Sunday, June 9, 2013

27 new things

one of my favorite blogs is yes and yes, written by sarah von bargen.  each year, sarah writes a list of new things to try before her next birthday.  i recently turned 26, and was inspired by her to write my own “27 before 27” list.  some things are exciting, some are low key, some are unabashedly lifted straight from sarah’s list (i really want to make pickles!).  i wrote this list a few weeks ago, so some are already in progress.  here’s the list, and the status of those that i’ve already done or started on:

1. take a belly dance class
2. make an ice cream cake
3. try stand-up paddling
4. go to montauk
5. ride a bike in new york city
6. learn to hit a golf ball
7. wear red lipstick (in public!)
8. have mom teach me cross-stitch
9. paint something to hang in my home
10. grow something i can eat - in progress
  • look at my precious tiny baby tomatoes!  these are on my cherry tomato plant.  i also have bell peppers and roma tomatoes growing.

11. attend a community board meeting for my district
12. learn how to mix an awesome signature cocktail
13. take a cooking class
14. watch at least one lord of the rings movie
15. get a promotion
16. make pickles
17. take a hot yoga class
18. propose - DONE!
  • on june 1, daniel and i proposed to each other in fort greene park.  i said yes (typical), he said yes, i cried one million tears, and then we went out for brunch and ate amazing thick cut bacon.  it was perfect. proposing to each other was something that was important to us, as the decision to get married was a mutual decision following plenty of open and honest conversations about what marriage meant to us. we were inspired by traditional scandanavian engagements, in which the couple exchanges simple gold rings as a symbol of their mutual decision to be married. doing it this way fit our style much better than the usual american tradition. it makes for an interesting conversation when people exclaim "let me see your ring!", expecting a diamond, and i instead show my ring, explain that dan has one too, and describe the way we altered the traditional gendered engagement practice to something that felt more "us".

19. eat an italian meal on arthur ave in the bronx
20. bake sourdough bread from my own starter
21. eat properly cooked lamb
22. go to a museum i haven’t been to before
23. go to a lecture
24. take a vacation with daniel
25. see the new york philharmonic orchestra
26. make cheese
27. read: of mice and men, 1984, pride & prejudice, and catcher in the rye - in progress
  • somehow, i made it through about a billion years of school without ever reading a lot of the classics. i chose these four for this year, but i know there are several more essentials to read down the line. right now i’m almost through catcher in the rye.  i'm enjoying it, but i'm grateful it's almost done because i don't know how much more of holden i could take.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

i am a dancer.

i remember the first time i was recognized as a dancer. i was eleven years old, at a teachers’ conference with my 5th grade teacher, helping her make a presentation about learning styles. we got to the Q&A portion, and the first woman to pose a question said to me, “you’re a dancer, aren’t you? i can tell by the way you stand.” i blushed, and thanked her, and had never been more proud.

a few weeks ago, i was working at the restaurant where i was a hostess when a woman at a table nearby waved me over. “we’re just wondering - what do you do besides work here?” i gave the nutshell answer: recent grad, looking to get into non-profit management. “really? we were thinking you were in the performing arts.”
“well, i was a dancer.”


from age 5 until my freshman year of college, i was a dancer. i took ballet classes, i danced on a jazz competition team, i dallied in irish step dance, and i was on my university’s dance team for a year. two to three nights a week, i was at the studio. my parents and grandparents drove me to and from countless classes, sat through competitions and recitals, and bought me one pair of specialty shoes after another.

i sat on the floor in the lobby of the studio to do my homework, i went through the particular pains of dancing on pointe and kicking your own ankles with the hard heels of irish step shoes, and i watched far too many of my competitors dance to jennifer lopez’s “let’s get loud.” and i loved every second of it. it shaped the way i move, stand, and even sit in a way that lasts til today. then, in college, i quit. the dance team at my university did mostly hip-hop dance, which wasn’t my thing. (have you ever seen a ballerina try to move like janet jackson? it’s.... it’s certainly something.) dancing was no longer my “thing”, i had to grow up and focus on classes. it was time to pursue a career, and dancing wasn’t it.

i missed it, terribly, and last winter, i summoned all my courage and took a ballet class for the first time in 5 years. it took that long because i was terrified of being bad at something i was used to being good at. in my classes in southern new jersey in my teens, i had been among the best ballet dancers at the studio. i knew that among “real” dancers in new york city, even in a beginners’ class, i would be nowhere near the best. but once i was at that barre, that didn’t matter. i was shocked at how naturally everything came back to me. muscle memory is bonkers, you guys. i made plenty of mistakes (the teacher yelled repeatedly at me as i did a combination across the floor - “it’s a PLIE! not a LUNGE!”) but i was elated by how amazing it felt to be in class again. i called my mom afterward and gushed to her, and thanked her, sincerely and repeatedly, for giving me the amazing gift of awakening this passion for dance at such a young age. it’s something that i know i can always come back to.

that was january 2011. i wish i could say that since then, i’ve been taking classes regularly and am just so thrilled... but not so. i haven’t been back since. i’ve got a ton of excuses, some examples:
“classes are expensive!” about $15 a pop at most of the studios in the city, plus $4.50 for the subway rides there and back. which, for an unemployed lady like myself, is expensive. but i’ve also spent that much on two beers in a night, while unemployed.

