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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Oh Tannenbaum

There is nothing more magical than New York City at Christmas!

On top of the already glittering city lights, there are billions of Christmas lights and window decorations  that fuel excitement and cheer, but you can see all of that on my Facebook (or in my next blog, depending on how pushy my mother is).

There are also Christmas complications that come with a city residence.

For instance, how does one get a full sized Christmas Tree from the corner tree stand into a tiny apartment on the second floor of an uptown building? Funny you should ask, because now I know.

My roommates asked a boy to help carry our tree to our apartment, so I thought I was going to miss out on the hassle... I was wrong.

I was at Bible Study on a Monday night, and when we got out at about 10, I texted my friend Katherine to see if she was finished with work.  She was wrapping things up and was about to pick a tree from the stand in front of her store. Apparently they have a deal that the Keihl's employees get free trees for letting the tree workers use their facilities. When Katherine asked me to help bring her tree home, I couldn't say no, so I met her at 66th and Columbus to pick out the perfect tree for her apartment.

Much to my dismay, she had already picked out her tree... A big tree... A big, 7 foot tree... A big, heavy, 7 foot tree... She had decided she could get a bigger tree this year since she had someone to help her bring it back... Great.

After they had wrapped up her tree and attached the stand, we finagled our tree into a decent carrying position and started trekking down the sidewalk. At this point, I had no idea where we were going, but I knew I was not about to carry this tree 2 miles to Katherine's apartment. I didn't think public transportation was an option. A taxi cab would have been expensive. And seriously, how could we fit this tree anywhere? Katherine had a plan though, and as we lugged our tree to the bus stop, people greeted us with "Merry Christmas" and lots of smiles.

When we propped our tree up at the bus stop, we got a few strange looks from some grumpy older men trying to get home. After a few minutes, a crowded bus pulled up to the curb and we started to gather our things. With a quick glance through the windows and a pretty intimidating glare from the driver, we knew there was no way our tree was going to make it past the front door. Fortunately, an empty bus was directly behind, and we pushed our way past the toll box. The unhappy driver told us to stay out of the way as much as possible, and we found a nice little seat where we could hold our tree upright and somewhat unobtrusively. The three other people on the bus stared for a few minutes, but eventually began telling stories of decorating their own trees. Our Grinch of a bus driver turned around to ask how far we were going, and when we responded with 103rd St, he asked why on earth we didn't get a tree further uptown at one of the stands near her apartment. Katherine explained that the tree was free, and our bus driver warmed up considerably and eventually started telling his own Christmas stories.

We had such a delightful ride! When we finally made it to 103rd and dragged the tree off the bus, our driver told us his bus had never smelled so good!

Carrying the tree down the street, up the stairs, and around the corner was another trick, but we made it happen. Katherine's apartment now looks lovely with the full tree in the corner.

Sometimes easy tasks like decorating for Christmas have added complications in this city. It's totally worth it though. It's Christmas time in the city, and I LOVE IT!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Peace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

There's a Storm a-brewin' y'all!!

The conversations I've observed in the past 24 hours confirm the accuracy of the above chart.

Hurricane Sandy is upon the east coast, and most of the citizens of New York couldn't possibly be less prepared.

While one of my roommates ran into the local grocery store to get a few last minute ingredients for our pre-storm dinner last night, I looked into the baskets of other shoppers and almost laughed out loud. I saw entirely too many microwave dinners and frozen treats. Alcohol also seemed to be a top priority for these last minute shoppers. My roommate was in line for the cash register for about 45 minutes, which is not surprising. A little more surprising, though, was seeing one of my friends from church heading into the madness because he JUST realized he has no food in his apartment.

I think the most reasonable explanation for the last minute panic is the fact that Public Transit was shut down yesterday at 7pm last night, so there's really no way to get around the city without a car (and seriously, who has one of those anymore?? haha). This MTA shut-down could potentially make someone feel trapped. I am realizing I haven't had this much forced free time in YEARS. I'm taking this as a mini vacation with my roommates (at least until the scary weather kicks in).

I received a precious email from my boss yesterday informing me that our office would be closed today (Monday). Being a native New Yorker, he wanted to make sure I was fully prepared. His necessity list included a flashlight, bottled water, a pocket knife, duct tape, a first aid kit, and a whistle. I'm not 100% sure what I'm supposed to do with a whistle, but I appreciated his concern. For those of you down South who are worried, we're fully stocked with non-perishables, a tub of water, and flashlights. Whether this storm is bad or not, we're ready for it.

Last night we watched Young Frankenstein in honor of this Young Frankenstorm, and today my roommates and I are curled up watching movies and the news. The reporters are saying about 10-20 million people will be without power soon, so we're trying to use our technology as much as possible. :)

Yesterday at church I found myself standing with friends talking about preparation and what we should expect with the impending storm. It was eerily similar to the Sunday before Hurricane Katrina when we all stood around in the sanctuary, asking where our friends were evacuating and wishing each other the best. That Sunday burns vividly in my mind, and the months following keep playing through in my head, but I praise the Lord for his perfect plan and the beauty and growth he brought from that disaster. I think those memories have actually been the hardest part of this storm process... I honesty don't think much will come of Sandy. We may lose some power, we've already lost a crane, and work may be down for another day or two, but I know not to take anything for granted.

We are prepared for the worst but hoping for the best.

And we are praying, and I know many of you are praying too. 
Thank you for the prayers. We can feel them.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just Another Day in NYC...

I’ve settled into a pretty comfortable life routine here in New York City.
My weeks consist of work (casting assistant at Mungioli theatricals), choir practice, dance classes, Bible Study, and the occasional social gathering… OK, maybe social gatherings are more frequent than “occasional.” I stay pretty busy, but those of you who know me understand that I wouldn’t be happy any other way.

It’s just a normal life in different city.

Except… sometimes I get caught off-guard when I look at the skyline, or when see the sparkle of the lights in the buildings surrounding me, when I overhear bizarre conversations on the subway, when I leave a crowded theatre and go home instead of to a hotel, or eat a dessert in central park. Those are the moments that I stop and think Wow, I’m really here.

I’m ACTUALLY living in New York City.

I had one of those moments last night.

I was standing on the steps of a gorgeous cathedral sanctuary directly behind a 50 piece orchestra comprised of Juilliard students and alumni, singing choral music with some of the finest opera singers in the country.


