Wednesday, September 28, 2011

June 6 - June 15

Holy crap I got a good night's sleep. I have, as usual, been getting a shameful amount per night since Saturday--5 hours tops. It's KILLING ME! Last night we ran a coupla errands after work, got home at 6:20, kept our eyes propped open for DVR'ed Jersey Shore...and crashed. I feel asleep twice before finally getting officially ready for bed at 9, even though the Cardinals had just scored over the Astros and Atlanta had lost making us SOSOSOCLOSE to the playoffs. Tonight will tell.

I slept until 5:30 today, getting up willingly and cheerfully after some weird-ass dreams. Because of my schedule/tiredness, I didn't get an evening workout in yesterday, AGAIN, and burned 2825. But that's better than my normal sitting rate of 2200-something, right??

What foreign cities would you like to visit someday?

Cairo, or wherever the Great Pyramids/Sphinx are.
Anywhere in Luxembourg, or southern France.
Barcelona (and anywhere in Spain).
Dublin (and anywhere in Ireland).
Bath and London and Stratford again.
Anywhere in Prince Edward Island. I check plane fares every so often...
Toronto. Vancouver.
Athens, then a beachside small town in Greece.
A charming small coastal town in Italy.
A tropical island, but Hawaii would probably be 'foreign' isn't a requirement.
Jalisco, Mexico. And Tlaquepaque. I can't believe I spelled that right!

Which qualities inspire you the most?

Resourcefulness/thrift. Hard working. Living every moment to the fullest. Choosing to be (and stay) happy. Deep and honest kindness/selflessness. Fearlessness. The ability to let go of unimportant things.

What makes you happiest in a relationship?

I'm going to take this to mean a romantic one...
Lots of good kissing. The ability to talk about everything and nothing. Taking care of one another. Common interests. A private language.

What do you think about the current state of the economy?

I guess that it sucks. It hasn't affected me directly very dramatically, except that Nixon (who I used to be supportive of) took away our day-after-Thanksgiving vacation day and switched insurance so we all have deductibles, so he could save money on the state budget. But it's made me more aware of the utterly ridiculous things the government *does* spend money on instead. Like having a special legislative session now in which nothing's getting done--and that's costing us $25,000 a day.

What days of your life would you like to live over again?

Whoa, this is hard! And cool. And deeper than I had imagined.

The day Neil and I talked about how we really felt...early on. And the day he first told me he loved me, and the day we first talked about marriage. Last Tuesday was awfully amazing, too...and lots of days like that, in between!

I don't know what year it was, but that one Christmas Eve we had Olive Garden, then piled into the van giggling madly...went to Unity to hear Steve sing (and sat by the window beside the amazingly-lit tree outside)...and drove around in high spirits looking at Christmas lights. There may have also been Milk Punch involved. It's a similar experience every year. :)

Iowa City scrapbook-shopping spree, Chicago scrap shopping, Des Moines scrap shopping with Linz, and the day in St Louis that Emily and I stumbled on a scrap store with *everything*, even a ton of current items, 60-75% off, and THEN she took me to Archiver's for the first time ever. And the day Ali and I cropped at Archiver's was pretty damned fun.

My first time being driven into NYC. Holy MOLY. I was so in love I wanted to cry. Mom took me, Steve, and Steve's friend Patty, and from the moment the car picked us up at the airport and we started to see the city lights, I felt an ache like my heart would burst. Our hotel was right off Times Square and incredibly charming. Even though it was late by the time we arrived (and we were planning on going to the Today Show early the next morning), we were so hyped up that we walked down to 30 Rockefeller Plaza that night. A crew was building a stage, and we asked what it was for--Riverdance, they told us. Steve, ever the gregarious one, started chatting with one of the construction guys, who offered to let us into the studio. We walked right into the area that Katie and Al and Matt and Ann sat every day, in complete wonder that we were able to get an insider's look on our very first day.

Arriving in LA for the first awe of the flowery smell everywhere and the big-city feel, but not intimidatingly so. Eating a late dinner at a fantastic restaurant with open-to-the-street french doors.

And some days...I can't mention. ;)

If you could get a message across to a large group of people; what would your message be?

FIRSTofall, that semicolon is bugging the crap out of me. But I will resist my compulsions and leave it. Ihatethisfeeling.

My message would be that The Pioneer Woman is a fakery. I've seen the Drummonds' assets and it's absolutely unbelievable. I resent that she puts forth this image of "just lil ole me here in my house having to take care of my whole family all by my lonesome" when she's actually a dad-gum millionaire, with help in all areas of her home, and whose recipes are never original--word-for-word taken from other lesser known cookbooks. And then if people still love least they know the truth.

What foods will you not try?

You thought I was picky before? I'll SHOW you picky!!! Also--please don't take this as a Challenge List. I won't hesitate to direct the inevitable vomit at your shoes.

Eggplant. Prunes. Mussels. Raw oysters (as well as cooked). Pickled pigs' feet. Sardines. Scallops. A portabello mushroom sandwich. Any type of bug that people sometimes eat. Escargot. Fruit jelly/jam/preserves (besides grape, and even then, I use it sparingly). Cherry pie or cobbler (or any other kind of fruit pie/cobbler except apple and gooseberry). Eggs with a bunch of vegetable crap in them. Sushi. Steak tartare. Supreme pizza, or veggie pizza. Turkey (from a box) or tuna (any) tetrazzini. Ravioli with veggies or meat in. Anything savory cooked with ginger. Seaweed. Caviar. Pumpkin in a non-sweet environment. KFC's Double Down sandwich. Those Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans that taste like Dirt and Grass and Earwax and Vomit and Spaghetti and Soap and Booger and Earthworm and Sardine. Marshmallow fondant (or anything marshmallow I haven't had the misfortune to try yet).

Which brands of toothbrush and toothpaste do you use?

Okay, this is hard for me to answer. Well, toothbrush is easy. fab. favorite is and has ALWAYS BEEN Colgate paste (the white kind) with something extra like Cavity Prevention or Tartar Control or Whitening or whatever. But I get sucked in by New and Different things all the time. Usually for toothpastes I get a small travel-size of the New and Different, inevitably find that it's not as good as my Old Standard, but use it up because I don't want to throw out something that I can handle for a while until I get back to my regular.


I placed an order on, and made the regrettable mistake of ordering *three* kinds of New and Different Colgate, ALL FULL SIZE.
None of which I really like.
And, to top it off, one of the New and Differents, though having a different name, is actually the same kind as another one of the New and I have to choke down another whole full size of something I didn't like in the first place. I've opened all of them, so I can't donate them.

I know, I know. I should just dump them and learn a lesson from this. But somehow I can't.

Anyone know of any uses for Cinnamon Mint or Cinnamon Spice Colgate? I don't have any silver that needs de-tarnishing, and I'm happy with my picture-placement around the house. No holes need to be caulked.

(in searching for a review of this product, I came across Orson Scott Card's blog. He's a funny mofo! He has similar hang-ups as I do, too. Get ready for a new follower, Mr. Card!)

What are your favorite ice cream flavors?

