The Not-Quite-Friday Five: UnResolutions

Wow, I haven't posted in a while. Jeez. I hope everyone's Christmas was nice! The reasons I haven't turned the computer on are rather varied. . .

--picked up extra shifts at the bookstore to pay for gifts

--late, crazy Christmas Eve dinner (seriously, too many "new" people and the most overcooked crabcakes, ever) which led to wrapping gifts until 3 a.m.

--spending the past week fighting off whatever cold bug came my way courtesy of aforementioned overcrowded dinner

--dealing with inevitable post-Christmas/pre-New Year career/dating/homelife/whatever status evaluation and subsequent sadness/ambivalence/acceptance

--best one of all:

Getting carded at the casino last night.
I came out $10 ahead after about 90 minute of slots, but the getting carded business made me feel like a WINNER from the start!
("ID checked" bracelet depicted. I treasured it so much, I wore it to bed.)

While I am enjoying my libations (depicted at end of post) and watching a couple of rentals to occupy myself--and congratulating myself for not being out in the miserable, rainy weather--I will be toasting my "UnResolutions," as inspired by author and hilarious local newspaper columnist Lisa Scottline in this past Sunday's column. Below are the five UnResolutions, good things that I have done for 2009 that I plan to keep on doing in 2010:

1. Cooking experimentation. Hopefully, this will extend to the slow cookier I received, but have yet to use.

2. Growing in my new profession. I am learning a ton, and doing a bunch of things I've never done before. It's challenging at times--and oftentimes rewarding. And, hey, if the long term sub position I'm in right now turns permanent for the coming school year, all the better.

3. Staying in one place. I didn't move in 2009, and don't plan to in 2010. As a matter of fact, I plan to do as much as I can to make this place truly my home. (As much as I really can't stand the people who moved in upstairs.)

4. This one might sound a little weird and superficial, but. . . maintaining my hairstyle. I started getting my hair cut a certain way this summer, and it has really suited me. For the past few years, I hadn't been spending a lot of time and money on my hair--between grad school and battles with a head of hair that was thinning for no discernible reason for several years, it just hadn't been worth it. But, God bless whoever did Mandy Moore's hair for the July/Aug issue of Women's Health. This cut works, wavy or straight. I might go a little darker in color in a few weeks, just for kicks, but the style is staying. (Uh, attention all my beloved guy blogreaders: that's it for the girly talk. You can come back now.)

5. Blogging. I may not be the most prolific or profound blogger out there by a longshot, but it has benefited me greatly to have this little ol' blog here. I've enjoyed a lot of great exchanges of ideas, and I love all you readers who come here and put up with my angst, blather, and rants.

A toast to health, joy, and love in 2010!


The Snow-Laden Sunday Six

Well, if you live on the East Coast and/or are a Weather Channel watcher, you probably know that states from Virginia on north got a whole bunch of snow dumped on them. The local weather people didn't have a clue until late Friday how much we were going to get, but everyone was running around like crazy after work on Friday. I needed to hit the post office and get cough drops so I could go home to nurse the sore throat that was starting to come on, so of course the punishment for skipping the faculty happy hour was running into this guy at the drugstore. Sheesh. Fortunately, he did not ask me out. He did ask me my name--I am baffled how somebody could remember a detail like the fact that I am an aspiring writer but not remember my name. Of course, he also interpreted my comments about my job to mean I didn't like it very much. I just didn't like talking to him about my job. Or anything else. I just wanted to get the hell home and couldn't figure out how to get him to take the hint that the conversation needed to end.

In any event, yesterday's snow was a bit of a blessing because the bookstore wound up closing before the time I was scheduled to work, so I got to stay home and take care of my cold. I'm feeling a lot better today, and I made it to Mass. There were four of us in the choir, plus my dad (organist) and the choir director. . . and about ten people downstairs. (Not counting the three families that arrived mid-Mass because they were told the Latin Mass started an hour earlier than it actually does!) I didn't drive--my parents picked me up, and after brunch at my parents' my dad drove me back to the apartments and helped me dig out my car.

