Let me tell you about my day.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hey, It's October!

Man, can you believe it's already October? I guess there are few things less interesting than people talking about how they can't believe how quickly time is passing. So, I'll move on. But, seriously--October!

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

Baked Potato Outrage and the Ethics of Free Condiments

Tragedy to end all tragedies--I went to Fuddrucker's no less than 30 minutes ago to get a baked potato. I was so excited about it. I've been on kind of a baked potato kick lately, mostly satisfying my cravings by going through the Wendy's drive-thru. (They're not great, but they are potato-y, and that's really all I'm after) So, in doing a little research, I discovered that Fuddrucker's sells baked potatoes, with bacon, cheese, etc. Only they don't. Yeah, not really. When I asked about a baked potato, I was met with blank stares. Fine. That's fine.

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

More Music

Recently, I created a new station on Pandora radio (I feel like I talk about this every other post) based on the Pet Shop Boys. I came to like them after I saw them in concert in Detroit in...2006? That seems about right. So I am definitely a fan-come-lately. The concert was outstanding, even for someone like me, who wasn't familiar with any of their music. The big finale, though, was their mix of "Where the Streets Have No Names/Can't Take My Eyes Off of You." Truly fantastic. And I think that cover at left shows how fantastically weird they are otherwise.

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

The World Has Had Enough of Silly Love Songs

Or is the world not enough? No matter.

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:
  1. wedding gift for friends in October
  2. Christmas presents for what seems like everyone I have ever met
  3. 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
  4. 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

Save the Drama for Your Wife and Kids.

So, apparently some people around me at work are engaged in a pitched battle that is invisible to the naked eye. One of these people, who seems to believe that we are "friends," keeps taking shots at the other in my presence: asking about whether that person is doing their job properly and whether they're up to the task of supervising the people under them. Honestly, I have no idea and being asked makes me uncomfortable. I can't really figure out what the point is, as I have no power here and no one would benefit from my loyalty. I can only assume that some sort of power play is in the works and when it goes down, the asker intends to have me on their side. News flash--I'm here because I like my job and I have bills to pay. I am not interested in power plays and I'm certainly not on the side of someone who goes out of their way to take digs at their co-workers. I am interested in getting my paycheck on time, producing the things expected of me, and being able to go on vacation from time to time. That is all. Generally, I don't care. Do not care. Don't get me caught up in your foolishness.

In more news...recently, one of my friends, who we'll call Abigail, told me that another friend, who we'll call Zoë, reported that a third friend, who we'll call Peter, was talking about Abigail. Hold on, let's review: Zoë told Abigail that Peter was talking about Abigail. Clear? OK. I hope I can keep these names right. Anyway, the three work together and are friendly. I understand, though, that sometimes your co-workers tick you off and you have to vent to someone. So, OK--Peter tells Zoë that Abigail didn't do something right at work? Or that she is driving him crazy? Cool. Why would Zoë ever tell Abigail that? Abigial seems to be of the impression that Zoë likes to create drama in people's lives, which is probably true.

I wonder, though, what good Zoë thought would come from her telling Abigail about it. If it was something personal that Peter said about her, then (were I in that position) I would have spoken up and defended Abigail, because she's my friend. And I probably wouldn't have told her unless it was really serious. Because only hurt feelings can arise from this, and it will only cause tension in Abigail and Peter's relationship. Regardless of what was said, what good could have come from this? They still have to work together. What makes this more suspect is that Zoë won't tell Abigail what Peter said, only that he was talking about her. This whole thing smacks of high school and makes me a little angry at Zoë and a little sad for Abigail. As far as Peter is concerned, he's not the type to say actual negative things about one of his friends or co-workers to another co-worker. Maybe venting, but not a snide personal remark. And, frankly, definitely not to Zoë.

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

A Little of This, a Little of That

So, I know what you're thinking--"where have you been?" Or, "oh, I didn't even notice you hadn't posted in the past five months. I have other things going on in my life." You're rude, OK? Don't pretend to be all nice and then say things like that.

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

Dear Netflix, What is Wrong with You?