Let me clarify and give details. Central Presbyterian is the incredible church body that I now call home. The Central building is an old gorgeous church building built in the early 1900’s. (pictures to come later) It was actually featured on “Sex and the City” in one of the early seasons as Mr. Big’s church. One of my roommates at the concert last night likened it to Hogwarts. It has a high arched ceiling, tall stained glass windows, and an ornate alter in addition to the stone columns and beautiful hanging lights. Basically, I’m completely obsessed with it… I’ll be getting married there if I ever find a husband.  ;-)

 I am a member of the choir at Central, and for the past few months we have been learning Felix Mendelssohn’s ELIJAH. (Oh brother some of those alto lines are pretty tough!) Our concert is this weekend (Thursday the 25th and Friday the 26th).

The soloists are as follows:

Mark Delevan- Elijah
His bio includes title roles in Falstaff, Rigoletto, Der Fliegende Hollander, Gianni Schicci, Simon Boccanegra, and Sweeny Todd.
If you’re anything like me, the only title that actually means anything is Sweeny Todd. He performs with the MET Opera, the New York City Opera, the Duetsche Oper Berlin, and the San Francisco Opera, among many others.
Basically, this guy is LEGIT!

Molly Fillmore – Soprano
Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Seattle Opera, Arizona Opera, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Cologne Opera, Washington National Opera, Spoleto Festival, Chattanooga Opera, Utah Opera, Carnegie Hall, and Avery Fisher Hall.

Impressed yet?

MaryAnn McCormick – Alto
Opera National de Paris, Teatro Comunale di Bologna, Teatro Regio di Parma; Title role of Carmen at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Regio di Torino, and the Staatsoper Stuttgart; The MET, Orchestre National de France, Opera theater of St Louis, New York philharmonic, lyric Opera of Chicago, Santa Fe Opera, and the Emerson String Quartet.

Need I continue? Well, actually, yes because there’s one more soloist and I feel like it would be unfair to leave him out…

John Easterlin – Tenor
Metropolitan Opera, Madrid’s Teatro Real, Moscow’s Bolshoi Theatre, a French Grammy Award, Vienna State Opera, Opera National de Paris, Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and the Canadian Opera Company, just to name a few.

Truth be told, I’ve never heard of most of those places, but I HAVE heard these soloists sing twice now. They are unbelievable.

In addition to the soloists, we have a 50 piece orchestra from Juilliard. How did we get Juilliard musicians you may ask? Well, that’s easy. All of the instrumentalists who play with our church choir each Sunday morning are Juilliard alumni, so they just asked their friends… 50 of them… Fifty unnaturally talented friends who have devoted their lives to playing music, and playing it perfectly.

I’m surrounded by insanely talented people!

And THEN, there’s the choir. What wonderful people they are. There are 23 of us. Most of which are professional opera singers themselves. All of which have a beautiful passion for sharing their gifts for the glory of God.

 And here I stand, the lowly musical theatre nerd, just starting out on her artistic journey- listening to these people, learning from these people, and trying not to get completely overwhelmed.

Last night, standing on that stage, I realized I could never have this experience anywhere else in the world.

And the best part was that as I looked out into the audience, there were faces of friends smiling back at me.

I’ve been blessed with some pretty incredible opportunities, but I’ve been blessed with even more incredible people who share these experiences with me.

As the Final Chorus of ELIJAH says:
“Lord, our Creator, how excellent Thy name is in all the nations. Thou fillest heaven [and earth] with thy glory! Amen!”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Better than Beginner Ballet

You live and you learn, right?

I think the older you get, the more you realize just how much you've accumulated over the years, and how each lesson seems to build upon what you already know. That also gives me the distinct sense that I have so much more I WANT to learn. How can I be satisfied with what I know now when I look back and see how much more I know than I did 5 years, heck, even 5 months ago?? If I had been satisfied then, I would have missed out on so much! I'm not necessarily talking about earth-shattering revelations here. I'm more astonished with the depth of knowledge and the color that tiny new experiences add to simple, standard life lessons we are taught as children.

One of my favorite quotes or "life lessons" that I learned from my momma is this:

There will ALWAYS be someone better than you. There will ALWAYS be someone who's not quite as good. Those people will ALWAYS be there. So, you just recognize that and do what you do best.

I have a tendency to focus on the people who are "better" than I am: the prettier girls, the more talented actors, the more flexible dancers, the more intelligent students, the WHATEVER, who cares? Sometimes that can be healthy. Knowing that I'm not the best can really help motivate me to work harder and do better. I often try not to think of the people who "aren't as good" at a particular skill. I don't want to be judgmental! But, I think sometimes a healthy dose of that reality can be helpful too.

I have ALWAYS doubted my dance ability. I've made a million excuses: I was an athlete. I started too late in life. I'm too tall. I'm not flexible enough. My brain just doesn't work that way. I can fake it, but don't expect it to be perfect. Again, WHATEVER, who cares?

Well, I've decided that to become a better "mover" (as they call anyone who can't do a billion pirouettes into a leap over Mt. Everest followed by a heel stretch to the ceiling and a no handed cartwheel), and to stay in shape, I'm going to take weekly dance classes. I went to the studio last night with full intentions of taking a Beginner Musical Theatre class.

Another lesson learned: go with your gut!

As I was looking at the schedule before class, I noticed a "Basic Ballet" class listed. My thought was OH, ballet! Ballet would be good for me! And yeah, it's just Basic Ballet, but I suck at ballet, so I'm sure this is the class I should go to.

Apparently, I don't totally suck at ballet! Granted, most of the people in there were taking a dance class for the first time, so comparing myself to them is not exactly an accurate measure of skill. So, I decided not to compare myself to the students in the class but to the class itself. I knew every vocabulary word she threw out at us. I knew every warm up. I caught on to the combinations immediately, and I was really able to focus on my technique. I realized right then and there that all of my classes had actually taught me a lot! I could probably move up not one, but TWO levels!

Y'ALL! I'm a dancer!!

Ok, so maybe not, but I'm not helpless. To round this all out and bring it back to the point, I guess what I'm saying is that I needed that. I needed to be reminded of where I came from and how much I've layered on top of and around what I initially learned. I also needed to be reminded that more challenging classes (or to broaden the scope, more risks) are all teaching lessons, not tests that I have to pass. Basic Ballet was a test that I passed without even studying or listening to the teacher, if you want a metaphor. I learn nothing from those tests if I take them over and over again.

So, here I am, accepting the challenge my mom put forth when I was but a wee child. I'm going to notice the people who are better than I am and work to reach that potential. I am going to recognize the people who aren't as good as I am and allow them to remind me where I've been. I'm going to keep going, keep learning, keep accepting challenges.

Sappy enough for you?
Maybe a little motivation is good for everyone.
The next blog will be more humorous, I can assure you, but I needed to get this off my chest.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Running the Open

The 2012 US Open... The last Grand Slam tournament of the year... And I was a part of it...


My mom wants me to get famous one day just so I can go back to the Open one day, do an interview with ESPN to talk about my days as an employee, and to be really nice to all of the other runners.

