Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Too Much

I just dropped about $100 on baking stuff. Well, some of it was for new Christmas treet lights.
I'm going to be totally out of control this year.

On Cathy's blog, she was saying that she doesn't understand why people are decorating before December. I'm usually right there with her. But something came over me this season and I found myself wanting to decorate before Thanksgiving (but I didn't). It's just such a great season and it didn't seem like the season was going to be long enough this year to me. But by about November 15th, I NEEDED the holiday season to start. I have no idea why. It's nuts, right?

Poor Little Tree

My poor little Christmas tree is sitting in the corner of my living room just begging to be decorated. It looks so sad without any lights or decorations on it.

Now if the guy who's supposed to sand and re-paint my bedroom ceiling would actually come and do it, I could get my decorations out and make my tree happy.

Because a decorated tree is a happy tree.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Where Are You?

Friday, I was driving back to Philadelphia, cutting across the state of New Jersey, when it occurred to me that Ron who's on an elective in New Jersey, would also probably be driving a similar route. I call him, expecting that he's still working, but he answers his phone.
Me: Hey, where are you?
R: Driving home, where are you?
Me: on 38--hey they let you go home early?
R: Yeah, a little bit.
Me: Want to meet me at the Cherry Hill Mall?
(My reason for wanting to meet was two-fold: one, we could eat there, because there was no way I was cooking that night and two, I could transfer all my bags to Ron's car before I returned my rental.)
R: Um, I'm already past the Cherry Hill Mall.
Me: What? Where are you?
R: Almost at the bridge.
Me: Oh. Well turn around.
R: Really? No, there's no where to turn around. Besides the mall will be a zoo.
Me: (annoyed) Fine. Will you be home in a little bit? I need to drop stuff off before I return the car.
R: Well, I'm going to the gym. What time will you be home?
Me: (more annoyed) I don't know. Fine, go to the gym, I'm going to the mall.

And so I braved the crowds at the mall for about 20 minutes looking for Waterford shotglasses (don't ask) to no avail. I give up and continue my drive back to Philly. I get gas, I sit in traffice near the bridge. Ron calls.

R: Where are you?
Me: Driving home.
R: Where?
Me: Almost at the bridge. I'll call you when I'm closer--will you come down to get the bags from me?
R: Are you using me for my brute strength? Do I look like a bellhop?
Me: Yes and yes.
R: Call me when you're close and I'll come down.

I drop off the bags with Ron, return the car, and walk home. I had wanted to decorate for Christmas that night, but my apartment is a mess. Work is being done in the bedroom and all the bedroom furniture is in the living room. Since I can't even get to most of the living room, decorating it will be impossible for the time being. I walk up the stairs in my building thinking about whether to get a real tree or resurrect my old, sad fake one.

The first thing I see when I enter my apartment is a real tree in a stand. I gasp. It's like someone was reading my mind!

Ron comes out of the kitchen and laughs.
R: I guess that means you like it?
Me: We have a real tree.
R: I know.
Me: You got us a real tree, when did you get a real tree?
R: On the way home.
Me: Today? You didn't tell me you got a real tree--I was on the phone with you and nothing was mentioned about a real tree.
R: I wanted to surprise you. I know you wanted to decorate for your book club next weekend.

I'm not sure what he said next, because I smothered him with kisses.

My House is a Very, Very, Very Fine House

My apartment building definitely has some quirks, like carpeted bathrooms for example. And a heating system that works a little too well most of the time, and not at all at others. The stove is too small for the space it's in and the wall to wall carpeting could stand to be replaced. Those things I can take and provided (knock on some serious wood) the mouse problem doesn't return (so far, so good), I'll probably stay there another year. It has a lot of space and storage for a one bedroom apartment. It has some charm. The neighbors are nice. The rent is low, relatively speaking.

But the best part about my building is its location. Close to a park, nice restaurants. There is a vocal school close by and this time of year they rehearse for their holiday concerts. On any given afternoon and evening, the sounds of opera float into my apartment. They may be students, but they're all good, really good. Lots of the students live on the block and you can hear them practicing all the time. This may sound annoying, but trust me it's not. Their voices are muted by distance and the sounds they make, even when just warming up, are heavenly.

