Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Best Of: 2014 - Living the Dream

Here we are on the last day of 2014 and that means it's time for my annual "Best Of" review. Overall, 2014 was a pretty good year for me. I made some changes I'd hoped to make and with one really big move, reinvented almost my entire life.

There were some pretty tough moments too. I began 2014 with an unpleasant health challenge that has become a semi-permanent fixture. I had some pretty serious doubts I could move to New York, that I could really do it on my own. The entire month of September was basically the worst and losing my precious kitty in that month was possibly the hardest moment of all.

But I'm lucky the good outweighed the bad. For every awful September there was a March and a December to make up for it.

Best Of: 2014 - Living the Dream

Monday, November 24, 2014

I [heart] NY

It's been slightly over three months since I moved to New York City. I've written very little on my silly blog about it and I know this annoys probably half of the ten people who read it. The fact of the matter is that I don't feel like I have the time to post. Grad school is busy. And when you have retinal damage like I do, it takes twice as long to read books and essays as it does for everyone else. Sometimes three books a week takes precedence over writing a blog post no one sees. Except the ten of you who "follow" my blog. There's a lot of writing too - this is a writing program - and that writing is a bit more important than this.

But I was sitting in church yesterday thinking about what I love about living in New York and what I don't and I decided to hurry up and write it down before I forget or my mind gets changed, because like this ever changing city, the things I love and don't about New York are bound to change in one of its famous minutes. The semester is winding down and it's a holiday week so I only have three classes. And yes, I should be reading Ragtime by EL Doctorow right now, but guys, I get it. Mother's Younger Brother is sad because Evelyn stopped loving him. Houdini isn't thrilled by his magic anymore so he's in Europe flying a Voisin for the Archduke Ferdinand. Father engaged in coitus with an "Esquimo" during the long Arctic expedition and now cries when with Mother. Taft is president and everyone suddenly feels the need to slim down. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. It's actually kind of fun, but so superfluous.

I digress. Here are things I love, and things I don't, about New York City.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Christmas Cake

My mother is British. She was born in London a few years after World War II and immigrated to the United States with her family as a kid. When I was a kid we'd spend Christmas Eve at my British grandparents' house with aunts, uncles, and cousins. With jam tarts, sausage rolls, and Christmas crackers (the toy, not the food). With modified raspberry trifle (modified by my grandmother to be virtually sugar-free as a fifth of her grandkids and a few of her sons had Type 1 Diabetes), lemon curd, and mince meat pies. My grandmother would end the night by giving each of her children a loaf of Christmas Cake.

Christmas Cake is what I like to call a sober fruit cake. A traditional fruitcake is aged in the freezer, wrapped in a liquor-soaked cheesecloth or unbleached muslin that's been saturated with rum, brandy, cognac, bourbon, or whiskey. During the aging process, the cake absorbs the liquor, the tannins of the dried fruits are released (read: fermentation), and the fruitcake gains a richer flavor. That's not to say that alcohol is necessary to make a fruitcake a fruitcake. It's easy to find recipes that don't use alcohol. So what makes my grandmother's Christmas Cake different from other sober fruitcakes? It's my grandmother's recipe, and it's been in the family for generations.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Trouble with the Cat

There's been some trouble at home since I left. Trouble with my cat. Some old lady (using a tactful word, not the one I want to use) complained to the HOA about her "trying to trip her" - aka rubbing against her legs as cats tend to do - so Rosie was no longer allowed to go outside. Rosie loved outside. It was her favorite thing. All she wanted to do was stalk birds and tease confined dogs and run.

It was a difficult transition for Rosie to stay inside. She tried to bite my mother's legs a few times, and after she attacked my niece - it was an unprovoked attack - it was decided Rosie would go live with my grandma and Uncle Mark. Mark was sure he could cure her of her biting.

After only a few days, Rosie, again unprovoked, viciously attacked my grandma. So my cousin, a vet tech and devout animal lover, came and got Rosie, and it was determined - without consulting me or my parents - that Rosie needed to be put down. So she was. None of us found out until after the fact. I  found out this afternoon.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Cookies for Dinner

I'm sure the 10 of you who read my silly blog are expecting me to write a long post about moving to New York City. I might do that eventually, but I'm not going to now. I will say this: it was hard. It took a lot longer for my apartment to come together than my parents or I expected. I cannot put together IKEA furniture, but my dad is super impressed by the engineering of it. And that Valentine's Day episode in the final season of 30 Rock when Liz and Kriss go to IKEA Brooklyn and she says IKEA's sole purpose is to ruin relationships is true; I'm surprised my parents didn't disown me and/or I didn't murder anyone in the 4 HOURS we were there (not including travel time).

