fireworks sometimes make me sad.

not as a concept, of course. i dig fireworks, especially the ones that glitter and sparkle in the sky for a while. i wish i could see them at times that aren’t the fourth of july or new year’s eve, and i like going to baseball games that have fireworks at the end.

for the duration of every fireworks show i have ever viewed, i’ve been a little bit anxious. because all i can think about, while this glorious, fire in the sky display is happening, is that it’s going to be over. it’s going to end and it will all be over and how will i remember, how will i hold on to something so pretty?

i’m terrible at endings. i mean, i don’t know anyone who claims a special talent for them, but – i am just so overtaken with anxiety at the idea of the clock running down. it is a very specific thing and ties right in with my difficulties making choices without seeing all of the options and my preoccupation with order and completion. but imminent endings, they are one of my undoings.

i got to see fireworks this year. i haven’t seen a solid display in several years, and i often remember my family heading down to jones beach to see the grucci show. i loved running around the sand dunes at sunset, and settling down on a blanket in the sand, and not knowing or caring about the horrible traffic jam we’d encounter on the way out, just getting lost in giant fire explosions over the ocean.

and as soon as they started, as always, i could only think of when they’d be over. how long would they last? how many would i get? would it be satisfying? would i feel cheated? how could i remember and hold onto every. last. one. and lord, it was so immediately exhausting.

so i said…how about not, this time? how about i just watch and enjoy what’s happening, put my phone away because i NEVER take a good fireworks photo, and just follow along. how about i just accept what is given me. how about i choose not to care when it ends.

and for the next fifteen minutes, that is exactly what i did. it was a beautiful show with good friends, just off the beach, and i felt so incredibly free to enjoy it fully.

six months in

it’s a little over six months – almost seven, really, since my last day at work.

which is a funny thing to say because i assuredly still work. even if my boyfriend sees me still tucked into bed when he is venturing out into the cold in the morning (i’m sorry. i know that’s hard. forgive me.)

it’s hard from inside of self-employment, you guys. it is very hard. and that’s impossible to know before you head into it. you can read about it and you can be prepared for it but you cannot know it. and really, that’s alright. there is a part of dreaming where you should be dedicated to the good parts, the things that will sparkle and shine.

what it feels like from inside is this: am i doing enough for my clients? am i doing a good job, period? do i have too many clients? do i have enough clients? how do i decide what the right amount of clients is? i have other projects besides client work – when am i ever supposed to work on them? am i making enough money? what does enough money even mean? is there ever enough money? i’m not marketing myself. shit, i really should be marketing myself. i would love to do that training thing or go to that conference but its many thousands of dollars so lol. i finished a thing! i answered six emails! i get to pee and have lunch now! ugh, today is hard. am i allowed to go read a book now? i mean, that’s why i did this, right, so i’d be able to do whatever i wanted whenever i wanted? you mean that’s not how it works? i was lied to! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN, QUARTERLY TAXES?!? *gets email* oh, my client is thrilled with my work, i’m gonna go glow forever now.

so, that’s a lot. it is constant cacophony. i have no idea if it will be right for me forever – and i also imagine the shape of what i do is going to change over time – but i am enjoying the ride while i’m on it, right now.

here’s the good stuff. i was able to go see dear friends for two weeks, because i could take my work with me. i was able to go see a friend who has a six month old baby for a full day on a thursday. i do not really get up before 8 – yes i have seen all of the articles about the most productive people in the world getting up at ungodly times and i am just not interested. i have incredible freedom over my time and energy and i value that in a way that i don’t know how to describe in words.

the other good stuff is that business is really good and i am doing fine. i have not had to dig into my savings to support myself and keep up my share of my household monthly expenses. although the bouncer has been two hundred percent supportive and when we talked about all of this and potential financial instability, he offered to shore me up, i haven’t had to take advantage of that kindness and i am extraordinarily proud of that. (he did buy me a new computer, which was insanely generous). my inbox is totally full of work right now, which is sometimes intimidating but mostly amazing. i’ve been approached about big, exciting projects that scare the hell out of me, which makes me know that i should take them on.

the secret, the whole time, was that i didn’t quite believe that i could do this. i saved money as a backup plan, enough to support myself for a skint 9 months, and a solid part of me felt i would just run through it and then have to go get another job. and that might happen, someday, i know, but it hasn’t happened yet and i am mystified and thrilled and truly, for real proud of myself.

