Wednesday, December 31, 2008

"Sometimes I'm just happy I'm older"

What a difference a year makes. This time last year I was certainly confused about my life, but I felt I had things under control:

In January, I made some major headway in reducing my debt. In February, both my financial and my giant ass situation improved, but my relationship didn't. Then, the summer, um, sucked. Like, a lot. And then, you know, healing and change.

I spent about a week at "home" during my holiday break from work -- partly out of boredom, but mostly out of genuine interest. I suppose I still put home in quotations because I think I'm still a little resentful about having grown up in a place that had little to offer. Or in a family that wasn't able to keep me as safe as I believed they should. But, amazingly, I don't really feel that way anymore. It was certainly a gradual process -- all 27 years of it -- and I only really started to notice my own appreciation for my home this year. Because of circumstances -- some positive and some negative -- I've been back to Pennsylvania, and my mother's house, five times in the last six months. That's, like, a record. Every year since I left at 18 I've hated going back and avoided it whenever I could.

But, in June, I began to notice a slight shift. Which, oddly enough, I attribute to the price of cereal. I visited home for my first extended period since the middle of college, and while there, I made a trip or two with my mother to Wal-mart. And, while I don't necessarily agree with their business practices and much prefer Target for my bargain-priced groceries and personal care items, Wal-mart is just closer to my mom's house. They sell two things I wanted -- hair color and cereal -- for dollars less than I pay in New York. And, it occurred to me that, maybe, just maybe, there's something to be said for living in Central Pennsylvania, particularly with an economic crisis barreling down on us (hindsight is, of course, 20/20).

I noticed it again at Thanksgiving (Honey Nut Shredded Wheat is $2.50 a box?! Seriously?!), only not directly tied to a trip to Wal-mart. Although I was in a pretty terrible emotional state, I had pleasant conversations with my mother and brother, and gained perspective (and, more accurately perhaps, distance) to their considerably less than perfect living situations. It was not only nice to feel genuinely missed in their daily lives, but missed period. And while their situations are not ones that I wish to be in (and am grateful that I am not anymore), I've come to appreciate the value of staying the hell out of it. I love them, but I don't need to fix them.

And having just returned from another extended stay, I can honestly say that I had a nice time (dance party in Brett's room!). I was asked by numerous people if I have any plans of moving back. And, for once, rather than laughing, I responded with, "well, I wouldn't rule it out someday." And I certainly couldn't have thought that, let alone said it, five years ago when I moved to New York. I have no plans to move back -- or anywhere -- in the immediate future, but unless something (or, more likely, someone) keeps me here, I don't see myself ringing in 2012 in Times Square. The psychic did tell me I was moving in 2009, after all, but I thought she just meant to Park Slope with Michelle.

On the year-end note, though, 2008 wasn't all misery. I thrived on strengthening two of my closest friendships -- Michelle, Mary: I would be at the bottom of the East River without your support and quick-witted insights; and making new ones -- Kim, Marissa, JP: I adore you and look forward to more drama to discuss ahead. And while I may not be more than 12 pages into the book, for those that don't know already, I did lose my publishing virginity this year to a real live magazine (with a circulation of 2.5 million, no less!).

No... I still have no money, I'm still in the same job and my ass is still bigger than I'd like, but, as has become my trademark phrase over the year... I'm doing just fine. Thank you to everyone and everything (Coldstone, Celexa, writing, Yellow Tail Shiraz and reruns of House of USA) who helped me get through 2008. And a preemptive thank you to all who will hear me bitching through 2009!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Adventures in cookie-making

As most people who know me can attest to, I'm not really what one would call a holiday person. I went through brief periods of loving the holidays -- when I was young and it was all about what Santa brought me ("TWIN CABBAGE PATCH DOLLS AND THE TWIN STROLLER??!?!! For me?!"), then again when my high school sweetheart made me a part of his family's many holiday traditions like the weird card game I can't remember the name of, and again when I first moved to New York and started to make my own (albeit rather short-lived) traditions of visiting Rockefeller Center, adding ornaments to my own tree and celebrating "Fibonacci Hanukkah" in addition to Christmas.

Anyway, not so much into the holiday spirit the last few years. I've come to see December, in general, as a monsterous drain on my financial and emotional resources. Can I spell G-R-I-N-C-H? Yes, yes, I can.

But for the last few days, as I've walked around the city and peeked in people's windows, I've actually regretted not getting a Christmas tree this year. I walked by one this evening that was so colorful and festive and I had to have it. I wanted to sing songs about Santa Claus around it with my non-existent children and drink HoCho by the fire. In the absence of these things, though, I bought some cookie mix and, at 11pm on a Wednesday night, am making Christmas cookies.

However, this Christmas cookie-making isn't going exactly as planned. Well, no, that's inaccurate... it wasn't planned. So then, I guess, technically, it's just not going well?

First of all, my cookie sheet is ever so slightly too large for my oven. (Why do I feel like this is an "only in New York" anecdote? Tiny apartments equal tiny ovens?) So the oven door is ajar during the baking process. Tip number one for unsuccessful cookie baking, let me tell you. Doesn't produce an evenly baked cookie. And, if you want anything in a cookie, you want it evenly baked.

Issue two is less of a logistical one: I live alone. I love cookies. Theoretically, I have all of the cookies to myself. Which, um, is pretty freaking awesome... I'm sure you can see where I'm going with this... Over the last several months I've lost about 15 pounds and I am now in significant danger of putting it back on in one evening by consuming my weight in both unbaked and fully baked cookies. So, a solution? I'm giving at least half to my Secret Santa (I think we're calling it Elfster or something, though?) tomorrow at our holiday party. I hope she likes oatmeal chocolate chip.

Forget what I said about the cookies not baking evenly and this not going well... batch numero dos just came out of the oven and they are bloody amazing! Someone should really just scoop me up right now to bear their child because I make a mean cookie. Kids will be coming from all over the neighborhood, I tell ya.



Observe how they are all perfectly circular and delicious-looking. They are, and I am responsible.

I think I had a third mildly amusing point about Christmas cookie-making when I started this post, but it doesn't matter now, as I am a success! Fa la la la la la la la laaaaaaa!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

"When I get money, I'll get funny again"

I'll return to one of my original themes of this blog: my debt. These last few months have been especially difficult for me financially. Like, retired dad bailout bad. Of course, I'm not alone, with the country being in a recession and all, but having company in my misery doesn't really make me want to do a jig. Financial life sucks for pretty much everyone. I get it. This is just what I have to say about it.

I've been writing down everything I spend like a crazy person for months. Months. I have an Excel spreadsheet where I record all of it from a coffee at Starbucks to my student loan payments. Its truly exhausting to keep such an extensive record of my cash flow. I come home each night with my receipts and type away in those little judgmental cells, until I see what a douche I was and curse myself for allowing myself a $5 footlong from Subway that was actually my lunch and dinner. I tend to send myself into a tailspin when I forget to add in the 75 cents I spent on peanut M&Ms from the office vending machine. And then, suddenly, I'm $20 short for my cable bill and I feel like a complete failure as an adult.

