Monday, December 28

Thankful for these little fur babies who helped me through the holidays!

Merry (late) Christmas to my friends who celebrate the holiday, and to everyone, I hope you all had a happy, safe weekend with your friends and family! My Christmas was pretty up-and-down, but overall uneventful. Actually, the entire past week was so simultaneously bad and yet anticlimactic in a way I can’t describe. I guess the best place to start would be last Tuesday.

I went into work like any other day, and the plan was that I would work Mon-Thurs and then take the bus to see Nathaniel for Christmas. That whole fiasco was actually an entirely different stress in my life, but I’ll touch on that later. For now, let’s focus on Tuesday and onward.

My roommate texted me on my ten minute break to let me and my other roommate know he had tested positive for COVID, and that’s pretty much where things took a downhill dive. Honestly, though, I feel like I was so numbed out from the other things that were upsetting me in my life, I kind of just added the COVID stress to my mental tab and didn’t immediately get upset about it. I told my shift manager, who told me I needed to go home and quarantine for ten days in isolation (over Christmas, I might add.) Which I was more than happy to do for the sake of keeping everyone safe, and I agree quarantining until I had a negative test was a good idea, but still, it was such a bummer that Nathaniel and I had been racking our heads trying to work out a plan for me to come see him, and then once I did work something out, I had to stay home anyway. 

One of the biggest things that was stressing me out was the fact that I would not get paid for this quarantine time. The first thing I did was go to Tufts to take a COVID test, which literally took two hours because the line was out the door, and then I applied for a grant from Starbucks for the pay I would be losing by staying home. After I’d done pretty much everything I could do to make my situation less stressful, I sort of just accepted the reality that I was going to have a very lonely, isolated Christmas by myself.

By the way, my infected roommate DID go home to his parents so he could properly isolate, and my other healthy roommate was out of state, so it was truly just me and the rats in the apartment. And yeah, it was kind of awesome, being able to keep my bedroom door open and play music and walk around in my underwear, but it was still eerie and sad and weird to be so isolated for so many days. However, the good news is I did NOT have to be isolated for ten days! Because my COVID test came back negative (thank god) and my infected roommate isn’t coming back until he has a negative test, I was able to properly clear myself of all exposure and come back to work today, Monday the 28th. 

Actual Christmas Eve and Christmas day felt like any other day. I woke up, I did dishes, I played the sims, I hung out with my rats, and I mostly just hung around my room. It could have been a lot worse; at least I wasn’t sick, you know? Still, and I think a lot of people feel this way, I would have been so much happier if I could have at least seen my friends and family. 

I’m happy to be back at work again, because I really love my co-workers and it’s nice to be making an income again! My boss did tell me that I have 22 accrued sick hours I can use, so I just went ahead and used all of those to make up for the three week days I was out. It all ended up working out in the end- I’m still going to have a decent paycheck and pay my rent, I spent a lot of bonding time with Susie and Jenna, and honestly, I’m just going to look back at this as a winter vacation. 

I’ve been going through a bit of a funk lately, related to numerous things in my life, and having to rely on texting and social media to communicate with others hasn’t been helpful for me because it’s so difficult to really communicate with people meaningfully and effectively that way. I’m going to try to be easy on myself this week and focus on things that make me feel happy and productive- self care, keeping my room and my apartment tidy, staying on top of chores, and giving myself a lot of pet therapy. My mom always seems to know just what to say to make me feel better, and today, her advice was that I don’t have to make a decision about anything today, I can just let my life run its course and see what happens. I’ve felt a bit better since I’ve talked to her, and I think I’m beginning to remember who I was before this fog took over me, if that makes sense.

I hope you all have a great day and a great week. I personally am looking forward to brighter days ahead and I’m looking forward to continuing on this path to 2021.

Sunday, November 15

Hi, everyone! How are you all doing? Is it starting to feel like winter wherever you live? We have plenty of chilly days here in Boston, but for the most part, it’s actually been sticking in the forties these past few weeks. Although it’s a bit concerning, environmental-wise, it is nice on my 7am walk to work. 

This past weekend I took the commuter rail up to Northern Massachusetts to visit my dad, my brother, and my good friend from high school, Eli. I don’t get to see them very often, especially with COVID and working all the time, so it was nice to take a break from city life for a few days and focus on family. One of the strangest things for me coming back to my hometown was noticing how quiet everything was. There was no rumble of the train, no shouting people or police cards- just pure silence. It was a nice change.

I took a bubble bath on Friday for the first time in six months, and even though it was just a little thing, it was so nice to sit in steaming hot water for an hour with bubbles everywhere. I sometimes find it hard to ultimately relax, especially when I’m caught up in my work cycle, so having that little bit of time to myself was extra special. I also watched Elf with my family, because once it’s November, that means it’s officially Christmas.

It was a treat to see Eli as well! We walked around downtown Newburyport (with masks, of course,) and we stopped into Starbucks as well, which is so funny for me to do when I’m not working. We also went to Marshalls, where I picked up a couple of things for the girls.

