The rest of my long weekend was very uneventful, and mostly focused on getting over this cold. I slept in until 11:00 on Friday, then moved my center of operations to the sofa where I spent the rest of the day drinking tea and blowing my nose.

On Saturday I did get up at a decent hour, finished my library book (finally!), then returned it and went to the supermarket. I discovered that the Saturday after Thanksgiving is a great time to go food shopping, I guess because everyone is still traveling or living off leftovers. In addition to stuff for my lunches this week, I got my much-needed lotion tissues and honey for my tea.

This was our fifth Thanksgiving since moving into our house, but the first time we were actually home on the Saturday following to see the Festive Lights Ceremony our town puts on every year. All we’d ever seen before is that they barricade our block and set up a stage blaring Christmas music directly at our house. This year I was able to watch all the proceedings from my window, which included Santa parading through town on a fire truck, local school choirs singing, and a giant crowd of people standing in the street to watch fireworks (which were extremely visable from my back window, it was like they were in my back yard!). So, now I never have to be home for that again.

Sunday I stayed in again all day, did some chores and cleaning, bla bla bla. I was actually feeling a lot better, cold-wise, though things started migrating from my nose to my throat so I went from sniffling and sneezing to coughing. I made some kind of crock-pot invention for dinner: cubed beef, red wine, chicken stock, sliced mushrooms, and a packet of onion soup mix on high for about four hours and served over noodles. (The original recipe I based it on called for cream of mushroom soup, but that is disgusting, so I used leftover mushrooms from Thanksgiving.) It smelled delicious, but as usual was kind of disappointing to me when it was time to eat. I brought some to work for my lunch today and I think it’s better the second day.

After being out of the office for an entire week, I was not ready to come back to work today. But I have my lotion tissues with me and I’ve survived so far. It’s a very slow day, I think a lot of people are still out on vacation. I’m just trying not to sniffle too much and not to sound too gross when I blow my nose.

It Was a Happy Thanksgiving!

For the first time ever, GG and I hosted Thanksgiving at our house. His dad suggested that it was because we didn’t want to have to go to two different dinners, but actually I just thought it would be nice for our families to get together, I don’t think they’d all seen each other since we got married! We’d sort of “assigned” everyone something to bring, so I didn’t have to do all the cooking, but even then it was still stressful. I ordered two turkey breasts from Honeybaked Ham, and they were great. I also made a chestnut stuffing (if I make it again, I’ll add more chicken stock – the recipe I followed was for stuffing that was going inside a turkey, so it didn’t include much liquid and as a result came out kind of dry), and brussels sprouts cooked with bacon (based on an Ina Garten recipe I’d made once before – everyone loved them, but I burned my first batch of bacon so the house was a little smoky for a while). I had some cheese to do a cheese plate appetizer, and then GG’s brother brought some cheese, so there was a lot of cheese! We also had people bring a vegetable tray appetizer, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and gravy, mashed turnips, rolls, and apple and pumpkin pies. I just realized this morning that we had corn we forgot to cook last night, but everyone had been moaning about how full they were, so I think everything worked out okay.

I am not someone who enjoys going out on Black Friday, and in fact for me today marks the day that I just stay away from the mall until January. But at some point this weekend I will need to go out and stock up on a few things, because I now have a full-blown cold so I want to get some of those tissues with the lotion in them so I don’t tear my skin off from blowing my nose too much, and I’m going to need more honey because I’ve been drinking a lot of tea. Even though we should probably be living off leftovers for the next few days, I kind of feel like having won ton soup or something for dinner – I often want won ton soup when I’m sick. I don’t think it’s the swine flu, though, it’s mostly sneezing and a stuffy nose combined with a feeling of general yuckyness. I figure if I can just rest and relax over the weekend, I should be good to go on Monday.

Wicked Trip

A few months ago I posted a note on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to go on a trip with me to help me use up vacation days before the end of the year. I got a few responses and we started planning, and this weekend Brandon, Lina, Steve and I went to New York City to see a show and do some sightseeing around the city.

