Friday, October 28, 2005

And so it goes...



I am unemployed again. Thankfully. Without regret. And more focused on the future than ever. God, I love New York.

Artwork courtesy of my very favorite comic "Mutts"

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Choca-holic


I almost died today from too much chocolate. OK, not really, but I wanted to get your attention and death by chocolate is nothing if not attention-grabbing. I was in my stone-cold office today and my boss asked me to go pick up some coffee for us at a cafe/bakery around the corner. This is in lieu of having any heat in the building since the super has decided we are not ready for heat yet. My boss handed me a $5 bill and told me to get whatever I wanted. Bonus! Being a huge coffee drinker, I was delighted to make the trek and proceeded to descend 8 floors to 5th Avenue, walk the 1/2 block to 18th Street and 1/2 block over to the cafe called City Bakery. When I walked in, there were two lines of about 10 people each gathered around the center coffee station. "Wow," I thought, "this place is popular." The lines were long but I was getting paid to stand there so I didn't worry. I got into the back of the line and took a look around. The bakery had two floors, and the decor was conservative but modern. There were many people sitting & chatting, waiting for table service both on the main floor and the 2nd floor loft. I was waiting in the western-most line, which moved swiftly, so I needed to make my decision quickly. There was no menu posted, so I looked around to try to find what they were serving.

"Let's see, " I thought, "They have 10 different kinds of homemade cookies and at least 7 containers of coffee, as well as breads and sandwiches..." Then something caught my attention out of the corner of my eye- a sign pointing toward the "Chocolate Room." Warning bells should have gone off, but instead I got inspired, and decided I would order a hot chocolate.

"Would you like a homemade marshmellow with that?" the perky barista asked. I stared at her blankly as the words washed over me, and then I realized that she wasn't kidding. "Would I?!? Yes, please!" I exclaimed. I watched as she dished my cocoa out of a soup basin with a ladel, added a gigantic white cube to the cup, then sprinkled chocolate fairy dust on top and topped it with a lid. I walked to the cashier, and proceeded to be charged $1.75 for the coffee and $5.50 for the marshmellow laden hot chocolate. I was stunned- the audacity of charging so much for cocoa- isn't there an amendment prohibiting this? I was lucky that I brought more money with me to cover the cost of the choco-mortgage. I smiled forcefully and paid, and carried my treasure back to the office.

When I got there I told Gail (my boss) the cost of the cocoa and she, being a true Jewish matriarch, proceeded to gasp in a distinctly Yiddish fashion and clutch her chest. We both agreed that this hot chocolate had better be pretty damned good for $5.50. I opened up the cup to view the homemade marshmellow goodness, and stirred the cocoa with my spoon to find that the cocoa was the consistency of thick chowder. Think: a Godiva chocolate bar that has melted into a cup.I paused, not knowing what to do, because I was pretty sure that if I consumed this decadent sludge I would go into cardiac arrest. I showed it to Gail, and she said, "Well, looks like you got your $5.50 worth. Drink up."

It has been an hour since I returned for the Choco-Cafe, and after consuming 1/3 of this concoction I think I have added 5-6 cavities to my ever growing list of bodily concerns. My stomach is rumbling a bit, and I am a little jittery. The lesson I have learned from this is that when ordering cocoa, one should be prepared to ask, "Will I go into a sugar coma from drinking this?"

Or, maybe I should just stick to coffee...

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Morning Song

"Let the phone ring, let's go back to sleep
Let the world spin outside our door- you're the only one that I wanna see
Tell your boss you're sick, hurry, get back in I'm getting cold
Get over here and warm my hands up, boy, it's you they love to hold
Stop thinking about what your sister said
And stop worrying about it, yes the cat's already been fed
Come on darlin', let's go back to bed

Put the phone machine on hold
Leave the dishes in the sink
Do not answer the door
It's you that I adore -
I'm gonna give you some more

We'll sit on the front porch, the sun can warm my feet
You can drink your coffee with sugar and cream
I'll drink my decaf herbal tea
Pretend we're perfect strangers and that we've never met
My, you remind me of a man I used to sleep with
That's a face I'd never forget
You can be Henry Miller and I'll be Anais Nin
Except this time it'll be even better,
We'll stay together in the end
Come on darlin', let's go back to bed

Put the phone machine on hold
Leave the dishes in the sink
Do not answer the door
It's you that I adore -
I'm gonna give you some more

Let the phone ring, let's go back to sleep."

-- from "Pieces of You" by Jewel

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

There's a first time for everything


Prior to moving to New York City this summer, I have lived in southern California since 1984. The weather in CA is famed the world over- warm, but not too warm, breezy but not too breezy. The weather never gets extreme, and just about every day is a good day to be outside.

