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.

It's Pretty Weird That I Don't Have Any Tattoos Yet

A week or so ago, I wrote this little bit over on my tumblr about this list of 50 things they never tell you about being a chef. Basically what that list says is that being a chef is really hard but if you love it you could never do anything else. What my little bit says is basically that exact same thing. And because the universe is a wrathful, wrathful monster, it basically was like "oh, you think being a chef is hard do you?" and made me walk the walk to go along with that. In true chef fashion, I spent all of last weekend spending the entirety of my disposable income on GREAT food and mediocre to fantastic alcohol. I went into work Monday still kind of recovering and proceeded to work one of the most physically demanding weeks I've worked in a long time. Possibly ever. I spent 2-3 hours rolling out pie dough each morning, no break. Just rolling out two pounds at a time, cutting it to the size I needed, moving onto the next two pounds. About 32 pounds worth of dough each day. Here is a thing I have learned, all repetitive motions sucks after two hours. Even when I was a chocolatier and the motion was just dipping a little tiny truffle. Muscles burn, joints creak and your back seizes. Rolling out two pounds of pie dough at a time is no big deal to me for about the first twenty pounds worth. Between pounds twenty and twenty-five I'd start to feel my triceps burn. Somewhere between twenty-five and thirty-two my shoulders would start to ache, I'd become acutely conscious of how I was holding the rolling pin, the pressure on my wrists and how to be ergonomically correct and my body was thinking something like "I hate you, you are the actual worst, why the fuck are you doing this to me. NOBODY NEEDS SAVORY RUSTIC FRENCH TARTS THIS BADLY". I know body, I'm sorry.

And then in the afternoon, I'd spend about an hour and a half mixing another 32 pounds of pie dough. I had no problem falling asleep early enough for my 4:45 am alarm this week. I was working 10-12 hour days and I was basically asleep an hour after I got home. By Thursday I was WRECKED. My boss would semi jokingly ask if I was ready to walk out yet. She and I talked about how we were going to make working with this client possible both in terms of how much time it was taking up and what I was physically capable of. The only answer was a sheeter. That's it. So I was given the option of coming in Friday or taking another three day weekend (I opted for a half day) and she pitched renting or buying a sheeter to the owners.

Obviously, the major plus side of this is that my hours have not actually been reduced. I also chose to come in on Friday and power through some stuff because I'm definitely in a "taking all the hours I can get now" mentality which I think is just the way the catering lifestyle has to work.

Today I got an email saying we had a mutual parting of ways with this particular client and I'm sure everyone is sighing a HUGE sigh of relief because it was taking over our lives and it was just incredibly stressful. Pastry for this client was basically entirely my responsibility and took over all of my hours (which meant the pastry chef was also working crazy hours having to get everything done for our other catering events all on her own) so the downside is, I might possibly be back in the boat of not knowing what my hours/paycheck are going to look like. We do have a lot of events this month and hopefully the combination of pastries for those and working onsite will keep me flush. Also, now I get to work on the fun stuff.

So I guess the moral of this story is:

A) Don't say something is hard and then expect it to just keep being the level of hard it normally is instead of astronomically harder because the universe is an asshole.

B) I did think about going to cry in the walkin, but I never once thought about walking away because at the end of the day I worked my ass off and I did it well, doing something I loved and, even though I will admit that I was dreading starting the whole process over again tomorrow morning, I can't imagine a whole lot else that would give me the same satisfaction.

So this is the life I have chosen. This is the life I keep choosing. And it's HARD.

But I'm harder.

CHEFLIFE, WHAT.

To My One True Love

photo-8 Two years ago I moved to New York.

I quit my job. I broke up with my boyfriend. I dropped my classes. I packed my bags.

There are things that are the same and things that are different.

The streets were piled high with snow when I arrived, like they are now. 2011 was a normal New York Winter. One where people didn't freak out about it snowing eight inches for just one day because that's just what happens in Winter. I remember it snowed well into March when Ruby came to visit for Spring break. Or was that April? It was a long winter but I got to spend a lot of time walking through Central Park in the snow. Time reminding me of the magic of my city love.

When I moved I had spent eight years in relationships. Eight years. Now I've spent the last two years more or less single. I didn't know how to create a life that wasn't built on somebody else's, that wasn't always slightly compromised. Now I don't know if I remember how to fit somebody into the life I've made. I have moments when I don't know if I even really want to and moments when I know with absolute certainty that I do. 87% of the time I do.

