Things I Want to Buy Soon

Wool Jacket: I wanted a jacket that is more formal looking than my regular nylon Eddie Bauer jacket I got last year, but not as formal as my button-down wool coat. I want it to have a hood, and I want it to zip up with fake buttons or at least a hidden zipper. I actually tried on this bomber jacket at Old Navy the other day, and it’s so warm and the hood is huge (I love that), but unlike this picture, the waist is not nipped-in at all, so I just look like a giant blob wearing it. I need something with a little bit more definition. So, the search continues…

Skimmer Sneakers: A couple years ago I got this awesome pair of black and white herringbone Converse skimmers on clearance at Target, and I didn’t really know what to do with them so I never wore them. But I’ve pretty much worn them out this year. They’re just cute, they’ve got a good shape (kind of pointy toe, not round, so they don’t emphasize my huge feet), and they look good with everything. I really need to find a replacement, or at least additional, pair. Even though skimmer season is about over, so it might be hard (or I might find some end-of-season deals).

Boyfriend Sweater: I love the idea of the “boyfriend sweater,” but every time I see one I like I just hear that line from this season’s Project Runway, “They were making something called the ‘grandpa sweater!'” I don’t know, I think they’re cute, but I’m worried that on me it might read as sloppy, and I have to make sure it doesn’t hit at the widest part of my hips, and bla bla bla.

“When this gray world crumbles like a cake, I’ll be hanging from the hope, that I’ll never see that recipe again”

Hmm, what did I do this week? Well, Monday and Tuesday I worked, work is crazy, stayed late, bla bla bla, this is my new life. After work on Monday I went to the mall to drop off a bunch of jeans at the Gap to recycle. I ended up with six coupons for 30% off a new pair of jeans that I will never use because I don’t need six new pairs of jeans before they expire on Oct. 20. So if anyone reading this wants a coupon, hit me up! I got a couple pairs of their 1969 jeans a while ago and they are really nice! After work on Tuesday I went to visit my grandmother for a little bit and then did some errands on my way home. They re-organized my Trader Joe’s again! I guess the new layout makes more sense, but it was all confusing and I couldn’t find anything, plus going after work is just a really bad idea in the first place, it’s so crazy in there.

On Wednesday I worked from home, watched a couple Chilean miners get rescued, and made Peppermint Pattie brownies. They are okay, but didn’t turn out as awesome as I was hoping. Also, about the miners: they were underground for two months and now these guys are going to be set for life, they’re getting all kinds of freebies and opportunities, etc. Meanwhile, we have soldiers coming back from Iraq after getting shot at for the past year, and where’s their free Oakley sunglasses, wedding dresses, trips to Graceland, etc.? However, as a friend at work pointed out (and her husband was in Iraq for a year with the National Guard and is currently in Lithuania for a month), people in the military have volunteered to do that job. Oh well, I think the miners are awesome and all, I just think there are a lot of other people who could stand to receive the same admiration. Wednesday night I went to band practice. I really want to be excited for our upcoming concert because we are playing some very awesome pieces, but we’re still at the point where we suck and I’m kind of not into the whole poster/program design thing anymore, so band is really just a bummer lately.

Oh also somewhere in there I was making Where’s Waldo hats non-stop. I might do one or two more, but otherwise I think I’m about done for the season.

Thursday I had an excellent dental check-up and cleaning. Seriously, best ever. I give all the credit to my electric toothbrush. I’ve been using it for a couple years now, and my teeth have continued to improve. Then I came home and set up camp on the sofa to watch 30 Rock live (which was awesome – it was like one giant SNL sketch, which I guess was sort of love-it or hate-it, but I loved it), and The Office. So now I have to catch Project Runway and Fringe over the weekend.

