Year Four

One of the weird things I think about constantly is that October 4th used to just be a normal day for me. I lived for 27 years before October 4th was anything I thought about other than to write it on a check or a school paper that happened to be penned on that day. After four years with my mother gone it shocks me how terrified I still get counting down in late September to a day I have no control over. 

It's still just a day; maybe that is the worst part. For the last three years I have worked my schedule to get this day off work so I could find a safe place to be; a place where tears on a hairline trigger weren't going to be out of place. This morning I went back to my posts from Day One and Year One and was struck by how everything below the surface feels exactly the same and yet I have become an entirely different person all around my grief.

It's less scary. The sadness feels more purely like sadness now, without the anxiety of how I will get through a moment with her gone. I have gotten through thousands of moments without her now, not because I knew I could but just because I had to. The world doesn't stop for grief, it barrels forward and at times I have gotten clipped by it when I wasn't ready for that.

What has changed the most in four years is that I have found myself becoming more and more like her than I think I ever would have if she had been around. It was as if I subconsciously filled in the spaces where I so desperately needed her by doing what she would have done or trying to figure out what she would have said. I look for ways to be her so it feels more like she exists. Everything is for her and it always will be, but that has evolved naturally into doing things for myself too. 

In four years I have figured out how to pay bills without her calling me to remind me. I have found a home in great friends and local theatre which I have never stopped being a part of. I find her in theatre every minute I am there and I still see her sweet loving face in the front row like I am six years old again in The Sound of Music singing "the sun has gone to bed and so must I". I have found a relationship that lets me be independent and strong and I have learned how to not need a man but to simply be with one because I love him. I bought a three family house by myself and navigate being a landlord based largely on what I remember learning from her. I have found a career path in a field I love with a company I feel lucky to be a part of. I am closer with my aunt who steps in as one of my mommy stand ins when I need to talk to a mom. 

I see in myself a woman who has a long way to go but I feel proud for maybe the first time ever that I got here with her lessons but not her. 

She is still the person I want to talk to the most.

To my mother: You not being here is like living in a strange, dangerous place all alone. Your energy is everywhere and nowhere and I am constantly chasing you. I want to tell you that I miss you every minute because you were extraordinary. You were more than just my mother. You were vibrant and talented and kind and funny and brilliant and passionate and warm and all the things most women spend a lifetime striving to be just one of. Your big red hair and your beautiful smile are missing and I surround myself with photos of you so I can see them. You never gave yourself the credit of knowing how important you were to everyone.

I am terrified more today than ever before that my life moving forward will mean that you are further away. 

You never said goodbye to me. I found out after you died that you had given moments to certain people where you said goodbye in your way. I was hurt for a while thinking you hadn't had a moment like that with me. I was so convinced you would live that I was left paralyzed when you didn't. Andy once told me that you had pushed me away those final weeks because I was someone you didn't know how to say goodbye to. Maybe you knew I still needed you, or maybe you knew that you were my best friend. We had spent most of the previous 5 years with each other and you were the most important person in my world. Either way it's ok that we didn't have that moment. You left it so that all of our moments exist in a bubble of you living. I still sit in coffee shops and wish we could talk for 8 hours, I walk through cemeteries and talk to you. I pay my car insurance and say, "look mom, I did a thing".

I try to love like you did and work like you did and sing like you did and cry like you did. I want to do everything with gusto and passion like you. So I will love like love is the only thing worth feeling. I will work like doing my best can always be bigger and my job is an extension of my soul. I will sing at the top of my lungs with the windows down at red lights even when people are looking. I will cry like the world is flooding when I am sad, but especially when I am happy or I see something beautiful.

I miss you. I love you. Thank you for all of it.

My Best Day

I think it is possible that today was one of the best days of my whole life. I made a roundabout trip from Providence to New York City with the cast of a show I am in. We are performing at Fringe Festival NYC starting this Saturday and today was our dress rehearsal in the theatre we were assigned to. The entire trip was daunting from the start; coordinating 16 people to be at a specific location on the Lower East Side by 2:30pm and then getting 14 of them back home again the same day was a logistical nightmare. The very talented Hannah


mapped out a whole chart for the next two weeks showing who was coming and going what days, who was staying in the city and where, who was carpooling, what methods we were using to get into the city and it was insane. Today was the one day that most of the group was traveling together both ways and it could have been a clashing of personalities and moods, but it just wasn't. Instead I found myself stopping every few minutes and looking at the people around me, the sights on the journey and really absorbing every moment knowing that I was so fortunate to be there. I was lucky to be included in this group of talented actors


who I believe will light up Fringe NYC and I am grateful to be active in a hobby that takes me on so many adventures.

The past few days I have been in a bad headspace and I was dealing with it just fine but I was noticeably sad. I have been telling people about this festival for months now and only a handful of people shared in my level of excitement. Only one person had the reaction I had been longing for; the reaction my mother would have had if I had been able to call her with this news.

A mother is the person in the world who gets excited for their child's accomplishments as though they are their own. I wanted to tell someone about this huge life event and hear that they were excited and proud. I don't feel that I needed to hear this to be excited or proud myself, but rather, I was already feeling those things and it was lonely to be experiencing that alone. Like finishing a marathon only to find there is nobody cheering at the end. You cross that red tape and cheer and realize you are just a sweaty idiot alone in the middle of the street 26 miles away from where you parked your car.

Then there is Lisa. My best friend who told me over and over how proud she was and how impressive she thought it all seemed. Then she told me she had bought a ticket for one of the shows and said, "Seeing you perform in this festival is important to me." It was said in a text message but it stopped me where I stood. It was the exact thing I had needed to hear to feel like I wasn't alone. Don't get me wrong, I have a lot of people in my life who have expressed excitement and enthusiasm about this opportunity, but this was the only thing that made me feel like it mattered to her as much as it mattered to me. I should mention that Lisa lives over an hour further away from NYC and has a husband, two small children and a full time job, but she is coming because she wants to be there. That's a powerful sentiment that doesn't always get noticed, but I felt this fully and it was everything.

