Runaway Reviews: The Libertine

IMG_4848 One of the things that never really occurred to me leaving America was how difficult it would be to get a decent cocktail. Sure, I knew my bourbon selection would probably be limited to overpriced Jack and Jim and I'd have to adjust my standards, drinking habits and expected price point for alcohol, but the other week Dan ordered a Scotch and soda from a pretty average bar, with English speaking staff, and got what we think was a Scotch and tonic. Scotch and tonic is maybe the worst drink known to mankind. I'd rather drink something made with Malibu. Yes, I said it, I would rather drink something made with alcoholic suntan lotion, than ever have to try a Scotch and tonic again. In Istanbul, at our fancy hotel rooftop bar, where we were charged TWENTY FOUR DOLLARS to have our drinks made with Bulleit, they SHOOK the life out of Dan's Manhattan and I'm not even sure my Old Fashioned had alcohol in it. They both primarily tasted like melted, dirty ice. I've had two Scotch Old Fashioneds since getting here and one was fine and one was just awful. I'm not opposed to a Scotch Old Fashioned, my favorite drink in the world might be The Campfire at Amor y Amargo (it's not actually on the menu, but go ask for one, you'll thank me later) but you can't just throw a lemon peel and a dash of bitters in a Scotch and soda and go charging somebody $18 like it's an actual Old Fashioned.

You cannot imagine how excited I was when I walked into The Libertine and saw that their drink menu had an Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, a Whiskey Sour (with an egg white!) and a Boulevardier. If you had to ask me my top four cocktails, these would be them. They also have the widest and most reasonably priced selection of Bourbon I've seen in Seoul. They charged me one dollar, ONE DOLLAR, extra for having my Old Fashioned made with Buillet instead of the well whiskey (Jim Beam Black). I think Dan got charged a whopping two dollars extra for his Manhattan made with Rittenhouse. Look at that beautiful thing! Just one large globe of ice, a twist of the proper fruit, and actually the proper shade of amber instead of the color of the world's saddest, most watered down, ice tea. The service here is not quick but your cocktail is created with care and I have never seen anyone shake a Manhattan.

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This is the Whiskey Sour. You can tell by that thick layer of foam on top that it's made the best way, with an egg white. I realize that egg white cocktails are a little gross sounding to most people but, in America, bars are usually using pasteurized whites so your risk of food borne illness is minimal. I have no idea what they do here. I do know that egg whites usually add a creaminess and body to Whiskey Sours that makes them absolutely heavenly and that this cocktail was no exception. (This is where to get my favorite egg white Whiskey Sour in New York)

For food at The Libertine, I recommend the burger. It's a little pricey but is always perfectly medium rare and juicy. We've found the other dinner food and brunch food fine but underwhelming for the price point. If you do go for brunch, they make a solid, classic Bloody Mary.

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The Libertine is definitely the place to go when you've had one of those days where you really just need a burger and some Bourbon. (Other people have those days, right?)

It's address is 141-8 Itaewon-dong. I usually take the 405 bus but you can also get there easily by taking the metro to Itaewon Station. Walk South from Itaewon-ro and it will be on your left just before the street turns entirely into antique shops.

My favorite places for a burger and bourbon in New York are The Wren  (the small plates are also fantastic AND I've gotten an industry discount) or, if you're feeling fancy, Prime Meats.

And the living is easy

I know this weather is only for today. That tomorrow it's supposed to thunder and then it will cool back down into more appropriate Spring time temperatures, but for tonight I will revel in it. I'll take a moment to ignore how odd it is for me to have bare legs while the trees still have bare branches and instead enjoy our wide open windows and the daffodils I sneakily picked in Prospect Park on Sunday that have turned from yellow and white to a uniform a cream. I'll drink this white wine while Otis Redding plays and smile and dream of Summer. Since, I am, as always, a creature of extremes, I like snow and I like sun and this long winter of mostly neither has not been my favorite. I am eager to read in the park and lay out on the beach and go months without wearing pants except in the kitchen.

I want warm nights and walks along the Highline at sunset and a hand to hold. I want wooden picnic tables and pitchers of beer and shared laughter and fried things. I want short skirts and high heels and dancing. I want to fill our balcony with pots, to dig my hands into soil, to watch green tendrils crawl their way out. Lettuce, sugar snaps, tomatoes. I want food truck rallies and farmer's market abundance.

In Winter the world closes in and in Summer it opens again. Each is necessary but I'm ready for adventure, for being out in the world, for saying "yes".

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.

