on this almost new year’s eve

I’m having such a great vacation.

On December 23 after a goofy but delightful pot luck party at work, my 65 year old boss generously drove Kevin and I to the airport in his massive BMW (long story) and then we flew to O’Hare. Then we hopped in a car with my stepdad Tom and my Aunt Lisa and we all drove  down to Quincy to meet with up with the rest of the family at my grandparents’ house.

It was a white Christmas. We shoveled, went sledding, wrapped and opened presents, sat by the fire, ate delicious meals and so many cookies and drank a lot of wine. We chatted and caught up and drove to see a huge holiday lights display and watched movies. I also got to see my dad and his wife and some family from my dad’s side. It was really nice.

Then we spent a few days back up in Crystal Lake, my home town, doing the standard shopping, eating, drinking, vegging out and sleeping. It was very restful.

We missed the NYC Snowmaggedon entirely. Kind of a bummer because I love to be snowed in, but I was glad we didn’t have to travel in it or dig out of it. We got back to Brooklyn late last night and our backyard and frontyard are both still piled high with a couple feet of snow, but temps are warm today. Most of it is supposed to be melted by Sunday.

Today is Kevin and my 4-year anniversary! He gave me a beautiful necklace and earrings which I adore. He outdid himself this holiday season with little gifts and treats for me. I’m a lucky girl.

We got massages this afternoon, which were absolutely heavenly, then went out to dinner at our favorite restaurant in Brooklyn. Now we’re home to veg out and watch some Showtime On Demand. (We spontaneously upgraded our cable package earlier today – a treat for our anniversary!)

I don’t know what to think about 2011. I’m glad it will be a new year. A fresh start.

I start teaching an Intermediate Sketch Class at The PIT next week – should be a fun, rewarding challenge. And I’ll be doing lots of performing during January and February, including some weekend travel to places like Virginia, Ohio and upstate New York to bring the HST live show to colleges. (Can’t wait!)

Aside from hoping to improve a few personal things like how often I practice yoga and how much spinach I eat, I’m mostly hoping 2011 will be the year I start to earn a livable wage for performing, writing and teaching. That would be such an upgrade.

In the meantime, I have a great job that’s more than supporting my lifestyle right now, I’m happy, healthy, have a wonderfully supportive relationship and am enjoying right where I am.

Happy New Year, you guys! May the upcoming year bring you exactly what you wish for.

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december

We got our Christmas tree! Obviously, this means it was one of the best evenings of the year.

I’ve had such a lazy, relaxing weekend – I really needed it. My boss is going to China for the next five days, which means I’ll get some more down time coming up, and I’m so grateful. I have been going non-stop, working 12 hour days for weeks.

We went to the grocery store today, finished decorating the house, and made turkey tacos for dinner. I’m ready for a quiet Monday.

a wedding weekend

My little cousin Kalan celebrated her wedding this past weekend. Kevin took this shot from inside the reception hall while we were out on the patio with the photographer. (Pretty great for a through-the-window shot, babe!)

Kalan and her Scottish hubby Dave were officially married in a small civil ceremony in December, but on July 22, the whole family came out to don fancy outfits and party with the newlyweds. It was a great time. The bride was nervous as heck, which was so funny and sweet. She also looked stunning – like a true princess. I couldn’t help but picture her as a five-year-old girl in a Cinderella gown.

Kalan is one of four sisters. I’m an only child, but I grew up very close to my cousins, and as the oldest grandchild I got to enjoy some of the sisterhood experience myself. “The girls” (as we call the four sisters) and I all lived in the same town growing up and spent a ton of time together. Today, they’re all fabulous, strong, smart, beautiful young women who each have a razor sharp wit and a wicked sense of humor.

Many of my childhood memories involve those girls – ridiculous games we played, dress-up clothes we wore, productions we put on for the family. And there was no shortage of screaming fights, jealous fits and memorable and violent physical altercations.

We used to daydream when we were little about growing up together – who would get married first, what appetizers we’d serve at our weddings, how many kids we wanted to have, where we’d live, what our husbands would be like. It’s amazing how quickly time has passed.

Finding myself standing up at their weddings (Trisha and Kalan are both now married, Mallory will be married in September) is so surreal. There are moments when I feel like I’m  still 10 years old, and watching a video of what my life might be like as an adult. I remember those girls so vividly as the scrappy, loud little kids that I loved to boss around. Seeing them in wedding dresses is bizarre and amazing.

Anyway. Enough sentiment. You get the point. We had a great time at the wedding and all the activity surrounding it.

I wish Kevin and I had more time in the midwest – it’s always nice to be there – but I’m glad to be home after two weeks of traveling first to Montreal, then to Chicago. I’m nothing short of exhausted.

Congrats, Kalie & Dave! So happy for you guys!

a working actor!

Guess who booked a NATIONAL COMMERCIAL!?! This guy!

I’m so happy for him. He’s had a lot of great signs-from-the-universe come into his life lately, telling him he’s on the right path. And what’s interesting is that he hasn’t even really been trying to get acting work, he just keeps getting called in for auditions, and he says yes to them when he can squeeze them in. Boom! National commercial.

They’ve asked him not to cut his hair for the role, so the poor guy has been driving himself crazy trying to stay cool with those thick locks all over his forehead.

