Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wednesday Whine.

Okay. It's going to be more of a rant.

I got home, yesterday, with my sinuses acting up and being all sinusy (complete with causing pain in my left ear and throat). Took some meds last night and slept fairly well, but still woke up with the same pain.

Muddled through the day at work, taking half doses of my sinus meds (so I wouldn't fall asleep at my desk), and really looking forward to getting home.

Got home around 6, and decided to test our phone. Have I mentioned our phone? We decided to switch our service over to the same company who does our cable and internet, since we got a really good deal on it all. Christopher did the first step in the process three Saturdays ago.

One week later, aka Two Saturdays ago (during the rugby tournament) Christopher stayed home so that the cable/phone/internet guy could come in and switch everything over. That's when we found out that it would be another five days while we had a "temporary" number ringing to our phone instead of our "real" number.

Five days passed, and we weren't switched back to the correct number. Yes, we could call out. But we didn't want to give out a random temporary new number for people to use, when we were supposed to be getting our old one back at virtually any moment. So we hadn't had a single phonecall in the five days.

That night (last Thursday), when the phone was still not working, we spent about an hour, total, on the phone with the new phone company, trying to figure out what was going on. They found the problem, verified everything, and said we'd be good to go in -- you guessed it -- another five business days.

That brings us to today.

I got home in my sinusy, cranky mood. To find that not only did we not yet have our old number back. We had no dial tone at all. Over the next 45 minutes or so, I burned cellphone minutes trying to get the phone switched back over.

I fully admit that I was not the most pleasant of customers. After the person who answered the phone basically "poo-pooed" me, I demanded a supervisor. I was equally as cranky with the supervisor. I do feel a little bad about that. But, come on, it has been almost three full weeks of trying to get this done, and we had originally been told it should be done in "three to five" days (about 14 days ago).

We seem to be back on (phone) line, now. So I'm going to ignore the work I should be doing, take a full dose of my sinus meds, and vegetate in front of the TV. I probably ought to spend the night on the phone to celebrate, but I really don't want to touch it at the moment.

Monday, June 28, 2010

A "Sand" Movie

Last week, after multiple attempts, Christopher and I went out to see "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time." It was a bit odd. We'd been trying to find time to go to the movie for a while, and when we finally found ourselves able to go last Wednesday, the only place it was playing was the New Hope Cinema Grill.

So we showed up, chose our seats, and ordered a pitcher of beer and the "all you can eat" pepperoni pizza deal. The movie was already underway by the time the beer and pizza showed up, which might not have been a bad thing, since we really didn't have to see the drinks or food to enjoy them.

The movie, on the other hand, was definitely worth seeing on the big screen (as opposed to waiting until we could see it on the TV screen). Okay, yes, Jake Gyllenhaal's hair in the movie is pretty bad (but not actually as bad as you might expect from the trailers), and there are fairly few people in the movie who look Persian, but the movie is fun.

Basically, it's the story of a young prince who - through the mechanations of an evil royal advisor - ends up on the wrong side of a battle for the crown. Along for the ride are two more princes, a beautiful mystical princess, a magical dagger, and some ostriches. (Yes, ostriches.) And, well, there's a lot of sand.

There seems to be something about movies that have a lot of sand in them. Take "The Mummy," for instance (the Brendan Fraser version, if you please). It's completely fun and completely fluff. There's also "Sahara" which - although not a great version of the book - was a fun romp without a lot of substance. And, of course, there's "Tremors," the Kevin Bacon flick with the giant worms terrorizing a small, sand-surrounded, town.

So, as time has gone on, I've come to expect that most "sand" movies will be fluffy and without much dramatic merit. And, with that in mind, we were definitely not disappointed.

The action was active. The lovers were star-crossed. The magic was magical. The sand was sandy. The ostriches were ostrich-y. And the pizza and beer were quite nice, overall.

Overall rating: A-. If only Jake could have grown out his own hair while he was buffing up so they wouldn't have had to use whatever weave/wig thing he had going on, it would have been an A.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

That Pride Feeling

This is Gay Pride weekend in the Twin Cities (and other places around the country). In case you didn't know it, June is Gay Pride Month in the United States - so declared in honor of the Stonewall Riots which took place in June of 1969. But, no, this posting isn't going to be a Gay History lesson.

