Home again…

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Holidailies 2012Bus got in only 30 minutes late.  Considering the traffic and the driving through the snow thing, I’d say we made pretty good time.  I was in my apartment, in my swanky new Vera Wang pajama bottoms, lying on the couch by 10:30pm.  Could have been far worse.

Now that I’m home from such a lovely few days, I fear the inevitable let down.  When I was in New Hampshire for Thanksgiving, I had a really wonderful time, but came back and felt so depressed for a few days after, which is something I wasn’t expecting.  This time I’m keeping it in mind, in order to keep it at bay.

When there’s so little going on, it’s hard not to feel a little blue and a loss of momentum when I return home, but I’m going to try to keep the positive stuff close.  I walked eight miles while I was away and that was only over the course of two days.  So, I can certainly keep it up and at least walk a couple of miles a few times a week.  It’s how I have to start to get back into the groove and lose all the weight I’ve gained and get back into shape.  So tired of being out of shape.

I also need to just keep myself in a positive head space all around.  It’s just so easy when there’s no event to look forward to, to start feeling down.  Though, Gen will be coming in a few days for New Years, so that’s something to look forward to!  Meanwhile, my living room still sort of looks like an art supply store exploded in here, so I have some cleaning and organizing to do, along with a little more holiday gift finishing and maybe even a little cooking (my mom’s zucchini pancakes are calling my name, I think).

So, truly a wonderful few days away, now I just need to keep that feeling going…


A White Christmas (sort of)…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Eating, Exercise, Family, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012I opened my eyes at about 7am and the first thing I did was look out the window.  Yep, it was snowing.  There was a dusting on the ground and steady flurries, making my Christmas in New Hampshire idyllic notion complete.  A White Christmas.  I read for a while and at about 8am, my sister and brother-in-law came in to get the (really nice) keyboard they bought for my nephew, to set it up in the living room.

At about 9am, I wandered out into the living room and the Christmas tree was lit up and all the other lights were lit up as well.  Shortly after my nephew woke up and the gift opening commenced.  First off — stockings.  My first ever Christmas stocking and Santa brought me a clementine, lots of chocolate, an Honest Tea half and half (useful for my return bus trip to NYC), a box of Angry Birds gummies, and a bottle of deep purple sparkly nail polish!  YAY!

The haul was pretty impressive all around.  I got lots of chocolate (Lindor Truffles), more gummies (Haribo!), a pair of beautiful handmade earrings (by my sister), wonderful pajama pants, a mix CD (Sir Mix A Lot — so named by my nephew), and lots more little goodies.  We followed opening gifts with a traditional breakfast of bagels, lox, and cream cheese (that’s a traditional Christmas breakfast, right?) and then there was more lounging, reading, and music listening to take up the rest of the morning.

Early afternoon included another long walk with my sister and Ket, a little colder, a little more damp, but the snow had stopped during the morning and mostly just left a melting dusting behind.  I whined a little about the walk, but again was glad I’d made the effort.  Back at the house, more reading and relaxing followed by a ridiculously delicious dinner of roasted lamb with chimichurri sauce and homemade apple pie for dessert.

We’ve just finished watching an episode of Man vs. Wild and my sister and nephew are both sacked out on the couch, trying in vain to fight sleep, while my brother in law putters around the house.  I’ve rallied enough to write this short synopsis of another lovely day on my Christmas Adventure in New England.  An early night seems inevitable (with a good book awaiting me once I get into bed).

Tomorrow some more relaxing and then heading back home…

Jewish Christmas Eve…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Family, Fun Stuff, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012Today was a good day.  Woke up at about 7am and read for a couple of hours, then fell back to sleep until about 10:30am.  Had a leisurely morning and late breakfast and then my sister and I went for a four mile walk with her friend Ket.  Always good when I am motivated by company to exercise.  A brisk (sort of freezing cold) walk through suburban New Hampshire.  Not a bad way to spend my time on “vacation.”

After a shower and some reading, we headed out for dinner, to a rare thing in these parts…a decent Chinese restaurant.  After the traditional Jewish Christmas Eve meal (I had Chicken and Broccoli), we headed to the other traditional part of the evening festivities, the movies.  We saw Skyfall, which for some reason in my head I keep thinking of as Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (a movie which I never saw and don’t know the plot of).  Another Bond movie that didn’t disappoint.  I won’t spoil anything, but was completely shocked by the turn of events, though not unhappy with the outcome (vague enough?)

