Writing About Writing

I've never wanted to be a Writer. I feel strange saying that. So many people have that novel on the back burner or those short stories they want to some day publish and I often feel like I'm supposed to want that too because I like writing. It's not because I don't think I'm good enough or, at least, won't at some point be good enough or that I don't think I have stories worth telling. I don't know what it is. Mostly, I think it's that I have myself convinced that I'm only a good writer because I've read a lot. It has nothing to do with me or my stories, just my innate ability to synthesize and reproduce the voices of other writers. I have never had a knack for fiction. I just can tell you about my own life through other people's voices and that seems like cheating. I've had a few people tell me my writing seems melancholy lately and I suppose that is true. I don't know how much has to do with me being melancholy and how much it has to do with reading memoirs and journals of melancholy authors. I don't know where my voice ends and Sylvia Plath's begins. I don't know if all truly great writers have a unique voice that came from nothing or from the way they've absorbed and blended Hemingway and Bukowski. I don't know if it really matters.

Lately though, because I've been reading all these books that make it seem lovely to be poor and spending days in front of a typewriter, I've been thinking about whether or not I'm wrong. I've been thinking about writing more. I've been thinking about writing with discipline. Not here, necessarily. And I don't know what, for sure, I want to focus on. I probably still won't write fiction. But I think somewhere in these years of digital pages, there might be things to be expanded and other things to cut loose and maybe something could come of it, even if all it is is becoming a better writer.

If I'm not more excited about just having spent an evening with you than I would've been about reading my book, it's not going to work

"I like that you just used the same word to describe your date with Chuck Klosterman and Treasure Island" We were discussing Elise's bachelorette party and I had said "Treasure Island is a fine hotel, it's ok, there's nothing wrong with it" which is word for word what I had just said about my date with Chuck Klosterman's thirty year old doppleganger.

Look, the date was FINE. We went to a french restaurant in midtown. He impressed me by picking a time and location (lets not talk about how this is actually a standard that impresses me these days) and the food was decent french food. I had steak frites. My steak was cooked the way I ordered and my pommes were acceptably frite. It was fine. We talked about music and politics which I'm usually pretty happy to do but it wasn't really that entertaining. I found myself rephrasing jokes so that they didn't rely on sarcasm or my normal deadpan humor because I was fairly certain he would actually take me seriously. Luckily, he found me charming even though I thought I was being pretty effing boring. So. It was fine. We went to a midtown bar with A LOT of beer and when I realized he was making "I want to make out with you eyes" at me, I decided maybe I was done for the evening. Up until then, nothing had gone horrifically wrong so I figured it might pick up and I'd stick with it (again, MY STANDARDS ARE REALLY HIGH THESE DAYS). But I didn't really want to make out with him, so time to pack it in. We walked to the train together and when he leaned in to kiss me...

I kissed him back. Because a) I'm a confusing asshole and b) I'll be the first to admit that I'm really really fucking awful at dating. I've recently realized that I'm really great at kissing people that don't matter but not good at kissing people I would actually like to kiss. Y'know, the people it would be scary to kiss because it would hurt if they didn't want to kiss back, or if they only wanted to kiss back for a little while. So I kiss the people that don't matter so I can't fail at kissing the ones that do. And if you're not 100% certain there's a larger life metaphor there, then you're probably in the same bad at dating boat that I am.

Of course, Chuck Klosterman asked me on a second date the next morning. Having not actually described the date to anybody, I agreed because it had been a fine date and he's not a bad kisser and I am overly generous with second chances. Also, still a misleading asshole. I then described the date to basically everyone I talked to for the rest of the weekend, everyone from people who don't know me that well to people I like more than books (it was supposed to be my down weekend) and every time, as I talked about the date, I realized even more that I had no interest in this guy. Every time the person I was talking to told me I was crazy for going on a second date.

The second date got cancelled, but not because I was woman enough to just tell him I wasn't interested. It got cancelled because I was locked in epic battle with the ice cream machine the day before a fairly large wholesale order needed to go out and I had no idea when I was going to get it working again and, consequently, when I'd be able to leave work. He was incredibly sweet about it, checking in throughout the evening to see how I was doing with the ice cream and basically being the opposite of Gaius Baltar, who, earlier in the week, asked if I'd like to come over and have naked time with him right after I told him I was exhausted and sick. Between those two and the medical assistant that hit on me while testing my urine, it was a really good week for those exceedingly high standards I mentioned earlier.

I will still probably give Chuck Klosterman a second chance because he was sweet about me cancelling our date and he really, genuinely seems like a nice guy. He's probably still going to be boring. He's definitely still going to look like thirty year old Chuck Klosterman. I'm probably still going to send mixed messages.

Tomorrow I have a date with a different guy that likes Ayn Rand and Top 40 music.

I'm definitely doing this wrong.

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?

Put on your god damn big girl pants, Alana Margaret

I was walking down 9th towards work the other day and I found myself thinking "it would be nice to go on a date" and then thinking "WHOA, who are you and what have you done with brain?". Here's the deal, online dating and I are not friends. We're just not. First, it makes me think I have all sorts of rules I might not actually have if I met somebody in real life. Second, going somewhere and meeting somebody I've never talked to one on one is completely out of my comfort zone which means that I either turn into a crazy person that doesn't stop talking or I fall into character and say and do all the things that I know will secure me a second date that don't necessarily have anything to do with me or how much I like the guy. (I know you know what I mean, ladies) Also, it just takes SO MUCH WORK. Read messages, write messages, try to be clever, but a realistic amount of clever, try to judge if the other person is composing their posts or if when you meet them you'll wonder who their Cyrano is and if you can meet them instead.

So, look, ten million dating articles that tell me I'm single because I'm just not willing to put in the work, YOU'RE RIGHT. I'm not willing to put in the work.

Instead, I'm working on going out of my comfort zone in meeting people in different ways, which is how I found myself drinking shitty (in the best of ways!) beer on the Staten Island Ferry last weekend and planning on storming a sandcastle today. Last weekend, I was invited to join a group of friends who I met through Sara, who now lives in LA, to turn the Staten Island Ferry into the poor man's booze cruise and go to brunch. I responded to the email with a giant "eff yeah" before I could even think about it. Then I remembered that Sara lives on the other side of the country, that I'd have to stand on my own with this group without having the crutch of being somebody's friend. I got anxious. I thought about making excuses. I mean, I WAS really tired and I already had the rest of the weekend packed with plans in Montclair... Thankfully, I didn't let my doubts get to me.