“i should be spending my time applying for jobs! dance classes aren’t going to help me get a job.” riiiiight. like i don’t sit around refreshing tumblr half the day.

okay, i guess my main excuse is the money thing.

but enough of that. i am going to make dance a priority again. because it makes me feel amazing. because i crave movement. because my identity as a dancer is the one that makes me most proud, and i no longer want to say i WAS a dancer when someone asks. i AM a dancer.

so, here’s the deal. i’m currently in a spending freeze until i start getting unemployment checks in april. but, when that happens, instead of going out for the occasional beer, i will set aside $15 a week for a dance class. one class a week for the month of april. and i’m putting it on the internet, so it has to happen. hold me accountable, internet, did you hear that? i’m not looking to make it into the NYC ballet here, but i want to reclaim my favorite identity and be a dancer again. on that note, i’m going to go stretch. come april, i’ll be ready to be back at the barre.

Monday, March 5, 2012

in which i attempt a reverse-job-posting.

EDIT: you guys, i got a job!  and one of my interviewers had read this post, and liked it.  so, reverse-job-posting: recommended.  however, now that i am employed, i'm once again removing my last name and resume from this post, just to be safe.

dear non-profit leader/social entrepreneur who definitely wants to hire me even though you may not know it yet,

hi! i’m seeking an entry-level position in a new york city non-profit or b corporation, and for a while i tried to keep this blog from being connected with my full name, lest it be found by someone in human resources at the Non-Profit or B Corporation of my Dreams, Inc. and they find out that i sometimes blog unabashedly about my love for dark chocolate sorbet and the fact that i occasionally relate to amanda palmer and that while blogging about both of these things, i staunchly refuse to use capital letters. however, i’m over that. if you’ve googled me, that means you haven’t immediately discarded my resume and thus, i have a chance. this is my attempt to make the most of that chance.

my name is lindsay, and this is why you should hire me:

while i don’t have “3+ years of professional experience”, which your ad likely states as a desired qualification, what i have is better. since my teenage years, i have thrown myself tirelessly into causes that ignite my passion. i have dragged my friends in college to documentary screenings. i have been “that feminist” at the party who calls people out on using derogatory language. i have spent a week on a bus across the country telling people why they should care about child soldiers in eastern africa. i have served cocktails at fundraising galas. i have written thank you letters to donors. i have had my own caseloads of clients at two social work field placements, in which i traveled throughout brooklyn providing case management to children and individual therapy to survivors of interpersonal crime. i have planned a legislative advocacy day for legislation related to domestic violence and sexual assault, then traveled to albany with a team of survivors and advocates to discuss these issues with our elected officials. (i’ve also discussed conflict in eastern africa and access to birth control with my elected officials. i’m a big fan of democracy.) basically, i have worked my ass off, in a variety of ways, to make a difference where i see injustice, and i have not been paid for any of it. i will work even harder for your organization or company. (i’m ready to get paid, though. student loans are no joke. my desired salary is $30,000 per year, but i can be flexible. let’s talk.) as your program/operations/development assistant or [insert job title here], i will hobnob with donors and potential donors, slave over databases, plan logistics for events, brainstorm, manage relationships with clients, recruit and organize volunteers, run errands, respond to email and phone queries, manage social media outreach, or do whatever other little things come up along the way. i’m more than willing to contribute to many different parts of your team.

bonus reasons to hire me:
i love baking and i will periodically and without warning bring delicious shareable goodies to the office.
i have that young, idealistic, passion-driven energy that is hard to come by in seasoned professionals and can invigorate a team.
i’m a social worker. you know that person in the office who gets everybody to chill out and re-focus when everything seems a mess? hi.

if you’d like to get in touch, email me at



Friday, February 24, 2012


i get daily emails from cafe gratitude with what they call "gratitude questions of the day". they describe them as follows:
Through reflection on these questions (which change daily), one is able to look directly at what is causing suffering in their lives (may it be background noise, or intensely distracting thoughts) and come to recenter one's attention on gratitude and abundance.
you can subscribe to gratitude questions of the day here.

