Monday, October 5, 2009

I have not forsaken thee

Those of you who check here occasionally for an update and are used to not finding anything new, please don't have a heart attack :)

I am a terrible blogger, I know. My last post was about 6 weeks ago. And that, I admit, was a blatant attempt to get noticed by the makers of Rifftrax and perhaps mentioned by them on Twitter. It didn't work. *shrug*

I have been making a lot of changes lately. Not really sure what's inspired them, maybe just being tired of not enjoying so many things in life and trying to replace those with things I do enjoy. I've been cooking a LOT lately and the more I do it, the more I enjoy it. I've been branching out into different types of cuisine. I cooked, well basically catered, for a friend's tapas party, having eaten tapas exactly once in my life and having cooked tapas exactly zero times in my life. I am finding the more hours I spend in my kitchen, the better my mental health. Even if there is not anything to be cooked, cleaning, washing dishes or organizing ingredients gives me peace. Crazy, I know.

Other stuff is going on. Plans for the wedding progress. I bought a wedding dress this weekend and I'm very excited about it. I am going to have a hard time waiting the 5-6 months for it to come in. But I am very happy with the dress I chose and the overall process of buying it. Success with this makes me eager to move on to the next tasks on the list.

I'm going to be directing a play in December at the Looking Glass Theatre in their Writer/Director Forum. The play is a very cool, Twilight Zone-ish, one-act called Where Time Is Money. I've cast one of the two roles from our super talented pool of theatre interns and am looking forward to open call auditions this upcoming weekend and the start of rehearsals to follow. I've got the good foundation of a fantastic script and two incredibly capable and helpful Asst. Director/Stage Managers, so I'm feeling pretty confident about this show. Details to follow as the show gets closer.

I've reached my goal weight at Weight Watchers. Roughly 6 months later, I am 20-ish pounds lighter. (My goal weight was 22 pound lighter than where I started, I've fluctuated a little since reaching it.) As of yesterday, I am a lithe 131.2 pounds and damn proud of it. When I began my aims were 1) lose weight for the wedding 2) keep it off till the wedding and 3) if possible, keep it off until after my sister's wedding next November. After that, the hell with it. But now that I'm here, I like it and I'll be trying to stay this healthy and thin as long as I can.

Oh yeah. And I'm turning 30 in a couple weeks. Gah. I dunno, I feel like I'm supposed to feel anxious about it. And in a way I kind of do. But in another way, age is just a number, and I'm happy with my life so I will just look forward to celebrating the start of the 4th decade of my life. Plans include family dinner, a joint celebration with Frank (with whom I have in some way shared birthday celebrations for the last 10 years as his is 2 days before mine), a blowout night of rock starring my favorite bands, and recuperating with football on Sunday.

I've been thinking about this blog. (Yeah I know, all that time I spend thinking I could just be updating it.) I'm not really happy with the format. I mean, I started it as a mental health aid, to remind myself of the positives in life during an especially tough time. Blogging, for me, has always been kind of a catalog of "what's been going on with me lately" type of posts and that...isn't that interesting for people who don't know me to read. So I'm thinking about changing up my format. Blogging more frequently but less about myself and more about the things that interest me in life in general. More structured, planned posts instead of my random compose-as-you-type, stream-of-consciousness thought regurgitation. In short, more like (but not exactly copied, of course) the blog of my friend and mentor in most areas of life, Sarah.

See you soon, hopefully sooner than the last time I said that. And don't be surprised if the next post is a different one. I'm hoping it will be better and more satisfying.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Not-Too-Distant Future

So, my work at FringeNYC allows me to get cheap tickets to participating shows and I had planned to take advantage of that last night, but the show I planned to see sold out.

So instead, I went to Rifftrax Live.

For the uninitiated, Rifftrax is what some of the boys from Mystery Science Theater 3000 are doing now. They make mocking audio commentaries of many modern movies that you can download for a couple bucks and play on an iPod with speakers along with the movie.

Last night, at Rifftrax Live, they did a live riff of the infamous Plan 9 From Outer Space. The guys were on stage live at a movie theater in Nashville and satellites broadcast it to other theaters around the country.

I was racing and I was late because I had to run there from my show. But I made it time to grab a huge Diet Coke and catch most of it. Apparently I missed some Rifftrax-style premovie trivia flashcards that parodied the type of movie trivia you see before the all the previews and commercials at a regular movie. Now, when I got into the theater, it was packed. I inquired about a few single empty seats, since I was solo, but they were all taken so I took a seat on the floor with a bunch of other people. After about 5 minutes, a manager came in and told us we couldn't sit on the floor and we should go to the other theater showing the same show. Way to manage your seating Union Square Regal Cinemas! But anyway, no biggie.

There were some cute bits before the show. They riffed a short called "Flying Stewardess." They brought out Jonathan Coulton to do a couple of songs, including "Re: Your Brains." The crowd was really rude at this point because some of the louder, more obnoxious jerks were heckling through his songs, claiming no one knew who he was and laughing when the broadcast showed fans in Nashville singing along, as I sat there fuming thinking "Dude, people KNOW who Jonathan Couton is! STFU!" They showed a couple mock-commercials (made by the guy who created Something Awful) from mock sponsors, one for a flour and grain expo featuring a very EXTREME announcer and lots of screaming and explosions, and the other for Berry Watch, a security service that monitors and protects the fresh berries in your house :) And the Riffers came out and sang a little song they wrote about Plans 1-8, featuring Mike Nelson on nose flute. And then, MOVIESIGN! (Wait, I'm not supposed to say that now that it's Rifftrax. Nevermind.)

That movie is so, SO bad. Shots cut together that are supposed to be happening at the same time, one in daylight and one at night. Replacing Bela Lugosi in some of the shots with an actor covering his face with his cape. The doorway that gets reused in half a dozen different locations. The terrible writing and acting. The non-special effects. I think my favorite bad part is the graveyard set on a soundstage that is completely unconvincing as a real location. 

