Thanksgiving Break

Well, the long weekend isn’t over yet, but I figure not much more is going to be happening, so I can write about it.

The holiday weekend really started for me on Wednesday, because I worked from home and there wasn’t really much work going on all week anyway, so it was very relaxing. They sent out an e-mail around noon saying that PA sites were going to close at 2 PM for the holiday – surprise! So as soon as 2:00 rolled around I shut down my computer and relaxed.

Thanksgiving morning was pretty relaxing – since we weren’t going anywhere until later, GG and I slept way in, it was lovely. As usual, we were invited to two dinners, one with each of our families. This year, my family went to Maggiano’s for Thanksgiving, which was amazing. There was tons of delicious food, including awesome desserts. We were pretty stuffed by the time we were finished. Then everyone ended up going back to my grandmom’s house for a little bit (there was a puppy there). Eventually, GG and I headed over to his parents’ house. I thought we were going to show up there in time for dessert, but actually they hadn’t even sat down to eat yet, so we sat through the whole dinner (GG ate dinner #2, but I couldn’t – I did have a slice of pie, though). After dinner, GG ended up having some sort of ping-pong tournament while I watched “Elf” with his parents. Also, I’d been worried about what to wear for dinner that would be appropriate for both the restaurant and GG’s parents’ place, and ended up wearing jeggings with a sweater tunic, which worked out perfectly – seriously, jeggings are like yoga pants!

When we got home we ended up falling asleep on the sofa watching movies, so I woke up at 2 AM and could have just gotten dressed and headed out to a Black Friday sale, but that’s not really my thing, so we just went to bed, and once again were able to sleep in on Friday morning. Besides going to Elevation Burger for a late lunch/early dinner (GG hadn’t been yet – as I predicted, he loved it), we didn’t go out at all.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the day that our town pumps Christmas music into our house all afternoon, followed by a parade on our street, huge crowds of people in front of our house to watch a Christmas tree get lit, and fireworks. Last year was the first time we were here to witness the whole thing – before that, we had some other plans every year. So since we didn’t want to be trapped in the house for that again, we planned to go to a movie and dinner, and hopefully get home after the whole thing was over. We went to see Love and Other Drugs. My review: way more sex, nudity, and cursing than was necessary; and I still don’t get what their relationship was, beyond physical; but the parts about the pharmaceutical industry were interesting. After that, we got dinner, and stopped at Zwahlen’s for some of their hot chocolate. We got back home and saw fireworks in the sky – oh no! So there was still about 15 minutes of crowds, fireworks, and loud music after we got home, but we timed things pretty well overall. The funniest part was walking through the crowds of people watching the fireworks and walking into our front door, in the middle of it all. Also, the poor kitties were terrified :o(

Things That Are Making Me Mad Right Now

Sister Wives: I didn’t like this show the whole time it was running, and after seeing the “Honeymoon Special” on Sunday where it was like it was suddenly dawning on the original three wives, “Wait, this isn’t fair!” I’m just totally fed up with them. Meri, Janelle, and Christine, awaken!

This goat cheese I got at Trader Joe’s: It’s okay, it’s just not what I expected – it’s really more like a brie than a regular goat cheese. Not crumbly enough to put on my salad, too hard to spread on a cracker, and it’s like 40% rind. Last time I get that one.

A Young Man Speaks About Modesty: “While most girls look at a guy and see the whole person, a guy will look at a girl and be tempted to view them in parts. The parts of a girl’s body that a man gets distracted with are the legs, breasts, and butt. So please, DO NOT make these parts of your body the main focus of yourselves unless you want to be leading men into sin by lusting after you and treating you as an object instead of a child of God.” So what about the guys who are into arms, or feet, or furries? Hellooo – anything can be sexual to someone! So unless you’re going to advocate burquas (which still wouldn’t take care of the furries), maybe you guys should either learn to control yourselves or just wear blindfolds.

