Everything in Moderation, Even Moderation (Part 1)

I’m an all or nothing type of gal these days. When I find something that excites me, I want it all. Now! There’s no such thing as patience. Why wait? What’s the point in that? That’s no fun! BUT, if I don’t cultivate said excitement-inducing thing and make it a constant fixture, I’m over it. I suppose you can say that this is where our whole culture is right now, the social media age is all about instant gratification, but I think the situations are a little different. I have passion, a love of new experiences, an interest in creating a fuller life. Doesn’t sound like a bad thing, right? But it can be.

I suppose this new mindset is rooted in my struggle with anxiety. An affliction I’ve been dealing with for over 10 years and only now, in the past year, am overcoming. Previously my anxiety would manifest much like everyone else’s who has the disorder, in a full-blown panic attack. The fear and dread would take a hold of me with (what at the time feels like) a literal death grip, curling up on the couch with eyes locked on the television being the only comfort or release from the nonsense going on in my head. It’s fiercely paralyzing, as well as good old-fashioned torture. If the government had a way to inflict panic attacks on terrorists to make them talk, waterboarding would go out of style. It keeps you trapped in this prison of ‘what ifs’. What if it happens when I’m out with friends? What if I get stuck somewhere and freak out? What if people can tell something is wrong? So little by little you find yourself receding from life in order to keep the monsters at bay and before you know it you’ve created this cage, a mental map consisting of approved and restricted areas for your consumption. Sounds awful, doesn’t it? Yet we allow it to happen because the disease tells us that it’s the only way.

So coming up on a year ago I decided to stop medicating my depression and anxiety because I didn’t think it was doing anything anyway. This was both true and untrue, I came to discover. This process has been sobering, humbling, an incredible blessing and the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my life, and the most amazing outcome of me sans Zoloft is that I have feelings. FEELINGS! What are those? I always thought I was just extremely easy-going. I was pretty sure I knew what happiness was, I laughed at things, I got mad, I had good and bad days like everyone else. But now, without those antidepressants keeping me level, emotions are raw and they mean something.

Now I covet the rush of running out of the house to go somewhere, partying until dawn, meeting new people, being present, hearing a good joke, listening to a song that makes me think of someone, being locked in an amazing kiss. I crave vitality. These phenomenons register differently in my brain these days. Even being angry is comforting because I am thankful for being able to feel the sensation of my body tensing in reaction to adversity. These aren’t just motions to go through anymore, they are experiences in life that make it worth living. They are proof that living life passively is the greatest sin of all. Then I began to process just how much I’ve missed out on simply by being despondent for so long, and decided to make up for lost time.

To Be Continued…

 

-xo

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

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

(F)LA Law

Oh man, I’ve totally been neglecting my blogging responsibilities. But hey, it’s summer. I’ve been frolicking in the grass, tip-toeing through the tulips, soaking in the sun, gazing at the stars…

That’s totally a lie. I’ve been glued to the TV watching the end of the Casey Anthony trial. This shit is juicier than any soap opera could ever be (and I say that as a huge General Hospital fan).

Earlier in the summer, when I was visiting home, my mom mentioned she was watching the trial. I sort of rolled my eyes at the idea of spending the whole day listening to legal jibber jabber, but played along anyway. After one day I was hooked, if only because of how much fun it was to watch the defense team squirm.

Oh man, I'm screwed!

If you’re not familiar, Casey Anthony is on trial for her life for the murder of her almost three-year-old daughter. I’ve pretty much had my mind made up since hearing about this three years ago, she’s guilty in some way. Whether it was premeditated or accidental, I’m not sure. But she deserves to go away for life.

So, back to the trial. It’s been a ratings wet dream for truTV and HLN. They haven’t seen viewership like this in probably ever and that’s because you can’t write this stuff.