The riff was great, from the beginning when they joked about how even the opening title music hurt to the end when Bill Corbett exclaimed "I never laughed at vitamins!" There were parts of it I was laughing so hard I had to make myself laugh silently because I was laughing long after the joke (particularly when the pilot says he saw a flying saucer and his wife said "You mean from 'up there'?" and one of the riffers said "No, from up my ass!") I also loved the way they reacted every time the detective cop carelessly waved his gun around. 

It was nostalgic for me. My dad introduced me to Plan 9, pointing out all the places it was bad before I knew MST3K even existed. He was also a big MST3K fan once he discovered it. The humor was right up his alley, but I think he also appreciated the homemade aspect of it. The people who weren't with me, my dad, and also my fiance who had to work, lent a certain tone to the night, but I had a good time in spite of it (and in spite of the loud, misogynistic jerk next to me who almost got a diet coke bath several times).

So thanks, Rifftrax, for a great evening. I hope you do one again soon, so I can bring my man with me next time. And if anyone from there is reading, PLEASE release last night's riff for purchase on your website, I'd definitely buy it!  

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sometimes You Should

I'm really good at self-denial. 

I guess I can't really say that. If I were really good, I would do it just the right amount, but really I do it too much. It's why I've been so good at Weight Watchers, I never let myself have anything anyhow, it just gives me more rules about how to deny myself more effectively and what to allow myself that feels indulgent but isn't. It's also a source of unhappiness. There are always things we can't afford to give ourselves and in that sense, I'm really good at managing a budget to be able to save money and pay for necessities by denying myself things I want. But sometimes you gotta cut it out.

Recently, I got a coupon for Glarkware, a great funny t-shirt company where I have often ordered gifts but rarely buy things for myself. There were a couple designs I'd had my eye on for a really long time, so I finally decided to order myself a few new snazzy snarky T's. I also encountered an end of season clearance sale at Old Navy while I was sick last weekend and trolled through their website, tossing cheap odds and ends I'd been needing for a while in my cart. All told, I spent ridiculously litte for all that I ended up getting. And when I got it in the mail, when I tried it all on and it all fit, when I realized I could stop worrying about not having certain things that I wanted/needed, it made me really happy. A little retail therapy can be especially beneficial sometimes. PS That coupon for Glarkware is still available. I don't know if it's cool for me to give out the code on my blog but check out their Twitter page to find the code, good till 8/23. 

Too much self-denial can hurt you too. I've been putting off buying new gym shoes forever, even though I've been regularly going to the gym for a year now in shoes that were years old when I started. This morning I paid for it. I twisted my knee in Zumba class because of my crappy old shoes and had to leave in the middle of having a really good time, not to mention how much this will mess up my week depending on how fast it heals. So I guess "buy new shoes" goes to the top of the list and when I get them, I'll be a lot happier to have them. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, by writing this post, I'm denying myself lunch and I need to get a move on! 

Think happy thoughts!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comedic Interlude: Painfully Awesome

A long time ago, I was dubbed "painfully awesome" by a good friend. I forget who exactly came up with this, but if you are this person, please speak up and be recognized :) What this means is that I am awesome, by all definitions of the word, but frequently, so awesome it hurts. Which sometimes means I am super extra-awesome. And sometimes means that I am awesome, but lame at the same time and the contrast of the two in one tends to be painful. Case in point:

Kris and I are in bed watching a movie. We have a small window air conditioner, but without good air circulation, it's not as effective as it could be. We've turned off the fan so we can hear the movie, but are sweating through it. Kris is used to it, he is usually internally too hot, but now even I am uncomfortable.

ME: It's HOT.

KRIS: Oh good I'm glad you think so. I thought you were going to tell me I was crazy like usual.

ME: No, it's effing gross in here. No more movies in bed, it's too long to go without proper temperature control.

***flash forward***

The movie has ended, the fan has been turned on, and the room has cooled down. I am playing solitaire on my phone because I'M AN ADDICT. Kris is trying to sleep.

ME: I should go to sleep. I wish I could stop playing this.

KRIS: I wish I had a lot more fans blowing on me.

ME: (sigh) I'm going to get you a ladder for our anniversary.

KRIS: (leaning away from the INCREDIBLY LOUD FAN whose noise I greatly resent) What?

ME: I said, I'm going to get you a ladder for our anniversary.


KRIS: To what end?

ME: So you can GET OVER IT.

KRIS: ...



I'm sleeping on the couch.

ME: No honey, I'm sorry. I'm kidding. I know you're hot.

KRIS: Not that. That joke was BAD.


You be the judge. Awesome? Painful? Or, as ever, painfully awesome?

ETA: Another apt conversation from the same night that demonstrates the same quality.

ME: I knew you were reluctant to watch Slumdog Millionaire because you didn't think it could be as good as I said it was.

KRIS: I was reluctant because everyone said that. But I was wrong.

ME: Well I was one of those people and I was right so you know you can always listen to me.

KRIS: Oh yeah, Sahara was a cinematic masterpiece.



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Has it really been almost a MONTH since I blogged? Wow, I am the slackiest blogger who ever blogged. Lame.

