Memorial Day Weekend and Fashion Hauling

We had a really good 3-day weekend! Friday night I cleaned half my house. Saturday morning I cleaned the other half. I feel like the house hasn’t been clean in months (at least not all at the same time), so I felt a great sense of accomplishment.

On Saturday afternoon we went to the wedding reception for friends of ours who got married a couple weeks ago in the Dominican Republic. This was their celebration for everyone at home. It was at the bride’s parents’ house in New Jersey, about an hour’s drive away from us (luckily, GG knew the shortcuts to avoid all the Memorial Day shore traffic). The party was really nice – a catered tent backyard thing. Just two complaints: 1) I totally destroyed my shoes, between the long gravel driveway and just wearing heels in the grass, and 2) I was eaten alive by bugs, especially as the the afternoon turned to evening. It was a lot of fun, though – we sat with a bunch of GG’s friends from college, and they are all so funny. Now the newly married couple is moving to Arizona! We’re following their journey via photos posted on Facebook.

My brother and his friend came over on Sunday, because I mentioned that I had some house things (a lamp, a table, kitchen stuff) that I was going to get rid of, but maybe he’d need them for his new place, so he was going to come check them out. Well, he wants to take everything, so that is awesome – we’ve had it hanging around for this long, so I’ll just keep it for a couple more months until he moves. Then GG and I took them out for lunch, which was nice.

Since we were at the mall for lunch anyway, GG and I spent the rest of the afternoon shopping. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to get for summertime (Bermuda shorts, capri jeans, tops for work, sunglasses, a cross-body bag to take on vacation, brown sandals), and I found quite a bit of it while we were out. GG also got some shorts and things he wanted.

Now, here’s the vacation purse saga. I’ve been looking for a cross-body purse with some specific requirements: top zip (no flap), a couple inner pockets, big enough to hold a small umbrella and light sweater, and nice looking enough to take me from a day of sight-seeing to a night out at a nice restaurant. I’ve been looking for weeks, and couldn’t find anything that worked – they just don’t make cross-body purses that size! While we were at the mall, I stopped in at the luggage and travel store, and they had the perfect purse! It has even more travel features (like, it’s slash-proof, you can lock the zipper shut, etc.). Only problem was that it was $90, which was about $40 over my budget. So I spent the rest of the evening researching this bag and similar bags, and finally found a different one from the same company that was a little bigger, a little cheaper, and seemed to be perfect. I ordered it from Zappos, and thanks to the magic of Twitter and Zappos’ awesome customer service, I got upgraded to 1-day shipping. So this thing should be here tomorrow. Then today, I went to Target (where I’ve looked for my ideal bag several times in different stores, in addition to online) and guess what I saw: the perfect purse! $19.99. So we’ll see how in love I am with this fancy bag when it gets here. If not… Zappos has free returns!

I am really not a fan of the show-off, “fashion haul” video, but since a lot of people were asking, here’s what I picked up this weekend. I’ve pretty much checked everything off my summer wish list now, except for a pair of casual brown sandals. I’ll find some.

  • Old Navy: 3 tank tops for wearing to bed, 2 pairs of lounge shorts to wear as PJs, 3 pairs of Bermuda-length shorts (these are awesome, why did I never try them until this year?)
  • H&M: 4 striped short-sleeve blouses (stretchy and without buttons, so perfect for me to get that button-down look without the unfortunate gaping and stretching)
  • Target: cross-body purse (see above for that story!), capri jeans, embellished t-shirt
  • Ross: 2 pairs of sunglasses (including one big, but not crazy, pair), cosmetics bag, pink and white sleeveless trapeze top (Natalie would so love this!), blue and black flowered top, black t-shirt with tuxedo pleating detail

Random Thursday Thoughts

Last night at band practice we had Wacky Band. (Well, I don’t know if there’s a name for it, that’s just what I call it.) Instead of the usual semicircle, the chairs are arranged in rows perpendicular to the edge of the stage. Everyone can sit wherever they want, and shouldn’t be next to more than one of their same type of instrument. I ended up surrounded by a lot of trumpets, with a euphonium and trombone also on my row. It was fun, and I was able to hold my own on most of the music we played, so that was cool. One more rehearsal, and then the summer concerts begin (already?!).

