Thursday, December 31, 2009

"Fat"

People online has a new slideshow up of celebrity weight loss "winners." That's fine I guess (though I think Tyra looked better in the slightly heavier photo) but three of the women in their before picture are pregnant. Pregnant is not fat! Pregnant does not count as a weight loss before picture! Are they kidding?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Self pity

I actually planned my Farmville crops around a job I thought I was going to have tomorrow.  This is sad just on its own because it means I spend far too much time online (not that I'm judging anyone reading this. I love you. Keep coming back).  This is made sadder by the fact that I am no longer working tomorrow, though thankfully still working the next day.  I am feeling a little self pitying at the moment - while I've found work this past year to some extent, I have not worked as much as I would have liked to and things have been financially tight basically this whole year.  Like really tight. I'm tired of being on and off unemployment.  I'd love to land a feature or a tv show (or even a long short!) and get a couple solid months of financial security this coming year. I'd love to actually crack $30,000 - TMI, but I have yet to do that and I'm three years out of school now.

Not that my life sucks or anything. The good thing is I get to spend time with my bf's family tomorrow, maybe, and almost certainly to spend time with bf himself.  The good thing is I'm still working the day after, though I wish I could spend New Year's with my bf instead of with strangers. The good thing is that I have food and shelter and clothing and pretty new bags (shout out to my fashion savvy friend for her awesome gift).

There's a lot of good things this year.  I'm hoping next year my family and friends continue to be safe and happy, but frankly, I'm also hoping for a little bit more money. I'm hoping for health insurance.  I'm hoping for a career I can brag, just a little bit, about.  I'm smart and hardworking (does anyone else do the SNL self help skit voice when praising themselves? Is it just me?) and I deserve it. I'm hoping to one day be able to have enough money that I can have kids and afford them, that I can have a nice apartment and afford it, and that I can take the odd little vacation and (say it with me) afford it.  My grandfather in Italy is 92, for god's sake, and if I don't get over there soon I'm going to really regret it.

Anyway, that's it for the self pity for now. Every now and then I just need to get it out. There's a million people out there worse off and I doubt that I'll end up on the streets, no matter how bad it gets.  That's what a loving family and friend network gets you. Still, any good vibes sent my way wouldn't be taken amiss.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Rolling my way into the New Year

I love Christmas. I love buying gifts (not the financial part so much this year), I love getting gifts (oh yes I do. I am five when it comes to opening gifts), I love the food and the good will and getting to see friends and family.  This year has been wonderful. I spent Christmas Eve cooking.

I made:
Chicken.
Stuffing. Lots of stuffing. I mean I lifted the skin of the chicken and stuffed it there too. There's more stuffing then chicken.
Mashed Potatoes
Wild Rice
Spinach
Stuffed Mushrooms
Cornbread
2 Key Lime Pies
Cheese and bread and salame to start off with.

This was all for me and my boyfriend.  We did not get to the pie, which was fine because I planned to bring one each to my friend and my boyfriend's family.  I also made baked cucumber, but am not counting that because I thought it was zucchini.  Oops. My boyfriend just about fell off his chair when he realized, and he got an inordinate amount of enjoyment retelling this to family and friends. Just one more little Christmas gift for him, I guess.

I also did not really get around to decorating the tree, since my bf brought it over on the 23rd and I was busy shopping and cooking. It is still really cute though.


There were eventually a few more gifts under it.  The large package, a bread maker for my bf, did not end up going over well so we're going to go exchange it at some point this week. I knew it was a risky gift but he does like to bake his own bread...oh well. Not every gift can be a winner.

Christmas itself was spent with a great friend, a former college room mate, at her mom's house. Which I love because it is just so cozy and comfortable.  They know how to do Christmas right, too. We had a big brunch, with liberal applications of mimosa added in. Then we went for a walk to make more room and continued on to pie and wine. Then more wine. Then beer. Then drinking games (with more beer).  The drinking game, by the way, accompanied what is perhaps the worst movie ever produced, Saving Sara Caine.  Oh god.

In between all this we exchanged gifts (I got a belated birthday gift and more wine).  Then we staggered back to the train to get back to NY after a wholly satisfying day.  The next day we were back on the train to head to my bf's family.  I slept on the train, and also on the armchair after a large dinner at a nearby Chinese restaurant (one of those places where the chef sets the table on fire and flings hot food towards your face.  Fun, but a little daunting if you know yourself to be, say, just slightly klutzy).  There was a good deal of wine on offer here too.

So, basically, I have taken the first steps to a lifelong problem with alcohol this holiday season. Ok, not really, but how do recovering addicts do it? If any more alcohol had been flung down my throat I would have had to swim home instead of taking the train.  Which is just how I like my holiday celebrations.  Lots of food, drink, friends and family.  So Merry belated Christmas (and Hanukah and Kwanzaa and etc.) to everyone and I hope everyone had as good a time as me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chocolate and Caramel covered popcorn

I am exhausted. I don't know why, since all I did was clean a bit today and make the aforementioned popcorn (and send out a resume or two), but I could fall asleep now and not wake up until tomorrow.  However!  For your viewing pleasure, here is the finished product:

The picture, as usual, does not do it justice. I need a digital camera.

It was pretty easy to make too, though kind of time consuming.  I made the popcorn first, obviously. I made it on the stove, not microwave, because otherwise it would have already been seasoned and the caramel and chocolate would have tasted funky.

Then I made caramel. This is just melted sugar, with a little water poured on it to make it easier to melt. Once the sugar is melted watch it carefully as it starts to brown, stirring occasionally.  As soon as it is golden take it off the heat - it burns easily and tastes terrible if burned.


Sugar melting in the water. I put too much water, so it took a while to caramelize.


Then I poured that on the popcorn and stirred it all around with a wooden spoon.  WARNING: Melted sugar is HOT.  Do not touch it. Be careful stirring and pouring it and use a spoon or something to mix it into the popcorn.

Then I melted some dark chocolate and drizzled that on.

Viola! A nice Christmas treat. I'm thinking of making a bunch of this and handing it out to friends instead of gifts, along with maybe some cookies.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Problem

Remember that turkey broth I made a week or two ago? It's still sitting in the fridge (what's left), in the pot, and it has reached the point that I'm kind of scared to deal with it.  I feel like I could re-discover penicillin all by myself in my kitchen.

Or perhaps penicillin's more sinister cousin.  Either way, I'm hoping I can get someone else (and by that I mean my bf) to deal with it.  Wish me luck.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Santa's little helper

I spent the day doing my Christmas shopping.  I'm pretty pleased with my purchases, though it's hard to shop on such a tight budget and still have gifts I'm really happy with. I got a weird look when I asked a vendor advice about my half sister's gift ("I need something for a Portugese speaking 10 year old I've never met. Do you think she'd like this?").  A couple of gifts I'm a little worried about now, though they seemed fine when I got them.  My mother, primarily, once pitched an enormous, crying fit over the color of a sweater my siblings and I had gotten her. Gift buying for her has been a bit fraught ever since.

I love Christmas shopping in New York though. I was at the little street festival at Union Square today and it's nice knowing that everything I got could only be got in New York, right there. It's not a chain, you can't go online and order it; you have to be in New York, in Union Square, if you want it.  Plus, walking around and being able to browse such a huge variety of home made, craft, or just cool little things was fun, money or no money. I had to resist buying several unneeded items, but I made it and only went over budget (so far) by a few dollars.   I was literally staggering under the weight of everything I was carrying today, and sheer exhaustion (and back pain) finally sent me home.

Tomorrow I'm venturing out again to try to get the last couple gifts I need, for my bf (boyfriend) and my bf (best friend). :-).  They are the hardest, because it is important they like what I get them.  After the holidays are over I'll post pictures of everything I got and gave.  I love Christmas.
I found something great for my bf, but didn't buy it as it was almost twice the budget we set. I'm considering going back for it though, as I think he would like it and I really want to get him something he likes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Duggar baby born! Early!

