Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's Christmas Time in the City

Stroll with me through Boston's magical holiday lights! I recommend listening to "Father Christmas," a lovely song from the Narnia soundtrack, at the same time.

Two years ago, when I first moved to Boston, I posted holiday photos of the Boston Common, Boylston Street, and my then-hometown of Somerville. This year, I thought I'd post photos that are closer to my current home--the North End. They were all taken on my phone on a recent walk home, and I hardly had to go out of my way at all.

Fanueil Hall (as seen from Government Center Plaza)

Lambert's at Fanueil Hall

Seasonal Painting on Lambert's Windows

Entering Faneuil Hall Marketplace...and Catching a Glimpse of the Tree!

Getting Closer to the Tree...

The Fanueil Hall Tree

Going Past Fanueil Hall, toward the North End, and Looking Back at the Customs House & Fanueil Hall Tree

The Greenway on the Edge of the North End
The walkway gets lit up specially for the holidays, and this picture does not do it justice! Every time I walk through that area, I think to myself how wonderful it is that people will do something just because it's beautiful, and that these beautiful things can still brighten people's days, no matter how busy and stressed out they are.

Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park - right by the Harbor and the North End

North End Tree (by the Greenway and Hanover Street)

Hanover Street, the Main Street of the North End

Urban Italian Kitchen on Hanover Street

Modern Pastry Shop on Hanover Street

North Square - One of My Absolute Favorite Places in the North End

And while we're on the subject, New York is also a fantastic place to be around this time of year. I was recently at a conference there (Social Media for Pharmaceutical Companies) and got to see the famous Rockefeller Center tree and Fifth Avenue shops decorated for Christmas. If you're looking to change your soundtrack for your perusal of this blog post, I'd recommend this performance of "New York at Christmas" by the Radio City Rockettes (whom I saw in Boston last week--they were so fun!).

Rockefeller Center Tree

And This is Me, with the Tree, Wishing All of Thee a Merry Christmas from NYC!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Sequel

What happens after one’s epic story has unfolded? It’s the part of the play when the curtain falls, the part of the movie when the credits roll, the page of the book that reads with finality, “THE END.” And we all know that sequels to such epic narratives fall flat. The story was complete and beautiful as it was, so why try to add to it?

But when it’s your own life, you have to go on living that sequel. And every subsequent sequel after that. I know this sounds melodramatic and self-aggrandizing, but to me, moving to Boston and making a life here for myself felt epic. Two years ago, I packed up an SUV that I’d had to pay the “underage” fee to rent after quitting a full-time job in the worst economy since the Depression to get a Master’s degree in publishing – a field which some would say is dying or at least uncertain and which everyone would say you don’t need a Master’s in. The rational side of me knew all this and wondered whether I was making a big mistake.

But the idealist in me, the optimist that is never quite silenced despite all the events and thoughts that make me cynical, dared to dream. I imagined throwing caution and planning to the wind just for once. I saw myself walking the streets of Boston with surety, with confidence, with grace, and preferably while wearing a nice montage of stylish outfits. I saw myself getting a job that actually inspires me, earning a Master’s, and moving into a chic little studio. I hoped for all this fervently...and it has all happened, even down to getting my own studio – a perfect place for just starting out in the world.

So what’s next? Now that the personal legend I worked to fulfill over the past two years has been reached, what now do I pursue? I think a psychologically healthy person would just be happy and rejoice for a few moments in their triumph. But the truth is that I’m not happy unless I’m accomplishing something, preferably something that seems impossible. Yet, at the same time, I’m really exhausted. Sometimes I can barely muster up the energy to do much after work besides watch TV, much less to set out on another epic adventure.

How long until I need a new Boston?

When I was debating whether or not to move out here, the song “Boston” by Augustana was my constant soundtrack [with my personal changes in bold]:

She said I think I'll go to Boston
I think I'll start a new life,
I think I'll start it over, where no one knows my name,
I'll get out of California [Minnesota], I'm tired of the weather,
I think I'll get a lover and fly him out to Spain
[I think I’ll get a Master’s and visit Jamaica Plain]
Oh yeah and I think I'll go to Boston,
I think that I'm just tired
I think I need a new town, to leave this all behind
I think I need a sunrise, I'm tired of the sunset,
I hear it's nice in the summer, some snow [ocean] would be nice

So what happens when people know her name in Boston? What happens when the sun that rose over Boston starts to set?

To clarify, I mean all of this metaphorically. I’m not planning on leaving Boston any time soon because I love my job and I fit in this town. But I need a new mountain to climb, a new challenge to tackle, a new story to enter into.

Maybe I should work to stop human trafficking or maybe I should run the Boston Marathon. Maybe I should write a book.

