’m not a wedding dress virgin

I’ve already worn a wedding dress. And Mr. S was there — in a tux. No, I wasn’t a runaway bride – I was a Sweet 16 debutante.Mr. S and I started dating in the year 2000, coincidentally also the year of my 16th birthday. Sweet 16 parties are (or were?) pretty normal where we’re from, ranging the full spectrum from Knights of Columbus halls to hotel ballrooms. Guess where I fell on that spectrum.I fully own up to this. My parents graciously offered me a trip to Europe, a new car, or a Sweet 16 party. I chose the party. Looking back at my high school self, I have to admit I was pretty savvy. I knew that Europe would always be there. I knew that even if a new car wasn’t in the works, a used one would be, and I could deal with that (my dad was the sole driver in our household before I got my license. He couldn’t wait to get me on the road). But a Sweet 16?? A girl only turns 16 once in her lifetime. To me, the choice was obvious.

Things moved quickly from there (with the help of my mother who has an inclination towards the extravagant). We had a family friend at the Sheraton who could give us a deal on the ballroom and catering. We hired a balloon guy to do gorgeous balloon centerpieces. My uncles wanted an excuse to wear their tuxedos. There was talk of family flying in from the Philippines to attend. We hired a choreographer for the group dance. Wait, what?

The Filipino equivalent of a Sweet 16 is called a “Debut” (pronounced “deh-boo”) and occurs on the celebrant’s 18th birthday. Part of a traditional debut is a group dance – a complicated choreographed dance of classical styles (waltz, cha-cha, etc.) performed by the celebrant, her chosen partner, and as many couples of her friends that her little heart desires. I chose 8 couples. 8 x 2 = 16, duh. And guess who was in that group of poor souls forced to rehearse the waltz for 3 weeks straight in my uncle’s basement? Mr. S!!! Actually, those rehearsals happened very early on in our relationship — our first dates if you will. My other deep, dark, and dirty secret: I forced Mr. S to date me by enslaving him to my Sweet 16 ensemble. Don’t feel bad for him because he loved it.

So you can see where this is going: big ballroom Sweet 16 gala. What’s a girl to wear? My aunt called my mom from the Philippines with the news that she could have my dress made in the Philippines. Awesome! Not awesome. The dress arrived and it didn’t fit. And it was too short. I am only 4’11” and three-quarters – how can anything be too short on me?? So the dress was deported back to the Philippines and my mom and I shopped for a dress Stateside. I really don’t know how it happened…but one day we found ourselves in the bridal section of an evening wear store, and somehow I put on an ivory ball gown with floral detailing, and then we bought it, and then I owned a wedding dress at 15 years old. To our credit, we didn’t buy a veil. Not to our credit, we did buy a tiara.

But the story doesn’t end there…no, no, no! Because that Philippines dress came back with a vengeance. Serious alterations were made and the dress came back, fit like a glove, and looked like a million bucks. It was pink and gold (fitting with our theme – major plus), poufy, and custom. So I’d be a two dress Sweet 16er, no big deal. …Or would I be a three dress Sweet 16er? Because that wedding dress and that pink cupcake dress were really big, and how was I supposed to dance all night in that?? And so a third dress was bought – a simple light pink column sheath dress with pink beading.

My Sweet 16 was everything I could have imagined it to be and more…it was pink and gold and over the top with 140 guests, singing and dancing DJs, photographer and videographer*, sky-high balloon arrangements, plated dinners in the main hotel ballroom, three dress changes, and 30 minutes of choreographed dancing entertainment. And it is not what I want for our wedding. When we set out on this wedding planning adventure, I knew only two things: no hotel ballroom and no poufy dress. Something about it reminds me of being a kid and of our relationship when we were kids. And we’re not kids anymore, we’re full-fledged almost-but-not-yet 30 year old grown-ups.

When I think about it now, it’s crazy how long Mr. S and I have been together…how we have been able to grow up but not grow apart over 13 years.

So there you have it. My deep, dark, and dirty secret. I’m not a wedding dress virgin. Mr. S has assured me he will still marry me despite my indiscretion.

* One thing I learned from my Sweet 16 – the value of a videographer. We watched that video over and over so many times that my mother memorized it.