Today was just the dress rehearsal. I wanted to write this at one o'clock in the morning after a 16 hour day because I didn't want to lose or forget a moment of it. I want to move into the next few days with the knowledge that this won't last very long, but I know it is something I will remember forever. This isn't about becoming famous or making it big in acting or getting my name out there. If five people sit in the audience each night I won't care. This is about a play I loved the first time we performed it, with a cast


I believe to be exceptional and a director so wildly talented I fear I may never fully keep up. We are going to be in a festival many entered to be a part of and few in comparison were chosen. I want to see other shows and meet lots of other actors just as excited to be able to stand on a stage in New York City. I want to say that the stage I stood on meant something to me and that is enough.

Mostly I want to remember the key moments from today, the first day before the real ride began:


Carpooling with three people who make road trips in movies look dull by comparison. We actually spent two hours driving home at midnight doing sing-a-longs at full volume to Madonna, Queen, Led Zeppelin, Abba and Hall and Oates.

Laughing in heat so unbearable it was hard to find air to breathe but we kept on joking.

Squeezing 15 actors into one unisex dressing room while boys changed into speedos and nobody seeming uncomfortable or awkward; feeling like a big family.

Creating a count off system while walking through the city to make sure we didn't lose anyone and realizing that we were shouting numbers like assholes in the middle of Grand Central Station (also learning that the concept of counting and numbers isn't so easy for everyone)

  • Me: Let's count off.
  • Kevin: One
  • IMG_1344
  • Hannah: Can I be six?
  • Me: You are literally two.
  • Rico: Oh! I want to be seven!
  • Me: That's not how counting works.
  • 13901434_966025340350_3577013107973303159_n
  • Kevin: You're realizing now you may not want to have kids, huh Sam?
  • Learning that your friends are even more fun and are filled with more patience and kindness than you knew before.
  • One actor carrying a metal folding chair in 100 degree weather through NYC to have it as his prop. Watching him open and use said chair in the middle of Grand Central as well as the middle of our subway car. Then arriving at the theatre only to find at least half a dozen identical folding chairs already at the venue. Then naming the chair "foldie" to give it importance so we wouldn't feel silly for having lugged it in two cars, a train, a subway and a mile walk.
  • Walking into a beautiful theatre with a stage twice the size of the one we rehearsed on and realizing that we get to play in that space.
  • Arriving home exhausted and barely walking with a huge smile on my face feeling inspired.
  • Knowing that although the whole thing will fly by, right now it's all still ahead of me and I'm lucky enough to have noticed the moment before it was gone.

What My 30 Looks Like

Tomorrow I am turning 30. I think this post is mostly me trying to exist in this moment where I am still 29 but prepared for 30. My twenties felt adequately long and I don't feel like I missed them or they went too fast or anything like that. I guess I just feel strange to identify myself differently to others as a new decade of age. Does turning 30 mean I have to become an adult? Does it maybe mean that automatically without a say in the matter that I AM an adult?! Maybe I'm scared that I'm not doing enough or accomplishing enough to be 30. I remember being 14 and thinking that 30 year olds were so mature and adult. At 14 where did I think I would be at the end of my third full decade?

I will look at 30 from where I thought I would be and compare it to where I am.

I thought I would be married. For sure I know I saw myself hitched  with a super hot husband by 30 when I was younger. He had a name like Clifford or Geoffrey and his job was rescuing animals from oil spills but he made a ton of money doing it. I'm not sure it was ever explained to me back then how salaries worked for different careers. Plus, it's my fantasy, so I am responsible for setting the pay grades for these fictional men. Man who washes a baby duck with dish soap: $1 million dollars a year. Now I get super excited when a guy can afford his own taco's on $1 Taco Tuesday. If he splurges for the extra guacamole for himself I'm floored.

I used to think, "which man will be lucky enough to get a special girl like me?"

Now I think, "who is kind and patient enough to put up with my being a cuckoo nut-job forever?"

I used to think, "I'll be so happy and lucky to be married."

Now I think, "I'm so happy and lucky to not be married!"

I used to think, "Having a husband will mean I'm never alone."

Now I think, "Having a husband will mean I'm never alone... so how will I have time to dance to the Hamilton Cast Recording in my underwear at full volume?!"

I thought I would have kids. At least one or two by now and all very well behaved (don't make me repeat the part where my fantasy gets to be awesome and unrealistic). My children would mow the lawn and do dishes and we would all play games and read books together and never fight and I would love them so hard they would explode. Now the thought of having kids, let alone multiple kids by this age is HILARIOUS to me. Not for everyone, I know lots of people who are together enough for kids in their twenties, but I forgot to buy toilet paper last week and was peeing and then immediately showering for two whole days, I am not that person. If I had a child now, every stuffed animal they owned would sleep with me in my bed. I would name them all and if my beautiful sweet angel wanted one to play with themselves I wouldn't want to let them. As a full grown adult, I would be reluctant to share a stuffed children's toy with my own child, the person I'm supposed to be teaching about sharing. Video games? Those are also for me. Here is a stick, go play with that.

I used to think, "I can't wait to have kids."

Now I think, "I should really wait to have kids."

I used to think, "Having kids will bring me such joy."

Now I think, "Having kids will bring me so much joy... in like five or six more years. Today this hamburger brought me so much joy."

I used to think, "I'll be a great mom."