i’m also learning about a whole new world of self-care habits, and one of them is getting out of the house every day. i have what amounts to a two room apartment, with a huge bedroom and a living room/kitchen combo. the desk is in the bedroom (there is no room for it anywhere else), and your office being the same as your bedroom is not ideal, to say the least. fortunately, i live in Brooklyn where there’s no shortage of trendy coffeeshops to go and spend a few dollars on a chai and a pastry or sandwich and buckle down with some wifi.

i worked at home this morning and then, when i got hungry for lunch, i packed up and came out. I had a BLT with avocado on a croissant and when i looked around at my little table, at my three notebooks all filled with the work i have to do (and one just for my words, in case i couldn’t plug my computer in – the cover of it is the photo for this post), i was struck, as i am sometimes, with the idea that i am doing it. it is the middle of the afternoon and i’ve chosen where i want to be and what i want to be doing and i am doing this thing. i am really, actually, living this life and doing this thing and i’m grateful for every person and thing and experience that helped me get here and i am proud as hell.

notes from a weekend.

outside is lovely, and a key element to sanity. a long walk on the first mild day in memory does your soul wonders. breathe deeply. practically feel the vitamin d synthesizing in your bones. appreciate.

Prospect Park, Brooklyn

it is good to recapture a sense of carefree abandon, to let your constant stresses relax away for a few hours. you’ll feel remarkably lighter. and everything will get done, in due time.

Me - a selfie in the park

drinking wine and playing games with good friends never ever gets old. it’s rejuvenating.

a guest lesson from Kim: do not let the fear of the picture not being original stop you from taking it. you are building proficiency. capture what inspires you.

Subway Tracks, Brooklyn

writing with a pen and paper is inherently different from writing online. you never know what will emerge and escape. you will breathe easier once it comes out.

every night is nicer when you fill your room with candlelight. or even, like in times long past, with the smoke of incense.

Villa Bergamot Candle

list #2: 2013 via instagram.

i’m getting really into the role of images and photos in my world – i’ve been exploring a lot of local/popular tags on instagram and i talked in a post last week about my newfound adoration of tumblr. scrolling through my instagram feed, i found myself remembering some of the finer moments of last year. i’m pretty terrible at year in review things that happen in december, but clearly i’m quite good when they happen in late january. so here are 12 good moments that happened last year, conveniently separated into months.

2013 in review


(we’re starting at the top left and going across the rows)

january: rang in the new year with wafels and dinges (one of my very favorite food trucks), watching fireworks in prospect park.

february: i went to harry potter world with the bouncer, tiff, and her husband nick. we also went on a five day cruise, but i chose the hp world photo because i can’t remember the last time i was so full of unadulterated joy. please see evidence via my tears when the bouncer surprised me with a wand and robe. this photo is from the legit three broomsticks cafe.

march: nothing truly momentuous happened, but i did take this photo while we were out for the bouncer’s birthday celebration and i love the way it came out.

april: by this point, i’d begun taking on freelance clients and decided to legitimize myself via business cards from zazzle. i’m incredibly proud of the strides i made professionally last year, the skills i taught myself and honed, and the extra money i was able to pull in.

may: bloggers in sin city, obviously. there was no one photo i could choose that had people in it, so to save myself that agonizing decision, i went with this one of the hanging lanterns in the wynn (or maybe the encore, they’re connected and i’m never sure which is which).

june: i took an amazing trip down to dc to celebrate lauren’s birthday, and berto was kind enough to host me in his home and show me the city. it was an injection of joy and friendship and laughter and pure amazing. this photo is after the road trip from philly with raoul and ed, when we magically ran into tom in the hotel.

july: we took a trip down to coney island with paula and jr. second summer i’ve had a coney island trip and now it’s going to be a tradition.

august: and then we had a picnic in central park with paula and jr. please note, one of the photos i could’ve chosen from june was a trip to atlantic city with paula and jr so in short, we became pretty good friends with paula and jr this year.

