Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Soundtrack Edition (7)

Been awhile, eh? In the meantime, here's a idea of "life" right now... And if you're not already listening to B&S, you clearly should be.

(Track 7) Belle & Sebastian, "I Want the World to Stop"

Monday, September 20, 2010

Here comes the sun

Last week, one of my closest friends in New York abandoned me. Can you believe that? He just up and moved to that other coast. Freaking Los Angeles! Except that he's going to do something amazing -- something that a lot of people, especially here, and especially me -- can only fantasize about. Yes, that's right, he's off to Hollywood to make porn.



He left me to write. He's going to be incredible. He IS incredible.

But enough about him. This blog is about ME, remember?

At his second going away party (dude knows how to make an exit), I met one of his college roommates for the first time. This guy had just flown into NY because his play is about to be produced. His. Play. Produced. Incredible. We got to talking about writing and the writer's struggle to make time to do what you love to do while still working 100 hours a week in a job that can actually pay your rent. Or close enough.

Early in the conversation he asked me what time I wake up in the morning. A complicated question for me because, well, it varies wildly. But without going into my running schedule, or my work schedule, or lack thereof, I said eight. He replied, "get up at five." I pretended not to really hear him. But then he made his case. And it was similar advice to what the books and the blogs and lions, tigers and bears suggest - you just have to train yourself to make the time. But, unlike the books, etc. this guy had literally just flown in because rehearsals were starting on HIS play the next day. So he did it. Why would I not take the sage advice of someone sitting in front of me saying this is what you have to do to do what you want.

I woke up at 5am this morning. I had my alarm set for six, except that I wasn't really sleeping much anyway -- too nervous that on my first day of doing this I would crap out. So I showered, ate a delicious bagel, and have been sitting here staring at my computer for at least the last hour. Daylight is beginning to fill the living room window. I accomplished this blog post. Which, well, is something. Rome wasn't built in a day, you know. And my writing is equal to or greater than that of Roman scholars. I mean, obviously. Have you not read this always-riveting blog?

Friday, September 10, 2010

So I hear you're depressed...?

One of the really great things about the internet is that it lends itself to a very open exchange of one's feelings. A subject that I would write about in my journal when I was fifteen, I now have the option of allowing others to read those thoughts via a blog. Sharing my journal with someone at fifteen would have been taboo. Now it's what people do, and I love that. And if I'm not comfortable enough with someone reading it, I won't write it. At least not here.

Obviously, I've written quite a bit about my episodes with depression, and I'm grateful to have had a place to go to feel heard when I needed to. But sometimes I don't want to be heard. Sometimes I want to disappear into the background. Sometimes I even want to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge. As someone who has experience long and short episodes of deep depression, I know my triggers and can now recognize them before they take me out back and beat me over the head with a blunt object. Oh, and they can hit like a sonsofbitches.

BUT! Today my therapist gave me a nice piece of advice to combat one bad day's feelings before they become a monster.. Write down the things that you like about your life/job/relationship etc. on an index card and put it in your wallet/desk/etc. Then look at it when you're feeling less than good. Simple. Love.

Sunday, September 5, 2010


A brief insight into my only interests, as evidenced by my purchases yesterday at the Housing Works used bookstore:

Friday, August 20, 2010

Is it a girlcott for me?

Rachel was the first one to inform me of the anti-gay scandal of misappropriated Target funds and the subsequent boycott. I'm not exactly sure how it flew under the radar for me, as I generally pride myself on being pretty well informed. In a strange way, my reaction to this news was visceral. A store that I love, that I respect, has, in essence, betrayed me.

I actually have a deep love for Target. It has, for a very long time, been one of my favorite stores. Not just for their low prices and quality. Target has often been a safe-haven of shopping for me. Over the last several years, when I was feeling especially down, I often found myself there for the bright lights, human contact and discounted make-up. I always spend an inordinate amount of money there, but I am rarely remorseful. From what I knew, Target treated their employees well and still managed to remain very competitively priced. And sometimes you just don't want to spend $9 on hand soap. Target always had a fairly nice representation of eco-friendly products, and that was just more for me to love.

Once before, I had a similar reaction to a brand I enjoyed utilizing their resources to "invest" in something I disapproved of -- Snapple. I used to drink Snapple Apple like it was my job. And not just any job, but a job that I enjoyed. Then, a few years ago, my then-boyfriend's mother told me that the upper management at the company supported the anti-abortionist movement. And I was done. I had one last ceremonial Snapple Apple, and said goodbye.

I fully believe in individuals supporting - with their time or funds - a cause that they find worthwhile. I accept that sometimes those are not the same causes that I find worthwhile. Not everyone is an Earth-hugging, bleeding heart lefty. I mean, sometimes I don't know why they're not, but they aren't. But in the cases of Snapple and Target, at least for me, I cannot support those efforts when they so strongly disagree with my own opinions. I am in love with and live with someone of the same sex. I support gay marriage, even if I'm not actively pursuing it for myself. But I also support all marriage. I've never had an abortion, but I strongly believe in a woman's right to choose. If I had a car, I would also not purchase gas from BP. It's my choice to do so, just as its the company's choice to support platforms that I find appalling.

