Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday Special

On this day after Thanksgiving, I offer the following extra Thankses...

1) I'm thankful that I don't work in retail this year and didn't have to work either all day on Thanksgiving or at 3am or whatever today. (And I feel really really sorry for the people who did.)

2) I'm thankful for good memories of Thanksgivings past, shared over Thanksgiving present.

3) I'm thankful that I remembered to bring my toothbrush.

4) I'm thankful for anyone and everyone who reads my blog. :-)

Here's to the joyful chaos of the next 4 weeks.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Morning

Okay. I know it's a little cliche, but I thought I'd toss out a few things I'm thankful for today. (Oh. By the way... I did post late last night, as well, so be sure to check out that posting, too. )

So, in no particular order, here are a few things I'm thankful for:

* Great friends (some of whom are even family members!) with whom I share my life -- whether near or far

* Sesame Street (I never said these would all be serious things.)

* Christmas music (but not until tomorrow)

* Having a job (I may gripe a lot about it, but it does pay most of the bills -- and I get to wear jeans)

* Real physical mail (I *love* getting things in my mailbox. Email is fine, but real mail is wonderful)

* Food that appears at the door (room service is grand, but I'm equally happy for a delivery pizza or Chinese food)

* Decent eyesight and teeth (thanks to the medical folks) and good hearing (thanks to the genetics)

* Clean dishes in the sink

* Flowers and Flour (one for the heck of it, one for the fact that baking helps me de-stress)

* Good movies, good music, good TV shows, good books, and the ability to find and enjoy those things

* A partner who (mostly) understands me, and stays with me, anyway

And, that's my not-overly-thought-out list for today. I hope you're all enjoying a thankful day, as well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Calm Before the Feast

Due to the fact that it's gotten rather late tonight, and because I want to write a bunch about Thanksgiving tomorrow, tonight you get a diet-sized portion of blogging. And, for easy consumption, it's even going to be bulleted...

+ It's odd how an extra hour can mess up your schedule. We got let out of work an hour early today, but somehow it's after 11 and I'm just getting around to this. Strange how on a day when you're running out of time you seem to get things done in a more timely fashion.

+ There's a homemade -- from scratch -- pumpkin pie sitting on the counter in the kitchen right now. (Made with Libby's pumpkin, of course, Libby!) One of my favorite things about this time of year.

+ I spent part of the evening wiping the "haze" off of the tiles in the bathroom. Christopher regrouted the shower, yesterday, and I did the much easier step this evening. Pie and Grout. Now there's an interesting evening...

+ I did take the time to watch Glee tonight on TV. I have to admit that, just when I was getting really bored by the episode, they came out with an amazing rendition of "Imagine" by the Beatles. Definitely one of the best things on TV these days.

And, for today, I think that's it. I hope you each have a long weekend ahead -- or at least a day off.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Not Even a Nod

Yep. It happened again today in the hallway at work. (You'll understand the "again" better if you remember Making Smalltalk.)

I was walking toward the office, and someone came out of the door across the hall from ours, and started walking toward me.

The guy is probably in his 30s. Does not wear glasses (although may have contacts) -- either way it means he has good eyesight. Almost the same height as me. No way he could pretend that he didn't see me.

I looked him square in the eye and, as we got closer, I smiled, raised my eyebrows, and did the "head nod" thing to acknowledge him.

He never batted an eye. Just kept looking down the hallway past my left shoulder.

Next time I think I'll body check him (or whichever semi-oblivious guy I pass) into the wall as I go by.

Do you think they'd admit that they noticed me after that?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

I'm SO Not Ready

Today, while Christopher and I were out doing some shopping, I heard my first blast of Christmas tunes coming through the store sound system.

The grocery store close to us put up Christmas decorations a couple of weeks ago. And the Target close to us put up snowflakes all over their windows a week or so ago. And, yes, the store we were in had all sorts of Christmas decor at the front of the store.

I should have expected the Christmas music. After all, there was a small kid walking in in front of us with his parents and as we entered the store he said "Why do they have Christmas up? Why don't they have Thanksgiving?" And... man... I am right there with him.

I used to work at Williams-Sonoma, and although it was HELL changing over the store from Thanksgiving decor to Christmas after we closed on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, it was also really nice to work somewhere that did one holiday at a time. (And, you know, it was also more exciting setting up for Christmas on Thanksgiving Eve than it was tearing it all down on Christmas Eve...)

But back to today...

