Thursday, May 28, 2009

I could win a prize for procrastinating, if I'd just get around to nominating myself for one.

I am going out of town this weekend, which means that at the moment, I should definitely be packing instead of typing, but apparently I am doing that thing where I say, "Oh, packing won't take any time at all. I just need to throw a few things in a bag... no problem! Fifteen minutes, tops!" I am telling myself this despite knowing full well what happened the last time I said that before packing for a trip... and the time before that... and, hell, EVERY SINGLE TIME I HAVE PACKED FOR A TRIP IN MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. I'm a quick study, I tell you. Isn't there some phrase about a river in Egypt that I could use here? Like everything else in my life, packing takes at least three times as long as I think it will. I know this and yet... la, la, la... all the time in the world. Anyone care to place bets on what time I get to bed tonight?

So where am I going? Ah. Glad you asked. I am going camping, in the woods along the North Shore. I am going to the woods because I want to live deliberately. Or possibly because I want to drink wine around a campfire. You decide. And yes, I used that same joke last fall, but I don't care. As you may know, nerd humor is my favorite kind of humor, and Thoreau doesn't get nearly enough laughs.

The fact that I'm going camping when it's still only May is excellent news, because it means I have plenty of summertime ahead of me during which to forget how much work prepping for, packing for, and unpacking from camping is, so that I can decide it's a good idea to go at least one more time again before fall. This is important because I somehow made it through all of last summer without camping even once, and although I would never claim to be any sort of avid, hard-core outdoorswoman, a full year without one night in a tent still feels in some way wrong, like a cosmic imbalance I need to resolve. So. Perhaps this weekend's trip makes up for no camping last year. If any of my real-life, local friends want to help me check the camping trip off my list for this summer as well, do let me know.

This weekend's trip didn't actually involve any daunting amount of prepping on my part (says the girl who still hasn't even removed her decades-old green duffel bag from its storage spot beneath her bed, much less put anything inside of it). I'm going with a couple of good friends and a gaggle of their friends, and with all the planning in their hands, my own list was pretty brief. Most of the participants I do not know, but I'm sure by association they must be friendly and fabulous, and yet, I'm feeling uncharacteristically insecure about ridiculous things. Like, will the hippies and artists look down on me because the ground beef I bought does not say "grass fed" and "antibiotic free"? And must I remove the zucchini and yellow squash from their plastic wrappers before I go, because zucchini and yellow squash are not supposed to come in plastic wrappers (oh, and also are not supposed to come from Florida, when we have perfectly good zucchini and yellow squash right here)? This is probably more about my own social conscience than the imagined judgment of the hippies and artists I'm going camping with. A little knowledge is a powerful thing, but not as powerful as laziness, and when I want to make one stop on my way home instead of three, factory farm beef and plastic-wrapped veggies is what I get. Horrors. Damn you, SuperTarget, with your low prices and conveniently inclusive array of products and your near-total disregard for the "eat local" movement.

Of course, you might understand my paranoia, given that I heard a friend from this same circle say, at a potluck party recently, "Ooh. Do we really want to put cheese on the same plate as the raw food cookies?" I thought she was kidding. She was not. If the person who brought the offensive dairy items returned to the food table later and wondered (like the mouse in that overrated best seller) who moved her cheese, I have the answer to that. And if the raw food cookie lady is on this weekend's camping trip, well, then I guess that's just more sodium-heavy buttermilk ranch pretzels and sugar-loaded layer bars for me.

Yes, I made layer bars tonight, as well as a batch of cookie dough that I will have to turn into cookies at some point before I leave tomorrow mid-day. That adds two more hash marks in my list of culinary endeavors for the week, bringing my total up to one tiramisu, five baked goods, and one lasagna. Oh, and eighteen eggs. If the cooking tally isn't a new record for me, the egg thing surely is. And only one of those efforts was a total failure. On the up side, it was a failure that helped guarantee no leftover eggs in my fridge. So there is that, anyway.

And with that, I really should think about packing, or at least tossing a few things into a pile near a bag to inspire the idea of packing and get that ball rolling. Happy last days of May, everyone. Can it really be June so soon?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More talk about things that terrify me, but I promise it moves on after that.

