i’ll be patient

I have been on the brink of sneezing for the last two days. It’s torturous. Every once in a blue moon, I will sneeze, but as soon as it’s over, I immediately have to sneeze again and it stays like that for the next couple hours.

Been busy, been sick, looking forward to spring. My days consist of sleeping, commuting and working with some evening obligation most weeknights. But tonight Kevin and I went to see a show, something I bought tickets for in February, and we had a lovely time together. Mike Birbiglia is a favorite comedian of ours and neither of us had ever seen him live – it was a great show. We braved hail on the way home but it was worth it.

Some big changes are coming to my life pretty soon. I’m not exactly sure what direction they’ll take yet, but changes nonetheless and I’m excited and grateful.

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eff you, january!

I’m NOT a January person.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I usually hate January but this January was feeling easier. Well, I was WRONG. I hate this month. Still and always. And someday I will be wealthy and/or flexible enough to go away somewhere lovely for the entire month of January (and February and March?) and swim my troubles away in a wave pool.

For now, I live in a big, beautiful, insane city that challenges me every day, and there is nothing redeeming about living here in January. The bitter cold aside (we awoke to 6 degrees this morning – near torturous when one must walk everywhere one needs to go!), the constant darkness, the lack of sunshine, the fact that there are a completely unnecessary 31 full days up in this bitch all pushes me to my limit.

I mean, who put 31 days in January!? WHY.

I really did think I was getting by just fine. I figured I’d hunker down, snuggle in with my little family and hibernate until Spring. And I’ve tried to do that, despite a very busy schedule. But my January demons haven’t been tricked by my optimism. They’ve just been patient, waiting for me to let my guard fully down.

And now, for the past – oh – five days, I’ve been a total lunatic. I’ve been rageful, hateful, spiteful, quick to judge, quick to roll my eyes, irritated by every single anything that crosses my path, hopeless, unmotivated, disinterested and generally pissed. I hate everyone. Sorry, it’s not personal.

I hide it well, which probably makes it worse for my innards, but no one should have to deal with my ire. It’s not attractive or fair. I don’t feel this way for prolonged periods of time, just for a few miserable hours in a row. And then the fog starts to clear and I check the closets to make sure I haven’t hidden any bodies and go about my day. But holy hell is it exhausting.

What’s nice is that I’ve grown up chronologically and emotionally in the last several years and I’ve learned to see these depressing chunks of time as what they are – some kind of chemical reaction in my brain and body. They’re not evidence of my being a horrible person who is destined to fail at everything in life and probably end up in prison for accidentally (“accidentally”) committing homicide.

It could be the lack of sunlight and necessary nutrients, or the cold weather, or my hormones during this particular week, or the fact that I haven’t been running lately – I know all those things can play a part. So I’ll take a walk around a few city blocks, grab a cup of coffee, have a piece of chocolate, have a piece of fruit, or read a fun blog or website to shake myself out of it. That tends to work. But it doesn’t make the actual process any more fun. Feeling this way is like a migraine. It comes on, stays for a while, and goes away a little while later. But instead of a blinding, piercing headache, it’s venom toward All That Is.

Look, I’m not proud of it, I’m just sharing.

Today, after hiding all scissors in the office from myself, I realized I should probably just take a walk and get a damn cookie and a cappuccino. So I did. And it worked. The fresh air, the caffeine, the sugar – it all helped. I felt a dozen times better. And I’ll probably try to do a little yoga tonight to clear out more cobwebs.

Right now I’m going to go do an improv show (also very therapeutic) and then head home to my boyf and my cats, all of whom could not make me any happier if they tried.

day by day

First of all, look at these two. My loves.

Secondly, look at this gorgeous blog!! I haven’t been over to visit Michelle’s blog in a while – I read her posts on my blackberry because my job is a little insane sometimes and I seek respite in the bathroom stall with my phone. Yup.

Michelle is the When I Grow Up Coach! And she and her husband Luke have become good friends of Kevin and mine in the last year. I just ventured over to her site on a real computer for the first time in a while (on my brand new Macbook Pro, in fact) and it looks stunning. So proud of her. If you ever want to be inspired, encouraged, motivated or shaken out of your comfort zone, go check her out. She’s a quickly rising star.

