Trade Offs

I'm not really an "everything happens for a reason" or "the universe doesn't hand us anything we can't handle" person. When I got laid off at Stellina, I was miserable and it seemed like a relief. When I got laid off at Je & Jo it seemed like it was probably time I get out of my rut and start working on something that actually challenged me anyways. When I got hired at my current job it seemed like a perfect fit but now I am severely underemployed and obviously I want there to be a reason. I want something better to come out of it. I want to know it's because the universe knows I can handle it. I don't believe that's how the world actually works, but I still want it to be true. Probably the best thing that has come out of this is that I've been able to focus on writing.

Probably the worst thing that has come out of this is stress vomiting, panic attacks and missing out on big things I really want to do like my friend Elise's Vegas bachelorette party and then BiSC.

The worst part about missing BiSC is that only ended up working one day of all the days it happened so it seems like I should've gone anyways. And reading everyone's tweets late at night and almost crying while waiting for the G train.

The best part about missing BiSC is texts like the last one I got from Dominique that said "We've just poured a (figurative) stream of melted butter on the ground at bouchon for the chefs that couldn't join us (you)".

The other best part was that I had a weekend that reminded me I really like my life, which is a thing I've definitely needed some reminding of lately.

Wednesday was a 14 hour work day for supper club and then going out for "one drink" with my coworkers and obviously not doing that.

Thursday was a hangover and an afternoon date where I like to think I was being charmingly honest about the state of my head. Dinosaur bones and almost falling asleep in the Hall of Minerals. Gorgeous day in Central Park. Shake Shack fries for my hangover and a walk to Columbus Circle because my hangover also demanded a rainbow sprinkle cone from Mister Softee. People watching. Sunset watching. Beer. Making plans for a fourth date. You might not do dates well often New York, but when you do... Damn.

Friday was errands and then brunch at Egg with Morgen. Cafe Grumpy cold brew. Walking the Highline. Sample sales I had no business being at. Discovering that there's a Vanessa's in South Williamsburg. Realizing how ludicrously cheap Vanessa's is. Then a trip to our new favorite honky tonk for a giant whiskey sweet tea and live music. Bed.

Saturday was my commute somehow taking 1.5 hours instead of thirty minutes. Work. A text suggesting we meet up that evening instead of Sunday for date four. Drinks with my coworkers. Showing up tipsy (choosing to believe this is also charming) to my date. Many plates of fancy bar food. A visit to a bar with a TARDIS. Moving on to a bar with delicious beer. Definitely being the people in a bar other people might hate a little (or find adorable? Let's go with adorable). Late Saturday night snuggles (both a euphemism and not) leading to Sunday morning ones.

Sunday was laziness and brunching and tv and snuggles and naps. Hiding from the rain and being read to. Ridiculous dance party for two (these arms of mine...). Home made pot roast for dinner. Returning to a very excited kitten at 10pm after having been gone for 38 hours.

I wasn't able to go to BiSC and that kind of really sucked but I'm keeping my fingers crossed there was a reason.

If this isn't nice

I am awful and cranky most days. Truly awful. I want to remember the little things more. I don't mean to notice them and think that pleasure I get from noticing them will make everything better. I just want to know that when I look back the thing I'll remember isn't getting laid off or sifting through endless descriptions of jobs I don't want, it'll be things like Trouble and the snow.

Except that was last year and this is this year and this year it's a string of red lights against red velvet curtains. Trusting a man to lead me somewhere small and out of the way and perfect. Sitting down just in time for 16 Tons and happy memories of folk music and my childhood. Feeling my annoyance at my job, my life, the evening's hectic planning melt away as I smiled involuntarily, loving it like he said I would. It's the proprietary way he drinks my beer without asking and his head leaning against mine when the train gets stuck between stations long enough for me to believe we have actually found our way into one of the circles of Hell. Not knowing where things are going and learning to relinquish control.

This month it's the children circling around me each yelling the same question.

What are we making?

What are we making?

What are we making?

The confidence that comes from waiting for them to settle down, clearly explaining and watching and checking in with each student, knowing I'm in my element. Showing the children the bright mix of roasted vegetables they've created. Their eagerness to try a bowl.

This week it's the stark contrast of leafless trees against the bright blue sky. The thing I have wanted tattooed on my body for longest and most.

Valentine's with my roommate. Creamy burrata and a jar of tiramisu. Later, all three of us on the couch. Moonstruck and a bottle of wine. Cozy.

The promise of more snow, of seasons soon to be changing and something new right around the corner.

And now that you don't have to be perfect, you can be good.

2012 was a good year for me. It seems strange to say that. I got laid off in early 2012, I swore off online dating sometime last March and my best friend's dad died. But I found a job that didn't make me cry most days, I used the time and energy I had been using on OkC and first dates to do things that made me happy instead and well, there's  no positive spin on a parent dying. I said it was a good year, I definitely didn't say it was perfect. Nothing is coming easy in wrapping up this year. I don't know why. I want to say I didn't have any grand realizations or startling epiphanies, but I don't think that's true. I know I learned things. I know I made changes. I continued the process of settling into myself which seems like it isn't really a thing. I want to say "this year, I became even more myself" but it seems so self evident. It's not though, right? Becoming yourself is hard. Stripping away the concepts of what you should do or the notions of what you're expected to do and listening to what things truly make you happy is surprisingly fucking hard.