My apartment is on the top floor of my building and my building sits back further that other buildings on the block. The advantage of this, is that there are tall, narrow windows on either side of the room and I have a view of other backyards, as well as a largely unobstructed view of the sky. At night, the moon rises on the east side of my apartment and from my bed the view out the window looks like something out of a theatre set. A large apartment building with lights showing in most of the windows is a block away and when the moon rises above that, I swear, it doesn't even look real.

Last night, as I drifted off to sleep bathed in moonlight, listening to the sweet distant sounds of opera, I thought, "This isn't a bad way to live."


That Thanksgiving was pretty enjoyable, despite a tension headache that lasted 3 days and an additional 4 pounds that found their way to my ass.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


I'm terribly unromantic. I've stated on previous incarnations of my blog that I didn't believe in "the one", that I would not wind up with someone who took my breath away every moment. I believe that the butterflies in your stomach at the beginning of a relationship fade, and any sort of magic you feel eventually fades too. Maybe another sort of magic replaces it. My mother gave me good advice in this area. What you're looking for, she would say, is not someone who is perfect, who meets every point of your criteria; you're looking for someone who is solid, a good father, a good husband, someone who will be good to you.

I read this Dooce post and particularly the line, In him I found the person whom I knew I would never get tired of, even in the most monotonous of times, even in the routine of being together every single day.



When I checked my hotmail, MSN was offering the following link: Why was Anna Nicole out of it? , referring to the American Music Awards.

Um, I'm no expert here, but my guess is that she was blitzed out of her mind. Just guessing.

Welcome to Crazytown

I have the jitters. I can't stop from tapping my foot to burn some nervous energy. I'm thinking about the baking I have to do tonight. I'm thinking about what to pack. I'm rehearsing lines in my head. I can't ignore the brick that settled somewhere in the pit of my stomach.

The holiday visiting sweep season is upon me. Last year's round went smoothly. It was pleasant. Dare I say, I enjoyed it. That does not bode well for this year's round.

There are small signs of trouble. Calls not answered, a couple of remarks here and there. The bottom fell out when I tried to reserve a car from the usual place I reserve cars from and they are SOLD OUT of cars for the holiday. No, no, no, no I thought. They can't be sold out. The entire basis of my sanity for the next few days is following a routine. That routine involves renting a car from the usual car place. Going to the usual car place where I know the layout, the people, the garage where the cars are kept. It's all comforting. Renting a car from a new car place, an unfamilar car place, is unsettling. It's not the routine. It's something else to worry about. What if I get there and they're out of cars too? Sure, I made a reservation, but what does that mean really? What if they don't bring the car to the front and I have to manuever my way out of a crowded lot? It adds to the weight of the brick in my stomach. And it's supposed to RAIN tomorrow! Is everyone against me?

It's days like today when I believe I should be medicated.

I should also know better than to plan baking for tonight. I will be nervous and distracted. I will rush, forget ingredients and things will not turn out right. Ron will stay out of my way but look for signs of a meltdown. Last week we had the following conversation:
R: When are you going home?
Me: Wednesday. Probably early afternoon?
R: Okay.
Me: Why?
R: Well that means that Tuesday night you'll be freaking out right?
Me: Yeah, that sounds about right.
R: Just trying to plan.

In my head I know it's only two days. I only have to get to Friday. This is no big deal. I know that. There have been times when going home have not invoked this level of anxiety. I'm worried that this time it's way up.

Just get to Friday. Things will be fine. I didn't use to be this way. It's funny that the craziness that is my family household has spread so that it affects me before I even get there.

Welcome to Crazytown.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

So glad I live across the river from this.

Things That Annoy Me

Finding two year's worth of admistrative and budgetary paperwork that you didn't file and didn't keep in any particular order. You mean the ONE THING that was your responsibility you weren't even DOING???

Charm Me

By wrapping yourself around my legs while I'm holding your little sister and asking me to hold you too.

