I don’t know how I did anything before Podcasts. Folding laundry, walking, cleaning dishes. Now these tasks are not only do-able, but something I look forward to. Sometimes I walk to the Brooklyn Bridge just so I can catch up. Here are my weekly Podcasts:
Slate Culture Gabfest
Slate Political Gabfest
NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour
Marc Maron’s WTF
Julie Klausner’s How Was Your Week
Moby Dick (free, downloadable chapter by chapter through iTunes U)
NPR’s Fresh Air
The Leonard Lopate Show from WNYC
Dana is a graduate student and nanny in Brooklyn.
The woman at the fancy liquor store around the corner recently dealt my drinking habits a deadly blow. Apparently, wine starts going bad the moment you open it, and by day two it is really not worth drinking. Even with one of those fancy stopper things.
My nightly drink is very important to me. I like to drink it while watching tv, or in the bathtub, or while lying on the floor (my head gently propped up against the couch). This is not social drinking, which for me is problematic because I get excited and want MORE MORE MORE. This is the quiet, justifiable (I mean, even pregnant ladies can do this now)*, daily drinking habit.
And I do it alone, so if I start a bottle, I am the one who is finishing it.**
Red wine was a very satisfying early-fall nightly drink, but now that I know I am just drinking vinegar on day 2,3, and 4 of the bottle (remember, I am alone on this), I feel like I should invest more wisely.
So I am going a different direction for my early-fall nightly drink: a Scotch, neat.
Now, the problem with Scotch is that it requires long term investment. A good bottle of scotch costs $40 whereas the short term investment in a $10 bottle of wine is easier to swing. But a good Scotch habit can be cultivated through two strategies. 1) Start asking for fancy liquor from your in-laws, siblings, and other people who never know what they are supposed to give you for Christmas and birthdays. 2) Do as a 10 year old does, and start a Scotch piggy bank. For a month, every time I bought a bottle of wine I put a matching amount in a small envelope next to my drinking paraphernalia when I got home. Then at the end of the month I really could convince my brain that the two options were equivalent, plus I had the money all saved up for this special purpose. Now, what will you buy? As someone who has had the benefit of being gifted some nice bottles already, I suggest Talisker or Glenmorangie. Don’t go all crazy and buy Laphroaig the first time.
I realize that not everyone wants a meager inch of liquid in their nightly cup, so if you can’t drink a scotch neat, here is a bourbon cocktail that does not have lots of sugar in it and does not require getting your fingers mucky:
1 ounce bourbon (by this I mean a satisfying amount poured into your cup. I mean, we are not “mixologists” here)
1 ounce seltzer
1 drop bitters (Angostura are fine if you don’t live in the land of bitters like I do)
This is essentially an old-fashioned without the sugar cube. I can’t mix sugar in my nightly cocktail because sugar + liquor makes me feel like poop the next day. I like Old Grand-Dad Bourbon (it is usually around $30).
*Apparently a drink a day won’t turn your baby into a mutant according to the new exciting book Expecting Better by Emily Oster.
** My partner drinks beer.
Dana Logan is a graduate student and nanny in Brooklyn.
I have flirted with the idea of long hair as a solution to everyday hair-ease. I would never have to cut it and always put in a top-knot, right? But, then came the annoying washing of the long hair (even though I also played with the no poo method). The truth is, long hair requires diligence, trims, and blow dryers. So I have returned to my true state of being: short hair.
Not only have I gone short, I am hoping for a Robyn like look that dominates every lesbian bar in Brooklyn.
I took myself down to the barbershop where my husband gets his hair cut and asked them to make me look like I am in a boy band.
The problem with this hairdo is that I will have to cut it once a month. But at barbershop prices, this is possible.
I am returning to my true roots, established by my mother who ingeniously mandated a bowl cut throughout my entire childhood. She didn’t want to brush my hair, and I don’t want to either.
Dana is a graduate student and nanny in Brooklyn.
So I’m pregnant again, which means I get to eat for two! Yay! But according to the “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” site, I need to think again: “That whole eating-for-two thing? A big misconception. If you’re starting your pregnancy at a healthy weight, you need to eat only 300 extra calories a day — that’s about a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt and a whole-wheat English muffin.” But what if I’m in the mood for a snack that’s a little heartier than what a 90-year old woman eats for lunch? No problem, says WtE: “It’s totally fine if you want something sweet with your (decaf *) coffee, but instead of making a Dunkin’ Donuts run, consider munching on a low-fat muffin instead.” Yum, great advice from 1992 guys! Should I crack open a pack of Snackwells later? Wash it all down with some sugar-free Snapple? What if I want, you know, real food? They’ve got me covered there, too: “If the smell of chocolate is haunting your dreams, make sure the health of your baby-to-be stays in the picture — literally. Put cute baby pictures wherever you may need to fight off that crazy urge to go on a snack spree. If you’re a drive-through junkie, stick a photo on your dashboard.” Cool guys! What a great tip! Oooh, my belly’s a-rumblin’ as we speak–better go stave off that craving by staring at a picture of the ENTIRE HUMAN BEING THAT I AM LITERALLY MAKING WITH MY BODY. That’s sure to work.