I wore a skirt to work today. It’s like 90 degrees in my house, but I refuse to set up the air conditioners because 1) it’s not even Memorial Day yet, and 2) it’s going to rain and the temperature’s going to drop anyway.

They ripped out a big section of cubicles on my floor at work and replaced them with some different cubes (smaller, so they can fit more people). This has left stuff everywhere: chairs, trash cans, random junk people left at their desks, there’s even a phone sitting on the kitchen counter for some reason!

Today feels like it should be a Friday. I can’t even imagine how quiet it’s going to be here tomorrow.

Oh also, I made the most delicious chicken recipe from Real Simple last night. I don’t know why it never occurred to me to do something like this before. I’ve done chicken with just salt and pepper, and that was good, but this was awesome. I didn’t have all the rest of the ingredients to make the couscous salad, so I just chopped and fried an onion (in the pan I’d done the chicken in), and mixed that in with some couscous. I’m looking forward to leftovers for lunch today.

Well, I’m Lost

Yes, I made a cup of coffee and stayed up late last night to watch the finale of Lost with the rest of the country. Even though I joined the party a little late (I started watching at the beginning of season 4), I feel like I was pretty invested in the story and characters. It seems like the first few seasons were just filler while they figured out where they were going with everything, anyway. When the show ended, I was just left with a headache (from the coffee, and possibly from crying so much) and a dissatisfied, confused feeling. However, having had some time to think it over, I’m feeling a little better about it now. I still wish some more questions had been answered, but in the end it was really about the people – what they did and what happened to them after the “island” part of the show that we saw doesn’t really matter. I’m not fully in the “OMG I loved it” camp, though.

Just a couple of links:

Speaking of TV shows! I also just caught the finale of Fringe, and wow. Kind of cheesed off about Olivia/Bolivia, but it gives us something to focus on for next season, I guess. I’m mostly happy that she and Peter got together (if briefly). Also curious to see what happens when Bolivia meets up with her sister and the niece she never knew (because you know it’s coming).

And Heroes has been cancelled! You might recall, I mentioned after the season 4 finale that I would have been happy if that were the series finale, considering how it wrapped up everyone’s stories and brought things full circle. And now it is! So I’m actually kind of glad they won’t mess up the overall story by trying to tack more onto it.

Just one more season finale to go this week, and then I’m off for the summer!

Lamp Drama!

I’ve had a very domestic weekend so far, I guess you could say.

On Friday night we had a meeting for band with the board plus most of the section leaders. I was under the impression that it was sort of a cook-out, with guests bringing side dishes and stuff. So I said I’d make potato salad. I came home from work on Friday, cooked potatoes and made the potato salad, got changed, and went out to this meeting. Turns out, there was no cook-out at all, people were just bringing food. And besides me and this other guy, everyone pretty much just brought fruit and veggie trays. Oh well, everything was good, and we definitely had a good meeting – although long! I didn’t get home until after 11:00!

I wanted to wake up early on Saturday to go to Ikea before it got crazy. I live right down the street from there so I could totally go during the week, but I just didn’t have time this week. I needed to get a new lamp, though. The one that I had in the front bedroom upstairs died this week, so I moved our lamp from the living room up to the bedroom, and then I was going to get a new lamp for the living room. I got to Ikea around 9:15, but it turns out they don’t open until 10 AM! So I went to Target – whoops – where I bought a new shower curtain and hooks for the bathroom. This curtain is cotton, which won’t kill us, unlike the old plastic curtain (thank you, Slow Death by Rubber Duck). When I got back to Ikea it was just 10:00, so I was the only person in the Marketplace, which was really slightly creepy. I got my lamp and left, and was probably the first person through the cash registers for today. I came home and set up the new lamp, and it looks so nice in the living room! We’ll come back to this later…