All right. Time to type something new here, because I'm a little worried if I leave that last post in top position any longer, any further comments on it will grow progressively more horrifying, and if anyone has a story to top Sauntering Soul's foot-long rat in the kitchen story, I may never sleep again. Gah.

I have actually been in my basement since the enormous bug-sighting, incidentally, and lived to tell of it. So far. I am reassuring myself with the theory that Samsa has scurried away down the floor drain in search of a better home. I am telling myself this because it is far preferable to the theory that he is hiding out behind my furnace, gathering his strength and growing in size until one day he steps out to greet me eye to eye standing upright on the lower dozen or so of his many legs. Shudder.

Oh my. And now, just as I typed that last paragraph, I heard something that sounded very much like tiny rapid footsteps bolting across the width of my house from somewhere above. Is it possible that was merely a squirrel running across my roof, and I heard it all the way down in my living room, with a half story of house in between me and the outdoors? That has to be possible, because if that scurrying actually happened somewhere within the confines of my home, then I think Jess was right: I may need to move.

And that's about enough of the creepshow that is the upper and lower story of my house for today. Let's shift gears to things that are freakish and terrifying in entirely different ways. Like the fact that my mother has decided to join Facebook, and naturally has tried to friend me. She has been on the site for over a full 24 hours, and yet she has only two friends thus far: my two sisters. I can only assume this means her sole reason for joining is to spy on our lives and leave embarrassing, motherly comments for all our friends to see. People, I am well aware that I am a grown-up and I should no longer harbor any qualms about socializing with my mother. But does that really have to include online socializing? Isn't it enough that I no longer mind being seen with her at a movie theater? Baby steps, I say. Ugh. My mother is on Facebook. I suppose that's one way to get me offline...

Also in the category of freakish and moderately terrifying: I was all ready to show you a picture of the mutant space rhubarb in my backyard, which is currently at least six feet in diameter and has sprouted a bizarre white flowery stalk that extends over halfway up my garage wall. I was going to show you a picture of this, but since I haven't yet installed my camera software on my new-to-me laptop, doing so would involve using that ailing, molasses-slow desktop, and we all remember how cranky that makes me. Besides that, it turns out, flowers on rhubarb aren't such an uncommon phenomenon after all. Who knew? (Answer: Not me.)

The rhubarb, by the way, is either wild or was planted by the previous owner, because I have had nothing to do with its existence whatsoever. And I do mean NOTHING. While searching out that rhubarb flower info, I came across this page on a site dedicated entirely to rhubarb (which does not surprise me, obviously, given that I already know there's a site dedicated entirely to baking a potato; the Internet is a vast and all-encompassing place, of course), which provided all manner of dos and don'ts for growing and caring for rhubarb, but also stated that "For the home gardener, rhubarb will tolerate a fair amount of neglect and still thrive." Word. If only tomatoes were known for being so hardy. I haven't had much luck growing anything on purpose, so perhaps if I wanted tomatoes, I should have had one of you sneak them into my yard when I wasn't looking. Somehow I'm convinced that might have been a better way to ensure success. Time will tell, I suppose.

And speaking of domestic failures, despite my near-perfect track record with all manner of baked goods (well, not ALL manner, but all manner I have attempted thus far, admittedly none of which exceed intermediate baker capabilities), the cinnamon pecan blondies I attempted to make for yesterday's Memorial Day barbecue were an utter disaster. I wasted nearly two hours and four cups of brown sugar trying to get things to melt the way they were supposed to, in such a way that the sugar was still melty enough to stir into a batter but not so melty that its heat actually fried the raw eggs right there in the bowl. Outcome: fail. That is, unless you like fried egg bits in your blondies. Personally, I do not. I can't decide if this means I need to try that recipe once more in the hopes of conquering it (the proverbial third time being a charm) or if I should just tear the page right out of that cookbook and simply pretend it never existed.

