Thursday, October 1, 2009
I love fall! Growing up in Louisiana, I was seriously short-changed when it came to fall. We would have maybe seven days of beautiful, crisp, fall air and then it would be replaced by cold and rainy. This was in contrast to the rest of the year, which can be best characterized as hot and rainy. In leaving my apartment this week I have been particularly delighted by the chill in the air. I also have an adorable new cowl to wear that I got off of Etsy, so I am eagerly awaiting even chillier weather.
Also, something to note: as someone who does a great deal of reading long, tedious, government documents, I would like to say that the single greatest phrase in any of those documents is "This page intentionally left blank." Heck. Yes.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Anyway, I decided to make the best of it and get a burger and potato wedges. They have this "dress your own" principle in place there, which I rather enjoy. My burger goes like this: mayo, brown mustard, ketchup, lettuce, single slice of tomato, single ring of purple onion, and about five pounds of pickle slices. They even have that ever-so-delicious/revolting liquid cheese dispenser. So, I got one little container of liquid cheese for my fries. Then, as I was debating whether it was enough, it occurred to me to use the pico de gallo on the toppings bar to make a half-assed queso with the liquid cheese. My friends, I stand here today to tell you that I have had better queso, but not made from accoutrements on a toppings bar.
So, it came out quite good. I was pleased, in general. Now, here's the conundrum: I would like to make more toppings-bar queso some day in the future. And I know that it's a big no-no to just go into Fuddrucker's, not purchase anything, and fix myself a little plastic container of queso. What if, the next time I went in to get lunch, I just made an extra container of queso and kept it in my fridge? Does that violate the ethics of condiment offerings?
Here's another--the place near my office that has good fries doesn't have ketchup. I did once (gulp) just walk into McDonald's and grab some ketchup to eat with the fries purchased elsewhere. I still feel guilty about this. But what if I grabbed a handful of packets the next time I got some McDonald's (far too frequent), knowing I wasn't going to use them for that meal? I just don't know. I mean, I wouldn't walk into a regular restaurant, grab a glass of water, drink it, and walk out. Where do I draw the line?
Monday, September 28, 2009
Oh, right, the Pandora station. Well, in addition to this, it also plays tons of Depeche Mode and other, weird New Wave. Some pleasant surprises in the category of bleepy, bloopy, dancy music: Basement Jaxx and the Scissor Sisters. I am a fan of the Scissor Sisters in general (although my lack of knowledge as to whether to include the definite article in front of their name probably shows how bad a fan I am), but I become particularly delighted when hearing their songs outside of the context of my iPod. It makes me feel like they are probably not counting on my lukewarm support to make their livings. Thank God. Basement Jaxx are new to me, and I really like them. Perhaps some downloading is on the way.
In other news, I helped my ex-Darlin' move over the weekend and I feel like every muscle in my body is sore. This has renewed my dedication to giving things away to charity every month. I not only helped him move, but I also helped him pack. Those of you who have moved lately probably know that it's the worst thing ever. There's just so much stuff. Every time you think you've reached the end, you realize that you haven't (a) cleaned out the hall closet, (b) cleaned out the refrigerator, (c) taken down the curtains and curtain rods, or (d) all of the above. And he has things that are still in boxes since moving to Virginia from Michigan two years ago, and he probably moved things here from Michigan that he packed up in St. Louis three years before that. It's just all so much.
So, he's moving from a one bedroom into a studio, which means some downsizing. We have already made several runs to Goodwill and will probably make several more. Currently, he's struggling with the dilemma: should I just get rid of everything that doesn't fit into the storage available to me in my new place, or should I construct something to hold all of the stuff that doesn't fit? I think he's leaning toward constructing; I'm leaning toward PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST GET RID OF IT BECAUSE I SWEAR I WILL KILL YOU IF I MOVE THIS STUFF AGAIN IN TWO YEARS. The end.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
This, my friend, is a placeholder post. I have a link to my blog here in my favorites and I just skipped over it completely every day for five months. Now I am trying to get in the habit of clicking on the link again. And, after clicking, of posting something, inane though it may be.
I have been all about making lists lately--lists of Christmas presents to buy, chores to do, groceries I need, things I want to do to my apartment, etc. This afternoon will probably see me making a list of things I have to spend a lot of money on in the coming months.
