Friday, September 28, 2007

Surly Girl

I am feeling unusually surly and impatient today, for no good reasons at all but just a host of insignificant little ones. I had a much more cheerful Friday Five topic in mind for this week, but I've been mulling it over for days, and I still have only three items for the list. A Thursday Three isn't particularly ambitious, so I guess I'll have to come up with two more and table it for a future week. Meanwhile, in its stead, here are five things currently fueling my crankiness and driving me unnecessarily batty today.

  1. Whistling. Specifically, the whistling that two of my cohorts in That Place We Do Not Blog About do seemingly unconsciously and involuntarily as they stroll through the halls. We are not the goddamned seven dwarfs. I do not subscribe to the "whistle while you work" philosophy. Ordinarily this does not bother me so much. Like I said, unexpectedly persistent surliness has set in.

  2. The fact that it is nearly October and there is still cold air shooting out of the vent directly below my feet. It is the year 2007, and I live in a geographic region that is no stranger to seasonal temperature changes. Shouldn't we have indoor climate control figured out by now?

  3. People who insist on staying in the left lane of a two-lane highway and yet refuse to drive the speed limit. And by "speed limit," I mean at least five to seven miles per hour over the posted speed on said highway. But we've already covered this. I'm well aware I may have to find serenity somehow and admit defeat on that one.

  4. The fact that the awesome gift I ordered from an Etsy seller THIRTEEN DAYS AGO still has not arrived. Yes, yes, it is a Christmas gift and thus, there's no real urgency in receiving it. But still! Thirteen days!! Pony Express is faster than that!

  5. The fact that no matter what I eat and no matter how much I exercise, my ever-expanding midsection gets no less squashy. OK, that might imply I am actually successfully reeling in what I eat or working myself to exhaustion every time I exercise, when in fact, neither of those are particularly true. Anyone have any tips on this? Noelle? NPW? How do you do it--that whole willpower thing??

All right then. At the risk of making us all cranky and unpleasant and encouraging us all to wallow in unnecessary annoyance, what's bugging you today?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I want to say one word to you, son. Just one word. Plastics.

I know it's not Friday, but maybe I'll just start posting in five-point form every day. Noelle is doing it; why can't I?

  1. Ever since I wrote about the ginormously popular Eat Pray Love, hands down the most popular search engine hits for my blog are Eat Pray Love quote-related. I thought maybe my stats were up just because I am awesome and therefore increasingly popular. Ha. Nope; people are just coming here looking for Richard from Texas's views on soul mates. At least the castration stories searchers haven't been showing up as often lately. Or, weren't, anyway. Really must stop mentioning that every time I notice that those freaks might be gone. In any case, one of the people Googling out Eat Pray Love information was a reporter from CNN, who wants to interview not me, but Noelle. I'm glad my blog can be a venue for someone else's fifteen minutes of fame. Didn't Christmas Christmas Tree already have hers, though?? Hrmph.

    (Incidentally, I promise I am not at all bitter about this, really. I am just amused that bloggers have routinely become sources for reporters. And I'll let Noelle tell you the rest of the story, should she so choose to, as it is of course her story to tell.)

  2. I recently learned that absinthe is newly legal in the U.S., and I have decided that a theme party is most certainly in order as a response. I cannot wait to see all my friends in top hats and tent-like dresses, dissolving sugar on a spoon as they bemoan their tortured artist states. You want to come, don't you? I thought so.

  3. I am finally (finally, finally) seeing Superbad tonight. I am pretty sure I might be the very last person on the Internet to do so. I feel entirely out of touch and behind the times. Maybe after the movie, I'll buy a pair of Crocs or try that new Crystal Pepsi everyone's talking about.

  4. A few weeks ago, I found out that my office has a light bulb salesman. As in, we don't get our light bulbs from Sam's Club or from the office supply truck like all normal offices presumably do; we get them from a little old man in a suit and tie who comes here expressly for the purpose of ensuring our workspaces are well lit. I would have thought Door-to-Door Light Bulb Peddler was as unlikely a career as Sundial Repair Man or Donut Salesman, so frankly I'm somewhat astonished by this news. I finally saw the guy today, though, so I know that he is real. He's also about 87 years old and sort of awesome, however, and therefore I'm kind of thrilled by the idea that we're keeping the little man in business.