Now I think, "I'll do my best when I become a mom, but dammit am I going to screw them up royally"

I thought I would have an impressive career. Professional chef or veterinarian were my logical choices but anyone who knows me knows that my real dream was to be a sea lion trainer at the aquarium. I would have gone to school, gotten all A's easily and found a job instantly out of school. I would show up every day and love my job and love Ce-Lion Dion and Cee-Lo-In Green (the sea lions names, obviously). I would be making an easy six figures a year (although money would be no object because my husband is seen on those Dawn commercials scrubbing pelicans, so we are good) and I would be well on my way to becoming Queen Head Trainer. Soon after I believe the next promotion is Queen of all Sea Lions, a job I would have taken quite seriously and accepted with honor and pride.

I am now a writer and bartender. Turns out I love them both more than anything else I've ever done. Although I do tire of people asking me what I'm going to do with my life, I know that I wake up every day excited to go to work and my life is my own. I have a flexible schedule, make good money, have fun every day, meet new exciting people and get to express myself on my own terms. It's really great.

A few weeks ago I was bar tending a business event at work and one of the bosses of the company, an older gentleman (maybe 70's?) ordered a very specific martini. I always love someone who knows exactly what they love to drink so naturally we were having a pleasant conversation while I mixed. He told me he had been a bartender years ago and said, "Of every job I ever had, that was my favorite. I have always missed it." I make no qualms about his choice to find security, but the look in his eyes while I peeled his lemon twist was pure admiration and it made me feel good about where I am and how I got here.

I used to think, "I need an impressive job to be successful and happy."

Now I think, "I need to make sure I pay the bills, beyond that success and happiness are found, for me, in non-conventional jobs."

I used to think, "I will know what I'm meant to do with my life."

Now I think, "If I ever stop exploring and learning my life will have no meaning."

I used to think, "Being a well respected career woman would be nifty."

Now I think, "I wonder if Cat Fancy Magazine would publish my songs about Ninja Squee?"

I would have tons of awesome friends that I saw all the time. Oh wait, I do.

Nailed it!

I guess I just needed to write this to see that I'm alright. I feel like I can wake up tomorrow and face 30 with gumption. Sure I haven't done things the way I planned, but some of my plans were misinformed or insane (except the sea lion thing, I still want to be their Queen). If I'm giving myself some credit I can say I have lived in the moment enough to be aware of who I am, who I want to continue to become, what and who is important to me and how to be happy most of the time. Heck, I got to name my cat Pooter with no one objecting and I can eat burritos every day and fart alone in my beautiful apartment. If that isn't success, I want no part in what is.

"From Inferno to Paradiso"

It's been a crazy week. This has further proven to me that I'm a crazy person. Monday, January 25 would have been my mothers 66th birthday; one of a few torturous days that used to be just a day and that now will be forever marked. I started feeling the effects of it days in advance, leaving groups of friends to weep uncontrollably in the bathroom and then gathering myself knowing I could be alright. I believed by early afternoon that day that I was going to get through the day itself alright and that the anticipation had worn out all my feelings. I was wrong.

After a lovely phone call with my Aunt, reminiscing about my bright, bubbly, effervescent mother I tumbled into a heartache so excruciating I could feel it in my bones. I lay in my study listening to Barbara Streisand and feeling my insides mush together like they were being shoved through a vice. I felt grief, as I often do, in the most acute way possible.

Sometimes I marvel at how commonplace that feeling has become for me. I feel it, I cry, I ache and my mind thrashes. Then, as though I am two separate people, I ease myself out of it. I remind myself that I am alright, that things are the same and I think about the positives in my life. I remember that I will feel that way again, possibly soon, and I accept it and take breathes in the moments I feel calm. I have learned though experience that I will come out the other side even though it feels at the time like sadness you never recover from.

I move forward.

Wednesday of this week was my Stepfather's 66th birthday and I made sure to get the night off so I could spend it with him. We went to dinner with a friend of his, I got him his favorite cake and we all spent the night celebrating the ever wonderful Andy. He is such a satisfying person to do things for because he always acts so surprised that anyone has considered him at all. He is appreciative and fun and a joy to be around, so all of it was really most enjoyable for me I think. I would eat Indian food and Carrot Cake with him everyday if I could find an excuse.


Today I received an e-mail from Andy thanking me again for the birthday festivities and telling me that he felt "greatly loved and happier than I have been in some time". The feeling is so mutual.

Having these two birthdays, which we as a family used to celebrate together, land so back to back had me wrecked with exhaustion this morning. I hardly slept all week and continue to feel something like a hangover of sorrow from Monday combined with a lovely high from Wednesday. I went to work tonight as scheduled and put on my usual public smile. One of my bosses even commented and said, "I've never seen you anything but bubbly". The compliment combined with a friend visiting me at work, my coworkers all in good spirits, and a great comedy show, made for a nice shift.

On the drive home I felt overcome. I felt the ceaseless despair and the undeniable glee that both define my inner self constantly. I thought about each one separately and realized just how dramatic and wild it all is. I rarely feel anything that couldn't qualify me for a Jane Austen novel or Nicholas Sparks film. I don't just cry, I weep. I never feel good, I feel exuberant. I love deeply, give heartily, receive graciously and create passionately.

All of this comes from my mother; for better or worse.

Scan 56
Scan 56

Tonight I feel grateful for all of it. Without living in the spirit crushing events of Monday I would hardly have been so thankful for all the love I felt on Wednesday. I don't want to be someone who tries to stifle all the insanity, it makes me feel alive. My mother would want me to feel alive. I want to cry the way she did, so openly that she left nearby strangers worried. I want to love the way she did, so deeply that I risk everything. I want to find myself in the many moments I am blessed to have because I was raised by a women who was never ashamed to feel what she was feeling. I want to frighten and astonish everyone with my quirk and zeal and find inspiration in theirs.

I want my life to be madness; crazy, wonderful, unrestrained life that spreads from those I adore to others I meet. I'm sure that way I won't have regrets and it will certainly make the January 25th's feel more purposeful instead of just sad.