  My interest in babies, Duggars and dramatic and unusual medical situations has all come together in a big Duggar baby peak.  Mrs. Duggar had the baby, super early, and she's super tiny.  Like, barely over a pound.  While not religious I am sending good vibes their way (I'm sure they really really care).  But I am also trolling the internet for more info.  I love gossip, and all reality tv is a a chance to get to know more people to gossip about, with no chance of the gossiping back about you.  And dramatic premature birth after airlift evacuation is definitely cause for talk, let me tell you.
  I'm feel like I'm being a little callous about it, but I really think little Josie (a J name I never thought of) will be fine. Girls do better than boys, Mrs. Duggar was in the hospital long enough to get steroid shots, and while three months is very, very early it's amazing how young they can be now and do ok.
  So, basically, I hope she gets quickly better but I also hope there are multiple large information leaks.  Does that make me a terrible person?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Celebrity Updates

Now that I no longer have tv I am sadly behind on certain celebrity/tv show events (like the birth of the Duggar grandkid).  I do however have Perez Hilton and People so I am not entirely out of the loop.

Recent celebrity events that I shouldn't care about but do (ergo: any celebrity events):

-Tiger Woods being apparently the worst, most unfaithful husband possible without actually being Henry VIII.

-Mrs. Duggar getting sick (not that we all shouldn't care about anyone getting sick...but still; it's not like I know her)

-Reese Witherspoon and Jake Gyllenhaal breaking up.  Though the Ryan Phillipe breakup was more shocking.  I'm always hopeful about when celebrities I actually like get married.

Hmmm.  I guess I'm not so out of the loop after all. Unless there's some huge celebrity event I don't even know I don't know.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Jet Lag

Despite not having gone anywhere or done anything to deserve it, I seem to be living in another time zone.  Or rather living as if I'm in another time zone.  Not sure which one, but one that's about six or seven hours behind the one my body is actually inhabiting.  And by this I mean I can't sleep, lay awake every night, play internet games until 6, and then sleep until after noon every night for the past week.  What is WRONG with me?  I've always been a night owl but this is ridiculous.  And though I can probably trace it somewhat (employment stress, money stress, etc.) I really just need to get over it because it is not helpful in the slightest.  Ugh.  In the meantime, behold exhibit A:


No sleep issues here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Turkey Broth

I've spent the afternoon (among other things) with a big pot of turkey broth stewing.  I LOVE making broth.  It feels so healthy and wintery, and yet is so simple any idiot could make it.

Holiday Broth:


I've already poured out a good bit of the broth from the pot here to boil some rice in. 

Basically, throw in your protein (half a chicken should do, or in this case a big humongous turkey wing)
1 potato, washed, sliced in half
1 piece of celery
1 carrot, washed (optional: peeling)
1 onion, peeled
3 cloves of garlic, peeled
Salt (maybe 2 teaspoons? To taste, basically)
Pepper, just a little less than the salt
1 or 2 Bay Leaves
Healthy dash of Basil (To taste, maybe a tablespoon)
Healthy dash of Thyme (Likewise)
You can put a teaspoon full of tomato sauce if you want (my cousin does) but I usually don't bother.

Let it simmer at a medium - low temperature for 3 or 4 or 5 hours with the lid on, depending on how intense you want the broth flavor. I like it intense. I usually have to add a cup or two of water at some point so that it doesn't all boil away.  Don't do this at the very end or (I find) the flavor will be diluted, but if you add some water at the 2 hour mark or so it shouldn't make any difference really.  And if you're cooking something for four hours, you want enough for leftovers.  Taste it every now and then and if it isn't flavorful enough by the three hour mark add more of the salt/pepper/herbs.

Once the broth is done to your taste, just filter out all the stuff in it and you end up with delicious, rich broth. I then usually cook some rice or ravioli or orzo or something in it and eat it.  It's full of vitamins and very filling.  You can save all the stuff you filtered out (potato, protein, etc.) and just eat that separately.  Or you can leave it all together and have a stew instead of a broth. Whatever; it's still good.  I'm going to go eat some now.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Presents

The bag is my present to myself.  I'm on a tight budget but my old bag is totally falling apart, so I'm considering it a necessary expense.  You can find it at Fossil.com, but is no longer sold in stores since it was put on sale and they "don't sell sales items."  Which seems like the dumbest thing in the world to me and resulted in my wasting 2 hours of my day trying to buy it in the real world, to no avail.  They're lucky I really wanted it because the whole thing was seriously annoying.


The sweater I'm wearing is one of the presents my beau got me, and goes all the way to my knees.  It's soft and warm and I've been wearing it out as my coat.  Considering that several items of my wardrobe were borrowed to use as prop costuming for a homeless character in a film I was working on (you know you need new clothes when yours are considered perfectly homeless looking), I'm feeling pretty good about my new items.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cats...part deux

I love it when my cats climb under the covers with me and flop onto my feet.  Cute and warming.

I hate (though I find it amusing despite myself) when the cats repeatedly do what I have yelled at them not to.  Especially when I'm too lazy to get up to stop them so yelling is as far as it goes.  I fear the neighbors think I'm horrible and abusing because all they hear is "No! Stop! Bad!" from my apartment at all hours.

Below: She's getting a bit fat...still super cute though. You can tell she resents being lumped in as a troublemaker along with Guinness (the more frequently bad one).  She enables though.  And is more stubborn about her disobedience.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Weird Thanksgiving

I spent Thanksgiving with my boyfriend, in the house of a stranger, at the invitation of a casual acquaintance.  Who ditched us about 45 minutes into the dinner to go feed someone's cat after hugging and cheek-kissing me like five times.  It was a little strange and awkward.  Not that I don't appreciate the invite.  But there was NO MASHED POTATO!!!  The only reason I didn't bring any (I brought wild rice, green beans, pecan pie* and home made bread) was that it seemed like such a staple that of course it would be there. And while there were 10 pies and 3 turkeys, no one thought to bring any kind of potato dish.  And being that I'm a little bit of a holiday food dictator, the lack of mashed potatoes hit hard.

While grateful for the invitation, it was a relief to say bye to everyone and retreat to my place to watch Hancock with the boy (He gave it three stars, I gave it four).  A little light hearted witty action movie action was just what was needed, especially when we incorporated a drinking game into the action (he threw a car! Drink! Shoved a head up an ass! Drink!).

I have left over wild rice and green beans I'm eating today, but am still mourning the mashed potatoes.

Christmas will not be left to chance like that. The preparations start now.

*Pecan pie was super easy to make and turned out sooooooo goooood.  I can't find the recipe I used but it was (about) 3 beaten eggs, 3/4 cups corn syrup, 3/4 cup white sugar, pie crust, 1 cup pecans, pinch salt and teaspoon vanilla.  Pecans pre-toasted 5 minutes, pie crust precooked for five minutes.  Everything else mixed up (including pecans) and poured into the pie crust and baked at 350 for 45 minutes.  If I've forgotten something, sorry!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Apartment living

I love my little shoebox.  It is small but it's cozy and filled with books and purring cats.  I have piles of quilts on my bed and papers scattered everywhere.  I also generally have dishes in the sink but they are the result of the warm, good food I cook.  I wish I was a bit neater and could keep up with the place better, but shoes scattered around and empty glasses aren't the end of the world.  In the end it is mine.  My little apartment to retreat to and relax in, to clean or not to clean (usually not, but I'm getting better).  And while there are probably bigger and better apartments in my future, I hope, and they may not be mine alone this will always be my first solo apartment.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ska-P

This song is an old favorite, and I don't think many people know about it, so here it is.  Enjoy.

Exploring

So I've been in my new neighborhood for a couple months now (side note: I just recently figured out what neighborhood I actually live in [Kensington], and by figured out I mean had to have someone else tell me), so it seemed time to explore my neighborhood a little bit, food wise. Rather then actually leave my house to do so however, my BF and I ordered sushi takeout.  It was pretty much as you'd expect, cheap and mediocre.  It looked a bit like the sushi my brother and I made when he visited. This is not a compliment to the restaurant as neither of us are sushi chefs. It could have been worse though.  It is nice to crave sushi, and thirty minutes later there it is like magic.  And they take credit card. As I am kind of cash averse I like a place that will take credit cards.  Plus, no cleanup.  I wish I'd taken a picture for the blog (looking a little monotone lately) but it wouldn't have been that amazing. Think grocery store sushi.