Could I move to a less expensive city and get a job and live happily ever after? Probably. I often wonder why I'm still here when in a more normal place (read: median rent for a one-bedroom apartment less than $2K a month) I could be on my way to owning something. People I know are buying houses. My stepbrother, four years my junior, is house-hunting.

Yesterday my father asked me about the will I was supposed to have made out months ago. I asked him if he thought he should get my laptop, my Oscar de la Renta coat, my book collection or my unfinished novel. Because, sadly, I have nothing else. ("I'll take the novel," he joked.) If I had to moved to, say, Philadelphia, a five years ago instead of the if-I-can-make-it-here... capital of the world, I'd probably at least be able to will my dad a car or something. But I live in (and, unfortunately, still kind of love) New York. And, the city is only partially responsible for my debt problem. A love of eating out (why would I try to cook my own pad thai when someone who knows something about it can?) and an obsession with beauty products did play a small part, too. Having said that pad thai and lipstick are more expensive here than most other places, so, really, F you, New York. City that I love to hate, but won't leave.

The stress of living on a to-the-dollar budget has manifested itself in the form of near-constant pain in my left shoulder. I wish the government was giving bailouts that included free massages.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Because I still believe in love

Like so many others, I personally think that it is tragic that Prop 8 was passed in California. And that Arizona has passed a constitutional ban on gay couples adopting children. And still after such a momentous Election Day, it amazes me that Americans vote to keep rights away from other Americans. It makes me sad and angry.

It's not about what people do in their bedroom. It's about love, compassion, respect and commitment. Things that everyone deserves to have in their lives. But take a good look at the message that we're sending -- that not all love is important. That, because two people are of the same sex, they should not fall in love with one another and make a commitment to exist together. Or, what's more painful to me personally, is that two people in a committed relationship cannot adopt a child together because they are of the same sex. A child that otherwise may not have a chance at a family's love. By denying some love, we're actually denying it all.

Everyone wants to be loved. Humans are biologically programmed to crave other people. Connection is crucial to survival. No one is meant to be alone.

Friday, November 7, 2008

A Brand New Day (Several Days Late)

I cried like a little girl when the state of Pennsylvania was called for Obama. And then teared up again when the Democrats surpassed 51 Senate seats. And then really lost any composure that remained when the final projections were in and CNN announced to me and a room packed with Obama supporters that he was to be our next president.


I watched us make history on the big screen.


As many others have said in the days since, I think that by electing Obama, Americans were rejecting fear. Fear of things that have plagued the country since September 2001 -- fear of terrorism, fear of an economy that has shattered beneath us, fear of the unknown. In a time when there is so much to want to hide from, we didn't make the same choices out of fear of change. We started on the path to real change.

I grew up in a family that was, and still is, split politically. My father, a veteran of three wars, is a staunch Republican. My mother, a teacher for more than 25 years, is a passive Democrat. But it was my father that first sparked my interest in politics. He cared about local elections as well as national. He regarded his representation highly, and remains in regular touch with several of his local politicians. He subscribes to the theory that if you don't vote, your right to complain about the outcome is diminished.

As someone who has always been interested in politics, it was remarkable to see so many people -- members of my family, friends, coworkers -- take an active interest in this presidential election. It's a renewed interest for the country that I hope doesn't end before November comes to a close. It's crucial that people remain interested, inspired and ready to embrace change over the next four (and heaven willing, 8) years. I'm incredibly proud that we've taken the first step, but now the work really begins.

As I watched the Democratic Senate seats climb on Tuesday night (I was maybe one of four people who was), I shouted another thing that we could accomplish with each seat secured. Green energy and energy independence. Healthcare for those who need it (mine and so many other uteruses are cheering!). Better education for those that want it. Things I really care about can happen.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Uterus? Check. Now, who to vote for?

Just in case anyone with a uterus was still on the fence about who to cast their vote for on Tuesday, please read this. It's right in line with McCain's "concerns" about "women's health" he raised at the final debate.

Now get your uteruses (uteri?) out there and vote.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Zydrate comes in a little glass vial...

Once a year, I actually get to work on something cool.



Check it out in select theatres on November 7th. Cool music, Giles and Joan Jett all in one movie!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

And I Don't Think I'll Ever Sleep Again 'til Morning

One of the biggest problems with a major relationship change -- i.e. a gigantic break-up -- is the sleeping thing. You sleep next to someone for a long time and then you don't. And not just like you went on a short trip and then you're going to come back to your old life. You don't sleep next to that person anymore. Ever. That's weird. And about a hundred other descriptive words.

It takes some getting used to. Yeah, yeah, time heals all wounds. Blah. But coping in the now is difficult. You tell yourself that you may never sleep again! You know that's not true, but maybe you're a little dramatic sometimes. Whatever.

When I was a freshman in college, a friend of a friend of mine had one of these major break-ups. I vividly remember standing with her in the Brockway Dining Hall, talking about how she was doing with it. She mentioned the sleeping thing. She said, more than anything, she missed his ankle intertwined with hers during sleep. She said that some nights she'd wake up, not feeling his ankle, and scream (her roommate vouched for the middle of the night screaming). At the time, because I had never really been in a relationship that I deemed so intense (let alone having spent regular nights with a boy in bed!), I didn't get it. The ankle arrangement didn't sound very conducive to pleasant, restful sleeping anyway.

Well, its been eight years since that encounter in Brockway, and I'm sure she's fine now. Sleeping and such.

My solution to the sleeping thing after my relationship ended, thankfully, came with some comic relief (otherwise I probably wouldn't be sharing, right?). It was The Simpsons. Why? Well, it's two-fold. One, I happen to own multiple seasons of The Simpsons on DVD, so I wasn't locked into getting over the sleeping thing with a series that only went on for two or three seasons. Longevity was on my side. Two, Homer Simpson reminds me a little of my ex-boyfriend. Told you it was comedic. He knows this, so it's no surprise. No, he's not borderline moronic or an alcoholic. It's Homer's endearing qualities that they share. Oh, and Homer sings "la la la la" in his head while Marge talks, too. So the character was oddly comforting without beating me over the head. Not like listening to Elvis Costello's "Still" or Mates of States' "Drop and Anchor" was. (Oh, I'm a girl, of course I purposely tortured myself with sad music and ice cream...)

So I started watching The Simpsons every night to fall asleep. Every night. And it took a week or two, but it started working. I'd sleep alone. It was probably my first little victory, courtesy of Homer, Marge, Chief Wiggum and Comic Book Guy.

Now, though, it's a Pavlovian response. Simpsons - grow tired - sleep. Makes it a little more difficult to stay awake for new episodes on Sunday evening now, but it's certainly been productive for me.

