Tuesday, May 29, 2012

one year

one year.
seems impossible that it's already been a full year.
why did a full year seem to take so much longer before we were married?
so much has changed.
we went from being of two fleshes (?) to one.
we went from being engaged to married.
we went from no tattoos or piercings to tattoos and piercings.
i don't have two jobs anymore. i have neither of the jobs i had a year ago, and have one job that i'm thrilled to have and so grateful for.
jason still has two jobs. but one of them changed from construction to customer service. he finally received a well overdue promotion in the military, and he's due for another soon enough.
the car that we drove away from our wedding to our short 2-day honeymoon is now dead, and we have a RAV4, our dream car.
we went from having a futon to a couch, then got rid of the couch and got a single solitary chair. strange. we also have a carpet now instead of a workout mat. isn't that nice? our dvd collection has grown. a lot.
so many wall hangings.
and pinterest. oh, pinterest. you suck my life away and seemingly make it so much easier.... right?

so many friendships made. a few friendships salvaged.
so many friendships lost. some just temporarily put on hold for some unknown reason to me.
so many of our friends got married or about to get married.
so many babies everywhere... or babies who have doubled or tripled in size in one year. they're all walkin and talking and shtuff.
family moving here and there.
we were supposed to go to scotland in september. now that we have our dream car, scotland has to wait a year. unless a miracle occurs.

lest i forget, jason almost deployed and did not. thank you, Jesus! lest i forget how my health deteriorated in those two months. lest i forget how much i learned. the lesson was that i cannot control my circumstances. things like deployment, employment, residence situations, health situations, death... i can't control, so why should i stress out so freaking hard about it? GOD HAS GOT THIS. and i need to sit down, shut up, chill out, read His word, and pray.

i wonder what this upcoming year of marriage will hold?
will my husband change? yes.
will i change? yes.
will it be for the better? i hope.
will the world end? more than likely.

after all, it is 2012.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

new york, new york: part 3

PART TRES: then & now

march 2008. it was a cold month in new york.
april 2012 was a nice, temperate month.
i ventured out on the trip in 2008 with two girl friends as an unmarried college girl.
we stayed in one of my girl friend's grandparents house in jersey. we drove up to jersey and bussed into the city two days.
in 2012 i ventured out as a degreed college graduate with my husband on a train and stayed with the most amazingly hospitable near-strangers in the city.

in 2008 i didn't own a smart phone [iphones existed, other smart phones did not yet exist].
i did in 2012. made finding certain things a lot easier.

in '08, our navigator was dearest charity [char char!] savino holding a map.
google maps was our attempted navigator in 2012, it didn't work as well as we hoped. walking directions on phone apps aren't so successful. 

walking the brooklyn bridge was much more pleasant in april of 2012 than march of 2008. it wasn't face-bitingly cold in april and i didn't have to pee like a racehorse like i did in march 2008. and lemme tell ya, there were a LOT less people walking on the bridge back then [probably just because it was so cold!].
the new york skyline is quite different in four years [and is it just me, or does the river look cleaner? haha].
visiting the world trade center in 2012 was just as hard as it was visiting in 2008.
on the day we visited in 2008, the last stairwell was being torn down the day we visited.
there was a small site where you could see the names, place flowers. there was a man playing some sort of musical instrument and singing amazing grace.
in four years time, there is now a full blown memorial and tower 1 is 75% of the way complete [and now is the tallest building in the city]. no one is there singing amazing grace.
central park. so much warmer, 97% more populated.
bethesda terrace march 2008.
bethesda terrace april 2012.
bow bridge 2008.
bow bridge 2012.
2008 trip included a stop at coney island which unfortunately didn't happen in the 2012 trip. i would have really enjoyed seeing how that changed, especially since the selling of the property.
but, got to visit soho and lady liberty on this trip, so i guess it all evens out, right [eeh, there's a place in my heart for coney island that nothing else can replace]?

i loved both of these trips equally. i don't think anything can really top you "first experience" in a place. but i'm really glad the second trip was twice as long as the first one. you really can never get enough of new york in!

another major difference in these two trips was when i came back from the 2008 trip i thought, "i could never live in NYC, it's just a lovely place to visit. i can't handle the hustle and bustle." after this 2012 trip, both jason and i have both thought that we could live there for a short time before we have kids. only if God wills it, though.

i just can't wait to go back :]

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

new york, new york: part 2

so... this is part two. part two will have more images and less writing. this is probably a relief to most of you, as you probably don't want to do a lot of reading. hah.

