Tag Archives: new york city

Lotto Fever

Lotto fever is on! In all my years of playing (and losing), I have never seen as much love for the lottery as I did today.

While I don’t expect to win the office pool I’m a part of,  off the individual tickets my husband and I bought, or from numbers that belong to my immediate family, I am loving the vibe the biggest Mega Millions jackpot in history is giving off.

I have stood on numerous lines waiting to buy tickets in both New York and New Jersey in hopes of winning the coveted $640+ million jackpot. I made friends at the bodega while waiting to get my numbers. I chatted more with the grocery clerk than I have all year discussing the madness. And I probably spoke to more people about winning the lotto and what I’d do with the money in my 1,000+ person New York City office than I have in the two years I have worked in the building.

At 11:05pm, I don’t expect to be calling my family telling them I won the lottery. And while I’ll be a little disappointed that I still have to go to work on Monday and won’t be buying a private plane to take me and my entourage on a celebratory vacation full of champagne and palm trees, I  am digging all the craziness, all the press, and all the comradery that’s been built because of this ridiculously large jackpot that one random person is likely to win in mere moments!

Here’s to more than half a billion! Good luck to us all! It only cost me like $60 a and a dream.

How the Hungry Fed Me

This week I volunteered at a food pantry. My company organized a full week of donating your time to a charity of your choice or one of many they are affiliated with. I thought it was pretty cool that I was getting paid to do something that helped others on my company’s dime. More companies should allow their employees to do that.

So me and a bunch of other people assisted with food distribution and organization at a New York City church downtown. It was sweltering hot, it smelled funny, and some of it was a bit unorganized. Having worked for a non-profit, I accepted it. I was there to help, not complain.

My experience humbled me, as volunteering always does. I listened as our team leader spoke of only being able to help 35 people during each opening; the heartbreak of turning so many others away; how her clients could only come once a month for food and had to turn elsewhere for meals while they waited for the calendar to turn. Suddenly, my bullshit didn’t seem so big and important.

Hearing all of this impacted me, but nothing prepared me for the people who walked through that tiny door. They had waited for hours on a line to be one of the 35 “lucky ones” and stood again to actually receive their groceries. It was over 90 degrees. These people were standing in the hot, beating sun, patiently waiting for us to help them. They were so gracious and appreciative that we could give them some cereal, juice, a few vegetables. And then they had to schlep their food home, some ill, some frail, all poor and hungry.

As I handed out food, engaged with clients, and bonded with co-workers I barely knew, I felt so thankful. I never truly realized how many people didn’t have food. Sure, I’d participated in food drives and made monetary donations to charities in need, but I had never really gotten my hands dirty in this way.

When I got home, I made the most of what I had in my cupboards and refrigerator.  I begged my husband to work with me not to waste food, and to try and curb our impulse purchases that usually end up in the trash by week’s end. Leftovers will now last a little longer in our home.

If you get the opportunity, give back. It’s better than the delicious meal you’ll have tonight, the tasty martini that will wet your lips this weekend, and the new shoes you just got on sale. It’ll make you feel warm and grateful inside, and you might just change your everyday routine in a way that helps others.

City Mouse vs. Country Mouse

It’s been a beautiful weekend. It’s one of those weekends that reminds me of why I love living in Hoboken. I have the ability to do so many things in this little square mile of a town and the sun beating down on me makes everything just that much better.

I’m a city girl. I think I became that way because I grew up on a mountain where you had to drive everywhere. I endured snowstorms and bad weather which held me captive in my home for days, because, and rightfully so, my parents did not want to drive in torturous weather, nor could they. There were only chain restaurants to eat at and they were all at least 20+ minutes away. There weren’t many places to hang out as a kid and not much to explore, unless you really liked nature or had a license.

I finally landed a job after college and commuted to the city from my mountainous home which was hell. I couldn’t wait to move, just for the pure joy of a normal commute. I came to Hoboken in February 2002 and have never looked back.

I love that I can walk to eclectic restaurants and discover new food. And if I decide to drink too much, I can walk or take a cab home for $5. I can hop into the city in 15 minutes or less. I can do my food shopping across the street and if I forget something, I can run right back out and pick it up. Just this week, I had an interview in the city, came back, went for a run along the Hudson River, popped into the bar my girlfriends were hanging out at, grabbed a water to quench my thirst and got back home just in time to enjoy the nice weather with my man. What more could a girl want?

My husband on the other hand, he’s kind of a country guy. He’s been in Hoboken longer than I have, but when he came out of work on Friday, he complained about the city smog, longed to grill a steak in the backyard we don’t have and swing in his hammock connected to our non-existent trees. He wants a home, more space, a driveway. I understand and want some of those things too, but I don’t know that I am ready to give up some of my favorite things just yet. This weather certainly doesn’t help his case.