Because seriously, why would I have been included in the email if these people didn't want me there? Like, who's sitting there, writing an invite and like "I guess I'll invite that Alana girl even though she's kind of lame"? Nobody does that, Alana Margaret, put on your god damn big girl pants and go drink on a boat. LIFE IS SO HARD.

I had a fantastic time. At the end I exchanged phone numbers. So I guess that means I can stop thinking of these people as Sara's friends and start nudging them towards the "Alana's friends" category in my brain.

Last night, an internet friend asked if I wanted to go to the beach tomorrow. I've never met her IN REAL LIFE but I still immediately replied "yes" because I really like the beach. (Apparently the secret to getting me to agree to meet strangers is basically including spending time on/near water. Nobody is surprised by this.) Also I've been really wanting to meet her and she is IRL friends with Dominique and I like Dominique, so how bad can it be? I haven no idea how many people I'm meeting today. All I know is a bunch of her friends are going and friends of friends and involves celebrating Bastille Day by painting ourselves and storming a sandcastle. Which sounds ridiculous. And awesome. So, not only am I going to go meet a big group of strangers, I'm going to go do it in my swimsuit.

Obvs, I'm terrified and I'm pretty sure I should get some kind of adulthood trophy for this.

My Own Personal Fillory (Part Two)

In my own personal Fillory,

Bartenders stop taking your money but give you booze for free.

Sugar snap peas grow year round in massive piles everywhere.

It's always pool day in Vegas.

It always smells like the California coast and redwood trees.

Teleportation is real.

In my own personal Fillory,

I'm never nervous about talking on the phone.

Either eating an entire avocado (or three) or an entire pineapple as a meal would be a nutritionally valid choice.

Concerts would always be scheduled around when I had time and would never ever be sold out.

If it became clear during the course of a date that either party wasn't interested you'd just be magically teleported out.

Flour and sugar bins would always refill themselves and everyone would always use real butter.

In my own personal Fillory,

Time could be suspended for the purposes of finishing a book. Or to be able to spend enough time snuggling in bed.

Also, I'd have somebody with whom to snuggle in bed on the regular.

You would never have to wait more than a month between seasons for tv shows.

I could control the weather. It would mostly be 85 with no humidity. Or snowing. Except when I'm falling asleep and want to listen to the rain.

There are 2am yoga classes.

In my own personal Fillory,

Contentment is enough, life isn't hard and every risk taken is only met with reward.

(Also, kittens. Lots of kittens. Everywhere. Nobody is allergic. Puppies too. AND WE COULD ALL HAVE BABY POLAR BEARS AND BABY PENGUINS AND THEY'D BE FRIENDS. OH MY GOD GET ME TO FILLORY NOW)

My Own Personal Fillory (Part One)

It started with a drunk tweet.

"The bartender has stopped taking my money, but keeps giving me booze. I imagine this is what Fillory is like"

(For those unaware, Fillory is the Narnia adjacent land in "The Magicians" and "The Magician King". Go read those books now.)

Then the next day, I (soberly) started stating that other things would exist when we got to Fillory and Dominique suggested I write a post about my personal Fillory. I immediately started thinking of all the wonderful things I would list. Then I thought about them more. I thought about which things would cause me to have a "be careful what you wish for" moment and which things just wouldn't make sense.

Fillory is Quentin's ideal world. The world, where if he could just get there, everything would be perfect, he would be happy and ennui would cease to exist. The problem is that, even in Fillory, Quentin is not perfect. He suffers from a severe case of "wherever you go, there you are" exacerbated by the fact that he is whinier and more self pitying than Luke Skywalker and Wesley Crusher combined.

So then the question became "would I be happy in Fillory?"

And also "WOULD I GIVE UP NEW YORK FOR FILLORY?"

And then "Oh hey, wait, IS NEW YORK MY FILLORY?"

Because New York is my Fillory. New York is the place I've been waiting to move to my entire life. The place I wrote about missing every single year. I have in more than one relationship said that not being able to move to New York ever would be a deal breaker. And then it really was. And I moved.

Once you move to Fillory though, the only thing you can blame your unhappiness on is yourself. Once you finally stop thinking "I just want to be anywhere else but here" and you're still unhappy (albeit less so) you have no choice but to start looking within.

I've had a lot of conversations with people about their first year in New York. About how they struggled, how lonely and depressed they got. How hard it is to make friends or make ends meet. How they almost gave up and left or about how they just decided it wasn't for them. And when they see me and I seem down they attribute it to this and I just want to (ok, maybe actually have once) yell "OH MY GOD THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH NEW YORK" because, for me, it doesn't.

Yes, those things are true. I guess, I don't know. I've never moved somewhere else far enough from home to have to start completely from scratch making friends and the cost of living is not drastically different enough (or different at all?) for me to notice. It IS hard to make friends. It can be, and often has been for me, a very lonely city. But I'm somebody that has trouble making friends everywhere. Who is lonely everywhere. Who is prone to becoming overwhelmed and  in need of hiding from the world behind books for a few days EVERYWHERE. It's not Fillory, it's me.

But I am less of all of these things in New York. I spend more time thinking "if this isn't nice, I don't know what is". And I've forced myself to a place where I'm out of excuses for not growing the fuck up and admitting the only person in charge of my happiness is myself.

Because if I can't be happy in a city where there's magic free booze, more museums that I can even imagine existing, a year round 4 day a week farmers' market, public transit open 24 hours, access to any type of food I want delivered for most of the day and an entire populace fluent in sarcasm, I sure as hell don't know where I will be.

Good Girls Don't Wear Sequins

BiSCswagOk, now that we've gotten all that talk about FEEEELINGS out of the way, let's have some Real Talk about the awesome shit that comes with being a BiSC attendee. This (maybe not so) flattering picture of me was taken by my roommate/favorite person Dominique in our fancy Flamingo Go Room which had a MOTHEREFFING tv in our bathroom mirror. Guys, I don't have cable (YEAH, I SAID IT. LOOK, I WAS RAISED WITHOUT TV SO YOU CAN GO SIT IN THE CORNER AND JUDGE MY PRETENSION WHILE I JUDGE YOU WATCHING DANCE MOMS AND WE CAN ALL BE HAPPY WITH OUR JUDGE-Y LIFE DECISIONS). I don't even know what to do with a tv in the bathroom mirror, we turned it on once while we were doing our makeup, it was confusing. See also: comfiest beds ever and multi nozel shower.