I've been busy. The show I mentioned in my last post has come and gone if you can believe it. I got to work with some really great people and learned a lot, so I call it a win. I can't really talk much about that time, because not much happened in it, other than work and rehearsal. I was in NYC just about every day, ate just about every meal at my desk, went days at a time without seeing my fiance. It was rough. So at the end, last week, I took a week off from work and did something I'd never done with a vacation before: I stayed home and didn't go anywhere. My vacation was:
  • dinner with a director and an actress who I loved from a previous show at a swanky awesome Mexican place in the city, getting drunk on sangria and the best guacamole I've ever had
  • hitting up a weeknight pub quiz our friend hosts in South Jersey that we wouldn't have been able to attend without using vacation time. Many of our friends were there and it was fun to catch up.
  • taking our 11-month old niece to the Cape May Zoo. She's maybe a bit young to appreciate it just yet, but it was nice to take her out somewhere. I'm trying to progress our relationship from supervised visits at her mom's or grandma's house to being able to take her out somewhere on my own, in preparation for my own eventual kids :)
  • date night with my honey. Neither of us loved The Hangover like everyone else on the planet, but it's still nice to get taken out and the lowfat chocolate peanut butter frozen yogurt at Lindy Hops can't be beat!
  • seeing the Tempest on the outdoor stage and having a lovely fun picnic with Sarah.
  • bar night with an old friend who's in town, full of strange reunions of people I haven't seen in a while.
  • 2 4th of July bbqs and an awesome fireworks display in Liberty State Park.
  • dinner at my folks to see my family, who I realized I hadn't seen all month.
  • lots of baseball on tv.
  • lots of sleep.
  • lots of exercise. Every day, in fact!
  • lots of good eating and STILL losing 1.2 pounds :)
  • lots of quality time with my sweetie.
So no, I didn't get to go to a beach or visit a distant relative or tour a famous place but I had a damn good vacation anyway.

A couple of other happy thoughts happened this last month:
  • WE SIGNED THE CONTRACT WITH THE WEDDING VENUE!!!!! We are getting married on July 25, 2010! Woohoo! The wheels are in motion at last!
  • We had our engagment party which was loads of fun and it was terrific to see all our guests. Sorry if you weren't there, the etiquette is to invite only those you're sure you can invite to the wedding and ours will be small so we hope you're not offended.
  • Kris, impressed by my example, joined WW all on his own and lost 3.2 lbs. in his first week. YAY HONEY! He aims to lose 30, a totally doable goal by all accounts. I am so happy to have him taking good care of himself.
Hopefully it won't be another month before I have more happy thoughts for you!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Here Comes Summer

Despite what the weather in the NY area would have you think, it is in fact summertime. OK summer doesn't OFFICIALLY start for two more weeks, but once the calendar turns to June, for me, it's all over. It's my favorite time of year and I'm enjoying it pretty well so far. So what's been going on?
  • The Forum at the Looking Glass went very well. I really enjoyed working on it and I learned a LOT. I learned a lot about people and theater and how this business works and how different styles and personalities mesh together. I (re-)learned that I can be good at anything I apply myself to. I learned how to set light cues and do a hot patch. I learned how to use GarageBand to create voice overs and sound effects. I learned that when left to my own devices, I will create a 5-page checklist to get organized. I met some really great people and found some really great opportunities and I am really glad I got involved in it.
  • Leisure time has been very scarce but I did manage to catch a break, thanks to the lovely Marissa, and find time to attend the Nine Inch Nails concert with Frank last weekend. It was an amazing show as usual. Sad to hear it will be the last for a while. Maybe they will come back through New York before the tour ends (please)?  
  • I am now working on another show, as a stage manager. It's a very different kind of project and I think it has something to teach me as well. After that, I am taking a good healthy break and then diving into another project, assistant directing a show at the NY Fringe Festival. More details as they happen. 
  • Wedding arrangments have taken a turn for the better. I am NOT going to say anything official until it's 100% signed, sealed, and delivered, but we are much closer to locking in a date/place than when last I posted.
  • Schocholautte has a new website up and will be playing their big EP release party this Saturday. Please come out and celebrate with us if you're in the NY area!
Hope everyone's life is giving them as many happy thoughts to think as mine is! :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

I Told You

I said I was gonna be hard to find and I meant it. I've been up to quite a bit.
  • Working on plays again has been great. Even when it's tough, long hours or cranky casts or whatever, it's been great. I'm happy. I'm enjoying what I'm doing. I'm learning a LOT. I have a lot of energy. I feel good about my days and when I'm doing something else and it's sucking, I have rehearsal to look forward to. You should come see the shows, next weekend June 4th-7th, at the Looking Glass Theatre.
  • From connections I've made at this gig, I have one, potentially two more gigs lined up for the rest of the summer. I'm a little worried I've got too much on my plate, but I think it'll be OK. I'm happy to be making so many connections and impressing people enough that they want to work with me again. I'm also starting to see ways for me to do more, to educate myself more, and to write and direct plays eventually.
  • The wedding arrangements are not as set in stone as I would like. We have come as far as choosing a place we like, but we have yet to arrive at a contract agreeable to all parties. It's frustrating. We may have to compromise our plans, which makes me sad, because I feel like a lesser person when I can't have the thing I want because of money. But I remind myself we are getting married and it's going to be great, no matter what. 
  • Had a lovely Memorial Day weekend. Had a lot of time off from work and only a little rehearsal. Got to see friends, family, and Kris. Ate a little too much, but whaddya gonna do?
  • My dieting kick has...changed. On the one hand, I am still TRYING to do the best I can with WW. On the other hand, being out of the house all day long and sometimes the food options I plan for myself falling through has made this whole process more costly and sometimes not as successful. I didn't weigh myself last week, 'cause I'm afraid I gained. I haven't been able to get to the gym very much and the fact that that bothers me actually makes me pretty glad, at least. My body has changed to the point where it wants exercise. I'm thinking I might have to alter my plans and just go on maintenance for a little while (i.e. try not to gain any, instead of trying to lose more) because my life just might be a little too full for weight loss right now. I have lost 10 or 12 pounds. I want to lose a little more, but that may not be possible right now and I'm pretty happy with what I've done so far.
That's all for now. I will post more, when there's more to know about anything.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

If You Need Me In The Next Month... may find it very difficult to find me. I have joined the ranks of my friends with ultra-busy schedules from school or a band or what-have-you. As of now, I have my rehearsal schedule for both shows I'm working on and now know exactly what I'll be doing every day of my life for the next 30 or so, and also throughout parts of June as well. I'm going to be at rehearsal a lot. I'm not going to see Kris much. I'm not going to see the inside of the gym much either, so I hope I can get a lot of walking in. Amazingly, I will have time to visit the two finalists we're still considering as wedding venues and by the time this whole deal is over, I will not only have been an AD/SM for two one act plays, but also set a date and signed a contract with a reception venue (because I'm awesome).