I've thought long and hard about how to present this particular blog post. Should I only tell the fun stories? Should I dazzle you with celebrity sightings? Should I crush your fantasies by telling you all of the grungy or boring responsibilities I had as a runner for ESPN?

No... I shall tell it all...

Before I go any further, the US Open is a really big tennis tournament. For those of you who were unaware, that little tidbit of information could come in handy as the blog progresses. Also, a "runner" is basically a Production Assistant, or a go-for, or the hired help. That is how I spent the past three weeks- helping tennis happen on live TV. You're welcome.

Each morning began with an hour and a half train commute to Flushing, Queens. Flushing is about as "middle of nowhere" as New York City gets. In Flushing, you can go to the Mets' Citi Field, the Billie Jean King national tennis center, the Worlds Fair Marina, or BJ's wholesale store (and all of these sites are practically on top of one another). Other than that, Flushing is basically useless. After about a week of this commute, I started to realize I didn't say a single word for the first three active hours of my day. I'm not sure if that was refreshing or frustrating. My mood varied.

They fed us three times a day in Flushing: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner. We also had a ridiculous bookshelf full of snack boxes that I was partially responsible for keeping fully stocked (Thank you BJ's for all of your help). The food is one thing I really am going to miss about the Open. Three free hot meals a day are hard to come by in the real world. And as I mentioned, there was no reason to ever be hungry because of the snack shelf. Shopping trips to fill the snack shelf were adventurous to say the least. One day, we spent over $2,000 on snacks at BJ's. The office motto was "if you think you have enough, fill up one more cart."It definitely took me a little time to get used to dropping THAT much money in one shopping trip. Shopping was always pretty fun, if occasionally overwhelming... That is, until I was put on shopping probation for taking a 5 hour snack trip one afternoon. Nobody seemed to understand that wasn't my fault though... There were hundreds of people out on that Sunday afternoon, all trying to get groceries, and all trying to check out at the same time. It was a nightmare.

One of the main responsibilities of a runner is to keep people fed and happy. Providing snacks is part of that, but not nearly as pivotal as fetching meals... That's right... making lunches and dinners for people who were either too busy or too lazy to go get their own food (to be fair, most people were actually too busy to leave the production truck or computer screen, but there were definitely some bums scattered in). On my first day of making lunches, I created an epic mess of a sandwich. We had menu charts that we would give to everyone to fill out and hand back in. The check boxes were spaced in a very strange way. We would take those charts, locate the requested food, and pack a lunch box to bring back. Sounds simple enough... until you end up with 6 charts, a confusing check system, and very hungry production people. I was asked to make a sandwich for a man that I will refer to as "R." As I was making R's sandwich, and including everything he checked off, I was a little taken-aback to see that he requested beets and eggs with his provolone, mustard, and mayo. All I could think was Maybe he's on a weird diet. Maybe he's European. There are a lot of foreigners here. Maybe they eat funning things... But this is the most disgusting thing I've ever seen. I tried to let it go and I just made the sandwich as requested. I delivered his meal and went on my way. When I was coming around later to take out trash bags (WOO HOO!!) he stopped me and asked me to look at the sandwich. I knew something was fishy when the guy sitting next to him pulled out his iPhone and started recording the conversation. He asked me what happened to the sandwich, if I made it, and who put me up to it? I was so confused, but I was not about to be humiliated, so I denied having anything to do with the sandwich and said that there were tons of runners making sandwiches so I didn't know who got his menu. I also told him is was the most disgusting thing I had ever seen. After a few minutes, he said he actually believed me but that he was determined to find out who set him up... He thought it was a practical joke. I had NO IDEA what was going on!!!!! I had to figure it out, so I went back and looked at the menu chart. As I mentioned earlier, the check system was rather confusing. The boxes that were closest to the food items were not, in fact, the boxes related to those food items. Everything was shifted, which made sense after closer evaluation, but for a frazzled rookie, it was an honest mistake... He hadn't ordered beets and eggs, he had requested lettuce and tomato!!!!! OH I was so embarrassed!!! But I had denied it, so nobody knew it was me. Everybody knew the story by the end of the afternoon, and other runners were getting blamed. It was awful. I wanted to crawl in a hole. My conscience caught up with me by the evening, and I had to go back and tell R that I had lied. As it turns out, coming clean was the best thing I could have done. R was embarrassed that he had been tricked and exclaimed that he knew I was either completely innocent or the best actress he'd ever met. When I told him I studied theatre, he was impressed and made sure everyone in the production truck knew that I was talented. HA! It was a mess. R and I bonded over that incident and I brought him correct lunches for the rest of the open. The only people who DIDN'T find that amusing were my bosses - they thought I was an idiot for the whole first part of the Open.

My bosses were something special... To insure anonymity if this ever gets published for some crazy reason, I'll keep names down to initials. So, here's the list:
J was bipolar and easily stressed. She was easily the most sugary sweet of the bunch when things were going well, but she stormed out of the office so many times it was almost comical.
E was cool... In college... I'm not sure she really grew out of the college mentality. She likes to party, and she wanted the runners to know that. I think I was a little too "cute and sweet" for her liking.
T was the crazy asian lady. Neurotic, strict, and rarely friendly. She called me an epic failure after my long shopping trip. She also called me Lisa for most of the Open. Unfortunately for some, I wasn't even her least favorite...
C was pretty cool. He's Irish or Scottish or something. He had a really cool accent. He was laid back and often sarcastic, but in a funny way, not a mean way. He got work done, but he was the most connected to the runners. I would work for C again... I don't know if I could handle the others again though.

The runner team was pretty awesome, too. We were a melting pot of accents and ethnicities: we had runners representing New Jersey, Mississippi, Delaware, Lithuania, Austria, England, Texas, Ireland, Bermuda, Mexico, and New York. Our group worked really well together. It was a drama-free Open, which made things a lot of fun.

Speaking of fun, I did get to do some pretty neat things.

One of my favorite running stations was the GTX-16 truck. This was our main production truck. I got to sit and watch the team make live television happen. There were a bazillion screens and monitors and people talking on headsets constantly over each other. I have no idea how they made it all work, but it was really a neat thing to watch. I also really enjoyed running the P2 cards from camera stations back and forth to the truck. That always made me feel important.