Oh, what the heck. Here it is:
- wedding gift for friends in October
- Christmas presents for what seems like everyone I have ever met
- trip home -- while this doesn't actually cost me that much money (maybe $150 in gas) (OK, that is a lot of money to me), it does mean I won't be working at retail job for two different weekends, which will cut down the size of my paycheck
- trip to Boston in February
That list seems awfully short. Why am I so stressed about money? Weird. I'm sure there's more stuff that belongs on there. I will revisit it later.
So, yeah, nothing new. Just being stressed out about money and time.
Hey, speaking of nothing related! I went to a meeting yesterday where I got a time-sensitive visitor's pass (like the ones pictured here). I stuck it to my monitor at my desk so I could see if it changed color as obviously as they allege. Verdict--not quite as glaring as I would hope, but I suppose if my job were to check everyone's badge and make sure it wasn't covered in purple lines, it would do the trick.
What's that? This was a boring post. Yes, yes it was. I can't be perfect every time out. I'm not Ozzie Osbourne.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Oh, and why Dwight? Because all of this reminds me of his attempts to be disloyal to Michael. And remember the alliance with Jim? Yeah.
Friday, September 11, 2009
I threw a bridal shower for a friend of mine a couple of weeks ago and I'm so relieved it's over. My friend is...shall we say high-maintenance? Yes, that is a good way to put it. So I figured anything I did wouldn't be good enough and certainly wouldn't be what she would want, which is a posh blow-out at a fancy restaurant. My apartment is many things, but it is neither posh nor fancy. She was very appreciative and pleasant, though, so I think perhaps I should try to table some of my resentment over doing something I didn't really mind doing, for someone who actually appreciated it.
Was that a weirdly worded and weirdly wordy paragraph? Yes, I believe it was.
In other news, my friend Laura is getting married in December. It is the antithesis of the wedding the shower recipient is having. Whereas Bride A is going all out, Laura is planning to get her flowers from Sam's Club and just put them wherever. I think it's going to be fun. It'll certainly be like no wedding I've ever been to before. We're all going to make a dish to bring to her Dad's house for the wedding. The wedding, weather permitting, will be in his backyard.
I did my semi-monthly desk clean-off ritual yesterday and discovered about 3 loaves' worth of bread crumbs hidden under a stack of papers. I swear, if this office building is ever infiltrated by ants, my office will be the first that is overrun.
And, lastly but certainly foremost on my mind, my Darlin' and I have broken up. It happened in July and I'm still having a hard time with it. We were together for almost four years. And I was so sure we were set for life. It's kind of embarrassing to think about how easily I let myself ignore all the signs that he wasn't going to marry me. And he's started seeing someone else. I knew he would, eventually, but did it have to be a month after we broke up? Ugh.
Anyway, I've been trying to distract myself with some quality Etsy shopping today at work, but I have just been feeling sick about it all day. I was actually doing pretty well with it--we were still hanging out, grabbing dinner together sometimes, talking and exchanging e-mails, and now I'm starting to feel all that rejection and pain that I felt when it first happened. That's enough of this talk. This is hard.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I had completely forgotten that one of the funnest things about Netflix is rating movies and seeing the weird things they recommend based on your ratings. Here are two problems with this system:
1.) (and the reason for the title of this post) Netflix seems incapable of understanding that, if you aren't interested in season six of Doctor Who, you're not going to be interested in seasons one through five, nor seven through ninety. I cannot tell you how many George Carlin and Carlos Mencia stand-up DVDs I have labeled as uninteresting to me, only to have to do the same with all remaining stand-up acts by those two (un-funny) people. What is wrong with you, Netflix, that you think I will want to watch season 17 of The Twilight Zone, when I didn't want to watch any of the other 25 you've submitted for my approval!? Huh!?
2.) This is completely my fault, but I've been rating things based on how I felt about them at the time I first watched them. For example, Pocahontas got a great review! Then I realized that I don't really want to get a bunch of cartoons to watch or even to rate. Now I am thinking I should only rate things I've seen in the past 5 years. But that limits me to only about 30 movies! Ah, well.
At least we know that all Patrick Swayze films are getting a good review.