I'm sure that, because this is Gay Pride Month (and weekend), you'll probably see at least a blip or two on the news about it. Or in the newspapers. Or online. And, there's a very good chance that what you'll see is pictures of parade floats with strippers or drag queens on them. Or possibly leather-clad bikers driving down the parade routes. Or people wearing rainbow wigs. Because those are the images most news outlets focus on.

And, you know, that's what I've come to expect. After all, when you see stories about big sports teams winning tournaments, the news usually shows us the Vikings fan with his chest painted purple and yellow standing outside in -30-degree weather - not the dad in the sensible coat with his two kids. Or we see repeats of the US Women's Soccer Team tearing off their shirts to run around in their sports bras. So I guess the newscasters are so used to showing off the spectacular side of things that they don't know how to focus on anything else.

Here's the thing, though: most of the gays and lesbians and bisexuals and transgendered people in the world are just... well... people. Not any different, on the whole, than the rest of society. We're just people.

Did you know that, in some parts of the world, being homosexual can still get you put to death by the government? Heck, even in some parts of the United States, walking hand-in-hand with someone of the same sex can get you beaten to death on the streets. And that is why simply having the chance to show up and be counted is so important. That's also why showing everyone that "normal" people can be gay (and vice-versa) is so important.

What did Christopher and I do to specifically celebrate Pride this year? We went to a backyard barbecue thrown by friends of ours. Sure, the crowd was mainly gay men, but there were also straight people there, and a couple of kids, and two cats and a dog. Okay, so the potato salad and bean salad may have been a step better than at most neighborhood barbecues. And we may have upped the hair product quotient compared to some picnics. But, for the most part it was just a barbecue. And it was really fun.

I'm happy for all of the people who took this weekend to go out and watch (or march in) the Pride parades. I'm thrilled that the festival in town has grown every year - with more and more big corporate names unafraid to be attached to it. And I'm even a little glad that this morning when I opened the Star Tribune the only picture I saw from yesterday's festivities was a bunch of people milling about and ignoring the one lone hate-monger who had shown up to spew vitriol into the crowd.

Even more, though, I'm excited that - last weekend - I was able to go to see an International Gay Rugby tournament where the Twin Cities played host to 24 truly world-class rugby teams. Sadly, I didn't see a single news story about the burly and buff guys who travelled half-way 'round the world to play sports - and who just happened to be gay.

At the same time, I'm kind of proud of the fact that, on Friday night while we were ordering ice cream, I didn't think twice about calling Christopher "hon" across the store in front of people we didn't know. I'm even more proud of the fact that no one else in the store batted an eye at that - the earth didn't stop spinning, lightning didn't flash, and life went on.

Pride. It doesn't have to come with a festival. Sometimes it just comes with a burger and a double scoop.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Saturday - In the Shade

Having almost fully peeled off last week's sunburn, I'm actively staying out of the sun this weekend. Well, mostly. We are planning to go to a mostly-outdoor party this afternoon, but I'll be covered in 100SPF sunscreen for that.

Today is actually a rather humid, cloudy day. I guess it's pretty nice out - especially when you consider last night's weather. The storms that rolled through after rush hour last night left our house pretty much unscathed. Our corn stalks, which were finally about 8 inches tall, were knocked completely out of the ground by the 1 or 2 inches of rain that came through in about an hour, and dirt splattered about 4 feet up the fence. Most of our garden looks kind of waterlogged - and we had no internet for a while - but we were really lucky.

If you've seen any of the news from last night showing flooded roads (including I-35W), you saw what we avoided by leaving to go out to dinner about 30 minutes before it rolled through. And although we heard the tornado sirens, we didn't see anything. Instead, we were lucky enough that, when we went out after dinner, we saw orange clouds with a rainbow in front of them.

