Category Archives: Things

Swimmingly

Hey you guys.  I’m at my dad’s house in Connecticut today because it’s the day after Father’s Day and I have a flexible schedule so we’re celebrating Father’s Day today, kind of.  Slash it’s also sort of Bring Your Daughter To Work Day because my dad works from home and I work from home so I’m sitting on the couch in his basement while he does sales things (whatever that is) and I do research and write in my blog and answer emails.  Bring Your Daughter To The Home Office In Your Basement Day.

My dad has a pool but the guys were just here this morning to vacuum it out so it’s still pretty green I guess.  But it’s sunny out and I want to go swimming.  So let’s talk about swimming you guys!  Also, on a related note, tomorrow is the summer solstice.  Is it?  Tomorrow?  Let me check.  Google confirms it.  Tomorrow is the Official First Day Of Summer.  Don’t you want to go swimming with me, everybody?!  Now, for your workday day-dreaming pleasure, a list of the best places I have ever been swimming.

1. Old Orchard Beach, Maine.  My family has a cottage in OOB and I love it there even though it is the Jersey shore of Maine.  Perhaps BECAUSE it is the Jersey shore of Maine.  Swimming in OOB requires a certain kind of disposition.  You have to commit.  None of this “I’ll go in if it’s not too cold” business.  It will probably be too cold but you have to go in anyway.  There are SUCH WAVES in Old Orchard Beach.  Super fun, smack you on your ass waves.  And some days when  you put your head under water you get a brain freeze.

2. Walden Pond, Concord, Massachusetts.  So pretty.  So historical.  Crystal clear water.  Close to my apartment.

3. Rendezvous Bay, Antigua.  I went here in 2008.  We had to hike about 45 minutes to get there because you can’t reach it by car.  Some people came in boats.  At one point, the boats left and my family left and it was just me and Billy floating in the ocean at an empty beach.  Magical!  You guys it was so magical.  Look at the water!

Right?

In conclusion, let’s go swimming you guys.  Who’s with me?  I’ll bring the sunscreen.  I don’t want you to get skin cancer.

What are the best places you’ve gone swimming?!

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Working From Home? More Like Working From Fun! (What?)

So for about two and a half weeks I have been without an official job.  Did I tell you guys I was going to do this?  Yeah, I’m doing it!  I finished my MFA and I quit my job and then I spent two weeks being funemployed and then I went to a playwriting conference in northern Virginia and now I’m back home and I am sitting at my desk all day reading plays and writing plays and sending emails about plays and crap like that.  And writing run-on sentences.  And fragments.  PROFESSIONAL WRITER, Y’ALL!

Anywayyy.  Want to know what it’s like working full time doing the thing you wanted desperately to be doing your whole life?  It’s.  Awesome.  It’s just as I expected!  I mean, it still feels like working, which I’m happy about, but yeah, it’s like pretty fun and awesome.  I still get wicked sleepy at around 2:30, but the temperature in my office is completely up to me.  I am the master of my domain!

Since I’m writing from home full time now I am going to write in this here blog more often.  And you guys can hold me to that.  It’s important.  Get the ideas flowing, you know?  Do you guys want to know how my days have been structured so far?  Is that boring or like self-indulgent?  Eh, I’m going to tell you anyway.

This is an average day for me (I’ve been doing this for two and a half days so I definitely think that’s a big enough sample size to get a good idea of how the rest of my life will play out, don’t you agree?):

8:00am – Wake up, tell Billy to get in the shower, read 8 pages of The Girl Who Played With Fire

8:30am – Get out of bed, get dressed in running clothes, remain in running clothes for quite some time

9:00am – Read email

9:30am – Go for a run, get home, justify skipping abs exercises

10:00am – Take shower, prepare breakfast, eat in front of computer while reading/writing more emails

10:30am – Decide it is time to start buckling down.  Write in journal about how much I hate my hair.  It’s growing out of a short cut.  Is this something that every woman in America goes through?  “I’m bored with my hair, let’s cut it short.  I like it for three days then I desperately miss having long hair and I don’t feel feminine anymore.”  Is that just like a universal truth?

