Friday, June 26, 2009

I Kept Calling Them "Horse-ys"

Two (or three- I can't remember) weeks ago, I went to the Belmont Stakes with a group of people. I've been wanting to write about it because it's my first time at a racing track, but a combination of reasons prevented me from doing so immediately. The first was that I did not have the pictures with me, so I had to get them from the boyfriend; and the second reason is because I'm lazy. Hey, at least I am honest.

Anyway, we got to the Belmont Stakes around 2 pm, and the tracks looked so beautiful. We had been getting gross rain all that week, but Saturday, the skies were clear and the sun was actually out. There were many races going on before the actual race, so the boyfriend and his friends betted on a bunch of them. For The Race, the boyfriend and I put in a total of $25 on Dunkirk- he really seemed to have great faith in Dunkirk and since I am no race expert, I shrugged and just gave him $5. If Dunkirk didn't win, I wouldn't have lost that much, and I would have gotten in the spirit of screaming at the horses.

If you can't tell, I don't know very much about horse racing, or betting, or anything. I mean, I guess my terminology "The Race" really gives it away. But one of Boyfriend's friend tried to give me a crash course in betting. It was just really confusing to me, and he was trying to make it sound simple. He explained it by using the bets that he and another friend had just placed as an example. They had put money on both No. 2 and No. 4. If either of those horses come in first, they win something. If not, they don't.

I think it was the idea that you could bet on multiple horses that confused me so much. I responded, after his very lengthy explanation, by asking, "So do you get anything if you lose?" He had this look of confusion on his face then he started cracking up. Apparently, what I said was incredibly funny because he went and told his other friends and they all laughed at me too. I just kinda stood there protesting that I know nothing about betting. I really felt like a dunce.

That's not to say that I know nothing about horses. When I was about 13, I used to take horse-riding lessons and I used to love it. We eventually had to stop because the lessons just got to be too much money. I think part of the reason why I avoided horse-racing is because I just don't believe that horses should be forced to go that fast. Plus you hear all these stories, like how owners push the horses so hard until they end up with a broken leg and must be immediately put down. It breaks my heart. So I was relieved when I saw that all the horses at the Belmont stadium were incredibly healthy-looking. When we got down to the show stables, where people got a closer look at the horses, I caught a whiff of horse poop and hay, and you have no idea how comforting that smell is to me. Honest, I'm not trying to be funny! That smell just brings back memories of me grooming horses in Evanston and how much I enjoyed it back then.

Behind the spectator stands, there is an open area outside where everyone was having picnics and just drunkenly milling about before The Race starts. That, I think, is probably my favorite part of the Belmont Stakes. There were also food stands and beer carts! I got really excited by all the food and beer, and I think I dropped way too much money on booze- they totally upcharge it because people aren't allowed to bring alcohol into the Belmont stadium. In the picture, it looks like I am reaching for the girl's beer, but I promise I wasn't.

Around 6:30 ish (they announced a very exact time, like 6:27 or something), The Race began! I was actually kind of excited in the beginning because it looked like Dunkirk was the horse that was pressing forward. But then toward the last leg of the run, he dropped back and came in third (I think.) Boo. Oh well. Boyfriend and his friends had actually betted on the horse that won, but because the odds were not that great, they ended up winning a dollar (on top of the $11 they each put in, which means technically, they got $12.)

After the race, we took a train back to Brooklyn and ended up at a cute bar/restaurant on 5th ave called Alchemy. I got macaroni and cheese (they called it shells and cheese but whatever) and it was delicious. I think they use white cheddar as their cheese, and there are little bacon bits and peas mixed in with the shells. It was the perfect gooey/cheesy end to the day.

