Wednesday, July 29, 2015

tricky decision: food over rent

Howgh, honey pie.  What is up?  What is new, and how have YOU been?

On the heels of my last blog:

I've spent the past 40 hours nursing myself.  I've been indulging my turtle nature and moving slowly.
my spirit animal
I've also been stuffing my face.  Not eating enough may've caused my fatigue.  (Stop with the Karen Carpenter thoughts.  I'd be giving you a look.)  Because I mostly follow a plant-based diet, sometimes I don't realize I should eat additional portions of food to keep me going.  On rare occasions when I go to the Indian restaurant two blocks away from my house and I indulge in chicken tikka masala, I won't need to eat for hours after - I wake up the next day still not hungry.  Meat is really filling! More filling than sautéed cucumbers over brown rice, which is what I'd been living on for a week.

I am a big drinker.  (Again, not how it sounds.  Shaking my head.)  Eight times out of ten, I have a beverage nearby that's ready to somersault down my throat.  Mug of tea.  Glass of water.  Tumbler of iced coffee.  BUT today, I sipped on apple and beet juice.  First time I had it, and I am sold!  When I go anywhere, if beet juice is offered, I am going to order it!  So tasty and hopefully rejuvenating.

Tricky decision: I have to buy more food tomorrow.  Must.  In order to continue building my energy.

However, that means I'm going to be short on my rent.  Not by too much...  Because I feel really guilty over this, instead of sharing dollar figures, I'll just say that I'll be paying 78% of what I owe my landlord.  I will ask him if I can hand over the remaining 22% in two Wednesdays, on my next payday.

Monday, July 27, 2015

the BLOOD of beets, and a necessary transfusion

Hey there, peeper.
Actually, this toad is called a peeper.  Dizzy Gillespie would be jealous.

Broke Bridget is eleven wks old, and her tales of binge spending and droopy boobs have lured almost 800 Peeping Toms.  Yesterday I chatted with my bestie over the telephone, when she named her top reasons for following Bridget:  [1] "Who takes the time to say any of that stuff?!?!" and [2] "But it's true for so many people."  My reason for appreciating this blog is that it allows me to process and cope with distressing poverty.  I can rationalise, post pictures of carebears, pretend everything is hunky dory - and that's very important.

Changes to biorhythm:  I'm tired all the time, yet I have fallen out of a normal sleeping pattern. Hence this nocturnal note.  Though sleepy, I probably won't reach REMS until 3 or 4am - before my alarm goes off around 6am.  Then it'll take the entire morning at work to wake up.  I've been joking around and brushing off my fog as "grogginess," but I'd love to go back to turning in around the typical hour of 11pm or midnight.  I know this sleepy insomnia will pass but until (rubbing eyes)...


I can feel you diagnosing me - stop it.  As I suspect this is simply a spell of anemia, which has hit me before during summer months, perhaps connected to dehydration. Because my medical clinic is so amazing and incredibly fancy, tonight I could log into my online account and order iron pills that will be mailed to my house.  (Healthcare infrastructure and its 2015 technology completely astound me.)

Payday is tomorrow.  I've got to do exactly two and extremely boring things with that entire check:

$30         foods that fight anemia.  e.g., spinach, beets, and peanut butter (eaten with orange juice)
$600+     rent and utilities for August 2015  
I need the beets' blood!

Low on food.  This could be the case all of August, so I must strategise my trips to the supermarket.

Frustrated sigh, because tonight I have felt frustrated.

But finally ready to sleep.  Will brush my teeth and then crawl into bed.  Thank you for peeping!

