Friday, August 31, 2007

Five reasons I am so groggy-foggy-headed today

1. Gin and tonic
2. Mandarin and tonic
3. Margarita
4. Kamikaze
5. More Mandarin, more gin, more tonic

Apparently this week I have forgotten I am not a rock star (or at least, forgotten I am not a college student), and I have been staying up too late, eating too much bad-for-me food, and giving my liver the sort of workout it hasn't been subjected to in years. A night at the pizza farm, a wine tasting, and a birthday party that went into the wee hours have all kept me very busy of late.

Hope all of you are sucking as much fun as possible out of the last remnants of summer. I'll try to return to some sort of more regular posting schedule come September.

Happy long weekend, all.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's funny the things that make perfect sense in that hazy place between sleep and half-awake...

Cases in point:

  • It seems entirely possible to check my e-mail on my clock radio. No. Really. I have lain in bed mentally attempting this in my half-sleep state so many times that I cannot believe I've never actually reached over and started pressing buttons (thereby deactivating or resetting my alarm). Did I mention my clock radio is not any fancy modern multi-functional piece of technology but a basic brown plastic AM/FM model likely picked up at K-mart for $9.99 sometime in the early 90s? I cannot explain this, obviously.

  • I start thinking about what I should wear for the day, and the outfit my mind calls up and decides upon is one I do not even own.

  • No matter how late it is already, I am convinced that I can press Snooze one more time and still be out the door by 7:20.

  • It seems like a good idea to start composing blog posts from the absurd and random ideas stirring in my half-conscious head.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Blacation had to get away

When one has been on blacation or bliatus for over a week, should she feel some sinking pressure to return with a truly entertaining, meaningful, or thought-provoking post--a post well worth waiting for? Or can she just toss a few haphazard tidbits and half-stories into a list and call it a Friday Five?

I think you all know which one I'm going with.

  1. Although I do not always love my job or my office or the lengthier-than-I'd like commute to get there each day, I am reminded rather often just how much I appreciate working in a quaint little downtown, rather than a suburban office park. Not only do I have a lovely view of the tree-lined river bank from my second-story perch behind my desk, but I get to see all sorts of interesting life pass by on the street regularly. For example, one day last week, I saw a small, swarthy man stroll past strumming a guitar. I had no idea we had a town troubadour, but I very much love the idea. Today, I saw two men wheeling a video game machine through the lane of traffic while at least three cars waited patiently or impatiently behind. It was just like George Costanza and the Frogger game, although presumably with less tragic an ending.

  2. My sister called me last night from a bar, wanting to know what it is called when congressmen attach a secondary piece of wholly unrelated legislation onto a sure-to-pass bill as a means of getting that additional thing pushed through. I don't know why she thought I would have this information (I was an English major, not a Political Science major, and unlike Anthony Michael Hall in The Breakfast Club, I did not get a fake ID at 16 so I could vote). I do remember an animated Walter Mondale coaching Lisa and Krusty to get the Springfield Air Traffic resolution passed by paperclipping it to another bill, but I don't remember Mondale telling us just what that's formally called. To my sister, however, I am apparently her own personal Wikipedia, on call at all times to answer whatever random questions she might have. It started with computer- and software-related queries, which made some amount of sense, given my line of work, but when she called me at work recently to ask what time period music scholars assign Bartok to, I knew she was simply expecting too much of me.

  3. All sorts of science and engineering experts are still trying to figure out just why a crucial piece of Twin Cities freeway fell into the river a few weeks ago, and though we have no solid answers yet, they have told us that pigeon dung likely played at least some small part. Yes, you read that right. Poop. From pigeons. Caused (or, partially caused) a bridge to collapse. Good lord; I really don't know what's next.