The three of them came out here on Saturday, and GG joined us for dinner and some hanging around the mall. We came home and watched a little Wonder Showzen before bed. Sunday morning we were up early and left around 9 AM to head north.

We actually stayed at a hotel in New Jersey, so we drove up there and parked, then took a short bus ride into NYC. We had tickets to see Wicked at 3 PM, so we had some time for lunch and walking around. There are apparently a thousand pizza shops in New York that are named with some combination of the words Famous Ray’s Original Pizza (e.g. Original Famous Ray’s Pizza, Ray’s Famous Original Pizza, etc.). Brandon thought he’d found the original original one, but after eating there we’re pretty sure it wasn’t. It was still good, though. Then we killed time in the Times Square area. Did you know that there is a three story M&Ms store? They actually don’t have an amazing amount of M&Ms, but any other product you can think of, they have it with M&Ms on it. Compared to that, the Hershey’s store in Times Square seemed small, but they had pretty much only chocolate, and also handed everyone a square when they walked in, so they win in my opinion. We also walked around Rockefeller Center, and we found the Public Library (Lina and Steve were interested since they met while working at the library at school). That library must be the largest concentration of marble on the east coast, it was crazy. We only walked through the first and second floors, and only found one small room with any books in it. (We were just wandering around going, “Where’s the books?” A security guard said you had to go to the third floor to get to the books, but we weren’t doing any more steps.)

Swarovski crystal star which will top the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree

Inside the NY Public Library

The show was really good. The woman who played Elphaba was excellent, and the standby actor for Fiyero was also great. I was very impressed by the scenery and everything. I really liked it, and I know some people who are totally obsessed with this show, but I wasn’t like, “Oh, I need the CD of this show!” Lina had never seen The Wizard of Oz, and she was worried that she wouldn’t understand the show, but I think she did okay – except for a couple jokes and things that referenced lines directly from the movie.

We took the bus back to New Jersey after the show and planned to get dinner near the hotel. I think I’d strained my eyes during the show, though, so I had a really crazy bad headache and was not feeling good. We all walked over to the restaurant and I ordered with everyone (I was really excited about the potato soup), but I realized I couldn’t just sit there and definitely didn’t feel like eating, so I left some money and went back to the hotel by myself and got in bed. My friends are so sweet though, and they brought me my soup in a takeout container! I ate it for breakfast the next morning when we went down for our complementary meal.

For Monday, I got a really cool offer from a girl online – she said she could take us on a tour of her office and then get us free tickets to the MoMA (through her company). Oh, and she works for DC Comics! As I imagined, the offices of a comic publisher are really just offices, there’s not a lot of crazy stuff going on or people running around with Nerf swords or anything. But everyone seemed very cool and their offices were all filled with comic books and action figures. Their two reception areas were decorated like Superman and Batman (the Batman area was actually very impressive). Also, MAD Magazine is part of DC Comics but we couldn’t get onto their floor with our tour guide, but she said (as we had) that she always imagined it to be like that scene in The Simpsons where Bart opens the door to their office for just a second and all kinds of weird stuff is going on.

This was in the window of an office across the street from DC Comics!

After our tour, we went over to the MoMA, which, even on a Monday, was totally crowded. I think it might have been the most crowded museum I’ve ever been in. We started at the top and worked our way down. There were a few cool exhibits, and actually many of my favorite artists and paintings are in there. The Tim Burton exhibition had just opened, but I was only in there for a few seconds because it was so packed with people. (We heard people were lined up for hours to get in the day it opened.) All I really remember seeing was a display of characters from The Corpse Bride, a big model of Edward Scissorhands, a bunch of drawings and sketches, and the angora sweater from Ed Wood. Other favorites were Starry Night, a whole bunch of Mondrian paintings, and a special exhibit of Monet’s waterlillies. By the time we got to Monet, everyone was getting pretty cranky. So we got the bus back to NJ one last time, picked up the car, and headed back to PA.