I'm reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking right now, and a lot of it is confirming things I already know about myself but a lot of it also making me really examine the parts of myself I respect and the parts I don't. It's had me reexamining my career through a different lens. I put a lot of effort in my early twenties into being good at being a fake extrovert because I got tired of being told I was intimidating or came off bitchy at first when really I'm just slow to warm up and pretty fucking shy. I don't think there's anything wrong with fake extroversion but I've been coming around to thinking of it more as a tool and less as the person I'm supposed to be. I had a lot of quiet time this year. I learned how much better I focus without netflix on in the background and with tweetdeck off. I learned that I am actually totally fine with there being musicless days in the kitchen. I stopped focusing on relationships with acquaintances and formed some really close, real friendships this year because that's something I'm actually much better at.

For a long time I kind of abandoned service work because it wasn't something people around me were super interested in and because I didn't want to come off as too much of a pious goody two shoes. Yes, that is correct. I though that if I went on a volunteering spree people might judge me negatively for being a good person. I don't know, maybe some people have. Who fucking cares because I'm happy and the world is a better place. Like most things in life, it turns out the people that care about you are excited and supportive because the people that actually matter want you to be happy.

2012: The year where I learned the obvious truths.

I spent a lot of time reading in 2012. I scheduled a lot of down days. I saw some fantastic concerts. I watched more tv than I'd like to admit and I still haven't found a yoga studio that I love (2013 pro tip: try actively looking). I'm starting the year stripping away things that aren't making me actively happy and adding more of the things that are. That is, really, my only goal for the year- to give myself permission to go after the things I really want and to say no to things I don't really want.

Nobody will be surprised to learn my word for the year is "Timshel".

Where's a girl with bad intentions gonna settle down?

Photo-2
Something you might not know about me: I'm very easily overstimulated, especially by sound. It doesn't make a lot of sense. I love New York City and concerts and going out dancing. Those things are all loud and I love them. But if I'm listening to music on my own, I rarely blast it. I want the tv to be just loud enough for me to hear what's going on. I will never be impressed by how awesome that explosion sounded on your new speakers. I can't even listen to music while I write, it makes it so hard for me to focus. Some days the same is true when I cook. When I'm really tired I can't even hold a conversation if there's any sort of background noise.

I don't know if it's a product of growing up in the country or without TV or if it's just a product of being me. I suppose it's one of those introvert things.

I value silence. On my own. Between people.

So obviously, I agreed to go to this last Saturday. Because why wouldn't I agree to go hang out at Barclay Center with 25,000 other people dressed in white with crazy lasers, spinning giant lotus's (loti?), dancers, water features and the type of music that makes me feel anxious after about five minutes being played endlessly? MAKES PERFECT SENSE.

Of course, there was a guy. Really, the crazy giant rave was the guy's brother's idea but the guy invited me and bought my ticket and came down from Boston to spend Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon with me (which also should've been overwhelming). So I threw myself into it. Acquired some white sequins to wear and danced and had fun for about three hours before reaching my limit, at which point the aforementioned guy looked even more overwhelmed and exhausted than I did so we went home and promptly passed out.

Having the guy stay with me for three days? It was nice. And not overwhelming. I got to have a boyfriend for three days. I got snuggles and brunches and somebody's hand reaching around my waist at parties. Maybe because I knew he was leaving at the end of the weekend or maybe because I just like him that much, I interacted and existed without pretense or anxiety. I remembered that with the right person you can actually spend that much time together in one stretch without wanting to kill them.

That guy is back in Boston now and maybe we'll spend a weekend together again sometime and maybe we won't, but it was nice.

And I guess it's worth it. The bad dates, the boring dates, the guys that behave like total asshats. The guys you meet in bars. I guess it's worth it. Because eventually one of them will live in the same city as me and it'll be nice for more than three days.

Bits & Pieces (the fourth)

August isn't my favorite time of year. It's well documented. I haven't been writing about it, because there isn't anything to say that I haven't said before.

I had a nasty Summer cold earlier this month, the worst deathaversary sick I've had in a couple of years. I wasn't prepared for it to happen so early. After literally spending 48 hours in bed over the weekend, I was still sick enough on Monday that I would've called in sick if my assistant were actually a baker, not a grad student who knows how to work the ice cream machine. I never call in sick, it's just not done in the kitchen, but I would've called in sick.

I over schedule myself to the point where I even thought I was over scheduled. Over scheduling is my thing. I love it. But this month I looked at the calender and thought "Seriously, Alana Margaret? Are you trying to kill yourself?". Nope, just keeping busy.

Busy busy busy.

My brain is on overdrive. I think I've probably written ten blog posts in my head but never let myself sit down to write them. I got in a rut at work and then suddenly thought of all the new recipes I wanted to make at once. That's how it goes. The recipes leave and come back. It's overwhelming sometimes, I never know how to explain it. Once I'm in that mode, I'll literally stop a conversation to work out a flavor combination out loud. I haven't shut down for a while. Quieting my mind during yoga this week was an extra challenge.

