April Updates

What have I been doing for the past month?

  • GG planned an awesome dinner for us at Garces Trading Company. He said it was to thank me for doing our taxes and taking care of him while he was sick with the flu, which is very sweet of him, but I think really we both just wanted an excuse to go there again :o) Of course we started with a cheese plate, and GG asked for one cheese in particular to be included, which they forgot (it’s usually just the chef’s selection), so later the waiter brought out a whole plate of just this one cheese for us! It was good, but… that was a lot of cheese! So thoughtful of them, though! We shared a Roasted Baby Beet salad, but it was mostly mine, and it was amazing. Then we each got one of their flatbreads, and for dessert we had Smoked Chocolate Torte with Salted Carmel.
  • We went to Washington, DC for a birthday party the Saturday night before Easter. It was at a very neat bar that rents out board games and doesn’t serve any food, but you can bring in your own food, so they had the party catered. They also had an amazing game-themed cake! The best part was getting to meet all of my friend’s friends, who I’ve heard a lot about and had seen on Facebook. They were all very smart and funny, as I’d imagined. And I got to play Mr. Bacon’s Big Adventure. Coming home on Sunday morning, GG’s tire slowly exploded, which was not cool, but he ended up getting two new tires, so it’s all good. Things could have been a lot worse.
  • Right after getting home from DC, I turned around and left for a 3-day business trip to CT. I drove up with two co-workers, had one day at the office up there, packed with meetings, and then we had a whole departmental meeting for a full day before heading back home. It was great to see everyone – I wish we had the opportunity more often.
  • The day I came home, GG had left for Kentucky, to visit friends. He was gone for five days, and had a great time. If my big work meeting weren’t that same week, I probably would have gone with him, but it was probably for the best because I’m not really interested in all the distillery tours…
  • I went to a party hosted by one of my oldest friends from elementary school. We see each other about once a year now. I got to meet her best friend from college, and this girl and I wore pretty much the exact same outfit! Coincidence? Haha!
  • I don’t know if it was because of the cheese class we took, or if that was just the next stepping stone in my cheese addiction, but I’m seeing and recognizing more cheeses, and realizing that I know stuff about them. We spot different cheeses we recognize while we’re out and about; I’ve been recording this show Cheese Chasers, and sometimes he talks about things I already know about different cheeses and how they’re made; and last week a co-worker told me about this cheese with a funny name, and when I looked it up I realized that I was familiar with another cheese that’s made by this one particular farm. I also ordered a cheesemaking kit (which, as I was told, is like an alcoholic opening their own distillery – but I decided I really just enjoy eating cheese, I don’t need to do the work of producing it).
  • It got really warm! And then it rained a lot. And then it got cold. But today was nice.
  • Today, GG and I took the train in to Philly for the Philly Farm & Food Fest. It was way more crowded than I’d expected. We went through the big exhibit hall, looking at booths and trying food samples. Then we went to the one workshop we were interested in, given by Josh Lawler of The Farm and Fisherman. The restaurant is known for its Bloody Beet Steak, and his recipe that was printed in the show’s program even involved beets, so I figured it would be a beet thing. Nope! He taught us how to butcher a lamb! We ducked out a little early so we could instead get dinner at the Reading Terminal Market before catching the train home.
  • How am I doing on my 2013 goals? Well, I am exactly right on track with book reading – but I will need to finish one book every 2 weeks from now through the end of the year to keep up. It’s not that I’m a bad reader, but a lot of times it takes me a while to get into a story, so I sit on it for a while. If I just powered through it, I’d be able to fit a lot more books into my schedule. I just finished Gone Girl, which was recommended by someone I work with because I think she wanted someone to discuss it with! As far as the other goals … Well this is my first (and likely last) blog post for April, and don’t ask me about the “just because” cards.

Children and Cheese

Ok, not children, but people who are ~10 years younger than me. Last Thursday I went out to my alma mater for an “Alumni Mixer” my fraternity was putting on. I hadn’t seen the current brotherhood for a while, and also a couple other alumni I knew were there, so it was fun to see everybody. My own lineage has apparently exploded, and it was so cool to meet these people who know me in name only! I learned that I am very unfamiliar with the music and dance moves of today’s young people (have you ever heard of “Bernieing?”). They were all really cool kids, and I had a great time meeting everyone. I had sent a (small, in my opinion) donation earlier this semester, and they were all so appreciative. They had even passed around a thank you card at a recent meeting for everyone to sign for me. I was really flattered. Hopefully I can do something else to help them out a little more this semester.