I have mixed feelings about Netflix. On the one hand, I am terrible at returning things on time (just ask the law school that is still withholding my diploma because of unpaid library fines [whatever, they can keep it]). On the other hand, I don't want to patronize a company that is single-handedly responsible for 99% of all annoying pop-up ads on the internet. But, they do have several versions of Hamlet on hand, meaning I can keep with my lifelong resolution to avoid Kenneth Branagh. So, whatever. I signed up for it again.

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

Pestle 1, Mortar 0

I was making this Smitten Kitchen recipe the other night, for cauliflower and Brussels sprouts in some kind of sauce (I know that's not a good description. Lay off me.) and part of the instructions involved "pounding garlic with sea salt into a paste, using a mortar and pestle." Or was it "using a mortar and a pestle?" I don't remember. Not important.

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.

So, I start pounding the heck out of the garlic and I pound right through the mortar. So, yeah. I had to finish pounding the garlic in a bowl with the little pounding implement. I wanted to give you a picture and a confirmation that those are indeed the tools as I labeled them, but it's not working out for me. Anyway, I was pretty disappointed because I had been excited about my mortar and pestle ownership for the past few months and now it is to be no more.

Oh, right, the recipe -- it was intended to help me branch out of my broccoli rut by trying to cook and eat and like more vegetable varieties. I think I can add Brussels sprouts and cauliflower to things I will eat under some circumstances! I'm really growing as a person.

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

Lobster Gram!

My de facto mother-in-law is coming into town for a visit and will be staying with my boyfriend for the week. We spent about 6 hours yesterday cleaning the apartment, shoving things into drawers and closets, vacuuming the dingy-looking rugs, and scrubbing all scrub-able surfaces. I'm not sure that the apartment looks even close to what a neat person would consider clean, but at least it's tidier and there isn't a big stack of dishes in the sink. Anyway, this flurry of activity lead my darlin' to the most poignant statement on adulthood I've heard lately, which is this: I guess being an adult means you feel that you have to clean before your mom comes to visit. So true, my dear, so true.

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 am Appalled. Appalled, I tell you.

Did you know that "Diet" Orange Crush actually has 25 calories per serving? And contains high fructose corn syrup? I AM OUTRAGED. OK, maybe outraged is a bit too strong, but I am pretty annoyed. I guess you can chalk it up to caveat emptor or something. But I really expect "diet" soft drinks to be sugar-free and no calorie. I didn't even know about this gross injustice until I happened to be studying the objects on my desk in a post-lunch stupor and read the words "low calorie" on the can. Anyway, I had bought a whole case of it last week, so I guess I'll just consume my 300 calories worth of "diet" orange soda and move on with my life. Shame to waste all that delicious oranginess.

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

Come and knock on our door...

We've been waiting for you!

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

The Taste of Nostalgia

So, my darlin' had put his foot down on Sunday regarding the purchase of delectable boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Fair enough. I mean, we're supposed to be on a diet, after all. But then I went to the grocery alone that night, and all was lost. OK, all was not lost. I bought 2 boxes (2!) of GS cookies (the tagalongs [tagalogs?] and the dulce de leche, if you must know). And I decided I would eat one of each, then bring the remainder to work.

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

Seriously, Lady.

Why did you wait for me to start peeing to spark up a conversation in the bathroom? It wasn't an urgent conversation. Wait for me to finish. Sheesh.

Also, why is the font so huge on every Explorer page I open? I don't know things about computers.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Son of a...

Man, I am so danged angry about all the stuff that I keep breaking. This time, in a truly heart-wrenching moment of fall and break-dom, I lost my poor sweet blackberry. He's there in the back on the right. So sweet, so shy. And now he's gone forever. ARGH. Man, I need a bigger kitchen. Or a better organizational model. Or something. This just isn't working.

In other news, I'm glad the hipster websites I visit can't see the lame-ass stuff I google, like "how do I turn off my iPod?" Seriously, I couldn't remember. And the battery was low. Seriously. I'm such a nerd.

A Day in the Life

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

Religious Oppression

Oh, you didn't think this was really going to be about religious oppression, did you? Well, OK, it is, in a way.