I haven't started my Christmas shopping, yet. I haven't even started shopping for my Christmas baking, yet, or bought Christmas cards.

Yeah. I'm just not ready. And part of me is okay with that.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Channelling Carrie Fisher

When Christopher and I were in New York a few weeks ago, we went to see Carrie Fisher's one-woman show "Wishful Drinking." I may have mentioned it before, including the fact that I laughed for pretty much all two hours of the show.

This week, one thing that she said early in the show kept popping into my head. She said it at a point where she was laughing at herself and letting the audience know it was okay to laugh at her, too. She said something along the lines of:

"Laugh. It's my life, but it's got to be funny. After all, if it's not funny, then it's just true."

Unfortunately, a lot of this week I haven't been finding life funny. I've been finding it stressful and exhausting. And I've been feeling cash-poor and mentally without any reserves. And Christopher can probably attest to the fact that I've been less fun to be around than I usually try to be.

I was driving home tonight from an evening of Chinese food and movies with some friends, and that came into my head, again. I've still got a ton of work to do this weekend, and I'm still exhausted tonight (at only 10pm), but it's good that I have Carrie's reminder that I need to keep looking for the funny in all that I'm running up against.

And that's the truth.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What's With Wednesday?

There seem to be a lot of people commenting on the fact that today is Wednesday. I've had multiple emails today mentioning it. And -- not surprising -- most people are asking how it can be "only" Wednesday.

I really wonder what it is that is making this week seem so strained and so long. I realize that, for me, I was out of town last weekend and didn't get home until Sunday afternoon, so when I started Monday I wasn't as rested as I might have been. But I'm not the only one commenting on this. Friends of mine who didn't do anything major last weekend are having the same problems.

I wonder if it has something to do with adjusting to the rapidly-changing amounts of light we're getting. Or the imminent impact of the Holiday season. Or maybe everyone has been staying up to see the Leonid meteor shower and not getting enough sleep.

Whatever it is, I hope the rest of the week somehow evens out. So that people in need of a long week get the time to do what they want and people in need of a short week get to the weekend soon.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mediocre Monday

I got up this morning with the hope of getting to work a little extra early so that I could try to dive into what I was sure would be a packed Inbox (since I wasn't in on Friday). But by the time I got in and got settled I was only about 5 minutes early -- not nearly early enough to do any good.

Lunch was leftovers from yesterday's lunch, and although they were quite tasty, yesterday (at Fitger's Brewery in Duluth), they had lost a little more of their luster than I had hoped.

I worked through my email (and voicemail) with only the shortest of breaks, but ended the day with more emails than I usually have when I start the day. I don't even want to know what I'll be walking in to find tomorrow.

The movie theater still offers a "less expensive" combo at the concession stand, but it was a $5 pop and popcorn up until last month. Suddenly it has jumped up to an $8 combo, but the size hasn't changed at all.

And then there was tonight's movie. (Yes. I actually went to a movie on Movie Monday, for once.) Kelly and I went to see "2012" -- the latest End o' the World flick. It had some cool special effects, and some really cheesey ones. There were some interesting points raised, and some really boring ones. We were sad to see a few characters bite the big one, and kind of happy to see others go. (I'd give it a C for being totally down the middle...)

Overall, though, it was probably the perfect capper for a mediocre Monday.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Please Tell Me You Knew This

I have been completely amazed by a few product warnings, lately, and I wanted to share them with you. I swear I am not making these up. I could never make these up. Well... I could... But they probably wouldn't be as funny.

1) On the side of my Men's Multivitamins: Do not take if you are pregnant. (Wow. I wonder how many men have to worry about that?)

2) On the ingredients listing of my frozen Shrimp Fried Rice package: Caution contains shellfish (shrimp). (Granted the meal was only a buck, so I guess it wasn't a guarantee that there would be shrimp in it. Maybe this was more of a promise than a threat?)

And my favorite... This was in a bakery on Friday...

3) On the label of a chopped-peanut-covered "Nutty John" frosted long-john "donut": Contains nuts. (I'm happy to say that the Apple Fritter also contained Apple.)

Okay, yes, I know that last week there was a day when I was walking past the iron I had used the night before and -- to check whether it was hot -- I put my hand almost directly on the possibly-hot plate. I knew I hadn't used it in about 24 hours, so it should be cool. It was still stupid of me to touch the plate, but if I had burned my hand on the hot iron, it would have been my own danged fault.

But, you knew that, right?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sing... Sing A Song...

