Grand Central Station Centennial

Last month, I started Jani Franck’s free Unearth Your Creative Nature e-course. I got a little stalled when I got to the week 2 exercise to go on a creative adventure, but I’m back on track now and will finish it soon. I got stalled because I found out that Grand Central would be celebrating its 100th Anniversary on February 1st, and since I live a short train ride north of New York City, this would be a perfect time and place for my adventure. On the way there, I wrote Morning Pages. So here’s what I wrote on the train, followed by some photos and info on what I did.

February 1st, 2013

Finally doing my week 2 creative adventure – going to the 100th Anniversary celebration for Grand Central Station. aka Grand Central Terminal. Like the movie The Terminal, I don’t plan on stepping foot out in the city. This is something I need to do for myself. To reassert my independence to myself. And for my art, to reaffirm that it is important, worthy, and worthwhile. Because it is, or should be. Today I will go into stores I’ve only passed by. I will eat at restaurants I’ve only smelled. I will sit on a wall, observing and drawing, and pretend to be an artist. I’m excited already at where the day will lead me. No schedule, no responsibilities. Just me and my camera, my sketch book, my art supplies, limited and limitless as they are. Free as the boat on the river. The sky is full of clouds, but it might as well be warm and sunny. The train surges ahead, hurtles toward my destination. A bird flies over the river, another reminder of the freedom I feel. A stop. Usually I get off the train here, but not today. No work today. Goodbye, coworkers. I’m sure I’m not missing out on much. The train pulls away. A thrill.
I’m still here. This is real. This is happening. This is further than I usually go by myself. I look at the sky again and realize there are patches of bright blue. The conductor finally comes. “Thank you.” He takes my ticket, punches two arrow-shaped holes in it, and gives it back for my return trip. He moves on with his routine, not knowing how un-ordinary today is, how special to me already. I love the train. The sounds, the acceleration and stops… the sound of the whistle is much more exciting than a car horn. Attention! Passing through! Taking people to the best city on earth. New York City. The bright blue patches are growing larger, fighting the clouds for prominence. Tunneling under bridges, alongside a running track. Taller buildings tell me we are here. It’s not yet Manhattan, but it’s the outskirts of The City. We pass Yankee Stadium. Old buildings, the paint peeling. We cross a bridge to the island that is Manhattan, and now my heart starts to race. Harlem, such a historical place, goes by, and I wonder if Langston Hughes ever took the train. We pass a high school football field, possibly the last sign of nature I will see for hours. Now the sky is only half full of clouds. Buildings so tall I can’t count the number of floors before they are gone. And then, at last, we enter the long, dark tunnel that ends at Grand Central Terminal. Here I come!


After I got off the train, I headed for the main area, where I was delighted to see the special numbering in the windows:


I walked around that floor for a while. My favorite store was this cute little place with kid stuff like games, books, and toys. The store is called Kidding Around. I was really tempted to buy this Olivia lunch box, and I kinda wish I had gone back for it:


I also saw a book called Do You Doodle? that reminded me of the e-course, because one of the exercises is to doodle every day.


And I loved these little unicorns, one with a rider and one without.


I bought Wreck This Journal, which I’ve been thinking of buying on Amazon for the past month. Seeing it in the store was like a sign that I need to get it. I got a tiny notepad of the Eiffel Tower, because I have been to Paris and I want to go back some day. I got a button-making kit, which I plan to have fun with. And I got Mark Silly Putty, because I figured he would love it. (Turns out I was right.)

Then I was a little hungry, so I went downstairs to get a yummy smoothie at the Dishes kiosk. I went for Agua Fresca, which is strawberries, pineapple, and orange juice. I didn’t get a photo, but trust me, it was delicious. I did take a photo of an old man falling asleep on a bench, which was pretty funny.


I actually stayed in line for Magnolia Bakery because I had heard that their cupcakes are amazing. I bought two cupcakes and a chocolate chip brownie.


I wandered around a bit more, and then I went outside to look for a real NYC hot, soft pretzel. Sadly, there were no vendors nearby, perhaps because it’s winter. I walked halfway around the outside block, and along my way I went to Starbucks and got my favorite drink, a venti peppermint hot chocolate with whipped cream. I looked at the sky and didn’t see a single cloud anymore. It had turned into a perfect day.

I went back inside went to Zaro’s Bakery, because I can’t go to Grand Central without stopping there. I got myself an authentic NYC black and white cookie, and I got my husband Mark a cannoli, which he loves. I found an empty wall across the hall and sat to cool down (I was hot from so much walking) and to enjoy my hot chocolate. (Photo below is my view of Zaro’s from where I sat.)


About ten minutes later, I got up and walked around some more, and found myself at Posman Books. I loved seeing Julia Cameron books, because she is the person who first taught about Morning Pages in her book The Artist’s Way.


I fell in love with a lockable mermaid diary, so of course I bought it. And I bought another book I’ve been eye-ing on Amazon lately, Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls. And a little Degas notebook, because I love his ballerina paintings. And a journal that says “Write” because, well duh, I love to write. And it has typewriters on it, which rocks.

