Sunday, June 28, 2009

In which I finally show you what I've been babbling about for the past month, and then babble about it some more

Is it really Sunday night again already? Well crap; how did that happen? I very much enjoyed my long weekend last week; do I really have to wait until next week for another? I do? Damn. Life, she's a cruel and unfair beast sometimes, no?

The good news is that after this weekend, I will no longer be sweating away my Saturdays and Sundays on my yard beautification project. At least, not anymore this year, anyway. My backyard still lacks any welcoming character whatsoever, and my front yard could still use some shade-loving plants in the thus-far neglected areas, but people, I am TIRED of digging and clearing and planting and such, so I have decided that what I've done in the past month and a half is ENOUGH for now.

So then. What have I done? Well, since you asked...

This is what the area in front of my house looked like previously... three sad, random, anemic bushes with nothing but weeds and sparse, half-dead grass in between.

And here is that same area, bushes gone, grass cleared, area edged and newly planted.

Of course, the idea is that those tiny lumps below my window will grow into full-sized shrubs, and the flowers and other foliage in front of them will also expand to nestle up alongside them. These things take time, but here's hoping that time actually improves this landscape rather than diminishes it. The last time I planted a fraction of a paycheck's worth of perennials, only half of them came back the following year. Do you have any advice to help me ensure that these plants don't also vanish underground over the winter or die a similarly untimely death? No, seriously. There are probably tricks and techniques to this sort of thing, right? And yet, the extent of my plant-care knowledge is summed up in that classic Sesame Street clip: Duh, man, plants need water. Beyond that, it's a mystery to me. Is there something else I should be doing, other than watering? Is there a pagan ritual or plant-dance I should know about? I'm willing to try almost anything, so please do fill me in.

While I was already up to my elbows in dirt, I figured I'd do some maintenance on the perennials along the side of my house as well. I dug up the grass and weeds in this area to create this bed a few years ago, but obviously I had no idea what I was doing, because as I said, half of what I planted did not come back, and the other half was not actually organized particularly well. Either the purple salvia I planted has done exceedingly, unexpectedly, mutantly well, or, more likely, I didn't consult the "Estimated height" line on the information card when I bought it, because it had grown far higher than the day lilies I planted behind it, and the whole area was a bit ridiculous-looking, actually. So I spent my vacation day last week moving the day lilies to the front and spent yesterday afternoon planting pink coneflowers in their place. Cross your fingers that those coneflowers actually bloom (and also come back next year), will you? Or, again, fill me in on some trick or ritual, because I'd really rather not revisit this same perennial bed again next year.

While I'm pretending this is an HGTV blog, let's talk about my tomato plants, shall we? I may not have the greenest of thumbs, but I maintain high hopes for these. Here they are huddled up alongside my grill and hose reel, because I lack a proper patio to place them on (and one digging-up-my-yard project was quite enough for one year)...

Yesterday, when I went out to water them, I wondered just when I might start to see something that looks like a tomato on any of the stems, so I crouched down to take a closer look, and lo! Tiny tomatoes! It's like magic! They are a long way off from being edible, of course, but I consider those little green balls tiny hopes and promises anyway.

And let's see. What else did I do with my weekend? Well, Friday night I attended another lovely soiree at my good friend Carrie's place, where both the food and the company were fantastic and yet I neglected to take any pictures to serve as memories or proof.

Last night I decided I needed a evening off, so I made myself a frozen pizza and opened a bottle of wine and watched He's Just Not That into You on DVD. And OK, can I make a confession? I fully realize it was a purportedly terrible movie based on a terrible book. I am well aware that it received almost universally dismal reviews. But you know what? I didn't hate it. In fact, up until the last 15 minutes, I maybe even liked it. I can't say I related to any of the characters specifically (Lord help me, I hope I didn't relate to any of the characters specifically!), but I am wearied enough of dating that I suppose I related to the topics generally, and it was actually refreshing to see a movie that attempted to crush the myths and idealism we single girls have been fed for so long, rather than perpetuating them. That is, until the final 15 minutes, when (sorry; spoiler alert) two of the characters actually get exactly what they want, what they've been told the entire movie they cannot expect, which basically wrapped their stories up into a neat little Hollywood bow just like every other romantic comedy that came before. What's worse is I actually cried at one point near the end, and kept it up almost all the way through to when the credits rolled. Part of me is strangely grateful for the reaction, because I feel so jaded these days that I worry perhaps I'm now made of stone, but even so, I'd like to blame the tears on, I don't know, hormones? Wine? Heat exhaustion? Please do take your pick.