I feel hurt by the decision of Target's masterminds to contribute to a campaign that is so outwardly anti-gay. I wish I could overlook it, especially since I do love the store, but I can't.

I'll be accepting suggestions on new places to shop for hand soap that costs less than $9.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Older is so much better

Ive mentioned to a few friends lately that I am anxious to turn 29 in a few months. I've often gotten a puzzled look. Yes, 29, not 30. I am so ready for 30. Bring 30 on with a big ol' party and lots of cake and champagne. Twenty-nine, less so.

The anxiety that I feel about 29 is a lot like the anxiety I felt at 17 and 20. Something big is coming, but you still have a whole year to wait out. I'd rather just be there already. Perhaps, in some way, because most of my friends have already hit it and I'm one of the younger ones. I'm envious. I don't like lagging behind. Why didn't my parents just have sex just a year earlier? I mean, really, they clearly weren't thinking about me then. How their only child would one day feel ready to turn the big 3-0 but still have a year and four months to go. Rude.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Overheard in NY

Overheard today at Starbucks: "So I just don't wanna talk about any of this money financial shit today, okay?"

Random Dude, I hear ya.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Oh, the places you'll go!

I've been freelancing/writing full-time (er, unemployed?) for about six weeks now, and I've more traveling since than I think I ever have. No place to be at 9am?! I can go to IKEA! Or get a delicious bagel across the street! See the sights! Like, you know, Court Street! Jog along the promenade! Look at me, I work from home!

Much to my mother's delight, I also went "home" to Pennsylvania for a week and a half. The last time I was home for that long? My junior year of college. Really. It felt a little strange to plan the trip, knowing that only a few weeks before I thought I would be moving back there for good. I looked for jobs and apartments and contemplated which local bank I would use, and how far I could feasible be from a Sheetz. But my life is a little wackadoo sometimes and that didn't happen the way I thought it would. Because, ya know, I was going to be a real WRITER and make it here in New York, finally.


Hershey and the surrounding area is never the same as I left them. When my hometown got its own Dairy Queen, I was like, WHOA. This time I came back and heard about a WEGMANS. I was concerned... that I'd died and gone to HEAVEN! I didn't get to visit the Wegmans, but it was reassuring to know that it was there.

Next week I will venture even further and travel to Florida via one of those airplane things I've heard so much about. I hear it's sunny there. And there's more air conditioning! Weeee!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Life in the time of air conditioning

My "new life," as I like to call it, improved significantly when we had a professional install our industrial-sized air conditioner last Friday. It's 15,000 BTUs of goodness. And I didn't even have to fake a pregnancy to get it. One of the nights last week when it was 976 degrees at 10pm, Rachel and I were talking about how our grandparents didn't have air conditioners and they just toughed it out. They sweat and were miserable bitches to one another. That's the way things were. My grandparents were better people than me, obviously, because I was freaking hot.

This week has been nothing but humidity-free bliss when indoors. I occasionally venture outside, though. To do silly things like run. I took up running. Yes, me. "My middle name is 'exercise is stupid.'" Yep.

I run on the promenade, two blocks from the new apartment. It's pretty. I see the Brooklyn Bridge. I try desperately not to compare myself to the scads of late upper middle class thirty-something mothers running with their strollers. They have hot bods, and my goal to look like Kim Kardashian seems eons away. Each morning that I run, there's a contingency of elderly Asian women walking and stretching alongside me. I do my best to keep up with them. It's challenging enough for now.

Then I come inside to the air conditioning, collapse on the floor in front of it, and all is right with the world again.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Soundtrack Edition (5, 6)

One of my all-time favorites... Morrissey, you are my idol.

(Track 5) The Smiths, "This Charming Man"

And this, too, because it was just freaking ridic!

(Track 6) Alex Wong and Twitch Hip Hop, So You Think You Can Dance

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Recently in therapy I recognized a pattern in my behavior - - every three or four years, I basically uproot my life and start again. Chaos ensues. Three years after college ended, I left my boyfriend, moved out of our apartment and quit my job. Then I started dating women. ANOTHER three years later (also known as last month), I quit my job, decided to freelance and "make a go of it" as a writer. Of note, also, I moved again (with little" although some, of the same drama and gravitas of the last time).

It’s no wonder to me that I prefer the smaller aspects of my life to remain familiar and comfortable. Although I attempt to keep up with current music and TV, etc. my favorite band will likely always be The New Pornographers and favorite series to be Buffy. Other things come and go, but I have a few constants. Addiction to coffee. Gap jeans. A slight Dutch accent when I say "radiator."

Today I spent the day in Philadelphia with one of my closest friends from college. We've kept in touch over the six years since we sat together at Newhouse graduation, but have yet to end up back in the same city.

We planned my visit the last time he was in New York - a fun cheesesteak-filled date in the city of Brotherly Love. Today we connected as well, if not better than we had in college. We ate, drank and laughed about the acronym for his family's restaurant being HOBAG. We talked about careers and marriage and families because that’s what old friends so when they're rapidly approaching 30.

He wooed me with Philly's best coffee and cupcakes. He knows me. I know him. I realized this August we will have been friends for ten years. I love sharing that longevity and familiarity with someone. If I’m not knocked up by 35, he's my guy.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Making up is hard to do

My brother and I got into kind of a big fight. We didn't speak for a week. A week. That's the longest my brother and I have ever gone without speaking. We're freakishly close.