Friday, November 19, 2004


I'm having this weird urge to be nice and surprise Ron by taking him out to dinner tonight. Like to somewhere nice, you know, a place that doesn't use paper napkins. There's a new place Valentino's around the corner from us...

Because yesterday was the mega-bonus payout and frankly, I have money burning a hole in my pocket.

Hmm... maybe I'll be nice.

This Day

This day is starting out without Maple Pecan Crunch Cereal.

This will not be a good day.

How to Make Me Laugh

Tell me you've been working on a new knock-knock joke to use as your proposal.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

C'mon Now

I mean really. This seems to be getting a bit ridiculous now. Although when I saw the intro on Monday night, the first thing I said was, "Wow, that's racy for the NFL." The NFL does NOT like controversy. But c'mon now, it wasn't that bad.

Things That Annoy Me

Refusing to answer the phone when I call, which makes me paranoid that we're fighting and I don't know about it yet. I know you're home, woman, PICK UP THE DAMN PHONE.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

How To Charm Me

Know that my assistant (and my favorite) is leaving and look me in the eye and wink, to let me know that everything's going to be okay. It's nice having a working relationship where you don't have to say a word and where you can be parental, even if I am your boss. Seriously, you make me want to cry, man.

Race and Gender

I've been thinking about race lately. For two reasons. One was that while I was in Michigan, I caught the second half of this episode of the Larry Elder Show. The second was a woman I met in Michigan.

The Larry Elders episode was all about segregation by choice. The first segment (that I caught) was a discussion about possible plans to develop "African Town", a section of Detroit dedicated to African American-geared businesses owned by African Americans. It was very interesting. The debate focused on the differences between "Greektown" which consists of a lot (although not exclusively) Greek-owned businesses. Greektown, from what I can gather, has been around for generations and developed somewhat informally as people immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Detroit. Which is slightly, yet distinctly different than a government appointed section of town dedicated to African Americans, using at least some government money.

The section section of the show I saw was about Wells College, a women's college which is set to go co-ed next fall. The current students are outraged, but Larry Elders presented this as yet another form of segregation by choice--although he was quick to point out that the current students signed up for the experience of an all-women's college and should be given that. It got me to thinking about women's colleges, and thinking about particularly my friend Michelle. I don't doubt all the positives of going to an all women's college. I went an all girls' high school and LOVED it. But when I think of the male equivalent, an all-male college, the thought makes me cringe. How can we have women's colleges if we can't have men's colleges? I know there's a bunch of research out on this stuff and I'll be the first to admit that I haven't kept up on my higher ed reading. I'm just thinking....

The second thing that had me thinking of race, as I mentioned, was a woman in Michigan. She was the front desk attending at the hotel I stayed at. We got to talking about names somehow and she mentioned that so many people commented about how "strange" it was for her German last name, when she was obviously Black. Apparently a lot of her Black friends ask how she could possibly have a German last name, to which her usual retort is, "You'd have to ask my mother about that." She and I had a pleasant conversation and I got to thinking. Lots of my friends are mixed nationalities. If you fall under the "Caucasian" category, that's the norm. When people ask "what I am" I usually say, "mostly Irish." Truth is I'm a mix of Irish, Norwegian and English. But my mother is half-Irish and my father is almost entirely Irish, so that what I go with. But I'm a European mutt. The only time I ever think of myself as "white" or Caucasian is if I'm in the middle of a conversation about race or if I'm checking off a box on a form. I don't think of myself in terms of my whiteness. I don't "embrace" my whiteness or feel "empowered" by it (shutter). Can you even imagine saying such a thing?

But this woman I was speaking to felt that Blacks don't often think in terms of nationality. While some distinctions are made (i.e. African-American, Haitian-American), she felt that Blacks think of themselves in terms of race instead of nationality. Her friends find it totally weird that she's Black AND German, while most Caucasians think nothing of being more than one nationality. I know a woman who recently returned from a safari in African and says that the Kenyans she met were outraged that Blacks in the United States refer to themselves as African Americans, when most had not ever even been to Africa.

Again, just some passing thoughts I had while away. I'm not saying one way of thinking or labeling oneself is better than another.