  4. I have often thought that I need to maintain some sort of database to track which of the frozen meals that I buy for work lunches are reasonably tasty and which ones I never ever want to make the mistake of purchasing again. Since I do not actually create databases, however, and since this is very likely one of those situations where the absolute simplest solution would probably suffice, I really should just keep a list in my purse for reference while shopping. If I ever DO manage to become organized enough to maintain such a list, the Weight Watchers SmartOnes Szechuan Chicken variety is going directly on the Do Not Buy side. This really isn't so much a story (or even a mini-story) as a warning. That was my most disappointing lunch in recent memory. And as an added bummer, I’m still hungry. Boo. Also, Amazon sells frozen meals now?? I am all for the convenience of online shopping, but that is a ridiculous line that I see no need whatsoever to cross. Who are these people who are too busy to buy their frozen meals in stores but not too busy to sit around and wait five days for standard shipping on them and to worry about receiving a temperature-sensitive package from UPS? I am baffled, but that is really nothing new, I suppose.

  5. And finally, I'm reminded today of just how clueless and naive I sometimes still am, because GG sent me a dirty version of a Family Circus cartoon this afternoon, and although I am confident that this alternate version is undoubtedly much funnier than whatever the original version said (Family Circus, remember? Come on…), I still don't understand the punch line. Apparently I haven't seen enough prom* movies in my day. Maybe I should send the cartoon to Poppy. I’m sure she could explain it to me.

    * Codeword courtesy of Metalia.

And with that, I'm out of here for today. Happy weekend, all. Stay away from pigeon poop and mediocre Szechuan food and say hi to your local troubadour for me.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blame August

Well then. I was feeling a bit dramatic on Monday, wasn't I? I actually shouldn't put that in past tense, as I'm definitely still out-of-sorts, but I haven't spontaneously started crying in close to 15 hours now, so let's call that progress, shall we?

Truthfully, it's more than just the "sucky hell of August" (as Liz said) or "the summer malaise" (as Nancypearlwannabe dubbed it). I can name a few very real and [I think] logical sources for the current funk; I just don't want to get into them here right now.

So the blog hiatus (bliatus, if you will) is still in effect, but meanwhile, I had to share this: proof that it's not just me (or, just me, Liz, and NPW). August is to blame! Down with August, we say!

I love a convenient but intangible scapegoat, don't you?

Monday, August 13, 2007

I am not myself these days

Did you have an Etch-a-Sketch as a kid? Do you remember doodling away, drawing line after line and jagged curve after curve through the grainy silver and then shaking it to start all over again?

That's what it feels like in my brain right now. I keep turning the knobs and winding the lines into a bigger and bigger mess, and much as I want to pick the slate up and shake it clean, I don't seem able to do that.

This too shall pass. I know this. But right now, the ball of negative thoughts swirling in my head is something best left to old-fashioned private journaling, not typing out in a forum where I can't take it back. So while I'm not on an "official" blog-break like so many other people these days, I also don't have much to amuse you with right now. Perhaps I'll get to a book report this week, but other than that... I'll see you when I'm feeling sunnier.

Peace out.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Five of my favorite words that I almost never have a reason to use

  1. Psychopharmacology

  2. Poughkeepsie

  3. Interplanetary

  4. Yellowbelly

  5. Yeti

What are some of your favorite words that you never say?

(GG, I already know yours, and guess what? Antidisestablishmentarianism is a "real" word! And it turns out it's a cryptic domain as well. Hmm.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Class of '92, Where Are You?

My fifteen-year high school class reunion is next month. Fifteen years. My word; I really don't feel old enough for that. Shouldn't I have Mom-hair and be wearing comfort sandals by this point? Oh. Right. Many of the moms I know have hipper hair than I do, and I am unshakably in love with my disgustingly worn-out Birkenstocks. Plus, I just said "My word." Point taken.

In any case, I will not be going to the reunion. I have attended exactly one of my reunions thus far: the five year, and based on that one experience, I don't feel I'll be missing anything if I skip every remaining one. True, few things in life are as pointless as a five-year high school reunion, so I suppose I didn't really expect a huge turnout, and true, we did always have a rather small and extremely apathetic class. You know how at pep rallies, each class gathers in the bleachers and takes its turn shouting out a cheer in unison? (That wasn't just at my school, was it? You guys did that too?) Anyway, more than once, my class's section of the bleachers was entirely silent for our turn. Silent. We're not big on participation in the class of '92.

