Wednesday, April 30, 2008

In review

It's been an odd couple of days.

Against my better judgment, I joined Facebook, and though it's been neat to reconnect with NYU, Grinnell, & HHS friends, I'm not altogether sure the site is healthy.

Tuesday night, Neil & I went to "Mark Twain Tonight!", which I was really looking forward to. Hal Holbrook is such a cute old man. It was a good show--folksy and amusing--and we had seats right behind a separating aisle so we could stretch our legs out.

Then about halfway through the first act, I began noticing the stench. It reminded me of unwashed human and something I couldn't put my finger on--something the really big, nasty-haired guy who used to come to the ARC smelled like. The smell would come in waves, right when the ventilation system blew over our way, every five minutes or so, so it was impossible to tell where it was coming from. Moving seats really wasn't an option, since the show was just about sold out. I asked Neil if he smelled it, and he had just started noticing it, too.

I tried breathing only through my mouth, but the nature of the show is such that you have to really think about what Holbrook is saying to get it--and when I got lost in his narrative, I'd relax and start breathing normally. Then the stench would arise again. It was awful.

At intermission, I asked Neil what he wanted to do. He reluctantly admitted he'd prefer to leave, and I was glad he did. Holbrook is 83, but maybe he has another tour left in him that we can catch.

As soon as we were outside, Neil explained what I couldn't figure out--it smelled like whoever the person was lived in a house where they let their cats run wild without doing much cleaning up. It was cat urine and poop smells that had seeped into clothes--one of the worst, subtle smells ever. And since you can't really tell that from just looking at people, we couldn't see who it was.

It was a bummer. We visited Dad after for a few minutes and took a walk around his side garden, then went to Subway to pick up dinner to watch in front of the "Idol" I recorded while we were gone. But Subway was out of bread. It would have been easy to get a healthy-ish meal there, but instead we went to Taco Bell, where they only gave me like 7 mild sauce packets.

"Idol" was Neil Diamond week, a night I figured would be awesome, wasn't, really. No one stood out or blew me away, and I'm wondering what it takes to do this now. Shouldn't they be getting better? Archuleta's "Imagine" and David Cook's "Hello" seem so far in the past. I'm even losing most of my affection for David A. The judges, of course, see no wrong in him.

At least we got NKOTB tour information this week. October 4th in Chicago.
Em--are you in????? How much fun would a girly road trip be?!

Monday, April 28, 2008

This wintry week

I'm wearing a coat over my shirt in the office this morning. I think it's so crazy how big institutions turn on the heat and A/C the same time every year, and leave them on constantly no matter the weather. I feel like there has to be something more energy efficient and crowd-pleasing.

Something I thought about trying to get to sleep last night:

We may need to rent chairs for both the ceremony and the week-after reception in October, preferably from Lindsey Rentals. I remember going in there with Dad when I was a little girl, getting some yard implement or something he needed temporarily. I was enthralled with all the stuff they had to rent in there, and was especially taken with the huge Bingo wheel set out--though I don't think I'd ever played Bingo outside of little doohickey games at Ridgeway using composers or something in choir. I wanted so bad to someday have an occasion where I could rent that huge shiny golden Bingo wheel.

Anyway...this week, I'm going to do some accomplishin'!

1. Hal Holbrook in "Mark Twain Tonight!" on Tuesday (set DVD to record "Idol" before we go)

2. Finish Undeclared Netflix DVD (just the 2 commentaries to go!)

3. Finish 1st "Fry & Laurie" DVD (& take to Dad's)--2 eps to go!

4. Still need to watch "The Office" online!

5. Swim at the very least 4 times this week (Swam so far: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

6. Work out with Bun Roller at least 4 times

7. Finish Scraps library book

8. Fill in wedding information into planner

9. Look at Figure magazine/Real Weddings

10. Finish taping at least one deck of cards (Finished two. New goal: another deck!)

11. Have at least 3 clementines daily (Had so far: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday)

12. Send (or just wrap) Neil's fossil (paid. E-check needs to clear.)

13. Macy's/Lane Bryant to look at dresses (sale @ Macy's starting Apr. 30)

14. Get rid of more newspapers (Sections so far: 3)

15. Watch "Rushmore" Netflix

16. Find new energy drink option--Wal-Mart?

17. Visit shop on Delmar this weekend?

18. Watch "Desperate" online

19. Watch "Bachelor" online

20. Watch "Hills" & Aftershow online

21. Read recaps on EW & TWoP

A look back

The weekend is over. It's officially Monday morning, and the best thing about today is that I got a good time on the Monday NYTX (6:15). And I'm sure that will be the best thing about today.

Things I liked about the past two days:

1. Friday night was the kind of fun I haven't had often--an hours-long evening visiting/giggling with Amanda about her dog Oscar (who is so like Lily it's uncanny--yeah, my sister), Kathy Griffin (she talks about Dateline: To Catch a Predator! Boy Do I LOVE HER!!!), her friends' weddings (both good and bad), and old times. She signed me up for TheKnot and went through the checklist with me, unearthing dozens and dozens of things I had not even thought about. Boutonnieres for the men! Reception decorations! Cake for the week-after gathering! Videographers! A guest book! Parent gifts! For a small wedding, there is still a lot of stuff to think about.

2. Saturday I cleaned up the house good, which always feels satisfying. SarahBethJC was coming that evening, and I don't think I'd seen her since before Valentine's Day. We went first to Sophia's, but didn't feel like waiting 45 minutes for a table because the stupid bitches from RBHS were promming it up. (Plus, Sophia's always exaggerates their wait time. Everybody knows that.) We drove over to Macaroni Grill, waited like 15 minutes, and were sat in a cozy romantic 2-person booth. But we're comfortable in our sexuality so it was fine. We ordered a bottle of Asti Spumante, and while the waitress brought it over and was opening it, I said "When I served, I always hated when people ordered the bottle. I could never open it smoothly." And the chick was like "It's not so bad," and I mused "Yeah, my Mormon friend who doesn't drink, I think she got really used to it too from working at a Macaroni Grill" and the server was all "Dude, Beckie?" And I said "No, but her sister!" And she goes "Oh, I know Emily, and Noah!" It was so cute.

ANYWAY. SB was very good to answer all my questions about her wedding, and got down to business with her little pad and pen, asking me lots and lots of things about more I hadn't thought about. Candles in the schoolhouse, if we have the ceremony there! Flowers for the ceremony as decoration! Lingerie for the wedding night! A surprisingly good review of a local hotel, Stoney Creek, I thought was only known for the animal heads on its walls! What the weather would be that time of year (her wedding was 10/16)! That she'd seen plus-size models trying on dresses in the wedding shop she went to in Lebanon!

After, a little toasted, we went back to the apartment and played Pop Culture Trivial Pursuit with Neil until Sarah's Dylan got done with the Blue Man Group. So good to see dear Sarah.

3. Sunday was fairly uneventful. I got a few to-dos done, and went to visit Dad for a little while in the evening. I miss not seeing him all the time. We had a good chat over bean soup, and I left him to his PBS Life-in-an-airplane-carrier show. I stopped at Schnucks for some cutie clementines and Pudding Pops, and it was home again, home again, jiggity-jog.

Sean shed so much today--his whole back piece! He had a skin-cape almost all day long (I realize this sounds disgusting, but it was actually amusing).

Also, the weather was super weird. It was too cold for April 27th, but everything is getting in bloom so it looked normal for spring. When I went out at 6:30, the air had more of an autumn crispness about it, without the smoky, woodsy feel of fall. If someone were to plop me down in today's weather, blindfolded, after storing me in a windowless box for an unknown number of months, I would have no idea what season it was today.
Which is just a long way of saying that, again, it was weird weather.

Way past my bedtime now. I'm back on track tomorrow, with a vengeance!

Friday, April 25, 2008


"Drowsy"...such a perfect word. It looks drowsy. The 'd' seems tired, and the 'dr' drawwwls into the rest of the word, which just falls at your feet. You could say it asleep. The word makes me sleepy and kind of hot. Same with 'lull,' only that one's more pleasant.

Anyway. That's what I am. Alone at work, with a diet coke replacing my morning OJ/energy drink combo, wondering if I'll be in the mood to swim in 3.5 hours. The morning didn't begin that well--I was good yesterday, with exercise and diet, yet the scale didn't reflect it. Always a cruddy moment there. And soooo easy to fall off the Healthy Eating Wagon when it doesn't appear to be doing any good. What's the point of torturing yourself if you're not losing weight anyway? For me, it's another vicious cycle--I go on some kind of diet plan, and lose five or so pounds right away. Then it stops, even if I follow the same eating pattern I did from the beginning. I get discouraged and gain the weight back, only it's easier than it ever was when I was at that lower weight in the first place, because I dieted to get there. So I lose, then gain it back super-fast, and gain more besides that--even if my eating habits hadn't changed from what they were before the diet. It makes me never want to diet again, because it makes gaining faster when I fail (and I always do).