This post is more than long and scattered enough already, so I promise I will stop rambling soon, but first I would like to redeem myself by saying that despite the blondie disaster, I actually did come out with a win on both the lasagna and tiramisu I made for foreign movie night on Saturday and the spiced brownies I baked before the blondie mishap yesterday. That is entirely more cooking and baking than I generally like to do in any 48-hour span (I still can't believe my grocery list for the weekend involved buying a carton and a half of eggs; NEVER have I needed 14 eggs at one time and in fact could probably count on two fingers the number of times I've purchased them in a quantity greater than six), and as such, the remainder of this week I will probably subsist entirely on cereal, restaurant meals, and the sorts of packaged convenience foods my friends are so fond of chiding me for purchasing. Tomorrow night I'm getting together with a blog friend who's currently in town. Steve, do me a favor and remind me to eat a vegetable, would you? Thanks.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Maybe the helpful gnome who fixed my shovel does extermination work as well?

Do you remember all that time and effort I spent last year turning my dirty, cluttered, long-neglected basement into a welcoming and party-friendly rumpus room? Well, I'm glad I enjoyed it while it lasted, because I may never go into my basement again.

This might be a problem, given that my basement is where several very useful things are stored, including my washer and dryer and much of my camping gear, not to mention several key articles of clothing that I have not yet retrieved from my drying racks since the last time I did laundry. These are all problems I will have to work around, however, because a giant bug has taken up residence down there, and I'm pretty sure I would rather just let him have the place than take him on without backup.

Seriously, people, this is no ordinary bug. I cannot squash this bug with my foot, because he may actually be larger than my foot. I've decided to name him Samsa. As in Gregor. Maybe if I'm lucky, he will, like his namesake, recognize the burden he's placed on me and starve himself, and I can have my laundry room back again. Here's hoping.

It's possible, of course, that I'm overreacting, but given that my day started by realizing I was sharing my shower with a spider, it only stands to reason that the added trauma of the enormous bug in my basement the very same day would leave me a bit ill at ease. A spider in the shower, by the way, is horrifying enough when you're wet and naked, but it makes me feel even more vulnerable given that I am essentially blind without my glasses, and since I don’t generally shower in my glasses, I nearly didn't even see the spider spying on me. Shudder.

In a strange way, it is almost (ALMOST) comforting to see other living things in my home. I am lucky enough to have had very few problems with pests indoors; I have lived in that house for over five years and have not once seen a... a... I'm sorry; I can't even type it for fear of jinxing myself and finding one of those small critters that starts with "m" and rhymes with "blouse," so let's just move on, shall we? But since my suspicious nature sometimes makes me take a good thing and twist it into something absurd, I have occasionally wondered if there is some reason my house has so few pests. It's certainly not my fastidious housekeeping, so it must be something in the air. Among the many ridiculous theories my overactive imagination has spun, this canary-in-the-coal-mine correlation between the lack of bugs in my house and the belief that my house might be slowing killing me surely ranks near the top. I may have actually written about this once already, though. Yep. I did. No sense bringing it up yet again.

So I'm trying to put both Samsa and the spider and whatever other unknown stowaways I may be harboring out of my mind by thinking of happier, more positive things. You know, like puppies and rainbows and unicorns, and more importantly, the three-day weekend ahead. A weekend that I will spend largely at home... a home that may either be infested with pests or slowly killing me. This positive thoughts thing isn't exactly working as planned, is it? Tell me, what's terrifying you lately?

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Do You Believe in Miracles?*

So did you guys know that these newfangled laptop things are portable? Totally portable! As in, not only can you take them from your kitchen to your bedroom to your living room, but you can put them in a bag and tote them along with you to use outside your house as well! Miracles!

Yes, yes, this is old news to most of you, of course. Naturally I have seen people typing away on laptops in coffee shops for years now, but I sort of assumed it was one of those things that other people might do but that simply don't apply to me. You know, like rock climbing or ordering a portobello mushroom sandwich.