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Falling in Love

I'm sitting with the intention of writing. It's a struggle lately. Every word feels like I'm pulling it kicking and screaming out of my brain, but I know, I know the only way to write is to write. So I'm sitting here, listening to First Aid Kit on repeat and writing. I'm not writing. I'm wondering if a lumberjack has texted me again. He hasn't. I know, but I check my phone anyway, maybe I didn't hear it vibrate. I hate this part of dating. The way my brain works. We're writing right now, brain. We've been on three dates. Maybe he'll never text again. We're always going to write, we know our relationship to it, we're committed. Not monogamous, because there's always baking, but committed. Let's put our focus there. I'm falling in love with neighborhood again. I'm constantly falling in and out of love with it. The tree lined blocks are perfect covered in snow. I bought a cup of grits with pesto, jalapeno sauce, a soft boiled egg and thick bacon from a window this afternoon. I'm falling in love with food again. I've been too in love with alcohol and too isolated at work to remember how much I value food. Rich Momofuku ramen. Brisket breakfast tacos. Fully loaded grits.

I've been putting up a pretty good front these past two months and I'm falling in love with not putting on a front. Little things. On my first date with the aforementioned lumberjack I almost didn't wear perfume because he seemed like the kind of man who wouldn't be into that. But I'm the kind of woman who wears make up and perfume when she wants to. Take it or leave it. I'm invisible on gchat a lot of the time because I don't want to talk all the time. Or I don't want to talk to everybody all the time. I've spent a lot of time internet absent because it felt like an obligation, a thing with which I needed to keep up. I took a sick day instead of powering through. You don't always have to power through, Alana Margaret. Sometimes you'll get further by taking a second, a minute, a day to power down. There is value in powering down. You are not the kind of person that can always be on without the toll being heavy.

I'm falling out of love with alcohol. Drinking seems unappealing. Being hungover doesn't even seem remotely worth it. Drinking makes it easier to power through but I'm taking a break from powering through.

Breathing. I want to breath. I can't catch my breath lately. Literally. The more exhausted I become, the worse my asthma. My body is good at this. It says stop when my brain refuses to. It knows when I am mentally unwell and turns it into something physical. It forces me to pay attention.

I am twenty-seven and I am still always relearning the difference between standing right out on the edge and pushing myself over it.

A good friend once told me that I shouldn't even have a job because even unemployed I managed to overschedule myself. It was probably three and a half years ago. I still think about it. About how hard I push and how well he knew and tolerated that about me. The way he's one of the few people I always forgave for being late, something I'd never forgive in myself and generally cannot abide in others. The way I'd nudge him into being more focused and the way he'd convince me to relax. We had only been back in each other's lives for maybe 6 months after four years absent at the time but our dynamic was immediately the same as it had been third grade through high school.

Nobody encourages me to calm down here. Nobody values it. It's a double-edged sword, the thing that makes me feel so at home in New York but a thing that makes me lose my health and my sanity if I don't monitor myself.

I think I am falling in love with monitoring myself.

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I've been saying "life is hard" a lot lately. In the moments when life isn't hard. The moments where I have the windows down and am blasting a little Dirt Road Anthem on a perfect West Sonoma County Spring day. The moments where I've been forced to eat artichokes from the garden. Or spend the whole day eating and drinking with two amazing friends. I say it jokingly in the happy moments to mark it as a moment to remember when Life Is Hard.

Because life is pain, Princess. Except when it's not.

Why let them be happy now when they're going to be sad later?

The answer, of course, is because they're going to be sad later.

I remind myself because one moment my life might be joy and sequins and the next my heart might be breaking for my best friend as I struggle to find the words to console when I know I'm dealing with a situation for which there is no consolation.

I remind myself because in the morning I happily skip around New York with my bag of farmers' maket produce that I get paid to turn into delicious pastries and at night I might watch a tv show with a car crash and surprise myself when I need to curl into a ball and make a conscious effort to breath.

I remind myself because I get older and I realize how young I am. How dramatic everything seemed yesterday but how it hardly matters today. That often the little moments are what build or break a relationship or a life.

I remind myself because I want to recognize the sadness and the hardship but I don't want to wallow in it. Life is good and life is hard and life is unjust and sometimes that works in my favor and sometimes it doesn't. These aren't amazing new revelations, they're just truths to acknowledge every now and then.

They're truths to acknowledge when you spend a year and a half pretty fucking closed off and end up deciding to give on dating for a while altogether and then find yourself terrifyingly, unexpectedly opening up. When waking up one morning wondering why suddenly your bed feels so big with only one person in it and you roll over to find a text from the somebody that's missing.

And they're truths to acknowledge when you flinch at the sound of every late night text message or alert terrified of what it could say, what it could mean for someone you love and that there is not a thing you can do about it.

Life is hard.

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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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.

 

Alana Goes to Boston, Part 1

IMG_1013 I knew my trip to Boston was going to be good when I sent my friend Sarah this picture asking if we could go to the bakery this cookbook is from and she replied "It's already on the itinerary". Yes, there was an itinerary, but not the scary kind with exact time and boring historical sites, but the awesome kind full of things we should try to get to if we feel like it.

