Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010: A Year in Review

I was emailing with my friend Lillie the other day about how our holidays went, and I told her that I couldn’t believe how far we have both come and how much has happened to us in the last year. In January, when I was still living in NY, we went to Borders together after going to the gym. Waiting in a massive line to buy our discounted calendars, we were talking about how Christmas 2009 went (horrible) and how our families were (in shambles). Almost a year later, with lots of ups and downs for both of us, we’re in pretty good places in our lives. I’ll let her handle her end of things, but here is a little review of 2010 for me, in no particular order:

1. I trained for two half marathons, and ran one. The reason I signed up for the races is because I really hate running – at least I thought I did. It turns out, that once I’m past four miles; I enjoy it. The fact that I have to get to four to feel that way is sort of terrible though. Anyway, I ran the race and completed all my goals: don’t die, finish in under three hours and don’t have to pee in the woods. 2010: The Year of “I’ll Take the Physical Challenge”.
2. I went to Costa Rica with two of my best friends. We explored the rain forest, stayed at a luxury resort, met the dumbest nature guide in the world, got drunk before 9 am and laughed a ton. 2010: The Year of Exploration.
3. I moved from New York City to Boston. I never really wanted to move to New York in the first place, but moved for love. That didn’t work out, but I fell in love with a lot of amazing people there. I miss my New York friends SO much it hurts, but we’re fortunate to be pretty close to each other. Luckily, I’ve been able to have 1-2 visitors a month since moving up here. I know I made the right decision to move, and I’ve been so lucky to have made a lot of new friends and also reconnect with old friends. 2010: The Year of Changed Addresses.
4. I’ve come to terms with how I look. Like most people, I grew up with a mom who was very critical of her looks in front of me. This developed a lot of unhealthy habits when I was younger, but now when I look in the mirror I don’t see a horror show. I see someone who is actually kind of cute, and sometimes pretty. I’m also more confident about my body, too. Of course I can always find the parts that should be thinner and all that noise, but I’m OK with how I look … finally. I’m trying not to get wrapped up in being annoyed at myself for all that time wasted thinking I was a big, fat mess and just focus on the positive: my traffic jam booty and my cupcakes. 2010: The Year of Vanity.
5. I put myself “out there” as far as dating goes. This year I’ve gone on more dates than ever. While nothing has really panned out, I’m proud of myself for at least trying. I’ve been (mostly) single for the last three years, but I’ve met a lot of different types of guys – some crazy and others crazier. 2010: The Year of Dating.
6. I had a fling with a hot “teen” model/stand-up comedian. He was really 24, but same difference, and he thought I was gorgeous and hilarious. 2010: The Year of Holy Crap, You’re So Hot, Wait, Those Are Considered Washboard Abs, Right, and You Want to Make Out with Me?!
7. I was a vegan for three hours. 2010: The Year of Bacon.
8. I’ve already detailed out stuff about my dad on here, so let’s move on, but it’s been a long year for me emotionally. I’m not the best at talking about my feelings; I’m better at listening to other people’s problems. This year I’ve gotten much, much better at talking about things of substance. In fact, I talked for about 10 minutes straight about my feelings a few months ago. It was incredible. 2010: The Year of Feelings About Feelings.
9. I went camping with some of my best friends in Boston. We slept in tents, on the ground, in 40 degree weather. We ate so many meals that we had to come up with new names for them (Breakfast, B’Breakfast, Brunch, B’Brunch and “Uhhhhh”). We wrapped everything in bacon and put it in an iron skillet and then put it in our mouths. 2010: The Year of (More) Bacon.

A lot more happened, but that’s the highlight reel. I’m not really sure what’s on deck for 2011, but I’m looking forward to it and hopefully not putting too much pressure on it to perform. I do at least know one song that will be on next year’s soundtrack. This is the anthem, put your damn hands up:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Had Myself A Merry Little Christmas

Words have yet to be invented to accurately describe how terrible Christmas was last year, and this year has kindly steamrolled that further away from my memory. I had SUCH a pleasant holiday.
I flew down to my brother's house in Texas last Tuesday, and we hung out in Houston to wait for my sister's flight to get in a few hours later. I was nervous to see her because over the last few years we have not gotten along at all. It's frustrating to look at someone who has the same face and voice as me, yet couldn't be more different.
She recently started working her first job, and I think it's starting to change her for the better. We did not fight once over the break, and actually enjoyed each other's company.
As a family, we went to the movies twice (it's $4 to see a movie in Texas - amazing!) and saw Black Swan and True Grit - both highly recommended. During True Grit, a man was sitting in front of me chewing and spitting tobacco. How very Wild West of him!
We also went wine tasting and glow-in-the-dark mini putting where I got THREE holes in one! Speaking of "That's What She Said", I taught my mom what that means over the break, too. When we were waiting for True Grit to start she noticed that my wallet was sticking out of my purse and asked, "Do you want me to help you put it in?" I started laughing, and asked my brother if it was OK if I said TWSS to my mom. I explained to her what it meant, and she tried to start using it, but she's still learning. Even during Christmas Eve dinner, she pointed at the roast beef and said to my sister, "Go ahead and lay some of that beef on here." My brother and I started laughing hysterically, but she's still a little slow with it. It'll be nice to chart her perverse progress.
We do all our celebrating on Christmas Eve, so Christmas Day we just hung out and I cooked our big dinner. I made a southern meal with a delicious turkey, mashed sweet potatoes, collared greens, cornbread stuffing and, for good luck in 2011, some black-eyed peas. It was delicious! Later, I made my own turkey stock for the first time, and it turned out pretty well, too.
On a serious note: there was obviously a hole in the family with my dad not being there, but he's chosen to pull away. We haven't really talked in a year, and I obviously want him to start a new life for himself, but it's out of our hands.
There's no easy way to transition out of that seriousness, except for three words: Indoor Gun Range.
Texas is a really interesting place. I can't think of another state that has as much pride and guns as they do. There is an indoor shooting range next to their Starbucks, in case you need to blow off some steam after getting overly-caffeinated. Also, the whole town shut down on Christmas. My brother and I drove around that morning just looking at how deserted it was. Everything was closed, except liquor stores and churches, of course.
I came back on Sunday evening, surprisingly. The East Coast was slammed by a blizzard, and my flight was the last one being let into Logan Airport. The landing was the scariest I've ever experienced, but the cab ride home was worse. I gave the driver a $10 tip for not killing me.
Thankfully, yesterday my office was closed, too. I got a bonus vacation day and hung out with some friends in my neighborhood.
Anyway, I hope everyone had a lovely, stress-free holiday. It's been an interesting year for me, to say the least, and 2011 has a LOT of pressure on it to perform. Let's just hope those 5 black-eyed peas I managed to eat do the trick.

Friday, December 24, 2010

And By Cupcakes, I mean ...

As I mentioned below, my friends and I have a few different "catch phrases" we like to use on a regular basis to talk about feelings. My favorite is "And by cupcakes, I mean ..."
This summer I went to a Patriots Game with a friend of mine. We spent all afternoon tailgating and hanging out with her brother and his friends in the parking lot, waiting for her cousin to get there. Her brother's friends were terrible. (People are terrible.) One of them even made a bet for $50 with my friend that he could sleep with me within two months time. Classy. Spoiler alert: I did not sleep with him. I wasn't expecting much from her cousin when he finally arrived, but he was really pleasant, into beer, funny and a ginger. I love a ginger.
At the end of the night, we exchanged phone numbers and planned to hang out soon. We started texting a lot, sometimes for a few hours. I actually really don't like having text or phone relationships. I'd rather spend time in person, but the texting continued. He decided he was going to come to my birthday party and I said, "Great! There will be cupcakes there!" He took that and ran with it. He mentioned cupcakes every time we texted, through thinly-veiled innuendo.
One night, after drinking for a few hours (IMPORTANT DETAIL), my friends and I ended up out in Allston - where the dirty hipsters live in Boston. He also lives out there. So, my friends and I ate our second dinner of the night (I actually had to look at the menu online the next day to remember what I ate. Oof.) and I started texting him. Once again, he brought up the cupcakes. "Will there be cupcakes? :)"
At this point, I was so sick of the back and forth flirtiness, I responded with, "Yes, there will be. And by cupcakes, I mean boobs."
Surprisingly, I never heard from him again.

Monday, December 20, 2010

First Snow/Ugly Work Parking Lot


I'm on Shag Highway Heading West!

