Between Shades of Gray Made Me Want to Know Things

I remembered what I’d been thinking about blogging about (yes, English is my first and only language), and it wasn’t 2015 OR 2016! It was a terrible book review! As in, the book is great, the review is not.

I recently finished BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY by Ruta Sepetys. It was good. I had to keep myself from weeping in public multiple times. Not so much when people died, but when people were unexpectedly kind. Like, “oh, you died? Bummer, dude. Oh, you were an awful and terrible person but you shared your very small ration of bread with me? Excuse me while I weep.”

Anyway, so point is, I liked the book. I liked the characters. (Andrius!!! Guys!!) But what I liked most was that it introduced me to a part of history I’m not super familiar with (which, to be honest, is a lot of history). This Lithuanian family is taken from their home in the middle of the night and wind up in a work camp in freaking Siberia, under orders of Stalin. The only thing I know about Stalin’s regime is that he was actually pretty hot and I’m not sure what that confession says about me. He was terrible! I wouldn’t date him! But, like, okay, he was good looking and we can admit that, right? Right? Guys? Right? I’m only admitting this because I’ve seen other people say it. Guys.

So, I don’t know a lot about Stalin. And I don’t know a lot about my family history and that’s what I really took away from this book. My grandparents lived in small Ukrainian villages before the war and were shipped off to refugee camps in Germany. And look, I know it wasn’t a concentration camp or a Siberian work camp, but I know that circumstances were not great. I know that my grandmother couldn’t go home again. I know it was bad enough that my grandmother refused to talk about the situation. (If you’re wondering where the gene of not talking about my personal life comes from, it comes from my silent Ukrainian ancestors.) I know the name of the village where the refugee camp was located, but I can’t find any information on the camp. I know my grandmother’s maiden name, but have searched and can’t find anything about her family or my grandfather’s family. I know that the villages where they lived were so small they didn’t keep birth records so when they landed at Ellis Island my grandmother had no idea how old she was or when her birthday was, so she guessed her age and made up a birthday.

I know that there was a famine in Ukraine before World War II and some people turned to cannibalism and my mom says my grandmother never mentioned cannibalism, but my grandmother never mentioned a lot of things so I’m not totally ruling it out.

So, yeah, I liked the book! It was good! It made me feel things! But mostly it made me curious and I wish I had asked more questions before my grandmother passed away.

Read Between Shades of Gray! If you haven’t already, though you probably have because I’m always years late on things.


Happy! New! Year!

Listen guys, I had a really amazing blog post planned about like 2015 in review and 2016 goals and hopes and dreams and I vaguely remember discussing stealing things, because that seems to be a theme I keep returning to, but I wrote it in my head at a coffee shop yesterday while I was writing a BOOK and not a blog post and so I don’t remember any of it.

Speaking of the coffee shop, I rarely have cash so when I do I like to tip at all of the places I normally go. So I ordered and tipped and sat, waiting for them to call my order, which took approximately twenty minutes even though there was nobody in line ahead of or behind me AND the order was wrong. So I guess I’m asking, in this situation, is it okay to take the tip back? Like, look, normally you’re great, but this time you really screwed up and don’t deserve this, so let’s try again when I have cash again, probably next holiday season. I didn’t take my tip back. I also didn’t tell them my order was wrong because I don’t like conflict. I mean, it was fine. It just wasn’t what I ordered. So why make a big deal about it. Right? Hi, you can put me in front of your door because I am a doormat.

I’m addicted to new beginnings. I make New Year’s Resolutions every year and then I make new ones at the change of each season. Like, “these are my spring resolutions!” and “these are my summer resolutions!” etc. I rarely stick to any of them, but I love imagining that I will. I just love beginnings. I love meeting people, but having to keep up conversation/relationship is confusing and scary. I love starting new books, but I never know how to end them. Endings are the worst. When my grandma was sick and in the hospital everyone KNEW she was dying. SHE knew she was dying. Rather than say goodbye I said, “feel better, see you soon,” because that’s how bad I am at endings/goodbyes. That got super personal. The point is, I love the feeling of starting again, of starting over. The past two years have been…not great. But at the end of last year things started feeling like they were falling into place and I’m super excited for 2016 and being able to sort of put myself together again. It’s exciting. I’m excited.