We’re back at the house, the beautiful tree is lit up, the stockings are hung (there’s even one for me!!!!) and my nephew has just put chocolate chip cookies in the oven to bake for Santa for us to munch on.  Now we’re getting ready to play a very competitive (as Blutsteins competitive is the only way we roll) game of Scrabble.

Next stop, Christmas morning…

Traveling in Style…

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Holidailies 2012I’m a pretty laid back traveler.  I don’t need much.  Enough space not to feel like I’m suffocating, preferably a window seat (to lean on for napping) something good to read, some music, and maybe snacks.  I always say that I’m the person you want to sit next to if you are traveling with small kids.  I don’t mind them, in fact I love them and will often be glad to play with them and distract them if you need help.  And I can usually sit companionably next to most anyone, as long as they aren’t a complete jackass.  I’ve even been known to forge friendships on long airplane flights or bus rides or train trips.

So, this morning, at the butt crack of dawn (7am), when I set out on the bus, on a (not so) well rested ninety minutes of sleep, I was only concerned that the person sitting next to me not be too fidgety.  Sizing up the people getting on the bus, I was hoping for the diminutive woman rather than the very tall man, who was likely to take up a lot more room.  Be careful what you wish for.  The woman sat down next to me.  It started off inauspicious enough, but before too long, my seatmate was telling me her life story in a stream of consciousness, off kilter tear.

She started with her terrible experience during Hurricane Sandy, and I felt for her, because she’s been out of her home since it happened.  Then she moved on to her gallbladder surgery that she had the day after Thanksgiving, which would have also been okay, until she started telling me about ever little detail of her surgery and her after care and her scarring and having to be bathed and…you get the point.  She told me in no uncertain terms that she was very annoyed with her cousin, at whose home she was staying, because she “just needed her space.”  She then somehow transitioned to a discussion of President Obama and how she needed to go to Washington, DC to visit him because she had a lot of things she needed to tell him.

It was at this point that I realized she wasn’t just a talker (I mean, I’M a talker), she was a little off.  By the time she started talking about god and how children were rising up to kill their elders and all of it was foretold, I knew I was in trouble.  Up to this point, I had been a vaguely active participant in the conversation, though relatively quiet — and you know if I’m the quiet one in the conversation, the other person is a world class talker.  So, now I’m sitting in my seat thinking, “Okay, how to gracefully exit this conversation?”

Fortunately, at some point, there was a lull and I took that moment to put on my headphones and feign sleep.  Before I knew it, I was actually napping.  Phew.  Crisis averted.  I kept my headphones on for the rest of the trip for fear of getting sucked back into it.  The good news is, because we left so early in the morning, there was no traffic.  We arrived a half hour early into Boston and I was able to make my escape and head for the commuter bus to New Hampshire.

All in all, though, I can’t really complain.  Bus travel is the cheapest way to go and it means that I get to see my sister and her family on short notice for the holidays.  And, if I’d never sat next to her, I would have had nothing to write about tonight, so bonus!

On Procrastination…

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Holidailies 2012So, I’m leaving on a 7am bus to spend a few days in New Hampshire with my sister and her family.  I’m excited because as a Jew, I don’t usually get to spend Christmastime in a house that celebrates Christmas (my brother-in-law is Christian).  So, I can’t wait to be in a house with a tree and lights and all the fun Christmasy stuff that comes with it.

Did I mention I’m leaving at 7am?  It’s 11:51pm and I’m waiting for my second load of laundry to finish drying, so I can finish packing.  I still have to straighten up the apartment and make sure I have everything in order before I go.  Yes, I’ve been doing stuff all day today, (like make sure that gifts were finished being made, etc.) but at a rather leisurely pace and between naps.  And have I mentioned lately that I’m unemployed and have an overabundance of free time on my hands?  So, yep, right down to the wire.

I know logically that this is a side effect of ADD, that it is a form of self-medication, that waiting until the last minute is a way to increase the stimulation in my brain so that I can get organized enough to do everything, but it’s still annoying that this knowledge isn’t usually enough to change the cycle.