Note about the posting: I wrote this listening to Mahler's Symphony No. 1 performed by Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic (noteworthy for those who knew my mother well and for the title of the blog). This is dedicated to Morris, my mothers best friend, who wrote me a letter this week that made me feel like I could and should write again. His reaching out to me made an extraordinary difference in my drive and I'm so thankful.

Just One Mile

I returned home from an incredible trip to Europe and found that I had brought back a new woman. I felt confident, happy, capable and ready to take hold of my life. I was cast a major role in a play and a short film, my coworkers made me feel right back at home in a place I love to work, I reconnected deeply with friends and family at a beautiful service for my ever deserving grandmother. I took hold of my love life by cleaning house of all selfish, negative mooches and felt excited to be alone. Things were great, I was unstoppable. The clue in to this flow of constant wins not lasting must be that I'm using the past tense to describe it all. The truth is, it was real, I am changed, I am happy; yet no trip or event or play could hide the gaping hole I have without my mother. It's the broken record of my writing, "my mother died", "time doesn't heal", "I need her".

I talk about it less and less with a majority of people because I don't want it to be the thing that defines me outwardly even though it is still the thing that defines me inwardly.

This unchanging and constant ache functions as both a motivation and an obstacle, it just depends on the day.

I started to fluctuate heavily between productive days and motionless days. I call it a motionless day because I lay still for entire days sometimes. I get up to find food or shower and my body feels immobilized and heavy. My head swims, I consider fighting it and going outside but I can't on these days and I just lay back down and go to sleep. On the good days I explore my talents through acting, comedy, auditions for new roles, sewing classes a countless sea of friends I get to call my family, dates with one of the kindest men I've ever met and an intensely active social life. I am a force.

I'm not one to get caught in a cycle so manic or unreasonable. I overthink everything and in this case it stopped me in my tracks to look from the outside at how dramatic the daily shifts were.

The answer, it turns out, is small for now. Find the balance each day, on high days, find moments to to grieve, cry and feel. Listening to music in the car, calling Lisa or hugging the cat a little too long are all good options. On the low days, find just one thing to do that makes me feel proud. Not productive, not happy, it's more than that, it's about pride.

Today I woke up and thought about a presentation my friend Cait gave this past week about running. I could see and feel her pride and I remembered how much I used to feel that when I ran. So at 7:00 am, instead of going back to sleep for two hours before my day had to start I lept out of bed, threw on my gym clothes and said out loud, "I will run one mile. I will not stop." It's amazing how much can happen in a mile.

The first few blocks I felt incredible. The weather was sunny, dry with a slight breeze; summer had never created a morning so perfect.

When I got to about a 1/4 mile my lungs felt like they were being lit on fire, suddenly the sun was no longer my friend, he was the asshole in the sky turning my face into hot lava. I thought to myself, "I can run part of the mile and then walk the rest, I will still be active and I will still be proud" I made the executive decision that I was allowed to stop at any time I needed to because it was very clear I wasn't going to make it a whole mile. I saw a funeral home and knew that I just had to make the one last block to get there and then my run could die. It was the appropriate place. Then I saw a sign a block past the funeral home (a "one way" sign to be exact) and I can't explain it, but I knew could run just to that sign and then I was allowed to stop. I heard my mother telling me years ago that on her runs she used to do the same thing, "commit to one small block at a time and tell yourself you can stop whenever you want. Just to that big tree, then just to that cafe then just to that street sign and then before I knew what happened I had run all the way home." I actually remember where I was sitting when she said that to me.

I was recommitted. I could make it to at least a 1/2 mile. Then as I ran past the liquor store an old homeless man was outside, I recognized him because he is often at that location and so I smile as I chugged by, gasping for air but still running. He looked at me, smiled back and then began to clap. He was actually applauding me. I leave room for the possibility that he was patronizing me, but it didn't feel that way. It felt like the exact boost I needed and the universe and that man were giving it to me. I never lose sight of the fact that I have always been lucky in that way, or at least always willing to see things in life through that lens.

When I reached a 1/2 mile I knew I was going to do the whole thing. I still wanted to stop and things were starting to hurt more, but I knew it was a cop out to not make it. I woke up and thought "just one mile" so I couldn't let myself down. I was determined to make this mean something; to make this the first mile of many more to come. I was changing the pattern of my life and nothing that big ever comes easily.

I needed to focus my attention on anything but the fact that I was still running. I saw fresh West End dog poop covered in flies and thought a few moments about how nice it was that they were so happy. Nature really does have a way of giving gifts in unexpected ways.

Then I felt a surge of nausea and instead of worrying I decided I would just barf if need be and then keep on running. I never did puke, but the pain in my stomach from poor life choices last night intensified. I said out loud, "physical pain is no more impossible to handle than any other pain, and you are the most capable girl I have ever known at handling pain. You know pain, you embrace pain and then you push through it and beat pain." The diners outside the breakfast place must have seen a crazy, red, sweaty, crazy person talking to themselves and clawing for air. In my mind I decided to pretend like I looked like my running friend Cait, adorable and effortless. Imagination is a beautiful thing; all that mattered was how I saw myself.

I rounded the corner of my street knowing that my runkeeper would announce that I'd reached a mile at any moment. It happened under a beautiful shady tree just next door to home and the moment I heard it in my headphones I doubled over and burst into tears. I had given myself the opportunity to just let it out. I was sad, I was happy, but mostly I was proud.

I had traveled thousands of miles to start my new adventure and discovered almost as much within one half mile radius of my home. I see the value in both now.

In her presentation, Cait had mentioned that she took a photo on each of her runs while training for a marathon, and in the moment I was pondering this during my cooldown walk I saw it. The marquee at the theatre across the street from my apartment was my last sign. So here it is, the photo from my first of many more runs. It was only one mile today, but it was the first and it was the hardest and it was the best.