I was job searching then and I'm job searching now. I had taken a break from the culinary world and was terrified to get back into it. I couldn't afford to be too choosy about where I worked. I didn't have any idea what I wanted. Now I'm mostly happy to be back in the kitchen. My ideas about what I want my career to look like are in flux but I know my strengths and I know my worth. I know I don't have to take the first job that comes along even though from my preliminary interview that first job looks pretty great.

I lived in Queens then. I live in Brooklyn now. My hair was long and I was planning on chopping it off. Now my hair has been short for long enough that I'm fairly certain I'm growing it out. I miss my curly mane.

I've lived in two different houses and three different rooms. I've worked at three different jobs, gotten one promotion and been laid off twice. I've made it to the third date a number of times but rarely past that. I've lost my monthly unlimited card twice, each time with only a week left. I know it's not that hard to jump a turnstile. I've had one phone stolen. I know that rotating beds creak when they spin and can actually be pretty distracting. I no longer know how many times I've gotten drunk from free wine after hours at the American Museum of Natural History. I no longer know how many people I've met here that have moved back home or out of town. I don't know how many people I know now that won't be in the city next year. I've made many friends and I've lost a few.

I've worked every hour of the day.  I worked 80 hours a week for two weeks straight. There might be days where I got paid more for crying in the walk in than for mixing dough. I've gone straight from a bar to the kitchen and baked in my slip. I know what a 50 lb block of butter looks like.

I've made out in cabs and cried on the subway and thrown up over the edge of the train platform. The number of miles I've walked is easily in the hundreds, if not at least a thousand.

I've sung along to "This Land is Your Land" with a crowd of people during an encore that involved three bands and an 80 degree Summer night in the middle of Central Park. I've had a nightclub sing me "Happy Birthday".

When I moved I came down with a massive case of "wherever you go there you are" because when I moved I had mostly been unhappy and it turns out that doesn't change overnight.

Real change takes time.

But the space away from expectations and shoulds, the space to focus on myself, the decision to be in the place I've always wanted to be has helped that change take place.

So here's to you, New York, on our two year anniversary - may there be many more to come.

DipticDiptic-1

Allons-y

I'm going on a third (!) date with The Doctor this week (we're calling him 'The Doctor' because I like any chance to pretend I'm actually in Doctor Who and also because he's literally a doctor, but mostly the first thing). I've decided I like him. I don't know if I like like him yet. But I like him. He's kind of super awkward which brings out all the super awkward in me and this makes absolutely no sense, but I like that. He's the first OkC date I've ever been on where a) it wasn't boring and b) I didn't feel like I was putting on a show.

After my date with Chuck Klosterman and my realizations about kissing the wrong people I also realized that I was just straight up doing dating wrong. Until The Doctor, I had always gone on OkC dates with one goal, to procure a second date. It turns out I'm really good at procuring second dates with people I actually have no interest in dating. I know the things to say and the parts of myself to play up and the parts to hide and an unfortunate tendency to kiss people when I've been drinking. When I went on my date with The Doctor, I changed my attitude. No longer was I going to try to get a second date, I wasn't going to just show some smoother over version of what I could offer but I was just going to be me and let the guy do the proving that I would want to go on a second date with him. Novel idea, right? Actually finding out if I like somebody before jumping straight into convincing them they want to make out with me?

It's weird, right? Online dating is weird. Because in real life you probably like somebody a lot before you go on a date with them, but in online dating you go on dates and try to figure out if you're going to like that person a lot in the future. I've always felt a lot of pressure to try to create that first date feeling you get when going on a date with somebody for whom you already have feelings which just doesn't work. It's not the same. It actually cannot be the same.

The Doctor and I just seem to be figuring out if we'd like to keep getting to know each other better and so far the answer is 'yes'.

It probably helps that we haven't even kissed.

Also that he laughed when I joked about not wanting to meet new people ever and in this round of setting up a date suggested we drink BEFORE eating this time to help with our extreme social awkwardness.

I may have not decided if I like like him yet, but I think he's definitely my people. I could like him a lot in the future. Maybe even the near one.

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?

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.

 

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.

