Sunday, December 26, 2010

Apartment Ideas

In my anticipation of a new living space, I have been a pretty close reader of Apartment Thearapy, Design Vagabond, & Begin Being. I realize that I won't be able to afford hundred-dollar lamps, or have the knowledge to build my own desk (unless I can hand-sew it together!), but there are a few common themes between the spaces I like: they have high ceilings, they are stark, & they are clean. The bright white floors & shelves full of neat little doodads? Probably obsessively mopped & dusted. Am I ready for that kind of challenge? Well, on less than 2K/month, I'm going to have to be.

That being said, it hasn't stopped me from imagining my dream apartment (very different from my dream house, you see). Let's start in the living room, shall we?

Full of bright windows and succulent plants, what it lacks in width it makes up for in length. A few fainting couches are illuminated by a groovy chandelier which gives plentiful light to read by. Schmemma & I cram our bookcases in cheek by jowl, both to save space in our bedrooms & to make the sharing of reading materials easier. Some groovy art on the walls offsets the impromptu drawing salons, semi-staged readings, & Banjo concerts we hold on drunken weekends. The dog loves everybody, especially the neighbors.

The bathroom is another narrow space. Capitalizing on the black & white tile we have inherited from the previous owner we try to keep the accents to a solitary color scheme, down to the soap. I utilize the Urban Outfitters gift card my Aunt gave me to make the dark space seem less like a funny farm washroom.

Putting my desk in the closet helps create the illusion of open space in my bedroom, where a warm color scheme on the bed and a few snuggly stuffed animals contrast the blue walls. The collection of cacti spilling over from the living room allows me to imagine my air is cleaner. I use my dress form to prepare outfits for the next day, & my hats and scarves are prominently displayed so I do not forget to wear them. Lots of floor space helps me keep this a bedroom, & stops it from being the general flop room it was in college.


Though my real spaces will probably be much more cluttered looking, I'm hoping the process of moving will force me to weed out all of the things I don't really need.

I know it has been sparse around here lately, but I'm sorry to say that you probably won't be hearing too much from me until I am moved in to wherever it is I'm going. I have a few posts queued up, but don't raise your expectations too high. I hope you all had a pleasant holiday, & that the New Year finds you somewhere you want to be, full of inspiring dreams.

Hérouard - LVP cover - 1922 - La Cle Des Champs - key of field

Friday, December 17, 2010

What has the Recession Done to You?

the kraken wakes

Admittedly, I watched most of the recession from behind the safety of my computer screen: I was a sophomore at BU, & it provided some entertainment to me to watch the Management students walk around, stupefied, realizing that they weren't guaranteed jobs either.

However, now I'm out of school & feeling the effects, & while they aren't huge, they certainly exist.

Health Insurance: Since the healthcare system is being restructured, my parent's plan has dumped me & I won't be able to rejoin until next year. In the interim, my parents have guilted me into buying insurance of my own, from New York Cares, which gets rid of $207/month out of my already pathetic bank account. And don't even get me started on that guy who wants to take away funding for any plan that provides support for abortions (if I accidentally have a baby, will he adopt it? Nope. He'll probably get mad at it for being a welfare burden).

Credit: Oh credit cards. I have resisted acquiring one of you, because you are mystical and scary. You seemed to get a lot of people in trouble, but now I'm being told I need you.

Earlier this year, when I tried to switch service providers from Verizon to AT&T (hello iPhone!), AT&T told me I needed to pay them a $500 deposit because I am a credit risk. Thus began my quest to acquire a credit card, & after 5 months & a dozen rejections, I finally have one: Wal-Mart are so far the only people who will approve me. Is there a WallE-World near me? Do I approve of their business practices? Was their fruit harvested within the last year? None of that is allowed to matter now in the name of Good Credit. In case I ever want to, you know, buy a house.

Jobs: Oh jobs. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs, where are you? All of my friends are looking for you. You are a very popular character. Restaurants will always need servers, but the customers won't always tip well.


Anybody else care to weigh in on the economic crapper recent graduates have been put in?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Things I Love Thursday: 2010.12.16

Hérouard - LVP cover - 1922 - La Cle Des Champs - key of field

Caramel Popcorn: We had some of this at work for the little kids at the holiday party to decorate their gingerbread houses with, & I wound up buying a container of it for myself. It's really tasty, & very cheap! If only it weren't so bad for my teeth.

