Heads Carolina, Tails California

When the humidity breaks and the rain starts falling, I sleep with the window open. In the middle of Summer it'll stay hot enough to justify the air conditioner even then, but right now I prefer the mixture of warm air and coolish breeze and occasional mist that makes it through the screen. I like the wind and the thunder and the lightning. The weather takes me to places or times that aren't here - India, Thailand, Mexico, Manhattan twenty years ago. I took a Greyhound out of the city last Saturday. It's such a different thing to say you're taking the Greyhound than to take an airplane or a train or even its newer cousins like BoltBus or MegaBus. The Greyhound is for adventure, for escape, for hiding out and getting the hell out of dodge. It's one step above hitch hiking.

I'll let you in on a little secret: Greyhound has wi-fi now and outlets, the tickets are significantly cheaper online than from the ticketbooth at Port Authority and at least one of the buses had seats more comfortable than my overstuffed couch. Don't worry though, it still seems to have an insanely inefficient boarding process, runs a few hours late and is filled with characters that will give you cause to practice your crazy eyes lest you end up with them as a seatmate.

It was my first time out of the boroughs in about a year and my last trip out of New York was only to Montclair, New Jersey. I had my usual leaving the city anxiety, I still think when I leave New York I won't get to come back to it, I still have to reassure myself I live here now. The farther out I got, the more my anxiety went by the wayside. I put away my book and watched as endless trees flew by and felt an overwhelming sense of relief. I had three days where I wasn't going to have to fight with New York to keep living in it. Three days where the only things I had to do was hang out with friends, eat, drink and participate in the marriage of two of my favorite people. Even though the windows were tinted, I put on my sunglasses because we weren't in New York anymore where I would just be another twenty something crying on the train, here I would be that crazy girl crying on the Greyhound to Northampton.

"She was just sitting there reading Infinite Jest and then suddenly she started crying, you just can't tell these days, can you?"

Relaxing to me is always more overwhelming than not relaxing. I can work a ten-hour day fine as long as I don't sit down. Savasana is always the most painful pose as I feel the knots in my back letting go and my shoulders and ribs returning to their correct places. I can operate on five hours of sleep a night until one day I get eight and suddenly realize how tired I've been. I am the queen of soldiering through, of keeping calm and carrying the fuck on.

When I came back my boss asked me if I felt like I had gotten enough time out of the city.

"No," I almost started crying again, "I think it just made me really feel like I need a vacation, I feel really silly saying that because I've had lots of time not working this year but I was just so stressed during all of it."

"Just give me a month or so notice, and will get somebody in and figure it out"

It's both that simple and not. Vacations require money and that is a thing I'm still sorely lacking. Right now I have at least one event in every pay period for the next month and a half and I will not say "no" to hours. For now, I will squirrel away that feeling of relief and I'll keep on keeping on, building back up to the normalcy I'm fighting daily to once again create and hope that come fall I can take an effing vacation.

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

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.

 

There and Back Again

I got back Friday from nine days in California.

Nine days under the stars and redwoods.

Nine days forced to slow down.

Nine days reflecting, examining, turning around past choices in my head. Not having regrets, just playing the "what if" game. I felt so removed from Sonoma County. In eleven months, I changed in some way that made me absolutely certain that that is not my life anymore, that I really was just visiting. It made me think of all the decisions I've made that could've left my life in different places and it made me really examine the life I have now.

What if I hadn't broken up with Jacob? Would he have broken up with me by now? Or would we, nine years into a relationship, actually be planning a wedding instead of just assuming we'd spend our entire life together? (I know, I know, we'd probably both feel miserable and trapped but that's not how the "what if" game works) I once knew with absolute certainty who I was going to marry. That's so foreign a feeling now, yet at the same time I feel like I'm always chasing after it. I don't know what "it" is anymore, but I know I'll know it when I feel it. I think.

What if Che had realized what an ass he was sooner? What if all the apologies he gives me now had happened two years ago? Would I have forgiven him? Would we still be dating? What if I had accepted his wine cellar proposal instead of moving to New York? Would I still be working at a group home, going to school and living perpetually feeling slightly ill at ease? Or would I somehow embrace being a country wife? There was a moment once where I thought I could do that (before the wine cellar proposal, by which point the moment had long since past), settle down where I could raise my own animals and grow my own food and turn it all into a meal each night. While I still love those things, I just can't picture myself in that life anymore.

What if that guy I'd had a crush on since 8th grade, my Harry Burns, had made a move sooner? What if I had been dating him for a year, instead of Matt, when Michelle offered me a room here? Would've I have accepted her offer? Or even, what if he had just asked me to stay in those last two weeks before I moved? He never would have, and that's one of the reasons I love him so. But he's also probably the only person who could've given me pause. I didn't even try to see him while I was in California. I don't know why. I don't know if I was afraid that that relationship never having a chance to happen would turn into a full blown regret if I did see him or if I'm just a pansy and couldn't bear the thought of the disappointment if we no longer connected in the same way.

I think I've been so focused on relationships because they were so often the thing I let hold me back but also because I felt like the reoccuring theme of my visit was "You work how much?! And when?! When do you have time to go on dates?". It's easy to forget here that there are plenty of people in other places only working 40 or 50 hours a week. People that work normal hours, have normal social lives and go on dates that aren't either in the middle of the night or at a normal time but on a Monday. And mostly my answer was "I don't" because that's an easier answer than "Well, there's this one guy I've been sleeping with but he's kind of an ass and I have no desire to date him and he has no desire to date me and it's kind of perfect in an absolutely no emotion sort of way and then there's also this other guy that I've had a crush on since July and I don't really know where we stand at the moment because I'm too afraid to ask because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get the answer I want but I really really like him and it's fucking up what few dates I go on because I keep comparing".

