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Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Hey, ABC

Listen, I know you're excited about having a show besides Monday Night Football that is actually gettting ratings. And I'll admit that I've enjoyed the first two episodes of Lost. The premise is interesting and the acting doesn't suck. Plus, you've got a former hobbit.

But stop packing it with so many damn commercials! You will lose my interest if you keep going to commercial every seven minutes. You've actually got some viewers now. Act like you want to keep them.


Mistrial. Plus, weddings, babies and no hot water!

Yep, my glorious jury service ended in a mistrial. We were totally deadlocked, with six not guiltys, four guiltys and two undecideds. It was a much more interesting experience than I thought it would be. I also had no trouble making up my mind, as I had feared I might. There was reasonable doubt all over the place. To be fair, the prosecutor didn't have a great case to begin with. I don't know why they brought it to trial at all. Even the judge said he wasn't surprised by the outcome.

But I'm done, and I can return to my normal life. And here's what has been happening in my normal life:

My friend Carri recently got engaged on a trip to Italy (very romantic!), and is getting married at the end of this year. I'm excited for her. Congratulations, Carri!

My friend Julie, you know, the one whose baby blanket I haven't even started yet? She had her baby at 4 a.m. A boy, 6 lbs, 10 oz. They named him Benjamin Ari (not sure of the spelling). Ari means lion and is in memory of our friend Leo who died last year, which made me cry just a little bit. Naturally I had to run to Buy Buy Baby to buy presents after work. After much obsessing I got the cutest little sleeper with an elephant on it and a rattle that looks like a turtle. Congratulations Julie and Mark! And welcome to the world Benjamin Ari!

And then I got home to learn that while they have figured out why I had no hot water this morning, they haven't fixed the problem. I cannot stand cold showers. So I didn't get to take a real shower this morning, and I won't get to take one tomorrow morning either. Just the hasty rinse and splash as my teeth start chattering. Luckily, the blog doesn't have smell-o-vision, so you all are safe if I get stinky.


Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Jury Duty, part deux

I know, for something I'm not supposed to talk about, I sure am talking about it, aren't I? But no identifiable details, so I'm within the law.

I just want to share one thing.

So, I'm sitting there in my juror #11 chair, and one of the lawyers is talking. He makes a statement "So and so has done something or other and that's an excellent whatever," pause, "for me to blah blah blah..." And what pops into my head at this very serious moment? Triumph the Insult Comic Dog saying "for me to poop on!" I literally had to sit there biting my lip and lecturing myself-- " Do NOT laugh. Now is NOT the time to laugh. Just focus on what the man is saying." And of course, that's when the lawyer stops to look something up in his notes, so I had to sit there, picturing myself laughing and the judge asking if I want to share anything with the rest of them, and then getting hauled off to jail for being in contempt or something.

Luckily, I got myself under control. So I won't have to blog from the big house due to my wildly inappropriate sense of humor.


Monday, September 27, 2004

Jury Duty. Ugh.

I spent a lovely couple of hours reading the new book by David Sedaris this morning in the jury lounge. And then I got picked for a jury.

Serving on a jury comes very close to being the last thing I ever wanted to do. I don't trust "the system" to be fair in many cases. And yet, I wouldn't want a guilty person to go free. This is not a comfortable place for me to be. We're not supposed to talk about the case until it is over, so no details yet.

And now I get to spend the next few days as juror #11 by day, and Marketing Penguin by night, trying to do some of my job from home. Whoopee.

Oh, and the fleas seem to be back. Seamus got another bath. I've vaccuumed. I've done laundry. I'm not sure what else to do, but I will not be defeated by fleas. Double ugh.


Saturday, September 25, 2004

Penguin To-Do List

I realized last night as I was trying (and failing) to fall asleep that not only do I have a huge project list at work, I have a lot to do at home. Which is why I lie in bed making lists in my head instead of sleeping. So I’m trying a little experiment here. If I actually put the list down in writing, will I stop obsessing and get some damn sleep?

I have to:

• Finish the baby blanket I am knitting for my friend Christine’s little girl Avery. She’s already four weeks old. I’m only halfway done. Never again will I buy the fine yarn. Never again.

• Get the oil changed on the car.

• Get the brakes fixed on the car.