It's gonna be a whirlwind. The internet, as usual, is the best place to catch me. I will also be free, possibly single, and definitely in need of drinks most weekend nights. 
I had a momentary freakout yesterday, thinking that I had once again taken too much onto my plate, but as it turns out, know that I know when everything is, I think it's gonna be OK. And I know it's gonna be fun.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Work, Wedding, and Weight

Hi! So I'm back. Part of the reason I haven't updated in a bit was a 2 1/2 day tv/phone/internet drought  due to a service problem, which was truly tragic. I found ways around most stuff (baseball on the radio, streaming shows I missed online when we got service back, and using my iPhone as a lifeline for email/facebook/twitter), but man does life hurt without the internet. But anyway, another reason for the blog drought was that I was waiting for some things to be official before I wrote about them. Let's start with the biggest
  • I'M WORKING IN THEATRE AGAIN! A-friggin-men, eh? I was getting sick of sitting home feeling sorry for myself while Kris was out having a full, exciting life, so I decided to find and pursue some opportunities and I couldn't be happier with the one that I went with. I will be working (unpaid) as an Assistant Director/Stage Manager (hereafter, AD/SM) at the Spring Writer Director Forum at the Looking Glass Theatre. I am BEYOND thrilled to be working in theatre again and really happy to join this group, since it seems like there will be a lot more opportunities to work on future projects with them in even higher capacities, and they're lovely people besides. Show details to follow, but for now you can check out their site above and keep the first weekend in June open.
  • We have finally managed to check out all the venues we had picked out as potential wedding sites. Some we loved, some we hated, some we couldn't afford. We still haven't decided on anything, but I can tell you the following details: it will be in South Jersey and it will be late spring next year. We have to compare prices and let a few more people in on the decision-making process, but the ball, it would seem, is rolling.
  • I've lost weight! I'm now 9 pounds down and people are telling me I look skinny left and right. Of course, I think people tell you that when they know you're dieting, but I have heard it from a random stranger or two. I'm now halfway to my goal and then the next goal after that is to keep it off, but I am winning the battle against my weight, woohoo!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Weekend in Status Updates

I had a lot of interesting facebook updates this weekend, I'd thought I'd use them to tell my story.

Friday night Karen thinks life's too short to drink shitty beer. Since being on Weight Watchers, I have had only light beer or wine when an alcoholic drink was called for. Friday night I had points to burn and needed to unwind, so I decided to open just one full-calorie, high quality beer. It was a Brooklyn IPA. It was sooooo delicious and just one was enough to relax me a little. I then resolved to try to avoid drinking light beer when dieting, in favor of earning extra points with exercise and using those to drink real, good beer.

Saturday morning Karen is heading to the gym to complete one full week of exercising every day. When Sarah first told me ideally people earned 28 activity points per week on WW, I laughed out loud. (If you're unfamiliar, that's like, a half hour of intense or an hour of moderate exercise PER DAY). I ended up with 24 last week. When I had to get somewhere far away in the city, I walked. When I didn't have any other opportunities, I went for a walk in my neighborhood. One of the days, I counted helping Kris unload his VG collection from the rented van, 'cause that was a lot of work. And of course Zumba. I'm going to the gym tonight and that brings my streak up to 9, go me!

Saturday noon ish Karen is hitting the showers and then time to make it work! After a kickass workout, big delicious breakfast, and a little relaxing, I took on the task of searching out some theater gigs. My search yielding four applications to various things, none of which have I heard from yet, but I will keep it up.

Saturday 2 pm ish Karen is running some band errands with her fiance. Due to a newly decided upon band dress code, I went around with Kris, helping him pick out all brown pieces for his band wardrobe. Despite the hecticness of Saturday afternoon shopping, it was nice to get out in the warm weather.

Saturday 4:18 Karen thinks that in the 2nd inning, it's already time to pull Wang. Dammit. In a game that began at 3:40, the Yankees starting pitcher had given up 9 runs in the top of the 2nd inning. Shortly after I typed this, Girardi did pull Wang out of the game, and then put in a rookie who proceeded to allow, like 6 more runs. At which point I turned the game off. I later found out the final score was 22-4. Abysmal. (Also? Pull Wang. Tee Hee.)

Saturday 8 pm ish Karen is walking to get ice cream with her guy. Kris and I have been making a habit of this, walking to local places to get ice cream when the weather's nice. The DQ is 3 miles roundtrip, but this time we opted for a local mom-and-pop, only a 20 minute walk. The exercise earns us the ice cream and it's a nice cheap, kinda romantic date. The ice cream cone was an ideal reward for my consistent exercising.

Saturday 9:45 ish Karen just got back from watching a little league game. Both teams played better than the Yankees did today. On the way, home from the ice cream parlor, there is a little league field, and two teams happened to be playing as we were headed home. Kris suggested we watch and we sat for the last inning and a half, rooting for the red team. The kids were great to watch, really enthusiastic and pretty talented for their age. It got us to daydreaming about our own kids (I hope they want to play baseball) and generally it was just a nice sweet fun thing to do. And the game ended in a tie so I didn't feel bad for the kids on either team. And yes, they both played better than the Bronx Bums.

Sunday 1 am ish Karen must go in search of Knowledge and his bastard son, Truth. This is a reference to a sketch in an episode of The State. Kris's recent storage unit emptying unearthed some 90s nostalgia in the form of old yearbooks (Kris was an ADORABLE highschooler) and VHS tapes of the old MTV sketch comedy show we love. We knocked back about 5 episodes and laughed our asses off all night. Not a bad way to end a lovely evening.