september: i went away for the weekend for the actress’ birthday, and she got a hold of a beautiful mountain house in pennsylvania. after spending the night, we went on a hike at glen onoko falls. and then i fell in love with nature. IT IS SO COOL YOU GUYS. (have i mentioned i am often very late to the party?) (also note, if you follow that link, i am really desperate to see these falls during the winter. that ice looks truly incredible.)

october: the bouncer and i ran away to the mountains, mostly because i was excited to do more hiking. we stayed in the most precious little cabin and had an amazing, recharging getaway. we’re hoping to make it an annual tradition.

november: i joined my local CSA for the fall/winter share. i’ve gotten incredible farm fresh vegetables all winter, i’ve made an abundance of delicious soups, and i got to know my community a little better. next, we’ll be doing the summer fruit and veggie share and possibly also a meat share from the same farm.

december: you’d think i’d post something christmasy, but no. i didn’t go crazy on the christmas instagrams this year. this photo is from the union square holiday market, which i was dashing through with a friend from work after visiting julep’s popup shop here in new york.

gratitude, volume 1

i was asked by amanda a few weeks ago to participate in #30daysofthanks, which is a thing that goes around these grand interwebs every november. i didn’t answer, for a few reasons. the first is that i was traveling, which is not my natural state and not all that easy for me (so much worry, so many things to do and take care of). the second is that i’m pretty bad at gratitude (but that’s probably all the more reason why i should practice it). the third is that i have been really deep in the hole of feelings. i have a whole post written about that, and we’ll see if it sees the light of day.

today, however, has been a blessed reprieve. i have had a glorious brooklyn autumnal morning and early afternoon, and since we are ten days into the gratitude project, i can come up with 10 things i am grateful for. also, i like lists.

1. my king size memory foam bed. yep. this is shallow. i’m ok with that. every single time i travel, i am super grateful to come home to my bed which is made of pure awesome. the bouncer is bouncer sized and in order to avoid nightly smotherings i demanded a king size bed. when we came up with a memory foam for $500 on amazon, we were sold. at least three times a week, we audibly sigh with relief and joy while sinking into the bed at the end of the night.

2. my work, and my coworkers. i’m fortunate enough to have a job i really like, most days, with people who make me smile and laugh, all of the days. i love that i work for a cause, i love that my natural talents are involved in my work. there are days, especially recently, where it is astonishingly difficult to make myself get out of bed. it’s a little easier knowing i’m about to spend 8 hours at a place that i’m usually really fond of.

3. lessons and realizations, even if they are old news. most of the time, i’m pretty sure no one likes me. and you know, i’m kind of safe and comfortable in that place – i would open myself to disappointment if i did think that i was likable and then no one liked me, so it’s just much easier to presume the worst and get on with life. but i forget that we are not robots, i especially am not a robot, and that kind of life, it hurts all of the time. so when i step outside of a bar, where a very sweet and cool and nice person is hosting a meetup with lots of other sweet, cool, and nice people, and i look down at myself and think, “remember, you are not like them. you are different and they will never appreciate you, because you’re not worthy,” and i can reverse that and answer myself and say, “no. you are all living, breathing humans who work to earn money and laugh and have dreams, and you are not all that different, and you know, everyone’s been really nice to you so maybe your bullshit self talk is exactly that, bullshit.” this, this is a good moment, if i can believe this for a second or a minute or maybe even an hour.

4. saying fuck it, and moving on. some things are not worth your time. some actions are inexplicable, some cruelties will never be explained. we all experience this world differently, and sometimes you just won’t get why person x did thing y. and you know what? when that thing is mean, when it hurts you, when you even suspect that you aren’t worthy of that treatment, when you try to handle it the mature way with communication and openness and vulnerability and it just doesn’t work, you are so allowed to say fuck it and move along. as a matter of fact, i encourage you to do so. it’s freeing.

5. tea. what the hell did i do before i was a tea drinker?

6. the circumstances that conspired to have me in a 2,500 square foot mansion in beverly hills for a week. i mean, it took a lot to make this happen. one of the bouncer’s friends was getting married near LA. he was a groomsman, and so were many of his/our friends. hotels nearer to the wedding were pricey. blahblity blah. at the end of the day, seven of us booked this giant, five bedroom, four bathroom, fancy ass house for a week. there was a pool and a hot tub and a full set of wine glasses and truly, this was all i needed. LA would never have been on my “places i need to go” list, and i can think of more desirable to me vacations to take with the money i spent on this trip, but really, i had an amazing time in a new and fascinating place with people i knew but had never gotten to bond with. really, that’s pretty awesome.

