a sunny monday!

I woke up this morning to see the sun streaming in our front door, and I instantly turned the TV on to check the temp. Mid-fifties and rising! I could not be happier about this.

It was a beautiful weekend here in NYC, sunny and warmer than it’s been in recent weeks, but to wake up on a Monday to bright blue skies and temps even warmer than the weekend – well, that’s my jam right there. I hate to think that I’m so impacted by the weather that I lose a solid two months at the beginning of every year to the doldrums, but that’s just the reality. This spring-like weather makes me ridiculously happy. I feel hopeful, I feel inspired, I am focused on what’s possible rather than on what needs to get done. It’s amazing how that works.

I plan to go for a walk/jog in the park in a few minutes, after I finish this post, finish the Fanny & Jane books (I do the books on Mondays) and throw on some exercise clothes. But when I woke up, I knew I couldn’t wait until I was finished with those tasks to get into the sunshine. So I had breakfast on our stoop.

The sun shines down onto the front of our house for most of the day, which is a lucky thing for a girl who likes to sit on her front stoop. It’s not even 60 degrees out there, but I had breakfast wearing only a tshirt and jeans. It was heavenly!

Fair trade coffee from Trader Joe’s…

And a spinach smoothie with banana, soy milk and flax seed.

And look who joined me for some sunbathing!

Chawser LOVES to hang out on the stoop with us when it’s warm out. We’ll open the door a bit and he’ll venture out at his own pace. We’ve (miraculously) trained him to only stay on the stoop, not to go off onto the driveway or the surrounding gardens. I’m sure if we weren’t out there to regulate him, he’d dart off in whatever direction, but he will sit right next to me for as long as I’ll let him. It was so nice to have a breakfast mate.

My other breakfast mates were two succulents that I have managed to make ill with my incredibly inept green thumb. I was hoping the sun would inspire them back to health. I thought you weren’t supposed to be able to kill these things!

Nothing whatsoever is perfect in my world and I have constant stresses and worries, but this day makes it all seem a little bit simpler. Also? Days like this are why I quit my job. Because I would wake up back then, and head into work, enjoying the heck out of my commute for its amazing views of the city from the Manhattan Bridge, for its ten-minute walk from the subway to the office through a bustling, energizing midtown Manhattan. And then I’d always feel my heart sink a little as I walked into the dark, gloomy office, knowing that I wouldn’t re-emerge for nine hours. And as much as I loved the salary, I always thought, This is not a reasonable trade-off for me. This is not good enough.

Today, even though I have a To Do list ten miles long, a budget to worry about, a bank account I’d love to add a few more zeros to, and an all-around imperfect life, I’m thrilled to get to go for a jog in the spring weather, on MY schedule, when I feel like it. Imperfection is perfect today.

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after one work week

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Before I write this post, I wanted to mention that I’ve gotten a couple emails from readers recently who want to see more photos of me on the blog. Hm! This surprised me to hear, but I appreciate the feedback. I’m not sure I’m going to start adding a lot of photos of myself as a regular thing, but I’ve saturated this post with them, at least. If you don’t wanna see my face over and over, skip this entry.

Today marks the end of my first week working for myself.

My last day at the desk job was in mid October. And once I was finally free and clear, we had a big ol’ party, and then I took a vacation. It was blissful.

The vacation involved spending an entire week right here in New York doing next to nothing. Naturally, the days still got filled up – I cooked, baked, hung out with friends, saw shows, exercised, grocery shopped in the middle of the day – I didn’t end up doing much lolling around. But it was still time very well spent. I felt relaxed, in control, peaceful, content. And even though I had to constantly remind myself that this wasn’t just a vacation week from my desk job, but actually the beginning of an entire lifestyle change, I was thrilled and grateful every time I remembered.

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True to my word, I woke up on Monday morning of this week, the vacation week having ended, and got to work on my own stuff. No more laying around watching TV or drinking beer with friends at 4:30 in the afternoon. (Although if I had a strong urge to do that, I’d probably check with my boss to see if it was okay. And she (me) would probably say, HELL YES.)

