Saturday, December 25, 2010

God bless us, every one!

I'm full of gratitude today, as I consider all that I have. Despite the things I want but don't have yet, my life is full of love and happiness. And compared to most of the world, I'm downright spoiled.  Maybe it's my unregulated hormones, but I get teary when I think of how wonderful my life really is.

No matter what your situation, I hope you find some time in the next week to count your blessings. I think you'll find you still come out ahead.

Happy Christmas, you guys.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Such caring

Our kitchen is mostly unpacked. Just a box or two left, several loads of dishes, and some organizing. Good enough that I can cook! So I ran to the store to buy chocolate for some treats I'm making tomorrow (and forgot the creamy peanut butter [we only have crunchy at the mo] until right when I got to the register, at which point I was too far into to go grab some, but I'm sure my mom has some I can swipe) and considered picking up a block of parmesean, zucchini, carrots, pasta, canned tomatoes, etc. to make some soup. Basically all I have on hand for it was the chicken broth. (Don't judge me. I'm working on rebuilding my pantry.) When I got back to my poor, sick husband, I was telling him how I was going to make soup, but gave up because the cheese was ridiculously expensive. He interrupted to say it was okay, because he's not really into soup when he's sick. I told him, "I know. The soup was for me."

In my defense, it's chilly! And I got too cold while trying to defrost the car windows, which will often make my headache. I had to settle for a cup of hot broth. I could have tossed some rice in for a little substance, but I'm laaaaaazy. Tomorrow should be good, though. I want to make peanut butter balls and toffee. I'd make caramel corn, too, but I don't think I have that much butter. Plus I'm lazy.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hey!

What's your favorite Madonna song? Madonna era? Glee version of a Madonna song?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Long time no read

Um, hi. Remember me?

It's been crazy. We moved, we had Thanksgiving, I have periodic meltdowns, we paint, I melt down some more. Thanksgiving was particularly difficult because I was used to being alone pretty much all the time, and then there were a dozen people around at any given time. At one point my mom may have given me some sort of anti-anxiety medication. I should maybe take some more sometimes.

The renters who lived in this house previously ruined it. Ruined. They destroyed the carpet--which had been basically brand new when they moved in. Holes in walls and doors, broken faucets, creepy stains, a cracked window...the list keeps getting longer. And the fridge smells like fish.  Really, really, really bad fish. I feel really bad for my parents, who are spending thousands of dollars just to make it livable. Such a fine "thank you" from the people they were helping out by letting them live here for basically half price.

I can't cook right now, which is getting really old. And expensive. But I also can't unpack my kitchen stuff, because it's in newspaper and needs to be washed, which requires a fully functioning sink and/or dishwasher (the dishwasher requires a garbage disposal in place, which also needs to be replaced). Did I mention they turned the house into trailer trash?

We repainted the downstairs and are living down here. Had to paint much of the upstairs before the carpet goes in,  but we can't move in up there until we get a bathroom brought up to a usable condition. It's all very sad and frustrating.

No jobs yet, which is okay because there's so much painting and junk to do, but bad because we haven't stopped spending money, we've just stopped making it. Although I should get one last check with my paid out vacation time. So that will take us real far. Or not. I only had 40 hours.

After two days of hardcore painting I woke up today with pretty much everything sore. And to an email from our renters, basically calling us slobs. We offered her an opportunity to walk through the place when she picked up the keys, to see if there was anything we needed to do or she objected to or whatever. But then today she was like, "There was dust and bugs in the windowsill! I have to sweep!" Okay, look. I did vacuum, sweep, clean the bathrooms, wipe down the kitchen, etc, but it's not going to be perfect. Everyone cleans when they move into a place, no? And we warned her that there's stuff in the garage that we wouldn't be able to pick up until later this month.

So that was just an extra dose of frustration. Plus really quite insulting. We haven't gotten their check for December yet, either. They're not moving in fully until next week, but I already gave her the keys, and she filled out the rental contract with the date starting December 1. Blah. THIS is exactly why I don't want to be a landlord. I really want to sell the dang place. Hey, are you sure you don't want to buy it as an investment? No? Someone you know maybe?

I'll be glad to go out of town just so I don't have to deal with any of this. No phone calls, no email, no nothing.  Everything can go to crap, and I really don't care. But don't take it as an invitation to burgle; there will be people here. More repairs and stuff, plus my sister is moving her stuff into one (but just one!) of the spare rooms, since they have moved in with my parents.

Sigh. So that's where I've been. Any questions?

Friday, November 19, 2010

What use is an atlas showing the USSR?

I've been throwing away a bunch of stuff--duh--including a bunch of papers from school. I don't really need my eighth grade writing assignments, y'know? How long have I been carting this stuff around? Fifteen, twenty years? I kind of hope that someone comes dumpster diving so that they can enjoy the seventeen-year-old handwritten report on India, complete with hand-drawn maps.

As I was walking out to the garbage with another load, I thought, "It's kind of sad to be throwing away these mementos from my childhood." And then I thought, "Why? I don't want them. Why have I been hanging on to this crap for so long? I should have thrown it away years ago--like after each class ended."  Not only do I not want them, but it's not like my kids will want them. Eventually, they're going to get thrown away. Why not now?

Not only does this attitude help me not be as attached to my Stuff (I'm a sentimental packrat) but it makes moving a crapload easier. Wins all around.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

You give [the law profession] a bad name

Years ago, I worked for a lawyer. For a couple of months.  A kind of...lawyer-y lawyer, the kind that gives them all bad names. The kind you think of when people are telling lawyer jokes. Hence I only worked there for a few months. (I took a picture of his Yellow Pages ad, it was so stereotypically bad. I might even still have his equally bad business card.) He had tons of turnover, probably because he came across as kind of slimy. Well, in the course of researching something else (don't ask) I randomly stumbled across the little gem of information that he was disbarred two years after I quit.  You know why? Because people who seem slimy usually are, and they always get their comeuppance eventually.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

It's all downhill from here

I love that expression, it's all downhill. Does that mean everything is going to get worse, or get easier? Yes.

Anyway, I have three days to finish packing the house before it's time to pack up the shipping/storage pod. It's mostly just random stuff here and there.  I didn't get much done the last couple of days because I ran out of boxes. But I swiped some from friends last night (they moved a couple months ago, and I don't think they'll be needing them soon. Let me just take a minute to say how much I love the karmic essence of moving boxes. Practically no one buys moving boxes, they just get them from some kind people who don't need them. And then they pass them on to someone else. It's beautiful.) So I got boxes from friends last night, including some large enough for my more unwieldy items, like our pictures and my mixing bowl big enough to bathe a toddler in. Because you need a bowl big enough to bathe a toddler in if you want to make caramel corn without getting it all over the floor.

So I've got a plan. I'm going to tackle a different room each night and I'm going to have everything entirely packed up by Saturday. I'm going to chug as much Cherry Coke as I want, and I am going to get this done! No more tears...just blow through it and be done. Then I'll be able to enjoy Thanksgiving, our cruise, Christmas. It'll be great!

Right? Great?

Still pretty stirred up

As many people are, I'm still pretty stirred up about the new airline screening rules. If you're interested, feel free to read some of the articles linked to below. If not, I'll have some non-airline content soon.

There's a Washington Times editorial and link round-up review on Cnet, including what real scientists think about the health dangers. Of course, the FDA says it's safe, and the FDA has never screwed up before. Right? Also of interest is the Senate hearing transcript, wherein Joe Lieberman claims that if the Christmas Day bombing had been successful, we'd all be demanding full pat-downs for everyone.  No, actually, I would be demanding real security, like they do in Israel.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lost art of bargaining

I've been trying to sell some of my bigger or unnecessary stuff on KSL lately (do you need a 32" TV, new-in-box Hershey's S'mores Maker, seasons 1-3 of House, HP 23 color ink, or a 3' x 4' canvas?).  I've sold a couple things, but haven't gotten a lot of response. I don't know if people don't expect to barter or what, but I'm getting lots of views but no response.

I have the TV (with stand, converter box, and antenna) listed on craigslist for $150. Someone emailed and asked if I would let it go for $75. See, this fellow knows how to negotiate. I responded and said I'd take $100. That's a decent price for all that; the digital antenna alone was $50ish.  But then he didn't respond.

So I figure no one on KSL is aware that they can negotiate--even though I specifically say "or best offer"--and have reduce the price on things accordingly. But apparently I underpriced my stereo. I figured that there wouldn't be a lot of interest in a bulky five-disc changer. People have iPods, what do they need a dual tape deck for? It does have a remote, but still, it's got to be at least ten years old. And yet this morning I had two people call who wanted it.