I was also stationed at the President's Gate for a few sessions. At "arrivals" it's the runner's job to spot celebrities and key players and make sure the camera man records them coming in. Considering the fact that I didn't even know who Andy Murray was until three weeks ago, this probably was not the best job for me, but the celebrities were pretty neat. To curb your interest, I'll just list them out: Amanda Seyfried (oh my gosh she's tiny!), Jon Hamm, Will Ferrel (who was looking a little old), Pippa Middleton, Sean Connery (I just walked up on an interview he was giving), Matthew Morrison (we totally smile at each other), The Wanted, and Mayor Giuliani. I almost tripped the mayor... The camera man and I were set up to catch him come across from the parking lot. We had gone over our plan to stay out of the way of the entourage, and I was ready with my coiled cable to broadcast the entrance of the Mayor! Leave it to politicians to mess up the plan. Instead of crossing in front of us like we thought he would, Giuliani started to walk straight towards me! We (the runners) were NOT supposed to be caught on camera during the tournament, so to avoid being seen and to get out of the way, I had to dive into a nearby flower bush. It would have been fine if I hadn't tugged the camera cable with me, lifting the cord off the ground and nearly tripping the entire party! Fortunately, I dropped the line just in time, and nobody was hurt... except me... but who counts a few flower bush scrapes anyway?

We also got to watch a good bit of tennis: I saw the Williams sisters play together. I watched Andy Roddick's last match before retirement from both court-side and from the roof. I saw Sharapova, Azarenka, Djokovic, Federer, and all of the other impossible names up close and personal, and it was quite thrilling. For someone who has never been a tennis fan, I've grown to really appreciate it.

So, that was my "quick" summary of the past three weeks... I'm sure I've forgotten things, and we're all just going to have to accept that. I'm now back in Manhattan working as an Assistant Casting Director for Mungioli Theatricals. My experience at the Open has definitely reminded me of how thankful I am for this job!

Speaking of, I have work in the morning, so I think it's time to call it a night.

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Broke Girl's Guide to Watching the Olympics

I don't understand the popular phrase "broke college kid"... College kids have it easy - especially if they live in the dorm like I did. They have furniture provided for them, someone to clean the bathroom, meals served daily, access to a gym, events planned to keep them entertained, cable and internet access... Now that I think about it, It's like a luxury group home without the smell of pudding! Ok, so maybe the facilities aren't always state of the art and the food isn't always something to rave about, but I'm realizing I took a lot of things for granted in college.

The afore mentioned popular phrase should be amended to the following:
"broke post-college kid with an unpaid internship trying to make it on his/her own in a new city"
Now, I understand that it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, and it's easier to have sympathy for a "kid" carrying around books and struggling to keep up a GPA, but things get pretty crazy when you make the leap from education to practice.

I should clarify a few things. I'm not claiming to be broke. I'm not complaining. I'm not trying to make you feel sorry for me. I've been very blessed to have been able to save up money from previous jobs (I started saving for my move to NYC at eight years old), capitalize on birthday and graduation gifts, and supplement my current lack of income with odd jobs and the selling of my sweet little car. And what's best is, I'm living my dream! There are, however, a few things that I've had to get creative with. Fortunately, creativity runs in the family.

Now, let's switch gears...

I love the competition, I love the spirit, I love sports, I love the camaraderie, I love the excitement, I love the events, I love the scenery, I love the back-stories, I love that it only happens every four years (unless you count summer and winter together... but we're just going to focus on summer), and I love that the entire world is watching.

My love of the olympics began in 1996 when the Olympic Games were held in Atlanta. We lived in Gainesville at the time, and my parents were wonderful enough to bring Erin and me to Centennial Olympic Park for the festivities. We got to watch part of the torch running, and even hold the torch. I vaguely remember getting to see rowing. I vividly remember trading pins and seeing the fountain, and I will never forget the excitement of just BEING there. I don't think I understood what a huge deal it was at the time, but I am so thankful for that experience now.

Ok, so where am I actually going with all of this? It's now time to put together the two seemingly unrelated topics of this blog. Broke post-college intern without a television or air conditioning at her apartment and Olympic Frenzy. THAT is my life right now. THAT is the city fun of this week.

So, that FINALLY brings me to the real point of this blog: Olympic Viewing as an Extreme Sport... Hold on to your hats! And let the creativity begin!

Opening Ceremony: I lucked out on this one. I got to watch the Opening Ceremony on a big flat screen TV with a bowl of ice cream and a comfy couch in Long Island (see previous blog).

The Tuesday that USA won the Women's Team Gold in Gymnastics: My friends Zach and Chase live on the upper east side and have a lovely pent house apartment with a nice TV (they work in finance or something like that - with numbers and money). I invited myself over to their place to watch, but they didn't feel like staying in the apartment, so we went to a sports bar and pigged out on pigs in a blanket, mozzarella sticks, and wings while cheering on the USA with about 30 of our new best friends.

Thursday, August 2nd: After work I went up to the East 60's to visit my friend Sarah and to pick up some face-wash she got for me. We were chatting, and she had to take a call so she told me to make myself comfortable, turn on the tv, whatever. When I turned the tv on, what did I find? You guessed it, THE OLYMPICS!!! That short visit turned into a full evening of fun. We ordered pizza, hunkered down, and watched little Gabby claim All Around Gold in Gymnastics and the Phelps/Lochte show down. It was delightful.

Friday, August 3rd: My friend Katherine and I went to Times Square at 6:30 in the morning to wait in line for Rush tickets to ONCE that went on sale at 10am. We obviously didn't get much sleep the night before, so we had full intentions of just going back to the apartment, sleeping all day, and seeing the show that evening. Of course, that didn't happen. We got our tickets and realized we were wide awake. Now, Katherine has a pretty janky TV. It doesn't play DVD's, and it only turns on when it feels like it. Well, it didn't feel like it at first. We tried to turn on the TV, but gave up. 15 minutes later we randomly start to hear Olympic commentators, and eventually the screen illuminates to reveal the daytime event coverage!!! YAY!!!!!! We were so excited! We had a wonderful time watching track and field, cheering for volleyball, and making fun of water polo... Those bonnets are just a mess... They made those girls look like Amish sea horses. I even made one of my own... I blame lack of sleep... Clearly I have no shame in my Olympic pride, but you've got to admit, it's a pretty good replica:

Last night my need for Olympic coverage continued. I met Katherine after work and we decided to get some food. We couldn't figure out what we wanted so we went to Washington Square Park to find a food cart. Nothing. We started walking. We were trying to figure out what we wanted to eat. New York can be extremely frustrating for two indecisive "broke" girls. There are just too many food options. We eventually decided that we didn't care what we ate, we just wanted to watch the Olympics. So we had a plan. The search began. We passed a sports bar that looked super sketchy. We decided to keep looking. We passed another sports bar that was PACKED. We decided to keep looking. We went into a sports bar that looked pleasantly uncrowded - they didn't serve food. We decided to keep looking. We passed a restaurant that was showing the Olympics on the TVs, we looked at the menu, and there was nothing under $10. I can totally understand that, really I can, but they were serving burgers and fries and things like that. NOT worth it. We decided to keep looking. FINALLY, an hour and a half and a bunch of walking later, we found a pizza place in Union Square that was showing an Olympic commercial. We assumed that meant they were playing the Olympics. We were wrong. It was a spanish soap opera. Clearly nobody was watching that, so we very sweetly asked if they would change the channel to NBC so we could watch the Olympics. *insert eye batting and a sweet smile*
They were so nice, not only to change the channel for us, but for not kicking us out at any point during the three hours we just sat and watched! It was so great! People would come and go, eat their pizza slice, watch an event or two, and go about their merry business. Not us. We were planted and hooked! We made some friends with Australian tourists who got obnoxious when the Australian runner won her race. We made friends with the little old lady who chanted USA USA USA after every gymnast finished a routine (even the Russians). Most importantly, though, we found exactly what we wanted - cheap food and Olympic coverage. 