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Hold up! It turns out I am confusing the two pieces here. The bowl-like thing is the mortar!? And the stick thingy is a pestle!? Well, whatever. Pretend that that's true.
I may not be able to show you my tools, but I can show you the awesome Brussels sprouts stalk! I saw a stalk like this in a grocery store in Michigan a few years ago and was super excited. Now you can be, too! Look how pretty!
Monday, April 6, 2009
In other news, I have never had a credit card that offered any real rewards before. So, when I'm playing around with my new special credit card, I'm delighted that there are little things I can get just for using it. I'm really drawn to the gift cards, because there are few things I like to do more than shop. And, though I think getting a gift card for Retail Store would be a good idea (after all, the discount helps my money go further there), I'm kind of torn. On the one hand, there is all the good and useful stuff that I could get at Retail Store. On the other hand, there's something called "Lobster Gram."
Now, I don't eat lobster. It's in that category of things that I will not eat (see my previous entry on things I have tried to like). But there's just something so awesome about getting a Lobster Gram! It makes me think of that man-eating shark sketch on Saturday Night Live (which I’ve never actually seen), where the shark would knock on someone’s door and say, “telegram” or something like that. Anyway, wouldn’t you have definitely answered the door if the shark had said, “Lobster Gram!” I think you would.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
I was going through the archives of this online diary-thingy that I like to read, looking for a reference to something (I can't remember now what that thing was). The journal writer mentioned Brahms' Hungarian Dance No. 5, which I then had to find for immediate listening (I'm such a sheep). Then I listened to it another 4 times. I don't generally go for classical music, because--at the risk of sounding like an imbecile--it's not focused enough for me to concentrate. I tend to get wrapped up in it and my mind starts to wander. I don't have this problem when I listen to T. Rex, I tell you what. Anyway, I recommend it.
Thursday, March 26, 2009
Hey, did I ever tell you about the time I was talking to my brother and he said, "man, I really hate John Ritter. I wish he would die." And then John Ritter did die? Seriously. Like the next week. I've always thought that was strange. Especially because John Ritter was not necessarily related to the conversation we were having. Except we were discussing people my brother hates (his old boss and John Ritter), so I suppose it was somewhat related.
Books I have read/am reading:
Jude the Obscure - I am reading this via dailylit.com, which I may have mentioned before because I love it so. Jude the Obscure, on the other hand, stirs up mixed feelings. On the one hand, I hate to put a book down and stop reading it (or stop opening my e-mails, in this case). On the other hand, I find Sue Bridehead unbelievably irritating. I just don't find her to be an endearing character in any way. At this point, I'm about halfway through the book. I'm hoping she and Jude either get their bone on or the story shifts away from these lackluster characters in the second half of the book. Because, really...this story is kind of lame. The best thing to come out of it so far is that I used Wikipedia to find out what a temperance hotel is (and now you can too!).
The Outsiders - I read this yesterday (it's short) and I thought it was a decent story. It brings on those same feelings as watching documentaries about gang violence or, for that matter, West Side Story. I just end up feeling so morose over the futility of it all. I had the same kind of reaction when I read Random Family last year--you want to reach out to the people involved and make them snap out of it. Introduce them to a different reality. Unfortunately, you don't really have that option with the fictional characters. And, really, with the real ones either. The thing about The Outsiders that resonated with me (and it wasn't really the writing, because it's written like the high school essay it's supposed to be) was that a book written in 1967 is just as relevant now. Change a few fashions, a few habits, a few cars, and you have a book that could be about 2007. In fact, I checked the copyright date twice, just to be sure it wasn't something from the 80s. OK, really my intention was to talk about the books and not the descent of Western Civilization, so I'll move on.
Right now, I'm working on my backlog of Martha Stewart Livings and Cook's Illustrateds so that I can file them away with a clean conscience. I know I've mentioned it before, but I can't wait for all of my free magazine subscriptions to expire so I don't feel compelled to hold on to the magazines I'm never going to read. I can go on with my life, forever ignoring National Geographic and Nylon and stick to the hausfrau publications I love. Man, wouldn't that be a great magazine? A combination National Geographic-Nylon? It could be pygmies wearing electric blue fishnets and waifs fishing with nets off the coast of Benin. Eh?
