So I was actually born 20 days ago and celebrated my birthday with Jordan about 22 days ago.  The weekend before my birthday (which was on a Tuesday) Jordan took me on a weekend getaway trip.  Part of the present was that the trip was a surprise.

Now the surprise aspect was part of the gift because I love surprises and Jordan can’t keep them.  He gets too excited and wants to give you your present the second he buys it.  And because he’s so on top of his life, this usually means he tells you what he got you for Christmas three weeks early.

I realize that this inability to keep presents secret stems from his desire to please so I can’t gripe about it too much.  However, because it was my birthday and because that means I’m in charge and get everything I want (or that’s at least how Heidi felt about it on The Hills)- he had to keep it a secret.

Now, I thought he was going to take me to Montreal or Maine for the weekend- some place that we had talked about going before- but when we started going West on I-90 I got confused.  I began to think he was taking me home for the weekend which would have been nice but totally non-inventive.  Or I thought we were going to Sturbridge Village which would really only be a pipe dream because there is no way he would take me there.  Unfortunately.

However, we breezed right by my exit (and the exit to Sturbridge Village for that matter) which left me completely confused.  Only when I caught sight of a sign for Tanglewood did I know he was taking me to the Berkshires.  At first I thought, “Really?  The Berkshires?  What are we, 50 years old and looking to rekindle our romance?”  But then I stopped being so judgmental and decided to wait and see what he had in store for me.

Like me, you are probably wondering why the Berkshires?  Well, certainly not to go camping- I hate setting up tents and Jordan’s afraid of ticks.  Plus neither of us could start a fire if our life depended on it.  I’m sure we would have gone on a hike or two if it hadn’t been raining the whole time though- we can go outside, we just can’t stay there overnight.  But beyond hiking, we went to the Berkshires because for some odd reason, this is where MassMOCA (The Massachusetts Museum of Art) is located.

First off, we stayed at the Holiday Inn which made me feel like Snoop Dogg.  I absolutely loved being able to control the climate without worrying about the energy bill at the end of the night.  The town we stayed in, North Adams, was very small and quaint.  Lots of local eateries and art shops as well as the typical chain restaurants like Subway, McDonalds, and Papa Ginos.

Now, I had heard a lot about Papa Ginos and it had gotten rave reviews from my coworkers.  For the past month and a half, every time we passed a Papa Ginos I would yell out “Papa Ginos!”  Jordan told me I had become obsessed.  I pretty much had.  Apparently it was the place to go.

So you can guess how excited I was when Jordan and I were heading home from a neighboring town where we had just watched the new Karate Kid movie in theaters and he said he was hungry.  “Let’s go to Papa Ginos!” I cried.  He consented.  It was not very good but it at least had a nice thinnish crust.  I liked it more than Jordan- he said it tasted like Saltines.  I like Saltines.  Clearly, he doesn’t.

So basically, since the weather was rainy all weekend, we just ate, explored the various small towns and spent an afternoon at Mass MOCA.  The museum was super cool- my favorite exhibit was the kids’ one.  All the art was made out of food.  They had a video playing of Godzilla attacking a Jello New York City.  They also had sea scapes made out of fruit loops and other genius things.

I guess all the sweets in the art exhibit made me crave a birthday treat that evening as I hadn’t had one yet that weekend.  Jordan’s Iphone indicated that there was a Friendly’s near our hotel and so I forced him outside that night to walk there.  The season premier of two HBO shows that we wanted to see were on at 10pm and Jordan was worried we wouldn’t make it back on time.  However, he couldn’t refuse me my birthday treat or he would have been a bad person.

So off we walked to go to Friendly’s.  I knew exactly what I was going to get- a Reece’s pieces sundae.  One of my favorites.  I had eaten it on one of the first dates Jordan and I went on in Maine.  This was not unusual behavior for me at the beginning of our relationship.  I definitely gained some weight over the first few months but I think I wooed him eventually with my enthusiasm every time he suggested going to Taco Bell at midnight.

But anyway, as we began to enter North Adam’s residential area the suburban girl in me got scared.  I mean, there were 28 year-old men on BMX bikes passing us.  28 year-old men on BMX bikes frighten me.  Men on BMX bikes frighten me- they always seem to be huge jerks.  Or maybe it’s because Watertown is littered with young teenage hooligans and their dumb BMX bikes.  They always ride on the sidewalk and yell at each other.  Sigh.