And it's kinda funny that I started to get over my break-up because of Homer Simpson.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

go forth and... write?

So I'm somewhere between an agnostic and an atheist (or maybe just confused?), but there's this religious saying/message/thingy that says that when the higher power judges you at the gates of whatever you believe in, he/she/proper pronoun for greatness (?) will first ask what you did with your time on earth and the talents that you were given. I think that's a good question to ask, regardless of the religious implications.

What the hell are you doing here, just taking up space?

Ashley was a publicist. Fuck, no.

I have a few great loves of this earth: politics, writing, jeans and ice cream (I don't know, there may be one or two more). Note that none were publicity and/or dealing with snarky journalists. At various points in my life I wanted to be a politician or a political correspondent for the Today Show (see my high school yearbook); a novelist (both when I was 11 and, I guess, now); a fashion designer; and, in my most simple/I hate corporate ridiculousness phase, a Cold Stone ice cream tester. If I could not get fat and make over $100K a year, the ice cream tester would win hands-down.

But what am I really here to do? I know, I know... its an existential, no easy answer, its all up to me, oh you're in your late-twenties/approaching 30 and everyone feels this way sort of thing. I get it. But, I don't get IT. The what/who do I want to be.

I have friends encouraging me to write (partially, in fact, because of this blog of whiny complaining... I don't get you people! Don't you want me all bright and shiny?). They are awesome and say nice things about me and my skills/abilities/potential talents. I like them. When I was published for the first time a few months back, they thought I was a rockstar. Some even used the word proud. Again, liking them.

But then I also have me. Not as big of a fan of me. When me sits down to write, she struggles and reminds herself that just because I can string a few words together into a sometimes reasonably witty coherent sentence, it don't mean she's a writer, yo.

I've been trying to write this essay on anger since the date of that damn post. Have I written a word of it since? Nearly, no. Meanwhile I have friends writing jokes for NPH and co-writing the next Broadway hit.

Maybe I should stop reading biographies/autobiographies about/by people who do really great things? Like the Hillary Clinton autobio I just finished. She was a law professor, like, out of the womb. What. Ever.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

superhuman strength

Tonight, I met a superhero. A real-life person who pushes their mind and body to the limit, while also inspiring others.

I "judged" Dean as he literally ran towards the Guinness World Record for the longest distance run on a treadmill in 48 hours. Not only is he attempting to tackle this incredible feat of human endurance, but he's doing with an national audience. He's on webcam constantly, and passersby consistently stop on the street to stare/cheer him on. It must be a ridiculous amount of pressure. I can't possibly imagine staying awake for 48 hours, let alone being active almost the entire time.

And he's determined to finish all 48 hours. When I left this evening, it didn't seem like he was going to break the record, but this man is seriously amazing. He inspired me, and there are few things I hate more than running. He reminded me that sometimes the best possible thing to do is clear your head -- and just go.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

blast from the past / something equally cliche regarding nostalgia

The last week or so has been a strange one over here at Plays One... I had just started writing an essay about me potentially having an anger problem (this is still up for debate, I suppose?), when, that very evening, I was contacted by one of the possible stars of said essay, my college roommate. We hadn't spoken in about four years. And the essay, in part, was about how I've had more than a little trouble letting go of how quickly and sourly our friendship ended during our last year at school. I've even discussed it in therapy at length. In the last four years or so, her name would be mentioned, or something would remind me of her, and I would become angry. I often had dreams where, for one reason or another -- never logical, mind you -- I would have to once again share an apartment with her, and I would wake up livid. It was strange. I had rarely felt such anger before; the only other person I felt that contempt for (another star of my little essay, my stepfather) -- I felt with reasonable cause.

In college (prior to the festering anger), my roommate and I could have definitely been considered friends in love. Not in love romantically, but very much infatuated with our friendship and platonic love for one another. We shared almost everything. We lived for cooking and baking together. We even fell in love at the same time, with boys who were also roommates. We were disgustingly adorable.

And then, well, things unraveled. I've written about that at length, and I don't need to rehash it. It was difficult, and, well, then came the blinding anger.

Fast forward to about a week ago: she contacted me. It was a pleasant message - asking me how I was and saying that she often thought about me - and I responded the next day. I barely thought about not replying, actually. And I didn't reply in a snarky, snotty way (yay for emotional growth!). I asked about her, what she's doing, about her husband (she married her above mentioned roommate), her family, her cat. I felt eerily settled as I drafted my response (which I remember to check pretty thoroughly for grammatical errors because who wants to look dumb to someone who has two post-grad degrees?), and sent it off.

We've written once or twice since then, and its been very friendly and warm. I thanked her for contacting me. I know the condensed version of what she and her husband have been up to. So I suppose I'm through with my long-winded, barely rational rage.

Which is positive, right? Even if I haven't written another word of the essay I started. Damn devilish muse.

Having said all of this, still no response from this past. But I guess I'm not angry. Just disappointed.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Republicans who Boo

First thing's first: yesterday my boss called me "more left than Karl Marx." I think I need to tell my dad that one. He'd love it.

I would have liked to watch more of the Republican National Convention than I did, but it has been a very difficult week and a half for me personally and more often than not, I fell asleep before any of the major speeches. I really did try to stay up last night for Sarah Palin's acceptance speech, but I didn't make it. So I caught it on YouTube instead.

Okay, I get the whole Palin "sexy librarian" thing that people are digging, but are you really going to coin VPILF? I'm vomiting.

For a while, while watching Palin's speech, I thought I might punch my computer. But I really love my Mac, so I refrained. When she spoke about looking down on community organizers, I was wondering if she forgot that she started in the PTA...? And I will never understand the modern Republican argument that Dems just want to raise taxes. It's made in every GOP speech, and, especially this time around, just makes no sense.

Overall, though, I suppose she did what she needed to do. She needed to look tough. Maybe too tough - I was thinking almost mean. (Please don't track me down with your moose-hunting gun when I vote Dem.) I don't know that she sold the qualified angle, but she sold the reform angle pretty well, for what it is.

I find her voice pretty annoying, but she does have some cute kids, even if their names are a little, um, Alaskan? Oh, and what does racing snow machines entail, exactly?

Emily's List, what do you have to say?

Since I missed Palin live, I did make a special effort to get home in time (and, more importantly, stay awake) for McCain. In the interest of full disclosure, I, like many democrats, once really liked John McCain. Might have even adored him. After the 2004 election went so horribly wrong, and all of the buzz (like, the next day) was on a McCain/Clinton contest for 2008, I often said that it would be a very difficult choice for me, should the cards fall that way. And I really meant it. McCain always seemed to be keepin' it real. I have a great deal of respect for John McCain - as a politician who routinely crosses party lines to get things done, and for his military service. As a military daughter myself, it is difficult for me to dislike anyone who serves our country, particularly anyone who withstands the torture that he did.

