In Which Life Marches Onwards

So this blog is going to be late. I’m starting it tonight (Monday), but I’m also realistic and I’m going to pass out in about 20 minutes. Why? you ask, why is this night owl collapsing into bed at 10pm? It might have something to do with the coffee.

Yes, fool that I am, I’ve decided to do battle with my caffeine addiction again. I do this to myself maybe once every 6 months or so, and by god does it ever hurt. As per usual, this was not a strictly intentional and certainly not a premeditated decision, but I was late on my coffee on Sunday and suddenly I was in that particular form of agony that comes only from physical withdrawal. There’s no curing it with belated caffeine, so I buckled myself in and decided to do this. Because I still have to function at work, I’m not going cold turkey. Instead I’m weaning myself off with tea and then I’ll wean myself off the tea and hopefully live healthily ever after. I’ll wait while you all take a moment to laugh.

So other than dealing with withdrawal migraines, what did I do this past week? So much, and also so little! Which is to say, I’m exhausted but I also have FOMO. It’s apparently the standard issue New York life.

On Tuesday, I bounded out of work and up to Bloomberg for the monthly Data Driven meet up. It was full of the usual fascinating collection of talks followed by interesting chats with all manner of people. I suppose I ought to be Networking(tm) and only talking to people that are of use to me, but I’m still to much a student of the human condition and I always end up just having the chats with a bunch of random folks. There’s free pizza and beer, and I’m not on the clock when I’m up there, so I’ll probably keep letting myself off the hook for a few more months yet.

Suffering from the effects of too much cheesy pizza, I spent Wednesday morning working from home before popping in to a lecture on Ayurveda. It was interesting, but as is so often the case, the audience decided that each of their personal problems was more important than us actually hearing the content that the speaker intended to deliver. I get so terribly ill tempered when people feel the need to interrupt a speaker with questions or clarifications that are completely unnecessary or unrelated. In the afternoon, I worked from the office and very soon ended up with my teeth sunk truly, madly, and deeply into a research challenge. No, not maths or statistics, no this was librarian stuff. My boss was convinced that some major data collections had been done in major cities in 2003 in the aftermath of 9/11 but there was no evidence of them anywhere. And of course, since these data collections were to be referred to in a paper, this was a problem. I tried to keep myself in check and didn’t spend too much of my precious 8 hour work day on the hunt, but then the end of the official work day came and somehow an hour and a half later I was still in my chair, squinting at my screen, and stretching my librarian acumen to its very limits. And yet, I still couldn’t find it. I was blindingly exhausted so I decided to go home for a nap before dance.

But of course you know how this story goes. I tossed and turned sleeplessly for entirely too long before finally giving in and heading back to the internet. About 30 minutes later, I’d added annual financial reports for FEMA, various relevant municipalities, and USGS, to the vast list of angles I’d taken on my search, including but not limited to: Google Scholar, library databases, relevant local newspaper archives, government and academic data stores, USGS’s entire website, trade magazines, and so much more. And then, at last, as I turned my annual financial report searching to the unlikely National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency who were definitely not going to have any financial reports online, I managed to mash together and tweak my search queries into such a convoluted mangle that I found it. An html text file of tab separated tables that mentioned the data. From there I found a critical search term and found my proof in Appendix B of FEMA’s 2008 Coordination Report. Even knowing what the data collection effort was called, the only place that this data is even mentioned online is an appendix of another agencies coordination report. I suppose you’ve already cottoned on to the fact that I was spectacularly smug about my find. I will continue to be smug for the foreseeable. As a librarian in exile from the stacks, I have to get my finder’s high wherever I can.

Having finally defeated my research question, I shoved some food in my face and headed off to dance. Karel was in town again so it was up to Ripley to sweat and suffer and have all sorts of fun. Sadly the studio had mucked up our booking, so we started late, but that gave me time for some more proofreading from my giant pile so I couldn’t complain too much. When we got to the class, it was a wild ride indeed! I loved the combo was was somehow stiffer and more sore than I’ve been lately and it showed. I saw flickers of myself in the live instagram video later and the awkward was very strong. Fortunately, so too was the work and the cardio and I left an hour and forty-five minutes later, basically a puddle composed entirely of exhausted muscles and sweat. By that point it was nearly 11pm and I still needed to stop by the bank and also try to turn myself into something other than a monster before westie so I made the decision to bail. I figured that if the westies could see all the soaking wet and steaming Brittney they were missing out on, they would be very glad to be missing out.

