The Story of Stuff

I finally saw The Story of Stuff tonight, after wanting to watch it for a while. Wow, so short and simple, and really I knew a lot of this already, but it was eye-opening. Even though I try to recycle or give away whatever I can, I can see that “need to replace” mentality acting on myself. And I’ve felt for a long time that I have too much “stuff.” (This is why I love Freecycle – I can get rid of things I don’t want or need in my life, without feeling like it’s going to waste or to a landfill.)

Anyway, I’m already taking reusable bags with me almost every time I go shopping (not just food shopping), including reusable produce bags. I recycle whatever I can, including things that can’t go in the regular recycling (I have stashes of batteries, CFL bulbs, and #5 plastics sitting around to be dropped off at certain locations). And even regular recycling is kind of an inconvenience for us, because our town doesn’t recycle, so we collect everything and take it to our families’ houses when we go over. I just feel like I could be doing so much more. Something to work on, I guess. Maybe I will make “use less stuff” a 2010 resolution.

Traffic Stop, Phone Case

I was stopped at a traffic light on my way to work this morning, when I heard a kind of whistle sound behind me. I turned around, and in the lane next to me there was a gross old car with a gross old man hanging out the window waving at me. I rolled down my window, and he yelled over, “Do you know where Greaterford Prison is?!” “No I don’t, sorry,” I said, trying to look apologetic. I mean, I’d heard of it and knew it was nearby, but I didn’t even know what town it’s in. I rolled my window back up and faced forward and wished for the light to turn green so I could get away from this creepy situation. (I hope he found his way there, turns out we were only about 10 miles away.)

I now have a black gel case for my new phone. It mitigates the pink pretty well – though as I’d suspected, a case on a slide phone is not really perfect. But I’ll deal with it. I have 7 more days to make up my mind, but I guess I’m going to stick with this phone. For all its minor faults, it’s still pretty good, and an improvement over my old phone in many ways. Also, I recently saw that this is T-Mobile’s most popular non-smartphone.

A Weekend of Naps

GG and I went out to Kohls early Saturday morning to get him some clothes. I have a couple friends who are absolutely obsessed with the place, but I don’t think I had ever been there. Actually, I usually forget that we have one so close to us, since it’s to the north and we almost never drive north unless we’re going up to New Hope. A lot of people recommended it as a good place to get men’s clothes, though, and it seems like they’re always having a sale, so off we went – early, so it wouldn’t be crowded.

He mostly needed pants and sweaters, but we did also find him a very cool black and gray striped button-down shirt. Then he got four pairs of pants (black, gray, brown, and khaki), and two zip-up sweaters. Besides the shirt, I think everything was on clearance or was buy one, get one 1/2 off. So we did well.

Coming home, we stopped at Chick-fil-A for an early lunch. Here’s a fun trick: their employees are required to respond to “thank you” with “my pleasure,” instead of “you’re welcome.” Try it sometime, by saying “thank you” as many times as you can. GG and I kept saying it, but our cashier was just like, “sure, sure,” until the very last time we said thank you as we were walking away and he said, “sure, my pleasure” and GG and I were both like, AH-HA!

I pretty much napped the afternoon away while GG went to work on his mural. It was lovely.

GG left early on Sunday morning to go paint, too. I hadn’t seen the mural in a while, so I made a surprise visit to see him working. I think he thought there was some emergency when I showed up, but I just wanted to see him and see the painting. It looks awesome! (Well it should, the slowpoke has taken nearly two months working on it by now, and he’s still not finished!)

When I got home, I made up for all my napping the day before by cleaning the kitchen, sweeping and vacuuming all the floors downstairs, and taking out the trash. Then I got all caught up with Fringe – I don’t even know when it comes on anymore, and I keep forgetting to watch it. Then I set myself up in the living room with my laptop, a big blanket, and a cat, to watch TLC’s Sunday Night Freakshow. That little Charlotte from “The Tiniest Girl in the World” might give Kenadie some competition in the “cutest primordial dwarf” category!

Oh, and I saw last week’s Project Runway and I have to say, I totally disagreed with the judges. In my opinion, Amy should have won, for doing something that was beautiful and flattering, while not hiding the burlap of the challenge. Ben and Anthony were my choices for runners-up. And Ping should have gone home. Sorry, I’m sure she’s nice and she does interesting work, but the dress was not remotely good looking and wasn’t even made well. What happened to the “carved” necklace she was going to do? That sounded interesting. And did they ever go to that “industry party?” Don’t tell me it happened in the Models of the Runway show, because I’m not watching that. But usually when they have to design dresses for the models to wear to an event, they then go to that event.