My life, it seems so full of possibility right now. My lease is up at the end of November and I'm constantly thinking about what next. It's crazy that I'll have lived in the same apartment for a year and ten months when I leave, I tend to pack up and move, to run onto the next thing more often than that usually. Do I stay in Astoria? Can I somehow afford Manhattan? Do I give in and move to Brooklyn to be with my hipster people? Do I leave New York? (I'm not leaving New York, I'm too happy with my life right now, but the point is, I could. I'd come back, but I could leave for a while).

I love my job and I really believe in the product, but once again I'm not sure what the next step is careerwise. I think the next step is to do what I've been doing and create a life outside of work while I have a job that allows me to do that. Maybe the next step is just sticking around for a while.

Politics are making me rage-y right now. Just a rage bubbling up inside me that I haven't felt for a while. I told somebody the other day that I had such a hard time taking Mitt Romney seriously as a candidate that I keep forgetting it's an election year. WHEN I WAS IN INDIA I READ ENTIRE DEBATE TRANSCRIPTS ON THE INTERNET and this year I've been like "wait, we still actually need to vote on this bullshit?". At least that's how I was until Republicans started saying really REALLY stupid things about rape and then I mean, RAGE. Just, rage.

I guess I feel like I'm finding myself again with the yoga and the volunteering and the rage. I don't know when I lost myself. Or if that's the right phrase. I feel like I'm turning into the version of myself I want to be. I wasn't lost. I just knew I could do more. There still much more to do, there's always more. But I'm growing again. Growing and stable at the same time.

Happy and sad at the same time.

Lara called to tell me Moxie Crimefighter died today. It finally made me pause long enough to feel the sadness that's been lingering around the edges this month. Sadness for her dad's passing, sadness for my own's and now sadness for the loss of a tiny black cat named after pub trivia had a celebrity baby names round. While Lara's dad was sick, Moxie slept curled next to him every day. You were the best, Moxiecat. The best.

I'm currently simultaneously annoyed with myself for being irresponsible and going out and drinking for EIGHT HOURS last Wednesday and had such a good, crazy time, that I can't be. It was just one of those nights that I think can only happen in New York where one minute it's 5pm happy hour in the UWS and then it's 11 and somehow you've ended up in Brooklyn, developing a small surprise crush on somebody that wasn't even really eligible in your mind before. The crush has stuck with me sober. Have I mentioned how much I hate crushes? It's basically like when somebody tells me they have a surprise for me. Either just surprise me or tell me what it is. I don't do well with anticipation and not knowing. Seriously, I hate this feeling. Will it develope into more of a crush? How does he feel about me? Why am I even thinking about this that much? What's my next move? Do I make a next move? Why did I hide in the kitchen when he came into work the other day? What if he has no interest in moves? WHY CAN'T WE JUST HAVE ARRANGED MARRIAGES STILL?

I'm going to lie in a dark room and just listen to the Good Old Wars and The Avett Brothers endlessly now. Also, the Lumineers, still. And the Milk Carton Kids. I'm back on an alt country kick and a buying all the music kick. I'm still so happy to have gotten back this part of myself. I miss my records, though. I want those when I move.

I think maybe my brain will be quiet for a second now because how can anything be left after that outpouring of gibberish?

Maybe All I Need is a Shot in the Arm

I think it's only in the last month that the feeling of constantly treading water, of being in a never ending game of "catch up" just passed, and I don't know if it's a matter of finally feeling comfortable with my life in New York or just finally feeling comfortable with life.

I've been thinking a lot about how much smaller my life feels here. It sounds so big to other people, y'know, moving to New York, being a pastry chef in Manhattan, but when you're away from everyone you know, from the expectations of family or friends that have known you for years, life gets to be as a big or small as you want it to be.

My life for a lot of the last year and a half has been lived on a "one day at a time" basis. My schedule changed, my hours were long, my social groups seemed constantly coming together and falling apart. Maybe that's part of living in New York, or being away from home or maybe it's just the way your 20s go, either way I feel like I'm finally settling into my life here. I don't mean settling in the bad way, I mean settling in the way I meant when I chose "stability" as my focus for 2012. Stable. I feel stable.

I love my job. I love my hours. I love spending time with my coworkers after hours. Yes, sometimes the ice cream business does get a little overwhelmingly busy and sometimes I wish there were a way I could permanently delete Pandora stations from existence and today the ice cream machine broke and I had to replace the gasket on the oven door FOR THE SECOND TIME. Meaning we've had three gaskets since I started working there. EFF YOU OVEN. Also I cut my finger AND splashed boiling water on my face giving myself a minor burn under my eye (CHEF LIFE, WHAT?).

Ok, fine, so far it's been A WEEK, y'all. But that's not the point.

It's been a rough week, but I feel anchored. I feel anchored in routine. By the girls' night I had on Saturday, by the dinner and stroll I had on Monday, by the work visit I had today, by the anticipation of all the activities littering my iCal for the rest of the month.

