Thursday, December 31, 2009
The last day of 2009, and I don't have any plans. I'm probably going to sit at home and watch When Harry Met Sally and eat cookies. Sounds like a thrilling evening, right? Let's throw some laundry in the mix and see how that spices things up.
Why When Harry Met Sally? Because that's the only movie I can think of that I would classify as a "New Year's" movie. The whole climax of the movie takes place on New Year's Eve! I might also watch the New Year's episode from the first season of "The O.C." That was a good episode.
My only hope is that I don't poop out before midnight. I've been having a hard time staying up late these days, but it's the one day a year that I really want to stay up that late. Well, one of two days a year. I always end up staying up until past midnight on Christmas Eve, too.
Next year I want to throw a party for New Year's Eve. I want to have a big, fun party. I want to party like it's 1999. Oh yeah.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
I was emailing a friend today about pets. I want a pet. Anything furry will do, really. But There's practicality involved. And I realized, as I was planning my future hamster's "Tube City" mansion in my mind, that there's no way I can afford something as simple as a hamster, let alone a cat or a dog. Also, I can barely keep a plant alive - what makes me think I can actually care for an animal?
So, pets are out for the time being. I would still like to have a cat someday, but not for a while.
I've decided to tackle the money situation the best way I know how: making a list. The following is a list of things I will no longer be spending money on:
1. Non-essential clothes (meaning no more Woot shirts, no new packs of socks and underwear because I don't feel like doing a load of laundry, no skirts because I never actually wear them, no pants that I won't wear more than once: the only acceptable clothes are work-appropriate attire and other clothing to replace old/damaged/stained articles of clothing that I cannot function without).
2. Froofy coffee drinks from Caribou (or Starbucks or Dunn Bros or Cafe Patteen, etc). I can buy flavored creamer at the grocery store to use in office-provided coffee.
3. Food delivered to my house unless it's related to a party or gathering or roommate bonding session.
4. Other restaurant food must be limited, but not eliminated. Perhaps I will allow myself to eat lunch out once a week, and dinner out at JJ's and a certain number of times per month (maybe five? Still need to figure this out).
5. DVDs, Video Games, and Other entertainment expenses: if a really awesome movie is on the $5 DVD rack, I can pick it up. But it has to be awesome. As for TV on DVD: I can buy the most recent season of Bones and Lost only if they're on sale for at least 40% off. Netflix can stay. Gamefly is on the fence. No new video games unless I specifically set aside money for it and/or I trade in old games.
That's just a start. There are other things I will limit - and just use my best judgement. I don't need any more kitchen gadgets, no matter how cheap they are on Woot.com.
Perhaps I'll try this for a while: in addition to limiting my spending, I'll look at my checking account the day before I get paid. Then, after I get my paycheck, I'll transfer my account balance from the previous day to my savings account. This way, any money from my paycheck that remains unspent by the time the next paycheck comes will be moved to savings. However much that is will give me an indication on how well I'm doing with my spending every two weeks.
I can do this. If I want everything on that list, I have to do this. A raise would help too.
Monday, December 28, 2009
To honor this, I am making 10 lists of 10 things I want to do/achieve in the upcoming decade.
List 1: Life Goals
1. Apply, attend, and graduate from business school
2. Buy a house
3. Create life (have a baby, whatever you want to call it - if it doesn't happen in the next 10 years, it's unlikely to happen at all, so it might as well be on the list - ideally a man to have the kid with will be in the picture as well, but I don't like making unreasonable goals).
4. Healthify myself. Get to the point where my blood pressure no longer needs to be medicated.
5. Get a cat
6. Write a novel that's worth trying to get published, then find an agent.
7. Be in shape to the point where I can comfortably run a 5k.
8. Find and join a community band and/or choir.
9. Teach someone to play the piano.
10. Learn Spanish.
List 2: Reading Goals.
1. Something by Dickens that isn't "A Tale of Two Cities"
2. "Infinite Jest" by David Foster Wallace
3. More Stephen King
4. Finish the Thursday Next books
5. "Jane Eyre" so that the first Thursday Next book makes more sense.
