Busy, Bento, Birthdays

Ugh, I have been so busy at work this week I haven’t even had time to blog! Of course, my current project is basically hitting CTRL+V followed by the down arrow over and over all day, so it’s not like I’m busy thinking, it’s just that my hands are busy.

Also, I’m pretty ticked because I packed a nice bento lunch last night and forgot it in the fridge at home this morning. Hopefully it’s still good and I can bring it tomorrow. I just really wanted to start doing bento again and so far this week I did it Monday, Tuesday we had a retirement party for someone at work so I didn’t bring anything, and yesterday I was just lazy.

Oh, and speaking of work, I’m now the person responsible for collecting money each month to put towards our department birthday parties, and organizing who hosts the party and keeping track of whose birthday it is! One of the admins did it for a long time (like, forever), and then last year passed it on to another lady in the group, but she doesn’t want to do it anymore and I’d said I was interested, so yay! Everything’s pretty well organized, but I’d like to see if I can think of a way to make it a little more interesting or fun somehow. Currently, they just set food out in a central area on our floor, and everyone goes and gets some and sits back down. I’d like to somehow make it more of a celebration.

So, I guess this post is instead of a Linky Thursday this week, since I only had one link to share, I’ll just put it towards next week!

Cost-Cutting, Jazz, Conch, Sears

Well, the weekend got off to a great start when we had an emergency meeting at work to discuss this new cost-cutting project where the company aims to lay off 10% of employees in the next three years. I’m not at all worried about my job, but of course the rumor mill was spinning all day until our meeting at 2pm. This was supposed to be announced this week, but since an article came out in the paper on Friday about it, managers were told to discuss it with their staff that day. The cost-cutting is effective immediately, which means a big cut back in travel, attending external training or conferences, etc. Yet… today they handed out big color posters of our organization’s goals for the year to everybody. I’m sure that cost some money, and I doubt I’ll ever even look at this poster. (I’m certainly not planning on hanging it up – I have no room for it among GG’s beautiful artwork!)

GG and I went out on Friday night to see his former co-worker’s band. They’re a jazz group, and they were playing at this restaurant/bar in a shopping center near where I used to live. The setup was really weird, the bar was extremely long and narrow and the band was up front in the window..? So there wasn’t really any room for us to sit and watch them. Instead, we got seats in the dining room and had dinner, and GG’s friend came and sat with us during their break. The band was really good! The funniest part was watching the bar’s middle-aged white clientele dancing.

I don’t think I left the house at all on Saturday… A friend of GG’s from middle school came over to play guitar together. They hadn’t seen each other for like 20 years, but found each other on MySpace and they’d been talking a lot, so GG gave him kind of a guitar lesson. They were playing for about two hours, so I guess it went well. Meanwhile, I stressed about having the house clean and having drinks on hand and stuff (because we never seem to have drinks to offer people when they come over). Also I had a little nap. And we laughed at the conch scene of the Trinidad and Tobago episode of Bizarre Foods. Seriously, watch it. First of all, the guy’s name is Richard “Tobago” Cox. Andrew Zimmern eats a conch penis. Then he says it’s “a little hard.” Come on!

I did some errands on Sunday, including buying new yarn and knitting two hats! (They should be in my shop soon, I just need to take pictures!)

Then GG needed an oil change so we dropped his car off at Sears and then walked around the mall for a while. The wait at Sears was so long to drop his car off, and then we wandered around for like an hour and they never called him to say his car was done. So we just went back to Sears and waited for a long time again, and when he finally got to the desk, oh yeah, his car was ready. Sorry we didn’t call you. Argh! I am really unimpressed with the service at the King of Prussia Sears Auto Center – yeah, it’s convenient if you have some shopping you need to do while you wait for your car, but I’ve had tons of problems there. The last time I took my car there, they never put a new sticker on the windshield to say when it would be due for another oil change, and I didn’t realize this until a while later when I thought it was getting close to that time. So I didn’t really remember how many miles were on my car the last time I’d gotten my oil changed, and I wondered if they’d actually changed it at all! This time, GG requested (and paid for!) synthetic oil that could go 5,000 miles before another change. But the sticker in his car had it marked like he was due for a change in 2,000 miles! Did they just miscalculate, or did they use the wrong oil?

Oh but in better news I bought a $60 pair of pants at The Limited for $15, and last week I got a couple $40 sweaters from New York & Co for $9.99 each, so that’s cool..!

Linky Thursday – 1/24

…Favorite Foods Edition!

Ranch Dressing – Why Do Americans Love It So Much?: Um, because it is delicious?! I feel sorry for my international blog readers. Please let me know if you would like a bottle of ranch dressing, because I will seriously send you one!

Everything’s Coming Up Bacon! Not just one link, but three about everyone’s favorite cured meat turning up in some unusual places:

Make Cotton Candy from Hard Candies: Think of the flavor possibilities! Peppermint? Coffee? Any fruit flavor you could imagine?

