Saturday, June 27, 2015

don't fuck with the budget

I'm beginning to believe that Pittsburgh is a real possibility.  However, I have so little money that my plans could unravel as soon as tomorrow.  Maybe I can pay $80 for my ticket to Washington DC but cannot afford the train from Washington to Pennsylvania.  Maybe my sublet in Pittsburgh falls through, and I can't secure another one that is within my budget.  There are other surprise glitches which could arise, making it so I am unable to temporarily relocate for my grant writing internship.

However, as June whizzes towards its end, I'm optimistic.  It's been a full and productive month and, if Pittsburgh doesn't happen because I can't financially swing it, at least I know the professional door to grant writing is opening up for me - even if I have to intern here in Greater Boston / Cambridge.

At the moment, my pre-Pittsburgh budget looks like this:

-  Payday, 1 July 2015, pay $20 to Ellen for our cable bill.

-  Same day, 1 July, give my lovely landlord $400 for rent.

-  Next payday, 15 July 2015, train tickets for Pittsburgh!

In the meantime, I'm really hoping (with all my might) that nothing fucks with this budget.

Because, without maturely rationalizing and putting on my "everything is ok" mask, I'd enjoy a short adventure to Pittsburgh.  I really want to go.  In the meantime, I must stay focused on the logistics.

I'll be spending the rest of June reading this monster novel.
I'm signing off for the rest of June.  I'll spend the next few days reading House of Leaves, the 700-page novel by Mark Z. Danielewski.  If I don't commit to this book, it ain't gonna happen.  So instead of writing, I will be reading.  ...Life is all about choices, isn't it?  Budgetary choices of time and money.

Most of the novel's pages are formatted in funky ways, like this one.
Amazingly, the entire book is > online here < if you're also interested in reading this horror story.

In a faceless monitor-to-monitor sense,
I sorta love you and your readership.
Ta and I'll be thinking of ya, dearest.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Boston - Washington DC - Pittsburgh

YESSIR, Ellen has my $20 payment.  Check!

I also spent some of this day scheming the route to my temporary home of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

the Pittsburgh skyline
I was envisioning a roadtrip, but I went to the Amtrak site and found cheap tickets.

My departure is shaping up just so:  Leave Boston Friday afternoon on 11 September 2015, for an overnight train trip to Washington DC, where I can spend 24 hours roaming the nation's capital - before taking another train onto Pittsburgh.  This first train from Boston to DC will cost $80, which is a perfect price; totally doable without jeopardizing the $20 payment plan I've set up with Ellen.

         There's a city in my mind...

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

sexy knickers under a pretty dress

YESH, yesterday forty dollars were sent to Broke Bridge Bank.  Check!

assignment for tomorrow:  give Ellen $20 for cable bill

...The last time I traveled to California, I had a brief romance with a charmer named Myles.  We met one sunny morning at a monastery in the mountains of Monterey County.  It was breakfast time and, before our meal was over, Myles leaned toward me and whispered with his winning smile "You may be my new best friend."  I was not his new bestie, of course, but we spent the next two wks driving around Northern Cali and sharing life stories.  Being a Buddhist, I suspect Myles would not mind my sharing the detail that one reason his marriage dissolved was that he and his ex-spouse had achieved their material/financial dreams, and he believed they just became bored with their cushy life and their stale union.  Such is what Myles mused aloud, one mini-roadtrip several sunny mornings later.

a road snaking through the Monterey mountains
Aside from paying my share of the cable bill, there are soooo many things I imagine doing, if I earned more money.  I would finally register my screenplay with the Writers Guild of America.  (Their fee is $25 per document.)  I would buy several pairs of new and cute undies. (I'm just being honest.) I would travel to Sussex, England for a quiet reading-vacation in a character cottage by the coast. I'd purchase winter boots, which I do not own (in snowy Boston).  And I'd shop for a pretty dress, which I've not done in a very verrrry long time.  To name a few.

Still, Myles' emotional monologue about financial success preceding personal doom rings in my ears and echoes in my memory.  Bringing to mind Elizabeth Gilbert's breakdown before her Eat Pray Love pilgrimage.  Sometimes I have a feeling that my poverty is like the snaking road in that picture ... it's my life path; my school of life.  That THE PINNACLE, whatever it turns out to be, for me may not be a dollar sign + number.  That some day when I'm unimaginably old - and I often ask my 85 year old self for suggestions - I might understand that this lack of sexy knickers didn't really matter, at all.