Already answered this. A review: Tax Crunch, Mint Chocolate Chip, Mint Cookie, and Vermonty Python. (Rest in Peace, Retired Ben & Jerry's Best Flavor Ever.)

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

May 26 - June 5

Only 2940 burned yesterday. Gack. I did work on crafty stuff throughout the evening, which needs to get done, but I didn't leave enough time for an hour-long workout. We did watch The Playboy Club, though; not as delicious or soapy as I'd wanted, but it was entertaining enough. (Also, The Office is absolutely not the same without Michael. I kept thinking something was missing.)

What are the boldest things you have ever done?

(OK, first, I am absolutely NOT bold.)

Had my hair dyed red. Online-to-IRL dated. Wore fishnets. Sung a solo on the Maplewood stage. Told the unpleasant truth. Confronted the people.

What have been the highlights of your week?

Since last Tuesday...

1. Trip to StL...Moonrise suite...cupcakes...PJ20 documentary...having one of the best Bloody Marys of my life on the rooftop terrace after the show, overlooking the Loop...the BEST BED ever...4 oz. filet and boursin/basil/tomato ravioli room service...lovely crisp fall weather the day after...playing with Lucy Lu, Emz, and and Noah in Fitz's...Trader Joe's/Archiver's on the way home. Felt like a weekend in the middle of the week!

2. "Just Breathe" and "Better Man"--my two favorite Pearl Jams at the moment. I love being really excited about new music. It doesn't happen often for me.

3. Windows and doors open all the time in the apartment.

4. Trees are starting to change to red. Fields to golden brown.

5. I never thought I'd say this, but Jon Bones Jones beating Quentin Rampage Jackson, UFC, Saturday night. He's a beautiful fighter--all legs and arms. And bonus: not too much blood!

6. FINALLY got myself to the storage unit to unload 7-8 boxes that had been in our entryway area. So good to get rid of them!

7. Settling into a craft project and watching TV with Neil last night. It's looking good, I think!

8. The work session I just had with my boss. I'm excited about some things!

OK, that's all for now.

What allergies do you have?

Oh, probably some outdoor stuff, when the seasons change. Maybe ragweed or something. Also cats. If I have a cold already, I cannot *breathe* around cats. If I'm around them too much under normal circumstances, I have to constantly wash my hands because I pet them on account of the softness. I also have a slight dermatographic reaction when lightly scratched (like by a cat or a sliver of wood), if that counts.

What radio stations do you listen to?

Very few these days. Y107 or 92.7 when I'm in a Poppy mood...93.1 for random stuff like Milli Vanilli and Poison...and I try to find a jazz station when driving from StL. But mostly it's audiobooks and music cds in the car.

What are the first things you notice about people?

Their face and body. Pretty/cute? Slim/average/heavy? I don't judge, I just notice. Light eyes. Lustrous or otherwise interesting hair. Do they dress funny or fabulously? Smiles that catch you off-guard with their dazzle. Wedding ring? Cross around their neck? Visible tattoos?

What are your favorite magazines to read?

Scrapbooking ones as long as they aren't lame. EWeekly. GAMES! Organize [defunct]. Budget Living [defunct]. Rosie's [defunct]. Sassy and Jane (defunct, defunct). Us/OK (yes, I know. Judge away). Those having to do with household tips, as long as they aren't too kid-centered.

What are some difficulties and hardships you've overcome or are in the process of overcoming?

Depression, anxiety, SOCIAL anxiety, obesity, *chosen* isolation (if that makes sense...), collecting bordering on obsessions, trusting, holding grudges for too long, staying on task, becoming too attached, laziness.

What are arguments your parents had that you would try and avoid with your partner?

Interesting question, but pretty irrelevant. I've talked to Dad a lot about this. He and Mom didn't really fight. It's not that their relationship was perfect, but any disagreements I heard them have were small and playful. And I think any grievances they had needed to discuss, they did so privately or in therapy.

What are subjects you wish you knew more about?

There are plenty of things I'm ignorant of--history, current events, calculus, physics, to name a few--but I'm happily ignorant. I really don't want to stress about current events. That may make me shallow, but I know I'd obsess over it. I'd be one of those people who watched CNN or Fox News (oh god not fox news, never mind) all day. I have enough stresses; I'd like to use my free time to work on being happy.

So what DO I want to know more about? Other teams in baseball. The entertainment business (the juicy stuff). Gadgetry/technology. Cataloging procedures. Writing a novel. Therapeutic methods. Staying healthy.

(P.S. Google's birthday photo today is super lame. Like a sad party in a room dimly lit with fluorescents. We know they have better stuff up in there! C'mon, man.)

Monday, September 26, 2011

May 21-May 25

I super need to burn some cals here, folx. (I'm trying a new abbreviation of "folks." Did it work?) All this week, my goal is to burn 3400 a day. Wish me luck!

What do you think are the most important values in a relationship or friendship?

Loyalty. Kindness. The ability to laugh together. Being present. Presents. (just kidding! kinda. GIMME PREZZIES!) Not taking one another for granted. Belief in one another. Support.

What are the last things you purchased?


What are your favorite crayon colors?

EEEE! I love this one too!
I won't re-evaluate for Current Times, because I'd probably choose stuff like Olive Green and Burnt Sienna, which my 9-year-old self would be TOTALLY APPALLED BY. So.

Midnight Blue. Green-Blue (or Blue-Green. Whichever was the bluer one.) Sky Blue. Magenta. Red.

Oh, man...I'm forgetting other names now. I'm going to check and see if I missed any. Wikipedia to the rescuuuuuuuuue!

Whoa, they have Almond now?? Neat!
Um...Beaver? Hmm...
I was totally right about the Green-Blue. I always thought it was weird that THAT was the bluer one.
Oh CRAP, there's a Cerulean now? Blast! I always KNEW I would love that color after Jane Banks described it in a Mary Poppins book. Another blue, too.
Ha! "Chestnut" was renamed from "Indian Red." Way to be PC, Crayola!
Ugh, there are so many of these that I just hated. Cornflower Blue SUCKED.
Manatee?! how cute!
Ooh, Outer Space looks neat.
Plum--I liked it, but only when Red-Violet was not available. Not Violet-Red. Red-Violet was darker/purplier. I would have loved Royal Purple too, I think, if it was invented before 1990.
That Silver was so much more metallic, and satisfying, than the other metallic ones.

Wow, WTH? I have never identified myself as liking blue. Not once. At least, I really don't like plain blue. Denim blue. Watery, shallow blue. Ick.

That's it, I need Crayolas for scrapbooking. Definitely.

What are the foods you hate?