I knew I’d be getting home late on Thursday night, so I preemptively took Friday off work. Being the 15th of the month, I did have to get online to do one thing, and there was an inspection going on in the UK so I had to be on-call in case of any requests, but other than that I really did have the day off. After doing my one thing first thing in the morning, I got back in bed and… accidentally fell asleep until like 11:30 :o/ I finally did get up, did some errands, then… took another nap. Then it was time to get ready, because…

On Friday night, GG and I took the train in to Philly and went to Cheese 101! Remember a couple years ago when I said I’d like to go to a “cheese tasting?” Around that same time, someone recommended the classes at Tria, so I signed up for their e-mail newsletter so I could keep an eye on what classes were offered. Most of the classes I was not interested in (most are about wine, or wine and cheese pairings), or they were not at a convenient time. After a couple years of getting their e-mails, I was seriously about to unsubscribe myself from the one I received this week, when I saw it: Cheese 101 offered on Friday night, and we were free! I signed us up immediately! I’m so glad we got this opportunity. It was really a great experience! The class was two hours long, and was led by the guy who is in charge of cheese for Tria – he is young and really excited about cheese. We learned all about how different cheeses are made, and the history of how different cheeses came to be in different regions. Oh and we got to sample all sixteen cheeses currently on the menu at Tria. (I was especially proud of GG for trying all the cheeses, even the runny ones and stinky ones. I starred my favorites on the list; he ranked each one with a face.) It was really awesome.

We were thinking of going to Monk’s for dinner afterward, but all that cheese was really filling! So as we were walking back to the train, we thought we’d go to this Insomnia Cookies place we’d noticed on the way to the class. Then we made a last-minute decision to go next door to Honeygrow which seemed a little healthier and lighter. We’d never been there or heard of it, but I was intrigued by the touch-screen ordering system. We each ordered the honeybar, which is basically a bowl of fruit with honey on it. I had banana, strawberry, blueberry, and mango with wildflower honey, almonds, and Greek yogurt. It was a really neat idea, and the perfect (relatively healthy) way to round out our evening.

“Ten years on and something’s shifted, same apartment, roommate’s gone”

So much for being a better blogger :o( Speaking of which, last call to take the reader survey!

Things I’ve done since I last wrote:

  • Went to the PA Farm Show. Had a very long day looking at animals and farm equipment and eating all the food. Once again GG proves that you can’t take him anywhere! (At first it was kind of amusing, but after a while I think our friends L and S were getting just as frustrated as I was that he has to talk to every vendor or presenter… We wanted to go see stuff!)
  • We had our big learning event at work. This is the third year and every time it’s been a little different. The first year, we had on-site events and tons of technical issues with the online part. Last year we kept it very simple and everything was online, very few problems. This year, we went back to having on-site and online events, and there are two 6-hour weeks (instead of one 12-hour week), one in January and one in July. It’s just as much work for us running it each time though, so it basically doubled our work. But everything went very smoothly, plus we had our contractor from Michigan in town, and it is always fun hanging out with her. I had a couple of the girls over for dinner one night, which was a hit.
  • GG and I went to dinner with one of my very oldest friends and her boyfriend. She’s given me my last two annual haircuts, actually, and last year we decided that we should do dinner, but it took until this year to actually plan it. It was a lot of fun. We lost touch a little through high school and college (she moved away), but now thanks to Facebook we’ve reconnected, and we can still talk up a storm like we never spent any time apart. That’s the sign of a good friendship.
  • I went out over the holiday weekend to take advantage of some sales and restock my work wardrobe. (Best deals: NY&Co was selling tons of stuff for $10 a piece. I ended up getting a bag full of clothes for the price of one of those items regularly!) Turns out every item I purchased was black, gray, or purple. (I would’ve gotten turquoise or teal things too, but those don’t seem to be in style this season…)
  • I had two events for my side job. One of which was my biggest ever. The other required me to drive out in the rush hour snowstorm we had on Friday (it took almost three hours to travel what normally would take an hour), and GG came with me out of concern for my safety :o) (and because I talked him into it). I still made it and it went well, though!
  • We went to see Jim Gaffigan at the Tower Theater! My friend J had asked me months ago if we’d be interested in going with her and her husband S, and got tickets. Then MB mentioned that she had gotten tickets to the same show for A’s birthday! So the six of us ended up going together, going out to dinner, and then to the show. They all actually met each other 5 years ago at my 25th birthday party, but I’m not surprised they don’t remember each other. They are the parents of all our favorite superbabies, so it was cool to get them together. Oh and the show was fabulous! My face hurt by the end from laughing the whole time. I loved the routine about shellfish and seafood, because I don’t eat it and feel exactly the same way!