When you uproot your life there's a constant seesaw between the giddiness of "OH MY GOD THIS IS MY LIFE! IS THIS MY LIFE? OH MY GOD" and "I miss, I miss, I miss". A lot of the things I miss that were part of my normal life in California, I've continued to miss because doing them without a buddy in New York was outside of my comfort zone. I was already living so far outside my comfort zone, already so pushed to the edge, that adding just one more thing seemed unbearable.

It's a hard thing to explain, how you can be so happy, so sure you're where you're supposed to be and so overwhelmed at the same time.

In July, I found my groove. I don't know what did it. I said "yes" to things that caused me anxiety because they caused me anxiety. I sought out the things I missed. I finally went to a New York Cares volunteer orientation and have already signed up for 3(!) projects, the first of which is this Saturday. I hung out with new friend groups on multiple occasions. I was better at contacting people with whom I had fallen out of touch. I talked to strangers at bars and signed up for Meetup events. And my moment of crowning glory?

I WENT TO A CONCERT BY MYSELF.

I actually bought tickets to go to three shows by myself because I figured if I was going to do it, I might as well go all out. Also, because there was no way I was going to be like "well, I want to go to this show enough to go by myself, but not this one". GUESS WHAT? I want to go to all the shows. There are actual no words for how much I've missed that being part of my life. I knew I missed it, but I didn't KNOW know until last Wednesday when I found myself standing in a mass of people at Terminal Five yelling "SOMETHING IN MY VEINS BLOODIER THAN BLOOD" as Wilco closed out their first set.

Are shows better when you have somebody with whom to share the experience?

Probably.

But is life better when you don't sit things out just because you don't always have somebody by your side?

Definitely.

I'm over being a passive bystander in my own life.

 

Good at running away

I've been in my head a lot lately. My evenings consist of lying on my bed and staring at the ceiling while listening to albums all the way through. It might surprise you to know that I was out of touch with music for a while. It's only in the last year and a half I've gotten back into this habit. I think I let it go trying to distance myself from one relationship and conform to the next. I guess if I'm thankful for anything in this year and a half (AND COUNTING) break from serial monogamy it's learning what things I value without the influences of somebody else's love or hate for them. So I've become a reader again and a yogi again and a music lover again. Or really, I've just settled into myself. That's how I feel most of the time, settled. Not settled in a trapped way, not settled in my life or location but settled in myself.

The past while I've been unsettled. My body goes through the motions while my mind is lost building castles in Spain. Mulling. I've been doing a lot of mulling lately. Trying to figure out where the discontent is coming from. Which often means trying to figure out where the contentment is coming from or, more accurately, what I've liked enough to feel some vulnerability.

What are you running away from before it can disappoint you this time, Alana Margaret?

I don't know how to find balance. I feel my feelings unabashedly, overwhelmingly, or function wholly on logic. After a few weeks of being intensely feelings-y and letting my heart lead, I woke up this morning and realized I didn't want any part in it. I don't know what happened. I woke up and thought "you want this thing, but the likelihood of this thing being possible is small, so stop wanting it" and immediately felt back in my right mind. I still want the thing, but it's pushed to it's own little corner of my mind until I hopefully forget about it and move on. Compartmentalization. Detachment. Those are my strong suits.

Every boy I've ever dated is right. If it's any consolation, guys, I don't know where I go either.

I terrify myself (I think I realized this when I came to terms with how much I had absolutely no trouble relating to Katniss).

And I'm still not back to being settled.

I am the luckiest

It's 10am when I struggle with my copy of a copy of a copy of a key to roll up the metal gate and open the heavy door and walk into the dark and silent wine bar that makes up the front half of the restuarant.

What has proceeded this moment: 45 minutes of "snoozing", a bleary realization that I went to bed with my hair wet (again) and that it is sitting in a half-Jew fro on top of my head, hello flat iron, clothes somehow end up on my body, tinted moisturizer and out the door. Coffee at the bodega where they know my order (Am I a New Yorker yet?), 45 minutes on the train, half awake weaving through Chinatown and then digging through my purse.

I walk through to the pastry kitchen, flipping on lights and ovens,  setting down my phone and coffee. I snatch up a yellow legal pad and head downstairs. Into my cubby goes my purse, my real world clothes, my shoes and jewelry, out comes yoga pants and shiny blue clogs. My clipboard and I make our way around, counting and checking what was gone through the night before against what I had written for production. Two walkins, two kitchens, opening drawers, pulling out sheetpans.

And then, finally, thirty minutes later, I tie on an apron and head into the kitchen to start the real work.

Into the dock goes my iPod. Nobody is here yet, I can play whatever I want.

Stop... with you feet in the air and your head on the ground...

Mixing bowls out, yeast, water, flour and salt. Eggs for some. Olive oil for others. And suddenly the quiet kitchen is filled with the not so quiet whir of two 6 quart stand mixers and a 40 quart's clunk, clunk, clunk. I still have another hour before anybody else arrives. Another hour of just me, my music and the kitchen.

Even though I know that means I still have another 9 hours to my day, another 9 hours on my feet and running up and down the stairs and hoisting flour sacks and realizing the wholesale order should've been in the oven twenty minutes ago, I also realize that I chose right all those years ago when I chose culinary school over college because I am in the kitchen and so, I am happy.

This post was written as part of the Scintilla Project. Prompts can be found here.