Saturday, July 25, 2015

stealing from students. god bless america.

total in bank coffer:  $1
upcoming payday: Wednesday, the 29th
however, that entire check is for RENT

Another cozy Saturday night at home (happy sigh).  I had my weekend tutorial with a lovely Korean man named Kyu Ho.  Our lesson whizzed by as he told me many things I never knew about Korea, so that I was the person taking notes - about gay culture in Korea; spies from the North who infiltrate South Korea; how North Koreans don't want to speak English; and Korean presidents over the past 70 years.  My eyes were bulging for most of the time, and my hands clasped over my gaping mouth, as I listened to this tutee's narration of Korean politics.  We usually take a ten-minute rest and after today's break, once we settled back down at our table, my student Kyu Ho asked something like ... if I cared about my country.  We worked out that he was asking if I felt patriotic.  I made the claim that most Americans are much more grateful than we either realize or can comprehend.  At the end of the day, we have it really good in this nation - I know that after talking to students from every single corner of the globe.  But then came my lightning moment:  Kyu Ho responded, "Koreans don't feel that way," and (stupidly) I whispered a long and drawn out "Woooooooooooooooooooooooooooow." It was a moment of clarity when I think I intuited the inner experience of Kyu Ho's identity as South Korean.  Following a pause and now with a frown on my face, I suggested I better understood what he was trying to express.  I explained that during the Iraq War I had not felt patriotic about the United States; that the Iraq War was the first time in my life that I did not trust or agree with my government; and during that time I felt a very deep dissatisfaction and sadness.  I told Kyu Ho how, when George W. Bush stole the presidency for the second time, how 90% of my ultra liberal college spent the entire week after election stumbling around like demoralized zombies.  That academic year I lived in a society house, and on the heartbreaking day when George W. Bush was announced president for a second time, I remember walking in on my housemate sobbing in the corner of our bathroom.  So I told Kyu Ho that I know how horrible it is to mistrust your homeland, and I told him how horrific it seemed that all of Korea should be living under this political strain for the past sixty years!  I mean, Jesus Harrison Christmas, what a debilitating impact on the national psyche of Korea!
   Today my student and I didn't have a lesson.  We had a conversation I'll contemplate for the next few months.  Bet your bottom that over these next few weeks I will be researching "spies in Korea."

If I were not a member of the working poor.  If I had more than one dollar in my accounts.  If only an employer offered me that elusive full-time job.  If these conditions didn't define my life, a notch above destitution, I would've gracefully refused Kyu Ho's payment of $60.  I felt terrible as I stuffed Kyu Ho's money into my wallet.  Because I had been the student today, but every week I live on the $60 from this weekend lesson.  Tomorrow I can buy a seven-day train pass, for commuting to work. 

Kyu Ho has a soft personality.  He smiles often and genuinely, but he became earnest at the end of our conversation.  I was trying to wrap up our lesson with the usual cues.  "I hope you have a nice week ...  This and that were really great during our lesson."  Kyu Ho put his hands flat on the table, and in almost fluent social English he continued:  "No.  [pushed up his glasses not smiling]  You know, I am always happy always grateful for American democracy.  For American presence.  Without America there, South Korea would collapse to Kim Jeong Eun.  Because of democracy of America."

Tomorrow after buying my train pass, I'll unwisely go to the supermarket where I'm going to buy some bars of chocolate.  I've had a craving the last few days.  Then I'll be broke.  As usual, since such is my down-and-out American destiny.  But I wouldn't trade my passport or this destiny for anything.

Carebear love, from my cozy attic bedroom all the way to wherever you are.

I'm the pink one, with the awesome rainbow on her belly!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Financial Futility or, Homelessness!

Let's begin with good news:  I am collaborating with a wonderful illustrator, who is creating images for a project I've been developing over the past three years.  The working title of my manuscript is Henri et Henry.  It's about a depressed dentist.  When his wife requests that they spice up their sex life, the dentist falls into a whirlwind of anxiety.  There's more to the story, but the wife's request is the initiating event around which other events spiral, morph, resolve.  Becca Thorne is the illustrator I am working with.  We bounce emails between Boston and Britain - crystallizing ideas, discussing drafts, contemplating space, lines, colors, etcetera.  She is receptive, reliable, talented, and very fun to chat with.  So if you need to an illustrator, consult her!  Here is Becca's >website.<

Right about now, one of my favorite authors - Lemony Snicket - would warn you to quickly close this webpage. Because what's going to follow is not good news.  Instead, it's three strikes of misfortune. Snicket would bemoan something such as "If you are interested in stories with happy endings, you would be better off reading some other [blog]."*  Or "from this moment on, the story only gets worse."**  Cloaked in his gothic humor, which I totally adore!, Lemony Snicket would be spot on:

So continues the futile quest to improve my financial health.  If finances can be measured in terms of health, I've had pneumonia, bronchitis, migraines, on top of other disruptive maladies. This month when I haven't been visiting friends or communicating with Becca about images, I've thought a lot about how it seems like I'm not becoming financially stable - despite that being my one focus in life.