(Sidenote: I know where we stand now. It definitely wasn't what I wanted. We definitely did have that conversation in a bar at a friend's birthday on my first night back in New York. So. There's that. To steal a phrase from my grandma, my heart could use a bandaid right now. But it doesn't need stitches, because we were never really dating, so it can't really warrant more than rejection hurt and disappointment it didn't become what I wanted. Basically, I'm sad, I'm not sobbing into a pint of ice cream sad but, still, sad)

I've been chanting the "my career will never leave me" mantra for a year now (thank you, Lady Gaga) but I'm starting to realize how much I've let it take over. I used to give up myself in relationships to the point where I no longer could define myself as somebody outside of it and now I don't know who I am outside of my job. When I'm off work for too long I start to get uncomfortable because I don't know what else I do other than work, laundry and sleep and also because I end up spending too much time with myself. My focus has been too much on work and not on building friendships. I'm not entirely sure how to change this yet, but I know I want to. I know I value having relationships more than my career. I also know I focus on my career as a way to hide from putting myself out there and taking the emotional risks making new friends requires.

Once again, I'm striving to find the middle way instead of always going to extremes. I'll get there.

Someday.

Obligatory Thanksgiving Post

So as you may or may not know, Thanksgiving isn't really my favorite holiday. It's probably one of my least favorites. Or my least favorite. I don't like turkey or stuffing or cranberry sauce, if my yams are marshmallow free that is 100% ok and I basically just eat mashed potatos, salad and pumpkin pie. On the plus side, I really do love mashed potatos and pumpkin pie. They're both probably in my top ten favorite foods. Also my grandma usually makes a ham because I'm a picky brat and because there are 25ish people so it's not like just a turkey is enough anyways. Anyways, Thanksgiving is full of food I don't really like, usually help cook and ALL OF THE HECTIC. Control freak, chef me, would have lists and timelines and so much stuff prepped but that is not the way my grandma likes to do things. So dinner is usually about 2 to 3 hours later than scheduled which means Thanksgiving dinner is at normal dinner time and by that time I've not eaten because she keeps saying "it's almost ready" and I don't know if you've ever been around me when I've gone that long without eating or spent that much time in an inefficient kitchen, but I'm generally ready to hulk smash your face.

So I'm basically the Thanksgiving grinch.

I REALLY love Christmas and Channukah though. Presents and trees and ice skating and sparkles and latkes! Wee! (Just don't make me listen to holiday music for the entire month. Please)

So in an effort to not be the Thanksgiving grinch, here's an obligatory things I'm thankful for post:

  1. That I don't have to spend Thanksgiving with my family this year, because I am in no emotional state to handle it.
  2. That my family is wonderful and sends me things like cards with dancing turkeys, turkey candles, a Ruth Reichl book, halloween goodies and coolers of bacon.
  3. That my mama is getting married in January because she has lived a life (as they say) and deserves happiness. Also because she's getting married in Vegas by Elvis and I get to go both home and to Vegas in January. Win.
  4. Technology that allows me to communicate with friends in California when it's the middle of the night here but not there and everybody here is asleep and I am sad and lonely.
  5. $5 yoga
  6. That I may not be bringing in the stacks of cash but that my income easily covers the necessities of a roof over my head, food to eat and paying off that pesky student loan debt. Also that it allows me to do/buy the things I want (within reason, I mean, no, it won't let me buy all of the plane tickets to Paris and twenty million Louboutins, but all of the cardigans and croissants is still pretty acceptable)
  7. That I can see the Manhattan skyline from my roof.
  8. That since I'm in New York for the holidays this year I get to do Jewish Christmas. Any excuse to eat Dim Sum is something to be thankful for in my book.
  9. Outdoor ice skating. It makes me really happy. It doesn't really exist in California. Do you like to go ice skating? PLEASE LETS BE FRIENDS. I really like ice skating. Like if you ever want to see me get all giddy and smiley instead of tough and sarcastic, let's go ice skating. Wait, I think I just decided what I'm making everyone do for my birthday this year...
  10. Only working four days this week.
  11. My new hoodie dress which will be prefect for days when I want to be lazy and cozy and warm but still look cute. (PS, there's still a $25 for $50 0r $50 for $100 American Apparel groupon going on, I might even buy another because I might just need that dress in every color for maximum laziness)

That's all for now.

Also pumpkin pie.

And bourbon.

And making a bourbon pumpkin pie. Possibly with pecans. Think about it.

I guess I've been bruised, if we were to speak plain

I'm a big proponent of "if you're unhappy with you're life, change something". I quit jobs, I break hearts, I move. My hair changes color, my wardrobe gets replaced, I redecorate. I have a hard time settling. I do better with ideals than reality and potential than actuality.

I'm trying to learn to lower my expectations, and I don't know if I like it. Trying to find the places where what I want and what I can have realistically meet.

I want to be a pastry sous chef in New York. I don't want to work 50-60 hours a week. Being a sous chef in New York means working 50-60 hours a week (at least). Do I really want it? Do I love it enough? Because there's no doubt that I love being a chef. There's no doubt that I'm a great chef. It comes to me easily, it always has and it always will. But do I love it enough to give up every aspect of my life for it? Am I still driven enough? What do I want my career to look like, if not this? With what exactly, am I unhappy? Would I be ok with the hours if I got paid more? Would I be ok with the pay if I worked less? If the number of hours were the same but at different times, would that be better? How do I change this? Where's the reality vs ideal intersection?