It all started because I had a tad bit of an overreaction. For several weeks now, I've been planning a trip back home for a week - my longest in quite some time. Last week, my brother informed me that while I would be in town - the entire time I would be in town - he'd be helping a coworker's daughter's best friend's sister (or something) move across the country to California. He'd be gone nine days, and I'd be home for five. No overlap.

More than angry, I was disappointed, although I didn't express it that way. So, he got huffy, I got huffy. Some Yeiser blood a-raging. Then, THEN! my brother came to town for one night for a Yankees-Phillies game last week. The game was a gift to him from his best friend (a Yankees fan who grew up just an hour from Philadelphia... traitor), so I only expected to see the boys for dinner and then they'd be off to the game drinking illegal brewskis and yelling at pitchers. Except we didn't get a chance to have dinner. I saw them for no more than ten minutes. Again, disappointing.

My brother called after the game to ask me to meet up with them before their bus. I was already in bed, reading. There was a misunderstanding - a gigantic one - and a continuation of the previous knock-down drag-out brawl ensued via text that night and the following morning.

Then we didn't speak. For a week.

After the full week had gone by, I text-raised the white flag, "so, can we be done with this whole not talking thing?" He said okay, and then we were.

Fighting with my brother is especially difficult for me because I am extremely protective over the kid. And by the kid, I mean the almost 21-year-old who could totally kick my ass in a minute flat. But he's my little brother. I used to watch Barney and Power Rangers with him, so I deserve some cred for being a superior sis.

At least we're good now.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Soundtrack Edition (4)

Kickin' it old school to say goodbye to Bender.

(Track 4) Boyz II Men, "End of the Road"

Friday, May 28, 2010

Two weeks

My last day at my office is officially June 9th. June 9th is less than two weeks away. That's, like, really soon.

I've worked some crazy hours in this place. It's caused me migraines. And anxiety attacks. I've been the bitchy one and the funny one. I've had outbursts and have sobbed quietly in the bathroom.

For all intents and purposes, this was my second job out of college. The third on my resume, but my second real career experience. I had no idea how a PR firm functioned when I started here. I got a job as an "Account Executive," and honestly didn't know what I would be doing day-to-day. I just knew that I was ready to leave my previous job, after much angst. Being 28 and only having had two real jobs feels a little strange. Like I missed something.

As my last day gets closer, I'm having a hard time imagining how the office will be without me. I know that sounds completely narcissistic, and it is. But the office will be a little different without me. I will be a little different without it. My thoughts are still coming together on this whole leaving thing.

Someone else is going to have to cut the ice cream cakes in the conference room. I wonder if my boss will re-hire me as a freelance cake-cutter?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

I believe in duct tape, too, Miles...

I will be vacating the death trap of an apartment in a mere three weeks. I can hardly believe I made it a year. Nothing worked for most of that time. For instance, here's my father fixing the wall when it started to crumble because I hung a curtain rod. A curtain rod was too heavy for a load-bearing wall. I strongly suspect that the place is largely held together by tape.

Problems with the building from memory. I am probably blocking things out...
1. lack of hot water in showers
2. balconies leaked into apartments below causing water damage
3. broken intercom (for nine months)
4. heat routinely needing to be "rebooted"
5. warped floors (likely a symptom of #2)
6. management company neglects to pay ConEd bill for common areas of building
7. cracking walls
8. terribly insulated windows / walls
10. overall contempt for everyone associated with the building

Over the past week, at least two of our neighbors have moved out on our floor. And, from the looks of it so far, there are no new tenants. Perhaps the management company wasn't able to get three times the market value on our crappy ass apartments like they originally thought.

My new brick-and-mortar apartment, however, can be vouched for. It's actually a historical building, constructed in the 1800-something-or-others. I'd have to look on the sign on the outside of the building.

Friday, May 21, 2010

I quit. And other life-changing things I've done lately.

Hey, guess what? I quit my job!

Now that that's out of the way...

I've been wanting to blog about my decision to leave my job basically since I decided to leave my job. A few weeks ago I walked into my boss' office, told him that I was thinking about moving, and that I would be leaving the company. And just like that I quit my job. In reality, it was quite possibly the least dramatic scene I played out in my head. My boss was supportive, albeit sad to be losing such a stellar employee. Naturally. And I'm sad, too. I've been at my agency for nearly three and a half years, and some of the people I've met here are very high on my favorite people ever list. My work isn't always pleasant - I interact with a lot of crazy people - but the people here are incredible. They're energetic and entertaining and engaging. I'd take a bullet for most of them.

There was no storming out in a tizzy. I had a rational conversation which resulted in my resignation. It was surprisingly easy. In the meantime, though, I'm working just as hard as I ever did here. I care about the people I'm leaving behind, so I want to leave my position in the best possible condition for them.

When the announcement was made in a staff meeting, a number of people asked where I was going. I'm not going anywhere (at least not yet). I've decided to take the summer and write. I hope people will pay me for it, but I don't know if they will. I don't know much right now, and I am anxious much of the time. In my head there are lovely visions of me getting up in the morning at a reasonable hour, walking to the YMCA for a swim, and then taking my laptop to the promenade to edit my novel and work on freelance projects to pay the bills. There's also a part where I watch Lost from beginning to end again. It's really very pleasant there in my head. I'm leaving reality for it.