Also, I’ve been reading on my Kindle, and watching TV (yes, I cried at the Fringe finale, and I will probably cry this week at the 30 Rock finale, and the upcoming finale of The Office).

Looking forward to a couple restful weeks coming up, because I see another busy period on the horizon…

The Rest of My Christmas Vacation

To pick up where I left off… We decided to have a very casual, informal, early dinner party on New Year’s Eve (after which people were welcome to go out somewhere more exciting, go home, etc. before midnight). The number of people who were going to attend kept increasing, so on Saturday morning, GG accompanied me on a frantic shopping trip to get everything needed for the party. Frantic because it was supposed to start snowing sometime that day. We were out for a couple hours, and literally the moment we got home, it started snowing!

And then the snow continued… and continued… We had at least 4″ by the time it stopped around 5 PM. We’d been planning to see Les Miserables that afternoon, but that plan was obviously out, so I just resigned myself to the fact that was not happening. Then a couple kids came around to try to shovel our driveway, and I didn’t want to pay people for that, so I was like, “Well, I guess it’s time to shovel.” It actually was good shoveling snow – by the time GG had cleaned off his car, I had shoveled the whole driveway and sidewalk myself. And since everything was clear… we could go see Les Mis! It was awesome. I saw it live years ago and for most of my childhood I had the soundtrack memorized, but it had been a while. My one real complaint was that, while it may work on stage, just focusing on a single person’s face singing a solo piece doesn’t really lend itself to film so well. I wish they had done something more interesting, considering they had the medium of film to work with. For example, in “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables,” I always imagined it with the ghosts of the guys sitting around – couldn’t they have added in some ghost dudes? GG also enjoyed it (he was actually seeing it voluntarily, after being impressed by the cinematography when he saw a preview while at a different movie), but you should have seen the face he made when, after “One Day More,” I whispered, “And that’s the end of Act 1.”

On Sunday we went to the UPenn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology to see the Maya 2012 exhibit. I’d been wanting to go since it opened, and of course now that it was about to end we finally went. It was actually a really good exhibit. Lots of multi-media, different ways to get your interest. And pretty informative, too, even for a Maya geek like me. I also like the way it was laid out, explaining how the Mayan writing and calendar systems worked, then showing examples, explaining about specific sites (Copan), and then finishing up with modern Mayans. After the museum, we went to Percy Street Barbecue for lunch. GG had been talking this place (and their mac & cheese) up for weeks, but honestly… I was not impressed. Their claim to fame seems to be that they have the largest selection of canned beer in the country, and the food was not all that amazing. When we got home, I prepped all the food for NYE dinner that I could do in advance.

Monday was our NYE party, so I spent the day cleaning and cooking. I actually thought I’d started cooking kind of early, but I was actually still cooking when our guests got there at 6 PM. Oh yeah, at some point in the previous two days, the number of people we were expecting got up to about 12, which was way too many for me, and then down to six as everyone started coming down with some cold/flu thing. Everyone kept saying how bad they felt about canceling, but I was secretly happy. We ended up with two other couples (and our favorite baby), and that was pretty perfect. The food all turned out pretty good – it was mostly stuff I’d found on Pinterest. There were a couple things I wouldn’t do again. The big hit of the night was the Hot Chocolate Bar – everyone got a mug of chocolate, which they could dress up with toppings like marshmallows, sprinkles, caramel, candy canes, and cookie sticks. I would definitely do that again for a winter party. Anyway, everyone had cleared out by 11 PM and I passed out on the sofa. GG woke me at 11:59:55 and I counted down the last five seconds to midnight, drank my glass of sparkling cider, and fell back asleep.