GG worked today, and when he got home this afternoon, we went out to Kohl’s. He’s been saying for a while that he wants some more short-sleeved button-down shirts for work, and he needs them just to wear to things, too (parties, out to dinner, etc.). As usual, pretty much everything at Kohl’s was on sale. We got him several nice shirts. I looked for some tops for work, too, but nothing there was really my style. We were going to go out for dinner afterward, but couldn’t really find anywhere to go, so we just stopped at Chick-fil-A on the way home. On a whim, we checked out the Big Lots near the restaurant, where I found a great floor lamp. When I moved that one lamp from the living room to the bedroom, I realized that the shade was kind of broken. So I figured I could replace it. GG also picked up some random movies on DVD.

So we came home, set up camp on the sofa with our laptops, and popped in the new DVD of The DaVinci Treasure (lol!). As it got dark, I turned on the new lamp, and as I suspected… it’s too dim. It has a shade. The old lamp was just a straight up-light, and it lit the whole room (there’s no overhead lights in here). So now I don’t know what to do. I guess I’ll put the new lamp we got at Big Lots here in the living room. But then what do I do with this new Ikea lamp? I really like it, it’s the floor lamp version of this table lamp we have, so it matches, and I obviously like the style. But it just won’t work here, and I don’t really have anywhere else to put it. Might have to return it… sigh.

Tonight I’m doing laundry. I want to have as much stuff done as possible tonight, since I’m going to be watching like six hours of Lost tomorrow..!

Market, Reunion, Wall, and Other Stuff

Let’s see, where did I leave off in my life? Last Saturday was the opening day of our new local farmer’s market. I’d been looking forward to it for weeks, since I heard about it, and apparently everyone else had too, because the place was packed! We got there about 15 minutes after it started, and there was no parking, people everywhere, and some stands were already running out of whatever they were selling! Jess came with GG and I, and we met Julie there. It was so nice to hang out with both of them! We just sat and talked for a while – it was a beautiful day, and we found a shady spot to hang out. The crowds made me really uncomfortable, I hate big crowds like that. By the time we left, there was almost nobody there, and I think a lot of vendors had sold out of stuff – and there were still two more hours to go! Hopefully it’s not like that every week, because it’s much more convenient to get to than my other farmer’s market, but seriously, I can’t take those crowds. Also, everything seemed kind of overpriced. Maybe I’ll try again in a few weeks.

That night was my 10-year high school reunion. That is nuts, no way has it been ten years since I graduated! It was in a really loud, echoey private room at this trendy bar, and cost $50 per person, because they had a top-shelf open bar. There wasn’t even any food. (Well, at one point they brought out two tiny trays of appetizers that were instantly devoured – that was all the organizers had ordered because hardly anyone registered in advance, so they didn’t think many people would be there.) Besides all that, though, it was nice to see some of my old friends! There were people I wish would have been able to come, but they couldn’t or didn’t. And seriously, the majority of people there, I had no clue who they were. GG was very well behaved and we had fun, though. We left a little after midnight, and pretty much crashed when we got home.

On Sunday I got up early and got to work on the final step of fixing my wall, repainting! I was worried that my paint wouldn’t match the rest of the wall, having spent the last five years sitting in the basement, but we shook it up really well and it matches perfectly! You can’t even tell! I’m so happy with how the whole thing turned out. While I was home yesterday, GG and I moved the furniture back into place, so it feels like a real room again. I just have to drill holes so I can hang the curtain rod back up, and then I’ll be finished.

Other things I’ve done this week include booking a hotel for our one-night vacation this summer, cleaning the house for what feels like the first time in forever, watching Observe and Report with GG, getting our new band Secretary up to speed after the last one suddenly announced he’s moving away and leaving the band, and thinking about how Lost could possibly end. (Check out this video, regarding that last one – though I have to disclose that the AP guys are comedian friends of ours, and the radio show at the end is the only thing I listen to on the radio besides NPR. “Jin was Sun!”)