It's a treacherous road with a desolated view

 Tumbalalaika is my grandmother singing me to sleep and Where Have all the Flowers Gone is her playing the piano in the sunlit living room of my great grandparents' house in the Berkeley hills.

A musical snowglobe with a basket of roses played the song played at my mother's (unsuccesful) rehab graduation and kept me company in the years she was gone.

"You're going to really like this," my father says as he puts the bright orange CD into the stereo and skips to I'm Just a Girl. Sunny summer Sunday mornings with the top down, driving me home on highway 1.

Mayonaise for the boy I spent three weeks kissing in Ireland when I was 14.

Years of late night singalongs in the Mendocino Woodlands and the smell of campfire lingering in my clothes for days are comprised of Obla Di Obla Da and Down by the Riverside.

Staying up all night next to the fire in the dining hall in the same Woodlands, with friends so close I still think of them as my family, is yelling along to Buddy Holly which is also: my first concert, Paris with Corina (another Weezer concert) endless car singalongs and dinner parties in my Berkeley apartment.

Lara and Corina are I Will Survive and the Josie and the Pussycats soundtrack. Stuck in traffic before the Rainbow Tunnel headed towards a Unitarian Universalist youth conference on a rare warm sunny day in San Francisco. Late night cookie bakes. Planning Sunday service.

Golden Age is rain on the roof of Jacob's room junior year of high school. It's panic attacks and aching and loss and grief and comfort and safety all wrapped in one. It's my favorite song and I rarely listen to it because it hurts. It hurts like you couldn't even imagine. Sometimes I don't even know how I got through that first year after my father died.

India when I was eighteen is obviously Redemption Song. The Garden State soundtrack is my return and the next semester in Turkey.

Our tiny, damp and cold (but cheap) apartment in San Francisco was Not a Pretty Girl, while I rocked out to Twin Cinema in the culinary classroom and walked towards the streetcar in the fog humming To Be Young is to Be Sad.

The truth is, I could keep doing this all night, almost every post on this blog for the last three years has been titled with song lyrics, each one awakening a very specific feeling. I'm one of those people. You know the ones, the ones that can't possibly get by on only the 16 gigs their iPhone allows, the ones that listen to albums with the shades drawn and the lights off, whole albums always, songs are meant to be listenened to in album order or on a playlist but never an album on shuffle (shudder), the ones who sometimes replay a song if a conversation interrupted really listening to it, the ones who devour new albums like they've never heard music before... One memory and one song? Impossible. I could more easily give you the soundtrack to my entire life.

But if you really must know, Summertime will always make me cry.

This post was written as part of The Scintilla Project, prompts can be found here.

I drank myself to sleeplessness last night, I always do

So I had a job interview for a barista position today that I somehow got from sending this as my cover letter (they asked for favorite band and a current photo, I didn't just include it for fun):

I've never been good at the favorites game. I can never choose just one, and when it comes to music, my favorite changes with my mood. I can tell you right now I've been listening to Band of Horses a lot, that some days my favorite song is "Good Feeling" by the Violent Femmes and that when I need to get my house cleaned I either blast the Old 97's or the White Stripes but The Decemberists are probably my favorite band to see live, with Stars being a close second. I have a soft spot for Willie Nelson, early Tom Waits and Bob Dylan.

I have some previous barista experience though I've primarily been a back of house girl and I am incredibly passionate about excellent coffee. Having recently moved from Northern California, I've found delicious coffee a little short in supply in New York and am anxious to spread the good word. I've worked far worse hours than opening at a coffee shop and survived and I'm comfortable working at a fast pace on my feet for many hours. I learn quickly and have a great a smile. Attached you'll find a picture that shows it.

I mean, I have to imagine there are plenty of actual baristas looking for work but I'm assuming I impressed the manager with my intense hipsterness of music choices. Or the fact that my resume is actually probably really interesting to people regardless of its relevence. It goes something like this: working with drug addicted teens, chocolate, pastry, pastry, pastry, more chocolate, more pastry, fill in front counter staff, cake decorating, teaching English in Turkey, volunteering at orphanages/mother Theresa's hospital in India.

I mean, fuck, if I read my resume I'd want to meet me even if I didn't actually have the skills for the job. I look pretty cool on paper guys.

Anyways I went to the interview and I think I kind of rocked it, despite the fact that I was operating on three hours of sleep. Mostly because the manager looked like she was my age and also seemed to be operating on three hours of sleep and ten cups of coffee. Also she had these big glasses that were super adorbs that made me wish I needed glasses and that if I did I could pull off glasses that awesome. Also, there's a staff book club, how ridic cool is that? (I've decided whole words are doubleplusbad apparently) Obviously the pay is shit because it's a barista job but at this point I have not actually worked for a month and kind of feel like I'm going crazy (that might also be due to the insomnia, but whatevs) so I agreed to come in for a one hour trial tomorrow. Or as Mia puts it, I agreed to go give them my labor for free which shouldn't even be legal. Considering back of house usually has to work for free for at least a whole day, giving away my labor for free for an hour sounds pretty cool.