Tuesday was my last day of vacation, and the first day that I could really relax. Obviously I’d given up on my home project by this point. So I spent the day on the couch with my favorite Christmas gift. I also finally ordered my Kindle! And I watched about 9000 episodes of “Buying Alaska,” which really makes those losers on “House Hunters” look like wimps.

My short workweek was a good introduction back to working, and luckily not everyone was back from vacation yet, so it was fairly quiet. A lot of those who were back were out sick. And eventually the cold caught up to me – I was sneezing and sniffling on Thursday, miserable on Friday and most of Saturday, but recovering by Sunday. I’m pretty much back to normal today. I would like to thank the power of Vitamin C!

Oh, and guess what arrived on Saturday afternoon, several days earlier than anticipated? My Kindle! It’s the new Paperwhite version. It’s so tiny, but really it’s the perfect size. I also ordered a case for it, which is due to arrive this week. I figured out how to get ebooks from my library, and have already almost finished The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

2013 Goals:

  • Read 25 books (I think that’s doable)
  • Send 2 cards/letters per month to people just to let them know I’m thinking of them
  • Be a better blogger (more on this soon – watch for a reader survey!)

My Best-Of 2012

For the fourth year in a row (and just under the wire), I’m trying to put together a best-of review. I’ll confess up front, I don’t remember reading one actual book this year, so that category is out. [Edit – 1/7] According to my Goodreads list, I did read two books in 2012: Patton Oswalt’s Zombie Spaceship Wasteland and a book written by a guy GG knows about his experience with IBS. Neither was super impressive, so the category is still out. [/Edit] I’m planning to get a Kindle soon (!), so hopefully I’ll have lots to choose from for 2013. 2012 seemed to come and go so quickly, I don’t even know if I remember what all I did/saw in these categories, but I’ll try.

Movie: The Cabin in the Woods
I have to just say, this was a really tough choice for me, as I saw some amazing movies this year: Cloud Atlas, Les Miserables, The Master… However, Cabin in the Woods was one of the most original movies I’ve ever seen. It really turned the horror movie genre upside down and inside out, and I have been recommending it to everyone since we saw it.
Runner Up: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter – Ok, maybe I’m going sort of lowbrow with my choices here, but I reward originality! Yes, this was based on a book, but the story was so original and really wove the vampire thing into actual history in a clever way. The special effects were also great, and I think this movie deserved more attention than it got. (Also, I guess Benjamin Walker is just doomed to play badass versions of former presidents.)

TV Show: The Office and 30 Rock
Both of these shows are in their final season and they’re tied for my top pick. The Office, I felt, was going downhill for a while but they’re really turned things around in this last season and the story is getting pretty good. Also, I love that they’re throwing in little meta comments – like a couple episodes ago, some of the characters were trying to find a private place to have a conversation, and one of them goes, “Well, a documentary camera crew has been filming our every move for the past nine years, but I think we’re safe here.” 30 Rock is consistently hilarous and has the funniest lines to quote, so I’m really sad to see it go, but you can tell all the actors probably want to move on to bigger things anyway. I just hope they reveal what the deal is with Kenneth!
Runner Up: Fringe – Also in its final season, but not by choice, so the story has to be quickly wrapped up, and it feels like it’s moving way too fast. I wish they’d let this show go on longer, because it’s awesome.

Album: Janelle Monae, The ArchAndroid
Amazing, amazing, amazing. I would love to see her perform live (she was actually in Philly this year, but we had other plans). Definitely watch Janelle Monae, she is going places.
Runner Up: The Lonely Island, Turtleneck & Chain – Does this get an honorable mention because it was pretty much the only other album I bought this year? Perhaps. I think I like it less than Incredibad because there is more cursing, so it’s harder for me to sing along with, but musically it’s a step forward for them.

