Friday, November 30, 2018

New Job

When Ashley was little, I used to attend MOPS (Mothers of Pre-Schoolers) programs in a Princeton church. This would have been around 2002 to 2004. The kids played together and us moms had a speaker or some encouragement in how to raise our children as Christians. Of all the programs I attended, one has stayed in my heart. I don't remember her name, and I don't remember the specific topic. The message that stayed with me was to always tell God what is on your heart.

The speaker was a single mom trying to change her life. She told God exactly what she wanted in a new relationship -- he must be a man of faith, and he must love her children as much as she does. I remember her list was much longer and detailed than that. Basically she said "God this is what I want, now I'll sit back and trust you to work it out." She did not want to waste her time with a man who was not worthy, who would not treat her or her daughters properly. At some point she went to a wedding as a friend of the bride. During the reception she met a man (a friend of the groom) who was a pastor. Ding, ding, ding. She was still cautious until she realized he also loved her children and met the other items on her lengthy list.

Why am I sharing this story with you under the heading of "New Job?" It is because I applied her wisdom and advice when looking for a new job. In the past year I sent out about 44 resumes and had 20 interviews. I would have been happy with any of the positions, but ecstatic over the one I did land.

As the search continued I honed my wish list and shared it with God.

I wanted a part-time position working for a company I could believe in with a short commute, flexible hours, encouraging of women (added after I interviewed for a company that was encouraging of women), allowing me to dress up for work (but didn't have to). 

Last night someone told me she tried to be encouraging when I told her my list, but really thought I should expand my options geographically, hours-wise, etc. She is stunned I landed something so close to that list.

Now that I've been hired, I would add I want to work for someone who believes in me more than I believe in myself and who is asking for heart over perfection, as these are traits I see in the new place.

As of Monday I am the Director of Development for The Bridge Academy, a small private school helping students with language-based learning disabilities. Since sharing my news with my Facebook friends, I have discovered nearly a dozen connections to the school from families of students, to a teacher, to a board member, to someone who did her student teaching there. It truly feels Spirit-driven.

Yes, I did look for a year. As much as I wanted to be ready, I wasn't. This summer I took three long vacations. I temped full-time at Princeton University (reinforcing that I am not ready for full-time work with set hours). I met lots of neat people on the journey. 

I hope someone reading my story feels inspired.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

"Head Over Heels"

The day before Thanksgiving we decided to get tickets to see "Head Over Heels" on Broadway. The show features 80's music by The Go-Gos with a story loosely tying the music together into the same theme. Think Abba music turning into "Mama Mia," or Billy Joel's music being the inspiration for "Moving Out."

Meanwhile, my sister Melissa and her family decided to try for Broadway Roulette to see a Broadway show on the same night. You can follow the link to see the details about how it works, but basically you agree to a price and it spins the dial and chooses which show you'll see. In theory you save a bunch of money because you gave up choosing the show. "Hamilton" and other higher priced shows are in the mix, along with ones that often have coupons. They scored orchestra. We were pretty excited to be upgraded from balcony to front and center in the Dress Circle. I think we had the better seats because we had no one blocking our view.

The show was campy, filled with energy, witty dialogue, and lots and lots of singing. 

The fun for me, though, came after the show when Ashley and her cousins (Hayden and Aimee, but mostly Hayden) collected autographs. Hayden (14) loves theater. Aimee loves it, too, but by 10:30 PM the thought of a warm bed was more endearing.

The cast could not have been nicer. Many added "please tell your friends and have them come" as they were signing autographs. Less than a week later we learned the show will be closing in January after 188 performances. 

We are doing our bit. Thanks to a sale on TodaysTix (an app that helps you get cheap tickets up to 30 days in the future), we are seeing the show again on December 26.

Sing along with me ... "Vacation, all I ever wanted...." and if you are a fan of 80's music, see the show before it closes.

Monday, November 26, 2018

New York Transit Museum

Entrance to the museum
Don and I continued our tour of nostalgic New York Transit with a much anticipated trip to the New York Transit Museum. For several years I have wanted to visit this museum, but life did not take me in that direction. Plus, it is in Brooklyn -- which feels like another country when your trips to New York City take you almost exclusively to Broadway so your daughter can share her artwork, and collect autographs from Broadway stars.

The museum is great. It reminded me of when Don and I visited the London Transit Museum before Ashley was born (hence, before this blog). I yearned to visit the one in Paris, only to discover Paris does not have a transit museum. Having lived in Paris as an exchange student in 1990, and recently returning, I would love to ride "vintage" cars and learn about how the Paris metro system has evolved. I hope someone steals my idea and creates one.