Next on the list: Thai takeout.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Birthday!

It's my birthday today and I am torn between a small bit of sadness that I have not yet accomplished what I thought I would at this age (career wise, family wise, money wise) and excitement because, let's face it, birthdays are awesome.  I'm 26 today, in case anyone was wondering.  I don't want to become one of those people who dread their birthdays.  They always seemed a bit ridiculous to me - like, what's not to love about presents and cake?

I just hope this year  I can take some of those big steps towards having a really established career and put some money away in the bank.  My bf and I have talked about wanting to try to buy a little apartment for ourselves in the next few years, and that would be really nice too.  I'd love, by the time I'm 30, for things to be more settled. And maybe even a kid by then - I don't want one RIGHT now, but I don't want to be in the older maternal age catagory by the time I have kids either.  Everything else aside, it's not looking like I'll have a ton of money for fertility treatments if I go the celebrity route and wait until 40. And career. Oh career.  I hope I end up with a good one.

HowEVER, actually, the main thing is the cake and presents today.  No more deep thoughts.  I already have gotten some awesome gifts from my boyfriend.  He got me a bunch of clothing from United Colors of Benetton and I feel very pretty in them.  The cake is yet to come, and I look forward to it.

And then, Thanksgiving, which I always love because I am a glutton.  I'll let you guys know how that goes.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weight

I've been working on a film.  I'm not going to get into that, except to say that the folders I carry around every day all day, in the rain as we stand outside shooting and held in my lap as we go place to place in the van, weigh 25 pounds.  I need to buy a new bag - the old one makes my back hurt with all this extra responsibility in it.  Either that or I need to learn how to downsize.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Being the boss sucks

I'm trying to learn how not to care whether or not the people who I'm in charge of like me. It's hard. Especially when I think they're wrong, but don't dislike them.  Ugh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Working hard is hard work

I've been working my ass off the past little bit, and while I am very proud of myself for doing it, I am also very tired. Very tired.  So tired I went to a party a few days ago and fell asleep on the couch. Less than an hour after arriving. And I didn't wake up until everyone was gone and my boyfriend and I were very politely kicked out.

The past couple of days have been catch up days for me, just sleeping 11, 12 hours a night.  The project I've been working on, on which I have learned a lot, has really been sucking up all my time and energy.  And while there are definitely things I would do differently the 2nd time around, that's kind of the point - I'm learning.  And it is a huge thing for me to be able to have this new, better credit to put on my resume.

In exchange I've kind of neglected every other aspect of my life, from my boyfriend to my apartment to all my other personal relationships. The boyfriend stepped up to the plate and was supportive. The apartment...well, it's going to take a few days of deep cleaning before it forgives me.  My cats have been even clingier then usual the past couple days, probably just relieved that the big warm thing they can flop onto is back.  It's no fun getting to break things when there is no one to yell at you for it.  My friends have been benevolently ignored, but took it in stride.

I just hope it all pays off. You never know when you take a job whether it will really springboard you or whether it just...won't.  And I hope it does, because my 26th birthday is just around the corner and I want my career to be a little bit more settled as I get into my late 20s.  None of this floating around I have unwillingly been doing.

I will also say that the people I've met on this film are absolutely great and I would hire/be hired by them again in a minute.  I have really learned a ton and while there is plenty more to learn I feel way more qualified to do this again, and way more over qualified to do regular PA work, then I did just a few weeks ago.  So the three and four hour a night sleeps have been worth it. I think. I hope.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Blah.

I want to write but I have nothing to write about. Or do, but for some reason it doesn't come out.  Farmville is easier, but not really what I want to remember when I look back on my life.  Updates soon.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Hello Strangers

Long time so no see (do people even say that anymore?).  I've actually been fairly busy lately, though not too busy for a nice lunch date with friends.  I have to say this particular friend has the best food at her parties.  I'll be back to posting more often soon, since I miss writing. It's a nice way to document my life, for myself and whoever else might care.  See you soon!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rest

I am lying in bed, leisurely checking my e-mail and enjoying not being busy. I'm going to be going later to a friend's house to watch the last NYC Marathon stragglers struggle by.  I'd like to run a marathon one day, but on this day I'm going to be snacking on fruit and cider while they chug by, and that is completely ok by me. I had a nice, easy Halloween (I decided to forgo the top hat, it didn't really go with the James Bond theme) and had my martinis.  Today I'm going to get some paperwork done and just take it easy.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Busy Bee

I always like to monitor who is coming to my site (well, how many, not really who precisely) and it makes me a bit sad how it drops off when I don't update for a couple days.  I know it doesn't really matter, but I like the idea of people stopping by and saying hi.  I guess it's just one more popularity contest.  Still it's one that I'd rather win than lose.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Now all I need is a cane

I have acquired, in my travels (well, in a catering job, actually) a top hat. That will make a nice addition to the Halloween outfit, though it does kind of lead me away from the James Bond theme I was favoring.  Still, how could I resist a free top hat?


Friday, October 23, 2009

Bond, James Bond

I have to buy a tuxedo for a catering job I'm doing. While financially this doesn't totally make sense, I hope to be doing more catering in the future to offset dry spells in my film career, so I'm thinking of this as an investment. Also, I can wear it on Halloween. So I'm trying to think of ideas where a tuxedo works as a costume.

Possible ideas:

1. James Bond. Of the female variety. Of course, this means that I'll have to drink martinis all night, shaken but not stirred.

2.  A bridegroom. Maybe my bf would throw on a veil and be a bride? Hmmm. Maybe not.

3.  A lesbian (this was suggested to me by a catering acquaintance. I feel like it would have the potential to offend people. I'm not sure I have the balls to do it.  I need to stop worrying so much.  People aren't that sensitive.).

4.  ??? Any further suggestions? I wouldn't want to spend all the money on a tux only to work in it, after all. I should get some bang for my buck.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

No, the new four letter word

I've been spending the day running around (metaphorically, actually I've been sitting on my ass in front of my computer) trying to get a bunch of places to let us shoot there for free. Apparently, even in this economy, free is too cheap.  The city of NY is pretty great about this stuff, so Central Park and other public locations were fairly simple to get. It is every single other location possible, including a shot of someone grabbing a book from a shelf at the library, that apparently is just impossible to get.  Like really? We're not shooting an action movie. There are no explosives. What's the big deal?

In non work news, I'm hungry. Since I've been working all day I haven't really eaten anything. I also am still sitting here in my pj's.  Apparently both working and functioning as a human being  is a stretch.  So I guess that wasn't non work news after all.  Umm. The cats are being cute. That is completely not work related, as they are cute all the time. That is when they're not destroying things.

Exhibit A:



The space bar used to be there. I'm haven't settled on a culprit yet, but I'm pretty sure whoever did it doesn't have opposable thumbs. Just an educated guess.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Hibernation

I feel like I'm getting ready for a marathon.  The holiday season is coming up and my plan of action is to finish the film I'm scheduled to work on soon, which will be six days a week of all day running around to beat the clock work, and then I want to try to get some kind of holiday store job - maybe two holiday store jobs.  My goal is still and always to find work in my field, but I need to store up some money and buy myself some more time to do that.  Catering is another good option, as it pays well and is flexible.  I've been doing a bit of that lately, and want to do more.  I really really just want to be working up to seven days a week to try to pay off my nice new computer and put some money in the bank.  I'm tired of counting all my pennies.

How is the recession, and the weak job market affecting you? I'm in an artsy field, which makes regular work hard anyway.  What are the other plan of actions out there to deal with the economy?  What are you doing for the holidays and how has that changed?

My plan is to get some kind of full time work, even if it's not in my field, and when it dies down in January go back to having more time for my own job hunt.  It is also to stay here in New York for Christmas, instead of flying down to spend it with my family. I just can't spend $400 for a few days visit, as much as I would love to.  I may visit in January instead if I can afford it. If not, oh well.  It is to spend a lot less this year on gifts, maybe even just making a big bunch of holiday cookies for some of the people on my list and wrapping them up nicely.  It is to not run up my credit card, and to put even just a little more money in the bank.