It started Friday with dinner at a restaurant called "North by NorthEast" which did seasonal North East and Asian fusion. I was pretty skeptical at first. Fusion is a trend that's gotten a little out of hand and is often done pretty poorly these days, but the food was AMAZING. Just really really fantastic. Did you think you could use rhubarb in asian cuisine? I sure didn't, but they did and it rocked my world. Definitely a step up from the Roy Roger's french fries I had at the rest stop on my way to Boston.

(Sidenote: First time I'd ever been in a Roy Roger's. They have ads for them on tv in CA, but I'm pretty sure they don't exist West of the mississippi, it's confusing)

Saturday I slept all the way until 8am which is actually sleeping in five and a half hours for me, which is really really disturbing. Sarah woke up early too, so we hit up Flour where I had a perfectly flaky and moist croissant, she had an ooey gooey sticky bun and we took a couple of pastries for the road. Of course our logical next stop was Harpoon Brewery where the first tour is at 10:30 am and the first tasting they give you is promptly at 10:30am. It's a fun, informational tour with unlimited tasting for a bit after the tour is over and well worth the $5. I'm 100% certain I drank more than $5 worth of beer AND you get to keep your tasting cup.

IMG_1030 Next we discovered that the Institute of Contemporary Art is pretty awesome when you're tipsy. Piles of record slipcovers as a statement about society? Sure, why not? Tipsy me is a lot more tolerant about modern art than sober me. Also, I love records and miss mine so I was inclined to give the whole exhibit around vinyl the benefit of the doubt. I'm also pretty fond of Shepard Fairey and the ICA has a really cool multimedia room that hangs over the water so overall it's a pretty swell museum.

Going on right next to the ICA was an "Extreme Sailing Competition". Not being Bostonians with the privilege of free sailing lessons when we were underage, Sarah and I had no fucking idea what that meant but were totally game to observe. As far as we could tell it was people sailing around buoys along some sort of course? Mostly we just decided it was time to sit for a while and eat our remaining pastries. I'm pretty sure this is also the point in the day when I really got horrifically sunburned. SPF 30 is just not strong enough, I have no idea what I was thinking. Maybe too many summers in foggy Northern California have made me forget the actual strength of the sun. Or maybe I'm an idiot. Either way I've now got some pretty ridiculous tan lines.

I would like to point out that so far we've gotten to 1ish on the first day of my trip. Yeah, we made that itinerary our bitch.

IMG_1032 Next stop: KO meat pies, where Sarah and I learn that Australian meat pies are delicious and will keep you full for the rest of your life.

Then it was time for a walk through the North End on our way home to siesta, because seriously, that is a lot of shit to get done before 3pm on a Saturday.

Saturday evening is when I realized that food service professional are maybe not normal people. Since pretty much all of my friends here work in food service I kind of forgot that not everybody swears constantly, drinks like a fish and generally ignores their body's need for sleep. I partially blame Michelle because she has an office job and still does these things, reinforcing my idea that this is normal. Believe it or not, I am actually quite good at modifying my language to suit the situation. However, I am not good at modifying my drinking habits apparently. In the time that Sarah and her friends finished nursing one drink, I finished two and I felt like I was drinking the SLOWEST EVER IN MY LIFE. And then we went to bed. True Story. Really. I only drank two drinks and was asleep by 11 on a Saturday. It's basically like I was replaced by an alien.

Sunday and Monday really deserve their own post mostly because we had a brunch with somebody from high school that was so amazingly awkward it really needs to not be glossed over and Monday we accidentally stumbled into a historical reenactment. If that doesn't make you want to come back and read more, I don't know what will.

Summertime and the living is easy

Things I've learned while busy not blogging:

  • I would rather work a ten hour busy work day than a six hour slow one
  • There is only so much sleep I can sacrifice for social life and only so much social life I can sacrifice for sleep.
  • It's better to come home to a room that looks like you live in it than one with empty walls and half filled boxes.
  • Gin is best enjoyed with cucumber juice and basil simple syrup. Mint simple syrup will work too.
  • Funsies hookups as opposed to realsies dating totally has its time and place but I should check how many trains it's going to take me to get home in the morning.
  • Being single allows for a lot of free time, friend time and stress free thinking. Who knew?
  • I have a serious polka dot addiction. No really.
  • Getting paid to do something you love is awesome. Getting appreciated daily by your employers on top of that is even awesomer.
  • Red wine hangovers only rival whiskey hangovers in brutality.
  • I shouldn't sleep with people I had feelings for, because I might realize I still think they're adorable, so... fuck.
  • It's great living somewhere where it's hot enough all Summer to actually wear my Summer dresses. It sucks to have to shave that often though.
  • I can work the crazy early morning bakers' hours I've always avoided and not hate it.
  • I have a life here. And it kind of FUCKING ROCKS.