The night of our five-year reunion, the Class of 1947 was gathered in another room at the same supper club, celebrating their 50-year reunion. The cook who my friend Dale and I both remembered from our days as dishwashers at that restaurant informed us that they had more alumni in attendance than we did. He was embarrassed on our behalf; I was actually amused at how well in keeping with our class's history our meager turnout was.

I can't imagine the crowd at the 15-year reunion will be much bigger than the one at the five-year, and I have an even harder time imagining that any of the very few people I would actually enjoy catching up with again will decide to be there. Besides that, I prefer surprise one-on-one encounters with old high school friends anyway... like when I ran into my formerly good friend at the Andrew Bird show, or when I saw my first maybe-boyfriend working in the emergency room when my dad had a minor stroke.*

Not only am I not going to the reunion, but I am being doubly standoffish and nonparticipatory and not filling out the "Directory Questionnaire" that the reunion organizers sent me. It's not that I am above complying with a simple and painless request, but I truly have a hard time believing that any of my former classmates would care about my answers to these questions any more than I care about theirs. I mean, really...

Name: Stefanie [LastName]

___ Yes
___ No
_x_ Sometimes in my pretend life

If yes, name of [sometimes] spouse: Paul Rudd. (You may have heard of him.)
Number of years married: Oh, several, off and on. With a love like ours, it's hard to keep track.

___ Yes
___ No
_x_ Do plants and dust-bunnies count?

Occupation(s): Writing things that no one reads.

(Note: I love the parenthetical inclusion of the plural, by the way. It is "fantastic" to work three jobs, after all. "Uniquely American", isn't it?)

Hobbies: Knitting, reading, drinking, spending time with friends real and imaginary, burning through my Netflix list, and posting fascinating details about myself on the Internet.

Future Plans:
More knitting, more reading, most certainly more drinking, more friendships and movies, and inevitably more oversharing on the Internet.

Most Memorable Moment from High School: Oh, how to choose just one... The time the love of my 14-year-old life kissed my best friend right in front of me? The time I assembled a motley crew of sophomore girls who didn't like each other (or me) for a Sweet 16 rollerskating party? How about when Mr. Linnabary announced to my entire gym class that I was a lousy doubles partner? Or when I asked the love of my 17-year-old life to the prom and he responded, "Can I say maybe?" Oh no; I've got it--the time my supposed friend told our Economics teacher that I thought he was insufferably rude, and when he confronted me about it, I backpedaled by trying to contrast him with our much friendlier History teacher, who as a result probably still thinks I had a crush on him. (I did not. No sir.) Good times.

Biggest Accomplishment Since Graduation: Um, I suppose "moving out of that town" would be too harsh? Indeed, it would be. It is actually a fine place if you like small-town life, and I know several very nice and smart people who still live there. So, uh, I guess I'll go with "Bought my own house"? "Graduated from college"? "Went to Europe"? "Finally fell in (and unfortunately also out of) love"? "Mastered the perfect chocolate chip cookie"? I could go in all sort of directions with this, I guess.

Most Embarrassing Moment in High School: I actually have several I'd rather not relive, and nearly all of them involve gym class. Andy C. might actually still have a bump on his head from where I pegged him with a softball, and I'm pretty sure I've not picked up a racket of any kind since the 11th grade.

One Thing That Your Classmates Do Not Know About You: Even in light of the extra ten pounds I've been carrying lately, I am still thinner and weigh less than I did in high school. Suck it, Amy Westermeyer.**

Would you be interested in working with the 20th year reunion committee?
___ Yes
___ No
_x_ Hell no.