FISH FISH FISH FISH fish. And all other sea creatures.
Raisins, as you [should] know.
Cooked fruit. Cooked fruit in desserts, except apple stuff.
Cooked carrots.
Yams/sweet potatoes.
Zucchini in anything other than bread. All squashes. I can take pumpkin when it's pureed and baked into something sweet like a pie or bread.
Buckwheat anything.
Black licorice. WHY YOU SO CUTE, ALL-SORTS?
Plain pork chops.
Lemon poppyseed bread/muffins. Leave out the lemon, people! Not that hard.
Mushrooms, in every way that exists.
Green peppers. Also red.
Currant-flavored candy. Blue raspberry flavored things.
Dr. Pepper. Mountain Dew. Root Beer.
Beef Jerky (the dry kind. Not Slim Jims!)
Rusty Nails. (the drink. Although I imagine actual rusty nails aren't too delicious either.)
Mixed juices, except Cran-Apple or Cran-Grape.
Tea--iced, sweet, hot, whatever. It's dirty water, y'all. Dirty, dirty water.
Yorkshire pudding. Baaaaad experience.
Mushy apples. Red Delicious and Jonathan also are never good.
Skim milk.
Artichoke hearts (but I'm nuts for the leaves. Go figger.)
Miracle Whip.
Packaged cheap sliced lunchmeat, like bologna or turkey or cotto salami. As opposed to fresher, thinly sliced meat. But still no cotto salami or bologna pleez.
White chocolate.
Dry clementines. Always a disappointing end to citrus season.
Sweet salad dressing.
Ranch dressing, with a few exceptions. Just not on a salad.
Ketchup on or in anything but hamburgers and fries.
Bread pudding.
The onions and crouton in French Onion Soup.
Vegetable soup.

Awright, I'll stop. I am afraid of how long I could go with this...

Friday, September 23, 2011

May 11- May 20

What's the longest you've gone without sleep? Why?

My trip to London in 2007. I think I was up for 24 hours or more because of the plane trip (and I couldn't sleep on the plane because I had a middle seat), and it was hard to get to sleep in the hotel room because I was so excited to be there. I was hungry, too, and ordered Beans on Toast for the first time ever, from room service. It was weird.

What makes up your favorite outfit?

Lately I've been liking my black pants, black tee, and army jacket for leaving the house. Inside the house it's stretchy gaucho pants and a fitted t-shirt. Oh, and no socks no socks NO SOCKS EVER.

Who are/were your favorite teachers?

Elementary: Mrs. Geel
Junior high: Linda Boyer
High school: Greg Butz and Doc Marquardt
Grinnell: Sandy Moffett
Law school: Greg Scott. I was dumbstruck when I read of his death a few weeks ago.
Library school: Denise Adkins

What are the moments in which you were the most proud?

Seeing my family and friends succeed. Like watching Steve kill it in Hamlet, or knock Carlton Banks down a few notches on Catch 21. Hearing of babies born to mothers who have been waiting so long for them.

Who in your family are you the most like?

Whoa my gosh. Dad. No, Joe. No...Steve. No, mom. ALL OF THEM!

What was your favorite game as a kid?

I looooved games, so picking a favorite is hard. And it depends on the era. I believe Candyland was my favorite as a tyke. I liked Life, then card games like Casino and Canasta and Egyptian Rat Screw as I got older. Then Trivial Pursuit whenever I could get Dad to play it with me, and then Mom got me SET. Oh, Set. Set Set Set.

What things did you crave when you were young and denied?

LOVE this question. Straight whipped cream in a bowl! Frosting ONLY! CANDY CANDY CANDY ALL OF THE CANDY!

What are your favorite things to do in the snow?

Ski, sled, fall in it. Tackle someone I like romantically and make out in a pile of snow. :)
Look out the window, cozy and warm one evening, to see it falling--and not have to be anywhere anytime soon.
(It's weird that this question is on May 19.)

What are your parents like?

Dad: Intelligent, sometimes intimidatingly so. Fairly stubborn although you wouldn't know it to talk to him. Patient as all get-out. Funny as hell. Athletic and active as a monkey. There for us as a friend and father, every time we need him. Loves us kids with all his heart. :)

Mama: Spiritual. Extremely friendly and loving to SO many people. Independent and sassy to the point of being inappropriately hilarious. Deep in her love for us kids, and has special relationships with each one of us. Passionate in her work as a therapist. Moon mama.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What the hell.

I've decided to make this public again, and am debating disabling comments. I put too much validation into comments, and I want this blog to be my own journal, not someplace where I welcome judgment based on what I write. On the other hand, it's gotten to the point where it hurts my feelings when I *don't* get comments from friends, and I hate that I become upset over that. The last thing I want to do is to make anyone feel obligated to comment! It's a total struggle.

[Juli--thank you for your recent feedback, though. I don't have another venue to interact with you via social media, and it warms the cockles of my heart to know you're reading.]

I've also gotten negative feedback from friends, and while part of me thinks I do NOT need that fuckery and this is my journal, to do with what I wish, I DO welcome discussion, and will respond to all comments from now on. But be warned that by reading this, you might read something you don't like. Even if that 'something' is me going on for paragraphs about how much I love driveways.

It's also been a morning that has turned pissy, after a glorious mid-week trip to St Louis and a morning commute listening to Eddie Vedder. I had energy to burn, baby! But boss got mad at me, and I'm letting it consume my thoughts. Ick. I was so uncomfortable that I actually went to her--something I would never have done before--and asked her about that anger. It was actually a really good talk, because her emotions were stemming from something else that had pissed her off.

But I'm still resentful, as my dysfunctional self is wont to do.

It's time for a list or seven.

If you had to choose, would you rather be rich or famous? Why?

Rich. I'm too self-conscious to be famous. I'm sure there are problems with being rich, but it sure would be nice to get gastric bypass or hire Curtis Stone. Yummmm.

What places do you visit the most?

Lots of 'places' questions in this thing.
Dad's house, St Louis, Chicago, Ohio (though not much in recent years)--and two places I wish I could go to more, LA and Florida.

What are your top 5 dream jobs?

1. Theatre librarian
2. Copy-editor at a YA/sassy chicklit imprint in NYC
3. NYPL cataloger
4. Part-time at Archiver's
5. Disney Christmas warehouse stock-boy

Runner-up: whoever makes sure the Cardinals' baseball pants fit them correctly.

What were your favorite things to do as a child?

Read, read, read. I'd read anything. I even tried some of Dad's classic stuff when I ran out of my own, but there's a reason Hemingway isn't marketed to eight-year-old girls.

Jump on neighbors' coveted trampolines. Jennifer and Andi had them, and it wasn't til junior year that Dad got ours.

Sneak in as much TV as possible. Television was extremely restricted, to my tween/adolescent mind, and none was allowed after 7:00 on weeknights, with the exception of Cosby Show, which we all watched together. I missed EVERY OTHER sitcom my friends would rave about. I was dying to see Tony Micelli and Judge Harry Stone and Cliff Claven and Mike Seaver and, most of all, Alex P. Keaton. OH BOY OH BOY did I have a mighty crush on Michael J. Fox. I did not understand how someone could even BE that attractive.

Put together puzzles with my parents as Simon & Garfunkel, or Peter, Paul, and Mary, played softly from the turntable.

What magazines would you like to be on the cover of?

Erm...not any, really. Maybe Library Journal for being the Best and Most Quirky Cataloger ever?

What are your favorite sports teams?

