Mixing it up

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We all know I’m a fan of cocktails. This is no secret. I wax poetic over cheap red wine, I adore a cold can of beer on a hot summer day, and I salivate at the sight of a Ketel One bottle. I love to drink, and I do it quite well.

Unfortunately, lately I’ve been thinking of the grand task this assigns to my liver. If I drink every day (which I do) and take antidepressants every day (which I do) and take sleeping pills every night (which I do), I fear that at some point my organs will just up and say, “Hey, guess what, no thanks. We’re on vacation.” And they probably won’t bring me back any fun toys, either.

Problem is, there’s really nothing I like to drink aside from alcohol, unless you count Diet Coke, which is probably even worse for my bodily functions. This is where you come in. I need ideas for delicious non-alcoholic beverages. I need things that are tasty enough to make me forget I’m not drinking vodka. I need light, refreshing, healthy summertime quaffs that sing like a gin and tonic but won’t weigh me down.

So start commenting people, or when my liver gives its two-week notice I’m holding you all personally responsible.


10 days without Facebook and let me tell you, I’ve slept like a baby.

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I have this vivid memory of a moment in high school – perhaps during my junior year. As always, my curriculum consisted entirely of level-one and AP classes, in which I was expected to maintain averages of B+ or better. I was involved in church choir, voice lessons, community theater, piano lessons, voice COACHING, tap class, jazz class, and art club (or newspaper, or “Junior Miss”, or GSA, or whatever school-based extracurricular activity caught my fancy at the time.) In addition, I worked. A picture taken on my 14th birthday shows me beaming lens-ward by the iron doors of our local public library – the nation’s oldest – for my first day on the job. Depending on the year of this particular memory, however, I may also have been working weekend mornings at a local bagel shop, starting no later than 7:30am.

At 15 years old, I guess, I was already becoming groomed for modern life. 7-day weeks, 14-hour days.

Anyway, this one memory I have. I’m talking with one of my teachers, telling them about what I’m up to, and suddenly they look at me all concerned. “What are you doing?” the teacher asks me. “You’re burning the candle at both ends!”

I remember the words, yes, but what I really remember was what happened inside. Inside, I thought, I would be a martyr. I would go for it all, make it all, DO it all, until every last bit of fuel was consumed, until the wick was bled clean and only smoke remained. I would burn myself to nothing, and I would do it because I was doing what I loved … or what was expected of me, if I desired to be loved. Inside, I smiled. I liked the idea.

Oh, youth.

Sometimes still, I love to work that hard. I love being out on shoots, days starting at 5am and not ending until somewhere near midnight. I love the rush of importance and the feeling of purpose when I’m in the studio until 11pm, logging and digitizing, just me and the AVID.

Then, other times, I’m not so happy to work so much. I’m not so pleased that “work” encompasses more than simply “What My Parents Want Me To Do”, even if “What My Parents Want(ed) Me To Do” required more work and less sleep than my life right now. Or perhaps, I’m just not as enamored with life as I once was, back when all things seemed possible. Now, on top of WORK work (which seriously I’m NOT even starting with, holy shit), there’s all the LIFE work – an hour to go to Whole Foods for organic staples, 40 minutes to Russo’s for cheaper (sometimes) locally-sourced produce, 90 minutes cooking dinner, 20 or doing dishes. 55 minutes on Facebook, 120 minutes watching TV with your spouse, 15 minutes grooming the cat, 65 minutes making a blog post. And in the interim, the between-time, when you’re en route from the futon to the bathroom, you wonder how long it’s been since you washed the floor (it can’t really have been just last week – it looks DISGUSTING!) or swept out behind your husband’s road bike (holy shit, those Jake-hairballs, wtf), and you wind up feeling bad.

While you’re feeling bad about the state of your apartment, you may also take into account the state of your personal life. Maybe you’ve got friends you never talk to anymore except via email, and maybe you haven’t called your sisters in weeks. Maybe you’ve got Christmas gifts you still need to hand-deliver. Maybe you’ve stopped checking your voicemail, and maybe you’ve stopped responding to texts. Maybe you turned your phone to vibrate and left it that way. Maybe you’ve even deleted some messages without listening because honestly, seriously, you’re starting to think you just need a fucking BREAK already, and maybe, really, marriage is harder than you ever thought.

I realize, obviously, that it is not a straight line from here to there, but it feels like one day shit just snaps, and it’s suddenly clear that you need a year-long island vacation BY-YOUR-FUCKING-SELF and you seriously can’t handle any nonessential communication with the world outside your head.

I enjoy telling people that I’ve worked every day since July 12, 1993 (not counting weekends and my first semester of college), and I think often of what my teacher said to me. Sometimes it’s still enough to push me forward. But sometimes, you know, I need a break. The notion of flaming out is awesome, but this slow, weak smoldering… it’s really not for me.