PITTSBURGH:   My sublet has fallen through.  Something about them finding a long-term roommate and there being no space for me.  (I'm rolling my eyes, and I'm sighing.)  Back to the sublet search, I decided to create > a craigslist advertisement. <  If you have people in Pittsburgh, feel free to pass on my info.  Because I am stubbornly resolute about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I desperately need to be more attractive to potential employers, and I believe this internship will increase my professional appeal.  So I could easily be on my train to Pittsburgh, thinking "I have no address to go to,"  as nothing can stop me.  For I absolutely cannot survive much longer as an underemployed language instructor.  Financially, I'm  wheezing on my deathbed.  I never thought I'd say anything like this: but I badly need the administrative edge that this internship will give me.  Housing would be nice too.

SCHOOL LOANS:   I have not posted anything about school loans - yet - because I myself, in private, am trying to come to terms with how massive they are.  If I revealed that large number, you would cringe, pity me, and feel so uncomfortable you might probably avoid me / stop interacting with me.  It's bad, and I am beginning to believe I'll never ever pay them off.  I haven't been able to make my monthly $85 payment for awhile...  A long while.  If I could see stars in the sky tonight, I would wish to be able to meet my monthly payments for the rest of this year, although that is highly unlikely.

JOB SEARCH:  Earlier this month, I blogged about my headhunter setting up an interview for > credentialing position. <  That didn't happen.  Before even viewing my application, the client contacted my headhunter, saying they had changed their minds and decided to make the position permanent, rather than temp.  Because of Pittsburgh, I immediately became ineligible for that job.

So there's some good, though tonight the bad side feels heavier.  For the time being, with a candle burning here on my desk, I'm cozy in my West Somerville triple decker, and I'm grateful for that.  Also - tomorrow my dialogue with Becca will continue, indicating that one writing project which is very very very very important to me continues to chug along.  (shrug)  The truth is, THIS moment is life: connection with others, the authors and books I live with, plus exploration.  So until this bout of financial bronchitis kills me, I will appreciate those things.  And of course, I'll appreciate you too.

*  Snicket, Lemony.  The Bad Beginnings.  New York, NY: HarperCollins Children's Books.  Page one.
**  Snicket, Lemony. A Series of Unfortunate Events:  The Reptile Room. NY, NY:  Scholastic. Pg two.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

ignoring a death threat

My week of socializing was a summery delight.  