i usually just reflect on the questions to myself, but i'm going to try blogging about the ones that seem particularly significant to me. one of today's questions is
what do you love about community?
when i think about the word "community", since my nbc comedy of choice is parks & recreation, i think of my immediate community, the one that occurs in my apartment. i live with three friends (and most of the time, one boyfriend) and a constant rotating cast of guests, including friends, friends-of-friends, bands on tour, invisible children roadies on tour, and complete strangers. we often host travelers who find me on if you're not familiar with the site, it is a social networking platform that allows travelers to find people who are willing to host them on their couch, for free. i've been hosting since summer 2010, although i took a break during last school year. i've hosted folks from canada, germany, south korea, finland, and other parts of the US. i've also met up with travelers to show them my favorite parts of the city, though i wasn't hosting them. through hosting, the community within my own home is a global one, and i absolutely love it. last year, i hosted easter dinner for a few friends who'd never met each other and a team of roadies from invisible children that included a woman from uganda. i was able to hear all about easter traditions in eastern africa while cooking dinner in my own kitchen. i know, right?! i love that my community is ever-growing, global, and loves gathering for meals together.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

well. it's been a while. over the past few weeks, i've considered doing a "2011 in review" type post, or a post about my intentions for 2012, but i couldn't get my thoughts in order enough and decided i just, well, didn't want to. but there have been things that i want to get down, even more for myself than anyone else. so, here's a collection of what's been going on for me lately.

amanda palmer wrote a long, but so very worth reading, blog post about her relationship with and wedding to neil gaiman. i, unlike most of my friends, am not really a fan of the works of either half of this couple, but this post resonated with me to the point that i had tears in my eyes while reading it. one of the reasons i've not written much lately is the fact that the most significant part of my life through the past six months has been my relationship, and i don't want to ramble on about love and make everyone nauseous. however, some of amanda's words that most resonated with me:
shortly before meeting neil, i’d gone through a heavy soul-searching period where i came to a place in which i could feel powerfully, certainly, guiltlessly single. i hadn’t been able to get there before, it took a lot of thought, and a lot of work. i examined culture and standards and wondered why it was that everyone was INSISTING on this coupling thing.

what the fuck?

i looked hard at the constant (and often media-driven) prescription that happiness is coupling-dependent, marriage-dependent, and child-bearing-dependent. some of the happiest people i’ve met are old and single. and i know they’re not shitting me.


as in business, so in relationships: i despise being told what to do. i just hate it. i like making things up as i go along, i like kissing who i want to when i want to, and i have no desire to be possessed, owned, kept or put in my place as a girlfriend or a wife.


it was a constant cause of marvel to me that neil looked at these determined and fiercely independent qualities and he not only withstood them, he not only tolerated them, he actually encouraged them. i’d fantasized for years that i’d someday find this person, who would hold me but let me go flying into the void, and simultaneously let me go flying but hold me, keep me tethered to the earth. and when i found him, true to my long-held assumption about what would come to pass should i find a human this miraculous, i actually clung.


but honestly, and i mean honestly: the selling point was that he actually understood me, deeply, and that he loved me as i was and had no desire to harness me. and he wanted to come on the adventure with me, not pin me down to his own plan, and not simply stand by the sidelines and cheer. i’d found an actual partner.

for the first time maybe ever, amanda fucking palmer: i get you!

around this time last year, i wrote a sort of authenticity manifesto that summarized my main intention for 2011: to be as unapologetically, authentically myself as possible. i reflected on this a lot as the year came to a close, and i think i've stayed pretty true to it. i've led from my heart, making decisions that make me happy, because in the end, i can really only control my own happiness. i am done being the people-pleaser who lives up to the perception that others have of me. i feel happier and more free than i ever have, and i am proud of myself.

my life has been very simple lately. i work evenings and weekends, i spend my mondays off having mondates with my boyfriend, i sleep in, i apply for grownup jobs, i drink my coffee slowly and eat a lot of breakfast food, i wait less-than-patiently for new episodes of parks & recreation, i spend more time in my neighborhood than ever because it's really more wonderful than i realized before my two month stint of living in manhattan, i spend a lot of time looking at pictures of cute puppies, i occasionally treat myself to cheap trader joe's wine or beers at a favorite dive bar, and i snuggle a lot. that's pretty much it. i feel like i'm on vacation all the time, and it's fantastic. i haven't really set an intention for 2012, but it may just be to continue living as if i'm on vacation; living in the moment, appreciating my simple life.

