Sunday, October 28, 2012

My Family Throws a Party

My family threw a rocking Halloween Party at our family home last night.

We went all out on the decorations too:

Here is a cobwebbed corner in our living room. Spooky right? This may look effortless... but it took approximately 45 minutes of agonized discussion to get it exactly right. When it comes to party decorations, my mom is a micro-perfectionist. Is that a term? Does it mean "someone who cares even about the most minuscule details?" Because that's her. But I helped! I provided moral support from the chair across the room.

Also, please note the skeleton victim hanging upside down in the corner. That's what happened to the last person who wandered into the spiders' web.....

This is our balcony graveyard. 

Well Ok, it might not look spooky BRIGHTLY LIT, but it all came together when night fell and we turned down all the lights and lit up a bunch of candles. You wouldn't know this because absolutely the only camera I have in the world my iPhone, which is pretty much useless after dark.

My family came up with the idea to throw a Halloween Party about a month ago, on a whim. My family's annual Halloween Party used to be a pretty big deal when I was a kid (and before I was born), but we hadn't kept up with the tradition in 10+ years. Over dinner one night my mom says, "Hey! Wouldn't it be fun if we brought back our blow-out, costumed-up, Halloween Bash For the Ages!?" And the next we knew, she was getting out a pad of paper and a pen, making a list of everyone in the world we knew who might come. 

Aaannd that was the last night that the Halloween party seemed like a good idea.

What followed was an entire month of nerve-wrecked anxiety. We waiting impatiently for RSVPs, we wondered (read: with extreme anxiety) if we would get enough people to have it be a grand, un-awkward time. We wondered if we were going to over-do-it or under-do-it on the food. We wondered if we were cool and if anyone even liked us at all SNIFF. The women in my family are expert worry-ers on your average Tuesday. Give us something with a minor level of stress attached and we are in the throes of unstoppable panic. 

I held it together pretty well until about an hour before the party when I pretty much almost died from an attack of nerves. Thankfully Brian, our party supervisor, was there to reassure me every five minutes. I'd be all, "Brian... WHAT IF NO ONE COMES?!?!?!??!?!" and he'd be all, "Jane, if no one comes... then you and I and your parents will play charades in the living room and it will be a grand old time." Rinse. Repeat. More times than I can openly admit without shame.

I'm also embarrassed to admit that at one point, I started hoping we would get to play charades.

The party was set to start at 8PM. The very worst ten minutes of my life began at 7:50PM. I hate that awkward moment when the first guests arrive and it's all "hehe, hey, hehe, welcome to our, uhh... party. At least it will be a party... we hope. PLEASE HAVE A DRINK." 

I'm not kidding when I say I almost had to hide out in my room, under my covers in the fetal position, for the first half hour. 

But for real, in all actuality, the party turned out to be a blast. Better than I would have hoped. According to Brian at least 115 people showed up. This must mean that my family is officially cool!!  People like us! I'm not saying this to brag or anything, except partially I am. But only because I was so worried. 

Also, I was most impressed with the commitment to costume wearing. People (adults!) came in some of the best costumes I have ever seen. And, not gonna lie, my costume was pretty awesome as well. I was a medieval princess, and my costume was built professionally by a professional costumer. Also known as my boyfriend's mom. Also, in keeping with my Medieval costume I conveniently got to go barefoot all night.. except this turned out to be a terrible idea as I kept stepping in... something sticky. Gross. 

Here is me, wearing my costume. You would totally believe I was from the medieval period in this digital photo if I wasn't holding an iPhone... but whatever. Also you can't really tell from this picture but behind me? That party is raging. 

We might even do it again next year.

Friday, October 26, 2012


I am so tired today and I think it is because I woke up mid-dream. I was having such an interesting dream too. It was about an archeological dig in the ocean to find dinosaur skeletons – or a particular dinosaur skull. I don’t think I was actually doing the dive (scuba dive, I mean), but I had this image of myself in the dark, dark ocean and I was extremely scared because it was so dark. Then they (they?) gave me a headlamp and I felt a little less scared but still as though I might run into creepy fish or dangerous sharks or what have you. Also the light only enabled me to see about a foot in front of my face, which helps no one. We did find what we were looking for though and there was this aura of ancient history that was just really cool.
Then in the second half of my dream there was a subsequent dig in Africa, which was also extremely dangerous. There was all this politics going on and warring gangs that might kill us (us? The team of archeologists I guess). To increase the urgency of the situation, we were racing another group of archeologists to complete a particular skeleton.
First there was the scene on the dusty African roads where we felt very exposed to the gangs but also that the goal of completing the skeleton was worth the risk. Also there was a scene of these young African children, so innocent, who were telling us in their squeaky youthful voices that it was already their dream to become hunters and kill endangered animals or defend their communities by killing the enemy gangs. And we were sad because they were so young and we felt that they didn’t really understand the consequences of what they were saying, and yet that they would grow up to be dangerous. Also all of them had crooked teeth.
And THEN there was the scene in a lab room where we were fighting with the other archeologist team. And we knew we were in danger because we were so close to completing this skeleton and they wanted to prevent us from doing so by any means necessary.   They were trying to break into our lab and smash all of our equipment and it was just …. It was under the gun.