Saying Goodbye to the 2’s

One of my very best friends is turning the big 3-0 in a few weeks.  No matter which way we try to slice it, turning 30 is a big deal.  The 3 somehow automatically makes people expect you to be a responsible adult.  It’s not like you’ll ever say “Oh, those 30-somethings, they’re so crazy, hahaha!!”  
In the 2’s you can still get away with “20-something.”  In the 3’s, you’re hanging onto every. single. year.  
“I’m not in my mid-30’s…I’m 33.  Get it right!”  Or at least that’s what I’ll be saying.  
I’m 28 at the writing of this post, soon to turn 29 in a few months myself.  The milestone birthday of my BFF has prompted me to reflect on my own feelings about turning 30.  Here’s what I’ve come up with:
  • Children.  Children happen in your 30s.  Supposedly it’s better to have them in our 20s, but there’s really nothing we can do about that now.  I actually think having children in one’s 30s is preferable.  I got to spend my 20s as a selfish girl living in the big city.  It’s nice to have gotten that out of my system before bringing babies into the world.
  • Travel.  As in, now I have the money to do so, but I better hurry up before those children come along.  I need to get to Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and all other exotic destinations where strollers are more difficult to navigate.
  • Settling down.  This could mean settling down with a person, but really Mr. S and I have been settled for years now.  It’s more like, settling into a routine that is, well, pretty lame.  It’s already started to happen to me.  My weekdays are completely predictable…gym schedule, tv schedule, they’re all set in stone.  Will my life be as spontaneous as it was when I get to the 3?  
  • Having nice things.  Ooh this is probably the best part about getting older.  The NICE THINGS.  Nice clothes, accessories, vacations, etc.  This also goes hand in hand with…
  • Money, money, money.  Not that there is an infinite amount of it, but there is definitely more than when I was in my early 20s.  However, I can see my superfluous spending dwindling in my 30s…see again “children,” and add “mortgage.”
So that’s what I have so far.  And honestly, it really is about turning 30.  For some reason 40 doesn’t seem as scary as 30.  50 might be scarier…I’ll let you know when I get there.

The Chunk Chronicles: Part 1

Hey folks, the Chunkster here.  Just wanted to check in and introduce myself on this blog thing the girl is always rarely on.So far, so good in my new digs.  The girl is pretty nice, but the boy is way better.  He’s super awesome and we’re already best buds.  I think the girl is a little jealous so I throw her a few cuddles here and there, but I really love cuddling with the boy more because he lets me lick his lips.

The first few days were a little rough.  Everything smelled weird, so I had to sniff, sniff, sniff and pee, pee, pee on everything until it all smelled better.  The only tricky thing are the garbage bags, because they always smell different.  I cried a couple of times when the boy and girl left me alone in my crate, but I figured out pretty quick that they were coming back for me.  Plus, they leave me in the crate with some delicious peanut butter too, so you know, that helps.

The worst part about the boy and girl is that they don’t let me sleep on the bed.  On my first night I went up there to get comfy with them, but they kicked me off the bed.  WTF man, I’m cuddly, I’m cool, I’ll keep your feet warm…  On my next try, I got a little more stealthy and made it to the bench at the foot of their bed.  I thought it was a good compromise…you have your space, I have my space.  But again, the boy airlifted me off the bench onto the floor.  Dude, I wasn’t even on the bed, I was on the bench!  How rude!

Well, that’s all for now.  I believe another nap is calling my name.  Check ya later!

– The Chunkster


Chunkmaster Flex in da house!!

I’m sure not all of you believed me when I said wasn’t goingto do any wedding planning or wedding thinking for one whole week.  Maybe this will help convince you – we got a dog!!  I know, I know, the amount of life events going on in our apartment right now is insane.  Truthfully, we are a little more excited about the dog than the engagement.  My parents offered to throw us an engagement party in a few weeks and our response was, “But that’s the date of Chunk’s welcome party…”

Introducing Sir Chunkmaster Flex of Carnegie Hill.  You can call him Chunk for short.