• Start and complete the memory book about my friend Leo in the next two weeks. I had the idea to put together an album of stories and photos of Leo for his little boy Malcolm’s dedication back in the spring. October seemed so far away then. I’ve written one story. One.

• Make travel arrangements to go to New Hampshire for Malcolm’s dedication. I thought this was some hippie-crunchy thing my friend Jules was doing, but apparently it is a Baptist thing. But hopefully still hippie-crunchy too.

• Get started on knitting the baby blanket for my friend Julie’s baby, who is due on October 5th. This blanket will be made with chunky yarn. Chunky yarn is my friend.

• Seriously de-clutter my house. All sorts of crap has piled up here over the last seven years, and it is time for a purge.

• Order a copy of my credit report to be sure all of my credit cards are listed as paid in full and cancelled at my request.

• Make travel arrangements to go to Colorado to see John’s sister.

• buy new bras. My two favorite bras both died this week.

• replace the light switch for my bedroom closet, which only works now if you hold it in one particular position. Which means I can't reach the back of the closet and have light.

And then, of course, there's all the of the usual stuff. Work (and lots of it.) Errands. Cleaning. Laundry. Seeing my friends. Seeing my family. Yoga class. And I get to go sit around the county courthouse all day on Monday to see if I get picked for jury duty.

I'll let you know if the experiment works.


Thursday, September 23, 2004

And then they were so nice

Lord, they are lovey-dovey.

I'm talking about the credit card companies here. Six weeks ago, I was firmly in the "You've got a bunch of debt, so we're going to charge you an insane amount of interest" category. And then I paid them all off. Every last cent of the money we owed those bloodsucking, soul crushing bastard credit card companies. And now they all looove me. Everyone wants to give me a card. 9%...6%...4% interest! 0% for six months! And so on. BankOne, who insisted they had to charge me 28% interest even though I had never missed a payment -- not one! -- in all the years I had a card with them, is begging me not to take my business away.

But I will not be swayed. That is one lesson that I do not need to learn a second time, thank you very much. If we want something, we can damn well wait and save up money for it. So take that evil Visa and MasterCard!


Wednesday, September 22, 2004

In which I reveal a secret

Sounds mysterious, doesn’t it? But no, I’m not a man, baby. Nor am I a vampire, a pirate or a mind-controlled secret agent (although if I was a mind-controlled secret agent, would I know it? Food for thought.)

However, I have decided to start talking about something I haven’t discussed here before. For over a year now, I’ve been trying to get pregnant, with no success. It’s not something I talk about with, well, anyone. Ever. John and I don’t even talk about it much. It’s as if talking about me not getting pregnant might mean there’s a problem. And maybe there is – I don’t know. I’m sure as hell not pregnant yet.

But I know not talking about it is not healthy for me. Today, we found out John’s sister is pregnant with her second child, which, I have to admit, I already suspected. And instead of being happy for her like I should have been, I was jealous. It’s unfair, I thought. She got married six weeks before we did, and she’s going to have two children before we even have one.

And that is NOT the kind of person I am. I will not become one of those people who can’t be happy when something good happens to someone else. So, instead of pretending that there’s nothing going on, I’m going to talk about my frustrations and my worries and my hopes about this whole trying to conceive process. I’m putting the infertility blogs I read on my blogroll. It’s not the only topic I’m going to write about, of course, but I’m hopeful that posting about this openly will keep me from turning into some horrible, bitter person who can’t feel joy for others.

That’s it. Not a very juicy or fun secret. But one I think it is important for me to let out of the bag.


Monday, September 20, 2004

Impressions of my day

I've decided a summary of my day would be boring and predictable. Instead, here is a sampling of the thoughts I had today, in somewhat chronological order:

Bed is so warm and comfortable. Want to sleep. No. Sleep. Ok, little dog! We'll go for a walk.

I hate all my clothes. I wish I could wear jeans to work. Why can't I wear jeans to work?

Green means go, you idiots.

I'm really not in the mood for work today.

Well, now that I'm actually working it's not so bad.

You know, I really like my new employee.

Leftover Indian food makes for an awesome lunch. Oh look. Britney Spears got married again. Hmm.

My mom is IM'ing me. Wow, she's a ray of sunshine today. I wonder if anyone else has ever managed to mention three separate people who died in one five minute IM conversation.

