Putting the ‘Y’ in Gym

In seventh grade, I had this insane urge to join the lacrosse team. My sister had done it years prior, and my friends were joining. The thing I didn’t realize was that they all had natural athletic abilities, and I did not. I run like Peggy Bundy and get nauseous after the first two minutes. I never got the ball, let alone scored a goal (or whatever they call it in lacrosse). But during the last game of the season, I had a chance to shine. It was a total inspirational sports movie ending, all in my hands. Last couple minutes, down a point against the rival school, I was at the goal… totally open. My teammate tosses/throws/lobs (?) the ball to me and I watch it breeze right by my head in slow motion. No sports glory for me. To this day, when my nephew throws me a ball I flinch as if I’m about to get a Marsha Brady nose job.

I’m terrible at sports. All sports. It’s just not my aptitude, I don’t even look good in a hat. In elementary school I managed to stretch my required ‘run’ of the mile to a stealthy twenty-six minutes, so after the mile I didn’t have to also play basketball. And when I did attempt to put some effort into it I broke my wrist during the shuttle run (you know the one with the erasers?), followed by a nice old vomiting session. So I went back to my old ways, doing everything I could to do exert the least amount of effort in gym class. There was no reason to hurt myself for nothing, I wasn’t going to become an Olympic athlete. So I worked on entertaining myself by seeing how long I could sit in the locker room before being called for, how loud I could yell ‘get the fucking ball!’ to someone before I got detention, and wishing for mono so I could have a couple of weeks off. Those things worked, most of the time. That is until a high school gym teacher forced me to run the time, with her, while she sang girl scout songs. I didn’t think gym class could get any worse.

Today, I know my place. I won’t play football in the park with you, I can’t go ride bikes with you (those things terrify me), and as much as I love it for some reason, I don’t think you want me playing tennis. I’m happy in my natural habitat, the couch, with a beer, watching General Hospital or a Hoarders marathon.

And for exercise? I walk. Just walk. Because I know how to do that pretty well… most of the time.

-xo

*This short post brought to you by the fact that it’s my birthday! So back to enjoying the day, my way.

The Horrors of Halloween

Way to go, Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries. Way to ruin Halloween for everyone. This shocking piece of news has sent me into a death spiral that only huge amounts of sobbing, drinking and sessions in an extreme fetal position can cure. I mean, how can I go out dressed as a slutty ghost/pirate/french maid tonight and grind up against random masked men with any gusto? I’ll just be going through the motions, it’s not even worth it. Now I’m questioning everything about my life. If two super rich people can’t keep a commitment to the vows they recited at a beautiful, huge, multi millions dollar, made for TV, lavishly staged wedding then where’s the hope for me? Am I doomed to a life of poverty and loneliness because no one cares about my every move? What if I only end up marrying just for love, have I failed? If I forgot to wear underwear out last night and no one was around to see it, did I really forget to wear underwear?

I DON’T KNOW ANYMORE!

But in reality, I like the idea of Halloween more than the actual event. I love fall. I love gathering with friends, drinking cider and doing ‘fall’ activities. I love breaking out my hoodies. I love seeing pumpkins at the store. I even like seeing other people dressed up, but I’m too lazy to do it myself. I normally get struck by a brilliant costume idea the week after Halloween, and am never able to remember it the next year. I have since given up on the whole thing. Anyway, I don’t have to wait for that one time of year to tell me it’s ‘OK’ to dress slutty. I’ll do it whenever I want! The bars are super crowded, and the chances of seeing two unattractive people, barely dressed, getting it on in the middle of the bar go up fifty percent. I still like to stop by for a drink to see what people are wearing, but it only reminds me of those elementary school costume parades that read more like a sad chain gang. I don’t eat candy any time of year, and I don’t want a candy corn martini, so unless you can trick or treat for ice cream or beer I’d prefer to make room for the others. So, by the time Halloween actually rolls around, all the excitement (and pumpkins) have rotted and I can’t wait to get on with November. That means my birthday is right around the corner!