Ugh. I'm just down today. And I don't like diet coke. But I have to finish it, because I am soooo sleepy.

This weekend, I hope to accomplish the following:

1. Check Martha Graham DVD for closed-captioning
2. Finish Undeclared Netflix DVD (or 90210)...well, we finished the episodes and deleted scenes, anyway...
3. Finish Harrison Ford EW
4. Watch another Fry & Laurie episode
5. Watch The Office online
6. Read a library book, or at least half of one
7. Fill in wedding information Friday afternoon into planner
8. Work out with Bun Roller
9. Look at Figure magazine/Real Weddings
10. Finish taping at least one deck of cards
11. Finish clementines (2 left!)
12. Get crickets
13. Try to fit in swimming? (The prob. with weekend swimming is that I think there's only one hour of lap swim, Sundays at 11 a.m.)
14. Financials
15. Wrap Neil's fossil
16. Macy's/Lane Bryant for swim shorts & look at dresses
17. Look online for paper storage solutions/look @ scrap org. book

Hmm. All in all, not a terrific weekend. No good for dieting, no good for progress. Oh, well. At least I was social!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

There's a bright golden haze on the meaderr...

We have this cute little window alcove in our bedroom, and most mornings I block out the sun as much as possible trying to get every ounce of sleep I can. But this week, we had a singular sunny morning that I opened the window to. The view was so pretty and glittery and springy--I'm not usually one for sunny mornings (as you might have seen, I am a rainy-morning type o' gal), but our little window tree has sprouted with little greenies and now, recently, bloomed with tiny white flowers. They're not easily captured; they just look like little brightnesses on the tree from the sun. But I tried to get it:

I'm so charmed by the world this time of year. It only happens like 15 days annually, so I have to learn to appreciate it more by taking walks and opening windows. In 2007, we had a really late winter, and when I left for England in the beginning of May we hadn't had many really nice days yet. Then when I got back three weeks later--bam!--it was summer. I totally skipped spring. I was ticked.

So I was looking today at some Twilight movie info. I'm not sure I'll see it, but I'm interested to know its development and things. Anyway, the Cedric-Diggory/Edward dude talked about Meyer's work-in-progress, Midnight Sun, as if it were this well-known thing. 'Wha-huh??' I thought. They described it as Twilight from Edward's point of view--exactly what I hadn't known I wanted!! I read the 20-page sampler chapter on Meyer's website immejitly.

I must say it didn't exactly fulfill all my (admittedly short-lived) expectations. Maybe it's better left a mystery, for me. Don't get me wrong--I'll read it as soon as it comes out, and I'm glad she's doing it. But I was disappointed by a few elements (for example, that Edward's attraction to Bella is not felt when he first encounters her--the love part, not the bloodlust part). It would be like getting all the HP books from Dumbledore's point of view, sort of. I don't need to know it, to understand the story, and perhaps part of the delicious torture of these books is imagining Edward's state of mind rather than having it all spelled out.

Off to tackle the Friday NYTX. Normally this doesn't go well.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Let's hear it for hump day. Woot woot!

Man, today's (tomorrow, Thursday's) NYTX was a bitch. ONIONY bagels? UIE as a slang for turnabout? I liked the theme okay, but the fill was stupid. Well...the fill was stupid, with the exception of 41-across:

Hamilton who wrote "Mythology"

Behold...F O E returns!! What good memories of the very beginning of sophomore Block class. I was in the first one, with Jamie and Mike and Laura and Katie, and I'd never been in that unique of a class environment before, nor since. When we finished our unit on Ms. Hamilton's tome, I liked it so much that instead of doing some boring 'myth of my own' for the project due, I wrote an Ode to Edith. It was awesome. I also started the organization F O E (Friends of Edith). I believe Brian Gerke, in a rare moment of solidarity, was a charter member. I wrote F O E on people's hands, even if they didn't have Block.

So let's take a moment. Let's take some time to remember Mmes. Rahm & Grupe; their innovative ideas about how classes should be run; to be in such a large class in a new big scary high school that friends were inevitably present even on the first day (and yes, enemies like Sarah/Devon Wright); even though the research paper sucked, doing research for it in the media center during class time was fun and felt like I was getting away with something; having Quiz Bowl practice in the Block room after school, where Chris Housh would just answer everything...

These are quite random.

On to business:

The good things about today
  • I was having a major Dress/Idol/Bachelor conversation with Lily when Em called--two social events at the very same time! And a long message to listen to at the end! (Em, you make me laugh. You're such a cute grump.)
  • I swam and worked out with the new Roller deal. That thing burns!
  • Idol was Awe-SOME!!! Carly, the has-been from effing Ireland who thinks that she is sooooo beautiful and sooooo delicious to listen to and works as a barmaid at a nearby Irish pub because OF COURSE she does, and wears black leggings that make her legs look about two feet stubbier, and Constant tank-toppage to show off her ugly, ugly tats on her milky-white skin (skin that should be preserved in its beauty, gosh dang it!), is G-O-N-E. Hallelujah. I hate that she made it further than Michael Johns, but I don't even care that Syesha's still there. It's a worthy sacrifice. And a total shocker, because she fairly kicked ass last night on Andrew Lloyd Webber week.
  • "A Bit of Fry & Laurie" is totally cute. I didn't know it was a sketch show, but I adore them both so much that I don't mind. It was funny to see Hugh all quirky and happy this afternoon, then see ads throughout Idol for "House."
  • Nick Andopolis played a major role in the "Undeclared" episode we watched tonight. I wonder if he's as cute in Sarah Marshall?
  • Sean is getting mondo-colorful. His front legs are almost all orange-striped now and his lips are yellow. I know, it's weird that he has yellow lips.
  • I told my boss about our wedding plans earlier this week and she was so excited! It's neat to see that in people--I never expected anyone but us to really care about this day, so I'm always surprised when folks (like you, Em, or Lily) get enthused about the prospect. I guess I figure the excitement was when we got engaged, and that was about it for outside viewers (maybe because that's how I've always sort of viewed weddings and this whole process). Neil and I were killing time watching Entertainment Tonight or something yesterday, and the big news was that Bush girl's wedding at the White House. Then the whole next segment was spent on recapping prior girly weddings the White House has hosted. It was dull, dull, dull as dishwater, but I knew that in all probability, thousands of women around the country loved it. I just don't have that gene or something. I mean, I want things to be pretty, and will treasure the day and the mementos it leaves behind, and I do have to admit that there are some really formal dresses online that take my breath away. But I don't need them; I like looking at them, and wonder if I'd look pretty in them. I'm not, however, going to spend a thousand dollars on a dress for one freaking day of my life--this is not a moment I've dreamt of (walking down the aisle, I mean...not the getting-hitched part) or worn curtain-veils in preparation for. I'm glad to be getting married, for damned sure, but I'm just not a dream-wedding type of person.
  • I'm tired. Maybe I should go to bed at a reasonable hour.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I found this (okay, I didn't *find* it. My daily "Unshelved" library e-mailed comic artist told us about it) and was totally fooled for the first few. It reminds me of a lot of the artwork I'm dealing with as we throw out box after box after box of all the old 1970s-1980s Educational materials...I never owned an Atari 2600 (I don't think, anyway...we had one but it didn't have games like this. Just Frogger and Q-Bert and stuff. We also had a Bally, which I won in the Big Mystery Surprise Box at Ridgeway Funday one year), but I get the gist of these. A few of my favorites:
This dude is h-o-t. The glasses, the almost-combover, the head-in-hands's all working for him.

Didn't we all have this joyous of expressions playing that weird "Turtle" command game on the Apple during summer school 1985?

Love the flowy head-scarf. Everyone in our elementary-school level textbook illustrations had long hippy hair flowing perfectly in the breeze, animated to appear as if it were only one piece of a big flow of hair. And perfect lips.

Warning: Profanity ahead. I don't usually use this word here, but I'm making an exception because it made me laugh.

Good stuff. Makes me want to find "Lemonade Stand," or "Oregon Trail," or "Carmen Sandiago." Or just Pong.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Can this week be as productive as this weekend was?

Only the checklist can say...