6. Take another stab at Hemingway - maybe "The Sun Also Rises"
7. George R. R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series
8. Something by Kurt Vonnegut
9. Another book by Wilkie Collins - "The Woman in White" was amazing.
10. The Shopaholic books (what? The main character's name is Becky! Fine. I'll also read Vanity Fair - the book, not the magazine. That one also stars a Becky.)
List 3: Travel Goals.
1. Visit Lake Itasca and the start of the Mississippi River.
2. Take a baseball road trip to Kansas City to see the Twins play the Royals.
3. Visit the Pacific Northwest
4. Go hiking. Real hiking.
5. Travel to another continent. If it's Europe, visit a country I haven't been to before.
6. Go on a cruise (Alaskan or Caribbean)
7. Visit friends in Chicago again
8. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Maybe. Mardi Gras somewhere.
9. Visit Toronto. Do I know anyone who lives there?
10. See more of Las Vegas
List 4: Movies to watch
1. Citizen Kane
2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
3. A Streetcar Named Desire
4. Escape to Witch Mountain (both the original and the recent remake starring The Rock)
5. Lethal Weapon (the first one for sure, more if I like it)
6. The rest of the Rocky movies
7. Marathon the 6 Star Wars movies in chronological (not release date) order
8. Get a copy of The American President on DVD
9. The Apartment
10. Marathon the Lord of the Rings movies, including The Hobbit (if it comes out in the next 10 years).
Ok, so that's only 4 lists so far. I've got time to think up more. My brain can't handle it right now.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
I watch a lot of TV. If you know me at all, you know that. Lately, it's my favorite form of entertainment. However, I'm still catching up on a lot of shows. For example, I'm only in the beginning of season 3 of Dexter - lots of catching up to do. From what I hear, the 4th season just ended not too long ago, and it was quite the thrilling end. Thanks to my nosing about on TV-related message boards, a big part of that thrilling end was spoiled for me, and I'm upset about that. I wasn't even reading a topic about Dexter (I've been avoiding those). It was a topic about scenes in TV shows that make you cry. Sure. That's fine. Say that the season 4 finale of Dexter made you cry. That's fine. Lots of finales make me cry. But don't say what happened in it that made you cry unless you give us warning!
I've been watching The Office lately - I recently discovered how great the show is. I saw an episode from the current season when I was on the plane on my way to Mexico. I didn't realize the damage it was doing, however, until I got to season 5 (last year's season) in my watch-through. The end of season 5 totally lost its effect because I knew something from watching that season 6 episode. Kind of a bummer, but not nearly as bad as the Dexter thing. I actually knew a lot about the plot of The Office before watching it, and I think it was fine because it's a comedy. The show is still funny to watch even if I know what's going to happen in the overlying story arc.
In other news, I hear it's going to snow a lot in the next few days. Why is there always bad weather on Christmas Eve when I'm driving to Maple Grove in the dark with a car that isn't mine? I hope our landlord can keep up with the shoveling. I did wear my boots today.
I'm still not done with my Christmas shopping. I've got 2 things that I need to get today or tomorrow. Things for my friends can wait until after Christmas is over. Wait. Is it really only 2 things? I find this hard to believe. Thinking... thinking... yes. Only 2 things. Woo-hoo! But then I need to wrap things. Bah. I'll have to put on the Christmas music tomorrow night and have my own personal wrapping party.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Today is difficult. I'm struggling with fading motivation - motivation that I didn't have much of to start with - and only a small pile of projects to accomplish today. With my boss out of the office, I'm finding it extremely difficult to concentrate at all on my work. I'm restless and sleepy despite the large Ho Ho Mocha I bought at Caribou this morning (as it turns out, medium is the right size for me - I lose interest by the time I get to the bottom of the large). Next week is a short week due to the holiday, and it's really hard for me to think about anything work related.
I want to go home!
But I can't. I have to do this work. I have to be a good employee and do the things I was asked to do. I think I'll wait until after lunch. Yes, that should make the afternoon go by faster.
I wonder if I can talk my roommate into going bead shopping with me this weekend. I want to make some things for presents this year, and I want to try making some ornaments for myself. Michael's should have all the things I need.
This is so lame - I'm even running out of things to write here. Pathetic.
