Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Waking up to the classical music radio DJ expounding exuberantly on the piece he's about to play.
The end of a long streak of very important, very stressful, and very time consuming meetings.
Those are the things that have made my day today.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
In college, I once gave a presentation on historic events in the civil rights movement, including the attempted assassination of James Meredith. The source I was using just said, "he was shot in the head." This, to me, meant death. Naturally, I did no further research because, like I said, I was in college and checking to make sure my report subjects actually died is too rigorous for me. Yeah, I don't remember that going over well.
These two things are related because of (a) civil rights and (b) my concern that my report on the Black Panther walking down the street would make it seem like I didn't understand the Black Panther movement. I am here to assure you that I have done no research.
Let's Split the Bill
For someone who spends a lot of money, I think I might actually be cheap. I loathe going to big group dinners at restaurants, because I hate when everyone throws into the pot with little regard for what they ordered. What I don't understand and never understand is how people so grossly miscalculate what they owe. And this seems to happen just about every time I go out with a group. At some point, someone will say, "OK, everybody throw in another dollar." No. No, I will do no such thing. Why this bothers me is because I tend to order according to what I feel comfortable spending on that meal. It really irks me when I'm expected to pay more than my share because someone else isn't giving what they should.
Last night I went to dinner with a group (it worked out fine, I'm just using this as an example), and I ordered a $4 appetizer and a $12.75 entree. I drank water. I put in $20. I worked it out thus: $16.75 for food, plus 10% tax (a gross overestimate) would be about $18.50. I throw in another $1.50 to account for a margin of error in my calculation. The tip gets added in later. I always work in pretty much the same way--over-contributing slightly so there's no squeeze. Why don't other people do this? I really don't like splitting bills. Yep, I'm definitely cheap. I'd rather eat alone than have to pay an extra $12 for my meal for wine that I didn't drink.
Yesterday and today I have packed a bag lunch for myself! Woooooo! I'm hoping I can get into the habit of doing this so that I can save money and overeat less frequently. Even if I splurge slightly--good turkey from the deli, rolls instead of sliced bread--I still end up saving myself a good bit of money. And, on nasty, rainy days like today, it's pretty nice to not have to go out and find something to eat. I can instead sit in my office with the door closed and my shoes off and eat my little turkey sandwich.
So, Operation: Keep the Dang Dining Room Table Clean is going quite well. I've even managed to extend some of the neatness to the living room and my bedroom! Maybe I can take some pictures soon! It will be pretty magical if I manage to get everything in my apartment clean at once because I don't think it has ever happened.
I was actually inspired by my brother and sister-in-law's place when I went to visit them. Somehow, they have a very tidy, well-cared-for apartment that feels welcoming and friendly. I think they're just consistent with it, and that's how it works out for them. But, I know my brother--he is a slob. He is also a hoarder. We are cut from the same cloth. So, I figure if he can do it, then I can do it.
I just want to get to the point where people stopping by unexpectedly is a pleasant surprise, and not grounds for panic. I think I'm getting there.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
Anyway, I guess the desk plan is what they had in mind. I put my bowls of hot oatmeal on it (see previous post on fiber intake) and my coffee. And let's just say that it's developed something of a patina. I googled "how to clean thirstystone coasters," and thirstystone told me to clean it with cold water and "a few drops of mild detergent." So, naturally, I soaped the shit out of it. And now! It's practically good as new! It has returned to its original creamy color!
Have we ever discussed my overuse of cleansers? It's something of a problem. I think it's probably responsible for the rapid build up of soap scum in my shower, because a quarter-sized amount of shower gel on my bath pouf translates to a baseball-sized amount in my mind. Also, the counter top spray--I need about 12 paper towels to get it all up and get my counter top dry again. And the dish soap? I go through it like it's the water I'm also using the wash the dishes. That was a good analogy.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
So, right! I stayed home! I did a whole bunch of laundry, which made me feel good about taking advantage of my convalescence to get something worthwhile done. And I made creamed spinach. It came out OK. I think I got a little carried away with the "creamed" aspect of it. Oh, and I did some dishes!