I know we’ll find our dream home when the time is right and I finally land a full-time gig. I will likely have a less-than-desirable commute again and the grocery store won’t be as convenient when I forget the lentils for the lentil soup. So until then, I will savor in all of Hoboken’s delights until my country mouse takes me out of the city. As long as I’m with him though, I know I’ll be OK!

Why Career Fairs are a Waste of Time

On Friday, my husband and I attended a career fair in New York City, sponsored by Careerbuilder.com. We thought it would be a great way to network ourselves and get in front of employers versus sending resume after resume via email for yet another day. 

The night before, we printed out about three dozen resumes at Staples. That in and of itself was a struggle, as the machine printed our resumes crooked and stapled everything incorrectly. At the time, it was utterly frustrating; looking back, we have to laugh, but nonetheless, it certainly was not worth the $9 we spent.

I have been to career fairs before and left thoroughly disappointed, so I don’t know why I expected this one to be any different, but I did. I guess I thought because there are so many people out of work, employers would be eager to help out (or at least look like they wanted to help out) the 5 million of us who have lost jobs. Basically, I had some hope. Unfortunately, I was wrong. 

We waited on a line that was around the block. It wasn’t too bad, but maybe that was because I had someone to wait with. 

My husband and I knew the list of employers weren’t directly in our industries, but we took a shot anyway because the event was sponsored by companies like AOL and PIX, and we were open to exploring new opportunities. Boy, did we misjudge this one. 

There must have been about 10 employers at this thing and at least 500 people in attendance by the 10 o’clock hour. Every job seemed to be in sales. And if that wasn’t bad enough, all these employers, who we all were getting the chance to meet face-to-face and make that lasting impression with, told us to apply for the open positions available at their companies online.

So we stood online, as did hundreds of other people only to be told that we should go to the company’s website and apply in their career center portal? Why the hell was I here? Additionally, there were so few jobs that offered anything but sales. I felt like I was back at college at their career fairs. I’m not knocking sales jobs, don’t get me wrong, but every career fair I have ever been to, since I was an undergrad, everyone is always looking for salespeople, never any broader, niche occupations, like public relations, marketing or communications.

While we did make the effort to talk to some employers and shake a few hands, there was nothing there for us. And anything that seemed relatively worthwhile, we were told to head to the website and apply for the open position there. Oh, and let me tell you about that one: the website they gave us didn’t even work (Prudential)

Even though the career fair wasn’t for us, I really hope that the hundreds of other people that attended the event found it worthwhile because people need jobs. It’s amazing, yet daunting, how many people are looking for work right now. I saw a million types of people standing on that line or walking around the less than full room of employers. 

Unemployment does not choose. It’s like a disease. You can’t control who its bestows itself upon, it just happens, by no fault of your own. No matter how hard you may have worked, no matter how long you may have worked; regardless of race, gender, age, or religion, unemployment can happen to you. We are just one of millions of people looking for a cure.

Appreciating my Civil Rights

Yesterday I saw the movie Milk. It was the story of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay person to be elected to public office in California. It was quite an inspiring movie that opened my eyes to how lucky I am to have civil rights. 

I’ll be honest, I take my rights for granted. I bet many people in our country do. I never think twice about being able to live my life freely and the way I choose. I don’t think about the differences in my friends, whether they are gay or straight, or what color they may be. I learned about Martin Luther King and civil rights in school over the years, but this movie had different affect on me. It killed me to think that in the past, people lost their civil rights by no choice of their own. And this was just 30 -40 years ago! 

I can’t imagine what it must have been like for African-Americans when people told them they couldn’t drink from the same fountains as whites, or travel on the same buses. I can’t fathom what it would be like for someone to tell a homosexual teacher they couldn’t teach America’s youth because of who they choose to date. I’m a straight white girl, so I will probably never understand this type of persecution, but nonetheless, I still tried to put myself in the shoes of those who have been discriminated against for a moment. 

It was ironic. As I walked through the streets of New York City, I saw so many different signs of life that make our society so colorful and lovely. I saw straight couples, gay couples, blacks, whites, Muslims, Indians, Russians; the list is endless. There were homeless people, transvestites, business people, blue collar workers, everyone under the sun was in that city. It’s such an inspiring place to take a walk and see the evolution of the United States…a place where everyone is equal. 

We should all take a moment and realize how lucky we are to live in a country where we  have the right to live the lives we choose. I know that some cities around the nation, such as New York, are more open to people’s differences, but no matter where you live or what you believe, take a minute to appreciate your civil rights because there was time and could be time, when someone might want to take them from you or someone you know.