So, we don’t have him at home yet, but are going to pick him up from his foster moms’ apartment this Friday – and we are SO EXCITED!  So, for all of you wondering how I was going to occupy my anti-wedding week, I will be doggy-preparing and doggy-proofing our apartment.  The checklist of getting ready for a new dog vs. planning a wedding is so much easier to wrap my head around.
After we lost Arkam to another adopter, we started looking for our future pup online.  It took longer than we thought it would because we were so heartbroken over losing Arkam.  We met a few other dogs, and while they were cute and well-behaved, the emotional connection was never there.  We finally found Chunk and are so happy we did because we think he’s the best dog ever.  Chunk was rescued from the AC&C by the Bully Project.  They’ve brought him back to health and put him in a loving foster home, where he has been for the past 2 months.  As soon as we saw his pictures online, we were in love – like stupid, goofy, giggling school-girl love.  After stalking Chunk online for 2 days, we arranged for a meet and greet at his foster moms’ apartment, hoping and praying that he was a good match for us – and turns out he is!  We’re told Chunk is great with people (I can verify this since as soon as we sat on the couch, he sat on my feet waiting to be hugged) and great with most dogs (he sometimes doesn’t get along with other large male dogs).  We will be able to continue Chunk’s training, teaching him to have better leash manners and to focus on us when we are out for walks, rather than all the trees, garbage bags, lamp posts, and other animals (who can blame him, I’m sure they all smell fantastic).  We are so grateful to the Bully Project and his fosters for rescuing and  taking such good care of Chunk, and showing him all the love they did. 

To answer the burning question, he is a 4 year old pitbull mix (looks like there could be some Lab in there, but we don’t know for sure).  Every time we tell this to family and friends, the immediate reaction is “Pitbull?!?  Oh no…”  
Oh yes.  And before you go bashing the breed and start judging us, we acknowledge the pitbull history and are aware that dog aggression is in their DNA.  However, Mr. S and I believe that every dog should be judged individually and that with proper socialization and the proper owner, pitbulls can be wonderful and devoted pets.  And after interacting with Chunk, we have no doubt that he will fit in right at home with us.  We are not claiming ignorance of the breed – we fully accept the responsibility of owning a pitbull, which includes disciplined training, careful and thoughtful interactions with other dogs, making sure Chunk is an outstanding member of the community (pick up that poop!), and hopefully educating the general public about the breed.  I don’t know if I’m ready for the prejudice against my new family member, but I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that nobody has a reason to not like him.  And, I mean, how could you not love this face?

I am going to be a bald bride

Let’s face it, I’m a bad blogger.  I go off into the world and have all these fantastic /mundane experiences and never report back to you, my devoted readers.  For that, I apologize.  And to make it up to you, here’s a doozie of a blog post for you – Mr. S and I are engaged!
::: Trumpets, confetti, disco ball lighting :::
Mr. S proposed yesterday at Mama and Papa Rice Ball’s home in NJ, along with Pops (Mr. S’s dad), and Bro J and Bro J’s girlfriend, A.  I should have seen the signs earlier, but didn’t really get what was going on until Mr. S started making a speech about how much he loves me and wants to love me forever.  At least, I think that’s what he said…my ears stopped working at some point.  Only then did I realize that we were toasting champagne glasses at 11:00 am on a Sunday and why Mr. S requested we have breakfast with our parents (although in my defense – if someone told you “Hey, let’s go to Denny’s for breakfast,” would you be expecting a diamond ring at the end of it?)
Since he put a ring on it, I’ve been through a range of emotions… excitement, awe, disbelief, excitement again and then…anxiety.   Well-meaning friends and family want to know where, when, who, how, etc.  And the type A planner in me wants to get started right away and give them the answers – date, venue, family, friends, dress, shoes, hair, make-up, flowers, rings, music etc.  Cue anxiety.  Where do I even start?!?! OMG my hair is going to fall out.  OMG I am going to be a bald bride.
This whole range of emotion took about 4 hours to cycle through.  My solution:  F it.  I am going to F it and not think about anything wedding related for one week.  But, Urban Rice Ball, what will you be doing with yourself for one whole week?!  How can you abstain from the planning process?!  It will be hard, I’m not going to try and kid myself.  I’ve had to stop myself a few times already from googling, “I’m engaged, now what?”   I’ve found admiring my new ring and calling Mr. S “my fiancé” as often as I can helps to pass the time…  Here, maybe it will help you pass the time as well.
Edit: Since the time of writing to the time of posting, I admit to registering to  Also, Mr. S wants it noted that he did not propose at Denny’s.

Icebergs Ahead!!

When I was in high school, my art teacher taught us with acrylic paint.  “We don’t use oil paints in the classroom because of the chemicals and fumes.”  The what?!