There are threats of more harsh weather tonight, but since my goal is to stay indoors and out of pretty much any kind of weather, I think I'll be okay.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Ruck It

This being Thotful Thursday, I thought I'd just toss out a few quick things for us all to ponder. To whit:

What does "to whit" mean?

How can plants which just got rained on 2 hours earlier start to look wilted by the time I get home from work?

Why do the bunnies leave our plants alone for months, and then just when we let our guard down decide to eat all of the leaves off of them? And how can I stay mad at them when they're so danged cute?

How long does the average skin peeling last? And why does it peel at different rates?

How short should I get my hair cut this weekend?

How is it that just when you start to have a social life, that's when work gets busy?

Why does the kid across the street from us always decide to start shooting hoops at almost 10 at night? And why does he always have to dribble the ball, when all he's doing is practicing free throws?

Why is it called "dribbling"?

Why is rugby called rugby?

What the heck is a "ruck"? (I watched a lot of rugby last weekend and heard that word a lot, but I still have no idea what it is - although some of the play-on-words t-shirts were rather fun...)

And, with that thought in mind, I'm going to sign off. I'm feeling a bit wilted, so I'm going to say "ruck it" to getting any of my work done, peel off my shirt, and head for bed, hopefully without dribbling.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An A-Peeling Day

Yep. That's right. After two days of simply being baked and crispy from the sun on Saturday, today my forehead started peeling. I had almost gotten to the point where I thought I might end up with a bit of a tan on my face, but... well... that hope has gone right out the window.

On the other hand, the section of my chest which was incredibly deep red on Sunday night became rather painful, yesterday. By the evening, I was able to peg the hurt as being caused by the area where my collar bone (on my right side) poked just to the edge of my sunburn. That just happened to also be the point where my shirt collars kept rubbing on me throughout the day. So last night I went to bed with an ice pack on my chest.

Today, while my forehead started peeling, my chest simply started fading a bit. By the time I came home from work, it was just a little sore - not nearly as bad as yesterday.

Here's hoping that tomorrow will keep the trend toward wellness moving.

And the next time I mention that I'm going to be spending any time out doors, please remind me to use a ton of sunscreen - no matter what the weather.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Sun-baked Weekend

What a weekend. Ohmigosh. You already know about the amazing Patti Lupone concert on Friday night.

Saturday was filled with Rugby. It was supposed to be a sunny day, and turned out to be a cloudy, grey, drizzly, breezy day in Blaine. Of course, that means that although I spent about half of the day huddled against the wind, I left at the end of the day with what has - over 24 hours - revealed itself to be a bit of a nasty sunburn on my face, neck, and chest. Yes, it's also on my legs and arms, but I'm the most red on the areas above my shoulders.

It's weird, but that sort of sums up my weekend, in some odd ways. It was a weekend of expectations that got modified, and realities that turned out pretty... well... glowing. We had a great time watching multiple games of rugby. Frequently, I had no idea what was going on, but that didn't stop me from cheering and shouting throughout the day.

Christopher wasn't able to go out with us - he stayed home to deal with some cable/internet/phone stuff we've got going on. So that was a little strange - as well as leaving me handicapped in not having him to explain the games to me. But I spent time between matches with my friends from Dallas. (Hmm... Maybe that's why Christopher didn't go: to avoid having to listen to us reminisce too much.) The rest of us watched some really good games (with some really good-looking players), and then I headed home to spend an evening on the couch with Christopher and the dog we were dogsitting for the weekend.

Today, Christopher and I (and the dog) headed up to check out some more rugby. We met up with our friends and watched part of the final Dallas game. Because there was going to be at least an hour or two before the next matches, we said good-bye to the Dallas contingent (hoping to see them again in less than 7 years!), and headed out to a really relaxed Father's Day dinner with Christopher's family. (Which also became "Birthday Part Three" for me with an incredible cake.)

Home for the evening, I slathered another layer of Aloe vera onto my sunburn, and the Christopher and I settled in for a last snuggle with the dog before his family came to pick him up. And, well, that brings us to right about now.