What will happen? What will become of me? I see a Starbucks apron in my future. Which, honestly, is totally cool with me for the time being. I'm going through my pre-30th birthday change of life, and I will drink a lot of coffee while figuring out my next move. It may be across the country (what's up, Portland?), or down the street.

As an exceptionally anxious person, though, these last few weeks have been an extraordinarily difficult exercise in making a decision, and more importantly, making peace with it. If it turns out that this is a big fat life fail, then at least I know. I have plenty of blankets that I can cover my head and hide under.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Keep the car running

Across the street and about a half-block down from my apartment there is a 24-hour tire shop. As one might imagine, it's a bit noisy. It doesn't help that my apartment has floor to ceiling windows that are about as thick as a sheet of paper. Often, if a truck is passing by on 4th Avenue, it sounds as though its actually coming through my bedroom. On Saturday I was talking to my mother on the phone when 12-or-something- or other-wheeler went past the building, and my mom asked "where the hell ARE YOU?" She thought maybe I was hanging out on the freeway. Nope, I'm in my bedroom SIX FLOORS UP. And it still sounds like I'm standing in traffic.

I'm not even sure why Park Slope needs a 24-hour tire shop. Yes, people have cars -- cars are everywhere even though I'm pretty sure 85% of them aren't actually needed for anything. If you need baby formula in the middle of the night there's a bodega open somewhere within a few block radius. That's one of the great things about New York, of course. Get your Ben & Jerry's and lottery scratch-off fix anytime, anywhere.

The shop is just tires, too. If you're in the neighborhood at 3am on a Tuesday morning and feel the urge to buy yourself some snow tires? Come on down to 4th Avenue. I'll hear you. I won't be sleeping, don't worry.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Soundtrack Edition (2)

This refers to my tumultuous relationship with New York, not Rachel. Now please enjoy this delightfully campy (HA!) video.

(Track 2) A Camp, "Love Has Left the Room"

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Soundtrack Edition (1)

Writing this blog is an enormous release for me... usually. Sometimes, though, it's also an exercise in self-censorship and self-restraint. That said, if I can't always articulate about how I feel, a song can express it for me.

So, without further ado, this week's soundtrack is courtesy of the lovely indie goddess Nicole Atkins.

(Track 1) Nicole Atkins, "Neptune City"

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Or, as we called it in the newsroom, "Sucky University"

I became interested in mommy blogs because of my job. It was important for me to read these blogs in to order understand how to pitch them, why to pitch them and more importantly, which ones not to pitch. I keep reading them, though (okay, FINE, I am completely addicted to half a dozen of them), because I want to know more about these women's experiences in toddler-raising. I'm fascinated by motherhood; I'm in awe of motherhood. I want to BE a mother. And that's not to discount that many of these blogs are exceptionally well-written.

One of the blogs, or more accurately vlogs, that I follow is Momversation. Some of my coworkers make fun of me. Well, its on the list of things that they mock me for. I think it's interesting, so there. The topics really don't hold any relevance to my daily life, but neither do a lot of things I read.

The topic today is saving for your kids' college years, and it reminded me of one of the reasons that I'm in so much debt -- my parents didn't pay my college. And boy, has that effed me over.

I was allowed to choose where I went to school, and for that I am grateful. Money didn't really factor into my decision because I was 18 and pretty clueless about what real debt actually meant for my life. My parents always urged me to go to college, but I think they only really did that because I showed such an interest in going very early on. When I was about 9 or 10 I asked my dad for a UCLA sweatshirt from the local reasonably trendy store in the mall. He conceded and I wore it until I wore it out. It was gray and the UCLA was printed in blue-purple-pink plaid fabric letters. Very cool when I was 10.

I started seriously looking for colleges when I was in ninth grade. I like to be ahead of the game. At that point, though, I was planning on going to St. Louis. As if I might fit in in the middle of the country!

I went to Syracuse for three reasons: 1. The campus was pretty (and, along with that I had NO idea how cold it would get). 2. They had/have a great journalism program, and I was going to be Katie Couric (see my yearbook). 3. Boston University rejected me. Rude.

Had I gone to the most economical school to which I was accepted, I would have gone to Drexel. I mulled over University of Hartford, too. But see above.

My dad and I had an agreement that I would be paying for school through scholarships, loans and grants. But, really, I didn't know what that meant. It wasn't until I graduated and started seeing the student loan bills that I really came to terms with the fact that I went to a school that cost a small fortune. Oops.

I wouldn't trade my education at Syracuse for anything. I wouldn't trade my social experiences there either. I fell in love, out of love, made best friends and "swam" in bathtubs after too much alcohol. It was pretty great. I had my problem with it, sure, and complained endlessly about the snow and the cold for four years, yes.