Tomorrow I leave for Texas to spend the deargoddon'tbeterrible holidays with my family. It's the first Christmas that my dad will not be in attendance, so we've decreased our chances of family combustion by a little bit. And, to make sure the holidays start off even more out of the red, I'm going to my friend Sarah's house tonight to watch the best holiday movie: Love Actually. We're also going to eat curries to make us feel more British, too. Merry Christmas!

More Gifting Suggestions From Mom

After my mom told me she wanted to "smell like Sarah" for Christmas, I didn't think she could top any gifting suggestions ... until I asked her what my brother might want.
She said, "Well ... your brother and I were talking the other night, and I asked him who he thinks is attractive in Hollywood. And, without missing a beat, your brother said, 'Keira Knightly'."
My brother confirmed this strange conversation when I talked to him on Saturday.
My mom goes on to say, "Lauren, you know things about the Internet."
To which I replied, "..." Sideways glance.
"Wouldn't it be great if you could find a signed picture of Keira Knightly for your brother for Christmas?" she asked.

So, now I only have a few days left to figure out how to use TheInternet.com, and hope my 30-year-old college professor, PhD brother still has room on his office wall for a signed picture from his girl Keira.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Four Loko is SO October 2010

A few weeks ago, some girlfriends and I went to Newport, RI for all of their Christmas celebrations. It was so fucking quaint.
Santa arrived via boat, we saw a tree lighting, there was caroling and wassail.
We also took a tour of a old mansion set up to reflect what a Christmas Eve would look like in the 1820s. During the tour, we learned about an Old Timey (amazing) drink called Artillery Punch. Tonight, friends, I'm going to a party where it's being served. Brace yourselves for the ingredient list:
Black tea, whiskey, red wine, rum, brandy, herbal liqueur, orange juice and lemon juice.

Goodbye and I love you all.

Catch Phrase Hat Trick

My friends and I use a battery of catch phrases to sum up how we're feeling sometimes. Here they are:
- Feelings about feelings (To be used when you're emotional or feeling feelings about feelings)
- Flames ... on the side of my face (Extreme rage)
- PEOPLE ARE TERRIBLE (self explanatory and so, so true)
- Don't show the crazy (priceless advice, mostly applied to dating)
- WHAT? OK!! (a la The Chappelle Show's Lil' John sketch. Still relevant after all these years)
- And by cupcakes, I mean ... (this one needs more explanation, but for another day)
- SO WHAT. WHO CARES? (besides Jason Sudeikis' dancing on What Up With That?, Fred Armisen's Joy Behar impression is the only funny thing on that show)
- That's what she said (also self explanatory/still relevant)

Yesterday was one of those days where I felt ALL of our catch phrases, except for "That's what she said". It's too bad it wasn't a perfect hat trick of phrases because yesterday was exhausting and confusing. Luckily, the tides turned in the evening and I was left very satisfied with a cherry on top. Wait a minute - yes! - THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Mommie Creepiest

I just had a brief phone conversation with my mom about Christmas gifts. She wanted to know what I want, so I told her the only thing I really want is Jay-Z's new autobiography. She doesn't know who that is and she hates hip-hop music*, so I can only imagine what she wrote down to remind her of what I actually want. Does J.C. Chasez have an autobiography yet? I'll probably get that.
Then, I asked her what she wanted for Christmas, and without missing a beat she said, "I want to smell like Sarah." Creeeeeeepy. Sarah is one of my best friends and she used to work at Lush, and truthfully does always smell delicious. My mom first sniffed her when she visited earlier this fall and told Sarah and me privately many - MANY - times how intoxicating she smells. My mom sure is creepy.

* She took away my cassette of the Dangerous Minds soundtrack from me when I was younger. I cried. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but she was saving me from myself and from Coolio, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Business Time

As I've mentioned before, I work for a small book publisher. One of my goals here is to expand the markets their books are sold into, and one of those markets is sex stores. There are a few titles in the catalogs that are a great fit, and more coming out this spring. In fact, my boss called me yesterday to let me know that he has a box of sex toys for me to look at when I get a chance.
Just the type of phone call I love to get in the workplace!
This is all very blush-worthy trying to have a straight-faced conversation with my boss about these products. And, I just had write an email to a customer that included both the phrases, "Happy belated Thanksgiving!" and "... fluffy handcuffs, velvet restraint, and blindfold".
It turns out it IS a dirty job, and I'm the one who has to do it. Heh, "do it".

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Karaoke Truth #4,590

I'm reading "Talking to Girls About Duran Duran" by Rob Sheffield right now. Even though this book isn't as good as his first (if you haven't read his "Love Is A Mix Tape", you should!), there is one line that sticks out:
"Laura bemoans the fact that karaoke is not more like real life. She asks, 'Why do I have all the confidence in karaoke that's completely missing from any other area of my existence?'"

SO TRUE.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Love and Meatballs

I think it’s fair to say that most girls would find it flattering if two men were fighting over them. One man brings out a glove and slaps the other, challenging him to a duel! But, what if it’s two middle-aged women fighting over you? That happened to me last night at a dinner party and it was strange, to say the least.
A co-worker had several of us over to her house for dinner (homemade sauce with FOUR different types of meats (!!!)), and the hostess had mentioned in the past that she knew a young man she used to work with, who lives in Somerville, like me, that she would like to set me up with. Another co-worker brought this up at the dinner last night, “What about that guy you wanted to set Lauren up with?” (Hi, people I don’t know who read this. My name is Lauren.) My face instantly turns red because this is a dinner party, not a “Lauren’s single, let’s talk about that, party.”
The hostess says, “I’m on it. I’ve emailed his mother and am trying to set this up.” She had an old neighborhood friend over for dinner, too, who pipes up and says, “What about my Brian?” So, now, the two women start arguing over who I would be better suited to, while my co-workers are laughing at me and I sit there getting increasingly red in the face and have at least 2 of the 4 meats in my mouth. (sidenote: heh, TWSS)
Then, they leave the dinner table to pull up both boys on Facebook.com. Then, the friend takes out her cell phone and starts texting her son about me. It got REALLY weird when I had my head turned and the friend was trying to sneakily take my picture with her phone when I wasn’t looking. Or, perhaps it was stranger when I was using the bathroom and I could hear one my co-workers spelling out my last name so the woman could text it to her son. Yet again stranger when they started saying they’d like me for a daughter-in-law, and my co-worker was trying to think of ways to break up her son’s relationship so I could marry him.
It really was very flattering, and perhaps I’m missing an opportunity: I should really start scamming on 56-year-old women.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Dance Yrself Lean

I think I'm in love with my dance instructor.
I started my first class last night and it was SO much fun. When I walked into the dance complex, there was an African Drum Beat class downstairs, and a tap class in the studio before my class meets. It felt so good - as a mediocre dancer - to be surrounded by all those talented dancers.
My class is taught by the sassiest of sassy men, who wore a bright yellow bandanna on his head and big diamond stud earrings. He came into the class and immediately started Irish Tap Dancing, and then flipped on the stereo, where much to my delight, Beyonce started playing.
Due to the name of my class, we did a lot butt stretches. At one point, we all had to bend over in front of the instructor, at which point I'm pretty sure he was assessing (get it?) where we are now, and how we will compare at the end of class.
We learned a few combinations, he taught us how to walk sexy towards the mirror to get a boy's attention, and then pivot around as if to say, in his words, "Nuh-uh, boi, you took too long. I'm outta here!" The best part about that, is there is this one older couple there who also had to do the sexy walk. The wife showed up to class wearing a bottom up Oxford, and jean cargo shorts, and the husband had his beer belly hanging low. It didn't matter, though, everyone had such a great time and just laughed through the whole class. My trunk's pretty sore today, but it was so worth it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Miss, can you help me?

