Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Favorites

Starting off Friday morning with a guinea pig* on your lap, a cup of tea, and a list of things that make you happy is pretty wonderful. Here are some things I happened upon in the magical land of the internets this week that I think are grand.

1. What Do Hate Groups Think of Jennifer Lawrence?

I'm pretty sure the best way to combat hate groups is not to fight them, but to just refuse to take them seriously. Nothing's worse than being ridiculed when you're trying to martyr yourself. Plus, this is just flippin' hilarious.

2. Chrissy just shared this beautiful essay by Brian Doyle and I can't stop rereading it. I'm trying to find some sort of art project to incorporate it into. Stay tuned...

3. Every time Delightfully Tacky posts throwback pictures of her long hair, it makes me itch for my curls. I've been in a straightened hair kind of mood for the past year, but I think my big hair might be about ready for a comeback.

4. I think I want my next hobby to be artisanal cocktails. I want to start infusing my own liquors, and making fancy, complicated drinks with them. Hence, this blog is my new favorite thing.

5. Two of my favorite ladies. I love seeing strong women support each other.

6. This ring makes me giggle.

7. This story about Republican senator Rob Portman openly supporting gay marriage makes my heart happy.

Have a beautiful weekend, loves, and a St. Patrick's Day filled with Guinness, Dropkick Murphys, and green!

*I have two lovely new guinea pigs named Violet and Clover! I want to tell you all about them, but I am waiting on some camera issues to be resolved so I can post pictures. Not to worry, I'll soon be smothering you with piggie stories as well as all my cat-blathering.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Drunken Debates: Round Two

Alright, muffins, here's the last two videos from our Drunken Debates night. In case you missed the first batch, Ann and I posted on Facebook asking for random debate topics, got real drunk, flipped a coin to decide who argued for what, then furiously debated. Watch, enjoy, then tell us who you think won each debate!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Drunken Debates

If there is one thing Ann and I are good at, it's screaming at each other. As fellow bloggers and attention-whores, we recently realized a good way to transform our madness into Youtube glory might be to get drunk and film ourselves debating completely random ass topics. We posted on our Facebook walls, requesting that our friends offer us debate topics. We then went to town on a bottle of Captain Morgan and produced the following. There are 5 videos total. Instead of bashing you all over the head with them at once, we've decided to break them into two posts on our respective blogs. Expect the next batch in about a week.

So here's how it works: Watch, enjoy, then write in the comments who you think the winner of each debate is. Ann kicks kittens for fun, so you're probably going to want to vote for me. Also, if you remember that we live in an apartment, and that our neighbors probably heard every word of our drunken hollering, you will undoubtedly get much more enjoyment out of these videos.

Without further ado, I shame-facedly present Drunken Debates.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Katie J sings Katie Dill

Have you all heard of Katie Dill? If you haven't, you should go listen to her music right now. She's got a killer smokey old-timey voice and plays a mean uke. This is probably my favorite song by her.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Internet Wonders

Hello, Internet. I have been up to some very important things this week, perusing you and your many splendors. Allow me to share some of my favorite recent aspects of yourself with you.

I am all the crap about these songs as of late.

So... when I first heard the following song on the radio, I thought it was some sweet indie band and thought it was maybe the most adorable song I'd ever heard. I later learned it was by One Direction and have been hating myself ever since. Every time it comes on the radio I love it and subsequently die a little inside.


This project is cool and I love it. It's haunting and transfixing and kind of sexy and, as the first commenter says, looks like ghost porn.


Have you heard about this? This evokes two main thoughts for me: that anyone can change, and I love that; and that I feel deeply frightened but also oddly compassionate when I realize how many people do (what I consider to be) terrible things truly believing they are doing something good.


Me: Want to look up videos of hamsters eating spaghetti?
Ann: Ok.

I love you all. Have a great weekend, peaches.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Seriously, Coffee Drinkers are the Coolest

I think I want to become a coffee drinker.