Beginning My Trip

Ok so I'm at the airport. I got here and said goodbye to my ride and then strapped on my overpriced backpack and took a deep breath. I walked through the first glass door and saw through the windows a bevy of international travelers and airline attendants. I was feeling confident and excited. In my big moment, as I am about to walk into this adventure alone, the automatic door got stuck and only opened a crack. As I collided with the sign on the glass that falsely read "automatic" I was brought back to reality. Of course my trip starts this way, I'm still me after all and entering the airport without a minor incident wouldn't do. It's potentially the funniest way to enter the airport, so I'll take it. Apparently in beginning a journey to "find myself" my first lesson is that I'm basically a dumb bird when left alone. Glass doors everywhere watch out! I can't make this stuff up. My eyes darted around to see if anyone witnessed my crash and when I saw that no one had I gave allmy weight to the door having to fight against the failed mechanism. I am flying Air France, a decision I potentially regret because in the line to check my bag the French flight attendant was cold and rude, although pretty. A man behind me was yelling something in French that I now assume was, "Move you stupid American! Also: I hate your infinity scarf and everything you stand for." I don't know how I was in the way just standing on the line but somehow I was. 

Security was simple, a lovely Latino halogram told me all about what to expect and the TSA agents called me "darling" so that's nice. I didn't get the pat down I was expecting, but I assume I'll get some action at customs, they are apparently fiestier.

Now I've been to Hudson News and I have everything I think I need. I haven't stopped shaking but that could be because I haven't eaten since 2pm and it's now 8pm. Maybe I'll see what all the fuss is about with Tobelerone bars. I land in Paris in 6 hours and 40 minutes. Maybe in my three and a half hour layover I'll write more, if not I'll post when I get to Dublin.

I really hope I don't have to poop on the plane.

Update: I have landed safely in Paris and had my first experience with their fancy toilets (that's right France, you just got to know me a little better). I am enjoying some wacky lounge area with bed-like recliners,  foreign outlets and for some reason a weird panda. I don't think there are pandas in France so I'm confused about the decor theme.

Super Mono & Small Goals

I have been sick since late January. I am not the kind of sick where I take some vitamin C, get some extra sleep and push through my normal schedule. I have been the type of sick in Little Women when you start to worry about Beth and put the book down to cope emotionally. To be fair I don't have Scarlet Fever but I was diagnosed this week with mono. Not just normal mono but something my irritating ENT Doctor calls "aggressive mono"; or what my much funnier friend John is calling "Super Mono!" (the exclamation point and title caps are necessary). This is coming on the heels of pneumonia last month and the death of my grandmother. Turns out I caught the mono sitting at her bedside in the hospital. Nifty.

So I've been trapped in my apartment, and most days even restricted to my bed with only the pathetic stumble to the bathroom while I grumble at my cats. Having a lot of time to think after a recent loss is no good. My life has come to a screeching halt.

To combat the feelings this uniquely cruddy situation is brewing, I recently started thinking up daily goals in order to feel like I was still a person:

Friday: Do the dishes- FAILED. 

What is amazing though is how many times you can reuse bowls when you are eating the same chicken soup, mac and cheese and ramen noodles for days. (Disclaimer: If one uses the same pot over and over it makes the chicken soup and ramen a little bit cheesy and the mac and cheese a little bit "oriental" --I'm not racist, they named the flavor that and nobody knows what it officially is.)

Saturday: Shower-FAILED.

When your major activity is sliding your foot back and forth under the covers to mess with the cat, not much body odor is accumulated. I was told by trusted loved ones that I didn't smell. (Disclaimer: I haven't really had a sense of smell for over a month, so to me I smell totally acceptable)

Ninja Squee may be by my side for all selfish reasons but I love her for it
Ninja Squee may be by my side for all selfish reasons but I love her for it

Sunday: Trick pink eye away-FAILED.

Alright, so this was my goal because when I woke up unable to open my right eye and it was the color of a pink peep marshmallow I suspected I might have pink eye. I decided that if I meditated hard enough on not having pink eye then I wouldn't. Turns out WebMD does not recognize this as one of the treatments. (Disclaimer: Thanks to my eye, I now understand the inspiration behind the second Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles film, if this cultural reference is going over anyones head, click here)



Yeah, no. I'm officially a monster and must remain quarantined. (Disclaimer: I have never been so gross.) 

I wish I could say I looked as good as him.
I wish I could say I looked as good as him.

Tuesday: Count to three- ACHIEVED.

Through conditioning I learned to set my goals lower. I felt good about a win, I really needed one, what with both my eyes rebelling and waging war on my face. (Disclaimer: Pink eye in both eyes is kind of metal; I've never looked more hardcore.)

Wednesday: Don't speak- FAILED.

Tuesday was the day the Doctor called me with the blood test results about mono, so I had called concerned parties to update them. The lesson from that day is that the sore throat gets vengeful when I speak. It's my new cruel master who keeps me living as close to a monk as I will ever get. This one was failed because with a separate family crisis in full swing I have to answer when they call. I also may still be occasionally singing to my cats, but I worry what they would do if I deprived them of customized theme songs.  (Disclaimer: If my throat asks, I was not speaking ill of it, or speaking at all. Let's just keep it happy because I've seen the power it wields and there is some rage behind that tonsil. I now fear swallowing even my own saliva, but I've learned innovative ways around it.)

Thursday: Dishes? Shower? Dealers choice?-FAILED

Fuck it. I feel like garbage and I'm not seeing people. If the pets complain I'm open to suggestions but they seem super happy that my electric blanket is on all day every day. Mostly I think this is the best thing that has ever happened in their world. (Disclaimer: I used to think pets could sense distress and I'm now questioning that because mostly I think the cats are plotting ways to keep me trapped inside with them forever. When I asked Ninja Squee if she could help me she rolled on her back and demanded belly rubs. I caved.)