I want a relationship. The real kind, with talks about the future and cooking dinner. I can't have that right now. I know I can't. My schedule doesn't allow it, but it doesn't stop me from wanting it. And then I wonder how much I want a boyfriend or how much I just really want a best friend here or how much, ideally, I want them to be the same person. I wonder if this is a flaw in my self sufficiency. Do I want a relationship because I want somebody to go through life with or do I want a relationship because I'm trying to fill some void, some part of me that just doesn't know how to be alone? I'm pretty sure I don't think having a boyfriend would magically fix the other things with which I'm unhappy, it just seems like having someone would make them more bearable. But pretending that I can have someone, trying for something more when I don't really have the time, only seems worse. There's a boy, I like him, I only see him a couple of times a month. Maybe I need to just realize that that's enough. Maybe that's where "want" and "can have" meet.

I really want to do volunteer work. I miss the girls in the group home. I started the application for Big Brothers/Big Sisters and got a call back, but then I never had time to return the phone call. If I don't have time for that, I don't have time to be in a child's life. I refuse to be another adult that lets them down. Maybe this is something I have to let go of, for now. Maybe I need to look into it a little more or find out about the CASA program here. Maybe I just need to tell my work that this is something for which I need to be able to make time. I kind of think this needs to be a priority for me to feel fulfilled and happy.

I'm trying to learn to be kinder to myself.

To tell myself I'll never be that preculinary school weight and that's ok because I'm not 18, part of my job is to eat things and the general consensus seems to be that I have a pretty fantastic ass.

I'm starting to realize that if I'm going to stick with being a chef and I'm going to work this much, it's ok for me to budget a massage in every month because my body fucking hurts. All of the time. In fact my current plan is to start stockpiling all massage groupons because there is no amount of fancy, orthopedic association approved shoe wearing that is going to fix my wonky joints and pronated ankles when I'm standing 10+ hours a day. It's not a sign of weakness, it's just a fact, my body needs more care than I'm giving it. Related, I can't go running on city streets. I just can't. It's too hard on my knees and I need to be ok with that. I'm not sure what the replacement activity is yet, but it really can't be that.

I'm staying in New York, but I'm not moving into Manhattan. It just makes more sense financially for me to live in Astoria. I can keep replenishing that savings account I completely depleted, I can maybe afford to buy more plane tickets home, or plane tickets elsewhere. Somewhere I can see the stars. I really miss the stars. Like, near tears in the planetarium the other night, miss the stars. Compromise, I want to live in New York but I don't want all my money to go to living in New York. Some of that money will get spent on repainting and refurnishing. This isn't really settling.

Maybe, maybe I'm starting to learn that when I reach my goals, when I accomplish my dream, I need to take some time and sit with it. I need to congratulate myself, instead of moving onto the next thing or deciding another aspect of my life isn't good enough. For a while, I was so focused on gaining back humility that I think maybe I need to gain back a little pride.

Maybe, like always, I need to find the middle way.

It always comes back to that.

Download 03 Skeletons

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.

All the things that I thought were so easy

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Ask anyone that knows me and they'll tell you I talk about New York City like it's the holy land.

Yes I know crowded, terrible traffic, expensive, snow and humidity instead of lovely temperate weather year round, but

Have you seen Central Park freshly covered in snow?

Need I mention the museums?

The ballet?

The having any food you want delivered?

Places other than bars being open after midnight?

Have you ever walked along the streets somewhere and suddenly felt overwhelmingly alive, energized by the rush and swirl of people around you?

New York City is the crush I'm too afraid to say anything to because I don't want the illusion to be broken.

For years I've told myself I would move to New York, but something was always holding me back, money, a boy (usually a boy), or my own sense of what's practical and what isn't. I just told Matt that I couldn't pass up Mia's offer because if I did, I would be terribly disappointed in myself and would resent him for keeping me back even if it was my own decision. I'm moving to New York.

And I'm absolutely fucking terrified.

But if I don't come back then I won't look behind me

Or...

Well there's three people In the mirror And I'm wondering Which one of them I should choose (Reprise)

I'm supposed to start school Tuesday. I just started a new job.

But...

I'm in New York right now, and we all know what that means; that I flew into JFK bright and early Thursday morning, walked out the airport as the sun was rising to piles of snow and crisp freezing frakkin cold air and smiled; that I don't want to go back on Monday; that I am questioning every aspect of my life right now because I so badly want to be here, in this place that makes me smile, that has always felt like home.

I met up with Mia yesterday for lunch and some shopping before heading back to her place and meeting up with her man. I witnessed some of the most impressive couple team work I've ever seen. They have a roommate moving out, they will soon have a spare room. They were on a mission to convince me that I needed to move into that spare room until I figured out whatever I needed to figure out to get my own place. (Mia actually asked at a chocolate shop we went in to if they were hiring she was so on the mission) Even before Mia and I met up, I was seriously wondering "Am I the type of person that could go home Monday, sell all my stuff, move across country and leave everything behind?".  When I didn't know about the room, I was still fairly seriously pondering that plan. But now there's a room. How can I resist a room?

I'll be twenty five Thursday. That's not old, but as always, birthdays make me re-evaluate. I've always wanted to move to New York. For how long am I going to wait? Which things am I willing to continue let holding me back?

I just sent out four resumés. We'll see.

No sleep till Brooklyn

December 9 – Party Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans. (Author: Shauna Reid)

No Pants

Today is a pics or it didn't happen post. Like I said, I was pretty much a hermit, so don't how much is really going to be here.

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This is a bunch of people in Union Square (the one in NYC, though it's also done in SF) with no pants on. If you want to learn more about taking your pants off on public transportation, click here (totally safe for work).