The roommate and I are going to put up our tree this weekend. I hope we can find a good spot for it. Our house isn't really set up in such a way that there's an obvious place to put a tree. At least it's a little tree. I like it. It's cute and short and it already has lights on it.
What was that? You say I'm at work, and that I should be working at work instead of writing random crap in my blog?
... I suppose you do have a point.
Happy Weekend, Blog-land.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I had a dream last night that involved a large amount of Cheetos. Not really sure why, but I bought some at the convenience store downstairs to have with my lunch today. They're quite tasty, but extremely salty. It's probably for the best that I don't eat them very often. As happens every time I eat Cheetos, I think back to college. Senior year I lived with two of my best friends. Any time we had consumed a reasonable amount of alcohol (it may have been St. Olaf, but we were also 20 and 21 - of course we drank), we always wanted snacks. Nine times out of ten, that snack ended up being Cheetos. It didn't take long for me to always associate the snack food with the feeling of being drunk. I have a feeling it has become a Pavlovian response for me to think of that year any time I eat Cheetos. And that's not a bad thing - senior year of college was one of the best years of my life. I can't deny that.
The other day I realized that Christmas is next week. Do you realize what that means? 2009 is almost over. That means the decade is almost over.
Before we know it, the Ohs will be a thing of the past. (That's what I'm calling this decade - since we always referred to the years as "oh-nine" and "oh-eight," et cetera, it only seemed fitting to refer to the decade as a whole as the "Ohs." Like the nineties or the eighties - it makes sense when you think about it).
On a message board I read regularly, someone posted a list of their favorite TV episodes of the decade. We all know how much I love TV. So that got me thinking... what are MY favorite TV episodes of the Ohs?
Man, that's a tough question. I don't even know my favorite shows of the Ohs. Maybe I should concentrate on that. Here is a short(ish) list of shows from the past decade that I felt were particularly awesome (in no particular order):
- Veronica Mars
- The West Wing (started in 1999)
- How I Met Your Mother
- Freaks & Geeks (this one is pushing it, since it only aired in 1999 and 2000)
- Gilmore Girls
... actually, that could go on for a while. I like way too much TV. Instead, given the nature of the holiday, I'm going to list my five favorite holiday episodes.
- "The Chrismukkah That Almost Wasn't" from The OC Season 2
- "The Man in the Fallout Shelter" from Bones Season 1
- "How Lily Stole Christmas" from How I Met Your Mother Season 2
- "The Strike" from Seinfeld Season 9 (the "Festivus" episode)
- "The One With the Holiday Armadillo" from Friends Season 7
What are some of your favorite TV holiday memories?
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Monday, December 14, 2009
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety-Jig, or Flying While Fat: The Overweight Gal's Guide to a Slightly More Comfortable Vacation
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Tonight we have the Brit's Pub Quiz Grand Final. I hope we do well. I hope we don't make fools of ourselves. I hope we win.
I still have a lot of work to do to really be caught up before vacation. I should probably get working on that instead of updating this blog. I worked until 4 yesterday and have until 5:30 to work today. I should be able to get it all done.
I'm not working tomorrow. There are things I need to get done before the vacation can actually happen. I need to:
- Get my hair cut. Appointment is for 1:00 tomorrow.
- Shave my legs. Yeah. It's winter.
- Pack. And before I can pack I need to make a packing list and actually decide what I'm bringing.
- Stop at Barnes & Noble and check out the crossword puzzle magazines. If one looks good, pick it up for the trip.
- Find my watch. If I don't find it, I may need to buy a new one.
- Get some $1 bills for tips at the resort. Should probably also have some cash for food/coffee/water at airports and something to tip the shuttle drivers.
- Figure out what I'm forgetting... because there's always something.
- Refill any prescriptions that may run out while I'm gone.
- Freak out about how much I have to do and how little time I have left to do it.
I did the necessary laundry yesterday, but I might need to throw a load in tomorrow just in case.
I think that's it.
Mexico, here I come.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Of course, all this would be made more pleasant if I just broke down and got my winter coat out and actually wore it. But I'm not ready for that yet. I'm a Minnesota girl, I can take it. It's not even below zero yet!