Of course, I got back from that job interview checked my email and had five actual pastry positions finally respond and I was like "But noooooo, I was sold on the book club, now I'm going to have to give up the book club to work in my actual trade for possibly more money," which really shouldn't sound that bad. The thing is, I'm kind of excited about the prospect of getting back in a kitchen but I'm also kind of terrified.

In the past, Alana in the kitchen=crazy workaholic, no sleep (I AM SO GOOD AT BEING AN INSOMNIAC IT'S NOT EVEN FUNNY! Oh my god it's really not I'm so fucking fuckity fuck tired), no fun, career Alana. Or given that I now live with Mia who can drink like I can, Alana in the kitchen might equal workaholic/alcoholic Alana. Alcoholic Alana is pretty fun though, so maybe that wouldn't be so bad (you're going to have to take one for the team, liver).

Really, I think that there are a lot of other circumstances that made me burned out and unhappy in food service and that getting back in the kitchen now might totally rock my world. I'm pretty sure one of the places that responded was the one that said working on menu development was a requirement of the job which pretty much makes me want that job right now even though it's a restaurant not a bakery. So tomorrow after my hour of working for free I've got a lot call backs to make because it didn't seem like cracked out three hours of sleep me who thought it was a good idea to eat half a jar of nutella should talk to anyone on the phone, especially potential employers.

In other news, my room is starting to slowly look like more of a room.

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Note my fancy computer desk/charging station and picture board, both created by covering cardboard with scarves. Someday I'll get some sort of actual tabley/desk thing over there but the free stuff on craigslist just hasn't had anything useful yet. And by "yet" I mean "in the last week". I keep forgetting that I'll only have been here a week tomorrow. Weeks seem longer when you're an unemployed insomniac.

  P1040852

I just thought you should see how heavily I'm relying on scarves to make my room look exciting and inhabited. They're frakkin everywhere.

Oh also, in case you're wondering why I don't just drug myself to sleep- per the drematologist I'm only allowed to take tylenol for I think another two weeks and then I can reintroduce one drug per week just in case I have some sort of crazy allergic reaction because apparently that's just how I roll now. Remember that time I was hoping for super powers? I'm not even allowed to roofy myself this time. Fail.

A woman wants her cowboy like he wants his rodeo

You're probably thinking, "Really, we're done with the boy, aren't we done with country music?" but alas, no, because there's still so much "what the fuck were you thinking?" followed by "oh, wait, I see why you were suckered in" followed by me still living in the country which means that I drive around in my car yell-singing "I hate that stupid old pickup truck you never let me drive". (Yes, I just admitted to listening to a Taylor Swift song all the way through, please judge me, I would, the alien that sometimes controls my actions even does) Because I do hate that stupid old pickup truck he never let me drive, seriously, I hated the issue of whether or not I was allowed to drive it. This is never something I thought would come up in my dating life. I really wouldn't care except that he offered me his BMW to drive home one night when I wanted to head in before him (who lets someone drive their bimmer before their truck?) AND he had seen me drive the same exact truck (albeit older and belonging to my grandpa) on many occasions and would comment on how sexy he thought it was. Stupid country boy machismo. Lame sauce.

Back on track, I don't know if I actually ever stated this a year ago in my blog, but my plan after breaking up with Jacob was to remain single for a while. I hear this is the reasonable thing to do if, a) you're ending a really long term relationship and b) you've spent more of your life in relationships than out of them and you're only 24 (or, at the time, 23).

There was no plan when I broke up with the boy, because we hadn't really been dating. I started the whole online dating plan in the period when we were still occasionally sleeping with each other and he was sleeping with other people because I had conversations with five people in two days in which they recommended online dating and Ms. Mae told me she thought the only reason I kept sleeping with the boy was because I was afraid that nothing better was ever going to come around. So I figured I might as well give it a go. Oddly, I'm really happy that I didn't go on any dates before telling the boy I had no interest in being friends or even talking to him anytime in the near future. I proved to myself that I could take that risk of not having anyone other than my incredibly loving and supportive friends and family and that I respected myself enough to not let the boy treat me like shit anymore.

(You might be asking why a woman of twenty four who has spent more time in relationships than out would ever be afraid of not finding someone and it would probably be a reasonable question. I don't know.  I guess I'm just insecure and human like that.)

This time 'round I feel the exact same way in a not at all sort of way. I realized as I was looking through OkC profiles and finding dealbreakers I didn't even know existed (Did you know there are still people that think Dan Brown is a legitimately good author?) like using commas instead of periods for ellipses (I think, why else would you put three commas at the end of every sentence?) that maybe I don't actually want to be in a relationship. I mean, I do. I want someone to bring me that giant bowl of mashed potatoes. But I only want it if it's amazing. I'd rather take the time to take a deep breath and figure out what the hell it is I want before I accidentally go on a date with somebody I've thought was a douchebag since about 8th grade and have the emotional rollercoaster ride of my life for the next ten months because it turns out, he is still a douchebag.

