Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This is not about celebrities.


I started on Monday, it's full-time (yay) with benefits (yay) and more than I was making at my previous job (yay).  Also, I don't have to deal with customers (yay) or anything of that nature, AND it's a casual dress code so I can wear my usual dress/leggings/boots/cardigan attire (yay!).  It is absolutely great for right now, and it couldn't have come along at a better time.  I can't wait to bask in the glory that is my first paycheck.

(The basking will be short-lived, followed by frantic bill paying of course.)

Also, as of this time next week, I will be a COLLEGE SENIOR.  Which means I will be 29 by the time I have my diploma in hand.  Which means I'll have a bachelor's degree before I'm 30.  (This is awesome, because I used to always whine "I'm going to be THIRTY by the time I graduate..."  Shaving a year off that time feels good.)
I'm still undecided if I'm going to pursue my masters degree or not...I suppose it all depends on what my social and work life is looking like at that point.  If I can secure desirable employment without it, I may skip it altogether.  Who needs the additional student loan debt?  We'll see.  I am, however, excited for semester break.  I have around 50+ books waiting to be read!  But let's be real, I'll probably spend my break working, sleeping, and hanging out with Shaun.  Fine with me ;)

Life has been good lately.  My friend Mary has been helping me out with some photography: she needs photos for her portfolio, I need new shots for my website.  I just got a new fridge and it's seriously gorgeous.  (And yes, I realize being excited about appliances makes me an OFFICIAL loser adult.  Even more so, the fact that I thought, "Hmm, maybe I should buy a washer & dryer with my tax return..."  WHAT HAVE I BECOME?

I think I'm going to have to eat some ice cream for breakfast just to assure my inner child I'm not  a total waste of an adult. ...too bad I vowed to eat less ice cream this year.*

*I've made it an entire month without any ice cream, mostly thanks to my gluten allergy and the fact the boyfriend likes gluten-y ice creams.  But I did get some Friendly's frozen yogurt a few days ago, fudge berry swirl, and I am happy to report it is delicious.  Although it does have corn syrup in it, blech!! 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Writing Muse: Victor Garber

I made this new rule for myself.  I should write 1,000 words of my novel every day.
If I keep up with this, I should be finished with my first draft by April.

Now, because this might affect the frequency of my blog posts, I figured I'd tell you just a little about my book.  Starting with my current muse.

As a child, I was in the musical Godspell.  Among all the musicals I did, Godspell was probably my favorite.  Not for any religious reasons, but just because it was so much fun to put on.  The music is great and the costumes were wacky and it was just a good production.  

Now, a lot of the kids in the show rented and watched the movie before auditions, but after the HAIR debacle that occurred in my house (we rented the musical HAIR.  The VHS case said it was rated PG.  We put it in the VCR only to be greeted by a man on a horse singing about masturbation.  VCR was turned off immediately) my parents were reluctant to trust a vintage musical that claimed to be PG.

Needless to say, I didn't get a chance to see the movie until it appeared on my Netflix queue about three/four years ago.  

And imagine my shock when I realize this:

...and this are the same person!

Anyhow.  24 year old Alison was pretty smitten with 1970's 24 year-old Victor Garber.  Something about his smile, I think.  So I got to Googling, like you do, and learned a little bit about him.

The one thing that really stuck out to me was that both his parents died from complications of Alzheimer's, and he had cared for both of them.  Although I didn't know much about Alzheimer's at that time, I did think, Isn't that genetic? and Wow, that must be scary for him.  I wonder if he worries he's going to develop it, too.
After more googling (both about VG and Alzheimer's) I learned that Victor has diabetes--and having diabetes increases your risk of developing Alzheimer's.  Even scarier.
The very thought of someone living with that fear and battling those odds prompted me to write a short story about what the life of someone in a similar situation might be like.  This short story (entitled V, as in Victor.  I couldn't bare to change the first name...it's too strong.) then proceeded to be rejected for publication, and in one of the rejection letters an editor said to me, "This is more of a first chapter than a short story."
Those were the magic words, causing me to take a step back and look at my work.  There was a much larger story here.  So I started to tell it.

I wrote Victor a letter last March, after speaking directly with his agent.  I sent him the first chapter of the novel and a letter explaining what I hoped to accomplish with it (I'm looking to increase awareness of Alzheimer's, clear up common misconceptions and donate some of the books proceeds to the Alzheimer's Association) , and thanking him for inspiring me.  He never wrote back, and while I know actors are extraordinarily busy and probably don't have time to answer the mail of strangers, I did kinda expect some kind of response, even if it was only a form letter.  

Sometimes I still cross my fingers as I go to the mailbox.

