another last day

Last day at the ol’ law firm job.

Not my first law firm job. My second. The one I had to take after I made a big fanfare about quitting my first law firm job and spent a year figuring out who I am and what I want to do with myself.

Well, I think I’ve got it figured out. For now, anyway.

Life, right?

Can’t wait for 5:30pm tomorrow. New chapter! Spring.

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what I’m leaving behind

Only FIVE MORE DAYS at this law firm job! I can’t wait to get out of here.

I’ve been at this job for six months, perhaps the shortest amount of time I’ve ever spent in any permanent position. (Except for the few weeks in 2007 during which I was an executive assistant to the red-faced Napoleonic owner of a very wealthy construction company who closed his door each day and figuratively castrated all the grown men he could fit inside his office, but I’ve tucked that month away into the dark recesses of my mind only to be revisited when I finally write my book entitled “Crazy People: New York City Bosses and Why You Might Be Better Off Looking Into Unemployment or Developing a Street Drug Addiction”).

I can’t decide if my stint here has felt longer or shorter than the six months it’s been, so I’ll just say it feels like it’s been exactly six months. It’s no secret that I haven’t loved this job. That’s not why I’m moving over to my new position at the PIT (yay! can’t wait!) – I would have been interested in the PIT job regardless, but I’m still ready to get outta here.

I’ve spent these six months wondering if I’m just a broken employee – someone who never grew the right kind of spine to quietly tolerate a paycheck job that she’s not particularly into, since I seem to have such a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I don’t like where I’m working. I marvel at some of my friends who have paycheck jobs, don’t really care for those jobs, but continue to power through everyday without complaint.

Well, I’m not quite so valiant. I’ve mostly bitched and moaned since day one at this place. At age 30 I certainly wish I was more mature, but I guess I’m not. It’s a personal reality I’ve accepted.

I’m excited about a lot of things related to this transition.  One small but very lovely aspect of my new job is that I won’t be an assistant any more. As much as I’m still happily pursuing comedy, acting and writing, I’ve had a little voice in the back of my mind since I turned 30 that’s been saying, “If this acting stuff doesn’t work out, what “career” will you have to fall back on? Assistantship? You’re gonna be a 40-year-old assistant some day? LOSER!”

And even though I know that kind of negative chatter isn’t good for much, and even though I’m also well aware that to have any kind of stable career at age 40 or any other age is a wonderful thing, I’m pleased to finally have an answer for the judgmental part of my brain who likes to pose those rude, cynical questions. “I’m NOT going to be an assistant any more, you cruel, jealous bitch.” That’s what I’ll say to that bitch. And maybe I’ll add, “I also had a giant cookie this weekend. AND I ATE THE WHOLE THING. What do you think of me now?” She’s gonna be so pissed.

Anyway, all this is to say that I feel lucky to have such professional good fortune right now. I’m grateful to get to leave behind what I’m leaving behind, to get to move on to something I’m really looking forward to, and to have a whole week off in between to get pedicures and eat chocolates (or giant cookies!).

my big news

We just got back from a long weekend trip to New Orleans with family which was fantastic. We were celebrating my stepdad’s 50th birthday and I’d like to think we did so in style. I’d never been to New Orleans before and I can’t believe I hadn’t been – it was incredible. I loved the weather, the vibe, the flowing daiquiris, the amazing live music and the whole culture. We stayed in a big, old stunning vacation home and I’ll share pictures soon. All in all, it was a great trip and the perfect indulgent refresher from crazy city life.

Then, yesterday, I gave my two weeks notice to my boss at the music law firm. (On a Sunday because he left for a week-long business trip to London last night.)

When I started this job I didn’t expect to stay here for a very long time, but I also wasn’t sure what was in store. Maybe I’d get used to the comfortable salary and the free metrocard and stick around for a year or more. But it seems that wasn’t in the cards.

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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.

i recommend

I recommend getting together with a group of like-minded women once a month for the sole purpose of supporting each other’s career goals.

Now you know.

I owe a sincere thank you to my friend, M, who came up with the idea to do just that and then asked me to be a part of it. Now we have a monthly brunch gathering with a small group of creative, hard-working New York ladies.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect out of this experience, since the goal was to gather women from all different fields and industries.

We have a photographer, a couple career and life coaches, a former actor, a birth instructor, someone who blogs about food, someone who wants to get her PhD in something fascinating, someone who owns a business with her husband, someone whose husband occasionally works for her, women with careers you’ve never heard of and careers you’ve envied and careers with impressive resumes. And I’m there too. 😉

In my free time, I mostly hang out with people in the entertainment industry. My best friends are comedians, actors, writers and filmmakers. My boyfriend is a talented director (and actor and editor and producer and and). My best friend is a Shakespeare director and teacher.

While these ladies, although some of them participate in my industry and understand it just as well as they understand their own, all come from very different career paths. But after only two brunches, I’ve gotten a ton of out of coming together with them. They each have their own struggles and challenges and their own unique perspectives to share about everybody else’s stuff.

Sounds pretty feminine, right? It is. We listen and share and have positive body language and drink mimosas and it’s about as girly as it gets. I’m grateful to be a part of it.

