I grew up in Wisconsin in a small town and ever since I was little I wanted to live someplace where people wouldn't always be asking me how I am and my mother wouldn't say, "Your aunt Lois called and said she thought you looked tired today." And that place is New York. And also you do look tired because you are. Tired of being asked if you're tired all the time.

I needed to know I could live on my own before I could go back to living a normal life, whatever that is. So I came out here. Ten years ago in September. I live in Brooklyn. I like to be around trees. I love New York. I'm a designer and in New York you're up against the best and you have to know what's cool before it even exist. Right now it's post-retro. Tomorrow it might be hipster kitsch. No, that was last week. Anyway.

I love it here because every day there is something that will just blow your mind right out of the water whether it's a show at the Met or "Twelfth Night" on Broadway or someone you see playing "Silent Night" on a koto in the subway. Everywhere you turn there's amazement.

And it amazes me that New Yorkers are so honest. They won't be friends with you unless they really really like you. They don't have time for the pretend stuff. You either get really tight with someone or else you don't ever see them again.

New York beats you up sometimes and you feel like throwing your shoes up on a telephone line and then you see the lights of the Chrysler Building and that cheers you up, or sometimes I go down into the subway and the train comes at the exact moment I step onto the platform and without breaking stride I walk through the open doors like its my personal train and there's a seat waiting for me right next to someone reading the paper and it's open to an article that really really interests you.

You need three things to be happy here, and that's a nice place to live, good work, and someone who loves you or at least says he does when you ask him, and it's a rare thing to keep all three going at the same time. You find that out talking to people in coffee shops. My boyfriend dumped me because he felt threatened by my success and I told my friend Julie about him in Starbucks and all these women around me went like, "Oh yeah. Been there." That's my real family, there in the coffee shop. We all support each other, we're all looking for connection. For understanding. For freedom to just be ourselves. It's open all night, you can always find someone to talk to. Or someone to listen to you talk.

New York never stops. Food, entertainment, romance, you can find whatever you want whenever you want.. Like, I'm going over to Hoboken right now to do baton twirling ---- which is something I never would've done in Wisconsin ---- way too embarrassing ---- but here it's done by really cool people ---- precision baton twirling with flaming batons ---- we twirl and we toss them back and forth to Cajun music and our dogs are there and there's a guy who comes every week who is definitely not threatened by my success. He's a CPA. He works for Ernst & Young. I never wanted to get involved with anyone in accounting, but he's a terrific dancer, so we'll see. Anything can happen in this city. That's all I'm saying. Anything.