Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Get Well Soon, William!

My sweet and awesome co-worker, William, has been out since Thursday. And he will be out all this week.

Why, you ask?

Could he be romancing his girlfriend in a tropical locale, you wonder? No.
Did he take some time off to do some bonding with his beloved little shih tzu, Bruce? Nope, that's not it either...

He is home recovering from surgery he needed to repair a torn meniscus.

But how could such a thing happen to everyone's favorite Ecuadorian sidekick of Bitch Cakes? I'll tell you how - he forgot how old and out of shape he is...

Before he went out for surgery, this little conversation took place-
"William - Is this a result of playing football with those 20 year olds who kicked your fat ass?"
"No. It was basketball and they were 15 year olds. They're a lot tougher than they look!"
Oh my god I couldn't stop laughing... 15 year olds! He thought he could show them a thing or two. But I guess they showed him!

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

There are a couple of young guys that temp with us occasionally and I flirt with them because, well, I love men and it's in my nature to flirt. Somehow, all the regular guys I work with are immune to my feminine charms (baffling, right? I don't get it either!) so when I have the opportunity I like to be my charming self.

But one day I learned just how young they are: 19 - which is literally half my age. Upon this realization, I felt like a gross and desperate horny old woman and wondered if they thought of me that way.

I said to William "I wonder if they think of me as a 'cougar'". William responded: "You're a cougar to most people." I am not sure he meant that I am an attractive um... mature woman. I think he's just calling me old, since he followed up that comment with a sinister little laugh.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

William once asked me "When they make a movie about your blogs, who's going to play me?". I was still pondering the question and thinking "I don't have enough material about you for a movie - we need a reality show!" when he chimed in with a suggestion: "Can it be Mario Lopez?"

After laughing heartily at the idea of the super sexy, fit and oozing with hotness man meat that is Mario Lopez playing sweet and lovable William, I said "If it IS Mario Lopez, I'm going to have to play myself *and* make up an affair between us so I can have a sex scene with him!" Mmmmm Mario Lopez. Grrrrrrrr.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

William recently started off giving me some speech about "You know, Sheryl, There comes a time in every man's life..." yada yada "...growing up..." yada yada "...mature..." yada yada. I had no idea where he was going with this. Was he going to become a father?! Was he going to propose to his girlfriend!? What life altering change was he experiencing???

I soon found out. It was this:

William's money clip

That's right. A money clip. I guess somewhere in his head he believes he is now a man because he uses a money clip instead of a wallet. (For the record, that's a real hundred. I thought for sure it was fake and for show, but it's real.)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

One day when we were outside a woman walked by and William made some comment about her being "hot" or something. This actually doesn't bother me. I'm just as bad as men, checking out women, and judging them on their physical attributes. Now feel free to call me a sexist for doing so, but I had to disagree with him - this particular woman was nowhere near "hot" and I told William that. He explained to me that he hadn't had sex in a while. "Yeah, and? She's still not hot."

That's when William told me something that must be in a guy handbook. Actually, I can't believe I hadn't figured out long ago. He told me very matter of factly: "The longer you go without sex, the lower your standards for attractiveness."

It seems so obvious now, how did I not realize that??

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

On a recent trip to the gym in his car, I pointed out that his clock didn't 'fall back' two months ago with the time change. It was still on Daylight Savings Time.

I made the mistake of asking the question "Are you going to fall back, or just leave it that way until Spring".
His reply? "What do you think, Sheryl..."
Spring it is, my good man!
Seriously, what was I even thinking asking such a stupid question...

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

William talks about oral sex. A lot. And any time the number "69" comes up for any reason, it's the thrill of his day.

When we joined the gym over a year ago, we were assigned membership numbers. They gave us: 41568 and 41569. Guess which one William wanted? Of course - 41569. And he gets so excited when we go to the gym and he gets to say his number: 41569. Often followed by "Yeah! 69!!!"

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Random Quotes:

* William claims that at some point he realized he just can't drink as much as he used to and he now refers to himself as a "two beer queer".
* Out of nowhere one day: "Sheryl, after knowing me for 10 years, would you classify me as a pervert?" Me: "No." Him, sort of pathetic and whimpering: "Please?" (I don't even understand that exchange!)
* Me: "William, I have to get on a conference call." Him: "Don't get on, get off!" (naturally, followed by laughter at his own 'joke'.)
* My personal favorite: "My shirts are like my balls - a wrinkled mess." (Oh. My. God! I love that! And it's true! His shirts ARE a wrinkled mess!)