Last night I went to Ikea with some friends, and I accidentally wore a bright yellow cardigan and a dark blue shirt underneath that. I didn't realize that I was dressed like an employee there until a few people looked like they were about to ask me a question, but then couldn't locate my name tag.
When I was checking out, I saw someone take a picture of me with their cell phone camera in the way that "I'm not taking a picture of you, but I'm so totally obviously taking a picture of you" kind of way.
Oh, well. I ate an entire plate of Swedish Meatballs with lingonberry jam, afterwards walked around the whole store with the top button of my pants undone and spent $100 on stuff I don't REALLY need, and it totally made me feel better.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Keeping It Real

I may have the grown-ass job of a 28-year-old, where they send me around the U.S. making business decisions and throwing down plastic at client dinners, but I still have the expense report of a 6-year-old left to their own devices with their allowance:
Yes, I NEEDED that cheesewedge magnet and animal crackers.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

All My Exes Live in Somerville

So, I moved this week - along with hundreds of other Bostonians. When I first moved back here, I was living in a sublet with a friend of a friend (we're now friends, awww) and my September apartment search started my first day back in the area.
I looked at some HORRIBLE places: one place was so small, and the girl living there had really long fingernails - like Guiness Book of World Records long - another place was occupied by female hockey players, which is probably someone's fantasy, but not mine, and another was occupied by a male copy editor who was very nice, showed me to the nearest library branch, but scowled at me on the street the next day when I said "hi" while running by. Thank goodness for my current living situation.
Before I met with my current roommate, who I found via Craigslist, I did the requesite internet stalking (as did she: she found out I was a member of a knitting community, so I had to be nice, she reasoned). I found out on Facebook that we have a mutual friend. Her name sounded familiar, and she looked familiar, too. Turns out, she dated my friend. Turns out, so did I. His current girlfriend is swiftly becoming one of my closest friends. What a fun, sexy time for us!
With his permission, I met with her and we got along really well! It's not entirely surprising. As much as anyone would hate to admit it, ex-girlfriends will most likely get along. Of course there are psychotic exceptions, but my roommate and I have a LOT in common. We are both in love with PBS Specialty Programming, for example. I recently picked up Regency House Party from the library, and we started watching it the other night. We were really confused by which cast member was which, so she started making a visual aid for us to have on hand while we watch. Basically, a poster board with photograph and brief biography. It warmed my crafty, glue-stick-loving heart. Also, she sends me emails like this:
"And while [her current boyfriend] was playing around with the [recently purchased/used] TV stand last night trying to figure out how to fix the drawer, a VHS popped out from underneath, elaborately labeled "RAP" in gold marker. We have to watch this tape."
I'll report back with what's on the tape, but I'm really hoping for the previous owner's personal foray into the art form.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Lady on the Street, but a Freak in the ... 24-Hour Shaw's

Herewith are the steps to make the staff at a 24-hour Shaw's Supermarket hate their jobs, lives, next door neighbor's cats, etc:
Step #1: Pick up closest NYC girlfriends from South Station for one of the better weekends on record.
Step #2: Bring said friends back to your apartment for a cheese plate spread and several seasonal craft beers (Post Road Pumpkin, Sierra Nevada Tumbler, etc).
Step #3: Go out to Shay's in Harvard Square, get drunk, get hit on by a man with a pony tail and a fanny pack, stumble 1 mile towards home, witness friend pee in alley, have said friend recount tale of strange man watching her pee.
Step #4: Arrive at Shaw's.
Step #5: Split up, best to divide and conquer. Hear friends yelling all over the store, including one friend harass a man in a sea green shirt asking where the Ruffles are, he insists he does not work there, she couldn't care less and tells him she's simply looking for sympathy (AND Ruffles), watch same friend try to "level" with our check-out girl "Sarah" and let her know she "gets it" and also something about "the man", watch other two friends bicker about the color of the various onion dips and how they look "too grey".
Step #6: Arrive back at apartment and collectively consume: 2 large frozen pizzas, at least 1 pound (of the 3 purchased) of Peanut Butter M&Ms, entire can of onion dip, one half bag of Ruffles Potato Chips.

Please note: steps 3 and 5 are VITAL.

Friday, August 27, 2010

(Werewolf Bar Mitzvah) Spooky Scary

I know it’s not even September yet, but I’m already getting really excited about Halloween. It’s my favorite holiday! I love autumn, anything pumpkin and most importantly: dressing up* and decorating. Also, I haven’t discussed my obsession with cheese spreaders on here yet (picture post to come), but my Halloween cheese spreaders are my FAVORITE.
Anyway, this weekend I’m moving into another new apartment and on the first floor of the place is the living room, dining room, screened-in porch (for drinking pumpkin beer), kitchen and office and upstairs are the two bedrooms. What better way to welcome myself with my new roommate than with this SPOOKY craft for our staircase:

Martha Stewart How-To

*I'm REALLY hoping there are opportunities to dress up this year. I've known what I've wanted to be since about February: Patty Hearst.

You Will Be Mine ...

... Oh yes, you will be mine.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

… and what a birthday it was

When you reach into your purse the morning after your birthday party to pay the kind woman at Dunkin Donuts for hangover breakfast #1 and you pull this out:
You know it was a good night.

Last night was seriously wonderful. I had this terrible anxiety leading up to the party that no one would come: I’m just the (kinda) new girl, it’s raining like crazy, I’m making some people travel to my party, etc. And now, I want to grab that neuroses by the ears and tell it to go away because that was NOT the case at all. I’m SO lucky to have such amazing friends that “get” me (see above image).
We went to Redbones in Somerville and they were having a free appetizer night, so we were already off to a good start with free ribs and my favorite food group: hushpuppies. Friends were trickling in through the night, and we drank beers. Boy, did we drink beers. Troegs Brewery was being featured and I’m confident that our little party was responsible for tapping several of those kegs. All I drank was Troegs #32 and they quickly ran out of that. And then Troegs #29 was my next choice – out of that pretty fast too. And, then there was the sippy-cup-sized shots of Southern Comfort I consumed at the END of the night – not my best idea, but hey, it’s my goddamn birthday, ok?
A few other highlights: my friend Sarah and I in the bathroom together applying a temporary tattoo of man that looks like WB Mason to my (cough) bicep, I made delicious cupcakes that kept attracting strangers over because they were so cute (or because they thought they were a free appetizer. Whatever.), seeing a few different groups of friends talking to each other (I REALLY love seeing people come together/make new connections), and most of all: our awesome waitress Deb bringing over a plate of whipped cream with candles in it and all my friends singing to me. I’m seriously guilty of being a happy crier, and I’m just glad I could keep it together for a few minutes so as not to embarrass myself. I felt really loved, and I’m so grateful for my friends here, back in NY and scattered in all the other places I’ve ever lived. It’s been a rough week for me (won’t get into THAT), but last night made all that other noise go away.
What won’t go away right now is my headache, not even what my friend Jason calls a “fantasy shower” helped this morning. (I’ve slightly tweaked his model, but for me, it was a shower with really hot water where I sat in the tub and just let the water hit me in the face for at least 10 minutes. Wasteful but wonderful.) Anyway, I will probably post some pictures (not of the shower, dear god, I don’t want my 5 readers to go to zero readers), but I can’t make any promises because I’m not very good at keeping them when it comes to this internet diary thing.
Up next on I’m having a great life right now: my Ladies Who Munch are coming to visit me this weekend and I can’t WAIT.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Party Tips

Tomorrow is my 28th birthday. I’m going to a local BBQ place for copious amounts of beer and smoked items. And, while I don’t have a Twitter, I do read some “celebrities’” feeds. One of the best is Andrew WK’s feed. He likes to post party tips, and I hope to have a chance to use one of his most recent ones tomorrow night: PARTY TIP: 1) Get down on your stomach. 2) Put a magazine on your head. 3) Quickly say the word "butterball" over and over.
It may happen.
Lately, I’ve had this streak of being REALLY bold – well, bold by my standards. I’m not sure if it’s heat stroke, or I just don’t CARE what anyone thinks of me because I’m awesome or I’m “coming into my own” (ew) – it doesn’t matter, but it’s all happening.

Also, happiest of happy birthdays TODAY to my beautiful friend Lillie.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I May or May Not Have ...

... just signed up for a dance class called Jazz Funk to Tighten the Trunk.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Road Trip: Day 1-2

For the next few entries, I’m going to talk about my road trip with my brother. I’ll try not to ramble too much, and just give you the highlights. The purpose of the trip was to move said brother from Philadelphia to College Station, TX. He recently completed a PhD program at UPENN and will be teaching at Texas A&M in the fall. I’m proud of him.