WARNING: The Go Rooms and the regular hotel rooms at the Flamingo are really not the same. I stayed in one of the regular ones in January and it was actually kind of more like Motel 6 quality. So don't go booking hotel rooms at the Flamingo and come bitching at me because you got the cheap option.

IMG_1234At the bottom of the bed is my giant pile of SWAG. Missing from the giant pile of swag: the free drink by the pool coupon sponsored by GelaSkins. It's missing because that wristband means I just came back from the crazy Flamingo Go Pool. Which is the adult pool. (No, not THAT KIND of adult pool) As in the pool where the booze is. And the fancy VIP day beds. And the waterfall to swim under and then end up in a nifty grotto. Also, where we played never have I ever for toys from Babeland. Are you wondering how things could get more ridiculawesome? So was I at this point. Pool day already seemed like the best day of my life but then IT GOT BETTER.

One word: ZUMANITY. Sexy Cirque du Soleil. Hilarious and amazing and naked. Also incredibly disturbing. Well, only the crazy contortionist that kept popping things out of sockets and shit was disturbing. I actually had to cover my eyes. Then dancing, dancing, dancing. Happiest when dancing in sequins and 4 inch heels. Until I'm tired of the heels and have to switch to sandals. Whatever. Happiest when dancing in sequins.

527798_512844919445_193400044_30188068_163346545_nWait, did I say happiest when dancing in sequins? I might've meant happiest when wearing sequins and eating waffle fry pulled pork nacho... I don't even know how to describe these, but Sara and I managed to start a trend that apparently had like 40 people eating these piles of amazingness the next night. Seriously, what is happening here? Why did we each order our own plate? This is insanity. Also, this is 3am.

HI, now it's time for sleeping.

In case you are unaware, breakfast is my favorite meal. by which I mean, breakfast foods are my favorite because I almost never eat breakfast. So buffet time on Saturday where I got to eat bacon, sausage, french toast, waffles and potatoes was pretty much my idea of heaven. I may've also made it boozy thanks to mini bottles of Skyy. IMG_1242The only thing better than regular brunch is boozy brunch.

The next epic adventure was to the roller coaster on top of New York New York that Alberto insisted did not exist (SPOILER: it exists) but for some reason agreed to join Dominique, Kelly and me in walking to the other end of the strip to go on it. Or to prove us wrong. I 67% think he was hoping to prove us wrong. I really love roller coasters, but also am unable to keep my eyes open on roller coasters which probably defeats the purpose of going on a roller coaster on top of a hotel. BUT WHATEVER, I went on a roller coaster on top of a hotel because that's the kind of shit you do in Vegas right before you play Pac-Man battle royale and the world's biggest version of fruit ninja. Clearly I chose the right group for the afternoon. For those of you playing along at home, at this point I have gone multiple hours without booze in Vegas, a situation I find mildly intolerable because apparently I'm really easily over stimulated which doesn't mix with Vegas without alcohol. BUT DON'T WORRY.

IMG_1243Thankfully Minus 5 ice bar had us covered for the afternoon. Sadly we weren't allowed to take any electronics in or I'd have fifty million pictures and have tweeted so many clever things. Or just talked a lot about how one of the rooms made me feel like I was in Narnia because of the trees etched into the ice. Did I mention that everything was made of ice? And have I ever mentioned my lifelong goal of staying in an ice hotel? This did not lessen my desire to stay in an ice hotel. We had our picture taken in a giant ice throne so that we could yell "King in the North!" but it turns out most people sit in the giant ice throne to get a picture with the Vegas sign because when we came out the woman was all "oh, you have the picture in front of the Vegas sign" and we were like "what are you talking about, lady?" because we thought we took our picture on the ice throne and are possibly too nerdy AWESOME to notice Vegas signs . Oh well.

(Side note: I'm kneeling in a really short skirt in an ice room because I was sitting the same way as Alberto and Kelly and the photographer said "You need to sit in a more flattering position, can you kneel?". And I wanted to say "Whoa dude, just how badly do you think I want this photo?" but I hadn't finished my second margarita so I wasn't feeling quite that sassy yet.

Post side note: the drinks, which were served in ice cups, rocked my socks)

More buffet. More eating all the Le Bon Garçon caramels in my gift bag. Then slowly getting ready for the Mad Men party. IMG_1245Where, you know, NBD, we just skipped a giant line to get into Chateau, the club on the roof of the Paris hotel from which you can see the Bellagio fountains go off. It was only so awesome that we all had to take a minute to tweet/facebook/foursquare/etc about it. That's all.

IMG_1249I mean, how adorable is everyone in their 60s duds, on their phones? It's pretty great. Anachronism win. Cue more dancing. Have I mentioned that I like dancing? No, really, I really like dancing. I need to go dancing more (at all) in New York now that I work normal people hours. Who wants to be my dancing buddy? Let's just go ahead and assume this girl does. IMG_1247
Yes, this is kind of an awful picture because it was dark and we were using the front facing camera, but I don't even care. And now we've reached the point where this post is just going to devolve into pictures. You're welcome.

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I don't even try

I don't know what I'm passionate about right now. I feel hollow all the time. I'm never hungry but also never full. In February I decided to stop fighting everything all the time but I guess in my case that just makes me apathetic. Or numb. I can't even tell which.

I've been trying to learn to sit with my feelings more. Or rather, just to actually feel them. To be able to say to myself things like "I am sad that this boy doesn't like me even though it's not logical to be this sad about it" or "even though I completely understand and agree with the reason I'm losing my job it's reasonable to be sad and scared and anxious". Maybe this is the way you feel feelings all the time. This is not the way I feel feelings. Look, there's a reason Spock has always been my favorite. However, you'll be shocked to know I am not a Vulcan, even though I sometimes often act like one. The problem is that by the time I actually let myself feel things I'm feeling this huge reservoir of feeling and I can't identify where each one is coming from.