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Back to the reason for his absence, I am sure you are all wondering how William is doing. I texted him the evening of his surgery to check in with him. This was his reply:

For those of you that don't know, that unfamiliar word means "oral sex" (at least that's what William tells me, I don't know if it really translates that way). I hope he has had his wish fulfilled since then and is recovering well.

See you Monday, William! I'm so excited for your return that I'm buying you a donut from Peter Pan that morning to welcome you back! I miss you! xo

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Thank you, Chipotle!

I can't believe how many people responded to my 'lost cell phone' story. Not just in my blog, but via facebook and twitter. I guess losing memories touched a nerve. Though as some of you pointed out, I didn't lose my actual memories of those events, just reminders of them. Here is the follow up to that story...

As I mentioned in my Open Letter to whomever took my Cell Phone, I had called Chipotle last Saturday evening to see if my phone had been turned in. They said it hadn't.

And when I got home, I posted an entry in the Craig's List Lost and Found:

Cell Phone Lost

But I heard nothing.

On Monday morning, I called Verizon to ask them if there was an entry on my account that the phone had been turned in at a store. It had not. Since I didn't want to buy a new phone, I just reactivated my previous cell phone and had accepted that I would never see my lost cell phone again.

On Tuesday night, I popped into Chipotle because it's next door to my Weight Watchers meeting (cruel, no?). I mentioned what happened and asked them if it had turned up. The one guy I spoke to was the same guy who made my burrito on Saturday. He said he wasn't sure and asked me to leave my name and number, along with the cell phone model. I knew it was a long shot but thought it was nice of him to get my contact info just in case.

On Thursday morning, I noticed I had a voice mail, but hadn't seen that I missed a call. That usually happens if someone calls when I'm in the subway, so this call likely came in on my way home Wednesday night. I almost didn't check it because I hate listening to voice mail. Usually they are from my Dad. And I have a tendency to let my mailbox get full before I check it. But on Thursday I decided to go ahead and check it anyway.

Imagine my shock when I heard this!

"Good afternoon Mrs Sheryl. This is Josue from Chipotle Park Avenue. I am calling you because we got your Verizon phone ready. You can come and pick up as soon as you hear this message or a better time. Have a great day and see you later."

I could not even believe it! Could it really be mine??

I had to wait till they opened to call them back. The guy I spoke with said they did have a cell phone there. I asked him if it had a white rubbery case around it. He said yes. This was a great sign!

That night when I got to Grand Central, I took the 6 Train one stop and ran into Chipotle. Sure enough, I saw the same guy again. He knew why I was there. He disappeared into the back and emerged WITH MY CELL PHONE!!! I couldn't even believe it! It was really *mine*! (I had even called Verizon that morning to ask them for my serial number so I could prove it was mine if I had to. They didn't ask for proof...)

I wanted to get the whole story from him but he didn't speak English very well. I tried to give him twenty dollars, but he wouldn't take it. So I told him I was putting it in the tip jar, but burying it under the one dollar bills because I didn't want any customers to take it. Then I think I scared him when I threw out my arms and hugged him. I just couldn't believe I had my phone back. I never thought I'd see it again! Of course the battery was dead, so I couldn't turn it on to check if my texts and pictures were still on it, but I was so happy to have it back. I left the store with a huge smile on my face and headed home.

Here, on the 7 Train, my phone rests comfortably while it catches up on what the Jersey Shore kids have been up to:

My cell phone catches up on the Jersey Shore kids on our way home on the 7 Train

When I got home and plugged it into the charger, I turned it on. Everything was still there! My contacts, my text messages and my pictures! How was this possible? How could this have such a happy ending? I never expected it but I was thrilled. I guess it goes to show there are other good, honest people out there. And that's nice to realize from time to time.

Thank you, Chipotle on Park Ave. You guys are the BEST!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

An Open Letter to whomever took my Cell Phone

To whomever took my cell phone-

I realize I'm the idiot that left my cell phone in a public bathroom this past Saturday, but STILL... you don't have to be a jerk by not turning it in. It clearly states "Verizon Wireless" on the front. You could still do the right thing and drop it off at a Verizon Wireless store. Or you could have turned it into management at Chipotle, where I left it. But so far, neither of those things have happened because I've checked with both establishments several times already.