Butt Foods Bread Bowls: Also, the Bread Boat. Edible bowls are a good idea, okay, but why is the company called Butt Foods?!

Atlantic City

This weekend was GG’s band’s last show! Yay!! Two of the guys were tempted by an old manager to leave and join another band… then found out that the other band didn’t actually have any openings. So now they’re forming a different band with some other “leftover” guys. (I think the band should be called The Leftovers, actually.) So this left GG and their two other bandmates. One of the other guys found another band to join. But hopefully GG is just going to enjoy not being in a band! Finally, I won’t be “the guitar player’s girlfriend” or whatever. And this will give him more time to focus on mural painting or taking some college classes or doing stand-up comedy or being with me or making weekend plans in advance or any number of other things he hasn’t been able to do for the last ten years or so.

Anyway, the show was at Ri-Ra, which is an Irish-themed bar, in the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City. Since they play 11pm-3am in AC (as opposed to 10pm-2am most other places), plus it’s a couple hours away from home, I really wasn’t into going. But since it was his last show, I figured I should be there. We ended up getting a hotel room a couple miles outside of AC, so we checked in there, got cleaned up a bit, and then headed to the casino. After setting up, GG and I went to this cafe downstairs to get coffee. Then we came back up, they had their sound check, and the guys did one last Irish Car Bomb together before taking the stage.

Mostly I just stood off to the side during the first set. I wanted to be close enough to take pictures, but not on the dance floor. It was kind of a bad spot where I was, because it was where the waitresses had to rush past to get to the bar for their drink orders. I tried to stay out of the way, but there were a lot of other people standing around who didn’t notice the waitresses trying to get past, so I felt obligated to try to move further out of the way instead. Two other band wives were there, but they did their own little things and one of them had some co-workers out with her, so I didn’t really hang out with them. I don’t even know where they went! They kept coming in one door and going out the other and showing up and leaving and bla bla bla.

I was getting tired of standing by the end of the set. The place was pretty crowded, but GG found me a table with a friend of his before the second set. Of course, this friend was there with his wife and sister and some other girl, and they eventually left and did other things. So I was by myself, and then some other girls came and sat at the table (which was fine). Oh also there was this super creepy old man who was dancing with all the young girls and buying them drinks and blowing kisses and stuff. I’d seen him on the dance floor during the first set. Guess where he was sitting when he wasn’t dancing? The table right next to where I was! And he kept looking at me. So eventually I spotted the other “band wives” at a different table and they waved me over, so I got up and left the random girls and creepy old dude and sat with the wives for the rest of the night.

The third set was like a fight to stay awake. GG bought me a Coke and I think that helped. But by the end, I was ready to go. The bouncers were ready to get everyone out, too. Before the last song was even finished, they had all the lights turned back on, and as soon as the music was over they were yelling at everyone to Get out! The door is that way! etc. There was this one drunk girl who would not leave. She asked GG to draw a dragon on her stomach, which he gladly did. The bouncers kept yelling at her to leave, and her less-drunk friend was there waiting for her, but this girl had to hug everybody in the band goodnight, and all the bouncers, and me?! Anyway, they finally left, the guys packed up, and they all got the heck out of there. I was so happy we didn’t have to go home! We just went back to the hotel and went straight to bed.

Checkout wasn’t until noon on Sunday, which was nice, we could sleep in and take our time getting up. We did leave probably around 11am, though, and stopped at this crazy huge Asian supermarket on our way home. GG had been there once before, but I was unprepared! Every type of spice you could imagine, weird bottled beverages with chunks of aloe floating in them, aisles of bizzare Japanese candies, 500 varieties of ramen noodles… And we didn’t even look at the refrigerated section or the produce! We each got a bag full of stuff, and then headed home. The kitties had missed us! Of course, they always forgive us for leaving them. Even little Sach settled down long enough to snuggle up with me for a nap.

Linky Thursday – 1/17

Gadget of the Day: Taser MPH: You know how it’s such a hassle to carry both your Taser and your MP3 player? Worry no more, the Taser MPH covers both of these functions, plus it’s available in a variety of designs, including leopard. (Sounds to me like an accident waiting to happen when you go to skip to the next song and accidentally taze yourself, but whatever.)

Organizing Junkie: Much like Unclutterer, which I’ve mentioned here in the past, Organizing Junkie is something to aspire to. Laura seems to write more about life organization, rather than just stuff organization, though, focusing a lot on calendars and plans and such.

Are Kids a Friendship Breaker?: Yes! Oh, but seriously, yes. Also, they mention a book I might have to read at some point, Beyond Motherhood: Choosing a Life Without Children. Why am I bringing this up? Because literally all my friends and female coworkers are either currently pregnant or planning to get pregnant in the near future. Breeders.

Warning Label Generator: Kind of fun.