I thought of my maternal grandfather, the second son of Norwegian immigrants. He would argue that I am not Irish nor English nor Norwegian. He would say I was American, plain and simple.

Things I Learned

On my trip to Michigan:

1. The PA turnpike is really narrow and wind-y around Pittsburgh.

2. People, generally speaking, are really, really nice in MI.

3. Target carries the same merchandise in MI as in PA.

4. The Quality Inn in Dearborn, MI is scary as hell. Don't stay there; I didn't.

5. The Henry Ford Museum is outstanding. Really, I was blown away. It's a museum not so much dedicated to Ford cars as it is to American innovation. I stood right next to the car that JFK was assasinated in and the bus that Rosa Parks took a stand (well a seat really) in; I sat in a Ford Model T from 1930; I took pictures of the Wright Brothers first plane; viewed via hundreds of models the progression from wagons to cars, stagecoaches to trains, gliders to jets. I argubly learned more at this museum in this one day than I have learned collectively over the last few months.

6. The Greenfield Village is almost as amazing as the museum. I think there would have been more going on in the summer, when it's warm out. But Henry Ford didn't mess around. He moved a bunch of these historical buildings from wherever they were in the country to this Village. I had a beer in a 1831 tavern, served by an 1831 barkeep. Cool.

7. I love me some old time Americana memorabilia.

8. Windor, Canada looks, sounds and feels exactly like the United States.

9. Detroit and Windsor Canada depend on gambling. A lot of gambling.

10. Playing the nickel slots is a great way to blow 20 bucks.

11. Greektown is pretty cool.

12. Detroit has amazing Chicago-style pizza. Crazy right? But crazy delicious too.

13. There are some freakin' huge houses in Grosse Pointe.

14. I wouldn't mind living in Grosse Pointe.

15. Taking road trips with Ron is a totally funny experience. Especially when we're lost.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

How to Annoy Me Some More

Be an attorney. Demand copies of all my files in, like, 5 minutes.

How to Annoy Me

Resign from your position. Because doing a shitload of paperwork, reading resumes, interviewing and doing all of your work on top of mine is NOT my idea of a good time!

Motor City

Tomorrow we leave at 7am on Road Trip 2004: Motor City. About a 10 hour drive, which isn't too bad. I think we'll be visiting the Henry Ford Museums. We might go see Polar Express while we're there. I don't know if Michigan is the most exciting place I'll have ever been to, but it will be nice to see a different area. I've never been to the midwest. I've never been to Canada. We may go to Winsor, Canada. Where they have casinos, or as Ron says, "free money."

Motor City!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Friday was a great day. I had taken the day off from work and was off to visit Hope in Hoboken. It was a beautifully crisp, sunny morning and I boarded a train at 30th Street Station at 7am. I love 30th Street Station, it's beautiful. I spent the ride re-reading The Time Traveler's Wife for the book club, which I'm hosting next month. I love trains. Especially non-crowded trains, where I can read and no one is sitting the seat right next to me. I was a little worried that I'd hit a rush hour train, but it was relatively uncrowded, leaving me in peace to read and watch the scenery. Whenever I take a train into North Jersey, I'm always struck by the Manahattan skyline. It looks so beautiful, but so different now.

I got off at Penn Station in Manahattan with plans of taking the PATH back into New Jersey. Although it seems alittle backwards that I would take a train through North Jersey into Manahattan only to head back to North Jersey, it's actually easier than getting off at Newark. Getting off at Newark involves taking 3 different PATHs to Hoboken, and frankly the more trains you put me on, the more likely I get lost. I exited Penn station and walked the one block to the PATH station. With all of the underground tunnels in Manahattan you would think they would have gone for broke and drilled one more block and connected the PATH to Penn Station. But no, you have to go outside in the cold and walk that one, seemingly endless block.