But, the McCain that I loved so in 2004 (and in years prior) is not the one I'm watching accept his nomination for the presidency on CNN. I don't have any new insights on how or why this happened (its obviously been written about in excess), its just become painfully obvious that he has had to (for whatever reason) pander to his party and its leaders - many who are ultra conservative and/or ultra religious. McCain's turn makes me sad. Watching his speech tonight, I didn't expect to feel inspired, and I didn't. The one thing that honestly bothered me tonight was the "boo" responses from the crowd during the middle of McCain's speech. Seriously? Booing? That's so classy, GOP. I don't believe the old McCain would have stood for that kind of response. I don't recall any mass booing at the DNC, and I watched pretty closely.

It was a fine speech, though; he's just not my beloved not so Republican Republican anymore. Boo?

Monday, September 1, 2008

Yes We Can!

Yes, I did it. I watched about 24 hours of DNC coverage over four days last week... My father, and numerous colleagues, called me a freak. It's a bit belated, but just in case you were waiting with bated breath, here are a few of my thoughts on Days Three and Four of the DNC.

Day Three:
* It's amazing how, when you're watching Bill Clinton speak, you know you're watching one of the great orators of history. He continues to be remarkable and inspire like few others. The Obama/Biden campaign should be thrilled with both Bill's and Hillary's speeches. They rallied the perhaps hesitant troops.
* Oh, Joe! You didn't blow me away, but you were still great.

Day Four:
* Al Gore is right up there with the creators of Coldstone ice cream. Why doesn't everyone want to save the environment?! Not quite sure what to make of the comparison of Barack to Abraham Lincoln. I might have loved it, even if it did seem a little, um, much.
* Obama was, of course, stellar. He was, of course, inspirational. He, of course, laid the framework of his plan to change America. But who on earth decided to close with Brooks & Dunn's "Only in America"?! Seriously? Maybe Journey would have been a better choice? Reach the nostalgic Starbucks crowd and Middle America. Just a thought when it comes to choosing a campaign song. And, as Jon Stewart reminded me, "Only in America" was the same song that was played after Bush's 2004 acceptance speech. C'mon, the DNC must have a researcher somewhere on staff...

All of this talk of public service over the last few days reminded me that I am not doing enough with my life. As a freshman in college, I applied for a summer internship with Emily's List, a Democratic political action network. My favorite TA, Brett, suggested I apply. I would have anyway, but it certainly didn't hurt that I was in love with Brett, too. Unfortunately, I did not get the internship, nor did I get to spend that summer running around the Mall holding a sign that read, "Women Belong in the House... and the Senate!" It's a shame. That internship could have been the start of something beautiful. Not to say that I couldn't toss aside my ultra-posh New York City lifestyle for Washington, DC to get my hands dirty in something that I truly feel passionate about. Complete upheaval, anyone?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Rocky Mountain High

So maybe this will turn into a politically-oriented blog, after all... For what it's worth, here are my thoughts on days one and two of the DNC (because I have actually watched about 75% of CNN's six hours of daily coverage). I am both lame and love politics.

Day One:
* I'm taking bets on how much weight Howard Dean lost... comment if you want in
* I was not looking to be impressed by Michelle Obama's speech, but I really liked it (and she looked beautiful). It didn't move me to tears or anything (that was Ted Kennedy), but I appreciated the approach of letting the voters know who the Obama family is. I think it is a message that needs to get out. I've heard so many voters say that they voted for W (at least the first time) because they felt like they could sit down and have a beer with him. While I might completely disagree with this philosophy on choosing the leader of the free world, I do see why its important to vote for someone you find accessible. While I have no problem, and in fact prefer, to elect someone who I think is superior to me, I get that most people don't want to feel like they're being talked down to. I'm sure Barry drinks beer, too, not just Starbucks.
* Ted Kennedy is, still, just really freaking great. I cried a little bit. And I LOVED that the band played, "Still the One," as he was exiting the stage.
* I'm annoyed that only 14% of the DNC delegates is under age 36.
* Something about Candy Crowley irritates me. I can't put my finger on it.
* CNN tricked me into going to CNNPolitics.com to see Nancy Pelosi's speech. Very clever...
* Joe Biden says his wife is "hot." After that remark, he also mentioned that she has many advanced degrees. Good save, Joe! But, really, I'd be fine with someone brilliant calling me hot. Or calling me at all, actually... Ha.
* CNN: thanks for reminding me that there are "musical interludes" between speakers. Very effective use of chyron.
* James Carvell is hysterical. He was fiery mad that there wasn't any "red meat" in Day One. He wants some McCain-bashing and he wants some NOW!

Day Two:
* Why is CNN showing the same facts in the chyron tonight as they did last night?
* I love Barbara Boxer, and I love that she loves the environment!
* Rudy Giuliani? WTF? He's got pals at the DNC. Um, alright...
* Is it just me or does Campbell Brown have a bit of a lisp?
* Mark Warner... meh. Pretty bland, with the exception of his "maybe next year we will have an administration that believes in science" comment, which actually made me laugh out loud.
* Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer is fantastic. Enough "red meat" for you, Carvell?
* Who puts Hillary Clinton in these awful, unflattering colors?! Wardrobe aside, I was thrilled with Hillary's speech. I think she did exactly what she needed to do to unite the party and bring her supporters to stand behind Obama/Biden. She was full of energy and really hit her own messages, like universal healthcare, home. And LOVED the Twin Cities joke. Rock on, Hillary, rock on.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

stuck between stations on the radio

Before I started this post, I checked out the Stages of Grief on Wikipedia. The stages are not in the order I thought they were, so my new found knowledge almost makes this post moot. But, when I have let that stop me? So, instead...

I hit Stage Two like nobody's business yesterday. I originally thought that anger was Stage Four, or at least Three... but it's Two. So my theory on me going through the grieving process about the state of my life right now, is not so much linear. I've already done my share (and probably other people's) of Stages One and Three. Not to mention quite bit of Four (with special guest, ice cream). I've also experienced Stage Six -- nonexistent, but otherwise known as extreme bitchiness.

But, yesterday... whoa, Two. I had an explosion of anger in being left all alone to face everything.

(Editor's Note: This post originally went on for four more excruciating paragraphs. I was therapeutic for me to write, but wouldn't be for anyone to read. Suffice it to say that I'm angry, okay?)

In other news, I want to name my first born son Atticus. I mean, he beat out Gandhi, yo.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

I don't want a "Yes" Man

This morning's announcement was the first time I've been actually happy in weeks. Which, is really pretty pathetic, since this news only marginally affects my daily life -- but given what's actually gone down in my daily life these last few weeks, my happiness has to come from somewhere. I'll be taking a happy and hopeful moment where I can get it -- might as well be from the Obama/Biden ticket.