Pantless

This is me in a bar with no pants on and some people we had just met that day. Because there is nothing more normal than taking your pants off and getting drunk with strangers.

Birthday Shenanigans

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Dinner and drinks round 1 where Jacob introduces Ruby and me to...

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Belushi's Breakfast- Bulleit Bourbon, Death & Taxes and espresso with a peanut brittle rim. This was my favorite drink for the year when I still had time to go out and get drinks.

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This is to provide some perspective- I only take my pants off when appropriate. Though it may have been just as cold in New York as this vodka bar back in Petaluma where they give you fur coats to wear.

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Later on at the wine bar because Petaluma seems to believe that unless there's a ridiculous number of deer heads on the wall, bars should stick to only serving one type of alcohol. I don't have any pictures of the tequila bar where we started out.

On an unrelated note- man, my hair is really long now guys.

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Family birthday. S'mores in a jar. That is all.

VEGAS

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The whole gang

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I don't really know what's going on here, I just really like this picture. I do vaguely remember this brunch time being accompanied by really cheap bloody mary's.

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The amount of sugar in these margaritas makes you feel sick long before the booze does. Be warned.

Sparkles

Because the only place I will ever wear this dress is in Vegas. It's just so damn sparkly. Also, free champagne!

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Does this really need a caption?

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The wedding that goes with that bachelorette party

Wedding

Where I don't really get to party because by the time the ceremony is done, the food is eaten and the cake is cut I have been up thirty something hours due to a combination of getting off work at ten that morning and spending the week making the wedding cake.

And then we just take a giant leap forward to Halloween

Horsehead

My friend Brian and his creepy horse mask.

Cat

Yes, I was a cat. At least my Halloween costume was less lazy than Matt's. We were at Lucha Va Voom at the Fillmore which was pretty much one of the most ridiculous things ever.

That's it guys, not only are those the social gatherings that rocked my socks off, but that's basically all of the social gatherings I went to this year. High five.

December is darkest, in June there's the light

I'm choosing to knock out the first three prompts from reverb 10 in one go because...actually, I don't have a good reason. I've just not been making time to write.

My word for 2010 is struggle.

While I've made a lot of decisions to get me closer to the path on which I want to be, it's been rough. Getting out of food service and working with kids was the right decision even though it was a little terrifying. Working nights has not been my friend. My tendencies towards depression and anxiety have come greatly into play and to say I have trouble making myself get out if bed some days is an understatement. It's a struggle to make myself cook dinner, get groceries, go to class, even get up enough before work to shower. I struggle to not constantly snap at Matt. I struggle to not cry.

And even though my job is so much more in line with the woman as whom I envision myself, I'm so exhausted I struggle with actually becoming that woman fully. Right now I'm struggling with my decision to leave my job even though my new one has better hours, better pay and what looks to be a better environment because I struggle with my own codependency and abandonment issues.

For 2011, I'm choosing choices.

I'm choosing to remind myself that it's ok to leave seemingly unrealistic options on the table because you never know what's going to happen that might make them attainable and because they're something that could be worth working towards. That it's ok to decide I changed my mind, to voice that something isn't working. Decisions don't have to be permanent. I don't have to make myself miserable for the sake of saving face. I'm reminding myself to sometimes choose what I want to do over what I think I should do and that I should do the things that make me happy not just responsible. I'm empowering myself with the belief that I can choose how to spend my time, my money and my energy.

***

Matt asked me a few weeks ago why I don't blog anymore.

"I don't have time," I said.

But that's not true, it's just something I tell myself. I don't make time. I could easily fit in half an hour a day before I go to sleep, before I go to work or even at work but I don't despite the fact that I know it would make me feel better and sleep easier. I'm not sure why it's been something I've let slip by the wayside. Maybe because my intention with my blog was to share with complete honesty. It's not much of a challenge with my blog password protected. Maybe now that I've taken that away I'll go back to writing.

I hope so.

***

I've never been good at choosing single moments. Things blend together and become inseperable for me. I have a hard taking away interconnectedness.

I started off the year at a pretty high point, especially compared to 2009. My trip to New York got me out of my head, away from the asshat I had been with and just generally made me feel good about life. I wandered. I visited chocolate shops. I ate at every small bakery I went by. I walked and walked. Went to the museums I had loved my whole life. Smiled at the blue whale. Remembered what the dinosaur wing used to look like when I was a child. I rode on a motorcycle for the first time since my father died 7 and a half years previously to a tiny whole in the wall shop where a woman made the best damn pot stickers (or fried dumplings for you New Yorkers) I had ever had. I made new friends without any hesitation or akwardness. Went pantless on the subway, continued pantless to a bar. I was full of self confidence and adventure.

For a week, I lived as the person I want to be.

The title for this post came from:

13 Calendar Girl

My arm is being eaten by a mystery bug bite, I better get some god damn super powers

I know, I know, you've been reading my tweets and you're just like "chill out Alana, it's just a bug bite, stop being such a crazy drama queen". But seriously, look at this.

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The super faint line is where it had spread to after 1.5 hours, the darker line is after a total of three hours from time of bite. It also goes around the side and onto the back of my arm a little bit.

Remember how I had a kidney infection last month that could've potentially lead to blood poisoning and hospitalization? I feel like a serious insect bite could do the same thing. So basically at this point I'm convinced that I need to become somehow poisoned and hospitalized to complete an important karmic cycle. Really the only explanation right? Maybe I'll try to accomplish this by continuing to take Benadryl and then drinking alcohol while in Vegas, thereby unintentionally roofy-ing myself.

Win.