Unexpectedly, I hung out with Darrell's mother, who has a wall of books and all of Doris Lessing's novels.  Lessing is a giant in my imagination.  Intellectually, I understand that in the 1950s and 60s Lessing's works radicalized women's thinking and patented the modern feminist's lifestyle.  My lifestyle.  I live in a house with two other women, none of us in a hurry to get married.  None of us would be surprised if we did not birth any babies (even though I plan to adopt at least one). This afternoon in the livingroom of Darrell's family home her mom said, before Doris Lessing, every story ended with "the marriage."  She told me that Doris' novels were her initiation to "politically loving."
   I've always known the generation of women before my own experienced Lessing in the gut!  I've always mourned that my generation hasn't been experiencing Lessing in the same way.  Since college I've wanted to modernize Lessing's The Good Terrorist, but Lessing's agent emailed me and practically promised to kill me if I continued with that project.  So I stopped writing it.  However, before our conversation ended, Darrell's mom told me to return to this adaptation of The Good Terrorist - saying I should make it more of my own, rather than thinking that I was revising another author's work.  Really, Doris Lessing cannot be revised.  But there are kernels of truth I want for my generation of women, now in our 30s, kernels I want us to consume and comprehend with our 2015 mindset and vernacular.  A vernacular that is different from Doris Lessing's everyday English.  Just an unshakable hunch, I SUSPECT there's something Doris Lessing's work can offer contemporary readers, and I definitely don't want to see her work forgotten, although I think it could be.  I want to resuscitate it.  Sitting in the livingroom of Darrell's family home, I felt like I had met a literary equal in her mother.  That her mother encouraged me to return to this project has emboldened me.
Here is the edition that I have, given to me by my writing coach Toni.  It is the edition Darrell's mother also owns.  Can't beat a good old-fashioned paperback!
   Darrell's mom broke the news to me that Doris died two years ago, and I had to hold back tears. Nervously giggling, I explained my reaction by admitting that I'd always expected to meet Doris Lessing one day - maybe at a book signing but, more honestly, I always imagined pouring her a cup of tea as we chatted about literature and being ballsy women.  Very stupid, I know, but I felt very sad.

That's what happens when I go out.  People astound me, alter my perspective, show me that humans are amazing animals.  I am a bit burnt out, and I do plan to spend the next few days at home watching Sherlock in a house dress, but weeks when I socialize + connect with others are priceless.

The rest of life, however, is not priceless.  Tomorrow I will send $20 to the Broke Bridget Bank!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

$200 spending binge

Ahoy!  Helloo.  How are you?  I hope you've felt inspired, and I am glad you've returned to our blog.

Where have I been?  Socializing.  When my network of peeps suggests tantalizing invites, luring me out of hibernation, I become mindful once again of the fact that my life is populated by an international crew of creative and kind cronies.  From my Turkish brother Yakup who often shows up on my doorstep with a pizza in hand, announcing "I am hungry," to fun Brits I've been exchanging exciting emails with - this past week I've been having a ball, as one should during the summertime.

Some socializing is without charge.  Whenever Yakup visits, we sit on the sofa watching and rating movies on cable:  "I saw this one.  It was very bad."  And emailing thoughts about illustration with a collaborator in Nottingham is free.  However, starting tomorrow and for the rest of this week, I'm about to embark on what will seem like a spending binge to my teensy purse.  I've written a budget that sits here on my desk, but this is more money than I've plopped down on fun stuff all year long.

(Because I feel so darn guilty about spending money in this way, my left eye has begun to tic...  Uff.)

SPLURGE #1   Tomorrow I will finally purchase an Amtrak ticket to Washington D.C. where I plan to rendezvous with my super duper amazing friend Ian, a world traveler who has just returned to the States after several months of working in Africa.  I *should* purchase a direct ticket to Pittsburgh, but instead I will indulge in this weekend trip to our nation's capital - where I will reserve a cozy Airbnb room (always a homebody), munch at restaurants, plus other expenses of a mini holiday.  Total cost of Amtrak ticket:  $80

My entire visit to Washington D.C.will probably be split between two things:  this museum, the National Gallery of Art, and sharing tasty food with the Ian.

SPLURGE #2   I'm embarrassed to admit that at the end of August, I've scheduled to have professional headshots taken of me.  This is one step toward my artist website that I'd like to have online within the next two years.  Don't try to talk me out of it!  Tomorrow I'll send the photographer $100, and in early August I'll send the final payment of $100, and before this summer is over I will have a black-and-white set of high quality portraits.  I do sort of feel like this is an investment in future friends.  Friends I'll meet in creative and professional settings where I desperately want to work.  First payment for headshots:  $100

SPLURGE #3   My good friend Darrell Ann, whom I've mentioned before, requested some overdue hangout time.  Hers was a request that could not be denied.  Darrell is a true blue friend whom I always love to see.  After my lightbulb blog, she brought two Energy Star CFLs to my house and, on top of her considerate nature, not many people can make me laugh harder than Darrell.  So on Thursday we are going to see the Amy Winehouse documentary and hopefully get tea afterwards.  Estimated cost of girlfriend time:  $20

I was never a fan of Amy's music, but I am a die hard fan of the Künstlerroman genre.  
At least I'll be able to appreciate the story of this artist's maturity into her art form. 