This week it was finally time to focus on my own projects and to do what I set out to do when I told my old job that I was quitting: Pursue work I’m passionate about. So far, it’s been interesting. And awesome. And, at times, challenging. But I’m all in all, I’m loving it.

As I mentioned, I have decided, not surprisingly I suppose, that the bakery my girlfriend and I have been working to get off the ground since the spring, can now use some of my more focused attention. Faryn and I began building Fanny & Jane when we were both working full time, and it was hard to fit it all in. We spent lots of late nights and weekends and early mornings organizing our little business.

Before I left my desk job, I wasn’t sure if I’d want to focus some of my energy on the bakery or not.  But now that I’m here, it hasn’t taken long for it to dawn on me that the business we’ve been tirelessly setting up for ourselves would be the perfect way for me to spend my time and earn some extra money.  Besides, our recipes are burning holes in our desk drawers – why not really go for it and sell some sweets this holiday season!  So that’s exactly what we’re going to do.

And that’s precisely what most of my week this week has involved.

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(This is Faryn and me. Photo by the gifted photographer, Eric Michael.)

I spent a relatively leisurely day on Monday at the computer, emailing with Faryn, working to build our new website, complete with an online shop (which we hope to launch in the next few days!), and generally organizing myself around the idea of spending now until December 20th, more or less, baking and shipping and invoicing and baking. I took a long break in the middle of the day for a run, and I got a lot accomplished. All in all, it was a delightful day “at the office,” where my coworkers are two sleepy cats and the sunshine is right outside my front door.

Heaven. And exactly what I’d wanted and imagined when I daydreamed of quitting my job a year ago.

The rest of the week, however, wasn’t so luxuriously ideal.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not stuck in an office. And “anything but the office” has been my motto for quite some time.

But I don’t have it all quite figured out yet.

My sleep schedule has been screwy, finding me wide awake at 4am, and having to take a nap here or there in the middle of the day to catch up.

Harvard Sailing Team and Baldwins rehearsals and shows were added back into my life this week, where, miraculously, I didn’t have any rehearsals or shows during my vacation week. That’s something that happens maybe only twice a year – a week without any shows. So those things became part of my schedule again this week – not a big deal, but something to work with.

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(This is my good friend Meg and me during one of our Baldwins improv shows. Photo courtesy of the incredibly talented Keith Huang, who is also a good friend.)

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(This is me during the Harvard Sailing Team Holiday Special last December, doing a sketch with my friend Adam. This photo is also courtesy of Keith Huang, who has never taken a bad photograph.)

Not to mention, the large amount of baking I’ve gotten done this week – fulfilling several orders from Faryn’s coworkers and our friends and family. This has not been the first week that I’ve had to bake during every free moment this year, and it will not be the last. But it was the first time I was doing it instead of a full time job – baking when I would have otherwise been answering phones at reception or signing for fed ex packages.

Of course, I loved that. That, again, is why I quit. Because I imagined myself doing things like baking all day, instead of filing paperwork or sending faxes. But getting organized and staying within a baking schedule was something new and sometimes difficult.

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(That’s me standing in my mom’s kitchen in Illinois in the spring, in the middle of a long day baking sweets for my aunt’s surprise birthday party.)

A common struggle I’ve heard from people who’ve left their jobs for one reason or another is that you imagine you’ll have all this time. And then the days pass and they get filled right up and suddenly you’re busier than you’ve ever been, even though you’re no longer going to an office for 9 hours every day. I’ve had the exact same experience this week. Where did the time go!?

And I’m choosing to find a way to make peace with it all. Because I didn’t quit my job to be all stressed out and upset over how many fun, easy, cool things I now get to do all day long. Fitting them all in takes finesse, but the rewards are great and I will learn.

Forgive me if I’m repeating myself from earlier posts this week. I just needed to reiterate this for myself.

Financially, I’ve done pretty well for myself this week, which is excellent. It’s only week one, but it’s a good feeling to know that money is still coming into my life, even when I’m not a salaried employee.

