Daily Duds · Ramblings

Happy

I made the mistake last night of updating my phone right before bed, which led to waiting around for my phone/alarm to be ready to take to bed. (Romantic, I know) I passed the time by following updates on the Oscars and watching videos of segments, including Pharrell’s “Happy.” I’d heard this on the radio but didn’t realize it was him, as I’m used to his much different collaborations and N.E.R.D stuff. Anyway, I love it, and it’s impossible not to feel lifted a bit by watching and listening.

As a result of said late-night waiting around, I was not feeling waking up early this morning. Threw together a simple outfit that felt classy and got me through a morning buried in Excel and reports. Whoop!

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One final note: if you build it, the cat will hang out in it. I just did this to make myself laugh, and without hesitation Sabrina had to check it out for herself.

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Ramblings · TV and Movies

The Whole Package

I’m not sure what you were thinking this post will be about based on the title, but it’s not that. I’m a pop culture, news obsessed media person. I can’t help it. I sometimes have to remove myself from Twitter because I can’t stop consuming the news stories and conversations. There are positives to being connected, but constantly consuming someone else’s work instead of making your own is a tricky downhill slide. And I’m definitely guilty. Where is that saying from? I wish I remembered where I read/heard/saw that.

Anyway. Far off in the-actual-point land: I get hooked into TV shows. And books. And people. When I first started watching 30 Rock on Netflix I couldn’t stop, although I was several years late to that party. The next day I went out and bought Tina Fey’s book, Bossypants. I’m not usually like that. I like to think about things for a while or not get all-consumed with every aspect of a new thing. I wish I could say why but I don’t know. I did really enjoy getting into Tina Fey’s head and watching 30 Rock. The way people write, if it’s a way I connect with, immediately makes me feel bonded to them.

maron

OK, so maybe we’re not at actual-point-land yet. (Do you like the change in hyphens? I do.) I got Marc Maron’s book Attempting Normal for Christmas. I had plenty of downtime and sunshine to enjoy while in Southern California, so I got through half the book before flying back to NY. All my flight and layover time meant that I finished the book right before my connection to Albany took off. I only started listening to his WTF podcast late in 2012, when I started commuting to Vermont for my new job. That meant I knew in vague terms a lot about his life but, as I learned through reading, I knew none of the real gritty details. In so many ways I’m absolutely nothing like Marc Maron. Probably most ways. But I get his writing and his brain processes so well.

Despite all that I wasn’t sure if I’d really like his IFC show Maron. I know how acclaimed Louie C. K.’s show is and I’ve still never made it through an episode. I default to happy, silly things these days, unless it’s a deep and thoughtful movie and I’m feeling bummed out. The overwhelming awkward sad-life-truth thing though seems like a TV show I don’t need when I can just live life. Who knows, though, my thoughts could change. Since it hit Netflix, I decided to check out Maron and powered through five episodes. It’s not mind blowing, but I like it. It’s 22 minutes (or whatever), pretty fast paced and while relates to life and darkness, it’s also clever and funny. There can be something very fulfilling about listening to someone else ruminate about the very things you toss around in your head.

Ramblings · TV and Movies

Frances Ha (Ha ha ha. Awkward laugh.)

Frances-Ha4

I was stoked to finally see that Frances Ha arrived on Netflix. I read about it a bit and listened to the WTF podcast with Noah Baumbach, and it sounded intriguing. Honestly, though, I wasn’t sure if it was a good intriguing or a bad one. I’ve still never seen Girls, and I just generally consume the idea of people annoyed with overdone millennials being too self aware or needy or whatever. But of course, given that I am one, I figured I’d at least relate or see some mirroring. Well. This movie definitely made me cringe a bit, but only in seeing things that are so true to life. We are all awkward at times, but especially so in our twenties. As I’ve hit 27 in the last week, I know that I’m still developing as a person. However I also know that I’m less afraid to do and say weird stuff, even if I’m still painfully aware of what doesn’t land in a group setting. Another strong point (maybe gleaned from the movie) is that even if you know your life isn’t all together, the self awareness doesn’t help you fix it any faster than life is going to let you. Can you tell I’ve been through a lot of these feelings in my life?!

