A niçoise salad when you're overwhelmed

Highly recommend.

Hi, friends.

If you’re feeling helpless, may I recommend making a niçoise salad

I’m feeling overwhelmed by the new Kavanaugh evidence today (women’s testimony is evidence FYI) and frankly by how many men, in power or just lusting for it, openly hate women and are indifferent to not only our pain but even seeing us as actual people.

There’s this line in The Realistic Joneses where my character (Pony!) is working as hard as she can to mentally ignore something big and scary and she says

I’m scared I’m going to hyperventilate. So I’m taking these little breaths so no one notices me, so that whoever the god is that makes people hyperventilate, he doesn’t notice me.

I’ve thought of that several times since we rehearsed it last week, times when I catch myself worried and anxious, taking tiny little breaths, like I could prove to myself or god that I need sooooo little oxygen that I might as well dissolve out of corporeal existence for just a sec, catch ya later, life.

I took Larry to the airport today at 5:30 a.m., and after I came home, slept in with the cats and woke up late to the sound of rain. I read the news until I had to stop, at which point I turned my attention to food for the week… at which point I started fantasizing about a picture of a niçoise salad I’d once seen in an issue of Bon Appetit.

This is the first time I’ve ever made a niçoise, but as far as I can tell, the prep is 99% waiting for water to boil. The basic elements are a protein (I used tuna), veggies of your choice (I sliced a cucumber and boiled green beans and fingerling potatoes), salty stuff (capers and olives!!!), and a simple dressing that literally took 30 seconds to whisk together (I broke mine but still used it, don’t tell Molly Baz).

It took me about an hour to prep all the parts, but absolutely nothing about it was difficult. So it’s unsurprising that I latched onto it this morning while breathing my tiny breaths: a recipe with multiple simple steps, constructing a meal for myself, remembering what’s in my control. Something nourishing but rich, oily and crunchy, salty and dreamy. Exchanging short invisible breaths for drippy audacious forkfuls. I FUCKING LOVE FOOD, what a luxury it is!!! And now there’s enough in the fridge for lunches this week, shout out future me, I love you.

From Bon Appetit:


  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice

  • 2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp. honey

  • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more

  • 6 large eggs

  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and/or new or baby potatoes, halved if larger

  • 4 cups seedless cucumbers

  • 3 cups oil-packed tuna

  • Olives, capers, peperoncini, pickles, or other pickled-briny ingredients

  • Flaky sea salt (I can’t recommend enough that you keep a box of Maldon around!)

How to make it

Whisk oil, lemon juice, mustard, honey, pepper, and 1 tsp. kosher salt in a medium bowl; set dressing aside.

Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Carefully add eggs and cook 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer eggs to a bowl of ice water (keep pot over high heat); chill until cold, about 5 minutes. Peel; set aside.

Meanwhile, add green beans and potatoes to the same pot of boiling water and cook until just tender, 2–4 minutes for green beans, 10–15 minutes for potatoes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to bowl of ice water; let sit until cold, about 3 minutes. Transfer to paper towels; pat dry.

To serve, slice eggs in half and arrange on a platter with cooked and raw vegetables and tuna. Top with pickled-briny ingredient(s), sprinkle with sea salt, and drizzle some reserved dressing over.

Speaking of luxury, LOOK AT THIS!!!

We had a big ol’ party at my parents’ place a couple weeks ago, and Larry and I filled a cooler with Bubly and brought the unopened cans back to our place the next day, and they filled up a whole shelf. What was initially a happy accident is now, or at least for now, a ~lifestyle~.

I don’t even really stan Bubly, but I love a small, reasonably priced extravagance that makes you happy on a daily basis, much like our extremely stocked seltzer shelf with all the smilies facing the same way!! makes me feel.

And thank god we also have really funny, really dumb Jeopardy videos to watch and text our friends about

If you feel emotionally attached to the way you pronounce “genre” now, may I insist writing it down phonetically or perhaps making a voice memo BEFORE watching this? It’s a Men In Black style mind eraser, but only for however you say this one word.

When I sent it to Andrew, he responded that he’d thought I was sending him this other absurdist Jeopardy! content:

And speaking of Andrew, it was he who once told me that Olivia Colman is amazingly charming and indifferent to her own fame in interviews, so it was therefore he who inspired me to watch this (a series that’s usually just Fine to Bad):

That’s all I’ve got for now, but it’s a lot!! I feel lucky for every little delight, I truly do.

I love you,


Feel it out/split the difference

I started rehearsals for a new play this week

We’re two nights in, and Courtney is stage managing, which is to say she’s stage managing her first show ever.