The defense team has been led by a man named Jose Baez, a lawyer who has never tried a homicide case such as this. And it shows. He’s been a cocky jerk for no reason because in reality he’s a bumbling fool, so much so that there is a Facebook page dedicated to his ineptitude (Bumbling Boob Baez). He’s relied heavily on confusion and finger-pointing, anything to keep our attention away from Casey. The three big bombshells he’s relied on to prove Casey’s innocence were never really addressed during the trial (Caylee accidentally drown, George [her father] was involved, she learned to lie after years of sexual abuse from her father and brother)! He, instead, focused on these tertiary witnesses who could only attest to the character of one of her family members or the lack of proper protocol on behalf of the law enforcement/forensic professionals. It’s been beyond entertaining to watch him get shot down at almost every turn. A majority of his defense witnesses have ended up becoming prosecution fabulous-ness.

The prosecution slam dunked just about everything. It was like watching a well oiled machine. They were concise, methodical, easy to follow, and fun to watch. There’s really nothing else to say about them, they had their shit together. Jeff Ashton had his game face on throughout the whole trial, except when he shot looks of disgust and disbelief in response to Baez’s outlandish arguments.

As a fun little side-show, Thursday a spectator was caught on camera flipping the bird to prosecutor Jeff Ashton.

Judge Perry brought him to the podium, put the fear of Jebus into him, then gave him six days in jail and a $623 fine. Amazing television! It was the perfect opportunity to see how tough the judge can be. Casey, I’d be shaking in my boots if I were you. You did worse than suggest someone sit-and-spin.

Yesterday the defense rested and the prosecution finished up their rebuttal. Luckily today there is no court, because I have my nephew’s second birthday party to go to. It’s like the court knew I needed a break! Tomorrow we have closing arguments which should be explosive. My hangover and I will be watching every second. Will you?

Have you been following? What are your thoughts?

-xo

Can’t Say Nothin’

I have a pretty killer case of laryngitis currently, so I can only communicate through text. I feel like Louis in The Trumpet of the Swan, I should get my chalkboard. Today is worse than yesterday, but I’m pretty sure most medical professionals wouldn’t recommend going to a party – where talking over music and drinking all day is par for the course (my course, at least) – as a health regimen. But I had to go, the party was celebrating my niece’s graduation from high school. I can’t believe my niece graduated from high school, because that means I’m old. I remember getting the call that she was born, I was already in my early teens.

She’s the daughter of my step-brother, a step-brother who was already grown when my dad married his mother, so we were never close. But I’ve always been close with my niece, probably because I’ve been around since she was born. She looked up to me from an early age, even when I was too young to grasp the gravity of being a role model.

She’s been through a lot in her young life. Her family situation has been less than stable, she’s shuffled around from house to house, seen many family arrangements. Yet she’s prevailed and become a great young adult with goals of going to college to become a teacher. Goals that, as a high school graduate eleven years ago, I hadn’t yet figured out (and some would argue that I still haven’t figured out).

High school sucks, I’ve said it before, so it’s amazing that some kids actually have their futures kind of mapped out. Being a teenager is like playing a life-sized game of dodgeball where every hormone, emotion, idea, urge, and desire is being thrown at you at once. It’s no wonder most kids are so confused and angry. Who ever says those are the best years of your life is a pretty sad person, or was a jock who was never able to achieve the amount of stardom in his life outside of the gymnasium walls. I do look back on those years with a tinge of fondness, only because I was able to finagle my way out of most of my high school career so I could live my life. Most aren’t so lucky. Who constantly wants to feel like an outcast? Who constantly wants to feel stupid or under insane amounts of pressure to perform up to the standards of their parents? Who wants to be treated like a child when you’re screaming to be taken seriously as an impending adult?

The only things high school provided me was a place to socialize and nap. I didn’t know it then, but I was conserving all my energy for college.

My niece didn’t take the same road, mainly because she is a totally different person, and I congratulate her for that. She’s smart and determined to make a difference, and I’m so excited to continue to watch her grow.

A party is a great way to kick off the next stage in her life… But then again I’m always a fan of finding any reason to party, laryngitis or not.

-xo