Please trust me, I don’t hate Halloween. I don’t even dislike it. I guess I just like all of fall better. I have really fond memories of the holiday as a kid, though I didn’t always dress up and/or go trick or treating then either. It’s just that by the time the 31st rolls around, the hype has gotten to me and it’s not so great anymore. And now. Now, I’ll be plagued with the visions of Kris Humphries quietly weeping into his pumpkin spiced latte as he carves a huge ass in his jack O’lantern wondering what went wrong… and why did he sign that damn prenup?

Have a terrific Halloween everyone! Whether you go all out or stay under your blanket!

These costumes haunt me. My Halloween in Hong Kong 2008

None of these are me, or anyone I know.

-xo

*If you read this and think to yourself, ‘wow, this girl really doesn’t like Halloween’, give it a few months. You’ll see how much I really hate a holiday when New Years comes along.

Oh (S)no(w) You Didn’t!

Yet another crazy day outside my window

 

OK! Whoa there Mother Nature. Settle down tiger. Don’t get all ahead of yourself. It’s only October and you’re thunder-snowing, sleeting and freezing all over the gosh-darn place. What did we do to piss you off, huh? …Besides all that pollution, over population and global warming stuff. I just hope this isn’t a foreshadowing of things to come because:

One snow storm = Yay for a snow day!
Two snow storms = An inevitable acceptance that it is, in fact, wintertime.
Three snow storms = Come on, it’s getting a little out of hand.
Anymore than that, and you’re just a total bitch.

Three strikes and I’m moving to the equator. (Maybe.)

Apparently this kind of pre-Halloween snow made an appearance in 2002, but I just don’t remember. Not one bit. But I’ll tell you one thing: It better not become a habit, missy!

I understand that a lot of people actually enjoy the snow, so you have to turn over that little salt shaker every-once-in-a-while. But I don’t get it one bit. This particular event isn’t going to produce anything worth ‘playing’ in, so what’s the point? Though for me, the threat of snow only gives me the impetus to curl up in bed with some good/bad TV (but, admittedly, it doesn’t take much for me to want to do that anyway).

Maybe I’d feel differently about your ‘frosted flakes’ if the pretty powder didn’t turn into black mush within hours of finding their final resting place. It’s no longer a peaceful stroll when you have to trudge past waist-high mountains of muck just to cross the street. And once it does start to melt, the threat of wading ankle-deep in Coke-colored Slushie-like puddles looms at every cross walk. How fun is that, really?

Now, to reiterate. It’s only freaking October, lady. I want to be walking around in a hoodie on a crisp, sunny day, not piling on layers so I can fit into my goloshes that are one-size too big. I’m just not quite ready for all of this, like a surprise pregnancy or a rogue, airborne beer bottle finding its way across the crowd right to your head. (The latter has actually happened to me.)

But if you’re doing this to get it out of your system, oh (hopefully) benevolent Mother Nature, have at it and go nuts. It would be nice to have a mild winter this year, one where I can actually leave the house without tears streaming down my face from the bitter cold. Though I’m not optimistic.

So, what’s it going to be? I don’t think I can bear this sight much more. It’s not even daylight savings yet for Frosty’s sake!

The date says October, but I want to guess January

What’s your least favorite part about winter?

-xo

I’m Gonna Have to See Some ID

It seems I’m getting carded more than ever lately. (I’m not complaining.)

I suppose I’m thinking about it because my thirty-first birthday is coming up, which means that ten years ago was that all magical twenty-first birthday. (That’s the kind of math I’m good at!) Back then I was working at a restaurant as a hostess, the only worries I had were whether I was going to get just enough sleep to work off the booze from the night before. I could do that back then. Work a double shift, run all over the place making sure the restaurant was running smoothly, go out drinking at midnight with the whole crew, then hang out after hours with my boyfriend, only to wake up and do it all over again. Those were the days. Now, if I have one too many I feel like I need to spend the whole next day in bed before I can function like a normal human being. (I feel like I’ve written all of this before, but all that drinking has killed so many brain cells). The point is that at that time, the start of those drunken nights at the restaurant happened when I was actually under twenty-one. I was able to ride on the coattails of the others who knew all the bartenders and knew who would never ask for my measly ID. I, along with the other few under-agers, became untouchable. I was young, a size 0, had no bills to pay, and it was good.