OK.  I end my rationalization here, in order to be content that 
tomorrow I can pay Ellen $20 for our cable bill.  
And if you can, indulge in some way which makes you HAPPY.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Broke Bridget Bank

Helloooo!  It's been over a week.  A week that flew by quickly.  What happened was that I wanted to give some time and love to other neglected parts of my life.  For example, I spent one afternoon studying French, and I'm happy to report my French voice is strong.  I can go from speaking English at the front of my mouth - with my lips and the tip of my tongue - to gargling my French words in my throat, and it's become an easy switch.  I really want to speak this language, so it was important for me to make time for that.  Thanks for your patience.  Hope you've been well.  Also hope you've been making more money than me.  I hope everyone is making more money than me, god bless us...

ALRIGHT, difficult admission coming up:

There was a month earlier this year when I was hard up at rent time.  A bank gave me a loan, thank goodness, but recently it's felt impossible to budget in payments.  I have fallen behind, which is the difficult admission.  I'm deciding that for the remainder of this summer, our Broke Bridget blog will be dedicated to the financial sacrifices I MUST make - to honor my contract with this bank.  Labor Day on Monday, 7 September 2015, will be my deadline to repay this bank the entire $600 the I owe.

Tomorrow expect two reports, my dear:

[1] After work, I'll have mailed a $40 payment to the Broke Bridget Bank (what we'll call it).

[2]  News about the paid job I've lined up in Pittsburgh (in addition to the unpaid internship).

This sort of public accountability will undoubtedly help me ... donc merci beaucoup et bisous!

This is one of my favorite nighttime songs.  C'est très romantique!

Sunday, June 14, 2015

convents + bill nighy

The thing about budgeting is that I rarely go into the red.  However, there are still weeks when the available amount in my bank account falls down to $0.00 - like today.  So until Wednesday when I get paid some pennies by my job, there will be no quick trips to CVS for household supplies; no meeting up with my friends for dinner at interesting restaurants; and no purchasing coffee before work.
This has been on my booklist for several months.

Quick rant today.  On this sleepy Sunday, I'll spare you a meditation on my aging body and pause my praise of Woody Allen.  Instead, just a list of what I am excited to purchase whenever there is more than $0.00 in my bank account:
  1. one box of black hair dye
  2. the book "Europe's Monastery and Convent Guesthouses"
  3. the movie About Time, and
  4. new sponges for the kitchen.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

droopy boobs in a safe space

tonight's ledger
minus $80 for my share of cable bill  

I owe a lot to my roommate ELLEN, but specifically and right now I owe $80 for our cable bill.  I am a cinephile.  It's programmed in my biorhythm to go to the livingroom around 8pm, choose the best movie on television, and spend the evening drinking mugs of tea in front of the tube.  So I always feel like I must repay Ellen for cable as quickly as possible but, because I almost never have money, "quickly" in this case means about two months.  For this reason (and many more), I appreciate Ellen.  She is patient.  She's always willing to listen to the budget I've drawn up.  She always responds with, "OKAY.  Thanks for letting me know.  You'll get it to me."  And like I honestly wrote, there are other reasons I adore Ellen:  She surprises us and keeps domesticity lively, from sneezes that resound through the entire house to randomly inviting me to make dinner with her, and her dishes are tasty!  Ellen is a fantastic cook!

Then there is HEIDI who, over the past month, has selflessly purchased my share of the house's toilet paper - without uttering one annoyed word.  In a shared home, I know that is rare.  I am relieved to report that last wknd I purchased a family pack of t.p. but, until I could spend those few dollars, Heidi did not give me the cold shoulder; she did not stop talking to me; she didn't start talking behind my back.  In the past I've lived with really petty people who got upset over everything. Some real devils who would have yelled and slammed the bathroom door (literally) if toilet paper was not purchased for their spoiled butts.  So I guess those jerks, who made home life hellish, show me what an angel Heidi was for generously restocking the bathroom when it was my responsibility.

