Subtle Shifts in 42 Days

After reading Gabrielle Bernstein’s first two books, I ordered her latest, May Cause Miracles. I finished the 42nd day this morning and I’m in love with her way of thinking.

I know there’s a chance it could be a load of bullshit, but it’s helping me in small ways: I’m not feeding into people’s anger, or stress, and I’m learning forgiveness (of myself and others). And I’m not hurting anyone else, so who cares?

It’s been rather pleasant to wake up, read that day’s morning chapter, set my affirmation on my phone, then meditate. I’ve been feeling really serene after my morning meditations recently and it’s nice. I wish I could convince everyone I know to meditate, but there will always be skeptics or people who are just too stubborn to stop themselves for 10 minutes a day to slow down and just breathe.

Earlier this week a guy I’d once dated told me he was dating someone knew. I almost switched into victim-mode with “why is everyone in a relationship but me?!” but I witnessed this bullshit, emailed a friend who confirmed that it was bullshit, and then picked up May Cause Miracles before going to sleep. Noticing my bullshit coming up was huge for me. 

Her teachings are very similar to Eckhart Tolle’s because they both urge disassociation from the ego. I recently had a conversation with a friend who thinks that that the ego is your sense of self-esteem. This, in my opinion (and many others’ opinions), is false. A friend explained it to me like this: Your self esteem is your self worth, and your ego is all the labels that you can use to identify yourself and project onto the outside world. I think of the ego also as the way you use external affirmations to derive your self-worth (which of course is bullshit because happiness comes from within). 

The aforementioned friend thinks that not having an ego means not having an identity and he is skeptical of anyone who is anti-ego. What do you guys think?

Gabrielle Bernstein is giving a lecture at the end of July at NYU. My ticket is purchased and I’ve even convinced one of my good, semi-cynical guy friends (who is currently reading Spirit Junkie!) to come with me. 

So, ego vs. self esteem? Is there a difference?

Rockin’ the Suburbs & a Simple Farm Wedding

When Michael, one of my best guy friends, asked me if I’d consider being his date for his sister’s wedding in Connecticut I said of course. I’d met his sister and his fiance only once, but they were pretty awesome. When he told me that it was a wedding at a farm, I was ecstatic. I’ve had a little bit of an infatuation with farms since last year when I started becoming a Ronnybrook fangirl. Anyways.

We drove up on Thursday night to his parent’s house. It was late so we decided to make it a legit road trip in the country and we stopped for dinner at a Dairy Queen in Meriden.

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See how it glows? Yeah, it was pretty disgusting. But in the totally satisfying way because we were starving. We arrived at his parents house where we were greeted with hugs, smiles, and wine. The plan for the next three days was relayed our way and we settled in. 

The next day the guys went golfing and I helped the mother of the bride and the bride construct their table seating cards. They were simple and beautiful! We all eventually ventured to Tyrone Farm in Pomfret for the rehearsal and later to Sharpe Hill Vinyards for the rehearsal dinner. I got to meet lots of their family and they were all awesome. We drank a lot of wine. 

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the view where the ceremony was going to be

While trying to keep up drink-for-drink with Michael’s family, I obviously consumed far too much wine. When we got back to his family’s house, I crashed. The next day was the big day. Michael and I were staying at the hotel where the rest of the bridal party was staying that night so we went to check-in early and after I got ready, we headed over to the venue.

Tyrone Farm is completely off the grid (except for at night when, you know, the goes down) and totally gorgeous. I hung out in the cottage where the bridal party was getting ready, helping where I could, and then went over to the room in the main house on the property where the guys were getting ready and did what I could over there. We lucked out and it ended up being about 10* cooler than it was the day before and the ceremony area was in the shade by the time it started. Prior to the ceremony, Hosmer Mountain Bottling Co. soda was served. Michael and his family lived once across the street from the 100+ year old company so it was sentimental for their family.

The ceremony was absolutely gorgeous (and quick!). Shakespeare’s Sonnet 116 was read, as well as a passage from “So Long and Thanks for All the Fish” by Douglas Adams. 

After the cocktail hour, we were all shown to our seats in the main reception area which was the barn (and it was air conditioned!). It was absolutely gorgeous inside. I snapped this photo during the bride & groom’s first dance and it kind of gives an idea about the romanticism of this setting.

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And when it got darker out, it just got prettier inside. The food was wonderful and there was a ton of dancing. There was a photo booth in the main house, so we obliged.

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Around 11:30, buses came and took us back to the hotel where the after party commenced in the bar (restaurant?) across the street. Most of us were changed and casual. We closed the place down and then happily crashed.