More Diagrams!, Digital Scrapbooking, Old Friend

Since the diagram I drew last week seemed to be such a big hit, I thought I’d share another one with you! This illustrates how Ivan takes over our bed every night, eventually forcing GG off the edge:

I decided I’m going to have to be much more judicious regarding what digital scrapbooking elements I download. At first, I was just downloading everything I could get my hands on. But I’ve since realized just how much stuff there is out there for free (really!), and a lot of things I downloaded I’ll probably never use. There is really a lot of beautiful stuff available for free, if you know where to look (the DigiFree Search Engine is a good place to start). So I need to sort through what I already have and get rid of a bunch of stuff, and then I have to be more selective when it comes to adding more to the collection. I also need to start making note of designers I really like. I keep coming across people whose style I love, but then I forget where I found them! Also, I recently learned how to make template pages, and I love it! It’s like being able to make a thumbnail sketch and then just drop your photos and other elements into it.

Had dinner last night with one of my best friends since elementary school, who I haven’t seen for several years. We were kind of keeping up with each other’s lives via Facebook and MySpace, but of course you miss large chunks of information that way, so it was good to get together. She lives close by, and actually will be moving closer to my place very soon, so we’re going to try to get together more often. Yay, non-work friends!

Drawers, Freecycle, Sweatshirt Curfew, Cat Tent

Yesterday I got this Alex drawer unit at Ikea. I’d been looking at it for a while to replace my ugly cheap plastic drawer unit, but was worried that the drawers were a little too shallow. I finally decided to just go for it, and everything fits perfectly! There are three shallow drawers and three really shallow ones, but I can still fit my stapler, 3-hole punch, and everything else. The only thing that didn’t fit was a big box of envelopes, so I just took them out of the box and put them in two stacks and they’re fine. The biggest pain was building those six drawers! I always forget how much I hate assembling Ikea drawers until I have to do it again. (In total I’ve now assembled 19 drawers in six pieces of furniture, I think.)

With that taken care of, I cleaned up my room a lot, and still have more to do! I listed a bunch of good stuff on Freecycle, and already have a guy who’s interested in almost everything, though I’m still holding out for a few more good sob stories before I start giving things away.

GG and I met up with Chuck, Pete, and Kristin for dinner at Bertucci’s last night. They’re always fun to hang out with, and definitely appreciate GG’s weird stories and sense of humor. At one point, during a lull in the conversation I guess, Kristin quietly mentioned to Pete that there was a spot on his sweatshirt and they should wash it, and he said no, it still had a few uses left before washing. GG misheard this and thought they said something about his shirt having a curfew..? Maybe you had to be there, but it was pretty funny the rest of the evening when someone was like, “Well, it’s about time for my shirt to go to bed,” or “My sweater will turn back into a pumpkin at midnight.” No? Okay.

Oh, also at Ikea we got this cat tent, not that the cats need any new sleeping places, but just because they cracked me up and it was only $7 and big enough for all three cats to get in if they really wanted to. I set it up in front of the radiator where they like to sleep, and put the blanket from their regular bed in the bottom. They’ve sniffed it, and maybe stepped inside to check it out, but I don’t think any of them have curled up and slept in it yet. I wonder if they don’t feel safe inside it, since they can’t see out the sides? I figure we’ll just come home one day and they’ll all be cuddled in there.

Linky Thursday – 1/10

Skipping the past two weeks of Linky Thursday means a nice long list for this week!

12 Rules for “Regifting” Without Fear: Did you know that the term “regifting” was introduced on Seinfeld in 1995? I think the most important rule on this list is “Do keep track of who gave it to you first.”

Feds Share Coupons to Help TV Transition: You know how all TV is going to be digital starting next February, and TVs that just use an antenna to get a signal won’t work anymore? There’s gajillions of coupons available to help cover the cost of converter boxes! (Oh you can find out more about this whole Digital Television thing at this ugly web site.)

Napkin Notebook: A spiral-bound stack of cocktail napkins for jotting down all those brilliant ideas you get. (Can be purchased at the MoMA Store.)

Sandra Lee’s Famous Kwanzaa Cake: This is a few years old now, from Sandra Lee’s first holiday episode. She basically takes a store-bought angel food cake, ices it, sticks nuts and seeds all over it, and dumps apple pie filling in the center hole. Then she decorates it with table candles. In the same episode, she similarly mangles cakes for Christmas and Hanukkah, but the Kwanzaa one is definitely the worst.

I-Reporter’s Wedding Cake is a Full-Sized Likeness of Herself: Creepiest wedding cake ever? “Ogbuta said she adored the person-sized dessert.”

Zombie Food Pyramid: Of course, zombies eat mostly brains, but did you know that they can also have small amounts of bone and gristle?

Wiremold: Cord Organizing Products: What a great idea! I can think of at least three places in our house where this would work great – most notably, the tangle of wires under our upper kitchen cabinets where we installed our own lighting.