Tonight GG and I went out for dinner. We were going to go to Chik-fil-A in the mall food court because I had a coupon for a free chicken sandwich, but the entire food court was walled off! They must be fixing the floor that was damaged in the flood a couple weeks ago (lots of stores in the mall are still closed!). So we walked over to the Court, thinking we’d get pizza, but at the last second decided to go to Legal Seafood instead. Of course, there are only 3 things on the menu that do not include seafood. One was a $33 filet mignon, and I was not about to spend that much on dinner (even though I’ve had it before and it was awesome), so my realistic choices were chicken or beef tips. I had the beef tips, which are cooked over hickory planks or something, and they were amazing. GG was in heaven with his spicy calamari and swordfish. Then this incredibly annoying family came and sat next to us, so I was so relieved to leave because I think I would have permanently damaged my eyes from rolling them so hard at the mother in this group.

Tomorrow will be a long-ish day, but Sunday should be relaxing and next week will hopefully be a little less busy at work… I say that every week now, though, don’t I?

“I’ll be in the back, and I don’t need the help…”

Oh jeez… I don’t even know what I did this week, I just thought I should update here so people don’t start wondering if I’ve died. I’m still crazy busy at work. Every time I think things are winding down, something new pops up. I’ve taken to checking in from home in the evenings via my laptop, and I really don’t want to make that a habit. (Yet you’d be surprised how many people are online at night when I sign on. Is that the secret – you need to come home from work and continue working? Is that what I’m going to have to do to stay on top of everything?)

Other than that, I had band practice and I watched TV (caught up with all my shows from last week except Fringe, maybe I’ll watch that tonight because I certainly don’t want to see any more Sister Wives). I have the house cleaned up and put back together after last week, which is a relief. GG got a new desk for his music studio – it’s a black corner Vika from Ikea, and it looks very sleek and classy with all his computer and music equipment set up on it. Much nicer than that big wooden monstrosity he used to use.

Yesterday we went to MB and A’s for their Oktoberfest party – I wish I liked beer, because A had four of his homebrews on tap and they were apparently very good – but all beer is disgusting to me. We had lots of fun anyway. GG said he was going to try not to be so offensive and such an attention hog, but that didn’t last long. Actually, it didn’t happen at all. But that’s just who he is, and I’m glad we have friends who like him the way he is.

My Insane Week

For eighteen months, my job was 90% sitting around doing nothing while my company decided what to do with me. So I feel bad complaining about how busy I am these days, but oh my gosh am I busy! This week was going to be especially bad because October 1 was a day that a lot of work had to be done, and I was traveling Monday through Wednesday.

I went into the office Monday morning to do some work. Then I met up with the three other people in my Training group who work in my office, and we headed off together for a five-hour drive out of state for our Training group quarterly meeting. As I was walking out to where we were meeting the car, it started pouring rain, so I was all wet and yucky for the drive. By the time we got up there, I had a headache and wanted nothing more than to hit the hotel bed, but instead we picked up another group member who had flown into town, and we all went out to dinner. By the time we got to the hotel, I just wanted to check for bedbugs (there were none) and collapse.

On Tuesday we were in break-out sessions, so I was just with my little team of five. We were really productive! Our boss is so sweet, she brought snacks for everyone, we all had little cups of trail mix, crackers, grapes, M&Ms, etc. She is super nice, and led the meeting really well – we totally stayed on schedule, and got a lot done.

That night all of Training was supposed to get together for this boat tour thing, which I was not looking forward to because I can’t even look at a boat without getting seasick. So I was very excited when the boat ride was canceled due to the rain. Instead, we all went out to dinner. It was lots of fun, and we could see the boat from the restaurant, which was sort of ironic. Also, the rain stopped. After dinner, a bunch of us walked down the street and went to a couple shops, and then they all wanted to go to a bar so I just stood there and had water and talked to this guy (the only man in our group) who I’d really only ever interacted with via e-mail before. He is very cool! We like the same semi-obscure bands and comedy shows, so that was awesome. Then it was back to the hotel to do some work and go to bed.

On Wednesday the whole Training group was together for the day. The first thing was to report back on what we’d done in our break-out sessions, and our group actually had slides and accomplished stuff, so I think we impressed everyone. Then we moved on to the most tense software demo I’ve ever experienced, which devolved into a weird argument. Then we had some more presentations and bla bla bla, and we finished up on time at 2:30, and then we got back on the road and despite getting caught up in a little bit of traffic, got home at a pretty reasonable time.