Until soon before my big birthday…

I ran into an old high school ‘friend’ at the favorite bar of my co-workers. She was shocked to see that she had been carded yet there I was sitting at the bar with a big old beer. This obviously didn’t make her happy, and her pettiness led her to tattle to the manager. As I purchased my next drink, I was busted. For the next couple months I was forced to sit on the sidelines (or drink at home), and it was no fun. The night of my twenty-first birthday, my boyfriend took me out to a super fancy dinner in the city. I insisted on the way home that we go to the bar that banned me to have a nightcap. My glee was apparent to anyone to within a couple bar stools how proud I was to present my legal-ness to that mean, old manager who was just doing his job.

I moved to New York only a couple of months after I turned twenty-one. I never thought that I would have issues buying alcohol again (something that is oh, so important for a college student). But I soon found out there was a liquor store across from my college that didn’t like the looks of me, even though I liked them a lot. They sold $4.99 magnum bottles of wine which I could purchase only some of the time, depending on who was looking at my ID. They constantly claimed they would not take out-of-state licenses and turned me away. No amount of arguing worked, and I argued.

My ID looks way better than this AND it's real!

It upset me every time I was denied because I finally wasn’t trying to fool anyone. But it didn’t matter to them, mostly because they didn’t know how much business they were losing by turning me away. College is a messy time, folks.

Then there are those mega crazy situations where I see people getting carded ahead of me in line, get out my ID in preparation, then don’t even get looked at twice. I can be in full dress-up mode or my pajamas, it doesn’t matter. It makes no sense at all to me.

Last night, I went to get some beer because I spent the day doing a good scrubbing of my apartment, applying to jobs and writing. It was one of those days that I could feel great accomplishment without even venturing outside. I planned on relaxing by drinking at home in my pj’s while the rest of those weekend warriors freeze their nips off in the first deep chill of the season. I ran to the bodega to pick up some beer and brought my ID (just in case). I was right, he asked for it. I can’t decide if it’s thanks to my amazingly youthful looks or because stores are so scared about getting in trouble.

I’m going to go with the fact that I haven’t aged a day over twenty!

-xo

And Now For Something Completely Different

I am not known to be a domestic goddess by any means. I clean on a regular basis, mainly because I don’t enjoy living in the kind of filth that New York tends to create. Though I don’t go overboard. I mean, why waste time cleaning when you can be laying in bed watching TV? But over the past year I’ve unearthed an interest in cooking thanks to my best friend and holistic health counselor. Previously, my most complex meal involved adding a microwaved bag of veggies in cheese sauce to some pasta. Include some pepper to the mix and I was almost going gourmet. Now, though, I’m getting in the kitchen like a good little woman and making some pretty tasty things. It’s helped me feel like a real grown-up as well as shed quite a few pounds, the only negative is the excessive amount of dish washing afterwards.

Last week I made something called sweet potato shepherds pie, a dish that many of my British friends laugh at because it in no way resembles traditional shepherds pie. The only things the two recipes have in common are carrots and onions, but I’m not worried about it because it’s pure awesome-ness. I’ve been thinking about how good it tastes since I finished it days ago, it’s the best meal I’ve made to date. Today, I’m going to make it again and thought I would capture it’s beauty for you all and share this fabulous fall recipe for you all to enjoy!

First order of business is to cook and mash the sweet potatoes

 

Then saute the onions and carrots

This process starts making the house smell amazing. It’s the perfect time to sip on a glass of wine while watching the rain outside the window.

This is the part that you add the beans and broth to simmer

After that is all finished, you add the bean and veggie mixture to a casserole dish and lay the sweet potatoes on top to bake in the oven.