Sunday 12:45 pm ish Karen is holding a container of frozen spaghetti sauce against her head. Banging around the basement, trying to get around the piles of video game stuff that lives in our basement now, I stepped somewhere you normally wouldn't otherwise step and clocked my head on a low-hanging pipe. OW! I have not done this since I was a kid. I would bet you haven't either. I came upstairs sobbing and Kris rushed to my aid. I asked him to get me some ice and then immediately remembered noting the night before that we didn't have any ice (and yet not making any, dummy that I am). He came back with a tupperware of frozen spaghetti sauce wrapped in a towel. It was the sweetest bit of TLC I've had in a while.

Sunday 2 pm ish Karen is crossing her fingers that Kris practicing drumming isn't too loud for the neighbors. Look, I love my guy, but we share a wall with other people that until yesterday had no idea a drummer lived next to them. He set up in the basement and made it as quiet as one can make drumming. We haven't heard any complaints yet, but I think it will take a few more practice sessions before I'm convinced they're OK with it.

Sunday 7 pm ish Karen is cooking and dancing. This actually started a lot earlier. I decided to play around with iTunes Genius (for the unfamiliar, a feature that analyzes your music collection and creates a playlist of similar material when you select 1 song). My guinea pig was the Otis Redding version of "Try a Little Tenderness," one of my faves. I got Sam & Dave, Ray Charles, Etta James, and the Jackson 5 in one delicious playlist that was the soundtrack to my afternoon cooking. I whipped up a loaf of banana oatmeal bread to eat for breakfast this week, and then a fancy Morroccan dish called a tagine that I'm eating for lunch all week, topped it off with brewing a pitcher of iced tea and heating up dinner. DELICIOUS.

Monday morning Karen is celebrating being 9 pounds lighter. At my Sunday night weigh in, I found I'd lost a total of 9 pounds since I started dieting, which is about halfway to my goal, which is incredible. I guess I shouldn't say I was celebrating, 'cause I didn't actually do anything, but still it's a good thing.

I hope you had a nice full fun weekend too!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Remember Why You Do This

I've been sort of waiting to update till I had something to report on one particular venture I was excited about, but that has sort of fallen through. Being bummed about that and various other minor things made me not want to blog more, but then I remembered that this place is about cheering myself up and remembering the good things so here I am, back again.
  • As I said, the project I was hoping I would be working on has turned out to be a bit of a dead end, BUT to point out the silver lining, I did pursue something I wanted to work on creatively for the first time in a long time. I put myself out there, I made first contact, always a hard thing for me. The fact that it hasn't worked out is basically no fault of my own, and basically, I'm considering it a good thing because it means I'm free to pursue other things. It's a little like a job hunt. You can't just apply for one thing and hope it turns out, you have to apply to as much as you can and see what comes back.
  • I started on Weight Watchers, officially, under Sarah's watchful guidance. I have so far lost 5 pounds and managed not to exceed my allowances once yet (so far). I have never successfully dieted in the long term, so this feels promising. Also it is nice to be supporting Sarah as much as she does me, because doing something for someone else always feels nice.
  • We began the journey of wedding planning yesterday, in terms of visiting reception sites. We absolutely fell in love with one and felt definitively that the other was Not For Us (not least because of Wedding Coordinator Barbie, who works there). Ways This Makes Me Happy:
  1. There is something out there we know we like.
  2. I am not going to like everything out there (this was a concern for me, mostly).
  3. I have a very good idea know of what "what we like" and "what we don't like" is.
  4. We agree at least on the basics of what we like and don't like.
  5. Having at least started this process makes me no longer feel like we're so far behind in our plans.
So, we have a frontrunner for a reception site, the anchor to all the plans. It is not perfect (it's expensive, but what about weddings isn't) but all the rooms are lovely and so is the coordinator we would work with. We liked just about everything she told us. I'll give more detail about why this site is so great if we end up choosing it, but it's good to know there's something good out there for us.

So, I don't know. In the grand scheme of things, nothing is really going on, nothing of note. But life is happening and it's pretty good these days. 

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Out Like a Lamb

Oh dear. I seem to have neglected my blog all month. Sorry readers (all 9 of you)! I bet you think I've been busybusybusy with wedding plans and I thought I would be to. But we haven't figured out our budget quite yet and without that, we can't look at venues, which will determine our date. And until we have a date, there's really no planning that can be done. Plus, as much as I can be a princessy-girly-girl, I'm not especially psyched about getting dragged into the scary wedding industry and all the psychos that buy into it. I had an unpleasant run-in on the forums at The Knot recently that turned me off to using them (the forums, not the site in general). But I'm sure once I'm in full swing, I'll change my tune and become a Stepford Bride :)
  • Have been making a lot of positive progress on my body. I feel and look better. My weight dipped below a particular marker that I am always displeased to be above, here's hoping I keep it down. I have been super-faithful to the gym and also gotten in some hardcore walks. (Although, the one I took last night hurt me bad. I need to remember I am not built for high-impact.) Also I am considering joining Weight Watchers and being coached by the lovely Sarah. I'm trying to stick to a Points diet without actually being enrolled and knowing what the hell I'm doing. I've had 1 day of success and I feel that's a worthy accomplishment.
  • The band has been great fun and branching out into new and different types of gigs. This month saw the test run of their first road trip as well as their first appearance in a variety show. The trip was great fun, they played a house party for friends of Kris and me. There was a interference, but once we got the volume to an acceptable level, it was a great show and a good time was had by all, including me who got a chance to hang with a bunch of awesome people I never get to see. The variety show, now called "Alphabet City Soup" is run by the Antagonist Movement. The band will headline the shows every week or every other week (TBD) and the shows will feature all kinds of performers. Last night, we had a guy-with-acoustic-guitar, 2 comedians, a magician, and a spoken word artist. More excitement to come. Look it up on facebook or contact me if your interested in more info or performing at a show.
  • The weekend of the party was a crazy busy but great one for me. I got to have a wild night in South Jersey, the next night have dinner with a professor from my study abroad days and several of my classmates, and I did the Colon Cancer Challenge walk. All were very fun and satisfying.
Truth be told, I've been feeling rather boring lately. A lot of my time is spent at the gym or the library or home alone. We have had some friends over to the new place, an increasingly popular social option in these troubled times, and my social calendar does seem to be heating up in the upcoming weeks. But when asked what I've been up to, the answer is not much and that needs to change. I have plans for this, but I'd like to start putting those into effect before I let you all know what they are. Change, she's a-coming. Till then, keep thinking Happy Thoughts!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Somebody's Getting Married

If you know me, you've probably already heard somewhere. But if you haven't, here's the wonderful news.