Speaking of the girls, they’re doing great! Jenna is really starting to flourish and she’s very inquisitive and energized, although she does love a good snooze on her daddy’s shoulder, too. Susie is also good, and enjoying trying all kinds of new snacks, such as kale and cheerios and blueberries. I can hear them running around in their cage right now, having an absolute blast. When they snuggle up and fall asleep together, it’s the cutest darn thing. 

So things are going really well right now, and I’m so glad I had that little break away from the city to spend some time focusing on other things. I’m looking forward to going back to work tomorrow, but even sooner than that, I’m looking forward to a good night’s sleep. Goodnight everyone!

Sunday, October 18

I’m happy to say I’ve had a super productive weekend, and lots of time to unwind and de-stress after working forty hours last week! I normally only work 32 hours per week, but my boss asked me to cover a Friday shift and I can always use the extra money. On Friday, Buck came over and spent the night (as he usually does on a weekend night) and we ordered delivery and watched cartoons (as we also usually do.) My back was so sore after spending so much time running around at Starbucks, I had no problem falling asleep in the blink of an eye on Friday. The last thing I remember is Buck watching tik toks and turning his phone to show me them as I fell asleep, lol.

Check out the fabulous lighting in my room! This mirror is magical.

Yesterday was catch-up-on-things-around-the-house day, so I did tons of laundry, cleaned up my room, and went grocery shopping at Target. The Target I went to was definitely not the closest grocery store to me, but I like to go there because it’s the single ONLY location I know that carries the Gardein Chick’n Florentino. I also bought a bigger reusable water bottle, because I definitely don’t drink enough water throughout the day and I’d like to make a bit more of an effort. I also started watching Coven last night, the third season of American Horror Story, despite Buck’s warnings that it’s going to be too spooky for me. I will admit, I’m four episodes in and it is quite disturbing, but I’m definitely too deep into it now and I HAVE to see how it ends. I actually don’t watch a lot of Netflix nowadays, but hey, it’s spooky season, and what better way to spend October than binging spooky television?

To be honest, it’s been really nice to focus all my attention on something besides work. I have definitely felt like Starbucks is consuming my life lately, particularly since it’s so intensive and there’s even some internal store drama going on. I’m trying to transfer pretty badly, both for my own well being and to cut my commute in half, but I’m also not opposed to finding a new job altogether. Even if I just cut back on my hours and spend more time doing freelance/remote work, that would be a step in the right direction.

On that note, today has been all about applying for jobs and getting some writing done. I’m going to start publishing two articles a week instead of three for the foreseeable future, because with my current busy schedule it’s just too easy for me to get behind. I’m looking forward to the week ahead, including weekly dinner with my friends and taking Nathaniel on a surprise date some day next weekend, and *maybe* even a response from a new job? Stay tuned!

Had a lovely little picnic in Brighton yesterday. I love these overalls.

Wednesday, October 7

I’ve had pretty much exclusively early shifts this week, which is difficult when I’m scrambling out of bed at 5:30am but totally worth it when I’m clocking out at 3:30 in the afternoon. I think having four straight days of waking up madly early has been taking a toll on me, as I usually have one 8 or 9am start time thrown in somewhere in the middle to help me recharge. I think feeling consumed by work this week has made me a bit more irritable and sensitive than usual, which isn’t really surprising.

I’ve also been stressed because the expenses of living completely independently are more present than ever. Because I have to switch subways four times a day just to get to and from work, my train fare bills are so expensive. I did the math and it looks like I spend $115 a month just taking the subway! On top of that, I essentially ran out of food yesterday and my SNAP benefits don’t land until Saturday, so that was really stressing me out. I decided to get my dinner from Starbucks because I get free food for working there, and then I went to another Starbucks that was closer to Buck’s school so I could eat with him and spend some time getting work done with him. He bought me dinner on the spot when he learned that I’m broke, which made me cry like a baby in the cafe. And then, afterwards, he paid my train fare to get home! I also received a few venmo donations from my other friends who learned about the situation I’m in currently. It is so sweet and generous of them, and I don’t think I can accurately put into words how much it truly helped me this week. I have an amazing support system.

I think my takeaway from this week has been that I (eventually) need a better paying job. I have enough to barely scrape by every month, but not much more than that. At the rate I’m going, I’ll never be able to put away savings, get off welfare, or even dream about getting a car. And particularly since I have a college degree and I could easily cut my commute in half (cost and time wise) by finding a new job, there’s no reason for me not to. And I mean, for what? To brew coffee? I love my job and the people I work with, but now that I’m settled into my new life in Boston, I think it’s time to aim higher.

So that’s what I’ve been doing these past few days: thinking about what sort of jobs I’d like to have. There is a really great website for hiring in Boston called HireCulture, and because it specializes in creative jobs for artistic folk like me, I’ve been really excited about checking that out. I’m also trying to be easy on myself and remind myself that I’m doing the best I can with my current circumstances. I know I’m a hard worker, and I will continue to work hard to build a better life for myself. 