I’ve learned that I need to be gentle with myself. Just because I have many more available hours in my day now doesn’t mean that I can and should pack them full and expect to accomplish everything under the sun. I cannot make promises to people that I can’t keep in terms of my time just because I’m no longer working a desk job. I cannot create a To Do list that is ten miles long and then feel disappointed, rushed, and stressed when it doesn’t get completed. I cannot be unrealistic with how much I can fit into a day. And I cannot start shoving aside the very things that I require to feel whole – like exercise, yoga, sleep, eating healthy food – in order to make everything fit into its place. I skipped a couple workouts this week and I don’t have the “I’m so busy with this stupid desk job!” excuse any more. The only excuse I have now is that I chose not to make the time for myself. It’s eye-opening to realize that the desk job wasn’t the only thing – and maybe not even the main thing – keeping me from spending my time how I wanted to.

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I’ve also been reminded this week that nothing is perfect – that even this time, which is, in theory, one of the most exciting times of my life, will still have unpleasant aspects. I will still be running late to things sometimes, and I will still have to break promises sometimes, and I will still oversleep and be upset with myself for half of the day over it sometimes, and I will still overeat sometimes, and I will still not do things perfectly sometimes. It’s life.

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(Me, just after waking up, in Charleston, SC on a trip last year with Harvard Sailing Team.)

Beyond those challenges though, this has also been an amazing week, and the net result of all this is that I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my adult life.

I realize that might sound like a grand statement, but it’s true. My life from ages 17-21 sucked, to be blunt. And then, as I improved things slowly but surely, I had to swallow the bitter pills of young adulthood that we’re all faced with: working jobs I hate, living in apartments that are crappy, living paycheck to paycheck. And as earnestly as I tried to find happiness within those unpleasant experiences, it’s not until now that I’ve finally found myself in a place where I can take matters into my own hands, where money doesn’t dictate what I do day in and day out, where I finally feel all the pieces falling into place in ways that I only dreamed of when I was 21 years old and despondent over the mess I’d made of my life.

Things are so good right now. This is all so good. I’m spending my days and nights baking sweets, taking photos, rehearsing comedy, exercising, cooking, and commuting around New York City. And I’m not broke and I’m not overweight and I’m not unhappy and I’m not uninspired and I am about to turn 29. And it’s just so incredibly good.

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(Kevin and me in Florida last year.)

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to clean up my apartment and start making a huge feast of veggie lasagna, chopped salad and garlic parmesan bread – some of my very best friends are coming over tonight for our first monthly Western Brooklyn Supper Club (which is basically just the members of Biggest Loser Club getting together to eat dinner, instead of getting together to watch Biggest Loser). I can’t wait to hang out with my friends on this HallowsEve!

Thank you again to everyone who has been so incredibly supportive and kind toward me throughout the experience of leaving my job and starting a new life. I cannot thank you all enough for your readership and for your cheerleading. I could not do this without you. And I would not be where I am right now without the experiences and friendships that writing this blog has brought into my life. So, thank you.

baketown

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I think I’ve gotten myself a bit more on top of things today. I’m not feeling quite so rushed and nuts, which is fantastic.

I did end up a dropping a ball, though. I couldn’t help Maggie and Adam move this morning. I had to put some finishing touches on the cake I made last night, and it took a lot longer than I expected it too. And then I had to deliver the darn thing. Thankfully, I think Adam and Maggie had plenty of help today, at least that’s what Adam told me when I apologized for not being able to make it. I really did feel awful about it, but sometimes you just have to let some balls drop. It happens. I’m going to bring them a homemade sweet treat and hope that all will be forgiven.

Some of you’ve probably seen the above photo before, especially if you’ve been to our Fanny & Jane website. I took some photos of the cake I baked yesterday, but haven’t had time to upload them yet, so this shot of our Chewy Chocolate Graham Bars will have to suffice.