Ugh, what a crock of s%&t. Their whole section on food is a wasteland of advice that I truly believe might have been copied and pasted directly from a weight-loss website hosted on Geocities. They try to temper their absolutely insane eating plan with perky, exclamation-point peppered asides like “If you’re still hungry after eating your baked boneless, skinless chicken breast and leafy green salad (low-fat dressing on the side, of course!), go ahead, have a little extra! We suggest a piece of whole-grain toast (skip that butter, though!)!” What fun, WtE! What a great ride! NOW GIVE ME MY F^&*ING CRULLERS.
Day-NUH, I know you requested a break down of my eating habits, and not a rant about the last slide show I hate-clicked my way through on a pregnancy website. So here goes:
Breakfast (6-7ish am): 1 mug black coffee (actual coffee with actual caffeine) with sugar, a double serving of Cheerios and blueberries with milk
Second breakfast (9-10 am): an entire sleeve of whatever crackers are in the house**
Lunch (11 am): four pieces of toasted bread with butter (actual butter with actual butterfat) and peanut butter, a handful of baby carrots, a nectarine
Second lunch (2-3 pm): If I’m feeling virtuous: some full-fat plain yogurt with jam mixed in. If I’m desperate to get food down my gullet (which is most afternoons): some peanut M&Ms or tortilla chips
Tonight’s Supper (4-5ish pm): four pieces of onion and garlic pizza, some roasted broccoli
Night Snack (7-8ish pm): the remainder of the M&M’s*** or four popsicles or whatever baked good I might have made that day
If it weren’t pizza night, I’d probably eat a meal with some more vegetables. I’ve been really enjoying lentil and greens soup with garlic bread lately.
So there you have it, my typical day’s food intake plus a healthy dose of rage against a website, which, if I’m being honest, is an easy target. I’m pretty sure no one takes “What to Expect” seriously any more.
*Thanks for the reminder a**hole
**If this step is skipped I will either throw up or end up eating lunch at 10:30
***From the biggish sized bag. The size that you get out of a vending machine would make me panic about not getting enough.
Uniqlo jeans, Madewell denim shirt, and Cole Hann shoes.
This fall I am fully committed to Canadian tuxedos.
High-waisted jeans from Kate Spade Saturday for days when people under the age of 35 might see me:
Plus my perfect sweatshirt:
And so I am not boring, these things from Zara:
Dana is a graduate student and nanny in Brooklyn
No pants! No pants! No pants!
A muumuu is not a nightgown, although I wear it to sleep. A muumuu is not a beach cover-up, but I take it on vacation. A muumuu is not “day wear” but I wear it all day. A true night to day garment. Sometimes the true secret to success is cutting out all the “getting dressed” time, keeping your muumuu on (you slept in it after all), and just getting down to work right away. Now I realize some of you go to work at an office, and that is too bad. Muumuus are the privilege of free-lancers, pregnant ladies, the unemployed, and graduate students.
What I wish I did:
My ideal morning begins with me springing out of bed at 7:30, closely followed by some fresh-brewed coffee in the perfect cup that fits the shape of my hand.
I sit at my kitchen table and get some writing done, with a clear head, for about an hour. So the day is already productive.
My partner makes us some delicious breakfast sandwiches.
Then I calmly get dressed, do something with my hair, and am out the door around 9:30 to go to class.
What I really did this morning:
I became alert enough to qualify as awake at 8:24.
I had been stirring around for a while having weird dreams. I dreamed that I was in a dank basement with green mold all over the walls. Some random people from my childhood were there. Somehow the dream morphed into me driving the wrong way down a bridge onto an island, where I eventually ended up in a mosque in improper clothes. I think these dreams are probably anxiety-related.
I cuddled with my partner, which was the best part of my morning, and got out of bed about twenty minutes later.
I fussed around doing things like making coffee and posting the day’s discussion question on the “chat” site for the class I TA for.
I got into the shower at 9:03, then got myself together, and put some coffee in a to-go mug.
I left my apartment around 9:40–running late–and walked the block or so to campus and then hopped on this overcrowded extra-long super-bus that gets me close to my building.
I was in my seat around 9:59, and class started at 10.
Sonia is a graduate student based in Durham, NC.
I often feel like the energy I put into my friends is far more important than the energy I put into my husband. After all, we live together, so it’s not like we are going to “grow apart” (don’t worry, I see the hubris in this sentence).
Well-cultivated friendships also help my marriage. They insure that I don’t pretend that one person can fulfill all my emotional needs and absorb all my crazy.
The problem with friends, however, is that they don’t live with me. So it takes special energy after the college years to make sure that your friendships are as blissfully banal as your marriage. Here are the strategies that my friends and I have attempted to achieve optimal friendship habits:
1. Stop moving away (I have already failed this one many times over)
2. Email/call your friends with the same passion you would a long distance lover.
3. Start a blog that is only read by your friends.
4. Organize repeating, themed, partners-included events that everyone can count on. We had a Twin Peaks club that met once a week and watched one episode each time. We ate dinner before hand (always a potluck so that nobody was over worked). Camping is also ideal (but a little too hard).
5. Schedule frequent, partners not included drinks, walks, or lunches. There is no way around the “work” of this. We are adults, it takes effort, so put it on your to do list.
Dana is a nanny and graduate student in Brooklyn.