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Give me a lake that I can dive into

I gave two weeks notice yesterday. It was bittersweet. I really love Stellina/Sorella but I just straight up don't get paid enough money and it's not busy enough yet for me to actually ever work a whole 40 hours in a week. I'd like to say I could wait it out, see if business picks up, but I can't afford it. And I've done this before. I'm basically a master at working for struggling small businesses. I work my ass off for too little money until I get frustrated and burned out. So Stellina and I are breaking up before we start hating each other.

Will I still be found there eating breakfast sandwiches on housemade english muffins, salted caramel gelato and distracting my coworkers that have become some really awesome friends after my two weeks are up? Hells yes. I really love the people there. I really love the broccoli at Sorella. I really love the bar. (Seriously, Sorella has a fantastic bar) But it just makes more sense for me from a budget and career stand point to move on.

Soon you'll be able to find sweet treats made by me at Abraco, a little tiny, hole in the wall coffee shop that is super into local, seasonal and organic products and where the pastries are a little more in line with my obviously hella NorCal palette. I'll be getting paid (a little) more there, have a solid forty to work a week and have input into the daily changing menu. The one downside is that I'll be baking over night but I don't think my anxiety and insomnia will get as bad as working overnights last year made them because I'll only be working eight hour shifts, won't be going to school on my days off and won't be working with teenage drug addicts. I think I am capable of making choices that will allow me to be healthy with a vampire's schedule.

I'm really trying to work on making those choices now in preparation. I'm down to one cup of coffee a day, down to 0-1 alcoholic beverages a day and have managed to get myself on a regular sleep schedule that allows 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Of course I've also pretty much just been working, sleeping and writing, but sometimes you have to strip your life down to be able to rebuild it into something sturdier. I'm working on getting myself back into the routine of morning and nightly sun salutations and maybe soon I'll add running into my schedule. My urges to go running usually only last about two weeks before I remember I hate running, so no guarantees on that one. Also my knees hate me right now. I finally stop going up and down stairs every fifteen minutes for those bed checks at the group home and instead go up and downstairs carrying sheet trays and 50# sugar sacks. Ugh.

Surprisingly, you know what has been helping me work on finding the middle way instead of going to my usual extremes? I have no man in my life. I have no potential man in my life. I have so much time! I have so much free mental energy that's normally spent thinking of cute and/or witty texts to send, or worrying about the future or thinking about dinner or wondering what's going to go wrong or when we both have time for a date night, it's amazing. Why did nobody tell me how relaxing and freeing it could be to break my endless cycle of codependency? Oh right, my mother did. Good job on knowing things, Mom! I mean, I'm still me, so you probably shouldn't take me too seriously when I say I have no intention of dating somebody any time soon, but y'know, that's my intention, we'll see if it happens.

Other intentions:

  • Buy real furniture (obvs. by "real" I mean "IKEA/not decoupaged boxes") once I get a little more money coming in
  • Figure out what I want my room to look like. I have no idea, I think maybe because it's painted in a color palette that is so far removed from my own I can't even figure out what goes with it
  • Yoga! Maybe Ballet!
  • That's it! Stick with making healthy(ish) choices and not overwhelming myself. I'm so much more comfortable in chaos than when everything is ok and I need that to change. (Sometimes I don't think I could be more of a stereotype of a child of addicts- OH MY GOD PLEASE GIVE ME SOMETHING/SOMEONE TO FIX)

Oh! Also I had an interview today for a possible super part time second job at a store that specializes in selling California wine. True story. What's a California girl to do in New York other than try to convert the heathens to our awesome ways through pastry and wine? Is it so much to ask that everything be farm to table and for things to be open until 4am? I really need San Francisco and New York to combine into one city.

Things That Remind Me I'm on the Other Side of the Country, Part 2

Time for some things in the negative column:

1. Humidity. The weather + walking to the Grand St station actually made me feel like I was in a different country today. Which is kind of awesome, except I do not see any beautiful Thai beaches around here to go with the humidity. So fuck you humidity. Because I need a haircut and you're making it worse by making my hair try to be all curly and shit. Also by the time I get to work at 8AM I feel like I should've taken 5 showers already and I know, I know, it only gets worse as it turns into Summer. Also, it's confusing when I look outside and it looks all stormy and then I look at the weather report and it's all, "hey, it's already 75 degrees today!" and I'm still working on getting into my head that grey skies don't equal cold so I've finally convinced myself it's ok to leave the house in just a cardigan even if it looks stormy but really I should be wearing shorts and a tank top. Except I don't wear shorts, which begs the question, what the hell am I going to wear in the Summer? I like dresses a lot, but I have a finite number and dresses aren't really kitchen safe, so I'm going to assume that I'm going to sweat off like 15 pounds this Summer which I guess is good because once it starts cooling off my body will probably want to eat lots of fatty things in preparation for the cold cold oh my god cold winter. So maybe the humidity is awesome. Size 2 by August! (not really, I kind of look skeletal at a size 2, but maybe because I'm a girl and secretly I think I look awesome then).