On Valentine's Day, my wonderful boyfriend of 4 1/2 years, Kris, took a walk with me through Smithville Village. While we were on the bridge over the pond, watching the lights bouncing off the surface of the water, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I said yes. We're engaged. We're getting married.

I have wanted this, and not just this as in "getting married" but this as in "marrying this man," for a very long time and we are both sublimely happy. I am going to marry a man I love who completes me and complements me perfectly. We make each other happy and support each other and we're both tremendously excited to commit to love each other for the rest of our lives.

Most girls want to know about the ring. Pictures don't do it justice, but here's a taste.

The morning after I said yes, when I woke up with a huge smile on my face, the first thing I did was go out to the living room and watched this, because it's how I feel.

I only know that he'll make me happy. That's all I need to know.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Back on January 20th, Inauguration Day, there was another, smaller and much less significant event than the swearing in of our 44th president. 

This blog reached 100 posts. 

I didn't really notice it until now, 10 posts later, and even now that I've realized it, it doesn't seem like that big a deal. I guess the positive way to look at that is that I have so much going on in my life, that I didn't even notice a landmark like 100 posts. Maybe it's just because I've been blogging forever (9 years on and off, and every single post about absolutely nothing :)

But in the blogging world, when your blog reaches 100 posts, I suppose it's like a birthday. It should be celebrated. And I am proud of this blog. I am proud of myself for continuously blogging for a purpose for over 100 posts. I started this blog in November of 2007 with a specific idea. I wanted to stay positive and to use this as a tool to help me focus on the positive. Even on the days when I felt like life sucked and I just wanted to open a blog window and scream out to the internet about all my problems, I forced myself to follow the intention of this blog, to think happy thoughts, to focus on the positive and feel better. 

Almost a year and a half later, I feel like it's worked. Sure, I still complain, all of us do. But I catch myself when I start to do nothing but complain and it's a reflex for me to find the good in a situation. Whether or not this development has to do with my blogging, who knows? But I know at least that it started here. And that it will continue here as long as happy things happen in my life, no matter how big or small. 

Thanks for reading, everybody. Knowing you're out there helps me stay positive too. Here's to another 100 posts :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Move

So, we moved. It was fast and hard and strenuous and well, I guess moving is kind of like teenage sex that way, as Sarah and I hypothesized. Think about the things they have in common:

  • hasty
  • physically uncomfortable
  • a rush to get stuff from one place to another
  • it's probably easier when there's alcohol involved
  • you'll end up with bruises in funny places
  • too many people want to offer you opinions on how to get it over with
  • you'll feel awkward around the movers in the morning (well you would if they were still there the next day :)
But all that aside it is over and done. I got most of the packing done while Kris dealt with a 1-2 combo of stomach flu and work jerking him around. Our family and friends very generously helped us take a dozen carloads of stuff over and we paid movers to load a rented truck with our heavy stuff and unload it at the new house.

Oh. And we bought appliances. We own a fridge, a washer, and a dryer. Holy crap.

Living in the new place is very different. I feel like I'm playing house. This is the first place I've lived with a guy where it felt like it belonged to us and no one else. The first place we lived, we loved, but it always was obvious that we were living in an apartment in someone else's house. The place we've moved into feels like our own. We have our own space, indoors and out, upstairs and down. It's cozy and it suits us and it is sized more appropriately for two people than the last place was. I've cooked dinner for my guy there a couple of the nights so far and done laundry in the basement and folded it while watching TV with him. It's oh-so-domestic, it just doesn't quite feel real. I suppose I have a tendency to distrust anything that seems too good to be true. But the fact is I really really love it and he does too. And as soon as we're set up for company, we hope you'll all come see how good it is.

Of course that may not be until 2012 because I find myself so tired from the move that I have no energy to unpack. But that's what I have Kris for :)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Music to Move To


Oh my God, you guys. I'm sorry. This move, it's...well, moving sucks. This is happening so fast. And the house STILL seems way too intact for people who are moving in 3 days. I am on my own tonight, which sucks because I don't have help, but at least I don't have to take care of my ailing guy, which happened the last two nights, preventing me from getting much done. 

So, this is probably the last post from this house. It's been a good place to live. My first place with my guy. Good stuff has happened here. Good parties, good holidays, good times with good friends. Good memories. But I feel like, as good as this place has been, the next one is going to be even better.

So, in the tradition of my father, who used to make mix tapes for EVERYTHING, here's the playlist of what I'll be listening to as we pack up, move out, and I try to hold on to what's left of my tiny little mind. 

R.E.M. - Accelerate
The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely
Schocholautte - just about everything
The Everyothers - Every Other
Flight of the Conchords - Flight of the Conchords
Nine Inch Nails - assorted goodness
State Radio - Us Against the Crown

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


The ol' blog's slowed down a bit lately. Lots going on with the move and stuff. I have blogs planned, I promise you, but I haven't had the time to give you the quality blogging you deserve. That'll change. Soon.