Did you know the ShamWOW guy is suing the Church of Scientology for being a bunch of a-holes? It's true. Well, that's not the official complaint or anything, but it seems that they did act pretty dick-ishly toward him. Even if he is a rather unsavory character. I totally need those towels, by the way. I definitely could have used something that could absorb Lake Michigan when I knocked over my full Brita pitcher last night in my 4' square kitchen. I don't always mind my tiny kitchen, but when there isn't even enough room in there to figure out where all the water has gone to, it's too small.
In addition to the Brita pitcher, I also knocked over a glass measuring cup I had gotten from IKEA (and loved dearly). It shattered into a trillion pieces all over my kitchen floor. Naturally, I was barefoot at the time and the broken glass was between me and the doorway out of the kitchen, so I was trapped. I had to clean it as best I could with damp paper towels. Then I crawled out of the kitchen, pushing the paper towels ahead of me to collect an loose shards. Anyway, this just goes to show I need to keep my kitchen cleaner and more organized. And I probably need to get rid of a couple dozen things, too.

Oh, right. Scientology. You know, I don't really know a lot about Scientology. It seems pretty messed up, though, because all you ever hear about it, besides the alien stuff, is how they are driving some man insane, brainwashing Katie Holmes, or stopping people from getting medical attention. I'd be curious to hear a case for Scientology, just to see how people get caught up in this stuff.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Oh, Those Crazy Popes!

About once a day (more or less), I allow myself to get sidetracked from actual work and indulge in a little bit of aimless wandering around the internets. Now, this doesn't include visiting my little list of favorite blogs, reading web comics, or checking Zappo's to see what new pink shoes they're offering. I do that before lunch. No, I mean an adventure through something innocently looked up on Wikipedia and then the links followed from the article I originally looked up...and so on and so forth. Yesterday, it was a look into the relationship of Soon-Yi Previn and Woody Allen. Weird. Also weird that so many people have such strong feelings about this relationship (or, rather, they did back when it was News).

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

Cue the Angelic Chorus!

Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness!!! To the left here, you will see a 16-piece Calphalon One Anodized set of pots and pans. The individual pieces of this little beauty retail for a total of $1,690. As a set, they are sold for $899.95. I picked one up Saturday that had been marked down to $150! Oh my goodness, oh my goodness. It's so lovely. It makes me feel like a fancy lady with a grown up kitchen. Instead of what I really am, which is a lady who would eat popcorn for 3 meals a day if there weren't intervening forces.

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

Minnie the Moocher

Do you know that song? It was just on when I zipped over to Starbucks for a cup of coffee. I like it. It reminds me of an old cartoon with dancing ghosts (something I saw when I was a kid, I guess) and The Blues Brothers. Good stuff. I think one of my favorite parts of that movie is when they're leading the cops on a high speed chase through a mall and Elwood is talking very calmly about the Pier One that just opened there.

So, I ordered some clothes yesterday and today from the internets. I've been complaining for about a year about how hard it is to be too poor to constantly buy new clothes. It's not that I constantly want to buy new clothes. Well, OK, it is. But it's more that I'm particularly hard on my clothes. I don't know what the deal is. I'm pretty sure it's my Hulk-like mannerisms that result in torn hems, popped buttons, and stains on every blessed thing I own. But there has to be something else to that. I don't know what it may be, but I refuse to believe it's just me. Maybe I need to buy clothes of a better quality.

Today I am wearing a red cardigan I bought from Old Navy when I was in college. I daresay it was 2003 when I purchased this sweater. And it's still going strong. How is it possible that this is one of the most durable items in my closet? Under neat that, I am wearing a white t-shirt thingy I bought at Target that is so stained up I'm embarrassed to acknowledge its existence. And yet this is what I wear to work. Good thing they don't let me out of the office much.

Oh, right, the new clothes. I purchased a few new shirts. Three of them are for my day job here. The other two are for my work at Retail Store, where I think they are probably getting tired of seeing me wear the exact same thing every time I work. The only outfit requirements are that I look nice and don't wear tennis shoes. And I bought a dress for my sister's rehearsal and the subsequent dinner. And a dress to wear to my day job. I'm a little nervous about both of them. What if they're too short? Too tight? Curse you, online shopping!