Day 1, States visited: MA, CT, NY, PA, MD, WV, VA
Day 1 was pretty exhausting - just look at the amount of territory we conquered. And, by “we” I mean my brother because I don’t know how to drive stick. I was basically just one hundred-and-SHUT-YO-MOUTH pounds of dead weight the entire trip. I did hold a map on my lap, though, and honored his request to “please ignore that map of Gay Philadelphia, ok?” The highlight of Day 1 was the excitement of potentially eating at Poor Richard’s in Scranton, PA – the ELECTRIC city – also home of TV’s The Office. I’d been to Scranton before (it’s where the warehouse at my old job was located), but this time was more fun because my relationship with my brother Brian is built on the foundation of movie and television quotes. We passed the sign for the Steamtown Mall, a sign for Carbondale (“LOOK what I found at the gas station in Carbondale!”), and a sign for Lake Wallenpaupack, where they had their booze cruise, etc. Sadly, the GPS didn’t have Poor Richard’s listed as a “point of interest” and even after looking up the address online that bastard couldn’t get us there. The GPS, not my brother. So, we settled on the Glider Diner – Kevin really likes their pie. Apparently Obama ate there, too, but I was happier about the Kevin part. We definitely didn’t blend in well with the local Scrantonians, and were the biggest jerks there UNTIL some cast rejects from the Jersey Shore showed up and we were able to give our waitress the “get a load of a those guys” eye roll.
After a photo op or two, my brother and I were on the road again and finally stopped for the night in Winchester, VA – home of George Washington’s office, and more importantly – home of 99 cent beers and 2 dollar potato skins at the Cork Street Tavern!
Day 2, States visited: VA, NC
We really pushed through to VA on Day 1, so we could start off Day 2 on the Blue Ridge Parkway. If you ever get the chance to travel along that, please take it. It’s almost 500 miles of scenic road through the Appalachians that starts in Shenandoah National Park and ends in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. There’s AMAZING views everywhere you look, and the sides of the road are sprinkled with tons of wild flowers. My brother and I both agreed that all the lush vegetation really did look like Endor from Star Wars. We took lots of pictures and stopped at a “comfort station” or two. I asked one of the ladies - Louise from Missouri - if she lived nearby year round and after the look of “Oh my god, is this girl going to murder me” washed away from her ashen face, she told me that a lot of the employees along the parkway are actually volunteers who come during the summer and dorm together. Interesting! We ended the day in Boone, NC at an Applebee’s. From that day forward, all we could talk about was Applebee’s delightful new offering: Wonton Tacos . So, if you have the chance to either eat those or go on the Blue Ridge Parkway – go with the tacos. They’re amazing. Don’t listen to this girl on a message board I found about the tacos because my answer to the original question is a resounding “HELL YEAH. I DO.”

Coming up, Day 3: Hiking in jeggings: rugged or ridiculous?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

An Apology

Talking to a friend on the phone last night, she reminded me that now that she’s following my blog (ugh, that word), I need to write more. She’s right. I’m sorry, Internet. I’ve been neglectful. Here’s a list of what I’ve been up to, and I will try to expand on each item soon:
- I moved. Of course you know this because it’s pretty much all I’ve talked about on here.
- I started a new job. I like it. It’s incredibly different, but a good different. I’m the only employee without kids, and everyone wants to leave the office at 5 to get home to said carrier monkeys so it’s win-win.
- I went cross country with my brother. Actually, I guess it’s technically half-country as we drove from Massachusetts to Texas. I will detail this out – it was a great trip.
- I’m lazy and easily distracted. I was going to start writing last night, but checked out a documentary from the library on the Jonestown massacre (just keeping it light!) so I watched that instead.
- I’m out doing stuff. As part of my plan to insert myself (heh) into my existing Boston friends’ lives, I’ve been trying to make lots of plans and be social: I saw Aziz Ansari (thanks again, Chris!), I’m going to a Red Sox game next week, I went to see the Grease Sing-A-Long (Hi, Sarah!), went to the beach (directly below Logan airport’s flight path. Still not sure if I’m “tan” or just covered in jet fuel – but it’s awesome!), etc.
- I've been using the Internet for other things, ok? Do you guys KNOW how Sam Cooke died? It's crazy, read his Wikipedia page!
- I bought some beef jerky today, and that took up, like, 5 minutes. Don’t you feel like a creep when you buy that stuff? Right. I’m probably the only non-truck driver who buys that stuff, but still. Trust me.
So, those are my reasons for being absent, but I plan to write this weekend as I don’t really have any plans (This is new for me. I’m an insane planner, and the idea of a spontaneous weekend is stressing me out). Anyway, onward …

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Lunch Break? Lunch Break.

I'm getting settled in my new job, and while I miss New York, I don't miss fighting tourists in Rock Center for a spot to eat. I may have to battle sea gulls, but this should do just fine this summer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Heart to Heart

Yesterday I had to say goodbye to my boss. I love him for a lot of reasons, but mostly because he never holds back how he feels and was able to look me in the eye and tell me exactly how he felt about me. He's honestly one of the most genuine people I've ever met.
When we were hugging goodbye, I went in the for the traditional hug: my left arm under his right arm and my right arm over his left arm. He stopped me halfway and moved my arms the opposite way (my right arm under his left arm, etc.) and said, "No, do it this way - our hearts are closer this way."

SO earnest and sweet. Niagra Falls, Frankie Angel.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

New Site

My friend Jess and I like to come up with potential band names all the time. Unfortunately, we can never remember them (drunk. always drunk. high. always high.). So, now I've gone and secured a new site for us to record what we come up with. While I should be wrapping things up at work, this is what I've chosen to do. Hopefully it's as amusing to YOU as it is to me. We'll accept submissions, of course. You can email me at videotapestoreturn(at)gmail.com.
http://potentialbandnames.blogspot.com/

Monday, June 14, 2010

Is This An Audience or An Oil Painting?

Sometime in the absolutely drunken haze of Saturday, I agreed to something completely stupid. Surprising, right? Four of my friends were sitting on the edge of a planter in the backyard of Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg, and I was standing in front of them and made the comment that I felt like a (bad) stand-up comedian. So, I start telling the four jokes I know - all of which I didn't write - but have been in my rotation since fourth grade.
Well, the details are fuzzy (again: surprising, right?), but within minutes a friend had his fancy phone out looking for open mic nights in the area in the next two weeks. I agreed to do stand-up because "it has to be SO easy." Crap.
So, instead of having a relaxing few weeks left in New York, I have to write a stand-up routine because a promise is a promise. There will be NO VIDEO of this, but I'm imagining it will go something like this:

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Worst Part About Moving ...

... besides packing and saying good-bye to friends, is thinking you're going to get murdered. Putting your room up on Craiglist to try to find a subletter is a really nerve-wracking thing to do, and when you haven't been sleeping at all for the last week or so, it makes you even more paranoid of who is going to show up.
Yesterday, a girl who contacted me to take my room emailed to see it. I gave her my phone number if she had any other questions, and then she started texting me. We set up a time - between 8:30-9 am today - for her to come by and see the place.
The whole "not sleeping" thing is getting REALLY annoying. I haven't had a good night's sleep since Wednesday, June 2nd. Some of it has been my fault (see: thinking it's a good idea to sleep outside in the rain on a Saturday night), but it's mostly that my brain refuses to shut off. I'm nervous if I made the right decision, how am I going to pack up everything, will my NY friends still be my friends when I move away, will my Boston friends shun me when I move back, is anyone going to show up to my going away drinks - I am a ball of crazy. So, today, like every other day, I'm wide awake at 4:30 am.
Sitting on my couch this morning, waiting for this girl to show up, I'm getting more and more paranoid: why haven't I talked to this girl on the phone before? Where is she? She's 45 minutes late. The best possible answer I came up with is that "she" is actually a "he" who is a Craigslist predator. He's running late because he's busy murdering someone else. I came up with a plan to not buzz "her" into the building, but to go to the front door and get a good look before letting her in. I decided to call to see if she was running late, but her voicemail didn't have her voice on it, it was just the automated message. DEFINITELY a murderer.
She never showed up, so I'm guessing she's being detained by police right now. I also am definitely going crazy and desperately need some sleep. Help.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Best Part of Moving Away ...

... is friends willing to go out on a Monday for drinks. Today, my friend Stevie emailed me to ask if she was imagining that I had taken pictures on Monday night when we went to my favorite local bar Sweet Afton. I took my camera out of my bag and flipped through. The last pictures I had were of my current room for a Craigslist ad, and then pictures of my friend Lillie's girlfriend mock-humping a guy who had passed out drunk at a bus stop (what?).
Then. Then, I checked my cell phone camera and WOW. Why didn't I remember this until now? Well, something in the neighborhood of six beers and a "Pickleback" shot (whiskey followed by pickle juice) is a pretty good place to start. Here it is, the photo series from Monday night, presented without commentary.

