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Blaugust 27: Try. Fail.


Today was not a good day. I feel like it SHOULD have been a good day because the whole point was to relax and not get stressed out about anything. For ONE DAMN DAY. But I’m not sure how it COULD have been a good day, simply because there are circumstances in my life that just make things really difficult in general.

 

What I thought I would do today:

Take a long walk

Yoga

Read

Pick up my room a little

Call some people

 

What I actually did:

Glance at my work email (bad idea)

Netflix

Emails

Notice joint pain

More Netflix

Check bank accounts (VERY bad idea)

Think about how life could be better

Try not to cry (failed)

Shower

Sulk

 

Now there’s just enough time that I could probably manage to get some reading done, or do very light yoga… but you know how you get to a certain point in a bad day and you can’t imagine trying? It’ll be an achievement if I do the least bit of prep for lunch tomorrow, which I HAVE to bring to work with me because I’m not going to be able to afford to buy lunch out.

Monday Madness: F*ck! I’m in My Twenties.


This is the title of a book I got for Christmas. Yes, it was on my wishlist. Because I am in my twenties. And it’s kind of weird.

The book actually has that asterisk. I guess you’re not allowed to actually write “fuck” on a book cover, because Go the F*ck to Sleep had the same thing. CENSORSHIP. PROTECT US FROM THE DIRTY WORDS PLEASE, BECAUSE THEY’RE THE REAL PROBLEM AROUND HERE!!!

You might not be surprised to hear that things have been a little bit crazy lately. Between the holidays and visiting family, the emotional mess I became in the few weeks before the holidays (for no reason, really), the unusual work schedule, and the weather (it turns out I actually hate winter, so, yeah), I feel like I haven’t had a chance to really relax pretty much since Thanksgiving.

That’s all about how I spend my time, though. I need to figure out how to manage time and money effectively. Less procrastination. In my last year of college I resolved to do my homework as soon as possible and never put it off. That didn’t happen, of course, but I think I finished everything at least the day before it was due. Unfortunately, I have no actual deadlines to work with now…

I would really like to spend January on vacation. I don’t mean out of town, away on some tropical island somewhere–although I guess that would be nice too. I was actually thinking staycation. Because all I want to do right now is nurse my creativity. I want to read all these books I’ve had around, many for over a year now, and absorb the literature and the art. I also want to re-read Memoirs of Hadrian and The Waves, both fantastic books I’ve only read once. I need to finish Pride and Prejudice, finally, and read at least some of the entries from History of the World in 100 Objects. I got it as a present a long time ago, because I claimed to want it very very much, and I haven’t actually read a single word of it.

And then I want to delve into the stories in my head. There are so many, and they’re tired of being unseen. It’s like my productivity as a writer is a frozen river; it’s flowing, but I just can’t get to it through this layer of ice.

That ice is day-to-day life. It’s an 8-hour work day plus an hour of commute at each end. It’s forcing myself out of bed in the morning when I’m still so tired, and trying to get through the morning quickly enough that I’ll get to work on time (sometimes…). It’s those evenings when you get home and make dinner, and do the dishes, and then take a shower, and then you pretty much only have time to go to bed.

Because I spend way more time complaining about all this stuff than actually taking steps to improve my life, I feel the need to make a certain point here: this stuff is a lot easier for some people. Plenty of people wake up on time (even if they don’t enjoy it) and they go through their work day and they get home and are productive in their free time. I suspect that these people are well-adjusted ones who had mostly happy adolescences and were never lonely or excluded, because they were “normal.”

I am not one of those people. For me, the idea of coming home after work and cleaning and writing and doing the things I want to do that would make life nicer in general is at times quite impossible. Making some kind of sandwich melt in the toaster oven and then watching shows on hulu for three hours always seems so much simpler and more attainable of a goal.

But I’ve got Resolutions this year! (One of them is making the updates to this blog I talked about in an earlier post.) I’m thinking of them as Non-New Year’s Resolutions, because I don’t think New Year’s Resolutions actually work. I’m planning to make a youtube video about it and posting it early in January… I’ll link it, so keep an eye out if you’re interested. In a nutshell, my resolutions are about getting off my ass and actually trying to do the things I want to do. But it’s more particular than that.