I just want to know that he read it.  Even if he thinks it's crap.  Even if it was offensive to him and he's angry that I've taken liberties with his life.

In the time since then, I have been doing extensive research and even interviewing Alzheimer's care givers, family members and patients.  I'm learning so much about this tragic disease, but let me tell you--constructing an accurate portrayal of an Alzheimer's patient is very difficult work.  I just hope I can capture everything in a way that will help people.

So, in case you all were wondering, THAT is why I seem so obsessed with Victor Garber at times.  (I've always based my own characters off of actors to a point, and sometimes watching their movies can help me to visualize how they may act in a certain situation.)

And it's also why I look so bummed when I return from my mailbox.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

In the off-chance that Miss Fey ever Googles herself...

So, after seeing TONS of people surf into my website after googling "Tina Fey Naked" (or some variation of those words) I discovered that my blog is the THIRD entry that comes up when you type that into Google.

My first thought is, "Oh my God I wonder if Tina googles herself!"

It's possible, right?
Who isn't guilty of a little vanity-search on the web now and again?

I mean, based on the read I got from Tina's personality in Bossypants, I'm fairly certain there are no actual naked pictures of her floating around, so she likely has no cause to be worried and google herself.  BUT.  Maybe she's checking to see if someone photoshopped her head onto someone's nude body.

It could happen.

(Dear Tina:  if you do read this, you're kinda my hero--but I'm not posting naked pictures of you, so no worries there.  Was supposed to meet you in NYC for your Bossypants signing in 2011 but missed it and was devastated but tried to be a big girl about it all.  That's really all I can say without rambling incoherently.  God, I'm even a stupidly nervous fan on my blog.  Probably better I didn't meet you, it might have gone something like this:


Carry on.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Style Icon: Zooey Deschanel

I love Zooey Deschanel.

I know about the whole Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing.  And I get it.  I know all her characters are pretty much the same (even though she's been quoted as saying she's been quoted as saying "I don't wanna do the same thing over and over again because that's, well, first of all that's no fun."   face it, Zooey.  Your characters could use some variety.  That's not to say I want her to change, though.  To be honest, I love her quirky characters.  I see a lot of me in them, and I'm sure other girls do, too, which is probably why she's so popular.  

One of my exes told me I looked like her (and more recently, someone told me I looked like her sister Emily...so I guess I've got the whole Deschanel Family Resemblance thing going!) 

Okay I'll be honest.  The main reason I even posted about Zooey was to showcase those top two photos.  I've had them saved on my hard drive forever.  I love everything about both of those outfits!  (Um, except I'd wear them with leggings instead of nylons--DON'T GET MAD, weirdo Twitter guy!) 

Zooey is also probably the reason I toy with the idea of having bangs now and again.

(This was my first day of temping at my office job a couple years ago. It doesn't feel like that long ago, but when I look at how much my hair has grown in that time, I'm shocked.  It was ages ago.)
But with the exception of the side-swept bang (and the very first day of wearing bangs after a haircut!) they usually don't work out too well on me.

I really do need a haircut though...hmm.

After seeing Zooey's nails on the red carpet last night though, I realized one thing--

(We'd totally be bffls if we hung out in real life, cuz my bffl Lauren had this same EXACT thing done with her nails 6 years ago--and when she asked for it the manicurist looked at her like she was insane.)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

If you can't say anything nice...

...don't say anything at all.  Right?

Clearly not.

Don't get me wrong--I am NOT a saint in this regard.  I can be quite judgmental at times, but for the most part I keep my comments to myself.

Now, while some people could see this as worse (because now I'm just talking behind people's backs, right?) I think it's preferable.  Because just because *I* think it's gross that you look like a Person of Wal-Mart doesn't mean you particularly care what I think.

But today a co-worker of mine (who has only ever spoken to me once or twice before*) turned to me as I was preparing to leave for the day and said, "WOW!  Did you just roll out of bed or what?"

I did a quick mental once-over.  I was fully clothed in my usual work attire.  I had my glasses on, my face was washed, teeth brushed--hell, I even had LIPSTICK on.  (This is a new development, normally I'm a Carmex girl, but I've discovered that wearing lipstick makes me NOT pick my lips.  Huzzah, New Years Resolution!)

Normally I'd be meek and quiet and let this go.  But not this time.

"Excuse me?" I asked, loudly and indignantly.  I wanted to give her a chance to really hear what she had said to me and think of how COMPLETELY RUDE it sounded.

"Your hair is all a mess."  She said, clearly not apologetic, nor backing down.

"I have curly hair."  I said, dumbfounded and flabbergasted, flushing, thinking maybe she was too dumb to notice.  "I straighten it usually."

"Yeah, yeah.  Whatever."  She said, turning away from me and ending the conversation.