If only my work week could also start out kind of grey and drizzly and end up relaxed and wonderful... But I have to admit that even I don't have that kind of imagination.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Post Patti Lupone Post

I'm posting early on a Saturday morning because we got home a little late from seeing Patti Lupone in concert at Orchestra Hall last night. And not only did Christopher and I see Patti Lupone, but we took along a couple of friends who are in town from Dallas this weekend.

But, first, about the concert. It was incredible. When she started the concert, she explained to the audience that this "Coulda, Shoulda, Woulda" tour was all about songs she could have, should have, or would have done throughout her life. And she also explained that she would be doing anything she wanted all evening.

With that in mind, we got to listen to her perform a bunch of songs you wouldn't expect. Over the course of two hours, she did "Never Never Land" from "Peter Pan." She did "You Got Trouble" from "The Music Man." And, yes, she sang a lot of the songs you expect, like "Don't Cry for me Argentina" and "Being Alive" and "Send in the Clowns."

She also did some of her lesser-known songs, like "Meadowlark" from a show called "The Baker's Wife" - which she explained closed before making it to Broadway after it apparently once played one performance to only 25 people in the 2,700-seat Kennedy Center.

Her first encore included "Ladies Who Lunch" (from "Company"), but when she came back out for a second encore, she left her pianist offstage, walked to the front of the stage, and did an a cappella song I had never heard before. It was a beautiful ending to the evening.

But... About the rest of the evening.

Friends of mine are in town from Dallas for the Bingham Cup International Gay Rugby Tournament. They stopped by my work for a quick hello on Thursday, and spent last evening with us. We picked them up at their hotel before 7, and honestly didn't stop talking (except for during the concert, of course) until we dropped them off around 11.

It was pretty amazing - especially since we knew each other out in Baltimore, and both moved (me to Minnesota, him to Dallas) on the same weekend in April seven years ago. We hadn't seen each other, since, but the conversations were still good. We laughed. We made fun. We talked about serious stuff. Basically, it was just a good evening.

OH. And I almost forgot to mention that, as we were walking along Nicollet Mall, we saw people we knew - both before and after the concert. Nothing like running into good people on a good night!

Today I'm heading up to Blaine (north of the Cities) to watch some rugby. I don't know a ton about rugby, but I'm sure I'll have a fun time, even so. If not, maybe I'll just start singing some Patti Lupone.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sepia Sky

After our one mostly-sunny day, yesterday - and a partially-sunny day, today - we in the Minneapolis area had our first major storm of the summer season. It was pretty major. The storm stretched from the north edge of the state all the way to the south edge and there were apparently a few tornadoes, even. So it's been a pretty serious weather day.

But, that said, it's turned into a rather technicolor evening. As the storm was passing, the sky turned green - not a scary green, but a late afternoon green. Christopher pointed out that the orange lilies were practically fluorescent in the light. It was pretty striking - all of the greens, the purple of the clematis, and then the fluorescent orange.

About an hour later, the sky went kind of golden. So golden that the lights inside the house seemed incredibly harsh in comparison to the light outside. It was as if the clouds filtering the sun were tinted with a gold foil.

From there, though, the view out the window became sepia. Not just a little, but the entire cloudy sky. The trees went darkly into silhouette, and the sky was shades of the most perfect sepia we've seen in ages.

The sepia was short-lived, however. The sky went to reds and pale rose fading to grey, and now it's grey with just the slightest light kind of at the end of our street.

We're just a week from the longest day of the year, so at 9:30, I can still see just the light below the edges of the clouds. There are certainly benefits to living in this part of the country with our weird weather.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

There Came The Sun!

Having not seen the sun since Monday of last week (the 7th of June), and with that being only the second day this month when we saw it, you can imagine my surprise when I walked outside after work, yesterday, and the sky was blue. I walked outside with one of my co-workers, and we honestly both stepped out the door, stopped, and looked up to marvel at the sky and the puffy white clouds.

Today, which was supposed to be the sunniest day of the week, started out foggy. Seriously foggy. When I was driving into downtown, some of the skyscrapers actually faded out in the fog. It wasn't until about mid-day when the sun came out in full force.