And that's about all that's on my mind lately. I've got a busy week ahead, busy with both fun things (the first trip of the season to the Pizza Farm, as well as a movie screening a friend is hosting in an area parking lot) and also routine, have-to-be-done things (my first haircut since February and another appointment to sit in the Saturn service center lounge for a couple of hours while they finally repair my A/C problem). So while usually I write a Sunday or Monday night post with earnest but ultimately false intentions that I will write another one or two before the week is out, this time I am fairly certain I won't log in again before the holiday weekend, so I wish you a fun and happy one, whatever you have planned.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I've also seen all three High School Musicals. What does THAT say about me?

It's not that I dislike my job, but more often than not I find myself awfully annoyed by how much work gets in the way of the rest of my life. You know? I'm a busy girl! I've got a yard to pretty up! Friends to see! Concerts to attend! Books to read! A blog to ignore! Not to mention a couch that's almost losing its indentation of my ass, such has been the lack of time I've frittered away on it of late. Don't get me wrong; I'm aware that it's scary out there right now, and I'm thankful to have a job to inconvenience me. But surely I'm not the only gainfully employed one who thinks, every Sunday night, "Can't I please have one more day of weekend? Please?"

There's a scene in the not-very-good film Kate & Leopold in which Meg Ryan is blissfully entwined with Hugh Jackman on her patio. It's a Saturday night, and she asks what time it is, and when he says it's after midnight, she groans, "Ugh. It's Sunday." "But you don't work on Sunday," Hugh says, pointing out that she still has one more day of weekend left. "Yes, but Sunday is the day before the day I work," she replies, "so it gets poisoned."

I can totally relate. Lately I find myself prematurely depressed about the end of the weekend on Friday already. I know realistically that if I didn't have someplace to go every week day, I'd eventually feel directionless and bored. And yet, given the means, I'm quite convinced I could be rather content as a lady of leisure for a rather long time, in fact.

With that in mind, I gave myself a random vacation day today, and I have to say, the pressure to do something notable with vacation days is entirely overrated. I am a big proponent of the random vacation day, and I refuse to chastise myself for not making more of it. After a busy weekend, I was exhausted last night, meaning I got to bed at a reasonable hour and woke up just in time for Ellen. After that, I got sucked into an episode and a half of today's pre-season-premiere marathon of The Secret Life of the American Teenager, which I probably would have watched the whole damn day had Grace not spouted yet another 7th Heaven-esque line about the power of prayer in deciding whether or not to have premarital underaged sex, at which point I remembered just how depressing it is to see Molly Ringwald and Josie Bissett as the parents of TV teenagers on a poorly written show that is simultaneously scandalous and annoyingly wholesome and I decided it really was time to get myself outside to transplant some day lilies.

Can I just say that, while taking a vacation day to do the things you didn't quite get to over the weekend is a fine idea, doing those things when it's nearly 90 degrees outside is maybe not? I realize it is still only June, and it's been, for the most part, a blessedly cool June thus far. But after the past few days, I can confidently say I am done with abysmally hot weather for this year. Should I decide to visit a beach or a water park this summer, I would appreciate an 85+ degree day that day. Until that point, however, pressing the "Hold" button somewhere in the low 70s would be A-OK by me.

So let's see. What else did I do with my impromptu three-day weekend (other than sweat buckets in my perennial beds, that is)? Well, I spent a day on the lawn of The Walker taking in the first big outdoor concert event of the summer. Although I am terrible at estimating the number of anything in large masses, I suspect there were at least 8,000 people at that event, and yet, shockingly, I did not see even ONE past date there. I did go to the event with two men I at one point dated, but that hardly counts as an unexpected run-in, obviously. One of those men was disappointed I didn't have any awkward run-ins. "I wanted to see one o' yer fellas!" he kept saying, in an amusingly uncharacteristic old man redneck tone. I'm sure more than one o' "my fellas" was there somewhere, but for once, I managed not to cross paths with them.

Also, I changed the battery in my trusty(ish) old Saturn (with the help of two boys, admittedly). And just as I was sighing with relief that my car's failure Friday night was just as simple a fix as the battery, the "Service Engine Soon" light came on. I'm still hoping it's just a glitch as it has been the last few times that light appeared and it'll shut off again midway through my commute tomorrow. Given that the practical things in my life have a way of punishing me when I splurge or spend frivolously, however, I remain more than a bit wary. You see, Friday night I went into Target for shower gel, blush, and toothpaste, and I came out with those items plus $109 worth of skirts, capris, and tops. The last time I spontaneously spent over a hundred dollars on clothing, my water heater died the next day. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I'm still terrified to buy anything else nonessential any time soon.

