34 on the Floor

Dear World.

I will never make a living as a blogger because my inconsistency is unparalleled.

However I turned 34 yesterday, and birthdays always make me think about the meaning of life (or my life… let’s be honest here). So in that spirit I’m going to make some “goals” for this next year (before I am officially closer to 40 than 30). And for cuteness’ sake, we’ll go for 35 total “goals”. (I’m putting the word goals in quotation marks because… I don’t want to feel beholden to any words in the English language. So these are just so-called goals.)

  1. Travel to New Orleans, LA (all the beignets!!!)
  2. Travel to Austin, TX (all the live music!!!)
  3. Travel to Nashville, TN (all the bbq!!!)
  4. Travel to Kauai, HI (all the paradise!!!)
  5. Travel to Ireland and Greece for my mama’s 60th Birthday (all the love!!!)
  6. Travel more (all the lol)
  7. Clean out the clothes I am storing under my bed (some of them are from high school… they have GOTS TA GO!)
  8. Make some steps toward investing in property (I’ve been obsessed with HGTV / Fixer Upper over the last few weeks, so…. yeah)
  9. Date some men (Not losers, as I am prone to do)
  10. Get back to auditioning
  11. Drink less
  12. Become a better musician (this is happening: letsstartwithlizasti.com)
  13. Dance more
  14. Wash my hair more (#thickhairproblems #shittywaterpressureproblems)
  15. Hire help (thanks, nytimes.com)
  16. Follow the Pomodoro Technique more often to be more effective / efficient
  17. Spend less (no?) time on Facebook
  18. Create a website (erinsjostrom.com coming soon!)
  19. Cook more (I have some recipes that I love, but I could certainly expand my repertoire)
  20. Learn how to use my Instant Pot more effectively
  21. Grow some things (herbs? tomatoes?) on my fire escape and / or window sill
  22. Clean out all of my boxes at my mother’s house
  23. Read more
  24. Follow RP for a full cut
  25. Buy and learn how to use a real camera
  26. Put on my Sunday clothes when I feel down and out
  27. Finish my shoe-hanger project (something along these lines)
  28. Go bowling more
  29. Research how ridiculous it is to own a car in NYC (because I irrationally want one…)
  30. Visit my dad’s grave
  31. Go to trapeze school
  32. Take a clowning class
  33. Take an improv class
  34. Paint my bedroom
  35. Deadlift my bodyweight

Good luck to us all. Especially me.

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A Very Good Place to Start

Helloooooooooo!

Is anyone out there???

Does anyone even still read blogs???

Well. Whatever. I’m here. It’s Friday night. And I’ve decided to resurrect the old blog.

I think I wrote my last post in 2013. I was still a fresh-faced, innocent thirtynothing. Now I’m a hardened, jaded old 33. The Jesus year. A lot of things have changed: I moved. I got a new job. I was in a relationship. I finished the first 3 seasons of Orange is the New Black. I bought a couch. You know. Those sorts of things.

Hopefully this blog-resurrection will not be short lived, because I really like writing it. So on this, my-first-post-since-2013, I’ve decided to start at the very beginning (a very good place to start) by revisiting my first post and seeing how I’ve fared with regards to my non-resolution-resolutions. Here goes nothing.