I am a decided tea drinker. I'm a total tea snob, drink expensive, loose leaf tea almost exclusively (it would be completely exclusive if I could afford it) and think derisive thoughts about people who don't know the difference between green tea and oolong.*

But. Coffee smells really good. And a few weeks ago I went into Big Bear Cafe and looked around at all the cool, intellectual-looking coffee drinkers. I began to fantasize about being the kind of girl that hangs out in coffee shops, sipping away at her fair trade, freshly ground coffee, hiding behind a battered copy of On the Road as I peer at it from behind my hipster glasses and cozy, hand-knitted scarf, occasionally getting into debates with fellow coffee-shop dwellers on various types of roasts. I started to get pretty excited about it.

However, I have the caffeine tolerance of a nervous gerbil. Once, while working in the scene shop in college, the head of the shop took us all out for coffee first thing in the morning, since it was a fairly light day. 16oz of coffee later and I'm crouched on top of my chair, shaking slightly and chattering at about 147537 words per minute. I pause briefly to notice everyone staring at me, looking mildly alarmed. Steve (scene shop boss man) then says, "Hoookay. Well. When we get back, I'm handing Katie a piece of sandpaper, and it is everyone's responsibility to keep her away from the power tools."

What can I say? I'm an excitable person with a zest for life and a shit ton of energy. I really don't need caffeine.

However, I gradually coaxed my body into being able to handle the low amounts of caffeine in tea, and I am determined to do the same with coffee. And don't tell me to just drink decaf. I've had that shit, and it totally doesn't taste as good. Plus, my coffee shop fantasy involves me being one of those people who wakes up in the morning and says, "My god, I simply HAVE to have coffee before I can function." It seems more legit to me.

So, I've been upping my morning cup of tea to two cups. This seems like it wouldn't be that big of a deal, and on most days, it isn't. Thing is, most days I drink two cups of tea and then power walk for about five hours. Today, I'm working from home and I am BOUNCING OFF THE WALLS. I'm trying to keep a lock down on it for Ann's sake, and I think I'm doing a decent-ish job. Under the surface, though, my little heart is pounding like a hummingbird on crack.

I don't know why my caffeine tolerance is so low. I don't really know why I am actively trying to beat my body into a caffeine addiction, when most people would kill for my alarming levels of energy. And I'm not giving up on tea. I'll still love tea forever. I guess when some people are bored, they do productive things, whereas I just search for more substances my body can become dependent on. Whatever. I'll see you at the coffee house, bitchlets.

*That's totally not true. I'm actually very nice and rarely think snobby thoughts.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

My Weekend with the Plague

Although this looks like a beautiful, early spring day, this was actually taken on the coldest day of 2012-2013 winter thus far. As a life-long Maryland resident, there are many things I love about my home state. The weather is not one of them.

Unlike most Marylanders, though, my complaint is not our wretched, thick, heavy, humid summers. I'm used to that, and have actually grown pretty fond of them. No, what I hate is our mild winters. I like extreme weather, and I love all seasons. I want to need a coat and scarf and gloves and a hat when I go outside in the winter, not be able to comfortably walk dogs all day in a sweatshirt. I want a white Christmas and a foot of snow on the ground from December to mid-February, not a few flurries and a catastrophic winter advisory that amounts to a couple patchy inches and some ice.

This last week, the weather gods seemed to hear my grumbling and answered with 20° weather. Wind that bites your face and ears, cold that penetrates through many layers, breath fogging around your face. I was freezing my ass off, but I was a happy kid.

My body, however, did not appreciate this abrupt change to seasonally appropriate weather, and decided to inform me of this by getting sick.

I was a very sickly kid. As a toddler, I was rushed to the ER on three occasions for croup, one time even going blue because I could barely breathe. I had sinus infections all the time. I missed tons of school. Winter was pretty much one long coughing spell for me. I was pumped full of antibiotics constantly, until my body stopped responding to them and then I had to just wait out the now super viruses that seemed to attack my poor little self. When I was about 17, in the doctor's office for about the 3069th time in my life, a nurse practitioner said, "Do you eat a lot of dairy?" I eagerly responded yes, as I was a milk fiend and drank it all the damn time. She told me to stop that, because milk thickens your mucus (is that a gross sentence or what?) and makes you way more vulnerable to infection, especially if you're a pile of genetic crap like I apparently was.