In today's requisite Facebook news, I would like to report that Facebook now thinks I should be friends with The Neighborhood Giant, who I have never searched for on the site and who is not in my address book, proving yet again that Facebook knows more about me than it should and perhaps the conspiracy theorists are right and CIA-type intelligence is behind this presumably harmless social networking diversion after all.

And finally, apropos of nothing and offered only as your interesting bit of trivia for the day, did the rest of you NPR nerds know that Peter Sagal (he of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me fame) is also a playright? And that his one big chance at a movie deal was for a film he wanted to write about an American girl in Cuba in the 1950s and the effect of the political unrest on her life there? It was a movie that got shelved for years, until, in true Hollywood form, it was reworked and retooled without any input from its original writer, and was eventually released as Dirty Dancing 2: Havana Nights.

Selfishly, what is most disturbing to me about this story is not that Peter Sagal missed his big break and had his hard work turned into one of the most unnecessary and forgettable movie sequels ever made. No, it is that, as Peter relayed the opening portions of this story to Ira Glass on this week's This American Life, I immediately said, "That sounds like Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights." He told a little more of the story, and I said, "That's TOTALLY Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights!" And when he he paused for effect before stating the title under which the film was eventually released, I beat him to the answer by crying out, yet again, "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights!"

I have a friend who has implied, more than once, that I am apparently unrelatably high-brow. It's a vision of me that I've always found baffling, and as such, I've disputed it repeatedly. With my embarrassing knowledge of this particular film, I think I can solidly rest my case finally.

Monday, June 15, 2009

When I ran spell check on this, Blogger highlighted all instances of "Facebook," and I'm a little shocked how much yellow there was to display.

I've got a meme to finish, and I should probably do that. I should probably do a lot of things, but as it turns out, I'm much better at saying I should probably do things than I am at actually doing them. Perhaps it's best to embrace this foot-dragging part of my personality already and simply abandon even my smallest and least significant goals. Or perhaps I am just tired (SO TIRED), and low expectations and lethargy are all I've the energy for.

I'm not making any sense, am I? I should probably shut the lid on the laptop and go to bed early, but like I told you: better at saying I should probably do things than I am at actually doing them. Must work on this.

My weekend was exhausting, in the dirty, sweaty, manual labor way rather than the fun but overwhelming social butterfly way. The good news is, I am finally almost (ALMOST!) done with the landscaping project that six weeks ago I thought might take me two weekends. (Ha! I slay me. Obviously I will never learn.) The bad news is, a half a tube or so of Ben-Gay seems like a good idea right now, and yet I don't even want to bother because I wouldn't know where best to slather it. People, my everything hurts. Would a bath in Ben-Gay be unwise?

Incidentally, the other good news about my being almost (ALMOST!) done with this project is that when I am done I will finally stop talking about it. You're welcome in advance, as I'm well aware it is interesting to no one but me. Come to think of it, however, that is not unlike probably a solid 75% of what I write about, so scratch that pseudo-apology; obviously it is worthless.

Moving on. I said last week that I had Facebook stories to share. I am going to stop apologizing for telling Facebook stories as well, as I have realized that whether we like it and admit it or not, Facebook has become so integrated into our lives that it comes up as casually and unintentionally as stories about work or family. I rarely talk about work or my family, so clearly Facebook is simply filling some conversational void. (I'm not proud.) Tonight I had dinner with a friend and I realized, in the middle of a Facebook story, that the people at the next table were talking about Facebook as well. So see? It is NOT JUST ME! Technically, however, none of us were actually talking about Facebook. We were each telling a story in which Facebook was simply the venue. Facebook is a conduit for our daily lives, just like any other place (real or virtual) is. This is an angle that actually hadn't occurred to me before, and I'm sort of working it out as I type, and yet suddenly it makes me feel a whole lot better about the number of comments I make or stories I tell in which the word "Facebook" bears mention. Facebook is just the venue. If it helps, we could say two out of three of these tales took place at the mall.


