Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Photos, Gardens & Friendship

When it comes to female friends, I don't have many. I've always been somewhat of  a tomboy and felt more comfortable around dudes (and what a surprise that I'll be releasing a web series about that in October!) So when I find a girl I genuinely enjoy being around, I latch on like a sea barnacle. 

One of my best female friends is Judie. We met maybe 4 years ago through an online book club than moved our friendship out of cyberspace and into the real world a year later. Since then, she's gotten engaged and made me her maid of honor, and in turn, I force her to listen to stories about every aspect of my life. Even if her ear starts to bleed, the woman continues to hold that receiver to it. A saint I tell ya! 

Judie also happens to be a very talented photographer. She's taken head shots of me in the past, but this time around I didn't want to be just a subject. I wanted to learn about her craft which is so much more than point and shoot.  There's lighting and focusing and knowing what the hell is worth aiming your lens at. In an effort to   silence my whining, she agreed to spend the day with me at the Botanical Gardens this past Saturday. 

Considering the temperature has been rather cool in NY lately, we figured it would remain the same as we made our way toward the garden. Alas! Summer returned on that fateful day! And ironically, only for that day as the weather quickly returned to brisk 24 hours later. Despite the ample amount of perspiration that found its way to our foreheads, we both posed for each other and came home with an array of portraits and pretty memories. Check them out by clicking on the albums:

My Photos

Judie's photos of me

Judie actually added some cool photoshop effects to some of the photos which I'm sure she'll end up posting on her blog some time soon. 

After spending several hours looping around the beautiful landscape that is the garden, we took our tired butts back to her neighborhood to have some helado (yum!) and say hi to Juan before I had to bounce off to my next destination. It had been quiet an experience not just because of the beauty we were able to capture, but because of the time I was able to spend with a friend who shares more than just my biology make up. She gets me and accepts me for who I am. Love you lady! 

Make sure to watch the video in 720p - clarity on Judie's camera amazes me. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Difference Between Alone and Lonely

I'm a walking contradiction when it comes to being a loner...because I'm really not one.

I enjoy being solo, but only within the confines of my own home. The minute I step outside I feel the immediate need to be accompanied by someone, regardless of my destination. I'm not sure of the cause, and I'm not going to bore you with some self-analytical babble. It's just who I am. Or who I was...

Thanks to various changes in the last three months of my life, I found myself alone at the beginning of Labor Day weekend. The weather was gorgeous. Birds sang for me to join them outdoors. And a laundry list of fresh herbs I needed to purchase brought my attention to Chinatown. A trip into the city was a simple answer. The only issue was getting over the shock that I couldn't remember when was the last time I had ventured to do so on my own. It was slightly unbelievable to acknowledge the fact that I'd only ever hung out in downtown NY when in the presence of friends, family or a significant other. But, that says a lot about who I used to be. 

I set out on an 1130am Metro North train to Grand Central where I then subway hopped my way to Prince Street. When I climbed out of the depths of smelly metal, I was met by a flood of tourists. After making my way through the crowds to Spring Street, I unsuccessfully attempted to talk down a woman trying to sell me a straw fedora for $15. After crossing the street I came in contact with a similar hat whose owner had no problem letting it go for $10. I contemplated walking back passed the original vendor, new hat sitting nicely on my head, but then forfeited my spite after seeing a sign for Uniq Lo (clothing store.) A pair of $30 jeans fit me perfectly except for the fact that the pant legs fell way past my toes. Either I'm shrinking, or every store now only stocks pants for people of runway model height. How happy was I to find out the store alters pants and jeans for free! Some small part of me wanted to believe this was my little treasure, that I wouldn't have learned about it had I not been wandering on my own. 

After my purchase I remembered the Chinatown mission I had yet to complete. I crossed over to Mott street and headed South. Popping into several stores, I tried my best to pronounce the list of herbs my acupuncturist had told me to ask for. I was either met with blank stares, American accents or variations of what I was actually looking for. Although I didn't find the exact ingredients, I was enthralled by the natural medicines and smells of various herbs and tea leaves. Making a mental checklist, I added Asia as part of my future world travels then headed to Italy (aka Mulberry Street.) There I grabbed a seat at a sidewalk table and devoured a slice of pizza while watching passersby choose what restaurants they wanted to settle in. I was surrounded by noise and conversation, but at my own table I sat in silence. A weird sense of satisfaction overcame me. If I could have sat there for several hours, I would have. On a date with myself. 

En route to visiting my mother, the last stop of this trip, I climbed the Staten Island Ferry, something I hadn't done in quite some time. It had been so long, actually, that I came close to feeling like a tourist and buying a hot dog. Like a four alarm fire, my digestive system (and overall health) screamed "No!" and so I sat and took photos with my phone instead. 

At the end of my day these photos were my bounty. And as a result, I was left thinking this whole being alone thing is given such a bad rap. It's not being alone. It's just being comfortable with yourself. 

                                                          (RetroCam app rocks! Android)