Of course, all of the people on Sesame Street needed something to do. I know that they were teaching me as they went along, but mainly I loved the songs. Without really any advance planning, I thought I'd list some of my favorites. Granted, I may not know titles for them all (I don't even know if they had titles), but you should get the ideas...

Sing... Sing a Song...

Run (Run, Everybody Run)

One of These Things is not Like the Others

C is for Cookie

Everybody Sleeps

I Don't Want to Live on the Moon

La La La La Lemons

I Love Trash

The ABC song (that Big Bird sings, the one where he makes it all one word)

Ladybug Picnic

We are All Earthlings

It's Not Easy Being Green

Yes, I know there were a ton more. There are at least 3 CDs worth of them out in the world (I have the first one, but I wanted to go by memory this time, instead of looking for tips).

The point is that they were wonderful. And they were sweet. And they told stories. And they taught me things. And I remember them to this day. And... well... life wouldn't be the same without them.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The People in my Neighborhood

** Starter Sidenote ** First things first. I feel I should mention that I pulled the lyrics for the Sesame Street themesong (posted on Monday) from a website. Although I knew them all when I saw them, and could work my way through them as soon as I had the first words of any line, I didn't know them all. ** End Starter Sidenote **

Speaking of such things, here are a few of the people (and "people") I remember from Sesame Street...

Sherlock Hemlock

Kermit the Frog as an on-the-spot reporter

Prairie Dawn (that's the name of the little blonde girl muppet)

Molly the Mail Lady (played by Charlotte Rae - she eventually became Mrs. Garret on The Facts of Life)

Mr. Hooper (I remember going back to watch the show when they dealt with his death. It was heart-wrenching)

Snuffalupagus (I even remember when he wasn't able to be seen by adults)

The Fix-It Shop (I don't know what it is, now, but it stopped being the Fix-It Shop a while ago)

Super Grover

Little Bird (Big Bird's cousin)

Gordon and Susan and Olivia and Maria and David and Bob and Linda

and, of course, Bert and Ernie and Big Bird and Oscar and Cookie Monster and Harry Monster...

Ah... What great friends!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Can You Tell Me How To Get To...

Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet!
Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street?

Come and play
Everything's A-okay
Friendly neighbors there
That's where we meet.
Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street?

It's a magic carpet ride
Every door will open wide
To happy people like you
Happy people like
What a beautiful

Sunny day
Sweepin' the clouds away
On my way to where the air is sweet.

Can you tell me how to get
How to get to Sesame Street...

How to get to Sesame Street?
How to get to...

Today's post was brought to you by the letters P, B, and S, and by the number 40.

Happy 40th Birthday to Sesame Street!

(Officially, the birthday is on Tuesday, November 10th, when the new season starts, but I wanted to get it on here early, so you can all set your video recorders accordingly.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Snow Day

Today feels like a snow day. Which is rather odd, considering that it's supposed to get to around 60 degrees and all.

Unfortunately, it doesn't feel like one of those fun "don't have to do any work because it's snowing out" days. It feels like one of those grey winter days when the sky is oppressive and you just wish that it would snow so that the world could lighten up a little.

Each time I see - in my peripheral vision - a leaf fall past the window, part of my brain gets all excited and says "Look! The first snowflake!" Yeah. Not so much.

** Leafy Sidenote ** I went out and raked the backyard, yesterday. The leaves were pretty dry, so although the whole yard was covered, I was able to compact them into 3 bags. I was just finishing up as this HUGE yellow and green maple leaf slowly drifted down to land on the ground just out of rake's-reach. I fully admit that I looked at the leaf, looked at the tree, and said to both of them "That's just rude." Then I turned my back on both of them and finished up. ** End Leafy Sidenote **

Perhaps, on this not-as-sunny-and-warm-as-yesterday day, if I get myself moving and go out and run errands (I need to get my car's oil changed since I've got a couple of long drives coming up in the next three weeks), I'll feel better about the day and the weather.

Or perhaps we'll have the first 60-degree snow I've ever seen.

I'd be okay with either one.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Making Smalltalk

I am not, by nature, an overly extroverted person. Gregarious, yes. Extroverted, no. Which, considering I love to entertain and have people over for dinners and brunches and the like, may seem a bit strange. It gets even stranger when you know that - as part of various jobs I've had - I've had to play host to large groups of people, complete with the whole mixing and mingling thing.

I do fairly well in small groups, and I have absolutely no problem getting up in front of a room filled with people and speaking. But drop me into a room of people I don't know who are all chatting in small groups, and you'll probably find me looking at the artwork on the walls instead of trying to break into a group to chat.