Back to Boston

Well, it's all happening. Here is a run-down of recent events that have me moving back to my favorite city, Boston:
- Four weeks ago I met with a company who I had interviewed on the phone with MONTHS prior, and given up on. It's a small book publisher that does an array of projects, the bulk of which being new age-type books. I thought they disappeared into a vortex or were trapped in a sweat lodge, hence the months-long silence. I mean, who wouldn't want to hire ME!? So, they were in New York for a convention, and I reached out to set up a time to meet for breakfast. On the subway ride to their hotel, I start choking up at the realization that I may be leaving New York. Then, I realized I was listening to Sigur Ros on my iPod, so I quickly changed the music to the Sleigh Bells record and fixed that pretty quickly. Best not to feel emotions.
- Last Friday, I was up near their offices for a meeting with another company I work with in the area. After giving a presentation, that company actually offered me a job on the spot. They said they've always enjoyed my presence and how professional I am (ahem, ahem). I told them I'd think about it, because I was actually on my way for my FOURTH interview (again, just give me the job!!) at this other place. A few hours later, I was considering two job offers to have me relocate to New England. I took this as a major sign (the new age books are already working!) and decided to relocate with the publisher. It's an amazing opportunity: better title, more challenges, etc.
- Last Saturday, I drove into Somerville (just outside Boston) to stay with my friend Chris and to see Conan O'Brien's live show with another friend. And, I had an amazing weekend! Before the show, a group of us went to the Cambridge Brewing Company for beers, and my friends Carleton and his girlfriend Sarah came out, too. I've had a girl crush on Sarah since I met her last year sometime, and it was so nice to see her and hear that she was glad to see me relocate. Honestly, that's been a sticking point with relocating. In New York, I have a ton of amazing girlfriends, and with a few (lovely) exceptions in Boston, the majority of my friends are guys (who I love). Sarah was so sweet and said she'd introduce me to her friends, and it was just such a tremendous comfort.
Then, Conan - which was so much fun. While the show wasn't AMAZING, my favorite part of the whole experience was watching how much fun he was having. He's the only celebrity I've seen on the street that actually made me feel star struck. I mean, Steve Buscemi shook my hand before - so you know, a) I'm cool and b) it didn't make me start laughing uncontrollably or start shaking like Conan did. I was a little disappointed that he didn't have any cool guests stars (the Dropkick Murphys played with him, and these goobers sitting in front of my friend and me high-fived and knew all the lyrics, oof). After the show, we met up with my friends again who had seen him the night before and were really great about not giving out any spoilers, so I thought it'd be a good idea to tell them fake guest stars that were there, just to make them jealous. So, who's cooler than Dan Akroyd and Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers? The answer: no one. They believed us, but the charade didn't last long.
Anyway, that night turned into one of those where you think it's a GREAT idea to sleep outside in the rain, the sun starts to come up and you hear birds, and you have the worst headache of your entire life, but it was all worth it and makes you more excited to move back. Between my friends' hilarity and seeing Conan, my cheeks hurt from laughing so much when I was driving back to New York on Sunday night.
- Cut to Monday, when I have to start telling my NY friends. I had written a text to my best ladies on Saturday asking to get lunch or drinks after work on Monday, and they smelled a rat right away. I really didn't want to tell them over text message, but it was probably for the best. The first friend I told in person was my friend Hilary. We work together, and also traveled to Costa Rica together. I walked into her office first thing and just started crying. She starts crying because she knows that I'm leaving and it's all downhill from there. I tell my boss: crying. I get a nice email from my ex-boyfriend: sobbing. I left work on Monday completely exhausted from crying so much. The whole "best not to show emotion" thing is completely out the window.

The thing is, it's going to be OK. It's not going to be easy to leave in 2 weeks or 2 years, so I'm going to try to make the best of my remaining time here and look forward to the good times ahead. Boston is not that far away from New York, so I hope to get tons of visitors and definitely be back in New York as much as possible. And, for the next few weeks, it's probably best if I delete Sigur Ros off my iPod.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cancel TV to Pay Pee-Wee

I just bought 4 tickets to see Pee-Wee Herman LIVE on Broadway. The cheap seats totaled $300, but (so what!) who cares, it's PEE-WEE. Harnessing the powers of The Secret, I switched my desktop picture to this yesterday afternoon: Spooky, right? The coincidence, not the photo - the photo's awesome.

Related: I canceled cable today so I could "save money".

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cuspid Cupid

Instead of telling you another boring story about me, I've decided to tell you a story about someone else. This is a story a friend I've known for 27 years told me awhile ago, and I just remembered it on the way to work today. Let's call my friend "Mom", you know, just for the sake of identification.
"Mom" comes from and has raised a family that rarely (unless drunk) talks about bedroom activity in public, so this was a particularly shocking story to hear. She has always maintained that she'd only been with the man she married, let's call him "Dad". Well, it turns out that while that was true, it wasn't for lack of trying with someone else.
Her friends and her all grew up in a small town in Connecticut, with a very limited dating pool. Her husband is actually her brother's old best friend. "Mom" and her friends were all out at the local bar, and a man starting hitting on her. She was at the point where she thought she should just do "it" and get it over with.
Her friends were encouraging her to go for it, too. Not because they thought it was time, but because both of them had already slept with him and "he was the best [they'd] ever had." So, it was set. If you're going to go through with it, it may as well be with the best her small town had to offer. "Mom" and "The Best" went back to his apartment to do the deed.
Now, in the time in between Mom's foray and her friends' experience, "The Best" had been in a bad car accident, but luckily wasn't too injured. The only casualty was his teeth; he'd slammed into the steering wheel and all the ones in the front were knocked out. But, he had dentures, so you couldn't even tell.
Things were heating up, and "The Best" says, "I'll be right back" and goes to the bathroom. He returns, but without his teeth in, ready to go. Poor "Mom" is so horrified that she makes up some lame excuse, and runs out of the apartment. I'm sure it was really alarming to see a toothless man coming to deflower you, but would you forgo "The Best" if he had no teeth?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

How To Get Dumped BEFORE a First Date

A few weeks ago, I went to a happy hour with a friend from work. Because this place offered insane deals (mussels for $3, anyone?), it was really packed and we had to mill around the periphery of tables and stalk anyone who was leaving. While standing around, half listening to each other while we eyed tables, a good looking guy came over and started talking to us. He seemed really nice (a kindergarten teacher and basketball coach) and eventually he leaned over to me and said, "You have an incredible smile." Aw, yeah. It's "on", as they say.
He was there with his aunt and mother; we exchanged numbers on the sly so he wouldn't get grief from his mom. Plus, he was already getting enough grief from me because he was drinking a watermelon martini.
The next morning, I woke up to a text from him. "Someone is thinking about you." Depending on how deep you make your voice when you read that aloud, it's either really sweet or the most frightening thing ever. I chose the former, and felt crushy.
Now, being Type A and having (mostly) all Type A friends, I make plans way in advance. For example, I have plans through November 2010 already. So, in texting, he wanted to get together as soon as possible, but I wasn't available until yesterday. We met April 15th.
In between then and now, he'd send text messages that'd say, "Think about me on your trip to Costa Rica" or "I will wait for you because I think you're worth it". With each additional text, the voice in my head would read them with a deeper and deeper voice, making them scarier. I'm really not used to that sort of attention. I used to have to beg my most recent ex-boyfriend to tell me I'm pretty or funny (editor's note: feel sorry for me!!). But, with my friends' encouragement and insistence, I decided that I'd just have fun and go out with him.
We texted again last Wednesday to set yesterday up - all over text. Sunday passes, no location is set up, no time. Monday morning, into afternoon, into evening: nothing. Then, late last night I get a text from him that says, "This is my second text. I thought we had similar feelings for each other. I guess not?" I NEVER got the first text, and not in the "Oops! I didn't see that" lying kind of way, like, legitimately didn't. Also, "similar feelings"? We have never even gone out!
I figured I'd text him today, tell him I didn't get the first text, but before I could do that I got this final text this morning, "Wow. Nothing? Nice. Well, take care!"
I think it's safe to say I dodged a crazy bullet, and will try my best to find a guy who CALLS to set up plans, and doesn't rely on text. Oh, and doesn't drink watermelon martinis.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Isla Nublar

