GG’s [Early] Birthday Celebration

D pointed out that something seemed to have happened with my CAPTCHA plugin when I upgraded to WP 3.0 that prevented anyone from commenting. So I got rid of it. And now I’m getting nine million spam comments a day again. So I’ll have to find a more compatible plugin soon, but in the meantime, enjoy unhindered commenting, folks!

We had a fun day yesterday. GG’s birthday isn’t for a few more days, but we decided to celebrate on Saturday. We already had plans to go out to dinner, but then I heard about an event that was happening in the city that I thought he’d enjoy, so I just told him not to make any other daytime plans because we were taking the train into Philadelphia for a surprise activity. All week, his friends kept mentioning things to him that were happening downtown this weekend, and he kept asking me if these were the things we were doing. No, and not only that, those things sounded way cooler and I didn’t want him to be disappointed! Luckily, he did enjoy where we went, and said he would have liked going there even if there hadn’t been any special event going on.

Oh, but before we left, I have him the “present” part of his birthday present: a bottle of cologne (which I got a while ago but it’s sort of pointless now since he’s been making his own cologne, but he still liked it), and a new wedding band (which he thought he’d be getting next year on our 5th anniversary but I wanted to surprise him and give it to him early, and good thing too, because his old one fell apart days after I’d ordered this one).

So where did we go? The Reading Terminal Market, aka GG’s heaven on earth. There was an Amish Festival going on all week, culminating on Saturday with some outdoor events. I’d heard it advertised on the radio a million times. Well, the outdoor things turned out to be kind of lame – they had part of a street closed off, and they had a few pens with very frightened farm animals in them (cows, mini horses, goats, sheep, and a pig), and were giving wagon rides around the block (they had two regular horses pulling a big wagon, and two mini horses pulling a little wagon!). So it was mostly stuff for kids. We went inside and just started walking up and down all the aisles of the market, thinking about what we’d like to have for lunch. But first we had to stop and eat these fantastic cookies. Then we continued through the market and discovered the real Amish festival, which was that the whole center section of the market had been taken over by Amish crafts and foods! So for lunch GG got this huge crazy sausage sandwich and I got a Mediterranean wrap because I don’t eat sausages. We finished walking the rest of the market, then came back for homemade ice cream for dessert. We didn’t want to eat too much because we knew we had a nice dinner planned, but it’s hard to say no in a place like that!

We realized we’d just missed the next train home, so we killed an hour walking around the Gallery, which in the olden days was apparently the place to go shopping (my grandmother’s always telling me about how they’d go downtown there when they were really looking for something special), but is now mostly sneaker stores and a big KMart. Then we made our way to our train platform and… it was delayed. And delayed some more. Actually it ended up only being about 15-20 minutes late, but we’d still gotten there early, so we were sitting for a while and got very sleepy. When we got home, we got cleaned up and then took a nap! Then got dressed and went out to dinner.

We went to Seasons 52, which has been open here for a while now, but this was the first time we were able to go. I’d made a reservation – good thing, because the place was packed! Everything sounded delicious, so it was hard to choose what we wanted. GG ended up going with a chipotle shrimp appetizer, and I had a goat cheese ravioli (it was just one big ravioli – very good though!). His shrimp came with some guacamole on the side and he hates guac, but I tried a bite and told him he’d probably like it because it was really heavy on the lime and cilantro. He ate the whole little pile, just by itself! Then he had their swordfish special, and I had a delicious fillet with the most amazing roasted garlic mashed potatoes… Mmm, I’m going to try to recreate those sometime. The desserts at Seasons 52 come in these little glasses (a little taller than shot glasses?), so you can try more than one. So we each picked two: he chose pecan pie and mocha macchiato, and I had raspberry canoli and blueberry cheesecake (my favorite!)

You can see all the pictures from GG’s birthday activities on Flickr.

This morning we got up early and went to meet GG’s bagel friend, because he’s helping out with a catering delivery tomorrow, so we were invited for breakfast while GG learned what he’ll have to do. After breakfast, we came home and I just wanted to lie down for like an hour because I was still so sleepy, but somehow I fell asleep until noon! Then I went out to do food shopping, and now somehow I’ve wasted three hours at the computer when I still need to clean the house..!

A lot happened today

Wow, I can’t believe all the stuff that happened today!