My next weekend away actually starts today, if everything goes as planned. I am a little sick right now, but if I feel better by 5 pm, the Boyfriend and I will be heading to Ocean City, NJ, to join a group of my ex-co-interns at our boss' beach house. I know it sounds bizarre, but my boss basically invited all of us down as a thank-you present. Hopefully I would have fully recovered by then so that I can make it.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Here's What's Been Going On

I know I've been taking my time to update this thing lately but life has gotten real busy for me in the past month and a half. I can hardly believe that it's already June. Please, Time Master, let this month go by less quickly. I want the summer to last forever because it may be my last as a kid.

Anyway, as I said in my last post, my best friend, Cynthia, visited me during the second week of May. She was only in the city for three days, but we crammed a lot of quality time in. While her first trip here three years ago was a bit of a shit show, this past visit was quite a bit calmer. She got to see my apartment, meet my boyfriend, and meet the friends I have spoken to her about. iIt was great to see Cynthia and spend time with her, even if we did no partying. She really is my better half– nicer, more patient, and very cute. My friends were glad to finally meet her and confirm that she does indeed exist.

She and I didn't even take pictures to document our time together! This pictures is from my friend Magda. This was the night that Cynthia met most of the Prague gang, which should have guaranteed a drunken night of shots and makeout seshes (My friends are cool) but she and I ended up calling it an early night because I hadn't slept the night before, and she had flew in on a red-eye.

The day after Cynthia left New York, my mother came into town. I was going to graduate in two days and she arrived just in time to give my apartment a spring cleaning. She did, however, say that my place was a lot cleaner than she expected, compared to the last few places I lived in with my roommates. Oh well, I guess a back-handed compliment from my mother is like the greatest compliment ever.

And so that pesky graduation thing happened, and it was long and boring and I fell asleep during the actual ceremony (due to another all-nighter, of course)

I took no pictures during my graduation, and this is once again from Magda. As you can see, Paulina is on the other end taking the same picture from a different angle. That means there is more than one picture up on Facebook showcasing my lack of a chin. I told my mom after the ceremony that I fell asleep during Hilary Clinton's speech (I'm still gonna brag about her even if I wasn't awake for it) and she said, "Oh. Me too."

But hey! I have matriculated! Commencement is over and I can now commence with Real Life. I'd say that the day called for champagne and whiskey and a drunken game of darts! Instead, my mom and I lunched at my uncle's apartment and played with his new baby (I say it like he just got the Wii.) Then we took a short nap at his place before heading downtown to NYU Skirball Center for a dance performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company.

It's been a long time since I've seen a dance performance, and MGDC was just such a treat. This is going to sound weird, but during the performance, I kept thinking, "I want to go home and blog about how amazing this show is right now." But obviously, I didn't. It's just so hard to put into words the awe I have for these people who are able to express so much with their bodies and movements. The style was nothing like I have seen before– the movements were sharp and graceful (is that possible? I never thought so) and it all seemed so simple but there was so much emotion conveyed in a single arm-sweepy gesture. There was this beautiful, heart-breaking performance by two female dancers who were trying to depict war ("Lamentation Variation") and instead of the cliched heart-pounding fury of movements that I expected, it was almost painful to watch because I could see the story of confusion and tragedy behind their movements. How in the world is it possible for me to want to cry when I watch that, and yet be unable to tear my eyes away?

I actually just youtubed some videos but I decided against putting them up because it's just not the same. Honestly, talking about dance is like dancing about architecture so I'm just going to leave you with this: Catch a performance by the Martha Graham Dance Company if they are in your city.

Since my mom left New York, I have been completely caught up with work. I waitress several times a week, and it is surprisingly time-and-energy-consuming. My mom sent me an email this week advising me to take some time for myself, maybe do yoga or start up dance classes again. It was sweet of her to try and convince me to have some me-time, but my life still feels unreal. I'm still in transition, still trying assess my ("real") job situation, still trying to get a grip on my life. Today, I was chatting with some former co-workers and one of them said, "Everyone always thinks graduation is such a joyous occasion, but I remember being absolutely horrified with having to immediately deal with life. I don't envy you."