So I got scared.  And I told Jordan I was scared.  And he didn’t tell me that I should be scared but then again… he didn’t tell me that I shouldn’t.  So I made him turn around in retreat.  “You’re crushing my masculinity” he whined to me.  But I didn’t think either of us was up for a BMX battle.  He roller blades for God’s sake!  And I had just cut my nails and so was defenseless- like a little de-nailed cat.

Anyway, I had remembered there was a McDonalds around and it was in a well-lit area so I led him there.  After passing some people blasting absurdly loud metal music from their SUV and yelling, we made it safely into the McDonalds.  I ended up buying myself (Jordan didn’t have any money on him) a Reeces Pieces Mcflurry and shared it with Jordan on the walk back to the hotel.  He pretended he didn’t want any at first but not even Jordan was man enough to resist my Mcflurry.  We arrived back at the hotel at 9:50pm, perfect timing for us to watch our series premiers.

Though I didn’t get a birthday cake that weekend, sharing my $2.79 Mcflurry with Jordan after our pilgrimage was the best birthday treat I could have.  I didn’t have to fight anyone and I got the ice cream, peanut butter, chocolate medley I was craving.

Upon our homecoming Jordan made this video of the trip.  It may look like all we did was eat and walk but you know what?  That’s kind of true.



Future Fears

“Wouldn’t it be so awesome to work here?” Jordan asked, showing me a photo of Wieden and Kennedy’s (an advertising company that brings you these brilliant Old Spice commercials) office space.  I looked.  It was damn cool.  There was one photo of people playing ping pong.

“Honestly, I hope you never get a job at a place like that,” I replied, looking at him straight in the eye.  “Because then you’d never come home.  I’m sure they have a pizza vending machine and Mac screens that are 42 inches wide.”  He laughed in reply, a little too loudly if you ask me.  I think he knew that would be the case.

Jordan really seems to be making strides on his future plans- going to Dartmouth for a summer program, looking at Grad schools, networking, and maintaining a new and very professional blog.  This however, makes me nervous.  And not because I feel like I need to compete with him- I hope he does extremely well and is super happy with his life because then he’ll buy me lots of presents and we can have a maid.  Or at least a new bed.

I think that watching Jordan figure out his future freaks me out because I then feel as though I need to figure out mine.  And I certainly do.  But really, I am having a future freeze.  I have no blog ideas, can’t get myself to start exploring graduate school programs, and don’t want to begin studying for the GREs.  Instead, I keep making cold bean salad with too much red onion in it (I just had it for lunch and am typing this while chewing three pieces of Trident gum) and watching The Real Housewives of Orange County.  I can’t even water my plants regularly because every time I think about it I get afraid to enter our enclosed front porch to do it because I think they’ll all be dead and I’ll feel like a failure.  It’s like how we put out a “humane mousetrap” (a trap that just literally traps the mouse luring it in with peanut butter so you can let it go outside) and I haven’t checked if it’s gotten heavier since we put it out on Monday because I’m afraid the mouse went in there and got too freaking hot and died and then I’ll feel like a murderer.  It’s been so hot these days I’ve felt like I was going to die so being trapped in a little gray piece of plastic next to a huge pile of JIF peanut butter (ew) would definitely cause death soon after.

While at work today I began to freak out again about my future (these freakouts come in waves).  I suddenly found I couldn’t stay at my desk anymore because I was an utter failure and couldn’t be near a computer without actually using it to move my life forward by writing a blog post about Lady Gaga or Lebron James that will get me 10,000 hits.  So I decided to get outside and do the only things that can make me feel better about my seemingly aimless life- I went to Anne Taylor and then to a Farmers’ Market on my lunch break.

And as I was perusing the over-priced blouses and then the brightly colored bunches of swiss chard I realized that it’s not that I’m not thinking on a daily basis- I’m just not taking action on these thoughts.  I’m not tweeting them, blogging them, or making a 3-month plan to actualize them.  Instead I tell myself every night that I’m going to clean the toilet or check the inhumane humane mouse trap and then don’t.  And it’s not that I lie on the floor drooling instead, I am still cooking dinner, tidying things, reading feminist blogs, deciding that male enhancement drugs are part of rape culture — nothing that will get me 10,000 hits on my blog.