So I can tell you right now that I am sad and bitter and disillusioned; that I just suspended my OkC account for the eleventybillionth time though in truth I've been on an online dating hiatus for a month now already anyways; that none of the job listings I've read make me want to send in my resume; that I made out with a boy I had no intention of ever making out with again and I honestly don't know how I feel about it, I want to say I feel nothing about it but I don't think you can actually make out and cuddle with somebody that you like and not have feelings about it and I think it's actually that the feelings are too complicated and too many things and so I'm not sitting with those ones yet* and that I'm well aware there is some major grammatical craziness going on in this post but I just don't give a fuck.

But I can also tell you I've had moments of peace and serenity lately. That walking around in Central Park with the sun on your skin and new friend is happiness. That nighttime rambles with a flask size bottle of whiskey and friend you haven't seen in a while are kind of great even if they unexpectedly kiss you later. That I do have one single job interview lined up and it looks perfect for me. That I spent yesterday at my pastry cook's friend's home out in Fresh Meadows and got to hang out with her siblings and large friend group and remember what it feels like to be part of something stable and solid. That I have a week packed full of social activities with other BiSC goers who are fast becoming my close friends.

I can tell you that I've recently realized that I'm angry at myself for letting go of and being less vocal about things I care about to make myself more palatable or to fit into groups better. That I've taken my philosophy of "pick and choose your battles" a little too far. Hi, I'm Alana and I am a feminist and I probably don't think any of your sexist/homophobic/racist jokes are funny and yeah, I'm generally ludicrously PC and I'm ok with that. JUST SO WE'RE CLEAR.

So maybe it's not that there isn't anything going on. Maybe it's that there's too much going on. Too much swirling around in my head for me to sort through it and feel any of it. Today I decided I was just going to fake it until I make it. I cleaned my room, I did some yoga, I ate an entire pineapple and also quinoa, poached chicken, black beans and avocados. Fine... also an entire bag of cadbury mini eggs.

Baby steps back to caring people, baby steps.

*This is how I feel: I feel sad and a little angry because it was nice and it was comfortable and making out and a cuddle buddy were exactly what I needed this week and it wasn't expected so it was a nice ego boost but it wasn't with somebody with whom I am actually ok with casually making out and cuddling. So, I'm sad that it's not something I get to do in a non-casual way and a little angry with both of us for doing it. And maybe a little angry at myself for not being over him even though I said earlier it was ok to be sad. God I hate feelings. THEY DON'T EVEN MAKE SENSE A LITTLE BIT, CAN I PLEASE BE A VULCAN NOW?

Bits & Pieces (the second)

Social Life/BiSC:

In the last week, I met Adam, Sara and Bob, which means, along with Rachael, Dominique and Nicole, I have met 10% of the people I'm going to Las Vegas with in May. And I have to say if everybody is both as awesome and attractive as those six in real life, it's going to be the most overwhelmingly amazing experience I've had in a long time. Also, I'm really gonna have to bring my A game.

I made some moderately stupid decisions in the last week so that I could meet those people. And by moderately stupid, I mean I went out twice in the last week once knowing I was getting sick and once knowing I was still sick and should be sleeping instead. The result was working with a fever last Sunday and feeling likc if I had to stand for one more second past ten hours of work I might die for most of the week. But you know what? That's the great thing about being an adult. I consciously made those decisions knowing they weren't the best idea and I accepted the consequences and the only asshole to blame was myself. And then I spent pretty much all of yesterday in bed, spent today at AMNH and wandering through Central Park, came home, took a nap because that's what my body said we should do and pretty much feel like a human again. So I think, overall, worth it.

CA v NY:

It turns out you can take the girl out of California, but you can't take the California out of the girl. My pastry cook is giving up cigarettes, soda and fast food for Lent and everybody tells her it's crazy while I'm like "that's awesome, it's really not that bad". And not to pat myself on the back for not having bad habits I never picked up, I just call that normal life. I think most of my friends back home do too. It still weirds me out that the chefs I work with eat fast food. In fact I'm so not used to people eating fast food (with the obvious exception of In'n'Out) that even non chefs eating fast food surprises me. I mean, this week I'm concerned that I'm eating organic yoghurt from humanely treated cows and bread made at a coop because they come all the way from California and I think that's a perfectly normal way to think about food. I guess it's all relative to what you're used to. Hella NorCal, yo.

Boy Stuff:

I really will make out with anyone when I'm drunk. Pretty sure Sara asked me if I would make out with like 5 different people the other night and I said "yes" everytime. Sober me would not have said "yes" that many times. Sober me is now back in charge of my love life. The "don't get drunk on the first date" rule that Michelle gave me is now in effect. Despite being single for a whole year my friends have been shocked the last few weeks when they've asked about my dating situation because there currently is none. At all. Haven't gone on a date in three weeks. There are no boys that I'm currently regularly sleeping with. (I know, it's weird for me too) I am however, currently writing 6 paragraph messages to a guy on OkC that I genuinely want to be friends with. Or more. But most of the time when I go on dates from OkC I'm kind of forcing myself and I feel like I'm putting myself in such a contrived situation because I don't know if I would always go on dates if I had met the guy IRL whereas this guys seems like somebody I would actually hang out with in the real world. So that's possibly exciting.

New Year's Goals:

I'm currently losing weight at a rate of approximately two pounds a month. Did you know I was trying to lose weight? Probably not. Mostly because I think it's the most boring thing ever to read about on other peoples' blogs and because I'm a small person I feel like people will want to punch me in the face if I complain about my weight. But look y'all, I'm a chef which means my weight has actually been somewhat of a constant struggle since I went through culinary school. It also means part of the reason I don't weigh a lot more with what I eat is because I am on my feet cooking for ten frakking hours a day and lifting fifty pound sacks and running up and down the GD stairs. Anyways, with some portion control and stopping to make myself eat actual food instead of just randomly putting whatever cookie is closest at hand in my mouth when I realize I'm starving, I'm slowly but surely losing weight and starting to feel a lot better about my body and not hate the way every piece of clothing I put on fits. Which is good, because I really don't have enough money to buy a whole new wardrobe.

Dairy is the devil. I've gone back to pretty much cutting it out entirely and feel so much better on a day to day basis.

I'm still obsessed with Blue Print Cleanse juices but have mostly just been incorporating them into my regular diet instead of going all out cleanse. I would like to do another three day cleanse soon though.