  1. No soda. Wow! I’m off to a pretty good start! I’ve largely given up soda, except for the occasional indulgence here and there, as well as my old standby drink – Whiskey Diet (that’s a whiskey and diet coke, for all of you non-Whiskey Diet drinkers…). These days I mostly drink seltzer (flavored or unflavored). I only wish I could be this successful with all of the other itmes on this list… Sadly, I know that is not the truth. #winning
  2. Finally reach my goal weight. Yeah. No. What I HAVE reached, however, is my ultimate highest weight. Boo. I’ve signed up for a new diet/exercise program, though, so hopefully that will change soon. #fail
  3. Run a half marathon (and maybe a marathon?). Hey! I did that! Go me! #winning
  4. Make a budget and follow it.  LOTS of financial progress has been made! I have a budget! I was, in a way, able to re-finance my student loans! I have a 401k, IRA, AND stocks! #winning
  5. Get called back for The Broadway.  Nope. Pretty much haven’t auditioned since I wrote this down. Sad day. #fail
  6. Book a regional job for the summer. See #5. #fail
  7. Go to Europe (London and Paris). WOW! I did this, too! I was in Italy last summer for a dear friend’s wedding and it was HEAVEN. I also traveled to London last September for work, and it was so glorious to be back. I’d like to go again, please, Universe :). #winning
  8. Drink less. Ummm… No comment. #fail
  9. No more drunk texts. This is (mostly) true, too!!! #winning
  10. Cook more. I do cook MORE than I used to, but not nearly enough… But honestly, how can I NOT cook more when I’ve got this gorgeous piece of equipment waiting for me?!? #halfwin
  11. Leave the apartment looking like someone loves me. Eh. Not so much. But I did just purchase this vanity to help in that department, and I am very excited to use it! Baby steps! #fail
  12. Be kind. To self and others. Still working on this, especially on the “to self” category. #fail
  13. Volunteer. NO. Must do. #fail
  14. Get a tattoo. Not yet, but still on my list! #fail
  15. Learn to cook proteins. I’m still pretty scared of cooking steak for fear of f*ing up a gorgeous piece of meat, but I can bake a MEAN chicken breast! #halfwin
  16. Learn to make French macaroons. Hmmm… Haven’t tackled this one yet, either, but seems to be in directl conflict with #2. #fail
  17. Go on some dates. (Maybe fall in love). I did. It recently and unexpectedly ended and was very sad for me. Maybe I’ll write more about it someday. Not today. Or tomorrow. #winning (Does it still count as #winning if the relationship #failed? This is my blog and I do what I want!)
  18. Audition for some plays. I haven’t done this, but I DID start taking an acting class. I’m currently on hiatus, but I need to go back as soon as my work schedule allows. It was the first time in my whole, entire life that I have actually believed that I could ACT. #winning
  19. Keep my room clean. Eh. I have a much bigger room now, but it is pretty much a disaster at this moment. Currently reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in hopes that it will help. Will report back. #fail
  20. Wash my face before bed every night. Yikes! Definitely wrote this down and proceeded to NOT EVEN TRY. Must start. #fail
  21. Learn to sew. Nope. #fail
  22. Read one book per month. I read? Sometimes? Definitely not 1 book per month though. #halfwin
  23. Be happy. This is in a MUCH better state than when this list was originally created. Thanks, #Lexapro! #WINNING!!!!!
  24. Organize my closets. Even though I have a much bigger room, I have a MUCH smaller closet. I know that I need to get rid of a ton of things, but… I just can’t let go yet. #fail

I would say I’ve been successful at accomplishing about 10 (9.5 to be exact) of these 24 items. Also, priorities change. So, there’s that.

That will bring us back to “Do”. Starting fresh, starting new.

Let’s do this thing, starting with a new list next time :).

We Live Here

For the last few weeks I’ve been having a lot of anxiety. To spare you the fine workings of my inner-craziness, I’ll just boil it down to this: there isn’t enough fucking time.

There isn’t enough time to bake.
There isn’t enough time to go to the holiday markets.
There isn’t enough time to sip a spiked hot chocolate and admire my Christmas tree.
There isn’t enough time to eat healthy foods and go to the gym.
There isn’t enough time to make money.

You get the picture.

Anyway, after doing some soul-searching to quell my over-commitment-induced anxiety, I decided that I needed to prioritize things. This year, I’ve decided that the first priority in my life is holiday merry-making.

I want to enjoy all of the holiday cheer that this fine city of New York has to offer. When I leave New York in a week, I will continue my merry-making extravaganza in California. My days are going to be so merry and bright that sunglasses will be required.

In an effort to juice this holiday season raw, I’ve packed my calendar full of events: ice skating in Central Park, viewing the tree at Rockefeller Center, an ugly-sweater paint-your-own-pottery event, drinks with friends (both impromptu and planned), spontaneous Christmas movie viewings, and of course a whole slew of holiday parties, Mr. Fezziwig style.