I will probably still never tell the barista my order was wrong, but one step at a time is my new motto.

Oh, Hello.

We are in the thick of the holiday season, probably my least favorite season right after the season of winter. The worst is when winter weather combines with the holidays and we have a fluffy, white Christmas and then I just want to hole up until my favorite season, which is late spring. The best is when late spring weather combines with my favorite holiday, my birthday. It snowed the day I was born, a blustery day in mid-April. Snow in April is unnatural and because of the weird birthday phenomenon I now determine ALL snow to be unnatural. I guess I just don’t like when anything falls from the sky because I also hate rain, but listen, things falling from the sky usually indicates disaster. I have read Chicken Little and I saw the movie and I absolutely do not remember how it ends, but I’m pretty sure it’s not good. All children’s stories end in death and destruction, right?

Thanksgiving was okay. I went to my mom’s house and we ate Thanksgiving dinner around noon and we ate in front of the TV so speaking of children’s stories, I finally saw Despicable Me 2. Not a fan. I want to kick the minions in their yellow faces. I’m pretty sure this movie did not end in death and destruction, but I honestly don’t remember. I never remember endings. I could tell you the plot of a book just up until the end. You’d be all, “That sounds great, but I just don’t have time to read it! How does it end?” And I’d have to slink away ashamed or discreetly consult Wikipedia, a resource that is 100% accurate 100% of the time. I don’t know if my not remembering endings has some weird psychological link to my inability to predict the future, but I’m going to believe it does. Like, “I don’t know how my life ends, how can I possibly know how anything else ends? Even though I read/saw/heard it with my very own eyes/ears?”

My mom’s house also doesn’t have a shower. It’s just a tub with a hose attachment. This is even worse than snow on Christmas so when I visit my mother I don’t bathe very much, which is gross, but also I’m mostly sitting on the couch watching TV, so it’s not like I’m dirty. The house is 100-years-old and the ceiling over the tub is sloped so there’s no way to put a shower in there.  She’s too far from civilization to have food delivered. They sit down to bathe every day. This is how they live.

Over the past week or so I have been working on changing how *I* live. I have a shower AND I can have food delivered so I’m already super ahead in this race, but as a result of my new self-help diet, I am attempting to minimize and just get really on top of self-care because I felt like my world was closing in around me, which, as it turns out, sort of weighs you down. So I removed all of the furniture from the room to sort of deep clean and I purged and tossed a lot of THINGS before putting the furniture back and then did the same with another room. All of this was because I wanted to clean out my closets and get rid of stuff I haven’t looked at since I moved in almost nine years ago, but I never even got to my closets. Eight bags of trash, three bags of shredded paper, and a trunk full of items to be donated later, I feel lighter, freer, happier. I recommend purging stuff!

Update on the Hamilton front: still listening to it.

There’s a Million Things I Haven’t Done…

But just you wait, just you waaaiiiittttt! This wasn’t going to be a “currently” entirely about Hamilton, but listen, this is just what my life is about now.


HAMILTON. I love the lyrics, I love the music, I love Lin-Manuel Miranda. I think it’s one of the best musicals ever, and I’ve seen CATS.


HAMILTON by Ron Chernow, the book that inspired the musical, because I’m crazy. Here’s the thing. I become obsessed with things and then it goes away, so I won’t always be like this, I promise. But right now, I’m immersing myself in Revolutionary America, which isn’t actually that weird because when I was in elementary school I was VERY into Revolutionary America. The summer before I was in fourth grade my grandparents took me to Philadelphia for a day trip on a rainy day while we were at the beach. I became obsessed with Ben Franklin. I literally cannot tell you anything about him now (but don’t worry, I bought a new biography of Ben Franklin to read after I finish Hamilton and I also bought a book that focuses on the relationship between Burr and Hamilton and guys I have a problem), but I had like seven children’s books about Benny Frank.