It's 6:30 already? Wow, my day really picked up. Time to hit the road!

"Kerry/Edwards. Because 'Yee-ha' is not a foreign policy" That's a pretty funny bumper sticker.

Everyone who works at Whole Foods is so friendly. Wait, is the the cheese guy flirting with me? Ooh, smoked mozzarella.

Light bulbs. Light bulbs. Where did they move the light bulbs to?

I know there's no item limit on the self checkout lanes, but it is rude to use them if you're buying 100 things. Just go to a cashier. You're not saving anyone any time.

Green means go, you idiots.

Ah, home. Hello Seamus! Hello John!

Ouch! Stabbing yourself in the thumb with a really sharp knife hurts. That's what I get for mis-using one of my beloved knives. They are for chopping, not scraping.

Dinner. Yummy.

I really like Etta James. Sunday Kinda Love is a good song.

Time to wrap up this entry. I'm sleepy. Good night.


Sunday, September 19, 2004

I love my yoga class

I had my second yoga class tonight, and I really love it!

The class is an hour and 15 minutes long, and I haven't gotten bored at all. In fact, I've been surprised each time when we got to the end of the class and it was time for the relaxation part.

I just feel good when I'm done. My body feels stretched and relaxed and energized all at the same time. My abs are really getting a workout, which they need. And it definitely helps with the stress.

So far, I have to say, I highly recommend yoga.


I miss hardware stores

John and I were very handy this weekend. We fixed our broken dryer switch. Actually, John fixed it and I handed him screws and tools and held the flashlight.

But I was the one who went to the store with the one screw that hadn't vibrated out of the machine to try to buy screws that matched. There don't seem to be any hardware stores around here anymore, so I had to go to Home Depot. I hate Home Depot. It is always really crowded and noisy and has very long lines at the checkout counters. And of course, they had 5 bajillion screws, none of which were the same as my screw. Not even close.

Now, when I go to a hardware store, I want a redneck-y good ol' boy to reassure me that even if I can't find the exact screw that I need, I can buy this other screw and it will work just fine. Not some guy who knows even less about hardware than I do. , which is what I got at Home Depot.

So, I left and drove to Lowe's, where I spent another 40 minutes examining screws. They had even more screws than Home Depot. Plus, a very helpful -- although not even slightly redneck-y -- guy who assured me I could buy the pointy screws even though my screw was flat. And you know what? He was right.

But I still miss the little hardware stores.


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Too damn tired

So, I finally get five minutes to sit and write in my blog, and I'm so tired I can't think of anything interesting to say. This week feels like it has been 18 days long. I had very long meetings on Monday and Wednesday that took up most of my day. That meant that I had to work extra late on Tuesday and Wednesday and again tonight. I've been getting home so late that I haven't even gotten to cook with my fancy new saucepan yet.

I've spent so much time at work that I haven't really done anything else. Let's see...I gave Seamus a bath on Monday after I found some fleas on him. He hates getting a bath, but I will not tolerate fleas. Not even a little bit. He seems flea free now.

Oh, I'm getting a new office. A nice big one too. They love to move people around in my company, and I lucked out in the new office lottery this time.

And right now, John and I are watching Smokey and the Bandit on AMC. I guess it is a new movie classic or something. Smokey just called the Bandit a "sumbitch." I don't think I've ever called anyone a sumbitch. Or even a son of a bitch, for that matter. I'll be looking for a way to work that into a post soon, I think.

Ok, time for bed. I'm really starting to ramble.


Monday, September 13, 2004

Did I say no more blog neglect?

Because apparently I was lying.

Let's see. What have I been up to lately? I seriously can't even remember Friday. How sad is that? Oh yeah, I went to work and had two team meetings and a 9/11 memorial assembly, three things which combined to take up most of my day. And then we had spaghetti for dinner.

Saturday was pretty good. I slept in, which was nice. My mom had given me a gift certificate for this kitchen store that has since announced it is going out of business, so I had to go use it. I got a $115 Calphalon saucepan for $52! And with the gift certificate, I only paid $27. I had to wait in the longest line ever to pay for it, which sucked, but I did get a bargain. And it is a really good pan. I met up with my mom and went to Starbucks. She had coffee and I had lemonade. And then I bought a yoga mat. It's green and came with a mesh carrying bag and a free yoga video.