After a totally needed-and-necessary brunch at his parent’s house, we headed back to the city. We hit no traffic and then chowed down on some Israeli food before calling it a night. 

I had an unbelievable time with Michael, as well as with his family, and meeting a ton of people that quickly became my family for the weekend.  Seeing how happy the bride and groom were, and how beautiful they both looked, and how happily they looked at each other, just made me totally melt. 

I told Michael on the way back that I am always ready and willing to step in and be his stand-in pseudo-girlfriend for family events now and until each of us finds our own imperfectly perfect person for each other. He just thanked me. 

Today was a good day.

When I got an email from a friend and former colleague that she and her husband had moved into a new house in the Hudson Valley and that house turned out to be right across the street from my best guy friend’s childhood home, I immediately planned a trip up when they planned a housewarming party. And also convinced the aforementioned guy friend to come too.

It was a nice, albeit chilly, day to get out of the city. He picked me up around 11 at my apartment and we cruised up whatever road you take to get up to his Hudson Valley hometown.  We made a stop so he could pick up wine for his mom’s new neighbors and nearby we found Girl Scouts selling cookies. We took the bait. I walked away with two boxes, he had a few more.

The party was lovely and it was really, really awesome to see my friend, her husband, and their three adorable children. And the birthday cake? Simply amazing. It felt amazingly adult to take a day out of the city to visit my former colleague and her family for her housewarming party that also happened to be a party for her second child’s third birthday. 

Anyways, after a couple of hours, we said our goodbyes and took a drive up to Peekskill to revive ourselves with coffee at one of his favorite spots, The Peekskill Coffee House. It was super casual and chill spot. We went around the corner to Bruised Apple Books, where we browsed used books and records. We drove back to his mom’s house and caught an express train home. The view was amazing:

After a Mexican dinner at a new spot near his apartment, we decompressed from an afternoon of way-too-many children and screaming with my favorite episode of season 2 of GIRLS (the cocaine episode) and an episode of Parks and Recreation. We also listened through Dookie on vinyl. Pretty awesome.

The best days are those with traveling (no matter how small) and unplanned adventures. Today was one of those days.

Instead of the normal ‘let’s go to a bar and drink for my birthday’ thing, I decided to go a much cheaper (and more fun, IMHO) route: I cooked and invited a bunch of friends over.

I made tabouli, spicy peanut noodles, salad, sweet potato fries, rice-crusted lemony chicken, almond butter chocolate chunk cookies, and bought some apple cider donuts from the Lincoln Square farmers market.

Everyone else bought wine. And cupcakes. 

By the time I dragged out my DSLR, I was several glasses under so most of my shots were blurry. But my best friend signed me up for a Pandora account which we put on my Roku, listened to some rock, played Cards Against Humanity, drank more wine, and eventually my guitars were busted out towards 1am.

Today I started my somewhat-hungover day with a quick meditation, lots of stretching, and an episode of GIRLS. Later I’ll be having brunch with my family at The Green Table in Chelsea Market.

I’ve been kind of over drinking lately. Maybe it’s my liking staying in my yoga pants from Friday night to Monday night. Or it’s the dislike for being hit on my drunk slobs at the bar. Or the slight hangover the next. But really it’s probably just the amount of money that I’d spend.

And it’s cold.

So on Sunday, when I texted one of my friends and asked what he was up to, I was thrilled when he suggested getting tea. We decided to meet at 4pm, in time for high tea at the 72nd Street Le Pain Quotidien.

Over our bowls of hit beverages and a croissant, we caught up on each others lives for under $12.

Next we walked (yes, in 20* weather) up to the JOE on 84th and Columbus. Named the best coffee in the city, I insisted he try it. He said it was “really good” and we warmed up for a bit inside. This cost $6.50.

Our last stop of the afternoon was Two Boots on 96th and Broadway. Possibly overrated pizza, but we enjoyed it. Two slices were around $8.

The whole afternoon cost around $25 collectively, with no hangover included “free” of charge.

Too late, and now it sucks to be you too.

In late 2011, I decided to rid myself of friends who didn’t make me feel good about myself, or talk to them and explain to them that I wasn’t happy with our friendship and how I wanted it to change. That sounds demanding but it was for the best for both of us (whoever the other person happened to be). One “friend” who I made the decision to completely cut off was someone who threatened to sue me after I did a[n admittedly bitchy] thing. But no matter what you do  – short of trying to murder your friend or their family – friends don’t threaten to sue each other. Plain and simple.