I've been living a lonely life

I’ve been off the whole “love” thing for a while. I think it might be a thing New York does to you. Your life becomes full of rotating cast and crew with few permanent additions. I’ve had three friends move out of the state since December. My schedule hasn’t been the same for more than two months for the last year and a half. I haven’t had a single relationship with a guy I wouldn’t describe as “ambiguous” except for with Trouble. I suppose that relationship was the opposite of ambiguous. Mostly because it was the opposite of a relationship.

Needless to say, if you think immersion therapy is a good idea for dealing with your abandonment issues, come hang out with me in New York. We’ll be great friends until I leave you before you can leave me.

At a certain point, dating just didn’t seem worth it. Sometime around the time I freaked out about a guy wanting to hold hands in public on the second date. A friend pointed out that if it was the right guy, it probably wouldn’t bother me. I was like “yeah, sure” and then proceeded to go on another date with too much PDA dude. I’m not sure what my logic was. I guess I’ve never been much of a “when you know, you know” person. My longest relationship was with a guy that was a goofy 15 year old rocking an awful Prince Valiant hair cut when we first met in 10th grade honors English. I mean, I knew. I knew that while Jacob became a great friend, I had no interest in dating him. Until the next fall when I knew I did. I guess I thought if I went on enough dates with Mr. PDA, he might grow on me.

On that next date we were talking about our somewhat incompatible schedules and he said “Working out our schedules would be hard, but for this, I think it would be worth it,” and I just kind of nodded. And I knew. I knew I had absolutely no interest in dating him. I also knew I had no interest in being friends with him.

That’s when I knew I just needed to back away from the dating for a while. I consoled myself with the 5,000 online articles about how dating in New York is actually impossible for everyone. I focused on my relationships with friends. I worked on getting my food blog back up and running. I didn’t fool myself into thinking I preferred singlehood but I convinced myself it was ok for a while. One day I realized my singleness had stopped being something I constantly struggled against. I even had moments where I thought about losing my freedom and it didn’t seem worth it.

It was nice while it lasted. I guess.

A few weeks ago I fell asleep holding hands with someone. (Hi SOMEONE! FEELINGS. I kind of hope you're not reading this) I had Sunday brunch and lazy afternoon cuddles. I went on a walk through the park after dinner. I shivered each time he kissed me. And before I knew it, my bed that I never let anybody in, suddenly felt awfully big for one. It was all A LOT, very fast (err, feelings-wise, just to be clear) but it didn’t seem too much. And I remember thinking “This would be hard to figure out, but it would be worth it” and then “Fuck!” because my friend was right, because I once again knew what I was missing, because I was fairly certain I had put myself in a situation with high potential for heartbreak.

Because I knew I wouldn’t settle anymore.

Because the heart wants what it mother fucking wants. And my heart is an all or nothing kind of girl.

I thought I was on a “no kissing guys that don’t want to date you” kick but now I’m pretty sure I’m on a “no kissing guys that don’t give you chills” kick.

Which would’ve been a lot easier when I thought I was content with not kissing anybody for a while, before I was reacquainted with the terrifying but sweet vulnerability of kissing somebody you really like or the thought that the risk could be worth the reward.

I want it all.

I kind of hate this feeling.

Fuck.

(P.S. I have a kind of personal meets professional post over on the food blog today, go check it out)

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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Exhaustion

Las Vegas and California. Waiting on the plane to get home. Las Vegas was AH-MAZING. I'm still surprised at how little attachment I feel to California. It's familiar and full of things I love but it's not home. Given my constant desire to leave it, I don't know if it ever was. But the people I love are there and there is a very happy thing and a very sad thing happening right now and I could really use a teleporter.

Exhaustion

Exhaustion

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?

Hello, Funemployment

For those of you that don't follow me on twitter or missed my tweets about it, as of April 14th, I will be unemployed. Unless I find a job by then, in which case, I will not be unemployed but will have a new job.

Yesterday I was informed that since when the gelato shop/bakery reopens it will be tiny and the restaurant will be the primary business focus and I am a baker, it just didn't make sense for the business to keep me on anymore. Which is 100% true. I had started sending out resumes in February when it became apparent that the bakery was going to drastically downsized but then there was a lot of talk about expanding the wholesale business and I figured I'd stick with it a while longer. Oh universe, you're so funny sometimes. The pastry sous chef position and what that roll entailed were created for me, to get me to come back to work when I had left last Summer and it was a really great fit for me then. With basically no bakery, it's not now. I can't disagree with their reasoning for letting me go when it's the same reason I've been thinking about leaving. It doesn't mean it doesn't suck though.