So I did. And I don't get sick anymore. Seriously, almost never. I also eat much, much healthier than I did as a kid, and exercise a lot, which I'm sure helps. But aside from mild colds here and there, I haven't been sick in about four years or so. It's awesome.

My body however, apparently forgot this, and up and crapped out on me. You would think, perhaps, that with my early, hideous childhood state of constant maladies, I would handle illness better than most, but you would be incorrect. I've gotten quite accustomed to my health, and when my body dares to succumb to disease, I get pretty outraged at it. I toughed it out for one more day, determined to cure my ills with the power of health food and rage, but to no avail. On Friday, I woke up an achy, shivery, feverish, coughing mess, and figured my best bet was to give myself a break from the cold and recover.

I'll pause here and tell you that I'm pretty anti-medication. As in a refuse to take it unless it is proven to me to be absolutely necessary. I think we over-medicate the crap out of people in this country, and I think we treat symptoms without bothering to figure out what the cause is. I think Western medicine definitely has it's place, but I'd much prefer to use a natural preventative method as often as possible. I'm also very anti pain medication. My thinking is - pain has its own biological imperative. If I can't tell I feel like crap, I won't be gentle with my body and end up making things much worse, because I'm actually still sick. If I can feel pain, sure that sucks, but I'll probably take better care of myself, and be back to being healthy soon. Capiche?

Perhaps my favorite natural remedy is the Devil's Smoothie. This is a miracle elixir. It tastes pretty really fucking intense, but it works miracles. Every time in the past five years I felt myself starting to come down with the slightest hint of a cold, I drank a blender-full of this and it never amounted to anything.

So, this weekend was spent chugging through 4 liters of that crap, wasting my life away on Pinterest, knitting myself an adorable yellow tea cozy, talking waaaaay too much to my cats, pretending to be a frail and dying Victorian lady as I sobbed like a pregnant woman while reading Little Women, and watching this video over and over again until my eyes bled from sheer, unadulterated joy.

I think my brain has melted slightly, but, aside from sounding like I'm about to hack up lung every time I breathe too deeply/laugh/talk for more than 23 seconds, I'm doing much better. As far as illnesses go, this really wasn't too bad. Friday was pretty rough, but nothing too extreme, and I've been feeling better and better since. Fingers crossed I don't undo my recovery working outside again tomorrow. Although, the temperatures are supposed to be up to 70° by Wednesday, so I'll probably be fine.

70°. Seriously. In January.

I hate everything.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

That Time Kirby Cost Me $500

Ann got them sweaters for Christmas. Best
20 minutes of my life.

As you probably know by now, Kirby is a genetic cesspool who is constantly suffering from a variety of maladies, forcing me to drag him to the vet and spew large amounts of my hard earned (rather small) paycheck to the wind. In the three and a half years since he has come into my life, he has suffered from the following:

- Eye infection
- Luxating patella
- Crystals in urine
- Horrible hot spot that made it look like his leg was literally rotting
- Food allergies
- Colitis
- Gingivitis
- Neck lesions
- Bulimia (Ok, he wasn't really diagnosed with bulimia. But once or twice a week he eats too fast and pukes his food up immediately.)

After his recent gingivitis diagnosis, I scheduled a vet appointment to have his teeth cleaned. I'm thinking this is going to cost me $150, maybe $200. And I'm stressed about this. Financially, this is not a great situation for me. But, as a devoted cat-mom (sorry, Jamie), I know I don't have a choice.

A couple days before his appointment, I get a voicemail from the vet (at 10 on a Friday night. Does that seems extraordinarily odd to anyone else?) that says:

"Hello Ms. Jeffries, just calling to remind you of Kirby's surgery on Tuesday, yada yada yada, bullshit bullshit bullshit, blah blah blah $600."

I hear this and panic. I'm also a little confused, because as far as I know, Kirby is just having his teeth cleaned, not being operated on. I'm not sure if this is just fancy vet talk, but needless to say, I call the next morning and frantically and somewhat incoherently babble on about pretty sure my cat just needs the most basic freaking teeth cleaning, and it can't possibly cost that much right? Right? RIGHT?