So I’m going to begin taking action and it starts with this blog post.  From here I’m going to do some research about psychotherapy, start writing some ideas down for a book, find a feminist website that will allow me to rant about how cats are the women of the domestic pet world, post on this blog at least once every-other day and begin studying for the GREs.  Mark my words.

And with that being said, I’m also planning to get a pedicure on Saturday.



So… I’m kind-of a robot.  My mom tells me that when I was younger I used to say “I have my rules and regulations.”  Well, at age 22 (almost 23), I totally do.  I have an exact way that I shower, an exact way that I prepare my breakfast in the morning.  I wake up at the exact time each weekday morning and leave the house at the exact time.  I catch the exact bus, and perform the exact same “settling into work” routine.  I am very regular to say the least, and it seems to be working out well for me.

Unfortunately for others, I think that I sometimes push my robot-ness on them.  Some people more than others.  Like Jordan.  Poor Jordan.  He likes to cook his eggs and then transfer them to his plate with the fire still burning, then put the pan back on the flame while he searches around for the next food-stuff to put in the pan.  Every time I see him do that my robot switchboard goes haywire.  I can’t stand it and it takes all of my energy not to say something (often times I don’t have enough energy and say something and then sound like a mom).

But, to my defense- I have reasoning behind some of my robotic-ness, including this situation.  Here it is:

A) Open flames are bad.  They’re just bad.  Eventually I want a cat.  And Jordan wants an English bull dog.  And though probably the English bull dog will never make it onto the counter top by the stove to meet its fiery demise (imagine an English bull dog leaping from the floor onto a counter top… it doesn’t seem physically possible.  If it happened it would be viral on Youtube), my cat will be stealth and will slither around the whole apartment.  And it will be furry.  And it will most likely jump on the counter tops.  And so it will be like smoking a cigarette while filling up your car with gas wearing a polyester suit- my precious cat might very well go up in flames because Jordan didn’t turn off the fire under the pan.  And then I’d be psychologically damaged for life.

B) Nonstick pans (which we have) should not be heated up without anything in them (like oil etc.) or they release toxins.  I read that somewhere, I swear.

So think about it- I might get all robotically upset about this behavior but it’s only because I want to eschew cancer and not watch my domestic pet go up in flames on a Sunday morning.  Quite non-robotic reasons if you ask me — very emotional.  I’m an emotional robot.

But though I might push my anal-retentiveness onto others, I assert it’s still endearing — at least for now.  I think Jordan is secretly amused that I enter the bedroom (after my yoga and making my tea and putting on the coffee- IN THAT ORDER) at the same time his alarm clock goes off every morning.  I think he finds it endearing that I don’t like the wine-stained part of the cork to be facing up in a re-corked bottle of wine.  I’m a great travel partner- I always know where I’m going to the minute and I always make plans (though I will comment if your gas station snack has a ton of added sugar).  I can direct people very efficiently while walking, I always wake up on time and I’ll never forget that we made plans for a certain date.  And that’s not a bad way to live, even if I do shudder when Jordan makes breakfast.  And hey, I might be robotic but at least I’m not a psychopath.  Right?



I discovered that I have a latent superiority complex that comes from being a college graduate.  I learned this yesterday when I took my cousin to her college orientation at the University of Rhode Island.  She came to Boston from Indiana, and since she was so close, it only made sense for me to ferry her there for her first real experience of college.

I was excited for this trip as I hadn’t seen my cousin in a long time nor had I spent a significant amount of time with her alone.  We had a lot to catch up on including family, boys, high school, friends, body modification and of course, college.  Besides coming to the conclusion that I don’t remember my freshman year at Bates for the life of me (too much going on I guess, system overload), I also realized that once you graduate college, being a college grad becomes the best thing since sliced bread.  Just like your grandpa thinks he’s superior because he fought in a war and walked six miles to school in the snow, I think I’m superior because I am out of college and older and wiser (or so I think).

