Too darn hot

When I was freezing and isolated in the depths of winter I promised myself I would remember that feeling and appreciate the warmth. But now I’m spending the official first day of summer roasting on a Greyhound bus with no air conditioning on my way home from another weekend in New York City and i can heartily confirm that the grass is always greener in another season. Also I miss the Fung Wah. 

But I did have another great trip to NYC hanging out with my college pals. We took over Priti’s apartment and enjoyed a weekend of big city life – shopping at the Strand bookstore, a visit to Brooklyn Brewery, sangria in the courtyard and brunch at a nearby diner among everything else. 

I also got to hang out with my coworkers at the US’s first ivory crush – more on that later!

Here’s to a long summer of adventures, cold drinks, and enough warm memories to sustain us through the next season of snow!

The night they invented champagne

Bubbles, bubbles everywhere!

That’s how my stomach felt last week, as I coordinated the final pieces to live out a lifelong dream – going backstage at a Broadway musical. My friend Tory, as she departed Boston for the bike paths of Bolivia, connected me with her famously awesome aunt, Tony winner Victoria Clark. I’d seen her before in Light in the Piazza and Cinderella- now, she was sharing the stage with Vanessa Hudgens in Gigi (new and improved, with slightly less creepiness than its film predecessor).

Some text messages with Vicki, a call with the company manager, and a ticket to the box office later, my sister and I were off to the theater for the Friday night show, just before this weekend’s Tony Awards.

The show itself was wonderful – we sat in row K, surrounded by other friends and family of various actors. We could see the small mics on people’s faces and had a perfect view of the beautiful stage, with its Eiffel Tower set and sweeping staircase. Victoria had as many songs as Gigi herself, and the cast worked perfectly together.  The plot was… faulty… but I have to assume it made more sense in Colette’s era than it does in 2015. And really, if props are flying across the stage on invisible wires, dancers are kicking in a chorus line, and big dance numbers end in goofy grins, I’m going to be a happy camper.

After the show, we went over to the stage door, around the crowd waiting to meet Vanessa and into the queue to enter backstage.  My name was on the list (spelled right!) and we waltzed right in… and right onto the stage itself.

Backstage at Gigi

It was everything I imagined and nothing like what I pictured.  It looked so much like the boxy, black backstage where I spent so many afternoons as a stage manager in high school. The view from the wings was just that – lights in your face, and red velvet seats staring back at you. Masking tape on shelves with props resting in their place.  But when you looked out… you were on Broadway. 

We met Vicki’s dresser, Vicky (!) who told us about the shows she’s worked on and how crazy Tony rehearsals were. Then the star herself came out and we got to chat and take a picture together.

Kat, Victoria Clark, Sally

Milling all over the stage were other actors and their loved ones. Corey Cott said hi to his friends, Vanessa Hudgens gabbed with some guests, and people posed on the steps (obviously, we had to join in).

On stage at Gigi

My friends had told me to look out for Max Clayton, a Manchester native making his Broadway debut here. I caught him in between other guests and he was so sweet, especially when he found out that we were from NH. We talked to his aunts, who were visiting, and it turns out that we know a bunch of theater people in common (small state FTW).

When we left, I tried to put on my sunglasses and sneak out the stage door where Vanessa was still signing autographs, but Kat and the security guard wouldn’t let me.  Next time…

Being on stage reminded me how similar every theater is, if it’s a place – and an idea – that you love.  And it also reminded me of the magical spark I get from theater – and why I really need to get out of the seats and back into it.

This whole experience was also a massive lesson in not giving up on your dreams.  I was 100% sure I was not going to accomplish this before I turned 30, and I’m so so so so so glad I was wrong, because it was incredible and it never would have happened if I hadn’t put in the effort.

Massive thanks to Victoria Clark for the friendly welcome backstage and to Tory for helping make this dream come true!


Weekend in the woods

The theme of this weekend at the Saltey Homestead was ice cream and goats. And it was lovely. 

Despite my love for Boston, I have to get out of the city every now and then – to a place where a few cars on the road is “a lot of traffic” and a $3 breakfast sandwich is expensive. Where a 40 minute drive to a BBQ is a no-brainier and the stars glow more brightly than the streetlights back home. Where chores involve checking hooves and not emails and you get a t-shirt tan if you don’t reapply sunscreen every hour (whoops!).

I got my fill of seedling shopping, maple bacon ice cream, and woodland wandering (including a hike today with about 10000 mosquitos for companions). At the end, I decided that I could maybe be a plant farmer but I’ll never be good at handling livestock (I’ll make an exception for a photo op though!). 

(This dude is five days old! And his maaaaah is the cutest thing nature ever invented.)

Now back to my concrete jungle with my heirloom tomato plants in tow!

A breath of fresh air

I’m spending my long weekend in the country, visiting my dear friend Katey on her farm in Connecticut. I can tell I’m out of the city because I’m sneezing more (hello plants and puppies) and because an ice cream sundae costs a meager $2.25. Is this 1950?

Expect more updates from seedling sales, goat feedings, and other rustic adventures before I return to Boston! 

How are you spending this official kick-off of summer?

Reflections on being 29-and-a-half

I started this blog on my 25th birthday, with a set of goals I wanted to achieve before I turned 30.  I had been in Boston for two years (a “long” time), had a fun and easy life, but also knew that there was more out there, just waiting for me to grab it.