2. Bread. OH MY GOD I JUST WANT SOME SOURDOUGH TOAST WITH MY EGGS PLEASE, WHERE IS MY SOURDOUGH? HOW IS THAT NOT AN OPTION? WHAT DO YOU PEOPLE EAT YOUR BLT's ON? Yes, I know that San Francisco had a distinct sourdough because there is actually a strain of yeast that runs from Alaska to Baja with the highest concentration in San Francisco so sourdough couldn't actually taste the same but there is still yeast in the air here. And some of the flavor could be mimicked by keeping the starter at a warmer temperature and feeding it a higher water to flour ratio which is largely what contributes to the sharper more acetic San Francisco sourdough flavor as opposed to say a creamy Parisian sourdough. Anyways, sourdough bread, I don't want to make my own because I don't feel like taking care of a barm right now with it's fermenty grossness that will probably get forgotten in the back of my fridge, so somebody get on that.

3. Coffee. Coffee here is shitty. True story. I have pretty good coffee at my work. And soon you'll be able to find my skills put to use making pastry here, so I have high hopes their coffee will also be tasty (one of the owners spent time at the holy grail of all coffee shops, Blue Bottle and the chef is from the bay area, so you know).  But it's not like the bay area where even up in Santa Rosa, there's a different local roaster every few blocks and if you ask for a cappuccino it's only made in small sizes, with whole milk and perfect wet foam... I think most people just drink shitty diner coffee or shitty coffee cart coffee (both of which also had their time in the plus column) and don't really care. Blech.

4. Bakeries. Bakeries mostly seem to be of the generic American or Italian pursuasion with cakes that look like the frosting is made of Sweetex, Sweetex and oh, hey, more Sweetex, huge, overly sweet, flavorless Black and White cookies and fruit tarts thick with so much apricot glaze you wonder if the fruit underneath is real. New Yorkers have yet to embrace the, in California, totally overused word "artisan" and all the tastiness that accompanies its pretension.

That is all for now. All of that being said, I'm still happy to be here. More general life/work/love posts soon (or rather life/work/I still think boys are stupid posts).

Things That Remind Me I'm on the Other Side of the Country, Part 1

So here's the thing New York, this thing you call a beautiful Spring... In Northern California we call this Winter, also Spring and Fall. I mean, I can understand after months of freezing snow and no trash being picked up, this alternation between warm enough to sit on the roof, read and get sunburned and 60s and pouring rain must seem pretty awesome, because at least there's not snow, but this is not actually awesome. The tulips everywhere are pretty and I've always wanted an excuse to own a trenchcoat, so I'll put some points back in the plus column for those things.

Other things going in the New York plus column right now:

1. Public transit. It goes everywhere. And it goes everywhere late at night. I mean, you might have to wait for a while, but there is at least one train line running to where you want to go. As somebody that  needed to take the M home late at night in San Francisco and also didn't live remotely near any Owl buses and was afraid of walking far in my neighborhood because I didn't want to get killed by the people dealing drugs in the middle of the street (yeah, Oceanview!), I really really love this. I double love this because:

2. Late nights. I have a tendency to not notice how late it is, because everything is still open. Ok, not everything. But restaurants, bars, drug stores, food carts, are all still open at 2am and that is awesome. Or not awesome when I realized that I can't judge time by how many people are still out and about and I actually need to be on my way to work in 4 hours. If I didn't have to open both weekend days and made a lot more money, this would basically be the best/worst thing ever. New York City clearly wants me to be an alcoholic, because if you think I can resist being able to eat $.99 pizza and drink at 3am on a regular basis, you are wrong and the fact that you can keep getting food, just makes it that much easier to keep drinking.

3. Bodegas. Not that we don't have corner stores in California, but I almost never go to them. Probably because there's real grocery stores nearby to almost everywhere but since grocery stores here mostly suck (a lot) I might as well buy things from bodegas and fruit stands because they're right there, and often cheaper. Especially the fruit stands.

4. Coffee carts. This really goes in both the plus and minus columns. Plus because when I want a $1 coffee at 7am because I know the baristas at work won't be ready to make me a cappuccino until 10, there are coffee carts to supply me with my caffeine fix. Minus because I'm pretty sure this is part of the reason New Yorkers are not coffee snobs. The coffee from coffee carts is worth the $1 you pay for it. It tastes like coffee from Denny's at 3am on a Wednesday.