Last night I made stuffed smashed potatoes for dinner (and lunch today… and dinner tonight… and lunch tomorrow… it was a lot of potatoes). I just stayed up long enough to watch Heroes, and then went to bed a little after 10. But we didn’t go to sleep until closer to 11 because we were watching YouTube videos on my phone (!!!).

Samsung, Something, Sweaters

I got my new phone last night, and I think I’m going to like it (but I have two weeks to make up my mind). Last night, things were a little iffy, but after just being able to (easily!) pay for an eBay item through PayPal on the phone, I think I’m sold. Also, I got the red and pink one, but the item I just bought is actually a black gel skin for it, and then I don’t think it’ll look so… pink.

Something else I just did: applied for a job. That I might actually have a good chance of getting. Eep!

Tomorrow morning we’re going out early to go clothes shopping for GG. I think he wants some more sweaters. On Wednesday he wore khaki pants, tan Sketchers, and a brown sweater over a white button-down and he looked so cute! I couldn’t stand it!

Phone, Hair, AVG

After playing with it for a while, I changed my mind about the Samsung Comeback. It is pretty chunky and ugly, and the QWERTY keyboard inside was really small and hard to type on (even for me!). But I was checking out the Gravity, and I think that might be the way I go. I can’t believe I’m looking at phones with QWERTY keyboards! Next thing you know, I’ll be getting a smartphone or something with a touchscreen! I told the girl at the store I’d be back on Thursday (she’s helped me twice, so I promised I’d buy from her), so I need to make up my mind by then!

Oh but the real reason I was out tonight was because I was getting a haircut. Here’s my before, and here’s my after. Not as short as I usually go for my annual haircut – it’s just below my chin. The girl I like at Supercuts wasn’t there, but this other nice girl did my hair instead, and I like it. It definitely needed to be chopped, it was starting to get too long and was just hanging there.

And good news, AVG seems to have solved my computer problems! It found that Trojan that messed up McAfee, as well as a bunch of other stuff McAfee never found! So now my next mission: get some sort of refund for McAfee (I paid for two years on three computers, and I’m only going to end up using it on one).

Money I Need to Spend

A few places my money will probably be going in the near future:

  • Vitamix: The most awesome blender ever. Nobody has anything bad to say about this machine. You can make smoothies, peanut butter, soup, even ice cream in this thing! But, it’s over $400. So I gave myself a couple weeks to think it over. I decided that if I had some cool-off time and I still wanted one, I’d order it. I still want it. So, probably this week I’ll place my order.
  • Samsung Comeback: It’s time for a new cell phone, and I think I found it. It’s a little clunky looking, but otherwise seems perfect for me. (I’ll miss my nice sleek phone, but it’s a couple years old now, and it’s feeling a little loose when I slide it open. Plus, it randomly turns off sometimes. I’m worried one day it’ll just stop working.)
  • AVG Anti-Virus: Actually, I already bought this one. I got another virus on my computer! I don’t know how this keeps happening, it’s not like I’m downloading stuff or surfing for p0rn or anything, I just go to the same few web sites all the time! Anyway, I seemed to get it all cleared up, but one little bit of something was left behind and McAfee wasn’t functioning correctly, so I tried to uninstall and reinstall it, but it wouldn’t reinstall. So I’m trying something new, since McAfee obviously doesn’t work anyway! I’ll report back on how it goes.
  • Wedding Gift: We’re going to a wedding in a couple months, so a gift is needed. Plus, I’m sure there’ll be a shower. I’m not complaining, just listing something else I need to pay for.
  • Vacation: I don’t have anything planned, but I have 3.5 more vacation days I have to use up by the end of March, so probably some money will be spent.

I enjoyed my extra-long weekend. I stayed up late on Thursday night, then slept in Friday morning. I cleaned a lot, then went out for a little while before coming home for an afternoon nap. Saturday I mostly waited around at home while GG was out at a funeral. That’s when I picked up the virus, so then the rest of my day was spent trying to take care of that. Saturday night we went to a party, which was fun, but everyone kind of crowded into the basement, where the hosts have a bar. It was loud and very cold down there. GG and I stayed upstairs where we could actually talk to people. On Sunday we went to an annual family lunch type event for GG’s family, at a Mexican restaurant. It was nice… especially since I’ve probably only met some of them twice. And today I had lunch with Jess (and met her new babysitter).

Boss, Band, Boots

This week has been totally insane. Mostly because our boss is leaving this week and we’re having a surprise lunch for him today, which I was tasked with organizing, so I’ve been running around every day getting all the food and gifts we needed for him. I will be so happy after today when that’s all over! (But sad, because he’s a good guy and boss, and he’s been really great to me ever since I met him [he got me this job], so I’ll miss him!)