"Stability" was my word to work towards in 2012 and that was part of the reason I stuck with my job. I wasn't in love with it, but I thought sticking with it would allow me to push work a little more to the backburner and focus on getting the rest of my life back together, figuring out who I am outside of being a chef, do some volunteer work and maybe have a more regular social/love life. My job has always been where I put the most focus in my life and I wanted to let go of that a little bit. Now I'm trying to figure out whether or not that's an option.

I'm trying to figure out where the balance is between not selling out my artistic integrity and having medical benefits. Between making enough money to live comfortably in New York City and making food I can stand behind. I read these job descriptions for new bakeries and just opened cafes and most of them... I just, I just can't. I can't do it again. I've poured my heart and creative energy into so many struggling small businesses that weren't mine for too little pay and too much of my life given, and all I can think is that I just want some motherfucking stability. I just want enough money to live off, benefits and sick days. That's it. I know it's not the cool thing to say, I know my generation is supposed to be all about entrepeneurship and doing our own thing and going after what we love but fuck it. I've been doing what I love since I started culinary school at nineteen and I'm tired of being a starving artist. I'm tired of it. And I'm tired of people telling me my job is awesome without realizing that I've never worked somewhere where I could afford to regularly eat if I didn't have an employee discount. Or the look of shock at the lack of paid sick days. You probably tipped your server at your last meal more than I make an hour when I break down my shift pay even though I'm the one with the specialized trade skill.

I do something that I love, that I'm good at and it hurts my body and I can't go see a doctor about my inabilty to hold a knife for an extended period of time without part of my hand going numb.

Right now, doing something purely because I love it, seems unsustainable but I'm not very good at compromising my values and working for the man. I'm not even sure who the man is in the culinary world. I'm not sure where that leaves me in job hunting. I can't really afford to be super picky but I'm feeling really picky.

And frustrated. I'm just so effing effity eff frustrated.

Bits & Pieces (the third)

I mean, THIS WEEK, y'all, this week. Or two weeks? I don't even know. I don't even know where to start. This is going to be a little brain dump-y. Ok, a lot brain dump-y. (read: hilarious/ridiculous/rambling)

I didn't finish Scintilla because I had a carpal tunnel flare up, probably from Scintilla. What I learned from Scintilla: I actually, physically cannot write every day. So there's that. That's pretty shitty. I mean, I probably could if I didn't get paid to squeeze piping bags and shape tiny pasta but I do, so writing every day is out. And no, I couldn't really hold a pen by the end of the day either. With a break from writing and "sleeping" with a wrist brace for a few days, I seem to be doing ok. This makes me really happy because a) I can stop sleeping with the motherfucking wrist brace because sleeping with a wrist brace is more like "wake up every three hours and groggily wonder why the fuck you have this uncomfortable torture device on your wrist" b) I was freaking out because I don't have health insurance and I'm ok with paying the $100 for an urgent care appointment if it's for getting antibiotics or some shit, but carpal tunnel isn't really a "here take this things and it's fixed" sort of problem and I have no money for tests or physical therapy or, god forbid, surgery and the freaking out probably didn't help with the wrist brace induced insomnia and c) now I can write again.

And I need to write again so that I can tell you about how I haven't slept longer than three hours in one stretch EVEN WHEN I DRUGGED MYSELF for like two weeks and I am really really glad I finally have two days off IN A ROW tomorrow and Monday.

Also, I need to talk about how boys are confusing.

I suffer from chronic bitch face, my mouth naturally turns down when my face is relaxed, while this doesn't seem to really bother other women, it means I get a lot of those annoying commands from men to smile. It also seems to mean that men either think I'm a bitch, or if they've gotten me to smile, that I'm flirting with them. I either apparently have "bitchface" or "flirtface" on because apparently I unintentionally flirt A LOT when I think I'm just making conversation. (Sidenote: Yes, I am also a flirt, but when I'm intentionally flirting it's usually pretty obvious, there's a lot of smirking and eyebrow raises and taking advantage of my shortness) And then I'm too nice and I give people my number EVEN THOUGH I DIDN'T THINK WE WERE FLIRTING and then I feel awful but most of the time this isn't too much of a problem because I can just be that awful girl that ignores your calls. However, it is a problem when my drunken coworker kisses me and I didn't even see it coming a little bit.