It is so hard to stay on budget during this upcoming few months - Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners alone are just so much more expensive than my regular pasta.  And I just can't give up gifts entirely. I would feel like Scrooge.  Even Halloween ends up costing a little money, either on a costume or just because I feel like I can't stay home being a hermit.

On the flip side, I will probably get to see some of my friends or at least talk to them a bit more during the holidays.  I will receive a few gifts, which even when they're small really excite and touch me.   I'll decorate a little Christmas tree and eat the fancy nice food I am worried about making. There will be leftovers for weeks, and plenty of cookies left for me.  I love Thanksgiving and Christmas - my birthday is right in there too - and I'm just hoping that money worries don't overshadow them.

So what are YOUR plans? What are you doing?  Is it ok to cut certain things out of the budget, or are certain things just too sacred to do without?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

tech help

So Nikki of Technikolly was kind enough to create a header for me, but I'm obviously doing something wrong when I upload it because the part that is showing up white is supposed to show up clear and look even cooler than it already does.  So why isn't it? Does anyone know?  Here's the pic pasted normally :



Why when it is a header does the edge show up white? (And apparently also when it is not a header - it didn't do this on Nikki's page when she posted it.)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

We should be ashamed

I just came across this story on Yahoo! News, and it is so so sad and embarrassing that in this day and age a judge has apparently been getting away with this for YEARS.  In case you haven't heard yet, a judge in Louisiana is refusing to marry mixed race couples. Refusing. Illegally. A judge. Once that's sunk in, what is almost more alarming is that he has apparently been completely open about this, has been doing this for many years, and it is only now that a couple has actually stepped forward and complained.  I feel so ashamed as an American that we would keep a judge in office and pay him taxpayer money when he is breaking the law so blatantly. Especially when the manner in which he is breaking that law is flat out racist.  He should be fired, his cases should be reviewed, and the couples he insulted in this way should be apologized to. If we could get back the money we payed him that would be great too. Seriously.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Egg pasta soup, Italian style

I don't know what the dish I'm making today is called, but it's warm and filling, and with the weather getting colder every day it seemed like a perfect time to make it. It's kind of like the Italian version of egg drop soup, I guess.

Don't let the picture scare you - it was taken on the computer. It actually looks more appetizing in person.


First you boil some water (maybe a little less than normal, not much), salt as normal, and add the pasta. Little macaroni noodles or something small that can scoop up some broth is good. Spaghetti is probably not the best pasta for this dish.  Once the pasta is getting close to being done, break a couple eggs, as many as you feel like, into the boiling water and stir it around gently, so the egg breaks up but you're not actually beating it into the water.  Add a bunch of grated parmesan cheese to the water (generous sprinkling on the water, add until you like the taste), and season it with black pepper.  Stir it all up.  The egg, cheese, pepper and salt you added earlier is what flavors the water and makes the "broth." I've never tried it with actual chicken broth, who knows, it might be good. Then just wait for the pasta to be ready and instead of draining it take it off the heat and serve it like soup.



Lunch! Hot soup and a cappuccino.  Oh, and the pumpkin will eventually be both pie and a jack o lantern, so stay tuned for that :-).

New Header!

The lovely Nikki just designed a new header for my blog, which it definitely needed.  It is exactly what I would have designed myself if I was at all capable, and I am very grateful that she would go to the trouble without even being asked.  Thank you!

Farmville

I am far too susceptible to random time eating internet games. Exhibit 1:




Despite actually being busy at the moment with various real life things, I have managed to build myself a nice little farm on Farmville, complete with elephants and rice fields. Very realistic. I think I may have a bit of a problem.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Killer Printer

I just bought a new printer (HP4400 if you're curious) and after going through the setup and printing a couple things realize I will need to exchange that new printer because the nice smooth paper that goes in is coming out just a little bit ripped.

I don't want to be picky or anything, because I know the weathered look is "in" but I really just want a printer where the paper emerges in the same condition that it entered. Except with ink on it.  Organized ink, not just globs of it artistically placed.  I probably should have gotten up off my ass and exchanged it today, but I didn't because since I don't have a car exchanging involves packing the thing back up and carrying to the subway, up and down several flights of steps, and then walking with it for 10 minutes to get to the store. And then the store probably involves its own set of hassles.  So I will try to do it tomorrow, as it does need to be done, but I am bitter (BITTER!) that I can't just plug the thing in and expect it to work. Especially since my last printer was an HP and worked for 4 years before deciding it just didn't want to suck up paper anymore, so the fact that this one couldn't get through its first sheet of paper is kind of annoying.

Craigslist Haters

I'm compiling a little list here, for all our enjoyment, of the angry Craigslist job seekers who not only do not want to apply for certain low paying jobs, but need to trumpet their indignation at the fact that the posters even dared ask ANYONE to work for so little. How dare they?? I love reading these post responses, so I thought maybe others would too.

Here are some I found just today :

In response to this :

Date: 2009-10-12, 1:42PM EDT
Reply to: gigs-k9wcv-1417868110@craigslist.org [Errors when replying to ads?]

I am a graduate student, doing a study on the impact of design on the education of students. Working directly with students, need someone to film every Wednesday from 4:30-6 pm. You will have to complete background check for the organization that I work for. This is unpaid but could be published by the American Architectural Foundation. I do not have a camera but may be able to rent one from my university.


Location: Clinton Hill
it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
Compensation: no pay 



Was this:




You need someone to dedicate every wednesday from 4:30-6pm to shoot your unpaid project? LOL

good luck finding someone, loser. 



It is short and to the point.  He both wishes him luck and politely expresses his opinion of the poster at the same time. Succinct.

Then there was this post:

Experienced Director/DP Needed

Date: 2009-10-12, 11:47AM EDT
Reply to: EDITED [Errors when replying to ads?]

We are a start-up Christian Media Company looking to produce a docu-series about 5 urban Christians living their life in faith. This is a small, low budget project and will take place November 1-December 12th, excluding the Thanksgiving holiday week (November 22-28). It is a 5 week commitment with filming averaging about 7 hours per week/ 35 hours total. We are looking for experienced directors who DP, have their own equipment (camera,light kits, microphones, etc) and who are confident in shooting documentary/reality style.

For more information please contact us directly at EDITED.

Thank you! 


The response (by the same indignant poster?) is :


There's a reason you've posted this ad several times now: your compensation is $350 for 5 weeks!!!!!!! Are you nuts?!

So that's why you're not getting any responses.

Regards,
Captain Obvious. 



At least we know who he is now.  Although with a name like Captain Obvious it's no wonder he prefers to post anonymously.  In fairness to the original posters, it is like only 7 hours each week, not a regular work week like Mr. Obvious seems to be indicating. In fairness to all of us freelancers, if you want someone with their own equipment to volunteer to work with you a day a week, you're going to have to pay at least double what you're paying.  At least.

There are many more gems like this, though they get removed pretty quickly. When I am job hunting on Craigslist I enjoy reading these responses, which sometimes say what I wish I was energetic enough to. Generally, I just back click and move on from ridiculous job posts that ask far too much for too little.  There are many projects worth working on for little or nothing. I've worked on some of them, and was happy for the experience.  But there are many (driving a large van around and hauling equipment for your student film/small business commercial/random other thing that no one will ever see that are not worth working for free.  So while I wonder if these angry responders have maybe a liiiittttlllle too much time on their hands, I still enjoy it when they post.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Busi-ness

So, I guess being a freelancer that I am kind of self employed (though sadly, far too often this year collecting a "paycheck" from Uncle Sam).  I've been running around like crazy lately applying for jobs, doing a bit of work, and preparing for a job in a few weeks where I am basically going to be running a film set. A small film set, and a low budget one, but still other then the director and the DP, I am IT in terms of dictator like power. Unfortunately with great power comes great responsibility, and I have been spending hours preparing for that power.  Preparation isn't paid, unfortunately, but I know that the experience will be wonderful for me and for my career, and that learning is never wasted.  Hopefully it is just one step on the ladder to Oprah like success.

Oh, and remember that cake I made? And remember my mother, who can be difficult, was visiting? Well, I had some cake left and wanted her to try it. I'm not sure why.

Mom: I tried your cake.
Me: Oh, did you like it?
Mom: It was hard. (Long pause, then grudgingly) Good if you dip [it in coffee].

