Car and a Storm

My car was in for service again today. I took it for its 85,000 mile maintenance, and also wanted them to check why it was making creaking noises, especially going over uneven surfaces. It had been doing that for a while and once the real clunking started a few weeks ago, which turned out to be the front coil springs, I thought the creaking had been the build-up to that, but replacing the springs didn’t fix the creaking. Anyway, it turned out to be a loose bolt or whatever holds the struts in place, so they tightened that up and guess what – no more creaking! The other thing I wanted them to check was a couple small chips in my windshield, which I thought maybe they could fill, but they said they can’t repair those and the whole thing would have to be replaced. Boo! So now I just have to figure out if a) this needs to be done soon (one chip has been there for at least a year, and none of them seem to be growing or anything), and b) whether I should go through my insurance or find a place on my own to do it.

I drove home from work in the middle of a horrible, horrible downpour. I turned on my car CD player, which I hadn’t used in probably a week, and guess where it started up? “All the rain comes down the same, falling to from where it came…” right at the beginning of Spring and a Storm. Haha, perfect timing!

Big American Mac and Cheese Lunch

I worked from home today and went out for lunch with Julia and Paul/Dutchie. He was on the last leg of his big American summer vacation, and they came out to see me on the way to the airport. It was very nice, we went to Rock Bottom and everyone got mac and cheese and I think we all had a good time. On my way back home my boss called me, and I thought, “Oh no, she’s going to ask where I am or why I didn’t answer some important e-mail.” But no, she just had a really simple question to ask, and when I told her I was on my way home from somewhere she was like, “Oh, just call me back when you get home.” She hadn’t even noticed I was gone. (You know, the more I do stuff like this, the more I realize how easily I could get away with it if I weren’t bothered by that pesky conscience…)

In preparation for my beach trip coming up, I decided to see how my bathing suit fit. The bottom was okay, but the top just wasn’t happening, and I really wanted a tankini top. So I ordered two tops and one pair of bottoms from Newport News (where my existing suit is from), but the tops were so small! I looked like a porn star or something, with tiny triangles barely covering the girls. So those were shipped back, and I’ve ordered another tankini top (from Target), and also I bought a top and bottom at Sears tonight (both on clearance – the whole suit was $18!). Now watch, it’ll probably be raining the whole time and we won’t even be able to go on the beach…

Rainbows and Threading

Last night I went out to dinner with Jess, Rob, and the baby. Their air conditioner had been broken and it was going to take maybe a week to fix, so they were going to come borrow our old window units (which we are still planning on selling on Craigslist sometime). But then it got fixed in a day! So they didn’t need to come borrow anything, but I asked if they were free anyway, did they want to get together. So we did. After dinner we walked around the mall, got ice cream, walked and walked some more, and then headed home. During dinner it rained, and while we were crossing the walkway between the Court and the Plaza, we noticed everyone was stopping and taking pictures of something. There was a perfect rainbow! (And actually, there was also a second rainbow you can sort of see to the right of the main one.)

Today I went back to the mall because I had a bunch of errands to do. I had my watch battery replaced and shopped for a couple things. As I walked past the eyebrow threading kiosk, the lady working there accosted me and asked if I wanted to get my brows done. I actually have always wanted to try it, but I told her not today. She was like, “No, $10, it will take five minutes, I have fifteen years of experience…” So I sat down and did it! She ended up doing more “shaping” than “clean up,” but I really like the results! As I was paying, these two other girls came up behind me and she goes, “These are my regular customers! Ask them!” Ask them what? She was already finished and I was happy with her work! Threading was very quick and pretty much painless. I mean, anytime hair is pulled out of your face I guess it’s going to hurt, but it is way less painful than plucking. (Here’s someone else’s review of the same place [toward the end of the post].) Anyway, what do you think?

Here’s some old eyebrow shots to compare to: 1, 2

Some Duggar Links

I hate making this its own post… but I didn’t want to get in trouble by posting these on TWoP. Just a few Duggar-related links I found in my travels today…

  • The Truth About the Duggars: No one in Arkansas likes the Duggars (especially this guy). [Edit – 8/5] Just found out that this link is dead and the whole blog has been removed. Here’s Google’s cached link, and I’ll save the text in case it ever goes away… [/Edit]
  • Getting Off Track: Born-again Christian deacon says the Duggars aren’t really following the Bible by having as many kids as possible. (This isn’t the first time he’s blogged about them, either.)
  • The Duggars Make Reading a Priority: The Duggars wrote a blog post for Barnes & Noble?! Also, reading is on the kids’ big colorful schedule, and Michelle seems surprised that some of them read more than their prescribed amount. What else do you expect them to do? Besides housework and a few minutes of “school” on the computer, they must be bored out of their skulls!
  • Pigeon Forge, Tennessee’s ‘18 Kids and Counting’ Project Grows to Two Episodes: The two latest episodes of 18 Kids and Counting, featuring the Duggars’ visit to Pigeon Forge and Dollywood, were actually a marketing scheme for the town, developed by the Pigeon Forge Department of Tourism and ad agency BOHAN. Pigeon Forge basically got $2.4 million of airtime for $5000 (the cost of entertaining the Duggars during their stay).