Facebook story the first: Last week, I received a friend request that I sat on for a full three days before begrudgingly clicking "Accept." It was from a former classmate who I have NO good memories of. None. Dude was a smart allecky punk on his good days and an absolute ass on his bad ones. In the eleven years that I knew him, his wiseass remarks weren't directed at me specifically often enough that he's scarred me in any permanent way, though on the rare occasions that I think of him, the first memories that come to mind are ones I did hate him for at the time. The day he pushed me down on the playground and made me tear a hole in the brand new corduroys I'd gotten for Christmas. (They were turquoise with a gray pinstripe checkered pattern, and they were fabulous. It was 1985. Trust me.) The day he stole my stocking cap, and I was too foolish to lie and tell my mother I lost it, which meant she called his mother to complain about him, and I got labeled a tattle tale for a week. Oh, and my personal favorite: the day he gave me the worst nickname I've ever acquired, a nickname I should really have a sense of humor about by now and yet still refuse to share with even my closest friends.

So yeah. Good times. Great guy. I can totally see why he friended me, no?

I almost didn't click that Confirm button. I almost sent him a note to say, "Dude, we were never friends, and I have NO good memories of you. The fact that we went to the same school is not reason enough to link to me." But I didn't. Because really, what is the big deal? The path of least resistance comes to mind. I don't care if he sees anything on my profile, and I don't expect any further direct contact from him to me. I will forget he is there just as I have half the other people I'm linked to, and life will be no different henceforth. But before I commenced the forgetting, obviously I looked at his profile.

During the eleven years of our childhood in which I knew this guy, he made at least two nuns cry. He also inspired one of our CCD teachers to quit her volunteer post, so miserable was the experience for her. And yet, today, the "Religious Views" line on his profile says, "Born-again Christian Believer." He lists the Bible (author: God) among his favorite books. I read his profile and my jaw dropped, and I said (out loud, to the computer screen), "Who ARE you?!?"

So maybe 17 years does make a big difference. Maybe he has changed a bit. Maybe he actually is less of a giant ass by now and would be shocked to learn I remember him as such. Then again, he describes his political views as "Conservative, in the divisive, polarizing kind of way." So nope. Pretty sure I'd still hate that guy.

Do you see now why I pulled these stories out of that meme question deeming them too long to be part of that post? I promise the next two are shorter. That dude got me more worked up than I thought.

Facebook story the second: I told you last week that a new clip had been added to the montage reel of dates past. I did not tell you that I actually ran into that same date a second time a mere four days later. He was at that book club discussion I mentioned, and I wasn't particularly surprised to see him there, given that I saw his name on the list in the related Facebook group months ago now. Still. In a metro area of 3.5 million people? Two run-ins in a week? This is getting a little ridiculous.

More ridiculous, however? The day after that run-in, his face and name showed up in the "Suggestions" box on my Facebook home page. For those of you not yet sucked into this world, the "Suggestions" box highlights people you may know, who you might want to add as a friend. Generally they are people I went to school with, vague acquaintances, or strangers who happen to be friends of my friends. To my knowledge, NEVER has Facebook suggested I be friends with someone I have no linked friends in common with. Not ONLY did it suggest this guy, however, but Facebook also suggested a meMarmony match I emailed with briefly but never dated two years ago, a three-date guy who long time readers with steel trap memories might remember as Boomerang Mike, AND... drumroll please... the damn Traffic Engineer. Facebook should have NO reason whatsoever to know that I know these men. Facebook is messing with me.

It is now entirely past my bed time, and this post has run entirely longer than I intended, but I promise this last one will be quick.

Facebook story the third (and final... for now): I friended my neighbor recently. You know... my super helpful neighbor? The one I have mentioned many times but am too lazy to find a related post to link to? He is the neighbor who snowblows my driveway after blizzards. The one who comes over to start my lawn mower for me when he hears me swearing at it. And the one who fixed the broken shovel that I abandoned in my yard. (OK, that one was recent enough to quickly find the appropriate link.)

I debated the necessity of friending him, but it has already come in handy! No longer do I have to hope he just happens to be in his yard when I need help with something! No! I can pester him directly! Hurrah! I share with you our first Facebook messaging exchange...

From: Stefanie
To: Nice neighbor
Subject: I promise I will not routinely use Facebook for requests such as this.

Hi. OK, I *should* be brave enough to take care of this myself, but I am not. You are far less squeamish than I am, given that I'm pretty sure you hunt and fish and therefore presumably touch dead animals on a regular basis. A squirrel has met his final demise on the grass directly next to your fence and retaining wall. Is there any chance you might be so good as to remove it before other animals start gnawing at its sad, stiff little carcass? If so, that would be awesome.

Poor little guy. Also, ew.

Within 15 minutes, I had this reply...

From: Nice neighbor
To: Stefanie
Subject: RE: I promise I will not routinely use Facebook for requests such as this.