It also needs to be mentioned that the rental car we used had a Sirius radio, yet all we listened to was the driver’s Lady Gaga CD about five million times! By the time we got home, I was so sick of “Alejandro!” However, this was definitely the most fun business trip I’ve had yet. I always say, Training groups are the most fun to hang out with! And I get to do this on a quarterly basis now!

Thursday I was back at the office, and it was crazy and I had to stay late. Also it was raining again, all day, which was terrible. On Friday I planned for another long, busy day as I got all this stuff done for its deadline, but GG called with an emergency, so I did everything I had to in the office, got a couple other people to fill in for some of the other parts of my work, and headed home. Because of the weather (the rain had pretty much cleared out, but there were a lot of accidents and flooding), it took me about four times longer than usual to get home. Then GG and I spent the rest of the day dealing with our little emergency. It was a lot of work. Finally around 6:30 we finished for the day, ordered Chinese food for dinner, and I finally was able to log on to my work laptop and get the last of my work done.

Today we had planned to go see The Social Network, so we both did our own errands and chores, then saw a late afternoon show, followed by dinner. The movie was really good! As I’d imagined it would be, it was like the Pirates of Silicon Valley of the 2000s. I really liked the clever way it was edited to switch between scenes of the early days of Facebook and scenes of the legal proceedings of its later days. After dinner we went over to the King of Prussia Mall for dinner and discovered that it had flooded! Lots of stores were closed and there were crews in there cleaning up. The parking lot and some areas inside were all muddy. After doing some research online, it sounds like they had been cleaning up since 6 AM on Friday! What a mess!

Tomorrow we were supposed to go to the Ren Faire with some friends, but they had a death in the family and are having a viewing tomorrow, so we’ll have to cancel. I don’t know what we’ll end up doing instead. Maybe I will sit still for a minute.

TV and Movies and Stand-Up and Musicals!

I didn’t realize how many shows I’m watching that are on on Thursday nights! Since last week was the season premiere of a lot of things, I had to make some decisions. So I watched 30 Rock (awesome!) and The Office (also very good – sort of back to their old feeling again) live on Thursday. Then on Friday I got caught up with Project Runway on OnDemand, and Fringe online (fantastic! Though I could kind of do without the alternate reality – I just want to see Olivia and Peter get together once and for all!). Also on Friday, I finally got around to watching the Jay McCarroll documentary, “Eleven Minutes.” It was great. He is so funny! And of course it was very neat to see all the work that goes into putting on a runway show, months and months of work by tons of people, just for a show that’s 11 minutes long (hence the title).

Last night, GG and I went with his brother and their friend to see Dave Attell! I have loved him since Insomniac, and his is another comedy album that almost caused GG to drive off the road when we first heard it in the car. His live act was a bit more… offensive… but he was very good! Now that he’s aged a bit, he looks sort of like a younger version of one of my graphic design professors from college, which was a bit unnerving. Also, the host and opening act were both local comedians who we kind of know from GG’s days in the Philly comedy scene (someday, he’ll be back!), so that was cool, and they were also very good. The only negative part of the show was that Dave took advantage of that loophole in the smoking laws to light up on stage (because it was part of a performance), and it was like the smoke came directly towards us. My throat and eyes got itchy, and I realized how nice it’s been these past few years that public indoor smoking has been banned. Also, I don’t know what he smokes, but it was like the smelliest cigarette ever. Oh well, it was only for a few minutes, and the rest of the night was so good.

Also, the off-Broadway musical we saw this summer, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, is now on Broadway, and here’s how you know it’s awesome: GG wants to go back to New York and see it a second time! (He didn’t even want to see Avenue Q a second time, when it came to Philly!) So hopefully we can get up there in the next couple months and catch it. In the meantime, the original cast CD was just released last week, and I’ve been listening to it non-stop since it arrived. Love love love!

Feels Like I Never Even Left

The rest of my vacation pretty much flew by. On Monday morning GG and I dropped my car off for state inspection, then we had to go to a meeting, and then we got brunch at IHOP! I have now eaten there twice in my life. It was clear that most of the customers were “regulars,” though. We were amazed how super happy and friendly the greeter was, and our waitress was also super nice. And I had a Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Fruity meal! GG had French toast. He was worried that they might not serve it, but I told him that they had to, after all, they’re international.