5. Diners. My favorite diners at home (Rudy's Cant Fail in Emeryville, Sparky's in SF and Howard's Cafe in Occidental) aren't really true diners. I love them. A lot. But my favorite thing at Rudy's is The Tower of Power which has MorningStar Farms "sausage" patties and none of those diners can really be put in the cheap greasy spoon category. There are diners everywhere here. Real diners. $7 eggs, bacon, potatoes, toast, orange juice and crappy coffee breakfast special diners. I mean no, I don't really know how all the food was grown/raised to allow the prices to be so cheap, but if I can't have farm to table every day, I'll settle for the opposite. I really can't emphasize enough how I only know how to do extremes. (Seriously, I didn't have any home made chicken broth the other day, so I ate Top Ramen, I don't think this is how normal people operate)

Next up: Things in the minus column.

 

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?

I drank myself to sleeplessness last night, I always do

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  P1040853

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

  P1040852

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

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

And I do like you and you like me too

Matt just left to go to Safeway to buy me some Pellegrino because I finished the case that was here and I have a serious addiction. I had managed to cut it out entirely for over a year now but then he was like "Oh look honey, Pellegrino's on sale, we better get a case" and then it was all over. I drink that shit like it's going out of style. But more importantly, I would like to point out that it is 12:43 a.m., we just got back from playing broomball, Matt has to wake up at like 6:30 and he just volunteered to buy me Pellegrino because I was staring wistfully at the old bottles on his nightstand. Ok fine, I was saying that I wished there was Pellegrino but not with any expectation of him volunteering to go get me some. Basically, what I'm saying is he's the sweetest guy ever and for some reason unbeknownst to me think everything I do is wonderful and adorable which is pretty fucking awesome.

I was about to write a post about how I've been staying at his house all week because my asthma has been so bad I've been afraid to stay alone and about how he's taken care of me during the worst of it and even came with me to the doctor which is just like the most disgustingly adorable thing ever but then the Pellegrino thing happened and I thought "that's an even better example of how lame and cutesy couple-y we are" because shit like this HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.

And it's gross. It's just gross how pleased we are with each other and then it's like we become more pleased with ourselves because we're just so pleased to be pleased with each other and now pleased doesn't even sound like a real word anymore but that's just the way it is. We're just so god damn pleased with each other that it's ridiculous. And you know how sometimes at the beginning of a relationship ('cause let's remember Matt and I have known each other for a grand total of 2.5 months aka the same amount of time we've been dating) you're just waiting for the bubble to burst? Waiting to find out what the secret crazy is? I'm not waiting, I just can't imagine anything that would realistically happen and seriously fuck things up.

(Side note: I just told Matt that I often didn't know which posts were good posts until I reread them a month later and suddenly go "oh, that's pretty good, that's why people read my blog" and he told me it was because I'm a fantastisaurus. You can vomit now, it's allowed.)

Somehow we've reached the point where when I say things like "If I take this job we're never going to see each other," Matt says things like "It's not for forever we'll make it work and hopefully I'll be working nights. We can make it work, right?" but when he said "I'll be working nights" he meant in the future when he finishes the EMT program which is really not soon which means thinking in the for sure long term sort of way and instead of freaking me out it just makes me feel all giddy and bubbly inside and oh my god you totally want to punch me right now don't you?

Also we have names picked out for a future cats. Really. Patches and Atticus and one that has yet to be named. There will also be a ferret named "Ferret" because I'm told the ferret does not need a name. But I'm going to call it Boo Radley because then whenever I want to play with the ferret I can say I'm going to go play the Boo Radley game. And now you think I'm crazy because I like "To Kill a Mockingbird" that much but really I just like the name Atticus and think that Atticus Finch is an awesome character to name something after and ever since I said I wanted to name one of that cats Atticus I thought about all the other great pet names in that book like "Boo" and "Scout" and "Jem". Anyways...

Matt asked if I would meet his mother the other night who apparently no other girl has been intentionally introduced to. 

I like the way all this is working out a lot.

I'm ready let's do it baby.

Look on Down, revisited

I really do plan on writing a nice long post about how my mother set me up with an awesomely sweet guy who matches the super broad breakdown of what I want in a man pretty damn well, especially considering she was behind in her reading and I don't think had actually read that post yet. However, my internet is not working in my house and I would like to go cozy up in bed soon, so for now you're getting a totally different short check-in in which we review my New Year's resolutions.

1. Fill my life with people who love and support each other and don't go out of their way to create drama

Basically, cutting the douche out of my life made me realize that with him out of the equation, I had already done this. I also seem a lot less prone to create drama without him around. Double win.

2.Work my ass off at school and work. Help build a business that I believe in and gives me huge amounts of room for creativity and make sure that I have options to transfer to any school I want.