7. my boyfriend. this is sappy and you can feel free to skip it, and i will not blame you because other people’s sap is usually boring. i am never going to be accused of being the easiest person to love or live with or hell, spend more than an hour with. in the past three weeks, he has held me when i’ve been sobbing, probably past the point when his arms fell asleep. he’s dealt with me going from fine to really not fine in less than five seconds (i am not exaggerating). he has managed my intense and irrational frustration and anger with grace. he has never even raised his voice, at me. he tries every single day to let me know how much he cares, he asks me every morning how i am feeling, and that means how i am really feeling, and he pets my head every night until i fall asleep. we are not perfect and we have our hurdles but god, i can’t imagine how my heart would fare without him. i can’t. (and this is not an easy thing for me to admit to myself or you, so).


9. new york bagels. and maybe bacon cream cheese.

10. the internet.  fairly self explanatory, no? where else can i find new friends, buy household supplies and groceries, and look at cat videos?


flatbush and fenimore.

there are women out there who reject the term feminist, and i just cannot understand why.

there was a time when i was semi flattered by passing compliments on the street. i don’t mean classy compliments – which i’ve only ever received once, a few years back, and it is a golden little memory that i treasure. but i mean the trashy, low class, sleazy comments. there was a time when i thought, “well, at least i’m pretty enough to comment on. i guess.” i was always, however, irritated by random strangers, usually men, insisting that i smile. “smile, it can’t be that bad.” dude, you know precisely jack shit about me and my life. you don’t know if i have cancer. you don’t know if i’m on my way to my mother’s funeral. you don’t know if i have a blister that really hurts and i need to get home and take my shoes off. you do not know anything, and perhaps you should keep your opinion of what i should be doing with my face to yourself. perhaps you should just leave me alone and let me be. i wondered if this attitude made me unfriendly, and if the smile army had some kind of point.

i didn’t understand until recently that the term for this behavior is street harrassment. i didn’t understand that it is not at all a comment on how attractive you are – it’s a comment on the fact that you, as a woman, are obviously there on the street for a man’s appraisal and approval at all moments. it’s a threat. it’s to make sure you know your place, you know that even running an errand or getting home from work, you are not safe from an unwanted advance. i didn’t understand that commands to smile are commentary on how women, to some, should always be pleasant and pleasing, and how dare i be anything but. i didn’t understand that this phenomenon is a direct result of institutionalized patriarchy and repression. now, i do.

most of the time, i know the wisest response, the thing that will not cause any ruckus, is to walk right on by and not engage. and you know, deep down, i’m just really not ok with that, not even the tiniest bit. that is a tacit agreement that this behavior is ok. that you’re somehow allowed to assert yourself in my sphere of existence in an offensive way and that i am somehow ok with it. i am not fucking ok with it. and so, i’ve taken to shouting back at street harrassers. it really depends on how frustrated or stressed i am with other things going on, how i’ll react.

today there was a group of 3 guys standing around on a stoop as i walked home from the train. i honestly can’t remember everything they said as i walked by, but the smile commanding was part of it. it’s rainy and the first day back after a long weekend and hot and humid and disgusting and yes, i shouted back. i asked them why they thought anyone cared what the fuck they had to say. i shouted at them to shut up. i kept walking, turning around to yell my replies through more and more raucous laughter and more and more comments. there was a woman walking next to me – i looked her in the face, but she kept her eyes dead ahead and wouldn’t meet my gaze. i accept that i possibly seemed like an insane person, but that too was a sad reminder of how alone i was in the moment.

i barely turned my corner before i was letting out small gasps to keep from crying. in my anger, i thought some nasty racist, classist things – that’s shameful and not ok, but it’s the truth. i thought about carrying an umbrella, or better, a bat with me every day, so i could stop ineffectively shouting and instead start ACTUALLY responding when these things happen. less shameful, but still a little shameful and also true. i thought that i would really like to get out of this neighborhood, and why don’t i have the money to do that? i felt disgusting, ugly, worthless, and stupid. i considered walking back to where they were, tears in my eyes and trying to explain why this is fucked up, why it’s not ok to do this to women, to anyone. and i realized i would look even crazier, and they wouldn’t care.