So never mind what logic says I say logic's a guy who oughta empty his pockets

So I’ve been meaning to write a post about the whole conceptof internet dating but then this weekend happened and now I feel like this is not the post I should be writing and I keep yelling at my computer “Just stop sending me notifications OkCupid because right now I just don’t give a damn, ok?”

Anyways, I was going to write about how it just doesn’t seem to be working for me. I mean 90% of the men that send me messages are over 35 and write things like “Hey, how was your week?” or “Oh, I like chocolate. Want to teach me how to make it?” neither of which really make me want to respond to them. Plus there’s the whole, you’re closer in age to my mother than me (granted my mother is really young, but still) thing. The other 10% are boys my age trying desperately to sound sarcastic and intellectual. This part is probably my own fault because it totally says I can’t live without Russian literature or sarcasm on my profile, which is is probably true but was obviously meant somewhat tongue in cheek. Except it’s the internet, so nothing is tongue in cheek. Also, sarcasm really doesn’t come across well in type without lots of ridiculous winky faces or tongues being stuck out and if you put those in, and I don’t know you, I’m going to think you’re silly and if you don’t, you sound like an ass. And if your writing just seems really labored (which for most of this 10% it does) you’re kind of going to fail at impressing me with your intellectualism.

Then there’s also the “this is not my fairy tale” aspect of it. It doesn’t matter how much of a feminist or a pragmatist I am, I want my god damn fairy tale. I don’t want to carefully calculate whether or not some person’s profile is compatible with mine. I don’t want to have all these expectations before I meet someone. I don’t want to have to try to impress before I even know if there’s face to face chemistry. I just want to meet somebody through a friend, a chance encounter, a trip to the bookstore and be swept off my feet. I want to wonder if somebody is also trying to slyly look at me out of the corner of their eye. I want that to turn into the “give me an excuse to stand near you, talk only to you, touch you” game. 

And if from there we could proceed to acting like ridiculous giddy teenagers who can’t control themselves and break a bed, that would be good. (I’m probably not going move on from the bed breaking for a while- I just find it so frakkin’ ridiculous and amusing).

Crap, I totally just confused my hypothetical wants with reality.

Anyways, I was all set to give internet dating a go and give these seemingly faux intellectuals a try and had even started sending messages back and forth but now it all seems a bit pointless.

Because I said I wasn't going to settle.

And I'm pretty sure, as ridiculous as it sounds, I know what I want. And what I want is 3,000 miles away.

(God it's really weird writing things that sound this over the top when you know the person they're referring to is probably going to read them but I'm trying really hard to not let that affect me)

While rationally I know that I can't really date somebody on the other side of the country the majority of my thoughts are more along the lines of

"Well you could go on a date but is that person going to be cute and charming and nerdy and if you were in another state would they text you to let you know they're working on solving matter to energy algorithms to build a transporter? Would their friends vouch for their ability to build you a galaxy class starship? Would they after two days of knowing you say all sorts of ridiculously sweet things to convince you they'd make a great boyfriend?".

And if the answer to any of those questions is no, well then, that date is just going to be a little bit disappointing for both parties because my mind is pretty much going to be on someone else.

And if the answer to all these questions is yes, you must secretly have found my blog and read it first because I'm pretty sure those are some oddly specific standards. Or you're a certain Mr. Trouble.

That's right, I have standards now people.

And they involve a cross country road/moving trip, the Enterprise, sex that breaks beds, choosing me over Brazil and being completely irrational and ridiculous.

Well, fuck.

California here we come, right back where we started from

I was really excited about blogging on the plane because myfight over totally had wifi but then I somehow ended up on a Zack Morris plane (yeah, that’s right, I just adapted the phrase “Zack Morris phone” to talk about an airplane, totally legit). I mean it doesn’t even have individual television sets for crying out loud. I didn’t even think there were airlines for which those weren’t the standard these days.

So anyways,

I am writing on the plane, I’m just not “blogging” on the plane per se.

Let’s try this again…

California here we come, right back where we started from

In which I eat my way across New York, meet @emanney and @LittleMsSarcasm IRL, take my pants off in public and tell a boy I’ve known for two days I’ll marry him if he builds me a working starship Enterprise. Because those are the totally normal things everyone does on vacation, right?

This was my first trip to New York since my father died that wasn’t heavily tinged with nostalgia, where I didn’t feel like at least part of it was some sort of pilgrimage and that certain stops were necessary. I did, of course, stop by the Natural History Museum because that place is fucking awesome even if I still mostly only want to look at dinosaur bones and buy things with dinosaurs on them. It’s holding steady in its tied for first as my favorite museum in the world. Yes, IN THE WORLD. Look at this stuff!

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I seriously was just standing in front of this sign trying not to giggle hysterically. I really don't think there's any reason it should have amused me so much. Rawr! I'm a maniraptor!

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Giant sloth!

Instead of spending my week going on a journey to anywhere and everywhere I associate with childhood and my father, I decided to explore the city as an adult.  I’ve always said that I want to live in New York someday, but after about two days of traveling from bakery to chocolate shop to dim sum stand I just kept thinking, “FUCK someday, I love this city, I don’t want to go home,” (and that was even before I met my internet friends IRL and decided I wanted them to be my new BFF’s. Seriously).

I think my uncle put it best with “You know, there’s just something about this city that is very much you, you were born here after all”.

I think it’s probably the chocolates.

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I mean, ginger, wasabi and black sesame? Yum.