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New York City is at my absolute favorite in December. The cold doesn’t get me down because it is part of the holiday magic. (I’d kindly ask Mother Nature to be done with snow and bitter cold come January 2, thankyousomuch.) It’s even grand to do touristy things at this time of year. The city is dressed up in its finest for us locals, too! The big star on Fifth Avenue, the tree, the lights on 55th Street, garlands in restaurants, trees on the sidewalk in front of CVS: it’s all part of the magic.

On Sunday, my friend Matt and I indulged in some Magnolia-eating, tree-viewing, Christmas-shopping, strolling-through-the-snow moments. When we arrived at the tree, we took the requisite pictures of each other individually in front of the tree.

[NB: I was feeling a little “down and out”, as they say, and so I put on my Sunday clothes: a fabulous vegan fur coat I acquired from a charming thrift store in Tennessee, a huge Adele-style bun, and some 6 inch stilettos. There’s no blue Monday in your Sunday clothes! I had a wonderful time, and kept singing “I am faaab-u-lous, baby!” as I strolled down the street, arm in arm with my dear friend.]

After we had taken individual photos, we searched the crowd for a person who seemed capable of taking a picture of us together [able to use an iPhone and aware of the fact that we wanted ourselves AND the tree in the picture. Sometimes it’s hard to find these people]. We located our prospective photographer and I approached her.

“Excuse me? Would you mind taking our picture?”

“Sure! No problem!” she obliged.

When we were done, I offered, “Would you like us to take yours?” She was with a friend.

She laughed, “No thanks. We live here!” More laughter.

“So do we,” I responded.

At that moment, I was pretty thankful for the fact that I could still find joy after 5 years in my gorgeous city, even among the tourists.

Here’s to days filled with love, merriment, gingerbread cookies, mulled wine, wonderful friends, giving for the joy it brings, and feeling thankful.

Go juice your holidays raw.

Sink-Row-Nis-City

During my first year of grad school, one of my classmates bought all of the first year students a copy of The Artist’s Way. He was so excited to share the gift of creative unblocking with our small but mighty group.

Not one of us cracked the binding.

He was devastated.

Fast forward nearly 8 years.

I had been thinking about [FINALLY] embarking on my Artist’s Way journey. The universe was giving me so many signs:

An acquaintance was nearly finished with the 12 week process and called it “life changing.”

For a few months, I had been hearing the book calling my name from the bookshelf.

I went on a cruise through the Panama Canal and had coffee with a Broadway veteran (who was also sailing and giving lectures). I was talking to her about my proclivity for self-sabotage and she immediately responded, “Have you ever done The Artist’s Way?”

Alright, universe. I was getting the message!

Meanwhile, I was still in my Eat Pray Love induced book-hangover. I read the book at such a luxuriously slow pace that it nearly felt like I was living the experience, too. I would read each little nugget, anecdote as if it was a savory morsel and I was scared to over-indulge.

I talked about the book all the time. I blogged about it. I felt like Liz was my friend.

I finished it while in the hottub on that Panamanian cruise. Some fellow cruisers, also enjoying a late night bathe and observing that I was nearing the end of my book, joked “Should we go and grab you some tissues? Are you going to need this hottub to yourself for a few minutes?!” Obviously, they had never read the book, or they would have known that the really rough patches had happened a hundred pages earlier!

So, fresh off the boat, high on Eat Pray Love bliss, and determined to begin The Artist’s Way, I ventured into my local Barnes and Noble. [The funny thing about living in New York City is that my “local” Barnes and Noble happens to be the flagship Barnes and Noble, complete with a few hundred seats for a proper book reading and author talk-back, should the occasion arise.]

I strolled into that bookstore to buy a new journal. I was hesitant to purchase one, as I’m always in some sort of financial crisis (“I’ll just write in one of my old composition notebooks! It’s not a big deal…”), but my friend (the same devastated grad school classmate who gifted me The Artist’s Way) urged me, “A new journal feels like a new start!”