As the rest of the week will be busy, let's plan for the next blog to be on Sunday, when I'll be broke again and confined to my apartment because I cannot afford to do anything in the outside world. This isn't a complaint.  I'll be ready to nap at home and very glad to reconnect via our Broke Bridget blog.

So (hands on my hips and a wink).  Later, my sweet spatzi.  Happy summertime to you!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Stalking shows you care.

Hi buttercup.  I need you to stalk Bridget.

So requests your francophile blogger who writes undercover as Broke Bridget, with you as one sweetheart in a group of readers.  A group that slowly grows larger with every passing week. If you like reading A Broke Bridget as much as I like writing it, and some of you have been kindhearted enough to say you do, then please go over to the sidebar and "follow this blog" via NetworkedBlogs.

And here's why I'm making this suggestion:

My blogs, this one and another called Harmonics, aren't the only writing projects in my life.  Whilst they are the only projects I can independently self-publish, there are manuscripts sitting on my desk, for which I will need the backing of an editorial team at a publishing house.  However interesting and well-written editors have said they are, my manuscripts can seem dauntingly experimental to editors who keep asking two questions:  [1] How could we ever market your unorthodox work?  [2] Have you built up a readership already, because that would indicate potential to attract book buyers?

I might be wrong, but I imagine some acquiring editor who visits our Broke Bridget blog and who sees proof of a loyal audience may be convinced to commission my work.  Although this could be the silliest and most naïve belief rolling round my noggin, it is worth an effort; worth the experiment.

a crappy video, but one of those priceless seinfeld storylines

Don't be timid!  Which isn't part of Bridget's wild vibe anyway.  It doesn't matter if you're a student, a stranger, a stalker, a coworker, a former classmate from high school, or Jerry Seinfeld. One quick click would be truly altruistic while increasing your good karma.  But whether or not you ultimately choose to follow Broke Bridget, I have been blessed by a bonanza of good fortune just from having the time and faculties to maintain our blog, and foremost I remain grateful for your visit tonight xo.

Spay or neuter your pets.  Remember to appreciate the humans around you, and stay wonderful.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

La Gourmandine Bakery

 A true taste of France in the heart of Pittsburgh.

only $2.40 for an eclair?  i'm going to get chubby!
Some weeks ago, I mentioned that I had a tentative job lined up in Pittsburgh:  It's possible I may be providing assistance in the kitchen of this French bakery, which I'd absolutely LOVE to do.  (very happy hand clapping)  Swapped emails with someone from the bakery last month, and there is a note on my google calendar to check in with them again on Wednesday, July 22nd - to remind them of my employable existence and extreme excitement for all things French.

I also reached out to a language training service that I've worked for in the past.  Based in NJ but operating nationally, this organization contracts Language Consultants (me) to provide individual ESL instruction  - mostly to businessmen and women who relocate to the branches of their international companies which are based here in the United States.  Blah blah jargon shmargon.  Basically I notified the organization that I'd be happy to teach any clients they have in Pittsburgh.  This job prospect feels super iffy, but it was still worth putting my blip on their radar.  Teensy chance it might pay off.