And I watched a documentary on meth, "The Witches of Eastwick," and "The Ugly Truth." Those are some of the things I had on my Netflix-on-Demand queue. Is it weird that I feel like I've accomplished something when I can delete something off of my queue? All three of them get three stars.
Tonight I am going to a craft workshop, and then hopefully to bed before 10, because I'm still feeling kind of under the weather and I'd like to get some sleep before I go home this weekend.
Yes! Home! I can't wait. I'm excited because the weekend is pretty much wide open, except for on Easter Sunday, when we have family plans. Word.
Monday, March 29, 2010
I find that the easiest thing for me is getting enough fiber. Maybe it's that you can find fiber in things that are otherwise only mediocre-ly healthy, and I certainly eat plenty of those.
Anyway, I make instant oatmeal at work every morning. Good fiber! I also drink coffee (someone will have to tell me if this is actually a valid source of fiber). Also, I went to CVS today and they had "dried plums" on sale: 2 resealable containers for $5. Excellent fiber!
[I would be interested in a study comparing sales of "dried plums" to sales of prunes, and how the change in labeling affected the demographic of people buying them.]
So, I think that pretty much clears the rest of the day for eating hard boiled eggs.
To-do list for this evening:
- Stop sneezing FOR THE LOVE OF GOD JUST STOP SNEEZING (this duty belongs to Benadryl)
- Eat at least one of the vegetables I got from Costco
- Depending on whether Benadryl works its magic, make banana bread
- Finish folding laundry in living room and put away
- STREEEEEEEEEEEEETCH goal: bring Snuggie and bedspread to laundromat, wash and dry and put into space bag to store under bed.
I'll be sure to report back on how many of these things get accomplished.
Work accomplishment of the day: flow chart created in PowerPoint
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
It's all because of my second job at Retail Store and the measly withholding going on over there. Ugh. I am so upset because I was going to pay off my big credit card next month and it was like this huge weight that was going to be gone. And now, it'll probably be July before I make the last payment. Now that I have to pay ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS to the government.
It's not all Federal, true, but I would pay Virginia $300 and complain only minimally (I suspected I might owe some taxes this year). But this is a huge amount of money for me! I don't make $1k in two months at Retail Store! So sad.
Anyway, I have a lot to do in the next few days, even aside from all of the fretting I have penciled in on my schedule, so I'd better hop to it.
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Otherwise, I don't have much to report.
I was at my book club meeting last night and, as we are nearing the end of this book, someone suggested another one. Then I suggested a book for after that one, and she looked really offended. It was kind of weird, like maybe she thought I was trying to bash her idea? I'm not sure what was going on there. I feel like maybe there was some other weirdness because she sent me a facebook invitation to an event that I probably won't make it to, but I haven't RSVP'd yet because I was waiting to see what my schedule looked like.
Does this happen to other people? I know I'm extraordinarily bad at maintaining social graces--I don't think I've ever promptly returned a phone call in my life--but maybe other people do this as well? I don't think I'm alone, because my sister didn't even put RSVP information on her wedding invitations, knowing that no one was going to RSVP. That's just the way things work in New Orleans. Yeah! It's New Orleans' fault that I am socially ungraceful!
Thursday, March 11, 2010
Update on the dining room table: it is clear! I have placemats on it now!! I actually cleared everything off of it and put that stuff away, then wiped the table down. I was able to put out some placemats I've been storing in the closet for a few months! Hooray!
Update on the back pain: I took a bunch of stuff out of my purse yesterday to lighten the load, and spent the evening cleaning and straightening rather than sitting in my favorite chair. I took some ibuprofen right before bed (which I had been doing, with no result) and I had a peaceful night. I did sleep poorly, but at least it wasn't because of back pain.
I think I need to revamp my bedroom and gear it towards restfulness. Step one could be cleaning my room so that there's no clutter, and I can look around me before bed and see tidiness and calm. Step two could be to move the cable modem and router to under my bed so there are no intermittently flashing lights in my room. Step three is probably to find a louder fan to block out some of the worse noise coming from my upstairs neighbors. OK, those all seem like good things to work on this weekend.