I'm not actually typing from a coffee shop, but from the guest lounge at the Saturn Service Center, where I decided to stop on my way home tonight because I thought perhaps I hadn't quite spent enough money yet today. As it turns out, I will be parting with only the usual twenty-some dollars for an oil change and not an undetermined amount to fix my air conditioner as well, because the service center goblins are far too busy at the moment to look into the A/C problem and decide how much money to take from me for that repair. Yes, my air conditioner is broken again, and this time, I don't think the Internet can help me fix it myself. I do still think that spending more than $200 for any single repair on my eleven-year-old car will all but guarantee my previously invincible Rubbermaid-on-wheels will die a sudden and tragic death immediately thereafter, and as such, I thought perhaps I could do without the A/C from now on. Alas, two eighty-degree days into the summer and already I have caved. Air conditioning is not optional with a lengthy-ish commute. There are already enough things in life that make me cranky. I don't need a blast furnace in my face every day helping me with that.

Hence, I will likely be making an appointment to diagnose the problem, and will probably be parting with a large sum of money to proceed with the repair after that. Then again, have I forgotten what I learned in the Arthur Fonzarelli school of car maintenance? Perhaps it just needs a good, swift thump with my determined fist. Also, perhaps I should wonder what is going on in my brain this week that made me reference the Fonz in two posts in a row.

But back to the absurd amount of money I spent today. Apparently I will do anything to sleep in an extra half hour and miss a bit of work, because I spent the better part of my morning letting my dentist shoot me up with Novocain and have a power tools party in my mouth. A few weeks ago, I bit down on something very hard and instantly felt I'd done something very wrong to one of my lower back teeth, but in the spirit of ignoring problems in the hopes that they go away on their own, I decided not to worry about it just yet. Sunday night I was reminded that this method of problem solving, while my favorite, isn't exactly foolproof, as a piece of that tooth broke off completely and ended up bobbing around loose in my mouth. I'm falling apart. Excellent. I wonder what part of me I'll lose next. (Fingers crossed that it's the extra padding around my midsection, but I probably don't get to choose, I guess.)

So I've got a temporary crown now, and I need to go back in another two weeks to relive that fun all over again when the permanent crown is ready. All this nuisance comes with a price, of course, and in this case, it is the not-so-bargain price of $940. Hurrah. Tell me, has the Tooth Fairy adjusted her reward rates for inflation since I was a kid? Because I'm sort of considering putting that little broken piece of tooth under my pillow in the hopes that she can help me out with that bill.

For $940 I'm not getting any ordinary crown, of course. My dentist said I could choose between gold and porcelain, but for durability and longevity strongly recommended against the porcelain, and hence, I will be sporting a gold tooth come June 3. Insert the usual jokes about how ghetto-fabulous that will be. I suppose pursuing my rap career could be an effective way to that $940 as well. Wish me luck.

And finally, speaking of things that were broken and now are less so, remember that shovel I broke? Like my car (sometimes), it has magically healed itself. When I left for work yesterday morning, the two pieces of it were laying in my yard in the same place I'd left them when I was too lazy to finish cleaning up Friday. Yesterday when I came home, those two pieces were again one. Somebody had removed the broken bit of handle from the shovel's metal base and bolted the remaining length of wood back in its place. Who would do that?? And more importantly, why?? My money's on my favorite neighbor, not because he has nothing better to do than fix my garden tools, but because he is the only person I can imagine might have wandered near enough to my yard to even see the broken shovel sitting there. Then again, snowblowing my driveway is one thing. Taking the time to salvage something I simply forgot to throw away is another. So maybe it wasn't my neighbor after all. Yard Tool Fairy, perhaps? Maybe he knows the Tooth Fairy. I should have left him a note to put in a good word for me.

* A title with little to do with the post, except that typing the word "Novocain" made me think of Jeremy Messersmith, and that whole mystery of the self-healing shovel made my brain move on to this one of Jeremy's next.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A little more. A little less. This could go on all day.

Things I should be doing right now:
  • Cleaning my house, as there is clutter on every flat surface within it (and even some not-so-flat surfaces as well), and the layer of dust on my entertainment center is thick enough that the ghost who may or may not live here might start writing messages to me in it soon.