So let's figure it out by breaking it down; every other boy mentioned in this blog vs. the boy:

-Jacob: This would be my high school sweetheart. He's still one of my best friends; we watch project runway, look at cardigans and talk about video games. If I has to suddenly face some sort of major life crisis/event he's most likely the person I'm going to call. He is probably the reason music is such a big part of my life. His college major has changed from structural engineering (wait, or was it civil first?) to electrical engineering to architecture to, finally , math. I would not describe him as manly, but he can wire houses and use power tools, so that's something. An all around very nice, nerdy, well dressed (though it's taken some effort to find clothes to fit his 6'6" frame) guy. This is not at all relevant, but he has a Great Dane puppy named Charles that is the cutest thing ever and can probably already fit my whole head in his mouth.

-Just My Type Boy/The Boy's Best Friend: One of my best male friends growing up. He had a crush on me from sometime in middle school until possibly sometime in the past year, or now, I don't know. I've had crushes on him off and on that whole time. We talk about girls being stupid, video games, traveling and watch really bad movies (Like Conan the Barbarian). We've jokingly propositioned each other so many times that I'm fairly certain we've finally ended up in each other's friend zones. He was a biology major with a math minor. Despite being a seemingly oblivious sort of guy, he always know what to say to cheer me up; whether it be telling me I'm amazing or joining in on the self deprecation. I hear he can be a bit of an ass to date. He climbs a lot of rocks, so he looks pretty muscular and manly until he opens his mouth and you realize he's mostly a pretty nice, somewhat awkward, nerdy guy. He also has an adorable puppy, her name is Claudia.

-Charlie Trouble: In case you've somehow missed the me making out pantless in a bar posts, this would be the boy who I may have crushed on, impulsively slept with and broken the bed of while in New York. He might've announced to a bar that I was his future girlfriend and just didn't know it yet and suggested proposal as a method to keep me in New York. We were both inebriated for one of those statements and neither of us were for the other; I'll let you guess which. I feel like it would be a bit silly to write out a whole bit when I've just written about him. Let's just say one of his jackets has a WoW patch, he has a LotR tattoo, I told him I would marry him if he built me the Enterprise... I think you can see where this is going...

But if you want me to spell it out for you: I am a sucker for nerdy boys.

For serious.

(If I ever start a dating only blog I'm pretty sure it's going to have to be titled "Let's talk math baby, and could you be a little awkward about it?".)

-Ché/The Boy: Apparently had a crush on me from third grade until I broke his heart when he asked me to go to a dance in 6th or 7th grade. I don't remember this at all. We had all the same friends but were never particularly good friend with each other. Sometime in 8th grade this changed, probably around the time I called him a chauvinist ass and he called me a bitch. I have no recollection of why this happened, just that it did. I'm sure I had a good reason though. We mostly avoided each other freshman year of high school and then I transferred out of that god damn hick school to the fine/performing arts magnet and forgot he existed until he popped up in my people you might now thingy on facebook. I remember at one point in time thinking he was a nice enough intelligent sort of guy so maybe I was wrong about the whole chauvinist ass thing. We started writing each other daily. He bought me nice dinners, he has a nice car, he knows how to say all the right things he has the responsibility of taking care of things around his and his mother's ranch, he reads a lot, he once asked me if he looked homeless in all brown when he was wearing a very green shirt and he knows how to use a chainsaw. He was a history major, but mostly only likes the old white guy war stuff as far as I can tell. When he'd come home to find his roomie or best friend and me playing MarioKart he would make funof us. Our common interests include talking about our dead fathers, booze and sex. With a heavy emphasis on the booze and sex.

My friends, his friends and he have all stated that he must have been an incredibly long rebound/I was just going for the opposite end of the spectrum, but I think that's only 75% true.

Both of us have an odd, idealized love for country life. I'm not going to lie, it really does give me great joy to drive around in a giant truck blasting country music because it's just straight up fun, so is drinking by candlelight in the barn and being in a house full of people drunkenly shouting along to "Friends in Low Places". However, I do not want to do those things all the time. I like the environment so I like my fuel efficient car. I like going to indie rock shows. Also the ballet and museums. I'm a contradictory sort of girl.

But I think there's a part of me that's a sucker for the ideal of the educated, sensitive country boy. You know, he knows how to have a good time but he also can take care of his responsibilities. He appreciates food cooked from the plants and animals he's grown. He spends days with the woodsplitter so his mother can have firewood for the winter. He'll probably mostly make sure you're happy and you get what you want, but he's not a pushover. He can fix things And, obviously, he knows how to handle a gun when the zombie invasion comes 'round. (And yes, the boy is part of the constantly talking about the zombie invasion club.) This was the impression the boy gave me when we first started seeing each other. I am not actually a sucker for the country boy who wants to get drunk every single night, tells me I can be a god damn feminist as long as I still shave my legs and would like to be able to use his guns to shoot pretty much anyone that pissed him off.

The country boy image still appeals to me, but I'm pretty sure that if I have to choose my type, I'm going back to nerdy but preferably with some of those other qualities thrown in.

I would like a boy that is something like 75% nerdy, 15% country (I may settle for not a pushover and can fix things without actually being "country") and 10% hipster (alternatively, not actually hipster, but likes music a lot).

So basically, right now, I'm going to be ludicrously picky because I'm not in a hurry and I don't ever want to pretend it could possibly work with someone not even remotely my type again. I'm sure I'll relax my standards once I've been single long enough. Maybe I'll even stop judging people by their taste in authors and ability to write out full words (when hell freezes over) but I don't really know.