When I got home that day, I expected my hair to be in a pretty sorry state to illicit such a comment.  But, seriously folks--it's just CURLY.  Not unruly curly, either.  I had it half up in a small bun and half down, much like the below picture.

Later today someone commented to me on Twitter and I discovered it was a  man who has exclusively dedicated his account to bashing women who choose to NOT wear nylons.  He calls them "trashy" and "disgusting", among other things.  If a woman comments that she's wearing nylons, he thanks her for "keeping it classy", but mostly it's filled with hate speech.

People take such joy in bringing others down.  It's very sad, and the internet is a powerful tool for good or evil--and evil pretty much prevails.  I'd like this to be different.  Hell, I'd like people in real life to be different too.

Personally, I make it a point to leave nice comments whenever possible.  That's not to say I've never disagreed or had a bad day and said something nasty--I unfortunately have done my share of negative comments too. (Example: I may or may not have called nylons man a creep and an asshole.  Not exactly practicing what I preach...)  But I sometimes look at my Facebook feed and think, "Can I say something nice to someone today?"  And I can.  So I do.

I think more people should.  There's so much negativity out there, we should all try to spread something positive now and again.

Paying it forward, kind of.

Just a thought.

*The only other thing that woman has said to me, that I can recall?  She looked at me with disdain one day and said, "You need to bleach your shirt."  Real nice.  Technically, she was accurate.  But still, can you open your mouth without nitpicking?  Sheesh...

Sunday, January 8, 2012

A photo a day.

I've been taking part in Instagram's "January photo a day"...thing (I don't know what to call it! It's not a contest or a competition...just a fun thing to do for those of us who love Instagram!)

Anyway, it's been fun so far and I'm proud to say I haven't missed a day yet! (Although I nearly forgot about the entry for today!  Thank goodness the sun was still out when I remembered!)

Here are my photos so far.  If you have Instagram, I'd love it if you joined in!  There's still time to catch up.  Leave a comment with your user name so I can follow you.  :)

(Apologies if you've seen some of these photos already!)

Day 1:  Me!

Day 2:
Day 3:
Something I adore
Day 4:
Day 5:
Something I wore
Day 6:
Something that makes me smile
Day 7:
Day 8:
Your sky

Saturday, January 7, 2012

A year in review?

I've been trying to come up with a "year in review" blog, but the problem is there are some months where I just can't remember what was blog worthy!  Here's a little mini year in review, just the highlights!

January, February, March:

This was a pretty rough time of year for me, to be honest.  I was pretty miserable and depressed.  Thank God for Christie, Mike and Aaron, though.  They were just my co-workers at first, but we got to be good friends and they helped me through a lot of shit.  We all went on trips (Vermont, Salem & NYC with Mike, NYC with Christie, where we saw The Addams Family & I saw Bright Eyes, to see Shrek with both Christie and Mike, and we all went bowling as a big group) and they would continuously support me when I randomly burst into tears at work.  They're good people, and I definitely miss working with them.

In March, I also received an acceptance letter from Goddard College.


April was a HUGE turning point in my life.  I began the BFA program at Goddard College halfheartedly, still depressed and unsure what the point of everything was--and in a matter of 14 days my life completely turned around.  I met so many 'kindred spirits' as they say, but the biggest thing was meeting a guy (who, of course turned out to be a scumbag, but what can you do?) who changed my perception of myself.  

I returned back to MY apartment (my ex had moved out while I was at school) with the forward momentum that I needed to begin a new chapter of my life.  And when shit fell apart with said scumbag (it turned out he had a girlfriend) instead of leaving me devastated, it left me knowing what I wanted out of life--and knowing that I was worthy of obtaining it.


Without getting too sappy about it--I met Shaun in May, and it was undeniably the most positive thing to happen to me all year.  Finally, a healthy, mature, adult relationship--but not so adult that we can't take naps and play Operation and eat too much ice cream and watch Jersey Shore.  Pretty nice.


My best friend Katie was in town for my birthday this year!  This hardly ever happens.  We had a nice but low-key celebration at a hibachi grill, followed by karaoke at my old stomping ground: me and Shaun, Katie and Bill, and Mary.  I brought my camera but the ONLY photo I took that night was of the onion volcano at the hibachi grill!


In July I finally got my wisdom teeth out.  I was years overdue!  That's me with the wrap-around ice pack they give you.  I had dreaded this experience for years, but the pain wasn't bad at all.  I also switched jobs and attended multiple 4th of July fireworks events, including one where I karaoked Eminem like a boss and got called Joan Jett, which is probably the most awesome nickname I've ever received. 