Today, I've decided that while I'm at work and there's not much going on, I'll be scouring the internet for news, updates, and videos I've missed.

I've still got 4 days to feed my obsession, and I can only hope that both the creativity and the access to coverage continue.

As always, going for the gold!

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Great Gatsby Getaway

Manhattan is an over-stimulating, constantly moving, hectic, stressful, adrenaline shot of an island. I adore it, but sometimes you just need to get away.
"How?" you may ask. Well, I've decided to let you in on a little secret:


Networking is so very important in business, but I think it may be even more important in pleasure. I have two new friends who are Juilliard musicians. Their circle of connections is quite exciting. One of these friends has family in a little town called Glen Cove on Long Island. This little beach town is the setting for our story this afternoon.

Please indulge me as I relay to you the joys of my little mini-vacation.

Emma, my violinist friend (I introduced her to the joys of wearing shorts during the summer - together we bought her first pair ever!) text me one evening to tell me she was house-sitting for our friend Doug's family in Long Island. She didn't want to spend the entire weekend in this strange house by herself, so she invited me to join for a couple of nights. I had never been to Long Island before, and I was a little worn down from the craziness of the city, so I eagerly agreed to meet her out there on Thursday evening for a little bit of relaxation.

I packed my pretty pink weekender suitcase and as soon as I was released from work Thursday evening, I rushed down to Penn Station to catch the LIRR train to Glen Cove. I had never been used the LIRR (Long Island Rail Road) before, so that's where the fun started. I wish I had taken a picture of the insanity, but I didn't want to look like a tourist (Darn my New York pride...). To find out on what track your train will be stationed, you have to watch an ever changing board for the route name, the departure time, and the track number. There are literally hundreds of people staring up at this board, and every few seconds a new track will appear and dozens of people will take off running towards the entry portal. It would have been hysterical if I hadn't been in such a panic to find the right train. Eventually I figured out the system and made a mad dash for track 15 where I just barely boarded the train before the doors closed and we departed for Jamaica.

The LIRR is much nicer than Manhattan subways - partially because people have much longer commutes and they pay a lot more for their tickets. The seats are cushioned and have arm rests. I was too slow to catch a seat, though, so I stood in the aisle, straddling my suitcase, praying I was headed in the right direction. I transferred trains at Jamaica and felt much more comfortable as I actually sat and enjoyed my ride to Glen Cove.

When we arrived at the station, I stepped out onto a quaint little outdoor platform with a ticket pavilion and a parking lot. That was pretty much it. I was only about an hour from mid-town Manhattan, but this was a COMPLETELY different world. Emma picked me up in the car, and we drove through the town to our weekend home.

As we pulled up to the house, Emma said she hoped I didn't mind animals... We were greeted at the door by the fluffiest, sweetest, happiest dog ever (except for my old dogs - they were the best). Mocha and I immediately hit it off and I could have just sat and petted that sweet dog all evening.

We wanted to see the beach before sunset, so we drove down the little path to the local beach and walked along the water and sat on the rocks just chatting and enjoying the fresh air. A storm started to appear on the horizon, so we watched the water wall approach the shore. If you don't know, a storm on the beach is one of my all time favorite sights. This was heavenly. We couldn't pull ourselves away until the wind starting pushing so hard it became difficult to stand. Then we started to get a little scared and ran back to the car.

That night, Emma made us a pizza and we were just going to hang out and watch a movie. We had just settled down with full bellies to watch our movie when all of the power just shut down. Power outages are always a little scary, but when you're in an unfamiliar house in a strange town, it gets really easy to freak yourself out. We were absolutely positive we were going to die. It was the perfect scary movie - two new friends house sit for a relaxing weekend, then a storm rolls in, the power goes out, and BOOM there's a killer around the corner... Don't even pretend like you wouldn't have though the same thing. We tiptoed around the house with our iPhones as flashlights, looking for candles or anything else that would give us some comfort and some light. After lighting enough decorative candles in the living room to give off a nice full glow (and enough light to see anyone who might try to attack), Emma and I sat with the dog and cat and chit-chatted for a few hours. Girl talk can be so delightful... If you've never tried it, I would recommend it. When the power came back on, we reset the clocks and went straight to bed.

Friday was full of small-town fun. We spent the morning out on the beach tanning and reading, then went into town for lunch and Batman. It was pretty incredible. We bought lunch and a movie ticket for the price of one ticket in Manhattan. We were also the only ones in the theatre until right at start time (even then, there were only a few others). Any time you see a movie in the city, the theater is full. I've never seen a movie in Manhattan where at least half of the seats aren't filled - no matter what time of day. We stopped at the grocery store on the way home to get ice cream, then went back to the house for the Olympic Opening Ceremony!

I was so thankful to have a big couch and a real (big, flat screen) TV to watch the Olympics. I had spent most of the week worrying about where on earth I would be able to tune in. We don't have any kind of television set up at my apartment, so this was beyond ideal! Emma and I ate an entire carton of ice cream and enjoyed every second of the broadcast whether we were overwhelmed with Olympic spirit or having great fun making fun of the opening ceremony. (You've got to admit, there were some pretty ridiculous parts. My favorite comment from the announcers was "I'm not sure if that's cute or creepy" referring to the big baby in the middle of the arena after Voldemort and the army of Mary Poppinses had their duel... EXCUSE ME WHAT?? Heavens...) After just barely maintaining consciousness through the entire parade of athletes, we ended our night in a wonderful sugar-coma induced sleep.

After a morning jog and fresh breakfast, we went back to the station, boarded the train, and returned to real life in the bustling city. At first, I didn't want to leave Glen Cove. I was having such a delightful time. However, as soon as I stepped foot back in Penn Station and felt the energy of the city smack me in the face, I was exhilarated and so glad to be back! There's nothing like being away from the city to make you appreciate it even more.