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Skip to the End

I'm ready to leave, but at the same time I'm not.

I'm ready to not have to answer the same questions and have the same conversations over and over and over again. My tolerance has grown thin, "like butter scraped over too much bread". Yes I'm excited to go. No my bags aren't packed. I'm leaving August 18th. My program is two years of classwork with up to three additional years to write a thesis. I don't feel like this will be "such an adventure" because this is my life. I'm not going on a safari. I'm making a life move, a change, and the fact that it's taking place in Mystical! Magical! New York City doesn't make it anymore of an "adventure" than if I were moving to Nowhere, Oklahoma.

Monday, July 14, 2014

New York City: The Rent is Too Damn High

**Final in a series about my 11 day house hunting trip to New York City. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Columbus Circle and Central Park South
 Does anyone remember Jimmy McMillan and his political party, The Rent is Too Damn High Party? I do. Mostly thanks to Kenan Thompson and SNL when good ol' Jimmy was in the New York State gubernatorial race a few years ago.

Back then he was just a crazy dude with a fantastically-named political party.

But guys, Jimmy wasn't lying.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

New York City: Adventures in Dog-Sitting

** Second in a brief series about my 11 day house hunting trip to New York City. Read Part 1 here.

Meet Sofia.

For most of the time I was in New York, Sofia was my charge. Her full name - Sofia Antonietta - is bigger than she is. Sofia is a miniature Chihuahua. She, like Carla on Scrubs, is Dominican and Nick rescued her and brought her back to New York.

I was a bit nervous to take care of her because I've never cared for a dog. Or owned a dog. Or lived in a house where a dog also lived. And let's face it, I'm a cat person. Nick received approximately one million texts from me full of questions. His instructions were pretty simple: Don't let her sleep with you on the bed, walk her twice a day, make sure she has food and water, don't let her die.

Easy right?

Thursday, July 10, 2014

New York City: Girl on a Ledge

**First in a brief series about my recent 11 day house hunting trip to New York City

Sometimes, when you've never been more sure of anything in you life, you doubt that surety. You doubt that it's right; you doubt your judgement and sanity. I believe the term for this is cold feet.

As a Libra I'm naturally prone to indecision. When I decided I wanted to go to graduate school, and that I only wanted to attend New York schools, I was sure. When I got into Columbia, I was sure that's where I wanted and needed to go. When I got into Columbia, I was sure I wanted to live in New York, by myself, and I was sure I'd be fine.

When I landed at JFK on Sunday, June 29th, I was feeling less sure. When my parents dropped me off in Chelsea and continued to Boston, I was even more less sure. When I was walking down Chambers Street in TriBeCa a few hours later, I was a girl on a ledge and I needed someone to talk me down.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Point: Break

No, this is not a Patrick Swayze/Keanu Reeves movie where the two main characters are named Bohdi and Johnny Utah. I assume you would know that since you're reading and not watching, but I wanted to make sure we're all clear that there will be no John C. McGinley - which is a sad. He would make this so much better and hilarious.

This won't be hilarious. Not unless you count obscure pop culture references as hilarious. Which I do depending on the context. In Psych, yes. The Mindy Project, yes. Law & Order: SVU, no.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It's Coming on June (Fees)

Top questions I'm getting asked these days and my subsequent responses:

Q: Are you excited to (pick one)
  • move to New York???
  • start your program at Columbia???
A: Yes, I'm very excited!

Q: When are you moving/when is your last day at work???
A: August 18th/15th, respectively.

Q: What classes are you going to take?
A: Registration is in August, so I'm not sure yet. 

Q: Where are you going to live???
A: I'm not sure. I'm going to the city the beginning of July to find somewhere to live.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

See You Be Brave

Stagnant: adjective \'stag-nant\
  1. not flowing
  2. not active, changing, or progressing
For a great length of time I felt like I was stagnant. During some of this time it was involuntary; there is only so much one can do when tethered to a dialysis machine 12 hours a week. But for other parts, it was voluntary.

Voluntary because I didn't know what to do next. "Stalled" is another good 'S' word to use. I was stalled and therefore stagnant in my life. I didn't know how to change it. So I didn't do anything except work at my good albeit dead-end job. All while friends and family got better jobs and advanced degrees, had babies and got married, bought houses and achieved major life accomplishments.