It’s a cozy Wednesday night, I’m sick with a head cold and I’m sitting on my couch watching “Miracle Detectives” on the OWN network. I hate to be predictable but this new Oprah channel is definitely up my alley. Kevin’s back is out, the poor dear, and he’s been home dealing with it for the last three days. Otherwise I’ve been slogging away at work, buried in paper.

January. I historically hate this month, but I’m not minding it so far. Day by day, enjoying my darling boyfriend, my sweet cats, and my routine. Waking up earlier has been nice so far and peaceful. I think it will be good for me if I can stick to it. Getting out of bed is hard, but once I do, I’m much happier moving around at a peaceful pace.

I start teaching a new class tomorrow – Intermediate Sketch Writing – and I’m excited about it! Nervous too. And then things will rev up and I’ll be doing 3-4 shows a week, having 2 rehearsals, teaching a class and maybe having a couple meetings.

In essence, I work double shifts. I’d never give up the second job, and right now I’m choosing to do the first job so I can pay for the second. It can’t be this way forever, but it’s not so bad for now.

not rocket science

My only New Year’s resolution this year is to wake up earlier.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a notoriously late sleeper. If I didn’t feel obligated to participate in adult society I might sleep until noon every day. When I was working for myself from home last year and had a much more flexible schedule I would struggle to get out of bed before 10am after staying up until 4.

But now my day job starts at 9:30. And I exhaust myself when I try to grab a few extra minutes of sleep and inevitably wake up later than I intend to and stumble out of bed, hoping to make coffee and get dressed while I’m still unconscious.

I’ve always known, deep down, that waking up earlier would be a positive thing for my life. I could imagine the cool, quiet mornings alone in my living room, sipping coffee, stretching out on a yoga mat, maybe doing some writing. But sleep is a vixen and despite my best intentions, I always let her lure me back in. There are few feelings I adore more than falling back to sleep after my alarm goes off. It’s perfection…Until the alarm goes off again.

I’m optimistic but cautious about this resolution. I don’t have any huge plans for how to spend my new, improved mornings. I’m actually curious to find out what I end up filling them with. And truth be told, this could end in complete defeat. But I bought a new programmable coffee maker that miraculously makes me hot coffee while I’m still asleep. And spending that $24.99 on this resolution means I’m serious.

So this morning I successfully woke up much earlier than I did on weekdays in 2010, and even though I initially sat on the edge of my bed for a few minutes toying with the idea of scraping the whole plan until 2012, I eventually got up, poured myself some magical mystery coffee, did 20 minutes of gentle yoga and then ate my toast while I watched the news.

It’s not rocket science, but I felt a little more centered as I walked into the office this morning than I usually do.

Being back at work today is fine. I hate it. And it’s fine. There’s always a bit of culture shock when you return to a job you’re not thrilled about after a great vacation. But I’m grateful for the money this job provides me to, for instance, travel for the holidays, buy gifts, go to the movies, get new sweaters, stock our fridge full of NOT cookies and all the other relaxing, wonderful things I did over the holiday break. And I will keep that in mind today as I slog through hundreds of emails and dozens of files, bills, documents and agreements.

Hopefully gifting myself a more peaceful morning will help the first Monday of my 2011 unfold gently. If not, the Chipotle burrito I plan to have for lunch today will surely do the trick.

it’s time for a pot of coffee

I’ve been snuggled up in my house watching Dexter and Weeds for the last 20 hours. It’s been fantastic.

Tonight we’ll venture out to a New Year’s Eve party in Greenpoint with good friends. I’m thinking we’ll cab there and back and really enjoy ourselves.

My only plan for tomorrow is a yoga class. An indulgent, yummy, relaxing one.

Right now I’m off to make a pot of coffee.

I’m having a great holiday break.

 

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.

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.

’tis the season

I love this time of year. I went shopping today and even though it was a madhouse, I had a great time.

I bought new pillows. And some fun holiday decorations. Whee!

Work is FINE. I have loved having time off this long weekend – it’s been just what the doctor ordered. But all in all I don’t really mind going to work every day. I feel like I’m at a good place in my career and in my life and I’m enjoying the moments.