Of course, then it got muggy. But I won't go in to that. Although I am very happy that we have air conditioning on a thermostat and timer at home.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be sunny and sticky until the mid-afternoon, and then that weather pattern is supposed to be broken by thunderstorms in the late afternoon and evening. Rumor has it it will be sunny, again, on Friday and Saturday.

Fingers crossed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

It Just Didn't Sound Right

Last week I went to see "The Bounty Hunter" at one of the cheap seats theaters in the area. And, wow, it was even discount night, so the $3 ticket was only $2.50. Of course, with pop and popcorn it was still a $10 night. But that's beside the point.

"The Bounty Hunter" stars Jennifer Aniston and Gerard Butler as a divorced couple who just happen to be thrown together when he (the bounty hunter) is given the task of bringing her (a bail jumper) to justice for her overdue parking tickets.

Before I sound too snarky, I want to say that the movie was perfectly fine. And, for $2.50, it was pretty darn good, even. But, if you've been around for a while, you know that I like Jennifer Aniston movies. On the other hand, I'm kind of lukewarm toward Gerard Butler. One of the things that helps me with Butler is that he's Scottish and has a great accent to go with his rough looks.

Here's the problem: In "The Bounty Hunter," Butler has an "American" accent. Yes. That's in quotes. It's that way because I really don't know what accent it was. It was just this horrible flat-toned thing. And, ya know, it was hard to watch and listen to him because of that.

The movie, though, was fun. Okay, so it over-stretched in trying to be a romantic comedy and a buddy movie and a thriller and so many things it didn't need to be. But Aniston and Butler had good chemistry, and the movie had an amazing supporting cast (some of the best moments didn't even involve the main characters), and - remember I only paid $2.50 - it was definitely worth going to.

So... Overall... Good to watch, enjoyable to follow along with, but way too hard to listen to: C+.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

2010 Tony Awards

Yes. I'm watching the Tony Awards tonight.

Christopher is upstairs doing... well... I don't know what he's doing. I'm guessing that he's watching TV, studying for his Irish Gaelic class, and/or ironing. I'm in the basement, with the TV turned up just a little too loud.

I know that I have friends in various locations around the country who are watching the same show I'm watching. I know of at least one party that friends are having in NYC. And I found out that someone I know is actually in the audience tonight at the show. I have no idea if anyone I personally know will actually be on the stage - although I don't think so, this year.

Even so, for me, the Tony Awards are so much more personal than any other awards show. I guess, in no small part, this is because I was involved in theater for so many years. In high school and college I was on the stage. As a "grown-up" I've worked in theater box offices. And, as you know, I'm kind of a theater nut who was lucky enough to see a couple of shows on Broadway this past year.

So, watching the opening number and seeing all of the performers on stage - even from halfway across the country - already resulted in a strange swelling of pride. To know that, once upon a time, I was involved in that amazing world.

Forgive me as I let the world go away for 3 hours tonight and watch the show.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Blogging at 11:30

Usually, I try to blog fairly early on in the evening. If not "early" in the evening, then possibly before the 10 o'clock news is over. (Remember, I live in the Midwest, where the main nightly news is at 10, not 11.) Sometimes - if my workload allows - I even try to blog during the workday.

Why do I try to blog as early as possible? Because, if I wait until 11:30 at night (or whatever time it is now) it takes me a lot longer to put a post together.

You see, at this point in the evening having - tonight at least - had a failed attempt at making an "interesting" dinner (I ate it, but I'm very glad no one was around to see it), followed by a couple of hours on the phone (catching up with family), and then 3 hours of work on some freelance stuff - my brain is probably too mushy to be allowed to be doing this.

It's not that I don't have any topics bouncing in my brain. On the contrary, I have way too many. Let's take a quick look at the various things jumbled in my brain:

There's something about watching people in the car behind you via your rearview mirror.

There's commentary on how our backyard garden is changing from pinks to oranges.

There's worry that the corn we planted may not make it to fruition.

There's a question about how short I should get my hair cut when I finally go in to cut it sometime in the next couple of weeks (for the first time in a couple of months).

There's a totally random ponderance about the font size on my screen.