I received a call from the school snow chain that school is delayed two hours, so I have time to post! I guess I'd better get down to it, then. In all honestly, I have a love-hate relationship with snow. Every time someone in this area talks about how he or she wants a "White Christmas," in my mind I'm taking a swing at them. I mean, seriously, we don't get snow around here in December most years, and some of us actually like going to church and visiting with people. We get dumped on in February and March because we're just not depressed enough at that time of year. So here are six things I love or hate about that four-letter-word SNOW:

1. Hate: Snow screws up the roads. We don't get hit with a decent amount of snow often enough around here to build up our driving skills like they do in, say, Dayton, Ohio. What makes it worse is that many drivers seem to think that having an SUV gives them magical driving abilities. (Dave E. can tell you stories about people's moments of "Winter Dumbass.")

2. Love: Snow is pretty and covers a multitude of sins. Right now it is covering the gaping hole that was my patio. (Did I mention that this week they did waterproofing at the apartments? I had no idea it involved digging up everything around the building! And now I have yellow caution tape across my patio doors, not to mention a traumatized cat.)

3. Hate: Snow is a lot less enjoyable when you have to be somewhere, like work or church or a major event. I did make it to get my hair cut early yesterday morning, when the snow had just started, and there was a girl at the salon getting her hair done for her bat mitzvah. She was in good spirits, but her parents were kind of upset that half the guests they'd planned to have, couldn't make it.

4. Love: Snow quiets things down. Fewer people out about about. When I was away at college and it snowed, I'd take a walk pretty far from campus to get away from the noisy dorms and just lie in the snow by a pond. The crystalline stillness gave me a lot of peace.

5. Hate: The local news people are just waiting for the snow to kill people so they can report it. (I hate that snow has the potential to kill people, too.)

6. Love: Snow can bring out good in people. After my dad and I finished digging out my car, one of my neighbors I know by sight by not by name offered me a plate of homemade cookies in exchange for the loan of my shovel. I said it wasn't necessary to give me anything in exchange, but sure enough about an hour later, she knocked on my door and handed me the shovel along with a plate of various homemade cookies. And I learned her name, and also that she lives exactly two floors above me. Neat.

I hope you all have a very good week!


Now It Feels More Like 'Tis the Season

Today, I received my first (non-business-related) Christmas card in the mail, and I saw this PSA during HIMYM.

Yup, the holiday spirit is just electrifying.



That's Post Aunt (yes, that aunt) Stress Disorder.

I am bound and determined to get the dishwasher emptied and reloaded, and all the hand-wash dishes done before bed, so I'll make this brief:

  • Really wanted to sing but couldn't join anything with obligatory practices.

  • My Maiden Aunt was leading a small group of carolers to sing at her friends' garden center and then at a nursing home. I went over the music with her once and the singing was enjoyable.

  • Today was the date of the actual singing, so I rushed over to her house from Mass in the miserable pouring rain.

As I went to put down the coffee I'd purchased on the way over, she took it from me and--while stating that she's not supposed to have caffeine due to her "brain injury" (I can't even get into that one)--asks for a sip. I said fine.

She drank half my coffee on the way to the garden center. It kind of bugged me extra that I paid for it with the gift card my former teen board had given me as a going-away present.

I couldn't do anything about it, because (a) I wound up driving (which probably was the safest option), and (b) I was trying my hardest not to cringe as she was shouting into my right ear while talking to the other two girls in the group, former voice students of hers who are just finishing college (20-somethings).

So the coffee-stealing pissed me off, but not as much as the conversation. I guess all this brain stuff has her into Dr. Amen, and she was going on and on about the "Brain in Love" stuff. . . she's screaming about how neat it was that (supposedly) the same parts of the brain "light up" when first in love as when a person takes cocaine. And the later stage of a relationship is supposedly "the heroin stage" which in her words was why "it's so much harder to break up during the heroin stage."

At which point she stops and shouts, "YOUR BREAKUP WAS DURING THE HEROIN STAGE, WASN'T IT?"

I think she's asking me the question, but I've got my eyes on the road and am trying to get through the driving rain. Not to mention my eyeballs are about to fry from the rage I am feeling. How dare she? How dare she attempt to dredge up a painful event from my past--an event I have worked hard to put into its proper place IN MY PAST, as I now am enjoying a freer, more successful and satisfying life--as a talking point for her stupid lecture???

Honestly, she acts as if my life stopped, and that I haven't dated in years (which I have; I just haven't ever mentioned my dating life to her as a matter of self-preservation).

I almost pulled over and left her on the side of 76 West.

Instead, I didn't answer.

I let her continue drinking my coffee as she segued into a rant against the person who would be dressed as Santa and accompanying us on guitar--a person who had been her friend for decades, but apparently was not anymore. Because that's what she does. She alienates everyone eventually because she accuses them of having done her some horrible wrong.