It’s only been two weeks, but I’m not super excited about this season of band. We’re playing all marches for our spring concert, and while they’re all different styles of music (no, it’s not just two hours of Sousa), I’m not really into much of it except for Marche Slave, which is an 11 minute monster of a piece. Also, I’m not really jazzed about the board this year. If this is how it’s going to be for the next two years, I might die.

Oh, and the Bearpaw boots I ordered finally arrived yesterday! I wore them to band last night and they are so comfy and very warm! The only complaint I have is that the sole isn’t really flexible, so I wouldn’t plan on walking long distances or anything. (And of course, it figures, the day they arrive is the day the temperature finally moves out of the freezing range!)

Documentary Screening (and Other Recent Events)

Last Thursday, GG and I went to New Hope for a screening of a documentary about the town that we were told featured the mural he did there. It was very exciting, and he’d been talking it up for weeks! From what we’d been told, the producers loved the art and tought it totally embodied the spirit of New Hope and it framed the whole movie and bla bla bla. It sounded impressive! He got in touch with the producer or someone and found out they were having this special dinner and screening event – $45 per person! It was at a restaurant we’d always kind of wanted to try, but never went because I kept reading bad reviews, and there’s so many other wonderful places there to eat.

Anyway, the event started at 6:30, we arrived at 6 and were told that actually everyone was supposed to sit at the bar and we’d all go up to the private room at 7:00. So, okay, mandatory bar time. We sat there and nursed some sodas until some of the movie people got there, and we met the producers and director. They all said how much they loved GG’s painting, but it sounded more like it was in a montage of stuff, than actually “framing” the film. Okay. Finally it was time to head to our private area, which was actually like a small balcony that was open to the main dining room below, so it was a little noisy to be watching a movie. We were served a whole dinner (shrimp and lobster soup, which we didn’t have a choice about so I ate a little, avoiding the larger seafood chunks; I had steak which was pretty all right, with really dry mashed potatoes, and GG had jambalaya that was spicy even for him, and didn’t include any rice, which he expected; and there was creme brulee for dessert that was kind of cold and way too sweet).

At about 9:00, they finally played the movie, which was half an hour long. Parts of it we couldn’t hear because people in the dining room downstairs got louder (so they could speak over the movie playing upstairs?), and there was a lot of stuff with little text on the screen that I couldn’t read. Anyway, there was sort of an opening montage of still photos, and GG’s painting (on an angle, so you couldn’t really tell what it was) was one of them. It was on for maybe half a second, seriously. Afterward, there was a Q&A session with the director, where he basically said that he wanted to tell a bunch of different stories in the film, not just say the same thing over and over – which is weird, because GG and I both felt like all the stories in the documentary just said the same thing over and over. I feel really bad being negative about this movie, because the people who created it are super-nice and I know they worked really hard on it for a long time, but I feel like it had so much potential to be better executed. Oh well.

Also recently: it snowed like an inch on Friday and even though it wasn’t that bad I stayed home from work because how much longer am I going to have the luxury of being able to do that? On Saturday we went to Rob’s graduation party, which was a lot of fun and I think GG was the hit of the event (and may have picked up some new clients for some side-work). I did lots of cleaning and errands on Sunday morning and then just came home and crashed. I finally have stuff to do at work! (Of course, it’s basically undoing the things I’ve been doing for the past five years…)

What I Did On My Winter Vacation

Tomorrow I go back to work for the first time in twelve days. What did I do with all my time away from the office?

12/23: I worked from home, taking a little break to take my grandmother out to lunch at the shop where GG’s being working on a mural. I know she enjoyed seeing it in person (it is pretty awesome). We also got to meet the owner’s aunt, who works there, and she told us how they love the mural, too! Also I (foolishly?) went out to the outlets and got a new coat on sale! (Thanks for the Eddie Bauer tip, D – I got one of their coats and love it, it’s exactly what I wanted!)

12/24: After working for a few hours, I cut out a bit early (hey, people in the office were going home early, too!) and did some things around the house. Then GG and I went to his parents’ house for Christmas Eve dinner. We watched “A Christmas Story” (this was probably the first time I saw it almost all the way from beginning to end).

12/25: Christmas was a long, busy day. We started out at home, opening our gifts to each other. Then we went to GG’s parents’ house, where we opened more presents and had a big, hearty breakfast. Then we went to see my family for lunch and still more presents! And finally, back to GG’s family for dinner. I didn’t really get anything amazing. I have to add, I am not at all into receiving gifts, and I would truly rather receive nothing at all than some random item someone picked just to give me a gift. However, when asked, I had a small list of reasonable things I wanted for Christmas. (Things I will probably buy myself anyway, I just held off because I figured people would want to buy me presents.) I received none of those things. I did get a really nice knife from GG that I’d told him months ago that I liked, so that was a nice surprise and a much appreciated gift. Anyway, I was glad to just get home at the end of the night, and have a bunch of free time ahead of me.