The one small bummer related to this exciting news is that it means he can’t go to Montreal with us next week because that’s exactly when the commercial shoots in Baltimore. I’m sad he won’t be there because he’s a great travel companion.

p.s. The nice summery shirt he’s wearing in this photo is one of my very favorites that he owns. And it’s from – where else – the Kohl’s in Crystal Lake, Illinois. I love shopping Midwest.

vinnie’s pizza omg

I had some of the best pizza of my life last night from Vinnie’s Pizza in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I don’t know what drew me into the little shop, but when I walked out with this slice of sun-dried tomato, bacon, beef, jalapeno, cheddar, RANCH PIZZA (!!!!) I was in heaven. It was SO. GOOD.

I ate it on the subway platform because I couldn’t stand waiting any longer.

Apparently Vinnie’s does amazing Vegan pizza too.

this guy

Just before I quit my job back in October I got an email from my good friend Geoff, who has a 5-year-old goofball son named, Otto.

Geoff told me he and his wife, Jenny, were in a bind. They needed someone to pick their kiddo up from school once or twice a week, hang out with him for an hour, and drop him off to one of his parents. Geoff was very sweet and told me he realized this might not be how I wanted to spend my time now that I wasn’t working at a desk job, but that if the commitment was of any interest to me, they could really use my help because they were having trouble finding someone.

Little did Geoff know, I love kids so I jumped at the chance. A little extra cash + play time with a munchkin? YES. I was so down for that and flattered that he trusted me.

I’ve spent the last seven months hanging out with little Otto a couple times a week. We go to the park, we go to the bookstore, we get ice cream, sometimes we get french fries or pizza. (Shh! Don’t tell the parents.) He loves Artichoke Pizza, which means he’s one bad ass New Yorker.

Basically, we have a great ol’ time together. He has a lot to say about life, and I love to listen.

Next week will be my last week with the little guy! Geoff’s schedule is changing and he will be able to pick his kid up from school every day – a delightful revolution in the world of a Dad, I’m imagining.

I will miss Otto, but I hope to get to see him from time to time. If only so he can play my “phone game.” He’s obsessed with Brickbreaker on my Blackberry. “I don’t know why I’m so curious about that phone game! I just love it!”

Yesterday he said out of the blue, “I know why you’re sad.”

And I said, “Am I sad?”

He said, “Yeah my mom told me we’re over soon.”

“Oh yeah,” I said, “I am really sad about that.”

Then he got distracted. “Hey! My name is on that building!”

And just like that, our sentimental moment was over. 5 is a fantastic age.

daily dessert

Look what Kevin brought home yesterday! I didn’t even know they made this. I love the Joe-Joe’s from Trader Joe’s, they’re like Oreos!

Obviously the ice cream version is divine.

We haven’t had ice cream around here for a while. I have to be careful or I will eat it all. 🙂

yoga in your living room

Yoga Download is my favorite place to find good yoga classes on the web.

They just released a brand new class!! Gentle Hatha #3. Best of all, the 20-minute version is FREE to download. I can’t wait to try it.

I’ve tried a few other podcasts or live streaming classes on other sites over the years, but none of them compare, in my opinion, to Yoga Download. I haven’t been paid or compensated in any way to say this, I just really like their site.

I started practicing yoga a few years ago when I threw my back out (while lifting weights, no less) and found myself hobbling around like an old, grouchy police detective who carries a heavy gun holster. There was little else I could do in the form of exercise for quite some time, so yoga became a staple in my life. I think starting a yoga practice may have saved me from a lifetime of further pain and injury.

Sadly, I haven’t been doing any yoga for the last few weeks though, choosing to prioritize other things before my health, which is never a wise move. So when I turned on a 20-minute Gentle Hatha class from Yoga Download yesterday and laid down on my mat, I could almost feel my muscles and bones thanking me for the attention.

The 20-minute classes on YD are all FREE and they’re great. They’re simple to follow, come in all styles and levels and leave me feeling like I’ve done something good for myself, even if only for 20 minutes. Of course YD offers longer classes too, which are also very inexpensive. Oh and they have videos, if you’d rather watch than listen, and printable pose guides if you’re confused about what you’re doing! Fantastic for your living room practice.

friday

Look who has been secretly eating the leaves of these tulips I just bought. I discovered her this morning.

I have been adoring my kitties lately – what else is new – and also my boyfriend, who is my best friend. Awwww, cheesy and sweet, etc.  Spring is here, the light pours into our living room in the morning, we both work from home and we make breakfast together and we have our morning rituals with our cats and life is good.

What else? I will turn 30 six months from today. Yikes! Please be prepared to roll your eyes at the frequency with which I might mention that I’m about (“about”) to turn 30 over the next few months. I am probably going to be one of those people. I guess I thought I’d never turn 30, that it wouldn’t happen to me. I know, I know, it’s not a big deal, it’ll be great, blah blah blah. Just let me have my mini drama over it.

I’m with Harvard Sailing Team on Long Island right now. The two members of our team who are living in LA right now are back in New York for the weekend. We did two shows today, had a couple rehearsals, and now we’re out in the burbs tonight and tomorrow. We’re shooting a video and working on some other scripts and projects that are in the works.

Long day. I’m beat, but happy and loving spending time with my friends.