Friday, December 25, 2009

A photo addendum to a recent post...

For those of you who read this blog on a regular basis you might recall my recent mention about a flimsy corkscrew which I fought the winter elements to purchase.

Here is the photo evidence of it's craptastic-ness

See that shard of metal unceremoniously protruding from the top of the cork? Yep, thats the coil which BROKE OFF during it's second attempt at opening a bottle.  Thankfully Jürgen had his wine key on him and we were able to enjoy our vino, with Neill, as we did some final Christmas wrapping and baking.

Is the universe trying to keep me from drinking?

Oh yes, and a very Merry Christmas to all.  Stories and photos are forthcoming.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A girl and her Wine

Yesterday marked the first official snowfall of the holiday season here in Ol' NY.  I witnessed its coming: from the tease of flurries on my face as I walked to the train on my way to work, to the full on falling of flakes as I emerged from underground, and the whirlwind of white that greeted me as I exited work.  I really do love snow when it first falls and begins to stick. It's so pure.  It glistens like flecks of glitter in the moonlight and everything looks clean, white, simple.

To me, a snowy Saturday night is a perfect excuse to crack open a bottle of wine and wrap yourself in a blanket  After much debating with myself (while trying to stay warm at work), I decided I would pay a visit to the wine outlet by my house (how convenient!) and treat myself to a bottle of warm red goodness. This would be categorized as an unnecessary expenditure, but I have been working hard with only sporadic days off, and I deserved a little holiday cheer.  Plus I have recently discovered the joys of Argentinian wines, particularly Malbec's.  I grabbed a bottle with my friend Brittany a few weeks ago and was blown away by its complexity, especially since it only cost $7.99! Usually I find wines at the price to be a bit one note, that hit you hard in the mouth when you first take a sip and then quickly die therafter.  Don't get me wrong, I will still drink them, and happily, but I like my wines to give me a little something to think about.

Jürgen and I have heard from several sources that Argentinean wines are one of the "best bets" in the wine world today.  Not only because they are producing some great tasting vinos down south, but you get a lot of bang for your buck, as a great majority of them can be found for twenty dollars or less. This is music to my wine loving ears, because with a rent payment looming and holiday shopping,  any extra change is scarce.  I have now committed myself to trying many varietals from various vineyards.  I shall report back.  This will be very. hard. work.

Back to the story at hand....I braved my way through the growing blanket of snow on the yet unplowed streets of Queens and headed to the liquor store, conveniently located right off of the train.  Once inside I perused the Argentinian section, was was pretty impressive, and settled on a bottle of Auka, a Malbec from 2007 with a price tag of only $9.99.  The frightful weather outside wasn't going to get me down, I was armed with a bottle of wine, and plans for a rockin' solo Saturday night (Jürg was at work). So, with the snow falling vigorously on my back, I trudged along home.

Once inside, I slipped off my snow-caked boots (red UGG's, not appropriate snow weather boots FYI), changed into some sweats and dried the snow off my hair.  I fed the kitties, pulled the bottle from the bag and began to settle into my Saturday night.  I was met with only one small problem: where was my wine key? I began to search in the natural places: the kitchen all purpose drawer, the utensil caddy, under the bathroom sink, you know, the usual.  It was nowhere to be found.  I was utterly confounded when it hit me-Jürgen had it.  He is required to have one at his new job, and has been taking ours to work with him.  What was I to do?!?!

I plopped myself down at the kitchen table and mulled over my options: I could either forgo the wine drinking for the evening, and save the bottle for another day.  Or I could suit back up and head outside to battle Old Man Winter once again in search for a wine opener.

(Apparently I also had a third option, which would have been to take a knife and jam the cork down into the wine, but this didn't occur to me, because after all, I am a lady.)

Well, nothing gets between a girl and her wine, so it was back into the trenches for me.  I decided to turn right outside my doorway first, as I recalled a small convenience store of sorts not too far down the road, which could help me in my quest.  The snow was still falling and drifts were beginning to form, but I bounced over them and walked through the streets, as no one was driving.  I must have looked like a little bounding sleeping bag in my ankle length down coat, but I am telling you, this coat is my winter savior, and makes battles like these possible.  I asked the man behind the counter if he sold any wine openers.  No dice. I held back the urge to tell the man he needs to re-think his inventory.

The only option now was to head back to the original point of purchase: the wine outlet.  It's a little over five minute walk, which is made much more difficult when you have to walk into the blustery snow. Those little fluffy flakes I waxed poetic about a few paragraphs ago, well they are little bastards that stung my face with each step.  I tried to cover my face with my hands, but my gloves were now wet with ice and made my lips burn.  There were a few times I opted to walk backwards, letting my back take the brunt, which slowed me down considerably.  I saw another woman doing the same, and I couldn't help but chuckle and maybe start to cry at the same time.  It always amazes me how harsh weather brings people together.  No matter what walk of life you come from, when you are out braving the elements with others you are suddenly all on the same page.  I recalled times in Chicago, when  huge gusts of wind would almost knock down and entire train platform of people, and you would literally hear a collective scream from the crowd.  Weather doesn't discriminate.

Like a hawk searching for prey, I was determined to have my wine, and when I walked through the outlet doors I was a woman on a mission.  I opted for a wing corkscrew, as opposed to a waiters cork screw.  I have never been particularly proficient with that tool (many a cork has seen it's demise by me and my wine key), and headed back out, one final time.  The walk home was, for some reason, much easier.  The weight of the wine opener in my left pocket encouraged me with each step, and I took the time to notice the snow once again, apologizing for cursing at it earlier.  By the time I reached my apartment a small mogul had formed and you couldn't even see the front step, but a kind man opened the door for me and I stomped the snow off my boots as I walked up the stairs.

Back inside the comforts of my home once again, I made a beeline for the kitchen, where my bottle stood proud and ready to be consumed.  I called home to regale my mom with stories of my journey as I began to pull out my cork, but another cog had formed in the wheel: my brand new cork screw began to crap put on me and get itself stuck.

This battle was getting ugly.