10:40am – Make a to do list in journal

10:45am – Write some sluggish pages in this play I’m working on.  Tell self that I’m not blocked on it, I’m just stuck in some maple syrup or… like, peanut butter.  It’s sluggish but it’s still moving.

12:00pm – Make lunch, eat it while reading a play.

2:00pm – Read way too many blogs or (on a good day like today) write a blog for you guys!

3:00pm – Finish reading whatever play I picked that day.

4:00pm – Write some more peanut butter scenes.  Google things.  Read more blogs.  Buy tickets to plays.  Pack my schedule so full of evening social engagements that I can barely breathe.

5:30pm – Give up on work.  Start planning dinner.  Read The Girl Who Played With Fire while drinking a Brooklyn Summer.

Some days I have meetings with directors!  I had one on Monday for example!  That breaks things up nicely.  I don’t know.  Seems pretty okay so far.  You guys should try this!  Let’s all quit our jobs!

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The Cure for Crippling Self-Loathing

So sometimes your significant other is away for the weekend and you take the opportunity to organize a Ladies Night and you go dancing in too-high heels on the drunk walk home you call your sig. oth. (new slang) and yell at him for not respecting you.  And then you fall asleep in your clothes.  Sometimes this happens.  And then you wake up the next morning and all you want to do is hate yourself for being so annoying and hungover but you can’t.  Why can’t you?  Because you have to volunteer.

Enter the cure for crippling self-loathing: volunteering!  You guys, it’s so great.  It’s obviously great because giving back to the community is one of the pillars of our society – it takes a village to etc.  We all have to help each other because that’s what being a person is about.  We are helpless on our own but together we can do anything!  That part is fairly self-explanatory.  Volunteering is good!  But what can volunteering do for you?  It can make you feel good about yourself.

(Yes, I know, some might argue that you shouldn’t volunteer for selfish reasons.  But this is just to give you that little nudge in case you’re on the fence about it.  Also, the argument can be made that no act is purely selfless.  Anything that results in making somebody else feel good makes you feel good, too.  There was a whole “Friends” episode about it.  We could argue this point all day, but let’s just leave it at this: volunteering is just as helpful no matter what stupid reason you have for doing it.)

Cause of Self-Loathing #1: You Drank Too Much And Now You Feel Like Some Apologies Might Need To Be Made.

Cure:  Big Sisters of America.

Your cute little Latina friend from the inner city doesn’t care if you yelled at your sig. oth. last night.  She only cares that you guys are walking around a park together looking at a pond and picking wildflowers.  Girl doesn’t get out much.  It is so easy to show her amazing things that you take for granted.  And seeing things through her eyes makes them fresh and new and beautiful to you, too.

How to Get Involved:  Go to the Big Brothers Big Sisters website and enter your zip code.  Follow the directions.  It’s a big commitment but it’s super rewarding.

Cause of Self-Loathing #2: You Feel Fat.

Cure:  Enter a Race for Charity.

Nothing gets your mind off your body issues quite like talking to somebody with cancer.  This one is doubly effective in combating self-loathing because it involves both giving back to the community and actually changing the thing that’s making you feel bad.  Also, endorphins.  Also, it’s springtime!  Get out there and walk/jog yourself around.  Jog away from the bad feelings!  And help fight cancer in your own small way.

How to Get Involved:  There are a million of these for any town or city anyone might live in.  Google it.  Then send annoying emails to all your coworkers asking for money.

Cause of Self-Loathing #3:  Your Young Adult Novel Was Rejected By Another Publisher.

Cure:  Tutor Some Kids at Your Local 826 Branch.

This works for pretty much any rejection you might encounter.  Like you didn’t get a job or some dude didn’t call you back.  Fuck ‘em!  Kids need help with their homework.  They don’t care about any of that stuff.  They don’t even have to know.  All they know is that you are incredibly cool for helping them out.  Also they like your outfits.  You have really cute outfits.  826 is a writing and tutoring center for kids with branches in big cities all over the country.