On Tuesday GG had planned for us to go to this farm that comes to our farmers’ market every Saturday. He had one of their brochures that said they have apple picking in September, and sell mead year-round. I think he thought it was going to be this wonderland of apples and honey wine. It turned out that it was a very small, kind of shoddy shop with some apples and apple products, soup and dip mixes, and baked goods. They don’t have apple picking on weekdays. They did have a little side room where they sell wine and mead, using two different cash registers for the two different producers (why they can’t use one register and divvy up the money later, I don’t know). GG got some of each. Then he had to pay at a third register for his apple cider and apple sauce. Then we went to The Saddest Mall In The World, which was nearby, but actually it seems to have improved in the 10 or so years since either of us was last there (still sad though). And we got lunch and came home. We went out for a late-ish dinner, using another of the many gift cards we’ve been saving up – I think this vacation time was really just an excuse to use up some gift cards and coupons.

Wednesday was my usual work-from-home day, plus we were getting a new patio door installed so I had to stay home anyway. The new door is beautiful and was much-needed. We also had a new side entry door put on the garage (the old one exploded sometime last year – literally). Then I went to band practice… I dislike a couple of the pieces we’re playing this season, but mostly I’m really excited about things, so that’s a good sign. Now I just have to stop being lazy about it and design our concert poster!

Today I was back in the office for the first time in almost a week and it felt like I’d never even left. I am going totally nuts with all these meetings (most of them unnecessary), and I barely have time to get my actual work done. I’ve even delegated some of the more administrative type tasks that I do – which was actually really helpful, but the person I delegated them to is leaving the company in a couple weeks, so she can’t help me for long.

Also! The Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson CD came out on Tuesday and my pre-ordered copy arrived today and I’ve listened to it like five times already tonight and it’s awesome!

My Weekend is Only Half Over

GG and I are taking Monday and Tuesday of this week off (we were going to go away on vacation, but now we’re just going to stay home and spend some time getting things done and being together). So currently we’re just at the midpoint of the weekend.

I had a busy day at work on Friday, then ended up napping most of my evening away – I thought a quick nap would energize me, but ended up sleeping way longer than planned and just got more tired, so that was a pretty wasted night.

On Saturday GG and I got up early and did some errands, then ended up having lunch at one of our favorite restaurants because I had a gift card. We go there all the time, take people there when they come to visit, etc. But I don’t think we’ll be going back there because… as we sat waiting for our food to arrive, GG drew my attention to the fact that there was a cockroach drinking the condensation at the base of his glass! It was weird that it was just sitting out in the light (under a little lamp on the table, even). I think maybe it crawled out from the rolled up napkin his silverware was in. Or it could have come from the booth seat. GG used a paper appetizer napkin to catch it – it made a run for it across the table, but I guess he’d stunned it enough that he was able to grab it again and throw it out. We didn’t tell anybody there, but I don’t think we’ll be back. Too bad.

Today was spent doing housework, then helping to move some stuff, then we had an early dinner and came home to hang out on the sofa. I’m watching the premiere of Boardwalk Empire right now. It’s pretty good, but I don’t know if I’ll remember to watch it every week – thank goodness for OnDemand! If nothing else, it’s visually awesome.

“Super Sad True Love Story” by Gary Shteyngart

“Super Sad… Thing is a dystopian novel about the near future, and the scary thing is it’s already happening.” – Edmund White

This quote, from the SSTLS trailer, pretty much sums up what I thought the entire time I was reading this book. Set in the near future (some reviews estimated about 20 years from now, though I think it could be sooner than that), everyone is obsessed with their electronic devices, rankings, credit score, clothing (or lack thereof, as is the style for young people), and health. People have given up interacting with each other (and reading) in favor of picking up a constant stream of data that everyone broadcasts. Meanwhile, America, run by the Bipartisans, is going to heck and our foreign creditors are coming to foreclose on their investment. Also, we’re fighting an unwinnable war in Venezuela and the LNWIs (low net worth individuals, one of many acronyms) and returning National Guard members are losing their homes and setting up camp in parks. So it’s a great time to be an American. JBF.