Maybe I shouldn't look at it as underpriced. Maybe I should consider it competitively priced. Although I think on internet classifieds, "competitive" equals "ridiculously cheap."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Friendly skies, unfriendly airport

Seeing as I'll soon once again be taking to the skies, an article recently caught my eye about the full-body scanners. I don't like those things for many reasons, and I'm not alone. They may or may not have unsafe levels of radiation, they certainly are unnecessarily invasive, and they don't actually stop anything. Even worse, though, are the stories about the "enhanced" pat downs, where government officials are authorized to grope you. All in the name of safety, of course. Safety, even though most of the the people being searched like criminals are just law-abiding travelers. Even though the full-body scans miss plenty of things (except for your private anatomy, of course).  Even though we're always one step behind the terrorists. Even though profiling (gasp! yes, that) is more effective.

It really bothers me that we all turn into sheep in the name of "security." Do any of us really feel more safe? Would we stand for it if they tried to implement these procedures at stadiums, museums, historic sites, etc.? Is it really a government of, for, and by the people if they have carte blanche to invade our privacy? Is there really nothing we can do to stop it?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Robot production is far more advanced than you thought

This is remarkable. And maybe a little creepy, in all the best ways.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Good news!

We got a lot more than we were expecting for my car--like, hundreds and hundreds and a couple thousands too--so we went ahead and booked the cruise we were thinking about. We never went on a proper honeymoon, and he loves cruises, and they're actually a remarkable value. Plus our anniversary will be the last day at sea, and we get some kind of perks that are supposed to be a surprise. I can't wait! I love vacations, dressing up, free room service, no luggage restriction, making a big deal out of special occasions...it's perfect. And I get to buy a new dress that I'll probably never have occasion to wear again. You know what that means? We have to go on more cruises to get our money's worth.

I figure it will be easier to find a modest formal dress in Utah, so I'm doing a little shopping before I go home and do a lot of packing. Which is okay, because I had waaaaay too much Cherry Coke at lunch. But it was in the fountain, and rarely does that happen, so I indulged in a refill. Anyway, I've got nowhere to be in the morning. I can stay up as late as I want. One of the many perks of being a childless grown up.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Memo to America

Dear all,

I will let you know when I'm ready to think about Christmas. Until then, please do away with your nonstop Christmas music, countdowns to Christmas, reminders of how many shopping weeks away it is, and general red-and-green vomit-athon.

Perhaps I should just hibernate for a few weeks.

Respectfully,
me


P.S. Happy Veteran's Day.
And then Happy Thanksgiving.
And then we'll talk about Christmas.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Not entirely gratuitious GPOYW

Among my many bruises, there's one on my shoulder from the seat belt that is really bad. It is also frequently where my bra strap is, and where I cradle the phone at work. Delightful, I assure you. I've had much bigger bruises, but I haven't had one this deep in a long time.


I'm not sure about the coloring. I think the light in the bathroom is making me look less pale than I really am. So I let Picnik take a stab at autocorrecting it. It seems too light, but I think I really am that pale, or nearly so. 


So there you go. I'd take a picture of the knot on my arm, but it doesn't photograph well in artificial light, and I never see natural light but on the weekends now.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

New renters

Our friends with the crappy place have been kind of noncommittal about renting. They were late giving us an answer on whether they wanted it, they were never clear about when they wanted to move in, they blew past the WEEK deadline we gave them on signing a rental agreement, etc. They were even late when they were supposed to come look at it!  It doesn't engender a lot of hope that they'll pay their rent on time when potential renters can't complete any part of the process on time.  Basically they were acting like they're doing us a supreme favor, even though we offered them a better deal than we were to everyone else.

So we said nuts to that, and I listed it on KSL for fifty bucks more than we were asking from them (and no free internet!) and from the time I listed it to the time we told someone they could have it, it was less than 72 hours. They love it! They really hope they can get it! It's got lots of storage! I like how it's so secluded! When do you think you'll know? We're just so excited to move in! That's what I'm talking about.

And really, it's better for us anyway. We come a lot closer to covering all our expenses. And from talking to them a couple times and meeting them once, they already seem more reliable. One of their references even said, "I'd never tell her this, but she's pretty OCD about cleaning." That's exactly what I want in a renter!

So I'm hopeful they'll stay the whole time he's finishing his degree at the U. Maybe by then we'll be in a better position to sell. I'm not really interested in being a landlord long term.

Of course, our friends called last night, mad as proverbial wet hens. "We told you we wanted to rent it!" O rly? You didn't act like it. "But we emailed and asked for the dimensions!" Yeah, and we replied and said you're welcome to measure when you sign the lease.  "We were in Vegas!" Did you mention that to us, set a time to come sign? Or sign it before you left? "We asked you to email it to us!" Not that I know of, you didn't. What if we had been strangers who had given you a deadline to sign a lease? Strangers aren't going to hold it for you just because you said you wanted it. That's the whole point of having a rental agreement. It makes things binding.

They are mad enough that the friendship is probably over. It happens sometimes; I once had a friendship bust up because I didn't want to wear a formal gown to go bowling. True story.  Anyway, I guess this is why you shouldn't do business with friends. Is that some sort of common knowledge? Looks like it; Google autocompleted "don't do business" with "friends" before "family." You tell 'em, Google.

Monday, November 8, 2010

It's Harry Potter all over again

I read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series last week, and the first book in the sequels series (The Heroes of Olympus: The Lost Hero) this weekend. Love 'em! The problem, though, is that The Lost Hero came out not even a week before I got it, so now I have to wait until next year for the next one. Sad face. But I will soon be buying the first book in the Kane Chronicles by the same author, so I'll have another series where I'm waiting for the next book to come out.  I just love fun books!  As soon as I have fifty grand or so to spare, I'm definitely doing that M.Ed program in children's lit.

Maybe the best bit about the books is that they make me want to dig out my copy of Edith Hamilton's Mythology.  Anything that inspires you to want to learn more (or maybe re-learn what you used to know) is pretty awesome.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Don't think that'll buff out


To be fair, hoods are designed to crumple up. But still. Not good.

Stuff I (re)learned last night

People are liars, especially if it is to cover their butts.

It's really infuriating to be blamed for something you know you didn't do.

It feels pretty crappy when the police don't believe you. They're basically calling you a liar.

Airbags burn. Literally.

Sometimes ERs are really tame, full of people getting stitches out, pregnant ladies with UTIs, and a guy who cut his finger. Oh, and a girl who promised the paramedics she'd get checked out at the hospital.

All things being equal, you're better off getting in an accident with your paid-off car than your still-has-a-loan car.

Cars are designed to crumple in the front to protect the passengers.

It's hard to find a position to sleep when you can't put pressure on the inside of your forearm.

McDonald's doesn't put hot fudge at the bottom of the sundaes anymore.

Being upset turns off my food-related guilt switch.

Deep down, no one wants to eat a nice healthy dinner when they're distraught.

Sometimes, "look on the bright side" just makes you even more upset, even when the bright side is really bright.

Real friends are the ones who'll do things like pick you up in the middle of the street, take you home to get a bag, wait at the ER with you, then let you sleep on their couch.

Life is rough all over. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Boring entry alert! Boooooring

Darn, if I'd left out the tangent about the election, my last entry would have been somewhat thematically cohesive.   Eh, what can you do?

Anyway, I've had a headache off and on for the last four days and if I move very fast, it starts pounding again. I hate when I can feel my pulse in my temples.  So yeah. I've been packing, eating cereal, reading Percy Jackson books, packing, trying to get things organized for whomever replaces me at work, packing, applying for jobs...the usual.

What have YOU been up to?  No, really. By reading this sentence, you agree to leave a comment and tell me what's new with you. There, now you've all committed. I'll even set it so you don't have to be registered, although please do leave your name. Inquiring minds want to know!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

bits and pieces

Why are all the good bookshelves Nordic? The READ bookshelves I want are from Sweden, and now this crazy thing from Finland.  Maybe they like to read more than America.

Anyway, I'm so relieved the election is over. I'm tired of the ads and the signs and the autodialer phone calls at work. I'm tired of the Republicans and the Democrats. I'm registered as an independent, and it's such a relief not to be affiliated with either party's nonsense. And it's a relief for the next campaigning season to be what--nine, ten months away?

I'm so tired. It makes me crabby and impatient. I've been staying up way too late. Partly because my husband is a time zone behind me (for the next four days) but also because I have a hard time putting down my book.  These books.

I've mentioned before my love of children's lit. I want a master's degree in it. I just have no patience for contemporary adult literature in general. It's so self-important, trying to be Important. Swearing doesn't make you relevant. Neither does graphic sex scenes. Don't get me wrong, there are still some good books, but many of them are not. And while there are plenty of crappy books written for young adults (like, oh, most things directed at young girls) I think they tend to be more interesting and entertaining.

