me and benLast Labor Day I moved from Montana to New York City. My boyfriend and I had just finished our MFAs in creative writing at the University of Montana and were planning on pursuing our writing careers somewhere less beautiful and more crowded. I was filled with a lot of hope and a grab bag of misconceptions about the life in the city, my soon-to-be-wildly-successful freelance career, and maximum rodent size.

Now, a little over a year later, Ben and I are settled in our apartment in Queens. I’ve seen rats the size of small dogs and roaches the size of what I used to think rats were. We’ve both picked up more than a few bylines, although not nearly enough for me to quit my job as an office drone, and we’ve both made a few friends and connections. Still, neither of us have come to understand (or much like) life in the city. Think Beverly Hillbillies with fewer rocking chairs and slightly less spitting.

Ben is now a rising star in the mixed martial arts sports writing world (you should visit his blog, The Fighting Life), which means he travels to fights all over the country, works from home, and is required to cover more promotional events at Hooters than I am comfortable with.

I have your basic bottom-rung publishing job in a gothic high-rise in the city. I’m the person who writes the back and inside covers of books (industry secret: we do not read the books) and also the person who photocopies things and produces mountains of almost-meaningless spreadsheets. It’s not the best, but it gives me time to write and plan my next stunning move that will undoubtedly shock the world.

Although I complain constantly about just about everything, I have to admit that I wake up every single morning and start the day as happy as any person can be – nestled between my awesome cat Ripley and my awesome boyfriend. It’s pretty much downhill from there.

I’ve read everywhere that I’m not supposed to write a general interest blog and that I’m certainly not supposed to ever mention my boyfriend or cat. But I tend to do things wrong.

I update this thing twice a day on weekdays and twice over the weekend. Although I write about whatever’s on my mind, I do have a few repeat columns that you might want to familiarize yourself with:

SARAH VS. SPEARS Britney Spears and I are the same age and even though she doesn’t know it, I use her to gage my success in life. These segments appear about once a week. You can read a more in depth explanation in the first installment here.

LIFETIME MOVIE NETWORK REVIEWS There’s nothing I like doing more on Saturday mornings than drinking a cup of coffee, eating leftovers out of Tupperware, and watching the Lifetime Movie Network. Right now I’m watching one called Deadly Whispers. It’s filled with killing and secrets! These reviews usually publish on Saturday afternoons, but sometimes I’ll watch on during the week. The best way to find these is to visit my Lifetime Movie Review page, which has an index of the movies I’ve covered along with links and summaries.

fat ripleyRIPLEY: CAT ON A DIET Ripley is my tubby, dog-like cat.  A few months ago, we put her on a diet and have watched her drop from 22.5 pounds to 15. Still, it’s an ongoing struggle. We put up with Ripley’s daily attempts at sabotage, cutness, and deception. Cat on a diet updates come out on Wednesday night or Thursday. Here’s the first installment.

SUNDAY NIGHT DINNERS  During the week, I cook simple, healthy meals – both because I don’t have time for anything complicated and because I don’t want to destroy my body with gravy. But once a week, on Sunday night, I break out my favorite fatty, ornate, delicious dishes and post the recipes. My parents grew up in Louisiana, so many of the dishes are traditional Cajun and Creole recipes (like my jambalaya or shrimp etouffee). Some of the other dishes are things I’ve discovered or tweaked myself or stuff that my readers send me.

BOOK REVIEWS I like fiction books and non-fiction books, old books and new books, short books and tall books. I’m slowly working my way through the Modern Library’s Top 100 Novels. As always, let me know if you have any recommendations. These usually go up on Mondays.