1. Mail SKM's cd & PBS book
2. Get rid of some newspapers
3. Tape some paper cards to playing cards (one deck, at least)
4. Do a little scrapbook organization (read books on it too)
5. Help Neil post his fossil poster on eBay
6. Put together mini-workout machine
7. Finish A blocked DBRL book: Notaro, Julia Child, Clutter/Fat, 4th Summer, Flowers, You Could Do Better, or Jane Austen --or Post-Birthday?
8. Start "Fry & Laurie"
9. Finish Harrison Ford EW
10. Look at Figure magazine
11. Work out with new home mini-machine (or swim) Swam: Tuesday, Wednesday. Bun-rolled, 5 minutes: Tuesday, Wednesday (w/ DVD).
12. Write SarahJC
13. Contact AGA

14. Install wedding & date pages into planner
15. Minor grocery-store run
16. Finish cutie clementines
17. Watch Desperate online (4/20)
18. Watch Hills online (4/21) & Aftershow
19. Watch Bachelor online (4/21)
20. Look into posting DVDs on DVDSwap, swaptree, or Amazon
21. Finish cutting cards out
22. Put all pulled cds away
23. Finish Undeclared Netflix

Menu options:
Skillet Bertolli meal
Marinated chicken/mashed potatoes
Boca burgers/Potatoes o'brien

(Yeah, I know this list is largely a re-hashing of the weekend's, and last week's, but I realized I wasn't look at past to-dos when I made new ones, in the past, and wasn't getting things done that I had always intended to. So there you go!)

Upd: Dang! It's only Tuesday and I'm halfway done! Rock!

Sunday, April 20, 2008


I am far from being a word geek, but I just finished my best Sunday NYTX e-ver! I had help with just, like, four letters, and didn't Google a thing! I am totally stoked. What a good week for crosswords. And, at least one answer I got because I learned it in the past few months doing these regularly, which tells me I may just be able to hold my own at the tournament someday.

In less exciting news:

We tried "Bottle Rocket" tonight.

One word: Do Not.

I keep giving Wes Anderson movies a shot, but I just don't get them. People call them subtle and genius and lordy knows what else, but I just call them boring, ill-acted, and a waste-of-my-time. I won't even get into why I didn't like it specifically (unless you want to hear me rant--then just ask me why), but after being pressured into watching that FLIPPING AWFUL movie "Idiocracy" last year (one other word: REALLY Do Not), I wonder if I should give up on Luke Wilson. His acting style just isn't something I'm comfortable with. I remember seeing "Legally Blonde" and thinking " why is everyone saying this dude is the next big thing?" I can sort of see Owen's gig. The accent, the nose, the blond hair--he's appealing. But Luke is like his awkward ugly brother who never gets invited to parties, or if he does it's only because Owen was being nice and told the host he'd only go if his loser brother could come.

Look at that--I ranted anyway. That's surprising.

Onto better things.

Oh my goodness, was today productive! So many good things:

1. We erranded around town, first to a pre-errand lunch treat at Hardee's, then to Hobby Lobby for gold and red cardstock to label our boxes with. We then took the party to Westlakes (always buy local, kids) to find screws for the IKEA boxes that had theirs all screwy, which I found the first time just by looking at the bins, thank you very much (well, thank you to Doc Marquardt, who helped me learn to love tools and hardware). Our fourth stop, Barnes & Noble, where I got a Figure magazine (and totally picked up a Real Simple Weddings magazine because I'm engaged and I think engaged people are supposed to do that. As a kid, I always thought 'being engaged' would be the happiest time in anyone's life, when you feel pretty all the time. It's true in many ways). Next was Wal-Mart, where we looked for an analog scale (I have totally stopped trusting my digital, since if you climb on it twice in a row your weight may differ by three pounds in a single minute), but they only had tiny stupid ones I didn't like, so we just got Sean some kale. Then we drove home.

2. I put Neil down for a nap, and then printed off a Linens n Things coupon online, figuring they had to have scales. I took down the twinkle lights from the balcony, and the empty suet cages (sorry birdies, you'll have to wait until winter) and left again.

3. All I found at LNT was a good pencil holder for our desk (really a bathroom tumbler, but I like it because it has a very sturdy bottom, not unlike my own [hee!]), because their analog scale selection was even more limited than Wal-Mart's. I remembered Dad found his really good quality scale at Sam's, so I drove over there. I found nothing, but was successful across the parking lot at Lowe's.

4. When I got home, Neil had completely cleared off our long bathroom counter of everything unnecessary, and it looks fantastic. Just our toothbrushes/paste in their little caddy, liquid soap, and one or two other sundries, and all else is pure counter. It's so great.

5. We began Operation Organize. We went through all our junk boxes/tubs (compiled from desk drawers, kitchen drawers, and the like) and put everything we might use into six of the IKEA boxes, which I temporarily labeled with Post-Its until we get the cardstock labels put in.

6. I did financials with all our receipts, paid all the bills due until Neil gets paid again, and figured up our true balance.

7. While I did the above, Neil put our entire DVD collection on the floor, so we can separate into genres, alphabetize, and put into the IKEA boxes for reshelving. We were both way too beat to attempt this today, so it will be tomorrow's project.

8. I emptied my PaperBackSwap books, which were sitting ugly in the dining room on their bookshelf, into Neil's decorative fabric box from The Container Store, and the empty bookshelf is by the door to return to Dad's tomorrow, when we go for a homemade pizza dinner.

9. And last night, we made our other set of shelves beautiful, and minimal, not cluttered! I am so not used to this. We still have the Harry Potter shelf, and one red/black alternating books shelf, and the bottom-most shelf is reserved for my housekeeping books (Hints from Heloise, Junior's Restaurant Cookbook, How to Clean Practically Everything, etc.), but the other three shelves are artful and have actual empty space. One has our to-date collection of hardcover Lemony Snicket books (#s 1-9 & 11), bookended by the alabaster hearts Neil gifted me for our first Christmas. The other two have two black boxes (with red labels, it's a neat look) with our CD-art filed in them (just the booklets, not really any cds), and a decorative element in between the boxes (on one shelf is my vintage "Grinnell Homecoming '31" cowbell and on the other is Neil's black-and-red wooden boxed Charlemagne game, with Emily's Altoid-tinned Noah scrapbook on top of one box). I have never been one for empty space on a shelf, but it's time I learned to let it be. It's calming not to have clutter every which way I turn, and I want to keep them as they are.

We did so much work today, it felt like a real workday. At 8:30 P.M., I could barely keep my eyes open. I changed into my glasses and drank some diet red soda (caffeinated, from Gerbes. It's so great) and brightened up a little, but it was all very tiring.

It's Earth Day today, I guess. (Sunday, now.) Or the 22nd? What?

Whatever. I'm going to go watch a "Freaks & Geeks" commentary and pretend Bill is my friend.

Friday, April 18, 2008

A weekend, a weekend, a weekend, a weekend...(Wow, that's an irritating song.)

1. Mail SKM's cd?
2. Get rid of some newspapers
3. Cut out remaining Magics into strips
4. Do a little scrapbook organization (read books on it too)
5. Financials
6. Do more work on Neil's eBay poster
7. Go to Westlake's for box screws and a new air filter
8. Finish A blocked DBRL book: Notaro, Julia Child, Clutter/Fat, 4th Summer, Flowers, You Could Do Better, or Jane Austen --or Post-Birthday?
9. Start "Fry & Laurie"
10. Finish Tina Fey EW
11. Buy a Figure magazine (B&N)
12. Do Pop Culture Quiz in EW
13. Pick up BC @ PP
14. Work out with new home mini-machine
15. Clear shelves in LR for boxes
16a. Fill IKEA boxes with junk supplies, DVDs, paperbacks, CDs, etc.
16. Install all new IKEA boxes (filled) in LR
17. Write SarahJC
18. Call Em
19. Visit w/ AGA
20. Install wedding & date pages into planner
21. Write SKM
22. Minor grocery-store run
23. Finish a Netflix DVD
24. Cut out all box labels
25. Go to Sam's on Sunday

Another delightful rainy morning!

Dear Blogger,

Why do you log me out every time I close you on my work computer? I've been with you for several months now, and you never did it before, but today I've had to log on twice. I even ticked the "Remember me on this computer" box. What gives?



We have private, one-person bathrooms here at Hugh Stephens Library (I know, it rocks), and they are located at the end of a few of the "P" stacks, where all the "literature" genre is shelved according to the Library of Congress call number system (Shakespeare, plays, fiction, etc). Book titles catch my eye every once in awhile--who can pass a shelf of books without at least glancing at the spines?--and sometimes I think "Wow, Children's Literature Throughout History! Neat!" or "A biography on John Keats. Yawn." There are two reddish volumes with the same title, shelved at eye level right before the bathrooms, so I see them all the time. Today I noticed, for the first time, that it appeared they were titled The Best of Brutish Literature. Now, I know that logically they are actually titled The Best of BrItish Literature, but I also know that I will never be able to see anything but Brutish Literature ever again. It makes me laugh to think what these volumes might consist of if they were so named.


P.S. I also don't believe the "Labels for this post" option would ever be something I'd participate in. I just don't think people want to search labels like "just another day at the library" or "misread titles."

Thank you.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Legend

...But first, a recap.
I went to work today, for 8 hours, to make up time for what I missed earlier. It was a very long, congested, tiresome day, but I know I'm lucky to have a boss that lets me make up my sick time.

