Mud-Luscious and Puddle-Wonderful

I think you really realize you’re a grown up when you wake up on your 23rd birthday hungover from brunch the day before.

So. That happened.

Yesterday, a group of my friends reserved a brunch table at a place in midtown with a $20 all you can drink cocktail brunch. Needless to say, we got our money’s worth. The drinks were fabulous. Afterwards (like 4 hours later), we went around the corner to my friend’s new place in Hell’s Kitchen and took his pup up to the roof for some fresh air.

From there, we headed downtown to other friends’ place, where we ordered pizza and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall. And then I made out and did just about everything except have condom-requiring sex with my ex-boyfriend/close friend. For the love. The good news is that I know both of us had a good time and neither of us really give a fuck. No regrets. Happy birthday to me. And as usual with drunken sexy shenanigans (although it’s been a while), I felt really sexy. I was really sexy. Happy birthday to me.

To be honest, I wasn’t terribly hungover this morning, and actually felt just fine. But it’s my birthday, so I wanted to figure out something to do. I spent a couple of hours lounging in bed with Franny, watching movies and trying to come up with a plan. I had a couple of ideas.

One, I could make an amazingly huge delicious meal and dessert and maybe invite L over and just enjoy the process of cooking.

Two, I could stick to my original plan, even though no one could come with me, and get on MetroNorth up to Cold Spring, on the Hudson River, for a day trip.

I brushed my hair, threw on sneakers, filled a water bottle, and Number Two it was.

I got to Cold Spring around 2pm. It was a gorgeous day—just enough of a chilly breeze to keep a light coat on, but bright sun and fresh, clean, warm spring air. I was a bit out of my league, alone in a small town I’d never been to with no real plan… but I saw on my iPhone that there was a local cemetery, about half a mile up Bank Rd. and I knew that was where to begin.

I love cemeteries because I love history, and because I love to imagine people’s stories. I can spend hours in a historic cemetery, gazing at gravestones, finding the oldest stones, the youngest deaths, the largest families. I like to trace the carvings with my fingers, clearing away dust and leaves to read the names, the ages, the dates. I say the names under my breath as I pass them, and in my mind I invent lives and stories to fill the gaps. There’s something, too, so calming and serene about a stroll through a cemetery on a lovely, sunny day. I feel quiet inside, still, respectful, and honored.

After spending some time there, I decided to head back towards town, finding myself back on Main St. after a scenic detour through a lovely residential area. I’ve never spent any time in the Hudson Valley, really. I am pretty familiar with Connecticut, and I’ve been to White Plains and other Westchester spots infrequently, and I did spend an entire summer in the Berkshires. But there was something particular about Cold Spring and the Hudson Valley landscape. The homes were sweet and simple, often a bit overgrown and lived in. And surrounding this sweet cluster of homes, gardens, trees, and buildings, were lush round hills, covered in bright green foliage. It was like Berkshires-lite, and brighter than those hills. Just gorgeous.

Main St. was clogged with antique stores, which don’t particularly call my name, but I ambled slowly enough to glance into each as I passed it. Also frequent were ice cream and coffee shops, and sweetly sunglass-ed visitors, hand in hand or pushing strollers. I felt, behind my birthday sunglasses (thanks Mom!), almost invisible among them, and it was lovely.

It was around 3:45pm, and I decided that I might as well get a bite to eat, even though it wasn’t “dinner time.” Hey, it’s my birthday, I can eat if I want to. There were a number of places to choose from, but finally I decided to not obsess over it and just go into the first place with outdoor seating that perked my attention—a place called the Cold Spring Depot. I saw they had veggie burgers, and I knew I wanted that.

I was seated in the back of the large outdoor area, a fence and a thin strip of green space separating me from the Metro North tracks I’d come up on. My waitress, an elderly woman who seemed confused by my solitariness and sweetness, was incredibly apologetic when I ordered my burger—they were out. She asked if I was a vegetarian, and I said yes, to which she responded that really, my only choice was the Portobello sandwich. “That’s fine,” I assured her, “that should be just fine.” I sipped on my Diet Coke and checked my phone for the first time in hours. I always forget, until my birthday, how good it feels to get all those random Facebook “happy birthdays” from people I literally haven’t heard from in years. There’s something really cathartic about that overflow of thought and two-second effort from people from all over my life.

I finished up and paid, and then walked next door for an ice cream cone– regular one-scoop of cookies ‘n’ cream in a cone– and then took the underpass to the river. The houses got larger and nicer as I moved towards the Hudson, fancy bed-and-breakfasts and larger streets, cars parked on the sides. Along the river, straight in front of me, jutted a large plaza with benches and an antique cannon at its center. Once I stepped onto the cobblestones, the wind knocked the lapel of my coat up into my face. I gazed around, towards where I knew West Point was, up towards Breakneck Ridge, which I still plan to hike, and across into the peaked, white waves of that Old Man Hudson River. I could barely take photos with my phone, because the wind was so brisk, and finally, decided to just head back and hop the Metro North home.