Fast forward to New York. I moved here August 5, which was listed as one of the top ten hottest days in NYC in the last 10 years. It was sticky and miserable. Right now, it is below 55 degrees and rainy. And I don’t even want to think about what it is going to be like in December. But there is one thing that New York has over San Diego with regard to weather...

Consistency.

In southern CA, it is perfectly normal for it to be 80 degrees one day and 60 degrees the next, or even both temperatures the same day. You always have to carry a jacket and layer 2 times over, regardless if it is summer or winter. There is still a good chance you will be unprepared and it will be too hot or too cold, considering the fact that no one knows how to properly operate the thermostats in California establishments. But in New York, you can count on the weather to be what it always is that time of year. Summer: Hot. Winter: Cold. Spring & Fall: Perfect. Indoors: The opposite of outdoors. Which means that now that it is fall, I don’t have to worry about it being freakishly hot and needing skimpy clothing (except for going to clubs...) I was cleaning my room today and I looked at my pairs of shorts and miniskirts and realized that I will not be needing them again until, oh, let’s see, April. And I don’t have a huge amount of closet space, so today, for the first time in my life, I created a pile of summer clothes to pack away until the spring. I have never had to do this before and it was almost a religious experience- paying homage to days past, putting the precious vestments to rest, and looking forward to that blessed day when I will be able to unearth the garments and allow them to adorn my body again. I am sure the novelty of this ritual will wear off but until then, I am looking forward to learning more about how to survive in more extreme (but more consistent) weather.

Speaking of clothes, another “first” for the Theatrdiva is dropping my laundry off to be washed, dried and folded by someone else. YES! You’ve heard me correctly- I was able to drop off my laundry at the laundromat and for a nominal fee have them fluff and fold to their little heart’s content. Those who have lived with me know how much I despise doing laundry, so the thought of paying a few bucks for people to do it for me seems positively decadent. The most beneficial result? Since I didn’t spend all of my energy washing the clothes, I had enough energy to put them away- thus avoiding the “clothing on the bed in the morning, moved to the floor when I go to bed, to be moved back to the bed during the day, saying ‘I swear I’ll put it away today’ to just be put back on the floor at night.” I have been known to leave clean clothes in the corner until they have been there so long that they are no longer clean and have to be washed again. Bad monkey!

So, here’s to consistently bad weather for the next 6 months, and to the brilliant entrepreneur who thought up the fluff and fold laundry service- this bottle of wine is toasted to you!

Wednesday, October 5, 2005

A disturbing paradox

I have something I want to get off my chest. It’s something I have pondered for a few days now, and I finally want to say something about it.

As I was getting ready for bed a few weeks ago, I got on the floor to do my nightly sit-ups. As I started to do the crunches, I was very aware of the way my stomach bulged up every time I did the crunch, then flattened out as I relaxed. I thought to myself, “Don’t worry about that roll of fat you’re seeing- it will go away once you do enough sit ups.” Mind you, that “roll of fat” is in no way visible when I am standing, sitting, or doing anything but sit-ups, but the idea that I looked this way right now upset me to the point that I had to make an immediate mental plan for getting rid of it. I felt horrible, unattractive, and depressed.

A few days ago I was putting lotion on after a shower and noticed that if I put a certain type of pressure on the back of my upper thighs, a slight cellulite affect appeared. I was absolutely horrified, and I was so upset my eyes actually started to tear up. My physical self image, which at that point was pretty good, immediately fell through the floor. A few days before, I had rejoiced with the fact that the weather was warm enough to wear shorts and cute mini-skirts. Now, every time I see those shorts I want to cry. I walk by a mirror and see a girl with fat thighs and a bulbous stomach and it seems insurmountable.

After these two incidents, I have become increasingly aware of how my body feels inside my clothing- constantly wondering if my clothes are too tight for me. I am aware of every bite of food I take, concerned that maybe moving to New York has made me gain too much weight and I will never be able to lose it. I went out to buy skin firming cream, and have cut meat out of my diet again. I felt sexy and desirable a few weeks ago and now I feel fat and unattractive. I have become obsessed with making sure I am exercising every day, and if I don’t, or if I eat something decadent, I can’t fully enjoy it. I am concerned about everything I am doing wrong.

And I am a size 4.

Here’s my beef:

Why is it that we are so able and willing to accept our emotional idiosyncrasies but are utterly incapable of accepting our physical idiosyncrasies?