It was me and Neil's 17-month anniversary today, so we went to Taco Bell for dinner. Nachos Bellgrande, as usual, followed by a new CUTE AS HELL "Office," when BIG things happened with Pam & Jim! I was, like, burying my head in Neil's shoulder with the cuteness of it all. I love them and I hope the writers don't do anything stupid like on-and-off-again them to TV death. Also, Neil asked for TEN mild sauce packets, and they gave us twenty-nine. I'm not even kidding. I am set for, like, twelve frozen burritos.

Tonight, I added a few L.A. pictures to the "A Lovely Morning? Me?" and "Rollin' the Dice of Her Life" entries, in case you want to see what Dad looks like with a flower pressed to his ear. I also finished the Thursday & Friday NYTX, which is a rare occurrence, with only a little help from Google and people who did it before me and talk about it on their blog.

I came up with a couple new ideas for our wedding trip, too--we hate flying so bad, after enduring so many awful flights last year, and I think it wouldn't be a big deal to drive to NYC or Pensacola if we split the trip up enough. We had such fun listening to Angels and Demons on the way home from Pigeon Forge at Christmas that I know we could do it again. And for my dress--could I get away with a really deep red sheath dress thing? Or a dark emerald green? My thoughts were leaning to a shiny golden brown or gold color, but I don't know if I should limit myself to that.

Okay. So, The Razor. Here it is:

She is The Wilkinson Sword, purchased at a chemist's around the corner from my Oxford dorm room--get this--last May. It came in a set of three, two of which remain in the package, because the Sword has never worn out. And I am not such an infrequent shaver! I mean, it doesn't happen daily by any means, but it isn't as seldom as a once-monthly occurrence either.

I generally avoid disposable razors. In this case, I bought them in England because I didn't want to pack one, figuring that if I did, the flight people would assume I'd threaten the pilot with a safe but close shave if they didn't drop me off in Iceland. And I didn't want to invest in the Venus-type replacement-blade model I usually prefer, because I already have two here, and everything is twice the price o'er the pond anyway.

I don't know how I wound up with the fluke kick-ass razor I did. The colors (turquoise and pinky-lavender) are horrific, and "Wilkinson Sword" sounds like a brand Ward Cleaver might use every morning with his Burma-Shave before kissing June goodbye on his way to the office. Other chicks at the seminar said the razors they'd bought (at the same place!) were ineffective and bloodied up their legs like a hatchet, but I, selfishly, didn't let them know my chosen brand. Who knows--maybe this is the only one of its kind, and if I ever give it up, the other two in the package will last the normal disposable razor's shower-shelf-life of approximately a third of a shave.

This truly magical razor has lasted almost a year. Every time I get out of the shower, I gingerly run my finger along my leg for fear that it would remain stubbly. But I am never disappointed.

Wilkinson Sword, I salute you. You're worth much more than the three pounds fifty or whatever it was I paid on that rainy day.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Other things, and Sean

Kind of a non-day today. I woke up feeling increeeedibly cruddy, so I slept off my NyQuil PM and woke up at the leisurely hour of ten. I knew I might catch some crap for going into work, so I stayed home and puttered around. I'm still sick, but hopeful that tomorrow might be my last day of this (if, as Dad says, three days are common for these viruses). I finished cutting out the cards that were ready, went through all of the TONS of Superbad extras, and took a nap.

Tonight was Mariah Carey night on Idol, which sucked just as hard as I knew it would. David Cook and Jason Castro mixed it up good, but everyone else, as Simon put it, came from Karaoke Hell. I made dad's version of Sloppy Joes for dinner (Neil had four!), and we put the Cards on after Idol finished--which ended up as an awesome win against the Brewers. Neil and I put together several IKEA boxes while we watched, and the pile has lessened considerably.

We imported the photos that have been sitting in Neil's camera for some weeks, so I can finally put some photos of our new dragon here!

This first one was taken a few days after he got home, about 7 1/2 weeks old. His tummy is so flat is rounded and cute now. :)

In my hand again in the last week or so. I love how he holds himself up with his forearms. Like Noah, he appears to me to have little muscles all up and down his legs.

I caught him in this cute little pose as he looked around for crickets one morning. His cage has a large twisty piece of driftwood for him to climb, a half-pipe of empty log for a hide object, and a flat rock-looking bowl in case he wants water (which is rare). His substrate has to be paper towels for the first six months, which disappointed me, as there are some incredibly fun and colorful sand substrates for sale that I'm dying to put in. So for now our bag of white sand is on deck in the storage bedroom.

I'd been wanting to do some photo-shoots of cricket-hunting, since I get such a kick out of the process. So for a few mornings last week, I clicked away. Here, Sean spies his prey.

This next photo I love. I was wanting a good action shot, but he darts around so fast that I can't hardly get a non-blurry photo. He crept up on Cricket, and his hand rose up so slowly that I was able to get it.

Unfortunately, the photo-story ends here. He stalked this cricket for a good five minutes, really learning how to walk slowly toward it instead of darting at it every which way with his tongue. It was fascinating to watch, but at one point Cricket escaped under the paper towels and I felt bad for our poor hardworking Sean, cheated out of one cricket from the thirty he'd been given, after having done such a good hunting job. So I put down the camera and took out his driftwood and log. Sean spotted his prey, and ended its life, immediately.

Coming soon:
The story of the Magic Razor


It's been an odd Monday. It started out well, waking up with Neil and watching Sean eat all his crickets like a rock star. Work flew by, and I stopped at Gerbes after to stock up on some semi-healthy foods and mail everything that needed to be mailed. I also stopped by Petco and got 100 crickets, all by myself! I caught Neil at the tail end of his break at home, right in time for him to put the little critters away.

I was planning a really productive afternoon, with exercising and tidying up and organization, but about an hour after I got home I began to get really, super tired. I took a nap, and woke up congested and hot, with a heavy head as the tell-tale sign of a sinus infection. It got worse and worse as the day went on, but I didn't let myself think I might have a fever, so I tried to wait it out. But it didn't work. Now I'm full-fledged sick.

I finished the commentary for "Superbad" tonight too. It wasn't bad, though I don't know if I can handle another Seth-Rogen's-laughter-filled commentary again. It's so annoying. They did give some great tidbits though, like how when they read through this in 2002 to make then, Seth was Seth, Freaks & Geeks Nick was Evan, and Bill was Fogle/McLovin! There was also a really, really weird and uncomfortable few minutes when Judd Apatow (who had brought his 9-year-old daughter into the commentary recording) was yelling at Jonah Hill to stop swearing in front of his daughter Maude, Jonah saying "What is this, bring your daughter to work day?" and Judd physically walking out of the studio, never to return. I really wish just Michael Cera would do the commentary. To any movie.

I had a near-meltdown at the stupidest thing--a girl sent me the wrong book from PBS, and when I asked for a credit return, she refused on the basis that, I guess, I didn't write her before she sent it to make sure it was the right book. It was so silly. I was frustrated, and wrote to the PBS folks, thinking nothing would happen, but they totally came through for me and refunded me my credit from her account. It was surprising, and awesome (though it sucked, before).

On the good side, I was totally social tonight! I called Grandma, and it was really great to talk to her (and Aunt Slug, who she passed the phone to after awhile). She says it's a good possibility she'll be here for the wedding, which makes me smile. I'm sorry I don't get to see her as often as I used to. I called Dad after that, and he too was glad that she was planning on coming. Then, Roger called--poor Roger, who had thirty-six injections in his back last week, and we had a good long chat about this and that. I talked to Lily for awhile, about The Bachelor and Christian Audigier and the wedding, after Neil went to bed.

I was looking around at dresses online a little today, and found myself really wanting someone with me. Someone like Mom, or Lily, Em, Amanda, Sarahs Miller or Irwin...some kind of female presence who could be here with me as I begin this process. I worked myself all up, feeling all kinds of sad, because I don't have a big female support structure locally. When I found I was getting near tears, I knew I couldn't think about it much more. I know I have some terrific and lovely help with this wedding--the music, the photos, the after-gathering's cupcakes and food--and the boys here really are being great.

But...they're not girls. They're not going to go with me to try on dresses and say "I like how that dress flatters your coloring" or "Oh, if you wear that, it'll just be a Boob Wedding." They're not going to ask "If you get that one, though, how will your hair be?"

I just want my mom. I didn't think it would hit me this hard so early, but since I like planning things, this stage is fun for me too, and I want her to be part of it just like she helped me with Prom. And if I can't have mom, I want Lily or Em. And I can have them, sometimes, just not at the drop of a hat. I know I won't be sad forever. it's just today. And it feels kind of okay to let myself grieve for it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

For the week...

More to-dos. Boring, I know.