Frances is quirky and cute and whimsical in a lot of ways, and people like her and are kind, but that doesn’t make her invincible or endearing to anyone. She gets lucky and she fails, and you can tell when people are merely tolerating her out of kindness. I mean, I cringed at the whole “tell me the story of us” line to Sophie or her dashing about like a maniac to get cash at dinner, but a lot of it felt true to life without much heavy handedness. If you don’t quite feel like an adult yet you just do shit that feels adult until you reach your limit, like in the opening when she breaks up with her boyfriend by making up excuses why she can’t move in and tries to just walk out. Awkward adult and non adult times. I still feel like I’m in that phase of growing up and learning the kinds of people and behavior you’re willing to tolerate, and how to keep certain friends in your life even as you take on different roles. When things really aren’t working out, Frances just powers through and keeps telling herself that it’ll all work out. That she’ll get what she wants eventually. Or that it’s only a minor interlude that she can’t afford to live in the city or the dance company she works for is letting her go.

The question of “what do you do?” is a great way to get to know someone but also probably not as apt a question these days. You never know if someone is working to pay for their outside activities that fulfill them or are still struggling through years of underemployment or whatever. When I was unemployed and meeting new people I hated that question. It’s easy to spin it and cover for yourself (thus making me cringe at the unnecessary seeming awkwardness of Frances’ responses to many things in the film, but hey they’re trying to send a message) but it can still sting. And I did like how this is presented when the question is brought up:

“It’s kind of hard to explain,” she says.
“Because what you do is complicated?” they ask.
“Because I don’t really do it.”

It can be a hard question to answer, whether you don’t like what you do or you feel like you have to qualify it for whatever reason, or because you do more in your free time that doesn’t make you money but makes you happy. This exchange is right after a particularly messy fight with her former/best friend Sophie as Frances refuses to accept that her friend is growing while she’s stuck in place. And right after this she decides to go to Paris for two days thanks to a free apartment offer. And it sucks. She walks around, calling a friend who doesn’t get her messages until she’s back in NYC, and just mopes about Paris. When I imagine the wonder of hopping a plane to a foreign country for the hell of it, I can honestly see that this is the stark reality of that bold move. You can’t just force whimsy and adventure into your life if you’re not feeling it.

Toward the end of the movie you kind of see Frances evolve in the way she talks to people and addresses the world around her. I think it’s easy to hold on to the quirky and silly ways we talk about things or people to avoid ownership or seriousness. Instead of calling Sophie her twin or some elaborate description, she finally just admits she’s her best friend (and probably realizing they’re very much their own separate identities now).

Ramblings · Sewing Misadventures

Progress

sewing corner

Why yes, I did spend the better part of my evening tackling this table assembly project. Now I am officially one step closer to having a sewing corner! Next step, browsing Craigslist for a sewing machine. Then comes the fabric browsing and the project brainstorming and all the fun clothes I can make for myself and my friends and… the world! Right? Right.

Ramblings

New Hobby

While I’m currently awaiting more funds becoming available to create my sewing corner — I currently have a chair, that’s one piece! — I’m finding other ways to channel my creative energy. A few months back I got inspired by a silly concept J was talking about one night, and thus the Eggplant Stripper was born. I love coming up with silly and absurd ideas, and now I’m able to take them one step further than just riffing on a conversation. I’ll never be a gifted artist, but I’m working on mastering my comic styling. If only I could figure out where my colored pencils are hiding.

comics

Plus, my running has been put on hold since I ramped up too quickly. I will be cheering in Shelburne this weekend, and will still consuming all the Heady Topper and crepes I can find anyway. I’m bummed but working on healing right now.

archer badges

And hey, it’s Halloween week, and I can’t wait to bust out the big group Archer costume my friends and I have planned!

Ramblings · Upstate life

Home Sweet Home

Welcome to my new home in Troy:

collage

Well, it has been quite the busy and exciting month since moving into my new Troy apartment. Just as the heat wave was breaking I spent the day (along with the lovely strong BF and friends) moving my belongings and sweating up a storm. And because it’s me, I ended up smashing my hand in a door frame on the last piece of furniture.

It has taken time to clean up the place and get settled. It has also been way more of a pain to get basic utilities set up, as well as an oven that actually works fully. But hey, it’s pretty darn great compared to where I was. My commute is much less headache-inducing and I love having such a large space.

A new couch has been ordered. The kitty has a fancy new cat tree. I have a bedroom that is too large for its own good, and so my next step is to create a sewing corner. For years I’ve been saying I wanted to get a sewing machine and reignite that hobby in my spare time, but I’ve never had the space or the means. Work has been going well (plus a raise, heyooo!) and I’m in a good place to start doing more at home.

Oh Troy, I've missed you and your fun handmade signs.
Oh Troy, I’ve missed you and your fun handmade signs.

The place isn’t perfect, but it feels more like home than any place I’ve lived in a long time. And it’s my home for the next year, and it can only get better.