I made a to-do list yesterday on the metro ride home and managed to cross off several things, so I'm feeling pretty good about continuing with the to-do list thing. Some items for this weekend:
- Complete at least three loads of laundry (that means washing, drying, folding/hanging up, and putting away)
- Revamping my sleep space
- Arts & Crafts
Whoops! How'd that get on there? Well, it's on the list, so I'd better get it done so I can check it off.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Well, it doesn't translate directly because my whole kitchen is roughly the size of most people's kitchen islands, but I would like to keep my dining room table (also used as a dumping ground, craft space, and food prep area) free of clutter. Starting today and lasting until the end of 2010 (and hopefully beyond that). I will get control of that space.
Also, what was that you said about "why are you going to workitmom.com when you have no children?" I like to think it's because I am constantly behind, and listening to the stories of women who have children to care for as well as themselves makes me feel better. Maybe even vice versa? I mean, I live alone and I can't stay on top of my laundry and dishes. How can they expect to when they're also caring for children?
Good: I didn't bring my lunch today, but I'm thinking it might be a good day for microwave popcorn and a jaunt outside to buy a piece of fruit.
Friday, March 5, 2010
So, with my rather wordy rant against Comcast in the Olympics post comments, I thought I should offer a refreshing look at some companies whose services I enjoy and use regularly.
- Netflix-on-Demand. Holy Lord, do I love this. For starters, no one need know how many times I watch Confessions of a Shopaholic* because there's no return trip to the video store. (Do people still call them video stores?) Also, they have every available season of every Law & Order available for me to watch whenever! And, because I bought a little adapter for my laptop, I can hook up my laptop to my TV and watch things on my big TV screen, from the comfort of my sofa, or I can watch movies in bed. I'll leave it to you to figure out which occurs more often.
- Bank of America's "My Portfolio" service. Do you have Bank of America? Do you use this? It's pretty fun. OK, once you get past the front page showing your depressing low net worth, scoot over to the budgeting and reports section. It's like a wonderland of nerd-dom! You can figure out where all your money goes using adorable multi-colored pie charts. Oh, man, I love pie charts. It's not perfect or anything, but you could easily wile away an hour or so flipping between the different breakdowns. AND you can set budget limits. Unfortunately, when you spend past your budget, Bank of America doesn't like text you to say, "no more restaurants this month, Buttercup. We mean it." So, I guess it's kind of up to you to sort it out.
Oh, on this pie chart, I have cropped the actual dollar figures because I didn't want anyone to have a heart attack when they see how much I'm repaying in student loans every month. Every month. For the next 25, nay, 24 years of my life. My, how time does fly! Also, this isn't really an accurate picture because (a) my rent check isn't reflected here (and I could have sworn I paid the rent this month...no matter) and (b) I went to the grocery and bought expensive things nearly every day of snowmaggedon, so it's reflecting a bigger piece of the pie than groceries usually get.
I guess here is where I say that both of these companies could give a crap that I'm promoting their services. Neither knows I exist, but for the presence of my account number on their rolls of "people from whom to extract money."
*I published once and then realized I forgot to put in the footnote about Confessions of a Shopaholic. I wasn't wowed by this movie, but I doubt anyone was completely blown away. I did enjoy it, though, and it's a reasonable stand-in for many other similar movies that I would watch again and again without having to rent it every time (10 Things I Hate About You, anyone? Anyone?). Also, I have no more room to store DVDs, so purchasing is out of the question.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
I just got back from my long-planned trip to Boston with my Ex-Darlin'. And. it. was. fantastic.
I was just looking back through my calendar for the past couple of years and I haven't had an actual vacation in a long, long time. Possibly since...2007? Every spare moment of vacation time I've had has been used to go visit my family in New Orleans, or to have family come visit me. I haven't done anything that was entirely vacation-y in such a long time, I forgot how freakin' awesome it is.
And I loved Boston! It was so lovely! Such a beautiful mix of historic and modern.
Here are the things I did/saw:
Newbury Street in Back Bay, Boston Common, Fenway Park, lunch at the Cask and Flagon, the Freedom Trail, Little Italy (North End), Chinatown, Cheers, swimming in the hotel pool (I was unbelievably excited about this), dinner at Summer Shack, lunch in North End, the USS Constitution, Bunker Hill, and the best freakin' cannoli I've ever tasted from Mike's Pastry.