Restaurant: Poogan’s Porch
It’s hard to choose from among all the amazing places we ate this year, let alone on our Charleston trip, but this place wins for their amazing smoked gouda mac and cheese. Seriously, fly to Charleston right now and order a bowl, you can thank me later.
Runner Up: Amada – Second time on the list for this Garces Group restaurant, but it’s amazing and we ate here twice this year: once at the Revel Casino location when we were in Atlantic City, and once in December as GG’s Christmas gift to me (and, ok, for himself too).

Vacation: Charleston
GG and I took our first real vacation in several years, and GG told me on our last night there that it was the best vacation we’ve ever taken. We’re still talking about when we can get back. This trip had everything we like: food, historical stuff, food, sightseeing, museums, food, shopping, and food. Did I mention the excellent food?
Runner Up: Washington, DC – My only other overnight trip that was not work-related, but even this was work-related since I met up with some coworkers there. But we had fun doing the museums, and the weater turned out to be beautiful. I also had dinner with an old friend from elementary school who I hadn’t seen for years, so that was nice.

Happy Holidays

The last few weeks have been all about the holidays. MB, L, and I had our annual “take a day off work and go shopping in KoP” day, which was lots of fun but a long day. At work we never really got a party for our department, but a couple of us got together for a happy hour, which was… interesting… and we also had our huge site holiday celebration, which was fun because I was with friends and got to see some other people I used to work with, but compared to the last two years’ celebrations it was kind of lame, food-wise. (I actually felt bad, because I’d been talking it up to some new people who hadn’t been to one yet, and then it was kind of a let-down.) We also had a holiday party at L and S’s place in Harrisburg (the same day as like 3 other holiday parties we were invited to!)

This has been a really busy holiday break. I usually try to plan a project around the house to do while I’m off work, but I just haven’t had a free day to work on anything! Which is not a bad thing – and maybe I’ll take a random day off in the new year to paint the bedroom I was hoping to do this week.

My time off started on Friday, Which I used to run some errands. Saturday and Sunday I cleaned and prepared for Christmas, and finished up shopping and wrapping. Monday I cleaned, prepped food, and went to Christmas Eve dinner with GG’s family. On Christmas, my family came to our house for lunch and presents, and then we went to GG’s parents’ house for presents and dinner with them. Everything went really well on Christmas, and especially for my part of it, I think everybody enjoyed the food I served and the gifts I gave, so I felt good :o)

The day after Christmas, we went out to NJ to visit with MB, A, and baby R for the day. That baby is not even two years old and knows every letter of the alphabet!. If you start her off, she can sing a number of Christmas carols reasonably well. She’s pretty funny, too. I was playing Play-Doh with her while MB made dinner, and she knew all the shapes and colors and animals I was making. She also knows all the animal sounds, except I did teach her that night about the sound an elephant makes. And I taught her a new phrase, “raise the roof!” (with accompanying roof-raising hand motion). GG and A had fun playing guitar for hours and hours and hours. MB and I chatted, and MB made the most awesome chicken fajitas ever – she sent me the recipe for the marinade, can’t wait to try it next week!

Thursday was our day for what has become a holiday tradition: take the train into Philly and see the Comcast Center holiday show, then have lunch at DiBruno Brothers. The show this year was pretty much the same as last year’s, but we got there a little early so we got to see more of the little bits they show between the hourly holiday shows. The best part was that they randomly showed all these clips of Charleston, SC! GG and I were freaking out, like, was this planned just for us?! He asked the people there, and they said they have clips of 27 cities that are shown at random – I think it was a sign for us though! Like last year, there was some foam “snow” that fell at the end of the show. New additions this year were that the giant “presents” behind us lit up (they may have done that before, but I didn’t remember it), and there were some bright flashing lights that lit up at certain points in the music. Lunch was also nice, and then we wandered over to the cheese counter, tried some things, and went home with a couple wedges..!

Today was my annual haircut. I didn’t get as dramatic a chop as I usually do, but I figure by the end of next summer I’ll be ready for another haircut and will have enough to donate for sure. I just wanted to get it done now because the length was bugging me and the ends were a little scraggly. No photos yet, but I’m sure there will be some soon because tonight I get my big Christmas gift from GG, a fancy dinner at one of our favorite restaurants! Stay tuned…

Still to come this week: seeing Les Mis, going to the Maya exhibit at the UPenn museum, hosting some sort of New Year’s event, and maybe a trip to Home Depot to at least get the supplies for my project??