I was so excited, I nearly cried. Okay, fine... I did tear up a little bit. The first thing I did this morning after reading the details on CNN.com, was head to my TiVo and set CNN to record Monday through Thursday, 6pm to midnight. I was probably going to catch as much of the Democratic National Convention as I could anyway, but Biden made me clear my TiVo of all but four episodes of Grey's. That's something.

I don't really have any plans to go all political on this blog, since I don't feel qualified to speak to what isn't much more than a college minor and a strong personal interest in politics in my part (can't get through the week without the Sunday morning shows, though), so I'll keep this relatively brief. I've had a big thing for Joe Biden for years now. My first real memory of liking him was when he was a guest on Meet the Press shortly following the 2004 elections. It was a strange time for any Dem, and I listened to what he had to say. I said aloud, "this guy's really smart. He should be president." And even though he left the race for president early this year, I held out hope for him as a VP pick. I value his experience, his attitude, his opinions. I like that he often meets a question with wit first, and then buckles down and goes for brilliant. I dig him -- actually, I may have never felt so passionately about a politician before -- and I'm truly excited and hopeful that he's on the ticket.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Ted Leo would sing: oh, woe (woe woe)

Perhaps I should rename this blog "the Complaint Department." It's certainly become a vehicle for me to vent about the injustices that I (think I) encounter. Well, here's another one (actually, several) for the books. If you're already thinking, "whiny bitch..." then you should probably stop reading right about...

... now: Having no money sucks. And, when I say I have no money, I really mean it. My food budget for this week is $15. If I have to eat one more box of organic macaroni and cheese (I may be broke, but I will spend the extra 20 cents per box in hopes of saving the environment), I am going to hurl myself off the Verrazano Bridge. With my $15 for the week, I purchased two boxes of my organic mac and cheese, a box of Morningstar Farms faux-chicken sandwiches, a half-gallon of skim milk (not organic, because that would have been another $2.50!), the cheapest box of generic (non-organic, again, dammit) cereal that I could find, and some fudge bars (because, well, I can't face my situation without some kind of reduced-fat chocolate product). I have a few odds and ends left in my cabinets, too, from the shopping trip two weeks ago, where I had triple the budget (for $45 I was able to score the organic milk! Woo!), but its so frustrating to only spend money on rent, debts, (some) food and transportation, and have $5 left to show for my 10+ hour days at the office, with another five days left until payday. I can do it. I can do it. I can do it. Right?

Tomorrow at work, while I'm savoring my turkey sandwich and sucking down office-provided popcorn, I will have to make a budget so that I can figure out how to afford these two upcoming weddings with next to nothing. I adore both of the people getting married, so I wish I had the dough (or credit) to splurge and get them something really fabulous for their newlywed lives. It just means I need to get creative!

Annnnd on to rant #2: bugs. My apartment building has a small bug situation. It's been the case since I moved in (which, obviously, I was not privy to before I moved in), but since I'm incredibly clean, I can usually keep them at bay. Well, now that it's summer, that's been a lot more difficult. Don't get me wrong, its manageable and entirely normal in a large, older building, but it's still, um, gross. Just a year ago, I would have freaked and called in a strapping man to kill a bug, if I saw one. Now, well, without the luxury of a man (let alone strapping), I kill them myself. And. I. Am. So. Tired. Of. Killing. Freaking. Bugs. In. My. Freaking. Kitchen. Need to debate the pros and cons of moving again. And that, it seems, is going to (mostly) come down to dollars and cents as well.

My writing: One way to make more money to deal with said issues would be to write something and sell it. Definitely not easy, of course. But even harder when I can't write. I'm just blocked. My brain is mush. All of my ideas -- when I have one -- suck or are giant lame rip-offs of something someone more talented has already done. I want to write. I sit down in hopes of doing so. And then... I'm watching a rerun of How I Met Your Mother or checking my email or, sadly, just sitting, waiting for divine intervention. It's pathetic.

And, what's looming over me, when these situations (and work and weight loss and family and...) are stressing me out, I keep thinking, "where's my partner?" I thought I had one to help me through this ridiculousness. I want an escape, albeit temporary.

I feel dangerously close to saying, "all right, New York, you won. You've beaten me. Fuck you for taking away my hopes and my dreams."

Thursday, August 14, 2008

"this is so going in my blog!"

I love my office. I love my office. I love my office. In fact, I love it so much, here I am in it:

No, I don't work with hazardous materials; I work in PR. With a painting mask on. Uh huh... We're all wearing them today. It's the hot new accessory in all of the top toxic offices. We're so trend-setting right now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

ask the sky to fall on me

Today I just couldn't stop. Stop obsessing. Stop feeling. Stop talking. Stop thinking. Stop freaking. Stop being a freak. I need a re-education. I'm 26 years old and I need to learn how to be a normal, social person all over again.

Earlier this evening, I found a very close college friend of mine on Facebook. In the grand scheme of my life, we were extremely close for about a minute. Hell, even in relation to four years of college, we were only close for a minute. But, in the thick of it, we really connected. We met and we were just friends, in what that word is really supposed to mean. Like, in a nice mix of dot your i's with hearts way and have your kids call her "aunt" even though she's not way. We did everything together for a few months. She was a great friend to me -- she really listened, we exchanged witty banter, we had great fun. She really understood me in a way that I felt few people did. And, even now, I still think she understood me better than most people had or have since. It was a strange connection, but I was incredibly grateful for it. Knowing what I know now about myself, it's occurred to me that maybe I was kind of in love with her -- or the idea of her.

Fast forward a few months and we weren't speaking anymore. I've wondered for years what happened.

Enter Facebook, circa today. I looked her up, and there she was. And I friend requested her. I used up all 255 permitted characters in my greeting trying to explain that I really and truly missed her friendship and I still thought about her often. I sent the message before I could erase those 255 characters, therefore preventing myself from sounding like a complete stalker-freak. And away it went into cyberspace. My 255 character message in all it's freakishness.

I had thought about contacting her again for at least two years, actually. And yet. It felt like it had to be today. I just had to know. Immediately.

Putting out that friend request felt like offering my glass heart for her to smash into a million pieces. I'm doing a lot of that lately. This request for acceptance is a microcosm of my last few months. I'm left questioning. Vulnerable. In all my freakish glory.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

"So many words get lost. They leave the mouth and lose their courage, wandering aimlessly until they are swept into the gutter like dead leaves. On rainy days you can hear their chorus rushing past: IwasabeautifulgirlPleasedon'tgoItoobelievemybodyismadeof-
glassI'veneverlovedanyoneIthinkofmyselfasfunnyForgiveme
..."

- from The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

Monday, July 14, 2008

I would call it writer's block, if I felt I could call myself a writer...

I left work at a reasonable hour this evening -- that's pretty unusual for me for a Monday -- and I decided on the train ride home that I was going to sit down in my decadent air-conditioning and write. I mean, really write. So upon walking in my door and killing a bug, I nuked my Lean Cuisine and fired up the MacBook. Oh, sweet glorious love of my life -- my MacBook.