I tell you all of this because I had two related - though totally different - happenings today.

The first was more of a realization than a happening. The office I work in is in an old warehouse, on a floor with four other offices of various sizes - and a yoga studio. Our office is at the end of a rather long corridor, and pretty much every time I walk down the hallway there is someone else walking toward me. And it's a broad spectrum of humanity that I pass.

There's the tragically hip folks from the office at the other end of the hall. There's the people in shorts carrying yoga mats. There's the semi-business-professional looking people from directly across the hall from us. And there seem to be a higher-than-normal number of delivery people. But, here's the thing: Aside from the delivery guys (most of them are guys), no one looks you in the eye or acknowledges you as you approach each other in mid-hallway.

Now, I'm not looking to strike up a philosophical discussion in the hallway, but eye contact and "the nod" might be nice. Maybe a smile. Maybe even "hello."

I walked past someone today who actively looked down at her feet when she noticed that she was about to make eye contact with me. And a guy I've met multiple times (who says hello in the stairwell) simply puts his head down and walks past in the hallway. What's up with that?

My second odd social situation today came during one of the "meetings" (actually a social gathering potluck) of one of my networking groups this evening. It's been a while since I've made it to one of these, but this was being held in a small museum and the draw of being able to wander around a museum after hours was too strong for me to turn down. I arrived. I placed my food on the table (really - it's a potluck). I wandered off to check out the museum.

When I got back into the main room, people were mingling and chatting, mostly standing in the small groups of people they had come with. I spied a couple of people I knew and worked my way into their circle to chat. When people split off for more food or drink, I re-circled the food table, then found another group to edge into. We made smalltalk for a bit, then people started wandering off to peruse the museum, to get more food, or just to wander off.

Left alone, I took another quick pass along the food table (it's easy to make smalltalk over food), and then started checking out the books in the museum's collection. Having pondered where they all came from, and realizing that I probably should not touch them with my not-overly-clean post-eating hands, I took another look at the room. The people I knew were in tight conversations. And the door was only a few feet away. I left.

The morals of the stories: If you want to hang out with me, invite me to dinner - or invite yourself to dinner at our place. And, if you pass me in the hallway (or online :-) , please say "hi."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Random Randomness

I honestly have no idea what to write in here tonight. So, now that you're forewarned, here we go...

Christopher and I just got home from dinner with some friends at a new fish and chips place in Northeast Minneapolis. It's a place called Anchor Fish & Chips, and it was perfectly fine. Just not amazing. On the other hand, it was PACKED, which may have been part of why it was only fine. But, of course, we don't go out to dinner just for the food. We go for the company. And we had a really good time hanging out and enjoying time together.

Also on my mind tonight is something that happened at work, yesterday. One of my coworkers got a traumatic phonecall about an illness in her family. After she left, another coworker said to me "[the boss] isn't going to be happy that she left." I couldn't think of anything to say, so I simply said "He'll have to deal." I couldn't believe the callousness of that statement. So far, I haven't seen our boss saying anything negative about it all. But I have to say that I just can't imagine worrying about the boss's feelings while watching a coworker leave in tears. It's been over 24 hours, and I'm still bothered by that.

In lighter news, the weather is supposed to take a huge turn for the better starting tomorrow. By this weekend we're supposed to have sunny weather and 60-degree temps. I'm really hoping that, with the change in weather systems, my sinus/jaw weirdness will let up. But, even if it doesn't, I'm seriously ready to enjoy the weather!

And... well... there's what's in my mind at the moment. Wish me luck making it through the rest of the week.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Election Eve

Tomorrow (Tuesday, November 3rd), is Election Day.



It is.

I know that it's not a big Presidential election, but it is an election. I know for sure because I just spent a couple of hours tonight helping Christopher set up his precinct's polling place. You see, Christopher is one of the judges (or, rather, the head judge) in his polling place (technically, he's the Chair Judge). And this is the second year I've helped him set up.

We got out the little plastic voting booths. We set up the tables and arranged the extra chairs. And I put up the "How to vote" signs that are in English, Spanish, Hmong, Somali, and Russian.

Tomorrow Christopher will be in that room for somewhere over 14 hours (he has to be there at 6am, and the polls are open from 7am until 8pm), so the least the rest of us can do is go to the polls, stand in line for 5 minutes, and vote.


(FYI: The only appropriate answer is a solidly affirmative "RIGHT!")