“There was a shopping mall, now it’s all covered with flowers”

Oh goodness, what has happened in the past 9000 years since I last updated? We had Thanksgiving with GG’s family, that was nice, and it was also nice to not be rushing between two houses and trying to eat two meals. Then that weekend we went to MB and A’s for “Friends Thanksgiving,” which was even nicer because of course we all actually wanted to be there ;o) I cooked (brussels sprouts with bacon!), and a lot of people brought stuff, and MB and A had prepared a huge turkey. And my favorite baby R is just as cute as ever, and so smart! She says the best stuff and has the cutest giggle :o)

GG and I watched the new “Trapped in the Closet” episodes. Of course, we were disappointed in the end and I’m sure there will be more coming. (R. Kelly has said he wants to make like 80 chapters? Or 80 more chapters?! He said the story of Tina’s face twitch alone will take 3 chapters to explain!)

I got a lot of Christmas shopping done online, but I’m taking a day off this week and meeting MB and L for some hardcore last-minute gift buying. I also need to do all our Christmas cards! I have the list and meant to do them this past weekend, but I was lazy.

I had another very busy weekend with my side job a couple weeks ago, but it was a lot of fun and very very much worth it. Hope I can carry this momentum through next year! I’ve also been pretty busy with band. We’re in the middle of our holiday concerts right now, plus I’ve been designing and printing a lot of stuff (CD labels, oversized novelty checks, awards…). And speaking of designing stuff, I’ve also been asked to do some freelance web design work for a small business starting in a couple months (when the contract with their current design place is up), but in the meantime I’m helping them with social media. I met with the owner last weekend and helped him set up a Facebook page and Twitter, as well as claim their business on Yelp. Woohoo!

And I guess that’s about it! I’ve been so busy I feel like I don’t have time for my regular routines (when I went food shopping this weekend I had to dump out a bunch of expired coupons – usually I’m more on top of that; and I couldn’t even tell you the last time I vacuumed), but it’s a good kind of busy :o)

“I’m busy taking stock of all the things that I’ve forgot”

Now that my two insane weeks are over, I can finally breathe… a little… before the holidays start.

Two weeks ago was my big concert for band. I actually had taken a couple days off work since I have all these vacation days to use up, and it’s a good thing I did, because we ended up having lots of problems with weather and getting things printed for the concert, so I was running all over and doing some things last minute. Plus there was our dress rehearsal, which was an extra night out of my schedule, and our concert was on a Saturday, which is my usual “getting things done” day. I couldn’t even make up the time on Sunday, because we went out to Lancaster for the day to visit friends who are about to move to North Carolina. It was actually the first time I’d seen them in a while, so I got to meet their one-year old baby, who makes the best angry face! And MB and baby R were there! And also somehow I found the time to bake cookies to bring.

Then last week was our big face-to-face meeting at work that we weren’t even supposed to have. You may remember several months ago that I was on a committee to start planning for a F2F at our other site, then that became a virtual meeting. Then I went to DC with a few coworkers so we could at least get together on our own time. Then I was on a committee to start planning another virtual meeting, and we found out last minute it was actually going to be held here, in PA! It was just two days, but it was a really good meeting, and went much better than I’d expected. I ended up pretty much being in charge of the icebreaker activity, and I think everyone loved it! (We did human bingo.) We also got some extra time to spend with our boss after the second day, and he actually met GG… and I’m not fired… so that’s good.

I had a couple days to get caught up, and then my entire weekend was taken up with parties for my side job. My parties on Friday and Saturday were really good, but were about an hour away from home so I was out pretty late both nights. On Sunday I participated in a fundraiser for this animal organization (it was originally going to be another party, but then it turned to going to this event instead). I didn’t really fit in there – there is nothing animal-related about what I do. Plus, I thought this group was a cat rescue or something, but it was more like a PETA-type group. I was stationed next to a table where they played a video of pigs getting slaughtered and had pamphlets about all the companies you should boycot, and also this woman came around and offered me a copy of an essay she’d written from the perspective of a turkey on Thanksgiving. (I wish I still had it, but I gave it to a friend who was also working there. It was laughable.) GG had come with me to help out, and almost vomited after trying vegan lasagna. I was disappointed in the vegan mac & “cheese,” myself. So to make up for the afternoon, we went to Elevation Burger for dinner. And then I was so exhausted, I fell asleep pretty much as soon as we got home.