Because face it, we read books to be entertained. If a book isn't entertaining, we probably won't finish it. *cough*Emma*cough* What is it about that book that is so unappealing to me?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Leftover anticipation

So, normally when I bring my lunch to work, it's not something worth being thrilled about. It's hard to muster a lot of enthusiasm for a PB&J or chicken and crackers.  But today, I'm actually looking forward to eating leftovers.

This happens about once a decade. Prior to getting married, my goal in life was to cook with no leftovers, because I just don't eat them. When I go to a restaurant, I don't want to waste all that extra food. There are hungry people! Not just in Africa, but the US, too! So I put it in a foam box, take it home, let it sit in the fridge for a few days until the guilt dries out as much as the food, then pitch it.  (I'm getting over it.  More useless guilt.)

Anyway, last week I made a vegetable soup based on the PW's minestrone. I had the leftovers a few days later, and they were still delicious. So I made some last night--more "inspired by" than "based on," though, because I don't really keep green beans or yellow squash or low sodium chicken broth on hand--and it was again delicious. And I had a loaf of french bread to boot.  So today's lunch is a rerun of last night's dinner, and for once I don't mind at all.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Excellent, excellent news

After a highly unnecessary amount of delay, we have someone to rent our condo!  (Still wouldn't mind selling it, though.) We have some friends that we've been trying to convince to rent it.

Their place is terrible--no counter space and only two or three cabinets in the kitchen, no dishwasher, only a 3/4 bathroom, no dining room, no garage, no pantry (because it's full of the owners' food storage) etc. It's a basement apartment, so in addition to the owners' food storage in what should be their pantry, they have to share the washer and dryer that's in their unit and they can hear the kids running around at all hours. The owners come down whenever they feel like it, and let the kids run around while they do laundry. When the owners go on vacation, they turn off the heat entirely. Sure, the utilities are included, but they don't have any control over them. Frankly, for what they're getting, I think they are being over charged.

The wife is anxious to move, but all the sudden her husband, usually a spendthrift, is complaining about how much more they would have to pay to rent our place. Yeah, it's $130 more a month and you have to pay utilities, but you also don't have to whisper when you want to badmouth the neighbors.  Yeah, their landlords can hear them through the vents. The vents that are so close, thanks to the incredibly low ceilings, ceilings so low that at some places they're just a few inches above his head.  Besides, our place is over 300 square feet bigger than theirs.

So obviously they're going to move anyway, but they just can't decide if they want to live here. It's not that hard of a decision. I mean, if they're looking to improve their living space, they are going to end up paying more. We're even throwing in free internet and not making them pay a security deposit, just because I feel more comfortable with renters we know. It's actually a really good deal for them. If we rented to someone else, we would get a security deposit, a year lease, and not have to pay for the internet. We told them that we needed an answer before Adam got on the plane last night to go back to Arizona, otherwise we'd rent to someone else.

So we hadn't heard anything all day. They kept texting questions and whatnot, but no answer. We finally were like, "So they're deciding no and they're not even going to call us. Not cool." Adam was in the airport, waiting to board, and finally we get a text saying that they're going to take it. Geez, it's not like you're buying it; we're only asking for a six month commitment.

But we are relieved to have renters. They aren't sure when exactly they're going to move in; we gave them the option of December 1 or prorating it and moving in on the 15th. But I'm out of here in November. My last day at work will be the 19th--three weeks away. I'm so excited!  Sure, we don't have jobs yet, and we'll be living with my parents through the end of the year but that is actually not a problem. I'm getting out of Utah! No more snow! No more nylons! Swimming pools and weekend trips to California! I'm so happy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crabby lady is crabby

You know that cadence that newscasters have? I hate it.  It's impossible to describe. It's like they overemphasize the wrong wrong words. It sounds so fake, so unconversational. There's a woman who does the on-the-scene reporting for the local Fox channel who gets on my nerves so much that I have to change the channel when she comes on.

I've recently added to my list of annoying broadcaster traits the tendency of radio DJs to segue the title of the song into whatever they want to talk about, no matter how unrelated. "That was Chicago with 'Hard to Say I'm Sorry.' Also hard is trying to find the perfect Halloween costume!" They're the most graceless transitions ever.

I guess I'm over-tired, because everything is SUPER annoying to me. In my head, to the driver who doesn't know where to take the ticket to get into the parking garage: "Can you not see the big red sign that says TAKE TICKET HERE?"  To the person driving up to the gate at 2 miles an hour: "You know you don't have to stop until you actually get to the gate, right?" To the woman walking slowly in the middle of the sidewalk: "Yes, if you're going to walk slowly, you should definitely do it where no one can get around you."  I think I need a nap.

Also, it looks like the printer cartridge now has fewer than 900 pages remaining. I'm so scared.  Why, come Valentine's Day, I might actually have to replace it.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A far too in-depth look at my utility bills

Because I'm a dork and like playing with charts and graphs, I made one showing my total utility costs since I moved into my condo:

But I decided that didn't provide enough information.  See, my family visited each July, and they like things a lot cooler than I do, so the air conditioning was on pretty much full time. The power bill in August isn't reflective of my normal usage.  So I broke it out by utility type:


Much better. See how the August electricity bills are clearly outliers?  And look at September '10. The power bill is considerably higher than the previous year. Why is that? Well, I wasn't married last August, and my fabulous husband and I differ on ideal temperature. Plus he was home more during the day, so I couldn't let the temperature go as high as I otherwise would have. If I were really industrious, I would compare the average temperatures to see if this August was warmer, but I'm not. Anyway, we ran the A/C more in August versus the year before, hence the higher September bill.

But wait. Look at the May '09 gas bill. That's way too low.  Oh, right, everyone got a rebate that month, bringing my payment to practically zero. Let's try that again.


Much better. Now, one more for good measure, so we can see the trending for each utility.


This one makes it obvious that our electricity usage peaks in summer and our gas bill in winter--electric a/c and gas heat.  But the power bill doesn't seem to trend as seasonally as the gas bill. It peaks in summer, but we're getting a rise in the winter months, too. We rely on a space heater to heat our bedroom, rather than cranking up the heat throughout the house, which is quite the electricity hog. I guess we could forgo that and I could put my pajamas on in the much warmer bathroom. It's hard to change your clothes when it's cold.  But cold bedrooms are no fun in general.

I also pay $6 a month for sewer, which they bill every two months, but I go the proactive route and just pay the whole $72 at the beginning of the year. It's a lot easier to just do it all at once and not worry about when I last got a bill. I'm pretty tempted to start paying my HOA fees a few months at a time, too. Especially now that it's cold, it would reduce the amount of time I have to be outside by minutes per month. Minutes!

Anyway, yeah. Utility trends. I have clearly struck rock bottom of blogging topics, but these are the things I find interesting.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Delta hates me

So my husband is coming to town for the weekend. My parents took pity on us and are reuniting is for a few days.  Unless Delta gets their way, I guess.

He got to the airport, and his flight was delayed.  He doesn't have any checked bags, so they moved him to the earlier flight, which had also been delayed. He should have gotten in about 15 minutes earlier than scheduled.

But he just called me--now there's a maintenance light coming on, so they're delayed again.  I'm not really sure when I'm going to see my husband tonight, but I'm really short on patience tonight.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Neighbor gifts

I just read about a product that would be "perfect for neighbor gifts or stocking stuffers for coworkers."  Whoa, hold on. Why do I have to buy these people presents? Because I happened to get a job at the same company as them? Or moved near them?  It's one thing if I'm actually friends with someone, but why am I socially obligated to buy things for people simply because of their physical proximity to me?  It just seems like a big ball of stress-making. I'm really going to try not to get roped into this kind of stuff. I have enough trouble mustering up the holiday spirit to buy gifts for my friends and relatives, now I have to come up with something cute and clever and cost-effective for everyone I routinely come in contact with?  No thank you.

Monday, October 25, 2010

How to make me not want to read your blog

Center justification does not make your blog creative.

Neither do a bunch one-line paragraphs.

You're still writing a boring paragraph.

It's just one line at a time.

Bad poetry
is just bad prose
with line breaks.


In fact,  all unusual formatting  
masks
the lack of quality writing.

Even if you go for good ol' normal paragraphs, there are still plenty of ways to pretend that your writing is important. For instance, you could make random words large or in different colors. And if you're extra talented, you can even do both. It's a great way to add emphasis without resorting to crazy things like rhetorical devices or a well-crafted sentence.