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
I was so excited that I opened them in the car. And then...blah. They just weren't as good as I remember them being. Not even close. In fact, I didn't even finish my dulce de leche cookie. It just wasn't worth it. In fact, even the tagalogs (I've decided to call them this because I think it's a better name than "tagalongs.") were waxy and artificial tasting. They seemed preservative-laden and short on flavor. And those peanut butter patties are my favorite! I look forward to them all year. So, my question is: has my palate become more refined? I used to love these things--have my tastes changed in such a way that I now shy away from them? I also used to love Chips Ahoy! and Nutter Butters. Well, OK, I never really loved Nutter Butters. And I know I eat more fresh food now, so maybe I'm more sensitive to the flavors of stabilizing additives? I doubt it. I'm not a super taster or anything.
Here's my (conspiracy) theory: the quality of Girl Scout cookies has decreased, even as their price has increased. FACT: when I was a lass, GS cookies were $2.50/box. They are now $3.50/box. FACT: there are fewer cookies in each box than there were back in the 90s, when I was selling (pushing) cookies. THEORY: several cost-saving measures have been put into place, including those mentioned above, in order to increase the benefit to the Girl Scouts. Please note that I don't begrudge the scouts the paltry earnings they get from the sales. I think it's fantastic that this allows troops to go on camping trips and other excursions.
I was also thinking that maybe it was just becoming an adult and moving away from prepackaged sweets and snacks and maturing in my tastes, but adults go nuts for these cookies, too. I should also add that I had some Thin Mints last year and found them to be just as good as they always were. Thus ends my theories.
So, the real reason I'm put off by this? I would most certainly not spend $7 on prepackaged, grocery aisle cookies. I spent that much thinking that the quality of the GS cookies would make it worthwhile, but really...it wasn't. I feel ripped off.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
Also, why is the font so huge on every Explorer page I open? I don't know things about computers.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Just so you're completely up to date on the "broken and dropped in the kitchen" list, I also knocked over my beloved butter dish. I think the problem is that I have no counter space whatsoever, because every spare inch is covered in a small appliance: microwave, toaster oven, coffee maker, George Foreman (I know), KitchenAid mixer. What's a girl to do?
So, picture, if you will, the following scene (circumstances have been changed to protect the non-idiotic): you work for a small corporation. The CEO of said small corporation is retiring. You work on the 5th floor, the CEO's office is on the 14th floor. It's a small company--you've been in meetings together, you've made presentations to him, and you've seen him in the elevator (even greeted him with a cheery "Good morning, Sir!"). But he doesn't come to the 5th floor. Why would he? He's got the sweet penthouse digs, you work in a glorified broom closet. So, on his last day at the office, he goes on a farewell tour with 2 senior vice presidents who are also leaving the company. One senior VP steps into your office moments before the CEO and says, "you're next." You're not wearing shoes. You're listening to Bon Jovi on Pandora radio. Your dirty dish from lunch is front and center on your desk. There's a back log of 800 PowerPoint slides to be put away covering the entire counter behind you. Did I mention you're not wearing shoes? Yeah. Obviously, the proper response to the VP's warning is to say, "OH CRAP." Then you develop a BIZARRE FACIAL TIC. Seriously. I mean, that is what you do, right? I'm not the only person who reacts this way upon being met with these circumstances. Yeah, I know.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
But today, my friends, it was Gang Tattoos! I started searching for an answer to my question: In what county is Alexandria, VA? And I discovered that (a) it's an independent city and (b) they have a burgeoning gang problem, in the form of MS-13. Since I didn't know what MS-13 was, I skipped to the Wikipedia article on MS-13. And then, to gangink.com! The most remarkable thing I discovered on this website was the sheer volume of gangs that call themselves "insane." Here is a list: Imperial Insane Vice Lords, Insane C-Notes, Insane Deuces, Insane Dragons, Insane Majestics, Insane Popes (north and south side), Insane Unknowns. Not to be confused with Conservative Vice Lords. Oh, the vice lords. They're quite conservative. Unlike the liberal vice lords, who are nearly insufferable with their flamboyant socialism.