Random shit:

I read all three books in The Hunger Games trilogy in two days. I would've liked it better if they hadn't been written in such a way that it only took me two days to read them. This is why I don't usually read YA books. Good stories aren't enough, I want to read that sentence that rings so very true my heart aches, that expresses an emotion so perfectly I'm knocked on my ass. I will say that it was a good story and will probably make a pretty enjoyable movie.

Best for last: My new work schedule is 10 am-8ish pm which means I might get to have a social life again. I've only had it for a week, but I think I might love it. I'm still alternating between having Sunday/Monday off and Thursday/Sunday off, which is really weird but the new hours might make it manageable.

Work Hard, Play Hard

It's a weird thing when the image of what younger you thought your life would be and your life actually line up. Teenage me though adult me would be a confident, single, career oriented woman, hopefully living in New York. Adult me went through several incarnations and ideas of what life was going to be, none of which fit quite right before finally, becoming that woman teenage me always hoped I'd be.

Of course teenage me also hoped we'd be stage acting or somehow working in something related to international relations and that Corina and Lara would be nearby always, but though the specifics change, the essence remains the same.

Sometimes I spend so much time focusing on the things I still want to improve, I forget how much I've accomplished. The ways in which I've changed to become that person that is somewhere between the person I think I am on my worst days and that person I'd ideally be. That person, that is the most realistic version of myself.

I was a strange combination of a bookish and athletic child. Soccer, gymnastics, volleyball, tap dance... and at recess I'd walk to the cafeteria while unable to put my book down. I grew into teenagerhood an odd combination of somebody that was comfortable speaking in front of large organized groups but a little lost socializing at parties or when meeting new people. Shy, but opinionated, which mostly just makes people think you're a bitch, it turns out. My young adulthood wasn't much different. I used to wish I could be the kind of person that didn't care about everything, the kind of person that could be ridiculous and lose control. The kind of person that just met people and presented themselves in a way that said "hi, here I am, take it or leave it, but either way, I'm probably going to get drunk and have a dance party and I think it'd be pretty fun if you'd join in".

At some point in the last few years, I became that person and it especially solidified in the last year of being in a new city and meeting new people. I am not always a silly drunken party girl that will dance at the drop of a hat (sometimes I'm a completely sober party girl that will dance at the drop of a hat, ask Sara) but at some point I stopped being the person that hid quietly in the corner kind of wishing they had a book. I've had a life, and I have things to say and I want to meet other people that do too and that live on the crossroads of taking life far too seriously and "wooooo!" which it seems, is almost everyone in New York, so at least I'm in the right place.

I've been told I'm on the better side of my 20s now, where everything stops being so crisis-y and starts to solidify and fall in place. Where you stop giving a fuck about the person you're supposed to be and just start being the person you want to be. I think I'm starting to believe it. I think I'm starting to get it, whatever it is. I think stability was a good word choice for this year. And I think I like this person I've become, weird dichotomy of super responsible/super serious and party girl and all.

Bits & Pieces

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Social Life:

I'm not doing a full museum tweetup recap this time just because I really don't have as much to say or as many pictures to go with it. The imaging stuff was cool, but pretty technical so I really don't feel like I could do it justice, unlike the big bone room (no, it won't ever stop amusing me). However, I did make more internet friends! Fuck yeah, internet friends IRL. Some of them even live in Astoria. All of them are awesome and we had a Doctor-Who-a-thon.

I think that it's probably good that I spend some time with non food service people so that I remember how the rest of the world lives.

Work:

I got offered a pastry sous chef job for both a restaurant and a bakery (no, I wasn't job searching) and I took it. Start date has yet to be determined but obviously won't be until August. I will have better pay, more normal hours and be cooking with a lot of my friends. Down side: Longer commute and possibly awkwardness that I got the job when other people have seniority. What can I say? I'm good at my job.

ALSO DID YOU SEE THE PART THAT SAYS "PASTRY SOUS CHEF"?!?!?!?

I mean, yeah, I've technically held the title of "pastry chef" before, but I was only in charge of myself and eventually one kitchen assistant, it doesn't count in the same way.

Life in General:

It's not so much that I want to go home as I want the California Coast to move here. I actually really can't see moving back home anytime in the near future. Or possibly the distant future. I don't know, I'm really happy here most days (even when my schedule feels like it's killing me) happier than I've been in a while. I feel like I'm truly basing my decisions on what is best for me in a way that I never managed to do at home no matter how I tried and mostly striking a successful work/life balance.

Plus, I've become an inadvertant morning person whose pretty damn cheerful most of the time.

I'm sorry, I kind of hate me too.

Side note: Does anyone else feel like it's hard to write anything meaningful when everything is going well?

Boys:

I don't know why I find OkCupid so overwhelming, but every time I reenable my account it takes a week before I'm like "Oh my god, too many messages. What am I supposed to do with these?!".

Things I'm good at: Flirting with one boy at a time IRL

Things I'm bad at: Flirting with ten boys on the internet

Also, apparently I'm really good at filling out my profile because I've literally only gotten one response that had nothing to do with my literary preferences. Also, all the boys wear glasses. And live in Brooklyn. ALL OF THEM. Thank you for confirming that I have a type OkC.

But I really do find it overwhelming.

AND I think I'm kind of crushin' right now.

 

Alana Goes to Boston, Part 2

IMG_1034 So probably one of the reasons Sarah is my soul mate is because she says things like "OH! We have to go to my favorite socialist bar, you'll love it!". Sadly we were too tired to actually go into her favorite socialist bar on Saturday night, but we did walk by and it's definitely on my next time I visit list. Yeah, that's right, two Irish Jew girls are going to go chill out at the socialist bar in their Banana Republic heavy wardrobes. That's just how we roll. Probably because when we were in high school Sarah said something like "all my dad's side of the family went to socialist Jewish Summer camps" and without batting an eye I was like "Yeah, my great grandfather told off McCarthy" and then we were inseparable.

Anyways...

Right. Recapping Boston.

Sunday we had AMAZING brunch with possibly the most pretentious person I have ever met. He spent an inordinately long amount of time talking about grad school and the tax law related research he was doing and then turned to me and said "So what do you do?".