If all else fails, just throw in an exclamation point! On every sentence!  I'll know how important what you're saying is! Lots of them doesn't dilute the importance! It means everything is important! ...Right?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

More movies

I remembered a couple more. People are shocked that I haven't seen the Goonies. And our neighbor recently insisted we watch Ghostbusters, because I don't remember seeing it. I may have as a kid, but had zero recollection of any of the plot. Of course, by that definition, I was so young when I saw E.T. that I effectively haven't seen it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Mystery plant

Any idea what plant this is? I think it's some kind of lily; it's only bloomed twice in the three and nearly a half years I've worked here. All I know is that it seems to be indestructible. It lives on despite a total lack of natural sunlight and alternating periods of under- and overwatering. This is the kind of plant I need. Imagine how it would thrive if it had sunlight!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Tiny vampires?

I'm not really sure what happened, but I don't remember seeing this when I went to bed last night:


(Please excuse my ragged cuticles.) Sure, it may have been there all along--I frequently injure myself and don't remember it--but who can know for sure that it wasn't miniature vampires? It's a nicer thought than bug bites.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Gratuitous Picture of My To-do List Wednesday

Ice cream edition.


Certainly more interesting than a picture of me today, especially since I overslept and am wearing zero makeup. I guess that's what happens when you forget to turn your alarm back on after being on vacation and your husband isn't around to be your secondary alarm.

Movies people are shocked I haven't seen

The original Star Wars trilogy
Footloose
Miracle on 34th Street
Rocky (though I did recently see Rocky Balboa)
The Dark Knight (I didn't think much of Batman Begins)
Raiders of the Lost Ark

There are probably more. I don't really make an effort to see these things.  But sometimes people take it into their own hands....

Movies people have made me watch because they were shocked when they learned I hadn't seen it:
Top Gun
It's a Wonderful Life

That's all I can think of off the top of my head. Anyway, I figure if people are truly scandalized that I haven't seen something, they'll make it happen.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

29

I turned 29 yesterday! For real 29, though, not "don't want to be 30 because of some crazy neurosis about aging so I say I'm 29" 29.

Since I turned 28, I...
got married!!
got my tonsils out
was on antibiotics six times
had both my grandparents died
went to Arizona a couple times
spent a week kicking around southern California
decided it's time we start multiplying and replenishing
decided that no child of mine will be born in Utah
have had arthritis symptoms of increasing severity
drove a van (again)

Still, not a bad year.

Friday, October 15, 2010

A few random thoughts

My birthday is on Monday. I'm going to be 29! Next year, though, I'm going to turn 30, which wouldn't be a big deal except that next year my husband turns but 26.  Sigh.  Oh well.

I wish I was one of those people who just pop out of bed when the alarm goes off.  I'm at the point where I only hit snooze twice, which is an improvement over my younger days.

It's cold in the mornings now. I don't want to break out my gloves already, so I take a mug of cocoa in the car.  Plus...cocoa.

If you're making a U-turn from a left turn lane onto a road with three lanes going your direction with a parking lane (so essentially four) and you STILL have to encroach into the lane next to the turn lane, you are a terrible driver and your car is too big.  Or else you're just a selfish jerk. Based on what I've seen of Utards, I think it's mostly just selfishness.  Heaven forbid I wanted to drive in the lane next to you; apparently that's your lane too.

The only thing worse is city buses. They drive like they're the only vehicle on the road. It's frequently very scary.

I found a couple very cute craft projects that I want to do.  Me.  Crafting! It helps that the projects don't seem to require any significant skill. One uses whimsical hand whipstitching and the other uses hot glue.  Sewing machines and non-visible stitches aren't really for me, but I can do hot glue!

Where does one buy wool felt? Besides the internet?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Drowsy Chaperone

Do you live in Utah? Will you be in Utah any time before November 28?  If you answered yes to either of those questions, might I strongly suggest you go see The Drowsy Chaperone at the Hale Centre Theatre in West Valley?  It is good fluffy fun with lots of singing and dancing, including a tap number.  TAP DANCE, people!  Everyone loves tap dance!  There are all sorts of fun things that I would totally tell you about, but don't want to ruin the surprises if you do end up seeing it.

The cast is great--I think there are a few who don't have a degree in Music Dance Theater?  (I keep saying we need to move somewhere with less talent so I can get cast in shows.)  Half the cast is single-cast, which means they basically do every show.  I've never seen a show with so many people single cast.  It's a huge commitment, doing 8-10 shows a week for eight weeks.

 The best part, though, is Greg Barnett, who plays the narrator, Man in Chair.  I've seen him in quite a few shows (he was quite delightful as Algernon in The Importance of Being Earnest) and he never disappoints. But as Man in Chair he is funny and sarcastic and fey and charming and really just remarkable. And he teaches third grade in real life.  And with the exception of about two minutes near the beginning of Act 2, he's on stage the entire show.  He's the linchpin that holds it all together, and not just anyone could pull it off.

So, yes.  Go see it.  GO SEE IT!  "The spit-take scene is lame and the monkey motif labored, but it does what a musical is supposed to do!"

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Another kitchen tool infomercial

I have mentioned before how much I love my strainer, but you know what I've been loving the last eight months or so?  My food hammer.  Or as they're more properly known, a meat tenderizer.  (This isn't my exact one; I inherited mine from my grandma. But I am a fan of Oxo.) But "meat tenderizer" is all wrong!  They do so much more than tenderize meat!  Need a broken up toffee candy bar for your latest dessert creating? (A good idea and may I have some?)  Just bash it with your food hammer!  I use it to make breadcrumbs, break up bags of ice--no more flinging it to the floor!--break up pre-cooked ground beef for better portioning...really it's good for breaking up most things.  I also used it to gently hammer in the pin that was coming out of my stand mixer.  Closely related to meat tenderizing but still a distinct usage is meat thinning.  Sometimes a recipe will call for you to pound a piece of chicken, which I've tried with a frying pan but not with a ton of success.  Enter my food hammer!  Honestly, I never realized how many things I could do with a meat tenderizer.  Much like the old adage that every problem looks like a nail when you've got a hammer, everything looks like a piece of meat when I've got a tenderizer.

(Also, have you noticed that everything looks like a hammer when you've got a nail?  I've used a shoe, the handle of a screw driver, etc. Not yet a meat tenderizer, though...)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"More photos of the fireplace at Rosings"

I'm very much enjoying Mark Brownlow's series of famous inboxes. I think the best is Elizabeth Bennet's, although that may just be my fondness for Pride and Prejudice.  They've all got some great ones, like Darth Vader's "Re: Left lightsaber on bus" or Voldemort's "Lucius Malfoy is now following you on Twitter!"  It's a fun way to waste a few minutes.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tension builds slowly

A while ago--as in months--the printer at work started showing the message "Order new cartridge."  I didn't. I figure I'll get a new one when it actually tells me to replace it, seeing as I just have to walk across the parking garage to pick up a new one.

After several weeks it said warned that there were less than 1800 pages remaining.  Then 1400.  Now less than 1100.  It's been months!  We rarely print more than a dozen pages a day, so we probably have a good many more weeks before it becomes critical.  I suppose if you print hundreds and hundreds of pages a day it would be helpful, but I find it very anticlimactic. If anything, it makes me less inclined to worry about it.  The printer that cried wolf, I guess.  Or maybe I just don't care about my job so much.  I'm a little burnt out.  It reminds me of an oft-referred to (in my family) passage from The Simpsons:



Lisa: Uhh, excuse me?  Isn't there anything here that doesn't have meat in it?
Doris: Possibly the meat loaf.
Lisa: Well, I believe you're required to provide a vegetarian alternative.
Doris: [Picks up a hot dog in a bun, shakes the weiner out, and slaps the bun down on Lisa's tray.]  Yum.  It's rich in bunly goodness.
Lisa: [Drolly.]  Do you remember when you lost your passion for this work?
Lunchlady Doris removes the cigarette from her mouth, reaches under the counter and presses the "independent Thought Alarm" button.  Cut to Principal Skinner in his office.
Skinner: Uh oh.  Two independent thought alarms in one day.  The students are overstimulated.  Willie!  Remove all the colored chalk from the classrooms.
Willie: I warned ya!  Didn't I warn ya?!  That colored chalk was forged by Lucifer himself!
Maybe you just had to be there.

Friday, October 8, 2010

I made it through the rain

Well, it has been raining this week, but I don't really mind that.  Contrary to what you may have heard, I don't melt in water.

No, I'm just glad to have made it through the week.  See, weekends are when I catch up on all the sleep I didn't get during the week.  Take a weekend away from me--by having to work maybe?--and I'm increasingly miserable as the week goes on.  I've had waaaay too much soda this week. So much that I have gotten a couple bouts of the weird "too much soda, not enough food or sleep" jitters.  Hate those.