Cards, first and always first. Always happy to hear when Grinnell is doing well. Despite my lack of school spirit, I'll go with Mizzou Tigers next (men's basketball and football). Then Packers, and for eye candy purposes only, NYGiants and Bears. And Panthers, now. I might be the only Cards fan who likes the Cubbies a decent amount. I like that SF Giants crazy pitcher guy. And whatever team Eckstein is on. Even though I think he is done playing.

What people have taught you the most about life?

Mama, most of all. Dad. Steve. Joe. Lily. Neil, Linz, Em, Shannon, Sarah, Amanda, Annie, Brandy, Abs. Dr. Wheeler. So many more.

What are your worst dating experiences?

OOOH GOOD ONE!!! I wish I had better stories though. I'll do the first one that comes to mind, for now.

NYC, summer 2001. Met Thomas online, and he asked me out for drinks. I put on my killer red/black dress that makes me look like a different person practically, and trekked up some kind of Upper West or East Side, armed with my roommate Katie's cell phone for protection. She insisted. (Love that girl!) Thomas was attractive enough--very generic. Tall, dark hair, tanned, whatever. Nothing that blew me away, but better than average.
As *soon* as I sat down with him, he started talking about how he had a really prominent job and how he was in all these magazines. "How would you feel if I told you I was in the majority of the magazines you have studied this summer?" were actually words that came out of his arrogant face. I told him I wouldn't care.
When he paid the tab, he pulled out a GIGANTIC wad of bills and peeled off a few. I could tell he thought the wad was pretty neat. As we made moves to leave--and bear in mind, no romantic or sexual moves had been made by either of us yet-- he leaned over and said "You can't come back to my hotel room unless you go to the bathroom, take off your panties, and bring them back to me."

"Huh," I said. "Walk me to the subway?"

What are your favorite horror movies?

What are the things that, at first glance, people would not know about you?

This is a really hard one. If my blog were private, I'd have many answers for this. :) A few of you reading know what they are, anyway, so maybe I don't have to answer at all. I guess I'll say I'm a little wilder than I look, and leave it at that.

And that, my THAT.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Suddenly Ugh.

The day has been slowly but steadily deteriorating...not on a major level, just little annoyances here and there. I am at least a smidgen annoyed at just about everyone I know, and it is an UGLY feeling. And a recent conversation just kind of finished it for me...made me want to throw up my hands in disgust and declare Friend Bankruptcy.

(Okay, not really.  But sometimes I think life would be easier with no one else to worry about other than family.)

I'm not getting sleep...AGAIN.  I got five hours on Saturday night, and about that much ever since.  That's definitely adding to the irritability too.  I'm not really eating lunch at work, leading to binge-y behavior at night, and even then, nothing sounds good--I just eat it.  Ugh ugh ugh.

I *have* been keeping to my semiformal "do at least one productive thing a night" resolution, though--dishes, chipboard-letter organization, cleaning. And, I'm happy to report that I'm finally super-enjoying Ramona and can't wait to get back to it.  I had to force myself to put "...and her Father" down last night so I could get those aforementioned five hours of sleep. (And yes, it bugs me that I've been using quotes for book titles.  I'd do italics, but it messes up the whole entry's formatting and I want to rip people's heads off then.  Someday I'll go back through and edit.  I think.)  If I weren't so tired at work today, and succumbed to a sub-desk nap at lunchtime, I would have probs finished that book right up.

A few lists for today, April 26-28:

What are your major goals in life?
I'll just address goals that I haven't achieved, since I have done a lot of things I set out to do, i.e. get married, finish grad school, find a career I love.
-Live in a location I absolutely love.  I thought at one point that it was Columbia, but it's not.
-I guess I'm supposed to put "Buy a house."  But while that would be nice on some levels, I'm not ready for the responsibility yet.  I don't want to have to fix a leaky roof or mow a lawn.  I like being taken care of by 24/7 maintenance!
-Be happy most of the time.

What are your biggest pet peeves?
I'll think of some new ones that may not be on this blog's sidebar. So, they're not my biggest.  I just have a lot of pet peeves.  IT'S CHARMING.
Pants that are too short. Ears that need q-tipping.  Weird laughs.  Stray scotch tape.  Those phone calls where you answer and say "Hello?" and a recording says "Hold please."  Having to pee when you're really really sleepy.

What are your favorite things to shop for?
Scrapbooking supplies, hands down.  Quirky jewelry.  Books.  Gadgets.  Christmas gifts.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Marathon Fail.

This weekend, I tried to do my Second Annual 48-Hour Reading Marathon (even though maybe the first one was two years ago?  I can't remember) with Beverly Cleary as the featured author.

I gathered/borrowed all the books in her oeuvre, excluding two she wrote about Beaver Cleaver (which by the way I would LOVE to read, but no one has anymore).  I set aside this past weekend--no plans, no obligations, just reading.  I figured I'd like the experience even more than the Judy Blume weekend.

But...I didn't.  I slacked.  I stalled.  I trudged.  I found excuse after excuse NOT to read.  I got my hair chopped off and my ears double-pierced.  I grocery-shopped.  I talked to Lily about bridesmaid bracelets.  I played my turns promptly on Words With Friends.  I read every interesting-looking thread on Two Peas.  I returned two items to Wal-Mart that had been in the backseat of my car all summer.  I went through Think Geek and Uncommon Goods catalogs online and pinned every single thing that looked interesting.  I cleared Google Reader several times.

It actually was a fairly productive weekend.

What was wrong with me, though?  I was avoiding Beverly-freaking-CLEARY??  I love these books!  Ramona is my GIRRRRRL!  I was excited to finally, finally read "Sister of the Bride"! 

The only thing I can figure is that I really wasn't in a Book Place this weekend.  Sometimes I get in moods where I just don't wanna read.  And I won't, for several weeks, or months.  I'll do a magazine here and there but not much else.  And I haven't read a book for a long time.  Many times, I am in a *total* Book Place.  I'll be listening to one and in the middle of three more, devouring page after page during lunch hours and breaks and evenings.  I love those times.  They make me feel erudite.

But...I really want to read these books.  I want to do it while I have them and while I'm still fresh in the series.  So I'm making it my mission to FINISH this project.  Not in 48 hours, of course, but in a week or so.  And I'll keep writing in my little pocket spiral-bound journal, and report here either from time to time, or when I'm done.

I did get through seven-almost-eight books.  I read the Ramona series from "Henry Huggins" to "Ramona the Brave," and am one chapter away from finishing that one.  
So that's something.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Life Listed, April 18 - April 25

I fear I've been falling into old Negative Nelly habits too often these days.  That odd new feature on Facebook is what confirmed my vague suspicions...the sidebar that tells you what you wrote as your status on this day in previous years.  And mine were almost always funny/happy, or goofy/happy, or muse-y/happy.  They didn't scream "I'm bitching about something!"--and I wonder if I'm becoming the kind of person that whines all the time.  And there's nothing more tiresome than a person who whines all the I right?  No matter what the subject always sucks.  Because what are people supposed to say to me?  "I'm sorry," "That sucks"---different iterations, over and over and over?  It can also be construed as attention-getting, and while I do like some attention, I don't want to get it because I'm complaining or through sympathy.