12/26: I did go out shopping to see if I could find some post-Christmas sales. I had some gift cards I’d received, plus a couple others I found hanging around, so I didn’t actually spend any of my own money. Also, rain pretty much melted all the snow from the weekend before, hooray! Now we’ll have somewhere to pile new snow.

12/27: As our Christmas gift to her, my brother and I started repainting our grandmother’s kitchen. She’d been talking about it for a while and had colors picked out, so we just bought the paint and supplies and did it. It took two days. On day one we shopped and moved stuff out of the room, then I washed all the walls with TSP, and taped things off with painter’s tape. Then my brother and I painted primer over everything.

12/28: Day two of painting was more fun because we got to paint actual colors. Below the chair rail and one other wall above the counter were painted a nice sort of Wedgewood blue, and above the chair rail and along the soffit were painted a creamy white. It turned out really nice! I took my camera with me, but of course forgot to actually take pictures.

12/29: I didn’t have much planned for the day and tried to sleep in, but I ended up waking early and not really feeling good all day. I had a board meeting for band that night, and managed to get through it, but I still wasn’t really feeling good. It was kind of a fun but sad meeting, we transitioned from the old board to the new. (Only two of the five of us were replaced, but it’ll still be weird and very different this year, I think.)

12/30: GG had an awesome job interview in the morning – yay! This could be very good. Then we took the train from Norristown into Philadelphia to see the holiday show at the Comcast Center. I was actually pretty disappointed in the show – it was exactly the same as last year’s (except there was a random intro with Shaq looking for donations to some charity). And I thought maybe it would still be more awesome because it’s in 3D this year, but it wasn’t even really 3D, and the glasses just made me feel dizzy. We also had a nice lunch from the DiBruno Brother’s located downstairs – lots of cheese, olives, pasta salad… yum. On the way back across the street to the train station, I slipped on a tiny patch of ice and just went straight down. It was actually pretty hilarious. There was a police cruiser parked right in front of me and they seemed kind of concerned, but I was fine. GG was on the other side of the train entrance, and he couldn’t see me and thought I’d fallen down the staircase or something, haha! I spent the evening watching Jess’ baby while she and Rob went out with some friends. (I offered, and they took me up on it.) He was in bed when I got there, but hadn’t been sleeping well because he has a cold, so he was actually up and out of bed before they even left. I spent the next couple hours rocking and singing to him to keep him from whining. He was so happy to see his parents when they came home, though! My shoulder hurt for the whole next day from holding him. If this is what a kid’s like for just a couple hours, there is no way I would want one permanently!

12/31: GG and I went out to Harrisburg for a New Year’s Eve pajama party at our friends’ house. GG got totally, embarrassingly drunk, but almost everyone else there was pretty drunk too, so it was okay. Even I had a bit of champagne and a few jello shots. There were six of us there, and then four more friends appeared at about 11:45, which was funny. They headed back out after midnight, and the rest of us eventually went off to bed.

1/1: We all woke up, got dressed, and went out for breakfast at Denny’s. Wow, when was the last time I ate at Denny’s?! (Actually, I think it was right before I started college.) Twenty hours after we left, GG and I were back at home – for the first time in 2010! I cleaned the whole house and watched some Mummers on TV – it was actually sort of funny, because many of the tunes they played were things we did recently in band (like in the past couple years).

1/2: Before we’d left Harrisburg, GG suggested that people come out here on Saturday to visit. A few of our friends decided to do so, so three of them came out and spent the day with me. (GG was busy with his mural all day, because he was filling in with his friends’ band in Atlantic City that night.) We all first went to the shop to see GG and his mural. Then we went to the KoP Mall (it was far too cold and windy to spend the day at the outlets). We did the entire Court and Plaza, multiple times. Lina bought a ton of stuff, mostly while Erika and I watched. Steve got a crazy straight-razor shave at The Art of Shaving. We had dinner at Ruby’s Diner. Then everyone came back to my house for a little bit, saw GG as he got ready to go to his show, and then everyone headed out. My legs ached from all that walking!

1/3: I slept in until almost 11 AM – enjoying my last day of vacation. Eventually, I went food shopping (needed stuff to take to work for lunches… wah), and did laundry. Then I pretty much spent the rest of the day here on the sofa, under a blanket, with the laptop. I hope I remember how to get to my office tomorrow. And my computer password!