But now that graduation is many years behind me and I am literally paying for choices I made when I was just barely a legal adult, I see why there are commercials on TV that ask parents if their IRA or whatever is prepared to pay for their child's college. Because I'm probably a solid five years away from giving birth and I should have started putting away college money yesterday. I don't really know why my parents didn't, but they didn't. And hey, that's cool. I needed food growing up more than the expectation that I would go on to study at a private university. But I'll always be a little bit (or, you know, a lot) jealous of my peers who had their educations paid for and still went to a good school like I did. But life is unfair that way. I had the food, the education, and now I'm broke. Super.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Someday you may know my wrath (but not really)

For whatever reason (Mom? Dad? Therapist?), I kind of like to fight. I am combative and argumentative and mean when I want to be. I'm not violent though. I won't kick you in the teeth or pull your hair or punch you in the face. Unless, of course, you're the girl I went to elementary school with who upset me at the roller skating rink and then I DID punch you in the face. Sorry about that. But, ya know, I was 12 and all pre-hormonal or something?


Now I don't actually punch people in the face, but I say I will (to someone else). If you didn't know me, and heard the way I talk about people sometimes when I'm angry, you would be shocked. You might even have me committed. Officer, there's this fiery little redhead over there who is talking about burning down someone's house and kicking their puppy. Um, right. Well I just TALK like a psychopath, I swear. Those who I say these awful things to (but about other people) know better than to take me seriously. Because they know that I cry at commercials and would go far, far out of my way to prevent actually hurting someone's feelings. If the FBI is reading this, I swear I could pass the psych eval.

It's only in the really baddest of the bad situations that I'm in that I ever let myself slip and say something horrible to the person I'm actually angry with. Like, say you're breaking up with me and I happen to spit out a line about how mad your departed grandmother would be if she knew what you were doing to me. Ooops. The things you think versus the things you say. I should not have said that. But, to be a little more fair, you shouldn't have been doing the behind-my-backness that you were.

And maybe once or twice I tried to put a curse of sorts on a stepparent. Or I threw water in your face when you insulted my daddy.

This morning, I had a little episode where I wasn't sure if I wanted to tear off someone else's face or my own. See, I don't know if you've noticed how much repulsive pollen is in the air right now, but it has so much pull on me that I actually CAME TO WORK WITHOUT MAKEUP ON TODAY. Yes. My skin is excessively dry and irritated from the amount of medication I have been taking to merely function during this allergy season, and my eyes especially are swollen, red and raw. My eyes and the skin around my eyes. And by extension pretty much my entire face and neck. Yesterday it burned so badly just to sweep some of my ALL-NATURAL makeup over my face that I simply couldn't bear to do it again. Especially because I woke up feeling worse and more irritated than I did then. So, the face-tearing. I am clearly miserable in my skin and people still manage to go about pissing me off. I felt like a monster, but my hands were shaking and my teeth were clenched in anger. I was nervous I was going to turn green, rip off my shirt and grow into the Hulk at any moment. So, naturally, I start pounding on my keyboard and instant message my friend the awful things I do-but-do-NOT want to do to those who have crossed me within the previous hour. And they laugh, because, really, what else can they do when someone sounds like a crazy person?

But I don't have anger management issues and I am perfectly normal girl.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Letter to the Boy that I Adore

Dear Skidoo,

Last night you texted me, around 10pm as you so often do. But instead of a clever catchphrase for hello, how are you like usual, you said, "I miss ya Ash."

I was sitting by my phone, reading on the couch, and I was filled with warmth and touch of terror. Something had probably happened. Because that's where my mind goes. So I responded that I missed you, too, and was everything okay?

Yes, of course, you responded. You were just telling the girl you're dating (but not a girlfriend, I know) about me, and you wanted to remind me that you missed me. The only boy who still, after more than twenty years, has the capacity to make my heart melt.

You, baby brother, are my best friend for life. I was eight when you was born and as soon as I saw you, I was inhabited by a fierce maternal (sisternal?) instinct to protect this little boy with the almost black hair and tiny adorable feet. I rocked you. I changed your diaper. I adored you.

Now we've lived apart for almost ten years. Can you believe that? And every day, unless you're pissing me off, I miss you. The biggest advantage to packing up and moving back home is that you're there. You think we should either move away together (Las Vegas has come up, really?) or get an apartment just you and me. We would have so much fun. And, I have a feeling, I would be so ridiculously tired keeping up with a nearly 21 year old. Did I have this much energy and capacity for alcohol at 21? I really doubt it. On my twenty first birthday I went to the Olive Garden with a handful of good college friends and had a glass of White Zinfandel. Because, well, that's me.

You could move to New York with me, too. I would teach you the subway system so you wouldn't get too lost. Promise. Think about it.

And I'll keep pondering my next move as well. You're a heavy advantage for Pennsylvania, you know.

Your sister

Monday, March 29, 2010

"You know I couldn't last... someone please take me home..."

There's nothing like a good Morrissey lyric when you want to convey internal drama.

Lately I've been constantly reminded of just how far beyond my means I live here. New York bleeding me dry and making me feel like a failure most of the time in this blog profile is no joke. Within the last few weeks that feeling has only increased ten-fold.

As I've written about before, I made a choice to live in New York. And despite any unpleasantness that I've come to associate with the price of living here, it may be the best choice I've ever made for myself. Now, and perhaps for the first time seriously, I'm questioning if I should stay here.