Thanks for the notice. As we speak, it is now boiling in a pot. BTW - Did you want to come over for dinner? ; )

I declined, of course, and I also resisted the urge to invite his poor wife over to my house for dinner instead (only in part because that particular night I happened to be having Ramen noodles, and she may or may not have thought that any better an option than boiled squirrel). But the important part? Dead squirrel gone! Fifteen minutes after I noticed him there! And I didn't have to touch his possibly rabies-infested body myself. Whoo hoo.

Frankly, if that doesn't convince you that Facebook is immeasurably useful, I don't know what will.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A meme in two parts, Part 1

So. Yeah. It seems I've got nothing. Those who can, do. Those who can't, steal. Actually, lifting a meme from Monkey is hardly stealing. The point of a meme is to repeat it. (Seriously, it is pretty much the definition.) But calling it stealing makes me feel much edgier than I actually am, and considering the riskiest thing I have done this week was to eat salad dressing that expired 16 months ago, I have to take my rebel victories where I can.

So then. A meme. Here we go.

What is your current obsession?
The not-very-interesting and yet oft-talked-about Big Dig in my front yard. Actually, that is a lie. If I were truly obsessed with that landscaping project, I would be taking the initiative to research plants and plans myself, rather than simply slogging through the manual labor and relying on my pal Angela to do the design work and idea-ing. So I guess that leaves me with Facebook? I would hardly call that an obsession, however, as such a treasure trove of absurdity fully warrants frequent mention! Consider the most recent evidence...

OK, here is where I was going to tell you three brief Facebook stories. True to my usual form, however, these brief stories ballooned into a post in and of themself, so I shall table those for another day. Or possibly not post them at all. Perhaps my current obsession is simply blogging about Facebook, as it seems to come up in far more posts than I intend or would like. Maybe my current obsession is worrying about which things I've blogged about too often, as recently I scanned some recent entries and realized I had mentioned the same friend in somewhere around five out of seven consecutive posts, and I worried that either A) the Internet would think I have only one friend, or B) all of the other friends who I DO HAVE (really!) would grow jealous that they are not mentioned as often. Does generally absurdity and overanalysis count as an obsession? Maybe I should just move on to the next question...

What is your weirdest obsession?
I played a card game with my friends' daughter on that recent camping trip, and it reminded me that I'm a little bit obsessive about a neat and tidy discard pile. I can't be the only one who compulsively straightens the cards every time someone carelessly tosses a card haphazardly askew atop the deck, though, right? And besides that, I rarely play cards, so if that is a bizarre obsession, it's not one that comes up too often. So instead, I guess I'll go with my need to look under my bed every night before I can climb into it.

I don't even know what I'm looking for; if someone were hiding under my bed, the half-credit self defense class I took in college surely didn't equip me physically or emotionally to deal with it. Besides that, there are plenty of other nooks and crannies in my house where a potential intruder might hide until I'm asleep, and I don't check all of those... I'll admit that I used to, in my old apartment, however. It was like a checklist I had to complete each night when I got home. When I moved into this house, I quickly decided it was simply too time-consuming to search my entire home for imaginary burglars and rapists every single day. I must have kept the under-bed check as some sort of strange compromise. As a sidenote, if any of you ever do decide to break and enter at my place, I guess I've just told you where is and is not a good place to hide.

What are you wearing today?
What am I wearing, or what was I wearing? To work, I wore a navy blue, ruffle-sleeved t-shirt, one of my four pairs of identical Mossimo jeans, and the red Madden Girl platform wedges that continually infuriate me with their simultaneous shoddy workmanship and impossible cuteness. Damn you, Steve Madden; there is no reconciling the two!

That was several hours ago, however. By now, I have switched to a pair of striped pajama pants (source: Target, obviously) and the t-shirt that I proudly earned after downing ten* murky blue-green Delusions at The Grand Illusion in Eau Claire, a bar of which I have many fond memories but which according to my friend Google, still has no web page of its own. (What the heck, GI? Were you not informed that it is currently 2009, and the Internet, as it turns out, is NOT just a fad?)

* NOT all in the same night. They implemented a handy coupon/ticket system wherein you collected a card each time you purchased said drink and finally, one happy day, you could walk in with your stack of ten turquoise cards and walk out with a t-shirt featuring a sunglass-wearing Uncle Sam and the tagline "We want YOU to be Deluded!" (Message on the back: "The few, the proud, the deluded.") Ah, college.

What's for dinner?
I had myself a lovely salad of butter lettuce with chicken, raspberries, pecans, blue cheese, and the aforementioned 16-months-expired dressing. It was a raspberry Cabernet vinaigrette. I'm still alive. So far. If you don't hear from me again, kindly direct the emergency personnel to the condiment shelf in my fridge for the possible source of my demise.