So, while I'll never be Rainbows and Light and Ponies Leaping Through Sun-Dappled Meadows...I DO want to be more upbeat.  Life is going well right now, and there's no reason for me not to be.  I just refuse to fake it. :)

Speaking of faking it...

What parties have you been to in the last year?

Ugh, parties!  They make me nervous.  They make my blood pressure rise.  I will do ANYTHING to get out of a party, with a few exceptions.  A few close-knit friends getting together to scrapbook?  Hell yes.  A family birthday with the Parshalls and select other family friends in attendance?  Bring it on.   In the case of this summer--a bachelorette party with the bridesmaids, a crazy cool hotel room, and multiple bottles of wine?  Couldn't get enough!  And if board games are involved, I am absolutely SO THERE.  But...I can't take it if I don't know everyone at a party.  Or am just acquaintances with them, or it's work sponsored.  I just can't relax.  I wish it were socially acceptable to pull a Rory Gilmore--find a comfy, high-backed chair to hide in and bust out some Dorothy Parker to read in relative peace.  Ironically, I LOVE being away from parties...enjoying the noise and bursts of laughter while removed slightly from the action.  When I was little, my parents would have dinner parties and let me stay up late.  My favorite thing was going into the living room, one room away from the dining room, lay on the couch in my slippery party dress (ALWAYS satiny tulle, always ruffles), and be lulled to sleep by the muffled gaiety.

Oh yeah, the question at hand.  Hm.  Amy and Mark's wedding.  Sarah's bachelorette, and Sarah's bridal shower.  Sarah's wedding.  That might be it.

What character traits do you use most often to judge people?

Intelligence and sense of humor.

What schools have you attended?

Children's House, 3-5
Ridgeway Elementary, 5-12
West Junior, 12-15
Hickman High, 15-18
Grinnell College, 18-22
NYU, 23-24
MU Law school, 26
SISLT (Library school @ MU), 27-30
UNC-Chapel Hill/Oxford University, 29

I have one last educational wish, and time will tell if it will come to fruition.

Which family members do you wish you weren't related to?

HA!  Wowie wow wow.  Well, I'll say right now--I love my immediate family to freaking pieces.  I'm glad I'm related to them because they are automatically forced to love me and I am so damned lucky they do.

But...even though there are certainly extended family members who aren't always pleasant, I don't wish they weren't in my life.  I don't have to see them very often, and when I do, it's been long enough that we pretty much just catch up and then our time together is over.  My mom's family has some pretty horrific stories to tell--not that they would admit to them--but I've always been welcomed with open arms.

Who are your heros today?


Call yourself a published work.  Tsk tsk tsk.

I don't really have heroes.  I don't think it's a very healthy method of consideration.  I admire a lot of people, for dang sure...all you selfless mamas with your hands full day after day after day, teachers, nurses, artists, Zack Galifianakis...but I don't put anyone on a pedestal.

Which of your body parts do you hate the most?

Which?  So, only one then..?
My lower stomach.  All the fat goes there and it's so obvious.  I've always had it--even at 135 lbs.  I wish I could just cut it off.  (Okay, ew.  I won't do that.  But if there was a pain-free, cost-free, side-effect-free way to do it...I'd be sorely tempted.)

Where do you like to travel and where have you been?

I feel like I've answered this about three times so far.  So I'll make up a new one:

What was your worst vacation?

(so much for trying to be more upbeat.)

Though it wasn't 100% horrible, our trip to Reno in May of 2010 was quite memorable in very unpleasant ways.  The first half-day of the train was good--fun and adventurous even, and we met an adorable old couple at dinner who showed us their pimped-out room (as in, it had a bathroom and was twice the size of our sleeper).  Sleeping in our converted bunk beds was fun, and watching the countryside zip by through our huge window was neat.  But the communal bathrooms were little more than airplane-sized, and our coffin-esque room got old REAL QUICK.  I had just started taking Paxil the week before, and the side effects were kicking in--cold sweats, lack of interest in food, the shakes, and a general foggy-brained feeling.  And there just wasn't anything to *do*.  I couldn't read by the window or I'd get sick, and it just became a waiting game in between meals.  Eventually we didn't even fold up the top bunk at all since napping was a good time-killer.

The next several days in Reno were okay.  Grandma's house and landscape are absolutely gorgeous, and I would *love* to live in a place like hers one day, with dry landscaping and a mountain right outside her backdoor with little lizards scurrying around.  The air was deliciously dry and mild, and we spent a lot of time sitting in the backyard enjoying the surroundings.  I gambled for the first time in my life, and understood why I shouldn't let myself do that again--money lost all meaning to me.  Charlie (Grandma's husband) was surly as usual, bitching about my taking naps (the Paxil's side effects were super bad there) and lord knows what else.  But Grandma made cinnamon rolls and took us out to eat every night, and when it came time to leave, I'd had enough chicken fried steak to last several thousand years.  

The train ride back was a *nightmare*.  I don't even remember the first part of it, but the final twelve hours were unbearable.  Shortly after we went to bed that last night, our A/C (which was controllable inside each little room) went full blast and would NOT stop.  It was totally hot outside, but utterly freezing in our sleeper.  We couldn't find any crew to help us, and even hours later when Neil eventually talked to someone, they couldn't do anything about it.  We had only packed summer clothes, and the beds were equipped with a sheet and super-thin blanket.  We wrapped ourselves as best we could, but there was nothing we could do but wait it out.  We were bleary from lack of sleep, pissed off at not getting help, and shivering uncontrollably, stuck in this teeny rectangle of a room until the train rolled into Ottumwa, IA--only to have to drive three hours to get home.

Tickets for the train trip were about $1700.  Never, ever, ever, EVER again.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life Listed, Apr.1 - April 17

So first of all, Blogger's apparently automatically doing this irritating-as-hell in-text advertising for everyone's blogger blogs, and it drives me nuts.  Enough so that I kind of want to change blog hosts.  But we'll see.  I've done some research and no one else is bitching about it--even though I DID find an article about blog advertising saying "before you agree to in-text advertising, please be aware that it's the most annoying kind."  YEAH, GOT IT.  Apparently I have no control over it though. 

What are your favorite board games?

(For April 1st?  Really?  No "What's the best prank you've ever pulled?"  "How gullible are you?"  Get with it, Life Listed.)

Trivial Pursuit... Celebrity, even though no board is required... Telestrations... Encore... Password... Sorry... If Magic counts, then Magic... Cranium

Where are the best places you have traveled?

NYC!  Los Angeles.  Seattle.  Chicago.  Des Moines.  Bath, UK.  Door County, WI.  Orlando.   Madison, WI.  London, sometimes.  A cemetery in Paris.

Where are unusual places you have taken a nap?

I'm not an easy napper, so not many.  At work I've managed to accustom myself to sleeping on a yoga mat on the floor, though...on my stomach with a couple small pillows and a pashmina for cover.

What causes do you strongly believe in?

I haven't really gotten into any.  I haven't made the time or money for it. 

Which type of person do you hate the most?

Oooh.  Attention whores.  Moochers.  Passive-aggressives.  Hypochondriacs.  Needies.  Meanies.  Fake-happies.  The constant critic.  Fair-weather friends.