Now, I have no emotional attachment to that phone. In fact, I hated it and couldn't wait to get another one. It was slow to recognize my finger taps and the camera stopped working nearly a year ago. I even brought it back to Verizon Wireless. They told me I could have traded it in for a brand new one, but I didn't. You know why? Because I had an emotional attachment to the contents *within* that phone. That phone holds HISTORY. History that I can no longer relive at a moment's notice...

I got that phone on August 1, 2008. I didn't know it at the time, but it was just days before my friend, Rasha, would be hit by a car while riding her bike in Manhattan. One of the very first texts that phone contained was the message alerting us of the accident and where to visit her at the hospital. She was still alive when I got that text. That is no longer the case. She died just days later. When I found out about her death, I took the call - on that cell phone. I remember collapsing on the floor in my bedroom apartment as my friend Erin told me that Rasha didn't make it. I will never forget that moment.

Later that month, when it was my birthday, my friends texted me all sorts of happy birthday messages. Many which were heartfelt and beautiful. I saved them so I could read them again and again.

But I can't read them anymore.

And when I was doing everything I could to help Josue (Rasha's boyfriend) get through that unbelievably difficult time, he sent me text messages telling me how much he loved me, calling me 'angel' and thanking me. I saved those too.

But they only exist in my memory now.

That November, when our country made history by electing the first biracial man into the office of President, I received a ton of amazed and patriotic text messages from my friends who shared my enthusiasm. I saved most of them.

But I can't relive that moment, because I will never see them again.

Over the next year, as my friends would send me photo messages, I always saved their photos. And sometimes when I had a few moments to kill on the subway, I'd scroll through the photos and relive the memories associated with them.

But I'll never see those photos again.

Last May, when I rode my bike for 10 hours in the rain for the 5 Boro Bike Tour, I received so many supportive messages from my friends telling me to stick it out in the rain, reminding me that I can do it. I saved those messages because it meant so much to me that they believed in me.

But I'll never read them again.

And when I texted people to tell them I had actually completed the 42+ miles on that grueling day, I got quite a few congratulatory messages from people who were so proud of me. I kept those messages too, and re-reading them always filled me with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

But I'll never see them again either.

Then, in September, when I ran my first 5K, and my punk rope instructor (a former runner) texted me to congratulate me and told me I'm "officially a runner", that was a big moment for me. And I kept that message.

But I will never see it again.

So, yes, I know that it was my fault for being careless with that phone. But what are you going to do with it if you keep it? You didn't use it to make calls, send texts or even go online (I checked my account. There was no activity between the time I lost it and the time I had it turned off). I can only imagine you read through my texts and looked at my photos. But now that you are done with that fun, what's left? How is keeping that phone going to help you? Wouldn't you want to do a good deed and turn it in?

I always tell people if they drop something or leave something behind on the train (I chased a man down last week to give him a hat. A hat!) I've turned in cell phones and wallets (without even glancing at the cash). Heck, once I even found and returned a DOG!

You know why?

Because those things are NOT MINE. They do NOT belong to me and I had no right, and no desire, to keep them. I wanted them to have a happy ending. I wanted them to be returned to their rightful owner. I knew someone else had a use for them and would be missing them. And I guess somewhere I hoped that because I did the right thing, someone else might do the right thing if I were in a similar situation.

But you proved it just doesn't work that way.

So have fun with my paperweight/cell phone (I'm sure the battery is dead by now), assuming you haven't destroyed it already.

I realize this is trivial compared to other things, but I just don't understand why people can't be civil and considerate to each other. The world would truly be a better place.

I only hope that at some point you reflect upon what you've done, realize it was wrong and change your ways.

*Bitch Cakes*

Sunday, January 17, 2010

I'm a "famous person"

A few months back, I received a google alert with a link to a young woman's blog, but then I lost it in my many google alerts. Thanks to my friend Diana (who somehow stumbled upon it), I have the link again!

Check out this post where Emy Augustus (if that is her real name) refers to me as a "famous person"; a term I find delightfully charming.

I love her description of the encounter, and me (note: This had to have happened on the day of the Atlantic Antic in downtown Brooklyn):
I saw Bitch cakes! Her real name's Sheryl. She writes THREE blogs. I'll let the titles speak for themselves. They are,

We were walking somewhere in Brooklyn (near the Transit museum) and suddenly there she was, larger than life and looking exactly like she does in her blogs. I stopped short and said in a stage whisper, Diana! Is that... (here I trailed off because I was about to say 'Bitch Cakes' but she was close enough to overhear me). A second later, my sister stops short and turns to me with a gigantic dopey grin on her face, bashing me on the arm, and saying, omgod look who it is! (Or something to that effect).