1. Call Grandma
2. Mail Shelter check, taxes, etc
3. Watch Monday's Bachelor from 4/7 (& 4/14)
4. Watch last Ugly Betty I missed
5. Watch last night's Desperate
6.. Mail SKM's cd?
7. Get rid of some newspapers
8. Cut out more Magics
9. Take bag of clothes to Goodwill
10. Do a little scrapbook organization (read books on it too)
11. Financials
12. Do more work on Neil's eBay poster
13. Re-watch "The Office"
14. Call Roger
15. Finish A blocked DBRL book: Notaro, Julia Child, Clutter/Fat, 4th Summer, Flowers, You Could Do Better, or Jane Austen --or Post-Birthday?
16. Watch Hills Aftershows
17. Start "Fry & Laurie"
18. Finish Speed Racer EW
19. Swim 4 times: 1 2 3 4
20. Buy a Figure magazine (B&N)
21. April 17: File claim with Amazon
22. Watch all "Superbad" special features
23. Finish Pop Culture Quiz EW
24. Pick up BC @ PP
25. Watch Hills 4/14 & Aftershows
26. Install new Kaboom cleaner in 2nd bathroom
27. Work out with new home mini-machine

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Full and Lazy Day

...And yes, it snowed. I hate to think this is becoming a pattern.

1. I cleaned the kitchen So, So good. I even scrubbed the burner covers and wiped underneath them! I usually only do that when I'm moving out of a place.

2. Neil & I went to Lowe's, Wal-Mart, and CiCi's as an after-errand treat. As usual, it didn't disappoint. We also saw a wicked deep red washer/dryer with drawers underneath at Lowe's. Someday, someday...

3. Watched my Netflix DVD--probably the final one in the "As Time Goes By" series, a reunion special. I wanted it to be more behind-the-scenes-y, but it was just another episode, albeit two hours long. Still very nice.

4. I went through the top shelves of my closet and am getting rid of a bagful of clothes. That's always a satisfying trip to Goodwill--it's that much weight we won't have to move around again!

5. I spent a lot of time watching and playing with Sean today. I know he won't be this cute again, and in fact, I think grown-up beardies are sort of ugly. I mean, I know I'll always be able to see his cuteness, but he'll never be as bouncy and agile when he's bigger.

6. We re-watched "Superbad" tonight. That one kid is really good, and Michael Cera, as always, is squeal-worthy. And, as a bonus, we spotted Bill as a cokehead during Evan's "These Eyes" sing-along! I knew we'd probably see some "Freaks" alums.

7. Ems called today with such a great offer--her mama and sister Kirsti volunteered to play a string duet for our wedding! I was thinking about music, and how depressing it would be to have a little battery-operated stereo playing a cd...I'm so glad that won't be the case! Strings will be so beautiful in that outdoor setting, and I love that everyone involved in this will be people I already know.

8. Some kind of "Leave it to Beaver" marathon is on TV Land right now. I love the school episodes with Miss Landers the best. How many seasons did he have that chick for a teacher? It's like Mr. Feeny around here.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

I am It!

Ems tagged me, so this survey is passed on for me to fill out...

Four Jobs I've Held:

1. Tray Breakdown cafeteria worker (That's TBD, to dining-hall staffers in the know) at Cowles Dining Hall, Grinnell College. My job as TBD #4 was to grab the cups off the trays and put 'em in their holders set on the racks above me.

2. Coach/server @ TGIFriday's in the Chicago suburb of Darien. Fun, fun job. But insane also. And oh yes, I had flair. I had FLAIR, my friends! (Four best pieces of flair: Huge button of Her Highness Debbye Turner, Miss America 1990--she was from Columbia. A glittery gold pin that spelled out "SOLD" in fake diamonds--everyone coveted it, for some reason. "The Happy Fisherman" button, hidden on the inside of my vest with all the other dirty flair, for only special customers to see. A ruby slippers glittery red 3-D pin from Mama.)

3. Customer Service Rep at the North American Paper Company, or NAPCO, in Glenview Illinois. Worst job of my life! An hour commute to and back, even at 7 in the morning and 3 in the afternoon. And my van had no A/C and the stereo mostly didn't work at all. On the plus side, though, I understand some of the "Office" references more than others might.

4. Shelver/drone at Missouri Book Services in Columbia. A job everyone has had at one point or another who grew up here. Oh, it was awful. Shelving the same dirty used textbooks, authors Halm to Hettich, cart after cart, day after day. Some days they had me work the belt--standing there staring at a moving conveyer belt, grabbing books for a specific row...sometimes it went too fast and you missed some, and got slammed later when all the 'missed' books were put on the belt again. Sometimes it was slow as molasses and the minutes were like was during some of the slow time that I read a book in their collection, The Little Prince. It was good, and sad. When you got off the belt (two 15-minute breaks a day, one at 10 and one at 3, and an hour for lunch at 12), everything around you was moving. HORRIBLE!!!

Four Movies I Could Watch Over and Over:

(These are movies that I stop and watch every time they're reran on TV despite the fact that the DVD is sitting on my shelf)

1. Meet Me in St. Louis (How can I ignore the boy next door?)
2. Harry Potter (the first one)
3. The Sound of Music (Every Christmastime on ABC)
4. A Christmas Story (But only with the family. I don't really watch it alone. It's too darkly lit and depressing at the end.)

(Near misses: Great Balls of Fire [5 times in the theatre], West Side Story, Young Guns I & II, A Charlie Brown ANYTHING, Mary Poppins)

Four Places I've Lived:

1. NYC (University Hall, right on Union Square. 11th floor. Roomies: Kat Carlson, Katie Claypoole, and Whitney Dobbs. All totally and completely too cool for me, but for some reason they liked me. I used to stare out the window late into the night, promising myself I'd go to bed when 30 seconds passed and I didn't see anyone walking outside. It never happened. I also would look at all the people in the tableaux of apartments across the street and see what they were doing.)

2. London, England (Gower Street, near Tottenham Court Road. Janet Poole House, second floor. The view out my flat window was overlooking a lot of roofs and it was totally chim-chim-chiree-ish. Thankfully, I didn't have a roommate, though less thankfully, my room was approximately 10' x10'.)

3. Grinnell, Iowa (Norris Hall, North campus, with the A/C, the jocks, and the narrow, narrow halls--and Sarah Miller two floors almost directly above me! Roommate: Alethea something from Des Moines. Younker Hall, North campus, with a very entertaining floor of friends but a roommate who sexiled me pretty much nightly. I think I spent about two nights in that bed. Roommate: Niki/Ryan. Gates Hall, North campus, on the loggia which meant you could crawl out my window onto the roof of the walkway. On an all-girls' floor, which I dreaded but turned out to be terrific. No roomie! Loose Hall, South campus. Basement single room, same dorm as all my friends. I loved it.)

4. Door County, Wisconsin (Fish Creek, which sounds awful but is completely charming. I shared a cottage with Susanne Graff and Karen Mal, and had the tiniest room--about the size of a single bed plus a row of boxes. It was $50 a week. I wish I'd taken more pictures, especially of the moon glimmering over the lake in Peninsula State Park.)

Four TV shows I like:

1. Ugly Betty (Every episode makes me smile. And I like how every character has something good and something bad about them. And seriously...have you seen Henry? How cute is Christopher Gorham?)

2. The Bachelor (Since Lily moved to LA, we've had some serious post-show discussions. I know it never works out, but you sure have fun hating the bitches during its run.)

3. Dateline: To Catch a Predator (HOW FANTASTIC is the moment when the skeezeball is caught and the host goes "Well I'm Chris Hansen with Dateline..." Oooooh, I love it. Neil had never seen it, but it came on when we were in Pigeon Forge and he too was immediately hooked.)

4. Square One TV (Back in the day, Dad and I would watch this on PBS every afternoon. I would pay good, good money for a complete DVD set of the series. That was some funny shit! Whenever I hear the word "tesselation," I am reminded of the Beach-Boys-sounding song of the same name from this show. Same with "probability" [Don't you mess with me!]. And it always ended with "Mathnet," a spoof on Dragnet that sometimes really scared me. I WANT IT!!)

Four People Who Email Me Regularly:

1. Neil, when we're at work. We discuss menus, schedules for the evening, and our love.

2. Sarah Irwin, to talk about last night's Idol and when we're getting together next

3. Amy Zoellers, for dinner plans, book club plans, and funny anecdotes

4. Sarah Miller, to catch up every few weeks or for possible NKOTB updates

Four Favorite Foods:

1. Hard salami. I don't understand why it isn't everyone's favorite Cold Cut.

2. Cornichons. Those tiny little vinegary pickles served mostly in gourmet restaurants. For awhile, you could only get them in town at Village Wine & Cheese, and the 'rents would always get me a little tub of them in my stocking.

3. Nachos Bellgrande with Chili and tons, tons, tons of Mild Sauce from the Packet. I relish every bite with my fingers, and then when it gets too messy, I stir it all together at the bottom and go to town with the enclosed Spork.

