Have you ever made eggs and bacon? At 1am? After a night of disappointment and angst? (Did I really just use the word "angst"? Yes. Yes I did. To my shame.) Then you know how glorious it is. You start the bacon in the skillet, obviously heating it up well and good before putting it on, then turning it down to low. It sizzles and pops on the hot surface. You get ready for bed, carefully listening to it hiss its' last on your stove top. You thank the pig for its' brutal sacrifice. But at 1 am, you're just tipsy enough not to care enough to really dwell on the horror that is factory farming (no doubt where your food has come). As you wait and listen, you feel the bitter pang of disappointment - of the evening, of people, but mostly, of the non-openness of the Chinese restaurant upon which the hopes and dreams and full stomach-nessed of your evening rested. You head towards the bathroom to do your night's ablutions as the fat in the pan steams and wisps your way. Your keen sense of hearing can tell it's juuuuust time to turn the strips of pig-flesh over to ensure proper done-ness. Again, you try to ignore the factory farm horror-story. Instead, you play with your cat, who has missed your presence all day and can be no happier than to be in your arms, purring, and licking your face. Finally, oh, finally, you know it is time to add the golden egg. You walk to the stove and see the near doneness of your pig-fat and flesh. You take a cool, oblong shell out of the case, feeling its weight in your hand. Mercilessly, you bring it down on the edge of the pan, hearkening forth its golden glory. Cold, wet, it falls into the hot, sparking hell that is the skillet, doomed along-side the stripes of bacon. The pan is so hot, the golden-white nugget starts cooking before you can even grab your tool of ultimate destruction: the blue spatula of doom. You swiftly grab your weapon and set to work, decimating, seasoning, and stirring your foe and food. Before you quite realize what has happened, it is over. Your instrument of glory is covered in the golden gore that is your egg. The pig-fat oil has effectively sizzled your food to perfection, and you plop it delicately on a red plate - symbolic of your hard-won conquest, is it not? At last, you retire to your abode, to enjoy the ministrations of your attendant and enjoy the meat and egg of your labour. As you shovel it hastily, unashamedly, and perfectly into your mouth, you realize, everything is a little bit better...with bacon grease.
I've always thought these quotes were a load of bollocks. But (as seems to be happening increasingly lately) I find myself changing my mind. How apropos.
I don't like how I've been thinking (and consequently, acting). In my own eyes I've become whiney and a real complainer. How very unattractive, not to mention utterly unappealing. I made a decision I thought was the right one; an opportunity dropped into my lap, so I seized it. I thought I could work and work and work and not need a break. Turns out, I'm actually not a machine. Honestly, that was news to me.
Saturday night I found myself in a funk for no apparent reason. I figured it was just because I've been in such a great mood for the past month or so, I was over-due for some storm clouding. But that was me simply reverting back to an old mindset. I have been doing so much personal growth over this past year, and even though it's often a struggle, I know it's a healthy change. So, I let myself delve into what was making me upset; every little thought or desire, no matter how "stupid" or "trivial" I had unconsciously labeled them. Instead of tamping them down and pretending they don't exist because they're "not important" or "idiotic", I need to recognize and accept them for what they are - for who I am - and, either, let them go, or realize it's ok to live with them.
And I've realized it's ok to dwell on the good. I have a habit of always looking at things with a slant eye, expecting the worst (how I won the "Optimist" award in 8th grade, I have no idea). It's a defense to keep myself from being hurt by disappointment. But in protecting myself from disappointment, I'm also keeping myself from complete joy in any endeavor I undertake. Yes, I made a decision that turned out to be a lot tougher than I expected. That happens - maybe I just haven't experienced it much in my life yet, which is why it has been so jarring. Good decisions can still have consequences or negative side effects. But I need to stop focusing on the pain and hardship and enjoy the blessings, for they are myriad.
I never understood how one could "pick their thoughts". I always believed you thought what you thought. How could you choose what popped into your mind? I now imagine it's not so much picking what thoughts you have, as selecting which thoughts you choose to entertain for any length of time. Say I have a negative thought that pops up. I should acknowledge and accept it, then let it go, instead of stewing in it and letting it color all my thoughts and actions for the rest of the day.
You know what's going to be REALLY fun? Sticking to this when I'm drunk.
When I was a child, I was surrounded by music - my father's constant singing under his breath, my siblings various bands and jam sessions with friends. But my favorite was listening to sister Jessica and Grandma Nell play the piano. I would curl up on the couch and let the music wash over me, or dance madly around my grandma's living room to her bright tunes. It was soothing, comforting, and enlivening all at once.
