Life. Men. Alcohol. Shoes.

Tuesday, May 29

To Do -- Hike Breakneck Ridge

Finding myself in NYC for the long weekend, I gathered a couple of my adventurous friends together for a one-day trip outside the city. After a bit of research, I decided upon hiking up Breakneck Ridge, which is easily accessible from Metro North.

Saturday morning I was up and about at 8AM. My newly purchased backpack was stocked with water, granola bars, apples, oranges and PB&J sandwiches for my friends (I prepared PB & Fluff for myself.)

The $20 round trip ride on Metro North was a breeze and offered stunning views of West Point Academy and the river. When we exited at the Breakneck Ridge stop (literally a single stop alongside the road, no parking lot, no platform) I had only a general idea of how to find the trail head. Since this was such a well-traveled path, I had relied on someone else leading the way. However, I soon found myself directing those who got off the train to the tunnel where the road (9D) cut through the mountain and our hike began.

The name of the trail is no joke. For the first 1200 feet, we scrambled over rocks at a 45 degree incline. It was the ultimate rock climbing experience (sans safety equipment), we would use our hands and feet to find small nooks and crannies where we could pull ourselves up and over the rock slide. We barley noticed our burning quadriceps as our hands became chaffed by the rough rocks.

At times the trail would provide alternate routes, which were slightly less difficult than the provided path. At one point, I took the difficult route while my fellow travelers went the alternate route. As I began scaling the rock, I realized too late that I was on a very small ledge and if I were to slip I would undoubtedly fall into the seemingly endless chasm. For a brief moment my fear of heights nearly took over making me dizzy and weak. But I quickly realized that I had no choice but to keep moving forward. After I hoisted myself over the boulder, I briefly became a pious person and thanked God for the clarity to make it through that moment.

As we scrambled our way up the mountain, we had the most magnificent view up and down the view. Every bit of the climb was breathtaking. If I had remembered batteries of my camera, I would have taken tens of tens of photos. (Note to self: Repeat this climb during fall foliage.)Oh and thanks to these guys for posting their hiking photos online. Unlike me they obviously remembered batteries for their camera.

After making it atop the rock slide, where most of the Manhattaites turned to head back down the hill toward Cold Springs, my hiking party carried on. We spent the next 4 hours hiking up the more traditional trails, in search for the fire tower which would provide us with views of the Manhattan skyline.

As we moved deeper into the woods, I realized that the hiking directions I had weren't the most accurate and began to regret not picking up an official hiking trail book. After a couple wrong turns and second guessing ourselves, we backtracked our way back to the "official" trail. After four hours of hiking we eventually made it to the fire tower and we enjoyed lunch, while not-so-secretly hoping we were loud enough to scare away the large cat whose paw prints surrounded the water hole close by.

We then hiked on and and out of the mountain. Seeing other hikers coming up the mountain was rewarding. The best part was when they'd ask where we were coming from. When we told them Breakneck, they were always astonished that we hiked so far. By the time we exited the woods, we were in Beacon. NY. Despite returning to Manhattan dirty and smelling like bug spray, I complete didn't care that I was wearing khaki shorts and sneakers in the city. We were a misfit group of hikers and I was proud of what we had accomplished in our day hike.

I has so much fun, I've actually purchased a book on day-hikes in the NY area and intend on purchasing a bonefied pair of hiking boots. Although, I highly doubt that anything can come close to those first 1200 feet of Breakneck...

Monday, May 21

Campaign to a new me....

Eight years out of college and I'm extremely bored with the lack of mental stimulation in my life. While my job offers me ample opportunity to manage crisis -- it isn't rocket science. And to be completely honest, I spend much too much time, working, reading trashy weekly magazines, watching MTV, entertaining friends and drinking wine. I'm starting to feel like my brain is rotting.

So, this weekend I set out on a campaign to change all that.

After a spending three solo hours at the Museum of Modern Art, during which I listened to the audio tour, I began wandering home. In-the-midst of this wandering, I found myself myself leafing though a hard copy book titled, 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die.

I was quite surprised to learn that thanks to my liberal arts education, I've actually knocked a couple hundred of the books off the list.

Considering that I once toyed with the idea of drinking through the full list of bars in the Sheckys' guide, this book is my new challenge. And while securing a NYC library card would probably make this a more affordable venture, this weekend I picked up three books included on the list which I have not read:

~ The Other Boleyn Sister by Philippa Gregory
Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray (because watching the movie doesn’t count)
The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

This is an ambitious undertaking, but I can think of no better reason to finally get around to reading The Lord of the Flies, which I've successful adverted throughout my formal education.


Addendum: Actually, maybe I should get a library card. According to Gothamist, today a new library just opened in Soho....

Thursday, May 17

Add to your NetFlix Cue....

Doing my dutiful daughter duties, I called my mom on Mother’s Day. As we’re talking about the wedding of a family friend, my mom says “I really miss [your ex-boyfriend].” My response, "Yeah, me too."

(Background: This is my last
serious ex. We were high school friends who reconnected at a mutual friend’s wedding. After dating for nearly two years, I thought this guy was “the” guy. I nearly moved out of Manhattan to quaint New England to give it a real chance. Then we broke up.)

In this frame of mind, when HBO began playing
The Break Up I settled in to watch. The movie isn’t spectacular, but there is one particularly redeeming scene. Jennifer Aniston is in her room and Vince Vaughn walks in to apologize for standing her up earlier in the night. When he notices she’s crying he starts walking toward her. She starts crying harder, tells him to stop, and lets him know how much he had disappointed her. Then she tells him to leave her room, which he does and at that point their relationship is effectively over. (Yeah, it made me cry - after all I was in that frame of mind.)

Seriously, the whole scene made me realize that men and women speak completely different languages. In that scene, Vince should have walked over and hugged her. A big bear hug, not one of those wimpy, limp arms hugs. It was so obvious to me that if he had done this, their relationship wouldn't have ended, and they possibly could have had a civilied conversation about everything that was wrong with them... I'm sure his man-brain thought it was the right thing to do, but to the female mind, it was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Guys needs to read between the lines sometimes.

Wednesday, May 16


I really don’t understand trends which stem from the mid-west. (Neither does Elle). In particular, I’m having an impossible time understanding people’s fascination with crocs.

Really? Plastic shoes?
Really? That color?
Really? It goes with “everything” in your closet?

When I first saw them on teenage boys in Albany, New York a couple years back, I figured it was an upstate thing. Then I started seeing them on small children. I justified it that these poor children were obviously at the whim of their parents. Then suddenly they were everywhere! Couples were wearing matching pairs. Old folks. Young folks. Teenagers. Babies. East Coast. West Coast. Ugh -- at Jazz Fest, there were nearly as popular at the soft shell crab po-boys.

This could be the worst thing to happen to footwear fashion since penny loafers. I hope the trend passes soon, although I just noticed they are selling in Bloomingdales AND there is rumor of a Crocs-only store opening in Manhattan.

The Horror!

Side Note: Yes, I’ve been neglecting my blog these past months, but it has been worth it. I’ve reached a level of career defining success which I hadn't really planned on. Here’s hoping the good-will in the office toward myself carries on through the summer, at the very least until my annual review.