4. The little rectangles of saran-wrapped homemade chocolate-iced chocolate cake they served at the WJHS cafeteria. Some people would spend all their $1.25 lunch money on 5 cakes, but I never had the guts to do that. On occasion, I would get two. The white-iced chocolate cake was good too--a little more refreshing. The only thing that compares are the [much more expensive] wrapped squares you can get in the Walgreen's refrigerated section.

Wow. I haven't thought about that cake for a long-ass time. The one good thing about West!

Four Places I'd Rather Be:

1. Buzzing around NYC with Neil, in a crazy driving taxicab or zooming along in the subway

2. Barnes & Noble, with money to spend, in the discount section

3. Pensacola Beach with the family

4. Walking, if it were a nice April day, instead of snowing, around the Botanical Gardens with Neil, Dad, and the Southerland family

Four People I'm Tagging:

I don't believe I have four readers, so I'll make up a new question (and if you are reading, and you're not Em, consider yourself tagged):

Four Assigned Books I Thought Were Worth the Read:

1. Tom Sawyer (Junior year Honors English, with M.A. Gates at HHS)

2. Richard III (Intro to Shakespeare, Grinnell-in-London)

3. Wuthering Heights (Women in Lit, or something. Grinnell-in-London)

4. Jumping, by Barbara Trapido (One of my very favorites from aforementioned Women/Lit course at G-i-L. The author came to speak to our little class and Jae thought she had to have been a man at some point, what with her big hands.)

Friday, April 11, 2008

I got the goods

For today/this week:

1. I got Heroes II to play on that old clunky Toshiba laptop of Mom's, and played an easy scenario today during Neil's nap and kicked ACE. It was so good. I chose the Sorceress, and got Phoenixes during the second week.

2. For the first time in awhile, I don't consider myself to have obligations: nothing to study for, pack for, prepare for, read before it's too late or overdue, no social functions to get ready's been nice, every night, to have that breathing room. To decide "Yes, I can feasibly laze around all night and do nothing!", or to make the choice to get some stuff done around the house.

3. Seeing Joe's L.A. photos was an experience that put me right back there. He's so good.

4. I had a fun little chat with Emily this week--I treasure those little snatches of time, because I know how different her life is now and feel flattered that she fits me in even after a full day at work, when she's probably looking forward to nothing but cuddling with her boys and zoning out for the night.

5. The Cards are rocking this season. I like that they're giving the bird to those who predicted they'd be last right now. And Skip Schumaker is nice to look at, like a little brunette Beckham.

6. I found all of mine and Neil's old e-mails tonight, that I'd printed out way back when. We had a nice, smiley time reading them together.

7. Though scheduling and storms prevented a lot of swimming this week, I did begin going again, and found that the time slot I'm now adopting is actually much better than my old one--no Little Swimmers peeing all around me! I got my own lane for all 30 minutes on Wednesday. I also saw that they had water weights in the kickboard box, so maybe I won't have to buy my own!

8. Pudding Pops were on sale at Schnuck's for the first time in months...they are Neil's favorite! I like when he smiles all the time.

9. I finished a couple of DVDs this week to return.

10. You know how I like it best when other people make me sandwiches? Even very simple ones like a hot dog with mustard? Apparently, it's true even when ordering them--Neil picked up Subway for us on Thursday, and it was the best one I've had almost ever. So:

Someone else orders + Another person makes it= the perfect sandwich.

Freaks, Geeks

We just finished the DVD set tonight, and it was melancholy. I know there are plenty of other fixes to be had (like 30 commentaries on said DVDs and their deleted scenes, "Undeclared," similar series like "MSCL") but it's always tough saying goodbye to characters you know you won't hear about again.

What happens to Nick and Lindsay? Was Daniel left back--again? Why didn't we ever meet Judith, Harris' plaything? Was Ken able to go to third base with Amy without throwing up a little in his mouth? Since Apatow knew it was going to be cancelled, you'd think he would give us some answers other than "Lindsay didn't compromise her new Freak status by going to that geeky academic summit! Yayyyy!"

Some reviewers said that Seth Rogen was so mean in this, but I disagree. He was sort of a jerk at first, but so was James the end, when he was all cutesy in love with fake-hermaphrodite Amy, you couldn't help but love Seth and his new curly-headedness.

Other favorites: Harris the Dungeon Master, whose blog I found, and who talks like that in his normal life; Neal's little-old-man look (totally ruined in "Knocked Up"); Gordon Crisp's softness, both physical and personality-wise; Mr. Weir's unintentional one-liners; a begrudging affection for Jeff Rosso (though this could be entirely for his "Gilmore" connection); Nick's great big smile and smokin' disco moves; Gym Teacher Fredericks, played by Biff, in a very kindly and non-bullyish way; and last but not least....


His deadpans were the best of anyone's, and those huge, huge unnatural eyes beneath his glasses made me both crack up and feel sorry for him every time. Neil hit the nail on the head when he compared them to when Seinfeld wore those thick glasses for an episode. I can't explain how much I loved Bill. I don't like that he's grown up now.

I didn't love: Kim Kelley. Sam Weir. (NO ONE in high school looks ten. I'm sorry, but after 8th grade or so, we're all caught up.) How Cindy turned into a bitch. Lindsay playing with Nick's heart. Daniel Desario, for a lot of it. The music.

And, that it's over.

Santa Monica Boulevard (We love it)

Joe put his photos in a Snapfish album, so I can cease the image-stealing for a post! (Unless stealing his counts...)

Plus, I remembered another thing:

Diagonal crosswalks. We only encountered it in Pasadena, but I guess it's pretty common.

I didn't do it--too scared. Lily and Dad ran across, and me and the boys stayed put. If I'd been prepared, I might have. But it felt so illegal! And I have ever been a proponent of crossing the street only when the lights tell me it's okay. (Ironically, I've committed some sort of crime by breaking my own promise a mere paragraph back, by stealing the above image.)

Anyway. Oh, so I finally have the marijuana shop sign!

That was a fun, fun night. We haven't all been on a vacation in two years, and it was great to do things again as a family, instead of split up here and there. It was a shame Neil wasn't a part of it, but it was such an easy trip that a repeat drive is entirely possible.

I insisted Joe capture this. It was kind of by the Roosevelt Hotel, I think. But I have no idea, really--when I don't drive in a city, I got no clue where we are. Joe's super at photographing things as we drive by them, and I am decidedly not.

I didn't see this, but I wish I had. It was put out for the trash men in Lily's neighborhood. Doesn't it look so sad and slumpy? Like "I did all I could for this family, and this is what they're doing to me. Rotten kids."

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Snow in April

At least, that's the forecast for Saturday. Damnit, we're not in Iowa, people!

So I've given up on Mirror Mirror. I gave it almost 2 cds worth, and it hurts to quit after a quarter of the book has been read, but I was befuddled, and unentertained, through most of the past few days of listening, so I've moved on to the less cultured Lipstick Jungle, a risk-free venture. The thing with Mirror is that it's so, so infused with religious references and historical settings (two of my least favorite topics to read about) that it overpowers the fairy tale that's at the very, very back of the story. But one-fourth of the way through, and the only part of the Snow White story we've seen is that Bianca's father found this mirror. I'm sure it will pick up, so maybe I'll try it again someday in print. But I was really starting to dislike listening, and at that point, it isn't worth my time.

I think I'll begin Eclipse this weekend. I finally just broke down and ordered all three from Amazon in hardcover, so I won't have to wait for the endless DBRL queues anymore.

A little to-do for the next few days:

1. Prepare for tax-doing (print out 1040s) Unnecessary; Dad got 'em all.
2. Actual tax-doing with Dad
3. Finish "Frontier House"
4. Finish Spring TV EW
5. Call Grandma
6. Send check for Shelter wedding
7. Return DBRL items
8. Watch Monday's Hills
9. Watch Monday's Bachelor
10. Watch last Ugly Betty I missed
11. Mail SKM's cd?
12. Mail taxes!

[Onto the weekend...]

13. Get rid of some newspapers
14. Cut out more Magics
15. Try Heroes on Mom's old laptop
16. Storage solution for Oz items
17. Clear out some closet space for above
18. Do a little scrapbook organization (read books on it too)
19. Financials
20. Lowe's/WalMart (more cards)
21. Do more work on Neil's eBay poster
22. Re-watch "The Office"

I'm so glad we have a new Office tonight! I have missed them so. All but Andy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Robbie & David

Tonight was "inspirational song week" on Idol, which I figured would be a snooze-fest. I don't go for Xtian rock, or "We Are The World"-type songs, but I knew that Michael Johns or David Cook would mix it up and perform a rockin' version of "Amazing Grace" or something.