The receptionist looks through my file, pauses, then says, "Oh. Hmm. Yeah, it looks like we had him down for oral surgery.... and I guess it doesn't sound like that's what you requested. Ok. Um. We'll just switch that to a regular teeth cleaning. Let me put you on hold so I can get an estimate."

The following two things happen in my head.

1. Oh, thank sweet baby Jesus, I won't have to pay $600.
2. Wait a minute, you almost ACCIDENTALLY OPERATED ON MY CAT?????

She then gets back on the phone, and cheerfully tells me that teeth cleaning will be the much cheaper, much more reasonable price of $500. And she says this like it's great news. Like she's really doing me a fucking favor. Like I'm going to be all, "Oh! $500? That's fantastic! I was, in fact, hoping to spend $500 for you to brush my cat's teeth! As a young starving artist, that just sounds like the dandiest way I can think of to use up those extra pesky $100 bills that have just been clogging up my wallet! Super freaking great puppies and unicorns awesomesauce!"

Tuesday morning finds me biting the bullet, ready to take my poor invalid cat to the vet. I wrangle him into the carrier as he stares at me with his big, soul-crushing "How could you?" eyes, and drive him to the vet.

Side note. Kirby is terrified of being in the car, and absolutely petrified (read: extremely violent) when it comes to the vet. He really loves when I sing though, so whenever I have to drive him there, I sing to him. He always immediately stops crying, but starts back up again the second I stop. It's really, really cute.

I drop him off at 9, am told I can pick him up around 6, and head off about my day of dogs.

The thing about me and my pets is if they aren't with me, I'm slightly convinced they're going to die. I know this isn't really rational. I know it's a liiiiiiittle crazy. But whenever I'm out of town, there is always this very, very small voice in the back of my head telling me that Stella fell off my bookshelf and broke her neck. Or Kirby had an aneurism. Something like that. And having him at the vet's all day, while under anesthesia, absolutely had me in a mild state of panic (especially after signing all those forms that say, "Your cat could totally die during this procedure and you better not sue us, fucko").

Since I pretty much spend all day surrounded by canines instead of humans, I usually talk on the phone a lot during my walks. This day, I called my grandma. Now, my grandmother is a really awesome lady, but she also carries the distinct Jeffries doomsday mentality of thinking if something can go wrong, it will. (I'm pretty sure my belief that nothing bad can ever happen to me was derived as a defense mechanism from this. Except when it comes to my pets. I totally think bad things can happen to my pets.)

Me: So, Kirby's getting his teeth cleaned today, and I'm kind of, not really, but kind of worried he's going to die while under anesthesia *cue nervous, slightly hysterical laughter*
Grandma: Oh, yes. That actually might happen. Pets die under anesthesia all the time.
Me (somewhat taken aback): Oh. Well... I mean, hopefully it'll be fine.
Grandma: I don't know. I think you're right to worry. He really might die.
Me: *shocked silence, rapid subject change*

Cut to the end of the conversation:

Grandma: Well, alright hon, I'll talk to you later. And let me know if Kirby survives his procedure.
Me: Grandma, I really think he will. I was worried in a worst-case scenario type sense. I don't actually think it's likely he's going to die.
Grandma(very dubious): Well, ok..... just let me know.

Fortunately, Kirby survived, and apparently shocked the entire staff with his remarkable levels of aggression and ungodly screeching. The vet came out and helpfully told me that one of his teeth has a neck lesion (which oddly enough doesn't seem to involve necks) and that it will probably need to be pulled out in a year or so, which is just freaking fantastic. I brought him home, he wandered around the apartment growling with his eyes bulging out of his head, jumping at every sound he heard. Finally though, he calmed down and made a little nest on my lap and went to sleep, looking like an angel, just waiting for the next horrible, money-draining ailment to pop up and rob me of my funds and my sanity.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

City Weekend

I just came off of the loveliest weekend, and was, in fact, so overwhelmed by its glory, that it took me three days to calm down enough to tell you about it.

Nah, I just am a lazy pile of crap and didn't have a chance to upload my photos until last night. But I did have a nice weekend.