Since the age of 16, I was led to believe that oil painting was 1 part art and 3 parts science.  And I hated science (still do — Mr. S really knows how to put me to sleep with that anatomy stuff).  And so I was happy to use acrylics and stayed far, far away from those oil paints and their caustic chemical reactions in fear that if I didn’t use them right I would cause my painting to spontaneously combust.

It wasn’t until I was years into my “career” and I decided to get back into painting that I considered oils.  And really, I only considered oil painting because there was no other option.  Well, there was watercolor, but watercolor is pretty unwieldy stuff and I’d rather risk burning my eyebrows off than wrestle with watercolor.  So, I signed up for a Beginner Oil Painting class and here is where all my misconceptions were cleared up.  Oil based pigment needs to be mixed with a medium to create a paint-like consistency.  Apparently back in the day only turpentine was available as a medium.  Turpentine is very stinky, and from what I’m told still a chemical to be feared.  Thankfully, I’ve still never actually come in contact with real turpentine because somewhere between the time of Michelangelo and the time of the iPhone, someone has created a synthetic medium called “Turpenoid”  — works like turpentine, but is odorless and student-friendly.  It even comes in an eco-friendly version.

In most art classes, painting or otherwise, students are taught by performing “Master Studies,” which is essentially taking a famous artist’s work and copying it, thereby learning techniques and skills by doing what the artist did.  I selected Frederic Church’s “The Icebergs” mostly because I liked the colors.

The Icebergs, Frederic Church, 1861

This was certainly a learning experience…I learned that I could spend 5 hours painting in one day and I still not get that craggy look to the ice rocks.  I guess this was a memorable experience for my teacher too, because almost two years later, he let me know that The Icebergs were on loan at the Met as part of a temporary exhibit.  He urged me to see it for myself in person.  So on Sunday, I dragged Mr. S to the Met with me to find The Icebergs.

The Met is gi-nor-mous.  I knew the quickest way to find The Icebergs was to ask someone in a black blazer.  The first Black Blazer directed us to the American Paintings exhibit.  I should have realized then that this was wrong because American Paintings is a permanent exhibit and The Icebergs are just on loan to the Met.  We walked around the multiple rooms in the American Paintings wing and asked a second Black Blazer where The Icebergs are.

Me: Hi, we’re looking for Church’s Icebergs
BB: Hmm…well, who is it by?
Me: Frederic Church
BB: Oh we’ve got lots of Church right over there
Me: Yeah…no…that’s not it.  It’s a big painting of Icebergs.

At this point, I pulled up the painting on my iPhone.

Me: This is what it looks like.
BB: Well where does it say it is?
Me: It says it’s part of the Dallas permanent collection.
BB: Well then it’s not here!!

At this point I want to shake the man and yell. “Obviously I know what city I am in Black Blazer!!”  Instead I said:

Me: Um, well no, I’m pretty sure it’s here.  A friend told me he saw it here a few weeks ago.  I think it’s part of a temporary exhibit?
BB: < thinking…thinking…thinking > Icebergs…icebergs…icebergs…
Me: < waiting…waiting…waiting >
BB: Oh yes!  Maybe the Civil War exhibit!!  That’s our temporary exhibit.  There are some paintings of the Aurora Borealis there.  If Icebergs are anywhere, they could be there…

He at least knew the quickest way to get to the Civil War exhibit.  I had my blinders on as I zoomed past the tourists and other artworks.  I just had to get to The Icebergs.  Part of me was starting to doubt my information…maybe it wasn’t really here?  Did I just pay $25 to not see The Icebergs??  Finally, we came up the stairs into a large room, and there it was, in all its craggy glory.

The real painting is very large, 64 x 112 inches, and it took Church one whole year to paint it. I started to take out my iPhone to snap a picture when a third Black Blazer barked, “NO PICTURES.”  Party pooper, how about you go yell at all those tourists with their flash cameras.  So I settled at staring at it for 20 minutes, all up close and personal.  My art teacher says you can always spot a fellow artist in museums because they are the ones standing two inches away from the painting, trying to figure out how the artist did what he did.  After seeing it in person, I think 2 things — 1) SO COOL 2) His is definitely better than mine.

I Heart NYC.