As these things go, though, I’m doing okay timing-wise.  I’ll probably be in bed by 1am, rather than 4am.  So, there’s that.  And I guess I should get back to it now, before I get distracted by something shiny…


Easy Money…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Art, Crafty Junk, Fun Stuff, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff, Work | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012So, late this afternoon I went by the pottery studio to pick up the money I made in our holiday sale a couple of weeks ago.  I had my last class for the year tonight, but hadn’t intended to stay, because I wasn’t feeling great.  However, Kate, who runs the program, had asked me to bring some of my earrings and ornaments, because she still had a few more gifts to get, so I brought them along.

She gave me the cash from the sale (about what I expected  to make) and then she bought a couple more pieces from me.  More cash (yay!)  Then I was sitting and chatting with a couple other people in the studio, and they wanted to take a look at my earrings too, so before I knew it, all of my earrings were spread across the table, and they had each bought a pair.  Two more sales, thank you!

I figured that I’d at least stick around until Matt (my teacher) arrived, so I could wish him a happy holiday, and then before I knew it, the rest of my class was there and there was food and there was dessert and there was more looking at my jewelry and more sales were made.  Somewhere in there, I started to feel better — not sure if it was the food or the company (or the cash), but I rallied.  I ended the evening feeling pretty good.  Belly full, mood lightened, and $100 more in my pocket than I’d even expected.  Not a bad haul and not a bad way to spend a Friday evening.

Now, if I could just figure out how to make every day like this, I wouldn’t even have to look for a job.  A girl can dream, can’t she?

And I feel fine…

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Holidailies 2012About the end of the world…

Some days are truly crappy and not worth getting out of bed for.  Some days it feels like it doesn’t really matter what lies on the other side of awake because, really, how is it going to make a difference?  But, some days are good.  And some days are even great.  Some days it doesn’t matter that I’ve been unemployed for ten months or that I’m not sure when things are going to change or that the days are stretching out in front of me without any sure steps because, despite all of that, I know that it’s going to be okay.  It has to be okay.  There is no other choice than for it to be okay.  For ME to be okay.

And even at my most panicked, even at my most miserable and hopeless, I wouldn’t wish for the end of the world or imagine the end of the world or even consider the end of the world.  Because as far as I’m concerned, the point of life is this.  The stuff we have here and now.  Friends and family and laughter and love and art and music and books and nature and small moments.  The way the air smells when it’s about to snow or how quiet the city is at 4am or an unexpected phone call from a friend that lasts for two hours or a delicious meal made from scratch.  And even the crappy stuff.  Heartache and panic and loss and a good long cry, because the good stuff can’t happen without the bad in the mix too, it’s just how it works.

So, no matter if things are bad, even when I’m at a moment that feels like it may never turn around, there’s a tiny little spark of something that tells me that it’s all going to be okay.  And it’s that spark that I hold onto when things get really dark and doubt starts to settle in for the long haul. So, today is an okay day.  Not a great day, not a horrible day, but good.  I’m here.  I can write and I can talk to friends and I can laugh and I can cry and I can contemplate tomorrow, because the world is not ending.

Not even close…

Lost in a good book (or twelve)…

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Holidailies 2012After finishing the fantastic Gone Girl this morning, I went to the library today (something I do about once a week), and it got me thinking…

I’ve always been a voracious reader.  One of the best things my parents have given me is a love of reading and books.  Even as a kid, the bookshelves in my room were filled to overflowing.  And the rule in our house was if you could understand it, you could read it.  Which was truly a gift.  There were trips to the library and trips to the bookstore.  There were lots of discussions of what we were reading and lots of lazy afternoons spent reading.

As an adult, my father and I, in particular, have made many trips to bookstores that always result in stacks of new books to read.  And my father, a man who doesn’t really ever buy much for himself, has always indulged in books.  There were memberships in the Quality Paperback Book Club and the Book of the Month Club, a way to bring in a new haul of lots of books for not much money.  And his favorite place for discount books, Daedelus.  It’s where we’ve often found some of our family cult favorites, like Tom Mix and Pancho Villa and Checker and the Deraillers and Flicker.

And we are a family of book neurotics.  None of us can travel without plenty of reading material.  And that means books to spare.  It’s always necessary to calculate how long your trip will be and how far into the book you are currently reading, in order to know how many extra books you’ll need to bring with you.  My father always has at least one book in his car, along with several magazines.  I always have to make sure there’s something to read in my purse, whether commuting to work or going to the movies (need something to read while waiting for the movie to start!)  Though this has become somewhat easier in recent years with the Kindle app on my phone, having enough to read is still always a nagging concern.