Vacation Planning

I’ve started planning our big summer vacation, because I realized that week will be here before we know it! It’s someplace we’ve never been before, although we have lots of suggestions of things to do from people who have. I hate unstructured vacations. I need to have at least one activity planned for each day. So now we have so much stuff to choose from (I was worried there wouldn’t be enough to do), we’re going to have to carefully select the things we do and the places we eat! Is it crazy that I’m putting everything in a spreadsheet so we can sort it by planned date, name, category, or price?

The only big question I have left is where to stay. Should we sacrifice quality for location? I’d love to stay in the downtown area and be able to walk to stuff, but all the hotels there are either terrible or insanely expensive. We could stay a little ways away at a nicer hotel for less money, but then we’d have to drive to get anywhere.

I’m also planning a beach trip with a couple friends from college about a week after I get back from my vacation with GG. It’ll just be for a long weekend, but should be fun. This time it’ll be somewhere I’ve vacationed many times in the past, and we’ll probably be staying on the boardwalk (which is awesome, every time I’ve stayed there it’s been way off the boardwalk). It’s a great town for a vacation, you don’t even need a car.

Guess I should make sure I have a suitable bathing suit, huh..?

Non-Restful Weekend

This weekend was not as relaxing as a weekend should be. I’m back at work and I feel like I haven’t even had any time to rest since last week.

Friday night GG had to go someplace (I think he was painting his parents’ house?), so I went to the mall to look for a couple things. The only thing I actually ended up getting was a new pair of earbuds for my MP3 player. I have a problem with in-ear headphones, I think my ear holes are small or something, because most don’t fit or if they do they’re very uncomfortable and fall out a lot. So I got one of the pairs with little rubbery nubbins on the ends, and the rubber parts are interchangable, so you can size them up or down. I’m using the smallest pair, and I guess they fit okay, though I think I could go smaller. (They do make one size smaller, but you have to buy them seperately. Of course.) Also, maybe it’s just the fit, but it feels I’m underwater and there’s water in my ears – I hear that swooshing sound when there’s no music playing, and I just hate that feeling. I’m wearing them at work today, so we’ll see. They’re this pair, by the way.

So Friday night after we both got home from our respective errands, GG and I hung out on the sofa in the living room. We still haven’t set up our air conditioners but it was getting really hot and humid, so we figured we’d do it over the weekend. In the meantime, we just stayed downstairs where it was cooler. He hadn’t been able to use his laptop for a couple weeks because it wasn’t picking up any wireless signal. I thought it was a problem with our modem, because the wireless does seem to keep going out, and you have to turn the modem off and on to reset it. But he was sure there was a problem with the computer, so he finally called Dell support. Guess what – he’d accidentally turned off the wireless function by using his keyboard! (Apparently it’s like F2 or something – you don’t have to hold down any other key in combination – and there’s no light or anything to signal that it’s on or off.) Glad he got that solved, now we can sit and surf together like a happy couple!

Saturday we got up early and went to the farmers market. We got I think three kinds of peaches, some tiny plums, Yukon Gold potatoes, more portabella mushrooms to grill, a bunch of basil for GG, and a wedge of Birchrun Blue (which I have just about finished myself… but I always recommend it as blue cheese for people who don’t like blue cheese – it’s very mild). When we got home I did laundry and took a nap in preparation for going out to dinner and a movie. We were literally just about to leave the house when Ed called and said he and Kate were minutes away and could they stop by? Well, okay. So Ed and Kate came over to tell us that they got engaged! Yay! They really couldn’t stay long because they were on the way to see her family, but that was nice of them to come by and tell us in person.

So we went out to dinner, and the meal was not that great and the restaurant was noisy and crowded, and there were tons of screaming kids right by us. I especially hate when parents just let their kids run around a restaurant. If you are going to take your kids out to eat, please keep them in their seats at least! Then we walked over to the movie theater, met up with GG’s friend, and went to see Bruno. I wasn’t sure if we’d like it or not, because even fans of Sacha Baron Cohen have been giving it bad reviews. I think GG enjoyed it. I think it could have been better if they’d edited things another way to tell a different story. The first part, especially, where he’s trying to become famous in America, just didn’t work for me. The storyline about trying to become straight was a lot funnier. (Also, it was more interactions with regular people instead of celebrities.) I would classify it as 50% dumb, 30% gross (and I mean really gross), and 20% funny.