I’m embarrassed to say that I spent nearly an hour selecting the most perfect journal I could find. Once I had committed myself to the new start, it had to be right!

Lo and behold, next to the checkout counter, there was a poster announcing that Liz Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love, was giving a talk-back on her new novel that VERY evening in that VERY Barnes and Noble.

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It felt like the universe was my very own fairy godmother.

I canceled my plans to take a dance class that evening and arrived at the reading 15 minutes early. (Those who know me understand how impressive that is.) I settled into the back row and told myself that I wasn’t going to purchase the book or stand in line to meet Liz because that just seemed silly. Also, I didn’t have the funds to buy the book as I had just spent nearly $40 on my perfect journal. I would just listen to her read and then go on my merry way.

She.

Was.

GLORIOUS.

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Oh my goodness. She said so many inspirational, lovely, real things. If her book tour is coming to your city, GO! You must! Do yourself that favor!

In the end, I bought the book because I wanted so desperately to meet her, because I just loved her energy and her presence. As I stood in line awaiting my turn, I rehearsed what I was going to say. [It was like I was 12 years old and meeting Justin Beiber backstage.]

Maybe I should just say “Thank you” and “It’s so wonderful to meet you!”

No. No. No. 

Tell her what you want to say! You’ll kick yourself if you don’t! LOTS of people are taking their time with her, and she doesn’t seem put-out one bit!

My inner monologue raged back and forth.

As I approached her, I just blurted it all out:

image_6 image_5 image_4image_3Apparently I was supposed to be born Italian as my hands are NECESSARY for me to communicate (?).

“It is so wonderful to meet you! I just finished reading Eat Pray Love, like, last week, and it was such a cathartic, inspirational experience for me. I had no idea that you were speaking tonight, but I came into this Barnes and Noble to buy a journal for The Artist’s Way, because I’m starting tomorrow, and I saw your poster, and… well… it was kismet!”

“You’re starting The Artist’s Way?! That’s awesome! I’ve done it at least 10 times! Make sure you do the WHOLE THING!”

It truly WAS kismet.

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I’m now on Week 5 of my 12 Week process. Synchronicity is a HUGE theme throughout The Artist’s Way. Fittingly, it’s no surprise that’s how my journey began.

Musings on 30

On Friday, a friend and I strolled down 2nd Avenue to a party in the Lower East Side. We were dressed as Kit from A League of Their Own and Robin (of Batman and… fame). As we wound our way through the naysayers (“It’s not Halloween anymore!”), we chatted about life. 

“We’re NOT thirtysomethings yet,” he stated. “We’re thirtyNOTHINGS. It’s an important distinction!”

Oh. 

What’s that?

You’ve never heard of a thirtynothing?

Allow me to explain.

Thirtynothing is that very important year when you are just thirty. Not thirtysomething. 

Anyway, I’ve come to two very important conclusions now that my age begins with a “3” and not a “2”. 

1. Thirty is the year at which people start telling you how great you look for your age. Apparently when I was 29 and 11 months, I looked like shit. Washed up. Haggard. Hard. Now that I’m 30, I’ve seemingly gone through some de-aging process. All I can say is: I’LL TAKE IT. 

2. I am now a cougar. I received this message from a 25 year old gentleman on the OKCupes. 

Hey I was wondering if you were into younger guys?

Listen. Maybe I’m weird, but I don’t really think that a 5 year age difference is large enough to call attention to in your FIRST message to me. I think when we are all consenting adults of the legal age to drink, age ain’t nothing but a number. (However. If this means that it is now socially acceptable for me to wear black panty hose, a lot of animal print, and Chanel No. 5, Cougartown here I come!)

PS. I apologize for my hiatus. You know… life. It happens. But I’m back with renewed vigor and I’ve even coughed up the dollars to join match.com again, so… just prepare yourselves. 

Tinder: Letting Go Gracefully

Recently, a friend posted a quote on Facebook. I’m not much of a share-er, but this struck such a strong chord with me that I couldn’t resist having it on my own wall, too. It read:

In the end, only three things matter;
how much you loved,
how gently you lived,
and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you. 