Confession: I have been a lazy bum when it comes to school but that's 'cause I was working ridiculously much at the beginning of the semester and changed my entire plan for the semester. I probably should be doing a little more anthropology book reading and actually writing something for creative writing.

I am working my ass off at work and mostly it's serving to frustrate me 'cause the harder I work the more responsibilities and expectations are placed on me and the more it seems like I don't get paid anywhere near enough. 'Cause I don't. It sucks. I'm keeping my eye out for better job options, but Sonoma County is just not the place for awesome pastry jobs right now.

3. Drink less often and less copiously when I do. (This should be pretty easy because of goal #4/not seeing the boy)

Total win. In both the "I'm totally pwning this resolution" and the "This makes me feel much better mentally and physically" ways.

4. Don't date an alcoholic

Well, fuck. I guess I need to rephrase that one. Pretend it says "don't date a guy who drinks every night instead of dealing with his shit" or "don't date a non-recovering alcoholic". I don't know. The point is, I should not spend my time in a relationship with somebody that drinks every night. 'Cause that's not good emotionally for anyone and it's probably especially not great for me. And I'm not. I think this resolution was more about thinking about my own psychological well being in regards to a relationship and not doing something that I obviously new was bad for it and not setting myself up to be an enabler.

5.  Put myself out there to meet new people.

Obviously I totally rocked this at the very beginning of the year by meeting blog friends IRL in New York and having an awesome time. Not really rocking this too much back on my home turf but I'm going to go ahead and say that taking the risk of having coffee with somebody my mom wanted to set me up with counts. I'm also going to count starting to go to the SF Iron Cupcake competition, that's kind of like meeting new people. Hopefully, I'll also get together with some SF bloggers like @nicoleisbetter and @jamievaron soon. (Have I mentioned that I'm one of Nicole's shout outs this month? How awesome is that?) Anyways, so far this resolution has gotten me nothing but awesome.

6. Learn how to get men to buy me drinks at bars (I think I have to not give them death glares when they try to hit on me).

Umm, this one only works if I'm not in a relationship. Let's think of new, equally ridiculous thing to replace it with. (Though I guess Charlie Trouble bought me drinks, so maybe I also mastered this one in the first week of the year) I've never had sex in a car (I know, right?!) so we'll replace 6 with "Have sex in a car" (hope you're ok with that honey).

7. Not hide how important moral/political values are to me.

Pretty sure I'm not smashing people over the head with these things, but I'm also pretty sure I'm not pushing them to the sideline. On track.

8. Have more dance parties.

I haven't really been having dance parties with other people, but I have been having them whenever I'm cleaning at 2 am at work and blasting the 90s station that plays Shaggy followed by Green Day followed by Dr. Dre followed by Fiona Apple. Yeah, it's basically awesome.

9. Take new relationships slowly. (don't just fall into what's easy/ take what I can get).

I'm gonna go ahead and say this resolution is more about the second half and I'm pretty sure I'm not doing that. I'm pretty sure I'm failing epicly at the first half. I'm also pretty sure I'm ok with that 'cause it equals mashed potatoes and watching "Planet Earth".

10. Make my cabin into somewhere I actually think of as home and throw dinner parties

Still working on this, but as established in this post I seem to be progressing. I really need curtains. Curtains would help. And a bigger house for the dinner party part. Still figuring that out.

11. Make healthy decisions.

This is pretty vague and broad but I'd say over all I am making the right decisions to make my life go where I want. W00t.

Let's hope the rest of the year continues in the same vein.

You better speak up I won't wait

"I was in Berkeley the day before your birthday and I was just sitting in my car in front of Gregoire's for a good fifteen minutes because I wanted to buy you potato puffs, but I just didn't know what to do. I didn't know if you wanted anything to do with me, but I really wanted to get you potato puffs"

God dammit. Why? Why did he have a cute story about potato puffs? Is there one food item I like even more than giant bowls of mashed potatoes? Yes. Is that item potato puffs from Gregoire's? Fuck yes; they're like little puff balls of heaven. Was he sitting in front of one of my top ten favorite restaurants thinking about buying me my favorite food when I hadn't talked to him in weeks and had basically told him to fuck off? Yes.

What the hell?

What. the. hell.

(repeat ten times)

Just so we're clear before I start this story, I officially do not understand men. Whatever small amount of insight I thought I may have gleaned over the years has now been rendered null and void. Also, can I just say, "what the hell?".

***

Saturday he texts to ask if I'm going to a friend's party in San Francisco. I tell him I haven't decided, ask him why... blah blah blah car broke blah don't want to take truck, would it be terribly awkward to get a ride?

(Yes he really did use the phrase "terribly awkward" which for some reason makes me giggle. I don't know what the deal is.)