SUNDAY was a nice adventure... well, aside from the subway closures. took us twice as long to get to our destination. the insanity! we met my uncle in midtown and he drove us to their home in upstate (pearl river). the drive was lovely.
a lot of my extended family was there. it was really nice to be able to share a meal with all of them! nothing like new york bread and cold cuts! jason had briefly met all of this side of the family at our wedding, but didn't really know them, so he had a lot of fun doing that! 
then we took the train back, which was nice. it's so interesting to come in and go out from the city from all these different areas. then we went to top of the rock! one of my favorite sights from the whole trip. 
jason's not the biggest fan of heights, so he wasn't thrilled. and he got bored... he always wants to be "doing something" not just "looking at pretty things" [which is my favorite].
so after that, we walked down to times square and did some shopping & eating.
MONDAY was our chance to try and fit in everything that somehow didn't fit earlier.
we both wore our new outfits that we purchased the day before.
we ate a hefty breakfast at a local eatery [the first breakfast that we ate out!].
so, soho....
we had a point to going to soho - we were trying to visit this movie weapons place, but they wouldn't let us in without an appointment, and their person who makes appointments wasn't going to be in until 3... so we just didn't go. which i was kinda upset about because i knew jason really wanted to do that, it was something special i had planned for him.
so since we didn't get our featured presentation... we explored soho and chinatown.

then we boarded the staten island ferry [free!] to gaze upon lady liberty!

then did more shopping and visited grand central station.
at the end of this day we were fully pooped. we got pizza, collapsed and watched movies on jason's laptop. well needed recovery time!

TUESDAY was our final day. packed up all our stuffs and thanked our hosts with a gift.
we then met up with family friends of mine and had lunch on stone street. stone street is just a cobblestone street (apparently the oldest one in the nation) chock full of restaurants where alllll the wall street bankers go for lunch. it was very interesting and almost surreal. like a movie.

then we headed over to port authority for more homeless adventures.
when i say more homeless adventures... well, you can't experience new york city without homeless adventures. they're on the subways, they're on the streets. they're climbin in your windows and snatching your people up.
apparently it is illegal to give to the homeless riding the subways. i'm not sure how they enforce this. one man was kind and totally grateful for his life and anything that was given to him. another man claimed he had diabetes and just needed some food to regulate his blood sugar. but when given food, he would be upset that you didn't give him money. right. diabetes. riiiight.

so port authority was my least favorite experience. it's so dingy and sketchy. but not too horrible. let's just say i wouldn't want to be there without jason. we were getting hustled by homeless people left and right. one lady was just mumbling something indiscernible to every person in the place. another guy was riding a motorized scooter (with an orange flag) going around to every person asking for money, but would also rudely and harshly ridicule you if you "looked" like you weren't going to give him anything or just didn't. such a great tactic. he also cussed out a bunch of people. apparently he's there every day. i don't know how he hasn't been arrested for harassment yet.

then the bus ride back. we were first on the bus (you board in order when the tickets were purchased)... so first thing i did was use the bathroom before anyone else got the idea. glad i did. the unfortunate thing about boarding first is you can't sit in places to avoid certain people. you're stuck.
we were stuck in front of an obnoxious character who used expletives as every other word, and the other words he used were "crazy" or "you know what i'm sayin"... that's it. i was so tempted to turn around and tell him that he needed to quiet down or choose other words because there were children on the bus, but jason told me to just "put in your earphones and chill out"... so i did.
and i FELL ASLEEP. i don't know how, because this was impossible on the train [where i had more space and less noise]... but i slept, son. it was glorious.
then i started editing the photos from the trip. 
photo editing. right. so productive.
and we made a surprise stop at the maryland house [rest stop]. so much stretching and food purchasing. yummy.
we got back to richmond an hour ahead of schedule, which was so lovely!