  5. As long as I'm talking about That Place We Never Blog About, I have noticed something in the kitchen recently that's puzzling me no end. No, it is not the non-dairy creamer with the baffling logo again; it's the stack of plastic cups that's changing colors every night, like the magical dress at the end of Sleeping Beauty. I know that the cups are coming from a bag that's stored on the floor beside the water cooler. What I'm pondering is whether my tiny office is actually going through a stack of ten or more cups a day (in which case, hello, fellow employees; ever hear of re-using one?? Didn't Al Gore teach you anything about excessive plastic?) or if someone is just replacing the stack each day with a different one from the bag. One day, the stack is orange. The next, it's blue. Today, it was green. I applaud the effort to shake things up and keep things interesting, but can't we just have Pizza Day or something instead?

Friday, September 21, 2007


  1. I once paid over $30 of my own [not-so] hard-earned money (plus TicketBastard fees!) to attend a John Mayer concert.

  2. I taped the premiere of High School Musical 2 because I was going to be out of town when it aired (and, you know, I apparently thought the Disney Channel might not re-run it 47 times in the following week and I might actually miss that quality piece of modern filmmaking).

  3. I love me some fancy cheese as much as the next person, but I almost always have a package of Kraft Singles in my fridge for grilled cheese sandwiches and just plain old snacking.

  4. I have never made a pot of coffee in a standard home coffee maker, and I really wouldn't even have any idea how to do so if I tried. (Yes, yes, coffee goes in the basket and water goes in the top, but how much of each of those? And how long does it take? I really have no experience in this area.)

  5. I have seriously considered purchasing several ridiculous and likely completely ineffective products that seemed entirely useful at the time. (I do not actually own an AutoCool or a bottle of "Just a Drop," but I don't want to talk about how close I've come to that not being the case.)

Anyone else have anything they want to get off their chest today?

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You give, and you give, and you give (and I take happily and ask for more)

People, I have some mildly alarming news to report. It hardly seems possible, I know, but... the Internets have steered me wrong.

Remember last week, when I told you how my scattered and distracted self managed to store a new tub of cream cheese in the freezer instead of the fridge? I wondered out loud (or, onto the Internet) whether I had to toss that tub or not. And as usual, you guys came through with helpful replies. "Your cream cheese is fine," one of you said. "I used to freeze it on purpose," another explained. "Well, great!," I thought. "I'll just take toss it in the fridge to thaw, and when I bring it to work to spread on my bagel, it'll be just fine to eat."

I'm sorry, but how wrong you all were. How very, very wrong indeed. That cream cheese was NOT fine. Not fine at all, unless cream cheese with the consistency of bubbly yogurt falls under your definition of "fine."

That was a very disappointing bagel. That's all I'm going to say about that.

Perhaps it's not entirely fair to blame you guys for my sub-par breakfast today, nor is it even particularly important. Life goes on, after all, satisfying morning bagel or no. I may just be trying to make you feel just a wee bit bad, in the hopes that you'll want to make it up to me, because surprise, surprise, Internets: again, I need your help.

My lovely friend Amy is getting married in a few short weeks, and she recently asked me to read something during the event. "Of course!" I said. "I'm honored you asked! What would you like me to read?" It's going to be a pretty unconventional ceremony, so I figured First Corinthians likely wasn't on the agenda. Then she said she'd like me to write something and read that. "Just write a blog entry," she suggested. "I love the way you write in your blog; could you just come up with a blog entry to read?"

A blog entry. Yeah. That's all good and fine and I'm flattered she thinks my words are wedding crowd-worthy, but um, has she even READ my blog? (Yes, yes; of course she has.) I write about ME, people, and I don't think anyone at Amy's wedding is really coming to hear the silly little antics of my sad little life. I'm pretty sure talking about myself at someone else's wedding would rank right up there with wearing a dress deliberately meant to show up the bride.

"But you write about relationships!" Amy argued. Yes. Yes, I do. If by "relationships," you mean "all the bad and uneventful dates I've been on and all the boys who've made me cry." Again, not exactly heart-warming or appropriate wedding talk.

So I need some help, some suggestions, and I was hoping you guys could get that ball rolling. What would YOU write about, if a friend made a similar request of you? This is not a reception toast, mind you; it's not the simple maid-of-honor speech formula of "Look at this lovely couple; let's talk about how I know them and what I hope for their future together." It's a reading. For during the ceremony. Which is actually being held in an old movie theater and involves an interpretive dance number, among other things, so "ceremony" may not even actually be the right word, I suppose.