This dream has left an impression on me for the day. Now I am really interested in learning more about dinosaurs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Aaaand Suddenly it's Wednesday

My weeks are completely slipping away from me right now. One minute it's Saturday and I'm sleeping in and relishing all the marvelous leisure time stretching before me. The next second, it's Sunday night and I'm holding on with all my might to every last second of my rapidly diminishing freedom. Before I know it, it's Monday and I'm doing a million things while still struggling to catch up. Tuesday disappears in a similar fashion.

And, all of the sudden, Wednesday. And I'm careening into the second half of my week. And I feel like all the days are slipping through my fingers, over before I even realize they've happened

So, at this rate it's pretty safe to assume that my twenties will be over soon. Faaar too quickly. And I still won't have moved out of my parents house! But that's ok, because I truly am becoming accustomed to the idea of raising a family in my childhood bedroom, which alone is bigger than any apartment I could afford. And there's built in babysitting.

Oh, hi Mom and Dad! I hope you didn't hear that.

To distract you, here is a picture of a pumpkin named Humphrey:

Yikes, I hope I'm not aging as fast as he is... 


Speaking of babysitting... I donated my Monday evening this week to the cause. Because I'm a masochist? I don't know. But it was totally worth it because my charge, a 12 year-old boy-child whom I have known for years and think is just wonderful in every way, told me that I was his best friend! Like, his best friend who's a girl, he means. Like, a grown-up girl. But whatever, it was super great and my heart was touched. 

I told him he was my best friend too. My best friend who's a 12 year old boy, that is. And that I just adore him. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

NYC Transport

New York is not a driving city. That is, unless you're my mom, who fits right in with the very best of the cab drivers. But for pretty much all of the other city dwellers, driving is not a realistic option. I mean, where are you going to park the car? On the street? Yeah, good luck finding a space. In a garage? That's only an option if you're willing to pay as much to park your car as you would for an apartment in another city. Then there's the task of driving itself, which is enough to raise one's heart rate well into the 200s. So, as I say, for most New Yorkers, driving is just... It's just no. But that's ok! We all moved here because we don't like driving anyway. And there are so many wonderful modes of transport available to us!... right?

Cabs: Taking a NYC cab is like spending a bajillion dollars to stare death in the face. Except literally, that's what it's like. Just sitting down in a cab and closing the door will cost you $2.50, which is the total it would cost you to just take the damn subway. I like to tell myself that taking a cab is a luxury I reserve for special occasions. Monday mornings, for example. Except then, when I'm sitting in the cab, I remember how uncomfortable it is to live for fifteen minutes with your heart beating in your throat. Cab drivers are like reckless daredevils, what with the weaving and the short stopping and the pedestrians who don't care whether they live or die. Oh, and now you're 10 minutes late for work thanks to traffic! That will be $30. Have a nice day!
Things I don't approve of in a cab: Wearing a seat belt. Because if you're going to look death in the face, you might as well go all the way.

Subways: Do you honestly care about your personal space? Because if so, the subway may not be for you. It's convenient, certainly, but our city's subway is like a tiny tin can, packed with sardines, zooming around beneath the sidewalk. A crowded subway is almost a unifying experience: you must cuddle up to your fellow man and try not to stick your armpit in anybody's face. Or have anybody else's armpit stuck in your face. Good luck with that, by the way. But at least you only paid $2.50 for this. So, in my opinion: totally worth it.
Things I don't approve of on the subway: I've previously discussed my distaste for people who take up more than one seat, but today I was reminded that there is something I hate even more: people who bring their bicycles on the subway. People, what are you thinking? Do you know how much space a bicycle takes up on a crowded train? Uhm, way too much.

Speaking of the Bicycle: It is free! And we do have bike lanes now. But do you want to die?
Things I don't approve of on a bicycle: NOT WEARING A HELMET (she reprimands her bicycle-riding-boyfriend via the internet). Also thinking you're totally invincible and racing cars down the avenues (AGAIN WITH THE REPRIMANDS). You are not invincible!! Especially if you are also not wearing a helmet.