This was also the trip when my grandmother thought I ran away with a group of Chinese students who were wearing similar-colored windbreakers as the one I was wearing, but I was just with my grandfather looking at old desks.

On another trip to Philadelphia I saw Weird Al and got him to pose for a photo then I ran away scared, but that’s just a side note. He had a camera around his neck and was on his way to the Liberty Bell. I said, “You look like Weird Al, can I take your picture?” It was not my finest moment.


YouTube videos of Hamilton-related things. Ham4Ham. The 60 Minutes interview. But also videos of Jonathan Groff and Jeremy Jordan and ALSO Brooklyn 99 and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and just got SUPER into iZombie, but not as much as I’m into Hamilton.

Listening To

….the Hamilton soundtrack…

Thinking About

There’s a line in “Wait for It” where Burr sings “When everyone who loved me has died” and I want to ask if that was a conscious decision. Burr was loved, but Burr did not love? Burr felt alone? Why not “when all of my loved ones have died” or “everyone I have loved has died”? Those would both fit musically. WHY oh WHY did he choose THAT line? I need to know.


April 16, 2016, when I sit in the theater and see Hamilton live. And also the weekend in New York with my girls, in general.


That it were April 15, 2016. JK. I’m willing to wait for it.

Making Me Happy


The Events of my Weekend

This weekend I went to a costume party called Theater Bizarre: Year of the Goat with my friend Nicole. I call her my friend. Is she my friend? I don’t know. Are we friends? I think so. Anyway, it was a huge party in Detroit, Michigan, held at the Masonic Temple. It was eight floors of bands and performers and bars and people. So many people. So many people in costume. So many people barely in costume. I saw so many body parts. I took a lot of pictures, but no pictures of body parts because my online (and irl, let’s be honest) persona is PG. Maybe PG-13 if it’s a crazy day. The point is I saw some burlesque dancers who were amazing and it was not like the time my friend and I were trying to find something to do and I was like, “ooh, a cabaret show, let’s do that!” and it turned out to not be anything like the musical Cabaret, but was, in fact, a woman in her 60’s telling jokes that would have made your great-grandparents blush. She wore a long-sleeved sequined shirt and her hair was permed in the way that suggested she only had it set once a week. My friend and I were the only people there who were not senior citizens so we were used to vulgar jokes. We grew up with MTV.  The old people kept looking at us like we were being scandalized. It was a 21+ crowd, this cabaret show. This party was not like that. This party had nipple tassels and…piercings… Various…body…piercings. Did that guy know he wasn’t wearing anything under his skirt? He had to, right?

I dressed as a broken baby doll because I thought, “what would require me to purchase a dress I can also wear to work and what is the easiest make-up I can do on my own?” Nicole went as a clown even though she is very scared of clowns. I’m not scared of anything. Except water, fire, the apocalypse, murder, guns, dying alone, rubber bands, and balloons. But like nothing else.

While we were in line this guy who was dressed in black and painted black chased Nicole. She screamed. I laughed. I guess that’s just one of the many differences between us.

I saw a clown balance himself on top of a giant red ball and I saw a girl balance herself on top of two metal poles and then shoot a crossbow with her feet while blindfolded and I saw another clown play with fire while rolling around on roller skates and I danced (“danced”) to a brass band.

Other things we did that were not related to the party were go to a Bavarian village, which was much like the one I went to in Seattle except this one was not in the mountains, but both had so many candy shops and also we went vintage shopping and if you come to my house (don’t come to my house) I’ll show you my new prized possession, a 1970’s varsity sweater. Or I could just wear it, but I hate wearing prized possessions, what happens if they get ruined? Speaking of possession, we also watched the first three Scream movies, which are about people possessed by insanity, basically.