Come on. This is HILARIOUS.
Thank you, Cold Spring.

I nearly fell asleep between Croton-on-Harmon and Yankee Stadium, drifting off to a FilmSpotting podcast and the familiar rumble of the train, but managed to rouse myself to exit at Harlem-125. I hopped on the M100 bus, which let me off on Frederick Douglass. I stopped briefly off at Best Yet to grab some ingredients for the week’s lunches/dinners, and then happily drifted back into my sweet little haven.

I made a delicious Basil-Broccoli Mac-and-Cheese (thanks http://www.101cookbooks.com), vacuumed some of the cardboard residue Franny has been enjoying shredding in her spare time, washed lots of dishes (and broke a plate), and snuggled up with my sweet dear puss and a glass of water. I am beyond sleepy and ready to curl up with Fran, who is dreaming on my left arm right now.

It’s been 23 years since I was born, and some things have changed, but not much.

Love,
B.

“With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.”
William Shakespeare

“The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.”
E.E. Cummings

“I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.”
E.E. Cummings

“So what if nobody came?
I’ll have all the ice cream and tea,
And I’ll laugh with myself,
And I’ll dance with myself,
And I’ll sing, “Happy Birthday to me!”
Shel Silverstein

A Few Unpopular Things

It’s been a while since I’ve updated. Sorry all! I accidentally overbooked myself this last week, and I’m exhausted.
I have a feeling that a few of these bullet-points are going to be a little… shall we say… unpleasant. It hasn’t been a bad week, I swear!

— I’ve been feeling a little bipolar lately. You can see the happiness in my last post, about Leap of Faith. I was flying. Then Thursday night, after a busy morning of talking to the director of my summer show (ergo freaking out about how hard this is going to be), being late for my therapist, shooting a short film, and then had planned to attend a friend’s production of Midsummer at his school. I texted my friend R, asking what her plan was, since I was in Union Square by her place, perhaps we could all go up together? She said she didn’t know the plan, but I should make sure I had a ticket since the show was sold out. I called my friend C, who said he thought I was on R’s reservation for 4– which I was not. I instantly felt abandoned by not even being asked if I wanted to go before the reservation was made (emotional crash). C told me about getting on the waitlist, and so I went 2 hrs early to get on the list. C hadn’t told R et. al. that the tickets were given out at 7:30, so I did get a nice burst of schaudenfreude when the 4 tickets were given away (whoo! happy!) They all showed up, pissy, and I learned they’d all been at happy hour. Why hadn’t been invited? (crash) The show was fine, and I was glad to see my friend C and the other folks I knew in the show. (yay!) However, I was so pooped from my day, I decided I needed to go home and sleep instead of go out for drinks. No one tried to stop me. (cue tears). What the fuck? I was all over the place emotionally– “okay,” but not really. I wished I could explain to them my neuroses about being “excluded,” but I don’t know how to do that.

— TMI ALERT: Ever since the day before I flew back to NYC, I’ve been constipated. I’ve never had this happen before, and my diet didn’t really change. I tried all the OTC drugs, to no avail. Finally Friday, I went and got a colonic.
As someone overly preoccupied with my body (thanks ED!) I’ve seen these touted as weight loss methods and considered trying them for that purpose (sometimes I’m shocked at how a smart person can be so dumb). I went back and forth on it, thinking, “Oh, I shouldn’t, what if I like it because of ED and not because it’s helping with this medical problem,” or “It’s a good step in figuring out what’s wrong!” and finally sucked it up and scheduled it. I told my mom in email, which made me feel better– if I’d kept it a secret, I think it would have felt like ED behavior. The process itself was fine… the woman was very nice, and I do feel some relief. I didn’t lose weight, and I didn’t all of a sudden feel lighter and joyful and flat-tummied. I was glad I did it, and also glad to know it wasn’t a miracle cure for my body.

— I posted on Facebook that I will be playing a 14 year old this summer, and want to spend some time with some girls that age to get a fresh look at that really important time. A girl I went to HS with, but was not friends with and was a year old than me, wrote me and said she babysits/nannies a really great group of 13 yr old boys and girls and I should come hang out with them. I took her up on the offer. I’m hoping to do that this coming week.