Looking forward to a calmer week, with only two Thanksgiving dinners (one of which is with friends), and hopefully less of a workload, since a lot of people seem to have taken the week off. I’m like two weeks behind on the DVR, too!

“Now I’m totally resting, I’m reclining, while I’m driving”

Last weekend, GG and I went out to my alma mater for Homecoming. We didn’t end up going last year because there was a freak blizzard that day, so it had been two years since I was there. Campus is so different! They finished the huge addition to the Student Memorial Center, which is a big change. We met L and S out there and watched the whole parade. Soon they’re going to tear down all the dorms on the south side of campus (where I lived for three years) and replace them with some modern dorms, so we swung by there after the parade for old time’s sake. Then we ran into some of the current Brothers from our fraternity, so L and I talked to them for a while about what was going on with the brotherhood these days. Then we had lunch and headed home at a reasonable time. It was a nice day.

Then this past weekend, I drove (by myself!!) to Washington, DC. On Friday night I met up with one of my oldest friends from elementary school, who I hadn’t seen since 1996. She lives there now with her husband and twin babies, and we all had dinner together. It was so nice to see her, and we want to make plans with another of our old elementary school friends soon. Since all of our face-to-face meetings have been canceled for the year, some coworkers and I made plans to get together on Saturday so we could at least see each other. We went to the Newseum, and the Natural History Museum. I hadn’t been to DC since probably middle school, and had never been to the Newseum, which is new, so that was very cool. And besides that, we just had a really nice day together. Sunday morning we had breakfast, and then I drove home (by myself!!) – it was actually a really pleasant drive, the weather was beautiful and there was no traffic, I even got home at the exact time the GPS said I would.

Since I missed out on my entire weekend, my schedule for the week is pretty screwed up. Plus, GG and I are both so busy with various activities every night this week. Let’s see if I ever get it together and cook dinner some night…

“Maybe I am better off alone”

Last week (Friday through Thursday), GG was on a cruise to Bermuda with his parents and brother. (I could have gone too, but cruises aren’t really my thing.) It was weird, because GG is usually a very communicative person, but there is no cell phone service in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. So it was definitely the longest period in the last ten years that I hadn’t even spoken to him on the phone. It was a very quiet week. He did send me a couple e-mails (internet on the ship was like $.65 a minute!), and they were hilarious! I could definitely tell that he was having a great time, and it was probably a good thing that I didn’t go, because I would have just been a wet blanket.

Instead, I surprised him by organizing his closet, and did a bunch of other stuff around the house I’d been putting off. I also entertained myself by going to see The Master, and taking my grandmother out for dinner (she shocked me by suggesting a Mexican restaurant, initially complaining about how exotic the menu was, but then enjoying her shrimp tacos). The time actually went pretty quickly. They were home Thursday morning, and I took the afternoon off work so I could come home early and see GG. I enjoy my alone time, but it was nice to have him back :o)

On Saturday, we went out to Harrisburg for S’s 30th birthday party. He decided last year that he wanted a roast for his birthday, and GG, being his only friend with comedy/roast experience, was the default MC and headliner. So GG and a few other friends performed, and I think everyone did a really good job! We were all laughing through the whole thing, it wasn’t like there were any awkward, uncomfortable silences. But the funniest part was completely unintentional: one of his friends couldn’t attend, but recorded a rap song to be played at the party. So they played it before the roasting started, and used the DVD player to play the CD. When the song ended, the DVD player was turned off but the TV was still on, and it was this scene from Star Trek: TNG with Picard playing some weird flute! Maybe you had to be there, but the timing was perfect. For the rest of the night, we all agreed that the best part of the performance was Picard on flute.

I think we’re now busy every weekend for the rest of the year, or close to it. I just want to nap!