Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Volunteering, Basketball, Cold Runs, and Election Tuesday

It's been a very busy past two days, but they've been wonderful and have, once again, served as a reminder of how much I love New York. It still seems odd to be getting back to a normal routine after last week, but here goes.

I almost cried when I saw the huge crowd of people clamoring to donate items and help victims of Sandy on Sunday afternoon. I love New Yorkers!

Volunteering for Sandy victims
Unfortunately, I live very far from the areas that were hardest hit and without subways, it's pretty difficult for me to get to the Far Rockaways or Staten Island. However, I was able to help out a little bit by sorting through donations at a drop off point on the Upper West Side on Monday morning.

the basement of Riverside Church, where volunteers were sorting donations 
A small FYI if you are interested in donating -- food (non-perishables), water, batteries, cleaning supplies, and cold weather outdoor gear are all very much needed. Glittery '80s prom dresses and used thongs are not (yes, I picked up both of those going through donations). I'm sure people's hearts are in the right place, but needless donations only create more work for volunteers and mean a longer wait between donating an item and it getting to those who need the items.

Lovely Local Find - Columbus Natural Food
This is crazy, but I'd never stopped in the health food store right across the street from my building. I know, I am ridiculous. I finally dropped in to grab a quick lunch yesterday and promptly smacked myself for not checking it out sooner. Columbus Natural Food rocks!

fresh green juice and homemade soup across the street from me? yessssss 

I got a delicious green juice, a small salad, and kale chips (yummm). Can't wait to go back and explore the store more when I have time!

Barclays Center
Sourabh and I are big basketball fans. Although we root for the Knicks, we're always up for a good basketball game. Sourabh was checking out ticket prices on eBay for Monday night's Brooklyn Nets vs Minnesota Timberwolves game and found $60 tickets that were--no joke--three rows from the floor in the corner. We've learned that you can get some great tickets for really affordable prices if you check eBay the day of a game, especially approaching a few hours before start time.

I'm sure this doesn't look as good in daylight, but at night it looks really cool! 

The new Barclays Center is gorgeous, at least at night. The inside is really terrific with great views from all over. It was a bit chilly, but I think it just needs to work out a few kinks as it was only the arena's second Nets game.

action shot! ok, my camera sucks, but look -- Deron Williams taking a shot!
 We went to the Barclays Center with a friend of Sourabh's who is a Timberwolves fan, and enjoyed some delicious arena concessions pre-game. I can't lie, despite having a 90% healthy tooth, I am a huge sucker for greasy, disgusting arena food. I had some of Sourabh's fries and enjoyed a great bowl of nachos from Calexico (with real guacamole, roasted corn, and black beans).

requisite couple shot
We are totally spoiled for life. No way we could afford these tickets for a Knicks game, but the view was so amazing, I'm not sure I'll be able to go to another regular nosebleed basketball game!

Random note: I didn't take a picture, but free tattoos--yes, you read that right: real, permanent tattoos--were being given near the bar at the arena.

Early morning running with blog friends
I met Abby a few weeks ago at a Refine Method event hosted by Dori, and after a late night Twitter session, we decided to run this morning together. Holy crap IT WAS COLD. I feel even luckier that our apartment was unaffected by the hurricane -- I cannot imagine being without heat with this sudden temperature drop.
beautiful early morning Central Park -- Sandy didn't steal all the leaves! 
Thank you, Abby, for getting my ass out of bed early this morning! It was so beautiful in Central Park and was so nice to have a running buddy to keep me going in the cold. You are going to be SO amazing at the Philly Marathon in less than two weeks!!

it might look sunny, but it was COLD
Unfortunately he cold air appeared to trigger some sort of asthmatic breathing, and I'd forgotten I had to be at the class I'm a TA for a bit earlier due to cancellations last week, so I had to leave before we finished a complete loop of Central Park. The breathing got really bad on Cat Hill, so apparently I'm going to need to either get used to the cold air or get an inhaler if I want to run a winter half-marathon (spoiler: I'm going to run a winter half-marathon, details to come). Still, 5.5 miles in beautiful Central Park to start my Election Tuesday? Not bad.

SO pretty out this morning

I did a different kind of exercising later in the morning -- exercising my right to vote! There was actually very little exercise involved, since I had to stand in line for about 20 minutes before I could get in to vote, which took another 25 minutes.

this was the front part of the line for my voting center -- I didn't realize voting in NYC would be so crowded!
However, while waiting, I met some adorable older women who were so enthusiastic about voting that it made the wait worthwhile. One of them wanted a picture taken of herself outside the voting booth because she was so excited to be voting for Obama again. They were a lot of fun to stand by and made the wait a lot less painful (and it actually was painful because of the cold!).

It was especially nice to vote after being turned away from donating blood. My iron counts are apparently a bit low, unfortunately, so I couldn't give. I've never been able to donate, which has only made me more nervous every time I go in, building up the process in my mind.

"why can't I vote?" asks Mason
(disclaimer: I do not actually believe my dog has thoughts like this) 
Tonight, Sourabh and I are watching the election results come in over a bottle of Gewurtztraminer, one of my (and my mom's) favorite white wines.

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