— My ex-boyfriend from HS messaged me that he’d be in NYC from May 3-10. He was my first everything, and because we “broke up” when I went to college (though we didn’t really break up, to be honest), the end of our relationship during freshman/sophomore year of college was pretty nasty. He’s been in Scotland studying acting for the last 4 years. I was thrilled he wrote me– usually I’m the worst, writing “hey stranger…” needy messages– but he wanted to get in touch with me… and audition for my company?! Haven’t even processed that yet.

— Happy Earth Day! Here commences the week I like to call “My Birthday Week.” So far… I have no plans, except some sort of surprise from R et al on Saturday… Hoping it involves gin & tonics and Connecticut. I’m hoping to get together with my dear HS friends Z and N on Monday night, and also hopefully J and M for cocktails and their new Hells Kitchen apt. Other than that… this week, I don’t worry about spending too much money. I don’t overbook myself. I do what I want and I use “it’s my birthday” as an excuse for everything.

Happy Birthday to Me.

Merry Little Christmas

I did better today. Not perfect, but better. There were moments of genuine alternative action and self-care. I’m hoping to continue the upward trend.

I did some cooking today. I made cheddar black pepper biscuits for Christmas Eve, as well as some rosemary simple syrup for Rosemary Gin Fizzes (which I want to drink LOTS of), and it actually worked well. I also had a lot of success doing “work” at the dining room table… work like non-profit grant research for my company, doing a little freelancing for my dad’s books, going on Facebook like a champ, etc. There’s something about being at a dining room table that feels normal… not that I had much “normal” in my life, but for some reason, that’s what it feels like.

Tomorrow’s  a big day. My family tradition is LOBSTER. Lots of it. My dad wrote the book about lobster (well, a book) so we’re pretty serious. Plus pasta, salad, my biscuits, a crazy chocolate cake, and if I have anything to do with it, lots of alcohol. Gramalita (my grandmother) comes over at 5pm. She can be tough, but I want to be as gracious as possible. Maybe having my sister there will help. Maybe the drinking will help. Good lord.

I have always loved Christmas, though. Hopefully I’ll find a way into the Christmas spirit tomorrow, to make it fun like it was when I was a kid. That’s the goal. 🙂

P.S. Do any of you watch HOMELAND on Showtime? I binged on it over Thanksgiving break because the friend’s family who I was with had Showtime on demand. It’s so freaking good in every possible way– writing, acting, direction, story… Damian Lewis, y’all. And Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes and MARIN IRELAND (whose career is what I want and whose self is what I aspire to be). Check it.

P.P.S. I hadn’t heard from my friend L (the one with lymphoma) in a couple of days, so I texted her mom. Turns out she’s still in the hospital, def not going home for Christmas. I’m incredibly sad to not be with her, incredibly sad she’s alone, and incredibly sad and scared that she’s reacting so intensely to the chemo. She’s supposedly going to be cured. But I’m so scared for her. And so so so sad. I just want her to be well. 😦

Well, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and all the rest. Hope you may spend some wonderful, warm hours with those you love.

–B.

Hop-Hop-Hoppin’

Happy Easter!

Easter used to be my favorite holiday. My family wasn’t religious (technically I was brought up Unitarian Universalist), but the Easter tradition was a good one, taken from a great old family tradition from my dad’s side. Over the night, the “Easter Bunny” (i.e. my parents) would  lead streamers throughout the house– one color for me, the other for my sister– with little gifts and plastic eggs hidden along the route. It seemed like a safari to me–I was obsessed with Kenya for much of my young life– and it was the best when the streamers went outside, sometimes in the car, once under the porch, around chairs, maybe even up the stairs a little bit. I always stayed a few steps behind my sister, because I ALWAYS save the best for last. I would carefully wrap the streamers I’d passed into my basket, while my sister would rip them from around the chair legs and leave them on the floor or trailing behind her as she scurried towards the next gift. Plus it meant only a  week till my birthday!

This Easter, I didn’t really have plans. This weekend, all I had going on were a couple of rehearsals for showcase, and a little bit of homework. This unstructured time can sometimes be triggering for me, particularly because I’ve had a hard time lately, but I have done GREAT. Thursday I had rehearsal, then went to the gym, then to the grocery store, then hung at home for the rest of the evening. Friday was much the same– gym, rehearsal, worked a little bit on my songs at school, hanging at home. Saturday I slept in LATE, then bought some new running shoes (about time– six years later), went to the gym for a really good workout, then mosey-ed home. Today, EASTER! I wasn’t with my family, and didn’t have any plans at all. I really am a loner, I think. But I couldn’t do nothing– I mean, a holiday’s a holiday– so I called my mom to okay it, and then got an appointment for a facial/massage.