Annual Reviews: In this new company, a big component of the annual review appears to be reviews from your peers. I had to give the names of a bunch of people for my manager to contact and ask for reviews of me (and I wasn’t supposed to clear it with them first, which is weird, because if someone were going to ask me to review them I’d want a little advance warning). We also got a spreadsheet where we have to review everybody in our group – which is really awkward for me since I’ve only worked with maybe 20% of them. But, I got to write a review of my counterpart from another group, and he is so fabulous, I hope it got through in what I said about him. He’s a seriously great guy, we’re a great team, and I can’t wait until he’s back from his secondment next year so we can work together again.

The Holidays: Thanksgiving is going to be redonk this year. But my real concern is Christmas because I’m just not into it. Last year I was so good, I had presents for everyone, wrapped in thoughtful and environmentally friendly kitchen towels and reusable shopping bags. What will I do this year? I think everyone will just get gift cards. Maybe they will match the total of the gift cards I receive. Because isn’t that the true meaning of Christmas – to earn back what you spent on everyone else? …No?

Everyone having babies: I know people really like them and it’s like their life’s goal to have kids and if nothing else it’s what our bodies were designed for and really the purpose of our existence is just to produce more of ourselves. However… I just don’t get it. I don’t need one. But all my friends have either got them or are working on it, and one by one the No Kids Fun Club membership is dwindling. I have decided that GG and I need to take advantage of our relative freedom and unrestricted time and money by doing as much awesome stuff as possible.

Weekend Fun and Friends

A couple events with friends that we had planned in advance ended up happening this weekend. It’s so hard to get everyone together – both of these things were the result of lots of group e-mails and an online survey that I put together!

On Friday night, I went out to dinner with some of my good friends I met at work – one who I still work with (in a different department), and two who aren’t there anymore. There were originally supposed to be more coming, but in the end it was just the four of us. I actually see or at least talk/e-mail with these girls pretty regularly, but it’s rare for everyone to be together, so it was fun to catch up with everyone! We ended up staying at dinner really late – I thought maybe it was getting to be close to 9:00, then one girl looked at her watch and was like, “Guys, it’s 10!” Considering how well this worked out, in general, I think we should try to have girls’ night out dinners one night a week, on a Friday after work, in this good central location.

Oh, and after much deliberation and surveying, we went to Seasons 52 for dinner, which was awesome as usual. We shared a delicious flatbread appetizer, and also split a side order of “squash trio” with our entrees – totally random, but that squash was really good!

Saturday morning, GG and I got up early, collected MB and A, and drove up to New York to see Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson on Broadway! (Well, we drove to north Jersey, where we took a bus to NYC – I would never drive into the city, and now that I know the secret of the bus, I would also never again take the train all the way up there.) This was our first time buying bus tickets from a machine instead of on the bus, and you wouldn’t think it would be so confusing, but it was. We successfully bought them and ended up New York, though.

I’d written out a detailed schedule that allowed lots of time for getting lost or other delays, so we actually had time for a quick lunch when we got up there. We ended up eating at the Shake Shack, which I’ve walked past many times now but have never been to. It was good! Between us we had burgers, hot dogs, fries, and a milkshake, and I think everyone was happy. And they have Mr. Pibb! After lunch we found the theater but still had a bunch of time to kill, we walked over to Times Square where there was a marching band a huge crowd on bleachers. Sports fan A figured out that it was a rally for the Notre Dame/Army game in New York that day.

Finally it was time for the show. The Public Theater, where GG and I saw the show off-Broadway this summer, was decorated pretty decadently. The Broadway theater was even crazier! Everything is red velvet, columns were covered with furs, there are tons of taxidermied animals including a horse hanging from the ceiling right in front of us (we sat in the balcony), and strings of lights covered the entire ceiling. The lights were actually pretty awesome – they were in a few different colors, depending on the lighting on stage, and they really enveloped the audience and made you feel like you were part of the scene. The show itself was fabulous, of course. A couple things have changed since we saw it, a few lyrics have changed (I noticed because I’ve been listening to the soundtrack CD pretty much non-stop since I got it a couple months ago), some of the actors are new or are playing different roles than before. But it was fantastic – and MB and A loved it too!