"I'm a baker"

And I wish I had a camera to capture the look on his face. The only response he could come up with was "oh" and it was kind of like he had discovered some brand new species and he wasn't sure how he felt about it. Most of the time telling somebody my profession garners responses more along the lines of "Can you make...", "I have a brother/uncle/sisterwife that's a pastry chef at..." or "That's so awesome". That was the first time anyone had seem dumbfounded that they had met a real life baker. But the guy did have fruit, ricotta and honey for breakfast while Sarah and I were eating pesto, chevre, bacon and egg sandwich goodness, so really, what can you expect?

Plus side: Free meal, because obviously, us ladies couldn't be allowed to pay. Whatevs. I'll take it.

IMG_1036 After breakfast I learned that the Harvard Natural History Museum is crazy. There's just stuffed animals and skeletons everywhere. I'm entirely unclear about the organizational logic. I guess most of the time when Sarah brings people there they get really disturbed because it's so many dead animals in such a small space so she was really excited to be able to explore farther due to my exceptional looking at dead animals stamina. Yeah, It's basically like if all of AMNH was stuffed into three small rooms and some hallways. But with less dinosaur bones and a bigger Lestodon. At least I think it was bigger, I can't actually back that up for sure.

I mean there's just an elephant head stuck on top of a case of unrelated skeletons. What? Who's in charge of curating this craziness?

IMG_1037 Sunday afternoon was dedicated to walking through Boston commons and downtown Boston. Also to choosing things for the other person to try on at H&M. This isn't at all travel related but it did lead to a lot of jumper and skorts outfits. They were pretty terrible. It was fun.

Home for siesta, which is probably another reason I love Sarah- we had afternoon chilling out and reading time each day.

Sunday evening I went to a party where I met a bunch of her friends who all had much more normal reactions to "I'm a baker," though a surprising number of them had never met a baker before. This seems really weird to me, but I do spend almost all my time around other food service people, so that might have something to do with it. Also, I'm pretty sure I consumed an entire bottle of two buck chuck by myself. It's been a while. Does that stuff actually have alcohol in it? I'm not really sure it does, because normally when I consume an entire bottle of wine I am a) fairly drunk and b) hungover the next day and neither of those was true.

And I will save accidentally walking into historical reenactments for Part 3, because I need to go be irresponsible and possibly pull yet another all nighter now.

 

I've got a twelve sided die

Sangria

So I have a problem guys, and no, it doesn't really have anything to do with that glass, I just wanted to show you how pretty the white wine sangria Michelle made for last night was. The problem is, if a boy starts a conversation with "So I was watching Star Trek the other night and thinking of you..." and that leads to an hour long discussion of various episodes and seasons and series, and then that leads to discussing the darkness at the end of the David Tennant Dr. Who seasons, I'm probably going to sleep with him. And by "him" I really just mean Mark. I suppose if I knew other boys that wanted to stay up until four in the morning alternatively talking about crazy families, cats, Julia Child and science fiction TV shows, I would probably sleep with them too.

Actually, I'm not really sure what the problem is.

I had a really great time talking to Mark last night (the first time we had had any one on one time since he called things off) and then slept with him and now he's gone and I am ok with all of those things. I feel like I should have some sort of anxiety about what it means or what's going to happen next, and I just don't. So I guess the problem is that I'm not overthinking or overcomplicating things which is pretty much the best problem ever.

So that's awesome, and I probably still have a brain tumor. Or was replaced by an alien. Or something. Because I keep being ok with everything.

Everything is really fucking ok.

I am not a pretty girl, that is not what I do

I have about five different half finished posts in my head, so this might be one of those nights where a bunch of completely unrelated things all go up.

I've been meaning to write a post about my relationship with my hair for a while, but then I read this over at Off Our Chests and I didn't want to be a copycat. My feeling are so different though, I'm going to go with it anyways.

IMG_0916 This is what my hair looks like right now. To me it's a giant unmanageable mess. (sidenote: IRL, I like my smile, in pictures I only do half the time, I don't know what the deal is, but that's why I never seem to be smiling). It's soft and pretty and feminine. It's even red right now instead of its usual black, so it makes me look even softer. I had a hard time placing exactly what it was I disliked about myself with long hair so much until Ms. Mae was visiting the other week and pointed out that it made me look soft, not like me. Yeah, I like shoes and pretty dresses, I wear make up and spend my entire life in the kitchen but I swear like a fucking trucker, I put the "dead" in deadpan, drink whiskey and I state my opinions like a man, as in, with any sort of confidence at all.

I am often very gender typed and, underneath my brusque exterior, I like to think I'm a pretty sweet, caring person, so why does it make me so uncomfortable to actually look that way?

In my head I have a short, black pixiecut, sometimes an A-line with blunt bangs. Haircuts I associate with women with confidence, that mean business. Women, that, as my coworker described me, have an edge to them. I work in a man's world, and fuck, we all live in a man's world and growing up I was always a smart girl, a nerdy girl. I think I'm afraid that if I look femme I won't be taken as seriously, even if I still don't often act that way. To a certain extent I think it's true, when I think about the way I've been treated, it seems men find me more approachable and act in a less threatened way when there's a mass of curls around my face. Probably a lot of women unconsciously pick up on that (and obviously other societal cues) and stick with it. I'm not one of those women. I'm not comfortable in a place of non-threatening softness. In my head softness leads to looking like an easy target or somebody to victimize. I'm a take the offensive and show you right up front who I am sort of gal with a fair number of control issues and while this may be totally weird of me, short hair gives me confidence like a pair of killer heels.

So tomorrow, it's going to be gone.

Dinosaur Tweetup (or that time I was at AMNH after hours and it wasn't illegal)

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This sign is my new favorite thing. Not only do we get to laugh about the days when there were Brontosaurus (Brontosauri?) on display but, apparently we used to think dinosaurs were amphibious. For reals, y'all, the American Museum of Natural History does not lie. Except back when they lied about dinosaurs being giant newts.

But this is actually from the last room of the evening, so let's start from the beginning.

First off, I apologize for these all being crappy iPhone photos, my camera battery died and the charger seems to be one of the things lost in the shuffle of moving. Secondly, I apologize if you follow me on twitter and were annoyed by all my dinosaur related tweets last night. Oh wait, no I'm not. Seriously, you don't like dinosaurs? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? Right. So...