  • I made peach popsicles
  • I found out about another business trip I’m going to have to take soon
  • GG and I got sandwiches for lunch
  • GG cleaned up the basement
  • Several packages we were waiting for arrived all at once (from four different places)
  • GG moved a big box of dirt out of the basement
  • Someone came to repair our window
  • Two other guys came to measure for new doors
  • I did a whole bunch of work since I was actually, you know, working from home

I don’t know, maybe it’s not really a lot, but it just happened all at once in one day, within a few hours… And there’s still more to do!

The Home of People Who Care

We’ve been very busy with the house this weekend, mostly with stuff in the laundry room/mud room/addition. This was the one part of the house we never really touched since moving in, because it was relatively new, so it deserved a little attention. On Wednesday, I learned how drywall tape works and GG replaced the tape that was coming off in a few areas in the laundry room (the problem was that 1) it wasn’t installed correctly in the first place and 2) we had some leaks [which have been corrected] and the water ran right along the drywall joints and loosened the tape further). I followed behind and filled in a few cracks and holes with spackle. On Friday night, I painted as much of the room as I could reach in a nice ecru color. (It’s Valspar Churchill Hotel Ecru, one of their historic colors – I figured it might lend some historic gravitas to the newest section of our old house.) This morning, GG and I got up early to finish painting together. He had to get the top part of the room, because even on the ladder, I can’t reach. It’s all finished now, and it looks really nice!

We went out for a late lunch (really late… like 2:00… I called it “lupper“), then went to Target so I could use a whole bunch of coupons that were about to expire. I think we now have a few years’ worth of trash bags and toothpaste. And I got a few other things that I wanted/needed (like purple nail polish, and a new water bottle [my KOR broke :o( ]). I checked out the new Poketo line, and was kind of disappointed. Most of the prints are really NMS anyway, but the quality is just really poor, everything seems really cheap. (Though the look on this bear’s face totally cracks me up. “Rar.”)

After Target, we went to Lowes to get a couple things I’ve been wanting to get. I got a good tip on how to mount a new mailbox even without the screws lining up with the ones we already have, so we got the mailbox I wanted in the first place to replace our scuzzy old one. And we got some nice plants to put in front of the house: an arbor vitae to put in the big pot next to the front steps (the bush I planted there a while back never really took), and a hanging flower to put on a hook attached to the fence on the other side of our front door (I forget the name, but the flowers are yellow and it can take direct sun, so yay). When we got home, we planted/hung our purchases, and now from the outside our house looks more like the home of people who care what their house looks like. Haha.

I’ve been so exhausted every day that I’ve been working on stuff. I’ve even started napping again! But it’s worth it. Things are improving, slowly :o)

Toothpaste, Title, TV

The other morning I noticed this was printed in red on the back of my tube of toothpaste:

For best results, squeeze tube from the bottom and flatten as you go up.

Seriously? This is what we’ve come to? We need instructions on how to work a tube of toothpaste?!

Since it’s official and it’s been announced and everything, I can now say, I accepted a new job! It’s actually very similar to my old job, and I’ll be in the same department, the main difference is that now I’m not getting laid off at the end of the year, yippee! Also, my title is no longer Associate but Manager (not that I am managing anyone). So I’m moving up in the world…

Oh, and television! I haven’t written about it lately, and was actually enjoying not having my nights monopolized by watching scheduled shows, but things are starting to come back on the air so I have to watch. Right now I’m watching Work of Art (on OnDemand, I don’t actually know when it comes on), Project Runway season 8 (90 minutes is a bit too long for my taste, but I am loving that Tim Gunn gets talking heads! Also check out Tim’s Take for episode 1: “Just wait, the crack pipe gets bigger and bigger as the season progresses.”), and of course the Duggars are back with more 19 Kids and Counting (and they took 500 pairs of pants with them to Little Rock, apparently – that’s 50 pairs per pants-wearer!).

Crossed Off the Color-Coded Spreadsheet

I had a super productive weekend. GG was away for the weekend, so while I was home by myself I did a bunch of work around the house that we’d been putting off (for, oh, five years…).

On Friday night I was going to start painting stuff, but first I had to stop at a couple places on my way home, and then make dinner. I was just so exhausted after the crazy week I had, I passed out on the couch for three or four hours after that. Okay, so Friday night was out.