In my planning, I’d found a restaurant near the theater that was well-reviewed. I figured it would be good to have a plan for dinner since a Saturday night in New York City would probably require reservations or something. This place didn’t take reservations, but filled up quickly once they opened. So we got there before they opened and again had some time to kill. We walked around the neighborhood for a bit. While walking around, we actually found another place, The Brickyard, that we decided looked a little better. They were already open and could seat us because they hadn’t started serving dinner yet. So we had a fantastic meal there, with a huge selection of beers for the boys!

After dinner, it was back to the Port Authority, onto the bus, back to NJ, back to MB and A’s place, air in GG’s tires (thanks to A’s air compressor, haha), and back home, where we attempted to stay up for Saturday Night Live but only caught about half of it.

Today was a pretty lazy day, I just caught up on food shopping and laundry. I’ve been sitting here on the sofa with my laptop and a rotation of cats for most of the day.

Concerts, Kids, Clocks

This weekend was my band concert. I was pretty unenthused about several of the pieces we were playing, but then there were a couple I really liked, and overall it went very well. No major screw-ups from the band, just a few screaming kids in the audience, especially during the quiet parts – as usual. People: by owning a child, you are making a choice to not go to events like this unless a) you can leave the kid elsewhere or b) the kid is old enough to understand and be able to sit quietly. It is rude and inconsiderate to the band, who rehearsed for months and is creating an archival recording, as well as the other audience members who have paid to hear the music. I make this PSA twice a year and nobody seems to listen.

My little chicklet MB came all the way from New Jersey to see the concert, which was a nice treat! After the show, GG and I took her and another friend to dinner – originally we were going to try the Cheesecake Factory, but there was a 1-hour wait (on a Sunday?! early?!), so we went upstairs to Legal Seafoods instead. They have very few choices for the non-seafood eater, but I had a yummy steak and everyone else enjoyed their fishes and we sat and chatted for a long time. People sitting near us probably thought we were insane – I mean, our conversation covered every topic, ranging from MB’s boring job to wilderness EMTs to placenta teddy bears.

Today was my last SOP retirement day – all of our legacy Policies and SOPs are now retired. Boo hoo. I had a communication to send out, which didn’t get sent until after 5 PM because I think some people don’t understand calendars (“articles due by Friday morning” does not mean “articles due by Monday afternoon”) or clocks (“I need to send the newsletter at 3 PM at the absolute latest” does not mean “I will wait indefinitely to send the newsletter and maybe it’ll get out before midnight”).

The Wedding Singer

I should probably post at some point before November is over, huh? We didn’t do anything special for Halloween, but I did eat at Chipotle for the first time. It was good, and an acceptable substitute for Qdoba, though I’d prefer Qdoba if given the choice. I do like their streamlined menu though. This week I’ve been busy with work and getting ready for our upcoming band concert – there were things I needed to print, and things I had to design and get ready to take to the printer.

Last night GG and I went to his friend’s wedding. It was sort of weird, because they were friends in middle school but then they went to different high schools and lost touch, and reconnected a few years ago on MySpace. So they’re good friends now, but we didn’t really know any of his other friends there. GG got to sit in with the band (well, just a keyboard and guitar) during the cocktail hour, which was amusing, and actually he might end up jamming with the keyboard player sometime – and maybe get some future wedding gigs?! The wedding was very cool, they actually had a private ceremony and then the majority of the guests came for the reception, in this historic mansion. And since the place had to kick everyone out by 9:00, the party continued at a restaurant nearby.

Other than that, I’ve had a pretty relaxing weekend. I guess I’ll make up for it next weekend when I’m super busy with band!