My sister Lara came to visit Friday night. We had a quick feast at Noodles (there was a Noodles in the town where I went to college, and every time I'm eating penne rosa and drinking a cream soda, I get nostalgic for the vast wasteland that is the College Park Route 1 strip). We then went to see Silver Linings Playbook, which is really fantastic. It's part of my goal to see all the movies up for Best Picture at the Academy Awards. I kind of wish I'd saved Silver Linings for last, because it's so sweet and heart-warming, but instead, I have all the depressing, agonizing movies left to watch that will probably make me feel like someone's ripped my heart out of my chest, chewed it up, puked it out, and stomped on it. We were planning to go out to a bar afterwards, but, because we are elderly, twenty-one and twenty-five year old ladies, we opted instead to go home and go to sleep.

After a somewhat restful night's sleep (Lara apparently woke up at one point on my couch to find both of my cats an inch away from her face, staring at her), we ran off to Yoga District. As part of my New Year's resolution to practice yoga in the studio twice a week, I was looking to check out their Saturday morning, all levels class (I would have made it out the week before, but my bum ankle made that an impossibility). The class was great, and genuinely all levels - there were some real beginners, and some killer awesome crazy yogis. Then, sweaty and gross, we wandered over to Jamie's (who lives half a block away). We went off to Commissary for brunch (try the goat cheese and sun-dried tomato omelet if you would like to die of delicious joy), then headed down to Dupont Circle to meander through the shops. After awhile, we remembered that Dupont doesn't actually have that many shops, just bars. It does, however, have this.

Delightfully horrifying

 That's when Jamie showed us a secret hidden (to me) pathway that leads from the heart of the city to Rock Creek Park.

Models. Except Jamie actually looks like a model.
I just look homeless.

After exhausting the park, we decided to head to Georgetown, home of the wealthy and the beautiful and the shops I can't afford. And the Exorcist. 

Also really good chai tea lattes.

We shopped around, I considered becoming the Phantom of Anthropologie who wanders about like a shopper by day, climbs secretly into the ceiling tiles around closing, and lives there by night, sleeping in the gorgeous canopy bed with is chiffon curtains and wearing heavenly dresses and dainty aprons and hosting delicious imaginary meals on adorable plates to pretend friends, decided I would miss my cats too much, and then suggested we all go back to Jamie's for dinner. We left Jamie's, Lara headed back home, and I stayed in to do laundry like any wild and free twenty-something should.

I will leave you with following message we found at the waterfront at Georgetown. 

Indeed. Happy hump day, everyone.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Trail Blazing (like a boss)

Remember how last week I told you all I'm ready to be more active in my life-path for 2013? Well, now that the necessary people (namely, bosses), have been informed, I can share the following with you.

Ann and I starting our own dog walking company.

Running my own dog walking company has been a dream of mine for a few years now. Finding a way to make a good living (not just as a single twenty-something, but later on, as a home-owning wife and mother) that allows me to work with animals and still be a professional actor has been a dream of mine for over a decade. I've spent a lot of the past two years researching what goes into running a dog walking company, and there have been a several times I almost just dove in and went for it. I was always pulled back by the following:

1. For the first year or so (until I built it up enough to hire employees) I wouldn't be able to take any time off. Any. No sick days, no trips, no auditions or tech rehearsals. 

2. I'm not the most organized person in the world, and was very overwhelmed by the administrative side of running a business.

3. Frankly, the thought of running a business all by myself in my early twenties terrified me. The thought that I could get sued, that I would have no guarantee of steady income, the fear that I might file my taxes wrong or something, scared the crap out of me.

The thing is, though, I think a dog walking business is the perfect job for me. I love my job. Being a dog walker is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life. I genuinely am happy to be at work every day - how many people can say that? I love working with dogs, and along with the seven years of experience in animal-care jobs I have, I think I have a knack for understanding what dogs want and getting them to listen to me. I love the idea of providing a service that I think really helps dogs and enriches their lives. I love the idea of a business with low start-up costs, that needs relatively few clients to make a living off of, that can start off small and grow as big as I want it.

I mean, come on. I get to play with this every day.