When I came home from our first rehearsal I tossed my bag of bones (my body) on the couch next to Larry and recounted every detail, then worried that Courtney was regretting her choice—her executive fantasy about wearing a headset backstage, briskly calling out “Ten minutes til house!”, booking our director with dinner plans and cars waiting out front, dashed by the grim reality of weeknight evenings spent sitting on a folding chair in a cement warehouse where the door alarm sounds a midi Ave Maria and neighborhood geese gather to fight on the roof at 7:45pm sharp. The reality of using my thermal mug of water from home as the wine bottle in scene 1 and the cup of instant coffee in scene 5, the way the only way to learn the turns and beats of every scene is to do it again and again and again, on a school night. The cast repeats the scene, together.

But also. . . after we figure out where to sit, when to stand, when to pick at the edge of the imaginary fraying tablecloth, someone points out that this line here echoes another line in an earlier scene, that maybe this is where the character decided to blow up her life or that he didn’t want to drown himself in the ocean or that they’d stay up all night comparing their worst fears with someone who was not their spouse. We try shit, experiment. Yell or stand closer or wrench our faces away. Feel it out, split the difference. Moments start to feel real despite the mechanical pencil in one hand and the script just out of frame. Ave Maria plunks along as an underscore. Slowly, slowly, even this early, something begins to emerge.

Good things:

I loved this short piece in which a reporter obsesses over whether a cell phone interruption in a Broadway show was staged or real.

I’m so happy for my very close friend Jenny Slate.


The days are getting shorter and that’s Bad, but when I opened the curtains at my usual time this morning, the sky was lavender and bright, sunrise still ringing.

I love you,


I'm in a commercial with a bunch of kittens

also, wanna hear me sing "Royals" by Lorde but about the Simpsons in 2014??

Hi friends,

I’m sitting in the dimly-lit living room awaiting a mushroom quesadilla delivery while watching old episodes of Shark Tank, my equivalent of a cat licking itself to self-soothe. I stayed up too late last night and then had to talk a lot in a meeting this morning, in front of a new client, something I always think is Hard even though it’s actually Normal and always, forever (Fran) Fine.

Please spread the word that I own a blazer now

It’s been a big week for my press team, also known as MY LEFT AND RIGHT HANDS, because a commercial I filmed a few weeks ago finally aired on the Big Ten network (and it’ll air on CBS this weekend!!!) and therefore also went live on the social network as well:

I’m always a pain in the ass for costume designers on a budget. They breezily ask me to “pull from (my) closet,” mistakenly assuming I have the wardrobe of a 36-year-old woman, and not, sayyyyyyy, a 68-year-old eccentric who lives with and shares a wardrobe with a sexually liberated teen. They love to say things like “just bring a few professional looks for us to choose from” (a FEW!), at which point I reveal that my only closed-toed shoes are Vans and that, apologies, but I do not own a blazer. They sourced a J. Crew blazer from one of the other actors, and when I shrugged that baby on in front of the mirror in the public restroom that balmy August afternoon… what can I say? Later that evening, I bought a used version of it on eBay for $5. NOW AVAILABLE FOR EXTREMELY PROFESSIONAL GIGS.

Just an update on this Shark Tank (one I somehow missed from season 8, btw. Sure finding money in your coat pockets is fun but have you ever realized you didn’t watch 2 episodes of Shark Tank from 2017??)—so far both an immigrant and an eight-year-old have flung themselves on the dystopian financial altar and the Sharks are soooo high on their patriotism right now!!!!

But wait, I stayed up past midnight for a reason

…And that “reason” was uploading, organizing, adding artwork to, and copy and pasting truly absurd text descriptions for 42 episodes of You Big Dumb Idiot, the podcast that Andrew and I made from 2013 through 2015 and honestly one of my greatest achievements and work I will stand by FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE!!! We made an extremely good funny and also the dumbest educational podcast and now all of the (available) episodes are in one place!

The impetus for this was ughhhhhhhhhhFacebook“Memories”ughhhhhhhhh reminding me that six years ago on that very day, I’d posted the iTunes link for YBDI on Facebook and warned people that it included swears. I texted the screenshot to Andrew and as we conversed about how great our podcast was and how much we love each other (Andrew said he loves me I HAVE PROOF!!!!!!), I remembered—oh yea—that we, uh, recorded our first episode in three years LIVE at his birthday party last November and that I, uh, hadn’t done anything with it.


You Big Dumb Idiot was an irreverent informational podcast hosted by Andrew and me. Each episode featured a guest who appeared as an “expert” on their topic of choice. We recorded it upstairs in Larry’s old studio, essentially a repurposed guest room in our old house. We had sponsorships from a local pizza place and a local winery, which meant that we got free pizza and wine in exchange for sing-songing the names of the businesses to cap off the previous 30 minutes of basic debauch. We wrote an original totally stupid topical game for each guest. I painstakingly edited every episode in GarageBand and the first few minutes were always us shooting the shit and singing whatever pop song we’d most recently heard on the radio, giving YBDI an impenetrable home in the zeitgeist.

Here is every available episode of it, in order.