Who doesn’t need a dose of that once a month?

For me personally, I’m excited about what lies ahead in my career. Nothing’s perfect, but I’m learning to enjoy and make the most out of the process. I fully expect that optimism to take a nose-dive soon enough, as it always does for me, but that’s part of the fun, right?

mixed bag

"Another Psycho" shoot - image via P3 Entertainment

A mixed bag update on this sunny Thursday:

We’re screening the HST short film we shot over the summer “Another Psycho” (the one we made with the $10,000 grant from the Friar’s Club!) tomorrow night at The PIT in an evening hosted by the HST girls. Looking forward to it. The awesome production company that helped us make the film, P3 Entertainment, posted some behind the scenes shots on their Facebook Page recently and it reminded me what a great time we had shooting our little movie.

The warmer weather and sunshine we’re enjoying in New York City today has certainly improved my mood.

I’m also feeling pretty good physically. I’ve lost 10 pounds since the beginning of the year doing the new Weight Watchers Points Plus program. (As you may or may not know, I lost 115 pounds in my early twenties through Weight Watchers. I put 10 of it back on last year because of a lack of food mindfulness and a change in my daily routine.) I wasn’t desperate to lose these 10 pounds – I was actually okay with having gained them – but I did want to avoid having to buy bigger pants and to have more energy, so it’s nice to have lost them. If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, this Points Plus thing they rolled out at the end of last year is pretty fantastic. I recommend it.

I haven’t been exercising a lick besides walking around the city and my occasional yoga practice, which is more than enough for me right now. I used to bang out 5-6 days a week at the gym – for years – and finally got to a point where that just wasn’t interesting to me any more. Maybe it will be again someday, but I’m not in the business of forcing myself to do things I really don’t want to do. So for now, this is fine. I am excited for the warmer weather to tempt me outside for an occasional jog or bike ride. Moral of that story: exercise to FEEL GOOD. Not to lose weight. And do active things you enjoy! No sense slogging through a workout feeling miserable. If you love the gym, go for it. If it’s not your thing, there are so many other options.

Career-wise, I’ve decided I need to be doing more. I do a lot right now as it is and I love it…and it’s also hectic and insane at times. But it makes me feel alive and happy when I have a lot of projects going at once. I’d rather err toward that than feeling bored or unmotivated. Gotta work hard while I’m young!

End transmission.

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.

the new theater

Our beloved comedy theater, the PIT, where I perform and teach, has moved to a beautiful, huge new space across town.

The old theater was a fantastic space and so much great stuff happened within those walls for me personally and for Harvard Sailing Team. But the new space just raises the stakes. To quote my friend and the artistic director of the PIT, Jeff, the new theater is a “game changer.” For sure.

HST has done two shows there since the space opened (we perform every Friday at 9:30) and they have been two of the most exhilarating, challenging and rewarding shows we’ve done in a while. There’s nothing in the world like the feeling of doing a good comedy show that makes a room full of people laugh hard. It’s a drug.

My improv team The Baldwins also does a show once a week on Saturday nights and those are a blast too. We perform with another critically acclaimed group called Big Black Car. Kev and I are about to head out the door to that show right now! (And then we’ll get some sushi for dinner…and I’m not saying I’m going to drag him shoe shopping too, but I’m not not saying it either.)

The point is, I’m so lucky – we all are – to get to perform in this awesome new theater, which lends some serious respect to the crafts we’re practicing up there. I’m a lucky duckling and this is a period in my life I will probably always remember fondly.

Also, if I may continue to brag about my comedy group, HST won a big-deal award earlier this week which really caught us off guard. It’s called the Nightlife award. The ceremony is in a couple weeks at a renowned venue called Town Hall and we get to perform in the ceremony in front of hundreds of people, many of whom are probably going to be stars, producers and directors, and many of whom we have all idolized for years. So excited! (You can read more about the Nightlife award, past winners and how we’re big theater dorks on the HST blog.)

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.

vacation in sight!

I’m plugging along over here. Work is pretty constant and I go between minding it and not minding it. Intellectually, I understand this is just a point on the road map. Someday I will not work at this job, but for now I need to. I will eventually leave and take with me its lessons, perks and bruises.

My boss is an intense guy – funny and kind, but hard to keep up with too. I do a lot of computer work all day long. He dictates emails over my shoulder several times a day. My already strong typing skills are becoming super human.

Also, I don’t know if I’ve said this before but he’s the attorney for the estate of a famous, bespectacled British musician who was killed 30 years ago, and for his widow. I’m legally not allowed to tell you who, obviously, but maybe you get the idea. (And the last firm I worked for represented some of the biggest names in pop and hip hop.) Needless to say, the celebrity aspect of the job gives it some spice, when, in reality, I’m just pushing papers for these people. But the perks are neat and I’m newly interested in classic rock history.

At the end of next week I head home to Crystal Lake, and then down to my grandparents house in Southern Illinois. I can’t wait for a vacation.

Hope everyone is staying warm and has shoveled out if you had a big storm! No storms here but it’s been bitterly cold. Yikes!