Ramblings

Five Years Later…

Certain moments in your life often feel like they’re reminiscent of the past. It was only five years ago that I was finishing up college, living in my adorable studio apartment in Corvallis, Oregon, looking ahead to the future. I was interning at magazine part time, trying to finish my degree with some sanity and also making time to party my face off. I was already making plans to move to New York City after graduation. I was full of anxiety and even developed a bad case of acid reflux from the stress of it all. Plans fell apart and problems arose, but I just kept on planning.

dory

The Big City Move: I blindly forged ahead, packing up my life and driving back to California with my parents the day after graduation in June. One month later I arrived in NYC with just two suitcases, crashing on my friend’s couch with no clue what I was going to do. It couldn’t be a bigger cliche considering the good fortune I had in the city. I had a generous friend take me in, I found a job at a cool and crazy start-up in a fancy building, I found amazing roommates in a great Brooklyn apartment… I know, I’m rolling my eyes too.

Then the start-up went under. I lived the unemployed and confused life while traveling my problems away. Something got away from me in that time, but I can only believe it helped and didn’t hurt me in the end. After three years living the NYC/Brooklyn life, I moved upstate.

Albany, the Capital Region: Not long after I found myself in this city, fate took care of me again when I launched into a whole new phase of my life. A new friend swooped in, leading me to a new neighborhood and a whole world of great people. I was treading water in a steady job, creating a life and identity of my own in Albany. Then I made the choice to stick around longer for a shinier, career-improving job. Of course, there were sacrifices to be made. Commuting an hour each way to work is exhausting, and yet not a unique or unjust experience. My social life suffered but the right people stuck around.

Yet here I am, once again powering through anxiety, decisions and change. Life is funny that way. July 15 is the day in 2008 I showed up my friend Steph’s doorstep in NYC, ready to take some big chances. Today I officially have the keys to my new apartment in Troy. Top floor, spacious, quiet and clean. I’ve committed to another year upstate, and I’m diving right in. I’m joining dance and fitness classes, and I’m getting back into volunteering. If I’ve learned anything from my nomadic times, community and friendship are the most important aspects to a place feeling like home.

Next steps are scary and every choice is a gamble. I’ve already faced many upheavals along the way, wondering about my choices, often feeling alone, and even wanting to give up or start over. But I’ve always managed to get through it. I’m not the same naive 21 year old who jumped coasts with a few suitcases and boxes. It feels good to be actively making a choice instead of passively moving with momentum. I have a plan for the future, and I’m looking forward to making the most of my extended time in upstate NY.

Ramblings

Rrred Panda

rp

Red.

Okay, so clearly this experiment has not gone incredibly well. But it’s summer and I’ve had a hard time sitting down to write. (Excusesssss) I may still try to keep it up and just try to get a few prompts in here and there. Some of these words really are too vague and better meant for photos anyway. Anyway, today the word is red, which is perfect. I happen to be a tad obsessed with red pandas. They’re adorable. It was a big deal this week with the red panda that got lost from the National Zoo in D.C. Luckily the little guy was found, and this post reminds me about the greatness of red pandas. There’s even a website to locate where red pandas are near you. I’m not saying I plan on stealing a red panda some day, but I probably will. My cat would love having a new friend.

Ramblings

This is Where I Leave You

tropperbook

Currently Reading.

When I was heading back to California for the wedding last month, I knew I would need a good book or two to get me through the long flights and connections. I ended up getting through almost the entirety of Marian Keyes’s The Brightest Star in the Sky over the trip. The second book, however, I only am just getting into lately. This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper seems like a solid book so far. I’ll admit that I first heard about this book via movie casting news. I love browsing bookstores. Usually. But then sometimes I get caught up in not knowing what to get and you can only base so much on pure guesswork or past references. I really loved Chuck Klosterman’s “The Invisible Man,” but another book of his I picked up at the time just didn’t speak to me.

Anyway, I’m getting through this new book slowly. I tend to keep my current reading underneath a pillow on my bed and read a bit before falling asleep. This makes for a very slow process. I love the act of reading books though, which is why I don’t listen to audio books. Also? I’m lazy. And way too into podcasts. As I’m starting to try and write more, I know that reading more is just as important. When I saw Junot Diaz speak at SUNY Albany last year he emphasized that aspect, as I’m sure many authors do. Reading how other people craft words and worlds is important to figuring out your own writing and process. I really love to read but I find it hard to fit in among all the other things I don’t seem to manage to get around to doing. Reading several pages a night or every few nights is definitely not enough.