Ann and I were discussing a few months ago how difficult it is to support yourself as an artist. As a professional actor, I spend 20-30 hours a week rehearsing and performing, and am compensated very little for it. Right now I predominantly work with non-equity theaters, but eventually I want to get my equity card (Actor's Union, for all you non-theater folk). In order to do that, I need to work at equity houses - most of whom rehearse during the day. I've really struggled trying to find a job that could be flexible enough to support my career, but have enough upward mobility that I can keep acting as I get older and have more financial responsibilities. Ann is a writer, director, and actor, who also struggles to find time to focus on her art.

As I was debating out loud, yet again, whether or not to start up this business, it occurred to me that she and I could go into business together. See, I'm the one with all the animal experience, but Ann is a freaking whiz when it comes to pretty much everything. She created her own theater company at the age of 22, wrote, directed, and produced an award winning play that was remounted several times, took us all the way to NYC, and just got a publishing offer. She is great at marketing, organizational skills, administrative stuff - all the things I have little experience in. And since there are two of us, it would make it easier to cover for each other when someone needs to take time off. I really think that together, our strengths cover up each others' weaknesses, and we could really make a kick ass business. 

So, this month, we have finally decided to go for it, and are switching things into high gear. We have other companies to interview, lawyers to draw up contracts with, accountants to explain all the mountains of paperwork this can evoke, a financial advisor (aka my dad) to help us draft a business plan, graphic designers, web designers, marketing, certification.... oh, and we have to name the damn thing. 

It's going to be rough at first, and my guess is there will be a few months where we are scraping to pay our bills. I really think though, that if we stick with it long enough, we can't fail. The ultimate goal is that eventually, it will be big enough that we can just manage our employees, and spend our days focusing on our artistic pursuits of choice. I'm absolutely terrified, but I am also completely, out of my mind excited.

2013. Balls to the wall, indeed.

Friday, January 4, 2013

So This is the New Year...

For New Year's, my friend Kat cleverly suggested that instead of shelling out tons of money on outfits, cab fare, expensive parties in the city and booze, we wrangle up a big group of people to rent a beach house for a couple days and have a non-stop, 48 hour party. So we did, and it was magnificent.


Joe was our helpful driver...

...while Kat and her boyfriend Will played checkers in the back.
On an ipad. I hate the future.

Waterfront view

We had $400 of alcohol. Here's half of it.

Here's the other half.

I was the only Redskins fan. I spent most of the first night antisocially
 wandering over to the tv and texting my dad about the game.

Joe brought animal masks. I hated them.

They were terrifying.

And resulted in shark attacks.

I tried to take a picture of the moon over the bay, but I was thwarted.

15 people + 5 beds = sharing
One of the guys on the trip is a chef, so our meals were all
 delicious. He put us to work chopping things.

We spent most of the last day of 2012 on this rug.

Puppy pile

Lone pup

Alcohol began to translate to Disney sing-alongs.

Post midnight, each with our personal champagne bottles.

At midnight, I and two other people ran into the freezing, freezing, freezing cold bay. Completely, heads underwater, fully submerged in the stupidly icy water. As I ran out, screaming like a drunk and very cold maniac, I stepped barefoot on a rock, bruising the arch of my foot, then staggered to the side and came down on my ankle in a weird way. I was too numb from champagne and the bay to really feel the full effect at the time, but the next morning I was hobbling around like a one legged prostitute. (I have no idea why that is the simile I just picked. I literally just typed it, thought, 'WTF?', and then was entertained enough by it to just stick with it.) 

 If you recall the time I broke my finger, you know I am not inclined in the slightest to see a doctor about this. I did, however, find a Wiki article called "Seven Ways to Tell if your Ankle is Sprained", and it is meets all the requirements. It's pretty mild as far as sprains go (assuming it's a sprain), but, seeing as I'm a dog walker who clocks in about 10 or more miles a day, it's probably going to take longer to heal than necessary.

In a weird way though, it feels like a good omen for this year. Something I've been realizing increasingly is that I am more passive about my life than I would like to be. This year is going to involve some big changes, and a lot more of me going balls-to-the-wall in pursuit of good things in my life. Jumping in the bay was an awesome start to this year, and yes, I hurt myself in the process, but it felt completely worth it. 

I think that's going to be the theme of 2013.