The flights to and from were fine, unexceptional, except for the guy on the way home was like, “hi, excuse me please, I don’t like to keep the armrest between us, I prefer to take up all of the space,” and I was like, “PLEASE, sir, I don’t need the armrest but I prefer to keep a buffer between myself and strangers and you seem very nice, but please back away.” I’m just kidding. I said none of that and leaned into the aisle. He also didn’t say any of that, it was just his actions. The flight home was also a little turbulent, which I hate. But other than that it was fine.

Squad Goals – Taylor vs Carly

Totally made-up reasons why I would be in Carly Rae Jepsen’s squad over Taylor Swift’s.

A boy’s clothes are scattered around the room. His hands are in Taylor Swift’s hair. She is reclining on a plush chaise, fully clothed. Taylor Swift does not take her clothes off for anyone. People take their clothes off for Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift’s belly button remains a mystery.

Carly Rae Jepsen lounges naked in the sheets and watches late night television and probably eats cookies in bed. Taylor Swift watches only epic romances that take place on African safaris.

Taylor Swift’s response to boy problems is to bake things and write songs about how her life is better without them. Taylor Swift puts on red lipstick and calls her squad for group photos. Carly Rae Jepsen drinks caramel apple vodka straight from the bottle and her friends tell her to get her shit together.

Taylor Swift is New York. She exits the gym looking flawless, in clothes that would make a young, modern-day Jackie Kennedy Onassis seethe with jealousy. Carly Rae Jepsen is LA. Carly Rae Jepsen is effortlessly cool. Carly Rae Jepsen wears jeans with holes in them and dyes her hair cool colors.

Taylor Swift falls in love. Taylor Swift waits on a throne for men to come to her and declare their all-consuming passion. Carly Rae Jepsen makes the first move. Carly Rae Jepsen has crushes and falls for the wrong guy and says the wrong thing. Carly Rae Jepsen knows she’d never change herself for any guy.

Taylor Swift gets in cars with reckless drivers, who drive without headlights. Carly Rae Jepsen is the reckless driver, going too fast and running red lights.

Boys drive past Taylor Swift’s house. Carly Rae Jepsen drives past boys’ houses.

Taylor Swift gets mad when the Queens of Comedy and All that is Perfect in this Flawed World (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) make jokes at her expense. Carly Rae Jepsen is a guest on fake, comedy talk shows.

Taylor Swift would never let the wind blow through her hair with the top down. Taylor Swift wears a scarf. Carly Rae Jepsen likes the feel of the wind. Carly Rae Jepsen gets knots in her hair.

Taylor Swift gets rescued. Carly Rae Jepsen rescues.

Taylor Swift dances in ball gowns. Carly Rae Jepsen didn’t JUST come to dance, if you know what she means.

Both Taylor Swift and Carly Rae Jepsen fight in rainstorms though, so, either way I’ve got that.

Disclaimer: I love both Taylor and Carly Rae. I own every Taylor album and even attended the Red tour. These observations are solely based on listening to E*Mo*Tion incessantly and the jealousy I feel after stalking Taylor Swift’s Instagram. This disclaimer is because I am very afraid of Taylor’s squad.

Pay Attention to Me

Time for another installment of “currently…” because I’m afraid you guys will forget me if I don’t write SOMETHING every couple weeks and I’m SUPER ANNOYED that nobody read my previous blog post, which was probably the best post I have ever written.


Please see “Making Me Happy” below.


I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S NOT BETTER by Monica Heisey. It’s hilarious and I’m still in the first section, which is all about food and loving food and how to eat food in bed, etc, and she reminds me of a friend I had, whom I no longer talk to, and it was like this really intense friend love and then she disappeared, so I love this book but also I’m a little sad.