When we arrived on campus, we were rather early for registration.  After finding the building where we would check in, we had to decide our next moves as there was no one in the building’s office.  There was a giant group of students all in URI tee shirts who were obviously the orientation leaders.  They were gathered around outside the registration building taking group pictures while two older ladies yelled at them to keep quiet (very high school assembly — it was kind of weird).

Anyway, my cousin said she was feeling shy and didn’t know what to ask so that we could get her settled in.  “Oh, I’ll take care of it,” I said nonchalantly.  I mean, these were just college kids — I’d been there, done that.  I wasn’t worried about looking cool, I just wanted my cousin to get settled in properly.  This wasn’t my school, it was way more important that she looked cool than me.

So I walked right up to them and said “Hi, my cousin Allison is an incoming freshman and she is checking in early today as she’s coming from out of state.”  Everyone started at me like I was some alien- I looked like I could be in college but I was clearly not because I was so efficient and smart!

Anyway, after being confused for a bit and making us wait around in the humid hotness (I arrived home looking like a cat that had just gone through the dryer on high), they showed us inside and got us registered.  We managed to find her room but not before we passed a sign in the hallway about “avoiding the freshman 15.”  My cousin looked terrified.  “Oh don’t worry about it,” I said trying to assuage her fears.  “I gained the freshman 19.  Just don’t eat Papa Johns pizza in bed 5 days a week.”  She looked even more terrified.

We entered the room where she would be staying for her orientation and it was a very. tiny. triple.  I had lived in a triple my freshman year but it was way bigger than this one.  When she asked me what bed she should claim if she has a choice of bunk beds I said the top because then random people won’t be sitting on your bed.  Also, my freshman year I would never put my clothes away and would just pile them on my bed.  Then at night I would climb under the giant mass of clothes and my blanket and go to sleep.  My roommate who slept under me used to get mad because errant socks would slip down the wall onto her bed and sometimes get on her face while she was sleeping.  You want your socks to be going in other peoples’ faces- not the other way around.

After I helped her put her twin extra-long sheets on her bed, we laid back and talked for a while before it was time for her to register and for me to go.  She walked me out to my car, I gave her a hug and wished her well.  As I watched her walk back to the building my heart hurt- I was so excited for her, but I also wanted so badly for her to enjoy her entire college experience from orientation to graduation.  I hope her philistine college orientation leaders show her a good time.



I’ve had a series of disappointments lately regarding farmers’ markets.  Let me begin by saying that I totally romanticize them.  I imagine healthy, amazing, local produce that is awesomely delicious and if used, will turn me into a fabulous cook rather than the mediocre one I am in real-life.  And it’s not because I’m not a good cook — I think I’m mediocre because I don’t use the best ingredients.  I leave out herbs that I don’t want to buy, I use frozen food a lot and I don’t cook with a lot of fat.  That’ll do it, that’ll make any dish bland and Julia Child turn over in her grave.  But let me just say- that woman’s hubby in the movie Julie and Julia or whatever better have worked on Wall Street because she was certainly not paying for all those insane ingredients on her paycheck at the call center.  Sigh.

So anyway, I have this idea in my head that I can bargain shop at these huge farmer’s markets and get all this lovely food and then make delicious dinners that will last for three days straight (though now that Jordan’s school has stopped serving lunch, he takes leftovers from home and having two dinners out of one dish is just not a possibility.)

My first farmer’s market excursion was planned for two weekends ago when the first ones were opening up.  I was totally excited and planned to go with my old Bates roomie who was visiting from NYC.  It was in Somerville and ended at 1pm on Saturday.  We stayed up until 4am on Friday.  Needless to say, we didn’t make it.  We bought sandwiches for lunch and then went to Trader Joes.

Next excursion was to a farmer’s market in Westport this past weekend.  I went with my parents and was all excited.  It was disappointingly small but I did get some wonderfully cheap and beautiful rainbow chard.  I made a curry with it.  Using a curry sauce I bought from Trader Joes.  Sigh.  That’s what I mean.  It just wasn’t that good.  Because I was using frozen chicken and Trader Joes curry sauce.  But the chard was fantastic.