Lol. So funny. We didn't talk to her...

Sheryl has a great personality, she knows the owner of the new Fred Flare that opened in Brooklyn, and has a bag there named after her! She also guest blogs there. Sometimes she's a little *too* 'bitchy' on her commuter blog...but it's understandable because early morning subway rush hour makes me feel like I'm going crazy sometimes. You should see the notes I scribble in my notebook during the rides.
Emy, that made me day, twice - the first time I saw it and again today. I'm far from famous. Maybe just recognizable thanks to my style and interweb presence.

I'm sorry you didn't get those awesome gloves, but I wish you had said hello! I love meeting blog readers! Anyway, thank you for the appearance in your blog. It was very sweet :)

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Reasons I love Greenpoint- Part 16: Filming

One exciting thing about being in NYC is you are bound to run into film crews. Sure, it's an inconvenience when it's on your block and the lights and noise keep you up in the middle of the night, but I have not had to deal with that... yet.

A shocking amount of TV and movies film in Greenpoint. Since I've been here (4 years), these are just a handful of shoots that I am aware of: Lipstick Jungle, Fringe, The Casualty, The Money and the Power (that 50 Cent show that was on MTV), 30 Rock, Life on Mars, The Black Donnellys, Rescue Me, The Departed and my absolute favorite show - Flight of the Conchords!

In fact, I got to watch them filming Flight of the Conchords *before* I had started watching the show. It's probably a good thing too - because if I was a fan at the time I stumbled upon the shoot, I may have risked life and limb to cover Jemaine Clement in kisses (I *LOVE* THAT MAN!). Here are the photos I took that night on Greenpoint Ave:

Filming "Flight of the Conchords" in Greenpoint

Look! It's Jemaine!! (He's in front of Chinese Musician restaurant on Greenpoint Ave- this is where I have Christmas dinner with my Dad)

Filming "Flight of the Conchords" in Greenpoint

Filming "Flight of the Conchords" in Greenpoint

My favorite show on network TV is 30 Rock. They film in Silvercup Studios (in Long Island City), which is only a few miles from here. But for one opening scene, they shot in front of one of the many 99 cent stores on Manhattan Ave. I was not aware of this until I was watching the episode. I recognized the store immediately because of the red 99 cents neon sign. Here is the storefront (between Meserole & Calyer):

This Greenpoint 99 cent store was seen on 30 Rock this season!

And here is a still shot from the episode:

30 Rock, on Manhattan Ave in Greenpoint

Lipstick Jungle was on Greenpoint Ave what seemed like every day for months. I never saw the actors, but I did get one of the crew to let me take a banana from the food table once.

Rescue Me filmed here often too. I've also seen their trailers, but never the actors.

And the show Life on Mars filmed here a lot too.

Life on Mars shooting on Manhattan Ave

One night I took photos of the film crew and the parked cars on Calyer street -

Shooting "Life on Mars" on Calyer St at the Capri Social Club

Car from the set of "Life on Mars"

Car from the set of "Life on Mars"

And last spring/summer, a film called "The Bounty" with Jennifer Aniston filmed in Greenpoint for weeks. I loved what they did with some of the storefronts along Manhattan Ave and I watched them film the parade scene-

I'd totally buy that bathing suit

I *love* this graphic so much, I want to marry it!!!

Hanging out between takes

Marching Band

Although this entry is all about the reasons I love Greenpoint, I need to mention that when I bike around and see the "No Parking" signs, I am on a mission. First, I pull my bike over. Then, I make sure the coast is clear while I sing a little Judas Priest in my head "breakin the law! breakin the law!". I pull out my razor blade - which I carry for this exact purpose - and cut down a sign. What a rebel! I can't stop myself. I just love collecting them! But I am considerate about it, I do it only when there are multiple signs in one place, because I don't want anyone to get a ticket or get towed for not knowing about the restriction.

Here are the signs I've collected so far (these are from Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan)-

No Parking signs from NYC film shoots

Come to think of it, I haven't seen any film crew signs in Greenpoint lately. But I'm sure it's just a matter of time. I wonder what will film here next!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Money for Nothing

Last January, I read an article on Consumerist.com. It was about someone who, upon finding money on the street, kept it in a separate place than their regular money. That way they could see just how much money they found throughout the year.