The last part is the kicker, right? I’ve been thinking about it A LOT in the last few days. As I am one who is capable of harboring an old flame / not letting go / dwelling on the past like a motherfucker, this is something that I am constantly trying to get better at.

You know who else needs to get better at this?

Gentlemen on TInder.

Listen, people. It’s really just a game. When you are in the app, it asks if you want to “keep playing”. EVEN THE APP THINKS OF ITSELF AS A GAME. Therefore, there is no reason to get nasty with someone when they don’t respond to your messages. It’s just a game!

Personally, I fire the ol’ tinder up when I’m bored, and then don’t revisit it for days on end.

Here are two gems who could learn a lesson or two in grace.

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Good luck, gentlemen! I’m sure that calling people “rude” and a “biatch” for not responding to your Tinder messages is TOTALLY going to get you laid!

Match: 1 in 5 Relationships Start Online

…so claims the match.com ad campaign. I don’t doubt this. However, I would guess that 4 out of 5 people still can’t shake the “ick” of the online dating stigma. I’m definitely one of those people.

[Pause. You’re probably thinking “Huh?” Confession: I wrote this post two years ago on my old, secret blog that made me sad and depressed. I’m recycling. So sue me. I haven’t had the time or the motivation to write in the last few weeks… Ok. Play.]

When I first moved to New York City (2008), I decided to give match.com a try. I spent hours writing my profile. I agonized over how I was presenting myself to “them”. I wanted to seem down to earth but mysterious, not too high maintenance but still girly, witty and just all around awesome.

There was a section called “my education” in which you could write a brief paragraph about… well, your education. I thought to myself “Oh! I will write about how I went to the University of Storied Football Program and every man in New York City will be impressed! They will be banging down my cyber door to take me on fancy dates!” I included this tidbit of information, and made a joke at the expense of my Masters degree from School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre).

I posted my profile and promptly decided that match.com was entirely too much work. My profile sat dormant for the three months that I had pre-paid, and then I canceled my membership. I hid my profile.

Fast forward to late 2010.

I decided to give match.com another try. Remembering how long the first profile had taken me to put together, I resolved to just re-post it “as-is”. There would be no editing of inaccurate information (favorite hot spots, currently reading, etc.). However, I had become much older, wiser, and digitally skeptical in the two years that had passed. I knew that the “my education” section had to be deleted. The very revealing details of University of Storied Football Program and School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre) would lead potential suitors to my true identity immediately with a simple google search (I am the master of such google searches, so I know).

I went through all of the editing options but couldn’t find a way to remove “my education”. I perused the FAQ and discovered that they were in the process of phasing this section out (they had replaced it with a simple drop down menu). However, this “phasing out” meant that if you did not have the “my education” section already included in your profile, you could not add it, and if you DID have information in the “my education” section, you could not edit it.

Well, fuck.

I was all ready to be 1 in 5, but now there was a wrench in my plan.

I debated not reposting my profile, but then just decided – what the hell. I clicked “publish”.

[Here comes the full disclosure section of this blog post. The reason why I didn’t want these very revealing details of my life included in my match.com profile is because I didn’t want anyone that I know (close friends excluded) to know that I was on match.com; it’s the “ick” factor that I mentioned before: the idea that people will think that I am unable to meet someone in real life; that I am so desperate and undesirable that I have to use a website to meet an equally desperate, undesirable mate. However, it really wasn’t that I didn’t want “anyone” to know. There was one particular person that I would have been MORTIFIED to find out I was on match.com… He was a guy that I had a gigantic crush on for much too much time and referred to as my Future Boyfriend – FBF. Anyway. I was horrified that he might somehow find out that I was using match.com.]

The website proved to be just as much work as it was two years prior. I was pretty much over it. Then I got an email that I couldn’t NOT respond to. It read:

Hi Erin!