Anyway, I would like to applaud the gang community of Chicago for confronting mental illness and forming these "gangs," which I assume are something like support groups. Bravo, lads. Also, what's with all the face tattoos? Isn't that a bit much? Just wunnerin.
Monday, January 26, 2009
I brought it home Saturday night and my darlin' and I tore open the box (OK, more me than him) and started pulling all the pieces out. And they just kept coming! It was like a bottomless treasure chest of cookware. Truly, this was the highlight of the weekend.
Earlier that day, I had gone to look at bridesmaids dresses with my friend, Q. We only spent about 20 minutes looking, which left me wondering, how do you ever pick a dress? Going into bridal salons can be pretty overwhelming. If you don't already have an idea of what you want, you would probably never be able to make a decision. And then if you have already looked online, the things in the store can be disappointing. They never look as good as they did on the models, where they had make-up artists, lighting technicians, and set designers to bring the whole thing together. Anyway, I don't think Q is any closer to a decision now than she was when we went in there. And we'll probably end up taking a trip to the fifth circle of hell - David's Bridal - before this is all over. Blech.
On Sunday, in addition to other, more interesting things, my darlin' and I took 3 garbage bags of, well, garbage to Goodwill. Actually, I was reading on The Unclutterer that you shouldn't treat Goodwill (and other charities) like repositories for trash. If someone wouldn't want to buy it, then it belongs in the trash, not at a charity. And really, how charitable are you being if you're just bringing your trash there? Oh, right, back to the story...we went to bring the 3 bags of gently used men's clothing and books to Goodwill, where there was a line of about 12 luxury cars also waiting to drop-off donated goods. I had to laugh. And it made me think that there are probably some really good finds at that Goodwill...
Friday, January 23, 2009
Friday, January 16, 2009
Oh, weird. Uh, I guess that worked. I really like this picture of some birds. I found it on Print & Pattern, who found it elsewhere. Anyway, I like the print and I really like the color palette, but I can't seem to find a way to pull the colors from the color palette. I don't have any fancy photo editing software. I tried using Color Hunter, but the palette it gave me wasn't right. It was too red and there was no cream or pale orange, or even that slightly fuchsia color. Bah!
Things I always find interesting:
- The weather. Here or anywhere. I could talk about this for hours.
- A study of accents. Where people are from, how they came to sound that way, what influences the way we pronounce "cats."
- Americans whose parents were born in other countries. Really? Your Dad grew up in Senegal? Awesome! Let's talk about it at length!!
Things other people find interesting when I talk about them for hours:
There's nothing to put there.
I'm leaving on a jet plane this evening after work to go home for my sister's bachelorette party/spa day/bridal luncheon/weekend-long celebration of lights. I have (1) a direct flight (2) out of Reagan National airport. I'm so excited I could pee! Normally I have to take 3 planes, a train, and a goat to get from DC to New Orleans!
Hey, here's a question--why do software programs recognize the word "bachelor" but not "bachelorette?" I mean, I know bachelorette is a made-up word, but I feel like it's worked its way into the vernacular well enough to be accepted by Outlook and Blogger. I think maybe it's a tool of the patriarchy. They would prefer that, instead of "bachelorette," we use "spinster." Yep, "spinster" doesn't raise any red flags. The man is always keeping us down.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Amazingly, I was scheduled to have Sunday off from my second job at Retail Store. Because most of my days I request off are spent travelling to and from New Orleans and spending time there, I very, very rarely have a day off that is just a day off. On Sunday, I woke up at 9, put a pot roast on to slow cook, made red lentil soup, then made breakfast for my darlin', then put away the Christmas decorations, then did a load of laundry, then made some mini broccoli cheese frittatas to take for breakfast. And I watched the Karate Kid II and straightened my apartment. And I wonder, before I got the second job, DID I EVER FULLY APPRECIATE HAVING TWO WHOLE DAYS OFF? The answer is no. I was amazed by how much I got done and by all the time I had left over to shout foolishness at my darlin' while he tried to work.
What I hope to accomplish tonight: I want to deliver 3 boxes of stuff to Goodwill. I want to unwrap the new glasses I got, wash them, and put them away. I want to clear out my old glasses so that there is room in the cabinets. I want to take my trash out and wash the dishes in my sink. So help me, I will do at least one of these things tonight.