I do have one idea... an idea that might work and might be suitable, but it's really just the shell of an idea at this point... an idealet, an idea embryo, an idea zygote, if that. The theme I have in mind is What I've learned about love from the movies. Amy's an artist; her husband-to-be is a filmmaker; they've seen about a thousand movies together, and they're saying their vows in an 80-year-old movie house. What could be more appropriate, do you think?

This is where you come in. I can't actually think of all that many things I've learned about love from the movies. I'm sure they're stored in my memory somewhere (I've taken plenty of life lessons from television, after all), but they're just not coming to mind. Ali MacGraw told me that love means never having to say you’re sorry, but I don’t know that that's really great advice for newlyweds... Meg Ryan and Matthew Broderick taught me that love makes you certifiably insane, but again, not necessarily the angle I’m shooting for.

So help me out, folks. I know you've got ideas. What have movies taught YOU about love?

Thanks in advance (from me and Amy both). Now come on; hit it, kids!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

I am the prototype of the car of the future

For no less than two years now, the light on my trusty Saturn's little odometer has refused to provide any light. I can still see how many miles I've gone, but only in the daylight. I would like to think this means that any nighttime driving hours are not logged, which might bide me a bit more time before I have to accept the fact that my car has lived a good life but it's time to retire it and say hello to a car payment once again. Unfortunately, that is not how it works. The odometer just keeps scrolling along, whether it's bright enough for me to see the numbers or not.

I've grown rather used to the dim and subtle odometer display, so I was more than a bit alarmed when I turned my ignition key the other day and all six numbers lit up in bright orange. You'd think I would be happy when this happened. You'd think that someone with as overactive an imagination as mine would proclaim the miracle of my car's self-healing powers and deem my Saturn invincible from here on out. My imagination rarely works in such a positive and optimistic way, however, so instead I started wondering what on earth was wrong with my car that suddenly made that long-gone light re-light. Had a squirrel crawled up under my car and somehow reconnected the wire assigned to that light, but then decided to chew through my brake line while he was rooting around in the region as well? Had the connections rusted and corroded in such a way as to fix whatever short caused the light failure, but it was only a matter of time before the delicate balance tripped some other malfunction in its place?

Obviously, not only am I insane, but I am highly knowledgeable about the inner workings of modern vehicles, too. I think it's pretty clear I've missed my calling as a mechanic, isn't it?

What's more alarming is that two days later, I was convinced that I was right. I could see no other explanation for why the "Service Engine Soon" light suddenly displayed on my dashboard panel. Damn squirrels. Damn rust. Damn Saturn service center goblins.

Service center goblins? Oh. Right. Perhaps I should explain.

The Saturn repair shop where I take my car employs several full-sized, adult humans who speak in complete sentences and walk upright. I get to talk to them only when something is genuinely wrong with my car, however--when I request diagnostics of some sort and pull in to the special Service Center door on the right. For routine maintenance such as oil changes, I drive up to the "Quick Lube" entrance, which is staffed entirely by goblins.

I could be wrong, of course. They might not be real goblins. They might be Satan's tiny minions. Every time I see them, I'm reminded of the Stygian Triplets--the evil little skate punks who did Jason Lee's dirty work in Kevin Smith's Dogma. The don't roll around on wheels, but they're all diminutive and a little squinty-eyed, and I don't think a single one of them is a day over 19.

Until recently, I felt a little judgmental assuming the lube techs might be itty-bitty servants of Beelzebub. They seemed perfectly friendly, after all (if a bit dim-witted at times). Why shouldn't I trust them with my car? But then I turned down the fuel-booster and road-side assistance add-on that they wanted to sell me, and eleven hours later, I was driving on my wheel rim after a mysterious tire failure. Coincidence or sabotage? You be the judge.

So where was I? Oh. Right. The "Service Engine Soon" light. As it turns out, I may not have the service center goblins to blame for that one after all. Ignoring the words of a boy who claimed, "Don't bother hauling out your owner's manual; all it's going to say is 'See your dealer,'" I read the corresponding page in my manual and found that there are at least two very easy-to-troubleshoot reasons why that light might decide to light up. The first one, "Did you drive through a puddle? Your electrical system might be wet." did not apply, but the second one, "Did you recently refuel?" actually did. The manual instructed me to verify that my gas cap was intact and see if the light goes away afterwards. I unscrewed and re-tightened the cap, drove another ten miles or so, and suddenly, the insistent "Service Engine" message disappeared. Voila! I am a born mechanic after all! And my Saturn maybe actually is a tad invincible. I'm suddenly dubbing it Kitt. It's wired for self-preservation, it seems.