Saturday morning I got up bright and early and decided that I wouldn’t let myself do anything else until I’d painted this big unfinished wall in the basement. (The other walls are all drywalled, but this one was concrete with peeling paint on it.) I didn’t bring my camera down so I didn’t get any really good before and after pics, but here are a couple shots from my cell phone. Anyway, I was down there all morning, just listening to NPR, and didn’t come up until 1 PM, when I finally got a shower.



I spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing, though I did take a break from that later to finally paint the bi-fold doors covering our washer and dryer. We had new doors put on about three years ago, but I never painted them, so they just had that matte primer finish, and had gotten all grimey and dirty. Now they’re semi-gloss white, and look great! GG said it looked like we had brand-new doors!

On Sunday I got up early to go out and do all my errands, so I could spend the rest of the day working at home. I went food shopping, and got yarn to make a custom hat someone ordered (yes, I started listing stuff on Etsy again last week, and sold two hats last week, plus had more custom requests). I came home, had lunch, and made my hat. Then I went back to the basement to paint one more section of wall I hadn’t done the day before. When GG got home, he helped me move some furniture so I could paint the last of the pipes in our living room that I did to match our walls. They look so nice now – yet another project that’s taken five years to do. Then we spent the rest of the evening in the living room, with our laptops, watching TV, until I fell asleep and decided to go up to bed.

Overall, I’m happy with my progress this weekend. I combined all our little to-do lists onto one big spreadsheet, and we really just have a couple little things to do, plus a few bigger things. I keep thinking of stuff to add, though..!

Summertime HABA Reviews

Alba Fragrance Free Mineral Sunblock: For the past couple of years I’ve really been trying to be good and wear sunscreen on my face and any exposed skin (especially on sunny summer days). The main thing that kept me from doing this consistently was that I hate the smell and greasy feel of sunscreen. Plus then I heard that maybe the chemicals in most sunscreens are worse for you than potentially getting skin cancer! So I was extremely happy when the Alba sunscreen I picked up (just got it to try because it was on sale) turned out to be chemical and paraben free, and didn’t have any kind of greasy feeling at all! It’s a little thick at first, but once you rub it in you can’t even tell you have it on. I went and stocked up while it was still on sale :o)

The Body Shop DeoDry Roll-On Deodorant: This is another product that totally exceeded my expectations. I heard about it when it first came out – an aluminum- and paraben-free deodorant that really worked! Of course, it was totally sold out everywhere. When The Body Shop near me finally had it in stock, they didn’t have the scent I wanted (Chilled & Breezy), and they didn’t have the stick form. So I got Fresh & Floral in a roll-on. Wow! First of all, the scent is not “flowery,” it’s just nice. And the liquid dries right away, and then you don’t have to worry about white smudges on your clothes. It really does last all day, though in this heat and humidity there were a couple times where I reapplied before going out for the evening. I got one for GG, too (in the Cool & Zesty scent), and it’s even strong enough for a man. Plus, the roll-ons are refillable – save the environment and some money!

Avon Frizz Control Lotus Shield: I’ve been using this for a couple weeks now and am so happy with it! Even on non-humid days I have a halo of frizz around my head, so you can imagine how bad it would have been these past couple weeks that we’ve had like 99% humidity here. But my hair is sleek and soft and nice but not flat! And it really does last at least two days (even through washing it). A tiny amount is plenty, and the product is kind of thick and goopy feeling at first, but once you get it into your wet hair it’s not stiff or anything – and in fact, I think it helps hair dry faster. The true proof it works: on Saturday night we had dinner on a riverside deck and it was probably the most humid meal of my life. On our way home, GG asked me if I was using something different in my hair, because even he noticed that it wasn’t as frizzy as it should have been in that situation! Also, it smells great!

Goody Spin Pins: I got these a while ago and they are awesome. I’ve never really been able to get regular bobby pins to work for me, so for buns and updos, these work great! Especially now that it’s so hot and I just want my hair up off my neck, it’s so easy to just twist in the two corkscrew pins, and my hair’s not going anywhere. At first I thought they wouldn’t really work for me until my hair got longer because it seemed like the buns were small and tight, but I think the trick is that you need to gather it more loosely. The pins will really hold just about anything, so I can even just ball my hair up without really twisting it into a bun, and it’ll form a nice messy bun. I wore them for a lot of my hot, humid band concerts this summer, and around the house when I’m working and just want to keep my hair out of the way.