But in all seriousness, I love New York, I love the brisk pace, the 24 hour excitement, the city covered in snow, the fashion, the food, the magic that is getting any and everything delivered. I know if I moved there I’d miss the craggy Pacific coastline; I’d miss the stars, but the Atlantic might make an adequate substitute and I’m sure, outside of the city, there’s somewhere you can lie in a truck bed and look up into the night.

Also, after about 5 minutes of riding on the back of a motorcycle for the first time in years, I realized it may finally be time to break down and get my motorcycle license. Not that I have enough money to buy myself a bike, but someday I will and I’ll start riding again, and it will be awesome. So two days in New York and I had already decided I would like to move STAT and ride motorcycles even though I’ve barely ridden since my father died. And this isn’t even the “New York makes me crazy” part of the story.

Blurgh, I just got home and something is wrong with the frickin wireless and I have a self assigned IP address and I’m too lazy to take my computer into the house and deal with this. (Read: It’s 10:08 CA time, I have no idea what time my body thinks it is, I was a participant in apparently breaking a bed last night and I don’t want to go talk to my grandparents ‘cause I’m just too damn tired) If I were in New York my internet wouldn’t be broken. ‘Cause New York is a magical land where nothing goes wrong, technology never breaks, I can eat whatever I want and not gain weight and I feel totally comfortable doing crazy shit. And there’s a cute boy. ‘Cause it’s me, and somehow there’s always a boy.

Anyways.

Umm. I have no focus. I'm listening to Willie Nelson and eating chocolate for breakfast and thinking too much to write, but I did have the internet working for a bit.

I can do this.

Ok.

Friday night I met up with Erica, Mia and some of their friends at The Jakewalk (an awesome wine/whiskey bar). Wine and whiskey being two of my alcoholic beverages of choice, I was approaching the date with some anxiety. How would I choose? (I had no anxiety about going and meeting a shit ton of people I didn't know. I have no idea why, but I've never been more excited in my life to meet total strangers.) But there weren't many California wines on the menu and I decided it was probably more important to look cool and order for myself, so I stuck with bourbon. Mmm... Eagle Rare. (But, true to my New Year's resolutions, I stuck with a glass and then a shot in a 3? hour period. Boring.) The Jakewalk had fantastic meat and cheese platters with things like rabbit and I believe, boar sausages and artisan California cheeses.  Topics of conversation ranged from why I was in New York to work to sci-fi television and I only felt like I was being mildly shy/awkward. Which for me, is pretty damn good.

The night continued for Mia/@LittleMissSarcasm, @CharlieTrouble (It's awesome that these people already have internet personæ so I don't have to make up names for them, btw. I hate making up names for people)  and me at another bar back in Manhatten. There was more drinking and more talking and some arm wrestling and maybe some flirting. I got home around 3:40 a.m. with plans to meet up with them Sunday. So I'd say it was a meeting internet friends Friday night full of win.

Saturday one of my friends bussed in from D.C., we ate dim sum with my aunt and uncle and wandered the city in search of cupcakes and clothes. Cupcakes from The Cupcake Cafe proved themselves pretty delicious with REAL (not gross American), not too sweet buttercream and fairly moist cupcakes. Also:

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Dancing cupcakes!

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And pretty piping! (Even if it's a little more food color heavy than I normally can get behind)

For dinner I met up with my uncle and one of his friends at Yakitori Taisho where the Sapporo is on tap and the grilled chicken skin comes on sticks. Grilled chicken skin. On a stick. I'm not sure how I made it through the week without gaining 500 lbs, but my clothing all still seems to fit, so that's amazing. Dinner was followed by a trip to the pool hall (this is a necessary part of each visit) where my uncle and his friend with their fancy "being in a league" and "owning their own pool cues" let me play with a handicap. Except for apparently too much of one 'cause after warming up a bit I managed to win four games in a row. I forgot that when I'm not halfheartedly drunkenly playing pool I can kind of rock that shit. It was a good time

I probably should've left out the handicap part of that story so I could seem more badass.

Sunday is where things really start to get interesting.

I met Mia, her debonair lumberjack, and Charlie at a brunch place that I do not remember the name of at all so can't continue with this ridiculous amount of linkage with bottomless mimosas, screwdrivers or bloody marys to fortify ourselves for the No Pants Subway ride. (Umm, yeah. Somehow in the last week I became the type of person that agrees to take their pants off in public. I'm not sure when or how that happened, but it was pretty epic.) I was sitting there at brunch thinking "Man, I like these people a lot, they're totally not helping me get over the whole 'I don't want to go back to California, I would much rather just stay here' thing".

I also may have had the following internal dialogue

"Charlie, is cute and funny.

Yeesh, stop looking at Charlie.

No now you're awkwardly looking away while he's talking, that's weird.

Remember, you're an eye contact person.

Oh my god, stop being such a girl, you're leaving to go home tomorrow anyways, it doesn't matter".

So not only have I decided to move to New York, start riding a motorcycle and take my pants off on the subway, I also found a boy to totally crush on.

Dear New York City, i can haz my rationality back plz? kthxbai

(Wow, how much internet slang am I using in this post? Also, parentheses.)

So, no pants subway. A surprisingly not self conscious experience. I think I just figured between my coat and boots I was mostly covered and that there were probably people with more unattractive legs than me. It was pretty damn awesome.

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Meet up in Astoria while everyone still has there pants on.

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Ending at Union Square, notice the folks in the background.

We then got the rest of the folks who had been in our train car to meet up with us at the bar we had been to Friday night. Nobody even said anything when we walked into the bar pantless. I'm now friends on fb with people that I only met because I decided to go on the train without my pants. Fucking awesome. It was buy one, get one free happy hour, so I think it's safe to say Sunday was a bit of fail on resolution #3.