On Friday, I enjoyed that block. It was windy as hell, but bright and sunny. New York has a great energy to it. It was about 9:30am and I felt great. The train I needed was waiting when I got down into the station and off to Hoboken I went. It only takes about 20 minutes. Hoboken is a great town, lots of cute mom-and-pop shops and not too many chains. What was great about my walk from the station to Hope's place, was that I wasn't in a rush. I'm usually always in a rush. Even if I don't have anywhere specific that I have to be, I still rush. Instead I just sort of meandered down Washington Avenue, which has sidewalks so wide, you don't feel cramped. I looked in store windows. I got a coffee and a doughnut. I bought Hope flowers. I walked pretty slowly.

Hope and Ryan greeted me at the door. Ryan's a lot more like a real baby now. He 12 pounds, smiles and likes to throw his head around. I spent alot of the morning carrying him around. At one point Hope commented on how weird it was to see me with a baby. I get that a lot. If I'm holding a baby, people think it's weird. Not because I myself don't have a baby, but the concept of me cuddling something, being cute with something is completely foreign to people. I just seem like the type of person that tortures babies and puppies for fun. Which is usually true. But I spare Hope's baby of this torture, except as it relates to hats. For some reason, I find baby hats that have bear ears attached to them too adorable for words. Ryan is bestowed with a new hat with ears each time I see him. I make him try it on. He usually cries.

He's only 2 months old and knows nothing about fashion.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Things That Annoy Me

Request days off when it's clearly labeled on the calendar that the maximum number of people already have off those days. Idiot.


This* makes me sad. Because I know both the attacker and the victim. I've spoken with the attacker numerous times last year. I know the victim by name and face only. The victim is going to die. The attacker has a diagnosed mental health issue and apparently is not taking his meds. He will have gone from student to murder suspect in less than one year.

*Article removed at 1:30pm by editor as attacker and victim were identified by name in said article.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Breakfast of Champions

I go on weird breakfast kicks, where I'll only eat one thing for long periods of time, before getting bored and switching to something else for another long period of time. For a couple of years ago it was a bagel, toasted with butter every morning. Then it was Pop-Tarts. Either strawberry or cinnamon sugar. Then I started dropping carbs and for the better part of the last year, it's been turkey bacon and eggs or Eggbeaters every morning. There was something satisfying about "cooking" breakfast each day. I felt like I had more energy going to work and was less hungry by lunch. It worked.

Lately though, an interesting phenomenon has occurred. Cereal. Post's Maple Pecan Crunch cereal to be exact. In the past, cereal phases never lasted long. I think this had more to do with a chronic mental block regarding buying milk. Cereal's no good without milk. I would have cereal in the house but not milk which resulted in the cereal sitting in the cabinet for months until I finally realized I was never going to buy milk and threw the box out.

For some reason lately, I'm buying milk. I think it's because I'm also making coffee in the mornings and use milk in that. So every morning it's Maple Pecan Crunch with milk. It's been that way for about a month now. We'll see how long this kick lasts.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

And the Fat Lady Sings

It's over.

Hello, Could We Have a President, Please?

At 1:30am, as I drifted off to sleep, I had a feeling I would wake up and there wouldn't be a president elected. I was right.

Electoral votes are 254 to 252 in favor of Bush currently with Ohio still up for grabs. Are the days where we elect a president on election day over?

Bush has the popular vote. How did that happen? He's been sooo...unpopular. Now on CNN this morning I'm listening to Democrats talk about how it's hard to beat a popular war-time president. What? But he hasn't be popular since right after September 11th. His approval rating has been below 50%. I just don't get it.

And then I saw an exit poll listing that indicated that the top issue for voting Americans wound up being moral values, followed by the economy and terrorism. Are you kidding me? Moral values? What is this country coming to? I've literally been picking my jaw up off the floor all morning.

I can't believe that Bush could win this thing. He may not. But I thought there was no way he would. I really can't believe it. I had been predicting that within 30 years, we would be basically a one party system. I'm just in disbelief.

It could take up to 11 days to count all the Ohio votes. I'm hoping it doesn't. Well, that's not true. I hope it doesn't get dragged out in lawsuits and court hearings forever. But every vote does deserve to be counted.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004


Can you believe that I'm entitling a post "knitting". The next thing you know I'll be joining Stitch n' Bitches, knitting rings and be on a first name basis with the people at specialty yarn stores. No? Okay, maybe not.