And all of that is stacked on top of the fact that my typing skills seem to be out the window tonight, and I'm having to delete back over about 2/3 of what I type to correct my spelling, grammar, and overall "makes-sense-itive-ness." (Which, of course, leads to the question of whether I am, in fact, "typing" or whether I am "keyboarding" - the latter of which sounds like torture.)

Oh. And then, when I logged into my blog tonight, I found that new templates and designs are being offered. But I like my current design, and I'm not sure I want to change. But should I look at them, anyway?

So... Yeah... Possibly I should have just given tonight's posting a "Pass" considering how late it's gotten. But what would the fun in that have been?


And on a final even-more-random note for the evening, in response to a comment on yesterday's post: He's not a sled, he's a Basselope. (That makes perfect sense in my head. And, I suspect, in the head of at least one other person out there in the blogosphere...)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Connection Avoidance

So, remember how I was talking about Connectivity on Monday night? How I was having problems getting online because of lack of connection, but how we connected really well at brunch on Sunday? I'm sure you remember that - or at least you might have scrolled over and looked once I asked. But... anyway... that's not my point, tonight.

My point, tonight, is that sometimes the online world can be just a little TOO connected. This was the case last night, which caused me to stay off of the computer and not post on here. You see, last night was the season finale of "Glee."

And, as you might know (or guess), I've been watching "Glee" all during its first season. It's mostly been really fun, although I fully admit that there have been episodes which focused way too much on the gimmicks and not nearly enough on the stories. And, even reading through the hype, I was pretty sure that the finale would be good.

Here's the rub: I had made plans to go to a movie last night (which I'm sure we'll talk about next Monday), and wasn't going to be home to watch the show. So I taped it. (Yes. Really. I TAPED it on my VCR.) And I planned to watch it after I got home.

But this meant that I couldn't turn on either the TV or the internet prior to watching the show. After all, I know that I have a lot of friends who watch the show, too, and I was afraid that I would come across a spoiler or two. So I came home from the movie, said hello to Christopher, and then headed into the basement where I rewound my tape and settled in.

My personal thought is that it was definitely one of the better episodes of the last few weeks. The songs actually moved the storyline forward, instead of just being stuck in for no apparent reason. There was a "mash-up" including Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" which was probably one of my favorite things of the season.

When I did turn on my computer, I found many comments about "Glee" - and there was conversation about it on TV and on the radio today. As much as I enjoy being connected to so much information in so many ways, I'm really glad I kind of pulled out of all of those connections for a few hours last night.

And, yes, I'm purposely avoiding talking about specifics of "Glee" just in case some of you out there haven't seen it, yet.

However, I feel like I need to say something, just because. So here you go:

(Scroll down for my comment.


I'm even giving you the option of opting out of my spoiler.

How good a guy am I?)

Rosebud is the sled.

(Yeah. That has nothing to do with "Glee." I never said it would.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Question of Connectivity

I tried, about four times, Sunday, to post on here. At one point we were having internet problems. And then, later, the Blogger folks were having some issues. I hope none of you were worrying that the brunch had ended in knives, tears, or technology-thievery.

Brunch, by the way, turned out to be quite nice. We had three couples join us (and - as usual - had food for at least twice as many), and - keeping with my recent stretch of events - we were ready about 15 minutes later than we wanted to be.

This meant that, yesterday, we had 4 out of 6 of our guests here while we were still messing about (literally - it was a mess) in the kitchen. Luckily, it's late spring and they all had commented in the past couple of weeks that they wanted excuses to see our backyard plantings. So we sent them outside for a bit, finished up the kitchen, and were all set to go.

Basically, everyone got here around eleven o'clock (give or take) and left around 1: 30. And although we ended up in multiple smaller groups, I don't think I heard a lapse in conversation the entire time.

OH. And we got to use some new dishes that we've picked up in the past month. A serving bowl from a set of "India Tree" china Christopher picked up; a couple of nifty small trays made by Russell Wright (apparently that's a good thing - and they're so cool); and a nifty little clear glass "bowl" which looks, basically, like an open Ziploc bag (which we put out some chocolates in).