Ah, just what every chef wants to hear.  I have my apartment back to myself though, and my cats are joyfully sniffing my feet, and there is just a little bit of that hard cake left for me, so life is good.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Cake Carnage

Because she is a good friend the first full day she was here my best friend and I made cake.  A day later we made frosting - sometimes you have to wait for a good thing.  And then we ran around the city and ate food other people made for the next couple days, meaning that my boyfriend and I have been nibbling off the main cake like a pair of mice ever since she left.  No plates for us, that would be too much effort.  I present to you what is left of the cake:


It looks deceptively neat, but that is because we have been feasting on the other side. Yummy.  I made the frosting by basically throwing in a stick of butter, a couple cups of confectioner's sugar, a couple drops of vanilla, and a small cup of expresso and milk. No recipe, really, or measuring cups. Next time I might put a little less coffee and a little more butter, but overall pretty good.  The cake comes from a cookbook I have :

Rosie's Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book 


Good Cookbook, although every time I try to make the mocha frosting in the book (with a food processor) the dairy products get all separated and I have to throw it away. I've kind of given up on it. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Friends and Anniversaries

With her permission, I'm posting a couple pics from my best friend's visit to the Big Apple. There are lots more, but you don't get to see them (haha) because I'm trying to keep my face off the blog. You know, in case all the rabid fans decide to stalk me...or whatever.

Anyway, below: Champagne Mexican Brunch. Yummy.  I was so full I wanted to curl up in a sunny spot on the sidewalk afterwards, but it was good.



On the other hand, something that will take your appetite completely away:



Nice.


On another note, it is my BF and my three year anniversary. We celebrated with sushi and saki, a very satisfying pairing. We are now lounging at home, relaxing and feeling pleased with ourselves. The cats are exhibiting a similar mood.  Overall a good day.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

I'm Back!

Best Friend has left the state (boo) so after a weekend full of running around spending too much money, we are back to our regularly scheduled programming. I had a great time with her, and I hope she had a great time too.  As I spent Saturday working, and Sunday and Monday sniffing with a cold, I'm hoping that she was still able to get what she needed out of this vacation.  She took about a million pictures, so I'll post a couple once I get them, including some of our lovely champagne brunch on Sunday. MMM, nachos and alcohol before noon. Decadence.

I have also made my yearly pilgrimage to a house of worship, thereby hopefully insuring that if there is an afterlife, I make it in. If that is the case, I extend my thanks to Best Friend, as most of these pilgrimages are with her.  If that is not, well, churches are pretty. So good either way.

Next on the agenda: Mom's visit.

My mother and I frequently do not get along, so I'm frankly nervous about how we'll deal with each other on such close quarters without someone blowing up.  Even phone calls are kept to under five minutes usually. My little brother (who is wonderful and sweet) is coming along with her and they are all staying with me. So there will be three people and two cats in a little studio the size of a bedroom, with a bathroom that doesn't have a lock.  I'm not optimistic.  Does anyone out there have tips for dealing with difficult family members?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Interim post

It's been a busy few days and an especially exhausting day today, though fun in parts, so this isn't a real update. I just wanted to let anyone who happens to be a returning reader know that I'll be back to more frequent posts in just a couple days. Probably whining about the cold I'm getting.  You know, the normal.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Whee!

My best friend is visiting me for a few days, starting tomorrow. I can't wait! I haven't seen her in months and this way we can do all sorts of fun touristy things that I alone just never do. Like drink, for example. Kidding. Not really.  However this does mean I have to majorly clean tomorrow and try to get a bunch more unpacking done.  Small price to pay.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

No News is Good News, Which Means...

...that, conversely, all news is bad news.  At least today it seems that way. I've been reading the headlines (and the stories connected to them if they interest me) and they are doing nothing but pissing me off.

There's this gem :

Filmmakers demand Polanski's release  

I guess if you're a talented enough film maker/singer/artist you're allowed to drug and rape children. Huh. I didn't realize that.  I mean, people even have "Free Polanski" buttons! Are you kidding me? He is in jail because he committed, and pled guilty to, a very serious awful crime against a child.  Then again, I guess Woody Allen got away with having an affair with his underage step-daughter, Chris Brown got away with beating a woman (community service is getting away with it), and R.Kelly got away with (allegedly) peeing on some girl. And Michael Jackson may or may not have gotten away with molesting some kids, but I bet being famous didn't hurt him in the trial.  Because entertainers are our gods I guess, and while we like to see them fall, we don't want them to fall so far that we can't get to them.


And then of course the health care overhaul is just going swimmingly:

Senate panel rejects gov't-run insurance option

This makes me wish we lived in a dictatorship run by me, so I could just PASS THE DAMN PUBLIC OPTION ALREADY and then hand back power to the people afterwards. Like, come on! An option for health care run by the government, just like we have an option for education, postal service, and probably a bunch of other stuff that they run that make it possible for middle class people to, you know, live decent lives. Imagine if there was only private schools? Do you really think everyone would send their kids? UGH. Where would our country be then?  I do not get the fear of having a cheaper health care option offered by the government! We already give it to the elderly, to government workers, to the very very poor, to the army - they're all managing to avoid the ravenous death squads lurking in the bushes. It may not be perfect, but it definitely beats not being able to have any, or having to have pointless repetitive arguments with a ridiculous "customer service" rep at the wonderful private insurances about how that ambulance you had to take, that the 911 rep sent, is not covered by them because it's not "in network" and you owe hundreds of dollars for a five minute uneventful ride (TRUE. STORY.).  By the way, apparently most ambulances are not "in network." Good to know. Thanks expensive private insurance.


Oh, and P.P.S., the private health care system is so so so so much more likely to have "death squads" and to cut off coverage to those not deemed worthy than any government plan ever is.  


Those are actually probably the main stories that are offending my sense of what is right.  No doctors for the poor and child rapists treated as heroes. Yep. 




Edited to add: And here is a link to a story about a missing, pregnant, 12 year old girl that is on the front page of CNN. Too sad for words. 

It Has A Name!

Melasma!  The random square of dark skin on my forehead that I regularly complain about, which is caused by birth control and sun damage, is called Melasma.  There. We've all learned something today.

The main suggestion I found for treating it is just bleaching the area, which I don't really want to do. I'm not good at coloring within the lines. I'll end up with a frame of lighter skin around the original darker skin, knowing me. Hopefully, next time I see my doctor she'll have a solution for me, but in the meantime, has anyone out there dealt with this?

(I took a close up picture of my forehead to show you guys, but seriously, my forehead looks like 90 years old in it, square aside.  Maybe I need to start applying creams and potions. Yikes.)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Settling in

I've now cooked a couple meals in my new place, taken several showers, watched a couple movies and even received a package here. In short, I'm starting to feel at home and settle in. I still have a bunch of boxes to unpack, including about four large trashbags of clothes that I don't know WHERE I will put, since I've already filled up both of my chests of drawers - both I'm getting there.

Also, I may have a project lined up for October (I never count on them until I'm actually filming) and I am working on my first production board. I've been through the script several times now, doing all the preliminary work, and hopefully will be done in the next couple of days.  It's interesting and I'm glad I'm picking up a new skill.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Into the Universe

I'm sending love out to my lovely lovely best friend, knowing this is just a bump in the road.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow

So I sold my hair. Really.  Weird, I know, but you know what? Totally worth it. I mentioned selling hair on my little How To Save Money list from a few weeks ago, and as I knew I'd be moving soon I decided to go for it. I was ready for a change anyway. So I did it! I got a couple hundred for it and it will definitely come in handy, and I nice new haircut on top of it.  I've added some pics below for your viewing pleasure, and as a bonus you get a little glimpse of the corner of my new studio. Exciting huh?



Thursday, September 24, 2009

Home at Last

So I'm in my new apartment, as you all may have deduced from the protracted silence on my part.  I just got internet about an hour ago, from the absolute rudest cable guy ever.  (Apparently in exchange for free installation from Cable Vision, you have to run a gauntlet of suspicious questions, veiled insults and misinformation [he said there was no way to get any free channels with an antenna, and basically called me stupid for asking].)   HOWEVER! I have internet now, and that's what matters.  I'll post some pictures of the new place once I'm settled in.  I'm trying out furniture configurations now and it's not going all that well yet.  It's kind of just bed in the middle with furniture lining the walls right now, which hopefully will change when inspiration strikes.  My main goal is just getting unpacked however.  Now, lest you think it went smoothly, I have written out a moving day schedule for you.