In almost every Broke Bridget blog, I rant about how much I love my home, and that has to do with appreciating the people I share this space with.  Satisfying symbiosis results when [1] everyday you see someone in an uncompromising yet endearing light - accidentally nude, stumbling and groggy after they've just woken up, quirky in ways that are normal to you although strange to others - but [2] you come to treasure those idiosyncratic humans more and more with every successive 24-hr cycle.  As much as I observe about my housemates, they observe about me.  These are the two "lucky" ladies acquainted with my frumpiest side and its crazy afro, droopy bra-less boobs, obsession with old timey jazz songs, and the too-loud laugh at a too-late hour.  Still, I would estimate that we have a 99.8% groovy group dynamic.  I am grateful to live with these two wonderful women, and


dwellings and homes and inhabitants, presented by the new yorker

Friday, June 12, 2015

plus one pittsburgh sublet

SO - surprise of all surprises, I have actually landed a sublet in Pittsburgh.  It will be the exact same rent I am currently paying, so that is smooth-transition-number-one.  It'll be another attic bedroom setup, similar to where I hibernate now, making this smooth-transition-number-two.  The bedroom is furnished, so I won't have to bring much besides my two laptops plus favorite books and clothing. HOWEVER the top feature, as far as I can tell from the craigslist advert, is the beautiful and newly refurbished kitchen that has been painted an inspiring yellow and leads out to a sunny deck+garden.

Mister Swan and Miss Ingrid, I am finally excited about the Andy Warhol Museum!

My 'hood will be the supposedly-hip Lawrenceville.  Both of these pictures show sections of 45th St.
As my sublet is on 44th, it's just around some corner.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

what is the value of 32?

The question I ask myself every birthday:  What makes life worth living?

And today just happens to be my 32nd birthday so, as usual, I asked myself this question.  Every June 9th, it's a slightly different list - though my deep gratitude always extends to the areas of friends, inspiring artists and their work, as well as comfort items that make each day bearable.  I present the top five things money can't add or subtract from my life.  Things and people whom I adore with desperation and that make life worth living, even with an expendable income of five dollars a wk:

#1   SIMON MCBURNEY  -  When I'm transfixed by an artist, I remind myself that I don't know anything about them as a human being and, in fact, I am acquainted with two people who do know Simon McBurney as a mere mortal who might have terrible breath and awful manners.  But I put Mister McBurney atop this list because the inspiration that burns in him to create theatre and films has a wonderful WILDNESS to it.  It's a wildness that sparked my fire!  I became aware of Simon when I found his interview on the BBC Radio 4 program Desert Island Discs.  I'd meant to clean my room as I listened, but instead I sat still on the edge of my bed, positively overwhelmed by the playful voice that purred/poured from my speakers.  As Simon talked about relentlessly challenging himself and those he worked with, it was the first moment I moved toward embracing the deliciously wild chaos of creative process.  It was an initiation for me, and Simon's thoughts about an artist's life continue to propel me, as evidenced by the scribbled note below which I wrote and frequently refer to - whenever the fact that my weekly allowance is a mere five dollars could negatively overwhelm me.

(I'm addicted to list-making.)
The "keep pushing" is short for "keep coming home right after work everyday to manifest your nutty dreams," which is how I will probably spend my 32nd year of life - ever inspired by Simon McBurney.

#2   MY HOME & MY SOLITUDE  -  Everywhere I go, no matter how much fun I'm having, eventually I think to myself "It's time to go home," and there are no words to adequately express the reverence I hold for my cozy attic bedroom with its books by French writers, the mugs with dried-out ginger teabags, a small sticker on my computer displaying the name of my beaver (because she's important like that!), my large stallion of a writing desk, knee-high socks and newspapers scattered round the light brown floorboards.  I usually wake up under my blankets, and sleepily smile.  Sometimes I can tell someone pities me for not traveling often, but they have no clue how I feel inside (my skin and my home); the stress that drops off my shoulders whenever I put on a favorite house dress and bake barefooted in my kitchen.  There's an intimacy I feel with my domestic Self that I'm not sure I could share with anyone else.  This intimacy has grown from hrs of creative solitude in a room of my own.  A reader searching for loopholes in this homage to home might contest, "Ah-ha!  If your finances got really bad, then you could lose your beloved attic."  I'd succinctly respond, "Been there.  Done that.  Lost it, and had to live with friends."  Down-to-the-penny micro budgeting is a wisdom I will proudly bring into my 32nd year of life, thus preserving my home and its offering of sweet solitude.

#3   SOUND  -  After I wake up and after I sleepily smile, then I silently ask myself this question:  "What am I going to listen to this morning?"  Runner-up to taste, hearing is the sense that provides me companionship.  While I spend a lot of time alone, I'm never lonely because I listen to songs, conversations / interviews, objects, and nature.  These sounds make life worth living for me:
  • Woody Allen movies
  • Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom
  • rainstorms and oceans
  • whooshing tree leaves
  • Aretha Franklin
  • everything by Van Morrison
  • J.S. Bach's Contrapunctus 9
  • Schubert's Moment Musical No. 6
  • Britten's War Requiem, live
  • Talking Heads's This Must Be The Place
  • Nico's Chelsea Girl
  • birds chirping
  • excited-to-see-you happy dog panting
  • when a drooling cat quietly snores
  • a whistling tea kettle
  • Miracle Max and his wife Valerie
  • voiceover by Campbell Scott
  • Coldplay!
  • French (and my dream to speak it)
  • Fellini's 8-1/2 and Asa Nisi Masa
   (This clip is poorly translated, but it will have to do for now...)