Look at that baby hand! Have you ever seen something so disturbing? I look like that creepy sister from the Lawrence Welk show parody on SNL.
That picture is from my recent trip to Costa Rica, and had it been time-stamped, you would know that I was drinking a beer at 11 am. During the trip, that would be considered a "late start" for boozing. Our first day there, we were drunk by 10 am, and swimming up to a bar by 11 am for more tropical drinks. The trip was amazing and exactly what I needed.
I've never considered myself the beach vacation type, but this trip has changed my mind. The people there was incredibly friendly, the beer was delicious (and cheap!), I had SO many opportunities to talk about Jurassic Park and we saw a ton of wildlife. This little guy was eating a lizard up in the trees, and decided to throw the intestines of said lizard down at the tourists below. Cheeky!These guys were running all over our resort. They were running even faster when one of my friends decided to start chasing them.
There was some surprising wildlife there, too, like the deer we saw, or these rabid, daytime raccoons above. I stupidly thought animals like deer or raccoon are exclusive to North America, or a similar climate. We also saw a raccoon at our resort, too - through the peephole in our hotel room's door. We heard a loud crash outside our door, and one these menacing-looking bandits was going through someone's room service tray across the hall from us. We called the front desk to alert them of the creature, and no one came up to investigate for HOURS. While we were being held captive, we just decided to play "Colones" - a came of quarters using the local currency.
I definitely have a travel bug now, and can't wait to play games called "Euros", "Pounds" and "Yen" hopefully in the near future.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Baby, I Stole Your Money ... Don't You Worry

I'm going to Costa Rica in three days (!!!), and was getting ready to call my bank to let them know there will be some international transactions on my card. I mean, there is a bar called "The Hook Up" near our hotel, how could I not?
When I went to pick up my phone, I already had a voicemail from my bank saying they're investigating a fraud charge.
I didn't panic because one of my traveling companions had a similar call from her bank yesterday. She bought us tickets to a rainforest tour in Costa Rica, and the charges sent a red flag back to her bank. I figured the hotel or rental car - both on my card - were charged.
When I got home from work, I called my bank and they told me that a hospital on the South Shore of Massachusetts was trying to transfer $3,100 out of my checking account. Thankfully, my bank denied the out-of-sorts transaction.
My customer service rep and I went through what I needed to do, how this could happen, who did this, what's wrong with humanity (shit got philosophical), the state of the economy and even his personal history with this sort of crime. Despite the circumstances, we had a very pleasant conversation for about 20 minutes, so I'm going to go ahead and throw that "dating" tag up on this post.
Everything is going to be OK, but, humanity? Why do you have to keep on testing us?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Just Another Case of Mistaken (Anal) Identity

I had dinner at a friend's house this week and when we sat down to eat, she got all excited and said, "Oh! I thought of you last week." "Oh yeah?" Maybe she saw a dress I might like, or jar of peanut butter at the grocery store that reminded her of me.
"Yeah. I finally tried anal and it's exactly like you said. I totally thought I was going to poop!"
Hold on. Hold it RIGHT there. You're safe, it's ok. If you have done that before and you're reading this, don't worry, this is a judgment free (and no spin) zone. But for the love of God, that was NOT me who told her anything about it. I have absolutely no interest in doing that, nor discussing it with friends!
A few friends get frustrated with me that I don't go into too many details about the boudoir, so the details she was giving me were making me severely uncomfortable. She kept elaborating before I could stop her and say, "NOT ME! NOT ME! NOT ME!"
What's worse is that I think her husband used my supposed willingness to do that act in order to convince her to do it. Apparently he said, "Everyone does it - even [name redacted]!" I'm also curious if when she says, "I thought of you" - at what point did she think of me? Actually, I may not want to know the answer to that.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Southern Hospitality

My boss and I went on a business trip to Nashville, TN and Greenville, SC together last week. We were both dreading it because we were going to be working with some sales reps who sell into Christian retailers. Our dreads came from two different places: I know nothing about religion and my boss is gay. Just to set up who we're dealing with, there is a book we sold that features animals and they said their stores didn't like it because it looked like the animals were having sex, but at least they appeared to be male and female and it wasn't interspecies! Oof.
Also, another book we sent to stores featured a picture of Jesus on the toilet with the words "Holy Crap!" above him. (editors note: oops!) I didn't know how to NOT laugh, or not say "crap" so in my scrambling I promised to never again show them a book that has the Lord "making a two". They all laughed at - not with - me. Oh, and our presentation was recorded, so they'll have that for eternity (which they believe in, incidentally).
Anyway, to take the edge off, my boss and I ate approximately 80 pounds of food over two days, and stayed (in separate rooms!) at a bed & breakfast in Greenville that was - well - below are some pictures. During breakfast (pudding-stuffed french toast with bananas), my boss and I were joking that we looked like newlyweds with the others around us saying, "That poor girl is in for a BIG surprise when she realizes her husband is gay!" and "Why are her pants so baggy and his so tight??"My room was "Out of Africa" themed, my boss got Chantilly French (all pink!).Imagine waking up to this in the middle of the night. Her eyes were blacked out like that Bone Thugs 'N Harmony video. There were all these adorable little gnomes around the outside of the house. David the Gnome was one of my favorite shows growing up, so I had to pay my respects.The woman who runs the B&B saw us taking goofy pictures all around the property (86 pictures, to be exact!), and made us pose for this one. We'll call it, "Divorce. Reason cited: fraud". What a cute, confused married couple. That woman was so nutty. When we got there the night before, she told us it was her first night away from her newborn kid, and she had a glass of wine. She said it was hitting her a lot harder than she thought it would, and she kept giggling all crazily when she was checking us in. Ok, now for the food: Ice cream in Nashville.PUDDING-STUFFED French toast at the B&B. Don't worry, I asked them to print out the recipe if anyone wants it.And, Catwater, this is for you. And, this ... this "All-Star Special" was for me!I've never felt like more of an all-star in my life.

How to Make Me Swoon

"It’s really rare when a girl as pretty as you is also as funny."

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bacon vs. Tofu: A Happening

"What gives? First, you say you're going to be a vegan, and then you start failing immediately. And now? NOW, I hear you're going to a BACON and beer tasting tonight?"
"Did somebody say 'BACON'?""Ugh, not THIS guy." "Shut up, tofu. She ate you for lunch today, alright? Tonight, tonight is our special date night feast. And you know what else, tofu?""What?""Tofu SUCKS! UHH!"

"And, scene."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wins and Fails at Work

Fail: I can't access lala.com anymore. No more musak, and I'm left to the contraints and lottery of Pandora.com now.
Win: I just booked a business trip in Greenville, SC in a few weeks and have decided to stay in a bed-and-breakfast that has an "Out of Africa" theme. Awesome. Maybe I should have splurged and booked the romantic package for two, for one?
Another win is the company's (wise) decision to finally move me into a window office, so I don't lose my mind in my old "closet converted into an office" office. Here's my new view:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Kind Diet, or That Time I Was Vegan For A Few Hours

I ended up not being able to run the half marathon. I was the sickest I'd been in quite some time and was up the weekend before coughing through the night. My doctor put me on some super meds, but they didn't work fast enough. I did a "test run" last Friday and couldn't even make it a mile without feeling like I was dying. For last year's me, that would have been called a "workout", but just a few weeks ago I checked sunrise times so I could run 10 miles before work. I am strong. I am invincible. I am runner person. I am, also, devastated.
So, after crying in front of my friend Schmate's boyfriend and then still going forward with our "carbo load" plans, I ate a LOT of cheesy baked ziti and split 12 mini Crumbs cupcakes among my friends (number of friends withheld so you don't judge how many cupcakes we each ate). By the time I got home, my stomach HATED me. Schmate's pasta is SO delicious, and the cupcakes were good, too, so I couldn't say "no". But, I realized that maybe I shouldn't be jamming so much dairy down my gullet. I looked 9 months pregnant, full of air and cheese.
So, instead of staying in town with the other half marathoners, I went up to my aunt and uncle's house in Massachusetts to hide/sulk and visit with my grammie. (I also had a face-to-face job interview at the crafting publisher on Monday and should know more soon - fingers crossed!) While I was up there, I decided to try being a vegan to detox for a few weeks.
A few things needed to happen first: I had to stop eating so much delicious cheese, and I should also consider not saying, "It smells like vegans" if I walked into a stinky room. I shopped at Trader Joe's and bought all the necessary items like wasabi peas, dried fruit, dairy free enchiladas (gross, right?).
When I got back to New York I made some delicious pasta with butternut squash and asparagus, and on top of that a fake chicken patty. Good, right? When I finished eating, I read the box the chicken, or chik'n, came in and it contains dairy. FAILED. Failure already.
I had butter poporn last night. I just got back from eating sushi for lunch. A friend emailed me yesterday and wants to get together for cheese plates and trivia at a local bar tomorrow. I can't miss that. Then, my friend let me know about a Bacon & Beer pairing event next week that also can't be missed.
I think I'll realign my goals and just consume in moderation. I'm not a big meat eater, but I love me some cheese. So, I guess I'll be a carnivore with vegan tendencies now - no more beef milkshakes for me!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Elephants on Parade

Every year, the circus comes to town and the elephants are marched through the Midtown Tunnel on their way to Madison Square Garden. Last night, my roommate and I went into the city from Queens and patiently waited for the beasts to walk by around 12:30 am.
As soon as they showed up, a wave of people came running down the sidewalk who had been following them all along. We picked up the chase, too.
Living in New York you see a lot of strange things day to day, but this was one of the strangest and most endearing juxtapositions I've seen. I understand the circus is controversial, but seeing these elephants walking trunk to tail through a busy business district in the middle of a rainy night was pretty spectacular.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Relationship Question

Is it too early to tell a man you love him after just meeting, but being able to carry on a conversation strictly about peanut butter for about 5 minutes?