MOVING DAY:

8:30 am : Skipping over to the car rental place across the street to sign for my cargo van. Ladida! They agree to hold it there a couple hours for me, for parking convenience, while I finish getting my stuff together.

9:30 am : Not much progress. One of the cats in a carrier, the other hissing and causing major havoc.

10:30 am : We are sporting battle wounds. The cat is still free.

11:00 am : Van has been retrieved and parked in the closest spot, two blocks away. My bf and I start to haul heavy furniture down two flights of stairs and then cart it, pack mule style, to the van.  The local population of crack heads watches curiously.

12:00 am : Starving. Break for lunch.

1:00 pm : Cat is in the carrier! Whohoo!! Yes!  And a parking spot right in front of my building opens up! Life is good.

1:30 pm : Cat got out of the carrier. What the hell? Bf and I have minor emotional breakdown.

2:00 pm : Packing, packing, packing. It becomes clear at this point that one trip is not going to do it.

3:00 pm : We buy a big plastic storage big, drill a few holes in it, and plunk the cat in. Lest she harbors any ideas of further escape, we wrap the entire thing in electrician tape. The offending cat carrier is left on the curb, there to remain in cat free shame until garbage pick up.

4:30 pm : Everything that can fit is packed. However van now hemmed in by neighbor's car. After brief negotiation all is resolved, we pile in (cats and all), and set off on our way.

5:30 pm : Get lost on way to tunnel.

6:00 pm : Can't go through Hudson tunnel to NY because we're driving a "commercial" vehicle. Reroute.

6:30 pm : Where the fuck is the Lincoln Tunnel oh my god this sucks. I start glancing over at boyfriend, prepared to head off breakup/escape attempts.

7:30 pm : All right, we're doing it, almost there. This would be better if traffic were moving, but not complaining.

8:15 pm : Arrive in front of apartment, having briefly detoured to pick up helpful friend, with first load of stuff.

8:30 pm : Bedframe is hopelessly lodged in stairwell.  Neighbors climb over and around it to reach their apartment. Take half hour to extricate it, and then somehow it slides seamlessly down the stairs to easily fit into new basement apartment. Figures.

11:00 pm : Heading out for second trip.  Helpful friend is along for the ride.

12:00 am : Lost, still in Brooklyn. Helpful friend has work in the morning and bails.  We reconvene at bf's place to re-mapquest.

1:00 am : Back in NJ. Ok. Start loading up second load.  Spend half hour cleaning the apartment and room for next room mate.

3:00 am : Back in Brooklyn, unloading again. Tired.

6:15 am : Back in NJ, dropping off rental van.  Exhausted. Bf heads off to work, to try to grab an hour or two of sleep in the break room, and I head off to work a 14 hour Get Out The Vote campaign.

10:00 pm : Arrive in new apartment, cram some salad in my mouth (easiest thing to make) and collapse besides bf in exhausted sleep. Home sweet home!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cats!

Oh my god people. My cats, who are usually pretty laid back, have been hissing and spitting at each other all afternoon.  It's really irritating.

For a little bit of backstory: The only times my cats are grouchy are when they are put in their carriers and for a few days after. I think this stems from A) getting spayed and B) the two day long marathon car ride from Florida to NY when I moved, when they were in there all day except for potty and drink breaks.

They are horrible and hissy then, around cat carrier times.  Like, I would not be a cat person if that was the kind of cats they were all the time.  Therefore the carriers generally get hidden in the closet, because even seeing it will set them off.  Now, they are getting put in on Monday for the move, but I haven't pulled out the carriers yet because I'm not crazy and I don't want to spend a minute more than I have to dealing with this behavior.

On the other hand, the cats love breaking into the closet, the one holding the hated carriers, and exploring it since they're not normally allowed in. One of them got in today and knocked down the carriers from the shelf and it has set them both off.

They are so retarded!!! THEY knocked the carriers down, I didn't take them out, and yet they are still acting like I am about to throw them in at any moment.  Which, to be fair, I am in a couple of days, but they can't know that! Ugh. I love them but they are driving me crazy today.

On the up side, tons of boxes packed. Well over half done. Now I'm just hoping my entire room and my kitchen table and kitchen ware fits into the 10" van.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Italian Polenta

It's been a while since I did a cooking post, so here goes. This is one of my favorite dishes and it's healthy and simple to make. I was born in Italy, and this is a very traditional dish.

What you need is:
Polenta, 2 cups (rough ground corn meal, basically. They charge more by calling it polenta. Don't buy the fine ground stuff though! Must be the bigger kernels.)
A splash of milk
A pinch of salt
6 cups boiling water

For the sauce:
1/2 a chicken, or various pieces (you could probably make it with other meat, but I always do chicken)
Large can of tomato sauce
Half an onion, chopped
2 cloves of chopped garlic, more or less. You can always adjust this to your tastes
Basil to taste
Thyme to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Olive Oil to taste, but don't be too stingy
I also sometimes add some pepper flakes for extra flavor


Throw all the sauce ingredients together first. I like to cook the sauce at least an hour, usually more, until the meat is falling off the bones. The sauce should be just simmering, usually a low to medium heat.  You want it to be really tender and cooked down. If the actual sauce starts boiling down too fast add a little more olive oil or water to keep it from drying out.  Or add more tomato sauce if you have it, but a can will usually do it.

When the sauce looks to be about ready, put the six cups of water on to boil. When it boils throw some salt in and lower to a simmer.  Then start to slowly pour the polenta in, stirring the whole time. This is crucial because it will get lumpy very easily if you stop stirring!  When all the polenta is in, just keep stirring as it thickens. Be careful, because it will spit hot polenta at you as it boils, so a long handled spoon is good.  Once it starts getting pretty thick, slowly pour a little bit of milk in (maybe 1/4 cup? I never measured).  Some people but butter or cheese instead, but my mother always put milk.  Keep stirring. When it is thick enough that it's kind of hard to stir, turn off the heat and let it sit.  It will harden into a solid cake of polenta, which you can slice and serve.

Serve it sliced with the sauce poured over it.  You can also serve it when it is still a bit soft and hot, which is how my boyfriend likes it.  Also good for the impatient among us.

It is great left over sliced and fried in some butter with a little cheese melted on it too.

Enjoy! I forgot to take a picture of it on the plate because I was too busy eating, which trust me, means it's good.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Thoughts on Obama's Health Care Speech

I'm watching Obama's speech now and just hoping, hoping so much, that it will make the difference.

8:24 - I like that he went for emotions first, then went on to state the numbers and the facts.

8:26 - Now addressing the fears of radical change and shift - radical left or right would cause that (though I feel the right's "plan" would just result in way more without healthcare)... We are only 20% away from some kind of compromise. Our leaders need to get it together!

8:28 - It seems like he's really throwing the gauntlet here. The time for games has indeed passed.  Now to debunk some myths.

8:35 - I'm nervous about the requirement to carry health insurance...unless it is really really affordable, there are some people who just can't afford it.  He just got a laugh when he said there are still difference to iron out - and I don't think he meant to.

8:45 - Family emergency. Missed a few minutes of speech.

8:46 - Hmmm. I don't know how this is going to happen without adding "one dime to the deficit."

8:52 - Wow, the malpractice insurance reform point really got people riled up.

8:53 - Sad that health care costs less than tax cuts for the wealthy passed by Bush, and yet people don't want to pay it.

8:57 - Kennedy's widow looks about to cry. I'm glad Obama is referencing him. He's been fighting this battle far longer than any of us.  I'm also glad he's calling out Republicans who have worked with him, reminding them of what Kennedy was fighting for and why.

9:02 - I hope he's not getting too touchy feely. I think people want facts, as many as possible.

9:03 - And it's over. Let's see what happens.



Moving Day, T - 5 days

What does that mean anyway? T-whatever?