Maybe I'll upload some pictures. I forgot my digital camera, so I bought a little disposable from CVS. We'll see how it went. I kept forgetting that they don't work quite as well as the digital in terms of taking pictures in low light. I don't know if any of them will come out.
Everyone we met was fantastically nice, too! People stopped us on the street to give us directions.
Anyway, I'm sure I'll go back, if only for the cannoli. Because, seriously--I am considering moving to Boston for that reason alone.
Friday, February 19, 2010
I watched the men's figure skating videos for Plushenko and Lysacek. Basically, I was like, "meh, that doesn't look so hard. I could probably do that." Plus, I though their landings looked kind of sloppy. This is the Olympics, gentlemen! Stick those landings!
But, oh! Then I watched the, um, bloopers(?) video with all of the falls and spills, and people crashing into gates on the slalom ski slope, slamming into the boards in hockey games, coming out of triple lutzes to land on their butts, and I thought, "oh, maybe this is kind of hard." So, yeah, if you need some perspective on the actual difficulty of the tasks they set out to do, maybe your best bet is to watch the best athletes in their respective countries fall magnificently.
ALSO. How mad would you be if your skating doubles partner fell on the ice, and ruined your chances for a medal? What about the guy you're speed skating AGAINST who trips and crashes into you? I can't imagine how disappointing that must be.
In unrelated news, snowmaggedon prevented me from leaving DC at all to go home for the Super Bowl, so I watched the Saints win at my apartment, by myself. Talk about lacking a party atmosphere. It did give me three days off of work, but had I my druthers, I would have gone home.
Friday, February 5, 2010
Last night, I got off work from Retail Store and decided to hit the grocery before I go home. I figured I might want some cookie dough, cereal, or Tyson's breaded chicken patties (shut up) during my impending snow house arrest. So, yeah. Grocery. 10 p.m. ELEVENTY BILLION PEOPLE. There was no meat! NO. MEAT. People had cleared the shelves! The cooler where the beef usually sits was completely bare. It was like shopping in Soviet Russia. Or at least, how I imagine it was to shop in Soviet Russia. I stood in the express lane for 45 minutes with my 7 items. Every lane was open and the lines stretched to the back of the store. Literally, there were people standing about 8 feet from the back wall of the store, waiting in line to be rung up.
So, people are a little panicky.
I was supposed to fly home to New Orleans Saturday morning, to take in some Mardi Gras action, visit my family, and watch the Superbowl with people who were interested in the outcome. But my flight has been canceled, so I'm going to fly out on Sunday morning. This is not optimal. I am coming back to DC on Monday, so my trip will only be about 24 hours long. Still, I was so excited about this trip, and I won't really have a good opportunity to visit again for the next couple of months, so I really want to go down there.
Growing up, I saw a lot of panic surrounding hurricane preparations: people would flock to grocery stores and Home Depot, scooping up all the bottled water/candles/flashlights/plywood that they could carry. It's kind of strange that, in a situation where the biggest threat is that you'll have to stay in your dry, warm house, people are just as capable of creating chaos.
And now, some very important advice on how to handle snowmaggedon: http://snowpocalypsedc.com/
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
I wear skirts to work pretty much every day. I have maybe two pairs of acceptable work pants and they've been in the dry cleaning pile for the past oh, let's say year. So, I wear pantyhose or tights almost every work day. Here's my take on them:
- Spanx tights (bought on sale at TJ Maxx, because holy hell are they expensive) -- they're really, really good. They stand up to anything, fit well without weird color variations, and are pretty comfortable in spite of being control-top. They are pretty expensive, though--on sale at TJ Maxx they were still $14.99. And I had the unfortunate experience of a pair running the first time I wore them, which is weird because I've had another pair for over a year with no visible wear.
- Target tights -- Merona makes some pretty boss colors and patterns. I have some gray, purple, teal, and fuchsia, as well as some nice chevron-patterned and argyle tights. The solid colors last a good long time (going on three successful Winter seasons), but the patterns tend to run like crazy. At $7 a pop, this isn't something I want to have to rebuy every week, so I'm pretty cautious with them.