So there you have it - I guess that's what New Yorkers do on vacation... They do things that the rest of the country does every day - they slow down. I'll admit, it's a nice feeling, but I couldn't handle that all the time anymore. I guess I'm a city girl now. :)

Grace Be With You,
Lindsey Shea

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday the 13th

They say bad things happen on Friday the 13th...
That's never really been my experience, but sometimes it is fun to blame the blunders of the day on the day itself. I, personally, had a roller coaster of a day, and I thought you might be interested to hear how it all went down. (aka Mom text me and said "that would make a great blog!")

I woke up early on Friday morning to go for a jog before work. (Are you proud of me? I was proud of myself.) I had a nice little 2.6 mile run up and down Riverside Park near my apartment. It was a beautiful morning, not too hot, not too humid. I thought it was a nice way to start the morning. It may become a reoccurring thing... We'll see.

After my run, I went to move my roommate's car.


This is going to take some explaining.

The NYC Sanitation Department sweeps the road every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Monday and Thursday, they sweep the left side. On Tuesday and Friday they sweep the right. This occurs between 11am-12:30pm each day. A car-owner cannot be parked on the respective sweeping side during those hours on the specified day or the car will get ticketed and towed.

One of my roommates left for Italy on Monday and asked me to move the car back and forth, since I'm the only other one in the apartment with a driver's license. I agreed, and for the first few days it was not a big deal. I just moved the car back and forth along the street. Easy.


I finished my run at the car with full intentions to quickly move it and go inside to get ready for work. I timed it PERFECTLY! All the timing in the world could not have prepared me for the lack of parking spaces on 138th street that morning. Clarification: there were NONE. I drove the car down 138th, with absolutely no luck finding a place to squeeze the tiny car. I drove the loop back around Broadway and drove down 137th, then Riverside, then 136th, then Broadway, then 139th, and Riverside again, and 134th, and back to Broadway. And I followed this pattern around and around up and down side streets, PRAYING for an open space along the sidewalk. NOTHING. I drove down to 125th to try the bridge. NOTHING. I drove over to Amsterdam to try that area... NOTHING... I drove around for AN HOUR looking for a parking spot on the correct side of the road. I was getting honked at by New Yorkers who did NOT appreciate my cautious driving. I was stressing, I was almost in tears, I was cursing every car that passed me. It was bad.


It was right about that point that I decided I never want to drive again, ever, and I was reminded that I don't have to. I called my mom in a panic because I was running late and driving around Manhattan and it was all a nightmare, and she said "OK, good. So you're not regretting selling your car today, then?" HA! No! Get rid of it!!!! Ok, so maybe I wasn't that extreme, but it was rather ironic. I loved my little Pontiac Vibe. It was a good car. I sold it to friends of the family before I left, and my parents met with them yesterday to make the trade. Having this experience made me glad to be rid of it. So Jamison, enjoy that car, and be thankful you don't have to drive it around New York.


FINALLY, I found a shining spot on Riverside and 142nd. That was the most difficult parallel parking I've ever had to do. There are maybe 3 inches between the front of this car and the bumper of the one in front of it... BUT it's parked.

I ran inside and hurried to get ready for work.

I was late and a little frazzled at work, but I quickly jumped into finishing the audition schedule for Monday. It was a pretty busy day. At one point, I was going over the reviews and the press photos from the FELA! re-opening (My boss cast the show, so we were invited to the first performance back on Broadway... That story will have to be in another blog), and I saw my face. My jaw dropped and I yelled "JIMMY! WE MADE PLAYBILL.COM!!!" Jimmy is the other office intern. We both had a minor freak-out... Seriously, it's not a big deal, but I was so excited... it's the little things in life... So what if we're in the background... We were there :)

We've been working like maniacs trying to get SUPER FLY on its feet. (More about that later).  I worked diligently for hours trying to get everything finished by 6 so I could leave on time and meet up with friends in Central Park for the New York Philharmonic concert at 8. 6:00 rolled around and we were not finished... 7PM came and went, and my boss still had things for us to do. 8PM came and went, and I started to get a little frustrated. At 8:30, he looked at the clock and said, "Oh, we probably need to head out... Well, That's Showbiz!"

When I finally got to Central Park at 9PM, there were droves of people exiting. I thought the concert was over and I wanted to cry. To make matters worse, I started feeling tiny rain drops splash on my arms and hair. I called my friend Katherine to see if I had missed everything, and she calmed my fears and explained they were taking an intermission. WHEW! Things were starting to turn around. I made my way through literally tens of thousands of people trying to find my friends. Katherine finally found me and led me to our picnic spot where wonderful friends from church passed plates and trays of food to me as the concert started again.

It was heavenly. The rain stopped, the crowd got silent, and the music began. We sat on our blankets and listened to Respighi's "Fountains of Rome" and "Pines of Rome." It was like Christmas, Cinderella, Ballerinas, Fairies, Dragons, and Italy all rolled into one. I felt the stress of the day melt away as I sat and enjoyed the music. I was with good friends, enjoying good food, in the most incredible city in the world, and I was thankful. When the concert was over, I started to stand up and re-pack my bag, but the group stopped me and said "Wait! The fireworks!"


And they were huge. Past the Great Lawn, right over the glittering skyline of whatever corner of Manhattan we were facing, there were HUGE, sparkling, exploding fireworks.

The picture seriously doesn't do it justice... This makes it seem so far away, but everything was much closer and bigger and brighter... I thought you needed at least an idea though :)

After the fireworks, we packed up, and Katherine's parents (Who are in town visiting for a little while) took us out for ice cream. I was like a little kid: give me fireworks and ice-cream and I'm happy forever.

So, today, I'm recovering from the extreme highs and lows of yesterday and laughing at myself for getting so worked up.

I would also like to give a very special birthday shout out to my mom, whose birthday was Thursday, and my Nana, whose birthday is today!!! You are both very special to me, and I'm glad your birthday wasn't yesterday... It would have been too much to handle. ;)

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The REAL Villains of Gotham City

My sincere apologies to those who have been anxiously awaiting my updates (AKA, Mom). I've been busy fighting crime of all shapes and styles...
To celebrate the coming of the new Batman movie (because I see billboards and posters of The Dark Knight Rises EVERYWHERE), I have decided to devote this blog to the REAL Villains of Gotham City... (Because, as you know, I now live in Gotham City!) The following are villains that I have been fighting myself as the non-caped crusader... Some of these may be a stretch, but just go with it, and enjoy. (some of them even have pictures)

Catwoman was drawn on the wall of our kitchen to keep the mice away... She has proven to be a total failure... That's why she's considered a villain. In fact, she may be attracting the mice. For a while, I thought that one of my roommates was moving around in the kitchen, but when I looked, nobody was there. I was later informed that when the mice jump in and out of the garbage can, they can make a lot of noise... Who knew? I've seen these furry little critters scampering quickly down the hallway or behind the stove a few times when I turn a light on in the evening. It's a little terrifying. Not even gonna lie.