We sang at the garden center--hardly any customers; it continued to rain heavily--and afterwards as we made our way to the nursing home, she unleashed a tirade against her former friend which included several m-f bombs. I can't stand that word, and I could not believe she was giving such personal details to her former students who are younger than I am. They, of course, were sympathetic and think she is very cool.

On the way from the nursing home--again, lovely time singing for the residents--she went on about how she basically "has no family to celebrate Christmas with," which is baloney because in any given year she's mad at half her siblings and not impressed with the invitations offered by the other half (including my immediate family). More sympathy from the girls, who now have offered to help her decorate her Christmas tree on Sunday.

At about 4:30, I drop her and the girls off at her house. She walks off with the pen from my glove compartment because I was nice (stupid) enough to say I had one when she needed to write down the one girl's e-mail address.

Three final thoughts on this whole thing:

1. I have to stop saying yes to her, and stop thinking that just because I'm not her little niece anymore, things will be different. They're not and I just end up feeling like a traumatized sucker.

2. I need to find another outlet for singing, because it feels wonderful to sing.

3. I am determined not to end up like her. . . even though being genetically related and still unmarried in my early 30s makes me deathly afraid I will.

I guess that wasn't as brief as I'd hoped. Sorry!


Struggling to Stay Awake

Not that life is boring--in fact, quite the opposite.

It's weird: I have been thinking about certain people lately, and then I have been hearing from them or about them, or about others related to them. Got a text and e-mail from a friend. Was thinking about my late great-aunt whose birthday is tomorrow--she'd suffered a severe stroke and pretty much didn't recover. Today, I got news that a great-uncle (other side of the family) suffered a "medium" stroke a few days ago. We said good-bye to his wife earlier this year, so this just sucks a ton more. He is able to eat pureed foods but they're not giving him liquids, and his speech was affected. If you think of it, please say a prayer for him.

I'm almost afraid to contact the third person I was thinking about; seems like a 50-50 shot at this point.

In more mundane things, it was another crazy week at school, and I just seem to have a lot of things to take care of every day.

The big thing is that I am bound and determined to have my living room cleaned up by Friday. One of the reasons it got so out-of-hand was that at my hiring and orientation days, I received so much paper, including a big binder, with no idea how to organize it or where to put it. There are papers everywhere. I hate that.

Remember the TV that I got for my birthday? I haven't set it up yet (I know, I am totally denying myself the HD experience), but I am bound and determined to do that either Friday or Saturday. That's why I'm cleaning up. I am off to a good start, but it is just a start.

It's been only about a week since I started taking the iron supplements, but I really think my brain seems less fuzzy. So I think I can focus on cleaning up; it's just that my stamina seems to run out.

As a side note, I'm thinking about retiring the Friday Five (which regrettably I missed yesterday), or at least putting it on hiatus in the new year. I have an idea related to either this book or another book.

We'll see. More details to come.

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend, and a Happy Hanukkah to those readers who began celebrations last night.


New Moon in Fifteen Minutes

Especially for Lindsay and Sarahk. A bit shorter than reading the book and watching the movie. And pretty funny.

(Via Bookshelves of Doom)


Haaaaaappy Place

Made it all the way to December 7th before having to put the heat on.
This fuzzball thinks it's about time (as she snuggles up to the radiator).

According to this study, cats spend over 20% of their "alone" time looking out windows. It's probably more for her, if you count the time she is asleep on the windowsill or curled up in her perch (which is in front of a window).

They're probably not in Gladys Kravitz's league, but I bet cats could dish about that one squirrel couple that always seems to be fighting on the front lawn.


The Friday Five: Turnabout Is. . . Fun

Well, I survived full moon crazed students and my first bookstore hours since August yesterday, and a day without my co-librarian AND one staff member (not to mention an EPIC FAIL of the internet server during first and second periods) today. Now I'm enjoying a Diet Coke & vanilla vodka and White Collar to relax.

Since last month you got to ask me questions in the Friday Five, now it's my turn--five selections for you to make:

1. White or Wheat?

2. Glasses or Contacts?

3. French toast or pancakes?

4. Mittens or gloves?

5. Garfield or Odie?

Feel free to interpret any way you like, and respond with as little or as much explanation as you like. At least four (4) responses and I will share my answers.

Have a great weekend!