What would you eat for your last meal?
I just misread this as "What DID you eat for your last meal" and I was all set to direct you right back to the lovely salad I just described (which might actually BE my last meal, if 16-months-expired dressing turns out to be something worth worrying about). Since that was NOT, in fact, what the question was asking, however, I will go with a fantastically carb-heavy, nutrient-light combination of mac & cheese, pizza, and mashed potatoes, followed by a brownie and a slice of chocolate chip cheesecake for dessert. And red wine, of course. Obviously red wine.

What's the last thing you bought?
The makings for the aforementioned raspberry and blue cheese salad, along with various other grocery items. Obviously I did not buy dressing, however. Also, I promise the expired dressing will not make an appearance in every remaining question in this post.

What are you listening to right now?
I was listening to The Current, but then they played a Laurie Anderson song that was far too distractingly annoying to peacefully serve as background music, and I had to complain loudly to my radio and then shut it off. Now I am listening to nothing but the taps on my keyboard and the clicking of the unusually noisy lamp timer that I rarely use and should really just unplug by now.

What do you think of the person who tagged you?
Well, she didn't actually tag me, but I think Monkey is smart and witty and delightful, and I long for the day that I manage to escape my family over a holiday weekend and enjoy a drink or three with the Rural Zorro instead. By my estimates based on her vague hints as to her whereabouts, the Monkey homestead is approximately an hour away from my parents' house, and given that there seems to be a blizzard or an ice storm every time I go home, this could be tricky to arrange. Is Christmas or Thanksgiving ever scheduled in August? No? Well, I guess we can always rely on global warming to facilitate this plan. (A bonus to catastrophic climate change! Drinks with Monkey! Hurrah!)

Oh MY but this is a long meme. Is anybody going to keep reading if I keep typing here? Besides that, wasn't I supposed to be in bed two hours ago already, after being out entirely too late for a Wednesday at the Bob Schneider show last night? The answers to those questions are "likely no" and "oof; YES," respectively. How about I split this here and give myself blog material on TWO days instead of just one? Sounds like a plan to me. To be continued, then...

Sunday, June 07, 2009

In which I apparently do not know what bullets are for

You know how every now and then, Stefanie Says unofficially becomes a dating blog? I currently have ZERO interest whatsoever in seeking out dates (I have sort of decided I should perhaps go on a bit of a dating sabbatical until the universe kindly decides to stop fucking with me), and yet, I'm reminded, at times like this, that when I am actively dating, at least I have stories to tell.

Realizing that the bulk of my writing lately has concerned nothing more notable than my baking endeavors, the giant bug in my basement, and the mutant rhubarb in my backyard, I tried to compile a list of things I could perhaps tell you about tonight. Here is what I came up with.
  • Wine on tap
  • Facebook - lied to my mother
  • Books & Bars sex book
  • Digging
  • 64 degrees in house
  • Flickr freaks
  • [Name] (redacted)
Tell me: which (if any) of those would you like to hear more about? What's that? I can't hear you. Pity you're not in my living room right now to weigh in. I guess I will just have to tell you about ALL of them. Lucky you.
  • Wine on tap - For last weekend's camping trip, I decided to forgo the bulky, inconvenient glass bottles and bring a tasty and economical Black Box instead. For little more than the price of two bottles, I got four bottles' worth of wine, which I figured I would share with fellow campers and have little if any left over. As it turned out, my friend Amy had the same idea, and between her box of wine and the several bottles that other campers offered up on the picnic table at our camp site, I came home with my entire box minus only maybe a glass or three. I have often thought that boxed wine might be a good idea to keep on hand, that if I could pour just one glass from an air-tight vessel that stays fresh for a month or more, I could enjoy wine with dinner whenever the mood strikes, without being tempted to finish the whole bottle in a night or two to avoid waste. As it turns out, wine on tap is not the best idea after all. In fact, it makes it entirely too easy to say, "Hmm. A little wine might be nice right now. Oh look! I have some RIGHT HERE! I don't even have to open a new bottle!" And since the fill level is all neatly tucked away in a bag behind the cover of a cardboard box, I don't have a helpful visual aid to remind me when one glass has somehow become three. Note to self: Wine on tap = NOT such a brilliant plan after all, unless my brilliant plans also include becoming a full-fledged (rather than merely occasional, borderline) wino. (Secondary note: They do not.) Cue the "The more you know" jingle; that's one to grow on, folks.