All ready to go in the oven!

 

Finished product right before it went in my belly

 

See the recipe here: Sweet potato shepherds pie. I omitted the leeks and turnips for no real reason, I just didn’t feel like buying them.

So, there you go! If you end up making it let me know what you think.

 

*This short, and random, post is due in part to the fact that I’m currently working on a personal essay but didn’t want to go yet another month without being in touch with you guys. I hope to have the thing I’m working on be finished soon so I can maybe get back to normal.

-xo

Occupy Bar Stools

 

Yet another month has passed without a peep from me. I’m starting to sound like a broken record, so I’m not going to say it again. You know how I feel about this.

 

I go through these phases where I’m completely gung-ho about everything. Motivated about both the conceiving process and the execution, lately I’ve only really been able to think. I can be out all day getting things done and have millions of ideas swarming around in my head but as soon as I get home I’m a total brainless idiot. I don’t remember what I wanted to write about, nor do I have the energy to figure it out. I think the problem has been that every morning I spend my first couple hours looking for and applying to as many jobs as I can. Writing five different, personal cover letters a day is enough to cause intense bouts of insanity and zombie-ism. By the time I’m finished with those, the last thing I can think about is being clever and entertaining. So, for the sake of my sanity (or even just this blog) please keep your fingers crossed that I get a job soon.

 

I have a couple things I have wanted to talk about here but I’m going to attempt to be topical today and discuss Occupy Wall Street, because I happened to be amongst many of the protesters last night, if only for a little.

 

Now, I’m not a very political woman. I care about our country and our future, but I have never been one to be motivated by it. I vote for president, but don’t get involved in any other elections. When I was younger, the only reason I knew when Election Day was was because it sometimes landed on my birthday. In the elections I’ve participated in, I absentee voted because I wasn’t in the state or country. I’ve never had to pull a lever, poke a chad or whatever you do, which actually kind of strikes a little fear into my heart for the upcoming election next year. I realize that Occupy Wall Street isn’t about ‘voting‘, but honestly, I’m not entirely sure what it’s all about. I know they are targeting corporate greed and asking for many of the CEO’s of the big banks to be held accountable, but I’m sure there’s more to it.

 

I have a friend, M, who is very interested in being involved and has been to the protests multiple times. She’s one of the sane ones though, because she goes home. I hate crowds. I mean, I really hate crowds. I don’t like being in the middle of a bunch of people where I feel I can’t get away. At concerts I like to stay to the side or in the back (it‘s easier to get to the bar that way too), I don’t need to be up front getting sweat on. I almost got killed by a crowd of weepy, wussy teenagers at a freaking Morrissey concert, so I prefer to keep my distance. Friday night, M and I hung out and she mentioned that Saturday afternoon she was going to one of the marches with a friend. I wished her luck. At one point in the afternoon on Saturday, I saw some pictures she had posted to Facebook and was comforted knowing she was still alive. Later that night, I got a text from her asking if I wanted to get a drink. I had just finished babysitting and figured I deserved a couple cold ones after a tough four hours of babysitting, two-and-a-half of them watching TV while they slept. She suggested we meet at Washington Square Park where some of the protesters had moved to for an ‘after party’. I was a little hesitant about getting in the middle of all this but she assured me we didn’t have to stay, and knowing drinks were in my future made it much easier. Her phone was dying so we agreed to just meet near the famous arch at 11:30pm.

 

So, how hard is it to locate a petite girl who typically chooses to wear dark colors amid a sea of cops, protesters, and bums at midnight? Fucking hard, dude. First off, there were just as many cops as protesters and they made you walk all around them. And once in the park it was hard to get your bearings because there were so many people milling around. There were people with signs, people standing around talking, one guy in the dog park with his two dogs, dudes sleeping in the corners, people picking up trash, people bringing pizzas, masses fist-pumping for change (you get the picture). And the arch was the epicenter of the rallying, so screw that. I stayed on the outskirts and called her hoping her phone wasn’t dead. Success!