In the meantime, watch this incredibly adorable video of my 6 month-old niece on the swings with her mommy and grandma.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


When we were little, my sister and I really wanted a pet. We both loved animals so much. A coworker of my dad's had a cat who had kittens in the fall, and right around our birthdays, he brought one of them home as a present to both of us. He even helped us name her, for the holiday that fell between both our birthdays, Halloween. Weenie or Weenster for short.
We loved our kitty. We played with her all the time. She loved to chase strings or ribbons or a laser pointer dot. We tortured her, as kids do, putting her in enclosed spaces, lifting up her front legs to make her dance, or trying to walk her outside on a leash.
She got into the strangest spots. Like all cats, she liked enclosed spaces and would step into any box make herself comfortable. I don't remember how she got on top of the ladder, but I suspect it had something to do with my dad.
We had a voice for her. It was like Roseanne's voice. My mom does it best. As cats tend to be, she always seemed annoyed with anything that wasn't exactly what she wanted.
She lived with an old dog that predated her, an excitable border collie, and my own adopted stray who came into her life after she was established as the Queen of the House and would hear no challenges.
Like most cats, napping was an art for her. She always found the best places to curl up. As we grew up, she became our mom's cat, as kids' pets tend to do. My mom always took the best care of her and made sure she was petted and warm and cozy at all times.
She lived to be 21 years old. Earlier in the week, she succumbed to kidney disease and last night we let her go. We all took a turn holding her and petting her and telling her we loved her. My mom sang the silly song she made up about her when she was just a kitten. And then she went to sleep.

I like to think she'll go to the guy who first brought him home and keep him company. Farewell, Weenster. I hope where you are there's a soft blanket, lots of petting, all the soft salmon cat food you want, and someone to dangle a string or point a laser pointer. I love you, kitty.

Just this side of heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, they go to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water, and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been made ill or old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the eyes of your trusting pet, so long gone from your life, but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

Today you would have been 58. A lot has happened in the last 12 years, but I'd like to think I don't have to tell you all about it because you're somewhere where you can see it. I hope you enjoyed the Superbowl this year, we tried to do it up the way you would have. If I wasn't so sick, I'd raise a beer to you, but since I am, I'll have to toast with what you used to call "The World's Largest Orange Juice" and maybe some saltines with peanut butter too. 

I love you, Dad. Happy Birthday.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I probably should have posted this sooner...

...but I've got to move in 6 weeks and I have 15 people coming over for the Superbowl and I have been going to the gym like a demon and...I'm a bad blogger.

Check out the video for "Water on the Coast" by Schocholautte.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Little Miss Sunshine

Today's Happy Thought is kind of special. It's a realization I had about myself.

When I first found that we had to move, I had my typical High Drama reaction. I sank to the floor and started crying and wailing "What are we gonna do?" But in about ten minutes, I pulled it together and got out the door to get on with my day. When I brought it up with my mom, I cried again, but got over it. By the time I told my sister a little later, I was upset, but able to hold back the tears. 

That night, I told Kris I was doing better, but I was just pissed. There is no denying that is sucks that we are basically being evicted, having done NOTHING wrong, and forced to move on someone else's timetable, when given our choice, we  wouldn't do any of this. So we both tapped into our anger about that and shared it with each other. And then we let it go. 

Sunday, I spent time thinking about it, talking about it with Kris's family who were up for a visit, and getting excited about possibilities. What if we get more/better appliances? Or our heat bill is less? Or our place is more modern? Or my commute could be shorter? Or we have more outdoor space? There's a million ways this could make our lives better and I started to see that without very much prodding.

By the time we went to bed last night, we were talking about it as accepted fact and planning and hypothesizing about what new good things we might find. I went through real estate listings today and I'm actually pretty stoked to look at some of these places.

And another thing. I mentioned it to my coworkers and they were very sympathetic. The one who's kind of a drama queen and very negative started to go off about how unfair it is and how much it's going to suck, in the context of feeling bad for me. But I found it annoying and I just wanted it to stop. I wanted to just experience the positive side of this change and leave the negative alone.

My point is this, and those of you who've known me a while know this is true. In past years, dealing with something like this would have been a totally negative experience. I would never stop bitching and complaining about it and would frequently stress and get upset over it, like it's the end of the world. And now, my processing time for that sort of thing is much shorter and I'm able to see the bright side without having it underlined and highlighted for me. 

I'm incredibly proud of this kind of growth. I know it has a lot to do with Kris, from him teaching me to deal better with situations like this, from him being someone I can rely on for help in situations like this, and a little because I know he gets tired of my drama in situations like this. In the future, I'd like to eliminate the High Drama reaction (possible) and only ever see the positives (doubtful), but for now I'm happy with how much I've grown and I'll celebrate that.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Starting Over. Again.

We're moving. We have to be out of our house by March 15th. So, if I don't have a lot of time to update, you'll know why. Here's what happened.

You probably know the part where our landlady wanted to sell the house, tried to sell it to us, we couldn't afford it, and so she put it on the market. There were a few weeks of showings and judging by how they went, we expected that it would take a long time to get the place sold. We reconsidered our options, realized we didn't have enough money to buy anything that we would want to own, and decided that, since we were going to rent anyway, and it didn't seem like our place was going anywhere, we would just stay here awhile. We had just gotten used to that idea.

This morning our landlady knocked on our door to inform us that she accepted an offer on her house and that if all goes well, we all have to be out by March 15th. This comes as a total shock, knowing that she rejected three offers less than two weeks ago because they were too low and having been told that she would not accept any less than she was asking, saying she'd rather stay here than lose money. So we are surprised to learn that in this market, someone actually offered her the price we figured that no one would give her. 

This is not terrible news. As much as we love our place, the amount of the space and the incredibly low rent, there are other things we wish we had in this place that hopefully we will be able to find in a new apartment. Mostly what upsets me is that I am suddenly being made to do this on someone else's schedule and that the decision is made for me. I don't get a choice. I have to spend the next 2 months in total upheaval and leave a place we are perfectly comfortable in. Thanks, Universe.

So wish us luck and offer us help and support because we will need it. And when this whole thing is over, the party's at our place (assuming our new landlord is cool.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes. We. Can.

I was incredibly inspired watching the inauguration today. I admired the gravity in our president's face as he took on the solemn job of leading our country to a bright new day. He didn't look overjoyed. That would have been all wrong. A man facing this many challenges should know how hard the road ahead will be and that was all said by his face as he entered, even before he spoke those inspiring words.