WELL - I know I said I'd list five items, but I think I've actually listed close to fifty, so I will stop here.

On Sunday when I saw my friend Darrell Ann, she quickly but pointedly asked me "How are you even surviving [on no money]!?!"  I quipped back "Amazingly."  It'd been a sunny day, and I don't believe either of us wanted turn that into a serious conversation but, if we had, I would've recited this list.

HUZZAH, to 32!  And huzzah to you.  Thanks for reading.

Monday, June 8, 2015

job search update #1

I am communicating with a consultant at yet another staffing company.  This HR group is located in Downtown Boston, and they have a very polished presentation.  You can tell a lot about a staffing company by the professionalism of their emails.  The consultants who have rushed me with urgent emails like, "Quickly send your updated résumé today because there is a hot position that could go really quickly and" and and...  Schysters who tend to stop sending me their scammy emails sooner rather than later.  In other words, they are no help at all.  However, this latest staffing company is keeping its cool, and this new consultant does not ramble at a speed of 70 wpm like red bull was recently chugged.  Instead, she is calmly progressing through all the steps that I have come to recognize:  [1] requesting a Word document instead of a PDF, so she can edit my résumé to meet the client's needs; [2] scheduling an interview where [3] I provide references.  Yadda yadda bloody yadda.  At this point, the job search itself is my life.  I've stopped thinking about any actual offer, and once or twice when consultants have looked at me with their blank poker faces while asking, "So when are you hoping to secure this next job?" I've responded that I couldn't even try to answer that question.  Because I no longer know, although I am an expert at providing every consultant and their mother with all of my personal information ... just to keep on file, and thanks for coming in!  

Sunday, June 7, 2015

grant writing internship

Yesterday I read an article about the quarter life crisis that many thirtysomethings go through.  I believe in I'm Phase 3 of "rebuilding a new life."  The fresh professional commitment I'm making is to transition away from teaching, so that within the next five years my writing will be my work.  I've actually been in Phase 3 for about a year.  Close friends with whom I regularly share meals+walks began to hear about my search for creative work, as I put it, starting last spring in 2014.  However (sigh as I calculate) thirteen months in, with job rejection after job rejection, I'm realizing that I'll need to do a few years of interning / free work, in order to smugly tell potential employers "Oh right.  Yes well, I already have experience with that and that plus that mindlessly menial task there."

I will spare you the painful details of a particularly disastrous interview, which confirmed for me how hesitant employers are about hiring an opinionated thirysomething when there are recent-grad minions actually happy to accept teensy salaries...  (grumbling grumbling)  So several weeks ago after said disastrous interview, I stopped my job search and switched to searching for an internship.

I've quietly let it set in for a few days, and I've laid out a plan.  Then tonight, while hanging out with my homegirl Darrell Ann, I brought it up to be discussed and processed with this very trusted friend:

Today's plus is one grant writing internship in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Thomas Merton Center - Pittsburgh's Peace and Social Justice Center.  The dates when I should be relocated in Pittsburgh are 11 Sept to 20 December.  Now, that is a conditional should because FIRST and FOREMOST this homebody, yours true, will need to secure a sublet to where I can retire at the end of my workday. 

I will continue to post updates about my Phase 3 and Pittsburgh.  

In the meantime, if anyone knows of a fall sublet in East Pittsburgh, then definitely let me know.

I couldn't locate a better picture, but some signage is better than no signage.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

my shotgun marriage

I mentioned my marriage.  To be accurate, it was a shotgun wedding to my creative life.  I spent my 20s deluding myself into believing that I need to build a profession, which provides me with a house plus income to care for kids I birth.  The conception of this blog last month was a primal scream of:

ENoUgh, that is not working for me!

I have been interacting dishonestly with myself for years.  Telling myself that I needed a spouse, that I should bear babies, that I should should should.  Or maybe society was saying this.  From wherever that message originates, my new response is this:  It's all horseshit, and it does not apply to me.