Or so I'm telling myself at the moment, anyway. Tomorrow the transmission may spontaneously fall out, and then all bets are off.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Friday's post, plus interest

I guess I sort of forgot about that whole Friday Five thing this week. OK, no, you know damn well that's not true. Of course I didn't forget about it... (Um, hi, have you met me? I am all about structure and routine, and I do not just forget to do something I have done for 62 of the past 63 weeks.) Anyway, since I'm two days late, I'll add two more and we'll call it a Sunday Seven. Fair enough?

Seven things that pretty much always make me happy

  1. Going to bed without setting an alarm, knowing I can stay in bed as long as I want the next morning. (What does not make me happy is the fact that I am typing this on Sunday night, knowing I will not be able to do this again for another six days!)

  2. Wearing my blue yoga pants. This week's sudden snap of fall weather made me pull them out for the first time in months, and I love their stretchy, cushy comfort every bit as much as I did last year. Too bad I'm still no better a housekeeper than I was last year. The trailing bottoms are still serving as Swiffer cloths as I walk. Obviously I'll never learn.

  3. Mashed potatoes. 'Nuf said, I think (that is, if you're anybody except Red).

  4. That moment in an airplane when the whooshing along at ever-increasing speed suddenly gives way to the nose tipping up and the wheels leaving the ground. Most people on planes feel better upon landing. Me, I love takeoffs. Always have.

  5. Going out for sushi. I don't even eat cooked fish, so it should be baffling that I love sushi restaurants so much, and yet I do. I love the food, the flavors, the inevitable glass (or two) of wine, but also I love the rituals of it... rubbing the wooden chopsticks together to rough off the splinters, pouring the soy sauce and swirling in the wasabi... I love the tiny, pretty little ceramic dishes and the lovely presentation of assorted rolls on a big, gorgeous platter. I've sort of missed that last one when I've gone to the floating sushi boat buffet, but as a movable feast has its own charms, it's a fair trade-off, I suppose.

  6. (Speaking of wine...) The second sip of the first glass of wine. As I was told at my friend Simone's in-house wine tasting recently, you should never judge a wine on your first sip. The first sip is sort of a shock to your system, the introduction of "Hi! We're having wine now!" That second sip is the smooth one, the one that makes you want to keep sipping the rest of the glass. Damn. Now I want wine. Moving on.

  7. The caller ID display, when the name of someone I actually want to talk to is on it. As a general rule, I hate the phone, so the ratio of times this happens is probably less balanced than it should be. (Friends, please take no offense. Just because I don't love the phone doesn't mean I don't love you.) Still, there are certain names that, on that display, will always make me smile. Always.

I could go on and on, of course. The smell of fresh-baked waffle cones at Grand Ole Creamery... The feel of sunshine on my face on a just-warm-enough day... Store mistakes that work in my favor... New episodes of Gilmore Girls. (Oh. Right. Scratch that one.)

So tell me... what makes you happy without fail?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Trying to find the answers to life's persistent questions

This whole finding-a-life-partner thing really must be somehow easier than I'm making it. That is, I think, the only explanation for some of the relationships I've seen develop. First, the pothead with a Peter Pan complex got married, then my most recent (and most significant) ex-boyfriend (who is not actually married yet but will be soon, and who, incidentally, all of my friends said, post-breakup, would be single for FAR longer than I would be. Hrmph.). And now today a friend of mine got an email from the guy who plagiarized my "Dear John" letter (semicolons and all), indicating that HE is now married as well. I'm sorry, but... what??

Have you seen the previews for that movie Good Luck Chuck? Not the ones that feature the story line of Jessica Alba as a walking disaster and Dane Cook as the guy who has to somehow survive dating her... I mean the ones in which the plot is, essentially, "Every girl Dane Cook sleeps with gets married to the next man she dates. Hence, every girl needs to sleep with Dane Cook." I have no idea why Lionsgate Films is marketing Good Luck Chuck as two entirely different movies, and I actually have not slept with most of the guys who I have dated, but I still suddenly feel like I am "Good Luck Stefanie" and magically, every emotionally troubled, boring, and/or socially awkward guy I go out with finds the love of his life shortly thereafter. That "Nonfiction means not-true, right?" guy is probably picking out rings as I type this. The guy who asked me to change my email display name for him has probably already welcomed his first child into the world.