Or maybe I could find a way to be happy without being in pursuit of a goal. One of my New Year’s resolutions this year was to be more laidback. Actually, that’s the PG version of the resolution. The actual words I wrote in my journal were to “stop being such a bitch.” Now, mostly people laughed when I told them that because apparently I don’t come across as a bitch. And that’s better than the alternative, for sure. But I know my ambitious heart, and I know that I have within me the fire to stop at nothing to accomplish a goal. So apparently I thought the cure to this was to set a goal to be more spontaneous and more laidback. What stepping stones can I set for myself to try to enjoy life more and to take time to stop and smell the roses?

I don’t think I will come to any answers today. But I can at least tie the bow on a different item:

Operation: Defeat IKEA, Part 2
The thrilling conclusion to my epic battle against IKEA is that I hired movers and they disassembled and reassembled my bed. Like I said, thrilling. But they did say that this was the most complicated bed they’ve ever dealt with.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Life in Review + Operation: Defeat IKEA, Part 1

Since it's been almost a year since I've written in this blog, here's a quick recap of the major events in my life: I graduated from Emerson and am officially a MASTER OF PUBLISHING AND WRITING. Oh yeah, you are all intimidated by that prestigious degree. I mean, on the scale of prestige, a J.D. gets the bronze medal, an M.D. gets the silver, and an M.A. in publishing is far and away the gold medalist.

Additionally, I got a full-time, non-temp job at Genzyme. I moved from the legal department to the fabulous CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS department where I get to write articles and tweets and update the website, etc. In the blog post where I mentioned that I got the temp legal job, I just said I was working at "a biotech company" because I was somehow under the impression that someone at Genzyme was monitoring an RSS feed that would show them any time the word "Genzyme" was mentioned and that they would henceforth monitor my blog. This now sounds extremely paranoid and rather laughable to me. I'm pretty sure that as long as I don't stupidly post anything labeled "internal and confidential" to this blog, I can safely mention the name of the company where I work. :-) In any case, it's a great job and I'm thrilled to have a paid writing gig. Also, I think this job might actually save me from my addiction to school because it's interesting and challenging enough that I won't feel like I am shrivelling up intellectually and creatively without my classes. This is a good thing because I really don't have the time or money to go back to school for another degree right now, and I don't need one for my future career pursuits. But I might be singing another tune in a year or so.

The third piece of big news is that I'm moving to the North End next month! I found a lovely little studio and I'm thrilled to be living alone and closer to THE CITY. (Please note that the picture above is actually of me standing in a re-creation of Thoreau's cabin, which I visited with my parents when they came here for my graduation. My studio may be about the same size as Thoreau's house but is much sunnier. Like Thoreau, I can say that I moved there because "I wanted to live deliberately.") The new studio brings me to the other part of this blog post:

Operation: Defeat IKEA, Part 1

When I moved to Boston two years ago, I purchased the most fantastic IKEA daybed imaginable. It is part bed, part couch, part storage space. It's beautiful and practical and ideal for apartment life. In fact, I purchased it with this day in mind--the day when I would be able to move into my very own minuscule studio. It was a dream worth dreaming, and one that is finally going to be fulfilled.

However, now that the day has arrived, I have discovered a flaw in my plan. My IKEA bed, now fully assembled, won't fit through my bedroom door nor will it fit through my new studio's door. So I have to disassemble it. With normal furniture, that would be no big deal. But IKEA furniture is anything but normal; in fact, this bed--though perfect and beautiful and ideal when fully assembled--was likely designed by the minions of the anti-Christ (my apologies to Carina Bengs, who is the actual designer). When my friend Ann was helping me move out here, she also helped me assemble some of my IKEA furniture. She was assembling this daybed while I was assembling my dresser. She got to a point in the instructions where two people were necessary, but the picture did not show two of those cartoon IKEA people helping each other out, so of course she assumed she could do it herself. (We had to put blind faith in those IKEA instructions, mind you.) The largest piece of the bed came crashing down on her foot, ripping off her toenail and spewing her blood all over the bed and floor. So the bed has already scored a point against the human race, and now it's out to score another one. But I am determined that it will not.

I have figured out exactly which cheap IKEA screws need to be removed in order for the bed to be disassembled into four manageable pieces that will fit through a standard-sized door frame. One problem is that some of the screws are so cheap that they have been stripped; the bigger problem is that four screws are the dreaded lock-screw combination:

You screw one metal screw into a hollow metal screw, which locks it in place. I'm pretty sure you're never supposed to be able to unscrew them once they are assembled. However, this is the perfect bed and I will not give up without a fight and a (possibly fatal) attempt to use power tools to accomplish my goal. If I die trying to disassemble this bed, then this blog post can be my eulogy and it can also provide evidence for a conviction in court when the best lawyers from Lockhart/Gardner bring IKEA products to the stand. (I have become a huge fan of The Good Wife over the past few months, hence the somewhat forced reference to the law firm in the show, Lockhart/Gardner.)

I know it's dangerous to promise a future blog post, but my plan is to keep you updated on how my fight against this IKEA bed goes. And I also hope to write in this blog more regularly, now that I no longer have classes for four hours two nights a week, plus an endless stream of homework. We shall see how both of these endeavors turn out.