Pound Puppies

I’ve mentioned before that I want a dog.  Mr. S wants a dog too, even more so than me.  On most Saturdays, Mr. S and I will get breakfast then walk over to Carl Schurz Park and watch the dogs in the Big Dog park (we don’t waste our time with that crappy Little Dog park).  We aren’t allowed inside the dog park because we don’t actually have a dog, so we hang on the fence and watch from outside, discussing which one we would like to steal and take home for ourselves.  Mr. S also does great color commentary on the dogs, which is my favorite part of this whole ritual. 
One Sunday, I was looking through, just for fun, and found a cute little pitbull.  His description noted that he had escaped Death Row once and was desperately looking for his Forever Home.  Ugh, he was so cute.  I showed him to Mr. S and he found out that he was only 20 blocks away from us. 

“Let’s go see him!”

On the way, we discussed what we would do if we fell in love with this dog and had to take him home.

Mr. S: We can hide him in the apartment.  Other people have asshole dogs.  Why can’t we have a kickass dog?
Me: Our neighbor will tell on us.  We can tell the landlord that we need to break the lease because I lost my job.
Mr. S: Yeah, yeah let’s do that!!

Nevermind that we might become homeless for an unknown amount of time, or that our rent would certainly increase, or that I am allergic to dogs.  We were determined to save him. 
Midway through our walk, my subconscious must have come to her senses.

Me (stopped walking and hiding behind a bus shed): I don’t think I’m ready.
Mr. S (like I knocked the wind out of his sails): It’s ok.  We don’t have to get him.  We can just go look and decide later.

10 minutes later we arrived at the Manhattan Animal Care & Control.  When we walked in there was a man dropping off his 9 month old Schnauzer mix.  His reason: she was too hyper and he couldn’t train her. Jerk.  
The Manhattan AC&C is basically the city pound.  They cannot refuse any animal that is brought in or found as a stray.  Due to this, and their limited government funding, they are a kill shelter – which means, if an animal doesn’t get adopted, he or she will be put to sleep.  Wah!
We headed upstairs to see the dogs.  It was the saddest sight ever.  As we walked by each cage, the dogs perked up their heads, and put on their most heartbreaking “please take me with you” face.  Some of them were sad, and just stayed lying down in their cage.  Others were so happy to see people walking by that they jumped up and licked to greet us.
Each dog is given a series of behavioral tests to see how they interact with people, children, and other animals.  All this information is critical to ensuring the dog gets placed with the right family.  The dog we found online would not have been a good match for us since he has issues being around other dogs.  Although we have both owned dogs previously, Mr. S and I have zero experience with anti-social dogs.  Plus we really, really, really want to be part of the Big Dog park club. 
We kept looking and landed on Arkam.  He was a tan pitbull that seemed very gentle and loving in his cage.  He stood right up when we approached his cage and had a big happy smile.  When it was our turn to talk to the adoption consultant, we said that we were interested in him.  She told us that he aced all his behavioral tests and would do great in any home.  YES!  We got to take him out and play catch with him a little bit.  He walked perfectly on the leash and brought the ball back every time we threw it at him.  In short, he was the best behaved dog we’ve ever come across (even considering the ones we have previously owned).  The consultant told us that they don’t have a lot of history on any of the dogs that come into the center, but she could tell that he was owned by a family since he knew how to “sit” and “lie down” and they don’t teach that kind of stuff at the center.  
Then she asked us if our apartment allows dogs.  I lied, “Yes, but there is a 50lb weight limit.”  And then I lied again, “But we are looking to move next month anyway.”    
After playing with Arkam, we told the consultant that we needed more time to think about it.  It is, after all, a big decision that would have a big impact on our lifestyle.  Mr. S and I headed home disappointed.  We knew we could take care of him, but we didn’t want to have to hide him or live in fear of being kicked out.  Plus, 3 of us in a studio might be too crowded?  Oh and I’m allergic.  However, I should note that I showed no allergic reactions during our visit, and it definitelysmelled like dogs.   All in all, it just isn’t the right time for us to adopt.
Even with that rational realization, we vowed that if he ever got put on Death Row, we would go back to get him.  So far, he hasn’t appeared on the list.  (There is an “At Risk” list put out every night showing which 
dogs are to be put to sleep the next day.  Mr. S checks it religiously.)  If you or anyone you know might be interested in adopting a loveable, perfectly behaved pitbull, check out Arkam or any of his friends at