I didn't actually know Killer Moth was a Gotham City villain... I had to look it up... But he is... and it's fitting. We don't have air conditioning in the apartment, as I may have previously mentioned, so we keep windows open to try to circulate some air in the hot summertime. A few of the screens on the windows have holes or openings, and bugs seem to like this apartment as much as we do... My mosquito net has kept me from swallowing many a winged creature in the dark of the night. Gross, I know, but that's life. ;)

I think I passed a gang fight on the way home from the grocery store last week. There were about twenty guys on the street corner yelling at each other and pushing back and forth. Caring for my safety, I crossed on the other side of the street, and I quickly passed unnoticed, hurrying home. I was the only one who seemed to want to avoid that situation though. The ENTIRE block was watching. There were curious heads poking out of EVERY SINGLE WINDOW lining the street. I mean 7 story buildings had torsos protruding from each opening, trying to get a better look. It was HYSTERICAL... All to watch a bunch of boys circle each other like the Sharks and the Jets. (West Side Story reference, for you comic book folk who don't appreciate Musical Theatre)

5 People sharing one fridge is difficult. 5 people sharing one fridge that breaks down is worse. 5 people sharing one fridge that breaks down, then works TOO well once it gets fixed is just ridiculous.
I grew up in a family of 4. We kept enough food in the refrigerator to feed the four of us over and over again. It doesn't seem like adding one more person to the mix should matter so much. BUT IT DOES... especially when you don't share food like a family does. We each are responsible for providing our own food, which is fair, but then you get a refrigerator packed with 5 versions of the SAME THING! For example, please note the three egg cartons stacked together in the upper left corner on the top shelf. It's a little crazy. When our refrigerator stopped working and things started to go bad, everyone freaked out trying to figure out what was mine and yours and hers, then what was GROSS, what was not exactly fresh but still usable, and what was fine to keep for a while longer. It was insane. Then the repair man came, and the refrigerator was cool... too cool. It froze everything... including the milk... I haven't had icy milk since elementary school, and I DON'T miss it. BUT we defeated that villain, and all is well.

EVERYONE is a villain when it starts to rain... It's can get tricky trying to navigate through millions of people walking up and down narrow streets, but with a little practice, it becomes second nature... That is, until you add umbrellas. I now understand why The Penguin used an umbrella as weapon of choice. It's lethal. Adding the extra four feet of space an umbrella requires to a crowd of people each holding their own expands the traffic immensely. Getting poked in the eye is inevitable, and the chances of getting wet from someone's umbrella run-off are higher than getting dripped on by the actual clouds.

5 people sharing a fridge is bad. 5 people sharing a bathroom is even worse... Again, Sewer King is a villain I didn't know existed, but it works... Most of the time, our bathroom schedules work out fine because everyone has to go in to work at different times, but on those mornings when we all have to be at the office at 10, it gets pretty vicious. ALSO, because this city sits on an island, and because there are like a bazillion people crammed on to such a tiny land mass, occasionally it can smell like sewage... especially near the river... it's pretty gnarly, but no worse than New Orleans...

Also, a few weeks ago, a pipe exploded in the apartment 2 floors above us and all of their dirty pipe water flooded down through the walls into our apartment. When we heard the sound of rain coming from the front hallway, one of my roommates and I started running around grabbing pots, pans, and tupperware, trying to catch the water before it ruined anything. To fix it, the super had to shut our water off for two days. It warped some of the door frames, so it's still difficult to close the bathroom door... but at least it closes. At first, I had to bring a shoe with me to the shower to wedge under the door to keep it from creaking open. That was an interesting experience, to say the least.

So this one is a bit of a stretch, but my Poison Ivy here is mold. It's a really old building, and it's just a little moldy, and there's not much we can do about it... Tutwiler was moldy, too...

Riddle Me This - how do you get across a street that has been shut down by a parade? Ok so maybe it's not a riddle, but it's a question I ask myself almost every Sunday on the way to church. Summer is the time for parades. Parades are the way New Yorkers show their pride. New Yorkers take pride in just about everything: nationality, sexuality, personality, YOU NAME IT! If there's a common interest uniting a large enough group of people, there's a parade for it. Don't get me wrong, I love parades, but man are they hard to get around...

I hope this doesn't seem whiney or complaining. This is not me crying over the hardships I've encountered, but celebrating the villains I've defeated (with help of course) to make my own little chunk of Gotham City a safer, happier place. So, that being said, tune in next time. 

Same Bat Time... Same Bat Channel...

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Closer Than Ever...

Well what do you know? 
In front of me now 
is an open door.
I'm moving ahead.
Not sure of the way.
And yet there's a light that I'm heading for.
It's closer than ever
Closer than ever.
         - Maltby and Shire

It has been a whirlwind of a month, and I'm not even sure how it all happened except that God is good and has plans we cannot even imagine.
My internship at Mungioli Theatricals has been nothing short of insanity. I absolutely love my job. I don't even mind that it doesn't pay a dime. HA! Granted, after this month I will have to fine a rent-paying survival job, but the benefits of the internship so far have been priceless.
When people ask what brought me to the city, I often reply with the simplest answer: I'm an actor, and this is the place to be. OH how true that is! (Many of you know there are a bazillion other reasons I love NYC, but for the purposes of this particular posting, we will focus on the theatre.)
I've seen two shows since I moved up here, plus the Tony Awards, BRAVE, a concert at my church, and a few movie sets. I've also witnessed production meetings of future Broadway productions, sat in on auditions and callbacks for a New York Musical Theatre Festival show, and talked to countless industry professionals via phone and email. I'd say that's pretty decent for 4 weeks.
During my first week at the office, I picked up a brochure that had Jenn Colella's face on it. (If you don't know who that is, open a new tab and Google her...right now... seriously, the blog will still be here when you finish, and you'll appreciate this story even more... She's pretty awesome). Jenn and I have worked together on audition material through the Amy Murphy Broadway Intensives I've been to each January for the past few years. So, I said to Arnold Mungioli (my boss) "Hey! I know her!" And he replied, "Oh Jenn? Yeah, I just cast her in Closer Than Ever. They start previews tonight. Do you want to go see it?"