Drunken coworker.

Kissed me.

Not the one I slept with forever ago when I wasn't working there. A new one. Like, not just new to kissing me, but new to working there. Oh, and did I mention he has a girlfriend? And I've barely every spoken to him? Except for making polite getting to know you conversation at the other sous chef's going away party, I'd pretty much never said anything other than "Hey, how are you? Which breads are you low on?".

But we left the party at the same time and we were waiting for the train and he kissed me and WHAT? So I told him it was a bad idea and then he said it was a good idea and then he looked me straight in the eyes and told me I was beautiful and I was so caught off guard (see also: drunk) that I didn't dodge a second kiss. And then he fell over, taking me with him. And then he vomited.

So here I am, in the train station, with a guy I've known two weeks and have had maybe a total of thirty minutes worth of conversation with who is falling over, vomiting, black out drunk. Sober me realizes he might've hit his head when we fell and that maybe I should've taken him to a hospital. Drunk me went into crisis mode and decided to get him in a cab and get him home.

He's a foot taller than me and does not have a small build. I have a bruise over half my right ring finger from the pressure of the claddaugh I wear from trying to pull him up by his hands. I succeed in getting him up and out of the train station. With much effort I get his address out of him and get us into a cab. Not thinking about the fact that his address could be construed as Brooklyn or Manhattan and assuming that the cabbie would stay IN THE BOROUGH WE WERE IN if I didn't specify, I focused on making sure new coworker was alive and ok and not on the fact that OH HEY WE'RE IN MANHATTAN NOW, also please pull over because new coworker needs to throw up more. So then I had to go back to Brooklyn. Most expensive cab ride ever. Fuck my life. But, I mean, what the fuck else am I supposed to do?

We finally get back to his house and the effing effity eff keys keep sticking in the lock and it's freezing and it's 3am and it takes like twenty minutes of us passing the keys back and forth to each other to get in the god damn house where we proceed to go upstairs to his bedroom and then I go to the bathroom only to find he's disappeared while I was peeing. Fuck. I find him downstairs in the other bathroom sitting on the toilet with his head in the sink. I mean, hey, I usually prefer to use the toilet for vomiting and the floor for sitting on, but at least this way he can't choke on his own vomit in his sleep. He vaguely wakes up, throws up some more. I try to force some water into him, he doesn't keep it down. I consider sleeping in the bathtub because I am a crazy person that thinks that somehow by sleeping next to a black out drunk person I'll keep them from injuring themselves. I try to pull him up and get him upstairs. No luck. Finally, I give up and let him fall asleep, head in the sink. I go up to his room, curl up on the bed, completely clothed, jacket still on because it's freezing and set an alarm for twenty minutes to go check on him. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Eventually he makes it into bed.

And that, was how this week started. I left before he woke up. I know he knows I got him home because I overheard him telling my other coworkers that he blacked out and I got him home but I have no idea what else he remembers.

So I'm pretty much just pretending none of it ever happened and he hasn't said anything about any of it to me (either the kissing or the me getting him home) but he has been really friendly and look, HOW THE FUCK DO YOU DEAL WITH THIS SITUATION? Because I'm at work, I have a professional relationship with him. I barely know him. I don't want to kiss him. But I spent multiple hours wiping vomit off his face and I've slept in his bed so it's weird. It's really fucking weird. I don't know what to do, so I'll probably just keep pretending nothing ever happened except it makes me kind of feel like a bitch to be like "hey, I've seen you crazy vulnerable and in need of help but now I'm acting like I barely know you". But I barely know him.

So anyways, apparently I have no idea how to read men because I really didn't think we were flirting but he really was determined to kiss me. Also, he was really drunk so I'm assuming it has no bearing on how sober him feels about kissing me. At least I'm hoping that's true.

Boys Are Confusing Part Two:

This past Saturday I think I almost got into my first fight with Trouble. (Pro Tip: You're not supposed to get in fights with somebody with whom you're just sleeping and have no emotional involvement, because I think that's a sign of emotional involvement. Oops.) We were in a cab and he mentioned how his new subletter was a really great guy and HE SAID "not like my other roommate" so I said "who hates me?". He again clarified that his roommate hates everyone and I again stated that I didn't really care if his roommate hates me because he was kind of a jerk.