I still love it. I love Brooklyn. I love the shops and restaurants in my neighborhood. I love the walking. I hate that my paycheck can barely cover my bills. I hate that despite my efforts and mad budgeting to get my debt in check, I'm constantly throwing away money on Chase bank fees because I just couldn't quite make the money work again this month. Because, no matter what I do, I find myself in the red.

I know that it probably sounds like a simple solution -- spend less money. And let me tell you that I've done that. I can actually live on an obscenely small amount of money between pay checks, particularly if there's already food in the house. I've eaten boxed macaroni and cheese and locked myself in my apartment on the weekends. I've done almost everything I can think of. But I can't get caught up, let alone ahead. I've borrowed money from my generous father ad nauseum that gets recorded in a little notebook in his desk. He loves that notebook. I want to set it on fire.

I'm older and wiser now, enough to know that this cycle of debt can't go on forever. At some point - possibly in the next few months - I will need to say, okay, New York, you've broken me. I can't do this anymore. If I don't stop myself I don't know what will happen. It may be me in a rubber room. That sounds entirely feasible.

And then, what?, I just suck it up and... go? Just like that? I just move. Away from New York. My home. For as much as I've talked about it, I can't ACTUALLY imagine not living here anymore. This place that I love to hate. Oh, how that phrase resonates in every area of my life.

Friday, March 26, 2010

what today is vs. what today could be

I think long term. I'm not so much a planner, though, as a wonderer. Planning I kinda suck at. I wonder what my life would be like, could be like, if I go one way as opposed to the other. This is normal, yes?

Six years ago, I made a choice to live in New York. I probably could have gone anywhere else, including back home to Pennsylvania, but at the time New York was the only place I could be. It was more than the only place that I wanted to be, it was just it. Not including my very brief stint considering graduate school for teaching theatre, I didn't even consider living anywhere else. Why would I? My boyfriend was here, and we had decided to move in together, and DUH! it was New York! Everything, and everyone, I wanted was here. And I was very happy. I was going to get a job in Manhattan! Where I would dress smartly and I would have books - oodles of them! - and read New York Magazine.

I did a lot of those things for a while, particularly the being happy part. That may have been my favorite.

Now I'm 28, going on 58 as my brother says, and I've settled into a comforting routine of daily life. I get up, go to work, do work, come home, eat dinner, watch TV and go to sleep. Lather, rinse, repeat. My life isn't all that different from anyone else's living anywhere else. Last night I was at dinner with Stone Cold Steve Austin (yes and yes) and he asked me what I do here on the weekends. New York isn't that different from any other city. I go to Target. I go to the movies. I occasionally go out to dinner with friends. And I like it that way. Sometimes I indulge in a Broadway show (I was grateful to attend "Last Fall" last Friday with my good friend and it was phenomenal) or shopping in a non-Target store, but I wander around my neighborhood aimlessly or planet myself on the couch to watch DVDs, too.

I have two stepbrothers who are both younger by a few years who own property or on their way to doing so. I cannot compare myself to them in most ways (I want to save the trees while one cuts them down), but I do have this idea in my head that despite being younger, they are more grown up than I because they own things. Cars, homes, dogs. But I don't own these things because I chose to live here, and they chose to be in Pennsylvania. Choosing to live in New York City usually means choosing to put typical adult things like buying a home on hold - either until you make six figures and maintain that, or until you leave.

I used to say that if I moved back home after college or since that I have a good idea who I would marry. It's based on very little evidence, of course. It's not my high school math teacher, sadly, although I probably would have tried to date him when I became a reasonable age to do so. I have this picture in my head of what my life could be, and it seems relatively pleasant from the outside. Then I try to reconcile that life with my current one - which I happen to really like day-to-day - and I just get confused.

I like to think about these alterna-lives, but I don't want them. Like is even a strong word. I am intrigued by them. Owning a home and having a baby and picking out paint colors intrigues me. But if I had all of those things, I wouldn't have had dinner with Steve Austin last night. And that was super.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Apartment rant #476

Remember that great apartment I introduced you to last June? Well, it's been the bane of my existence pretty much since then (remember the ConEd incident?). We had the wall issue. Then came the hot water issue. And the, "oh, you see that thing that looks like a flaccid penis on my roommate's wall? Yeah, that's water damage that came from the balcony of the apartment upstairs (seriously?) after three plus days of rain" issue. Oh, and our intercom hasn't worked in nine months. How long have we been living there? That's right, NINE MONTHS.

The latest development, a little more than a week ago, was that the building made the decision to cut our 24-hour doorman service effective March 1 (we got the letter on the Friday previous). About 25-30 or so of us tenants met that Sunday morning to discuss what we could do about it. Negotiate an evening-only doorman deal? Slash our rent to compensate for a lost service? All die a bullet-riddled death in our neighborhood and hope our remaining loved ones sue later? Two lawyers in the building spearheaded the efforts and did all of the attorney stuff like look up precedent and other things I completely don't understand. At the end of the meeting (where I talked more than was reasonable considering my complete lack of knowledge on the law), we all signed a letter stating that we feel this is an important safety issue (since we live on the cusp of a less desirable neighborhood where there often police cars and other indications of illegal activity), and part of our rent goes to such amenities as these. Additionally, we all decided to hold off on paying our rent until Friday the 5th to see if our letter held any weight with them.