~Returning to write after another day on the grind.~

Come Thursday, it was time to snap, crackle, and pop myself back into some semblance of comfort and function. Leaving my chiropractor in slightly less pain than before, I trotted down to Chinatown to check out a few potential venues for an upcoming VIP dinner. The decision was easy, but my route out of Chinatown lead me dangerously close to the tantalizing Keki Modern Cakes. They make those adorably wobbly Japanese cheesecakes and I’ve been hankering to try one for ages… so it should be not surprise that I left China town bearing a quaint little box of cheesecake and a huge appetite. The cheesecake was exactly as lovely as you might imagine. It struck me as a lightly sweet, delicately sour cheese souffle and it was delicious!

Post-cheesecake, I popped off to an amusing talk about the Irish-Jewish couple in film which began with the lecturer singing a themed, comedic overture. It was an experience to be sure, and it was followed by a beautiful stroll out through the cool misty night to catch my train home.

On Friday, I had all the best intentions of double dipping on dance with a trip to Ailey followed by an adventure to Westie, but it was not to be. I was utterly exhausted. So, being a mature adult type, I bought some nice things to eat, dropped off my Warby Parkers for a lens replacement, and spent the rest of the evening lounging in bed learning things online. Have I mentioned that I’m obsessed with documentaries? It may be getting a bit out of hand.

The following morning I was up bright and early to clean the apartment before heading off to broga. I should preface this by saying that some friends and I had just started a glute challenge and I’d begun my Saturday morning with Day 4 of that challenge, which may give you some insight as to just how far my face fell when I walked into broga to hear “we’re doin’ legs today, your glutes are gonna get a real work out.” It was not a lie. I stumbled out of the studio 90 minutes later in such a great degree of muscular exhaustion that I actually walked at a sensible speed. People even overtook me. But of course because I’m such a responsible soul, when a friend in need to some talking and walking called, I was only too quick to hop a train to Central Park. We walked the length of the park with no shortage of lateral diversions before stepping out into Harlem to grab some comfort food from Seasoned Vegan.

If you haven’t already heard of Seasoned Vegan, you really should. It’s a totally vegan, partially raw, soul food restaurant just north of the park and I’ve never been so convinced. I had a po’boy that well and truly rivalled any po’boy I’d ever tried and definitely won on sauce. I could have just eaten the sauce with a spoon, it was so good. And then, somehow I ended up spending the rest of the night eating pie and icecream, watching bake off, and nattering away. It had already been a pretty decent Saturday, but I was to get a cherry on top. Yes, as I was heading to the train, I found the April Fools Where’s Waldo game on Google Maps. Because I’m a completionist of the worst variety, I spent the entire train ride home finding every single Waldo and all of his friends. I’ll have you know I got great satisfaction from my tiny, pointless achievement.

Sunday saw me take on my massive mound of laundry, buy food for the week, and even do some meal prep. I felt very adult, right up until the point I realized I’d forgotten my critical cup of coffee. I tried to fill the gap with a beautiful fruit tart and a mocha from Ceci Cela. It pulled me through an hour or so of reading, but then it was all a downhill spiral into the withdrawal migraine. So I crashed into bed in agony and decided that I really did need to break my caffeine dependency again before I set off on my trip to the UK where there is no guarantee to regular coffee or indeed coffee at all while I wander.

I survived day one of no-coffee with only two cups of tea and 75 minutes of wonderful, if still exhausting yoga before attempting to write and ultimately ending face down in my pillow. Day 2 is about to be wrapped up and I’m very pleased to announce that I survived this one with only one cup of tea, but then again I’ve still a few hours left for a raging migraine to take me. Wish me luck!

Uncaffeinated and almost okay,
The Salsa Girl


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