Mail: I made some shoes for my friend Holly's new baby (!!!!), & sent out an amusing Christmas card to some of my friends from London. I also sent a letter to one of my favorite bloggers, thanking her for being such a positive influence on me. People like to get things in the mail, I think.

Christmas Anticipation: I have once again bought the perfect present for everybody on my list, with little or no assistance. I LOVE giving presents: I love thinking about what to get/make, how to wrap them, & when to give them. It's also the time of year when I don't let myself buy anything, in case somebody is going to give me what I was hoping for!

My Sister: Tori comes home today! My parents are in Oswego, picking her up. She'll be amusing to have around, & I'm looking forward to helping her get organized for next semester.

Honorable Mentions: ♥ Fake Plants (they don't die!) ♥ Helpful Customer Support ♥ Knitting patterns from the mathematically inclined ♥ Mad Men DVDs ♥ Discovery Channel's Planet Earth ♥ Checking out new Apartments in the city! Yes I am a bit of a busybody! ♥

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What is my dream?

When I was in second grade, I was in a play written by my teacher Mr.Crasson. It was about Dinosaurs: there was a Paleontologist from each era who would put a dinosaur bone into a magical box, & out would pop that dinosaur to tell us a little about themselves. I was the Cretaceous Paleontologist, & Matt Stein was the T. Rex.

This, for a while, had me convinced that I wanted to be a Paleontologist. I memorized the complicated names, I got small Fossils as gifts for Christmas, I watched the Land Before Time over & over.

In 6th grade, a trip to Los Angeles was planned to visit my cousins & see Disneyland, & I of course demanded that we take a day to see the La Brea tar pits. I had visions of bubbling tar & dinosaur fossils laying about, waiting to be inspected & classified. You know what I got instead? A bunch of cement holes in the ground.

La Brea tar pits mammoths

It was, far & away, the most disappointing experience of my entire life up to that point. Though they had a great museum on the site, I learned from looking through the windows of the lab that Paleontology was dull & tedious: the scientists were using toothbrushes to clean off what looked like mouse femurs. To my 6th grade mind, it was like going to school to learn how to clean your room, & prehistory got written off my list.

Later on in 6th grade, I was Mrs. Hannigan in Annie at the Westchester Arts Center (a place that is now sadly gone & is sincerely missed), and I perked up again. THIS was what I was meant to do. It was fun, it was easy, people thought I was good at it.

So on I went, through High School Drama & into a BA program at SUNY Binghamton, where I re-learned how to breathe & how to tear apart text. I learned how to get along with people & how to run a dressing room. I even pretended to learn how to design costumes when they ran out of people who knew how to drive a sewing machine.

Which brings me to where I am today: entirely uncertain as to whether this is actually what I want. The audition process over the summer was grueling & discouraging. I'm sure that has relatively little to do with the economy: I know that it's always been tough to get a job in acting, that I have tons of competition, & that networking is key. But I am beginning to resent that my getting paid is an ethical decision for myself, not my employers.

There are other things I love to do: I love to draw, I love to read, I love to organize things. I think I have about an equal chance of getting paid to do any of those things as I do to act.

Maybe one day when I freak out and give up on my 6th-grade dream &; realize there are already lots of tall blondes who want to be actresses, I can move to the twin cities & take up a common-law marriage with my easel (this is not a slight: I have been dying to visit St.Paul for a long time).

Then I'll cut my hair however I want, get an MA in graphic design or illustration & spend my time bringing the worlds inside my head to the one outside. Or maybe I'll get a degree in library science & spend my time in a gloriously specific section of the Library of Congress, telling Masters Students that if they want a book about such-and-such, perhaps they ought to write it themselves.

But for now, I think I have to focus on having one dream at a time. I think I do want to be an actor, & being in the thick of things will help me sort out whether I am willing to put up with constant rejection for the little moments of dizzying exultation & glory.  I'll move to the big-and-bad, & I'll let my life guide me to where I belong next. I can wait tables pretty well, & that will be enough to support me as I figure it out.

2010-10-14--Claire Leia (2)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Video Dump

I'm just getting back into the swing of writing things, so here are a few videos to entertain you while you avoid doing whatever it is you're supposed to be doing.

The theme of this week? Dancing.

To start us off, some Russians who are way more entertaining than the original video for this song:

Next, what is a dance list without a little bit of Fosse?