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Fever Dreams

Still sick. And, now, I may not be able to run in the half marathon I've been training for for the last 3 months. I saw a new doctor yesterday, despite my prejudice about medicinal practices in Queens. I assumed any doctor in Queens was kind of going to be like Dr. Nick from the Simpsons. I was only half right. The most suspect part about the office was a framed (I'm assuming, not original) Van Gogh painting that was labeled as a Monet.
What drove me to the doctor was a "Type A" fever dream I had this weekend. For the last few nights, I've been waking up in the middle of night covered in sweat (ew). This weekend, I woke up next to a tidy pile of pillows according to size, and then on top of that my sweatshirt and the shirt I was wearing folded like I'd been working at the Gap for years (sorry for the n00d imagery).
This isn't the first time for weird, sick dream behavior: I've fallen out of bed and woken up on the floor and I've jumped out of bed and screamed at my ex-boyfriend like he was an intruder - fun for everyone!
The doctor, a fellow runner person, prescribed me some pretty heavy medications to try and have me in fighting shape for Sunday. The least I hope for is to not wake up with my closet organized by color, or me alphabetizing the contents of my apartment building's trash in another sweaty fit.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dear Key Food Supermarket

Why have you decided to be so high brow? Why aren't you carrying US Weekly anymore? I'm feeling really sick (I shared Pop Rocks with my also sick boss, thinking our colds wouldn't matter. Lick. Share. Lick. Share. We have a special relationship.), and that's all I wanted on this rainy Saturday.
You're the same supermarket that tried to kill me last week by selling me expired frozen yogurt and already-opened Matzo Ball Soup Mix. But, you're too good to let me learn more about Jessica Simpson's weight gain, and Adam Lambert's new make up line for men?

Shame on you.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Everything's Boobier (on the way to) Texas

My brother is moving to Texas to teach history at Texas A&M. I'm SO proud of him, but also really sad that he's DITCHING me on the East Coast. I'm going to accompany him on the drive to Texas, and he said we could stop at Dollywood on the way. I can never tell if he's kidding or serious, but, oh please, oh please be serious. I love Dolly Parton. 9 to 5 is one of my favorite movies. She's just so sunny and positive, and I'm even reading her out-of-print autobiography, Dolly Parton: My Life and Other Unfinished Business, right now. My friend, also a huge Dolly fan, loaned it to me. Also, if you've never listened to the albums Trio or Trio II from Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris, you're crazy.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Crafting and Conan

Ever since interviewing for that job north of Boston last week, I've been consumed by the idea of moving back there. I said I'd take whatever job I could get, whether it's in New York or Boston, but I'm pulling for New England at this point.
In fact, I had another job interview yesterday with a different New England-based book publisher. And, guys, for the job they want me to be able to get excited about arts and crafts books - the easiest thing for me to get excited about besides bagels. And babies' shoes (they're so CUTE!). I mean, look, there aren't too many opportunities in life where talking about your latest craft project - cross-stitched moustaches - could easily transition into the conversation:
Or how about that time I skipped work to go to a taping of the Martha Stewart show and then made a screen print for a tote bag?

I'm still in the very early stages of interviewing with both companies and need to hear back for round two, but they were both very kind in regards my experience and delightful phone manner. I'm feeling confident, which is a rarity, and in my confidence I just bought two tickets to see Conan O'Brien at the Wang (heh) Theatre in Boston in June. Now, I don't have anyone to go with yet, I don't have a job in Boston or an apartment, but I'm trying to use the power of suggestion and ginger hair to maybe help out a little bit. Either way, the show's on a Saturday and I can always just go up for the weekend if things don't pan out with the jobs. See? I'm not so crazy after all. And, if any of my Boston friends read this (do you?) and have nothing to do on June 5th, let me know and I'll gladly be your date.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Affection, Balls, Beantown

Today I almost jumped over the counter at CVS and gave the clerk a hug. I'm sick, and I feel like that would have made me feel much better. It's not the first time this particular clerk has made me feel this way. She calls everyone sweetheart and honey. She even told me to feel better and didn't judge me for buying disgusting knee highs. Ugh, I love her so much.
I think I've been craving that sort of motherly affection a lot more lately.
My mom sent me this adorable card in the mail "just because" that said so many nice things like she thinks of me often and that she wishes she could be there in person to cheer me on during the half-marathon (help - three weeks away!). It made me cry it was so sweet. (Although, to be fair, I might have been crying because my friends and I tried to go to an ALL meatball restaurant in the Lower East Side that night, and there was an hour and half long wait so we didn't go. We were really looking forward to spending an entire meal trying to say "balls" as much as possible.)

In other news: I'm interviewing for a job today that would place me back up in New England again. Career wise, I think it would be a really great move, and I've always wanted to move back to Boston; I just didn't think there would be potential for that so soon. On a personal level, it'd place me closer to my East Coast family (about a 1/2 mile away from them, actually) and I do have a few friends from college days still in the area that I'd love to be closer to. On top of all that, Boston's awesome. I love that city so much, and not in a sad "let's recreate the good, old days" kind of way - it's just an amazing city. On the other hand, only recently have I really started to appreciate that I live in the "greatest city in the world" and currently have some of the best friends I've ever had in my life.
It's a lot to think about, and (despite not appearing that way) I'm trying not to get too ahead of myself here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Just Bought Something New

FYI- I just bought expensive running shoes at City Sports because the clerk was incredibly good looking and touched my arch (God, I wish that was a euphemism).

Friday, February 19, 2010

Just Learned Something New

So, I just found out the most inappropriate time/place to begin a conversation with your boss about responsibilities/salary/title change: holding 2 blueberry Pop Tarts in the hallway outside of the men's room. Why? Because guys have no problem letting out really loud farts, whereas the ladies wait for a toilet flush or at least cough a little.
I was in the middle of talking, when *fart!* ... I couldn't stop laughing, and all I could think to do was offer my boss one of the Pop Tarts. He declined.

Friday, February 12, 2010

... And To Laugh Again

Last weekend, I saw this sign taped to this guy's car (with Massachusetts plates) that was blocking the driveway of my old building (c'mon - it has to be a guy who drives a Dodge Charger and parks ridiculously, right?): If you can't read it, it says: Hey Mass-Hole, You're blocking our driveway by this much. Do it again and the police will be called! Use some consideration next time. Red Sox Suck!
First of all, I'm not sure if "Masshole" needs to be hyphenated, and second of all I know exactly who wrote this sign - it HAS to be the landlord's daughter. She's such a curmudgeon with Transitions lenses and the ability to hold a grudge like no other. (For example, one time I had (loud) friends over and she knocked on my door at 10 pm on a Saturday, and said we'll wake the neighbors. Translation: I'm trying to watch my stories, and you're not allowed to have fun. After that she didn't say "hello" to me for like a month.)
Anyway, I was carrying many bags of groceries home when I saw this, but was laughing so much I had to put them down and take a picture. It felt really good to laugh, and I haven't seen this car on the street since.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

We Interrupt Our Regularly Silly Program

I usually just write about funny things that happen to me (see: falling down in front of coworkers at LaGuardia, almost getting into a fist fight in Queens), but there is something decidedly unfunny going on in my life right now.

My father is an alcoholic. He always has been, and continues to make drinking his mission. Right now, he’s in the hospital after my mother had to call 911 because he was breathing shallowly. Once there, they said his blood alcohol level was 6.1 - my mom said anesthesia is at around a 4.