In New York's museum they first guide you down a tunnel-like room to describe how the subway system was built. Even after studying the plaques and following the paths, I can't imagine how disruptive that must have been to a booming metropolis with over a million people living in it at the time (over eight million today).

At the end of the tunnel is a bright room. When we were there they had an exhibit on subways in cartoons that was fun. There were exhibits on the history of the classic token along with its price increases (from 15 cents to $1.50 each ride) to the evolution of the Metro Card, which replaced the tokens, and made price increases easier (now at $2.75 a ride).

The highlight for the kids (and adults who feel like kids) is going inside the old cars. I hope they rent out the space for cosplay photo shoots and weddings.

I also thought about my great-grandmother (Gigi) and pictured her riding the Elevated Trains when she lived in New York City as a young girl.

Thought of my parents riding this train to go on a date to the World's Fair in the mid-1960's. The light blue trains required a separate exit token, I suppose to help pay for the line they put in to get people out to the World's Fair. These cars were later painted a graffiti-proof red (they did not explain what made them graffiti-proof) and were redubbed the Red Line until they were retired with much fanfare in the early 20th century.

Even with a half dozen cars in use on the holiday train, there were not any empty spaces. I wonder where they store the other trains? I did not see some of the trains I remembered from when we rode the holiday train last year. I can't imagine what is involved with moving old trains around, even with the museum being located inside an abandoned subway station.

Some pictures from the museum to entice you to visit on your own.

Also saw ads for cigarettes.

Holiday Train

Our only disappointment for the day was that we did not stick around for Andy's 3 PM tour. Instead was walked across the Brooklyn Bridge and took the PATH from the World Trade Center to the Grove Street Station and made it home a few minutes late for 5 PM worship. Next time we'll bring my parents and aim to go for his tour (free with museum entrance, which is only $10 for adults and $5 for students and seniors).

After Paris, I see locks everywhere.

NYC Holiday Train (2018)

Last year we rode the New York City Holiday Train, also known at the "nostalgia
train." We had a blast! There were bands, and lots of people dressed up in period attire taking and posing for pictures. This year Don and I returned for more of the same. Unfortunately we were disappointed.

Sure the 1930's vintage cars were in use, but where were the bands? Where were the people dressed up? Where was the ambiance we had last year? Where were the trains from other years? (We clearly remember a train from the 1970's and at least one other era.)

Turns out one of the weekends has been dubbed "Rogue" weekend. It is a not-so-secret secret as to which weekend, but on one of the six Sunday afternoons the cosplay community turns out in full force, as do their friends, and unsuspecting people like us. That is the weekend the train is super crowded. I also learned on December 15 the New York Transit Museum is hosting a swing dance party (tickets are only $30 and go on sale on November 28). If that wasn't the day of Ashley's Christmas Concert, I'd go. Making a note for next year.

HERE is an article from NBC about yesterday's ride. The one picture of people dressed up was of two of the four people we saw dressed up.

This year we aimed to get there for the first train (10 AM from 2nd Avenue on the F line). We made it there by 9:50, allowing us some time to walk around the train and through the train. Last year we started a couple of hours later and the train was super crowded. By being there early, the train was super quiet. 

While we didn't get out of the day what we hoped, I did enjoy seeing the look of glee on people's faces when they stepped back into time. One mom was gushing to her two-year old about how excited she was to make that train. The two-year old (in case you were wondering), really didn't care. The mom, though, was thrilled. Because the train left five minutes after the time it was supposed to, she was able to catch it.

This year's route was longer than the one it took last year. This year it started at the 2nd Avenue station, and continued for 22 minutes to 125th Street, where it then skipped 135th street and ended at 145th Street, even though the signs posted said it would end at 125th Street. Again, the reason we decided to get on the train where it started instead of hoping to catch it at 42nd Street like we did last year.

The SCOOP: the New York Transit Museum runs vintage 1930's R1-9 trains mixed in with regular train service. They stop at:

  • 2nd Avenue (F line)
  • Broadway-Lafayette Street / Bleeker Street
  • West 4th Street - Washington Square
  • 34th Street - Herald Square
  • 42nd Street - Bryant Park
  • 47th-50th Street -- Rockefeller Center (A/C/D lines)
  • 7th Avenue
  • 59th Street - Columbus Circle
  • 125th Street (A/C/D lines)
Savvy New York Subway riders recognize this is not a typical route (starts on the F line, ends on the A/C/D lines), and also see the route bypasses a number of stations in Central Park. It runs on the S line, as in SPECIAL.

I love the advertising inside the trains.

Having had to time my trip back from Paris in time
to make sure I was at the AirBnB before the
Metro stopped running, this is still true today.

From here we took the subway to Jay Street and visited the New York Transit Museum.

PS: Rumor has it the "Rogue" day will be December 9. promises, and don't tell anyone I told you.