This whole cold-and-snow thing isn't so bad, though. Why not? Because it's getting me into the spirit of the upcoming holiday. No, not Christmas. Not Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or the Winter Solstice. No, this is the greatest holiday of all: Cookie Day.
What? You don't celebrate Cookie Day? It's only the greatest holiday ever created! It's an entire December day devoted to gathering with your family and baking a gross of cookies (at the minimum, usually more) and a variety of candies. Traditional meals include tuna salad sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner. And lots and lots of cookies.
This year the holiday is a bit early, but that's OK by me. I'm excited. I'm pumped. I'm ready to bake my heart out.
**Warning: Extemporaneous poetry ahead**
Oh, Cookie Day, Cookie Day...
You're less than 24 hours away...
With flour and butter and sugar I'll play...
At Cookie Day, Cookie Day, Cookie Day!
Oh yeah. That's how much I love Cookie Day. I just wrote a poem about it. That's the true magic of the holiday. It's my favorite day.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
This frightens me.
But that's not what this post is about. This post is about how I - as a single, straight woman approaching 30 - deal with the men I meet on a daily basis. Because, believe it or not, I do meet men daily! Ok, so maybe I don't meet them. I see them. I order food from them in restaurants. I sit next to them on the bus. I encounter them, shall we say.
Today, for example, I was ordering my beverage at Caribou (yes, yet another Ho Ho Mocha - this time they didn't screw it up at all). For those of you who aren't familiar with the coffee shop chain, it's a lot like Starbucks, but I think they have better coffee (but, like Starbucks, if you cross the street in Minneapolis, you'll come to another Caribou - I'm pretty sure there's one in every building downtown). They have a trivia question (that varies by location) every day, and if you answer the question correctly, you get 10 cents off your order (measly prize, but it's still fun). I answered the trivia question today because I knew the answer - the question was something about a composer dying while working on his 10th symphony. Obviously, it was Beethoven (ok, it's obvious to anyone who took a music history class - the question also supplied the year of his death). As the cashier was ringing in my discount, I said, "Yay! Finally that music major is finally paying off!" And he told me that he, too, was a music major! I thought to myself, this guy is a little young, has a little more facial hair than I prefer, but he wears glasses and seems pretty nice. And a good conversationalist, too!
So, I did what any good single, straight, almost-30-year-old woman does: I glanced at the ring finger on his left hand. Sure enough, he wore a nice gold band on his ring finger. Married. Taken. Off the market. Tied down. Locked in. No banana for me.
So much for that.
This is a normal chain of events for me. Nice conversation, reasonable level of attractiveness, casual glance to the finger. I'm used to it. And - damn - there are a LOT of married guys around here.
Last night was the TGIO party for NaNoWriMo (TGIO = "thank god it's over"). I've gotten to know a number of people in the local NaNo community thanks to write-ins and the various parties. We're sitting around, chatting, eating food, comparing crap levels of each other's novels, when suddenly a guy walks in that I don't recognize. He sits down without getting any food, and he sits near the podium where the excerpts will be read. I ask the people around me if anyone knows who he is - no one does. Mystery Man seems to have a laptop with him. Perhaps he will read? But being the true social butterfly that I am, I don't listen to any of the readings because I want to socialize with the other chatty people in the group. I don't know if he reads anything or not. I don't know what his name is, how old he is, or anything about him. But he piqued my interest.
It should be noted here that I was the person who said on the regional NaNo forum that I originally joined NaNo to meet men.
Naturally, my next series of thoughts was: "Mystery Man must be creative, since he's here for the big party for writers. Is he single? Is he straight? Is he as old as he looks? I wonder if he's wearing a ring?" But I'm too distracted talking to everyone at the party. By the time I think to look for him - and possibly build up the courage to talk to him - he was gone.
If others hadn't seen him as well, I would wonder if he were a ghost or a figment of my imagination. I never even got to see whether or not he had a ring.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
So the burden of December is upon us. I woke up late, had to rush through my shower (when I prefer a nice, relaxing shower) and throw on some clothes in order to get to the bus stop on time.