I leave him a message before realizing he's at work and that's why we're communicating via text and eventually he calls me back and says he's kind of dragging his ass about the whole driving down to the city thing and I said I was feeling the same way (you'd think we'd be more excited about a party that supposedly had a money pinata) and he asked if maybe I'd like to hang out later tonight if he got some people together and I sort of vaguely agreed.

But then Lara let me know they needed a bear tank to do the Petaluma bar crawl and I agreed to that instead. 'Cause I didn't actually trust him to get back to me ever and Lara is pretty awesome. Also, you know "LF tank for Petaluma bar crawl have heals and two dps, bear tanks preferred" is a pretty ridiculous invite. How could I say no to that? Also, I'd like to state for the record, I'm pretty sure this proves that I'm not actually that nerdy compared to my friends. Sure, I thought it was hilarious, but I would have never thought to invite Lara to go drinking with something like "LF priest to go West County wine tasting, have tank, g2g".

Except maybe I should, because it's way more amusing to ask a priest to do those things than a bear tank. 

Just pretend you understood all that and I in no way interrupted this story to make a bajillion WoW references. Thanks.

Of course once I'm already in Petaluma he texts me offering free booze at his house. When I reply with a "maybe on my way home" he let's me know that just my type boy and puppy are housesitting so I should probably come out. I still give him a maybe ('cause I had just hung out with just my type boy and already knew there was some puppy spotting opportunities if I wanted to brave going out there). I leave Petaluma around 2 am so of course I don't go by.

Sunday night at work I check my texts.

"Beer?" and then from about fifteen minutes later (thanks iPhone time stamps!) "What're you up to?"

I let him know I'm at work for probably about another hour (keep in mind it's already like 9:45pm at this point) and he asks if I want to come over and have some beer with him and Jaz and then eat some delicious food. Seeing as Jaz's father owns the brewery that makes my favorite beer and that her being there possibly equaled a pony keg of that or one of his other delicious delicious brews and I'm a sucker for any offer of free delicious food I said yes. Especially when I found out said food was one of the chicks that had been born while he was in Europe so I had a hand in raising it. I swear getting excited about eating an animal you raised isn't weird. C'mon guys, I told y'all I was a crazy slow foodie; don't give me that look. Sure I remembered when it was adorable and fuzzy but, chicken that I helped raise?! How exciting is that!?!

When I leave work I let him know I'm on my way and he sends me a cryptic

"winding down..."

"Should I not come out tonight?"

"I'd love to see you. Don't want you to be disappointed if it's not exciting"

"Whatevs. Just got off work so pretty low energy myself, not looking for crazy party time"

"Can't wait"

And it's the "can wait" that makes me suddenly check myself and wonder what the hell I'm doing and what his motives might be. I just can't imagine a world where he can't wait to see me but I figure the worst that'll happen is he'll try to sleep with me and I'll either be like "umm, no" or like "sure I can have meaningless sex in exchange for eating a chicken I raised and free booze" because I really was that excited about the damn chicken and... well... that's it, I don't really have any excuses for myself.

So men out there, keep that in mind, offer me dead animal and alcohol and I'm yours for the night.

By the time I get out there everyone's gone. This, I'm sure, is no surprise to you. It was not really a surprise to me. I notice he's listening to my damn hipster music. (Which in this case refers to "The Decemberists" whom he already listened to before we met so it was possible this was not at all related to me. But a playlist almost entirely of Decemberists songs and then "The General"? C'mon, that has "I'm totally setting up an atmosphere that will make you comfortable and like me" written all over it).

He hugs me in the way you hug somebody you've been missing terribly. In that "I just need to hold you so I know you're really here" almost desperate sort of way.

"It's good to see you, Alana"

If I were anyone else that "Alana" would've been "darlin'". I notice the conscious effort to use my name, the same as when we had been on the phone the day before. I smile a little to myself. Maybe I haven't stopped him from referring to all women as "darlin'" but at least he thinks about it, I say to myself.

He offers me a glass of beer, we sit down facing each other and begin to make small talk.

Somebody Give Me a God Damn Cookie (reprise)

Things I did today:

  • Told my boss he had to come into the kitchen more if he wanted me to do my job in under thirty hours
  • Stayed away from the boy's house despite offers of free booze, just my type boy and Claudia (the adorable puppy) from the boy
  • Sent my over letter/resume into a job in the West Village (oh hey, that's not a place around here... that's in mother fucking New York) 'cause it look perfect for me and, also, why the hell not? I doubt I'll hear back, I'm sure experienced local candidates will apply but round trip airfare is cheap, there are couches for me to sleep on 'till I figure my shit out and what's there to keep me here if I do?

I'm pretty sure I deserve a cookie.

A woman wants her cowboy like he wants his rodeo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For serious.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Once again, how does this whole single thing work?