I guess maybe I need to be on the lookout for a dangerously clumsy man to be my Jessica Alba, someone to turn both of our streaks of luck around. Unfortunately, I'm actually dangerously clumsy most of the time myself. Clumsy and absent-minded, no less, which actually brings me to the question I was going to pose for the Internets today, before I got all side-tracked with my extremely unlikely comparison to Dane Cook.

I waste entirely too much food in my house, and it bothers me no end. Sometimes I say it is not my fault. I'm continually annoyed that food manufacturers and genetic engineers haven't somehow figured out by now that some people live alone and do not need a foot-long loaf of bread or an entire head of lettuce. My million-dollar idea that will never come to fruition is a grocery store that caters specifically to the single shopper. All food will be in small-sized portions, and as an added bonus, in-store scoping for prospective dates will presumably be a lot more common and successful. But I digress. (I digress on what was already a digression. This is clearly one of my most well-thought-out posts to date.) I was going to admit that while sometimes, the food wasting is not my fault, other times it is due entirely to my own ridiculous scatter-brained absent-mindedness. I will, for example, take a frozen meal or a carton of yogurt out of the refrigerator and place it on my kitchen counter, intending to toss it in my bag before I head out the door, and instead, I will leave it sitting there, only to remember it halfway through my commute and realize that (A) I will have to throw the forgotten food away when I get home rather than risk the results of it sitting at room temperature all day, and (B) my efforts to save a bit of money by bringing my lunch are entirely for naught, as I'll need to purchase my lunch in a store or restaurant after all.

Sometimes, I don't just forget food on the counter, but I for some reason put it away in an entirely wrong and ridiculous place. The box of spaghetti will go in the fridge. The packet of cheese will end up in the cupboard above the stove. I can't explain this; really I can't. Let's say I'm a genius and my brain simply can't be bothered with routine, mundane details. Does that work for you? Maybe? Great.

I noted my latest act of brilliance this morning, when I reached for one of those aforementioned frozen meals for today's lunch. Inside the freezer door, right in front of my eyes, was the tub of cream cheese I bought Sunday afternoon. Whether it's been there since I brought it home or just since I took the on-reserve bagels out of the freezer and put them into the fridge to thaw, I can't say. What I'm wondering, though, is whether I have to toss that cream cheese or not. Are there some foods that cannot survive a few nights frozen solid? Are there some things that just aren't the same once they've thawed? (Clearly there are, but is cream cheese one of them?)

This isn't anywhere near as notable a question as how semicolon-stealer found a wife, but it's an easier-to-answer one, anyway.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Business as usual around here

It's been a while since I shared any stories of my domestic shortfalls and culinary ineptitude. Perhaps you thought that was because the bizarre and uncharacteristic cooking streak I somehow fell into last spring had actually stuck and I was now whipping up souffles and ceviches and other things that I'd actually have to Google in order to define. If you thought that, you would be wrong, my friends. In fact, my fridge has looked much like this for the past month or more. This time, however, I don't even have grapes on hand. The closest thing to fruit in my fridge at the moment is the expired strawberry yogurt hanging out on the bottom shelf. I don't really even remember the last time I ate anything that came from the produce department. I'm back to counting on red wine to ward off scurvy. Hello, Internets. My name is Stefanie, and I am a certified grown-up.

That's why I'm so baffled as to just what got into me yesterday. I needed to make a dish to pass for the girls-night-in bachelorette party I was attending, and rather than rely on any of my simple stand-bys (7-layer bars, box of brownie mix, three-ingredient cherry crisp), I went to the Internet for recipes. The guest of honor is trying to ban wheat from her life, so I Googled "wheat-free dessert recipes" looking for something she might like. I have made brownies from scratch before, so I'm not so shocked that I decided on a no-wheat brownie recipe. What shocks me is that I made that recipe without even going to the grocery store. People, I made from-scratch brownies with things I had on hand! Maybe that's not so out-of-the-ordinary to some of you, but a Pioneer woman I am not. I can't even believe I had eggs in my house, much less unsweetened cocoa powder. The cocoa powder, by the way, I substituted for the carob powder that was actually called for. I also substituted some sugar for the 1/4-cup of honey I was short. Oh, and also, I made my own oat flour. I MADE MY OWN OAT FLOUR!! You don't even have to be impressed by that; I'm astonished enough for the both of us. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that at the bottom of the recipe was a note saying if I didn't have oat flour, I could make it myself by grinding up uncooked oatmeal in a blender or food processor. So that is what I did. I just can't believe it actually worked. Or, rather, that it seemed to have worked. I've never actually seen oat flour before, so I have no idea if mine looked anything like it's supposed to look.