So. I will not be sending that in, and I will not be paying $6.50 for a booklet containing the answers likely only seven other people sent in (apathetic and non-participatory class, remember?). Also, I will not be enjoying chicken and ham ("plus fixings") catered by the local Piggly Wiggly. And finally, perhaps most importantly, I will not be spending an evening wearing a name tag undoubtedly bearing this picture. No, I will save that for the Internet, of course.


He's fine... or, as fine as the crazy old man he's become can be, anyway.

** There
actually was no Amy Westermeyer in my class, but since I'd rather none of my former classmates vanity-Google their way here, I am creating a hybrid name from two prom court bitches I harbor particularly ill memories of. Kristen Kamman or Jody Dickrell would work equally well here.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

And neither is my hair feathered. Honest.

Should I be concerned that a woman who by all evidence seems to have gotten dressed one day in 1987 and decided, "Yeah. I like this look! I'm gonna stick with this from now on!" just complimented me on my outfit?

For the record, I am NOT wearing light aqua, pleated-front, tapered-leg jeans. But she is.

I have, however, owned the shirt I'm wearing for no less than four years now. Perhaps I need to rethink my view on what's a timeless classic.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Things are gonna change; I can FEEL it

I would like to send a great big thank you out to Nancypearlwannabe, who not only got me hooked on the divinely tasty (and potent... oh my, too potent) Caipirinhas that I am enjoying all by myself this evening, but who also recommended that I look at Old Navy one more time for the jean jacket I've been whining about needing for several weeks now. After a lovely lunch with some out-of-town friends today, I decided to swing by Old Navy (which, incidentally, is one of the very few places that is actually easier to get to with that stretch of 35W now gone, in that the entrance to the strip mall where it's located isn't the source of an influx of freeway traffic anymore). I already looked at Old Navy a few weeks ago and had no luck in the jean jacket search. Even today, I searched the whole damn store, and actually found myself muttering audibly under my breath, "Not a god-damned jean jacket in the place. Why the fuck is there not a god-damned jean jacket here at all?? Why would NPW lead me astray??" I was just about to give in to the long journey to the Albertville Outlet Mall when I spied a peg in that strange center-aisle section of the store bearing a row of denim jackets. And low and behold... success!! It's fitted; it's a reasonably acceptable shade of blue; and best of all... it was only $29.95 and on sale for five dollars off that price. It may have been assembled by child laborers in a Chinese sweatshop, but by damn, with the $25 gift card my mom gave me last Christmas, it was entirely FREE to me. Whoo!

(Note: Good LORD, I really ought to dust that bathroom mirror!)

I was so excited by my finally good fortune that I picked up a cute pair of ballet flats as well. My friend Carrie and I have a sort of love/hate relationship going with sneaker-ballet flats. They are great in theory (cute and reasonably comfortable and all that), but three wears in and you suddenly need to toss them in the freezer to avoid the offensive stench. Does anyone out there not have this problem? Please, tell me it's not just us. Anyway, at $16, I decided to risk that problem and take these home anyway. I was on sort of a shopping high, you see.

You'd think all of my consumer demands would now be met, but alas, I am still without a tie-on kitchen towel to replace the one that bit the dust recently. I finally gave up that search (for now, anyway), and found the solution to that dilemma in the form of a stainless steel over-the-drawer hook at Linens & Things.

It's not ideal (as it wobbles around quite a bit), but it suits the purpose well enough, I guess. Before buying it, though, I asked a sales clerk, "Don't they make kitchen towels with ties for drawer pulls anymore?" The woman looked at me like I'd just stepped out of a time machine and had asked for a sanitary napkin belt. I ask you, aside from the frayed and worn edges, is this towel (which I was using until a few short weeks ago) really so out of date??

I still don't know what the rest of you use to dry your hands in the kitchen, if the tie-on towel is so very passé, but I guess I should let it go already.