Over the years and through many long term relationships, I have come to know my emotional idiosyncrasies very well. I know that when I get mad, I just need 3 minutes of not having to explain myself and after that 3 minutes, I will become my usual, easy-going self again. I know that I have a tendency to get scared when I become vulnerable, but that this vulnerability can be one of the more endearing qualities about me. I know that I don’t like human chewing sounds, any type of condiment besides ketchup and tabasco, and I love to eat candy slowly, letting the treat melt in my mouth which can take anywhere from 2-10 minutes to finish. These are all things I don’t try to fix or apologize for. These are things that make me... well, Me.

So, why can’t we feel this way about our physical idiosyncrasies? Why can’t we just chuckle at ourselves and say, “Well, that’s the way I am, and I am comfortable with myself. I am healthy, I am dating a great guy who finds me attractive, and I am capable of doing anything I want without physical limitation.” Why can’t I see myself for the wonderful physical attributes I do have instead of lambasting myself for what I am lacking (or have too much of?) The thoughts are driving me insane, and I just marvel at the vast difference between our physical and emotional self-images. Does society do this to us? Do we do it to ourselves? Wouldn’t we cut someone out of our lives if they were as critical of us as we are of ourselves? Why do we poison ourselves?

I don’t really have any answers. I think some of what I am feeling is because of my move to New York, my lack of routine and the enormous amount of time on my hands. But I just started a new job and will have less time to think about how my body looks in a mirror. But more importantly, I am slowly becoming aware that my physical attributes are what make me Me. And being Me can be a very cool thing.

Sunday, October 2, 2005

Peanuts... Cracker Jacks, Here!


One of the things that I have noticed about New York which is very different than Southern California is the number of people legally and illegally soliciting on the streets. Now, I don’t mean like homeless people who are asking for change, though there is a lot of that too. I am talking about people who set up tables and actively sell brand name knock offs or pirated DVDs & CDs. Not only is that amazing to me, but the age range of the folks is what really surprises me. I mean, people who are in their 60s and 70s, who should be basking the in the joy of retired life, are out on street corners peddling knock off purses, sunglasses and keychains. Or, they are going into restaurants, cafes, or subway cars trying to get you to buy what they are selling. Even further, almost every street corner will have someone standing with a stack of flyers, trying to get you to patronize their establishment. They stand at the entrance to the subway stairwell to catch commuters when they are traveling. And these people are all well into their middle age, if not older (it's hard to tell, and I try not to stare).

This morning while at a Greek diner, a woman in her 50s came in with a yellow plastic bag, and went to the table next to us and pulled out a stack of DVDs which were in plastics sleeves. I could see that they are copies of movies that are currently in the theatres, so they could not possibly be out on DVD yet. The person behind the counter thought that this person wanted a table, so when the DVD lady was approached by the employee, she acted very nervous, immediately putting the DVDs back into her back and fleeing the restaurant. I sat fascinated by this transaction. This type of soliciting is similar to what I have seen in downtown San Diego, except in San Diego, it is someone with a bucket of flowers, and they approach couples and try to force the man to buy a flower for the lady. Many a man has gotten in trouble with his woman when he has said no...

Another thing that fascinates me is the varied ethnicity of the people doing these tasks. This is where you may think I have gone too far in my musings, but I am merely expressing observations and am certainly not casting any type of judgement. Southern CA is fairly homogenized, but it seems that there is a class system with regard to this type of work. The homeless people you see are caucasian or African American. The people selling flowers are Mexican. And the people who are on street corners handing out flyers or spinning advertisement signs are skinny, 16 year old caucasian boys who are impervious to sunburns. That’s it, end of story. But in New York, anything goes! The lady who came into our restaurant today was Asian, and there was a Native American man well into his 70s on the street corner handing out coupons for a fitness club that had just opened up down the road.

I gotta say, I am fascinated.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It's Off To Work I Go

In response to being seduced by the need to buy winter clothes and expensive wine, I have been claimed by the gods of slavery and extortion. I have been... hired.

It’s really not as bad as it sounds. In fact, it’s pretty good. I am working as an office/technical manager at a two person company (me and the owner). It is a event marketing company that hires out musicians/groups to local real estate corporations and businesses who want live music on their property or at their events. My boss needed to hire someone who could help organize her office and computerize some of the paperwork- lots of data entry and importing music into the computer and then outputting it onto demo CDs. I will also be taking over the maintenance of their website to help streamline a lot of their marketing efforts. It is part time, flexible, and my boss is really, really cool. My first day at work was Friday and so far, so good!

Now I just have to learn how to wean myself off of “The West Wing“ weekdays at noon and staying up until 4am.

Let’s say it together: ”Theatrdiva, you are not on San Diego time“ ...


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