It only cost me a few bucks, and certainly wasn't the definition of fine craftsmanship, but it seemed sturdy enough.  However I would twist the coil through the cork and about halfway through it would give up, for no reason other than it wanted to smite me and keep me from enjoying my night.  I started to twist, then push the arms, allowing the cork to move up a few centimeters, and when I would try to twist again it would only push it back down into the neck of the bottle. The vicious cycle continued, and I even called the situation a "disaster" to my mom, who was on the phone listening to my struggles.  Breathing heavily, I looked at the bottle, cork half in, with a pathetic excuse for a corkscrew sticking out of the top, and I began to wimper at the thought of having to wave a white flag and admit defeat. I couldn't push the cork in, and the coil was too far into the neck of the bottle to break to the cork in half.  finally I pushed the two wimpy arms back down, gripped the entire opener in my hands, steadied the bottle between my knees, and began to slowly, methodically pull the cork out.  I moved my hands lightly from side to side, while pulling up at the same time, and magically I bagan to feel the pesky cork give way and eventually eject itself from the neck with a loud "POP!"

Eureka! Victory at last! Wine would be mine! I breathed a sigh of relief as I poured the beautiful deep purple juice into my glass.  I cuddled up on my chair, with a glass in one hand, a remote in the other, and partook in the joys of Iron Chef America and a snowy Saturday night. The wine was tasty, no comparison to the wine I shared with Brittany, but still all the more sweet after such a hard fought battle.

I'll say it again: Nothing gets between a girl and her wine.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Bit of Perspective

I'll admit I was guest at my own pity party today.  It was another one of those days, but while I was at work I read this story:

Life has a funny way of letting you know when you are being ungrateful and silly.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Blog Love

Ok I am a woman obsessed.  A few weeks ago I finally discovered the brilliance of the blog Orangette.  I had been introduced to it earlier this year and had read and entry or two, but for some reason the universe pulled me back to the site and I fell head over heels in love.  For weeks I was smitten and spent any free time I could reading every entry from 2004 until this past Saturday. The blog is an exploration of food and contains positivley stomach rumbling recipes and drool-worthy photographs, all written and taken by Molly Weizenberg.  She had a new book come out earlier this year called A Homemade Life which I now covet.  I highly recommend you make way to her site. You will not be dissapointed.  Literally there were times when I would gasp and cover my mouth in amazement, her writing is so beautiful, so funny and inspiring.  I think Molly and I would make great friends.  My idol used to be SJP, it is now Molly Weizenberg.

Orangette aside, I have a growing list of fantastic blogs that I read on a daily basis, and I figured there was no time like the present to show they a little love via cyberspace.  I am a giver, what can I say?  Take a gander at them won't ya?

31 Flavors (an exciting challenge!)
A Bird, A Carpenter, and a Baby (*warning* cute baby pictures contained inside)
Anna's World (*warning* MORE cute baby pictures contained inside)

Chattababy (new name! same great blog)
Colombe du Jour (don't read on an empty stomach)
Don't Mess with  Lindsey (Texas will never be the same)
Eco to the People (going green, while saving green)
Erica's Battle Blog (so moving and inspring)
Kevin Weinstein Photography (images that will melt your heart)
Life Between Naps (get ready to laugh so hard you cry)
Save My Hippie (an inspiring site from a Broadway actress)
Practical Cooperation (*warning* EVEN MORE cute baby pictures conatined inside--clearly I have a thing for babies!)

The Broke-Ass Bride (a blog that has exploded in the past year and a half.  The author will be a star, I have no doubt).

I am always on the hunt for new great blogs to add to my blogroll.  Have some suggestions? I would love to hear- post a comment below!

Happy reading to all, and to all a goodnight!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A Paper Christmas

Christmas this year will be one of many firsts: my first Christmas in New York, my first Christmas as a married lady, and my first Christmas with a one dimensional Christmas Tree.

I love a good Christmas tree, preferably a real live one the fills your nose with wafts of pine every time you walk in the room. I love the ritual of decorating a Christmas tree: returning to the box of ornaments every year and recalling where each one came from, untangling the blasted Christmas hooks from one another, and listening to Mannheim Steamroller on the CD player (I am a child of the '90's).  In fact I enjoy Christmas trees so much that I have been collecting Christmas ornaments since I graduated from college. I even had an Ornament Shower, before I got married.  My bounty of arbor accessories is growing nicely and I have several tubs full of them in my basement.  Which is in Chicago.  Not so convenient when you now live in New York.

When a move halfway across the country doesn't feel truly permanent it's hard to know what to bring along with you.  Needless to say the ornaments didn't make the cut.  We wouldn't have had the proper storage space here, and having two frisky kittens made me fearful of them swatting at the dangley, shiny objects and knocking the entire tree over.  I imagined being sound asleep, with visions of sugarplums dancing in my head, being awoken to a loud crash, only to find my wonderful collection shattered across the living room floor.  Not a pretty picture.

However I couldn't let the Christmas season go by without some sort of tree.  It just wouldn't be right.  Not wanting to spend money on a cheap plastic tree, it finally dawned on me to make one of my own.  I consulted with my artistically gifted brother, and he agreed.  So last night we set about constructing our very first Paper Christmas Tree.

It's simple really.  You start out with some green and brown construction paper, tape and scissors.

We also chose to drink Champagne, which is entirely optional, but highly encouraged. Oh, and it's super helpful to have Christmas tunes blaring from your TV.  We didn't have any Steamroller, but we pressed on.

You then begin with a base and decide on your height.

If you have two kitties they will most likely want to be in on the action.  It's best not to fight with them about this.

Then begin the basic construction.

 Neill did this and I was relegated to "assistant taper".  I am a master with scotch tape.  He is much better at conceptualizing the entire design, and I, in turn, am better with the smaller details. We actually made a very good team.

(Stanley agrees). 

Once the tree is created you go back to add some "realistic" edging for a more polished look.

Then come the ornaments.  We purchased about ten sheets of shiny finished paper from Blick Art Supply, which I traced and cut into various sizes of circles, and diamonds. The kitties had a field day.

Neill was a whiz at making some gorgeous bells, and a tree topper.  After about an hour, and half a roll of tape, and a bottle of Champagne later, viola!

Our first Paper Christmas Tree! So much fun, very easy, and affordable (only $20!) to make.  The overhead lighting doesn't do much to flatter our tree, but it looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself.

I will certainly miss the smell, the feel, and the 3D-ness of it's predecessors, but I am very proud of our creative approach to Christmas this year.  Plus it was a great brotherly, sisterly, Tuesday evening activity.  If I wanted to get really crafty I could make a wreath to put on the door, but I will need more Champagne for that.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Heart is Heavy...