Friday, January 9, 2009
My sister is getting married in March and I am the maid of honor. Oh, I'm honored! The best man, incidentally, is well over six feet tall. And he's a triathlete. Woo, boy, am I going to look dumpy next to him! I can't wait.
Actually, I can wait. I keep wishing the wedding were a little later in the year so I could spend more time (not) dieting and (not) working out. I can accept that I am a chunk, but I'd really rather not look dumpy in pictures that will live on for years. I already saw the pictures from the bridal shower (oh, the joys of facebook) and I can say with some certainty that I looked like an albino moose in a wig. But, enough about that. I hate talking about my body as though it has betrayed me, when really I have betrayed it. Instead of being mindful of the things I eat and the amount of activity I engage in, I've been eating whatever strikes my fancy. And I've made very little effort to do otherwise.
While I was in law school, I was on the South Beach diet pretty consistently for several months. I lost some weight, got some muscle tone (I was also working out), and just generally felt better about the way my clothes fit and the way I looked. I fully intended to start up with this again now, but I just keep eating the worst possible stuff. Ugh.
So, OK, as my body digests my everything bagel and thinks, "Woman! Eat some damn vegetables!" I will resolve once more to cut out wheat and sugar and focus on some healthier options.
Oh, the real tip? Stop eating everything bagels slathered in cream cheese. And stop ordering pizza when, one way or another, you're going to end up eating the whole thing over the next few days. It's still a whole pizza you're eating.
I'm expecting my shipment of beans from Rancho Gordo (www.ranchogordo.com) today. I'll be back on Monday to let you know how the first bean-cooking trial went.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
3. Pumpkins and other squashes (gourds?)
7. Cooked apples
8. Sweet potatoes***
9. Spiced desserts, like those involving nutmeg and cloves and allspice
Things I tried to like and succeeded:
5. Tomato soup
6. French onion soup
*So, this isn't universal. But I don't like pork shoulder, pork roast, pork potstickers, etc. I will eat pork sausage, but not always. I made a meatsauce using only pork sausage one time and I couldn't eat it. It grossed me out. Sorry, I tried.
**I get so much hell about this one. When people find out that I don't eat seafood, they're always like, "but, you're from Louisiana!" Yes. This is true. But I tried. I can't stand the smell. I want to like it! It often looks good. And sushi is so adorable! But I just can't do it. The only exception is StarKist tuna from a can. And spare me the argument that salmon isn't fishy, or I would like X if I had X prepared a certain way. No. I wouldn't.
***Oh, how I long to like sweet potatoes!! I just can't. They taste weird to me. Maybe a little squash-like? It's a weird flavor that I can't put a name to, but always makes me dry heave a little.
****Celery makes me gag. If chopped into little bits and cooked, as in soup, or red beans, I don't mind it. But no matter how tiny it is, if it's raw, I'll taste it. I'll know it's there and it will make me gag. Gahh! Celery! Blech!
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
Friday, January 2, 2009
And now, resolutions!
OK, my first resolution was to unpack my suitcase from my Christmas travels by January 1st. Check! It's done! 2009 is a success!
Second resolution: create a working budget and financial plan. Ugh. I think I tried this last year, too. The problem is that I am completely disorganized, scatterbrained, and undisciplined. Shocking, no? I'll keep you posted on how the budget is coming. I should actually do some work this week, though, so it will have to wait for a slow day at the office (because it needs to be done in Excel. Duh.)
Third resolution: bring one box of items to Goodwill every month. If I am 12 boxes closer to a decluttered apartment come December 31st, I will feel...better somehow. Bonus points for 2 boxes per month!
Fourth resolution: I want to sew a dress and a skirt from a pattern, all proper-like, with my sewing machine. I play around with my sewing machine all the time, but I never produce anything wearable. Or anything that I would be proud to tell people I had made. This will be my year, though! I'm excited. If you're wondering what kind of dress I'd like to make, look here: dress!
Wouldn't that be an adorable dress for a summer garden party? And you know how many of those I host every year...
There may be more resolutions that occur to me as the year progresses, but I think this is a good start. Working from a budget would improve my quality of life overall, as would decluttering my home. Overall life improvement. That's what I'm all about here.