"Really? Because he's one of my really good friends, y'know we grew up together, so his opinion really matters to me"

And then I changed the subject because a) never try to reason with drunk people especially if you are also drunk and b) why does it matter what his best friend thinks of me if we're not dating?! What?

We are talking about a guy here who once pointed to the ring on my finger and said "Are you engaged? I mean, not that it would matter if you were, I don't believe in the whole marriage thing". I thought we were firmly in this is not a relationship land, not ambiguous relationship land. Ambiguous relationship land is my actual least favorite.

Why am I meeting his best friend?

Why does his best friend's opinion matter?

Why are we seeing each other (slightly) more often?

And why is he doing cute things like pushing my hair out of my eyes and telling me it's a good to see me?

And I AM A GIRL AND I NEED TO ANALYZE ALL THESE THINGS TO DEATH BECAUSE I HAVE ALL THESE FEEEEEEEEELINGS.

Unrelated to all these things, I worked 13 hours today even though it's the day my pastry cook came back from being on vacation. I don't know either. Also I had potato chips for dinner even though I'm starting a juice cleanse on Monday. The world has been muffled all week. If you understand that statement, I am glad for the company, though also sorry. If you don't, I can't explain it. My room is a mess. I misread my DIGITAL scale all week and thought I had gained back five pounds instead of losing five pounds. I will clean my room tomorrow and I will pay to have somebody else do my laundry and I will have dinner with my family and I will start drinking all the juice on Monday and life will come back in focus again. I think. I think that's how it works.

But now, it's time to go the fuck to sleep.

More asking, less waiting.

I just realized that maybe part of the reason I feel like I'm going mildly insane is that it's been two weeks since the last time I did anything out of the work/sleep/errands circuit. January, January was just SO MUCH that I wanted a little recovery time, but then somehow that recovery time turned into more recovery time than I wanted and I have not socialized with people outside of the people I work with for half a month. And guys, only hanging out with other chefs? Nonstop ticket to crazytown.

This whole socializing thing, it's tricky, right? To have friends you have to be a friend and I am always at work or going to work or coming from work or sleeping. Unless it's between midnight and 3am. This schedule, it's getting a little old.

To go on dates you have to respond to OkC messages. Or write them. The initiating part, that shits tricky. I never know what to say.

Hi, I'm Alana and I cook a lot and drink whiskey. Wait, it already says that on my profile, shit.

Hey, I see you live in Brooklyn and have artist/writer/creative as your profession and I'm totally not just sending this message because you're hot because that combo totally doesn't equal OMG RUNNING AWAY NOW to an adult woman or anything.

And then you go on dates with a guy that's all PDA-y and "my schedule is crazy too, but I think it'd be worth it to find time for this" and just when you're ready to let him in, you never hear from him again. Ok, fine, our last date was two weeks ago, so "never" might be an exaggeration, but, hey, if you find my OkC profile you'll discover that one of the things I can't live without is hyperbole. So that statement is helping me continue breathing for at least a little longer.

(Please don't go and try to find my OkC profile now)

And then I think, hmm, this guys was willing to go on dates in the middle of the night on weekdays and was pretty cute and nice, maybe I should call him, maybe he's waiting for me to take the initiative. But I took the initiative on scheduling the last date so it's totally his turn because I'm not the kind of girl that likes to play dating games except WHEN I'M THE TYPE OF GIRL THAT LIKES TO PLAY DATING GAMES. So, he has to call me. No pride swallowing here.

Fact: I am really bad at pride swallowing.

Also, how do people meet people not on the internet? I don't even mean just for dating. I also mean for friends. I thought about going and hanging out at the bar around the corner tonight, just to get out in the world a little bit, but I don't have a physical book to read and reading an iPad in a bar would make me look like an asshat and also I'm not sure whether or not I want to be friends with people at the bar around the corner but I don't know because I've never been there. I've only been to other peoples' neighborhood bars in Astoria and that doesn't make any sense at all. But do people actually meet people at bars? I mean, people they hang out with for longer than a drunken New York minute (which is actually shorter than a regular New York minute but it feels longer because you're drunk so you've already become that person's bff)? Do I have to become one of those people that just starts talking to other people at yoga classes?! Because a) I get really weirded out when strangers talk to me so I don't know if I want to be that girl and b) have you talked to people that are really into yoga? No, really, have you?