New York...REALLY? I just moved here and now you slap me in the face with your injustice.

You can read the article there, but I cannot tell you how much it upsets me that we even have to argue about the issue of marriage equality.  Whatever happened to "with liberty, and justice, for ALL" or the whole "we hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created EQUAL."

I hold onto hope in my heart that someday my children will read about this time in history and think we were fools for dragging our feet about this.  The time will come...until then we must have hope. 

                                                    "Hope will never be silent"
                                                                     -Harvey Milk

NYC: One Month In

Tuesday marked my one month anniversary with the faire New York, and it's hard to believe time has moved so quickly. It's true when they say everything moves faster in old New York (I am sure Sinatra sang about that at some point).

Despite the months rather unexpected begining, the whole of it has been fairly calm.  A grid system to decipher, jobs to apply for, and insecurities to overcome not withstanding, but life has a funny way of chugging right along no matter what city you find yourself in.

Thinking back on the past months changes, the one major change that sticks out in my mind has actually been a change within myself.  You see, I am ashamed to admit it but I have never been particularly good with money.  I was the queen of buying my lunch instead of packing it, ordering a second (or third, or fourth) drink when out with friends, and just making random impulse purchases on a whim.  Most often they were small, but it's the small things that add up to one big bank statement at the end of the month.  My theme song from time to time may have sounded something like:

"A ching-ching here, a ching-ching there, here a ching, there a ching, everywhere a ching-ka-ching."

I was very friendly with my debit card. 

However, as if changing time zones somehow changed my internal molecular structure, moving to NYC has made a frugalist out of me.  It's odd, and oddly satisfying.  Literally in no time I have become rather discerning about what I spend, or choose not to spend my, money on. I pack my lunch every day, I take pleasure in having friends over, and pride in the fact that window shopping suits me just fine.  It's as if...I am a real adult or something.  I have to say, I give myself a little pat on the back for this, because no one, especially me, saw this fiscally conservative front coming.

If I am to be totally honest, I know this change would never have transpired had Jürgen not lost his job. Don't get me wrong I wish his show was still running, but I am strangely happy to have been handed this challenge.  It's nice when you finally realize what you really need to be satisfied, and to know you are capable of adapting and changing. 

Someone once told me "New York City is a great place to live, if you have money."  I would beg to differ. I think New York is a great place to live, if you have friends, loved ones, kitties, and a bank account full of dreams.

Monday, November 30, 2009

If These Walls Could Talk *New Version*

 **for those loyal readers, who may have encountered a post under this name in the past 36 hours, this is not the same post.  after much contemplation, i decided i hated what I wrote and removed it post haste. the sentiment is the same, but the prose is better, and funnier, if i do say so myself.**

New York City is certainly not a place to concern yourself with privacy.  Not only is it literally impossible to find a square foot of space that isn't already inhabited by some other person (or thing depending on the circumstances) but you will without a doubt share many walls with people in your place of dwelling.  Unless you are a member of the true elite and have access to owning your own brownstone, or even your own floor of a building, you end up "living" under one roof with many people, most of whom you have never met.  You may not find privacy here, but you can certainly find anonymity. 

This creates a problem when you are a singer, who strangely enough doesn't like to sing when people can hear her.  Sound counter intuitive? I am a complicated individual, what more can I say?

My "fear" has been deeply rooted for a long time now, but I said it best when I was in college. I was talking with my acting professor, Joe-a beyond adorable, hunched over, firecracker of a guy who made us run till sweat ran down our temples, and our hearts would pound through our chests.  He was intense, and kind of crazy.  I was talking with him about a monologue he had assigned for me (which I was not completely off book for) and how I hadn't devoted enough time to practicing it.  He asked me why, and I replied,

"Because every time I am in this room to work, I am afraid someone is standing outside the door, listening in, and judging me."

Well there I went bein' all honest about things.

So therein lies the rub, big great blogosphere.  I said it.  I am afraid of judgement! Particularly when it comes to my vocalizing.  Sure I have been hit with overpowering urges to belt out tunes at 1:30am in the privacy of my own recording studio-aka "my bathroom".  There have even been moments at the dinner table, which would result in much glaring from the eyes of my parents. However, I am usually pretty meek when it comes to sharing my voice with others.  Unless I am onstage, during which time I feel completely safe. Don't bother trying to understand the workings of my brain, it will get you no place, I assure you.

So I find myself at a bit of an impasse, because I cannot keep allowing this fear to rule me yet my insides still do a back flip when I think about Mr. Judgey Mc Judgerson in the apartment upstairs rolling his eyes every time I sing a few scales.
I have a few choices at this point: I can

a) Continue to stay silent and only sing when at a voice lesson or an audition, a technique I feel will only backfire.

b) I can construct a sound proof recording studio in my bedroom.  Which would be beyond cool, but also beyond expensive, and I *ahem* have little in the ways of moolah right now

c) Be a big girl, take a deep breath and start singing! I have a feeling it won't be so bad once I really commit to it, and stop worrying about Judgey-McJudge-A-lot upstairs.

(and honestly, he probably isn't judging me anyway).

Well, the choice is clear, my friends.  I shall begin construction on my in home recording studio right quick!

I kid, I kid....such a jokester I am! In this new age of goal setting, I decided fears must be conquered, and music must be made! Maybe I will even open up the windows while I sing and let the world move to the beat of my song. Perhaps little birds will gather round and join me in a chorus? The kitties would have a field day with that!

 Honestly, this will be good for me, like so many of the other goals I have set for myself.  And you never know, if these walls could talk, they just might have some very lovely things to say!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

It's a gloriously lazy day around here, as we enjoy some quiet time before we join my cousins later this afternoon to feast on Turkey and other yummy things.  We will come bearing an apple pie, which we purchased from the Union Square green market, one of my favorite places in NYC.

On this day I am thankful for all of my family and friends, both near and far.  Even if I am not able to see you today, know I am thinking of you all and wishing you the happiest of happy Turkey Days.

Also, I would like to quickly thank those of you who have been so supportive of me writing this blog. Your comments and positive feedback has been so very encouraging, and I cannot tell you how much it all means to me.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Now go forth and eat!

With Love,
Blair (and Jürgen, Toaster and Stanley)

                                                       Have you hugged someone today?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A savory delight that satiates the stomach and saves you dough.