I opened my "novel." And by "novel," I mean the three written pages of nothingness I've spewed out over the last few months. Tonight, I wrote maybe six lines. Six whole lines. And now, more nothingness.

And here's what is holding me back... I think that I hate my idea. The entire event on which said "novel" is based... yep, pretty sure I hate it. I certainly never loved it. I sort of tolerated it for three pages. I briefly flirted with an idea that left a lot of be desired anyway. Now that the flirtation is old-hat, and the mild amusement I felt with my opening line -- about it really fucking hurting when you get hit by a bus -- has faded... and well, I am all-out loathing for my idea. See, the bus thing was a poor metaphor for the style of writing that I was -- at very best -- attempting. And, well, that's just stupid and weak.

I generally write out of my head. I'll sit on the train and write a paragraph or two in my head. Those very rarely see my MacBook or paper, though. I think I arrived at the whole bus thing on the train, actually. I've taken the bus here exactly three times. Don't like it much. Shouldn't write about a bus.

I'm missing my own point. It wasn't about a bus. Nevermind that.

So, since I hate this idea, and it's going nowhere slowly, I need a new one. Send help.

I want to believe I'm this writer trapped in a publicist's career with all of these great ideas that someone will one day want to publish. But not today. Today (and for the foreseeable future) I need help.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

show me the money

During my extended blogging hiatus, my financial situation not only did not improve, it actually worsened. If you can believe it, I am actually $550 overdrawn on my bank account as I type this. Pretty sure that means that my rent check will bounce by Monday. Can we say eviction?

I am overdrawn (mostly) because of my fake pregnancy. What? No, it's not the kind of thing that someone should lie about, but I did. I would probably be going to hell, if I really believed in it. I spent Monday in tears on my living room floor, trying desperately to defy my meekness and install an air conditioner myself. The thermometer in the room read 92 degrees (it was 105 outside in New York), and I after giving up before the early afternoon, I waited and waited and waited and waited and... you get the point... for an air conditioning installer person to rescue me. At promptly, um, midnight, he arrived. He only arrived because I claimed to be pregnant (I guess I'm glad I went off Weight Watchers last month). I just kind of blurted it out. I'm not a terrible person, I was just miserable and could not stand the heat any longer. Don't judge me.

I have air conditioning now and it's currently set at 64 degrees. It cost me approximately 1/3 of my paycheck (I wish I was kidding), and my next electric bill will only tell how much more before October.

I am also in the red because I went home to witness my little brother's high school graduation. Rental cars a expensive, not to mention that whole $4+ for a gallon of gas thing. Enterprise should rent hybrids. While visiting "home", I saw my high school math teacher that I was convinced I was going to marry. He's still single -- not sure how that can be-- and I briefly considered throwing myself at him. Had I been home another day, I might have.

I'm not sure why I can't get this whole grown-up finances shit together yet. Every month I skimp on everything and just a few days after my paycheck has been deposited I am f'ed again and can't buy milk. Twice this week I couldn't afford a cab to the Javits Center (it's about a million and a half long blocks away from everything else in Manhattan), that I would have been reimbursed for. That made me sad (and hot, because it's a loooong walk back to civilization).

So I'm pathetic and selling some things on eBay to try to get back into the black. Since all but two of my designer handbags were sold months ago, I've moved on to my DVD collection. I think the only thing in my entire apartment that has remained untouched in my quest to make quick cash has been my bookshelf. I can't bear to part with anything on it. Even if I don't always read the most challenging literature, having a small collection makes me feel smarter. And I certainly need something to maintain the little bit of self-esteem I have left before the bank takes that, too...

Friday, March 21, 2008

I miss you, Visa!

I really miss my credit cards. I went shopping after work today to purchase a birthday present. While searching for said gift, I found a few really cute spring-weather tops that I looked pretty cute in, being down TWENTY pounds and all! Woo! So I purchased them. Then, I got home and plugged the numbers into my budget... well, let's say that I am now experiencing some serious buyer's remorse and will make making some returns tomorrow. Not so woo anymore.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

they're no Christian Louboutin, but I make it work

I often talk about how I don't always feel like an adult. This transition from student to hip urban professional feels like an especially slow one. I mean, c'mon! I graduated four years ago! When I was 22 and walking up to the stage to get my diploma I thought I'd probably be married with a kid on the horizon by 26. And, at 26, I'm not ready (at least not for the kid part).

I don't revel in the freedom of adulthood the way that I thought I might. When your parents first drop you off at college for your freshman year, the freedom is incredible. You can drink, smoke, eat cereal from the dining hall for every meal, skip all of your classes and sleep all day if that's what you want. Because no one can say no. And if they try, you can lie about it. The freedom is power, and the power is intense and constant. Yes, I still occasionally find pleasure in having ice cream for dinner after a bad day, but it's a fleeting thing now. My thoughts quickly return to,"but I know better than this." Like my mother (or someone else's mother - maybe not mine who recently encouraged by 18 year old brother to get a fake ID). So even though I'm not ready, I'm someone's mother. I'm mine.

But, on the flip-side, being an adult isn't all self-policing -- it has its perks.

I decided today on the train that my favorite thing about being it is the cute shoes. Sure, my feet have been pretty much the same size since I was 13, but, thinking back on my early shoe collections, I was in a sad state. I'm sure I wore sneakers or hideously clunky shoes throughout high school. I recall a particular pair from early, and I seriously wish I had pictures... they were like little brown faux-leather boats on my size 6 1/2 feet. And I wore them ev-evr-y-where. I think when I went away to college I packed three or four pairs of shoes. That was probably all I had. Now... well, are you kidding? I think I have that many pairs under my desk at work. All adorable, flattering, delicate flats. Even my sneakers are cute. Geez, even my workout sneakers are cute. I wandered into New York in 2004 and finally woke up and said, "oooh! shoes!" like I had never seen a pair before. With a stressful job, too little money, a small apartment, blah, blah, blah, cute shoes are, so far, the highlight of my adulthood. I think of them as a microcosm of what i should be as a fully realized adult.

If you're thinking, "my, isn't she superficial and sad...," then I challenge you: think of your favorite pair of shoes in high school and your favorite pair now. See? You have much better taste now, right?

Friday, February 15, 2008

debt-free and 135 pounds or bust!

Inspired by my friend and fellow blogger Sarah's last post, I thought I would update on the progress in the world of being debt-free and skinny.

There was an important development in my financial situation this week, as I was promoted at work. The promotion scored me a new title, a good bit of a raise and a new office all to myself (but don't think I don't miss you, Evan!).