Waterlillies at the MoMA

After a lot of discussion on the way home about what to do for dinner, we finally decided to just walk from my house over to Wawa and get hoagies. We ate in my living room and then Brandon, Lina, and Steve had to continue west. I’m not sure how much longer it took them to get home (Lina and Steve probably had another three hours of driving ahead of them), but everyone has since posted about the trip on Facebook, so I know they all made it safely.

Hairball Control, Sleep Laughing, Toboggan

I don’t want to jinx anything, but… I think we might have solved Sacha’s problem with throwing up. I always thought he was just eating too fast (which he has to, with those other two piggy cats hovering around him), because he would throw up minutes after eating probably an average of once a week – though sometimes it felt like every day. When we took him to the vet a couple weeks ago I asked about it, and she said it might be hairballs, which I almost didn’t believe because I think he’s coughed up one hairball the whole time we’ve had him, and he doesn’t shed like Ivan and Katrina do. But the vet recommended we give him “hairball control” cat treats, and put some of that hairball reducing gel in his food. I’ve been giving him the treats (not the recommended amount though, yipes!) and putting the stuff on his food every few days, and he hasn’t been sick once! Knock on wood… I hope this is it! I feel so bad for my poor little orange boy when he’s throwing up!

I had a dream last night where something funny happened, so I started laughing. It must have been really funny to me, because I was actually laughing out loud in my sleep in real life. I woke GG, who kept asking if I was okay (maybe he thought I was crying?). In my half-asleep state, the more I thought about the situation, the more I giggled. I can’t wait for GG to wake up and ask me what the heck was going on last night.

I have band practice tonight. We’re rehearsing holiday music now, which is always fun because most of it is the same stuff we’ve been playing for years and years, so not a lot new to learn. But we do have a couple new pieces this year. One is “Toboggan,” by Sammy Nestico, which is pretty cute. It really does sound like a toboggan ride – up the hill, down the hill, wheeee, etc. I’m curious to see how the audience will like it.

By Request

Our concert was yesterday afternoon. The theme was “By Request,” because most of the pieces we played had been requested by band members over the past few years. Musically, I’d say it went very well (though our conductor was picking it apart over dinner – obviously he noticed a lot of mistakes I had no idea about). However, this was probably the worst concert in terms of audience noise. Yes, there was a lot of coughing because everyone’s sick (in fact we lost quite a few band members at the last minute to the flu and other illnesses). But my gosh people, shut up your babies.

If your children aren’t old enough to sit quietly for a couple hours, don’t bring them to a concert. Especially not a formal indoor concert where everyone has paid to be there, because I bet the other audience members would rather not hear your children talking/whining/screaming through the whole thing either. If you think your kids will behave and then they don’t, please have the courtesy to leave the room with them so they don’t ruin the event for too many other people.

The worst instance of the annoying kids was at the end of “The Witch and the Saint.” It’s a beautiful, moving piece of music, we were playing it great, and we were almost at the end. The music fades out and gets very soft, and there’s just a chime playing, and all of a sudden, “Wah!” I think everyone made a face, like, “Well, that piece is now ruined.” The funny thing is, it was followed by “Humoresque on Swanee,” which, as the conductor explained to the audience, includes a fake “baby cry” sound effect, followed by the band shushing and eventually slapping the baby. Everyone kind of chuckled as he gave his speech, because obviously with this crowd we didn’t need any baby sound effect!

I think I’m getting sick.

Literally my entire office is sick. If they’re not currently sick, they think they’re getting sick. I’m in the second category – I’ve felt something coming on very slowly for the past couple of days. I’m just barely sniffling, coughing a tiny bit, feeling a little run down… I just have to make it through Sunday, please! I’ll keep chugging my Vitamin C…

I’ve just gone through my first integration sub-team meeting at work. I wasn’t supposed to go, it should have been my boss, but she’s overseeing the whole integration and is very busy, so she asked me to go. It’s nice to be included.