Friday: Do anything-ACHIEVED

This is vague I know, but I'll relish the small achievements. I put on bottoms today. I feel so accomplished I could cry. (Disclaimer: I was forced into human contact because the movers from my grandmothers apartment were bringing some of her stuff. To those super nice gentlemen carrying bookcases into my apartment-- if you experience a sore throat or itchy red eyes in the upcoming days I'M SO SORRY!)

Tomorrow- Be less gross-???

I make no promises.

Dusting Off

Yesterday was brutal. After the post I wrote, I continued to struggle emotionally. Then, more "terrible-awful" got tacked on to the day: I found out I didn't get a gig I auditioned for and got into a useless fight with one of my bosses which ended my time at that job. Each individual occurrence is normally manageable; but when things come in threes and all within the span of three hours I am less equipped.

Then a funny thing happened; I took a shower. This in itself is not super unusual or funny, but yesterday I really needed it. I sat under the hot water and cried, not uncontrollably and not for long but just enough to be done. The water actually and metaphorically changed the tide.

It was as though the large amount of bad cancelled itself out. When I arrived at my other job, a place I love with people who make me constantly smile I was so ready to laugh. It wasn't the smoothest night of bar tending but over the course of the evening, for each problem I found a mini resolution.

For the fight with my friend I had other friends, tons of them, sending me sweet, encouraging and loving texts. I was reminded that not only do I have a lot of friends, I am the lucky girl who has a lot of friends who are like family. Really good friends are in my corner through everything (my comedy friend included even if we hit a bump yesterday). It doesn't stop the hurt of what was said in the fight, but it redefined what the day was about for me. Now it was about my other friends and family and not just him.

For the audition I didn't get, I spoke to some people who also didn't get cast and a few who did and realized we will all just audition again and sometimes it is my time and sometimes it is not. The cuckoo thing is that if that had been the only thing that happened yesterday it would have rolled off much smoother. I think this was a case of feeling overwhelmed and needing something positive and only having more garbage fall from the sky. This one was easy to move forward from when I singled it out and took some time to think about it.

As for the job and my now former boss. I wanted to be done for a long time. I was staying out of loyalty, love for the bar and the people that became my regulars. I was constantly sad to watch that ship sinking and it was time to exit even if I didn't feel ready in that moment. I wish it had gone down another way, but I suppose I should have known that when things are out of control and someone is floundering, they will rarely handle things rationally. How did I get over this? Well I went to my other job where my wonderful boss informed me that he needed me on the nights I had freeing up. Then I worked my tokhis off and made four times the amount I would have made at the other bar. I'll say that again because it feels good: four times as much.

When I arrived home at 4am I was tired and content. I snuggled up with my critters who reminded me as always that I am missed. I got into bed knowing I had turned things around, and not because anything was actually resolved or different, but just because I decided I was good. It took a little time to get there and I'm sure I'll slip again, but this was a proud moment for me to see how much I've grown and how capable I am of handling anything. Sometimes that's a reminder worth suffering for.

Crumbling Down

I'm not good at keeping all my juggling balls in the air when I'm sad. I am incredibly capable of accomplishing amazing feats when I get on a fast track and my mind is clear. Days like today I feel my success slipping through my fingers. I got into a fight this morning with one of my closest comedy friends and he ended up saying some things that have cut me to my core. Now I have to write in my blog, shower, grocery shop, eat, get ready for work and bartend all night and I can barely think straight. This is on me now. I'm supposed to say that words don't matter and have enough self love to at least keep moving for the day. How does someone reach that point? This isn't a love interest or a boyfriend, those people I can brush off and move away from with my head held high. This was a friend. This was someone I didn't see coming and I'm done for the day.

I need to write 6 more blog posts today. I must smile while I serve cocktails at a fundraiser. I have to take in stride any other bad news that comes my way. I don't want to. I can and I will; but I don't want to.

I just want to be seen and heard. I want to be able to say, "you are hurting my feelings" and have that not get turned on me. We all have our baggage and things get ugly when it all collides with other people's stuff.

I have talked to multiple people in an effort to bounce back and the truth is that this one is going to take some time. So there is my blog post. I have to march forward and keep working towards my goal, but I couldn't possibly write about anything else right now.

Top Five Cheeses

Who can believe I haven't covered this topic yet?! Hanging out with my best friend John I asked him to choose a top five list for me to write about today. His response was, "best cheeses" but in such a matter of fact way I felt as though I had let him down for not thinking of it myself. We sit now in his kitchen while he cooks and I write as we debate our cheese MVP's. Our lists are similar if not exactly the same as we do much of our explorative eating together and have pondered the matter many times before. We had no trouble with the top two, but when thinking about three, four and five realized there were so many we love and want to mention. John sums this up perfectly when he says, "Cheeses are like NFL Quarterbacks; once you get past the top three or four there is not as big a difference in the greatness of them."

We got there though and I think I originally imagined this list would have a lot more rare cheeses on it, but when thought through it made sense to have the winners be the everyday heroes of the cultured dairy world.

5. Fresh Mozzarella- The key here is that it be fresh. All mozzarella is delicious, but the stuff sitting behind the glass in a supermarket Caprese would not have made this list. For anyone who hasn't tried high quality fresh sliced mozzarella, go now. Read no further. You have one objective, get too it and thank me later.

4. Cheddar- It's cheddar cheese. Seriously.

3. Swiss- This remains my favorite sandwich cheese, it adds a unique flavor that reminds me there is cheese. I get anxiety when I forget that there is cheese in my food.

My theory is that swiss cheese has holes in it because it is so tasty it self mutilates out of guilt. It knows it needs there to be bites where I hit a hole and have minimal swiss so that the other ingredients can have their moment. So if that is the case I will also give swiss bonus points for being the most philanthropic cheese.