next post will be part 3... then and now [comparing my trip in 2008 to this trip in 2012].

p.s. sorry for the lack of posting. life has been insane. cars dying, car buying... lots going on up in the landrum household!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

new york, new york: part I

here it is, nearly a month later... and i finally get around to posting about new york!

these posts will be in three parts:
part I: thursday the 12th through friday the 13th
part II: saturday the 14th through tuesday the 17th
part III: then & now - comparing my two new york trips from 2008 to 2012.

new york, new york: part I

it begins thursday, april 12th around 6pm with all the packing. we ended up taking one carry on and one check back each. our train departed from the staples mill amtrak station at 6:55 instead of 6:35, but we made up the time... even had an hour layover in DC. this train trip was enjoyable; i would have enjoyed it more had i been able to sleep like my husband did [completely out... completely]. i didn't get a wink of shut-eye, even though i was trying so hard!
we arrived in penn station at 2am. this is where the fun begins [hah!].
we ride up the escalator with the masses, and we're trying to figure out where to pick up our check bags, so we ask an officer behind a large podium/desk structure. he tells us, "down the stairs and to the right". so, we head downstairs, where we just were. i hadn't noticed before [probably because of the mass exodus], but there were homeless folks sleeping all over the place. and no one seemed to notice nor care. also, there was no signage saying anything about check bags. so we meander around until we find our train conductor, she tells us it's, "up the stairs and to the right"... directly behind where that cop was. thank you, thank you very much, officer -_-

we wait for our check bags for half an hour, then we try and figure out where the heck to go for the subway, finally find it [and purchase our week-long unlimited subway passes which pay for themselves completely after riding 13 times... we rode much more than that!] to only realize that the line we're supposed to get on is closed for the night.
so we ask where we're supposed to go... we're told. then we have to figure out how to get there. more homeless sleeping all over the place. and people eating and reading newspapers at 2:45am as if it's 2:45pm... truly, this city never sleeps.
we finally get to where we need to be thanks only to the helpful janitorial staff of penn station... wish they had stayed with us, because as soon as we got to the proper platform, a woman about 7 feet away from us vomits a substantial amount... at this point i thought i was hallucinating from lack of sleep. in fact, i was not. 
this is when i start mildly panicking, wondering if we are actually at the right platform, if we're going to know the right stop to get off at, if i will ever be able to get in touch with our hosts since we've been underground this whole time. thank God jason was there, he keeps me calm and cool and helps stabilize my faith that God will take care of us no matter where we end up... and, we will in fact sleep this night!

we get to where we're supposed to be, and we finally get above ground. this helps soothe my panic quite a bit. then we try using our cell phones for walking directions... not as easy as you'd think. the phone only has a general idea of where you are and cannot actually tell you where you are... so, we get slightly turned around. but we get to our destination!
we were staying with a lovely family, the chen's, for this weekend. we insisted that we stay in a hotel the first night as to not bother them by coming in at the wee hours of the morn... but cathy insisted that we not waste our money on a hotel. their hospitality was unfathomable.
we get cleaned up and collapse into bed. our bed was in their 1yr old daughter's bedroom [they moved her into their room for us] - a simple foam and down cushion on the floor, but it worked for me. 

i slept amazing the entire trip. jason didn't... and usually it's the other way around. usually it's impossible for me to sleep on the floor, but the floor has always been the easiest place for him to sleep. also, on this trip he ended up out-eating me a lot... or just being hungrier than i was in general. this is also unheard of in our marriage. i'm always the food disposal.

so, friday we took it easy. slept in a bit, had a slightly lazy morning. 
then we walked across the brooklyn bridge.
we enjoyed the view from the new brooklyn bridge park.
then took the subway back to manhattan and picked up our tickets to view the world trade center memorial, which wasn't til that evening. so we meandered through various areas of the city.