Regardless, there are five days until I move the packing is going really well.  I've got two boxes packed.  Only about a thousand to go.  Going really well.  Reeeeeaaaalllly well.....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Grocery challenge

In my continuous quest to not go over budget, I am going to try to make it through the whole week on the $11.86 cents of food I bought today.  I was originally going for $10, but chicken was on sale so I bought one and a dollar and a half is not going to break the bank.  I'm also cheating a little since I'm going to have to make a separate trip to buy kitty litter, but that would be half my budget so it just wasn't happening. BUT! Of actual food cost, if I can keep to under $12, I will be happy.

What I bought:
A whole chicken
A dozen eggs (with a dollar coupon)
2 bananas
2 packages pasta
1 large can tomatoes
Close to a pound of rice
Quart milk
Salt

I got $.40 credit for bringing my own bags, which put me just under $12.

I can make at least two meals with the chicken, at least four from the pasta (with butter/canned tomatoes/cheese toppings) and at least three with the rice and some frozen veggies I already have. That plus the eggs and eating leftovers and I should be good for the week.

I made my first pasta dish with 1/2 a can of peas I had left over and half a bag of pasta, and there is enough left for lunch tomorrow. It's not a pretty dish, so no pics, but it is good.  If anyone has any other cheap food suggestions, throw them out there - I'm happy to take advice.  Wish me luck staying in budget!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Go Canes!!

The Miami Hurricanes (my college team) are playing.  We were winning when I switched to the game, and we are now losing. Coincidence? Perhaps the kindest thing I can do is change channels.

Update: We're winning!! Only 2 minutes left...

WE WON!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Beer, beer, beer

Ugh my head.

I had the best time yesterday, and am paying for it today (worth it!).  My bf took me to brewtopia, which basically is a big room full of free beer. Now, I'm not a big drinker, but I am all about anything free.  It is my downfall. In fact, one of the highlights of the evening for me was getting a free meat pie at the end of the night, though my bf's shirt suffered for it (I was trying to hand it to him! To share!).  We finished the evening in true New York fashion, by smoking cigars in Central Park.

The rest of my weekend is probably going to be less fun, though hopefully more productive. I've got some girls checking out my room, which I hope to get rented out before the week is out. I'm also pursuing more job prospects, and if I'm really good I'll even start packing.  I can't wait to post pictures of my new little studio online.  Maybe I'll even paint, if the landlords are ok with it.  I hope everyone else had as good a start to their labor day weekend!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Global Humor

This hilarious, and sadly kind of apt, graphic was up at the lovely Tertia's website.  I believe that there are actually quite a few Americans out there who would view this as a legitimate and official map.  I am stealing it (with permission) because it's too funny not to share.  


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Pouring

It's been a little crazy this week - I went from nothing happening for the past couple weeks to tons this week. I've had several job nibbles - hopefully one bites!  I'm still looking for a replacement roomie, and I need to start packing for my Brooklyn move.  It feels good to have possibilities again.  Hopefully something works out, but even having those nibbles is heartening. Send good vibes my way!

Duggars and the Quiverfull movement

I recently read that Michelle Duggar, of "18 Kid And Counting," is pregnant with number 19.  She didn't even realize at first that she was pregnant (did she think she was going through menopause?) but is reported to be excited about it. I wonder if deep down there was just a bit of regret when she found out, if she was maybe in a little denial, since she more than anyone should recognize the signs of pregnancy.

I don't say that to judge her, or the Duggars in general. If she is truly happy then that's wonderful.  I admire her patience.  Their show is certainly a guilty pleasure of mine, and I love how organized, frugal and polite the family is.  I disagree with them in just about every possible way in terms of ideology, but I do like them.  They seem like great parents, but the more I read about their beliefs, the more worried I am.  And that's where the "guilty" part of the guilty pleasure comes in for me - because as sweet as they may be individually, the values they are trying to peddle scare me.

I worry about any family that raises daughters to be "submissive." I worry about this is ultra conservative countries, such as Iraq, and I worry about them in in ultra conservative families.   This comparison might seem inflammatory, but in terms of what they expect of women - modesty, obedience, fertility - they aren't all that different.  The Quiverful followers and the Taliban would probably agree on what a woman's place is, even if they disagree on many or all others points.

I worry because if these girls decide that maybe their husbands' decisions are really stupid and they can make better ones, well too bad. He's the boss, whether or not he's really more capable.  God apparently says so.  Even though God did not actually write the bible, men who lived in very different, very conservative times did, apparently everything in it must be straight from "his" mouth.

I worry because if their parents counsel them to behave a certain way, after they reach the age of 18, and they refuse, will they be cast out entirely? Is there room for dissent?  If the girls decide to wear pants and use birth control, will they still be welcome in the family? Will they still be allowed contact with their siblings and will they still receive the financial support that a non-dissenter would?  If they decide that they do want to kiss boys, and put off marriage and child birth for a career, even a serving one such as a doctor, will their parents have "failed?"

I ask because I believe in choice. I believe that if a woman chooses to stay at home and raise kids, great. If she chooses to be a working mom, great. If she decides to limit the number of kids she has, or if she doesn't, fine, that's up to her.  I'm on the liberal end of the spectrum when it comes to family planning. I believe if you don't find Mr. Right and you can financially and emotionally support a child yourself, go for it.  I believe in choices.  And that's why I worry about the Duggar girls. Because I wonder if those choices are there.

Every parent tries to raise their kids to share their values. I don't fault the Duggars for that, though I DO believe in evolution, birth control, the rights of women to choose whether to keep a pregnancy and so forth.  I disagree with them, but hey, they disagree with me.  The thing is, if I had a daughter who decided to get married young and have twenty kids, and who always "obeyed" her husband I would still love and support her.  She would still be in my life.  I would be very disappointed in myself for not raising her to feel that it is ok to be equal to her husband, and wonder how she had turned out that way, but if that was her choice, so be it.

Do the Duggar girls have that choice? Do they understand that they can do everything their brothers can, that their judgement is just as good, they are just as capable, and that there is no reason they should "submit" to a man?  That they don't need marriage and children to be worthy? That men and women might be different physically, and maybe even mentally and emotionally, but not in any kind of way that makes women subservient, submissive, or sub anything else either.

And that is the crux of my dilemma with the Duggars, and watching them.  There is a lot to be admired in their lifestyle, but the only reason they can have 19 kids is because some families out there are having 1. They can live the way they live precisely because other people choose to live differently.  If everyone had 19 we would in just a few generations be bursting at seams. China didn't institute its one child policies because it hates babies.  Who hates babies? It had to, because they ran out of room and resources. And I think it's awful and there is nothing more contrary to democracy than having the government tell you how many kids you can have, but if everyone was having 19 they probably would eventually have to step in here too.

There is a yin and yang here, a balance, and it is important for it to be maintained. Conservative religious people who want to have large families, who believe in accepting what life throws at you as a challenge and blessing from god, who want to keep things as they are or revert things to how they were, well good for them. But good for us liberals too.  Good for us for civil liberties,  for religious freedom, for embracing the rainbow, for seeing that different is not lesser and for always pursuing change.  This valuing of the past and the future are complementary in a way.  If everyone was super conservative or super liberal the world would be a worse place.  None of us are right all the time.

That's kind of where I'm willing to fight though.  I'm not telling them what to do. But they, namely the Quiverful movement and other ultra conservatives, are trying to tell ME what to do, and that's where I have a problem. Don't tell me to be submissive. Don't tell me that birth control is a sin. Don't tell me how I should live my life if I want to get to heaven, because that's both a bribe and a threat, and I don't appreciate that.  I'm not a donkey - I don't need a carrot on one end and a whip on the other.  You live your life, I'll live mine.

I'll even watch your show and grow to like you.  But I truly hope, that when these children get old enough to choose, that they have a choice to make.  I hope that Anna Duggar is as happy as a second generation Quiverful follower as Michelle is as a first generation one, who got to wear short skirts and go to public school and choose.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Foot warmer


This is why I needed two cats.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Midsummer Night's Dream

As I mentioned previously, I attended a health care rally on Saturday. Though I wasn't able to stay through the whole thing I was so proud to be there at all, and be marching for something so important. It was really inspiring that so many other people showed up too! Hopefully the ball really starts to roll on that issue, in a positive direction, and something can finally get done. I felt a little silly chanting, but I got over it.