2. Smoked gouda- Oh dear pooh bear, just writing about it is getting me all uppity. The smoky flavor, the smooth melt in your mouth texture, the lingering aftertaste like a scrumptious campfire. If this is on a platter at an event, I will consume most or all of it. I cannot be stopped.

John also brought up the incredibly brilliant point that this is the best "smothering cheese". That is to say that melt this over a food until said food can no longer be seen under it's smokey coagulated blanket. Heck, I would smother just about anything in smoked gouda. Good ideas are happening today.

1. Goat cheese- This was a tough call as this one is nearly tied with number two if not perfectly matched. I deemed this the best, in part because of how often I consume it. This is one of my magic ingredients which, if seen on a menu, I will almost always order the dish it comes on (other magic ingredients include capers and artichokes).

Also, it comes in log form. I think more delicious foods should come in log form, it's truly wonderful.

Also: I am not allowed to purchase said logs. I learned long ago that I cannot be trusted once it is open and I am humbled to have to admit that I have, on many occasions, eaten an entire log in one sitting. I believe my record was consuming the entire thing in the duration of one Full House episode. Towards the end when Danny Tanner was teaching his lesson I had abandoned the pita chips and was simply cutting chunks off and eating them directly off the knife.

I would like to personally thank goats for making such tasty lactation. Thank you from the bottom of my salad bowl.

You're doing it. You're really doing it.
You're doing it. You're really doing it.

King Moe

I have a pet shrimp named Moe. He lives in a self contained eco-system that I keep on my living room table. Quick science for anyone confused about the whole concept of the glass shrimp globe home: There is a plant, water and an air pocket. The plant allows for CO2 consumption and O2 excretion, algae grows due to photosynthesis and the shrimp eats the algae. I don't officially know what happens to all the shrimp poops. It is possible that Moe lives in his own secretion. This only makes him more badass in my eyes as he does not complain.

When I first purchased my tiny aquatic world I was the proud owner of 5 shrimps. I do not know what when down or who ate someone else's leftovers but one day Moe was the only remaining sea creature. To be fair, they all looked the same so I had named them all Moe, but now my sole survivor is King Moe. He didn't want roommates anymore, he wanted the kingdom to himself so he is the one true ruler.

I worry he might be lonely sometimes, but whenever I check on him he is swimming happily around the sphere.

What concerns me more than anything is that I never saw any trace of remains from the other shrimp. I think Moe decided that algae was for chumps and went rogue. The issue now is that he has no meat left to feed on... which leaves the other residents of this home. That glass is thick, but is it thick enough? My only protection is the love and respect that I hope exists between Moe and myself (I worry for the dog though, she is a real wimp).

He is one gangster crustacean.


Blog Post From The 88 Lounge

So I couldn't get away from being at my bar tonight. It's a piano bar where I sing and bartend. One of my friends suggested I do a blog post from the lounge so I recorded one of the songs I sing. Here it is for the viewing pleasure of anyone who hasn't visited me on Monday night (if you have you've seen this and other songs sung by me so feel free to skip it). Samantha sings Alicia Keys at the 88

Three Things I've Learned From Living Alone

1. I'm weird- When no one is around to hold you accountable for normal behavior, things can get pretty wacky. Recently my downstairs neighbors complimented my singing, which is flattering and humiliating all at once because it means they can hear me. A lot. I have full conversations with my pets, eat cold pizza with the fridge door open and much more. 2. Cooking for one is odd- I tend to like to cook enough for a lot of people. Large quantities of food always seem like a great idea because I love leftovers. By the end of the 8th day I'm usually ready to move on to a different dish though. Making Shepard's Pie for one? Not worth the work, so I make enough for 20 people. I suppose I could make enough for 4 people but I like to go all in with these things.

3. Living alone is friggin' awesome- For so many reasons:

  • Sleeping in the middle of the bed.
  • There is always hot water left.
  • All the food is mine.
  • I can decorate however I choose, even if that means a painting of a cat with a machine gun in my kitchen and a hot pink print of monsters in the living room.
  • I can change anywhere.
  • Pooping with the door open... so liberating.

Worst Ways To Wake Up In The Morning

I've been having a hard time sleeping in for some time now and many mornings I don't feel at all refreshed. There are some things that start your day on the worst note and here are my top 5: 1. Waking up shortly before your alarm- On days when I wake up and see I have 4 minutes until my alarm goes off I will never make the reasonable choice to get up and turn the alarm off and start my day with the extra time. I know that four minutes isn't enough time to really fall back asleep or even relax and wake up slowly, but I cannot be stopped. I feel like time is my boyfriend and we are in a huge fight and I am closing my eyes just to show him those minutes belong to me. I'm no better off for having done this but I feel so robbed. I love the feeling of waking up hours before my alarm goes off and peacefully dozing back off, knowing I have plenty of time left to dream, but that is so rarely how this goes down.

The craziest thing is that if I hadn't set an alarm at all, when I woke up I would simply get out of bed. The feeling of not being refreshed seems to merely come from my anger at the pre set alarm time. I will not yield. I will take my four minutes every damn time.

2. Super warm bed vs. freezing cold apartment- That run from the bed to the thermostat could be a YouTube sensation if anyone ever caught me on camera. I'm like a remedial ostrich convinced that her own tail feathers were trying to kill her.


3. Nothing to eat- To everyone who skips breakfast: um... WHAT?! Are these people aware the breakfast can include (but is not limited to) eggs, bacon, waffles, pancakes, cereal, cream of wheat, lasagne, moose tracks ice cream and crab rangoon? This is the meal that defines the whole day, make it count and make it spectacular. Unless you haven't been grocery shopping in a while and all you can find to eat is a can of refried beans and laughing cow cheese. In that case, make a cheesy bean mash up in a bowl and try not to let your tears over-salt the mixture.