The brownies themselves, actually, might not have looked at all like they're supposed to look. I'm not well-versed in wheat-free ways, and while my wheat-shunning, soon-to-be-married friend Amy said they were delicious and didn't seem put-off by the bizarre bubbly edges and the sunken, gooey middle, my faithful friend Carrie countered with, "I don't know, Stef. They look wheat-free." So the oat flour brownies may not have been as big a hit as the Better Than Sex cake that someone else brought, but I was proud of myself, anyway.

I was also proud of the frugal handiwork I demonstrated in assembling Amy's bag of gifts for the night. As I mentioned on Friday, Carrie and I went to a local sex shoppe (as it's an extra-classy place, it deserves the two-p's-and-an-e spelling) for some fun presents to bring the bachelorette. I almost grabbed a ridiculously overpriced blindfold to go with the feather-on-a-stick toy we had chosen, when Carrie said, "Can't you just make a blindfold?" Why yes. Yes I can, actually. And 47 cents worth of fabric and about a half hour of my time later, I had. I think I'm on a roll, people. What great challenge can I take on next?

Speaking of challenges, my pal Liz recently met one I posed a while ago. Remember my futile attempt to find a tie-on towel for my kitchen? Yesterday, I received this in the mail as a delayed response to that post.

It's a bit less, um, subtle than the one I was looking to replace, but screen-printed cocktails with umbrellas in them always say "Class," don't they? Apparently, Liz agrees.

(Thanks, Liz. I KNEW I told you you rock for a reason! Consider this one more.)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Friday 4 + 1

Four things that made me laugh this week, and one thing that did not.

  1. The toddler girl in the gym locker room who, when her mother said the stain on her shirt likely wasn't going to come out, replied, in a squeaky and unassuming and innocent voice, "Oh. Damnit." Incidentally, the mother didn't think it was nearly as cute as I did. I tried to stifle my giggling as she gasped and reprimanded the girl, but I can't help it: little kids saying swear words is way funnier than it really should be.*

    * I know someone else wrote about this once, and also linked to a very wrong but hilarious sketch featuring a foul-mouthed little girl. I have no idea which of you it was, though, or where to find it. Feel free to remind me in the comments if this rings a bell.

  2. The following text conversation with my friend Carrie the other night:

    Carrie: I'm at Walgreens, standing in front of the lip gloss. Stop the madness!
    Me: We all have our demons. Luckily, no one's gonna send us to Betty Ford for that one.
    Carrie: Brilliant! Thanks, coach.

    (Well, you know, I do my part... Being an enabler can be fun.)

  3. This t-shirt. Word-nerd humor AND a Venn diagram, plus clever copywriting to boot? Novelty t-shirt sites don't get much better than that.

  4. The titles (and cover art) for the DVDs on the Free-with-Purchase rack at the sex toy shop I visited yesterday. The store we went to (in search of fun stuff for a friend's bachelorette party this weekend) bills itself as sort of the clean, well-lighted place of sex shops, but that does not mean they're above the obviously tacky and downright absurd. It was hard to choose between Tit in a Wringer (featuring, appropriately enough, a tit being squeezed through a wringer) and Muffalicious, but eventually we made our selections and left with our bag of booty. ("Booty" is, in this case, a bit more, um, literal than usual.)

  5. The portions of my day (and the dollars from my bank account) that I lost when I blew a tire on my way to work yesterday. In case you're curious, losing a tire is (like so many things in life) nothing at all like in the movies. Art imitates life my ass. I did not hear any sort of pop or bang and find myself trying to keep my car from veering into the ditch suddenly and without warning. Instead, I heard just sort of a low ticking noise, to which my response was, "Crap. What the heck is wrong with my car? Better stop at Saturn to have that looked at on my way home." Then the noise got a little louder and more insistent, and I thought, "Crap. Better drive straight to a shop right now, actually."

