I've spent a lot of time lately thinking about how I want to define the next year and I'm declaring it right here and now the year that Little Ms. Notetaker makes herself happy.
Lately I've just felt so blah. And I'm sick of moping around feeling sorry for myself so here is my short list of things that if I accomplish, it will make me and you happy. Yes, you too. Because, the happier I am, the more pleasant I am to be around; and the more pleasant I am to be around, the happier you will be. See, I'm looking out for you here too.
1. Dork out in Improv classes. Ultimately my goal is to be on stage at some point, but I'm not completely ready to commit to that goal yet, so I think taking these classes is a good start. I may try out for a play--and if I do, then heck I've exceeded my goal (if only it were like work and I could get some sort of monetary reward for doing that).
Why this makes me happy? Little known fact, my ultimate dream job would be to be on Saturday Night Live. Improv classes make this dream a little more of a reality in my small corner of the world.
Why this makes you happy? Just think about how much funnier and zanier I will be. Now if that doesn't make you happy, I'm not sure what will.
2. Bite the bullet and remodel the kitchen. It's time. I need to do this. I've been dragging my feet (mostly because I don't want to do it alone, and I keep hoping with every date I go on, that maybe I'll find someone that will stick through this remodel with me, maybe someone that lives nearby so that I can use their kitchen as a back up while mine is out of commission--yes I do think this--or at least maybe someone with a trade or a skill that can come in handy in the next few months), but now it's time to pick up those tootsies and get a move on it. I'm going to start by going to a "Remodeling Convention" in town this weekend.
Why this makes me happy? Have you seen my kitchen? Or really, have you seen my sink? It will be so nice to have this major thing crossed off the list, and I will feel so proud to have accomplished it. Such a big girl project.
Why this makes you happy? You won't have to hear (or read) my complaints about the kitchen, or my procrastination around the kitchen any longer. I see you smiling.
3. Find balance. This one covers a lot of ground... and as far as goals go, it's kind of squishy, but I like to think of it as balanced diet (um, I have to admit the last piece of fruit I ate was four days ago, shameful!), a balanced lifestyle (sticking to a workout regime that is more than just running), and maintaining a balanced mental state (taking time for myself, doing what I need to do to take care of me).
Why this makes me happy? Well, I'll be more serene... hopefully.
Why this makes you happy? Well, I'll be more serene... hopefully.
4. To touch my toes. It's been way too long since I've been able to do that. The picture of flexibility I am not. Yoga here I come, again.
Why this makes me happy? Less back pain and fewer quirky injuries (i.e., creating a major spasm just from putting on a sock).
Why this makes you happy? I don't know, just be happy for me.
So there you have it my 2008 goals: dorking out, remodeling, balance, and flexibility. Here's to our happiness in 2008!
For those of you that are in serious committed relationships and sometimes find yourself thinking, "Oh, dating is so fun. I miss dating," I just have to say, "No. No you don't." I mean sure there are fun things about dating, but the awkwardly painful getting to know you surfacy part of the first date or first phone call is not-so-fun, and really not anything that I will ever miss.
Now, I know some of you are scratching your head wondering what I'm talking about, since clearly I'm beyond the awkwardly painful getting to know you surfacy part of the first date with the J_______, I mean we had number four already (oh, and number five yesterday). So that's not bad there. Well, I just don't know what that is there. So in the non-committal spirit of keeping my options open, I've developed DADD (dating attention deficit disorder). More on that in another post.
This post is about one of the persons I'm "self-medicating" my DADD with. He e-mailed me the other day, and I thought, "hmmm, okay, he could be interesting to get to know." I e-mailed him back, and he then responded pretty much right away with his phone number. That could be potential red flag #1 there... he's just a little too eager. I didn't call him right away, and he subsequently e-mailed me to see when I'd be calling (yes, this was less than 24 hours after he sent me his number, potential red flag #2). In case you were wondering what his code name is, it's Quick Draw McGraw since he's so snappy in his responses--you can call him Quick Draw for short if you'd like.
I called him earlier this evening. Settled down in my favorite chair and one hour and 20 minutes later, I got out of the chair to write this post--thank goodness it's a darn comfortable chair.