Yes, so, if none of these options seem at all appealing to my many, many, MANY readers... well, it's a good thing you can always walk (depending on your time and level of endurance of course). Otherwise you'd have to get a razor scooter.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sometimes I Just Get a Feeling of Sentimentality About Life

I am suddenly extremely nostalgic for both the hot, hot sun of tropical plaecs like the Caribbean... And the coziness of a fire during a snowstorm.

What I understand from this is that I'm either a person full of many contradictions, or I'm cold.

Monday, October 15, 2012


Meet Humphrey: 

And isn't he just the handsomest pumpkin you ain't never seen?? 

As you can see, I did end up carving a pumpkin over the weekend. It was a very intricate process involving a multitude of steps. Firstly, my boyfriend and I set about the task of collecting all the necessary tools (namely every knife we own (just in case!!!) and a bowl). Then we took the pumpkin outside because... mess. We cut off his top, which was very much harder than it sounds as it required us to go around in a full circle, punching holes in his precious head. Also I am using the terms "we" and "us"very loosely here. But I made sure to hover just close enough to my boyfriend's carving hand that should the knife come out a little too hard, it would hit me right in the eye.

Then it was time for a pumpkin lobotomy! I made my boyfriend stand back while I had at that bad boy with a spoon. I whacked and scraped to my hearts content. I found this equal parts extremely enjoyable and extremely gross. Also I may have gotten a little bit carried away... To the point that boyfriend was like, "I think you're done."... "No, really, you've gotten everything." ... "Yup he's definitely good and dead now." ... "OK! Enough!"

Afterwards, I drew what I considered to be a pretty handsome face on our now very, very, exceptionally hollow pumpkin. And my boyfriend immediately proceeded to wipe it off and replace with his own (EERILY SIMILAR) face drawing. 

Then we, uhm, carved the pumpkin. Except by "we," I again mean that my primary role in all of this was to hover. But it was a role in which I definitely excelled! In this case, it involved a lot of hand wringing and getting my face a little too close and then jumping out of the way of an errant knife. Also a lot of "that cut didn't go all the way through... Wait! I think you went over the outline there a little bit... oh nooo, what did you do to his nose??" And my boyfriend would throw a look over his shoulder like, "How about you do it then, hmm?" That shut me right up. 

After we finished the carving I looked upon Humphrey with a mother's love and told him that he was just the purtiest, preshusest pumpkin in the whole wide world. I said to him, "Humphrey. You are beautiful. And don't let anyone ever tell you otherwise." 

And my boyfriend said to me, "So uhm, what should we do with this bowl of pumpkin guts?... I was thinking we would just throw it in that tree pit over there."
I said, "Uhm, no. You can't throw an enormous bowl of pumpkin into a tree pit. That would be extremely conspicuous and probably also smelly. You must throw it in the garbage. Duh." 

Then I knew that if I didn't keep an eye on my boyfriend, he would try to throw the pumpkin in the pit while I wasn't paying attention. So I made sure to walk him all the way to the trashcan, and then open the trashcan, and then watch him turn that bowl upside down over the trashcan before I dared look away. 

Then we went back inside and set our pumpkin on the table where we could take many, many pictures of him and admire his glorious personage. And it was glorious.

Sigh. I love my pumpkin. I hope he lasts all the way until Halloween.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Fall has most definitely arrived in New York City and I have been extremely chilly. Weirdly, all of my friends seem to think that fall is absolutely the best time of year. Is this because it's so... Snuggly? And haunted? Am I the only person in the world who realizes that this means it's almost winter? ... It's possible that living in Maine has scarred me for life.

Unfortunately, it has also come time for me to put away my summer clothes. I will miss them dearly, for this means the end of the days when I can throw on a dress and flip flops and be done. I've never cared much for clothes or fashion (Even though I grew up in New York City! For shame!). And  autumn clothes, especially work clothes, require a little too much attention and detail for my liking: pants go with which top, go with which shoes, go with which sweater and jacket? ... Am I the only girl in the world who thinks dressing myself is a total chore? 

And is now the right time to mention that I have never bought nor carried a handbag in my entire life? Or ... is it a purse? I don't even know what we're calling them these days.  But I am a 23 year old girl, I swear!! And I am from New York City.