I just watched...
Was self-deprecating (and not in that "I'm humble and charming" way)...
And got a little bit angry at the successes of other people. Which, for the record, is not okay.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Always A Good Idea

Exactly one year ago today I got an email so devastating to me it inspired me to write one of the most popular and true and wrenching pieces I've written. It took me quite a while to move on from that devastation and utter incomprehension of what to do next. 365 days later I know without a doubt that was exactly what needed to happen to me because it got me to where I am right now, and to where I'm about to go.

I've been thinking about my life and my future. About how in 5 months' time I'll live in a city with more inhabitants than the entire state of Utah; in an apartment the size of my bedroom, closet, and bathroom combined (and that's if I'm real lucky); about how I probably can't take my darling little cat with me. She'd hate New York and me for relocating her there. She likes to play outside and chase leaves and catch critters. She also likes my parents, more than she likes me I'm afraid, and as much as I know I'll need her with me, I also know it's better for her to stay with my parents. They do really love her.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Best Week Ever (Transplant Update)

There's a show on VH1 I love called Best Week Ever. It's a show about pop culture and is sort of a "week in review" format commentated by comedians. Judah Friedlander, Paul F. Tompkins, and Mo Rocca were, at one time, commentators. After the week in pop culture has been reviewed, someone is declared to be having the BEST WEEK EVER.

I am confident that after last week, if I was someone to whom anyone payed attention, or if I was somehow noteworthy in pop culture, I'd have won the title of having the best week ever.

It started on Saturday, March 8th. It was my niece's birthday. I sent her a tutu which she did not want to try on because she had gotten some Calico Critters bunnies and beds for them to sleep in and a Calico Critters house for them to live in. She wanted to put the bunnies in the beds, not try on a tutu. I was feeling jealous she had a cake and I had none. It's impossible to share cake over FaceTime.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


Call it magic.

A sunny Sunday afternoon in early March. Sixty degree temperatures. Blondies cooling on the countertop. Apple and Munster cheese slices on a plate on the mangowood table, and some dried salami that tastes nothing like an Italian sausage off the grill. Water and Diet Coke with half a lemon juiced in, aranciata, ginger ale in a glass bottle.

I wore a black and white striped dress to church with red heels and drop (fake) diamond earrings. When I got home I put on mint green jeans and a white tee because it's spring now and I'm not cold anymore. My pants are all too big for me because I've had an "overgrowth of bacteria present in [my] small intestine" since I got food poisoning in November. Now I'm on the most expensive antibiotic in the world. It must have flecks of real gold in it.

The part about the pants and bacterial overgrowth and antibiotics isn't magic. It's science. And too much information.

But that Sunday afternoon was magic.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Woman with Four Names

I was writing something very different today. It was going to be an essay about how the bus is the best human observation experience. But then I got to work.

There is a woman in my office who has hated me for reasons unknown for the last five and a half years. If you've ever hated someone you have to see practically every day for that amount of time, you know it can't be easy. You could argue that maybe she doesn't "hate" me, maybe she's just been really deep in thought or had "a lot on her plate" for five and a half years, but it's a lie.

She hates me. I know this because she did not hate me the first six months I worked at my job. She was really nice to me, invited me to breakfast meetings and pizza parties she was having for her research assistants, would actually exchange pleasantries with me. But not anymore, not anymore since November 2008

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A Wee Woman, Despite the Use of Lard

I'm waiting for some potentially life-changing news. Not potentially, it is life-changing news. But that news also takes 6-8 weeks to get. I'm not good at waiting. So I decided to take a Lifelong Learning class at the University of Utah as a time-filler. The class is a writing class called "Five Short Weeks, Five Short Essays" and is focused on writing non-fiction essays of 1000 or less.

Lifelong Learning is a community program. Anyone can sign up, anyone can take a class. You don't have to be accepted to the U., or have a degree. There are literally no requirements except that you can pay for the class. Obviously, this isn't a "for credit" class, so it's up to you if you want to participate and do the homework and reading, or even come to class. You get out of it what you put in.

Like I said, it's a time filler for me so I have something to focus on whilst waiting for my life to change. I've also decided that I'm going to publish the short essays I write on my blog. It gives me a little more incentive to write them, honestly, because I'll feel more accountable if I have someone other than myself to write them for.

Here is the essay from Week One. "A Wee Woman, Despite the Use of Lard"