Best idea EVER. It was literally two hours of wonderful self-care. I wish it didn’t cost money, but I called it an early birthday present and didn’t let myself feel guilty. On my way home, I tried to think of other ways to make myself feel special, so I stopped into a wine and spirits store and bought myself a Pinot Grigio. My mother says that drinking alone = alcoholism, but in my opinion, treating myself to a good glass of wine is another kind of self-care. Plus, I rarely do it. It’s not like I drink a bottle of wine a night.

And tonight, I cooked a real meal– a vegan palak tofu. It wasn’t nearly as good (or really anything like) the restaurant kind, but I imagine you can’t get the restaurant kind without cream and ghee. Either way, it tasted delicious.

(the picture at left is literally the story of my life)

Now I’m watching Netflix Instant and sipping on my Pinot. I’ll probably hit the hay early and just relax like I’ve never relaxed before. Better do it while I can, huh?

Happy Easter!!

B

“There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”
— Shel Silverstein

Cosmo Girl

Happy weekend, friends!

Well, I guess it’s not the weekend yet, but I happen to have the day off! I can’t say I’m not THRILLED. Plans for today include:

1. The gym!
2. More envelopes and printed major donor letters to mail
3. Do my reading/essay for my Values class (eew)
4. See my friend in a show Off-Broadway
5. Maybe party with my friends after their show (the final mainstage of my program’s season)
6. Pick up this book at Barnes and Noble:

I’m not generally a book buyer (like I mentioned) because I’m cheap, even though I love actual physical books. But I need this one. It’s the first book about binge eating, which is a major part of my personal EDNOS cocktail. Sunny’s blog was one of the first I found, and I was like, “Oh my god, there’s someone else like me and I can read about it– I don’t have to keep trying to make memoirs about anorexia or bulimia speak to anymore! I understand this!” So I’m buying her book. I’m far enough along in recovery that I don’t feel like I NEED it to get better, but I want it. I wish I’d had it when I was at my worst.

I’m kinda not feeling in a super post-y mood… maybe I will later. But I wanted to share my first magazine appearance with you! Yes, I’m in a magazine, but it’s really not as cool as it sounds. My only disclaimer: they made it sound like I saved myself from embarrassment…. I didn’t. Enjoy.

“Working, building, never stopping never sleeping”

I’m on my butt in my bed, mug of coffee beside me, and some loud music blaring from a car parked outside my window. The usual morning in Harlem.

Yesterday, after therapy, I went to Trader Joe’s and picked up my weekly groceries, then headed home and chilled out. I haven’t really worked out at all this week, even though I’ve had the time. A part of me says, “Normal people exercise, even when they don’t feel like it. Plus you want to feel self-confident and look good. Make yourself go.” But another part of me says, “Give yourself a gift. You’re really enjoying being lazy. You WILL want to go again. Let it come. Don’t give yourself undue stress– that is triggering for you. Focusing on not bingeing is your priority.” It’s hard to know which voice is the “healthy” voice. But at least I’m at the point where I’m taking the time to think about it, right?

Last night, well, first, last night I ate intuitively (until I binged in the evening… but I am forgiving– I knew what was going on and I just didn’t do the work). BUT, what I was going to say was that last night, I mustered the motivation to really put together my table. It has about a trillion pieces (three part base plus swinging leg, table top, two stools, and two drawers), and I had only finished enough to have the table. So, I turned on the showtunes (well, Next to Normal and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) and got out the screwdriver. Complete success!!!

P.S. First comment when I posted this on Facebook, within ten minutes:
” i’m consistently blown away by your many talents.” Guess who. What the fuck?!

Next week is SPRING BREAK!! At last! Ugh I am so relieved. It’s funny… I’m nowhere near as busy as I have been, but I still want a break from school. Plus I’m desperate to get out of NYC somehow over the next week. I’ve been thinking about getting a room at a B&B on Long Island or in Southern Connecticut for a wee rest, probably solo. As Kander and Ebb say, I am my own best friend. Well, I have other friends, but if I’m going to create a vacation for myself, I think it might just be mine. I’ll go on other people’s vacays. Does that make sense? I don’t know. It’s not a break if I feel the pressure of planning it and living up to it, maybe? So far, the only things on the schedj are:

Saturday and Saturday: Theatre company meetings. One is a planning meeting with the whole board, and the other is a production meeting.
Sunday: Dinner party with some of my BFFs.
Monday: Massage!!
Tuesday: Work for a few hours.

I’m a free agent (except for Thursday-Appointment-Day) for the rest of the break. Yahoo!! Let’s go team.

B.

Today, no quote, just love and prayers for Japan and the rest of the Far East that is currently being struck by a tsunami. Stay safe.

And, the hilarious and terrible continuation of the terrible/hilarious saga of Spiderman on Broadway:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/10/theater/julie-taymor-spider-man.html?_r=1&ref=theater