I was up early again on Sunday morning because I wanted to go to Target before it was too crazy there. However, they still didn’t really have the things I was looking for. (That didn’t stop me from buying a basket full of stuff, though.) I wanted to go to the Old Navy that’s in the same shopping center, but it doesn’t open until later on Sundays, so basically my going out early backfired on me. Instead I went food shopping, cleaned the refrigerator, and took a nap.

I had to leave in the afternoon for a concert, which was some distance away, and my carpool was going out to dinner beforehand. I ended up driving because our planned driver had a last-minute car issue (her windows weren’t going up or down, and one was stuck down) and I was the only one with enough gas. So we got up to the area where the park was and started looking for someplace to eat. There is pretty much nothing around this place. Last year we ate at some fast food place. This year we decided to try this diner we passed. It’s a divided highway, so I had to go up and use a jughandle thing to turn around to get to this place. Worst. Meal. Ever. The service was horrible (and slow!), the food was horrible… We learned our lesson and will never be going back there. Got to the park just in time, played the concert, and Jess and Rob showed up with the baby! They just happened to be in the area and decided to come by! So that was nice that they could see the show. Afterwards we went to this place across the street from the park for ice cream (we go every year), then we drove home and I went straight to bed.

It cooled off over the weekend, and it’s cool today, but I heard it’s going to get humid again this week, so the air conditioners are definitely going in tonight!

I’m Crazy, Compliance, Air Conditioners, Duggar Dream

I got the results of my stress echocardiogram yesterday. Well, not like a printed out report of results, I just called in to ask and some nurse or someone called me back. She said the doctor reviewed the results of the test and they are normal, so I should only call back if my symptoms ever get worse. So that’s great, that means it’s perfectly acceptable to continue on with the symptoms I have currently, I guess. Yay, I’m just crazy!

This week at work has been so rough. I started writing out this whole story about this SOP that was issued this week, but it was getting too crazy and detailed, all the stuff that’s gone wrong with it. Suffice to say, there’s been a lot of technical problems, as well as some human stubbornness and user error. I had to make a trip in to the office yesterday (when I was working at home) that took one hour, total, to do five minutes of work. And when I got home and checked my e-mail again I saw that it had been for nothing because the whole SOP had been withdrawn. Ugh. Compliance is such a pain sometimes.

I keep saying how lucky we are that we haven’t had to set up our air conditioners yet this summer, but I think this weekend we might have to, unless it cools off significantly in the next day. It was so hot last night I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t even want to be awake in that heat anymore so I went to bed early. If it were just GG and I we could probably stand it, but I also worry about the kitties overheating in their little fur coats. You can tell they are hot because they just flop around and sleep on the cooler tile floor.

I had a dream last night that I was a Duggar. I was one of their sisters and born into the family, but I still felt like me and like I was outsider or visitor. I saw a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff in their house, though. Every boy had his own Xbox, and there was a disco ball and lights that came down from above the kitchen table when you flipped a certain switch. Haha, wonder where all that came from?!

Linky Thursday – 7/16

A House Not for Mere Mortals: I saw this house on Lovely Listing recently. The architects (poets, artists, philosophers…) claim it will keep you from aging, by forcing you to use your body in ways you usually don’t, and by keeping you from getting too comfortable (“comfort, the thinking goes, is a precursor to death”). “It’s immoral that people have to die,” one of them says. Wow, they’re going to feel really foolish when they do, you know, inevitably die.

How to Bake Cheeseburger Cupcakes: Adorable!

Fancy Fast Food: Fast food is disassembled and reassembled as gourmet meals!

Anti-Theft Lunch Bags: Eww! But… actually a pretty clever idea. (I bet you could make your own if you wanted, too.)

StillTasty: Should you keep that food or toss it? Look up foods in an alphabetic list by category or search for something specific to see how long it’ll last and get tips on storage. Also has a lot of articles on food safety and storage.

Jon Gosselin Video: JonMinus9 wants to meet someone who’s haircut is symmetrical.
Kate Gosselin Video: KatePlus8Minus1Hawaiian wants someone who likes backwards mullets – that’s party in the front, soccer mom in the back.

10 Odd Things You Can Buy from Amazon: I had no idea you could purchase such goodies as a wedding chapel, model uterus (with fetus), or radioactive uranium (!) on Amazon!

Polo, Heart Test, and a Big Day on the Farm

After my lame Saturday, I had a fun couple of days, I guess.

On Sunday, we went out to Lancaster to tailgate at a polo game with some of my friends from college. Brandon invited us, he lives just down the road from the polo field and recently discovered it. It was lots of fun – we had a good crowd of friends, a bunch of food, a nice shady spot by a tree, and polo is actually a neat game to watch. Our team lost by two points, but it was actually the highest scoring (total) game of the season, so that was cool. And it was a beautiful day to be outside. I wonder how seriously the players really take the game, because there were a couple times when I guess someone wandered off between chukkers (periods of the game), and suddenly one team was short a player, so someone from the other team also had to sit out. Then the missing person would show up later. I don’t know if they’re drinking, or not paying attention, or what, but it was funny.