- Wal*Mart tights -- I just bought my first pairs last week and I'm wearing a pair for the first time today. So far, so good. I can't really vouch for their ability to stand up to multiple washings, but I like the look of them. They are, I believe, "George" brand and they were only $5 each. I am wearing brown ones right now. I don't think they are control top (which I didn't really want anyway) although they claim to be, and they are pretty comfortable. There's no "gap." In some leg coverings, there's more space than is comfortable in the fit, which makes me feel like I'm waddling. The Wal*Mart tights mercifully fit closely.
The ultimate verdict is that I wish Wal*Mart tights came in more festive colors, because I like brightly-colored tights, but don't necessarily need mustard-colored tights to last for 10 years. So, I wouldn't mind spending $5 and knowing that they'll probably only be good until March. That's about what I pay for pantyhose, and I put my thumb through those pretty much every time I put on a pair.
I'd also really, really like to get a whole boat load of bright colors from We Love Colors, but $15 each?! I can't justify that for tights I could only wear with one or two outfits.
Tights, tights, tights. Wasn't this exciting?
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
So, through Swistle I found Postcrossing, which is my new "hobby." I was unsure of how it would turn out. I mean, the website makes it seem like (a) you get the address of a stranger in another country, (b) you send that person a postcard, and then (c) your name and address go to another random stranger who (d) sends you a postcard! Easy peasy, right?
Well, because I never really trust that things will work out the way the Internet says they will, I was shocked when my first postcard arrived in Germany!
So, now, apparently, I'll get a postcard from another country? This sounds amazing and I am super-excited. I can hardly wait!
In other news, I bought these templates from Paper Source and spent a big part of the weekend making envelopes out of the scads and scads of scrapbook paper I have. I have never really done any scrapbooking. I just like collecting the supplies and admiring them from time to time. I do, however, write notes to people pretty frequently, so having extra envelopes will be fantastic! What a great way to use up my surplus! Of course, this now means that I have to shop for more scrapbook paper to make more envelopes. Quel dommage.
Friday, January 15, 2010
I made Smitten Kitchen's chocolate chip sour cream coffee cake on New Year's Eve (which was a quiet evening) and it called for a whole bag of chocolate chips, which was way too much. If I make it again (and I will, when more than three people will be eating it), I will definitely use only half that much. The chocolate chips compete with the other delightful flavors too much.
Last night! I made Smitten Kitchen's (man, I love her) black bean soup in my Crock Pot. I put it on to cook when I went to bed and completed the prep work when I woke up this morning--pureeing half of it in the blender. Then, because it was hot, and contains no perishable ingredients, I left it on the counter to cool while I am at work. I will have my first taste for lunch today! My usual black bean soup recipe is "put beans and whatever else is on hand in pot. Cook." So, I am eager to see if following this recipe (which was pretty easy) will have a profound and favorable effect on the flavor. I am hopeful. It did require two cooking vessels and a small appliance (pan in which to saute veggies pre-soup, Crock Pot, blender), so it had better look like being tasty or I will punch it in the throat.
I am going to dinner tonight in the city with my friend and her boyfriend and brother, and I need to go home between work and dinner to pick up my car, put away the soup, and wash the blender. I could also, oh, I don't know--PUT ON MAKEUP? CLEAN SPOT OF OATMEAL OFF OF DRESS? BRUSH HAIR? Yeah, my personal beauty standards for work are pretty lax.
Oh, I may not have to work this Sunday! This would delight me, even though I could use the money, because I really like just sitting at home sometimes and I have been making some progress with decluttering and would like to do a little more of it this weekend.
One of my projects at work today is to Google this woman we are going to be working with and come up with some cogent thoughts on how we should describe our upcoming project to her in a way that matches her philosophies and work styles. Is it weird that I'm really excited about this? She has written a lot of stuff about management, so I am mostly reading a bunch of articles by her and taking little notes. And, this takes precedence over everything else I am working on and HECK YES. I love putting other work on hold to Google things.
Also, I may have found a new hobby, but I won't tell you about it until I know how it is coming together and that will be in about 2 weeks! So, prepare to be excited!