What vehicles have you owned?

1988 gray Dodge Caravan; 1995 white Toyota Tercel; 2007 cactus pearl Toyota Corolla.  I'm done with Toyotas after this one.

What are your favorite beers?

No beers ever.  They taste like vomit.  Woodpecker Cider's awesome, though.  And Woodchuck.

What talent do you wish you'd been born with?

Musical.  Artistic/crafty.  Creativity.

Which web sites do you visit daily?

Erm...these are starting to sound similar...
Facebook, Gmail, Google Reader, Twitter

What are the worst pick-up lines you've ever heard?

A note taped to my door asking if I want to be friends with benefits with a box for Yes or No.  A pencil was also included.  

Which musical instruments do you (wish you could) play?

Piano, but mostly drums.

What are your favorite Disney movies?

Sleeping Beauty, Mary Poppins, and Little Mermaid.  I don't like when they get sad, like Dumbo or Bambi or Fox and the Hound.  And I don't like much action.

Who have been your favorite and worst roommates?

Favorites: Neil, Whitney Hicks at NYU, Zanne and Karen at Door County
Worst: Ex-boyf, Niki at Grinnell, Erica Fera at Arrow Rock 

What are things that no one knows about you?

Yikes!  Okay, well, there's no way I'm putting my deepest darkest here.  I'll just treat it like normal trivia!

Man, this is tough.  I'm pretty much an open book for things like this.  If I haven't told people already, I've probably written it here somewhere.

I take all the soaps and freebies from hotel rooms so I can donate them to local homeless shelters, but I never get around to it so they just accumulate.

I get extremely jealous over little things (for multiple friends/family), but I try really hard to hide it.

I will never do karaoke, but I know I would have a freaking blast with it.  I have fantasies about it.  Generally in the car.

Let's call it a day.  Whew. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Life Listed, Mar.14 - Mar.31

What junk food did you eat this weekend?

Cupcakes. :) A small sea-salt brownie. Soda and fast food (hey, I was traveling). Dewey's pizza.

What holidays do you enjoy most and how do you celebrate them?

I love holidays, so I'm just going to list them in order.

January 1st--Mama and Lily's birthday. We gather at the homestead for gifts and a toast, Dad makes dinner and cake, and it's a quiet family night.
Valentine's Day--I like to make a big deal out of it, even if I'm not romantically attached. Everyone deserves love!!
St. Patrick's Day--Green beer bread!
Easter--some kind of fancy meat at Family Dinner, and Dad hides plastic eggs with money inside of them all over.
Mother's Day--Family dinner and a toast for Mama!
My birthday--Family dinner, Texas sheet cake, and Art in the Park gifts ALL FOR ME!! This year, I got a massage, which is a tradition I shall most definitely continue.
Father's Day--Family dinner, gifties--generally a joint affair with Jobie's birthday.
Independence Day--Fireworks from the big tents...many illegal, but we try not to make it too loud. Lily hates them and Mom was always scared of them. Dinner outside, then fight the traffic to watch the fireworks from the top of the parking garage.
Labor Day--Family dinner, this year with Lori Smarty!
Halloween--I'm very careful about channel-surfing. I love all the trappings of Halloween, but I generally don't participate. I think the last time I dressed up was when I was in law school. I donned my TGIFriday's uniform.
Thanksgiving--Cinnamon rolls for breakfast, then Lil and Dad cook all day and we have an early-ish dinner followed by games. Generally we're joined by the Parshalls.
Christmas Eve--best day ever!! Dinner out, ride around looking at Christmas lights, spiked egg nog and last-minute gift wrapping by the tree with Christmas Story playing all evening.
Christmas--Cinnamon rolls, presents...naptime for all but Lil and Dad, the cookers...then a big dinner with the Parshalls and games. A LOT like Thanksgiving.
New Year's Eve--not much, usually. If Neil stays up we'll kiss, of course, and some years I work on resolutions. Sometimes it's just an evening of reflection.

What are your favorite comic book characters?

Charlie Brown.

Do you have recurring dreams? What happens in them?

I don't like when people talk about their dreams, but I'll do this one anyway.

I'm lost on Grinnell's campus and can't find the dorm room I want to get to.
I don't have my locker combination and I HAVE to get in my locker.
The semester is almost over and I kept skipping this class I should have gone to. I even realize in the dream that I've graduated, but for some reason I kept going with school.
I'm completely in the weeds waiting tables at Friday's.
My significant other is cheating on me and being cruel about it.

What lies have you told this week?

Wow! Crazy one. Hmmmmm. Honestly I can't remember...I've been in a chipper mood for awhile now, so even if someone asks me how I am and I say "Good!" I definitely mean it. OH! I know. I just called my chiropractor's office and told them I wouldn't be coming in this week because I was picking Neil up from work even though he told me yesterday he'd be walking home while the weather is nice. Really I just didn't want to go see the chiropractor because I have my doubts that he really helps with my back pain, and I just want to go straight home after work.

What languages would you like to learn?

Spanish, I guess. But I don't really care if I do or not. Maybe see if I can pick up French again? There was a time when I did love it.

What were your first words as a baby?


[i was a pretty awesome baby.]

What places would you travel to if you could go back in time?

I'd meet Laura Ingalls, both while she was a kid on the prairie and after she became a successful [co-]author. So....DeSmet and Rocky Ridge Farm in Missouri. I'd like to see how the 50s were in Columbia. Or NYC. Or New Madrid.

Who are your favorite musical groups and/or artists?

Abba. Adam Lambert. NKOTB. George Michael. Poison. Paul Simon, and sometimes Garfunkel. Britney's fascinating and danceable, and if I didn't put her in here, I'd have to scroll up to the "what lies have you told this week?" and say I didn't list her. Peter, Paul, and Mary. More, I know, but that's what I can think of for now.

Who are your best friends?

Lindsay, Emily, Sarah M., Sarah I., Lily, Joe, Steve, Dad, Shannon....and Neil. :)

What are your favorite movie quotes?

First of all--Jackie and I used to send each other quote notes several times a week. So I'm embarrassingly well-versed in this area. I don't go quoting stuff like a loser, though.
Anything from Young Guns or Young Guns II--what junior high memories!! Also anything from When Harry Met Sally. Princess Bride, of course...I think that movie was made for the quotes. Breakfast Club and St. Elmo's Fire (we had a THANG for Emilio).

Which are your favorite decades of music?

90s, then 80s.

What sports did you or do you play?

Soccer, softball, volleyball, swimming, skiing, kneeboarding. FOUR SQUARE, yo.

What are your 'most recent' favorite songs?

Taio Cruz, Dynamite and Break Your Heart...Jason DeRulo, Ridin Solo...SOME Katy Perry, and SOME Gaga if she isn't trying too hard...The Golden Age...Black Keys, Tighten Up and Next Girl

If your house was on fire and you could grab only 5 things before leaving, what would they be?

My husband! car I wearing my glasses? Those, if I'm not.

