Monday, September 27, 2010

I heart New York, part 2

Good grief, it's taken me forever to get around to writing this. Sorry y'all.

Our second day in NYC was spent at the U.S Open. Brady is a big tennis fanatic (and a fantastic player, I might add. Seriously.), so he was super excited.

Let me just say, the day was hot. So so very hot. And NY heat is miserable because of the humidity. The only place I've been more miserably hot and humid was New Orleans in August. Add to it the exhaust and asphalt in the city and it is like an oven. A big, dirty oven. I have never smelled so much B.O. in my life as I have in NYC during the summer. Being crammed into a busy subway train with a bunch of sweaty people is something I could totally do without. Yuck. Needless to say, I spent most the day looking for shade and stealing pieces of ice out of the vendor carts when they weren't looking. However, I've learned I need to just embrace the heat, rather than fight it. If I just accept that I'm going to be gross and sweaty it's more bearable. But enough about the heat.

We spent the first while walking around the place, watching various smaller matches and checking out the practice courts. Brady about died when he realized that Rafa Nadal, the #1 player in the world, was on the practice courts. We hid in the trees (hooray, shade!) and spied on him through the fence and took pictures. I felt like the paparazzi, it was fun.

Brady hiding in the trees, looking like a completely crazed fan:
We were fortunate to have tickets to the Arthur Ashe stadium where the big matches are played, and Brady died again when he realized his favorite player, Roger Federer, was playing a match. (For those of you not versed in tennis, Federer was the #1 player in the world until he got edged out by Nadal recently, but he is said to be one of the best players to ever grace the sport.)

After the U.S. Open that day we went to dinner at a little Italian restaurant near the apartment we were in and I ate some of the best food of my life. No joke. They had this gnocchi that I'm pretty sure was made in heaven and sent down to my table by angels. Yes, it was that good. We've craved it every day since.

The next day was a free day that we spent roaming the city. We visited some areas I had never been to before, including the Chelsea Market and SoHo, which I loved. We did some shopping, did some more eating (we got ourselves a toasted marshmallow shake from Stand, as featured on the Food Network- yum!!) and soaked in everything the city had to offer.

That night we went to dinner at Morimoto, down in the trendy meatpacking district. If you watch the Food Network you might be familiar with Morimoto, who is an Iron Chef. People, I was not cool enough to be in this restaurant. Beautiful people everywhere, awesome decor, the whole deal. I was hoping no one would notice that the hem of my capris was being held up with a safety pin or how scuffed the heels of my Payless shoes were. The food was excellent too. I could go on, but we'll keep it brief.

On the way home we stopped off at a bakery and bought these cupcakes that were half the size of our heads. So good. And yes, I am aware this entire trip was based around food. Don't judge me.
At the bakery some people came walking in and a mouse ran into the building with them. The poor girl was in such a panic trying to get out that she practically broke her nose running into the door. It was both sad and very funny.

The next day we headed out to Robert's house in South Hampton for some rest and relaxation after 3 days of running around like crazy. We were fortunate to miss Hurricane Earl passing through the previous day and enjoyed the beach and did a whole lot of nothing. It was fabulous. And I don't think I took a single picture of any of it.

All in all, the trip was wonderful. I already can't wait to go back.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Theme song

I know I'm supposed to be writing my second installment of my NY trip, but I'll get to that later. I just really wanted to post this for some reason.

A story:
At the job I recently left, we had a big meeting a few months ago where some lady did a presentation on conflict resolution. This lady was my hero- a tiny little 60 yr old Texan with red hair and the personality to match. Even though she was in a room of executive men that towered over her, she wasn't intimidated one bit. Anyway, before the meeting we had to take this test to determine our style of conflict resolution. There were five different styles: compete, avoid, compromise, accommodate, and collaborate. Everyone probably uses each one of the styles at one time or another, and they all can be useful in different situations, but we all have certain styles that we tend to default to. There are also certain styles that are more effective than others.

The test spit out percentages of how often you tend to default to certain styles. This lady then went through and analyzed each style and taught us how to be more effective in dealing with conflict.

Turns out I am a 98% accommodater. 98%!! That basically means I'm a freaking doormat. Sadly, this is no surprise to me. The accommodater's mantra is "whatever you want". I catch myself saying that all the time. I just always want to make everyone else happy. I rarely challenge anyone and simply deal with things myself if I'm not happy. Most of the time, I don't mind being an accommodater. Most the time I genuinely am happy when everyone else is happy.

But sometimes I'm not happy, and I found that I was especially unhappy at my old job because I did feel like I was walked all over, but I didn't know how to do anything about it. I especially felt this way with one of my former supervisors. This man... oh my, where do I begin? I'll try to refrain from being all bitter and angry.