A ballet of Romeo & Juliet, set to Radiohead (by the way, I would kick a puppy for tickets to this):

These cats totally kill it with style:

And finally, in honor of the season, the Rockettes, who always somehow manage to reduce me to tears:

Monday, December 13, 2010

And now for a whiny little bitch moment:

Nobody told me that his was going to be the hard part.

It was all hope & expectation, it was all get an education to equip you for the real world.

It wasn't how to write a resume, or keep your cool, or which areas of New York you can walk home through at night without getting mugged.

Some of it was how to keep a budget, a little bit of it was how not to get pregnant & why drugs aren't the best idea. None of that was taught to me by my esteemed institute of higher learning: I saw all of that in my fellow students.

None of it was marketing your knowledge to people who want it. None of it was dealing with the crushing, pants-wetting terror which comes over you in the middle of the night when you can't sleep and you are starting to realize you can't afford to live the life you were promised.

None of it was deciphering what the hell the Democrats are so pissy about, or why the Republicans don't want me to have health insurance.

The best lessons were free. The best lessons were perseverance, were the real value of friends, were finishing projects early. Maybe they all weren't free, but they didn't cost me any money.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Year, New Mantra- old things.

"Let's spend Christmas and New Year's this way! And not in a hospital!", 1941 - 1945

I'm one of those people. You know, one of the ones who makes resolutions & actually tries to stick with them. Who will remind people in June of what they said they were going to do in January.


Last year, I resolved to spend less money & to have moved out of my parents' house by the end of August. The first one was far too vague to actually stick to, & I'm still working on the second one (as some of you know).

This year is going to be a wild one for me- I'm going to move to the city, get at least one job, try to actually support myself for the first time ever while also being a functional adult & maybe even having some fun once in a while; so I'm thinking it will be better for me to set a new mantra rather than "goals."
I think I'll have enough on my plate without also deciding to read 30 books or make sure I learn a new monologue every month.

My mantra, as previously mentioned, is "I can do it with what I already have."

How many times have I looked in my closet, & thought "oh, I could make the perfect outfit if I only had x."
Or cast about for a new knitting project to involve myself in & said "Well, this would be a great time to buy that silk blend I really wanted."
Or even just gotten bored with what I was reading & thought "If I go to the libraray, I can find lots of fun things I will want to read!", checked out 20 new books, & let them languish on the shelf.

Enough is enough. Or, as my clown teacher would say, "I am enough."

In 2011, I will gently remind myself that I already have the talents I need to begin to live my life. I am only doing a disservice to my creativity if I feel the need to fill an outfit with things I don't have. Instead of this pizza shop right here, I have many fresh vegetables in my house to fill my belly with.

Are you the kind of person that sets goals & resolutions for a New Year (calendar or religious)? Or do you set new goals on your birthday, perhaps? Or do you think goals are for big fattie stupids?

day 42 bonus - baby possum again

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Manual Labor

2.1.09- Chinese New Year

It's that time of year again: the time to sit back, page through my planner from last year & decide if I want the same sort again for next year.

in 2010, I used an at-a-glance my father gave me for Christmas. The size of a beach novel, it had the date at the top of the page with lots of lines underneath for writing whatever I wanted. I liked it because it wasn't trying to control what I was doing with the space: I was free to write the details of assignments, to-do lists, & my schedule for the day in whatever order I pleased.

At A Glance

However, I stopped using it soon after graduation. Since I no longer carried my backpack, I didn't have the space in my purse to devote to a glorified list-keeper, & it became an item I would use to plan out my day when I wouldn't be leaving the house.

Which makes me wonder if I have a planner problem, or a purse problem. At any given moment, I am trying to carry my
-NYC Moleskine
-Novel to read addition to my wallet/phone/headshots/detritus that I "need" to live my city-centric life.

I have been considering converting to a filofax, since it's essentially a glorified binder. I can keep my lists, some drawing paper, & my pages of addresses/things to visit all in one place if I just buy the hole punch.

The problem I see with the Filofax is... that it's a glorified binder. Why should I pay $55 for some cardboard wrapped in fake leather when I'm not going to use ANY of the papers they provide?

Which leaves me with the new mantra I've decided to live by in the coming year: "I can do it with what I already have." I can organize myself, I can put together an outfit, I can make somebody a card with all of the crap I have already accumulated.