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First off we got to choose cute dinosaur rubberbands of different shapes and colors to choose which tour we were going on. I got a red T-Rex to go to the Exhibition Design Studio which is exactly what it sounds like- the place where they make and design exhibitions.

IMG_0845This is a terrible picture. In it we're on our way to the design studio and all of a sudden we dead end into a small room and I think "umm, this is the worst design studio ever," because I haven't really been paying attention and I already had been drinking the free wine (A Cab from Sonoma County because there are some things we just do right in California). Then I turn around and notice the GIANT doors closing and realize we're in the biggest elevator I've ever been in. Seriously, they moved elephants in this elevator. Not an exaggeration. I rode in the elevator in which they moved elephants.

 

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Diorama of next month's exhibit (The World's Largest Dinosaurs) and let me tell you, I am stoked. So if you know me IRL you can bet your ass I'm dragging you to the museum next month. Even though I probably have to go this month when Ms. Mae is visiting. Next year I'm convincing someone to get me a memberships for my birthday.

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60' version of the dinosaur in the diorama in the process of being made (kind of hard to get a picture of, especially with an iPhone) followed by a HUGE femur.

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Random design studio photo, foam mold for making a spine? tail? I don't remember. I remember they coat the foam with the green stuff and then if they don't want the foam impression to get on the mold they spread spackle over the green stuff. I'm pretty sure he actually used the highly technical term "green stuff".

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Back to the dinosaur hall where we picked up our next rubber band. I got a blue dino foot for the 8:30 Big Bone Room tour. And the fact that everyone wasn't giggling everytime they said "big bone room" shows that they had either more maturity or less wine than me. Possibly both. My group got back just in time for the last two 7:30 and 8:00 tour rubberbands to disappear before our eyes which meant an hour of time to kill with a delicious assortment of bread and cheese, tasty crudité and of course, beer and wine. All while being in the presence of my favorite Stegosaurus and T-Rex. How frakkin' jealous are you right now? Very? Because you're about to be even more.

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BIG BONES! I mean really really really big. All around. Every where.

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The skull that goes with that card at the beginning. Or maybe it was actually the skull behind it that went with the card. Who can keep track of so many skulls? (ok, yeah, probably the people that work there, but I can't)

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Skeletons from Mongolia (I think, next time I'm taking notes). There was a third one in the middle that my pictures of were all blurry that has about two dozen eggs fossilized with it! Which is pretty cool in a kind of also gruesome way. Poor dino babies.

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Finally, 60 million year old impression of dinosaur skin. AND we were allowed to touch it. For realsies. If that doesn't make you jealous, you're probably a robot.

Don't carry it all, don't carry it all

So I've been sitting here for about thirty minutes staring at the screen. My intention was to write one of those boring general update posts but then I remembered that I put whiskey in my tea and then in my hot chocolate and thought, "hmm, maybe I shouldn't blog now" and basically have been going back and forth for the last half hour about whether whiskey while blogging = awesome or worst idea ever. I'm leaning towards awesome, because all the best authors seemed to think it was a good plan, right?

And this is why I was somewhat (ok, fine, very weakly) arguing for getting cheap whiskey I wouldn't drink for the ham this weekend because I don't actually know that just because I have tasty whiskey doesn't mean I have to drink it.

Right.

So this is how I am:

A little stir crazy, but not actually depressed. Granted, my definition of depressed actually means crying jags, unable to get out of bed depressed not like "oh I'm not so pleased with my life today", but I am actually pretty ok. Yeah, I'd really, really, really like to find a job because I would like to get out of the house, meet new people and have some money coming in, or a lot of money coming in. Obviously, a lot would be best. I had an interview Friday for a bakery/cafe that isn't open yet, tomorrow I have an interview with a tutoring company, Saturday I have a stage. Craigslist, indeed and idealist are all getting a lot of page hits from this gal.

Sunday and Monday I didn't fall asleep until 5am. I do that sometimes. Yesterday I didn't let myself drink coffee and went to yoga and managed to fall asleep at 2am. Right now I have the worst TMJ pain I've had in years. The right side of my jaw barely opens. It's all a process. I really don't do well without routine and it's pretty hard to force yourself into one when you don't actually have anything you have to do on a time frame.

I spend too much time watching things on hulu, checking twitter and refreshing facebook. My google reader has gotten down to a reasonable number. I play a lot of words with friends with strangers. Surprisingly I haven't played World of Warcraft in weeks now. I think possibly because I'm afraid I'd get sucked in and then actually become useless and depressed. Also, our internet sometimes sucks.

I am really seriously looking into creating a line of gourmet caramels, toffees and marshmallows to sell over on my food blog that no longer gets updated but I'm nervous about putting the money into doing the R&D I need to (since most of the flavors I'm looking at doing are brand new) without having any money coming in. I'm pretty sure this is something I'm going to stick with once I get a job, unless it's a crazy working 50+ hours a week one. The caramel flavors I've come up with are unique and potentially really exciting if they all work out.

I'm starting to know my way around the neighborhood a little more, mostly due to just getting out of the house and wandering for a while most days. I've learned which teachers I like at the $5 yoga studio and which I don't (last night's teacher spoke as if he was delivering a dramatic monologue for all of class. I almost left in the first ten minutes it bothered me so much, but it was a pretty good flow if a different teacher had been instructing). I can mostly figure out which way I need to walk to get places. My room is turning more into my space every day.

Tomorrow I'm going to a tweetup at the American Museum of Natural History. Hopefully it'll be awesome and I'll meet some cool people. Annoyingly my camera battery is dead and I think I stuck the charger in a bag that hasn't made it here yet so any pics will be with my iPhone. I'm hoping it won't all be people that have cool science-y real blogs because it might be awkward to be like "yeah, I blog about how good I am at drinking and making questionable decisions". Whatevs, I can probably muster up enough nerd cred to fool them for about 5 minutes before excusing myself getting another glass of wine and finding the next person. It'll be good.

Of course I miss my friends. I miss being able to find multiple choices for organic cream top yogurt in the grocery store instead of none. I miss the feel and smell of being near the coast. I don't understand how I can be so near the ocean and not feel like it at all. I miss my cats.

But I'm ok. I'm not jumping up and down for a joy in love with life, but I'm ok and I'm still pretty excited to be here. For now, that's enough.