A few weeks ago I posted a blog about ways Jürgen and I plan to save on food costs.  Primarily by cooking at home and keeping certain low cost staples around the kitchen, to prevent late evening runs to the corner Chinese spot.

Missed that post? You can read it here.

We recently made a dish that is one of my all time, coming of the winter season, favs', and I felt it on fitting to share it with you all.  'The season to be sharing.  And eating.

Autumn Vegetable Cobbler with Biscuit Topping:

                                          (photo by Elinor Carucci)

For the filling:
1/2 butternut squash (but you can use a whole one if you want!)
2 parsnips peeled and cut into a medium dice
3 Tablespoons Olive oil

Your favorite salt blend
1 cup broccoli florets blanched

Preheat oven 400

Peel squash and cut the top portion off w/out the seeds.  Save the remainder for another day.  Cut into a med dice and toss with the parsnips, olive oil and salt.  Place on a sheet tray lined with parchment paper and roast until tender about 25-30min.  Put that aside with broccoli.

For the filling:
3 Tablespoons Unsalted butter
1 Onion med dice
1 Bulb fennel med dice
2 Garlic cloves minced
4 Tablespoons flour
4 Cups veg. stock
1 Tablespoons thyme rough chopped
1/4 cup parsley rough chopped

Salt and Pepper to taste
1 cup gouda cheese grated

Preheat oven to 400.  Heat a heavy soup pot over med and add butter.  Saute onion and fennel about 5 minutes until soft.  Add garlic and flour and cook an additional minute.  Add veg stock whisking until it boils.  Add herbs and season w/ S & P.   Fold in roasted veg., broccoli and grated cheese.  Pour filling into pie dish.  Top with the biscuits and bake on a parchment lined sheet tray. 

For The Biscuits:

2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
1 1/3 cups (or more) chilled buttermilk (I just use heavy cream) 

Stir first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add butter. Using fingertips, rub in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually add 1 1/3 cups buttermilk, tossing with fork until dough is evenly moistened and adding more buttermilk by tablespoonfuls if dry.
Drop biscuit dough atop hot filling by heaping tablespoonfuls; sprinkle with pepper. Bake uncovered until tester inserted into center of biscuits comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool 15 minutes. 

*Recipe Source: The Chopping Block Cooking School (Chicago IL), and Bon Appétit.*

I have made this recipe many times and every time it warms my stomach and soul with its biscut-y, winter veggie goodness.  It's seasonal, very healthy and it can feed you for days on end. In fact I just finished a plate of it before I sat down to write this little blog! The great thing about the dish is you can easily add any kind of root vegetable to give it your own twist, and the biscuit possibilities are endless.  Add some cheddar cheese to the mix, maybe even some prosciutto for you meat lovers, mmmmm hmmmm  I love me a good biscuit.  

We look forward to more cooking exploits in the days to come.  I, for one, have my eye on this chili recipe.

I can't tell you how satisfying it is to know you are saving money without sacrificing flavor.  That's something to be Thankful for!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dedication is the greatest form of passion.

Someone said this to me once and I really enjoyed these words, even if I don't practice them.

To be honest it has often bothered me that I am not better at sticking with things.  I have very little patience for being a beginner and I usually shy away from learning new skills because I do not want to go through the phase of sucking before the phase of being good.  It's not an element of my personality I am particularly proud of. 

Practice makes perfect right?  Well I have decided to practice dedication. Starting today.

A few months ago I challenged myself to do some form of ab exercise everyday until my show closed (it ran for nine weeks).  I lasted for four and then fell off the wagon.  Shameful.

I would like to reinstate this challenge, along with a few others.  I am writing this for all of the world to see (or all eleven of you!) because I need a few accountability buddies to help me break the viscious cycle of lazy-lady-dome.  Here they are, in no particular order:

1) To do some form of Ab Exercise every day from now until the end of the year.  I am giving myself an endpoint because I respond well to limits.  My thinking is by the end of the year I will so enjoy the results of my ab fab routine that I wouldn't want to give it up.  We'll see if my hypothesis is correct. 

2) To do at least one thing every day for my career.  Activites may include: doing a vocal warm up, attending an audition, even seeing a play. Just as long as I have an intentional moment each day where I put my energy into being an actor.  I am not giving myself and endpoint on this one. I live life on the edge, what can I say?

3) To drink more water.  Yes. I said it.  It's silly and I can't believe I am even writing this down, but it's something I am terrible at.  I think I spend 85% of my day dehydrated and it simply no bueno.  Water will not only keep me healthy but it's better for my skin, my voice and just my spirit in general.  I think we are supposed to be getting 64oz a day. Sounds like a lot, but I will conquer! I shall! I must!

Ok for now this is where I shall start.  I have learned, the hard way, if I try to pile too many goals on my plate at once I end up feeling overwhelmed and eventually quit.  So I will try to start small and build from there.  When you think about it,  these aren't major changes I will have to make, just a few small adjustments to my day. 

I'll keep ya posted as I go, and I'll tell you the truth, I promise!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things that make me feel like a New Yorker...

Meeting up with your friend for a "power catch up" at Grand Central Station, drinking tea and eating an almond biscotti.

Very New York if you ask me. 

Chin Upkeep

Monday was an interesting day.  One of those days when you have a bit of a hard time being positive and believing you are actually making the right decisions.  Don't ya just love those days?

I had mentioned in an earlier post that my initial intention was to stay in Chicago while Jürgen relocated to NYC.  My reasoning was that I had a condo in Chicago, so many friends, a theatre company,  and my career was being forged there.  In a way it's as if I felt a loyalty to the city, as though my roots were so deeply planted that to uproot them would cause a size-mic shift in the earths plates or something.  Chicago was it.  My life was planned.

However, what I wasn't allowing myself to have was the option of freedom and possibility.  The ability to control my own destiny and make choices.  I had given it all to Chicago, and why? What does Chicago owe me? I can't even trust the city to keep the parking meters free on Sunday's let alone to determine my life path.  When I really began to think about it, I was frustrated in Chicago.  My career had basically hit a wall, and try as I might I couldn't find any way around it.  This only resulted in me becoming more focused on the outcome, the result, rather than the process.  I finally realized the only way for this wall to ever be demolished would be for me to literally turn around, and walk away.  Otherwise, an impression of my forehead would be forever emblazoned on the front of it.  It was time to leave.