my housemates and mon ami Joseph know how intrigued I am by comedian Steve Coogan. Ellen and Heidi have heard me rewatch Coogan's film The Trip about 20 times, laughing louder with every successive viewing.  Joseph knows I hope my final moment of life, as an old old lady around the year 2084, is hacking out a last giggle at some Steve Coogan joke.  Yet I remain distantly "intrigued" by Coogan because I suspect that, in person, he would rub me the wrong way.  Say I bumped into Coogan at a pub.  I imagine I would be put off by his self-conscious and brusque manner.  He could feel too edgy and harsh for my liking.  However, last weekend I listened to a BBC interview with Coogan who talked a great deal (almost nonstop) about how he pushed and relentlessly pushed for his creative life, despite coming from a poor family background similar to my own.  Coogan said something like, "I appreciated those artists who encouraged someone from lower-, middle-class to pursue creativity."  At another point Coogan sort of yelped out, "Yeah yeah I know I sound like I've got a bag of chips on my shoulder!"  And lastly, Coogan remembered watching Fawlty Towers and named this classic tv show as one of his first inspirations to share creatively.  For me, Fawlty Towers was the first (and I mean that, the FIRST) appreciation of comedy+creativity - when I laughed and stopped and realized "oh that was very special.  that person (john cleese) just did something magical, the way he made me laugh like that."  All this rambling circles back to how Coogan is unapologetic about being poor while demanding to have a creative life.  Disregarding any reservations about Steve Coogan's personality style, I cannot deny that his impetus to boldly push past the social limitations of poverty, into the professional world of creative frolicking, is the same impetus propelling my unwise decision to relocate to Pittsburgh.

Now I just need a firm not-tentative job offer.

cheers to trips and to food with friends

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

poor, yet still picky

i am underwhelmed to present 
job search update #2

Today my headhunter AG emailed the details of a "credentialing" position.  Like anyone trying to work in sync with me - from my patient and saintly primary care provider (whom I adore!), to my landlord and bosses - AG has come to understand how picky I can be, so AG always checks in first before referring me to potential employers.  And as the title of the position suggests, this wouldn't be the most exciting job, but it does offer a salary I want and desperately need.  The position is sooo mundane AG was surprised by my enthusiastic responses: "You seem excited about ... this?"  YES because right now I'd become excited over (almost) any full-time gig that would compensate me enough so that I could [1] easily pay bills WHILE [2] being able to enroll in a French language class. To earn a salary, which allowed me to do those two things at the same time, is my financial dream.

AG's staffing company has different tests to screen applicants' administrative skills, and tomorrow afternoon I'm going to complete their data entry screening.  However, it is important to note that I am neither holding my breath nor feeling especially lucky.  I continue to bang my forehead against hard walls (here over there everyday when no one is looking) and if any job offer comes through, I will be just as surprised as you.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Georgia as a State of Mind

“I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life 
and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing that I wanted to do.”  ― Georgia O'Keeffe

Andy Warhol Museum, where I'll pick out postcards for Ingrid and Joseph.

I notified my landlord that I'm gonna take a midnight train to Pittsburgh ... literally.  I forced myself to do that because, after the last blog overflowed with empty optimism and doubt (as reasonable as it may be), I knew I could not remain so dangerously tentative about this internship opportunity.  I am committing to it for the FIRST TIME tonight - without resorting to safe possibly's, maybe's, if's:

Pittsburgh is going to happen, says me to scared me.

Before walking two blocks to my landlord's house, I received an email from the Director of the place where I will be working, and it gave me a glimpse of the very different professional world of grant writing.  Backstory:  In L.A. there's a training organization for grant writers, and they hold their trainings around the country, sometimes in Pittsburgh where I might be able to enroll in a course.  The Director shared with me titles of the textbooks and other information.  Enough information to reignite the drive and passion necessary to continue with this quest to develop my professional skills.

Another development with the Pittsburgh plan is that I'll return to Boston a few days earlier - on Dec 12th rather than the 20th - because I remembered that my close friend Vera has her graduate school commencement on the 14th, and I've gotta be there for that.  The new dates are 11 Sept to 12 Dec.

Just one last order of chitchat:  the Broke Bridget Bank.

Early this week, my neighbor and friend Pamela encouraged me to include a donation option. While Pamela's motivation was her conviction that I must live off of more than kale salad, after thinking over the suggestion, I set up a GoFundMe campaign for the Broke Bridget Bank.  >Here is the link.<*

I feel obliged to mention that the most desired donation is the generous sharing of your time plus literacy skills.  I hugely appreciate your readership.  THANKS for your eyes, empathy and excellence.

*I deleted the GoFundMe account on Wednesday, 26 August 2015.