cheers to 2012.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

on the night of my graduation from social work school and my 24th birthday, i cried like a baby. i laid on my bed next to my confused sister and sobbed. not because i was so happy, not because i would miss school - because i was completely overwhelmed and terrified by people’s expectations of me. i grew up with my family fawning over how “smart” i was. i have always been told to keep working hard in school, to get as much of the best education i could, and i would go far, so i did. i graduated from high school in the top 10 of my class. i went to a good college on full scholarship. i went straight to graduate school, worked hard for two years, and graduated with a good gpa. on the day of my graduation, my loved ones told me how proud they were of me, how i was going to do so much good in the world. while i was grateful for the congratulations and encouragement, i was also petrified. i was graduating into a nearly nonexistent job market. i wasn’t clear on what kind of job i wanted. i took those couple of months off to take care of my mom, then i started applying like mad for any non-profit job i was vaguely qualified for. since july, i’ve been applying, interviewing, reworking my resume, writing cover letter after cover letter... and getting rejected. it’s been discouraging, of course. i’ve cried, i’ve been angry, i’ve snapped at family members who ask for constant updates on my job situation when there are no updates to give. and then i reframed. maybe the full-time do-gooder non-profit job isn’t going to happen for me, at least not right now. so, decided to rewrite my goals. i got a job as a hostess at a restaurant, at which i can oogle celebrities and joke around with my coworkers and have a pretty good time. i moved out of the manhattan neighborhood i never felt quite “me” in anyway, and back to my brooklyn apartment, which i can actually afford! i’m volunteering for some non-profits, i’m enjoying having days off during the week instead of the weekend, i’m spending quality time with my roommates, friends, and boyfriend. and honestly - i’m happy. today i called good old sallie mae to ask about loan deferment. when i explained to the surprisingly helpful and friendly customer service rep that i hadn’t yet found a full time position in my field, and was instead working part-time at a restaurant, his response was “i’m sorry to hear that.” to which i replied, “oh, it’s okay. that’s the way it is right now.” don’t worry about me, sallie mae man. i’m doing alright. i don’t have that dream job - but who does? i’m 24 years old, i’m living in the greatest city in the world, i’m in love, i’m surrounded by amazing friends, i can see the skyline from my rooftop and i’m reading for pleasure again and i am so very happy.
so, to my dad, grandma, the sallie mae man, the alumni associations at my alma maters, and anyone else who may be concerned about my not having achieved that all-important full-time position in my field of choice: don't worry about me. yes, i’m an underemployed and overeducated member of the generation new york magazine described as “coming of age in post-hope america”, but i still feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Friday, July 1, 2011

not what i had planned.

in the months leading up to graduation, i had the same conversation with countless people. it starts with the question, "so, what are your plans after graduation?" and ends with me rambling and sputtering and trying to put together a cohesive answer and typically, failing. i planned to get a job right away, then i planned to apply to be an invisible children roadie. i submitted the application, had one phone interview, and decided i didn't want to do that any more. i planned to volunteer while i looked for a job. then i won tickets to bonnaroo from lelia broussard the day before the festival opened. i planned a ride there with my kate. an hour away, the car broke down and we ended up riding to the festival with an angel of a tow truck driver, JB. the next four days refreshed me, amazed me, and reconnected me to what makes my life so incredible. i could write a whole post about bonnaroo itself but it would include way more feelings and eminem references than anyone would want to read. suffice to say it was just what i needed. we planned to rent a car on the way home. that didn't work. we planned to ride to the beach in north carolina, then we planned to stop in raleigh. we eventually got home, and the night i arrived in brooklyn, my mom fell down her steps and broke her leg in three places. i'd planned on hitting the job hunt hard in new york upon my arrival back, but that plan changed as i left again, this time to my mom's house to take care of her while she recuperates. i've been here for two weeks now, and will be heading home on thursday, if everything goes according to plan. i'll be moving in with a friend in manhattan on august 15, i'll be applying for more jobs and getting hired as soon as i can... if all goes according to plan. but one thing i've learned over the past month is that sometimes absolutely nothing goes according to the plan. more importantly, i've learned that when those plans change, something even better can happen. you can find yourself unexpectedly headed to tennessee to have the time of your life. you can meet an aspiring singer-songwriter at a hotel bar in raleigh, north carolina. you can be amazed by the generosity of strangers-turned-friends. you can make memories to last a lifetime with your best friend. you can be there for your mom when she needs you, and make her laugh when she's hurting. plans change for a reason. so, i'm staying open to the next change in plans, because it's coming whether i want it to or not. i'm even looking forward to it. it's kind of exciting... how's this plan going to change so something better can come through?