Polo action shot!

Brandon and GG on the field between chukkers stomping divots.

Lina and Brandon – mini Pi-rate pledge class reunion!

Really bad joke: we were calling those two silos the twin towers, and the score was 9-11.

I have a ton more polo photos (and a funny, probably NSFW video of GG) on Flickr.

After the game, a bunch of us went back to Brandon’s house, where he said we’d have stromboli for dinner. I thought he was going to order it from a pizza place or something. We all sat around in the living room while he was doing something in the kitchen. Turned out, he made stromboli (and salad, and a delicious banana peanut butter trifle in a trifle dish!) and set the table and served us all a lovely dinner! He’s a good cook, I had no idea! So that was really really nice, and after that plus snacking all afternoon at the game, we went home stuffed!

Monday morning was my stress echocardiogram. I kind of knew what to expect but I guess I didn’t really know. For example, I didn’t know they would sand my chest with sandpaper before attaching all the little electrodes. I didn’t know the treadmill would get so steep so soon. And I didn’t know they had to press so hard to get an ultrasound of my heart! I also didn’t think I’d get so sweaty. Anyway, I guess there was nothing glaringly wrong that they saw right away, so now the results get sent to the cardiologist and I guess I’ll hear something soon. The only thing that the tech mentioned was that it was taking a little longer for my heart rate to return to normal, but that’s probably because I don’t jog.

Since I had the rest of the day off, I had made plans to get together with Jess. I ended up going out to lunch with her and the baby (he was really good, too, until we were almost ready to leave and he started fussing). GG thinks me spending all this time with them is going to make me want a baby, but seriously, it is just making me glad I don’t have one. I mean, it takes 10 minutes just to get everyone in and out of the car! I couldn’t live like that. After lunch, we went back to her place. Rob was off work too, because he stayed home to catch up on his schoolwork. Since he had finished for the day, he was hanging out with us. I guess we got started talking about how you should read to kids, and he was like, “That’s a good idea,” and read the baby the closest book he could find, which was something like So-and-so’s Big Day on the Farm. I helped Jess fold laundry. When Rob was done reading, he asked, “Are there any farms around here where you can go and get chocolate milk?” Chocolate milk?! Haha, not really in the immediate area, but there is the ice cream farm! And they have some animals you can look at. So we drove there, had some frozen treats, and looked at the animals. Rob brought the camcorder to record the baby’s Big Day on the Farm. I am pretty sure he didn’t care where the heck he was. Maybe they can try again when he’s a little older. However, we adults enjoyed looking at the goats, rabbits, and chickens.

We split up at the farm, since it’s closer to my place and I drove myself. After relaxing (finally!) at home and catching a little nap, I made grilled portobella and onion sandwiches for GG and I for dinner. The mushrooms and onions were from the farmers market this weekend, as were the pea sprouts I garnished with. I put them on fresh baked French bread, and topped with a little hot sauce (a sweet/mild one). They were really good, GG was complimenting me on them all night :o)

You should see the size of the onion I bought today.

I’ve had a bunch of time off from band, so GG and I took care of my free Wednesday night by going out to dinner and then to see The Hangover. It was really really good. Zach Galifianakis definitely stole the show. (But we already liked him :o] )

My weekend’s been pretty lame so far. Last night we fell asleep early. This morning we got up early and went to the farmers market. I had a pretty good haul: red potatoes, crimini and portabella mushrooms, peaches, plums (not regular purple ones, these are small and yellow but said to be sweet), a giant onion, basil, and some pea sprouts. I’m planning to make us grilled portabella and onion sandwiches for dinner on Monday. Then we came home, I went out again to the supermarket, came back home, and had lunch. GG and I walked up to where the Italian Feast is this weekend, but apparently it didn’t open until like 5 PM (for some reason we thought it was an all-day event on the weekends). So we came back home, I took a nap, and after while a guy GG works with came over to play guitar with him and then they went out with some other friends to the Italian Feast later. I don’t mind not going – I realized that all I do is eat water ice (which I can do anytime) and buy pizza frita (which nobody should be eating anyway). It’s GG who really enjoys going and hanging out, watching bands, drinking beer, eating the cherries out of the roast pigs’ eyes, eating lots of other things, playing the games…

Tomorrow we are meeting up with some of my friends from school and going to see a polo game in Lancaster. We’ll be tailgating, so I’ve been preparing food to bring. I don’t know what else there’s going to be, besides some chips and salsa, but I have brownies, some berries, and chicken nuggets with homemade honey mustard. Should be a fun day! And luckily I don’t have to go to work on Monday! Because I’m getting that stress echocardiogram :o( Hope they can find something…