It did. Sort of. The two attorneys then met with the head of the management company for our building (a man who, despite my many efforts to speak to him on a variety of issues regarding the hell suck that we live in, has never once been "available" to take my calls) who said, essentially, that the recession has really hit them hard. No kidding? That's strange, because we pay more than THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS in rent to you every month, and there are more than 50 units in our building. Eff you. Rae's dad suggested that we write a letter saying that we've also been affected by the recession and are no longer able to pay our rent, and we hope this isn't an inconvenience. I liked that.

However, due to their economic issues aplenty, the manager suggested to lawyer dude that he could offer an early-out option on our leases, should we want to leave. I read this in an email while in a cab and I nearly jumped out of my seat. IT'S A DREAM COME TRUE! The management company believes that all of the tenants received STEEP discounts on our rentals (um, no) and could easily fill the apartments for more than we all pay. So, please, leave. Gladly. And, I might add, you're seriously delusional.

Now, the fam and I discussed this and decided to pursue this option with near-glee. Yesterday I spoke to not-the-manager of the building to ask for this early-out option in writing, as my roommates and I would like to get the eff out of that building. Relatively pleasant, she said that she actually had our lease renewal option in a stack of papers and would remove ours so that she could sign a letter for us stating that we could leave without penalty. Then I skipped away.

This morning, however, we DID receive our lease renewal option paperwork. And they're raising the rent by more than $250, and requesting additional security. Which is HYSTERICAL.

So, to them, I say peace out and I hope you will enjoy my scathing review of your management company and your building when I move out and post it on

Monday, March 1, 2010

pregnancy non-scare

At some point in the last six years, my life went in an unexpected direction. No, it wasn't when I decided I wanted to date women. It wasn't even when I fell in love with Rachel. Although these things were pretty unexpected. The defining moment of my adulthood, to date, has been the moment I decided I wanted to be a mom. Intensely wanted. Wanted soon. And then, wanted immediately.

Less than an hour ago I found out via Facebook (and, honestly, how do I find out anything any other way? I don't because I am dreadful at keeping in touch with people) that one of my best friends from high school is pregnant with a little girl. I was immediately ecstatic for her and her husband. I'm sure she's more than a little scared, but I know she will be a phenomenal mother. And then, as has been the case so many times before, I look at myself and wonder why it couldn't be me, too. Another one of my close friends from high school recently gave birth to her second child. She has a beautiful family. If I could I would send her baby gifts every week.

When I was in high school, I know that I thought I would be one of the first to be married, to have a child. At that time, 25 seemed elderly and my back would be creaking just chasing the little ones around the backyard.

When I turned 23, I had an irrational fear of becoming pregnant. Every woman on my mother's side of the family had had a child by the age of 23, and I thought I was "doomed" to become a young mother as well. At the time, even though I was in a healthy committed relationship with someone whom I wanted to marry and would have liked to go on and have a child with, a pregnancy felt like it would have been the end of the world. Of my world. I was financially unprepared and emotionally irresponsible. I was 23 for goodness sake. I spent a good deal of 2005 abstaining from sex with my boyfriend (much to his dismay) because I was terrified of becoming pregnant. And I like sex.

Five years later, I'm still financially unprepared and emotionally irresponsible (albeit less so), sometimes all I can think about is wanting a baby. My roommate and I will ogle babies on TV and snuggle up against baby blankets and swoon and discuss names. And then remind ourselves that most of our "good eggs" are probably gone and we could very likely just be ogling other people's babies forever. Because like can sort of suck that way when you're 30 (or rapidly approaching it).

And the thing is that I like my life right now. I don't really want to change it in a way that would be conducive to having a baby right this second. I can't seem to strike a balance with what I like about my life right now and what I think my "goals" are. Suffering through an agonizing labor is a goal, right?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

When all you want is cookies

It wasn't a New Years resolution per se, but I've been gearing myself up to get serious (again) about weight loss since the middle or so of January. I have 30 pounds to lose and I am really going to make it happen this time.

Since I've spent six weeks exercising more regularly than I probably ever have, I'm actually beginning to enjoy it more. I could certainly do without the ridiculous amount of sweat pouring off of my body and the bright red face and the tightness of my chest and the... well, you get it. But I've gotten to the point where I feel good after instead of wanting to keel over. And, shockingly, I have even started to feel guilty for making poor eating choices or skipping a few days at the gym because something good is on TV. Sometimes I'd even RATHER go to the gym (or use the Wii Fit or whatever) than watch TV. Mir-a-cle.

I visited home this past weekend and actually asked my brother to kick my ass at the gym. And he did. For an hour and a half. Ouch. I am like a completely new person.

In the last few weeks what I've struggled with the most has been keeping my sweet tooth satisfied almost daily so that I don't break down and eat two cupcakes in one day (oh, like today, perhaps?). The two things I can't live without are ice cream and cookies. I've learned to substitute in 100 calorie packs of chocolate-covered pretzels for a mid-day cookie snack. Tasty and effective. And Rachel and I discovered some delish Weight Watchers ice cream sundaes with cookies or peanut butter cups that, albeit small, are a much more reasonable replacement for a pint of Turkey Hill vanilla/chocolate twice a week. But oh my gawd is that stuff gooooood.