Now I am in a city where no one has an idea of who I am.  I can revel in the anonymity of it all! I can be whoever I choose to be.  You here that NYC?  It is I who will call the shots!

Still, for every glorious moment when I feel the swell of potential dreams in my chest, and the pounding of excitement in my heart (cue Jason Robert Brown music),  there are five other moments where thoughts of total doubt and bleak reality slap me in the face, and I am not always strong enough to fight back.  New York is huge and full of so many insanely talented people.  If I was hitting a wall in Chicago what makes me think, for a second, New York will have built a door I can walk through, complete with a pretty mat in front of it to wipe my feet upon? 

Damn, it's hard work to be positive sometimes!

The day's feelings of doubt were particularly unwelcome as I had my first meeting with a New York agent.  Oh timing how you mock me! In truth, I think the meeting went pretty well.  I felt I presented myself with confidence and determination, but if this gentlemen only knew how much stock I was putting into this chat of ours.  I secretly had set up some unreal expectations that I would be given an immediate answer, and it my daydreams it was a resounding "yes! we want you!"  However the reality is that there is a whole team of agents who have to sign off on you, so I will not know any sort of answer for a few days.  This waiting game, I hate being a player.

Thank you to everyone who sent me positive vibes. I truly appreciate it! If it doesn't work out I will certainly survive,  and of course blog about it along the way.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Writers Block

Hello Friends and followers (all seven of you...),

Please accept my most sincere apologies for my lack of posts in the past week.  I am experiencing a bit of writers block.  I have several half written entries which I cannot seem to fully commit to posting.  So, for now I leave you with this image, and the promise of more blogging to come.

I have come to decide that a lap full of kitties is the best solution for an otherwise tame Tuesday night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

BBandB say what????

Speaking of Bed Bath and Beyond...

Ever since we moved in one major item missing from our home was some sort of computer desk.  For weeks Jürgen had the computer perched atop a small bedside table, which is maybe two feet off of the ground.  Therefore in order to get any sort of work done involving a computer, you either have to kneel on the floor, or sit precariously on an exercise ball while hunched over to reach the keyboard.  After five minutes the muscles in your back recoil in pain and it makes for a very unpleasant and unproductive work environment.

Luckily we still had some funds left over at BBandB, so I hunched over my computer, and searched their website for a suitable, and inexpensive option for a desk.  We settled on this:

 A steal for only $39.99! The dimensions were 24"deep x 48" long x 28" tall, which would perfectly house our computer and be pretty sleek and space saving in our room.  When you are pinching pennies you don't stress over style, but it didn't hurt that I like the look and it would actually go well with my dresser.  Sweetness!

I called the nearest BBandB and asked if they carried it in the store, and by golly they sure did! I had one put on hold and Jürg said he would pick it up.  Finally no more back strain to update my facebook status!

However, when I opened up the box, this is what the table actually looked like:

Um...WHAT?!?! This was most certainly NOT the table I had inquired about.  Aside from being plastic and not sleek, it's 30"deep and 72" LONG! You could easily fit eight people around it.  It's a little hard to tell from the photo...but trust me on this one.

I was on the phone in no time to get to the bottom of this.  I spoke to the customer service department and after looking it up on the internet and apparently comparing SKU numbers between their records and my receipt, they claim it's the right table. Apparently, even if I was to place an order for "my" table online, I would still receive this table in the mail.

This all sounds very fishy to me, but I don't fight about it.  It's going to be too much of a nuisance to take it back on the train, and at the end of the day it still serves it's purpose.  So I have to live with picnic table sized computer desk for awhile, I will survive.

Plus I laugh every time I look at it.  Hey, you gotta get your laughs in anyway you can.

When the moon hits your eye...

I am pleased to report that we have made good on our "promises" to cook at home and eat out/order in less. Or in this weeks case, not at all! Meals have been fairly low-key, however Jürgen took on the herculean task of making a pizza pie, dough and all, from scratch!

I, sadly, wasn't privy to the creation of our very first homemade 'za, but I was certainly there for the tasting.  However the story goes something like this:

On Saturday afternoon we took a casual stroll the the Lincoln Center area Bed Bath and Beyond.  The cultural apex of stuff.  Man, is that store massive and overwhelming.  Seriously I double dog dare anyone to walk through those doors and walk out empty handed.  It's a nearly impossible feat.  Thankfully we came equipped with a very generous gift card from my brother, so we didn't have to worry about giving into temptation and feeling the wrath from our checking accounts. Many items were picked up, however the most pertinent item to the telling of this story, was the decision to buy a pizza stone.  For the low price of $14.99...that's amoré!

Jürgen wasted no time putting it to use, and he set out making the dough that very evening.  I was working and could not be of service, so he flew solo into the land of yeast and flour.  He let the dough rise in the oven, he rolled it out, he even added some thyme to the dough to give it a little depth of flavor.  A brush of olive oil and garlic was spread across the pie, and some ground beef was sauteed and sprinkled over top of it followed by a mixture of cheese and some tomato's. 

                                         A delectable combo and perfect for a Saturday night. 

The directions on the pizza stone package said you should put it in the oven on 400˚ for ten minutes and allow the stone to heat up.  This apparently aides in the cooking of the crust. Who's to say, regardless he followed the instructions like a good Boy Scout and after ten minutes time opened the oven to transfer the pizza to the stone.  It was at this moment when our smoke alarm decided to have a mean bout of tourettes and go off every thirty seconds. For the next two hours.  He tells me he stood there, oven open, with a blaring smoke alarm, and a pizza that is not allowing for an easy transfer from cooking sheet to pizza stone.  Apparently he had to sort of ball up the dough to get it to move and fit on the stone and some cheese jumped flight in the middle and plummeted  to it's death at the bottom of the stove.  The alarm is still screeching obscenities which forces him to stand below it and wave an oven mit above his head to quiet it down.  Of course it was at this very moment when I decided to call and let Jürg know I was almost home.  Needless to say he was not in a very chipper mood.  I don't blame him.

Regardless, when I walked through the door I was instantly greeted with warm wafts of garlic and herbs.  The smoke alarm was sounding intermittently in the background, but the pizza was piping hot from the oven and looked beautiful.  The crust was bubbly and golden brown, the cheese was nice and melty and the ground beef glistened....much like the beads of sweat atop Jürgen's forehead. 