Alright, so much of the rest of the afternoon Christopher and I spent a lot of quiet time in disparate rooms, but there was something really nice about having first had that burst of neighborly hosting in the morning.

It's nice to have my computer connecting to everything, again, too, so that I connect with all of you 'net neighbors.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Feeling Half-Baked

Christopher and I, lamenting how little we actually see of people we live very close to, decided a while back that we would have a brunch for "all of the people we know who live within easy walking distance." Or, more precisely "all of the people we know who live within a distance which would be easy for us to walk to to drop off invitations since we don't have email addresses for all of them."

We decided to have this brunch tomorrow. But, since it's a fairly small group (probably only about 8 of us - we really probably ought to meet more of our neighbors), we decided not to make all of our "old standby" foods but, instead, try a few new things. Which is wonderful in theory.

Unfortunately, it's a little weird in the execution. You see, I've gotten very used to making the same set of dishes for brunches over the past few years. Yes, there are always variations, but the main staples are always... well... staples. And tomorrow's brunch is pretty much staple-less. (Okay, be honest, how many of you looked at that word and read it as "strapless"?)

With the staples out the window, we've somehow gotten ourselves into a situation where about 90% of the food prep needs to take place tomorrow morning. Oh, sure, we'll both be awake around 7am (thanks to our work-week alarm clocks), and people aren't due to arrive until 11am, but it still seems like a lot of stuff needs to be done. Especially since I've usually got about 50% or more done before I go to bed the night before a brunch. But cinnamon rolls are better fresh, as are bacon and biscuits, so there you have portions of our dilemma.

We'll see how it goes. I'm sure that we'll all have a very nice time - even if the timing might be a little off on the food going in and out of the oven.

Although... If I could just figure out one or two more things to do tonight, I know I'd feel better... Perhaps I should vacuum...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Belatedly Foiled

I guess this could be filed under "Just when you think it's safe to go back in the water..."

Today, when I walked into the kitchen at work, I saw one of my co-workers throwing out the box from the ice cream cake which has been slowly dying in the freezer for the past month. I commented that it was about time that it went away, and the person looked at me and said "Well, we have to make room for someone else's, you know..." Which, of course, I took to mean that today there would be conference room cake for my birthday.

I was partially right.

At 1:30 we were all rounded up into the conference room where two cakes each had candles in them. Apparently another birthday was missed (this one in mid-May), as well as mine last week.

So, yes, there was the dirge-like singing of "Happy Birthday" with the oh-so-comical attempt to fit both of our names into the "dear whosywhatsits" line. And we each got to blow out candles. But then we actually got to get into the cakes. And they weren't bad.

There were mini white cupcakes with white frosting (sadly, it was whipped cream frosting, instead of buttercream). There was a lemon layer "loaf" with cream and lemon curd. And there was a "chocolate pudding cake" which was basically a glazed chocolate pound cake.

The lemon cake was the obvious winner for flavor and texture. Although the others held their own.

The semi-forced conversation wasn't too bad - I think because we were all so desperately ready for the week to be done. Although, when the other birthday "boy" answered the "how old are you?" question with "24" - and we found out he is NOT the youngest person in the office - that was a bit of a shock. (He commented that he's getting old. His party apparently went until 3am, but he passed out around 11...) When asked for my age, I simply said "a lot older than that" - which I figured was enough for everyone to know.

So, there we go. I survived both another birthday AND another forced social event at work. Yep, I seriously deserve the coming weekend. (As, I'm sure, do we all.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Flashing Before My Eyes

Christopher and I were on our way home from Costco tonight (having spent the remarkably small amount of only $150 - and buying almost nothing impulsive), when traffic got a little strange.

We were at a merge point, and a bunch of cars were kind of shoving their way into the lane to our right. I watched a big white Cadillac smush in in front of us, and basically next to us a huge black Chevy Silverado pickup wedged itself in. (Okay. I think it was a Silverado. I'm not 100% sure on that. It was really big, with an extended cab, and it was kind of extra tall. And I pulled up their website, and I'm pretty sure that's what it was.)