My sentimental self would choose Neil, my big box of photos, my Genevieve's Jolly Postman book, Mama's pastels, and our wedding sand art.

One more for today!

What are your favorite cartoons?

Monchichi/Snorks/Gummi Bears, though it's been 30 years since I've seen them and they might be interminable now. Same with Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears, Scooby Doo, and He-Man. But I can ALWAYS watch a Peanuts holiday special, particularly the older ones. I can always watch a Garfield holiday special. Sleeping Beauty and Mickey Mouse. Anything Christmassy and cartoony, as long as it's not dark. Little Mermaid.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Life Listed, Mar.3- Mar.13

I'm welcoming two new blog readers today: greetings, Lori and Bill! I don't think people really do that with their blogs, but when you have a solid four-person readership, it's important to let everyone know they're appreciated.

So I've finished with the first two months of the neglected Life Listed calendar. I'm powering on today until I get tired of it or keep coming upon really dumb questions.

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Pretty picky about this. Pepperoni is #1. Sausage, depending on the place (Shakespeare's is divine). Hamburger, especially on Dad's. Lately I've been liking salami. Roma tomato slices. Different kinds of cheese as long as it's fairly mild. But mostly, that's it. I won't even go for onions. Peppers, no way...ham/canadian bacon is no good. Mushrooms--absolutely NOT. If I could find the person who first put pineapple on a pizza I would punch them in the nose. And I'm fairly confident in saying that anything else you may put on a pizza, I probably won't go for it.

What are your 5 favorite web sites?

Facebook, MSN games, Television Without Pity, Pandora, Google Reader

What are you most afraid to lose?

My family.

What are your favorite video games?

Hidden Object games, Bubble Town, Gold Miner, Heroes of Might & Magic, Civ2

What are your biggest accomplishments?

Having a career in an area I'm well-educated in. Finishing the Sunday New York Times Crossword in one sitting.

What are the worst movies you have ever seen?

I don't watch a lot of movies, and if they're bad, I generally stop or leave. But I've been in situations where leaving would be awkward....

"Speed Zone," Columbia Mall 4 theatres. Leena promised she'd pay me back if the movie was bad since I told her it didn't sound appealing, but she never did. You owe me like $2.50, girl.
"Idiocracy." Oh my god so bad. Our friends told us it was the funniest movie ever and we were kind of roped into seeing it with them, and we were both miserable throughout. They were so enthusiastic--there was no way we could have said "Umm...this is kind of interminable. We're gonna go now."
"Cable Guy." I went by myself at the Mall 4. I was such a Jim Carrey nut, and loved Matthew Broderick, that I was sure it was going to be awesome. Not awesome. I don't know why I didn't leave.
"Royal Tenenbaums." I just didn't get the humor at all. I think Wes Anderson isn't a good fit with me.
"Bitter Moon," when Peter Coyote came to Grinnell to talk about it.
"Citizen Kane." I only remember that it was soooooo long.

What famous people have you met?

Okay, "meet" is kind of a stretch here. I collect famous-people touches, but I'll try to keep this to encounters.

I did meet Edward Albee during his presentation at Jesse (I stage-managed). I told him I'd seen the London premiere of his "Play About the Baby" and we chatted for a minute about that.
Also had an encounter with Dave Atell under the same circumstances. The opening comedian had broken a bottle on the stage, and the first swipe with a broom after he was done wasn't very effective. I said to Atell "I'll run right out there and finish" and he said in a pissed-off tone "Don't worry about it." Douche. Oh, except earlier me and a friend were sitting in the dark backstage and he passed us and nodded to us, and in the dark he looked so much like a regular guy that I just ignored him. So I was kind of a douche to him!
Branford Marsalis gave a performance there too, and I stage-managed as always. He was totally cute and had vertigo! No fooling. He left his peacoat on the chair near me when he went onstage, and his little entourage was sitting all around too, and when I brushed against his coat I almost said "ooooh" out loud. It was cashmere and the softest thing I had ever felt. Throughout the show I touched it was much as I could.
There are probably more Jesse stories, but I don't remember now.

My favorite celeb-touching story is when I went to see "Amadeus" in London, with Michael Sheen and David Suchet. I heard in the lobby there was some celeb in the audience, and people were all kinds of abuzz about it. Since it was just me, and they sell student tickets at low prices an hour before the show, I got in like the 7th row for 30 pounds or something ridiculous. I kept looking around at the boxes or front rows for someone famous--was it the Queen?? Who are people TALKING ABOUT?!!! But only regular people were there. I heard a group sit down right behind me, and I smelled cigarette smoke. I turned slightly, not thinking anything of it, and WHOA. Blue eyes blue eyes BLUEST EYES EVER. Black short hair, army jacket, ratty clothes otherwise. No makeup, but those eyes! An instant after being dazzled, my brain clicked into gear and I thought "Holy crap--I have better seats than Boy George!"
When intermission began, I figured he'd be leaving to enjoy another smoke. I leaned wayyyy back in my seat, and he had to brush past me. CELEBRITY FORCE-TOUCH FOR THE WIN!!!

Last one for today:

What are your most embarrassing moments?

Oh man, the ones I've repressed so I'll never have to think about them? Lord.

In 9th grade I managed to fall UP the stairs at WJHS. A boy who knew I had a crush on him silently helped me up. I could have died.
I again fell UP the stairs a year or so ago here at work. A couple of men were behind me and asked if I needed help--since my bag's contents had scattered as well--and I angrily told them no. Man, being embarrassed sucks.
The summer after junior year, my good friend Melanie and I got in a big fight. She was working at Mazzio's with this guy I told her I'd had a crush on, but who didn't know I existed. She told him I liked him, just to get back at me. Luckily, he'd just graduated so I never had to see him again...but if I ever did see him again, I would again want to die.

That's all I want to recall on this subject. And I'm doing one more so it will perk me up a bit since my cheeks are burning.

What are your favorite things about your hometown?

Oh, what a cute one!!

Dad's house; Art in the Park; spring and fall; theatre; knowing the lay of the land; that I don't have to take time off for holidays; nothing is too far away from anything else; that the whole town comes out for big events; Mama's bench; MKT trail; a few remaining cobblestone streets; Farmer's Market; the ARC; Hartsburg pumpkins; evenings on the Flat Branch patio; the amazing tiled benches across the street from Cool Stuff; Murry's jazz; David Spear's paintings in Sophia's; the plaster cast museum on campus; memories of an old Barn; Children's House; Ridgeway; to-go wine at Jesse; Shakespeare's (preferably room-temperature); Trops on a hot night when you don't need to stay classy; hearing the football cheers from our balcony...

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Life Listed, Feb. 15-Mar 2

What would make a perfect date?

A mild summer night, theatre, a swingy dress, my man's hiney lookin' fine in nice pants, wine, driving in the dark, getting taken care of, treating ourselves, self-portraits, holding hands, laughing, fingernail polish, eyeliner, dessert, snuggles, hotel room, kisses against a car (I don't know, it's a thing for me), adventuring, not worrying about prices, enjoyable sighs, benches, a waterfront, smiles, learning new things, sharing food, naughty glances...I love dates. :)

What cool features would be in your dream house?