 

Me: OK, I’m here. Where are you?

 

M: I’m by W 4th St.

 

Me: So am I. I’m standing on a bench, can you see me?

 

M: No, are you by the arch?

 

Me: Yeah. I’m looking right at it, but away from the people. I’m between the huge crowd around the arch and a huge pack of cops by the street, on a bench, by a tree.

 

This went on for a long time with no luck. I stayed on the bench so I could see a little better (it’s hard to be 5’4”), making sure not to trip on the dude sleeping on his book bag next to me. Nothing. I was beginning to believe this was going to be a failed attempt. Her phone was probably dead and there was no way we were going to find each other, and there was no way I was going to stick around for shit to go down.

 

I tried to call her again. We went through the whole landmark thing again, hoping we could make sense of our surroundings. Finally this human centipede ‘sculpture/puppet’ went parading around the crowd a la Chinese New Year dragon, M was right where it had just passed and I booked it over to her. I heard a ‘Ca’caw’, turned around and the search was over.

 

She told me about the march, showed me the phone number of a public defender that was written on her arm in case she got arrested, and told me about the cops on horses that were using force on the protesters so they stayed in line. It all seemed totally nuts to me, and we agreed to leave to get a drink. We walked through a group of people yelling obscenities at cops (sounding more like they were at a ‘skateboarding is not a crime’ rally rather than a part of a worldwide movement) and watched another brigade of mounted policemen make their way to the park It felt good heading in the opposite direction.

 

And that’s how I spent about fifteen minutes with Occupy Wall Street.

 

The Week That Hated Me

Well hello old friends! I am, in fact, still alive. Hooray! I’ve quickly learned how easy it is to keep letting this blog slide. Getting back on the old blog-horse is harder than hopping back on the work-out-bus after a brief illness! Plus, I’m oh so easily distracted. I’ve had some really fun journeys the last half of the summer that I completely intended on sharing with you all but life got in the way big time. That’s something I’m actually happy about considering my lack of money, job, and all that. I was visiting family in multiple states, eating way too much awesome food, and enjoying time with amazing friends that invited me to a beautiful wedding that they so truly deserved. Maybe I’ll share all/some of those memories if I deem you all worthy!  ;)

But today, dear readers, I have to vent about my week. This week has been absolutely… weird and if I have to encounter another one like it soon, I’ll probably curl up in a little ball and bid you all farewell. So fingers crossed people!

I think I’ll go day-by-day, just to keep the flow going. Let’s start with last weekend.

Last weekend, we all know, we marked the tenth anniversary of September 11th. A very somber time that I honored by staying in my apartment, not watching any of the coverage (because it’s still just too depressing), cooking and drinking vodka to keep my mind on more positive things. I drove up to New York that Friday before the anniversary, freaking out the whole way through the Lincoln Tunnel thanks to that whole heightened terror alert… and because tunnels freak me out in general. I reflected on the tragedy, thinking about how I was supposed to already be living and going to college in New York on that day in 2001, but my housing had fallen through and I had to defer one semester until I secured my current apartment. I like to think that something/someone was looking out for me that fall, because I don’t know that I could have handled myself in a sane manner amid all that chaos and stress that was the uncertainty in the weeks that followed.

Luckily, the day passed very quietly. But it did set the tone for the rest of the week.

Monday’s event was an afternoon of babysitting for a family with two children. One is a four-year-old boy and the other is an eighteen-month-old girl. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? The boy dominates EVERYTHING and is extremely hyper-active. Once he senses his mother is ready to leave he clings to her like a spider monkey while screaming at the top of his lungs. There is not much distracting him, until he’s ready to move on. I was able to temporarily take control of the situation by suggesting we put on some music to dance (a double whammy since he loves to dance and it’s an energy zapper), that is until he got over-excited and started attacking his little sister. I had to stand in the middle of them the rest of the evening in order to prevent the boy from sweeping the little girl off her feet with one swift tug of the ankle, sitting on her chest, dragging her across the room tempting rug burn, trying to pick her up or pull her onto things with the help of only one little limb, and pushing his index finger as far as he could into the middle of her chest while she was laying down, just because. Needless to say, I was exhausted physically as well as vocally thanks to repeatedly yelling his name and the word ‘stop’ for multiple hours. I soothed weak vocal chords with some vodka.