Also, let's just say being pantless and full of booze with a boy you've been flirting with all day is not a good idea if you don& #39;t want to accelerate the "please kiss me" process to a ridiculous degree (which totally breaks the non-parenthetical part of resolution #9).

But nice girls don't kiss and tell. And I'm totally a nice girl and did not allude to marriage or breaking a bed earlier in this post. Not at all. Maybe nice girls just think the rest of that evening  deserves to be a separate post if it's going to be written about in more detail. (Which it may or may not be. I'm feeling both a bit giddy and self conscious about the whole thing at the moment.)

Anyways, the moral of the story is, if you find a boy that even jokingly claims he can build the starship Enterprise, you should snap that shit up, 'cause how often does that happen?

And I still can't believe that I'm back in California.

He should probably get on building the transporter first.

Plus I always wanted you, you liked to rock it in the car

Just my type boy looked at me one night and said "you know, you're a talented, creative person, I don't see any reason for you to settle in any part of your life," and I thought, "shit, he's right, I'm 23, working at the terrible muffin job, living in a barn ('cause I still was at the time) and dating the first guy, a guy not at all my type, who attempts to woo me, what the hell am I doing?".

It's haunted me the last two and a half months. Have I been settling? Did I just fall back into my old, play it safe habits?

There was this brief period of time where I convinced myself I wasn't settling. I was back in school like I wanted, I have my own little house in the redwoods, under the stars, and I've managed a whole month and a half without falling entirely back into my serial monogamist ways.

But then I started thinking about it more.

I'm going back to school to be an elementary school teacher, which is fine. But I could major in anything and then go through a credentialling program. Sure it might take me more time, but I might as well be majoring in something I really want to major in if my plan is to be a teacher anyways. Why not major in English or linguistics or French or gender studies if I'm already planning on using my liberal arts degree to be a teacher? So next semester I'm going to go ahead and take some classes that I just want to take. I'm going to learn for learning's sake. Calculus and Physics and more French, here I come!

My own home, living in Sonoma County. It was a little terrifying for me to move back home. It still is a little terrifying even though my biggest fear, my fear that I would just hole myself up in my room and have no life, hasn't happened. But what I really want, is to have the courage to move somewhere else completely. Barring that, what I really want, is to go back to my travelling ways. The boy keeps travelling, just my type boy is going to Thailand soon, and it's making me jealous. I want to go to school and keep my job, so I can't go on any big trips, but I'm going to find a way to travel some. I decided just the other night that I needed to make this happen, sat down and applied for a birthright trip. So, fingers crossed, I'll be going to Israel for ten days for free this Winter or Spring break.

Then we come to the relationship situation. Let's face it, I'm playing it pretty fucking safe. I mean, I basically have this boy that I have all the aspects of a relationship with but without having the risk of a real relationship. We're both big fat chickens and I thought I was totally ok with it. I have someone to snuggle up next to watching television, to fall asleep on, to make brunch with and maybe that could slowly turn into something more but if not, no big deal. He could be my placeholder. But the longer it's gone without progressing, the more I've thought about whether or not I actually want it to or if I even want to be in a relationship at all. There's the conflict of feeling the "fuck relationships" and the "there's a hot, nerdy,  kind of awkward boy who compliments me all the time and I sleep cuddled up next to once or twice a week who really is just my type". Right down to not really knowing what he wants to do with his life. Maybe a little too my type... And I keep wondering if a huge part of the attraction is the comfort and the familiarity, the doing what's expected mixed with old, unrequieted feelings and lingering sexual tension. It could be so easy. There's no being swept off my feet, there's no infatuation, there's no "oh my god, I'm so in love with you" but there's the making me laugh, my lack of self consciousness around him, the always having a good time. I just don't know if I'm prepared to stick myself out there right now and I don't know if that's settling or if the sweep you off your feet sorts of feeling are always going to be the ones that don't last (like the boy).

Then there's the whole question of whether or not I'm actually over the boy. I really really thought I was, that I could just think of him as an asshat until he started sending me messages on facebook and commenting of pictures and such. Then I realized I miss him. A lot. Not even necessarily in a "I still want to date him" sort of way, I just miss having him to talk to I think. And I know objectively I just should move on, but as my friend Kay pointed out, there's a lot of stuff that gets in the way of thinking objectively. She was asking how I thought things would be when he got back and I really didn't have a good answer. I really don't know. I don't know what it means that he's communicating with me so much and hasn't really talked to Kay or just my type boy at all. I really don't think I'll know how I feel about him until I see him. I don't think I want to go back to dating him no matter what. Again, I'm just not prepared for the risk right now.

So welcome to me no longer settling, to hopefully being proactive and getting the things out of life that I want out of it. It's going to take me a bit, but I will learn to take risks with my future if it kills me.

Edit: Just my type boy and I have been playing phone tag for a few days (which means it's been a whole four days since the last time I saw him) and my phone just got enough reception for me to listen to a voicemail he left a couple of hours ago about wanting to hang out and missing my amazing smile... yeah, as of this moment, I'm pretty certain I'd be ok with having a relationship with this boy.

If I am lost for a day try to find me

Lately, for the first time in my life, I've been feeling homesick.

Not only do I miss the ability to just get in my car and get lost on those windy roads through the redwoods and out to the coast, I miss the roads themselves, the coolness of the redwoods, the way the wind smells, the Russian river in the Summer, the pounding rain and the power outages in the Winter.