With a reluctant sigh, I guess I should get back to that “life” now and get something done…

Monday Madness: Naked Santas and Overspending


First, I want to say that what happened Saturday night was barely a snowstorm. In Boston, it had completely stopped by Sunday. And yet, this morning there were too many stupidly icy sidewalks (hint: one is too many) and ridiculous traffic because no one can ever remember how to drive once there’s the smallest amount of snow. So I give up. If we have another snowstorm, which seems likely, I’m just not going to leave my house until spring. I’ll do that peapod thing to have my groceries delivered and order lots of pizzas.

Now, a quick thank you to everyone who liked my cupcake post. It’s nice to have that validation, since no one I invited over to have some thought it was worth the trip–either for having the cupcakes or for hanging out with me. I mean, that’s a major fail, right? But I realized I hadn’t done a real food post for a while, so there you go. There are still about four cupcakes left, but by now they’re on the stale side, so probably not worth a trip at this point anyway.

Logically I know people are just busy and sort of far away (unfortunate consequence of living in Boston: only friends who live in your neighborhood are actually easy to get to), but emotionally it just feels like everyone’s rejecting me. I started out December being really excited about Christmas, but now I’m kind of depressed.

I’ve been shopping way too much. And then, you know, the second you say “Ok, that’s it. I’m going to be good and not buy all this stuff I don’t need,” that’s when something comes up and you end up spending anyway. Like Christmas presents (I didn’t spend that much, but combined with everything it adds up), or the $20 off a $50 purchase from Sephora with a time limit (how could I pass that up?), so you can get that $34 container of moisturizer without feeling so bad about it. The good news is, that one container is probably going to last me at least six months. I think it might be time to trade in my coins for Real Money. It won’t be that much. Probably somewhere between $10 and $20. But it’ll do me more good in my pocket than sitting in a jar on a shelf.

Ok, I know I’ve been teasing you. You’re wondering about the naked santas, right? Well… Read the rest of this entry

Woe Is Wednesday…


Well. Last night I decided I should make a pizza bagel for dinner, after buying bagels from Cafenation. It was very tasty but, of course, being pizza, it burned the roof of my mouth. So breakfast this morning was a little painful.

Worse, though, was the sad state of my coffee. I don’t know what happened exactly, but it wasn’t good today. It wasn’t terrible, so I drank it anyway. But I was kind of sad about it. Between that and how bad my hair looks today, I am not loving this Wednesday. I’m also very very tired, I think I need several days to just sleep.

Woe. Woe is me.

So the debate going on in my head is should I just have unsatisfying coffee today, or should I go out and get some? It should be an easy answer. It would help me be a little bit warmer in this freezing cold office (I’m exaggerating, but I am definitely cold), and I tend to go out for some food or drink every day, sometimes even just to get out of the office for a few minutes. But I’ve done very badly with my money this month so I would like, ideally, to spend as little as possible until whenever it is next week that I get my paycheck.

But coffee.

And sadness.

And so the debate goes. And screw it, I’m probably going to go get a coffee. I should be able to spend $2-4 today without a problem…

I think this problem could have been very easily avoided if I could have worked from home today. In fact, it would eliminate many problems if I could work from home. Logistically, I could do it. My tasks are generally things I do at a computer by myself, so…

Life is NOT fair. It’s not even close.

Monday Madness: Where does all the money go?


I get paid once a month, at the end/beginning of the month, depending on how you look at it. So I always have plenty of money in my account at the very end of a month and through the first week or two, and it looks great during that time! I can do things! The sky (read: stores and restaurants?) is the limit!

But I know it’s not going to last

Rent check comes out. Transfer to savings account (which is usually transferred back to checking so I can pay my bills) comes out. Tax payment comes out. Credit card and loan payments happen. And throughout all of this, food and other essentials (and, ok, often quite a few non-essentials) are purchased.

This is how incomes and living work. We all know this.

But, because I only get paid once a month, I suffer from end-of-month brokeness.

It gets down to only $100-200 in my account. Granted, that’s more than some people have. But, considering that I have no savings, it’s not enough to deal with any emergency expenses. So those, naturally, would have to go on my credit card. On which I already carry a balance right now.

And then I have to buy my train pass on the 1st of the month. Depending on timing, that might have to go on the credit card.