Tuesday, I was enjoying a quiet afternoon when I encountered a Facebook status update that read, ‘Holy crap! The store just got robbed!’ It was posted by a delivery driver from my dad’s pharmacy. My father owns a pharmacy on the grounds of a regional hospital in a quiet Pennsylvania town where my sister also works. I called my sister immediately to ask what was going on, but she couldn’t talk because the cops were there interviewing everyone. It turns out, masked and armed men burst into the store, ordered everyone on the ground (staff and customers included), stormed the back of the pharmacy and ordered my father to empty the locked drawer that holds all of the controlled substances. My sister was in the other office that happens to be on the other side of a partial wall. Once she heard what was going on and was able to overcome her shock, she ran down the hall to call the police. Some damn, dumbass tweekers put my family and friends in danger for a couple bottles of pain killers and I’m not OK with that at all. I had to soothe my frayed nerves with some vodka. The newspapers reported that this is the first ‘take-down’ robbery the small-town police department has had to deal with. We’re still waiting on follow-up news, but I’m staying very positive. I’d like to think the police would be interested in starting off their foray into this new type of crime to solve with a 100% ‘take-down’ robbery conviction rate.

Wednesday actually came and went without a hitch. I had a really good dinner with an old friend and some shows started their new fall season. The little things make me happy!

During that Wednesday dinner, my friend mentioned that a friend of hers was looking for my number so I could babysit her daughter on Thursday night. She and her husband are having some heavy marital issues and she has been dying to get out to have a little fun in order to escape the stress at home. I agreed to get in touch with her since I was free that evening and could use the money. One of the first things the little girl said to me when I arrived was, ‘I slept with daddy last night and mommy slept on the couch. Isn’t that weird?’ It shocked me so much that it took me a minute to respond with a reassuring answer. Later that evening, I was sitting at the table with the girl doing crafts when her father walked in the door, obviously disgusted and surprised at the sight of a babysitter in his home. He ignored the little girl’s attempt at a welcome home hug and uttered loud enough for me to hear across the room ‘I see your mother went and hired a babysitter’. As he walked further into the room, he brought the icy chill with him and flatly said, ‘I’m going to have to ask you to leave, you can come back tomorrow so [she] can pay you.’ I stood up, picked up my bag, and began to walk towards the door. He followed so close behind me that all I could do was grab my shoes so they wouldn’t be left behind. I turned to say goodnight to the little girl, but he slammed the door in my face before I could even focus my eyes on her. I had to sit down in the hallway to put my shoes on. I stood up completely shaken at the brazen rudeness I had just encountered and left afraid for the state of the little girl inside that house. I came home and soothed my inflamed adrenaline rush and raging anger with vodka and pizza.

Today, Friday, I decided not to tempt fate and stay home. I did go out to sit in my car for street sweeping day this morning. If you aren’t familiar with the free street parking in NYC, twice a week you have to go sit in your car for an hour and a half so you can move your car for thirty seconds when the street sweeper comes. If you are not in your car for that whole hour and a half and a cop walks by, you get a ticket that rivals your monthly rent. I’ll sit in my car to the very last second in order to avoid that slap in the wallet. Today, as the street sweeper was approaching, the girl in the car behind me turned her wheel a little too hard and proceeded to jump the curb. She kept on going to not just kiss, but make out with a tree on the sidewalk. She crunched the whole front driver side corner of her car. I just thought to myself that with the week I have just had, I’m so glad that wasn’t me.

Maybe my luck is changing… or at least the bad has jumped on to someone else for a bit.

Have you ever had a week that just wouldn’t stop poking you?

-xo