As for Archuleta, as much as I hate to say it, I think he's lost that spark he climaxed at "Imagine," and he became crazy-crazy popular, and now something's gone from his eyes. He'll for sure stay awhile, even winning the whole thing, but it's like his spirit was killed. That great big endearing smile hardly ever crosses his face anymore. I figured he'd do a serviceable Jesus song, wow Paula and the girly crowd, and sail through.

When, in his interview, he talked about how he chose "Angels," I was sure it couldn't be the version I knew. There has to be more than one song called "Angels," right? Robbie Williams can't be in wee David's oeuvre. I allowed myself a small breath of hope, but knew I was probably going to be disappointed.

...and lo and behold, I wasn't! I am *so* glad I brought all my Robbie cds to work after the LA trip, because now I need a serious fix.

I don't even know if David blew me away with the song, or more his song choice...he certainly did well with it, but didn't hit that "And through it all" note as intensely as I wanted. But he still made my night.

Robbie Williams. It is such a shame he never caught on here! Simon touched on it when he said "I can't believe that song was never a hit over here, because it is one of the best pop songs ever written." I can't think of a single RW song I don't like, and I am not a song person...what is wrong with the US audience?

My first experience with RW was when the "Millennium" single was released in London in the fall of 1998. I didn't like it at first; nor did I like the arrogant pissant who strode around, high on his "Let Me Entertain You" popularity, wearing a column mesh dress on TFIFriday's like he didn't care how he looked (when it was obvious he did). But those songs were *everywhere*, and finally when our group attended a [British] football game and "Let Me Entertain You" came on over the PA system, I found that I was singing along. My friends were impressed that I knew the song so well, and I was buoyed by their laughter, incorporating some devil horns and head-banging into the mix. After that, I let myself fall, and have never looked back. So I was all the more tickled when a little boy with short hair and wide brown eyes said in a later TFIF segment "My name is Billy Smythe and I look like Robbie Williams." (Name of boy not accurately recalled at this time. I wrote it down somewhere though.)

In a way, though, I kind of like that there's only a few of us Statesians who can see how possumly awesome he is. Any tour he does in Europe is sold out immediately, but if he ever ventured to try one here, I'd get flamtabulous seats without selling my first-born to do so.


Em, should I reformat this to be centered? Do I look like a complete moron with this left-justified action?

I have to go take a shower so I can get to bed at a reasonable time, and so I don't have to take one tomorrow. But I'm very sleepy, and I fear a shower will wake me up. And I won't be able to get to bed at a reasonable time. It's a vicious cycle.

Cutting cards

For hours. That's what I've been doing.

Neil's brother Paul gave us a sheath of papers, color copies of the tenth edition of a certain card game that was played in the Gold Room of HHS after school let out. The players wore a lot of black trench coats. Anyway, I learned how to play, and it's fun...and I like to cut things out, so that's what I've been doing. An afternoon of cutting, Frontier House, and breaks to play with Sean and talk to Emmsers on the phone. I've seen the show before, but it was always my favorite out of the PBS-history-reality genre, since it was so close to what I imagine Laura Ingalls' experience to be. It's sad to watch it and know that the Glenns would divorce soon after, while the petty and vain Clunes returned to their mansion in Malibu to continue their stupid rich lives as if this had never happened. You just hate them by the end. Nate, though, is simply a delight. You can tell the producers tried to fit him into their "Montage O' Complaints," but all he'd ever say was "It's a little hot out here!"

Anyway. Neil and I have been partaking of aforementioned card game once an evening or so, and it's been great. We just about split our wins (though if we ever compete with handmade decks I doubt there will be much of a game), and I'm definitely remembering why I enjoyed this game so much even with my questionable coaches and playing partners in Chicagoland.

I've switched to an 8-noon work schedule, I hope for good. It'll make my schedule more regular, give me more freedom in the afternoons, and I can still fit swimming in (when thunderstorms aren't on the menu) right after work. It's been going well so far, and the day passes by so quickly, as mornings always do.

I'm surprised at myself for being so smiley about this wedding! It helps that Emily is so enthusiastic about helping out and being involved, because I think if it weren't for her I'd be kind of deflated about the planning process. But this should be a fun thing to plan...not an obligation, not stressful, just making it so the day is a pleasant one for us. That's all it should be. I'm marrying Neil for me, not for relatives or friends I haven't seen in years or old family friends from states away. The last thing I want to do when I wake up on the morning of October 18th is think "Oh crap, I have SO MUCH to do today!" I want to go to bed singing the song from "My Fair Lady," and wake up with a smile and think "Yay! I'm getting married today! And we get cupcakes!"

So now one of my goals is, and this is such a cliche, to lose some poundage beforehand. I'm not talking anything drastic...I just want to get to a point where I feel good, proud of myself for watching my habits, and happy to have Emz clicking away around me instead of fretting about how I might look. I felt great when Neil and I first met, right before our family Thanksgiving photos were taken by the gorgeous Em, but it's been on the uphill track since then ('ll do that to a person!) and it would be fantastic if I can feel perfectly beautiful, 20 pounds or so from now. I know it's not the answer to all of life's problems, of course...having been there and back a few times! But you have to admit, it does help!

Raw chicken is awaiting its marinade, so I must flee. (Do you think it's telling that raw meat makes me absolutely nauseous? I could never, ever, eat any turkey I prepared. I can't eat the chicken when I make it, and raw beef is even hard to swallow unless it's been in the Crock-Pot all day. Am I a true cook if I can't get over the smell/feel?)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

All this space...[archive]

I've been listing my everyday accomplishments and/or good things here, since these things always have so much free space on the sides with unnecessarily (and deceivingly) long posts on the rest. I like to fill my space, dangit!

But I've moved it from the sidebar to the main section, to fill the sidebar, from now on, with other things, not so dated.

1. A whole lane to myself at the ARC!
2. Neil remembered how he likes me to Rap
3. And he did the long "ooooookaaaaaaay" at bedtime! I missed it so much.
4. My favorite weather (overcast, still, temperate, the silence before a rain) happened after swimming, so I was able to enjoy it a bit. Then it turned cold and rainy--unfortunately I was optimistically in flip-flops so going outside later on was chilly.
5. Finished the Chef! DVD. I can see why it didn't last (Chef's pretty one-dimensional), but it was an enjoyable seven episodes.
6. Am getting more into New Moon, especially when Edward made a fleeting, voice-only appearance last night. I don't like to pick it up when I only have a short time to read, like for toilet-reading or during my lunch hour. It's too involving.
7. Also finished importing the 4 books on cd I want for the L.A. trip.
8. Had a lively conversation with Steve this evening. It's funny--I always think I'm not a phone talker, but with him I can't get the words out fast enough. We've always had a special bond, and it's good to know it's still there even though we don't see each other or chat that often. Michael Johns and David Cook came into Brookstone! And Laura Linney, apparently, is a biotch. Also talked to Lillo for a few minutes, who was saddened at David Hernandez's departure. Poor Papa--he jumped over a fence during tennis yesterday and thinks he may have cracked a rib! I hope he's okay, but he did mention our trip may not happen if he's still feeling bad. I wish he would be a little selfish and call me to wait on him!
9. I cooked Brats tonight for the very first time!
1. Finished Tuesday's NYTX in a little over 9 minutes without any trouble. I bet doing them with keystrokes (i.e. Tab to jump between words) would speed up my score even more.
2. Got a cute layery haircut at Great Clips right next door. It was going great, until I saw Solicits-Clients-For-Sex in there with his so-called nephew. It freaked me out, and I ran home to Neil as soon as I could. But I like the lightness of my head now. It's the first salon cut I've had since I moved to NYC!
3. Went on a huge grocery shopping trip this morning instead of swimming and stocked up for awhile.
4. Made me & Neil a huge "salami sandwich" salad for dinner. We both loved it! It had O.G. salad dressing.
5. We (largely Neil) put up 2/3 of the Ugly Doll frame sets in the living room.
6. Watched a really unpleasant Busy-Philipps centered "Freaks and Geeks." I still don't know about that show.
7. Talked to Lily for a few. It surprises me how well we get along on the phone.
8. I like that "The Today Show" shields me from unpleasant news. "Pepper and Friends" is better at that, but I'm not sure if I can take a helping of Fake-n-Bake on a daily basis.
9. Neil called me beautiful, in a way that made me feel really, really wonderful.
10. We cuddled this morning before he got up! It was kind of half-asleep cuddling, but a really nice way to say goodbye to sleepytime.
11. I bought a red oven timer to match our kitchen! And I used Beth's yellow claw things to toss the salad. They make me feel like a real cook, somehow. Probably because they force a close proximity between you and the food so it's like I'm mixing up some sort of bread dough with my bare fists, but without the bread dough or the dirty hands.
12. Wore my new green and white striped sweater today. It's my favorite shirt right now, I think. I should have worn the green Christmas earrings Dad gave me, with it.
13. Kristy Lee singing "Eight Days a Week" on Idol was like when Weird Al Polka-rizes current hits. Unintentionally hilarious. (On KL's part. I'm sure Weird Al isn't trying to send a serious message.)