If I have been feeling such deep satisfaction with life, such contentment from the real life that I have built around me, such comfort in the day after day that I spend alone with Etta James, Simone de Beauvoir, Rainer Marie Rilke, Alison Bechdel, and my small chosen family ... why the fuck does the deathbead-wheezing of that false and unrealized life (paragraph #2) rasp so loudly?  Excuse me while I pull down my knickers to moon the crap out of this shitty yet incredibly obstinate social message.

Here's the New Deal in my personally political world; here's the vow I made:  Every hour for the rest of my life is dedicated to aesthetics and other expressions of creativity.  I'll enter everything I do primarily as a writer - everything being future open relationships, badly-paying jobs, and invitations.  I do, to hibernation and working my butt off and exposing myself to endless creative experiences.

This is the sacrifice I unsuccessfully spent my twenties trying to avoid, but I will avoid it no longer.

I'll be poor for my entire life, lucky if I can even adopt a dog and cat.  Indulging in my eccentricities without restraint could make me so strange I might never receive a love letter (perhaps the saddest prospect of this sacrifice/surrender), but I vow to never tell myself that I should be anything but a striving artist-writer.  This was the wedding song, for the dance between me and my inner animus.  

ledger:  $1 in my wallet, $3 in my savings account

However, today there is only a plus:  I do, to the hours and the days.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

necessary tax "resistance"

After haggling with the administration of my school, I succeeded in being switched to contractor status.  I am postponing tax payments, maybe for a year.  Poverty has taught me many things, one of these lessons being to think twelve steps ahead (or in this case, twelve months).  At the moment, in order to ensure that I have fresh fruits and vegetables in my kitchen and that I can pay rent, I need to not pay taxes to ol' Uncle Sam, a decision that will return to me $500 per month.  The IRS will eventually want that amount of money, and I definitely do not want to go to jail for tax evasion...

Digression:  I'd DIE in jail.  I imagine myself calling over a guard and asking, "Can we turn up the heat - please?"  or  "Excuse me.  My blood sugar is a little low.  Could I pop down to the mess hall for an orange?"  Amusing, but seriously I should never spend time in jail.  For this reason, I am preparing for next year's sit-down with an accountant to be tricky, but I am totally braced for that meeting.  In the meantime, I should be able to purchase groceries and to pay off some bills sooner than later.

today's ledger:  minus one weekend in NYC
daydreams of seeing a show at Lincoln Center and biking thru Central Park
This is Champs Diner, my favorite vegan spot in Brooklyn.  So tasty!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

north america's FAKE poverty?

legder:  minus light bulbs

SO my blogs - this one and the others - seem to attract a silent readership.  I know you're reading this right now because Blogger will report to me that you have and even how you accessed this webpage (perhaps via Facebook or maybe by googling my email address).  However, I also know that you will probably never mention that you've read this blog, which is totally fine.  Because I'm completely aware that I am an incredibly intense person, and so frequently off-putting to others.

Nevertheless, people have begun to make references about money during conversations.  At the moment, I teach a small class with wonderful students.  We've bonded nicely.  We know each other's tics and habits.  They expect my stomach to grumble before breaktime, when I will sit down to stuff my face with fruit and leftovers.  I spend very pleasant mornings with this group of impressive adult learners.  One student said to me, wagging her finger, "People in America are not as poor as people in [some] other countries."  I knew she had found my blog.  I also knew that, for my individual case of poverty, in my cozy attic bedroom where there are piles of books surrounding my sleigh bed with its several large pillows along with other comfort items - I knew that this student's general statement comparing North American poverty to poverty, say, in parts of Africa ... was dead right.

Today my financial complaint is that I have run out of light bulbs and, even though I get paid tomorrow, I probably won't be able to purchase bulbs for the next few weeks.  That's me.  Then there are others who can never afford light bulbs or whose homes don't have electricity at all.  I'd like you to know, my dear reader, that I'm not throwing a pity party.  With this blog, I am simply sharing the daily challenges of one starving writer-artist in a first world country.  I acknowledge the privilege that overflows around me, and I also wish I had ten spare dollars to purchase light bulbs.

Thanks for reading, and don't mention it.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Hello You. Hello June. Hello Rabbit.

I'm back, babyhead.  May was marvelous.  I persist in poverty, being saved by art.

During this month of June, expect to receive meditations on my marriage to my writing.
Our ceremony was officiated by Rev. Pinched Pennies; witnessed by Desirous Dedication.

Until tomorrow, rabbit rabbit.  Remember to lay in bed while whispering your wishes.