The ability to buy books as I wish has been a luxury that didn’t feel so much like a luxury, but more like a necessity.  But, the reality of limited space, especially in a New York apartment, has over the years made it a challenge.  When I was working, it wasn’t really about curtailing purchases, it was more about deciding which books were worth keeping and which to donate, in order to conserve space.  Now, though, with my shelves still overflowing, it’s about the fact that books are expensive.

Thankfully, in the past 10 months I’ve rediscovered the New York Public Library and have made great use of my library card.  Amazingly, checking books out of the library or downloading them, pouring over my lists of holds and list of books to read later, has continued to feel like a luxury, but also, an absolute necessity. It’s an essential ingredient in keeping my head on my shoulders and my perspective intact.  When things are really bad, I can’t manage to read — and that just makes everything worse.

Which is why I know that right now, I’m doing okay.  I’m continuing to read.  I’m reading books and magazines and newspapers and online articles and I’m losing myself in fiction and educating myself with nonfiction and aggravating myself with fiction masquerading as journalism (a thought for another day), and I count myself lucky.  Another moment to be thankful for the time to read and the gift of access I have to just about any book I want.

Inside my head…

Posted on by Girl in Gotham in Friends, Fun Stuff, Holidailies, Life, Life Stuff | Leave a comment

Holidailies 2012Tonight’s entry will be very short, because frankly, I forgot about it until the last minute, but also because a repeat of last night’s would be a snooze and sort of depressing to boot.  So, I’ll just say this…

Trying to find strength and inspiration where I can find it and that can often be from the most surprising places.  I’ve sung the praises of Facebook before, but I’m still amazed at how my virtual community manages to lift me up when I most need it and distract me from my own worst self.  From encouraging reminders to keep the fear at bay to private messages with job postings to pictures of kittens (who doesn’t love pictures of kittens) to fierce games of Words with Friends, sometimes it’s just one small thing that gets me out of my own head.

Today was pretty rough, maybe rougher than yesterday, but it ended okay.  It ended with a phone call from a friend (thanks, Sue), laughter, and cats playing patty cake.  Hopefully tomorrow won’t require the silly video, but it’s good to know that it’s there if I need it.

Ups and Downs…

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Holidailies 2012Inevitably, after there are ups and ups, come the downs.  Today, after a weekend filled with activity and all kinds of good things, I woke up pretty down.  And then I found out I didn’t get the job that I had the interview for last Thursday.  Frankly, I wasn’t holding out a great deal of hope for that job, but it still hurt to know for certain, because the job itself would have been really great.

Unsurprisingly, I dealt with it in my usual way.  I napped.  And I woke up and felt a little better, and then my mood crashed again, and I started to feel hopeless.  I’ve been applying for jobs, I’ve been interviewing for jobs, I’ve been practically promised  jobs and nothing has panned out.  It beats you down each time it happens.  I’ve widened my search, I’ve lowered my expectations, and still, nothing doing.

I wallowed a little bit more and then I decided to go back to someplace familiar.  I had that interview in April in California, for that really promising job at a company that I really, really like.  It didn’t work out because they went with an internal candidate who they promoted.  I then interviewed for yet another job with them in August and that one didn’t pan out because hiring me would have frankly been a leap of faith, since there was some supervisory experience I was missing and they then found a candidate who had it.  But the VP told the recruiter that he didn’t want to let me go.  My response was, “If you don’t want to let me go, then find a job for me.”

So, tonight I went back to their website and saw another job for which I’m qualified.  I know it’s at a little bit of a lower level (and hence a lower salary) than the last one for which I interviewed, but I was really excited that there was a position available again and as I said, I’ve lowered my expectations.  I need to be working.  I would like to be working for a company that I like and I know that I really like the culture of this one.

So, I sent an email and I said as much.  And I asked them to consider me.  I put it out in the universe.  I’ll continue to apply for jobs and I’ll continue to hope that the perfect job, with the right salary, and the right people, comes along, but I’m trying very hard to keep myself open to possibilities that will at least get me back in the world of work.  This could be a good place to end up.  Since they knew where my salary was before, I’m hoping they’ll still consider me.  A good job, in a place with people I like, with a salary that isn’t what I wanted, but far more than my unemployment, would be a good place to start.  I’d just like to get in the door.  And then I’ll figure out the rest.

So that’s where I stand now.  I hope that it pans out.  I hope that I can keep my head up and keep fighting.  Otherwise, I’m just not sure where I go from here…