* HABA is retail-speak for “health and beauty aid” – basically anything you’d pick up in the lotion/toothpaste/shampoo aisle of the supermarket or drug store.

Sweaty Night Out, “Inception”

We had a fun and busy weekend. On Saturday we spent the day cleaning the house – really cleaning. Later, we went to New Hope and met J and S for dinner. That was really nice, except it was like 100 degrees with 99% humidity or something crazy, so it was basically like sitting in a sauna. And we were eating outdoors on a deck by the river. Then we walked around a while, and J and S got the full GG experience, how he looks at every item in a store and talks the shopkeeper’s ear off, even if you’re on your way somewhere (to get ice cream, in this case). However, they got to see his mural, and we went to the Jerry Garcia gallery, which we’d never been to before. And then we went to an ice cream shop (well, it’s a hot dog place but they sell ice cream) where we’d never been, and had a delicious treat – in the air conditioning!

On Sunday GG and I went out for lunch, and then went to see Inception. It was really good! I’ll put my thoughts at the end of this post so you won’t be spoiled if you haven’t seen it yet. Afterward, we went to Home Depot to get supplies to fix up a couple things around the house we’ve been meaning to take care of. And then we relaxed at home. I’m now all caught up on Work of Art, which I just started watching on OnDemand this weekend. It’s like Project Runway but with artists. I love it because it reminds me so much of college! The dumb projects, the lame explanations, and the characters: the old lady “real artist,” the guy who draws everything like comic books, the girl who uses naked pictures of herself for every assignment…

Speaking of dreams (or, I will be, in a minute), I had a dream last night that I had to stop somewhere before work, and then there was a road that would take me from there to the town I work in, so I figured I’d just follow it. So I was driving and driving along this road, and it was getting later and later, and before I knew it, the day was half over and I was still not at work and didn’t know how much longer I’d take. I ended up stopping at some office and calling in to say I was just going to take the day off, and then I had to figure out how to get home from there anyway. If I had to interpret this dream, I’d say it’s telling me that I shouldn’t just continue following a road and hope I eventually end up where I want; instead, I need to take charge of my own map and make sure I’m going where I want to go, getting there when I want to get there. Or, you know, something like that.

SPOILER ALERT: Okay, my thoughts on Inception… The theory I like most is that the whole movie was basically one giant inception of the audience. The tagline is, “Your mind is the scene of the crime” (“your” = you, the audience?); the film starts without a title or credits (do you remember how we got here?); the last scene in the airport is the same as what is about to happen as the audience leaves the theater, strangers sitting next to each other and having the same dream. However, if you’re looking for resolution to Cobb’s story, the point isn’t whether he’s still dreaming or not, or even whether the entire thing was a dream (even though I hope it wasn’t that lame – I think there were some scenes in “real life”). The point is that in the end he chooses to stay with his kids, rather than with the memory of his wife, or on the run and working his “extraction” business. Also, there are two sets of actors playing his kids (and they are listed specifically with their ages in the credits), so some people are taking that to mean that the kids at the end of the movie are older, and therefore real. But I think maybe the older set of kids are just heard, and not seen. The kids he talked to on the phone from Paris sounded older than the little kids playing that he remembered – especially the girl. So maybe that part was real, but the end scene was still a dream. Even though it sounded like it was wobbling, we never saw the top fall, so we’ll never know! As soon as the movie ended and the screen went black, someone in the theater went, “What?!”

“Blawn aawn?”

I found out why my posts here haven’t been numbered consecutively since I upgraded to WP3.0. Apparently this version gives a new number to various things (uploaded media, previews, autosaves, etc.), so the numbers of published posts will no longer be consecutive. How is that a good idea? I don’t get it. Oh well.

Yesterday I used the handicapped stall in the bathroom of my new building for the first time. I’d been avoiding it because I always feel guilty – what if an actual handicapped person comes in? But it was the only one open yesterday, so I used it. I’ve never actually seen a person in a wheelchair at this entire site, let alone this building, so I think it’ll be okay. (The bathroom where I was before didn’t have a handicapped stall – I guess they are supposed to roll over to this one – so this hasn’t been an issue until now.)

Very Exciting Thing! starts tomorrow. I am very excited!

And finally, this cartoon totally cracked me up this morning. “GLOM GLOM!” But yes, they somehow find ways to do these things even with regular-sized arms, don’t they?