Moving to NY, I hadn't ever thought about leaving that behind. It wasn't until Heidi's baby grand piano was tuned and she was playing it this morning that it washed over me. And let me repeat: BABY. GRAND. PIANO. What?! Yep. Heidi bought herself an early birthday present of a beautiful baby grand. And guess what. It fits perfectly in the Studio (which she has fantastically named White Pelican Studio). It sits regally in the quirky, air-shaft windowed corner, like it was made for our home. It doesn't crowd the room, something about which we were both slightly concerned.
Curled up on the couch, listening to Heidi play this morning, I mused on childhood memories and why I find live piano music so soothing. I think it has to do with the deep vibrations. I've always been a rather high-strung, anxious person, but sitting and listening to a piano play, or petting a purring cat, the notes and rhythms thrum in my chest and help calm and relax me. Always one to be working, I have a hard time sitting down and doing nothing. But when I listen to someone play, I don't feel like I'm wasting my life away by not running around doing stuff. It's a beautiful thing.
I encourage you to take time to sit down with a cup of tea, relax, and listen to the music.
When I knew I'd be moving, it was very bittersweet. While I was ready for a new living space, I was sad I wouldn't be living above Hibernia and right in the middle of the city, within walking distance of work, theatres, and rehearsals. I'd be spending a significant amount of time of each precious day simply commuting.
You know what? I don't mind any of that! I enjoy the commute home each night, because it feels like I really am going Home. It's funny to feel the difference between my neighborhood and heading to work in the middle of Times Square - smelly, sticky, hot, and full of obnoxious tourists. I was stressed last night and just wanted to sit in my backyard and have a few drinks, and that's exactly what I did! It's healthy for me to be surrounded by greenery and living, thriving plants.
We are slowly but surely settling in. Heidi has painted the livingroom and kitchen. I've (finally) figured out what I want to do with the bathroom, so that will be next. I still need to decide a paint color for my bedroom, and after it's painted I can put up my artwork and figure out what I'm going to do for "closet" space.
I took a contemporary dance class for the first time the other day, and it was terrific! I really loved how organic it was and how you crafted a story based on the movement - in Theatre dance, oft times the dance is created around the song's story. This was new and exciting for me, and I look forward to taking more contemporary classes in the future.
I also am going to be face painting at FAO Schwartz! I'm very excited to be painting again, and I've wanted to paint for FAO for a while.
Also, I'm happy to be able to offer a special rate for Queen of the Night reservations this summer, Sundays-Thursdays! If you're interested, contact me at email@example.com.
I'm writing this from my bed, in my new bedroom, overlooking my new back garden. I wake up to birdsong every morning, and am using my hours before work to stretch and do yoga in our sun-soaked living room. I also drink a cup of tea to start my engine. All in all, it's bliss.
Strider took the move pretty hard the first day. He'd never travelled on the subway before, and dumping him in a completely new environment was rough. But he is a trooper and bounced back by the second night. His new favorite place is on top of the refrigerator, beneath our cupboards :)
My kitchen is divine! Truly beautiful. Large, open, plenty of light, and a DISHWASHER!!! I used it for the first time the second night I was there to clean a bunch of kitchen tools before I put them away, and it was glorious to hear it hum. And the entire apartment gets so much light that I am constantly popping into a room to turn the light off only to realize the light is completely natural! Heidi is a fantastic roommate.
I'm currently living out of boxes, which I know is rough for Heidi's sense of cleanliness and order, but I'm slowly and surely making this place my home. Hearkening back to college days, my first meal at my new home was cup-o'-noodles, but I put it in a dish to be all fancy and adult :)
I'll post pictures of our living room and studio space at another time. Probably do a "before and after" type post, as I have some grand plans for some of the rooms. I'm actually quite excited!
One of the things I wanted when it came to moving was time. I didn't want to be forced to find a place just because I was on a deadline, and I didn't want to hurry and do everything in one day. I got my wish. And I wish I was at my new place already!!
I thought I'd never want to leave my current apartment or neighborhood. But I am so in love with my new pad I just want to spend all my time there. However, my lease isn't up until the end of the month, and I have a rm staying with me through that time - I can't just pick up and move everything until our pre-agreed upon time. Funny how sometimes when you get what you want, it's not always what you thought...
I'll leave you with a few pictures of my gorgeous new place (my new rm took these). I was up there the other day and spent the morning sitting out in the backyard, enjoying the sunshine and birdsong. I look forward to many more mornings like that.
You know how my last post ended with me wanting to move? Funny story - I am! This has been in the works since last August but, for one reason or another, kept getting pushed back as my needs kept changing. But in the space of about a week, everything solidified and a lease was signed. Whew! There really is nowhere else like the NYC real estate market. Take a journey with me back to August last year...
My roommate (and dear friend) Carolyn was headed to Texas with her bf to work the school year at Magik Theater, a children's theatre in San Antonio. I briefly considered joining them. However, I really am not one for children's theatre, and even though it's a higher standard of living at a lower cost, I knew I wouldn't be happy away from NYC. I decided to stay and as my lease was up at the end of the year, I'd look for a larger, less expensive place and get a rm.