Another thing I don't own nearly enough of: pants. I am in dire need of pants.  So today I had to go... shopping... shudder. It was a crisp, clear, beautiful fall Saturday in New York, so of course I wasn't the only one who had this brilliant idea. The stores were packed, PACKED. New York City style which means... not being able to find anything you might actually want in your size and then, if/when you do, waiting in line for the dressing room. And it's a loooong line, so you better make sure you already have everything you might possibly want before you get there-- the good, the "maybe," and the "seriously maybe." 

Then, finally, there is the horrible task of... trying everything on. I always find this so exhausting. Nothing ever looks like it did on the mannequin, and they always have those three way mirrors, and it's like, "This mirror is just unflattering right? I don't really look this pale? Have my thighs always been this... rotund? Did I really eat a cupcake last night?" Help. 

I don't plan on revisiting this experience anytime in the near future, so I made sure to get all the clothes I could possibly need for the next few years. Years. My female friends gasp in horror. 

I did get a pair of boots, though! (Only one pair! I know, I'm not really a girl am I? I'm not really from New York?): 

And I just want to be clear that I practically had to lie on the floor of the dressing room to take this photo. My BFF had asked for a pic I told her "if this doesn't represent my dedication to you, I don't even know what does" and she told me, "Oo I love! You should wear with skinny jeans and an oversized sweater." ....

So after all this shopping, I probably should have gone to the gym. You know, just to make sure that I will still fit into all of my new clothes tomorrow. But instead I... made dinner. Soup, because it's that time of year. Corn and Cheese Chowder specifically, and, yes, it was exactly as fattening as it sounds. I have problems. But it also involved all the colors of fall and was very warming and delicious. Here is the recipe I used: 

Except I added more cheese and also used heavy cream instead of half & half... obviously. It's really a good thing that I don't have a three-way mirror at my house.... or is it?

I was also very fancy today and used bread bowls like the Pioneer Woman recommends. This is because the Pioneer Woman knows all. Also they happened to have the right kind of bread at the super market down the street from my house. On the plus-side: the bread has become all soft and mushy and full of broth and tastes ahmayzing. On the downside:... you end up wasting a lot of bread.... 

Now I think I will watch a Halloween movie, even though it's only the middle of October. Fall, to me, seems to be the shortest time of year and I must enjoy as much of it as I can. 

Tomorrow, I shall carve a pumpkin. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bathroom Wonderings

Isn’t it funny how some people have unique smells that cling to them and stick in your memory? I was in the bathroom just now and for the briefest moment I thought I smelled the perfume of a friend of mine from middle school. Even though I knew I was still ACTUALLY in the bathroom of my office, for a moment I was transported back ten years to her apartment. I suddenly remembered both her sleek, black cat, Cupcake, and the feeling that I never really liked her but had always hoped that she would make me a little bit more popular.

I wasn’t the nicest middle schooler ever. Things have changed a lot since then.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Things I Did While I Wasn't Here

Oh, my blog! How I have abandoned you. I have been very busy. Except, actually, not that busy and also sort of bored of writing. But I digress!

Here are all the things that happened last week: I celebrated my cousin's birthday. Yes, it was a week long celebration, just as birthdays should be. On her actual birthday, we (a couple of her friends) went out to dinner at Rosa Mexicana.  Rosa Mexicana: a restaurant that reminds me a lot of Mexico. And by "Mexico" I mean "The Mexico in Disney World's Epcot," which is PRETTY MUCH the same thing.... right?

Dinner was totally, totally delicious and awesome -- especially the churros, and to think that I was almost too full to try them but then thankfully I did and they completed my life. But THEN  I could hardly stand upright from the fullness and am still not sure how I managed to get home. Hmm... This seems an all-too-common problem of mine.... And yet. Worth it.

Two days later, my cousin's sister (AKA also my cousin, but I don't want to get confusing here...) baked a cake version of the infamous rainbow cookie. And wait, hang on. Hang on a second. That was the best cake of my entire life. And I am not kidding NOR exaggerating when I say that there is drool at the very thought and that the first tingles of an irrepressible craving are now burning in my finger tips.

I wonder if my cousins still have some cake left over... Also I need to get ahold of myself.

By the time I was eating cake, however, I had already come down with The Sickness. Yes. And I knew I should have made my boyfriend sleep on the couch...  But, even so, I will now give him a shout-out because on Friday, when I was sick and I also had to work (WOE), he brought me tissues and Kombucha during my lunch break. And despite the fact that the tissues were some crappy organic brand and were so rough they might as well have been toilet paper and the Kombucha was... warm, I love him for it. I'm a pretty big person.