I am super bad at TV. I start watching things and then I forget it’s on or it goes on hiatus and I forget when it comes back and then basically I’ve missed the entire season. I don’t have a DVR. Is that the new “I don’t watch TV?” BOTH OF THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE. Except I do watch TV, or try to watch TV, I just forget. That being said, I can’t wait for Brooklyn 99 to come back and Last Man on Earth (it got better!). One day a couple weeks ago I was like, “I’m sad and don’t know why” and my friend said “what are you doing?” and I said, “watching The Wonder Years” and she said, “Stop watching The Wonder Years!” and guys she was right. I love that show but every single episode makes me cry.

Listening To

Can’t stop listening to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Emotion” and I’M NOT EVEN SORRY. Also, this may come as a shock, but I am absolutely, completely in love with Justin Bieber’s What Do You Mean and the new One Direction’s Drag Me Down. (I’m just kidding. These things surprise nobody.)

Thinking About

How normally my office is very quiet but there are a ton of people here today from our DC office because the Pope is in town and shutting EVERYTHING down. That guy just rolls in and does what he wants and I ADMIRE that. That is my dream. Maria, make it happen.


My glorious future.


Wishing it were warm because I am now, apparently, a person who, when it gets below 80*, just CANNOT deal. I used to LOVE snow and winter and now it’s like 75* and I’m all “everything is terrible and my life is the worst.”

Making Me Happy

This is like the “loving” section, which, to be totally honest, I skipped because I could think of nothing. I’m happy! I like things! But also maybe I don’t? I mean, things are pretty great. I changed the sheets on my bed last night so I went to bed very happy but then I had to wake up and waking up and having to DO things is THE WORST but like overall, things are okay, you know? I stopped watching The Wonder Years. I started reading a bunch of self-help books and am just trying to work on myself and am getting in touch with the ME inside, so next time I do this I’m sure there will be something that makes me happy. Also, I have to talk to my boss about how to use up the rest of my vacation time for the year, so actually that is making me happy, so let’s forget everything else I said and go with that.

That Time I Was a Gullible Child

Before I started school my mom worked in a local church/community center in their administrative offices. Instead of sending me to daycare or preschool, I had free reign of the entire nursery and would spend my days alone in a room full of toys. Sometimes old ladies would come visit. There was one named Mary who wore perfume that smelled like roses and used to hold me on her lap and sing “rock-a-bye baby” and when the cradle fell she would sort of roll me away and I loved it. I loved her. She was my favorite person in the world.

My mom’s boss had a daughter about five years older than me and sometimes she would come to the church after school. Her dad would send her to the nursery to do homework, but as a lonely, anxious four-year-old I would immediately demand her attention. I assumed she was there for me, to play with me, to be my best friend and surrogate sister. I don’t remember her name, but let’s call her Kirsten because…well, just because. Kirsten went to Catholic school and wore a uniform with white knee socks and one day she came in with a streak of blood down the outside of her left sock. When I asked what happened, she said there was a nail on her desk and it snagged her leg. There was a band-aid over the wound, but the stain on her sock fascinated me. It was so tortured and romantic and it was exactly how I imagined myself as a worldly nine-or-ten-year-old. I would wear knee socks and tragically be maimed.

One weekend my mom had plans so Kirsten’s dad took me in for the day. I thought it was a play date and was so excited to spend the day with my older, wiser, very mature older friend. Kirsten, as she was older, wiser, and very mature, very clearly wanted nothing to do with me. Her dad sent us upstairs to play and said that we were not allowed downstairs. It was the 80s, guys, parents were very hands-off. So Kirsten put on a movie for me and disappeared. Like, for HOURS. When she reappeared I asked where she’d been and she got super excited, told me she had just been to Wonderland, then she handed me a quarter and said the White Rabbit asked her to give it to me. I, obviously, to put it mildly, FREAKED THE EFF OUT. I wanted, nay, NEEDED to go to Wonderland. I asked how she got there and she told me that she saw a rainbow outside the bathroom window, sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and Dorothy AND Alice came and took her to Wonderland. I didn’t even care that she was mixing stories because wtf this was all of my childhood dreams in one majorly epic afternoon.