A few weeks after deciding this, I found out I was up for lottery housing I'd applied for when I first moved to NYC (and completely forgot!). Lottery Housing is when a new parcel of luxury apartments is going up and a certain percentage of those apartments need to go to lower income people. In essence, I would have been able to live in a lavish, brandspankin' new, 1bedrm apartment in my current neighborhood for dirt cheap. I couldn't believe my luck! After endless hours of paperwork and crunching numbers, I submitted EVERYTHING they required, only to be told I didn't make enough to qualify. WHAT?! I talked to my financial people and we re-submitted. This time, I made too much! WHAT??? It was frustrating because the people running the lottery kept changing their minds - when I gave them what they'd asked for, they wanted something else. They weren't forthcoming about what they NEEDED and HOW they were looking at my income. They had only ever asked for my year-to-date info, so that's what I gave them, but they really were projecting out to the end of the year, which is something I could have provided them better than their guessing.
Long story short (too late), after 3 appeals and re-submissions of paperwork, the final answer was that I was over their income limit - by $900. Seriously? At this point I was too exhausted to fight it any further (keep in mind this had gone on from August 2013-Feb 2014). Thankfully, I have a terrific landlord who was willing to do a month-to-month deal with me, which kept me from going crazy from stress. As this was the case, I decided I wanted to take my time to find something that I loved and could settle down in for the foreseeable future.
Apartment hunting, as I mentioned, is a different beast in NYC altogether. Most places you can walk up to the leasing office, say you want to live there, fill out the paperwork, and done. Not so here. Everywhere goes through a broker (if you're lucky, the landlord pays the broker fee - which was my experience w/ my first apt here). If the landlord doesn't pay their fee, you are saddled w/ a hefty bill on top of the first AND last month deposit AND the security deposit. It makes my stomach flip just thinking about how much money goes into renting an apartment here. (I had even considered purchasing a place, because at these prices, why not rent to own instead of renting and that money just disappearing every month? But in the end I decided that wasn't the wisest course of action...for now.) After weeks of dealing with various brokers, getting stood up by brokers (more than once! WTF?!), and seeing places that didn't fit my criteria, I was fed up with looking.
A glimmer of light appeared on the edge of my apartment hunting horizon, when out of the blue my friend Heidi said she'd love to live with me. Not only had I been hunting for an apartment alone, I was of the persuasion I'd get a place then find a rm, another massive hurdle in and of itself. But I could see myself living with Heidi. And it'd be so much easier with a partner in crime with whom to work! We pooled our ideas about what we wanted/needed in a new place, and the search began again.
Heidi was out of town while I started looking (again). By the end of the second week I was tired and annoyed, but decided to see ONE last apartment before giving up and letting Heidi do the next round. I hauled myself up to Hamilton Heights and when I stepped into the unit, I immediately knew this is where we needed to live. Spacious and sun-drenched, there is so much room and it has a very homey feel. It's an old building owned by the Russian church next door. There are only three units in the building, and the first floor unit is being renovated. The upstairs couple has lived there for 15 years! I really liked the owner upon meeting him - very straightforward and honest, which was refreshing, to say the least. The kitchen is huge and sunny, with plenty of counter space AND a dishwasher!!! To top it all off, we have access to the back garden and patio. I'm so excited we are moving in right in time to enjoy summer days and warm nights outside. And there is plenty of room to have friends and guests over, which is a major blessing.
It's a little higher in price than I'd wanted, but I believe it is worth it. I can't wait to start moving in May 14th! Though I'll miss all the bars and restaurants in Hell's Kitchen, it'll be great to have space and a place to settle down, become a little more domestic, and truly relax and unwind after work each day.
Pictures to come when we move in!! (and if anyone wants to help, pizza and beer is on me.... :)
Remember that time when I felt confident in my ability to overcome any 'roach problem I may face here in the concrete jungle? I hearken back to my first post, written a little over 2 years ago. Well, many things have changed since then. I graduated college, performed Shakespeare, booked jobs, quit jobs, built a sizable resume, was hired on in a full-time capacity at an off-broadway show, and, apparently somewhere along the way, lost my ability to conquer 'roaches in any situation. Even dead ones. Let me elucidate.
It's 12.45am. It's been a long, exciting, fulfilling day off, and I am ready to get some shut eye. I settle down on my lovely, new, queen size bed and, of course, CAN'T fall asleep. I toss and turn. Stry gets up, gives me a back massage, goes to eat, snuggles some more, then wanders off. I toss and turn a little more. Fluff my pillow. Look out the window. My eyes find their way down to my compilation of Shakespeare's plays in my window sill. How long have I left that there, I wonder. Then, from the glow of outside light gleaming into my darkened abode, I see something that SHOULD. NOT. BE. I hastily reach for my light, but, alas! It's unplugged! I leap off my bed and race for the light switch.