This month will be packed and I’m looking forward to all the festivities. Last year at this time I was just beginning round 2 of the Fanny & Jane Major Holiday Bake-a-Thon 2009 All-Stars Edition and was about to experience one of the hardest months of my young life.

I weathered that storm, though, and came out of it going “Oh, hell no” about attempting it again this year. It’s just not in the cards right now. Never say never, but for now, we’re on an extended hiatus and I’m more than okay with that.

I’m excited to don a couple of party dresses in the next few weeks, clink glasses with my friends and toast to the season, good cheer and each other.

the boot market

I need new boots! NEW BOOTS, YOU GUYS. And now that I have a job, I can buy some.

I’m being unbelievably picky about finding the perfect pair. They must have the following qualities: slightly pointed toe (this is the only negotiable point), a shade of brown, a little bit of a heel, very comfortable for walking, can be dressy if I need to wear them under slacks or jeans at work, and can handle mild winter weather.

What a list.

I have never in my life had a pair of non-snow boots that I love and that don’t hurt my feet. That might be because I’ve always been the kind of person who can’t justify paying pay more than, say, $100 for any clothing or footwear item. Everything I own is from Kohl’s or Target.

But I’m beginning to realize that if I want really comfy boots that don’t hurt my feet, and if I don’t want to have to buy a new pair every year, I’m going to have to pony up a little bit more more than $59.99. You know?

Here are a pair I’m considering:

They’re Uggs! I’m not an Ugg fan but these aren’t traditional Uggs at all. They’re supposed to be very comfortable.

I also think these Uggs could do the trick:

Of course I’ve yet to try either pair on. That’s the next step. (Pun.)

As you can imagine, my life since beginning this job has become a whole different ballgame, for better or worse. I’m tired a lot, very busy and my brain is still readjusting to holding all this information at once.

But I’m getting by…and buying boots should help with the transition. 😉

On another note, I’d like to thank Nancy Jane Smith for featuring me on her blog this week. Nancy’s a career counselor and she says “for the past 10 years I have been working with people to help them figure out how to work happier and live happier.” Her site is lovely – go check it out. (Thanks again, Nancy.)

all too familiar

The first day of my new job was great. I met everyone, got a sense of the office vibe and discovered that the job itself is going to be easier than I expected. I also realized that I’m going to be treated like a grown-up at this office, which is unlike my last job. For instance, I don’t have to ask for permission when I go to the bathroom. Imagine!

The second day was a little less encouraging. None of the circumstances changed, but I started to realize that the job might be a lot less work than I thought it would be, leaving with me with the dreaded Not Enough To Do syndrome that left me feeling bored and depressed at my last job. Sure, having free time during the work day can be lovely, but it turns out I much prefer to feel busy and useful. (Please note: I’d probably also have a gripe if there was too much work. So.)

On the second day I also realized how much I want to avoid walking around with a chip on my shoulder all the time. And I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t do that with this job – that I would work on being kind, cheerful and positive as often as possible. I don’t want to end up being the ugliest version of myself here.

Today, the third day, I find myself trying to accept all these positive and negative feelings and be patient with myself as I readjust to this lifestyle. For the most part, I can imagine months passing by as I sit here in this chair in my dress slacks, sipping my coffee, trying to decide what I should have for lunch today. That’s terrifying and reassuring all at once.

There are moments when I have no idea how I got here, when I think this might be a dream, when I wonder if I should just walk out before it’s too late. The alternative, however, would probably find me sitting on my couch in my workout clothes, NOT having worked out yet, having woken up later than I’d wanted to, trying to figure out what to do with my day, feeling worried about money and unclear about my goals and wondering where the two shall intersect. Near the end there, the “dream” of working from home was often a penniless, boring reality because I didn’t know where to put my energy.

I spent the last year exploring, learning and making personal and professional progress. I have to remember that this return to a desk job is an extension of that – a chance to have some financial stability while I continue to work toward my own goals.

I just don’t know what my goals are yet.

…or maybe I do know what they are and I just need to do what I always tell everyone else to do: Trust myself.