i walked in and tweeted a few things about it and several of my friends were kind and supportive in return. the bouncer came home, was surprised to find me so upset, and also seemed surprised when i told him this is not the first time something like this has happened, though it doesn’t normally escalate. he wondered why i hadn’t told him about any other time. and i answered, “because it’s just a thing that happens.”

he told me right away that if i feel unsafe we should not be here. and i don’t. i don’t feel like anything bad will happen to me and i don’t feel in danger. i am sad that i can’t just make my way home from work peacefully. i’m sad that the world we live in allows and and supports this bullshit behavior. i’m sad at how remarkably shitty it feels to be on the receiving end of it, when i’d love to just brush it off. i’m sad that my response, my anger, my disallowance of it is a joke to them. i am just something to be laughed at.

i’m tempted to, but i won’t apologize for how issue ridden and feminist ranty this is of me. maybe similar things have affected you and maybe they haven’t, but tonight, this tore at my soul a little.


how to manage your weekly foodstuffs

starting at the end of last year i made a fairly significant change in my food habits. i mean, i am not anywhere near perfect (as my foursquare checkins at wafels and dinges will tell you), but nearly every day, i eat a salad for lunch. and i bring it from home. and i pack one for the bouncer too. i also usually have a home cooked dinner – the bouncer’s idea of “dinner” is “pick up my phone and see what’s close by on grubhub” – and i am wise enough to know this is far from economical or healthy.

when we first moved in here i was a little obsessed with the idea of domesticity and i was trying to make magazine and pinterest meals every night. guys, this doesn’t work when you have a full time job. it just doesn’t. i’ve narrowed it down to a rotating standard of 4-5 easy and healthy things (including keeping salad ingredients at the ready), and if i want to do something fancier i’m saving it for a weekend. some of our faves are crockpot pulled pork, fajita night (i put mine in…you guessed it, a salad), roast chicken with veggies, whole wheat ravioli with chicken sausage. the theme to follow for these dinners is quick – i was burning out, walking in the door, hunkering down to prepare a meal, and scrubbing dishes until 10pm (because the bouncer is really poor at division of household labor and i don’t like having to ask for things). i’m open to other suggestions if you’ve got them too!

amy, a long time ago, gave us the hint of precutting your veggies and storing them for the week. oh, she was so right. do you know lettuce is pretty hearty? do you know you can chop it and store it in a bag for like, days? you can. as a matter of fact, you can cook chicken strips (seasoned with homemade fajita seasoning) and black beans (seasoned with s+p, garlic powder, and a freaking ton of cumin. cumin is the answer), precut lots of lettuce, red pepper, tomato, and other veggies of your choosing, and then it will only take you five minutes at night to make your salads. bonus points: packing blueberries, blackberries, raspberries in little baggies for grab and go purposes for snacks.

another thing i love to do for breakfast is make these pinterest egg muffins. jesus, what did i even do with my life before pinterest? i don’t know. anyway, if you make these in jumbo muffin tins, just one is a decent breakfast (i use 12 eggs for 10 “muffins”, with a hearty spoonful of sausage and peppers at the bottom of the tin). they keep for the full week in a tupperware in the fridge.

as i mentioned, i had this crazy cooking schedule going on, and i simplified it significantly. bonus to this is that i’ve pretty much memorized my grocery list. i’m lucky enough to have a grocery store right at the end of my block, a five minute walk, and i can be back to my house in 40 minutes having acquired everything i need for the week. mostly.

because i use a LOT of produce, and not everything keeps, and i have a two room apartment in nyc, i do sometimes need more than i have room to get on my first shot – even though lettuce keeps well, i do not have room for five heads of romaine. i am the kind of person who does not leave home after i’ve gotten home. as a matter of fact, once i come home, it is bra off and pajama pants on, and that is how it is until showertime the next morning. i used to be exhausted by simply THINKING that i would need to leave the house after i got home BUT i have found a solution. i have sort of a fruit stand/mini grocery store that is on my walk home and feels entirely less stressy than an entire grocery store. i often stop there mid-week and stock up on some fresh fruits and veggies. i make sure to carry my canvas bags with me that day, and i am set.

all of this frees me up to watch bunheads and fondly reminisce about stereo watching it at my house and declaring the dog (a husky/corgi mix) the cutest thing she’d ever seen and vowing she’ll get one and name it doughnut.

tips and tricks, friends? time and money saving maneuvers? hand’em over!