When I heard an engine rev and looked up to see the Cadillac floor it out of the right-hand lane, across the center lane (where we were) and go shooting down the left-hand lane, I turned to Christopher and said "You know, I really expected the Silverado to be the one to do that."

About the time I finished that sentence, the Silverado pulled into the lane behind us. This is when I noticed how tall it was, as well as confirming that it was a Chevy, thanks to the obvious insignia in the grille. Traffic was doing a little slow-and-go thing at about that point, and I was hitting the brake right along with everyone else.

Suddenly, I glanced in the rearview mirror and realized that the Silverado wasn't braking like the rest of us. It was accelerating - and just barely moving into the left-hand lane. I swerved right, praying (very quickly) that we could stay in our lane without hitting the car in front of us. And, of course, I threw out a "DUUUDE!" at the same time.

The Silverado was close enough to us that I could see the detailing on the grille, as well as the patterning of the light covers, in my rearview mirror. As it passed, I could see the individual strands of hair coming out of the young woman's ponytail. And I know that the vehicle in front of us was a white and silver SUV - something along the lines of a Scion - with high-mounted brakelights.

It all happened in a split-second. Christopher didn't really even react to it all - except for the swerving, of course - and the groceries didn't even get bumped around. But, in that split-second, I saw my car's life flash before my eyes.

I'm not sure why I didn't see mine...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Define "Multi"

One of my really random job tasks at work is to act as "receptionist" - both by answering one of our three incoming phone lines, and also by greeting people as they come in for meetings.

Typically, people will come in, I'll send an "instant message" to the person meeting with them, and then I'll let them know what will happen, next.

Probably about 80% of the time, the reply to my "Your appointment is here" message is "conf room" (which I learned early on means that I should ask the people to have a seat in the conference room. And - as I'm sure those of you who are paying attention can guess - that response is the one I typically get from the boss. Yes. That's right. My boss doesn't really put full sentences into his IMs. He barely puts them into spoken conversations. But I've gotten used to that.) (Not that I like it, but I've gotten used to it.)

Usually, after I get that "conf room" response, I ask the people waiting to please go into the conference room and take a seat, explaining that whoever (it's not always the boss) will be with them shortly. And, usually, the people go in and either take a seat or wander around the room looking at the books on the shelves.

Today, however, I got a response I wasn't really expecting. A woman in her 20s walked in and said she had an appointment. Before I had a chance to say much of anything, she had seated herself in one of the chairs in the "waiting area" in front of my desk.

I sent my usual IM, and got the usual response of "conf room." So I stood up from my desk, walked around to her and said "He's asked that you have a seat in the conference room." She didn't respond, but kept staring at the screen on her phone.

I walked into the conference room and straightened some of the chairs (another meeting had been in their, earlier, and the chairs were all over the place), and was finishing up when my boss walked in through the other door. He looked at me with a "Where is she?" look, and I said "She's apparently coming in a moment or two."

I exited the conference room, walked up to her, and said "He's waiting in the conference room for you." She didn't look up. She kept typing and staring at her keyboard. Then, suddenly, she glanced up at me and said "Oh. Oh. Sorry. I was multi-tasking," as she grabbed her bag and walked into the conference room.

I heard her repeat the same thing ("I'm so sorry. I was multi-tasking.") as she introduced herself.

Which, finally, leads me to my point: How does she figure she was multi-tasking? I mean, she was doing her texting (or whatever) while sitting in a chair. Granted, yes, she was probably also breathing at the same time, but I don't think that counts as "multi-" anything, really.

Had she been playing with her phone while also actively listening to me and following directions, that might have been a little closer to multi-tasking, but even that is pretty flimsy. Or if she had stopped in the middle of placing a book order to play receptionist and organize the conference room while also trying to find the answer to two author questions, possibly I could agree that she was multi-tasking. (Of course, then she'd also have been me in that moment...)

Perhaps she needs to learn the difference between "multi-tasking" and "uni-tasking." Or, at the very least, she should learn that there is a huge difference between "multi-tasking" and "sitting in a chair and ignoring you so I can stay in my own little world."