On Sunday I went to Circuit City hoping to take advantage of their buy one 50-pack of Audiobahn CDs and give one free deal, but they didn't have any in stock. None of the stores in this area did. Circuit City is lame. You know which store is not lame? Target. I went to Target after Circuit City and was able to find and purchase everything I wanted for very little money.

In the evening I went to my first yoga class ever. My friend Laila and I signed up to take it together. I really liked it, and I think Laila did too. The one drawback is that Laila and I are by far the youngest people in the class. By far. But, as I told Laila, while we're learning the basics, I actually feel better in there with the aged and infirm. And we both liked the instructor, who is about our age, and, coincidentally, also named Laila. So, we're going to stick with this class for this session. I'm looking forward to it.


Thursday, September 09, 2004

Random bits and pieces

• I spent a very satisfying day at work cleaning my office and getting organized. It took most of the day, which meant that I didn't get all of my work done, but it was worth it. You can see my desk again. Plus, I got all of my files and binders up to date, so I can now hand them over to my new employee and she can take over keeping them up to date. That will work much better than my current system of lots and lots of piles, occasionally sorted and held together with binder clips, but never actually doing any filing.

• This morning I discovered that one of my favorite authors has a blog. He's as creative and interesting on the blog as he is in his books. If you want to check it out, visit http://www.neilgaiman.com/journal/journal.asp

• Coincidently, I came home and John is reading a Neil Gaiman graphic novel.

• If you're not reading Bluepoppy, you should be. She's writing and posting this serial novel called Don't Think Twice that's got me totally hooked. It even made me miss the Boston area a little. I wish I could write like that! Instead, my talents seem to lie in the marketing genre.

• I passed a car today that had both a Kerry/Edwards sticker and a Bush/Cheney sticker. I suppose I should be more tolerant, but if someone I shared a car with wanted to put a Bush/Cheney sticker on the car, I wouldn't let them. Of course, the only person I share my car with is my husband, and he'd have to be kidnapped by aliens and replaced with a pod before he'd ever suggest such a thing. And even then, I'd guess that John's hatred of Bush is so strong that it would spill over to his pod-self and prevent that from happening.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Confessions of a food snob

I have to admit, I’m a food snob. I’m picky. I’m a vegetarian. And I’m a pain in the ass about food.

I try not to be, but deep down, I know that I am. I will not eat mayonnaise, American cheese or canned vegetables. I will actually make a special trip to get the bread I like from one store and the yogurt I like at another one. I obsessively read ingredients. My produce is organic, my dairy products hormone and antibiotic free. I avoid overly processed foods like the plague. When one of my co-workers told me she made macaroni and cheese for her kids by making the macaroni and then mixing in Cheez-Whiz, I was horrified. Another co-worker told me she had never bought Brie and I thought she was kidding. I buy Brie all the time. Brie and Camembert and Knolblauch (aka fancy German Brie) and overpriced bread to go with it.

But I have a few secret vices that I’m going to reveal:

1. Pillsbury Slice & Bake Peanut Butter cookie dough. I love this stuff. I’m a pretty good baker. I have made every peanut butter cookie recipe I have ever come across. Not one of them has even come close to replicating the preservative and trans-fat filled glory of the Pillsbury refrigerated cookie dough.

2. Tostitos brand Queso. I have tried to make my own queso. I have bought the organic brand (It was awful.) Nothing compares to the glows-in-the-dark orange, incredibly bad for you queso from the good folks at Tostitos.

3. Pepperidge Farm frozen garlic bread. I make really good garlic bread, with olive oil infused with garlic and herbs. It is healthy and tasty and full of pure, natural ingredients. Guess what I’d rather be eating?

4. Entenmann's Donuts. Pretty much all of them. I usually prefer baked goods that don’t have partially hydrgonenated ingredients or high fructose corn syrup. But sometimes I just have to have an Entenmann’s crumb topped donut. (And yes, I love Krispy Kreme too. They seem fresher somehow, and so aren’t making the list.)

5. And, of course, soda. My old enemy Coca Cola. I like ginger ale too. But Coca Cola is the dark master to which I always return. It consists of two ingredients I always try to avoid – high fructose corn syrup and caffeine. I know it is one of the worst things I can consume. And yet I can't stay away.