Clearly, I really need to start working on liking people more, but that's old news.

Do you know where this post is going? Because I sure as heck don't, but it was one of those dump everything out of my brain so I could be able to sleep nights. Sorry I'm not sorry. Maybe I should get a paper journal but I think that would also require getting a chair for my desk. I really need a chair for my desk. And blinds. Don't ask.

Work is frustrating right now. Like, it's a good thing I'm usually closer to whisks and spatulas than knives frustrating. Selectively sending out my resume frustrating. It's a good place to be in while job searching though because I know I only will take a job if I really want it and they're really going to pay me more money. And it never hurts to keep up your resume writing and interviewing game. The place I was at today wasn't quite what I'm looking for, but they did offer benefits which is pretty much the unicorn of the culinary world.

For the most part, things are ok. I can live off the amount of money I'm making this month (unlike last month), I'm meeting new internet people on Saturday because I'm working an 11-8 or 9ish shift so I can actually go out, I'm kitty/housesitting next week which means I'll be living in Chelsea which is pretty much my favorite thing and I have another job interview in the morning. I'm guessing they can't pay me what I want to be paid. But if you don't ask, the answer is always "no," right?

Hey, I guess that actually applies to all the things I wrote about. Tying it together like a pro, bitches.

I should never quit my day job.

Viva Las Vegas

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The first time I went to Las Vegas, I was 21. It was me, six friends and one hotel room. We spent most of the time mildly (or more than mildly) inebriated, I won a bucket of quarters (at the Tropicana, probably the last casino to give you buckets of change, I don't know whether or not they've finally upgraded to those boring paper slips) and we saw Love. We spent a three day weekend there, it was fun and at the end I was ready to go home and maybe not go back to Vegas for a few years.

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The second time I went to Vegas was two years later, for a bachelorette party. There were six girls in two rooms. We flew. Moving on up in the world. We were older and less poor, so we spent less time drinking forties on the strip and more time collecting all the novelty cups. We went to the top of the Eiffel tower, walked up and down the entire strip and took advantage of every offer of free booze and wristbands for clubs. Per usual, I took advantage of every opportunity to wear clothing you will never see me wear outside of Vegas. (See: sequins and everything from Forever 21) My biggest regret was not buying a sparkly flask. I'm pretty sure if that's your biggest regret when leaving Sin City, you're doin' alright. Once again, I was there for a three day weekend, and at the end I was ready to leave.

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Fast forward another two years and we get to Vegas trip three. I can't find any of the items needed to get pictures off my own camera, so here's a picture my aunt took of my little brother and me right before my mom's wedding. Yes, I'm using the term little in reference to his age obviously. I'm wearing 4" heels in this picture. True story. (Also, no, neither of us are adopted. Yes, he is my half brother. In case you just thought he was really tan which is something one of my friends actually said once. Anyways....) Vegas trip three confirmed what I already suspected, the Las Vegas strip is really overwhelming and kind of awful if you're not at least mildly inebriated and wearing sequins. But I got to spend a lot of time with my little brother, eat some good food with my family and my mom got married by Elvis looking the happiest I've ever seen her. This time I was really only there for two full days and I was ready to leave. (Oh, and I bought a sparkly flask)

You may have noticed that I like to wait two years between Vegas trips. That seems to be about the time I'm ready for the ridiculousness again. But not this year. This year, I'm going back for Bloggers in Sin City. Four days of fun and turning internet friends into real life friends.

I don't know if I've ever mentioned how thankful I am for this blog sometimes. I might not have the shiniest fonts or the largest group of followers and most of my posts don't even get comments, but I know it's made me some amazing friendships and afforded me some crazy wonderful opportunities. (Hello, being able to move to New York. Hello, all the friends I've made since moving across country)

And one of my favorite internet people turned in real life people is Nicole (ok, who am I fooling, basically all my internet people are my favorite people, but Nicole understood when I moved across country so fast I has to MAIL her her copy of the first season of Grey's Anatomy even though we only lived an hour apart in California, so you know, I don't know where I'm going with this anymore, except Nicole is great) who is the BiSC founder and organizer so I mean, obviously I've been wanting to go to this for a few years now. What makes it even better, is that Paper'd, the pretty awesome looking wallpaper app coming from Nicole and her lovely Shatterboxx partner, is refunding one person's registrationg fee! Seriously, registration fee, completely refunded and I want it. Because my tax return is probably going to be pretty great, but I'd rather spend it on sequined dressed to wear in Vegas.