I wasn’t wrong – but in the last four and a half years, I’ve reevaluated a bit.  Maybe I don’t want to be president anymore (thanks, House of Cards, for showing the dark side…).  And maybe dividing my time between a million things – scheduled far in advance – is not the route to happiness.  I’ve seen a lot of friends make similar evaluations over the last few years – one, quitting her creative/business job that related to her degree to become a dog walker and then moving across the country. Another, leaving the corporate world entirely and moving to Europe. Still others going back to school, dropping out of school, choosing love over location and location over love. It’s fascinating to see my peers come to their own conclusions about how to live this weird and wonderful part of our lives.

And it’s time for me to make some new plans, too.  So I’m retiring some of my original goals from 25 year old Sally.  Here’s what, and why:

Visit South America / see the Grand Canyon

Mark my words – I will do both these things. But not in the next six months. I blew all my travel-related savings in Europe this fall. Having the flexibility to get up and go on a grand adventure is amazing, and I have no regrets.  But I’ve also realized that just because these two places didn’t end up being on my list for these last five years doesn’t mean I’m a travel failure – just that I found other adventures. I do want to keep going on big and small trips without feeling like each one requires a year of planning – but as I’ve learned again and again, the people I’m with are more important than the places I see, so my focus this year is on hanging out with my friends and family, even just in our own hoods.

Find a place to do some steady volunteering / Run for public office

I work from about 8:30-6:30 each day. On weekends, I cook, play softball and volleyball, hang out with my friends, run, take classes, go to shows, etc etc etc. I also volunteer on an Institutional Review Board at Dana Farber and volunteer at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp almost every summer. Oh, and I am web communications chair for my college class for the next five years. So why, oh why, do I think I’m not doing enough? My goal here was to make some new connections and serve my community – both valid concepts. But I don’t think 25 year old me gave myself enough credit for all the work I already do. I almost applied to be on the historic commission in Somerville, and then I looked around and realized how much more work can be done in the areas where I’m already involved, and stopped myself (not a moment too soon). Instead, I’m chilling out for a minute, and being ready to carve out time in my life for the right opportunities when they do exist, because I’m sure they’re ahead.

Stop saying “yeah” in public settings when I really mean “yes”

Modern English is changing, y’all – this is no longer a priority anymore.  Instead, my goal is to understand the proper usage of the phrases “YAS QUEEN”, “on fleek” and “legit AF”.

Get certified in something – massage, Zumba, crepe-making?

What’s in a label? I’ve tried some awesome things over the years – Indian cooking classes, all kinds of yoga, trampoline gyms, salsa dancing, painting, guitar. I would still love to be a teacher eventually, but for now I’m letting myself be taught.

You might see a theme here: it is the same as what I’m telling my cousins who are embarking in summer between years of college. And it is this: chill out. Nothing is so serious that we need to be so strict about it and hold ourselves to a list. I don’t think that being ambitious is inherently a problem, but it can make it harder to embrace the moment, and damn if this moment isn’t worth embracing. I’m going to be working on living my life and checking off the boxes as they come, rather than tracking them so far in advance. It will all work out in the end.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 25 year old self?

Music Monday: Here in Neverland

My name is Sally, and I’m addicted to musicals.

There are some that have meant a lot to my life – like Grease, which brought me some of the best people in my life when we did it in high school, or the Sound of Music, which Grandma Sugarplum and I would sing together.

But I can only think of three performances where the show itself – the sheer musical content and drama – kicked me in the gut so hard that I watched with my hand over my mouth, willing time to slow down so I could stay in the moment forever.

The first: A Chorus Line – I felt like had just broken my ankle and lost my life’s dream.
The second: Wicked – in the front row in London, watching Idina Menzel – sorry, Adele Dazeem – take to the skies.
The third: Finding Neverland – here in Boston, with Jeremy Jordan killing it in the lead role. Be still, my heart. But seriously, I was never a fan of the movie but thought the show sounded fun and it blew me away, to the extent that I bought tickets for my family to see it first thing the next morning.

(Later, when I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London, I held it against this example of unexpected, amazing childhood fun and it came up sorely lacking.)

Don’t take it from me – go see Matthew Morrison take back this role on Broadway, and Laura Michelle Kelly continue her reign of glory as the leading lady. I know I’m going to see it again!

(Ok, the fourth was Spring Awakening – and the fifth was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat – and the sixth was Les Mis – and the seventh…)

Hiking homework

This week was my first lecture as part of the Boston chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club spring hiking course (say that five times fast!).  I expected the class to consist of 30 people who would all become my fast friends over six weeks as we shared stories of blisters and dreams of windy peaks.

Erm, not so much.

When I arrived at the AMC office on Beacon Hill, I was one of a dozen people all rushing in slightly late. I paid my $65 fee and was handed what can only be described as a brick of a guidebook, as well as a carefully curated handbook. Maybe this is actually kind of serious, I thought to myself as I looked for any open seat in the room that held more than 125 people.

The goal of week 1 was to terrify you into never wearing running shoes or cotton in the woods ever again, and it definitely worked. The clothing workshop also made me realize that I need to spend about $500 just to get my basic gear up to snuff – gulp. But everyone was nice and encouraging even as they called cotton the devil. I can’t wait to see what part of hiking I’m woefully unprepared for next!


(Trying not to read too far ahead in the book to keep the suspense alive!)