A scrap room for me with a Scrapbox and a (forgive the overuse of the term) man-cave for Neil; indoor swimming pool (Endless Pool FTW!); a large kitchen with an island you can comfortably gather/sit at; two fridges (with filtered water dispenser) and a deep freezer; a large garage; warmed bathroom floors; a hot tub; a deep whirlpool tub; red set of washer/dryers; plenty of accessible storage; a finished basement; a huge master bedroom you can fit a settee in; strong-water-flowing showers; indirect lighting like the Cloisters room at Nelson-Atkins; good ventilation so the windows can be opened when it's nice out; a wraparound porch with Adirondack seating and weatherproof pillows; a tiny toy Yorkie and a huge Great Dane who both adore us and each other; that one Crate and Barrel rug that's like $1100; a library with built-in custom shelving and a rolling ladder like in Music Man; warm colors in the kitchen (golds, reds, oranges, coppers); somewhere to display our Fiestaware; the ability to USE my Kitchenaid; a glass and red blender; a wall of glass; a guest bedroom; a step-down living room with cushy leather seating and two recliners; a Christmas room where I keep everything, and space to move it to when IT'S TIME; a Cali king sleigh bed (do those even exist?); a Shipping and Wrapping center; soft dining-table seating....OK, I could go on forever. But that's what Pinterest is for, am I right?

Who are the people you call most frequently?

I am SO not a phone-person. But Emily is, and Lily is, so I call them most. I talk to Neil a lot despite both of our aversions to the phone, and Dad too. Sometimes Gilbert and Sarah M., and OCCASIONALLY Lindsay if I'm going to die if we don't talk soon since it can't be discussed digitally or something. :) Grandma a few times a year...Joe and Steve, of course. Roger sometimes.

How late did you stay up each evening this week!

You guys, I am totally making a turnaround!! I take my Trazodone at 9 PM each night, which makes me ding-dong tired, and by 10 I can't keep my eyes open. I *can* push bedtime til 11, but mostly I'm asleep by then. it's been great!!

Where are your favorite places to get ice cream?

I'm sure I'll be condemned for saying this, but I'm not CRAZY for ice cream. I definitely like it, and if folks are getting it, I am totally in! But I don't know that I'd ever choose it over, say, a brownie. or a cupcake. Yeah, no, I never would. :) I enjoy it a lot if it has tons of crap in it--like gooey hot fudge (NOT Hershey's syrup. Gack!) or real swirls of peanut butter or Tax Crunch at Baskin Robbins--but am fairly uninterested in plain ice cream. Mint chocolate chip is about as 'vanilla' as I get. That said, answers are Baskin-Robbins, Central Dairy, Shakes Frozen Custard, or a gelato stand. Pinkberry was okay, but I like Lollicup Tea's toppings better.

What are the best food dishes that you can make?

Rum cake, but you better like it strong. Crock-potted roast (apple cider vinegar is the key. Totally breaks it down). Totino's pizza with Tabasco all over it--does that count? I have the timing in the oven down to a freaking SCIENCE. Neil has said he likes when I marinate chicken and grill it, but I've developed an extreme aversion to raw chicken so I can't do that anymore. Bran muffins. I doctor up Hamburger Helper all the time with beans and tomatoes and onions and stuff...but...that may not count either. I've tried to make almost every dish of Dad's that I love at home (green salad, baked potato yogurt sauce, deviled eggs) but I can't do them right. It's not that I'm an awful cook...I just don't really like to do it. And if I had a large luxurious kitchen, I'm definitely willing to try!

What would you have on your own custom postage stamps?

Book covers. Vintage-like.

What are things you should never say in an interview?

This is weird for a list question. It's almost like a quiz question. Weren't these drilled into every single one of us in college/graduate school?
-"I didn't like my last job because..."
-"Do you guys get to wear jeans here?"
-"I don't work well with people."
-"My greatest fault? I'm totally lazy. like astronomical."
-"I'm wanting to work here just for a couple months until I get a real job."
-*chomp chomp* [gum]

What is your idea of an ideal mate?

Kind. Funny. Snuggly. Kissy. Dependable. Intelligent. Tall. Unskinny. Facial hair. Understanding. Patient. Nonjudgmental. Great smile. Attractive. Fun.

What do you love for breakfast?

Grandma's/Mom's warm cinnamon rolls JUST out of the oven. These are NOT big gigantic hard wastes of dough, people. They are skinny long rolls bursting with butter, sugar, and cinnamon in every millimeter. Served only at Thanksgiving and Christmas breakfasts. Often with maple sausage, cold milk, and Tropicana OJ. Heaven. Also: Dad's omelettes, any Dawson scrambling eggs, Applesauce bread from the Farmer's Market, Mom's Monkey Bread, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Blueberry Muffin Tops cereal, Egg McMuffin with sausage, McGriddles, biscuits and gravy, this one kind of breakfast burrito NO ONE sells anymore but it doesn't have anything nasty like onions or peppers in it, McD's steak/egg/cheese bagel, and a tall glass of icy cherry Pepsi--preferably without ice. Just ice-cold.

What songs would you like played at your wedding if it were today?

I always wanted to dance with Daddy to "Sunrise, Sunset." Or with my new husband to "The Way You Look Tonight." Blame "Father of the Bride" for that one. :) Oh, and some dance numbers, for sure...NKOTB, You're the One That I Want, Cha-Cha Slide, Cotton Eye Joe (just for the Electric Slide), Total Eclipse of the Heart....oh, now it's getting to be a PARTAY!!!!

What places would you like to live?

I'd love to try living IN Chicago...on Wacker in one of those awesome apartments the family walked by one Oscars Sunday. Near enough to NYC to take a day trip there one weekend a month. The Pacific NW...Portland or Seattle. San Diego or up near San Fran. The desert. Bath, UK. Madison, WI if it weren't so damn cold. The Villages, FL--in the winter. :)

What are the best compliments you've ever received?

When people say I'm funny, it is the best feeling ever. Ever! But it also chokes me up when they say I'm nice, because I'm really super hard working on that side of myself. Also when they say I smell good or look pretty. Or when I've lost weight, if they notice. If they like my jewelry or hair. We were at a restaurant and I finished ordering and the waitress said "You have good taste!" and I was like "Wowie! THANKS!" so I guess I like that too. Oh, and when people say I'm a good gift-giver! I love that because I put a lot of effort into gifts. (Shannon--you are hands down the best complimenter-friend on earth!! I feel so good about myself when you're in my life!!)

OK, last one for today....

What makes you smile?

Um, see above? Other than Neil's smile. Sophie and Livi videos. Noah and Lucy's huge grins. Babies dressed up in funny costumes, or in formal stuff like bowties and shiny shoes. Little tiny dogs. GREAT BIG FLOPPY DOGS. My brother Steve's incredibly contagious laughter. Dates with my sister. Playing cards as a family. David Eckstein and Yadi. A performance that leaves me breathless. Anne of Green Gables. The opening to Golden Girls--the airplane against that sunset. My craft room. Presents (especially in the mail). Neil's pinky fingers and tummy.