I took her place by the bathroom window. I sang “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” I have no idea how long I did this. The rest of the day, for sure. Hours. Kirsten would come check on me and I’d sadly report that nobody had come back. She said maybe they were in the middle of a tea party. Keep singing.

I genuinely believed in the power of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” “The Wizard of Oz” was my favorite movie and in department stores I would hide in the round racks of clothes like I was leaning into a hay bale singing of bluebirds. I’d get lost in there, listening to my mom look for me, panicked. I knew if any song could transport me, it was that one. So I kept singing. I clutched my quarter. Nobody came. I had to go home. It was the saddest day of my life.

Years later I wondered where she went when she disappeared. I remember looking for her in every room upstairs, including closets. I concluded she must have hid herself by standing in a pair of boots and wrapping a coat around her. Literally a year ago it dawned on me that she probably just went downstairs.

Various Jobs I’ve Had and How I Did At Them

Thirteen years old, weekend babysitting gig. Saturday night.
Perks: Just like The Babysitter’s Club!
Responsibilities: A seven-year-old boy and the most adorable three-year-old girl on the entire planet.
How it Went: It was fine.
Why I Left: I was never asked to return.
Stray Observations: I am not good with kids.
Thirteen years old, summer babysitting gig, two days a week.
Perks: It’s just like The Babysitter’s Club!
Responsibilities: Two boys, six and two.
How it Went: The two-year-old HATED having his diaper changed. Had to bribe him with candy. One time I smelled something and forced him to have his diaper changed. There were tears (me) and screaming (him.) Nothing had happened. The smell was the dog.
Why I Left: I was never asked to return.
Stray Observations: Still not good with kids.
Fourteen years old, summer babysitting gig. Four days a week. $2/hour.
Perks: My best friend lived across the street.
Responsibilities: One girl, aged six. Older and self-sufficient!
How it Went: We watched a lot of TV until the mom said, “maybe she should go outside some.” So the girl went outside and I watched TV alone or with my best friend. They also made me clean their house.
Why I left: End of Summer. They did not ask me back for the next summer. They asked my best friend instead.
Stray Observations. Not any better with kids.
Fifteen years old, summer job. Washing hair at a hair salon.
Perks: $2/hour plus tips and old ladies tip really well. Sometimes made $80 a day.
Responsibilities: Washing hair, sweeping hair, answering phones. It was mostly old ladies who came in once a week to have their hair set.
How it Went: I was not very good at washing out all of the hairspray.
Why I Left: I was fired.
Stray Observations: I still really love the scent of salon shampoo.
Sixteen-years-old, first “real” job. Cook at a carry-out/delivery Pizza Hut.
Perks: Worked with one of my best friends. We requested lots of amazing music on the radio like The Cure and Cheap Trick and we danced while we put pepperoni on pizza.
Responsibilities: Made pizzas.
How it Went: I was kind of slow so on busy nights I was usually on phones, but I’M SORRY for wanting your pizza to look beautiful and for the toppings to be distributed evenly. Favorite part was cutting pizzas with the giant knife.
Why I Left: I left when I went to college.
Stray Observations: Delivery drivers are CRAZY.
Eighteen-years-old, work-study, computer lab.
Perks: Was supposed to do homework. Spent 3+ hours talking to friends on AIM.
Responsibilities: Check people in and out.
How it Went: Fine.
Why I Left: Decided I’d rather take the money as an upfront check than work for it. Paying it off ’til I die, but worth it!
Stray Observations: I had somehow met this guy on AOL who was from Pittsburgh and also going to WVU. We talked on AIM a lot. He know which lab I worked in so he would come to the lab and we’d talk on AIM while sitting in the same room, both pretending that we didn’t know the other person was there. Eventually he realized I wasn’t going to acknowledge him and he gave up on me.
Nineteen-years-old, summer job. Worked with my mom at a private insurance company three days a week.
Perks: Got to look at the private properties of incredibly rich people and suddenly I knew what I wanted for my life.
Responsibilities: cleaning out files and shredding documents
How it Went: I got bored, wrote a lot. Maybe didn’t do everything I was supposed to.
Why I Left: Had to go back to school.
Stray Observations: They discontinued the program after my summer.
Twenty-years-old, camp counselor. 
Perks: Three months away from home! Outside a lot! Learned to be silly (it hasn’t stuck)!
Responsibilities: Only THE LIVES OF CHILDREN
How it Went: I cried a lot. Alone, in front of other staff, in front of campers. Just general weeping for three months.
Why I left: Summer ended and I CHOSE not to return the following summer.
Stray Observations: Junior high girls are VERY DIFFICULT. Still not all that great with kids.
Twenty-one-years-old. Inserter in a newspaper factory.
Perks: I had a job.
Responsibilities: Putting the ads in the middle of newspapers.
How it Went: It was literally the easiest thing I have ever done in my life and I am very lazy and don’t do that much.
Why I left: Returned to school. CHOSE not to return after I graduated.
Stray Observations: If I tell you, you won’t read my book, the newspaper factory tell-all that I am currently writing.