Sunday, October 11

It’s about eleven in the morning right now, and for the second time ever, Nathaniel and I are actually successfully sitting side-by-side and getting work done in silence! We always say that we want to hang out and do work together, but we usually end up getting distracted and putting on a movie instead or something. Today, however, we both have our headphones in, we’re fully caffeinated, and we’re both click-clacking away at our keyboards together.

It’s so nice to have reached the weekend after such a taxing week. It wasn’t a bad week or anything like that, but it was certainly overwhelming at times and I’m glad to have a chance to catch my breath now and focus on other things. For one thing, I’d really like to do some more poking around for jobs that are both closer and higher in salary. I’m also going to get some articles done today, of course, and then I want to make some plant terrariums for my friends who very kindly sent me money, as a thank-you gift. And then, after that, it’s just going to be video games until bedtime! Playing The Sims is hands-down my favorite way to unwind and forget about the world for a while in my free time. What do you guys use as escapism? Do you have a favorite video game too?

Anyway, I’m hopefully going to get today’s newsletter up in a few minutes, then I’m going to finish my fall lookbook, which was supposed to come out last Thursday. And then, I suppose I’ll move onto the job hunt. If I could find a closer Starbucks to my house that gave me more hours, that would probably be the most optimal outcome. I’ll keep you guys updated on how my ongoing job hunt is going.

Monday, June 15

It officially feels like summertime, even if I’m not able to do my usual favorite summer activities. The weather has actually been really nice here in Boston- not too humid, and not frigid either. Today it was perfect outside, so I ate my dinner outside on my front doorstep and just thought about my life and the world and the universe in general. My hormones and my anxiety definitely took a little bit of a dip this week, so I spent some time crying, doubting myself, feeling angry at the world, etc., but I pulled myself out of it as usual. I think it’s honestly okay to feel however you need to feel, even if it’s not completely sunshiney all the time. I find that the more open I allow myself to be with my emotions, the faster I move on from those funks. So I had my little cry, vented to some friends, and now I’m feeling much better.

In a nutshell, I’ve just been stressed about the same old things. I still cannot find a job, and I’m running out of money to buy food, so I had to ask my mom if I could borrow $40 (and I HATE asking people for money.) When you reach a point of broke-ness that you can’t feed yourself anymore, it’s a scary place to be. However, I am very fortunate and lucky to have my support system, and my good friend MJ venmo’d me $20 so I can buy groceries for the week. Thank you, MJ!

For those who have asked me how they can support me financially, buying a journal from my Etsy shop helps me to pay my bills!

So obviously financial problems have been the root of my stress and anger lately. I know money doesn’t solve all your problems, but it would certainly make my life a lot less stressful. Despite that, I’ve been feeling very creative and generally upbeat lately. I spend my days applying to jobs (I applied to 25 jobs yesterday,) making journals, painting, and of course, writing. Writing has always been my rock, and in a way, a great, healthy, self-soothing mechanism. 


Wednesday, June 17

I’m still in go-go-go mode, so I’ve been utilizing this burst of energy to apply to more jobs, make more journals, and get more writing projects done. Sometimes I go through days where I just can’t be bothered to do anything, and then there are days like this, where I feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done!
Like I said, I applied to six jobs today and my fingers are crossed that one will contact me back. I also put together a list of interview questions for a new story I’m conducting, so that will probably be out at some point in the next couple of weeks. I absolutely love interviewing other artists and writers, so it’s been a real joy to be in contact with so many amazing people through the journey of my publication. 

It’s about 4:30pm right now, so I’d like to photograph some journals to put on Etsy before the sun starts to go down and I lose that natural light. I am very proud of my animal-themed collection- what do you guys think?

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Friday, June 19

These past couple of days have actually been very successful and relieving, for a couple of reasons. For one, I was approved for food stamps, and that’s really going to help me afford groceries while I look for a job. Secondly, I finally switched over to a universal bank after struggling to get that done for weeks! I was also able to deposit my savings bonds while I did that, so that took a huge weight off my shoulders to have savings again. Now, I can finally buy things I need again, that I couldn’t afford to buy before, and I can pay my utilities bills without stress for a couple of months. Speaking of essentials, my mom very generously sent me a package the other day with toothpaste, new underwear, pads, and face wash. I almost cried; it was like Christmas to have those things. Not trying to sound dramatic, but seriously- I could not afford any of it until I took care of my bonds. I feel like a huge relief has been lifted off my shoulders.

The third wonderful thing that happened this week was that I had the privilege of interviewing one of my all-time favorite authors- Wendelin Van Draanen. We had a lovely hour-long conversation and discussed everything from rock and roll to the nitty gritty details of the Sammy Keyes series. Then, she told me she was going to send me a couple of her books, and my heart absolutely shot out of my body. How cool is that, that my favorite author is sending me more of her books?

So anyway, I’m feeling really good and much more secure today than I was earlier this week. I’m so looking forward to my little vacation with Nathaniel at the beginning of July, and I will be sure to take lots of pictures for you guys. Stay safe and please keep wearing your masks!