Tough year for the University of Storied Football Program, huh? I have been a fan my whole life and actually almost applied there but then I got into School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre), class of ‘AFewYearsBeforeYourTime. I’m sure we can play the name game when we meet!

-Comet

As I mentioned before, I am a master of the google (a poorly disguised username helps, too). I did not pass go, I did not collect two hundred dollars, I did not read his profile. I immediately went to Facebook to see who our mutual friends were.

There were five.

One of them was FBF.

Fuck.

After much hemming and hawing (and a long IM conversation with my friend D., another one of our mutual friends), I decided to respond to Comet’s email. We exchanged a few emails and made plans to meet.

Comet was unbelievably nice. He had memorized my profile. He asked me questions about things that I didn’t even remember I had divulged (this profile was two years old, you know). He chose the restaurant and called ahead to make sure that they had the wine that I was obsessed with (side note: I wasn’t really a fan anymore, but felt like I HAD to order it after he had gone to all that nice, sweet trouble!). The conversation just flowed. We had so much to talk about. I’ll say it again: he was SO nice. I was not. I had barely even looked at his profile. I don’t think I ever read the whole thing.

Quickly, we moved on to the “six degrees” portion of our evening. The first person that he asked me if I knew was D. “Yes! I love her!” The next was FBF. He explained how close he and FBF were at the School of Waiting Tables (and Musical Theatre). He was like FBF’s older brother. I began to realize that many of Comet’s mannerisms and speech patterns were just like FBF’s. These people were not merely acquaintances, they had the kinds of similarities that only occur when you spend A LOT of time with another person.

It weirded me out.

From moment one of meeting Comet, I didn’t have the zsa zsa zsu. I liked him (SO nice!), but I didn’t want to make out with him. Buuuuut he reminded me of FBF… Maybe I could make it work?! Is that a horrible reason to be interested in someone? Can you date someone because they remind you of someone you really, really like?

The answer is: absolutely not.

Comet and I went out one more time after our first date. After that, neither of us contacted each other.

My theory? I think he called FBF after our initial date. Their conversation, in my mind, went something like this:

Comet: Dude. You’ll never believe this. So… I’m on match.com and…

FBF: Wait. What?! HAHA! You’re on match.com?!! Alright man, well… whatever tickles your pickle.

Comet: Yeah… I know. Anyway. So I’m on match.com and I met… wait for it… Erin! She said that she knows you! Isn’t it a crazy small world!?

FBF: Uh… Erin? She said that she “knows” me? Hah. That’s funny.

Comet: You don’t know her? She’s got blonde hair and is really short and stuff.

FBF: Yeah, yeah, man. I know her. That girl and I had a thing a while ago. She was SUPER into me. She would send me drunken text messages and shit. She was totally on my jock. [Editor’s note: I know that this is my made-up version of their hypothetical conversation, but I can assure you that it wasn’t like he was discouraging my ridiculous behavior.]

Comet: Oh, really? She seemed really shy and reserved and stuff. We didn’t even kiss or anything.

FBF: Huh. Maybe she’s chilled out or something.

Comet: Peace out man.

FBF: Yeah, talk to you later.

Comet then came to the realization (solidified after “date” number two), that I was not “SUPER into” him like I was FBF and decided to cut his losses. Like I said, I didn’t want to make out with him, there was no zsa zsa zsu.

What did I learn from this experience?

1. I’m not ready to be 1 in 5. I’ll stick to the non-digital means of meeting people for now. My online profile has since been removed, but that doesn’t stop catholicsingles.com from targeting me with Facebook ads daily.

2. All skeletons in my closet / emotional baggage: get out of my life. No, seriously. GET OUT.

[Also, it was really hard for me to write male dialogue without a bunch of “like”s in there. I had to remove them all after I had written the “conversation”. Men don’t say “like”. I shouldn’t either. I sound like an idiot.]

Dear readers. Oh, how time can change a person. I still don’t really love meeting people online [it just feels so forced], however when someone tells me they feel weird about being on an online dating site, I just roll my eyes at them and tell them they are ridiculous because EVERYONE is on them. Everyone.