So the scariest thing is, just about everything that happens is totally plausible and it would not surprise me if at least parts of this really came to pass.

In the midst of all this, middle-aged Lenny meets young, tiny, perfect Eunice, who ends up moving in with him in his NYC apartment so she can be close (but not too close) to her family in New Jersey. The story is told in alternating chapters by Lenny’s diary and Eunice’s GlobalTeens (like Facebook) messages with her family and friends. The entire novel only spans a few months, during which time Lenny and Eunice meet, Eunice slowly falls in love with Lenny (who was already completely infatuated with her), and they grow apart, their own break-up mimicking and coinciding with The Rupture, the event that marks the end of the USA as we know it.

I loved this book. It was very depressing, though – both for the love story (which really is super sad) and for the grim yet realistic vision of the future. Sometimes I wanted to just shake the characters though! I mean, Lenny, look at the world around you! I can tell what’s going on just by reading between the lines in your diary, why are you so blind? And Eunice, why are you so fickle and mean? I thought you were finally coming around to poor Lenny, but in the end you broke his heart and then you broke the heart of the next guy, and probably the next guy too.

There are not many books I feel I need to own – I figure, you’ve already read it, why do you need to keep it hanging around? Also, in the future, “bound, printed, nonstreaming media artifacts” are seen as smelly and gross. But I could see myself owning a copy of this book, so I think that is a pretty high compliment coming from me. I just finished it and I actually kind of want to read it again!

My Birthday Weekend, Busy at Work

You guys, I was old before but now I am old. My 20s are really almost over now. Also, this is a weird year because I am now the same age my mom was when she had me. (And I always kind of felt like she was older than a lot of other moms .. even though women are having kids later and later now .. oh and also I don’t want kids.)

Anyway, GG and I were having a stressful week, and then he said some friend of his was having a birthday party on Saturday and he wanted to go, and I was like, “Ahem, it’s also my birthday this weekend, so I hope that doesn’t interfere with whatever surprise you have planned for me.” So he didn’t go :o) I said I just wanted to go out for dinner, and listed a few restaurants I’d like to go to. I’d been to a couple of them recently, yes, but they were all good and I would have been happy with any of them. However, he chose Tastebuds because it had been a while since we’d been there and it was nice to get away from home a bit (even just 45 minutes away). I thought maybe he’d blindfold me and drive around for a while to get me disoriented, and then it would be a total surprise where we went, but he just told me that morning. Oh well, it was still nice!

We took food pictures but they’re on GG’s camera so it might be a while until I get them. I had the most amazing sweet corn flan appetizer and huge homemade gnocchi with a delicious parmesan sauce, and GG had lamb meatballs with Moroccan spices (he’d apparently been really excited to order those) and a beef tenderloin with a really neat espresso sauce. Then for dessert he had a coffee caramel flan-type thing, and I had this awesome blueberry crumble with ginger that was fantastic but I needed a little bit of help finishing it :o) After dinner we walked down to the bookstore to visit our favorite shop cat, Butter! He was sleeping under the greeting card racks, but rolled over and let me scratch his tummy. Then we kind of strolled around on our way back to the car. It was a very nice evening out!

Finally, after 18 months with pretty much nothing to do at work, I’m suddenly crazy busy! Like, meetings on top of meetings, traveling every few weeks, getting assigned special projects, and that’s in addition to doing my regular work that I still have to keep up with. My counterpart from another group in the department is going on secondment at the end of this month for a year, and he’s been doing all the (very involved/complex) web site stuff, so I pretty much have to absorb everything he knows – even though I warned him, “I will be calling you.” Luckily his secondment is still in the same location, it’s not like he’s moving to another country or anything. And a couple more people moved out of our little annex area, so it’s just me and one other woman, and she’s done in a few weeks, so I will literally be sitting all by myself. I really hope a desk opens up soon with the rest of my new (old) department!