the wtc memorial was quite sobering. a bit surreal. you walk through this long maze... it seems like you're filing in like cattle... i don't know, it was weird. very fluorescent and strange. you then get checked thoroughly for weapons. then you're released to view any area of the memorial. 
i've been to the vietnam memorial, i've been to arlington national cemetery and the tomb of the unknown soldier, i've been to the WW2 memorial... those didn't make as much of an impact as this one. probably because i wasn't alive during vietnam or WW2, so it wasn't as palpable.
the water flowing throughout is somewhat soothing, but also sobering. transporting you back to that day with those horrifying images replaying through your mind.
so many names.
for some reason i thought there was only one pool, i'm not sure why. then we rounded the corner of the in-construction museum... and there was another pool.
that's when i legit lost it.
there were so many names on the first pool, how was there another one filled with that many more names?
the most eerie aspect was also the fact that there were a lot of low-flying planes taking off from the airport... always headed in the direction of the new, tallest tower. extremely chilling.
but the worst part about it all was that it seemed that only a handful were impacted the way we were. it seemed there were a lot of people who were seemingly... hanging out? kids running a muck... in a memorial site? laughing and joking and having a good time... in the world trade center memorial? this is what really disturbed both jason and myself.
view of the inside of the in-construction museum. that is one of the steel beams from the original WTC.
when you're feeling ready to leave, you exit through another end of the maze. at the end is the visitors center. this is actually where the most emotion was felt throughout the crowd. there was a motorcycle memorial made paul jr of american choppers... quite a stunning piece of art. there was also a huge timeline on the walls... what happened when. and there were videos playing. the survivors and the widows discussing their feelings... how one wife feels she can never clean out her husband's closet, a child talking about how he'll never meet his father, but he knows he was a hero who helped people get out of those buildings on that day.
we watched it once all the way through, but that's all we could handle.

something really nice was how cheerful the security guards were. it's like it was their honor to have this job, to serve at this memorial. there was one guy in particular who treated us like we had met years ago, and his smile and laughter cheered us up after reliving september 11th in one hour. i really appreciated that.

then we walked and found a pizza place for dinner. walked some more and found an ice cream place. so i didn't have cake on my birthday. but i did have soft-serve ice cream with rainbow sprinkles. even better.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 


a slightly lazy morning. basically trying to recover our feet from the first day of walking. i'd have to say that was the worst part of this trip. S O  M U C H   W A L K I N G  ! callouses, aches, pains. and we're so young and spry, you'd think that wouldn't be an issue...

SO on the weekends... half of the subway system essentially shuts down. and if you don't have the app that you have to pay $4 for [we would if we lived there] you don't really know which ones are shut down until you're there.

so getting from downtown to midtown was a challenge. but we got there. met our friend mike up there. we went to the metropolitan museum.
then went to shake shack for lunch. so many folks told us to go to this place... and so we did. i'd have to say, i was impressed with the burgers but not the fries. it's hard to top cook-out's fries. but shake shack is essentially a classier "grass fed" version of cook-out... with a lot less shake flavors [but they still have a lot]. we really enjoyed being with mike. he's probably on our list of our top 10 favorite people that we know. haha.
then, we parted ways with him and decided to go to central park on the spur of the moment.
we visited the belvedere castle.

then we tried to get to the main "hub" of the park [where the mall and bethesda terrace are]... but none of the trails are labeled. not on the map or in person. . .  so we got lost.
jason isn't a happy camper when we get lost. i was happy as a clam cuz we were lost IN CENTRAL PARK [aka one of my favorite places i've ever been to]... so he's trying to use his army land navigation skills and i'm just snapping pictures... not really caring that we're lost. haha.
we finally made it to bow bridge, bethesda terrace, and the mall.

then we had to scoot back to the apartment to get ready for our fancy shmancy date that night at union square cafe. a friend gave us a gift card there :)
it was delish. had calamari as our appetizer. and our entree, we both got basically the same thing. steak, potatoes au gratin, and spinach. dessert we both got chocolate cake with ice cream [jason got espresso ice cream, i got vanilla], and jason sipped on coffee.
the service was wonderful. the staff is... intuitive. more intuitive than i've ever experienced in a restaurant. and just really making a huge effort to make sure everything about your meal is perfect and pristine. and it was so lovely.
thus ends part I.
tune in next time where we go to one of the highest points in the city as well as gazing on lady liberty!