Chili Con Unicorn

When I was about eight years old, I went to New York City. I’ll pause to let you take that in. NEW YORK.

I know.

We rode the ferry from New Jersey, passed the Statue of Liberty. We went to the top of the Empire State Building. We walked down Broadway, through Times Square. We took pictures with the lions in front of the NY Public Library. We drove past The Dakota and my dad took a moment of silence. I learned that there was a McDonald’s with a piano player (or maybe my grandfather lied?). I wore a white, flowered romper and hot pink Keds. This was everything I ever wanted. I loved it. The lights, the sights, the excitement. I went home and declared, “I’m going to live in a loft in Manhattan and be a Broadway star!”

So young. So naive.

My parents, ever the supportive and indulgent type, told me, and I quote, “Well, you’d better learn to wait tables.”

Instead of taking acting, voice, or dance classes, I literally practiced waiting tables. I would go into the living room with a notebook, take my parents order, pile a make-shift tray with various nick-knacks from my bedroom and return to the living room, serving filet of unicorn nightlight and mashed musical unicorn and unicorn jewelry box cordon bleu. (I collected unicorn things.) I was VERY good. I was ready to be a Broadway star.

Now it is twenty-four years later and not only am I not a Broadway star, I still have never been a waitress. Just another of my unrealized dreams. To be fair, I would have been a terrible real waitress. I guess you could say that I’m not good with…people.

As for the Broadway dream, my parents wouldn’t sign me up for any dance classes because they said I’d just quit. Which is fair. I did quit almost everything I tried. There was that time I was a Brownie for less than a year, that time I played basketball for two days, that time I went out for cross-country and ran home (there is a theme there as well – I am not here for sports). I did take voice lessons though, but eventually quit those because: 1. I was not great (I’d even go so far to say I was not good) and 2. when I learned to project the sound of my own voice scared me and I freaked out. What WAS that? Who makes noises that loud? I come from a family where our main volume of communication is barely above a whisper. I was not cut out for a life on the stage, shouting and strutting across floorboards. So while I spend a lot of time blaming my parents for my current misfortunes, I realize that, as the old saying goes, they knew best.

I still have big dreams, but over the years they have shifted out of the spotlight and into the wings. I want to be HEARD, but not seen. I want to WRITE, but not perform. I want to COOK, but not serve.

(Just kidding on the last one. I want to do neither of those things, they are both the worst.)

I guess the point is that I’m sick of having unrealized dreams because I didn’t know what my dreams WERE. But now I do and now I’m going to make them happen…?

I’m so bad at ending things. Go goals!