And I’m having a little party the first weekend in August. It won’t be that many people, but it still requires extra money for the food and drinks I plan to provide.

I desperately hope there isn’t a paycheck delay this month. (So far so good, but it’s not certain…)

The Cost of Sandwiches


*I’m just going to start off by saying: No, this is not a post about why you shouldn’t eat sandwiches. The only reason I’d ever say that is because it would mean MORE FOR ME!! I love sandwiches and when people say they are just “not really a sandwich person,” that’s weirder to me than when people say “I’m not a dessert person.” They just have to be crazy, right? Sandwiches are delicious. That’s the only logical explanation for not liking them.

This is, in fact, simply about how much money it costs to buy a sandwich.

You used to be able to get a pretty good sandwich for about $5. I don’t remember details, but I remember it happening. It was a really long time ago – which is my point, but we’ll come back to that.

Add a beverage, and you had a meal for 6 or 7 bucks. Not bad, really. And, like I said, I love sandwiches, so for me it was GREAT!!

If you wanted a really fancy sandwich, the most you were likely to pay was 7 or 8 dollars. I never went to REALLY fancy places, so I don’t know, could have been more there.

…Now, if I go out and buy a sandwich, it’s usually closer to $7 for a basic one, more for a more complex one. So, add the price of a drink to that, and you’re approaching $10.

Let’s be honest here. A sandwich is only as good as its ingredients. Fresh meats and veggies and really good bread are the most significant aspects of this. Now, just think a minute. Usually, if you’re ordering from a place that’s using really top quality, fresh ingredients, All but the most simple sandwiches are going to be upwards of $8. Local businesses are often more expensive, presumably because they aren’t getting super-bulk discounts on their ingredients… (you’d think buying locally would cost less, but for some reason it often seems to cost more.) And if you decide you want a latte or a fancy tea with that, that’s $2-5 more. Get a smoothie as well, and congratulations, you just spent too much on lunch.

This is not laid out in the simplest way, so I’ll just say it outright: when I go to some of my favorite cafes and delis for a sandwich meal, I’m spending almost $10 without any extras. Add a drink, it’s about $11-12. Leave a tip in the jar, it’s $12-14 (I usually give no more than a dollar for counter service: delivery guys and waitress/waiters get way more). That is approximately twice as much as what it used to cost.

I’m not including fast food in this account, because I really don’t eat at fast food places much anymore. It wasn’t even a conscious choice. More of a simple lack of desire to eat at places like McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Subway, etc. I know you can get pretty cheap meals at those places, but since I don’t want to go there, I’m not even thinking of it as an option for anyone else. Just, ew.

Even at Au Bon Pain, which I still like, if you get a sandwich and a coffee it’s usually $8 or 9. Not as high as the delicious places I like to go to, but still a few dollars more than what a meal used to be. It seems the only cheap sandwiches these days are breakfast sandwiches, which I tend to only want for breakfast.

There is still one option for cheap sandwich-based meals, of course – diners! And diner food is ok, often even good, but how many diners do you know that are using the best quality bread and all-local ingredients? …probably not many. If they are, their prices are probably higher.

The takeaway here, in case it’s not clear, is that sandwiches cost more now. Deal with it.

Render and such


The reason I haven’t posted for so long is, as you might have guessed, that I haven’t eaten anything in all this time.

I’m kidding, of course.

Actually, a combination of procrastination and general bad-moodness is the reason. Luckily for those of you who are interested in reading my posts, that means I now have lots of posts to catch up on. Quite a bit of experimenting. Also other random eating. Last night was Halloween, and I ate a salad of lettuce, tomato, and dressing. That’s all I had for dinner. Exciting Halloween, huh? But I’m not going to talk about Halloween, and the fact that I didn’t do anything.

I did note that, after I asked people to actually click on my posts and come to the page, they did. Thank you! I appreciate you! I may or may not ever mention it again.

Catchup post #1:

Time to talk about one of the high-end, expensive coffee places in Boston: Render Coffee in the South End. I checked them out at a 50% discount by the good graces of Scoutmob. If you have not heard of them, you should check them out. They do deals in a number of cities, and if you live in one of them, I would highly recommend you get the app. It’s free to download and use. I have no idea how they make any money.   Read the rest of this entry

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