#augustbreak – days 11-13

is it cheating to use instagram pictures? i hope not. i am an android girl and i nearly whooped for joy when instagram FINALLY came out for android, but i had no idea how much it would spark my creativity and make me appreciate the inspirational within the mundane. most fridays, my job has wine time at about 5:30, and i was two glasses into the evening walking home, and snapped these. they’re all within 50 feet of my house – the flower is down the block, the white building behind the little tree is mine, and the closeup is the stairs to my front door.

day 11

day 12

day 13

#augustbreak – days 7-10

i’m still behind, i know. but while i can fill in the gaps, i will. catching up to come, as always.

day 7

in the winter i caught a bitch of a sickness and i was in bed for days. i had been aching to go to the park and play with my camera in the cold light – it’s different in winter, thinner, trees bare and i wanted to capture it. i begged the bouncer for a walk through the park before i was really ready, and it was bitter cold, and i didn’t last long. but this was one of the shots i got.

probably my favorite from coney island day with tiff and nick, when they visited. i laid on the ground in a dress that was way too short for me to do so to grab this, and it could use some editing but i love it.

 here in brooklyn every year, there is a cherry blossom festival at the botanic gardens, which i can walk to if i so choose. i forget, sometimes, how lucky i am for this. the festival is always very crowded and neither the bouncer or i are fond of crowds, so i watched the little guide on the gardens’ website this year and we went when the first trees bloomed. i have better, clearer shots of the blossoms, but this one, i loved.

this one – it makes my heart smile. that is so cheesy, and i’m sorry. i don’t treat myself to random impulses often (except when onyi is in town and then all bets are obviously off), but while grocery shopping at the fancy supermarket in the better neighborhood in the spring, i fell in love with this tiny daffodil plant. tiny! daffodils! i think i was not using my macro setting here, but i remember being home from work one day alone, and knowing i needed to grab the light coming in the window. the true part that is happy, though, is that when the bouncer saw how giddy i was over this, he surprised me with three more plants. sometimes, he is the sweetest.

august break, revisited.

so i got me a pretty (and fancy, by my standards) camera for christmas. i am a lucky girl, in many ways.

it’s a fuji finepix. it has all sorts of neat settings regarding aperture and shutter speed. so, i present to you, a brooklyn christmas.

hey look, i have a camera! here is my bedroom!
(funny note: the ladder is in the hallway because i roasted a chicken in an aluminum pan. i also have a crappy oven and i do a bunch of cooking, so i also have an oven thermometer that hangs from the rack. the oven thermometer poked a hole in the bottom of the chicken roasting pan and i had chicken drippings making frighteningly smoky conditions and the smoke alarm was going off every six minutes. ah, holidays.)

snowflakes were my theme this year.

what was left after making nutella brownies. it did not last long.

this was a sweet potato souffle. it was damned delicious.

this was the end of a steak pinwheel. it was also damned delicious.

this is the door of a tattoo shop around the corner from me. i keep intending to get my nose repierced there one of these weekends.

cheap decorations at the local discount store. why yes, i did look like a fool walking around my neighborhood with a camera on my neck.

abita beer in the grocery store. the actress really likes abita. i don’t drink beer (or anything with bubbles), but i try to know these things about my friends.

my block, slightly overexposed. i am fond of too much light in pictures, i find.

also on my block. also overexposed. also, yes, those are really lots of shoes on a power line and yes, i think that is the most pointless thing ever and no, i don’t know if it means a drug dealer lives here. i haven’t met any so far.

this is a wee wizard candle. they were very popular when i was a teenager and people had collections. now, i can barely find them. i love this little dude.

a bell ornament.

a snowflake ornament. i said that was the theme, remember?

i am digging my camera. one of my goals for 2012 is to foster creativity and i plan on incorporating photography into that and incorporating that into my blog/the internet somehow, so we’ll see how it comes out. i think a project 365 will be a bit much for me – let me know if you have any ideas (and yes, i am already thinking of copying the deep old desk’s photo fridays…)