As for what I did the rest of the weekend? Well. I would like to say that I am a very cool, hip 20-something and that I take full advantage of glorious New York City and all it has to offer.... but that is just a total lie. The truth is that I slept. A lot. And, well, in full disclosure I wasn't even in the city at all and I just got back today. An hour ago.

Yes, I cheated city life and spent the long weekend in the country. If it helps, I was fully appreciating fall and all the orange that goes along with it. For example, I picked a pumpkin. His name is Humphrey, though he does not yet have a face (hopefully I will get to that tomorrow). Also, I went for a hayride because I had never been on one before in my whole life (city children! We are deprived!). Except, wait, it was much more boring than I had anticipated... though I don't really know what I was expecting. Fast hills and corners maybe? Or something? Can someone please explain to me the point of a hayride? I've definitely missed it so far. Even sitting on a bale of hay was a little bit... scratchy. And the situation was made a little more dull by our very disinterested tractor driver whose full ride- narration consisted of pointing to different crops and saying, in a bored drawl, "these are our blueberries"... drives an impossibly slow ten feet.. "...These are our pears...."  C'mon man! This could be at least a little more interesting! Probably....

Like, seriously, is there more to a hayride than that? Inquiring minds need to know.

All in all, I reveled in my day off. I felt much recovered from my cold. And now, though I am back in the city, I have a fire going all wood-burning-like (city child is not so deprived after all!). It definitely smells like fall in here. And it is all so extremely toasty.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New York: Not All of Our People Are Assholes

If you are a tourist visiting the city and you ask me for directions on the street, I will always give them to you. In fact, I do get asked for directions about five times or so a day, but unfortunately I think most people end up feeling sorry they asked me because I tend to launch into a long winded and ultimately unhelpful response that includes a lot of arm gesturing and "go this ways" instead of "left" or "right" (.... because I don't know my left from my right...). And in ANY case, why don't I just walk you where you're going because it's just easiest for everyone and it'll only take ten minutes.

And this usually ends up being an extremely awkward ten minutes for everyone.

Additionally, most people, after meeting and talking to me, are surprised to hear that I'm a natural born New Yorker. Like, I seem so "laid back" and "go with the flow" that I must be from California or... Kansas (seriously, someone once thought I was from Kansas). To me, this just proves that disguise I'm wearing (typically greasy hair and a worn out t-shirt) is working because... In truth I'm actually very high strung.

So Basically what I'm saying is: I am from New York and I am not an asshole.

And neither is my cousin, whose birthday is today (although she's not technically a New Yorker so I'm not sure that counts!).

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

A Plague!

My boyfriend and my cousin are both currently suffering death by cold this week. Considering that pretty much sums up all the people I see on a regular basis… I think it’s safe to say that my future isn’t looking too bright.

Last night, as I lay in bed, struggling to find inner peace, while my boyfriend snorted and sniffled and blew his nose right next to me, all I could picture was my own impending doom.

Is that selfish? Would it be wrong to ask him to sleep on the couch? I mean… my health is critically important! I have to work at an office! With people! I can’t infect the people. It would be wrong to infect the people.

And that is also why my cousin is working from home today. She’s making the ultimate sacrifice.

But, lest we all fall into a pit of worry and despair, there is a cure for the common cold. And no, I don’t mean Whiskey (although I hear that that actually works as well). No, the answer to all our problems is – Duh duh duh!! – Kombucha! The Ancient Chinese fermented tea recipe currently making a comeback as the go-to beverage of the hippie peoples. (Here is even more info:

My patented Cold Cure includes 1 Mango Kombucha, and 1 Day in Bed Watching Crappy TV. Works. Like. A charm.

I told my cousin this super awesome Kombucha secret and instead of thanking me profusely she was all, “Ew. No. I can’t drink that.” Like, hello Jane? There are live bacteria in there and you can SEE them… floating

And I said, “I promise, I wouldn’t lead you astray. Kombucha tastes great, kind of like… fruity beer. Except even more awesome then that.”

And she said, “yeah, well, it smells disgusting.”

Cousin? Who reads this blog?  Kombucha. Do it. I promise I am changing your life for the better. Kind of like that time you asked me what “quiche” was when we were kids and I told you that it was “like.. an egg pie..” and you said, very slowly and skeptically, “like… an… egg... pie…” and for some reason this made me laugh so hard that I spit diet soda all over the people at the table next to us...

And now quiche is one of your favorite foods! The end.

I told my boyfriend to get Kombucha. For both of us. ASAP. And he looked at me and sniffled so pathetically before nodding and saying, “OK.”

That, right there, is totally why I date him. Because he listens.