Anyway, yeah.  Weekend!

Also, Barry Manilow is awesomer than you probably think.  See entry title.

All rights were reserved

You guys, I want this so, so much.

I considered putting the picture in, but I want you to have the joy of clicking through and seeing it. Besides, I wouldn't like it if someone took my picture for their blog, even if they linked back to me.  It's still kind of stealing, even if you do credit them, because you didn't ask first.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

You'll all be wearing gold-plated diapers

Name the pop culture icon that is source for this entry's title and you win 50 Internet Points!*

I've got baby fever.  Every time I look at this picture...
 ...I get all squeal-y.  For one thing, that's just a really cute baby.  But also, that's my husband! Holding a baby!  Like it's a real baby and not a bomb or something icky!  (He'd never held a baby before Miss C here, so he was a little nervous at first. But he got the hang of it pretty fast.)  He could totally be standing in that same room in that same outfit, holding our baby. How awesome does that sound?  Sigh.

In addition to that baby who is turning into a great big girl and not really a baby anymore, our good friends have a two-month old baby who is so cute even when he's crying for no good reason.  Plus everyone on Facebook seems to be expecting.  Plus a couple of my friends are "trying" or getting to that point.  There are babies everywhere and I want one! I may not buy into shoe trends or "it" bags, but this is something I can get behind.

And speaking of fevers, it feels like the injection site on my arm has a fever. I always forget how uncomfortable flu shots are for the first few days.  I much prefer baby fever to localized flu shot fever.


*Internet Points are utterly useless and redeemable for nothing, other than knowing that you're awesome.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Making up

I am down to the last dregs of nearly all my makeup. I don't know how that happened; I guess it's like when the car in front of you has a blinker that's faster than yours, but for a few blinks they are synchronized.  I'll probably wind up getting what I always get, but sometimes I like to imagine that I'm going to try the new greatest thing and find something so much better than what I've been using.  Usually, though, I'd rather not risk it.

The nice thing about buying new makeup, though, is that it's easy for me to pick out foundation. I just have to try the lightest color, and if it's too dark, that line won't work for me.  Sometimes I don't even bother to check the shade, and just grab the lightest thing they have.  I guess there are upsides to being albino.  Sometimes when I'm wearing a lot of makeup (so, basically never) I think I look like a porcelain doll, with all the color painted on. It's strange.  That's probably why I don't wear a lot of makeup.  You know what I do love? Lip gloss.  I keep them everywhere, and never two of the same kind. Right now I'm actually loving the dollar-a-pop E.L.F. stuff that I got at the ghetto grocery store.  But I'm always on the hunt for another great gloss.  Any you recommend?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

my everything hurts.

I've not been feeling well lately.  Although I haven't been diagnosed with RA, we're pretty sure that I will have it and probably do already.  According to the internet (everyone's favorite pathologist) it would explain pretty much all my current symptoms.  Even better that the go-to diagnosis of pregnancy! I'd much rather be pregnant, but I don't think pregnancy makes your hand and wrist hurt when you're brushing your teeth.

I'm super not looking forward to winter, because that just makes it ache that much more.  I'm really hoping I'll be in Arizona by then. We've decided that Adam is going to give notice at work and move down in two weeks so that he can start his National Guard application there and start looking for a job.  I'll stay behind until we figure out something to do with the house or I get a job in Arizona, hopefully the former before the latter.  It's a good idea, but it's all very fast and I'm not looking forward to being apart and the uncertainty and the leaping in faith.

So, again, if you know someone who is looking to buy a condo in Salt Lake--or even just rent, if they're really trustworthy--send them my way

Monday, October 4, 2010

Or in other words, "May make you crazy"

Go read this article about the new research "comparing the brains of women on birth control pills with brains of other women and men."  I find it interesting that 50 years after the pill's first version, they're saying, "Hey, we should maybe check into that."  Of course, technology and methodology are probably far more suited to it than forty years ago, but what about ten or twenty years ago?

Anyway, with all the anecdotal evidence of personality change, I do appreciate that there's at least some research being done.  I especially appreciate that the researchers used the word "catawampus" in their report.  I sometimes call them crazy pills, I get so weepy and...well, crazy.  I was never particularly keen on the idea of hormonal birth control methods, for just this type of thing.  What other physical impact do they have that has gone unnoticed for the last half century?  Bleck.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Casualish Friday

The dress I wore today is...not exceptionally attractive or flattering.  (Why is all the Simply Vera Wang stuff so ugly? It's like she phoned it in because it's Kohl's.) So why did I wear it?  Why do I even own it?  Well, it was on clearance, and it's comfy.  So, so comfy.  Paired with these delightful argyle tights, it kind of feels like I'm wearing winter jammies.  And with how cold it gets in my office in the afternoons, staying warm is a particular priority.  Besides, when I left this morning, Fabulous Husband fabulously told me, "You look great."  Maybe his standards are low, but it worked for me.

Best word ever

I just learned the best word: fremdschämen. It's German, obviously, and it means vicarious embarrassment, or as the New York Times put it, "a feeling of cringing embarrassment for the actions of others."


Dude, you guys, I have that all the time.  That's why I hate movies like "Meet the Parents" and the sequel that I refused to even see.  Even sitcoms make me cringe.  I have no desire to watch people embarrass themselves (or injure...I'm looking at you, AFV) because it makes embarrassed for them.


So, yeah, let's work that into everyday conversation.  Fremdsch√§men.  You're welcome.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Green and other guilts

This NY Times article on green guilt is ridiculous.  This is what I hate about the environmentalist movement--if you're not doing everything absolutely perfectly, you should beat yourself up about all of your shortcomings.  You live in an unfinished geodesic dome, building tiny houses, but you feel guilty because you use plywood to keep costs down?  You want to put in a composting toilet to save water, but you have a swimming pool in  the back yard of your second home?  Shouldn't you also be feeling guilty about maintaining two residences?

There is one guy in the article who strikes me as sane.  He said, "If you wake up in the morning and your biggest concern is trash cans or what kind of window sprays you're using, you are having it good. There are people who wake up and their biggest concern is getting fed."  There are a lot bigger issues in this world than what type of light bulb I use.  (I like GE's  Reveal, incidentally, for the beautiful quality of light and lack of continual blinking and mercury.)

Frankly, I'm not a big fan of guilt in general.  I think most guilt is externally produced; there are all these things we are told we should do--use cloth diapers, be skinny, buy CFL light bulbs, never use TV as a babysitter, eat organic, etc.--and so we feel bad, even if our circumstances (or values) necessitate something else.  I suppose it might occasionally motivate people, but mostly we just sit around feeling bad.  Whether it's using disposable diapers, not sending thank you cards, eating that extra handful of M&Ms, guilt is not a productive emotion if you don't change your behavior.  If you're going to keep doing whatever it is that makes you feel guilty, you might as well accept your decision, stop feeling guilty, and go do something productive.  So if you ever feel guilty about something "they" say you should or shouldn't be doing, remember that I give you permission to not feel guilty.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Things move along, if slowly

So, fabulous husband applied last week for a security guard gig at the very same junior high as the one that sucked two years of self esteem from my young, chubby life.  They called the day after the position closed (and it was only open three days) and wanted to interview him. But it was only a three-month temporary job whilst the incumbent recuperated from back surgery.  I had seen in the posting that it was temporary, but I assumed slightly longer temporary, like to the end of the school year.  So FH asked if it was possible that he'd be able to transfer to another position when the incumbent returned to work.  She said she'd call back, but didn't.  I wasn't surprised; I figure they went with someone local who wasn't put off by the temporary nature of the position.

But then yesterday, he got another call from the school district, for a job he didn't even apply for. He asked if I had done it for him, but dude, I don't like applying for my own jobs, so I'm surely not going to apply for him.  It's only part time, but it would be a foot in the door so he could find out first about internal postings.  Plus he'd be making some money--and let's face it, it is a lot easier to find a job when you actually live in the state.  The schedule is such that it shouldn't interfere with any other job he would get.  Could be good.

They wanted him to go down to interview on Thursday.  Um, no.  We're not paying $500 dollars so he can fly down to interview for a part time job.  He called them and suggested a phone interview, which they agreed to and will be taking place tomorrow during his lunch.  So, yeah. That could be good.  The job I applied for doesn't even close until Friday, and here he's already gotten two calls!