Enthusiastic rally leader : "What do we want!!??"
Me : "Health care."
Rally leader: "When do we want it!!?"
Me : "Now?"

I wasn't quite that bad, but a public speaker (or shouter) I am not.

Saturday was kind of filled with important events, since that's also the day I handed over my security deposit for the studio I'm moving into (please work out!!). In between those two important events though I spent a really nice afternoon watching A Midsummer Night's Dream over on Governor's Island. It was great. The cast was wonderful (and I'm not just saying that because I know one of the actors!) and though my boyfriend is more of a theatre buff then me, I do always have fun when I go.

We were able to explore the island a little too, which, by the way, I cannot believe there are all those beautiful buildings and houses just SITTING there, wasted. I wish I had a camera, since it didn't even feel like I was in the city. One thing I am discovering about New York City is that there are all these little pockets in the city, where you feel like you're somewhere else entirely.

Governor's Island kind of feels like a post-apocalypse English countryside, in the nicest possible way. There's a little fort, and lots of cute little white painted houses, and stately brick buildings. There's also an abandoned stone hospital and a library with paint slowly peeling off the clapboards, which I think would make an great horror movie set.

I didn't realize there was a place like that just a seven minute ferry ride from NYC, and hopefully one day the city will be able to put it to some use. I think it would make a great self contained university campus, and my bf pointed out its Renaissance Fair potential (yes, I do have a dress I wear to those, I'm a little embarrassed to admit). If I ever get the chance to go to one here, I'll post some pictures for you all.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

On a lighter note...

This video is hilarious, especially if you're Italian. I think my aunt sent it to me. I don't think I've posted it before, so enjoy.

http://www.lifeinitaly.com/flash/default.asp

Edited to add: Ok, I totally have posted this link before. Oh well, deal :-).

Cheap NYC apartment update

I found an apartment within my budget (barely). Let me repeat that, because it is a little unbelievable to me. I found an apartment, a studio, that I can afford in Brooklyn. Now I am FREAKING OUT. I have to find someone to take over my current room, I need to pack, I need to hire a truck to move stuff, and I need to do all this without spending any money and in two weeks. Did I mention I only have two weeks to move?

All sorts of nightmare scenarios are running through my head :
1. No one will take my old room and I will have to pay two rents (impossible on my budget, by the way).
2. The apartment is a scam and I will show up to pick up the keys in two weeks and not find anyone there, leaving me homeless and out a security deposit.
3. I will move in but the apartment will be a nightmare, nothing will work, and I will have to move out again (where???).
4. I will move in and the building goes into foreclosure or burns down or something and I will have to move out again.
5. I will never find another freelance or full time job again EVER and my unemployment will run out, leaving me unable to pay rent and homeless.
6. My brain will explode.
7. Everything will cost double what I expect, I will find I budgeted wrong, and I will run out of money and end up homeless or something.
8. Some awful combination of the above.

So even though this is what I wanted, right now I am so scared it will fall apart I can't be happy yet. I'll be happy when I've moved in and everything is settled. Right now, I'm just stressed. Please send good vibes my way!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Health Care (yes, again)

Tomorrow I'm marching for health care. I don't remember ever attending a rally before but this is definitely a cause worth showing up for. Being a dual citizen I have had a taste of what government health care can be in my other country. I liked that taste. I had the flu and was able to see a doctor, be prescribed medicine and pick that medicine up all totally for free.

I love America, without reserve. But you don't get that here. Even if you have private health care there's always a co-pay and who wants to pay $40 for a visit and some medicine for just the flu? So we (well I, but I bet I'm not the only one) struggle on, sick longer than we have to be, costing our workplaces money by not being able to work. It makes no sense to me. If we have public libraries, public schools, public roads, etc. why is public health care so different? Because it's more expensive? If people could afford better early care less people would get sick enough to need the really expensive stuff.

And if it's too expensive for the government, for a community as a whole, to be able to cover it, imagine what a drain on an individual household it is. Especially if you can't work due to your illness. Private insurance is so so so expensive. Too expensive unless you work for a business big enough to pay for it for you - which by the way, does cost you, because if your boss wasn't paying hundreds of dollars a month for your health care maybe they could give you that raise you want so bad. And talk about death panels, they turn people down all the time. Have you ever heard of a compassionate caring insurance company? Please.

I did some research. I'm young and healthy and it would cost almost $200 a month for me to get the most basic catastrophe insurance. I would still have deductibles to meet, still have co-pays, still have potentially thousands of dollars of out of pocket expense for an illness or accident. And it would cost me more than food does a month for something that could still bankrupt me and that I hope I would not ever use.

I would rather pay slightly higher taxes (yeah I said it) and know that I was covered, because those taxes could never possibly add up to what it would cost me to pay for private health care myself, or cost me as much as it would if I ever got sick while on that private plan. Not everyone can work for a big company and be covered. Lots of people work for small businesses or want to start them. Lots of people freelance. Lots of people, especially right now, are in between jobs and many artists/actors/entertainers may never have jobs that are covered. Do we not count?

So I'm marching tomorrow. I hope I'm not alone. And I really hope our Senators, and Obama, and Hillary and everyone else who has the power to make a change follows through and we finally, FINALLY, have what most other first world countries take for granted.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Books books book!!!

I am a bookworm (do people even use that word anymore? I digress.). Ever since I learned how to read, back in first grade, I spent most of my free time (and sometimes not so free time, like when a teacher was talking) going through book after book. I am especially proud of the fact that I had a grade school teacher tell me I was the only student she'd ever gotten into trouble for reading too much. I have noticed as I've gotten older that reading has gotten cooler, but sadly my choice of books still tends to be on the nerdier side, with fantasy and sci-fi being two of my favorite genres.

(By the way, just want to say I am not profiting AT ALL through this review or your clicking on the widget. Not that anyone thinks I am, but I wanted to throw that out there.)

I am currently in the throes of geek excitement over the fact that the newest book in Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, An Echo In The Bone, is coming out in just a couple weeks. I LOVE that series. It is a little romance novely, a little fantasy, a little farfetched in premise if I'm being honest - in short, not exactly War and Peace, but it is so well written and so engaging that really, who cares? For those who have never heard of it, the series follows a modern day woman who has fallen through a time hole into the 18th century Scottish Highlands, and who eventually moves with her hot Scottish husband to the new world, where they are sucked into the rising conflict between the colonies and the motherland (I like the term motherland. I don't get to use it enough). The author has obviously put a lot of research into each book of the series, and when I read through them I am not only entertained by the characters but I feel like I am learning a little bit of history despite myself.

It would have been easy for this book to end up as a fluffy little romance novel, I mean seriously, hole in time leading to forced marriage to old fashioned Scottish stud? Really? But it didn't, mainly because the characters actually act in a way that makes sense. Like, there are no heaving bosoms, no smoldering dark threatening yet lustful glances, no feisty declarations of hatred and independence immediately before brutal-yet-melting kisses.

On a side not, my pet peeve with romance novels (which this series isn't, just saying) is that both characters tend to be absolutely hateful towards each other, going so far as to beat, humiliate, rape (they don't call it that but seriously, even if the heroine ends up enjoying it despite herself, no means no) and enslave the object of their eventual affections, and still then call it love. Who falls in love with someone who treats them that way? That's not love, that's Stockholm Syndrome.

Anyway, the Outlander series avoids that trap and makes the leap into authentic historical fiction, with just enough fantasy and romance to appeal to lovers of those genres. The characters are intelligent and likable, and though there are obvious cultural differences faced by the main couple, those differences are discussed and worked through, not just ignored once the author has bled enough drama out of them. It is the ultimate story of star crossed lovers, with deadly enemies, epic battles, injury, torture and heroic rescues, but somehow it is all believable. And it is incredibly moving - I frequently find myself tearing up or laughing out loud while reading through these books. I cannot wait for the next book to come out - sometimes I wish I could just lock all my favorite authors into a tower and force them all to WRITE FASTER DAMN YOU but when those books finally arrive they are worth the wait.