EXCUSE ME, WHAT!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
Fortunately, I was wearing appropriate theatre-going attire, so after we finished with our work for the day, we hopped on a subway and basically ran to the York Theatre to see the opening preview of Maltby and Shire's Closer Than Ever
Quick pause:
How many of you know who Maltby and Shire are?
Just a few? Maybe more? It's totally fine. Google them too... Seriously... 
(ok fine, for those of you too engrossed in the writing or too lazy to look them up, they wrote, among other things, the Broadway musicals Big and Baby - Montevallo did a production of Baby in 2011, and I played Arlene McNally)
Maltby and Shire were both in attendance that evening, and Arnold proudly introduced me to them. WOW! That was incredible. For a few minutes, I stood completely entranced as these two talented individuals talked about old memories of shows they wrote, shenanigans in which they participated, and the history behind songs that I have performed. It was beyond incredible.
After the show, I was also introduced to the cast (all of whom are phenomenal performers). When Jenn came out, and Arnold began to introduce me, she exclaimed "LINDSEY! I had no idea you were here until I saw you at the curtain call! How on earth are you?!?"
We got to chat for a little while, promised to do lunch soon, and that was that. I reconnected with a friend and admired colleague...
But wait, there's more.
Last week, Arnold invited Jimmy (the other intern) and me to the actual Opening Night of Closer Than Ever  with the warning, "Dress nice... You never know who you might meet."
The FIRST person I saw as I entered the theatre was Rebecca Luker. THE Rebecca Luker (do I even need to say it again?... If you don't know the name, look it up... You'll be even more impressed... or at least you should be). She was accompanied by her husband, Danny Bernstein (another BIG Broadway name... like so big he performed at the Tony's this year). I could go on for hours and hours about waiting until the right moment to say hello, but to make this story short
While our time chatting at the theatre was short, we had a nice conversation at the Opening Night After Party (OH MY GOSH I WENT TO AN OPENING NIGHT AFTER PARTY) where she made me promise we would sing together soon - a promise I intend to keep. She also introduced me to Michael Feinstein, and George Dvorsky. There was so much networking going on, my head was spinning. At one point in the evening, I found myself listening to Tony Nominated Christianne Noll (Ragtime) talk about having a bad day and slamming her finger in the door of the set, and I was reminded that all of these incredible people are just that... People... People just like me who moved to New York once upon a time with a dream and a lot of determination. Granted, these are all very talented and incredibly successful people, but still, they are people.
There were actors, agents, casting directors, musicians, and "musical theatre greats" everywhere I looked. Then there were the interns. The young, bright-eyed hopefuls who clustered together after doing their best to make a good impression. I found myself in a circle of 20 somethings who are all somehow connected to this industry whether stage managing, play writing, choreography, acting, or costume design. I couldn't help but thing "This, this right here... THIS is the future of the theatre industry... This is the start of history." It was really incredible.
I'll leave it at that for now, but don't you worry - the rest of the Show Business update is soon to follow... 
A little teaser to keep you interested:
NYC Dance Week
Blair Underwood and Nicole Ari Parker in Streetcar Named Desire
The apartment piano
Celebrities at auditions
a voicemail from Mrs. Incredible herself.
Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Living in Harlem...

I like to tell people I'm living in Harlem... You people down south believe me... and you will probably continue to believe after reading this blog. People in the city look at me like I'm crazy, then ask, "No really, where do you live?" When I respond, they quickly correct me pointing out that I live in Hamilton Heights - NOT Harlem.

Technically, Hamilton Heights is in Harlem, BUT it's in south west Harlem, and it's considered to be a much nicer area than the Harlem of the stories you have maybe heard. I can attest to that, actually. I have always felt safe in my neighborhood. I've never been bothered. I do, however, stick out like a sore thumb.

Oh the joys of being a blonde white girl...

I'm the only one in the neighborhood as far as I can tell.

I do get catcalled and whistled at occasionally, but I usually don't understand what is being said about me, so it doesn't really bother me. And as I said, I have never felt unsafe. I keep to myself, and so does everyone else.

Apparently there's no such thing as a quiet, lazy Sunday afternoon in my neighborhood, though. After a crazy week, I had full intention of napping and reading all day. As I left for church this morning, there were already snow-cone stands being set up all up and down the street. As soon as I stepped off the train this afternoon on my way home, music flooded down into the station and the neighborhood culture enveloped the entire block. From my room, I could hear bumping salsa music from the apartment next door. I moved to the living room. From our open window, I could hear spanish pop music blasting from a car parked next to people sitting in the park enjoying the sunshine and grilling dinner. When I was making my spaghetti for dinner, music drifted up to our kitchen from the courtyard of our apartment building. While I couldn't locate the source, I could tell that behind one of those windows, there was a family enjoying dinner and company.

I also had to go to the grocery store today. I could practically hear people singing "one of these things is not like the other..." My bright blonde hair is like a siren wailing through a sea of brunettes everywhere I go... Maybe I'm just self conscious, but I don't think so. If you remember, last summer I mentioned grocery stores could be pretty expensive. I decided that to save money, I would go to our local grocery store, Super Compare. I actually really enjoyed it... I couldn't translate most of the signs and labels on the shelves, but I recognized most brands, and fortunately for me, numeric symbols are the same in both English and Spanish. The cashier and I just kind of smiled at each other and pointed to the screen when I was checking out, but overall, it was a successful trip.

The trip to the post office was another adventure! I missed the delivery of a package from home (shout out to my awesome parents for sending me things I forgot to pack), so the pink slip left at my door told me to go pick it up. I took a little morning jog to the post office before work. I was pleasantly surprised that there wasn't a huge line waiting to be helped, and the workers moved fairly quickly. I was surprised, however, when I noticed the 1.5 inch thick glass that separated the employees from the customers. Trying to talk to a person behind an inch and a half of glass is difficult no matter how the tiny communication opening is configured. They also send the package through a glass cage that can only be open on one side at a time. I'm not sure what they need to be protected from, but whether it's dangerous weaponry or bubonic plague, they aren't playing around with that glass... It's intense.

I can't remember if I've mentioned this or not, but my apartment is fantastic. Our living room overlooks Riverside Park, we're only one block from the 1 train, and I have my own toilet/sink. (My room used to be the maid's quarters when this was a fancy schmancy place). I've always joked about moving to New York and living in a closet, but it's a real thing. I have a walk-in closet in Biloxi that is about the size of my room here. The room is pretty tiny, but it's cozy, and the rent is super affordable. We also have a really nice sized kitchen and a great living room.

I know many of you have been curious, so I hope that this update gives you at least a glimpse of the living aspect of my life. I hope this doesn't sound cynical or unappreciative. I'm a little exhausted this evening, and I'm not sure that what I'm saying makes sense, so if this is deleted by tomorrow afternoon, you who have read it will know why. :)

Well, it's bed time, and I've got a big day tomorrow in show business ;)

Grace be with you,
Lindsey Shea