Here’s the new episode, recorded in front of a live audience at a bar on Andrew’s 31st birthday where we sound incredibly on and comfortable and just totally our best selves, and I spend the whole time trying to tell Andrew I love him:

. . .

Here’s my favorite episode still to this dayyyy, Scary Movies with Travis Wayne Hurt:

. . .

And VERY GOOD RUNNERS-UP such as Stand-Up Comedy with Esteban Gast:

. . .

And Survivor (with which I share airtime on CBS!!!) with Lauren VanOsten:

IDK guys, if you’re not sold now you probably won’t be by me listing them all so I’ll stop, but if you listen to podcasts at all you might like it, THAT’S ALL I’M SAYING. Also if you want to learn about opera or microorganisms or The Simpsons or farming or improv or pregnancy or football or wine or hip-hop or sex or crafting, among many other things. Also yes if we titled the podcast today we would probably choose a different name.

I ate my mushroom quesadilla while writing to you. I’m gonna finish this Shork Tonk and start dreaming of bed now. Wow it’s almost Friday zzzzz !!!

I love you,


It's September, hallelujah

New one-seconds video, new playlist, a lesson in Prince

It’s a new month, hallelujah

Here’s what my August looked like.

It’s a new playlist month, hallelujah!!!

I love this one.

Remember to follow it if you’re into it because I tend to add songs as the month goes on. Some notes:

  • The Fleetwoods song that kicks it off, I’d never heard before, and begged Siri to give me details about it at 8am one morning while sitting in a parking space outside work, my lunch bag in one hand.

  • Our household is going through a M A J O R Orville Peck thing at the moment, and it’s not a big deal at all don’t even bother to think about it but two days after we really started obsessing over him, Larry went to LA for work and got invited to some industry party WHERE ORVILLE WAS THERE and he sang in a backyard and Larry casually chatted with him it’s whateverrrrrr and once Larry was home and relaying these tales, we made some very funny jokes about how he should have gone to the bathroom and come out in a fringed mask made of toilet paper.

  • Jonathan Richman is occasionally a little much for a playlist, but This Kind of Music is a perfect gleaming gem and I love 50s backup vocals on any tune, of course (see the first bullet), and especially on wide-eyed proto-punk ones.

  • If you would have, for some reason, monitored this playlist closely for the past three days, you would have seen about five Lana songs from the new album appear and then disappear there as I agonized over which one to include (Venice Bitch is perfect but nine minutes long!!!). I feel strongly that my next dumb tattoo will be LDR themed so memo to my coworkers, please don’t bring Lana Del Rey up in any meetings for the next 10 years, thanks

  • My bud Jenny Owen Youngs is releasing new songs from her upcoming EP Night Shift and it’s just best for you, honestly, if you hear them. If you’re like “omg J.O.Y.” and realizing you’ve been a fan of hers since Fuck Was I 100 years ago (YOU HAVE BEEN, AS HAVE WE ALL!!!), potentially throw some money at her to never stop writing also.

Speaking of even more music,

Not proud of this but

Friday night, Larry and I were in his studio playing around and I kept asking him to play songs I could sing. He played “Blister in the Sun” and coached me through the fun middle parts where it goes whispery. More, I demanded, more! Then he busted out some Prince, assuming I’d know the words, at which point I had to remind him that… despite having many other sparkling personal traits, I just… kind of missed the boat on Prince.

I blame being born in 1983, way too young to be horny for the horny late-80s songs and then suddenly a teenager, overhearing “1999” and overall small-town baffled by the only Prince fact that reached Sidell, IL, which was that he had changed his name to a “love symbol.” I mean, I’m alive in the world, so I know the hooks to Raspberry Beret and Little Red Corvette, and I’ve always appreciated the idea of Prince (talent! gender-bending! sex!) as an adult, but from a fuzzy distance.

Larry’s theory was that the easiest way to get Prince as an adult, the shortcut to context, would be to watch Prince videos and just see it all in motion.

So we sat on the couch and watched these together, and I, ah…. it, um… worked:

Larry also, right then and there in his studio, put together a 2.5-hour Prince playlist for me to shuffle:


Speaking of reluctantly admitting facts about thyself that intersect with pop culture,

I gotta say……I don’t make the rules

Never once has anyone responded to this fact in a way that wasn’t basically “…….oh wow, I kinda wish I didn’t know this???” and yet I’m honestly compelled by a force larger than myself because *Beyonce voice* God is real.

Alright. What are we focusing on this month? One good thing I did in August was perfect my morning coffee. I gotta think about what to do for September.

Oh, I got cast in a play, so I suspect I’ll re-re-re-re-learn the core lesson that before you can go nuts exploring choices and finding the boundaries of your character by trying everything every which way, you unfortunately have to do the drudgery of just learning your damn lines. (It’s a metaphor also!!!!!! We’ll talk about it!!)

Happy long weekends, friends.

I love you,


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