Then it was time to get creative. I found myself a nice quiet little corner, sat down, and… ate my brownie. I was hungry. LOL. Then I did my best to draw what I saw… minus the people. I’m not very experienced with sketching, but I had fun anyway. Here’s a photo showing part of my view, followed by my sketch.



After the sketch, I did my best to copy the Centennial logo with colored pencil, then used colored pens to add confetti.


When I was done, it was time to head for the train home. I had purchased an off-peak priced ticket (not during rush hour), so I had twenty minutes to get the next train home, or I would have to either pay extra or wait a few hours to get another off-peak train. On the way, I saw the special Lego version of Grand Central, which was awesome because I forgot about it and I’m glad I didn’t miss it.


Then I went and got on the train and took photos of some of my purchases.


Button-making kit, Silly Putty


Eiffel tower notebook, Degas notebook


Wreck This Journal, Doodle Diary


Write journal, mermaid diary

Then I started to work on the Doodle Diary by folding creases into the spine and tearing out the title pages and coloring the second page. I had a fun time, even though I was only there for about 3 1/2 hours. It was plenty of time for me, and I will never see Grand Central Station quite the same way again. It will always remind me of this day.

Preparing for a new artwork


I haven’t really created anything lately, but I have a big project percolating. I’m not sure exactly what I will be making, but I’m considering a series of different types of artistic things that all go on the same theme. My working title is My Colossal Fun Mermaidy Oceany Project.

I’ve been collecting cool supplies like beach sand and shells and pearls and this funky cool green ribbon that I can twist a bit to look like seaweed and sailor-y rope and smooth river rocks and so many other things I can’t even remember it all. Sequins shaped like shells and flowers. Mermaidy bracelets.

I am so in love with the concept! I got a small mirror that’s supposed to be a base for candles, and I want to super glue little shells and stuff around it to make my own Mermaid’s Mirror (RIP LK Madigan). I got a burlap-y cloth that’s the color of sand, and I want to attach all kinds of Sea Souvenirs to it in a kind of collage. I want to sit on the floor surrounded by my oceany stuff and my arts and crafts stuff and just let my imagination run rampant. I want to decorate hair clips. I want to grow fins and live in the ocean, but since I can’t do that (I can barely swim, and I need to hold my nose closed with my fingers to go underwater) I want to pretend I am a mermaid living on dry land, and I want to create the kinds of things I would have to remind me of my beautiful beachy and undersea home. I love my Mermaid painting, but she is no longer enough magic for me. “But who cares? No big deal? I want mooooooooooooorrrrrre!”*

I am utterly inspired and can’t wait to create this art, but I have some things going on in my life right now that preclude me from doing this. If I can’t do it for a while, then I will definitely take time for it during my vacation from work, which is the first week and a half in August.

Will have to spread out my supplies and take photos later to add to this post. Wonderful. I also bought some mermaidy jewelery at the dollar store to actually wear. Like this:


Yep, I admit it. I buy and wear cheap jewelry sometimes. And I don’t apologize for it. Bwa ha ha ha!


*I probably watched The Little Mermaid a zillion times as a child. And I love Splash with Darryl Hannah and Tom Hanks.

Hit over the head with the point

I got a new oracle deck in early November, the Magical Mermaids and Dolphins deck by Doreen Virtue. I had seen it online a few times and felt mild stirrings, like it was one that was calling to me but not too loudly. Then a Facebook friend listed it with a bunch of decks she was selling, and I felt like I had to get it NOW. So I did, and the first card I pulled for myself made sense. The next time I pulled a card, it made sense. Every time I pull a card I can see where it’s definitely something valid and good for my life at that time. In fact, it usually feels like the absolute perfect card. This has become my new favorite deck, and one I know I will use for a long time to come.

But last night, I got the same card for the third time in one month. So I think I need to spend some time meditating on the card, from the title to the image to the book’s description (see all below). During my lunch break, my plan is to put on some meditative instrumental music on my ipod, look at the image and info given, and do some freewriting/journaling about it, hopefully getting a message from the Universe to help me take everything I need from this card.


“Make time to relax, be still, and enjoy your solitude, indulging in much-needed self-care.”

This card asks you to take a break from your harried schedule. Soaking or swimming in salty water creates a magical electrical energy shift in your body. The salt draws out emotional and physical toxins. Purchase sea salt from your local health-food store’s spice section, and pour lots of the salt and fragrant essential oils into your warm bathwater. Be sure to immerse your chest and heart chakra under water as you soak in the tub in order to release toxic emotions. Burn a white candle near your bathtub. As you look at the flickering light, think about what you want. The white candlelight amplifies your thoughts and feelings, so think about your desires and not your fears. Let the saltwater wash away any doubts that could block your manifestation. Ask the candle to illuminate your mind with faith and positive expectations. Enjoy this relaxation time, and have faith that your prayers have been heard and are being answered.