How to Get Involved:  Go to the 826 National website and click Chapters.  It’ll take you to a list of the separate locations.  You sign up for a training session and then you get in there and help some kids with fractions and five-paragraph essays.  Fun!

Cause of Self-Loathing #4:  Your Apartment Is So Gross But You Just. Can’t. Clean It.

Cure:  Mop The Cages At Your Local Animal Shelter.

This seems counter-intuitive but you know how sometimes you won’t do something for yourself but you’ll do it for someone else out of a sense of obligation or just because they’re relying on you and you don’t want them to be mad at you?  This is like that.  These sad little puppies and kitties don’t have homes.  The least you can do is spend a little time helping them not live in their own filth.  They also don’t have thumbs so they can’t mop.  They need you for that.  They need you!  How nice is it to be needed?  So nice.  Also, some animal shelters have jobs for volunteers where they literally like sit and pet a dog for an hour.  Like that’s the volunteer job.  “I volunteer to sit here and pet this adorable puppy.”  Haha.  Yeah I’ll volunteer for that!  But I don’t want to get your hopes up because I think what these places need most of all is people to mop.

How to Get Involved:  Again, google it.  There are lots of different shelters all over the country.  Find the one closest to your disgusting apartment and mop it up!

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A Few Apologies

Every kid does crappy things.  And sometimes kids don’t tell other people all the crappy things they did because they don’t want to get in trouble.  But then adults will tell their friends the crappy things they did because once you’re a grown-up they turn into funny stories to tell at parties.  But then there are some crappy kid things that some of us did that we haven’t really told people about because it’s all too embarrassing.  Eh.  Why even have a blog if you’re worried about embarrassing yourself, I always say.  Without further ado, I’m really sorry for the following transgressions:

1. For my seventh (eighth?) birthday I wanted a new school backpack and I got two.  One from my dad and one from Lorianne Boscarino, who was kind of a brat and I didn’t even really like her because she was so bossy.  And my dad said I should just choose the backpack I liked better and we could return the other one.  So I chose the one Lorianne got me because it was more colorful and it was the 90’s so, obviously.  The one my dad got me was more practical but I’ve never been one for practicality.  So my dad returned the one he got me.  No big deal, right?  Eh.  I’ve carried the guilt of that backpack rejection around with me for… nineteen years.  Healthy!

2. In third grade I had to write an essay about Harriet Tubman.  I went to the school library and borrowed a book about her and then I straight up plagiarized the blurb on the back of the book.  I changed a few words here and there but really, that shit was illegal.  I should have been fined, at the very least!  And my teacher thought my essay was so good that he brought it up at the parent-teacher conference and my mom was really proud of me for being so good at writing essays JESUS I AM CRINGING RIGHT NOW JUST WRITING THIS.  And I told NO ONE!  Until today!  I mean, it’s okay, right?  I was like Tom Sawyer.  Or Bart Simpson.  I was using my ingenuity to avoid doing work.  Really just goes to show how far I am willing to go to avoid unnecessary exertion.  Still true today!  Oof.

3. In fifth grade I ate Julianne Cuminsky’s Ding Dong.  The snack food.  Don’t be gross.  I was joking around with her at our lunch table and I think I asked if I could have a bite of her Ding Dong and she said no and I think I was like “well I can just take it, you know” and then nobody believed that I would do it so then I just ate the whole thing in one bite.  And then I was summarily shunned by the whole table.  All the girls I sat with were like “wow, I really can’t believe you did that.”  Uuuuugh why am I writing this?!  It’s so painful.  Also, it might have been a Twinkie.