We have a couple people who think they might know someone who might be interested in buying.  That doesn't sound very productive, does it?  Better than nothing, I guess.  Worst case scenario (which would be the worst!) we'll rent it, so keep in mind anyone you know who might be interested in renting, too.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My dream uniform

So lately I've been all about plain long-sleeve shirts. I'm nearly always cold, so it's not like I need the option of taking off a cardigan.  In dire straights I can just push the sleeves up, but it really never reaches that point.  If I could set the thermostat however I want, then I might be uncomfortable in long sleeves, but I have a much warmer body to accommodate.  Plus my thermostat at work doesn't seem to have any impact on the temperature.  For instance, it's currently set at 78, but reads that it's actually 74. This is an improvement over yesterday afternoon, when it was 78/70.

Anyway, I don't remember where I first read about the idea of having a daily uniform.  I think it might have been Gwyneth Paltrow talking about her leggings-and-tunic type uniform.  At some point my eyes rolled, probably repeatedly.  I haven't much sympathy for the trials of life of celebrities.  I'm sure their lives are difficult to them, but for those of us who can't afford nannies, cooks, cleaning ladies, multiple houses, first-class flights, or $80 yoga pants (honestly, why would someone spend that much on workout clothes?), it just seems like a lot of really privileged whining.

But I digress.  A daily uniform.  It actually does make life easier.  The men here complain about having to wear a suit every day, but I think it would be a relief.  I recently experimented with wearing the same skirt every day, and there really was something so liberating about not having to decide what to wear, or how long it's been since I've worn something.  I've decided that no one pays enough attention to my outfits that I need to worry about it.  This is especially true with basics.  My same-skirt experiment was with a basic black skirt.  The shirt I'm wearing today--which I also wore yesterday, because "worn" doesn't always mean "dirty"--is a plain black, long-sleeved shirt.  Even if someone noticed that it looked like my shirt from yesterday, isn't it entirely possible that I own multiple plain black tees?  Oh yes it is--I once bought three of the same black shirt so that when one faded, I had a back up.

My dream daily uniform, though, would be a long sleeve tee and yoga pants.  Or track pants, depending on the weather.  It is convenient that I'm so short, as I can find very comfy pants in the little boys section, and generally for at least half of what they charge for women. My current favs were five bucks.  My now-gone favorite fleece pullover (a moment of silence and a curse towards Delta) was $3 in the boys section of Target when I was in college.  I loved that fleece.  Sigh.  But anyway, what's your uniform?  Or your dream uniform?

Monday, September 27, 2010

More things a day

In early August, I decided to get rid of the equivalent of one thing a day for the rest of the year. That was 49 days ago, and so far I have at least 70 things that I have purposely thrown away rather than continue to store, or else designated for sale or donation. I want to have a garage sale, but I don't know if it will actually happen.

Can I tell you how great it is?  There's something so lovely about getting rid of Stuff.  I definitely need to get rid of a lot more.  We packed up several boxes of random stuff in preparation for taking pictures and hopefully showing our house, and the upstairs feels so different.  It's so clean and uncluttered.  We keep saying we feel like we live in a model home. It's nothing short of remarkable.

It makes me wonder if we really need that stuff in those boxes.  Some of it is sentimental, but how much of it is stuff that I might use again some day, or is only occasionally useful when we have someone with kids over?  I bet most of that stuff we could just get rid of and never move.

I highly suggest that everyone pack up a few boxes, as if they were getting ready to move.  It will feel so nice, you might wonder if you actually need all that stuff.  You probably don't.

Friday, September 24, 2010

My coworkers are crazy

I got a call the other day from a coworker.  He wanted help playing a prank on our boss.  See, for the last two months, said coworker has been raising butterflies.  From egg to caterpillar to pupa to butterfly, he's been patiently tending them through the whole life cycle.  Now they've emerged from their cocoon, and he wanted to put them in the bosses office.

Um, okay.  Is our boss afraid of butterflies?  Is there some sort of inside butterfly joke?  Nope.  My coworker just thought it would be hilarious to release butterflies in his office.  I guess the mystery of butterflies randomly appearing is funny to him.  Not your typical prank, but since it wasn't mean, I was okay helping out.  (If my boss had some irrational fear of butterflies or something, I would have refused to help. I can't stand mean spirited pranks.)

It reminds me of a story my dad tells of being in Korea in the late 70s.  Something along the lines of it being the kids' idea of a good time to get together and dress someone up in a newspaper outfit.  No pictures, no going out in it or anything. They dressed them up, laughed, and then took it off.  Something gets lost in translation, I guess.

So we put the butterflies in his office yesterday when he was at lunch. He was quite perplexed when he saw them.  It actually was rather amusing, but my coworker didn't even get to see it!  Although he was laughing hard enough just at the thought of it, so I guess he was satisfied.  My boss knew that to call or email him about it would just give my coworker the satisfaction that he wanted, so he didn't. It drove my coworker crazy, so he finally called me and asked what happened.  All in all, it was strange behavior from a couple of guys old enough to be my father.

Also, I think offices should regularly have butterflies flying around.  It's kind of cheery.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Let's decide now that my kids will hate me

Okay, so maybe they won't hate me.  But a friend sent me a link to the most ridiculous birthday party.  I'm going to tell you right now that if my kids ever have birthday parties that we invite friends to--mine were generally just cake with family, and I seem pretty well-adjusted--the parties are not going to look like this:


Guys, those aren't paper plates. Right there I'm disqualified.  I'm not serving tea sandwiches and pink lemonade on real dishes to a handful of kindergarteners!  And I'm certainly not making costumes and delivering them to the girls planning to attend so that we can all dress the part for the theme.

Looking around the rest of the blog, it's clear that this family has a bajillion dollars, and somehow a ridiculous amount of free time?  There are parties like this for everything!  The party after the baby blessing was fancier than anything related to my wedding!  (Not that I mind, because I do not do frills like that.)  A jillion treats, no doubt home-made?  Personalized water bottles?  It's just nuts.

Clearly this makes her happy, and good for her.  It doesn't appeal to me, although how on earth does a mother of three find time to have hair that long, and always perfectly styled?  That I wouldn't mind as much.  But I'd rather make a cake from a mix, shoot my family a text that we're going to Peter Piper Pizza for pizza and video games, and then spend the rest of my time doing something else.

So I guess I'll just have to keep my kids away from stuff like that.  If they never go to a frilly party, they'll never know that they should want one.  Although they shouldn't want one.  Although with my luck, they'll revolt against my simple aesthetic and insist everything have ribbons and bows.  Or hey, maybe I'll have all boys!

Don't forget to tell all your friends to buy my condo.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We're actually maybe possibly going to think about trying this

Okay, so we're pretty serious about at least attempting to sell our condo.  We're trying the FSBO route.  Who knows how that will pan out. Although with the internet and a wide network of very lovely friends (and a God who does miracles, heh) maybe we can make this happen.

SO.  If you know someone who might be looking for a condo in Utah (or are just really curious about what my house looks like) might I direct you to the brand new Buy My Condo! blog I just set up?  Feel free to pass that around.  If you have trouble remembering the URL...well, I don't know what to tell you. Cathie's house.  It's catchy.

Very Special K

Remember the old Slim Fast commercials?  "A shake for breakfast, a shake for lunch, and a nutritious dinner!"  Well Kellogg's, bless their heart, does them one (or two or ten) better.

See, we eat a lot of Special K in our house.  A lot.  Such that Kellogg's should feel free to send us coupons and boxes of product.  And on the back of every cereal box, they outline the Special K Challenge.  The challenge is to drop a jeans size in two weeks--by eating a lot of Special K branded products.  All you do is replace two meals with a bowl of Special K, Special K granola, Special K protein shake, or Special K protein meal bar.  You also get two snacks, of Special K protein snack bars, Special K cereal bars, Special K fruit crisps, Special K crackers, or Special K protein water mixes.  Oh yeah, you also get a meal of your choice and all the fruits and vegetables you want.

See where I'm going with this?  Nearly your entire day's menu is comprised of Special K products.  And if you follow the "Classic" plan on their website, you'd have to purchase ten different products. (The "mix it up" plan requires 12! I didn't check the others.)  Figuring about $4 a pop on average, that's a lot of scratch to feed one person (not including the cost of the produce!), not to mention all the interesting chemicals they include.

Part of me, though, is almost willing to do it.  (See previous whinings about the quantity of weight gained recently.)  Apparently weight loss is a zero-sum game in our house, and I pick up everything my husband with the metabolism of a 14-year-old boy loses.  Plus I just really like a bowl of original Special K.  I should find a sponsor or something.  Or just blow my grocery budget on boxes of Special K. The family-sized boxes are far more cost effective than the protein bars and stuff.