  • Facebook - lied to my mother - My mother has been on Facebook for over two weeks now, and still her only friends are my two sisters and me, which only serves to prove my theory that she joined for no other reason than to try to become closer to spy on the three of us. Today is her birthday, so I called her to say hello, and in the course of conversation, she said, "What I don't understand is, why, when I look at [younger sister]'s page, can I see the things her friends posted and the things she's posted, too, but when I look at your page or [older sister]'s, I can see only things your friends posted?" There are several correct answers to this question. "Because I have cruelly blocked you from viewing my status updates and links because I don't want you to know too much about my life or to leave mom-ish comments on my page" is one. "Because you weren't supposed to be smart enough to figure out that you saw anything different on my page vs. anyone else's" is another. Instead, I just said, "I don't know; different settings?" and then quickly changed the subject. Yes, I lied to my mother. On her birthday, no less. I'm sure it's not the first nor the last time Facebook will make me do something I'm not entirely proud of. Let's just move on, shall we?

  • Books & Bars sex book - I have been meaning to check out the Twin Cities' most irreverent book club for over a year now, and last month, Carrie and I finally went. The book was the one that's been sitting in my sidebar for well over a month now, because despite my being a goody-goody, homework-is-not-optional girl all through my schooling, apparently I have few qualms about showing up for a book discussion only halfway through the assigned reading as an adult. I'm not doing much better this month, as the next event is on Tuesday and I still have well over a hundred pages of Bonk to read yet. I don't read a lot of nonfiction, and Bonk is a particularly unique brand of nonfiction. As I'm reading, I can't help thinking perhaps it's a strange form of erotica that works only on nerds. A science book wouldn't usually remind me that I'm not, shall we say, getting any, and yet last night, before I shut down my computer and went off to bed, I sent Carrie an email to say I was "off to read about sex for a bit and then go to sleep without any, as per usual." I'm more than a little curious to see what sort of discussion this book, um, arouses on Tuesday night. (Come on, I had to go there, right? Cheap joke or not, surely you understand.)

  • Digging - Because every project I ever initiate inevitably takes at least three times longer than I originally estimated, I am still digging up the five feet or so of lawn in front of my house in preparation for my efforts to plant something more equity-enhancing there. I really don't have anything to say about this; frankly, it was on this list only because when I am fixated on a project, it seems entirely more important and interesting in my head than it is to anyone else. Moving on.

  • 64 degrees in house - I am typing away in my hobo gloves again tonight, because although it is June, it is currently 64 degrees in my house, and because it is June, I refuse to turn on my furnace to do anything about that. I was irked about this for much of the day, until I remembered that I actually much prefer 64 degrees in my house to 94 degrees in here. Unseasonably cold days in so-called summer aren't all bad, I suppose.

  • Flickr freaks - I've grown accustomed enough to living much of my life online that I don't typically think too much anymore about posting my personal photos to Flickr and leaving them public for the world to see. If strangers really want to view my boring, poorly executed photo sets from trips with my friends, so be it. But when a grown man with a mud-play obsession marks photos of my friend's daughter playing in a mudpit at a state park as a favorite, should I be a bit skeeved out? And when the admin for a "socks and sandals lovers" group asks that I add my "I rock the socks and sandals" pic to their pool, do I oblige and add the photo, or do I write back to explain that I do not, in fact, lack all fashion sense, and I photographed my feet in socks and sandals only because it was too cold that morning for sandals alone but I was too lazy to return to the tent for proper shoes before we commenced a post-breakfast walk? As with so many situations in my life, I have resolved both of these dilemmas by simply ignoring them. I have to say, though: it takes all kinds. Weirdos abound on the Internet, and Flickr is not exempt.

  • [Name] (redacted) - The montage reel continues, but it's sped up to make a loop almost up to the present. At an event Thursday night, I ran into yet another one-date boy. This time, it was the guy I deemed my best date of '08. I actually sort of expected to run into that one again eventually. As I keep saying, the city is shrinking, and he and I have enough in common that we were bound to cross paths again. I did not expect to see him that night, though, and was inexplicably thrown enough that our polite, perfunctory conversation was definitely far from my best work, banter-wise. People, I feel I've lost my mojo. Or rather, what mojo I at one point had. I am reportedly bright and charming and by some accounts even hilarious when I am not trying. When it actually matters, I become that mousy girl from my graduating class who said probably fewer than 30 words all through high school. (Interesting sidenote: That girl is married. The world is a strange, baffling place sometimes.) I've been wondering if perhaps I should contact The Traffic Engineer again. Maybe another dinner with him would press the Reset button and restore my shaken confidence somehow. That's not particularly fair to The Traffic Engineer, however, and actually doesn't sound like a particularly good time to me, either. So instead I'll just hope, as seems likely, that all things are cyclical, and things will align and be set right again eventually. That or it's time to admit defeat and resign myself to a life of plucky hermitude--a life I actually embrace more often than may be normal.
All right. And I think that about proves why the bulleted post of randomness is not a post I should make a habit of writing. Tell me, what random thoughts would you care to write more about than is necessary today?