I’ve been baking like crazy – got a few more orders done today, in fact. But I was also able to squeeze in a run. And I’m going to do some yoga as soon as I publish this post. I refuse to be overwhelmed by my own unemployment. I didn’t do this so I could stress myself out with my To Do List. I’m just not willing to operate that way. So I’m doing my best to make it all work, while staying mentally calm.

In order to do this yoga session in my living room, I’ll probably end up being a little late to Faryn’s girl’s night birthday drinks. (Her birthday is on Saturday – Halloween! – and we’re having eleven parties in her honor between now and then.) (I’m kidding.) (Am I?) I’m looking forward to seeing some of the ladies in my life tonight, and to celebrating sweet Faryn. And I plan to be all yoga-glowing by the time I get there. I wish the trade-off for my yoga session wasn’t that I will be late, but again, sometimes you have to let some balls drop. This is just how my busy day has worked out, so be it.

I’m so excited to finish our new Fanny & Jane online shop. I hope to have things up and running in just a few days! Just in time for the holidays. I’m already getting orders for people’s seasonal parties and events. It’s awesome.

Check back tomorrow, when I hope to put up a post about my first official week as a self-employed almost-29-year-old. (My own birthday is November 7th. No idea what I’m doing yet.)

Until then, here are more sweets to stare at, our signature Red Velvet Cake Bites. These are definitely our biggest seller.

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day one

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Today was Day One.

My vacation week is over. I was employed by myself today. I woke up, “went to work,” took a couple breaks, and then I stopped for the evening. It was pretty great.

So what, exactly, am I doing?

Well, today I did a lot of work on Fanny & Jane, the new bakery my friend Faryn and I have been building for the last few months. In March, we started toying around with the idea of opening a bakery, we began taking it really seriously a couple weeks later, and since then, we’ve been growing ourselves into a small business, having done NYC Fashion Week events, wedding showers, and corporate and private occasions. Plus we’ve received a regular stream of orders from our incredibly supportive friends and families! Thanks, everyone!!

All of our orders so far have been due to word of mouth. We haven’t done any marketing or even pushed our website because it wasn’t set up for online purchases.

But that might all be changing soon! I think we’re going to make a go at expanding business a bit this holiday season! After our e-meeting today, Faryn and I are hoping we can “open” an online business and be ready to take holiday orders beginning November 1st.  That’s just a week away!

(Keep an eye out because we’ll have special deals for my blog readers!)

To prepare for November 1st, I’ll need to spend some time this week building our new website and setting up our e-commerce. I’ll also be baking several orders that need to be ready by Friday. Faryn’s got a few things to handle too.

I’m excited.

To be 100% honest, when I left my job ten days ago, I wasn’t sure whether I’d want to focus on the bakery over the holidays or not. I’d figured we either needed to really go for it, or shut down over the holidays completely. And I didn’t want to push myself in any specific direction until I was ready.

But it was just a couple days out of my old job and into my vacation last week that I realized – what better way to spend some of my energy this fall, and what better way to earn a little extra rent money, than to put some focus on the bakery for a few months?

I love to bake, I enjoy working on our business, and as soon as I wasn’t working full time for someone else, the stress of trying to fit it all in miraculously lifted. And instead of “I can’t do it all!” I thought, “I’m going to have more than enough time to do this.” In fact, it will be a great way to structure some of my days.

I didn’t quit my job for the bakery. But now that I’ve quit, I’m glad the bakery is here for me. We’ve been working on it steadily, sometimes a lot, sometimes not quite as much, for the last six or seven months. And right now seems like perfect time to expand the business and grow our expertise a bit. The opportunity to experience The Holiday Season with Fanny & Jane will be an exciting new challenge for us.

After the holidays, we’ll reassess and decide what next steps to take. I already know we’re doing our signature red velvet cake bites for a wedding in February… One thing at a time though. Right now, the season is upon us! Yesssss, I love the holidays. I cannot wait to create some new festive, delicious treats to share with everyone.

So until January, when we’ll probably close up shop for a couple weeks, I’m going to be baking! I’m still going to work on my own projects as well – freelance writing, blogging and guest blogging. I honestly don’t know where owning this small bakery business will take me, so I’m looking forward to finding out, while carving out plenty of time to follow my other interests too.