That's a purty piece o' pie

We sat down to eat and while he was still a bit tense I told him how truly yummy it was, and promised to help him next time.

Oh the alarm was still going off at this point, despite the open windows and the fan running. The kitties were not pleased. 

We have decided to make Friday's our pizza nights, as I am free an can be a sous chef.  If anyone has any pizza making tips, or recipes we are all ears! In the meantime I am going to disconnect the smoke alarm.

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Week Retrospective

A week ago yesterday I moved to New York.

As I closed up shop at work last night, I walked outside and headed towards the train.  I could look to my left and I could gaze at the trees in Central Park, to my right my eyes could be blinded my the lights of Times Square.  I am in New York.

I realize it’s going to take time to feel like I live here, because at the moment it all seems a bit fuzzy and unreal.  I haven’t even come close to grasping the trains, or the grid system.  When people tell me where they live I smile and nod because nine times out of ten I have no idea what they are talking about.  As someone who likes to know whats going on around her, it’s a bit of an adjustment to be naïve. 

I have been thinking a lot about how it felt to move to Chicago and how long it took me to feel as though I understood the city, to feel like a Chicagoan.  The major difference between then and now is being a student provided me with a set of “walls” in which to  grow.  Whether they be walls of a dorm room, a classroom, or the invisible walls around a campus street, I had an environment I immediately understood.  I could slowly step out of these streets, as I felt comfortable, and begin to understand this new city that I now called home.  Now there are no real walls to speak of, I just have to figure it out.  I know I can do this, I just have to be patient.

Ah patience, a virtue I have never possessed.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Any Place I hang My hat...

When I learned the news of Jürgen's show closing my immediate reaction, aside from the shock, was of course to ask if he was ok (I am such a doting wife), however the main question that quickly sprang to my mind was "how will we ever afford to pay our rent."  When we decided on a place to live in NYC (technically in Queens...details, details) we naturally searched for places within a certain price range which could easily be met each month with Jürgen's projected salary. know what happened next.

I have always been pretty particular about where I live, and I have learned the hard way if I don't like the space I can come home to, I generally don't thrive outside of my abode.  I was so excited about our little Sunnyside dwelling and was devastated at the thought of having to move again.  I knew we were going to have to make some sacrifices, now that a cog had been thrown in the wheel, but it was hard for me to swallow and let go.

Now would be a good time to give you a bit of a visual, so you can perhaps see where I am coming from!


                 Views of our street, which is tree lined and quiet, and the front of our building.

                                    The entryway (you take the stairs to the right to get to us!)

                Standing at the front door, looking down the hallway into the kitchen (and Stanley!)

Our living room:  to the right of the front door, and then standing in the corner facing the front (obviously)

                                                        Stanley is ready for his close up

Our lovely kitchen.  Whats that GORGEOUS silver contraption? Well that's an IN UNIT washer and dryer! (do you see now why I wouldn't want to move!)

Our bedroom (Toaster is in the background enjoying the windowsill), and one of our closets.  The bedroom doesn't look like much here but it is actually very spacious and light filled.

                                                           And finally, the bathroom.

As you can see it's a nice place! It's newly renovated and very well kept (which will hopefully cut down on the appearance of furry and/or multi-legged creatures).  We debated back and forth for quite awhile about what to do, but after much discussion we have decided to stay put...for now anyway.  Some numbers have been crunched and we have figured out what we need to bring in each month in order to afford it, while not being forced to subsist on Ramen and water. Only time will tell how challenging this will be, and what's the sense in having a NYC adventure without a few challenges along the way!  It's a fight worth fighting we think, and we won't wave a white flag that easily.  If we realize we have to move, then at least we know we tried.

I never wear hats, but if I did, I would happily hang it here.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A sign of the times...

This is an interesting article that kind of pisses me off.

Eating to live or Living to eat?

This is the big question right now.

Jürgen and I are self-proclaimed "foodies." No one gave us this title, we gave it to ourselves (hence the self proclamation), but anyone who was at our wedding knows we love food.  While living in Chicago we were known to make some pretty elaborate meals which were heavy on the stomach lining as well as the pocketbook. Obviously this someone decadent way of eating will not be an option for us right now.

It's dissapointing only because we spent a great deal of time creating an NYC restaurant spreadsheet containing a laundry list of eateries we hoped to try during our time here.  One might also suggest that we also self proclaim ourself as "dorks."

We quickly realized that how we ate would be a key factor in our financial survival here. While it is so very tempting to eat out/order in when you live it a city of culinary pleasures like NYC, one must make certain sacrifices to stay afloat.  So we have devised a list of certain foods which we plan to keep on hand in attempt to cut down on the need/desire to venture outside of our kitchen walls.  They are:

Potato's--there are so many ways to prepare them! Twice baked, mashed, roasted with olive oil...the possibilties are endless

Chicken-One of teh more inexpensive meats and so very good for you.  We are thinking of buying a whole Chicken every Sunday and then using the bones to make a nice chicken stock.  I have never done this but it can't be that hard can it?

Ground beef-cheaper than other red meats but still flavorful.  We made tacos the other night, and we will never turn our nose up at a good burger.

Frozen veggies:  We will of course have fresh produce as well, but typically frozen veggies are picked and thrown in a freezer at the pique of their season, therefore retaining many of their nutrients.  Also, keeping them frozen assures that they won't go bad for quite sometime.  I must admit, allowing fresh veggies go to waste is an offense I have committed one too many times.

Eggs-Good anytime, anywhere and almost any way you serve them.

Oatmeal- A perfect way to start the day and will keep for ages.  I am partial to the old fashioned variety as it doesn't take long to make on the stove and is better for you than the instant stuff.

Pasta: Lots and lots of pasta. And rice.  The blank canvas of the kitchen and can be served with anything.  I will need to create a "Pasta Recipes" spreadsheet with all of the pasta I have right now.

Popcorn Kernels: Our favorite snack food hands down is ill popcorn.  Made on teh stove with plenty o' butter, dill, S&P and parm. cheese.  It's cheaper to buy a bag of popcorn kernels than the pre-bagged stuff and lasts much longer. 

That gives you a good idea.  We also always have peanut butter on hand, as I take great delight in a spoonful of the nutty spread.  You always have to have some fresh fruit on hand, and of course milk and OJ.  We have daydreamed about making our own bread, pizza and soups...but I imagine it's best to take things one step at at time.