More than you wanted to read about my business trip this week.

This has been an insane week, work-wise. Actually, all I’ve done this week is work! This coming Monday is a big day for the SOP deactivations we’ve been working on, so I was trying to get a head start on some of that, since I was going to be out of the office for a couple days. Of course, as usual, everything waits until the last minute. Today was a half-day, yet I was in the office late, by myself, and there’s still more to do on Monday. When I left, there were literally four cars in the parking lot (out of thousands of spaces).

So let’s back up a little. My new organization (well, it’s not mine yet, but I’m in it for the time being) had an all-hands meeting in Connecticut on Thursday. Since we were all going, H and I rented a car and drove up together on Wednesday. She drove until we were just over the CT border, then I drove the rest of the way. I think I’ve mentioned it before, but that state is deceivingly wide! We left around 9 AM and got to our hotel in the late afternoon. With a couple hours to kill, I tried unsuccessfully to do some work in my room (internet was too slow) and nap (just wasn’t happening), and then it was time to leave for dinner. My boss was hosting a dinner for the SOP group to celebrate finishing the last round of deactivations – which felt a little silly, considering there was so much more work coming up. Oh well. Dinner was delicious, and I got to meet some more people I hadn’t seen the last time I was up there.

On Thursday morning, we checked out of the hotel and headed to our all-day off-site meeting. It was at a beautiful golf club. A few other co-workers came along with us, so it was a full car. It was really funny driving there, because as we drove over a hill we saw Mohegan Sun on the horizon, and we were like, “Wow, that’s big.” Then, we came a little further up the hill, and all of a sudden the MGM Grand appeared, like an even bigger castle, and we all went, “Wow!”

The meeting itself was long, and I feel like it would have been a better use of my time to be able to do some work at my own office, than to spend ten hours driving and five hours at this event. And some of the people who are working on things for Monday would probably agree. Maybe if the meeting had been a different week, it would have been better. But it had already been rescheduled once, not to mention that the location had been changed from the original appointment.

Oh also, we went outside before lunch to take a group photograph, and the photographer made me stand in the very front and center (I didn’t want to be in the front! I’m not that short! I’m not even officially part of this group!), and it was so bright and sunny outside, especially after being in this dim room inside, I was just squinting and my eyes were watering the whole time. My eyes are probably shut in every picture he took. When we went back in we lined up for a buffet lunch, and this other guy was like, “You have a bug in your hair.” Eww! It was a lighting bug, I obviously picked it up when I was outside. Good thing I squished it before I reached the food!

So we headed out as soon as the meeting was over, were on the road by 3 PM, hit a little bit of traffic, and got back to the office (and our cars) around 8 PM. I was home by 9:00 and got to watch my TV shows.

While I was gone – for one night! – GG forgot to feed the cats, give them water, and bring in the mail for two days. (The cats were so hungry that first night that they tore open a bag of cat food.) Awesome, I can never leave him alone.

Wall Repair, Graduation, Betty White, Mother’s Day, Josie’s Homecoming

I’ve been operating on such a sleep deficit for the past few days. My main project this week has been repairing the wall in our front bedroom. Remember during the snowpocalypse when we had the leak? The wallpaper in that room was still wet. So I pulled all the wet wallpaper off the wall. There were at least five layers of different wallpaper on there, so it was sort of neat to see all the historic patterns. It reminded GG and I of Strawberry Banke. Then I had to figure out what to do with it, so I’ve been doing one step each day. I washed the walls with detergent and bleach, per some instructions I found online. The wall wasn’t really moldy, but I think it did have a combination of a little mold and 100 years’ worth of wallpaper crud. Then I filled in all the major cracks and holes with spackle, and sanded. Then I covered the whole thing with joint compound, to even it out, and sanded that last night (what a horrible mess). Now all I have left to do is paint over the area with Drylok (even though the roof is fixed, I want to make sure there’s no more leaks!), and then with my green paint.