I’m also going to, as I’ve mentioned, really tend to myself during this time. I know that doesn’t necessarily fall under the category of “pursue work I’m passionate about,” but it’s just as important to me. And I have to devote time to it every day.

Today for example, I went out for a run around Prospect Park in the afternoon. It was another stunning, perfect day and I was happy as can be to have unlimited time to spend exercising in the sun. THAT is why I quit my job. The desire to spend my time in ways that make me happy is what inspired me, 10 months ago, to set my sights on something beyond that desk. And I fulfilled that dream for the first of what will probably be many times, today.

After my run, I had a late lunch, took a break to watch some Oprah, finished up my work day on the computer, then enjoyed a nice, long shower and headed into the city to meet up with Kevin for a movie date. I worked from 10am to 6:30pm today, with probably a total of 90 minutes “off” in between. That feels much healthier to me than my old 9 hour office days with an hour commute on either end of it.

As I got on the train to head into Manhattan just before 7pm tonight, I realized, had I still been at the desk job, I wouldn’t have even been done with work for the day yet.

I’ve gotten my life back. And I’m having fun discovering a new direction.

prospect park on a weekday

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As promised, I went on a bike ride through Prospect Park yesterday and I brought my trusty camera along. And guess who came with me?

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Since Kev works from home, he can take a break from time to time, especially to do things like hang out in beautiful parks on unseasonably warm days. Not bad, eh?

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We set out just after brunch and although it was the middle of the day on a Thursday, the park was alive with bikers, runners and stroller-pushers. It was an absolutely perfect fall day. Slightly warm with a lovely breeze and brilliantly blue skies.

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It’s easy to see why this is my favorite park in the world. The paths, trails and views are just breathtaking – so much so that I put a freeze on my gym membership for the summer and fall because this natural gym is steps from my front door.

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I plan to hike, bike, climb and jog my way through this park as often as possible now that I’m making my own schedule. I’ve always exercised and played in Prospect Park when I’ve been able to, but I’ve spent more time there this week alone (especially because we’ve been blessed with such perfect weather this week) than I have in the entire last month.

I am lucky.

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wednesday

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I’m quite content, y’all. I can actually feel my internal pace slowing down. And it feels really good. I’ve needed this.

After a great night last night hanging out with some of my very best friends, watching The Biggest Loser (we have a new Biggest Loser Club) and eating a big meal that we all prepared together, I woke up this morning with no real plans for the whole entire day. That wasn’t the case on Monday and Tuesday, when I had most of the day free, but still had an obligation in the afternoon.

But today, nothin.

I slept in a bit, just a bit, and when I woke up, Kevin took a break from his work and decided to make us a big breakfast. He’s a master of the breakfasts in this house. He made scrambled eggs with cheese, red pepper and onion and it was delicious.

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After some computer time while I finished my coffee, I took a long, invigorating jog/walk through Prospect Park, stopped off at the bank, and then continued on gawking at the incredible fall colors and exploring new paths in the park that I hadn’t visited before. Prospect Park is absolutely stunning right now, so I’m going to go for a bike ride tomorrow to snap a few shots to share with everyone.

So that was awesome. Obviously.

And the whole time my mind raced with ideas for what I’m going to start doing with myself come Monday, how I’m going to loosely organize my time and what I’ll work on. A priority, I’ve identified, besides the work I do, will be self care. Time each and every day for myself. A workout, a therapy session, time alone to read and relax, or time to watch TV and veg out – things that make me feel happy and pampered. I deserve that. We all do. I work too hard in my life not to take those hours for myself each and every day. (So do you, by the way.)

When I came home from my run, I found this:

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And this:

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And this! Which came in the mail from my mom! Awwww…

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Thanks, Mom!! (She also sent us a little cash! We’re gonna go out for a drink with it sometime soon.)