To rage or not to rage?

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I sort of had a bad couple days, I’m not gonna lie. I worked like hell all weekend, and, in the end, little seemed to come of it. Being a person who defines herself by her work, this didn’t sit well with me. I hate wasting time, number one, and number two, I missed seeing my sister, in town from DC for the holiday, and attending a party the likes of which Seekonk, MA has never seen.

As is my way, after deciding that my professional life was up a creek, I proceeded to analyze every other aspect of my existence, from my marriage to my taste in window dressing to the very core of my being and decided, unequivocally, that it was all a big, steaming, worthless pile of shit.

I did all this analyzing, mind you, from the rumpled confines of my bed. Because I pretty much spent 48 solid hours there.

While thus ensconced for the duration of Monday and Tuesday, I did a lot of thinking about Saturday. Last month I drunkenly e-vited more than seventy people to my 29th birthday party (7/12/08, check your calendars) and I’ve been having panic attacks about it ever since. What if everyone comes? What if nobody comes? What will we do with the cat? Do I rent a hall? Do I rent out a bar? Do I just buck the whole thing and emigrate to Guam? And in the depths of my misery, when I couldn’t even muster the energy to mix a cocktail (ok, maybe i mustered the energy to mix one or two), the notion of organizing myself and the apartment to host dozens of guests seemed unfathomable.

Thankfully, my husband helped me climb out of the bell jar with an 8pm screening of Wall-E, so the party is still on. But I wish I were the kind of person who didn’t need digitally projected saccharine to make me see that life is not crap.

Ah well, for the moment I don’t have time to deal with that. I’ve got vegetables to dice and booze to buy! Priorities, priorities.


Awesome: Not Awesome

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You know what’s awesome about working part-time? NOT WORKING FULL-TIME, of course!!!

You know what’s not awesome about part time?

Oh, let me begin.

What’s not awesome about part time is how you feel like you should really be getting a lot of shit done. Personal shit. Like buying a file cabinet, getting an oil change, going to IKEA on a Tuesday, or finally cleaning up your closet. You start to feel like you’ve really always needed to re-organize your fledgling library of paperbacks, and that your home mail situation is completely out of control, and don’t even get me started on the floors – no matter how many times you wash them, they always look like they’re covered with a thin veneer of week-old bacon grease – and HOLY SHIT, LAUNDRY? HI. Fucking stop. Laundry, if I had your multiplying properties, I WOULD BE ABLE TO REORGANIZE MY BOOKS WHILE SHOPPING FOR FILE CABINETS AT IKEA. DAMN YOU.

But the *really* not awesome thing about part time is that when you get home from working 4 or 5 hours at your job (the job which, incidentally, is begging for more time than you have in a 24-hour day) all you can do is obsess about the list of chores which you SHOULD BE GETTING DONE. You know, since YOU’RE ONLY WORKING PART TIME. When that happens, you find yourself wide awake at 5am, having been up since 2, staring at the sun rising through your faux-wood blinds and thinking how YOU WON’T BE WORKING PART TIME FOREVER, BITCH, SO GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER AND DO SOMETHING.

As a consequence of these late-night runs around Obsessive-Compulsive Square, you wind up sleeping till noon and going into work shortly thereafter, since there really is a great deal to be done and it needs to be done sooner rather than later. And of course, since you’re still basically waking up, going to work, then coming home and cooking dinner, there’s not much time leftover to scratch the myriad personal chores off your list. Because really, who scours the floors and reorganizes their paperback library at 4 in the morning?

I only have like five sleeping pills left. This can’t be good.


My best present

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I know I’ve talked before about this whole “getting old as seen through the presentation of gifts” aspect of life – the notion that when you’re little you want My Little Ponies then you want makeup and CD gift cards, and finally you’re asking for bedroom slippers and Metamucil and oh, a DVD set of Murder She Wrote season one would be just lovely, thank you.

I’m too lazy to go through the archives and find it, but you and I both know it’s there.

So anyway, this Christmas my mom went nuts with the presents as usual, despite having been out of town caring for her widowed mother until December 15, and my take included certain items that were refreshingly carefree:

– A scrabble game with the spinny spinny thing so you don’t have to shuffle the board around to take your turn
Monopoly
Clue (which i actually hate, don’t tell my parents. This one is getting exchanged for strip poker or something.)
– a 1.75 liter bottle of Ketel One vodka

But my heart soared aloft when I opened the Williams Sonoma egg poacher. And I almost tackled my sister after opening a pair of Ugg slippers (she’s too good to me, I swear).

So it’s kind of 50/50 I guess. But dude just put ONE TOE into those slippers and you will know the true meaning of comfort. Plus they’ll ensure that I don’t stub my toe while careening around my apartment after my binge on top-shelf booze.


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