  • Potting the tomato plants I bought this weekend, because the likelihood of me getting something I can actually eat to grow is slim enough, and probably becomes ever more slim the longer I leave the tiny seedlings sitting forlorn in a cardboard box atop my dishwasher.

  • Continuing the big dig in my front yard that I began on Friday, with the goal of replacing the sad, anemic mismatched bushes that came with the place with something less sad and less suited for a "before" picture on the HGTV show Curb Appeal.
Things I am doing right now:
  • Thanking the magical scientists who invented wireless connections for the still-novel-to-me ability to change my Facebook status and type a blog post from the comfort of my queen-sized pillowtop.
Clearly I'm well on my way to yet another productive Sunday.

As for the first bullet point, I think my solution might be to have a party in the not-too-distant future. It's been a while since I hosted any sort of gathering, and it may be the only thing that forces me to clean this sty on any sort of deadline. Then again, parties cost money, and they also give me one more opportunity to fret about my friends seeing the much-mentioned duct tape that's still in my shower. The logic in many of my hair-brained plans seems a bit flawed lately, but flawed logic is usually the more fun sort of logic, so why should that dissuade me?

Regarding the third bullet, I am almost letting myself off the hook with the excuse that I worked hard enough on Friday to justify a day off today, but I know myself well enough to know that granting a free pass like that is an excellent way to ensure I have piles of dirt signifying a project in progress for the better part of the entire summer. I was determined to follow through on a goal in a timely matter for once. "Determined" is apparently a relative term for me.

I have, however, already gotten all three of the odious shrubs in front of my house dug up and removed, despite their best efforts to thwart me. They put up a good fight: the barberry stabbed me with its prickly branches so many times that I almost gave up and said, "Fine! You win. You can stay." And I pried so hard against the roots of another shrub that I actually broke my shovel right in two. That's right: I broke a shovel. Just when my stubborn lawn mower has me feeling like a wimp I realize I'm totally She-Ra. Yay me.

Let's see. What else have I been up to lately? Well, yesterday I meandered around Art-a-Whirl. My goal was to find something new to hang in my living room. What I bought instead was a pair of earrings and a new handbag, which, while they are lovely and adorable respectively, are probably not well suited to be wall art. Details.

On Thursday I went out for dinner with two friends, where I ordered a bacon-infused Manhattan despite the fact that I'm well aware I do not like Manhattans. (See sidebar, with its recent search engine note that is obviously not too recent anymore. Note to self: either remove that component or scour your stats for a replacement search hit post haste.*) I have to agree with that bacon may have jumped the shark** only shortly after it started showing up in candy bars and on donuts, but pop culture peer pressure made me want to try it anyway. For my money, I'll skip the bacon cocktail next time and order another Jackson Pollack instead. My pal Carrie posted a picture of it here, but she neglected to mention that this strange looking cocktail was both delicious and moisturizing. Each sip left a trace of green basil oil on my lips, making me wonder if perhaps I'd need to reach for my lip balm a time or two less that night.


* Of course, when I do that, the reference in this paragraph will be lost, so I should note that the search engine phrase in question was "What is a Manhattan supposed to taste like?" to which my response was, "If the answer is 'battery acid,' I totally did it right."

** If you happen to click through to that article, you must read through to the second page, on which the author brilliantly reasons that bacon is the Arthur Fonzarelli of the meat world while Ritchie Cunningham is the skinless chicken breast of the Happy Days universe.


After dinner we high-tailed it over to the Riverview for a three-dollar showing of The Wrestler. This paragraph may contain some spoilers, so if you haven't see it yet and plan to, you might want to skip ahead right about now. If you have seen that one, tell me, is the ending open to interpretation, or are we all supposed to assume what we think happened actually happened and Mickey Rourke said goodbye not just to wrestling but to everything else in this life with his final body slam? Assuming it's the latter, who do we blame for his early exit? After considering Ram's daughter, the stripper, and his own ego, my friends and I finally decided it was actually the Potato Salad Lady's fault more than anyone else. "A little more. A little less. A little more. A little less." Frankly it would be enough to drive anyone over the edge, no?