Monday, June 01, 2009

In which I turn what could have been comments to your comments into an entire post

First off, some old business. Allie wanted to see a picture of my mutant flowering space rhubarb. This photo is a bit blurry, given that I took it from my kitchen window because I was too lazy to go back outside, but I hope it shall suffice. Also, I hope I don't regret posting a picture of my garage on the Internet. None of you are going to troll the streets and alleyways of Minneapolis carrying this photo for comparison in the hopes of properly stalking me, right? Good. Didn't think so. Here you go, then.

Note that the wispy white part extending up from the enormous rhubarb leaves is part of the rhubarb plant, not part of the large shrub next to it. It's like something out of a Dr. Seuss book, no? People keep offering me suggestions of all the delicious things I could make from the rogue rhubarb growing freely in my backyard, and yet, a plant that large inexplicably terrifies me. I'm convinced it's best just to leave it alone. If I tamper with it I might anger it, the obvious result of which being that the mutant rhubarb will pull itself out of the ground, creep over to my bedroom window on its roots, and strangle me in my sleep.

Um, I have acknowledged that my imagination is occasionally of the overactive sort, right? Just checking. Let's carry on, shall we?

The second item of old business is the raw food cookies that I mentioned and that several of you were curious about. I know very little about the raw food movement, so if I am wrong on this, feel free to fill me in, but I think that things can be cooked or baked at very low temperatures to... I don't know... meld them in some way, and yet still be considered "raw." Is that true? Or did I possibly just make that up? In any case, the cookies in question were not cookies in any traditional sense, but were small discs embedded with sesame seeds and lightly sweetened possibly with honey. They were far from terrible; I took three or four and ate all of them without complaining. But to call them "cookies"? 'Tis a bit of a stretch. I have no idea if the woman who brought them to that Memorial Day barbecue has children, but if she does, I do feel a bit sorry for them. It's one thing to deprive a child of unlimited cookies for obvious nutritional reasons. It's another thing entirely to deprive them of any concept of what a cookies actually is. Then again, perhaps she's doing them a favor. Someday they will be introduced to a real and proper cookie, and lo! The world of opportunity they'll see before them. It will be a magical day indeed, not unlike the day I realized I did NOT actually hate pizza; I just hated the thin, cardboard crust frozen grocery store pizzas that my mother bought and my father invariably burned. Real pizza was an entirely different matter. I had no idea! For nine years! Rest assured, I've made up for that lost time with ample pizza consumption since.

But back to the raw food "cookies." They were actually more like crackers. And you know what's good with crackers? Cheese! As in, the cheese that the raw cookie bringer couldn't bear to see sharing the same plate. At the party, I actually ate one of those cookies with a small wedge of cheese, and I must say, it was actually pretty tasty. And devious. I'm a rebel, folks, but apparently only in the tamest and least confrontational sense.

Which brings us to new business, of which I have very little, and even if I did have more or it, I lack the energy at the moment to write about it. The camping trip was an excellent one, despite the rain our first night and the unseasonably low temperatures our second one. None of us had a thermometer, but I suspect it dipped to the low 30s (Fahrenheit) by the time I finally gave in and retreated to the imagined warmth of my sleeping bag. My four layers were no match for that weather. Who knew a down parka would be a good idea in nearly June?? At the very least, I wish I'd brought a hat. Note to self: A stocking cap is NEVER a foolish thing to bring camping. It would have been no more foolish than the shorts I optimistically packed and did not need. Lesson learned.

In any case, I didn't sleep particularly well all weekend, and even back at home in my comfortable bed didn't manage to make up for that last night. I had to jerk my head up after nodding off several times at work this afternoon and felt increasingly disoriented and alarmed each time. True, I have been in the same job for a remarkably (some might say depressingly) long time, but as it turns out, I cannot do my job in my sleep. Each time I caught myself nodding off, I worried what I had just errantly clicked or sent. I'd really best head off to bed to avoid a repeat of that tomorrow.