I'm especially pleased about the raise, obviously. I crunched the numbers, and assuming 30% to be taken out in taxes (that will go to fund a war that I think sucks and doesn't protect troops like my father who would gladly wear the 50 pound body armor despite the 125 degree heat if it were offered to them), I should see a little less than $200 more in each of my 24 paychecks per year. This should be a big help in my quest to be able to eat AND pay off my creditors. I likely will not see an increase until mid-next month, but I am already anticipating it by making a list of shoes that I wish to purchase from Zappos.com. Sounds counterproductive, right? No, not really. As spring approaches I will need at least a new pair of kicks appropriate for casual days at the office (as if there were any other days at my office) since I destroyed the adorable brown Converse pair from last year. So, Zappos - here I come (soon)!

Besides the shoes (and maybe one fantastic splurge when that first new paycheck clears my account... I totally need a hot spring bag), the plan for the rest of the funds is to: a). increase my food budget by about $50 per month ... b). make one additional, albeit small, payment to my one remaining credit card mid-month so that I can pay down that balance faster ... and c). increase my entertainment budget by 100%, as it is currently at next to nothing. To the movie theatre, I go! Anything left over from the raise will probably take up space in my checking account, which will increase my much needed padding, because living paycheck to paycheck sucks like nobody's business.

As for the scale, I'm down 18 pounds as I am about to begin week 8! The number on the scale is nice, but the best part has been the two incidents this week where people in my office have said, and I quote, "damn, you look great!" One office pal even stopped a nearby conversation to announce my weight loss and had everyone comment on how smokin' hot I look. One of the girls who was brought into the conversation is new to the office, so I was pleased to say, "yeah, you didn't know me when I was a cow." Moo no mo'!

I still have a ways to go on both of these new test-of-my-usually-lacking-willpower adventures, but I am pleased to report that at least two of the things I aimed to change in the new year are going quite well. I'm hoping by the end of summer I will be able to combine my successes with a celebratory vacation on a beach somewhere. Donations (and company) are still welcome, though.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Bob Thompson is always right

As a television major in college, I took many a television criticism class. And, since I went to the prestigious Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University (which, um, didn't wow employers in the real world like they said it would), I studied under the professors who, at the time, I referred to as "the committee on television as fine art." At the helm of my imaginary committee included Bob Thompson (you've seen him on CNN 10,000 times, even if you don't recall his name). I, like so many others, was a huge fan of Dr. Thompson. So, when I read the list below in one of the entertainment trades, I wanted to drive to Syracuse and hear him lecture on it. Maybe he has a blog...

Mensa's Top Ten Smartest Shows of all Time (in no particular order):

M*A*S*H
Cosmos
CSI
House
West Wing
Boston Legal
All in the Family
Frasier
Mad About You
Jeopardy

*courtesy of FanCast.com


I have to say that I feel especially vindicated that Mad About You made this list. It is one of my favorite television shows of all time, because the writing was always sharp, witty and real. The characters of Paul and Jamie were flawed, as was their relationship, but at their core they really loved one another as partners and friends and navigated coupledom in a very honest (and New York) way. If I could summarize my ideal mate, a little bit of Paul Buchman would be in the mix.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

it can't all be wedding cake

I've always liked the idea of a secret handshake. The sentiment is so warm and romantic. Something to share. It's just for you.

I've spent an exhausting amount of time in the last month analyzing my "romantic" relationship. Most recently, I've been thinking about the things that used to be just for me. I dream about them. I know that a relationship is hard work. It can't all be wedding cake. But sometimes its hard not miss the whirlwind romance of the beginning.The secret handshakes. The question for me - right now - is, how much of that is okay to lose after a few years of daily life? And how much do I need to feel beautiful and special and loved?

If I could pinpoint one thing I've wanted since I was a little girl, it wasn't a job (I wanted to be a fashion designer, a writer and a talk show host at any given time). It was a family of my own. A genuine opportunity to distance myself from my upbringing and do things my way. Is that selfish? I come from a strange and tangled background of divorced parents and bad stepparents, and the one thing that allowed me some comfort during the tumultuous times was the thought that someday I would build a family of my own with someone. I would have a spouse who understood where I came from and where I'm going, and maybe some children followed after I had an opportunity to travel with said spouse - literally face the world together. My partner.

My former roommate used to mock me for loving weddings and for fantasizing about my own. It all seemed very superficial to her. On the surface, it is. But what I wasn't able to articulate at the time was that this dream wedding was the beginning of my new family. This event would put it on paper that I was moving on to construct a new life - as far away as possible from the one that I had known.

We met boys we really liked at the exact same time. The short of it is that she got married first. There was no mistaking that I was jealous. I was still very much involved with the boy that I had met when she met hers (said "romantic" relationship of then and now), and he didn't get it either. You don't want her life, so why be jealous? But her marriage hit me on a very visceral level. She's started. I'm not. We don't speak anymore. She might think its because of this, and I'm almost ashamed that it sort of is. Not entirely, of course, about a thousand other things lead to the demise of our friendship, but I can't lie that her wedding announcement didn't help matters.

I didn't mean for this to be about her. She was a nice person and I hope she's very happy.

I want to be, too. Things like secret screenames and single phrases used to make me very happy. But that was in the beginning. When those things were just for me. Now those things are gone. Shared with others.

I'm not sure what I expected. Whatever it was, it was unrealistic. I left that relationship a while back. It was natural - that opened the door to share what I thought of as mine with others. He could. Turns out that I couldn't. And then I came back and wanted him to tell me that he couldn't either. But he didn't. And we didn't re-enter the honeymoon phase of our relationship. It went straight back into being hard. And I wasn't ready for that.

There's an object that I see occasionally that always shakes me up, even if I'm in the best of moods. Its a stupid little something that I wanted a long time ago that I didn't get - for whatever reason. But now it's there. I can only assume that it was purchased to impress someone else. That object, every time I see it, sends me down a ridiculous spiral of self-hatred. I tell myself I'm not pretty; I'm not witty enough; I'm not intelligent; I'm too fat. It's ridiculous because its a common object, yet it brings out all of these horrible things in me. But it was there before me (or so I once heard). Not during. Then it was after. New and shiny. I want it broken in a million pieces on the floor. So I can maybe have something that is just for me again.

Friday, February 1, 2008

... that's why you will not survive: a week in review

Sunday: Felt sick all day. Stayed on my couch. Became bored very quickly. Was unable to nap.

Monday: I spent a large portion of my day at the DMV. Should have been a good indication that this week would blooooooooow. Really, though, considering you only go to the DMV every few years, the waiting and waiting and waiting isn't that bad. I guess. And, well, I did move into the city well over a year ago and am only getting around to changing my driver's license now. But, I will make my obligatory complaint about the DMV: what's up with not showing me my photo before its printed? This is the digital age -- one would think it would be pretty darn easy. So in just a few days when I receive my official license in the mail I can find out that one eye is closed and my bra strap is hanging out like a hooker. Neat. Can't wait.