In the afternoon, I laid around on the couch for a while, then made Kevin and I some lunch – just leftovers – and eventually I went to the grocery store, meal plan in hand. It was a fun, relaxing stress-free trip. It wasn’t rush hour, I had my plan all figured out, and I wasn’t in a hurry. Imagine that.

This was a great day.

I don’t plan to continue writing about this journey just by telling you what I do each day. I realized that that has been the theme of my last few entries. But the truth is that the details of what I’m doing right now and how I’m spending my time are fascinating to me so far. I almost can’t believe it. Except that I’m living it, so I know it’s real.

I’m really happy. I’m in heaven. I recognize that this feeling might end, or change, or shift. I recognize that this too will become old someday. I also know that things will soon be busier for me, as I start to add more things onto my list. But no matter how things shift in the immediate or distant future, all that matters to me today is how happy I am today.

Honestly, as mundane and regular as the last few days have been, they’ve almost have been reason enough to quit my job. The sense of freedom, relaxation, and respect for myself that I have found in this short time is very refreshing.

I’m excited about next week. I’m eager to structure things a bit more. But in the meantime, I’m still enforcing this week’s vacation as much as possible until Monday. It’s important for me to really take this time for myself. Beyond that, Kevin and I have been having excited conversations about my options, what I intend to do and how best to execute it come Monday. He’s such a great support.

I went to see a friend’s show in the city tonight, and Kevin had rehearsal, and now we’re home each enjoying a beer.

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Tomorrow is more fulfilling simple stuff: lunch with my good friend Sara, a workout, a photography bike ride, and then! A late night comedy show – a “secret” Comedy Central showcase. We’re on The List. Fun!

daily dessert

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This decadent chocolate chip cookie I enjoyed yesterday afternoon was one of the best food choices I’ve made in days. It was so incredibly delicious. It cost me 310 calories, but I cut back a few other places during the day to make up for it and I ate every last morsel. It was absolutely perfect as far as cookies go.

It was from Pret A Manger, where I usually get the harvest cookie. But I was dying for some chocolate yesterday afternoon. I’d eaten a filling and healthy lunch, taken a long jog/walk/stair run through Central Park on my break, and I knew it was time for chocolate. I work out for my body, my mind, and so I can have more chocolate.

I perused their baked goods section, at first a bit daunted by the calories – they have some 600 calorie muffins. Muffins in general tend to be super high in calories, which is a bummer because they’re yummy. But let’s be honest. I’d rather have a warm, fresh chocolate chip cookie over a boring muffin any day.

The best thing about the baked goods at Pret is that they keep them on display in a little warming oven so when you take your cookie, it’s still hot. And still gooey. And still melty. Oh god.

Okay, okay, the point is, it was really good, this cookie. As you might know, Pret uses fresh, all-natural ingredients, so their stuff always tastes really simple and “clean” to me. This cookie literally tasted like it was fresh out of my grandmother’s oven. It was even slightly burnt on the edges, which I love.

Can you believe I’ve found this much to say about a cookie? I’m serious about my sweets, you guys. And no, I’m not being paid by Pret A Manger to write cookie copy. I just happen to really like the place.

Oh and because I forgot to tell you so yesterday, dessert on Monday night involved sharing this box of Milk Duds with Kevin while we were at the movies. I can’t imagine Milk Duds are chemical-free, but I broke my rule for the evening.

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I love how this photo looks like an ad for the candy, with the box itself all bright and shiny and everything else fading into the background. It was a dark photo to begin with because the flash didn’t go off, so I auto-corrected it on the computer and it turned out looking like this.

We saw “Extract,” which was mostly disappointing, at times kinda funny, but all together forgettable. Bummer. I’ve always liked Jason Bateman. Who doesn’t?

i want to simplify

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I don’t think I’ve ever started a job expecting to enjoy it. I’ve expected to not mind it, sure. I’ve expected to maybe meet some nice people and be glad I was getting a paycheck, yes. But I don’t think I’ve ever started a job thinking, “I cannot wait to do this. This is going to be a great experience.”