It should be noted that I am a creature of habit. I follow mostly the same routine every week day. Every morning I take the same pills in the same order, for example. I also like to sit in the same seat every morning on the bus - the way home is less important because there are a lot more people in the way. Lately, there's been a guy who always sits in "my" seat, but he would get off the bus a block after I got on, so it wasn't a problem - I was able to sit there without a problem.
This morning, the seat was open. I smiled to myself, convinced it would be a good day. I sit down in the seat (on the new hybrid busses, "my" seat is up the stairs just behind the back door of the bus). I sit down, put my bus pass away, and close my eyes to start my morning nap.
... but I am interrupted. The lady sitting behind me - the one holding a clipboard - taps me on the shoulder. "Would you mind moving to that seat over there?" she asks, pointing to the empty seat on the other side of the aisle. "I need to see who is getting on and off the bus, and you're kind of broad... you're blocking my view."
I was speechless for a few seconds. Broad? Really? That's the word you choose? Because that's not insulting at all. But then I think to myself, "who is this lady, and why couldn't she move? I came in, sat in an open seat - if I was in her way, why wasn't she sitting in this seat to begin with? And what is she doing that she needs to see who is getting on and off the bus? Does she work for Metro Transit? She's not wearing a uniform or name tag or anything? Is it a project for a class? Does she have any idea how full this bus will get by the time we hit downtown? It's rush hour on a busy bus line!"
I moved, because I didn't know what else to do. And once I sat in the other seat, I remembered why I liked my seat. My seat is all window - no window edges or anything taking up valuable elbow space. And that side of the bus, the right side when you're sitting there, doesn't have lights on - the left side (the side behind the driver) has a long row of lights that are always illuminated, making the whole morning-nap thing a lot more difficult. And the seat behind the door doesn't have anyone sitting directly in front of me, so I feel like it's easier to hold on to my purse without worrying about whacking someone in the shoulder or head or something when I move. Most of it's petty, but I like my seat. And it was early. I can't be expected to be rational when it's so early.
Nobody got on or off the bus for a good 15 blocks. The next person who got on the bus sat in "my" seat. The lady with the clipboard didn't say anything, she just shifted in her seat a little. I guess that person wasn't too "broad." And just as I predicted, the bus got really full. Clipboard Lady had to stand up to see who was getting on and off the bus. She seemed quite flustered, and I have to admit, I found joy in that.
That was the bus ride. But that wasn't the end of it. One of the good things about December is the holiday-themed coffee drinks at Caribou Coffee. My personal favorite is the Ho Ho Mint Mocha. It's chocolatey and minty and delicious. It's wonderful. Yesterday I ordered one, and as I patiently waited for the guy to make my coffee, I realized that all the other customers were gone - even the ones who arrived after I did. The guy was cleaning up his fancy espresso machine when he saw me standing there. "Were you waiting for something?" he asked. They had somehow missed my order, so he made me one. I didn't want to say anything, but I was hoping they would throw in an extra espresso shot or bump me up to a large. No dice. But the Ho Ho Mocha was fantastic, as usual.
Today, I used my $1 off coupon that I got from the Turkey Day 5k. I got a large Ho Ho Mocha today. I was excited. It was a girl making the drinks this time. She put it up on the counter, and said "here's your mocha." Just to be sure, I said, "Is that a Ho Ho Mocha?"
"No, it's just a mocha."
"I ordered a Ho Ho Mocha."
Turns out the person who rang me up rang it in wrong. The girl takes the mocha off the counter, throws away the chocolate covered espresso bean, and adds some peppermint crunchies to the top of the drink, then hands it back to me.
Let me tell you, folks: peppermint crunchies do not a Ho Ho Mocha make. There needs to be mint flavoring in the drink itself. I tasted it, and it is NOT a Ho Ho Mocha. It's still tasty, sure, but it's not a Ho Ho Mocha.
I should have said something, but I was too fed up at that point. Really? 2 days in a row that Caribou messes up with me? And no apology today, either. At least yesterday the guy apologized for not making my drink. Today, nothing. What happened to customer service? Is this no longer something that is valued in our society?
December, you're not off to a good start. But I say, bring it on. Give me your worst, December. Just don't give me a blizzard on the 10th. I really don't want my flight to Mexico to be canceled.