Monday, October 23, 2006

Volume 5: October 06

To my friends and neighbors,

Nope...thats a lie. Not friends with any of my neighbors other than theone who walks his irish wolfhound (a HUGE dog...almost goes up to myhip!) down the street in the evening. His dog is named McGee and is the sweetest puppy ever.

*See 1st attachment...another Irish Wolfhound. Anyways, McGee's owner always waves at me when he sees me which makes mefeel like part of the neighborhood, despite the fact that I only knowhim and Scott, and our neighbor Tikao, an asian man in his early 60s whobasically is our gardener on W105th. We're convinced he eaves drops onour conversations but I don't think we have any proof....And so here I am again my friends. Writing you from the exciting and STRANGE city ofNew York! I have begun to settle in to my new job (w/ a few bumps alongthe way) and am enjoying it thoroughly! I have 2 great friends out here, Erica (best shopping partner in NYC, Lindsey is best in Mn) and Ben (my dinner mate when Scott has rehearsals), and a wonderfulboyfriend who is caring, sweet and nutty, just like me. Here are someof the events of the past month,

1) The first, and most shocking event of the past month took place in abar called "Vintage" near Columbus Circle. We went out for happy hourwith Scott's classmates and were having a jolly old time when ourwaitress said the unthinkable to me: "You know, you look a lot like AnnaPaquin...ARE you Anna Paquin?" *HALT!* I was JUST mistaken for acelebrity in New York. I must be hot. Jk. But I was quite flatteredthough I explained to the waitress I thought Anna Paquin was quite a bitskinnier than me. For those of you who don't who Anna Paquin is, she isknown for winning an oscar for best supporting actress at around age7?....and playing Rogue, my favorite super hero in the X-Men movies.See picture attached for comparison.... Now...if you disagree with this kind waitress, please don't tell me,because she's not the first to say I resemble Anna Paquin, and I quitelike to think I keep your opinions to yourself. *wink* Moving on....

2) The same night as that waitress's "celebrity" encounter, Scott and Ifollowed his classmates to the apartment of one of his classmates, a definite Anson Mount Look-Alike. Hisapartment was BEAUTIFUL including 2 stories and a patio out back.Apparently though, those Columbia students are just too rowdy becauseafter being there for about an hour and a half, who should we see on thetop step of the patio but a "friend" NYPD officer shouting about howdisrespectful we were and how this was "NOT" a house party.  Scott's classmate and his roommate James calmly stepped up to the plate and weedled their way out of a ticket, getting only a warning....and Scott and I, along with his classmate Maury and his wife, snuck out the front door, down the hall and onto 59thStreet....the last time I ran from the cops was my freshman year incollege at a house party at the Univeristy of Minnesota....apparently,cops in NY are no less tolerant of us young folk.

3)This story coorelates with the last photo attachment on thisemail....the walker....Take a look at the picture and use your spatialcognition skills to picture pushing the walker forward so it falls ontoits front. Got this picture in your head? Walker laying on it's frontside? That would be how we saw an old lady using her walker whenwalking back from the grocery store one evening. And no, she didn'tlook comfortable. My first inkling was to stop and help her correct thewalker's position, but having been a 5-month experienced New Yorker, Idecided to let it slide while noting to Scott that the lady was usingher walker incorrectly. A few minutes later we heard someone screamingbehind us "Get off! Get off!" Who was it but this crotchety (and crazy?)old lady trying to fend off a nice young gentlement trying to help herresituate her walker. About a week later, I saw the lady again, walkerincorrectly postured and all, and yelling at someone to "MIND THEIR OWNBUSINESS!" Apparently she's quite sensitive. WHat a nut.

4) My job has been a good experience...and an interesting one in itself.To remind you all, I am a clinical research coordinator working for theMental Illness Research and Education CLinical Center (AKA MIRECC) at the Bronx VA Hospital. I am a federal employee which means I had towash my hands, dry them, get them wet again, and submit my fingerprintson an electronic finger print gatherer (probably not the official title)to the guys at Washington. I can never do anything wrong again....they'll know who I am. ;) That'snot the only interesting thing. Apart from walking through a metaldetector everyday when I get to work ( is the BRonx!), I see aslimey smiling picture of our good old president, George W Bush. Now,for those of you who know my liberal political beliefs (and sorry to myfamily members who I know don't approve of them), this is hilarious. I walk into work and see a snarling picture of the person in this world Idislike the most. Who would have thunk. Another LESS funny experienceat work, which basically knocked the wind out of me, was when I turnedin the hours I had work before I was an official federal employee for mybackpay. THe administrator in my department asked me where I had comeup with that number for the hourly rate and I explained its what Ithought we had talked about in the interview and what was posted on theadvertisement online. Remember friends, I left my prior job for those"HUGE" pay increase...but oh no, the advertisement was $7500 ayear. Sick. Thats how I felt. As tears welled in my eyes, myadministrator tried to comfort me and get to the bottom of whose mistakeit was which is ended up being his....Luckily...they're good people I"mworking for....(And they also realize I could take legal action againstthem for false advertisement, etc)...and are making up the different tome from a different area. But, it was a bit scary for a while and NOTfun to think I had not had a pay check for 4 weeks and was only going tobe making 900 more than what I was making at Mount Sinai. Geesh! But noworries, it all worked out.

5) As some of you know, I have been traveling at least once a week onthe Long Island Rail Road (which is a nice little get away if you askme) to West Brentwood, New YOrk where sits Pilgrim Psychiatric Center,which was at one point in time one of the largest psychiatric facilitiesin the country. This place is so classic...very "One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest". I"llhave to take some pics for the next email since I won't be visitingthere much more. I go out there to learn how to administer theneurocognitive tests I'll be giving to the patients with schizophrenia.Anyways... back to the rail road. Last week, when I was on my way backfrom the asylum...(haha..its not really an asylum...but I hear it usedto be bad)...I moved part way through the ride into a car that I hopedwould be more quiet so I could sleep. About 20 minutes into my ride,the train stopped at Hicksville I think it was....and stayed there. Icouldn't figure out what was going on until I saw some nurses gatheredaround some seats about 6 rows in front of me and across the aisle, andthe train conducter standing out on the platform looking for something.As the EMTs arrived (ambulances), I overheard that someone had had aseizure on the train. Man did I want to get up and do something tohelp. But knew I had no idea what to do, and there were already peoplethere who could help. Anyways, they just wanted to take this boy, about18-19 years old, to the hospital to make sure he was ok after thisseizure, when the poor kid started seizing again! This time I heard himbecause I think he had been in the middle of talking when itstarted....and as the EMT took him from under the shoulders and draggedhim to the exit of the train he was still seizing and twitching his headback and forth.

Never a dull moment in NYC I tell you! I've applied to a school outhere also (CUNY Hunter) to take my prereqs for nursing school (fromwhich I plan to become a nurse and then a nurse practitioner), and willlet you know how that all works out. Scott and I are off right now toan offbroadway matinee! Hope all is well with all of you and I hope tohear from you all. Much love everyone, Lauren