Before / After:

On Saturday my brother finally graduated from college! Only took him five years, but we were there to see him lope across the stage and collect… nothing. They don’t even give you your diploma folder until after the ceremony. And the diploma comes in the mail later. Then we all went out to lunch with the faculty head of the radio station, which he’s been on since he was a freshman (this year he was Program Director!). I’m so proud of my “little” (ha ha) brother!

I tried my hardest to stay up Saturday night to see Betty White on SNL, and considering the long day I had, I did pretty well. (I caught the rest online the next day.) She was great! I think everyone wanted for her to do well. I saw a few interviews with her about it, and she really was so nervous, but she didn’t need to be. I just wish they didn’t make her do that one sketch where she had to dance (the Mexican talk show), because that was a little sad. But hey, I hope I’m moving that well when I’m almost 90! Also, the episode just confirmed that it’s always hilarious when you can make an old lady say something dirty.

Mother’s Day was kind of busy. I went to see my grandmother in the morning, and my mom also came over, so they both got their gifts. (I got my mom a cast-iron frying pan and the whole time I was worried that she was going to hate it, but actually she was really excited about it! Hooray!) Then I went food shopping and did laundry. Then I went to my mom’s place for a late lunch with her and my brother, which was nice.

I forgot it was on and had to catch the 11 PM repeat, but I saw the Duggars’ Mother’s Day/Josie homecoming special last night. Yes, I have many problems and complaints about this show, but I just wanted to mention one thing. A week or two ago, I suggested on TWoP that maybe Josie shouldn’t have come home when she did (considering she was back in the hospital within less than 48 hours, and is still there, weeks later), but they somehow convinced the doctors to let her go early so they could have homecoming footage in the can for a Mother’s Day special. A couple people thought it was a possability, but most disagreed, saying doctors wouldn’t do that. Well guess what – after last night’s episode, and seeing the events surrounding her release from the hospital, a lot of people have been commenting that maybe they did send her home early just for the show!

Books, Birthday Party, Band Concert

Last week I finished Bringing Home the Birkins which was recommended by Karen of Reasons To Be Happy That You Don’t Have Kids. It was semi-interesting, but really it just seemed like the author was bragging about his fabulous life, traveling around Europe and buying and selling handbags that cost more than my car. (I wrote a longer review on Goodreads, if you want to know more. Now I’ve just started reading Slow Death by Rubber Duck, and already I’m planning how I can get rid of everything in my house and start over from scratch with organic everything. Seriously, I’m barely a chapter in and I already know that my carpet, sofa, shampoo, cleaning products, and most other things I put on my face and body are killing me.

On Saturday I drove by myself through the wilds of New Jersey to MB and A’s house for MB’s birthday party. It was fun, very low-key (especially since GG wasn’t there – he was out with his friends seeing Norm MacDonald). I got to meet some of MB’s friends from home, and some MU students I never met because we traveled in different circles. The main event was playing games from the TV show “Minute to Win It,” which was actually pretty fun, except we did it on the back deck at dusk, and despite the citronella candles I’m still covered in bug bites! (They got the backs of my legs, even. I was wearing jeans – how does that happen?!)

Yesterday was my band concert. The week leading up to the concert is so stressful, with preparing everything to be printed, dropping off and picking stuff up, extra rehearsals, etc., and I was mostly concerned with the logistics of the concert, rather than caring how we played. We sounded fine. We had a reasonable turn-out. Thanks to some new procedures, we got a pretty accurate count of the number of attendees and our earnings. And I am super glad to never have to play that concert again! Some pieces will be nice to add to our summer repitoire (March to the Movies, For the Love of Three Oranges, Trombone Rag), but others I’ll be very happy not to see anymore (Beethoven’s Military March in D, mainly).

I’m not sure what this week has in store. It’s going to be very hot, and thanks to the rain, very humid. I really hate setting up the air conditioners before it’s even Memorial Day, and I don’t mind sweating it out at home, but I worry about the cats – they all have fur coats, and two of them also have thick layers of blubber. So GG and I might put them in on Wednesday. Other than that, no big plans.