So fine, yes, I just made you read an entire blog post so that I could maybe win a free spot to BiSC. But also BECAUSE OH MY GOD CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW EXCITED I AM ABOUT GOING TO BiSC?!?!?!?!

Yep.

One is silver and the other gold

 A year ago, yesterday, I broke up with the guy I was living with and told him I was moving to New York. The next day, my birthday, was marked by emtpy closets, packed boxes, anxiety and excitement.

You might say the moment I made it in New York was when I was asked to come back to my job as a sous chef. Manhattan sous chef. There's a lot of us, but the jobs aren't easy to come by, the competition is fierce and the commitment required, is, well, kind of insane. I'd say this is the moment the city had decided to give me an opportunity to stay, that it wasn't quite ready to chew me up and spit me out like I hear it's done to so many others. New York can be a difficult city, I love it, but I understand why it isn't for everyone.

But still I struggled, because as much as I want to pretend the absolute commitment to my career is all I need in life, it turns out, I really like people to be in my life too. I made a close work friend who moved to Connecticut. I turned internet people into IRL people but struggled because my schedule is so different. I slept with people for the wrong reasons, but also sometimes for the right ones. And I was lonely. A lot.

This month I went back to CA to visit. It was a whirlwind of bar crawls, restaurant visits, girls nights and family time and I was not lonely. And it was good, but at the end, I was ready to get back to New York. Ready to be HOME.

The week since I've been back has carried on with the same crazy social life I had in California. Birthday shennanigans and tweetups and silly pictures on facebook. I know it won't continue at this pace because part of the reason is that we've got a lot of January babies in my current friend group, and I'm not actually sure I can maintain my current pace of spending more nights in January out than in, but it feels like the moment where I've actually made it in New York. I'm not fully immersed back at work yet, so it helps that I'm not an exhausted mess, but right now I have a lot more confidence in my ability to make and maintain friendships than I usually do and I'm pretty fucking excited.

(Part of my feel good is also all the BiSC love going on, but I'll talk abut that more in another post)

So here's to my favorite city, staying connected to the people I love at home and new friends that are starting to not really need that "new" qualifier.

Twenty six is going to rock. I've decided.

 

What made you laugh?

This is such a tricky question. It's easy to remember what made you cry or yell but the specifics of what made me laugh? I'm not so sure.

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Laughing with Sarah in Boston at the ridiculous skills she learned in Waldorf school. Like how to sign "butterfly" when she still wasn't allowed to learn how to read.

I remember laughing when I met Erin, Stephanie, Kelly and Jon IRL at my 2nd AMNH tweetup as we were standing and looking at a blown up picture of a bug penis. And I remember laughing for most of that night, primarily at "Obama sleeves" and convincing Jon to drunkenly explain the Matrix to me like I'd never seen it. I think there may've also been something about Stephanie saying that cheese fries were better than cuddling and me telling her that she must be doing cuddling wrong. I don't know. There were a lot of funny things. I think. Also, alcohol.

Then I had to work in a slip the next day because I had to be there at 4am, didn't have time to go home and wasn't going to bake in the white eyelet dress I was wearing. My coworker laughed a lot at me. It was one of those situations that was so ridiculous you just had to.

I laughed a lot when Lara and I went to see "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," which was fantastic. I laughed when we spent the evening with our friends Elise and Dick and their friend Tom who conveniently came to New York at the same time as Lara. I think we laughed hardest when we realized the picture they had taken of us on our way to the top of The Empire State Building somehow managed to be taken at just the right moment so that it looked like Tom was grabbing Dick's crotch.

Clearly, I've laughed at some very mature things this year.

I laughed the night before Michelle's wedding when she had us watch "Big Easy Brides" which is easily the most hilarious terrible wedding show I have seen. I laughed as we stayed up trying to come up with a playlist because all the songs people had suggested on their invitations were terrible.

I laughed on Tuesday when Tracy and I went to "The Daily Show," both during the show and while we were waiting in line and the older foursome behind us kept complaining about how terrible SNL is now. Except when that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were on it. They also kept saying things like "It's Tuesday, so of course it's raining". I don't know what that means, but blaming Tuesday for things is my new favorite activity and I think it's hilarious.

Almost as hilarious as Obama sleeves.