Well, the latest conundrum was a guy who I met a few weeks ago – we never dated, for the record – and we hung out twice, but he always seemed to be doing it out of pity. There definitely always seemed to be somewhere he’d rather be – at least that’s the impression his body language gave me. He’s also super arrogant, which he doesn’t deny at all. “Who has the time to be modest?” he says. I’m all for being proud of one’s accomplishments but I don’t think there’s a reason to be arrogant. Well, I sick of him always acting like it was a chore to talk to me so I took him off my Gchat list and that was that.

Last night, after a week and a half of radio silence on my end, he messaged me and asked why I’d been so quiet and I told him. He admitted to pushing people away who seemed interested in getting to know him because he doesn’t like himself enough so he doesn’t know why anyone else would either. That made me sad, though I knew that I couldn’t make him like himself at all, so I didn’t know what to say. He went on to say that when I went silent, I gave him the space he needed to miss me and he admitted that he did. That was slightly creepy, but I guess kind of nice of him to be admitting too? He said he wanted to put more time and effort into friendships in 2012 and I said great. 

He then asked if I wanted to hang out. It was 10:30 on Sunday night and I wasn’t at all presentable to be hanging out, and to be honest I didn’t want to hang out with someone who I didn’t know all that well, who’d been super odd thus far, late at night. I suggested today though, and that he was more than welcome to come over because there was a Sex and the City marathon on and I wasn’t leaving the house before 5pm when I was going to yoga. He seemed stoked and we planned to cook lunch and hang out.

Well, he blew me off today and when I emailed him I don’t appreciate being OBO’ed, he explained it was for a friend who’d just broken up with his girlfriend. I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and believing him. I’m having an unbelievably hard time trusting him and it’s weird because he hasn’t really done anything to warrant this distrust on my end. Is this the part where I’m supposed to trust my instinct or should I maybe stop being so judgmental?

I guess that’s it. The ball’s in his court now and it’ll stay there until he decides to make an effort. I’m working on the quality of my friends this year, not the quantity. Who wants to have 100 shitty friends when you could have 5 great ones?  

I hadn’t been to an Obliterati since December, and after an almost-6 month break (from Social Media in general), it was nice to be back.  It was Internet Week this week in NYC and I opted out of a bunch of the other parties in favor of a friends’ cabaret and Million Dollar Quartet, but I was excited for Thursday’s gathering at Sweet and Vicious.  I stuck to Gin, escaped the rain, and smiled more than I have in a long time as I said hi to friend after friend.  

Oh, did I mention that Andrew Keegan showed up?  Spanish Rob thought he looked familiar and me, two drinks under with no dinner, went and asked his name.  He was a nice guy and we chatted for a bit.  His friend and him had just been walking by and saw the crowd of people, which is why he was there.  Can I just say that he’s super hot too?  

I had to leave around 8:30pm to get to a friends’ show in the West Village, but I was happy I went and I’m looking forward to the next one.  

(Photo credit due, of course, to Nick McGlynn.)

“Wow. That was something special.”

Last Saturday was pretty ideal as far as my Saturdays go.  Although there was really nothing special about it. 

I woke up at 9am (or somewhere around there) and did a round of yoga with the windows open, because it was beautiful out.  After showering and making lunch, I headed down to the St. James Theatre to help Matt and his friend Paul (who was visiting from LA) out with the lottery so Paul could see the show (American Idiot).  The crowd was minimal – under 50 people – and Matt, of course, was the first name called.  Matt went to work (walk-in at A Behanding in Spokane) and I ventured to Starbucks with Paul to keep him company in the hour + of downtime.  I walked around parts of midtown that I hadn’t been to in a while, and also popped into The Drama Book Shop on 40th Street before heading back up to the St. James.  I guess you could say I finagled my way in, because I ended up in the 9th row for American Idiot that day. 

Omar Lopez-Cepero was on for Ben Thompson.  Sean Wing was in Chase Peacock. 

The show was the great, the house was packed, and the audience was very into it.  I’d never seen the show from House Left before so it was interesting.  I watched [Michael] Esper a lot when I usually never do because he’s pretty stationary on the couch for most of the show.  I noticed that John Gallagher Jr. plays different chords than the ones I’ve learned in the last month for Boulevard of Broken Dreams and Wake Me Up When September Ends, and even uses a capo in one of the songs.  (Does anyone know why this is?)

After the show Paul and Matt found me on the sidewalk, and Paul said only, “Wow.  That was something special,” which are perfect words to describe American Idiot.  And not in the Special Ed way either.  In other words, he loved it.  Before I departed them, Paul hugged me and said, “Alli, you are a gem!”

I thanked him, told him it was lovely to meet him, and waved goodbye to both, happy with how I spent my day and not having wanted to do a single thing differently.  I went home to my apartment for a night in; centered, energized, and happy.