Busy little bee

I’ve been neglecting my blog lately. The move to this new URL has coincided with a particularly busy couple of weeks in my life. Plus, having to switch to a no blogging from work policy has messed up my rhythm to a certain extent. But mostly, I’ve just been busy.

On the work front, I had one employee go out on maternity leave, and a new one start, which has kept work interesting.

And then there’s the personal stuff. My friend Jules and her little boy Malcolm were in town. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with Jules and Malcolm while they were here. I miss Jules a lot now that she’s far away in New Hampshire. And it is so important to me to be a part of my friends’ children’s lives. I went to a barbecue with Jules and Laila and their kids on Saturday. At one point Laila went to get something in the house, and her little boy Noah turned to me when he was feeling a little overwhelmed by all the strangers. It felt so great! I was thrilled that he’s starting to connect to me as an auntie.

On Sunday I hung out with my mom, and then had dinner with my friend and former co-worker Becky. I finally got to see her condo, which is really nice. Well decorated too. And I played with her very cute puppy, Murphy. Then we went and had yummy Pan-Asian food. While we were at dinner we saw two people from work. I almost never see people from work. One was out with her family and one appeared to be on a date. She didn’t want to have anything to do with us.

Monday was supposed to be the day that I ran all the errands that I didn’t get to last week. Instead, I chose to be slug girl and laze around the house reading all day. It was awesome. Definitely the best choice I could have made.

And starting tomorrow, no more blog neglect.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

Still settling in to my new home

Ok, I've just spent the last hour installing new comments and creating my new blog roll. I think the new comments are working now. Yay! Because the blogger comments suck. Note to Haloscan: thanks for the free code. But your installation Wizard? Does not work.

I've added some new blogs to my blog roll. Good ones too. Check them out!

Unfortunately, now I'm too tired to come up with anything intelligent or funny to say. It's bedtime for me.

I will leave you with this one parting thought. Is Zell Miller nuts or what? The Daily Show just showed a clip of him saying he wished he could challenge Chris Matthews to a duel. I find that both hysterical and a little disturbing.


Wednesday, September 01, 2004

My fabulous Hamptons weekend

So, I spent last weekend in the Hamptons. That makes me sound so chi-chi, doesn't it? I'm totally not, though. My friend Ariane's parents have a house out there, and we got to stay there for free.

It was a wonderful weekend. The weather was awesome, and the companionship superb. Getting together with three of your closest friends from college is the perfect antidote to three weeks of stress. We all converged on New York to celebrate my friend Ariane's shiny new clinical doctorate in physical therapy. That's Dr. Ariane to you! Plus, my friend Julie is about to have a baby. And Jules was there with her wonderful 10 month old son, Malcom. There was wine and laughter...the composition of a silly write-up for the alumnae magazine...playtime with the baby...advice about babies...more laughter...fun in the sun...and a whole lot more. All in all, a fabulous weekend.

The drive home, on the other hand, was hideous. We left the Hamptons at 10:45 am. I arrived home at 10:45 pm. Yep, that's right. 12 hours. That's T-W-E-L-V-E. The breakdown went something like this:
West Hampton Beach to the Belt Parkway: 2 hours.
Hours sent sitting on the Belt Parkway due to an accident that didn't actually seem to block any lanes: 1
Time wasted going north on the NJ Turnpike, until I said "Why are we seeing signs for the Holland Tunnel?" and then turning around: 30 minutes.
Hours spent sitting in rest stops with a sick baby, waiting in line for the worst pizza I've ever tasted, waiting in line for gas (why won't they let you pump your own gas in New Jersey?) watching Malcolm nurse, watching him throw up, and worrying about him being sick: 4
Other hours in New Jersey: 1
Time wasted sitting in line to get through stupid toll booth in Delaware: 40 minutes
Amount of time it took to get from the Maryland border to Rockville once I started driving: 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Time spent at nighttime pediatric clinic with baby: 1 hour. They were great. And very reassuring about how Malcolm was going to be ok.
Time spent getting lousy fast food dinner, medicine for Malcolm at CVS and driving home: 30 minutes

It was rough, but Jules and I actually got to spend a lot of good time talking. And I was very glad that I could be there for her when Malcolm was sick. I got to see the other, not so fun side of parenthood. And I still want kids!