Shaun & I also went to The Decemberists concert at the end of the month, and it was so nice...mellow, lawn seats...but we could still wander to the front of we wanted.  I had a great time, and I really hope the Decemberists come back again this year!

I also was chosen by my writing group facilitator to take over the group while she was out of town.  It was a big honor that she'd trust me with such a responsibility, and it was a great step considering I want to be a creative writing teacher one day.

August, September, October:

I'm not sure if I did anything at all in August!  But in September I introduced Shaun to the Big E, and hit up the  Town-wide Tag Sale with Mary.  (It's kind of become our yearly tradition, which I love.)  And in October I went back to Goddard where I got an amazing new advisor, gathered the courage to read my work outloud, and bonded with my awesome soulmate-roomie.

November, December:

I think November was the month that I learned I'm being published in Big Pulp, which is of course awesome news.  And December meant Christmas, and lots of fun trips with Shaun, like to Northampton and The Nutcracker and Bright Nights.  And we rang in the new year with some of his friends...which I'd post a photo of, but they haven't posted their photos yet.  Boo!  There's nothing I hate more than waiting for photos.  (Except maybe waiting for photos only to find out that I blinked or have a double chin in them! Ugh!)

Well, that's my tiny year review. Hope you enjoyed it :)  All in all it was a very good year except for a bumpy beginning!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and New Year.

I rang in the New Year with Shaun and some of his friends, drinking some champagne that I swear tasted like roses.

Due to the mild winter, this year would have been perfect to brave the streets of New York City for NYE--but I simply didn't plan in advance (not to mention, my job had us open at 6 AM on 1/1--mandatory!) so it didn't come to fruition.  I swear one day I'll get there!

I sat down with a piece of paper to try to draft a New Years Resolution.  I take resolutions very seriously and tend to make them year-round, things like cutting meat, soda, high fructose corn syrup and genetically modified foods from my diet...quitting smoking, stopping the use of a microwave...once I make a resolution, it tends to stick, as well.  I have pretty good willpower.

This year, I came up with a list of around 20 things I wanted to work on.  Here they are:

1. Stop picking my lips.  This is a terrible nervous habit I've developed over the years.  I tend to do it when I'm stressed, but applying lots of lip balm/gloss makes me less likely to do it.
2. Stop spending money. I go all year wanting things, but being able to resist them for the most part.  And then Christmastime rolls around and I cave to temptation.  I'm battling the hell out of this demon right now and drooling over wish lists on Amazon, Etsy & eBay.
3. Exercise.  My mom just gave me Jillian Michael's Power Yoga DVD.  I guess owning the DVD is one step in the right direction...
4.  Get a new job.  This goes without saying.
5. Put most of my tax return towards credit card debt.  I used some credit cards to finance the holiday, but I'm hoping my tax return can clear at least three of my four balances.
6. Be productive every day.  I have a real problem with coming home, sitting down, and then never doing anything constructive.  I've been having energy issues lately (not getting enough protein) but I'm working to solve them, and I need to work on my productivity and motivation, too.
7. Eat less ice cream.  Okay.  So I love ice cream. Sue me.  Maybe I'll switch to frozen yogurt...
8. Write every day.  In the same vein of being productive every day, I want to be able to set a timer and write, uninterrupted, for at least an hour each day.  I don't care if what I write is crap or quality, I just want to write.
9. Take sewing classes.  I actually am halfway there--I have my machine and I signed up for some great discounted classes for beginners!  I think I'll wait until winter is over to use them, though, just so I don't have to worry about snow days.
10. Read more.  I say this every year!
11.  Work on public speaking.  I'm required to address a medium to large group of people weekly at work, so this is definitely helping me find my voice.  I'm also hosting our monthly writing group meeting tomorrow.  So, it's a start!
12.  Submit more work to magazines.  2011 saw a poem of mine get accepted in Big Pulp magazine, which is of course an exciting accomplishment--but I feel like I should have "feelers" out at all times.
13.  Drink more water.  I'm getting there.
14. Keep the apartment clean(er).  The apartment looks pretty good most of the time, but I'm just now taking steps to make it feel like my own--hanging photos, getting a coat rack, moving furniture around, downsizing.
15.  Cook more.  This way I can be certain my food is free of allergens and high fructose corn syrup, etc.
16. Buy more natural foods/products.  It's hard to find really good natural soaps, shampoos, etc.  For now, I've moved on to organic and vegan Lush products, but they still have Sodium Lauryl Sulfate in them, which is not ideal.
17. Do laundry weekly.  Now that I've massively downsized my wardrobe, it's much more important to get in the habit of having a weekly cleaning day.  We'll see how that goes!  Forming new habits can be hard for me.

That's pretty much all I have by way of resolutions!  (Although I'm sure to tack on more as I go--I always do!)