But I do like you and you like me too

This is all I really wanted to say about this weekend: It's nice when you start seeing someone and finding their socks on the floor when you're cleaning up after the weekend makes you smile.

But I couldn't actually just write that sentence without mentally adding "instead of like later, when picking up socks on the floor for the gajillionth time makes you say 'facepunch'".

Maybe the idea is that you find someone that picks up their own damn socks, but maybe the idea is you find someone that always makes you smile when they leave their socks behind. I don't really know anymore.

I know that date three is happening at a Dr. Who themed bar and that we agree that Gretchen Jones shouldn't have won last season on Project Runway, so we can go ahead and keep crossing things off the "Alana's absolutely nonsensical requirements for a potential significant other" list.

This is a good start.

I'd like to think I'm the mess you'd wear with pride

Ok, so I'm just going to get it out there for you to judge me. I went on a date on Friday. Yes, that's right. I moved to New York a little over a week ago, I have yet to acquire a job, but I did manage to get a date for Friday night. Are you wondering if I can go five minutes without there being a boy in the mix? Yeah? Me too. But then I remembered that the answer is "no" and stopped wondering and went back to judging myself. Glad we're all on the same page now.

Right, so... I went on a date on Friday with Mia and Grant's friend Gabriel (none of those names are real, I'm just trying to preserve continuity between my blog and Mia's blog) who I had met when I was visiting back in January, that went surprisingly well considering first dates apparently make me just go ahead and get all the crazy and awkward out at once. I mean, I guess it's really not surprising that I have no idea how to behave seeing as I've now been on a grand total of three actual adult first dates.

Oddly, I wasn't actually that nervous beforehand. I did try on half my wardrobe but that's because my box of shoes hasn't come yet and I kept putting things on and not having shoes that worked or you know, was just being a girl and suddenly decided all the clothes I own were horrible and unflattering. I finally settle on an outfit without a minute to spare because Gabriel (for the record, that is not the name I would've chosen, and I'm kind of having a hard time with it for some reason) was right on time. So I go and let him in and we have awkward greeting time in the foyer then we (awkwardly) go upstairs and I put on my shoes and grab my scarf and all that and go to say good bye (and hello, in his case) to Mia and Grant in the living room which results in us, or maybe just me, acting like a gawky fifteen year old before homecoming saying good night and don't wait up to mom and dad.

Two blocks away from the apartment and I realize I've been pretty much talking non stop. And no, I have no idea about what anymore but I do distinctly remember thinking "Oh my god, why are you still talking? You sound like a crazy person. Or really self centered. Or both. Just stop". So I decide to take a breath or five but he doesn't really say anything and now the voice in my head is all "Fuck, I've made it two blocks and I've already messed this up, how can I save this?". So, you know, I just KEEP TALKING. Why? I don't know. This somehow leads to my mentioning being raised by my grandparents and him asking if I'm close to them and me actually becoming more awkward because my family relationships are just too weird and confusing to be first date material and I was kind of trying to avoid seeming crazier. Despite all this, Gabriel does actually seem to still be interested in me. God knows why.

After getting slightly turned around and a google maps consultation we make it to the restaurant (that's right, we haven't even made it to dinner yet in this story). Even though it's only 6:30 the place is packed. We walk around searching for a table and manage to find what appear to be the last two stools in the place at this weird little side bar thingy that is poorly secured to the wall but thankfully seems well secured to the ceiling however moves every time I rest any weight on it. Also, because we're on stools, my feet dangle and I feel like a five year old. We get menus and order beers and because we're both apparently the most awkward confused people ever we let the waitress take our menus without any objection despite the fact that we haven't ordered food. Or maybe it was because we were hoping an actual table would open up and then we could order food. See? I'm still confused about what I was thinking.

So we get our beer, fumble the conversation along, eventually with a lot less pauses, and flag down our constantly disappearing waitress so that we can get a menu and order food (and more beer) to eat at our weird little side bar that doesn't seem big enough to hold plates. We actually order the same thing which I assume means we're soul mates or, that cheeseburgers are fucking delicious. I'm not sure which, but seeing as we ordered different beers, I'm going with the second option. I'd like to say I remember what we talked about, but the whole time I was distracted by these candles that were arranged in sort of cubbies (not really but this is the easiest way to explain it) in the wall in front of us in an almost but not quite symmetrical pattern. I do remember that, because I know how sexy OCD is, I explained to him that the candles were bothering me and that I compulsively moved them. And he totally went with it, which earned him +5 charisma or something or maybe means that my charisma is so awesome I can get away with doing ridiculous things (spending a lot of time by myself sure does bring out the nerdiness).

So we ate and talked and drank (though not too much on the drinking since the first time we met was the night of the four people, three six packs and a liter of gin and I wanted to know what he was like and how we got along somewhat sober) and things went along fairly well. Of course at some point the conversation did get back to my family and I did talk about it less awkwardly though I still feel like maybe not the best first date material. I mean mentioning being a child of addicts kind of is like handing out a business card that says "Alana Margaret, expert on abandonment, trust and codependency issues" but hey, at least it's giving fair warning, right? Umm, yeah. Note to self: just stick to talking about things like books or booze or anything other than family on a first date.

(Hi family! I really do love you.)

Things actually do go well and we end up holding hands and it's cute. We walk back to the apartment and he stops and kisses me on the way. The next day (look, he lives in New Jersey, he was spending the night whether or not the date went well, just maybe on the couch) I come home from my stage (free labor) to my clothes that had been left on the floor neatly folded on my bed which I basically thought was the most adorable thing ever. I think he thought I was making fun of him, but I really did think it was ridiculously cute in the best of ways.

Our next date is on Friday.

***

Also he said he liked the ballet, that Jane Austen was great and we talked about War & Peace and other Russian literature. I'm pretty sure that he had to have been exaggerating his interest in some of those things because that's just too many things that I like that nobody else likes (except Jane Austen, pretty much everyone [female] loves Jane Austen). Either way, I'm totally a sucker for awkward, sweet, nerdy boys who show up for dates wearing a tie and converse. (Hmmm, explanation for why I like Dr. Who so much?) There's some serious like going on right now.

Oh yeah, those flowers you've been seeing in pictures? Those were my housewarming/coincidence this is Valentine's flowers from him. Cute, right?