Next experience was the farmer’s market in Harvard Square yesterday.  I was super excited yet again, always the hopeful one.  It had been casual day at work so I was all ready to hoist my groceries home with me.  The market had gotten a lot of publicity and I was ready to find my cooking muse somewhere in all the stalls.  Well, I got there and… it was small.  And the food was REALLY expensive.  Like $4 for rainbow chard.  No thanks.  I’d rather buy a falafel for that price and have a meal.  Anyway, I ended up buying some lettuce and 1/2lb of sugar snap peas for $2.50 because they  were delicious.  I’ll use them in a quinoa gratin this week (see, I’m totally a chef).

But as I walked back from my third farmer’s market attempt, I felt like someone who was consistently going on bad dates.  Why were these markets so disappointing?  Why were they small and expensive and lackluster?  Why wasn’t I finding true love?  I was trying so hard!

Well of course, in any situation where you have high expectations that are not based on reality, I realized I was causing my own disappointment.  It was I who expected these farmer’s markets to be like the The Common Ground Fair or stalls at the Phish concerts I went to in high school (except the glass pipes would be ripe, inexpensive strawberries and the grilled cheese stands would be selling fresh and vibrant summer vegetables.)  I wanted that.  But I made it up.  I realize that now.

So my next farmer’s market trip is going to be this Saturday, I refuse to give up my search for the perfect market.  There is one in Waltham, the city next to me.  I am going to go with an open mind this time.  But while I will go with an open mind, I will also go expecting to leave with a fresh baked loaf of whole wheat bread, some asparagus, fresh spinach, and rainbow chard, some ripe and delicious strawberries and peaches, and perhaps some non-pasteurized creamy, delectable cheese.  And maybe a little woven basket and some all-natural hand lotion. All for a bargain.  But that’s all I ask.  Really.



Repuation Manipulation

Last night was Thursday, so at 5 p.m. a couple of co-workers and I decided to go out in Harvard Square for a drink.  As I was sitting among my fellow office-mates, I couldn’t get a previous conversation out of my head.  This conversation was about reputation.

Earlier in the week I had attended a Staff Assistant meeting where someone planned and gave a presentation on reputation management.  She highlighted that we should think of our reputations as organic, living and breathing things that are highly influenced.  The take-home message of the presentation was that we need to take charge of our reputations because they’re ours.  It was sort of like the talk my mom gave me when I was young about how my body is mine and no one has the right to manipulate it if it makes me feel uncomfortable and that I can get them in trouble.  (However, it’s not quite the same because people can manipulate your reputation whether you feel uncomfortable or not and unless you’re Pamela Anderson or someone, it’s not really feasible to take someone to court for reputation manipulation aka. defamation).

But anyway, back to taking charge of your reputation.  My co-worker asked us all sorts of questions such as “Who is in a position to support or derail your career?”  “What would you like people to say about you?” “List three actions you can take to manage your reputation” and “What is Harvard’s reputation and how will its reputation affect your job search internally or externally?”

Well these questions first made me paranoid that I wasn’t working to control my reputation enough.  I wasn’t constantly watching my actions inside and outside the office.  I never brush my hair.  Once I saw a co-worker on a Friday night when I went out to a sushi dinner with Jordan, and I looked like a British rocker.  And then I didn’t introduce Jordan because I didn’t want her to feel as though I was pulling her into my private life but then she introduced herself and I felt totally awkward.  But then I might have won her back when I muttered “curses!” in front of her when the printer wasn’t working, and she seemed to think it was novel.

Then I got paranoid that even if I did diligently watch my conduct, I might be hurt by association.  A future employer’s son may have just been wait-listed at Harvard right before I interview with them, and they may decide to hate me based on the fact that I just came from Harvard.  Some senior administrator in the office may not like one of the Staff Assistants and may see me one day eating with them in the lunch room and then associate me with what they dislike.  There are numerous situations that I just can’t control.

But your reputation is one of those situations where you must work to control what you can (Which is so totally frustrating no?  Why work hard to control something that you can’t really ever control?)  But I guess that’s life- you have to do your best but recognize that some things are just beyond your control.

So what does “doing your best” mean in this situation?  Unfortunately, it means paying attention and being professional.  And frankly, paying attention and being professional are two things that are really difficult to do, no matter who you are.  Really, let’s think about it: who is completely aware of their actions and the present moment all of the time?  Ummm, the Dalai Lama.  And he’s probably enlightened or something.  And I bet mad professional as well.  The real answer is: not many people.