4. In seventh grade I tried out for a school play.  My middle school was doing this kids-in-the-Holocaust play called “I Never Saw Another Butterfly”.  I didn’t get cast.  But two Jewish girls I knew did get cast.  So my natural conclusion as to why I was not cast in the play was because I didn’t look Jewish.  Ugh.  So that’s what I told Lauren Feinberg’s mom when she asked me if I’d auditioned for the play.  “Yeah, I auditioned, but I didn’t get a part.  Probably because I don’t look Jewish!”  She laughed politely.

Anyway, sorry everyone!

What do you guys want to apologize for?  Please don’t leave me hanging here.  Put some embarrassing childhood stories in the comments, for the love of god, I need all the help I can get.

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CAKE

So many good things about baking cakes on a Sunday.

Look how pretty!  And I have all these cake stands and I got to use some of them!

These cakes are not from a box (!) and as a result the verdict was that they were “not too sweet” which was a positive quality indeed.  All the ingredients are like real things that you can identify like flour and sugar and milk.  Except for the decorative frosting on top.  I’M ONLY HUMAN.

I multiplied the cake recipe by 1.5 to make one regular cake and 12 cupcakes, so here’s the regular recipe that makes one cake or 24 cupcakes.

YELLOW CAKE

Ingredients:

2 sticks unsalted butter – left out at room temp so they’re pretty soft (plus some to shmear on the pans)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (plus some to knock around on the pans)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 large eggs (they say at room temperature, which I did, but I’m not sure how much of a diff it makes)
1 cup whole milk

What You Do:

Preheat your oven to 350.  Butter the pan and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.  (For cupcakes, just throw those cupcake cups in the pan and leave it at that.)  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and save it for later.  Also, you need an electric mixer for this.  You can probably use an electric hand mixer, but I used my Married Person Kitchenaid Stand Mixer because I’m married and married people have these things.  Okay so you put the butter and the sugar in the mixer and you whip it up on high until it’s fluffy.  Then the vanilla and then the eggs one at a time, mixing it up good.  The you turn the mixer down to low and add the flour mixture and the milk.  The recipe (it’s from Real Simple but it’s not online for some reason) says to like alternate between the flour and the milk going like flour, milk, flour, milk, flour.  I didn’t read ahead far enough in the recipe so I just put the flour in slowly and then the milk in slowly.  I don’t think it fucked anything up too badly.  You know?  Like, whatever!  It’s YOUR CAKE.  Also, a very annoying detail of the recipe says “mix until combined DO NOT OVERMIX” with no explanation of what overmixing would look like.  I’m pretty sure I overmixed.  Whatever!  Then you put the batter in the pan and you bake it until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  I used a sharp knife because I didn’t have toothpicks (where have all the toothpicks gone?).  Start checking it at like 22 minutes for a full cake and 15 minutes for cupcakes.  I just cooled them in the pans mostly because I don’t have cooling racks.  I think I should get some cooling racks…

Then I put some frosting on top of them!  Oh also, for the cake I made a strawberry filling.  The cake is yellow cake, strawberry filling, and vanilla frosting.  The cupcakes are yellow cake with chocolate ganache on top.

First, the chocolate ganache recipe, which I thankfully read ahead of time because it says it takes like 4 hours of sitting on your table for it to set enough to be spreadable.  Annoying!  Baking is kind of annoying, you guys.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Ingredients:

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
pinch kosher salt

What You Do:

Chop up the chocolate and put it in a medium bowl.  Put the cream and salt in a pan and cook it until it’s just simmering.  Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it sit for like 5 minutes or something, then mix it around until it’s combined.  Then put it on your damn counter for like 4 hours.  And they’re like DON’T PUT IT IN THE FRIDGE, IT’LL GET LUMPY.  Fine.  Fine.  Mix it every once in awhile if you want, I did, not sure it made a diff though, like I said before, IT’S YOUR CHOCOLATE GANACHE.

I put the chocolate ganache on top of the cupcakes.  It was the definition of not-too-sweet.  Delicious.