1. Finished the Sunday NYTX completely yesterday with only a little help--perhaps the first time I've done that! And today, the Monday's was a breeze.
2. Steamed all the wrinkly clothes last night. it made me nauseous.
3. Coupon clipped and printed out the Grocery Game list for tomorrow (I'm going grocery shopping during my morning break instead of swimming...well, at least I'll be walking around for half an hour!)
4. Sorted coupons, purged files, and have a GREAT start on the new filing cabinet. Don't open both drawers at once, though, or it will fall.
5. Went to Papa's for homemade pizza and vanilla cake. I love visiting with him. Soon, it'll be on the front po'ch!
6. Am loving my new "Organize" magazine. Every page makes me excited. I have a propensity for falling in love with and subscribing to magazines that get cancelled, though (Sassy, Jane, Budget Living) so I hope I don't jinx this one
7. The dining room table looks much better than it did when the weekend began
8. We're watching "Freaks and Geeks" now. I absolutely detest Busy Phillips, as always, and am surprised at how unlikeable James Franco is in it, but everyone else is pretty charming.
9. I got a response back from USPS already! I'm really not expecting anything, but am going to give them the info they want anyway just in case. I guess it's just nice to know they didn't just send me an automated response.
10. Neil shaved off his goat today! There is nothing there but chin! He likes how I say "Minimum Wage." I like how he says everything.

1. Began (& finished) Last Night at the Lobster
2. Went to the ARC to show Neil around, then Dad's to pick up frozen items for this week. He's making us all pizza tomorrow night, and vanilla cake!
3. Neil filled the suet baskets, so we'll have birdies again
4. Because I finished Lobster, I'll be able to totally get into New Moon tonight without feeling guilty
5. Didn't sleep in turrible late this AM, so I my sched won't be that wacked up for DST tonight.
6. I'm going grocery shopping tomorrow with the Grocery Game list and $100 to spend. I haven't done that in awhile!
7. We decided not to continue the Trib subscription, which will assuage the guilty pile-up in the corner of our living room
8. Ate up a few eggs (I had to buy a dozen last time and knew many of them would end up getting thrown out) for breakfast, then later, the Double Gloucester with Chives & Onions.
9. I wrote the USPS about the Christmas snafu with Steve's package. The situation just makes me sad and mad every time I think of it, and I had to do something to get it off my chest. Whether they do something about it or not, I definitely felt lighter after I hit 'Submit.'
10. Gave Pops another check today. It feels good to pay him from time to time, even though I know he doesn't need us to stick to a deadline or anything.
11. Dad updated me on Lily, and it sounds like she is doing awesome at her job at Christian Abugieriereifrerejacques. I'm so proud of that little one!

1. Finished Twilight, obviously
2. Made a super new thing for dinner: I was looking online for suggested pierogie sauces, and someone said they liked mixing a topping of veg oil and tabasco and baking the pierogies on the oven, then dipping them into blue cheese dressing. Hot Wing Pierogies! They were fantabulous! Neil liked his, in a pre-made creamy butter sauce with onions, as well.
3. Neil got paid today, so our financials are stable for now.
4. Phoenix was making super, super shapes this morning: the first, snaked through his new dome home, through the hole on top, and laid out on the driftwood above it. The second, he was kinda vertically smashed halfway up the glass, doubled up in the middle, and his other sides went through his log apartment where he was sticking his head and the very tip of his tail. He is practicing for some sort of tournament.
5. Thought of a great name for our to-be-dragon: Sean, or Shawn. I gravitate toward Sean because I like the spelling better, but Shawn is the spelling of Rider Strong's character on Boy Meets World, from whence the inspiration sprung. (Because of the "Pheenie"/"Feeny" connection. But also Neil started calling it the new name today and it sounded really cute. )
6. Dad's making a vanilla cake, so he asked for some of my punch-bowl-sized volume of icing. I gratefully dropped that by today.
7. Steve wrote me a cute e-mail too. I'm excited to see the kiddos at the end of this month! Not excited to leave Neil for that long, though. :(

1. Rent was featured in the Oscars EW! What a fantabulous issue! Lots of opinions and gossip I hadn't heard.
2. Finished Acito on the way to work and started Nights of Rain and Stars, read by Terry Donnelly, who also read the delightful Quentins. So far, it's very engaging.
3. Walked against the Lazy River and debuted the swimsuit-cap-under-the-silicone-cap. I think it will work great.
4. Sad and touching segment on The Today Show about parents who have photos taken of their newborn babies who won't live. I cry at anything, of course, but I didn't think I'd be brought to tears before 9 AM from a TV segment.
5. The last MU home basketball game of the season was on the radio when Neil was going to bed, so we snuggled and listened to it end in second overtime, with Mizzou snagging the victory. It was a nice few minutes, listening in the dark.
6. I bought water shoes at Target (never thought I'd get those) so the Lazy River walk will be easier on the toesies.
7. I really want these new shoes I saw in Nina's catalog called FitFlops (in green). And red brocade Danskos. Oh, I covet. I covet.

1. Had a lovely wide lane all to myself at the ARC today and snuck in a shower before going back to work
2. Ate up the Thai and pasta leftovers
3. Began The 1940s House and Twilight, which I *swear* I started during an Online Book Club week, a couple years ago. I can tell it's going to be grrr-eat!
4. David Cook (he turned "Hello" into a rock anthem!) and Michael Johns ([Don't You] Forget About Me--he's so Michael Hutchence) were amazing tonight, and Castro got a great review from Simon (singing that Hallelujah song from Scrubs, or Jeff Buckley, I guess).
5. "The Office" rerun tonight was S3 season finale, with Jim asking Pam on a date. It was so, so terribly cute.
6. I look forward to this week's EW, too, as it is the best recap of the Oscars. In fact, Us and People don't even put the Oscars in a starring role anymore.
7. My new swimming chamois dries into funny frozen shapes if I don't rinse it well.
8. Steve Carell was on The Today Show this morning; this time, 'disarming' would be an appropriate adjective. How can he be so grounded?

9. Returned two items to DBRL! But alas, I'm on the final chapter of Marc Acito. I love not wanting to get to the end of books that I'm enjoying so well. And I fear that books in the immediate future won't be as great.
1. Cici's Pizza for dinner! Yee-haw. Except, we had to wait for a table. The hell? Going back to the positive side, though, there was buffalo chicken pizza.
2. Nice drive through a glittery downtown Columbia, contentedly full, afterward.
3. Worked a Sunday Trib Xword in full, with Neil's help. Could I be getting better?
4. When I went to deliver the processed cart of new stuff at the end of my shift, James was so excited that, even though he was shrugging into his jean jacket to go to lunch, he quickly shucked it off and marveled at all the new items. He's growing on me--for some reason, grumpy old men tend to soften a bit when they get to know me. (Of course, normal, pleasant men tend to get irritated with me quickly, so it evens out.)
5. I am absolutely loving the narrator of "How I Paid for College," my current unabridged (because what is EVER the point of abridged? I wouldn't list an abridged novel on my "books read" list) book-on-CD on my way to and from work. He made me laugh out loud today when "Nadie" (sp?) says in his squeaky Long Island accent "They can't charge you for the same crime twice, right?" It was only funny in context, but it was so funny it makes me giggle just remembering it. This is a great book. I dig that I'm in the middle of two books I can't wait to get back to every time I return to them.
6. I got a lot tidied up today when I got home: vacuumed, even though I hate it, and cleaned out the brushes; went through all my notes on the desk; filled in all the books needed to be entered in my "Books" file (is it too weird that I like to keep track of books I read, want to read, and own?); started on the pile of newspapers; emptied and reloaded the dishwasher; and installed all the UglyDolls on the caddy shelves above the desk.


1. Agreeable Idol eliminations tonight: Alexandrea, Alaina, Skunky Yeager, and Robbie "The Wig" Carrico.
2. The cheesy pasta leftovers went over well.
3. Attempted several practice tourney crosswords, and finished NYTX, with help from Neil & Google.
4. Delish chicken baguette sandwich with coleslaw for lunch.
5. Got home from work at 2 & had a long afternoon following the low-stress workday.
6. Dad's coasters arrived and look great!
7. Neil Christian was rompariffic!
8. Finished the 2-weeks-ago EW.
9. Cut out coupons & went through mail.
10. Didn't eat too terribly unhealthy, and didn't snack after Neil went to bed.
11. 'Sarah Brown Eyes' came on at work and for the first time I was able to almost fully sing along.
12. Work flew by like a flash--I was alone today.
13. The temperature was warm enough that the weird snowstorm this afternoon didn't stick to anything.
14. Perfect Strangers is on DVD! BALKEEEEEE!
15. I'm getting used to going to bed an hour early to make up for waking up an hour early.