But I am knitting. Sort of. My wonderfully fabulous friend Christy is a knitting goddess and is teaching me how to knit. What I really need is for her to sit with me each time I'm knitting to fix my mistakes. She lent me a really good book called "Stitch N' Bitch" and the author is wonderfully funny, which is very helpful, because I can imagine that knitting books could otherwise be quite dull. I taught myself to cast on, which I think I'm doing pretty well, for a beginner. But my Nana taught me to knit as a little girl, and I think my fingers remembered the motion of casting on. Last night I tried to teach myself to purl. I'm not sure that I'm doing it right.

Have I mentioned that I think I'm dyslexic? I think I am. Just a little bit. Is it possible to have just a touch of dyslexia? Anyway, I'm a pretty avid reader, so words aren't a problem. Numbers are. I really, really have to concentrate on numbers for them to make sense. Like if you rattle off a phone number to me to write down, you'd have to repeat it 3 or 4 times for me to get it. I listen to voicemail messages a million times trying to write down people's phone numbers. Adding and subtracting in my head? Can't do it. Even for simple numbers. Like itty, bitty one digit numbers. It's like I can't translate the numbers in my head. I forget what they look like when they're in my head. I need to write them down. I think this explains my notoriously explosive relationship with mathmatics courses in school.

Anyway, I think I'm a little dyslexic when it comes to knitting. First off, I hold the needle in my left hand upside down. You know, so that all the rows I have knit are on top of the row I'm about to knit. I keep correcting myself, but when I'm not thinking about it, I knit upside down. Secondly, (and this is where purling comes in) all the stitches look the same to me. I think I'm purling. I'm definitely doing something different, coming at the stitch a different way. I did three rows of purling (or maybe not) last night. And to me, they don't look any different from the knit stitches. I know they must be different and according to the book some stitches should look like they have nooses and some like they have scarves, but they all look like nooses to me. Even the knitted ones! Oy! Christy, I hope reading this isn't making your head hurt. Next time we get together, we'll have to go over purling.

Because I have knitting dyslexia.

How to Charm Me

Circle the wagons. Send emails to people who don't like me and put them in their place. Be a good friend.


I rocked the vote this morning. An hour waiting outside freezing my non-existent kahunas off was worth it.

Did you rock the vote?

How to Annoy Me

Be yet another political activist group trying to storm the residence halls, knocking on doors. I don't care which candidate you're endorsing. MoveOn, you need to move off private property.

Monday, November 01, 2004


Didn't plan well for the outlet shopping trip. We wound up going but I hadn't actually thought of ideas for Christmas presents. I got a chip n' dip set for myself, but other than that, we left empty-handed.

Overall, it was a relaxing weekend. Saturday I did a whole bunch of cleaning, which while not the most exciting thing, was somwhat rewarding. I find cleaning very therapuetic. Yesterday I went to the bookclub and got to see Cathy's kids, Joshua and new baby, Eve. Both are just adorable. Speaking of adorable, Ron and I went to go see his nieces for Halloween. One is 11 months old and is just a super-squishy baby that you just cuddle forever. The other is 3 years old and she has the flu or something. The poor thing was running a fever and had a tummy ache. She kept saying, "Go away, belly. You're hurting me, go away." It was a sin. She was totally disinterested in going trick or treating or having any candy--a true sign a child is sick. Both were pumpkins for Halloween, but the sick one wouldn't keep her costume on, which was fine because she was overheated.

Going to Michigan next week and I'm a flutter of planning activity. Trying to price renting cars vs. flying, figure out hotels in at least two different locations, and see whether a stop over in Canada is possible (yes, Michelle, I could be going to visit Utopia).

Planning, planning, planning. I think I've decided that we're driving, because flights are pretty expensive on short notice and we'd have to rent a car when we got out there anyway. It's about a 10 hour drive. Ron and I have taken 28 hour driving trips together though (our first date actually), so this is no problem. Ron's got interviews in two different towns. One's ghetto so trying to find a hotel in that one could prove challenging.

Planning....got to get back to Expedia....

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