STRAWBERRY CAKE FILLING

Ingredients:

1 pound strawberries, hulled and halved (I think that means cut the green parts off and cut them in half – that’s what I did)
1/4 cup seedless raspberry jam (I used strawberry jam because I had it)
pinch kosher salt

Cut up your strawberries and put them in a food processor.  I’m starting to realize that these recipes require a lot of equipment.  Sorry!  Go get some equipment I guess?  Anyway, put your strawberries in the processor and add the jam and the salt and process it up!  That’s it.  Easy.

VANILLA FROSTING

Ingredients:

4 sticks unsalted butter (again, room temp)
1 pound confectioners sugar, sifted (haha, I did not sift it)
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch kosher salt

Throw the butter in the electric mixer again, put the sugar in with it and combine them until the mixture is fluffy.  Add vanilla and salt.  Easy, again.  You do have to scrape the sides down a bunch but whatever.  And you have to mix it for awhile, like 10 minutes maybe?

Then take some store-bought writing frosting and write whatever the fuck on your cake.  I wrote FAMILY DINNER because we were having family dinner on Sunday so that’s when we ate the cake.

 

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Equal Pay Day

Yesterday was Equal Pay Day because it was “how far into 2011 women would have to work for their 2010 pay to finally catch up to men’s, according to the National Committee for Pay Equity.”  Cool.  Very cool.  Feminism is over, is it?  Not necessary anymore?  Hm.

I feel very conflicted about the equal pay issue.  Here is a really helpful article that lays out all the facts (it’s where the above quote comes from).  Of course my knee jerk reaction is that it’s unfair and horrible and I hate it.  But then I think about the children issue.  I’m hardly breaking down any barriers or through any glass ceilings by getting married and being super domestic and baking all the time (get excited – there’s a baking post coming up!) and thinking that it is very likely, at some point in the future, that I will stop working for awhile to raise some babies.  But I firmly believe that one of the greatest strengths and achievements of the Feminist movement is that each woman is allowed to make those decisions for herself.  If we want to stay home with children we can.  It’s not forced upon us, but it can be an option if we want it to be.  Fine.  The real problem I have with it is this little detail:

Women, on average, make 80% of what their male counterparts make ONE YEAR OUT OF COLLEGE.  “‘The gap between men’s and women’s salaries begins immediately upon entering the workforce,’ says Sarah Green in the Harvard Business Review.”  That article it links to goes on to say that when you control for industry, type of job, experience, etc, the gap closes to 95%.  So okay.  But still.  BUT STILL!  There should be no gap!

But then again, I am conflicted.  Equality is hugely important, of course.  But you know what’s not hugely important to me?  Making a bajillion dollars.  I don’t care about money that much, I guess.  I’ve been poor for a number of years and I’m fine with being poor.  So I think that if this is something that I get too upset about it implies that it’s because I care about the money issue.  But it’s not about the money.  In the end, it’s about equal pay for equal work.  It’s just really easy to see inequality when it’s expressed in numbers.

Via

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Things I Like To Do After Being Rejected

1. Smoke 1.5 cigarettes and then throw the pack away.

2. Eat one bag of M&M’s from the vending machine at my office.

3. Tell Billy about the incident so that he can start thinking of ways to make me feel better.

4. Clean my apartment (read: vacuum the hallway rug and then lay down).

5. Create something else that will make people love me.

 

I had this really funny thought a few years ago when I quit acting that quitting acting would make rejection less of a mainstay in my life.  Haha.  That was funny because I decided that what I’d do instead of acting was writing which is also full of constant rejection.  Haha.  LOL you guys.

That last point about making something that will make people love me – I feel like it’s a universal thing for performers and artists of all types.  That’s why we do these stupid things we do.  Because we were a little messed up as children and we seek validation from strangers so that we can feel better about ourselves.  Sweeping generalizations are also great ways to make friends and influence people.

Yuck, this day.  Let’s find something that will make me feel better, shall we?

That’ll do, pugoodles.  That’ll do.

Things I love about this picture:

1. Their Very Serious faces

2. That one guy’s flipped-over ear

3. Everything

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