As he’s always been an alcoholic, I’ve seen the levels of severity over the years. When I was 12, I found a bottle on the couch downstairs at our house in Connecticut and confronted him. He cornered me and begged me not to tell my mom what I found. When I was 8, I caught him drinking in the garage from a water bottle. He acted weird and surprised when I saw him doing this, so when he left, I smelled the stuff in the bottle. Naively, I asked my mom if water ever smells like rubbing alcohol. She’s a nurse, so I figured she would know these things. (And, yes, I hung out in the garage when I was younger - that’s where the Barbie Dreamhouse was, ok?)

In addition to a few more incidents like that, my dad had a basic schedule: he would come home from work and start drinking Coors Light and just be, I don’t know, generally creepy. He’d sit in his arm chair, not reading or anything, and just stare at whoever walked by.

I assume this was the source of much of my parent’s fighting when I was growing up, and they fought a lot. One fight in particular that I remember was my mom trying to lock my dad out of the house. The problem was he was already halfway through the door, while she was trying to close it. It was really frightening seeing my dad trying to come through the door while screaming at my mom. Not recommended.

Over the years, to deal with my father’s drinking, my mom started drinking as well. She’d have a bottle of wine a night, along with a lot of food. She’d gained quite a bit of weight, while both my parents slipped deeper into their depression.

But, then, my dad disappeared for a few days. We never talked about where he went or why, but when he came back he wasn’t creepy. He had stopped drinking. I found out later that his work had sent him to a mandatory detox because there had been complaints that he smelled of booze and was showing up to work still drunk.

So, after years of his drinking, my mom was finally saying, “This is the man I married. I’m so happy you get to meet him now.” And she was right, he’s pretty awesome. Those were the years I found out how funny my dad is, what a crazy life he had when he was younger - basically I found out he was a person, not someone who just lived at my house.

A few years after he stopped drinking, my mom did, too. In retrospect, I had a lot of anger towards my mom that she continued to drink while my dad was in “recovery”. At the time, I thought stopping drinking was as easy as not buying it anymore. I now know that’s not the case.

Cut to four years ago. I was living in NY and in a really bad work and relationship situation, so I did what any sane person would do: quit my job, packed up my apartment and drove cross country home to Los Angeles in three days! I thought it’d be a good place to recharge my batteries, save some money and figure out what my next move was. My parents have an apartment at the beach and a spare bedroom - what could go wrong?

Within a week of me being home, my father’s mistress calls my mother. He’d been having an affair for some time with a woman he worked with. The fighting was astronomical. She kicks my dad out and he moves to a depressing apartment 20 minutes away and I’m tasked with helping my mom pay rent at their apartment. So much for living out my freeloader fantasy of being an unemployed beach bum - and yes, I’m aware this makes me sound like a spoiled brat who demands bean feasts. But, I assure you, I’m not.

At this point, he had to have started drinking again. For someone who’s never been to a formal rehabilitation program (outside of a detox), he didn’t have the tools to cope with his actions. Consequently, my living at home did not last long as I became my mom’s sounding board, and heard things no child (no matter how old) should hear about their parents’ relationship. Given everything he’d done, she still took him back.

So, I decided to move back to NY to give the relationship I’d left another shot because he had “changed” and “loved me”. So, my dad was going to be my co-pilot on the drive back to NY.

While grateful I’d have company on the long drive, by this time it was 100 percent obvious he was drinking again. He’s always hidden alcohol, but there are always a few signs he is drinking again: taking a lot of walks, and also, strangely, ordering non-alcoholic beers at restaurants. I think that’s almost a charade to say, “Look! I’m not drinking SO MUCH SO that I order non-alcoholic things - and ENJOY them!”

It was confirmed me though, when I was supposed to fly to NY for an interview at my now job. My dad dropped me off at the airport only for me to find out a few minutes later that my flight had been canceled due to a snowstorm on the East Coast. I called him to come pick me up (my parents live literally 5 minutes from LAX), and when he got there 20 minutes later, he was drunk. I should have told him to pull over and let me drive, but something happens and you revert back to being a little kid who’s afraid to upset their dad. We made it home in one piece, but that made me so anxious about the impending cross-country drive.

Armed with father/daughter anti-depressants, we set off on the road where at every hotel stop, he’d go on his walks and then just go right to sleep. I always offered to do most of the driving because I wasn’t sure if he was still drunk, and I could also drive at 90 mph to get me to NY sooner.

Now (if you’re still reading), he’s at the lowest point of the disease. He was laid off from work at 61 years old, and couldn’t deal with it. Christmas was terrible, and, for now, I’ll leave it at that. My mom and brother spent New Year’s Eve in the hospital with him, and now my mom’s dealing with him in the hospital again. He has pneumonia and his pancreas is shutting down, and if he ever drinks again it will be so painful for him that he won’t last much longer.

With the length of time I’ve known my dad as an alcoholic, I’m having a hard time feeling anything about this last hospital stay.

I called him after his New Year’s hospital stay and asked him to go into rehab. I told him I wanted him to walk me down the aisle (if I ever trick a man into marrying me), and that if I have kids, they should have a granddad. I said all this through tears in a convention center in Atlanta (not my finest moment). I mean, that is some Hallmark heavy stuff to say, but it was met with no reaction. I know it’s the disease, I know he’s depressed, but that’s sort of where the switch got turned off for me. I said if he wanted a relationship, he’d have to call me sometimes, too. He’d have to say “I love you” first before I did sometimes. I haven’t heard from him since.

So now, when I found out he was in the hospital I probably should have been upset. But, honestly, I’m protecting myself from getting too disappointed or too hopeful. It’s embarrassing to say, but the Time Warner Cable guy came to my new apartment to install internet/cable and it didn’t work out for some stupid reason, so now they can’t come for another THREE WEEKS to try installing it again - after he left, I cried (I mean, don’t they realize it’s the last season of Lost??). All that to say, I’m not a robot, and I probably needed that release.


To be clear: my callousness aside, I truly do wish my father would get the help he needs, I really do want him to get better and be my dad again. So, any good thoughts my way are appreciated, and I promise soon I’ll write about how I accidentally farted in a meeting, or how tired I am seeing the “Look at me I’m comfortable being naked” ladies at the gym. I wasn’t sure if I should have written this because it’s pretty personal, but I need to work on opening up - apparently that also includes on the Internets. Anyway, I know this is all pretty heavy stuff, and I know it’s not very funny, but it’s real and it’s what’s going on right now.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fun with Netflix Envelopes

I'm in the process of packing up my apartment and moving ALL THE WAY down the street to a bigger apartment, so I'm running low on entertainment. This morning's entertainment: Netflix envelop origami!
A swan!
A shirt!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Is That a Baby in Your Uterus, or Are You Just Happy to See Me?

I have been traveling pretty steadily in the last few weeks for my job, with the longest stint being in Atlanta for just under a week, a Wednesday through Sunday. The Sunday I left, I was actually only going to be home for a few hours with a car service picking me up at 2:30 am the next day, Monday, to head to Dallas. Actually, the car service never showed up and I had to beg a random cab driver at 3:00 am to "step on it" to Newark Airport and I'd tip big (read: show him my boobs for five minutes in a ROW).
So with little sleep, a lot of taking off and landing in the past week, a week before my "moon cycle" and no pooping for a long time, I actually made my flight. Honestly, what's with not being able to number 2 unless I'm at home? Gross, right? Anyway, please picture an atypically larger-than-normal bloated me. If you've never met me, just take whatever mental picture you already have (no doubt this) and add some weight below the belly button.
I arrive at my meeting in Dallas and am greeting the sales reps I haven't seen for a year, and one of them says, "Let me be the first to say 'Congratulations'". Well, I figured she was referring to the recent announcement of the added responsibilities for my job - not a promotion. Don't worry, guys, I'll just do two people's jobs for the price of one. Anyway, I was all ready with my modest response when she cuts me off by asking when I'm due.
When I'm tired, I'm emotional. When I'm NOT a pregnant woman, I'm emotional. I'm a sensitive girl. So, after telling this "sales rep" - if that's really her name - that you're NEVER supposed to ask a girl if she's pregnant unless they say something first; I spent the rest of the meeting trying not to cry. Being pregnant sounds awesome, but being constipated and mistaken for pregnant is the OPPOSITE of awesome.
So, please, don't EVER ask a girl this - EVER. I've since de-bloated and feel amazing with all the running I've been doing, and am very thankful that my self confidence has finally showed up after 27 years of being absentee. Otherwise, I would have developed a major complex over this. That woman's still a bitch, though.