Isn’t that sad? I’m only 28, so I have plenty of time to find that job for myself. But I’m envious of people who’ve had it already in their lives.

Maybe it’s more about my own attitude than the job itself.

When I was younger, I wanted to be an actor. And when I didn’t want to be an actor, I wanted to be a writer. (I wrote about that here.) So I suppose having the knowledge from an early age that I was “destined” (i.e. that I planned) to be an artist of some kind made it unlikely for me, once grown up, to enter into any kind of just-for-the-paycheck job expecting to enjoy it. I’ve been skeptical of “real” jobs my whole life. I remember being a little kid, walking around my neighborhood daydreaming about adulthood, thinking that there was NO WAY I was going to have a normal job when I grew up. I couldn’t stand the idea. No summers off? Sitting in an office all day? Being bossed around by someone else? Having to get up early each morning? No recess? No THANKS. It made me worry that it was hard and sad to be an adult. And I vividly remember promising myself that my life would be different. Then, life moved along and I grew up and first I wanted gas money and then I wanted rent money. And my promise about the kind of job I’d be willing to have got set aside.

Here are the jobs I’ve had since my first ever job ever at age 15. They are in order:

  1. babysitter
  2. store clerk at Things Remembered (Do you remember that place? Engraved gifts AND keys. At the mall!)
  3. receptionist at a mortgage firm
  4. admin at Follett Books
  5. picker and packer at some school supply warehouse
  6. asst. manager at Crown Books
  7. babysitter
  8. admin at a real estate consulting firm
  9. receptionist at a health care company
  10. membership coordinator at an off-Broadway theater
  11. house manager of an off-Broadway theater
  12. box office manager of an off-off Broadway theater
  13. crowd-mover at DeLaGuarda show*
  14. admin at a music law firm
  15. admin at NYU
  16. receptionist/admin at a music law firm

I wonder if I’m leaving something out. I think I worked for the Gap once for, like, a day.

(*For those who don’t know, DeLaGuarda was a wildly popular theatrical experience-type-show that played in Union Square in New York for five or six years. It closed a couple years ago. It was a huge draw for tourists and native New Yorkers alike, and was also favorite theater experience for certain celebrities. It was sort of a big spectacle with flying performers, rainfall inside the theater, tons of lights and music and fog and balloons. It was a blast. I worked the show for a couple years, moving the crowds from one side of the room to the other while the show went on above our heads and all around us. Once I got kicked in the stomach by one of the flying performers. That sucked. But it was a fun, exciting show. I saw a man propose to his girlfriend in the middle of the show once. That was cool.)

SO. None of the jobs I had, with the exception maybe of the DeLaGuarda job, were particularly exciting places to work. And I did not interview for a single one of those jobs thinking to myself, “This is going to be awesome. I cannot wait to get started.” When I was in my early twenties and not in a good place in my life, I often wondered if I just happened to have a terrible work ethic. If it was just my nature not to want do anything I’m obligated to do. I still wonder that every once in a while, but I don’t really believe it anymore. I’ve always been able to eagerly show up for comedy shows and practices. That’s not necessarily “work” in the traditional sense, but it’s still an obligation. (And there are times when it’s work too.) I’m also able to commit to blogging every day, and to baking orders for Fanny & Jane.

Yesterday, I left the house for work around 9am. I left work that evening the moment our office hours ended and got back to my apartment at 8pm. 11 hours for someone else. By the time I’d had a snack, gone for a run, done a quick yoga session, tidied the kitchen for a few minutes and showered, it was 11pm and I was just sitting down to dinner. For someone who wakes up around 8am every day, eating dinner around 11pm seems off somehow. But in order for me to go to work, come home, and have some semblance of a normal evening, I must use up every single hour in my day without comfortable room for anything else. If I wanted to get in bed by 11pm last night, to get a full nine hours of sleep before it starts all over, I’d have to have gone to bed without eating. That’s ridiculous.