And the part where I feel exactly the same as last year...

Once again, how does this whole single thing work?

Maybe, you're going to be the one that saves me

I've been pretty bad about citing the songs I used in titles for a while now. Some of these are always in that little sidebar music player but some of them aren't. So if you've been curious, here are songs from the last couple o' months. I just put them in order from most recent entry on, so I don't necessarily think they flow like a great playlist.

And, as an added bonus, here are my musical obsessions of the moment. Again, not in a flow together sort of way necessarily.

I wish I was the moon tonight

This is my current playlist, right now I pretty much just listen to it on shuffle over and over again:
Xavia, The Submarines
The Only Living Boy in New York, Simon & Garfunkel
Salome, Old 97's
Calender Girl, Stars
You, Me and the Bourgeoisie, The Submarines
A Better Son/Daughter, Rilo Kiley
Dressing Room Walls, Old 97's
Easy Hearts, Whiskeytown
People's Parties, Joni Mitchell
Midnight Coward, Stars
With Arms Outstretched, Rilo Kiley
Young Pilgrams, The Shins
More Adventurous, Rilo Kiley
Mayonaise, Smashing Pumpkins
Modern Romance, Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Bar Lights, Whiskeytown
Old Shoes (&Picture Postcards), Tom Waits
I Wish I Was the Moon, Neko Case
Good Feeling, Violent Femmes

You might be wondering why this is important information. It's not (I mean it is, as much as anything on this blog is important information) except that if you really wanted me to, I could go through each of these songs and pull out the lines that could be (or have been) potential blog titles. In other words, songs that I relate to, songs that are me right now or some that are me always. I'm the type of person that reads a lot into what people listen to so I'm letting you do the same to me right now.

There are songs or albums that evoke memories so strong that sometimes I can't bear to listen to them. "Summertime" performed by Janis Joplin will always be one of my favorite songs, but it reminds me so much of my father that I can rarely listen to it without being on the verge of tears (or in private, full out bawling). The entire album "Sea Change" is easily within my top 5 albums of all time, but I can't really listen to it without my heart breaking.

Of course there are songs that remind me of middle school dances that I still don't know how I know all the lyrics to, there are songs that remind me driving with my father along the coast on days warm enough for the windows to be all the way down, songs that remind me of staying up late cooking with Lara and Corina, songs that were once "our song" in various relationships, songs that I can only listen to if I can also sing along at the top of my lungs, songs that I forget that I love until they come up on shuffle, but mostly, I listen to the songs that either drown everything out or the songs that almost hurt a little too much to listen to, the ones that touch a little too close to home. I either want something so strong I can listen to it until I can't feel feeling any more or something in which to drown my sorrow in.

Music is questionably my alcohol.

I think I'll go out and embarrass myself by getting drunk and falling down in the street

Yeah, it's Rilo Kiley lyric blog title week. I've listened to "The Execution of All Things" about (at least) 50 times in the past three weeks I think. You know how sometimes you just listen to an album and suddenly it's the only album you need to listen to for a while but you try to convince yourself to listen to other albums because it's kind of weird to listen to the same one on repeat for multiple weeks? (Or is that just something I do?) Well that's what I've been doing. It just works for me right now.

Since writing my last actually personal entry (which I know was mopier and more self indulgent than a 14 year old who has gotten their hands on their first Bright Eyes album, but what are blogs for anyways?) I've actually been in a pretty damn good mood. I don't know if it was because of inauguration day or my birthday (those were both on the same day) or what. There just seems to be an infectious good mood here in the People's Republic of Berkeley. Seriously, people are snatching up cupcakes with American flags stuck in them faster than you can say "Karl Marx". Since when do people in Berkeley go within 10 feet of anything on which there's an American flag? It's crazy!

I was going to write about how scattered my brain is this week despite my good mood, that now that I've decided to pick myself up and dust myself off and work on getting out of this holding pattern that is currently my life, I need to find some grounding, focusing energy, but what I've written so far seems to say that for its self.

This morning I made saffron buns and forgot to put in the saffron. For reals.

For now, I think I just have to get everything out of my brain and onto digital paper but I do have a more longterm plan. I'm thinking actually sleeping enough will help. Also waking up early enough to start off the day with some sun salutations and at least eating some toast and actually finishing my latte before running out the door to work. I've spent the last few weeks in a haze of self pity, fried food and sleep deprivation and I'm feeling pretty damn over it. I'm finally feeling motivated and inspired to cook real meals at home again (dinner tonight was so good that I immediately posted it on my other blog after eating it) , get my room cleaned up and organized so that I can get the rest of my shit from storage, to think about craft projects instead of playing world of warcraft and to generally go out into the world more. Also to figure out where I want to live next because I'm just not Berkeley enough to live in Berkeley at this stage in my life. I don't think I'm going to move anytime soon- I like my job quite a bit and also I don't have the money to move right now, but I'd like to start thinking about getting my act together to have the money to do that and where that place might be. I have a feeling it's just going to be back across the bay to San Francisco but Manhattan is also calling to me.

 I always miss New York in the winter.

And in closing, my kitten is really cute.P1000500