Also, would I be required to give up our nightly bowl of Popcorn a la Jeff? (Oil pop popcorn on the stove top.  Pour in bowl. Season with beef bouillon granules.  Don't mock it until you've tried it.)  Because I don't know if that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make.  You can't do it with air popped.  I've tried.  Really, though, it's delicious and you should try it.

So, what do you think? Should I drop a bunch of money on Special K products so that I can fit into my pants again?  How do I get all these free samples bloggers are always talking about?  What's that? Have more than nine readers, you say?  Nuts.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Unfollowing

I recently--and if reviewing my browser history today taught me anything, it's that "recently" means "a few months ago"--unfollowed a blog or two.  Specifically fashion blogs, mostly.  I realized, "These bloggers' aesthetic is nothing at all like my own."  I dislike skinny jeans, skinny belts, nautical-inspired horizontal striped shirts, anything strongly 1980s-ish, booties, and most things from Anthropologie.  Why was I wasting my time on this nonsense?  Also, we clearly had differing ideas on what constitutes modest fashion.

And then today, I went through my subscriptions again.  Boring "here's more pictures of my children!" blog of someone I haven't talked to in a while?  Gone.  (I don't mind pictures of your kids, just don't be boring!)  Photography site no longer interesting?  Someone who updates way too much with useless stuff?  Gone and gone.

I'm undecided about the healthy eating blog that is a chronic abuser of apostrophes.  It really, really bugs me that she uses them almost exclusively for plurals.  Plurals and possessives.  Not the same.  Is it pathetic that bad grammar outweighs content?

It's not like I don't have plenty of time at work to read blogs, but I've decided there's no point wasting my time on things that are uninteresting, annoying, or not helpful. Why stay subscribed to a cooking blog that literally never makes things I'd be willing to eat?  I still subscribe to 73 feeds, for crying out loud.  If I had a job that kept me busy--or was on vacation all the time, because somehow lolcats are pretty low on my vacation list of things to do--I would have to get rid of even more.  I'm all about uncluttering lately, and that includes uncluttering my intellectual space.

Just please don't stop reading my blog?  I probably still subscribe to yours. Assuming that I know about it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hope for me yet

I have lamented this summer the barrenness of my zucchini plant.  Zucchinis are supposed to be so abundantly fertile that you're forced to leave their fruit on your neighbor's doorstep in the middle of the night.  My zucchini never seemed able to muster up more than one flower at a time, and usually gave up on those before they actually bloomed.  I don't know what I did wrong.  All I know is that it seemed like some sort of ominous symbol.  There's a very real possibility of infertility in my future--it would require trying to get pregnant to actually know, and I'm not quite at that point yet--and infertility is scary because then you take fertility drugs and have an increased risk of multiples and having multiples scares me more than spiders and possibly even cockroaches.

But fear not! I was checking on my plant last week, and whadda ya know, a wee little zucchini is growing!  It's probably the only one I'll get, and I don't have too long for it to grow, but at least I got something.  So maybe I won't be barren and have to drop babies at people's houses during the night so that I can sleep.  Maybe I'll just have one little offspring and be able to call it a summer.  That would be okay.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pretty sure I know what my name is

Ugh, I'm really trying to be adult and forgiving and whatnot about what just happened at the doctor's office--even bribing myself with animal crackers and Tootsie Rolls, which is not particularly adult, but whatever--but it's not working well.

Let's just say I haven't been feeling well and my preliminary diagnosis was a bacterial infection. Note how my internet diagnosis is preliminary.  I have the good sense to submit to lab tests and not just insist the doctor prescribe antibiotics. I believe in the prudent use of antibiotics, because superbugs are no laughing matter. Except maybe the word "superbug."

Today I talked to the scheduler, who talked to the nurse, who called me back, who then talked to the doctor, then called me back to say the doctor wanted a swab for the lab. Sure thing. I figured this would happen. And it only took a couple hours to get through all that.  I had a little time left in my lunch hour, so I figured I'd rush over there, take three minutes in the office, and be back at my desk twenty or so minutes late.

That would have worked excellently, except that the medical assistant comes out and calls "Connie?"  No Connie.  In fact, I am the only one in the waiting area.  But she's holding the giant q-tips! This must be for me. There's no one else here for it to be for! She disappears.  After a few minutes, the scheduler reminds her that I'm here (all via instant messaging, no less, which will be important later).  The MA comes out again.  "Connie?"

I ask, "Do you mean Catherine?" I get a rather snippy "No, I mean Connie." and she disappears again.  The scheduler and I look at each other.  She doesn't mean Connie.  Scheduler scrolls up in the chat window.  "I told her Catherine."

MA comes back a few minutes later.  "Catherine?"  There we go.  She attempts to explain the mixup, but y'know, I've been sitting here for way too long and I don't give a crap.  She blew us off, and was a little rude about it.  I was supposed to be at work.  This should have taken three minutes, tops.  I'll never get that half hour of my life back.  It should have been spent sitting at work, bored as can be, not sitting in the doctor's waiting room, bored and increasingly irritated.

She did apologize quite sincerely for the mix up and the wait, but it really didn't do much to take an edge of the rage.  I'm better now, an hour later.  Just mildly annoyed.

In other news, if it is indeed bacterial this will be my fifth round of antibiotics since I got married.  Is that right? I don't think they had me on antibiotics after my tonsillectomy. Frankly, I don't remember much of the first month.  If they did, this will be six.

Unsolicited pregnant people advice

If you think someone might be pregnant, don't ask.  If they are pregnant and want to talk about it, they would have told you. If they aren't pregnant, you're going to look like an idiot and make someone feel fat. And possibly not ever wear that outfit again.

Admittedly, I have gained nearly ten pounds in the last several months.  It sucks, I know.  There's not really anywhere to put ten pounds on a person my height.  Sigh.

But Saturday night, I was wearing Spanx! And not an empire-waist dress, which apparently add five months of gestation to my frame.  But are so, so comfortable so I wear them anyway.  Point is I really didn't look pregnant.  Some lady overheard my mom say that she had two daughters pregnant, so this nice (but apparently not entirely skilled critical thinker) assumed that I was one of them.

Do I look pregnant? Would you naturally assume that because I got married nine months ago, it must be me who is pregnant?  Do not all the children in my family have names that start with C? Frankly, I'm not sure what that had to do with any of it, but that was part of her explanation as to why she just announced in front of a dozen or so people that my mom "let slip the secret" that I was pregnant.  She spent five minutes awkwardly trying to explain her assumption, when really the best thing would have been to apologize for the mix up and slink off to the cupcake table.  It's what I would have done, except that I'm smart enough not to ask people if they're pregnant.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What's all this I hear about "fruits" and "vegetables"?

Look at this!  Two entries in one day.  Two!!  This makes us even for all the days I don't post, right?

I've been feeling really lousy lately, so I decided to make a concerted effort to get more produce into our diet.  As opposed, of course, to those fruits and vegetables that just magically fall into our mouths.  Everyone tells me my weeks of malaise are actually a parasite fetus incubating in my guts, but I doubt it.  I do have a story for later about people assuming I'm pregnant.  Stay tuned.

But I digress.  So I got some vegetables when we were at the store Tuesday night. I ate a handful of baby carrots last night as I was trying to decide what to have for dinner (a cheese crisp--lay off me; I was sick).  So crisp and delicious! Could it be that there are things worth eating besides popcorn, Skittles, and bread?  Yes. I left off peanut M&Ms.  Gee, and we wonder why I've gained a few pounds recently.

Also on Tuesday, when I decided to buy more produce--and then use it before it got all gross and mushy in my refrigerator, because how long does it have to be in 39 degree weather before it decomposes?--I got a watermelon at work.


I don't understand why we all got watermelons, but there was the assistant building manager with a cart of watermelons, handing them out like some sort of health-crazed Santa Claus.  Fortunately, mine was on the small size because a) when have I ever eaten an entire watermelon? Never. and b) it's a dang long walk to the car.  My wrist was killing me by the time I got there.

As part of my "more veggies so I don't feel so crappy" plan, I went to Subway for lunch. Would have been awesome if they weren't so stingy.  Three cucumber slices, really?  At least I got plenty of iceberg lettuce.  Sigh.  Although even less-nutritious iceberg lettuce is better than no lettuce.  Surely it all makes up for the Cap'n Crunch I had for breakfast, right?

I might have real hermit potential

I have never been a fan of homeschooling. I knew a family in the neighborhood who homeschooled, and those kids were weird.  It may just have been those kids, though (or perhaps the mother...) because I've since met other people who were homeschooled, and they turned out just fine.