4. Morning off interrupted by forgotten appointment- When I know I have somewhere to be on a given day, I have no problem. When I think I have the morning off and suddenly remember I have obligations, I get frantic. Even if I have plenty of time to get ready and even if it was something I would have formerly enjoyed, the surprise element makes me irate. If my plan was to watch Battlestar Galactica for hours with giant bowls of cereal, I take that seriously and don't want to abandon the task. Who needs a job interview anyway? If I'm right for the position the company should just feel it in their bones and hire me sans interview. Let's save gas and the planet here people.

5. Where am I?- This is best followed up by a shame trip to the taco bell drive-through on the drive home. I have recently learned that they don't serve beef supreme gorditas until after 9am. However the breakfast burritos are just mediocre enough to fill your system with indignity.

Procrastinating Again

Well I've done it again. I have five days left in the month and 22 posts left to reach my goal. Fear not-- I have a plan! It's going to be a lot of work but I refuse to not accomplish this task. I have never let myself down before when I set these blog objectives and this isn't when I plan to start. I did some fast math and I have to write four posts every day plus one to make it under the wire. I am setting up guidelines for the type of posts each of the four needs to be.

1. A list post- This can be any type of list. It cannot simply be a list with no explanation, I will be sure to insert my cuckoo anecdotes. Also, since I just re-watched High Fidelity for the zillionth time I will honor the format by having each list contain five points.

2. Three things I've learned post- This is what it sounds like, I'm not trying to be vague in the description here. I will choose someone or something that is in my life and write three points of how I have grown and learned from said subject. Some of these will be funny and some will be serious, all will be hopefully insightful and not crappy.

3. Pet post- I own a dog, two cats and a shrimp so one post a day about each of them will get me through four days. On the fifth day I will either write about the group as a whole or branch out to childhood pets, friends pets or pets I wish I had. Let's just say I'll keep it pet related on the last day but the direction is yet to be determined. If people don't like pets or animals as a subject I would say they shouldn't read this one daily, but really that sounds like a personal problem. People who dislike critters should reconsider and read about my super awesome furry friends and how super fun and awesome pets are. I will melt their cold cold hearts one crazy cat lady story at a time.

4. Social media's choice- As with number two, I'm not trying to throw anyone off with the title; this is self explanatory. I will throw it out to the people of the internet to give me topics and I will try and choose some that are outside of my comfort zone. This is everyone's big chance-- this could even start in the comments section below this post!

I'm going to do this, because like many things in my life, I may not have gone about this goal in a conventional or reasonable way, but I will get the damn thing done. Come Halloween I will hit 31 posts. Plus, now I only have 21 left to go.


I love Pigeons, so much. I have heard many negative descriptors in reference to the humble Pigeon; most often they are called “flying rats”. People say that they are pests or the more pretentious offenders will go on and on about how in Europe they loiter in such large numbers that they are ruining cities and are accused of carrying diseases. I haven't been to Europe but from what I hear tourists cause similar problems, so why single out birds who have no idea what they are doing?

I am here to spread some of my endless love for this funny, harmless, awesome creature so that maybe people will view them differently.

My personal love of pigeons began initially as a part of my constant adoration of all living things (minus mosquitos, silverfish or any insect that looks like a nightmare, I’m a real bugist sometimes). I became more enthused one day sitting in a park and watching a flock of them. They just ambled about not bothering anyone looking all extra adorable. They always look confused and a little blank, which I find sweet and endearing. It is as though they never quite know what is going on, but they don’t care, they will hobble on anyways.

If you walk or drive towards a pigeon they will pick up their pace and run to get out of the way, which is way more than I can say for most pedestrians I wave across the street. They don’t want to be a bother, they coexist in a benign manner, so why all the animosity?

I decided to do some research on my bobble necked friends.

Everyone thinks doves are great right? Well big news-- doves and pigeons are the same family. The only differentials are size and color, but they share the same makeup otherwise. So liking doves and hating pigeons is racist. Hear that? RACIST.

A friend I made one day at Wrentham.
A friend I made one day at Wrentham.

The Columbidae (yeah, I know latin) have incredibly strong wings with the muscles alone making up 31-44% of their body weight. This makes them one of the best fliers in the entire animal kingdom. That's badass if you ask me. If I met a guy who had arm muscles that were 44% of his weight I would be in awe-- terrified, but still super impressed. I certainly wouldn't mess with him.

Still not dazzled? What if I said that there have been over thirty pigeons who have been awarded medals for their contributions in wartime. I haven't been given any such honor so I can say that those birds are in fact better than me. If I was asked to carry a message through fields of battle I would attempt to maybe text the information, but if there wasn't any wifi or cell service, I'd give up and leave immediately. Harry Potter had Owls deliver messages, but in the real world, pigeons can actually be trained to do that. Friggin magic.

Now I have to talk of course about the classic head action the Pigeon is known for. In my reading I found the best information ever: it is thought that the pigeons classic head-bobbing is due to their needing to keep their vision constant. In a 1978 experiment by B.J. Frost, the scientist placed the birds on treadmills and with consistent surroundings the bobbing ceased. So I now have the information that I could see a Pigeon walking without moving his head at all, I feel like that is the equivalent of seeing a gerbil perform karaoke (ok, maybe that's a stretch but I have never seen either so they remain in the same category).

How can I get a Pigeon on a treadmill in a humane way so I can see this?! I am adding this to my lifelong to do list, above gaining the unending trust of a squirrel but below hugging a willing chicken.

Maybe the popular distaste for these avian critters comes from not knowing enough. Usually when someone doesn't like me it is just because they haven't gotten to know me yet. I can understand the fear of diseases, but I have caught more illnesses from people than pigeons. I haven't heard of any cases of birds with ebola or chlamydia but I do feel a risk of catching those things from a human, it doesn't mean I dislike everyone. Also, maybe as a general rule: don't hug, kiss, shake wings with or otherwise touch wild birds. Seems easy enough, no?

Pigeons are way cool once you get to know them.