So I think I’m going to look at it like baby steps- I will work to be aware of what I say to others both inside and outside the office.  Then I will move on to being aware of my body language and my written communication.  Then once I get proficient at this and get a lay of the land, I will begin to strategize for my future here- who should I be interacting with, how, and how often?  How do other people in the office who I admire handle similar work situations?  How can I assure that I am perceived as a dedicated, interested, and loyal employee?

This looks like a process that never ends, and it won’t.  I guess that’s what I took away from the reputation presentation.  Because a reputation is organic, it isn’t static.  I can’t just build it and leave it alone to do its thing.  I have to shape my reputation every day — perform it if you will (any fans of Judith Butler out there?)  Somehow I have to make other people see me the way I want them to see me, not the way they want to see me.  And that, I think, is the mark of a successful person.  Getting people to see you in the way you want them.  And then you’ll have an awesome reputation.  Because you formed it.



I’m really into cooking blogs these days.  I read them all the time.  Basically, a cooking blog is a blog where someone just writes about what they made for dinner.  Some are more elaborate than others.

I look to these blogs for inspiration and also just to see what other people are cooking, young and old alike.  And of course I find myself comparing what I make on any given night to these cooking blogs.  When I was unemployed, I could spend a good deal of my day cooking, it was a nice activity that helped me forget that I was jobless and alone all day.  It worked out well- I would cook and Jordan would do the dishes.

Then I got my bank job.  And lo and behold, I was still cooking every night.  Then Jordan’s job began to get hectic.  And lo and behold he stopped doing the dishes every night.  I felt like Betty Friedan — bitter that I was still cooking and adhering to a schedule that worked when I was unemployed even though I was coming home at 6:30 every evening while being white and privileged.  Sulking in my JCrew outfit, mad that the man in my life would get home before me and make himself a sandwich, leaving me to fend for myself.  He could have at least gotten take out, right ladies??

But anyway, I’ve tried to find a balance.  Once I bought all frozen dinners.  But frozen dinners are dinky.  Jordan nearly starved that week, and we ran out of sandwich supplies by Thursday.  An epic fail.  Great if you’re living alone.  But not so great for us.

So now I’m back to cooking.  And sometimes I try something new while also sticking to tried-and-true favorites.  And I think about what my cooking blog would be like.

For example, I could have posted a week’s worth of entries about my foray with what I’ve deemed “the pork log.”  I’m sure I’ve referenced it before- a big, frozen log of pork given to Jordan for his birthday.  It was just sitting in the freezer.  Ew.

So I asked my mom how to cook it in a simple way so that I could use it for many dishes.  I rubbed it with salt and pepper, and stabbed it in places and embedded garlic cloves like micro chips in a sci-fi movie.  I then baked it.  For too long.  So it was a bit dry.  But it was cooked.  And tasty.  It would have been better if it was a better pork log — I blame the pig.

So then I made some dishes with this pork: pork fried rice, pork with mac and cheese… then I stopped eating it and tried to force-feed it to Jordan.  “Are you hungry my love?” I would coo.  “Have some pork.”  Ew.  By the end of the log I hated it.  Jordan hated it too.  No amount of cooing could get either of us to eat it.  I threw the rest of it in the trash after it had been in our fridge for a week and a half.

Today at lunch someone asked me if I was a vegetarian as I sat eating my kale, tofu and soba noodles with parmesan cheese and leeks.  “No,” I said “But I don’t like to cook it.  I don’t like touching it.”  I thought back to the rigging the pork log for the oven- it was not pleasant.

I’m going over to a friend’s house for dinner tonight.  This friend cooks real Italian food and by real I mean his sauce is homemade and has at least three kinds of meat in it, one of it always being veal.  It is always delicious.  Perhaps I will stick to the soy with the occasional “I don’t want to cook so I’m making a peanut butter and banana sandwich and you can eat cotton balls for all I care (as long as they’re not the cotton balls I used to tone my face)” and let my friends take care of the meat.  I can always go to Burger King.  Unfortunately, this attitude doesn’t make a good cooking blog.




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