But I've committed to this thing. I'm involved in not one but TWO weight-loss challenges (one involves a cupcake reward if everyone loses for the week!), and really will shed this 30 pounds. I wonder what I will look like 30 pounds lighter? I'm going for Kim Kardashian.

Friday, February 5, 2010

good things come to those who donate

Yesterday I donated ten and a half inches of my hair to Locks of Love. Technically, it hasn't been donated YET, as it is still hanging out in my bag. Which is certainly a little strange. What if I am on the subway and I am reaching for something in my bag, but a Ziploc bag of auburn hair falls out instead? Um, psycho with some sort of shrine? Cool. I should probably send in the hair today, huh?

I've been wanting to donate my hair for years, but its never worked out until now. First it was a problem because I've been coloring my hair since I was 15, and LoL did not accept color-treated hair for donation. Then, when they did start accepting it, I had to wait more than a year to further grow my hair out. And last night, after anxiously awaiting February 4th, snip snip went the scissors and I teared up when my ponytail was finally detached from my head.

I made the appointment about three weeks ago, and up until yesterday I was very excited to donate my hair. I've had long(er) hair for more than two years (its been three since my last short haircut) and maintaining it to my level of satisfaction was sometimes a challenge. I like to be pretty low maintenance in the morning (compared to say, Rachel*. Although I say that with love, darling), and washing and straightening my hair usually took 35-40 minutes to get under control and then my arm hurt from all that damn pulling. But sometimes it looked super hot and it made it worth it.

Yesterday, though, I was UNREASONABLY sad about cutting it. I was going through some other crazy emotions and the idea of cutting my long hair was the last thing that I was interested in. But I went through with it because I had set the date. It was happening.

So here I am.

I woke up this morning, forgot that I had cut my hair, and when I got to the bathroom I didn't recognize myself.

Shortly after, I got an excited call from my unemployed stepfather to tell me that he is now EMPLOYED! This is HUGE for my family - both financially and emotionally. It alleviates a great deal of pressure on me to continuing caring for them as though I was the parent. Not completely, though, because my family still has a long way to go, but it's a terrific step forward. John is amped to start work and he thanked me several times for my help in getting him to this point. He said that he "knew" I'd help him. And that made me feel good.

A little less than an hour later, I spoke with my mother, and told her how excited I was to get that phone call. She then told me that last night she had a dream that my recently deceased grandfather was standing at the end of her bed, trying to wake her. He told her that everything was going to be okay. He said that he'd started a garden where he was and my aunt (his daughter), although inept at gardening, was helping him. I cried.

Today I've seen great good karma come my way from cutting my long locks. Some very much needed positivity. Maybe my hair was cursed?

And maybe I will win my office Superbowl pool!

*it's just her picking out clothes process... but it's 99.9% of mornings.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

filling my lungs

This is a ridiculously lame cliche, but the last few weeks have felt like my lungs are filling. Most of the time, they feel like they're filling with water and I am helpless to stop it (see previous post).

Today, though, after no more than a simple email, I feel some relief and my lungs have again begun to fill up with air. I have a job lead for my stepfather. I want to hold this air in my lungs until it goes stale. It's the most relief I've felt in weeks, and I am terrified that it is only fleeting.

Breathe in.

Saturday, January 9, 2010


This year has begun for me with an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness. Which, obviously, means its going to be a banner year. One for the books, for sure.

Since my grandfather died two weeks ago, I have been working especially hard to help my stepfather find employment. Because of the shitty economy, he's been unemployed now for more than a year and a half. Considering what my relationship used to be with this man, I never thought I'd be doing this. I used to hate him. Like, actually hate him. Now, I don't. He was someone who told me I was a useless slut for too many years of my life, I didn't think I could ever like him. I thought I'd never have enough therapy to move past those words and how they affected my self-esteem. Now, he's mellowed significantly in his old(er) age, and I've seen him change. He's not the self-involved verbally abusive man he once was. He took care of his dying father full-time for more than a year, and he is trying hard to provide for his family. I can respect that, regardless of our previous relationship. When I see him now, I can hug him and appreciate him for trying to repair the relationships he'd badly damaged with alcohol years before.

I try to spend at least a half hour everyday looking on, etc. for jobs that he can apply to. Since he doesn't have the means or skills to navigate the internet at home, I can help him in this way. I revamped his resume, and I apply for positions on his behalf almost daily. I'm not resentful that I am doing this either. I actually feel as though I am not doing enough. My family is drowning and I feel helpless to save them. Instead, I am here in New York, focused on my own problems which vary from the serious (I can barely pay my own bills) to the insignificant (I pull my own long hair when I put my bag on my shoulder).

Over the last few weeks, I've weighed the pros and cons of how I can be more helpful to my family and their situation. The one thing I keep returning to is moving back to Pennsylvania so that I can help them more actively. The pros of this decision are that I could be more accessible to my family - not just my mom, stepfather and brother, but to my dad and my grandparents. My one remaining grandfather, whom I consider myself close to, has asked me if I plan on moving home every time I see him for the past several years. The first few times I just laughed this off -- I mean, WHY would I leave NEW YORK, to go back to my hometown? It seems ludicrous. Now, more than ever, I see the merits of being closer to my family - my whole family - and I sometimes feel a crippling guilt for not being there when they really need me.

... to be continued...