Do you have any ideas of foods we should keep on hand? Any recipes to share? Don't be a stranger,  post a comment!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Today is the day when....

Blair starts to feel overwhelmed.

(so much so that apparently I need to refer to myself in the third person).

It was a relatively low key day as far as Tuesdays go.  We had eggs for breakfast, took our time getting ready and then headed into the city to run some errands.  One of which involved us going to Crate and Barrel and debating for a good thirty minutes about how we would spend a $26 gift card.  In the end we settled on several glass storage bowls which can be used to take ones lunch to work and to save food in the fridge. Totally boring, but totally practical.  This may become a theme in our life here.

I began to feel the dull pangs of anxiety when we went grocery shopping.  It never fails, it's always mundane life activities that send me into a whirlwind of panic.  Public speaking? Producing? Moving to the biggest city in the country? It rolls off me like water on a ducks back.  But put me in a place called "Foodtown" and I want to cry.  Thankfully I kept it together, but it wasn't easy I assure you.

Later in the evening I wanted to get the final articles of clothing hung up and be able to sit back and relax for the remainder of the night.  However, here is another activity that sends me into an internal tailspin: unpacking.  As I took each article of clothing out of my bag it literally felt as if another garment grew in it's place.  The process always feels long, tedious and sort of what I imagine Chinese water torture to be like. Alright that's dramatic, but it's a challenge for me nonetheless.  It began to hit me just how much my life had shifted in the past few days, and how unsure I was of the future.  It's a lot of tension for our little apartment in Queens to hold on a Tuesday night, but I suppose the best thing you can do with stress is treat it like a ghost: awknowledge that it's there, accept it's presence and ask it to leave.

In a way I realize I haven't truly bid goodbye to these feelings as of late, because in a way there is an odd comfort in them.  It's as though I know this is what I "should" be feeling and so I revel in the typicalness of my emotions.  As I write this I realize my big challenge during these first few weeks will be to not let this all get the best of me.  Certainly anxiety will be lurking around every corner, and it's ok to feel this way, but in the end I have choices to make.  I can decide what seeds I plant and how I choose to grow during my time here.  It's a lot of responsibility, but it's also very empowering. 

So there you have it, next time I go to Foodtown I will dominate the cereal aisle...just you wait and see.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Taking a bite out of the apple

I find it oddly fitting that I started out my day with an apple. I swear I didn’t plan it that way.

I am thinking about what I hope to do during my time here in the big city, and here are a few thoughts:

-I want to sing more. Not for anyone in particular but for myself.  I hope to find a good voice teacher to take my voice to a new level.

-I want to take advantage of the free yoga classes and other exercise classes I will be privy to at my day job.

-I want to audition well, and often.

-I want to find theatrical and commercial representation out here.

-I want to be better about how I spend my money, and despite the financial setback we have just accrued, actually leave here in a better position than when we arrived.

-I want to be better and more deliberate about what I eat.  Eat out less, cook at home more.

-I want to figure out cool things to do in the city for free and/or cheap, with a few high end experiences thrown in.

-I want to always remember: I am not alone in this.  I have a partner, two kitties and many people who love and support me.

Wow...look at me being all intentional and new-agey.  I thought New York was supposed to make you hard and jaded! I thumb my nose at that ideology!

I will keep ya’ll posted on how these intentions play out, and add more as I see fit.  Keep me accountable folks...I need all the help I can get!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NYC just got here this morning...

NYC Just Got Here This Morning....       

Three bucks, two bags, one me!

Actually I arrived at 4:45pm, had three bags, and it cost me five bucks to buy one of those luggage trolley thingy’s at the airport.  Clearly the lyrics to that song (can you name that tune?) need to be updated.

I am twenty seven today, and I have come to decide that the only thing more uneventful than turning twenty seven, is turning twenty six. 

Also, I am in New York now.  I haven’t moved to a new city since 2001 when I set my sights on Chicago, where I would earn an extremely marketable degree in Acting.  Aside from brief stints in London and the small town of Readfield, Maine I have basically stayed put.  Heck, growing up the farthest I moved away was about a five minute drive.  I may crave adventure, but I am also very satiated by stability.  It’s a constant struggle to find a balance between these two halves of myself.

Thankfully I have a few people who can provide me some stability as I settle into the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple.  This cast of characters include: My fabulous brother Neill, my bestest friend Brittany, and of course Jürgen, my better half.  They will certainly be making many guest appearences in future blog posts.  Brittany greeted me as I arrived in Queens, and like the good friend she is she came bearing gifts in the form of alcohol.  Score.  We sipped Prosecco as I cleaned myself up and then we joined Neill and Jürgen at City Winery for a little birthday nosh.  Loved ones and wine, it doesn’t get much better than that.

On the train ride home Jürgen mentioned “I don’t have anywhere to be anymore,” and my heart hurt a little.  Anytime a show closes an actor goes through a bit of a grieving process where you force yourself to re-adjust to real life.  So much of your time is taken up with rehearsals, performances and social time with your cast that it’s easy to forget there is a big wide world outside.  However this time was very different and we both knew it.  This was a premature ending.  A chord was cut surprisingly, unknowingly and it sure gave a shock to the system.  

Happy Birthday to me!

Despite the shaky nature of my first day as a twenty seven year old, I don’t go to bed sad.  I spent the morning with my parents and the evening with my New York Posse.  I received many calls, texts, and facebook messages from people all over the country.  I feel loved, thankful and hopeful that twenty seven could be a rather eventful year.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A Pumpkin of Positivity

Happy Halloween to all. 

I did not sleep well last night, and as I come out of my groggy state I recount yesterday’s events. Oh yeah, that thing happened yesterday. 

I lay there and start to get angry and a bit sad.  I realize yesterday I said the pity party would stop, but I lied a little bit.  I need a few days of self pity before I move forward.  It just feels like the right thing to do. 

My parents were unaware of yesterday’s announcement as I decided to leave that bit of daily info out of the dinner conversation.  Pork Belly certainly doesn’t mix well with tears.  I knew I needed to inform them right away, so I stumbled into the kitchen and asked if they had read the Times this morning. They hadn’t. Crap. So I tell them. Shock and awe ensues.  Questions are asked, and I slam a few doors in reaction to my mom’s seeming lack of support and encouragement.  She apologizes and we move on.  In the end, they know as well I as do that this is life, and it happens all the time, particularly in this industry.  There isn’t much any one of us can do so we simply have to take it day by day. 