Tuesday: Figured out that I only had $85 until next Thursday. And then realized that I was about to go over the limit on my one and only credit card. So fifty of those dollars went to prevent that.

Wednesday: Colleague called out my picky eating habits in front of a client. And that whole Pop-Up Lost episode wasn't very helpful in solving any of the island's mysteries. Experienced Project Runway withdrawal.

Thursday: Spent my lunch time tracking down five copies of the new Backyardigans CD so that I wouldn't ruin a good relationship with a journalist. Then I blew 6 Weight Watchers points on half of a big cookie from Cosi. I had missed cookies, but I can eat nothing but salads for the rest of the week if I expect to lose any weight before Sunday.

Friday: I am tired and annoyed with most people I work with. Couldn't eat lunch until 4pm, and I had to spend my last $10 on delivery. Jeans I tried on didn't fit.

In retaliation of this week, I am blogging at work and listening to Spoon's "The Underdog" loud enough for most of the office to hear me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

my nervous twitch: shopping

Today, because of goings-on at work, through me into a nervous tailspin. My first instinct when I feel nervous/otherwise unstable? Straight to the online shopping.

I'm the epitome of the emotional shopper. Bad day + credit card = new sweater! Or a new throw for my couch... or new eyeshadow... or new pair of shoes... you get the idea.

After lunch with one of my work BFFs, I went straight for the west elm white sale online. Within ten minutes, I had an amethyst vase, two couch throws (I hadn't decided which I coveted most yet) and two designer storage bins in my shopping cart. And west elm takes Discover! And I almost did it. I almost caved into what I craved.

All of it's still sitting in my cart, with the screen minimized in my toolbar. Will she or won't she?

I realllllly want to. I could use the storage bins to cop a squat on my living room floor and finally sort through all of those pay stubs and important receipts that I have been avoiding for so long. And I feel like a throw on my couch in that green tea shade of green would really pull together the living room. And the vase is just pretty and on sale.

On the other get-out-of-debt-before-it-kills-you hand, I know none of these things fit nicely into that "needs" column. And that's supposed to be the ultimate credit card spending decision maker.

And that sucks.

Tune in tomorrow to see if I officially maxed out my Discover card...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

financial f'ups that aren't my fault!

The Get Out of Debt train stalled yesterday when, on my regular payday, my company neglected to pay me. Actually, they neglected to pay everyone here who has direct deposit. So, since I had spent my last two dollars on a carton of milk the night before and didn't pack my lunch yesterday, I had to use my credit card to buy my lunch online from Supermac, therefore deflating both my no credit cards policy and my otherwise good weight loss. And no one else nearby takes Discover. Supermac, of course, had run out of salads before 2pm when I finally couldn't wait to eat any longer, so I had to eat a 9-piece Mac-n-cheese nugget lunch. Which, was, um, kind of seriously awesome. But the least healthy lunch ever. After about the seventh nugget, I felt too guilty and handled them over to the next person to walk into my office.

Thankfully, today I was both paid and remembered to pack a salad. Two cups of lettuce and a few grape tomatoes sure fills me up! What about you?

Of course, not getting paid yesterday was not my only financial woe... My bank also neglected to send my new order of checks to the proper address, so I am at high risk for identity theft. Sweet! I spent 45 minutes on the phone with a risk assessor yesterday who only further aggravated me by not fully explaining my options. Closing my account didn't seem reasonable to me when I still had over $300 in pending transactions. I always feel guilty for not being extremely polite to customer service people -- I know they didn't f'up my checks -- but sometimes you just gotta be stern. Eventually they agreed to do things my way. I felt like I should have asked for a lot more for their screw up, but I didn't want to push my luck. I'm no luck-pusher.

I also haven't cut up my cards yet. Yesterday, I was pretty glad I hadn't. But, I do need to get on that.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

::snip, snip::

Hi, my name is Ashley, and I have quite a bit of debt.

(Hi, Ashley.)

Earlier this week, I took a big step and got myself a debt counselor. She's great and we have a good plan to get me debt-free now. I feel good.

The thought of cutting up all of my credit cards makes my feelings less good, bordering on bad. I cut up my cards a few years ago. There are pictures. I am wearing a red tee shirt and pouting. Clearly, that cutting ceremony was all for not.

But I'm going to do it. Probably this weekend. I will sit on my couch alone with my scissors and likely shed a tear or two that my days of trying new fab moisturizers and anti-fade shampoos is over. At least until I can increase my income -- by a raise at work, prostitution, marrying well, or some combination of those.

Being on a tight budget also means that I have to find something new to do with any downtime at work. No more tooling the beauty and shopping blogs for cool stuff. Today, I followed my normal ritual and found this, which I now totally covet. But, even at half price, it's no-dice. I hate you, Visa! And your little friends Mastercard, American Express and Discover, too!

(Of course, should anyone be looking to buy me a "gee, I think you're wonderful and you deserve a nice surprise" gift, that's a great suggestion. I also need a new wallet.)

Thursday, January 3, 2008

What the #@*$%*#!

Just when I resolve to lose a whole mess of weight, the milk-chocolately powers that be decide to resurrect Peanut Butter Snickers?!?

What. Ever.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

2008: the (borderline) obsession continues

Not gonna lie... I kinda thought I'd be pushing out some kids by now. When I was a youngin' growing up in a town where most moms of toddlers were in their mid-twenties, I thought, I'll probably have a kid by 25. And that was cool with me. I'm kind of awesome with kids and always wanted to have a few.

Now that I'm approaching my latter twenties and am childless (and unmarried, and broke...), I've come to appreciate the importance of children not outnumbering parents. They're cute and all, but tireless and I get pretty damn tired just living my own life (that more of a 56 year old, rather than the swinging 26 year old singles I see here).

Anyway, the biological clock isn't ticking, per se, but I'm aware that it will be before 30 rolls around. This is fueled, mostly, by the fact that I spend a large portion of my day searching for hip mommy blogs and sorting through oodles and oodles of adorable kiddie products like elephant-shaped humidifiers and cashmere baby blankets.

My favorites, though, are the ridiculously awesome onesies. I'm pretty sure that when my baby brother was a, well, baby, onesies came only in solids colors of the pastel hue. Ick.

Now, these exist:

























And they are seriously cool. Probably not worth that whole birthing thing for just yet, but my kid will be stylin' when he/she does arrive.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Crappy Year: Good TV, Good Movies and Good Records

2007 sucked. These things, in my opinion, didn't.

Favorite film:
1. Once
2. Juno
3. The Simpsons Movie

Favorite Album:
1. Bloc Party - A Weekend in the City
2. The Arcade Fire - Neon Bible
3. Once: Music from the Motion Picture

Favorite Episodes of Television:
1. Lost, Season 3 finale
2. Weeds, Season 3 finale
3. Grey's Anatomy, "Drowning on Dry Land"/"Some Kind of Miracle"

You're welcome.