What struck me most as I watched, was the massive size of the crowd gathered on the National Mall. I cannot ever remember knowing of an occasion in my lifetime where that many people gathered for one purpose. I admire those people, for braving the cold and the crowds, sure, but more for setting aside their lives and making a point to be there. To show up to support our president. To say, we are here and you can count on us. I realized that there was no good reason that I wasn't there myself other than it never occurred to me to go. I wish I had been there to witness history, but at least I am aware of the shift that happened today.

The crowd made me think. Look at all those people here for this one thing. Imagine what all those people could accomplish if they worked together to try to solve our problems. And as naive and idealistic as that may seem, I think that that is what this is all about. President Obama is here to lead us, to show us the way, to teach us to work together to solve the problems of our nation that were caused by doing just the opposite. So I say, let's not let him down. Let's do what we came here to do. Let's not let the battle cry of the campaign die out, but instead let us put it into action.

For me it all goes back to one of the earliest pieces of campaign propaganda. Before Obama was a rockstar, when he was a relatively unknown politician from Illinois. Will.I.Am made this inspiring video that still moves me. So let's follow it's call to action. 

Yes. We. Can.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Back in the Blog of Things

It would seem that quitting the bookstore has one other added bonus: more time to blog!
  • Spent nights in watching some GREAT movies. If we miss a movie in the theater, we don't always catch up, but my foresight about the weather caused me to ask Kris to rent stuff in time and we got to see Burn After Reading, Tropic Thunder, and War Inc. BAR was great, classic Coens, really clever and funny. TT was even funnier than I expected it to be. We were howling from the very first minute. I mean Jesus that movie is funny. War, Inc. was interesting. It had a few too many things going on, but it was funny and insightful and everybody in it (Tomei, the Cusacks, and even Hilary Duff) was great.
  • Cooked up some yumminess. Made myself Light Blueberry Muffins and homemade Mushroom Barley Soup, both of which I have been enjoying all week, as Kris has been with his improvised raisin-flax muffins.
  • Had a fun Saturday night out with the Schocholautte girls. The gig was kind of a bust, but at least we got to hang out and I looked great. And it will be recorded in history as the first instance of a merch table at a Schocholautte show.
  • Hung out with my sis and her fiancee on Sunday for the Steeler game and our team was greatly victorious. Added bonus: went shopping in her closet and came away with a few great items to wear on my upcoming business trip.
  • Successfully endured a 2-hour workout on Saturday morning, including water aerobics and Zumba. I've really started to take this physical fitness thing to the next level and I feel like 2 hours is the right amount of activity, as long as the other hour is less strenuous than Zumba :)
  • Tried yoga at the gym. I could do without the Native American, Kenny G-esque music the teacher used, but I found it relaxing and feel it will do me good if I can make it to that Monday night class more often.
  • Spent last night hanging out with Frankie V (my former bookstore boss) and Co. at her house. I find it's more rare these days that friends will invite you over to their house to hang out and that it's more often a case of "let's go out and do something." Both are different kinds of fun, but I do enjoy the "come over and play" aspect of chillin at someone's house. The girls were great, they didn't have to work today so they were getting wasted on Jack and being extremely silly. I sat back as a semi-sober observer and laughed my ass off.
  • I FINISHED MY PROJECT. As of early yesterday afternoon, I completed management on a project that was solely my own AND I finished it on time, YEAH BITCHES! It did make me angry, miserable, and anxious by turns but it all came out well and I learned A LOT. Work is kind of a boring drag, but as unpleasant as that is, it is a relief-filled change from the frantic pace. I'm going to be given something else to be in charge of shortly, but in the meantime, I'm taking it easy and looking forward to my business trip.
  • I have a LOT of things left to look forward to this month. Quitting the bookstore has totally freed up my schedule and I have filled it with wonderful things to do! But I will save blogging about those until after I've done them or this will go on FOREVER.
So, what happy stuff has happened to you in the last week? 

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

101 by 30 - The Ones I've Already Done

The wonderful fabulous Miss Sarah gave me a book she no longer needed after last spring. It has kind of languished on my desk for a while as time has ticked down, but it's time to dive into it while I still have time. So make it feel a little less daunting, I started by going through and finding the things I've already done, and as it turns out, I'm already halfway done. I'll try to keep up with posting the other half (with stories) as I get them done, but for now - 
  • Swim naked.
  • Break all your parents' arbitrary rules.
  • Dump toxic friends.
  • Speak a foreign language.
  • Buy a kick-ass mattress.
  • Create your own sisterhood. 
  • Travel solo.
  • Know your friends' family trees.
  • Embrace your inner eight-year-old.
  • Make the first move.
  • Master a signature family recipe.
  • Quit something.
  • Google yourself.
  • Hold your booze.
  • Masturbate.
  • Claim your granny panties.
  • Make brownies from scratch.
  • Exorcise the words "like" and "you know" from your vocabulary.
  • Find your religion.
  • Write thank-you notes for everything.
  • Declare your birthday a national holiday.
  • Minimize pointless drama.
  • Own your mistakes.
  • Get health insurance.
  • Hook up something high-tech by yourself.
  • Be a gracious guest.
  • Invest in earplugs.
  • Walk in heels.
  • Have a mantra.
  • Do it somewhere risky.
  • Open a bottle of champagne.
  • Make more money than you spend.
  • Eat soy.
  • Kick one habit.
  • Defy gravity (have a bra fitting).
  • Own a cashmere sweater.
  • Sleep in a hammock.
  • Own a toolbox with all the basics.
  • Jettison your "skinny" jeans.
  • Get a massage.
  • Fall in love (or lust) without blowing off your friends.
  • Care about where your food comes from.
  • Carry something to read, a notebook, and a pen at all times.
  • Be a dork.
  • Make a killer cocktail.
  • Read your old diaries.
  • Cry often.
  • Learn how not to be a flake.
  • Give yourself a make-under.
  • Be notorious for something.
  • Bounce back.
How many have YOU done?