At that moment, I hear Strider vomiting in the bathroom. Torn between going to help and comfort my little love and confirming in the unforgiving light that which I know is lurking on the window sill, of course I go to Stry. After cleaning up the floor and comforting my boy, the moment has come. I dash to my bedroom and vault onto the covers, scrambling over the pillows to face my enemy. A Giant. Ugly. Long Limbed. Possiblyatonepointflyingbuthopefullynowdead. Devil in squirm-inducing form. Yes, dear readers. A cockroach. When was the last time I met a nefarious foe of this ilk? Too recently, dear readers. Too. Recently.
Pretty sure (but not QUITE sure enough), the beast was dead, I hasten to the kitchen to retrieve my handy-dandy dust-buster, thinking to suck the intruder up. But, AH! It's TOO BIG! Too. Big. What to do? My mind flips through all the various people I could call for help. Friend's in the city? Won't get here fast enough. Strider? The furry little cutie already failed in protecting me once. Rebekah? She'd be freaked out, too. Boyfriend? Don't have one. Mom? .....
So yes, dear readers, as you may have guessed, I called good ol' mom. Very good ol' mom in this case, because not only did I wake her up (sorry about that), but when I tried to let her go back to bed, she asked if I wanted her to stay on the line while I dealt with the bugbear. (Which, of course, I did :)
9 minutes, folks. 9. Minutes. That's how long it took me to get the brown/black bug from the windowsill to the toilet, to be flushed away for(hopefully)ever.
And that is why I am writing this (long overdue) post, at 1.48am. Because, even though I've dragged my bed to be an island in the middle of the bedroom, I'm horrified about what might go crawling in the night. I'm grossed out, because I'm SURE that dark specter had its creepy legs ALL OVER my pillows and blankets. I'm exhausted because I just had a fright and adrenaline coursing through my body for the third time today.
But can we just take a moment to appreciate that every time Stry throws up, an evil, giant bug does NOT decide to appear? Anyone? Just me...?
A few months ago, I wanted spaghetti and realized I was out of sauce! Gasp! Horror! Instead of dashing out to spend money on a jar of delicious red gloop, I looked at the ingredients I had laying around and decided to try making my own sauce. Ambitious, right?
Turns out, it was super easy and completely delicious! Not to mention affordable and provides plenty of variations - you can add meat, mushrooms, onions, different spices, the list is practically endless! I'm still tweaking the recipe, and doubt I'll make it the same way every time, but for now this is a delicious, solid pasta sauce. You could add some citric acid to help it keep, but I find it lasts at least a week in the 'fridge just fine, and it rarely lasts that long anyway (have I mentioned how much I love pasta, esp. now that I can get it all GF?).
Last week I found out I'd been rejected for the lottery housing I'd been in the running for since August last year. Major bummer. I really thought I'd get this awesome and affordable 1 bedroom in a brand new luxury building in my same neighborhood and I'd be set for my future here in NYC. Hah. Silly Julia.
When I found out, I was pretty upset - I'm not sure "devastated" is quite the word, but definitely crushed. Suddenly, I found myself reeling under a tidal wave of confusion about what I'm even doing with my life. I dub those 32ish hours my Quarter Life Crisis.
I am so thankful for my friends that I chatted with at length; their input and sharing really helped me come to terms with my situation and feelings of confusion/over-whelmedness over this crazy little thing called Life.
I also discovered (much to my chagrin), I can't do everything. GASP! WAH?! I know. It surprised me, too. I've always been Ms. Multi-tasker, taking on everything all at once. Well, I realized this week that I don't NEED to tackle my projects in one fell swoop; and, in fact, I've been needlessly over-stressing myself by doing just that. Let me elucidate.
This week, I'm taking on a slightly higher position at work - filling in for a woman who's on vacation. It involves a lot of detail, and I've been super nervous about the whole thing, but also very excited. I also found out I didn't get the lottery housing and (for some reason) decided I needed to 1. Find an apartment and 2. Move in by April. What?! Instead of focusing on my top priority (successfully filling in at work), I was pulling myself in all sorts of crazy directions and getting engulfed by the stress. Thankfully, the night before I took over, I got my head on straight.
I realized it's OK not to cram my life trying to do everything all at once. I'm the one putting these ridiculous pressures on myself - and needlessly! Something that's come up frequently the past several week is that "busy" isn't necessarily good OR productive. I can't begin to describe how true I've found this to be!
I'm endeavoring to give myself grace and peace, and not worry about everything all at once. I found this picture on pinterest, and found it incredibly apt for