But the more I hear about what's going on--and not going on--in public schools, the more I want to homeschool my kids.  Many schools aren't teaching cursive.  Kids aren't mastering multiplication tables because they can just use a calculator.  Don't get me started on library and research skills.  When was the last time a kid even opened a book to do research?  I suppose why bother, when you can just copy the Wikipedia entry? Why would anyone need to know how to find something in a library?  They spend so much time trying to get the kids able to pass the bazillion standardized tests that there's no time for, oh, P.E., recess, music.  Of course, even if they do take music, apparently all they do is bang around on tambourines rather than...you know...learn stuff.

When I was a kid, we went on one field trip a year. If we were lucky. It was usually to the zoo or the Rijlaarsdams' dairy.  Woo.  So educational.  I did enjoy playing in the cotton seed, but the educational benefits of that are pretty much zero.  Except maybe for learning which classmates have asthma.

Homeschoolers, though, can go on field trips all the time!  When it's not a production involving buses and permission slips, you can jump in the van (sigh) and head on over to the science center. Or library. Or bakery. Or animal shelter. Or symphony. Or whatever interesting place it is that enriches your education.  Why, take them to Einstein's for breakfast and make them pay with exact change and you suddenly have a math lesson!  Okay, so maybe you could do that with kids in public schools. Although it would have to be breakfast on a Saturday....  My point is there are lots of opportunities for enrichment when you're not sitting in a classroom seven hours a day, waiting for the kids to stop talking long enough that the burnt-out teacher can try to teach them something useful.

It's also helpful that I've read some blogs by homeschoolers.  They seem reasonably normal. And they make some really good points.  Seems like they do lots of fun things. Maybe not just worksheets all the time?  Maybe I'm embittered because I could have used sixth grade to learn stuff, but instead I did a buttload of word searches.  Word searches!  Not even crossword puzzles, which at least require some critical thinking skills.  On the upside, my word search technique is spotless.  You should see me with the kids' place mats at J.B.'s.

I texted my sister the other day and suggested we quit our jobs and homeschool our children.  She has teaching credentials and I have...a van? Plus I know my times tables!  Up to the twelves!  Sadly, that is an accomplishment in the younger generation.  But really, I am seriously considering it for my future hypothetical no-I'm-not-pregnant-but-thanks-for-asking children.  That, of course, requires a financial situation that allows me to stay home. Which, uh, is not our current one.  But since my children are imaginary, I guess there's time.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I guess that's why they call it "work"

We were on vacation last week. We didn't do much of anything in particular, but it was still way better than working.  We slept in, we ate whatever we wanted whenever we wanted, we went swimming, saw friends, played with the cutest baby ever (oh, I wish I'd had my phone handy when they woke her up to take her home. She was all bleary eyed as she looked around in pure confusion. "What are you people doing here? I'm in my pajamas. Go home. Wait, where are we?"), went to Bahama Buck's TWICE, and otherwise had just a very nice time.

Frankly, I'd like to be on vacation all the time, but then I think I wouldn't enjoy it as much. It's the contrast of something really enjoyable against something mundane and repetitive and mildly soul-crushing that makes vacations so great.  It's not that I didn't have to set an alarm, it's that I have to set one every other week of the year.  Work is actually what makes vacations great.

We were talking about how nice it would be if we could move into my parents' rental house.  Community college is cheaper in Arizona (as in less than half of what it is here), although the ASU is more than the U and Weber State. Although if we were living for cheaps, it might not be as big of a deal. Plus all of my family lives in Arizona, and Adam's lives close-ish.  Frankly, without the financial assistance of renting from my folks, I don't know how we'll ever afford children.  There's no one here who could watch our kid for cheap/free, so I'd have to go back to work. And I don't want to have a baby so I can work to pay for daycare.

But...yeah.  I don't know.  While moving to Arizona does make a great deal of sense--probably more sense staying here where the weather is terrible and I miss my family--I feel antsy. Adam is ready to start packing rightnow! but I'm more hesitant.  Though with all the newspapers I read, it does make me want  to get out of our house now.  Apparently homes may still be overvalued quite a bit and likely to continue losing value for the next couple years. Exciting, right?

Really, I'm not sure why I'm so nervous. Assuming someone wants to buy our condo (and we'd sell it for basically what we owe; our neighbor is trying to sell for nearly 10k more than that), it seems like it would all be pluses.  Unless we couldn't find jobs, I guess.  But I think we're pretty employable.  Ugh.  Someone tell me they did some big life change that they were really nervous about and then it all ended up being nothing but amazing. Please?

Friday, September 3, 2010

Birthday freebies!

Who has two thumbs and a birthday next month?  This girl!  (Man, that does not work nearly as well in text form.)

A friend recently posted on Facebook that she was enjoying her free Baskin Robbins ice cream in honor of her birthday.  My birthday is in what, 45 days?  I signed up for that, then spent a few hours looking for more freebies.  Ideally the treats are valid for more than just the day of, because how many ice creams do I need in one day?  Many of these are good for the entire month of your birthday, or a week (or two) before and after. So the celebration can last all month long!

So far I have signed up for Baskin Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, Ben and Jerry's (you get a coupon for a free scoop when you sign up!), Red Robin, Ruby Tuesday's, Lone Star Steakhouse, Benihana, Papa Murphy's, and Sephora.  Alas there are no Black Angus restaurants here, because they give you a free steak! Most of the deals require you to sign up for their mailing list, but it's a small price to pay.  Actually, you're still not paying. You're just deleting the occasional email. (But be sure to skim them first to make sure there are no coupons!)

By way of show-your-ID day-of deals, there's the IHOP Denny's free Grand Slam, free Firehouse Subs sub, and...dang, I know there was another one.  Anyway, there are a lot of freebies out there for the taking.  Any I've missed that you suggest?

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Fall weather?

This is my fourth Utah autumn, but it still catches me by surprise every year.  I think, "It's only September! I shouldn't need a sweater in the morning."  But I do. Because apparently fall doesn't start in mid-November here.

The summer has gone so quickly.  Pretty much everyone is back in school already.  Granted, some schools started ridiculously early, but even the one that I drive past on my way to work every morning (which got out in June, because I remember being SO GLAD when the school zone light wasn't on) is back in session.  It just really is fall.  I mean, it's September. The autumnal equinox is just a few weeks away.  (And don't give me any crap about Northern Hemisphere bias.  "September equinox" has absolutely no ring to it.)

Fortunately, we'll soon be in Arizona, where summer is still going strong.  I'll be able to use the cute new swimsuit I got on end-of-season clearance without freezing or having to use a hot tub or waiting until next summer.  I'll be able to stock some vitamin D, which I suspect I am sorely lacking.  Mostly because I don't go outside, and if I do I'm almost entirely covered up.

So yeah, summer is definitely over here, but we're going to milk another week out of it.  I can't wait, even if we are driving.  Fabulous Husband is not being particularly fabulous about the fact that we're driving.  I can't say I enjoy long car trips, but it is way cheaper than flying. And seeing as his last day of work at his old job was Tuesday and won't start his new job until we get back from Arizona, there's not really room in the budget for air travel, especially with inflated Labor Day prices.  I just like to focus on all the fun we'll have once we get there.  Besides, you can eat as much junk as you want while driving. I think it's a law.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Space junk is still closer to the stars

(Jane made me cookies, which is awesome of her, especially as they are awesome.  Let us not discuss how many I have eaten since they arrived on Saturday afternoon.)
My job is often very boring, but my husband reminded me that it also offers very unique experiences.  I'm kind of immune to the import now, but he pointed out that it IS a big deal.

See, imagine you worked at the White House in some boring, menial capacity.  Like a secretary executive assistant.  Every few weeks, you're minding your own business, on your way to the break room to get some water or buy some Sun Chips from the vending machine.  The elevator stops a floor early, and the president gets on.  He chats with you for a minute, asks your name, says he's going on a trip later that day.  (You know that, though, because you distributed the itinerary earlier in the week.)  Maybe a few weeks later, you're going around a corner, and you very nearly run into him.  One day you're walking down the hall, and you see three-fourths of the cabinet, all on their way to a meeting.  Despite the fact that your job is boring and your office has no windows, you're frequently exposed to some of the most important people there.

Now imagine instead of the White House, you're Catholic and working in the Vatican.  I don't expect that the Holy See really roams the halls, but stick with me.  The Pope doesn't work with you, but you see him all the time, just being in your "office building."  You see where I'm going with this?  I work at the headquarters for my church, and not a week goes by without me seeing someone of ecclesiastical significance.  After three years, it doesn't really phase me.  I'm more interested in which coworker is driving the golf cart than what general authority they're transporting. But for pretty much everyone else in my life, it's significant.  It's an experience they'll never have.  And just because I think my life is unexciting, doesn't mean that's true.  I just have to look at it from someone else's perspective to find the excitement.