This time, though! I’m not complaining! I’m just pointing out the facts. And while this leave-my-desk-job thing is taking a bit longer to organize (mostly financially) than I’d hoped it would, I’ve realized – yet again – that I have complete control over my circumstances, no matter where I’m at on this journey. If I still need to work a more full-time type “paycheck” job to earn money before I can fully transition out of working for someone else and start working for myself, why does it have to be there? At the law firm? An hour from my house? It doesn’t! I do it because it’s “easy,” because I can wear whatever I want, because I get a salary and health insurance. I do it because it’s what I’ve been doing.

But I bet I could get a job, another paycheck job, with more reasonable hours, much closer to my apartment – in Brooklyn!

It would allow me to have more time for myself during the day, to exercise, grocery shop, relax, or continue to build a more interesting career for myself. And it would make some breathing room for me on the four nights a week I usually spend doing comedy stuff. I want to simplify things. My current situation isn’t working as well as it used to. My needs have changed, so I will too.

So I’ve taken Monday off work and I’m going to walk around my neighborhood and neighborhoods nearby to see if anybody’s hiring! It might yield nothing, but it will be good to start thinking outside the box a little bit. I would happily take a pay cut to be able to work someplace within walking distance of my apartment. And who knows, maybe I can practice being a little bit more positive and open-minded about starting a new job. Maybe I can try to say “I might like it here!” and see what happens.

daily dessert

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Last night’s dessert, after a long run through the park and a yoga session in my living room, was a glass of vanilla soy milk, a bowl of organic strawberries with organic sugar sprinkled on top, and two Trader Joe’s dark chocolate almond cookies.

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It was so good. The strawberries were really fresh and the cookies were super crunchy and tasty. And of course, that silky soy milk washed it all down perfectly. It was a great summer dessert.

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foggy

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I’m having so much trouble ramping back up into desk-job-speed today.

When I left the office on Friday, it felt like I was walking into more than a regular ol’ weekend. It felt like I was embarking on some kind of summer or holiday vacation. It was kind of like the feeling I used to have in grade school (and high school, and college, and at my job) when I was finally let out for some kind of extended holiday – I believed, maybe if only slightly, that I *might* never return again, that this might just be the vacation that lasts forever. I don’t know why I felt that going into this past weekend. Probably because I wanted so badly to forget about the office for a while.

The two weekends prior to this past weekend were action packed – I was out of town on Long Island shooting stuff with HST, staying up late, getting up early, baking stuff for Fanny & Jane – it was nonstop. So this weekend, with only one cake to bake on Friday and one delivery to make on Saturday (the Fancy Nancy cake!), I was overwhelmed with glee at the idea of having several long periods of time with nothing to do.

I used to be Queen of Doing Nothing. I was very good at it, an expert almost. My skills have been unused in recent months, so I’m a little rusty. And yesterday foiled me. It was a totally free day, Sunday, not a single thing on the calendar. I was excited for this. After a fun Saturday night hanging out with Blue, and then heading to Astoria to see Daniel for a bit, I slept in on Sunday in a major way. Kevin had to get up early to perform an improv set at the Del Close Marathon, so I went back to sleep after saying goodbye to him early that morning and didn’t wake up until noon! NOON! I haven’t slept that late in a long time.

So my big, exciting free day got off to an odd, but relaxing start. After being so surprised that I’d missed the morning, it took me a while to adjust. I basically lolled around doing a variety of internetting, TV watching, cat bothering, and coffee sipping for hours. It was very nice. It was also a bit confusing. My body wasn’t sure what to do with the free time. I’d usually go for a run, or take a walk through the park during the day, but it was almost too hot to be outside for very long. I ended up spending the rest of the day in this foggy state. Kevin came home, I did some yoga while he napped, we went for a run once it cooled off a bit, we went to Queens to see Daniel again, but I never did shake the haze. And I feel that way today too.

Nothing wrong with that – I’m happy to go with the flow. But I think I’ve only just now, after being at the desk job for 7.5 hours already today, realized I’m sitting here answering phones and talking to others. Thank god I’m wearing pants. I don’t think I’d have noticed either way.

The heat does funny things to a person.