I haven't spent more than a couple of weeks at a time at home since I graduated high school. I spent semesters abroad, Summers on other peoples' couches or in other peoples' beds, Winters in New York, and of course lived in San Francisco while in culinary school, Santa Rosa after graduating and now Berkeley and I have never, ever been excited about the prospect of returning home. Occasionally, my grandmother  mentions that I'm always welcome to move back home and I always scoff at the idea. Move back to the country? To the middle of nowhere with my family near by to make constant demands on my time? And pay rent for this? (In my family you pay rent when you move back home, less than they could charge a non familial tenant but still, no free rides.)

Right now though that little cabin ("the condo" as we jokingly refer to it) half under the redwoods is looking pretty damn nice.

Because I'm completely lost. I know I've written this before, but I've spent the last few years totally just focused on my career and waiting for Jacob to finish with school before making any sort of future plans for myself. This has meant that I've also spent all of my paychecks every month, have zero savings, plenty of debt (woohoo, everyone loves those student loans!) and an extensive wardrobe that could probably have been a plane ticket instead, had I been thinking about the future at all. A career is all well and good, but I'm only 23, I have a job where I basically can't take days off except for when the entire shop is closed, I work my ass off (literally, I've lost 22 pounds this year just from the physical labor of baking),  I can't just impulsively take off for a road trip or even take a 3 day weekend and any holiday usually means that I'm working extended hours not getting vacation time. I'm starting to think that at this rate I'm going to have a lot of regrets about the things I didn't do by the time I'm 30.

To be honest, I'm pretty frakin' proud of myself. I haven't lived at home for five years, I've never asked my grandparents for money (they pay my car insurance and cell phone bill and I'll occasionally accept money if offered but more often than not I turn it down), I payed my own way through culinary school, I work at a locally owned, slow food bakery for a female pastry chef in a male dominated business and, fuck, I am DAMN GOOD at what I do. Taking the offered cabin in the woods always seemed like admitting defeat.

But once you hit the rock bottom of getting in an argument with your recovering alcoholic mother at family dinner, which you cope with by drinking way too much and spend what seems like eternity vomiting and being hysterical in front of the person that you want to be as madly in love with you as you are with them, admitting that maybe you need to spend some time at home, regrouping and licking your wounds, doesn't quite seem so humiliating.

I think I'm going to talk to my grandmother about it this weekend, start thinking about my timeline for this plan, look for jobs that require a little less commitment and start working on budgeting so that I can go back to my former jet setting ways. I might not be quite so happy about my living situation or my job but if I can actually get the hell out of Dodge as often as I want to, I think that'll be enough for now.


"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-uprunning from one falling star to another till i drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion."

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Taken it for granted my whole life...

Stars- Calendar Girl

 

Blame it on Gravity

I give myself completely over to the series of movements - fluidly reaching up to the sky, down to the ground, jumping back into plank, lowering myself and then pushing into cobra and back to downward dog. Centering myself completely in my body the room fades away, the strains of "More Adventurous" melt away and midway through jumping back into plank I notice a kitten sitting behind me on the yoga mat. "Thwack", my left knee and big toe smack against the ground as I try to pull my legs back to me to avoid landing on him. "It's a good thing you're so god damn cute" I tell him as he skitters away. I roll over onto my back and let myself be enveloped by the music until suddenly I feel small kitten paws pressing painfully into my chest and a cold nose and tickly whispers exploring my face, but before I can say anything he walks down to my stomach curls into a ball and purrs quietly to himself, almost apologetically. How can I resist this? He wins again.
P1000552

Last night I uploaded all the pictures from my old PowerBook onto flickr to begin the process of clearing it out so that my mother can use it. (You may be wondering why I don't just do that whole snazzy "Mac to Mac" transfer thing from my PowerBook to my MacBook and the answer is because the new software that comes with the current MacBooks is not compatible with 10.3. That's right, nobody in their right mind would want to transfer data from their computer that's a whole FOUR YEARS OLD. God forbid you buy a laptop right after finishing high school and then wait until after when you would've graduated college, had you not gone to culinary school, to buy another one. That's obviously pure insanity!) Looking at the old pictures from traveling to India and the pictures of cakes and show work from culinary school really made me start thinking about the person I was then as opposed to the person I am now. What things I'm glad have changed and what parts of me I've realized I've lost touch with.

Before I went to culinary school my major was "arts & social change" (yeah, really) but then I decided I didn't want to spend the rest of my life broke and disheartened. That, and a group mate telling me "I always look happy in the kitchen", made me realize that maybe baking for a living was the way to go.  I went to culinary school not only to further my knowledge of something I love but because I wanted to have a practical way of supporting myself while being able to follow my other passions such as theater, social action, travel and service work. Currently the only things my baking supports are my addictions to H&M, the Banana Republic clearance rack, almond tequila and way too much World of Warcraft. I love my job, but it doesn't offer much in the way of the creative aspects of baking. I don't decorate cakes. I don't do recipe development. I mix doughs. I mix fillings. I shape dough. I've been completely taken over by working the 9-5. I come home and collapse into a puddle on the couch and don't move except for to crawl into bed. What happened to the part of me the felt passionately about injustice, being part of a community, spirituality, humility and service?

I've given myself completely over to sloth, selfishness and impulsiveness. Which was fine for a while. But I need to find my way back to the middle path. I think that's why I've been son gung ho about the prospect of going back to church (now I just need to remember to wake up on time next Sunday). Unitarian Universalism played a huge roll in my life through high school and a couple years after. I've completely lost touch with the entire aspect of myself nurtured by it's encouragement towards spiritual growth and community involvement. I know rekindling that passion, re-finding the parts of me that I respect and miss, finding ways to bring creativity back into my life and still balancing it with occasional impulsiveness and over indulgence isn't going to happen over night but there's nothing but myself standing in the way now.