All right. It's now well into the afternoon hours, which makes still sitting on my bed in a t-shirt and pajama pants seem less delightfully relaxing and more slothlike and lazy, so it's about time I attend to at least one of the bullets in that first list.

So what are you doing or not doing lately? Do fill me in.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I'm also taking suggestions for the role of Me in the movie version of my life. Jennifer Garner? Janeane Garofalo? You decide.

My friend Carrie and I often like to look at situations as though they are the movie version of our lives. It's not all about the fantasy of that idea. True, in the movie version of our lives, we would probably more often get what we want, and we would be wearing decidedly more fabulous shoes when we got it. But the exercise goes beyond wishful thinking. I sort of think that to imagine myself in a movie is to imagine a life less ordinary, a life where I take more risks and believe in more possibilities. There are worse mindsets to cultivate, don't you agree?

I've had enough unexpected encounters recently that my life is starting to feel like a highlights (or rather, lowlights) reel, and I can't help but wonder (I hate that Carrie Bradshaw has fully ruined that otherwise innocuous and useful phrase for the rest of us) just what that might mean in the movie version of my life. In the past month or thereabouts, I have run into or unexpectedly heard from five (count them: FIVE!) men whom I once went on dates with. As I've said before, Minneapolis is not Star's Hollow; I can go for weeks or months on end without running into anyone I know in a public place where I'm not expecting to see them; so to run into FIVE past dates in a one-month span is more than a bit curious.

The first one in this string was The Traffic Engineer, who e-mailed me again recently, for purportedly no other reason than to tell me they'd modified some signal timing on my commute and I should let him know if I notice any problems going forward. I haven't actually replied to that message, though I feel a little guilty for not doing so, particularly every Monday through Friday as I stop for the lights at Century and Lake Elmo Avenues, which have not changed in any way due to this new signal timing, as far as I can tell. They still somehow magically know exactly when I'm coming and turn red just as I approach, as if to say, "Woah, Stefanie. Hold up. Don't you want to stop and say hello to me today?"

In addition to The Traffic Engineer, I also ran into a past meMarmony match at a party recently, which is not such a big surprise, given that we knew, when the all powerful Dr. Warren matched us, that we had a friend in common. And then, at a film festival screening, I spotted the guy I've taken to calling Waldo, because he is EVERYWHERE I GO; I just need to look for him. When I emailed him on Catch dot Mom last fall, pointing out (in a hopefully not at all creepy way) that we seem to be in the same place at the same time more often than seems usual, he replied that "the city is like a bicycle wheel, and most people live life in only one or two spokes." Shockingly, I resisted the urge to walk up to him and his female companion at the film screening and say, "Get outta my spokes, dude!"

Then last week, at a concert, I ran into a guy I had two dates with last year... an inordinately nice gentleman who was ridiculously good to me and made me laugh and was more than financially sound to boot and yet who, frankly, I could not imagine ever getting naked with (sorry; should have warned you, perhaps, that I was going to edge into blunt and R-rated territory there). I really do wish I was attracted to that one, because I can only assume he's thinking he's still attracted to me; a mix CD from him arrived in my mailbox about four days after that unexpected run-in at First Avenue, and I'm trying not to read into the fact that three of the songs he chose to include have the word "love" in the title.

And finally, a few days ago, I ran into another random and unnotable meMarmony match at an MPR forum event. He spotted me first and came over to say hello. When he left, I turned to Carrie and Angela and explained, "We went on three dates last year." And Carrie said, "Three? Really?" to which I replied, "Yeah, I know. It was probably two more than I needed to go on."

When The Traffic Engineer contacted me yet again, I thought about what that might mean in the movie version of my life, and I wondered if perhaps he was the guy I'd overlooked and nearly let get away. If this were a movie, would his persistence finally pay off? Would he be the guy who finally wears me down and forces me to give him a second (no, third) chance, at which point I would suddenly recognize all his charms and finally realize he is perfect for me? I really (really, REALLY) don't think The Traffic Engineer is the one for me, so it's almost a relief that I had those four additional run-ins to diminish the significance in some way. Suddenly, these events aren't random coincidences; they are part of a montage! And in the movie version of my life, doesn't it stand to reason that there'd be a montage such as this right before I meet the one I'm supposed to be with, the one I've been waiting for all this time?