He and I were complete opposites. He meant well, but not only was he ineffective at his job, he also caused quite a bit of damage. Our weekly one-on-ones either consisted of watching YouTube videos he thought were funny, or a deep psychological analysis of me and why I "was the way I was". I regularly walked out of those meetings feeling completely inept and like there was something deeply wrong with me. I seriously considered getting therapy to help me figure out why I had such a screwed up personality. I lost all confidence in my ability to do my job. I was trying SO HARD to do the right things, to please him and make everyone happy, but it seemed like no matter how hard I tried I could not succeed.

During this time I learned about my accommodater tendencies and tried to be more confident and forthcoming with some success, but I had a hard time dealing with my boss and overcoming my insecurities. Eventually, a couple of months before accepting a new job offer, I got a new boss who was SO, SO much better. I have complete respect and appreciation for the man who replaced my former boss. (If you're wondering, no this crappy supervisor did not get fired. He got moved to a position that would "fit his strengths better". Give me a break.)

I realized there wasn't anything wrong with me. I am just fine the way I am. In fact, I'm a pretty darn good person. I'm well liked by my peers, I'm a hard worker, I'm smart, I have integrity, and I am perfectly capable of doing whatever I set my mind to. It's ok if I tend to be more on the quiet side- that doesn't make me defective! I learned I need to believe in myself more and stick up for myself, even in the face of a domineering personality. If anything, there was something seriously wrong with my former manager (i.e., he's a big jerk), but I'll refrain from going into much detail for the sake of being nice- and not making this post any longer.

So as you can imagine, when I heard this song several weeks ago, I immediately identified with it. This is the accommodator's song of empowerment! Not only is it great to listen to (I love Sara Bareilles, she's so original), but the words she sings are the words I wish I could say to this former boss, among others.

For all my fellow accommodators, or those faced with a jerk telling them what to do- this one's for you!

Sara Bareilles - King of Anything from Sam Garvey on Vimeo.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I heart New York

I really do. I love NYC. It is such a one of a kind place with so much to see and do and experience. The only reason I was willing to leave it is because I missed Claire, but otherwise I wanted to stay.

We were fortunate again to stay with our dear friend Robert who is always so gracious and hospitable. This time around we didn't see any landmarks and hardly took any pictures, but I feel like we really experienced the city more. Of course, we ate ourselves sick (a recurring theme on our trips. It truly is a miracle I'm not obese), and we walked about a billion miles it felt, but it was so fun.

We flew through the night to get there (torture!) then crashed at Robert's apartment for a couple of hours. We got ready and headed out to lunch in midtown at Del Frisco's, a fancy steakhouse type place recommended by some friends. Me, being so stupid, assumed that we wouldn't be walking that far and that the high heels I planned to wear were super broken in so it wouldn't be a problem. Right? WRONG. SO VERY WRONG. Now I fully understand why no women in NY wear heels. I paid for that stupid mistake for the rest of the trip with some lovely blisters and cuts. Plus, we were a little rusty on the subway system and we ended up having to go up and down hundreds of stairs trying to get to the right platform. There were so many people rushing around, and I have to really concentrate to go down concrete stairs in heels (apparently I'm not very coordinated anymore). I was certain I would die a horrible death of crashing down the stairs and getting trampled by people underneath the streets of NY. Luckily, everything worked out fine.

After lunch (which was delicious, and pricey! Yikes! But we were expecting that...) we went to see Wicked on Broadway. We had never seen it before, and holy crap people, I loved it. LOVED IT. And I know that right now I sound like every other Utah Mormon mom blogger by saying that, but I really did love it. Definitely one of my favorites.

So after the play, we rushed back to the apartment, changed our clothes, and headed to a Yankees game. Are you people following what this day is like so far? No sleep... near death experience walking around oh so hot and humid NYC in heels... play... Yankees game. Fun? Very much so. Exhausting? You have no idea. I think I was almost in a coma by the end of the Yankees game. I was chugging down diet Coke like you wouldn't believe and Brady was practically ready to inject his veins with Red Bull since the two he drank that day weren't quite doing it.

Anyway, the Yankees game was fun. Brady was thrilled to see the new stadium, which was very impressive. I actually enjoyed the game this time. Last time we went it was during the day and so hot (I hate being hot), but this time the evening was quite pleasant. Plus, in the last couple of years since we've been I've gained a little appreciation for baseball, if you can believe it. We ate hot dogs and garlic fries and just had a grand old time. I guess I can see now why people like baseball games (as long as it's not hot).

Anyway, this post is getting long so I'll have to do this in separate parts. I know, the suspense!