I thought that sounded like a fun idea. So I decided to do my own experiment, and I immediately began putting all of my found money in one place. (I also started to be vigilent in my search for coins, something I never did prior to this experiment.)

If you've been to my apartment, you may have noticed this folded paper version of a NYC Bus. It's a piggybank I got from the Transit Museum. I used this flimsy little bank to house my 2009 found money:

Finally, 2009 was over. And yesterday, the day after New Year's, I opened it up to see what I had collected:

And then I counted it - It came to a total of $27.96. Not bad for money I found on the streets (Note: that 20 dollar bill was actually found in a bar in Williamsburg - my biggest score of the year!)

Found in 2009

But I knew there was more *free money* I had collected over the course of 2009. I turned to my Quicken program and ran a few reports to see just how well I fared over calendar year 2009.

First, I ran a report for the total amount of money I received from my credit cards in the form of rebates: $477.88! Quite a hefty sum - especially considering I pay zero dollars in service charges, late fees, interest or other card fees. (I am totally on top of my paperwork and never pay fees of any kind.)

Credit Card Rebates 2009

Then I ran another report to see how much more "free money" I had collected over the course of the year - in the form of coupons and other rebates. It was an additional $352.00! Nice!

Coupons & Rebates 2009

My found money ($27.96) + Credit Card Rebates ($477.88) + Coupons & Rebates ($352.00) = a total additional income of $857.84 over the course of the year! Not bad for doing next to nothing!

I have restarted my "found money" bank for 2010 and of course will continue to (obsessively) track my money in Quicken. This year I am going to aim for $1000. I have $100 so far, thanks to my Netbook rebate. Only $900 to go!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Reasons I love Greenpoint: Part 15 - The Greenpoint YMCA

Last week was my 4 year anniversary living in the great neighborhood of Brooklyn known as Greenpoint. I weighed about 185 pounds at the time I arrived. The following September, when I was close to 200 pounds, I joined Weight Watchers. And days later, I also joined the Greenpoint YMCA.

Greenpoint YMCA, since 1906

At the time, I had no idea at that time how dramatically my life would change as a result - that I would go on to lose 50 pounds, looking and feeling better than I ever have in my life, that I would challenge my fear of classes by trying out Punk Rope, only to become a devoted punk roper (evenually challenging myself further by doing yoga, pilates, interval training and total body conditioning), that I would improve my cardiovascular health dramatically, that I would become physically stronger and not coincidentally mentally stronger, that I would start to believe in myself, that I would make some of the best friends I've ever had in my life, that I would become an avid and enthusiastic cyclist, or that I would start running - something I have always hated and dreaded!

While I realize that I made all of those changes and am ultimately responsible for all the ways my life has improved since then, I can't help but wonder how different my life would be if the Y wasn't there. Would any of that have happened? Maybe some of it would have, but my life would not be what it is today.

Needless to say, I love my YMCA. I'm proud to be a part of it and I'm so glad it's there. So when I came across this postcard on eBay, I *had* to make sure it was mine - This appears to be a hand drawn representation of the building. (Anyone familiar with Greenpoint will likely recognize this as the corner of Meserole Ave & Lorimer St.) There is a handwritten note on the front of the postcard where I assume the person sending it was pointing out the room she stayed in.

YMCA - corner of Meserole Ave & Lorimer St

Flipping it over, the postcard was actually filled out on March 12, 1911 and is postmarked with a Brooklyn stamp from March 13, 1911 - 99 years ago!!!

It reads:
"How is Ferndale? It seems very nice to have Aunt Bessie with us. I don't think we will let her leave us. Mother has been to church three times today but Aunt B. and I were wicked and only went twice. Elsie I DeGroot"
I love that so much! They were "wicked" for only going to church twice! And could she be referring to beautiful St Anthony's Church on Manhattan Ave? I would bet she was!

Anyway this is how the YMCA looks today, January 2, 2010 from that same angle. Not much has changed (though, comparing it to the postcard, they added a few floors onto back of the Lorimer side of the building):

YMCA, 2010

I love my YMCA and am so thankful for the wonderful people I've met there - the people that have taught me and pushed me and made me a better person, inside and out. Thank you, YMCA, you are just one more reason I love Greenpoint!