    Within another minute or so, the rattling and rhythmic thwap-thwap-thwapping got so alarming that I realized I should probably pull over to investigate post-haste, but it still wasn't obvious to me that my tire was the problem. I figured I'd get out, pop the hood, and stare inside thinking, "Yep. Engine's still there. Beats me just what the problem is." Instead, I got out, walked around my car, and said, "Oh! Well, I know exactly what the problem is!" Unfortunately, by that point, my tire was so shredded that the remnants of it had started whipping around and flinging themselves against the underside of my car, causing $120 worth of body damage that I now have to get repaired. I also had to endure the suspicious looks of both the tow truck driver and the tire shop guy, subtly smirking as if to say, "You stupid woman. Didn't you know you were driving on your tire rim??" No, sirs. No, I did not. Now kindly suck it, would you?

So then. Anyone want to take a wild guess which of those items falls into the "not laughing" category? It's a pretty tough call, I know.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

What I did on my summer vacation, minus the summer vacation.

Hi there. Remember me? I used to write posts here on a somewhat regular basis. Some of them even involved full paragraphs and organized story lines, rather than just enumerated lists and such. Perhaps I will even write one of those again some day. Today, however, is not that day.

A few people I know have somehow garnered the ridiculous idea that I'm an inordinately busy person. I've always got plans; I'm always doing something. This is the illusion in their head. I guess they're not so wrong, really... that is, if sitting at home watching movies, reading blogs, and doing laundry can be considered "plans" of note at all.

If the past week or two were a representative sample of my normal and ordinary life, however, I would say those people had a point. Of course, if the past week or two were a representative sample of my normal and ordinary life, I wouldn't actually be talking to any of those people much, because the stress that an introvert by nature feels when faced with such a busy social calendar would have sent me away into hiding by now.

I have lots of stories that I could tell you about what I've been up to the past few weeks, but since I can't muster the focus to elaborate on any specific one of them, this will be another recap in bullet-list form. I refuse to call this mere lazy blogging; consider it a favor to the Internet-A.D.D. sufferers out there! (To anyone self-identified in that group, you're welcome.) Let's go.

In the last "official" days of summer, I have...

  • Walked across the Mississippi River at its headwaters.

  • Visited with old friends and their adorable and near-perfect baby.

  • Drove three hours (round-trip) on a Tuesday night to eat fresh-baked pizza under a tree in the rain. (That said, it was totally worth it.)

  • Learned absolutely nothing at a wine-tasting event, but had fun chatting (and drinking) with friends in the process.

  • (Speaking of drinking...) Consumed alcohol in some form and quantity on nine out of ten consecutive days. (I am pretty sure that if you squeezed out my liver like a sponge right now, you'd get an unappealing whop concoction of some sort. I am officially in drying-out mode this week.)

  • Received (and declined) an invitation to my ex-boyfriend's wedding. (Um, yeah, good times.)

  • Helped two great friends celebrate their birthdays at one of Minneapolis's favorite dive bars.

    (Jamie, I hate that I didn't get a picture of both of you with the cake... or even both of you in the same shot, for that matter!)

  • Regained the six pounds I recently lost. (See above re: pizza and nine-day drinking bender for possible causes of that.)

  • Survived my parents' annual visit and the concentrated amounts of family time that entails.

  • Saw a family-friendly play in the basement of a suburban chain restaurant and motel. (It was actually a tad more entertaining than I expected, but I'd still consider it little more than a mediocre Saturday Night Live sketch drawn out to 120 minutes.)

  • Went on only my third date in five months. (Clearly I am not the mad-dating machine I was last summer, and interestingly, the only part about it that bothers me is all the cute summer date clothes I have not worn at all this year.)

  • Accidentally flashed the sushi guy at Cub Foods. (This really isn't notable in any way, except that I remembered it while commenting on a post 3Carnations wrote and thus, it is back in my head again. Also, aren't you glad there isn't a photo to accompany this one?)

  • Mowed my lawn for the first time since early June. (Thank you, seemingly unending earth-parching drought. My lawn may have been looking like straw, but at least you've saved me some time on yard work the past two months.)

And that about wraps up the explanation for my absence lately. So. What have you done with your last precious days of the worst month of the year?