Does anyone know a good dry cleaner in the Alexandria/NoVA/DC area? The last cleaner I went to didn't actually clean my clothes. In fact, they didn't even pretend to clean my clothes by just pressing them and leaving them dirty. I'm pretty sure they just hung them on hangers and called it a day, then charged me $5/piece. Boo to that, dry cleaner.

Friday, January 16, 2009


I tried to upload some pictures and they came out insanely huge and weird and I don't know how to crop things or resize them and ok let's just do this.

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!

Twelve Degrees. Feels Like Negative Two Degrees.

You may not know that I grew up in New Orleans, in the deep and dirty South. This had made me a lightweight in terms of how much cold I can handle. Then I moved to Michigan to go to school for a few years and my ability to withstand the cold improved exponentially. Then I moved to DC. Why does it feel so much colder here than it did in Michigan? I keep talking to people about this. I think it has to do with the moisture in the air. No one seems to be interested in my half-baked weather theories, so I'll write about them here.

Things I always find interesting:
  1. The weather. Here or anywhere. I could talk about this for hours.
  2. A study of accents. Where people are from, how they came to sound that way, what influences the way we pronounce "cats."
  3. 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

Alas! No beans!

So, I did, in fact get my shipment in from Rancho Gordo. And I did, in fact, tear open the box and squeal with glee over all the pretty beans. But I didn't cook any. I'm sure I had an excuse. Oh, right. I work two jobs.

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

Dieting Tips for the Perpetually Lazy

Gah. I'm on a diet again. Again. Boo.

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

Food, Glorious Food

Things I tried to like, but failed:

1. Mushrooms
2. Zucchini
3. Pumpkins and other squashes (gourds?)
4. Pork*
5. Ham
6. Seafood**
7. Cooked apples
8. Sweet potatoes***
9. Spiced desserts, like those involving nutmeg and cloves and allspice
10. Cabbage
11. Celery****

Things I tried to like and succeeded:
1. Olives
2. Bacon
3. Lamb
4. Duck
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

Where Art Thou, HTML?

When I blog at work, HTML must be disabled.  Or Java?  I don't know nothing about programming no blogs.

So, I had to make a modification to my last post to insert a link where before it was a non-linky web address.  Isn't this interesting?  Awesome.

So, onto other things.  I'm doing a joint project with someone I work with and their portion leaves much to be desired.  What to do?  I'm not the first person to encounter this dilemma.  I'm probably not the first person to sit in my office who has faced the problem of a teammate who isn't pulling his or her weight.  But I'm not sure if I should just let it go and let our manager sort it out, offer to help, or just revise the offending portions without being asked.  Perhaps I'll do nothing.  That course of action always works out for the best.

Hey, more than a year ago, I fell on the steps at a restaurant (Maggiano's, if you must know).  All was well for many months, and now I'm experiencing some foot pain.  Oh, did I say "some?"  I meant a hell of a lot.  It's weird and I don't know what to do about it.  I would go to the doctor, but I feel weird going to a sports medicine/orthopedist to be like, "I fell a while ago and my foot hurts."  And when I search for primary care physicians on my insurance company's website, all I get are the names of doctors who work from clinics.  And, OK, sue me, but I would like to go to an actual doctor's office.  One where I get my insurance co-pay's worth.  I mean, I pay for the insurance every month, right?  I should at least get a waiting room with padded folding chairs.  Barack Obama, solve my healthcare crisis!

Friday, January 2, 2009

I Hate the News. Also, Resolutions!

I hate the news. I do. I did a brief stint in an office that dealt with Congress. In said office, I had a TV at my desk and it was expected I be up on the goings-on of government and politics (incidentally, I also hate politics). After a month, I felt so depressed and drained that I HATED that job. But, you know what? I don't think it was the job's fault at all. I think it was the news. I know that there are many, many people (my Darlin' included) who think that a failure to keep up with current events is the most inexcusable form of willful ignorance. I don't care, though. My life seems lighter and brighter when I'm not up on every crisis facing the planet. Yes, I know it's a little ridiculous, but denial is my BFF.

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.