I have to give a little shout out to Jürgen for taking the news incredibly well, perhaps better than I did.  We both have tempers, but he really remained very calm when he delivered the news and during the subsequent conversations later that night.  I am very proud of him for this. After all he lost his job, not me.  He has to say goodbye to some new friends and figure out what he is doing next.  Really I just felt angry for him, and for the entire company.  My heart breaks for all of the actors, crew, and especially for the children in the show who were making their Broadway debut.  Welcome to life as an actor kiddos, it certainly sucks sometimes.

Throughout the day I feel various waves of emotion, but mostly I am irritated at the producers.  I don’t know them personally and I am sure this decision wasn’t made lightly, but still can’t you give the show a little time? The holiday’s are right around the corner and ticket sales will certainly pick up.  Doesn’t the playwright know some people who can front some cash? Why didn’t you have a deeper cash reserve?  I realize my anger won’t get me anywhere, but it certainly feels good to try to blame someone.

(I could go into my feelings on the state of theatre in general and why I think Broadway is struggling, but I will save those feelings for a later post).

Still, the day ends up being quite lovely. As a birthday gift to my mom and myself, my Dad gives us each a spa treatment.  My massage therapist comments on the “mammoth knots” in my shoulders and says “something must be stressing you out.”  I chuckle and say “I am moving tomorrow.”

Early in the evening  many children visit my front porch for Halloween candy and I greet them with enthusiasm. Two dear friends come over, and one brings her adorable little boy (decked out in a beyond cute lion costume) and we talk about my news, among other things.  I will miss them a lot.  My parents and I have a fantastic dinner at Art Smith’s restaurant, Table 52, and they remind me how lucky I am.  I don’t dispute this claim as I know in my heart how true their words are.

That evening after they have gone to sleep I talk to Jürgen and he tells me he made me a “Positivity Pumpkin” today.  The entire cast decorated pumpkins between shows and he chose to make one for me.  I find this to be incredibly sweet, and very apt.  Positivity is the only thing that will get us through this little quagmire of a situation. 

By the time I go to sleep I am 27.  I hadn’t planned to move to NYC on my birthday, but I am kind of glad the cards fell that way.  It feels right, and, symbolic somehow.

Friday, October 30, 2009

That's Showbusiness

It's 6:15pm on Friday night. My parents and I have ordered our drinks at the popular Chicago dining establishment, The Publican, when my phone starts buzzing.  It's Jürgen and I ignore him.  I can do that because he is my husband.  I peruse the menu of various pig parts and I receive a text from him which says "I need you to call me as soon as possible. Really."

I excuse myself and instantly assume he is being dramatic about a mundane issue which shouldn't be just cause for interrupting my dinner.  The phone rings as I stand near the communal sink and he answers,

"What's wrong." I ask (there is probably a hint of aggitation in my voice)

The words register in my brain as a foreign language which makes no sense. They can't possibly be closing. They just opened, to very favorable reviews, I am moving out in two days...

"Yes we are closing on Sunday."

I immediatley think that I simply cannot deal with this right now.  I am at dinner, with my parents, it's my mom's birthday today, I just quit my job and a show, I am moving to NYC to be with my husband who has a contract on Broadway, this doesn't at all work into the plan which I had created in my mind.

Ok before we go any further, a little backstory:

Earlier this year Jürgen was cast as an understudy for two Neil Simon plays which were set to appear on Broadway starting in mid-October.  This opportunity was greeted with great enthusiasm by myself and all of our family and loved ones. After all this was a Broadway contract. He was moving up in the world of theatre, and I had no problem whatsoever riding his coattails.  And to be perfectly honest, both of us were excited about the financial possibilities of this development.  For the first time in our brief life as a married couple one of us would stand to make a decent living, and we may be able to (gasp) save some money along the way. The prospect thrilled us both.  The initial plan was for him to move to NYC and for me to stay in our home in Chicago.  I had a life here, many wonderful friends and frankly I just wasn't totally confident in my abilities to "make it" in NYC. However as time crept closer to his departure I began to realize (and with a little goading from some of my friends) that I was turning up my nose at a great challenge, a great adventure! I could try to forge my way as an actor in NYC! Now was the perfect time, of course, with Jürg having a stable job and me having nothing, except for my own trepidation, actually tying me down in Chi Town.  So I gave notice at my day job, backed out of a show which I was set to be a part of (in all fairness I had already done the show for two years so I am not a total jerk) and made plans to venture out to the Big Apple.

This conversation was never in the plans.

We spoke briefly, and he quickly apologized for calling me while at dinner. I told him how sorry I was, and mentioned that we needed to talk about this all later, as I couldn't handle telling my parents right now.  I said goodbye and turned the corner as though nothing had happened. But something had happened, something big, literally a rug had just been pulled out from under me.  All of a sudden that security blanket which I clung to so tightly had been ripped from my hands.  How could this ever work? Why had this happened? The show had just opened, and had received good reviews! Why oh why must life be so hard?

That pretty much brings us up to date.

Let me be clear...the pity party, it stops here. Or at least I will do my best to quell its swells.  I realize  what I am feeling are the feelings which ring loud and clear to so many families across this country, across the world. Particularly right now.  We are both so lucky to have a home in Chicago that we can always come back to.  We don’t have any major debts and-oh yeah!- we have each other! Not to mention being in good health and having great families.  Life really isn’t so bad.  Still, while I can count many blessings, this was the first time in my life when I felt as though I had really been dealt a major blow.  A hit that would alter the course of my little life journey.  I am so blessed to have made it this far without one, and I suppose I knew it would happen at some point, but nothing can truly prepare you when it does.

I decided I had a choice.  I could cower and retreat from my decision to move, or I could look life in the eyes and face this challenge head on.  The former was not an option.  I would go on as "planned" but with a bit of a twist.   The stability of Jürgen’s contract wouldn’t be there for me, for us, to fall back on, but are great adventures built on stable ground? I think not.

This blog will serve as a space on the interwebs to hold myself accountable as I move onto this new path.  A path of positivity and challenge.  A path of artistic and personal growth.  A path that may seem a bit foggy right now, but day by day will become a little clearer.