All right then. I was going to tell you all about the wacky dream I had last night (which involved John Krasinski flirting with me in my college dorm hall, Robin Williams dancing in a plaid, pleated Catholic school girl's skirt atop a car, and The Magical Boy waiting in my doorway with two sons he does not actually have), but the video and DVD I checked out from the library today are waiting for me, so I'd best retire to my living room for that. Apparently "staying in is the new going out" applies not just to Fridays, but to Saturdays as well. Fine with me, I say.

Friday, August 03, 2007

It's still Friday...

...Though just barely.

Oof. I am tired. The kind of tired where a dull and nagging ache settles itself inside my head for 72 solid hours. The kind of tired where it feels as though some sort of vacuum has sucked all the moisture out of my eyes and then reversed and spit dust back into them for good measure. The kind of tired where that last sentence actually seemed like a reasonable metaphor. The kind of tired that makes me somehow sit quietly amid lively conversation with good friends for a full five minutes or more without interjecting a single comment, side-story, or loud and scathing judgment. That's tired.

I've slept poorly all week, I think due mostly to the seemingly unending string of 90+ degree days, which make it impossible to sleep without running the window AC (because it's 86 degrees in my bedroom) and also impossible to sleep with the AC unit running (because it sounds like a freight train running directly toward my bed). I think I can easily trace the source of my current perma-headache; I just don't know what to do about it.

On top of that, I've had all sorts of things on my mind... you know, like falling bridges and strained friendships and uneventful dates and where on earth to find a god-damned jean jacket. So I lie in bed, my brain spiraling around and around like a hamster on a rattly little wheel. Hamsters are nocturnal, you know. So is the part of my brain that wants to think everything through right now! it seems.

This means that in the past week, I have used just about every silly little focus-shifting mind game I can think of to get myself some rest. No, I don't mentally count the claymation sheep in the Serta commercials. Instead, I do these far more sensible things.

Five foolish ways I try to make myself fall asleep

  1. I lay in Shavasana, the final resting pose that takes me to the edge of sleep in nearly every yoga class I attend. Surely if it can put me to sleep on a hardwood floor it can put me to sleep in my bed, right? Except that every time I attempt this, I remember that I cannot sleep on my back, so I might as well just be tossing and turning instead.

  2. I say the alphabet backwards (something I actually taught myself to do during a bout of insomnia back in college). My faulty breathalyzer may not save me from any run-ins with the police, but at least I'll be prepared for the sobriety tests, right?

  3. I sing all of the Girl Scout camp songs I can remember (in my head, silly, not out loud). In particular, I'm partial to On My Honor and Barges. A few years ago, I managed to recall all the words to three verses of the former without using the Internet. (No wonder I cannot sleep, with my brain rifling through its archives and file folders so wildly.)

  4. I go through the alphabet, trying to think of one male name and one female name for every letter. If I go through two rounds, I will inevitably get stuck on Q , and will eventually fall asleep still trying to come up with something other than Quinn, Quincy, or Quentin.

  5. I try to think of every teacher I have ever had... easy enough until I get to college, and then I realize how very bad my memory is.

I actually don't think I'll even need any of these methods tonight. There is finally a cool breeze coming in through my window; I can fall into bed without setting an alarm; and my head is ready to hit the pillow any second. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Holy shit.

This picture was taken last week sometime, less than four miles from my house. The bridge on the left is my usual route about 50% of the time I leave to go anywhere except to work. It has been rather inconvenient this summer, what with road construction closing some or all of the lanes in the area on a sporadic yet annoying schedule.


As of this afternoon, that construction is the least of my concerns. It seems I will be seeking alternate routes far beyond the planned timeline for that. Why? Um, you may have heard about it.

No Bridge

No bridge. Gone. Collapsed.

I stand by that subject line up above, and I have little else to add beyond that. Oh, except that as far as I know, all of my friends are accounted for, and if I were a praying girl, I'd be doing a bit of that for all the people I don't know but who were on the scene at the time.


On a more self-absorbed but lighter note, I have a first date tomorrow with a man who is even more geographically undesirable to me now than he was five hours ago. With my luck, I will actually like this one. I should just call the whole thing off right now.