Can’t wait to go home and take a nap… but I have practice tonight. Rar. Just have to get through Sunday…

Six Days in Bite-Sized Pieces

Catching up with highlights of the last few days:

Thursday: I was taking a nap in the living room when I was awakened by a knock at the door and saw through the peephole a man in a suit standing on my porch. I was all disoriented from having just woke up. He was running for Mayor of our town and wanted to see if he could put a campaign sign in our yard, since we’re right across the street from the polling place. I told him I’d have to check with GG, who wasn’t home. If I’d been more aware of the situation, I would’ve asked him some questions about his position on things, but instead he probably thinks I’m crazy.

Friday: GG filled in on bass in the band that three of his old bandmates are now in. He had a good time, but didn’t get home from his show until 4:30 AM (it was at the Jersey shore). I’m glad he doesn’t do that every weekend anymore! Meanwhile, I ate Taco Bell for dinner.

Saturday: I happened to see on the internet Friday night that the bridge in our town that’s been closed for the past two years was reopening on Saturday morning. So GG and I went to the ceremony. Everyone gathered in the middle of the bridge and a bunch of politicians talked, including PA Governor Rendell. Apparently, ours was one of the worst bridges in the state (the worst in the region), which is why they decided to rebuild it. They were supposed to cut a ribbon, and even had the ribbon set up, but then decided it would be better to just remove the “Road Closed” signs at the end of the bridge. So everyone walked down and applauded as they carried the signs away. Then they were supposed to have some old-timey car drive over the bridge as the first vehicle to cross, but it couldn’t actually get across because all these other trucks and the Governor’s limo were parked at the other end of the bridge! They got everything cleared up, though, and we actually drove across it a little while later while we were out doing errands.

Later, we went to visit friends of GG’s from college, who just moved into this house in NJ together. We stayed up really late watching movies, but luckily we got an extra hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings. We saw Even Dwarfs Started Small (totally weird), Frontier(s) (totally gorey), and The Onion Movie (totally the third time I’ve seen it).

Sunday: I slept way in, then did errands and chores around the house while GG was out working. I noticed that there is now way less traffic in front of my house since it’s no longer the detour for the bridge, woo hoo! Supposedly they’re going to be removing the No Parking signs soon, and we will be able to park on the street in front of the house again! His parents were having a lunchtime birthday party for his brother, but GG didn’t even get home until 2, so it was about 3 by the time we got there, so we had more like an early dinner. We were there for a few hours eating, opening presents, and later an uncle we don’t see very often came over, so we had to hang out with him for a bit. The little gray kittens they adopted this summer are home now, and they are so cute! They play like mad, then totally crash and fall dead asleep.

Monday: While I was at work, GG called and told me he’d talked to… someone from our town, I’m not sure who… and they put a sign in our yard for the mayoral candidate who’d stopped by on Thursday. Well, when I got home I saw that it was like a giant billboard! Haha… guess we had to support him then! Then we went out with GG’s parents and brother and his girlfriend to a sushi buffet. I am probably not the best person to take to a sushi buffet, considering I don’t eat seafood and can’t really eat enough in one sitting to make any buffet worthwhile. I’d been to this place a few years ago, though, and I have to say they definitely had more non-seafood options this time. In addition to various rices, noodles, salads, and chicken and vegetable dishes, there were even some non-fish sushi – I had a bunch of mushroom sushi, a pork rib sushi, and there was some tofu sushi but I didn’t get any in time and then it was gone. That’s the other thing – there is so much food there and it’s constantly changing! Because it was GG’s brother’s actual birthday that day, the waitstaff brought out a nice piece of cake with a candle in it, and had him hold this Japanese parasol while they took his picture, which they printed and gave him afterward. That was pretty funny.

Tuesday: Today I got more bad news at work and suffered through another day at the most downbeat office in PA. Then I came home, voted, made dinner, and tried to set up in the living room with my laptop so we could watch “V” on the big TV. However… my laptop can no longer find any wireless networks?! It was working fine, then I turned off the wireless for a minute while I was updating my antivirus software and was momentarily unprotected. When I went to turn it back on, it wouldn’t pick up our network. I tried turning wireless on and off, turning the modem on and off, turning the computer on and off, setting up the network as a new network… nothing. Ugh, I hate that stupid laptop. It’s been nothing but suck.