That's what I would I like to believe all this unexpected boomeranging nonsense might mean. In the movie version of my life, I would be sitting at that proverbial rock bottom place, drowning my frustrations in a dirty martini while I sit at home alone in my yoga pants on a Friday night, when suddenly, when I least expect it, Mr. Perfect-for-Me appears.

Mr. Perfect-for-Me is still playing hard-to-get, so perhaps I should just settle in and wait for the rest of the montage to scroll on by. It might help if I had the proper soundtrack, though. After all, movie montages always involve a song, do they not? I think that attempting to live in the movie version of my life means embracing the movie-ness of it all and envisioning it to the furthest extent possible. So I need a theme song. Or rather, a Mr. Not-Right-for-Me montage song. Suggestions, anyone?

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Of course, rats DO have a bit of a PR problem, after that whole plague thing

It seems that if I take a couple weeks off this whole sharing my life with the Internets thing, I completely forget how to do it. I have done lots and lots of mildly if not completely interesting things lately, and yet here I sit, staring at a blank Blogger box, not sure what to tell you about any of them. This is one of those times when a bulleted list of what I've been up to might be in order, but I would actually have to consult a calendar for that, such is the scattered and forgetful state of my brain lately. Besides that, I am guessing that most of you don't care which film festival movies or concerts I've seen recently. Perhaps you are more interested in the outcome of my M-P-R-ty date?

I think we can safely call that a date, by the way. Not because of any solidly positive outcome post-get-together, but because he paid. Ignoring all nuances and variables, isn't that the simplest metric we all know? I hadn't planned on him paying, by the way, even though it ended up being one of those inconveniently alcohol-free Coffee Dates, meaning that him footing my bill set him back all of a mere three dollars, give or take a dime. But he reached the counter first, and although my wallet was out, he turned to me after ordering and asked, "And what would you like?" Because I will always be the girl who lets whatever thought is in her head find its way immediately out of her mouth, I said, "I ask you out for a drink, and you end up paying?" To which he replied, "Well, sure! That's the way it goes, isn't it?" True, I suppose. That is the way it goes. On dates, generally. I decided that comment meant we were on one.

So then. How did it go? I have no idea, actually. I mean, I had a lovely time and would be happy to see him again, but that nonsense back in December has left me unable to trust my instincts in these scenarios. We talked comfortably and easily. He laughed at my jokes. I laughed at his. But he is also a very charismatic, warm, and friendly individual. I would venture to guess that he could have a comfortable and easy conversation with Hannibal Lecter. Maybe he would have bought Hannibal's coffee, too. My point is that I think he probably left feeling he had a perfectly pleasant time, but whether "perfectly pleasant" equates to just a routine, benign way to pass a Sunday morning or a spark of interest in something or someone new is anyone's guess right now.

I ended up with about 20 minutes to kill between the time our coffee date dispersed and the time my next plans for the day began, and since the next item on my agenda was only a few blocks from Carrie's place, I stopped over to give her an update.

"Well? What did you learn about him?" she asked.

I tried to formulate a brief summary. "He has two cats, he is not afraid of ghosts, and he thinks rats and pigeons have been unfairly maligned."

"That's a good list," Carrie replied. "Is that what you wore?"

I was a little worried for a minute that I should have posted a photo poll to garner wardrobe advice after all, but Carrie quickly assured me that my outfit was fine and the jeans I'd chosen were worthy of an encouraging and suggestive facial expression I'm not sure I've seen her make in my direction before. I don't actually think there is anything special about those particular jeans. I think she's just so happy to see me in anything other than the four identical pairs of Mossimo jeans I somehow acquired that she would make any face necessary to help ensure I consider buying a new pair of pants in this decade.

So. Now we wait. And I stop typing, because there is no sense typing about something that may be nothing and because I really do think it's best if I just put this out of my mind in a come what may (forget what may not) sort of way.

All that out of the way, let's move on. What did you do this weekend?