Two things you should know about me. One, I really don't like talking on the phone all that much. Unless we are really good friends and I never get to see you because you live across the country and talking on the phone is the only way we can get caught up or stay in touch, you probably aren't going to come anywhere near having an 80 minute conversation. Let's just meet up in person. And two, I need my phone calls to have an explicit goal. Figuring out the details of when and where we're going to meet up, getting directions, ordering a pizza, even prank calling--although I haven't done it since I was a kid--always had a goal.
And, it wasn't like it was one of those phone calls that you have in the early stages of a relationship either. It wasn't one of those, I'm-so-excited-to-talk-to-you-and-it-feels-like-we've-known-each-other-forever-because-we-can-talk-about-everything-under-the-sun-and-it's-oh-so-interesting-with-you conversations. It was more like, "blah, blah, blah," and, "what's your response to blah, blah, blah?"
And not too far into the conversation, I honestly thought, scale of one to ten this is a SNORE (and I did have some DADD remorse and missed the J______ a smidge). Yet, I'm grabbing lunch with Quick Draw next weekend. I'm hoping I can do enough stuff this week to fill the conversation space, because we've already covered most of the first date fluff.
It finally did feel like Christmas for me, sort of. Well, maybe not Christmas, but I had a nostalgic feeling of home. Not so much home, like my parents house in the burbs, but home like good ol' Colorado. I don't think I'll ever move back to Colorado--the urban sprawl and strip mall after strip mall after strip mall just don't do it for me--but when I think about Colorado, and when I get to missing Colorado, it's a Colorado that exists only in my mind. It's a Colorado circa the late 70s. I picture my parents and their friends (who at that time were my age now) drinking Coors out of the classic red and white cans and John Denver playing on the record player. I also think of the mountains, with snow on the pine trees, and bright night skies with the moon reflecting off the snow. I think that memory is set in the 70s (and is always a little faded in color in my mind) because I have some pictures here that captured some of those times and that those pictures now fill the space of my memories.
It wasn't a 70s Christmas, but there was snow, and mountains, no Coors, but big bright night skies, and John Denver--this time it was a CD. It made me happy and sad simultaneously--longing for that memory of what Colorado was to me, but giving me the closest thing possible to that now.
Oh, and I kept getting massive nose bleeds there. The dryness. I don't miss that.
I could stand to repeat four a few more times.
Now it's off to pack for the trip home. Yet again I've procrastinated on that one... but it's easy to do when the alternative is four.
I know I had my bah-humbug post yesterday, but I've been looking forward to today for weeks. Why you ask? Not because it's the last day before a deserved vacation, and not because they were giving out yummy chocolate m&m cookies for FREE in the cafeteria today--hmmm, take four? Don't mind if I do! Nope. Those are all good things, but I've been looking forward to today because it's supposed to be the shortest day of the year. That was until I read this article.
Note to self: From here on out, factor in the Equation of Time, when you are trying to solve for happiness in the Equation of Seasonal Affective Disorder.
When I packed up and moved out to Seattle, I heard these words from everyone: "Seattle? It rains in Seattle." Really? Thank you, Captain Obvious. I don't mind the rain, in fact, it's partly why I've always wanted to live here. I just wish that one of those brilliant people would have instead said, "Seattle? It's depressingly dark there for 75% of the day in the winter." Now that was something I did not know, and that would have been good information. The darkness is wearing on me. It does every year.
But we've turned the corner, or thanks to the Equation of Time, we're a block away from turning that corner and I can't be happier about it. The other morning I turned my kitchen light off as I was getting ready to leave the house for work and it was pitch black. I yelled (honestly I did, I live alone, okay, I had to express this somehow), "AGGGGGH! You've got to be kidding me!" It was 7:15 AM. And there was no sign of sunrise yet.
And as I sit here typing this post, at 4:45 PM, we're already about 45 minutes past dusk. On the flip side, our summers are amazing. And we have sunlight for 75% of the day. There's something to be said for sunsets at 10 PM. Little Ms. Notetaker's official countdown to summer has begun.
I have to admit, since I've become a grown-up (I'd like to qualify that as "since I've felt like I am a grown-up" which is honestly only in the past five years), I just haven't gotten into the holiday spirit. I often wonder if I'm missing a really important gene. I have friends--and I'm often accosted by them for not being ho-ho-holiday--who absolutely adore Christmas, who get real trees, and actually decorate them. In my mind they do all that whilst cider is brewing on the stove and the Carpenter's Christmas album is on extended repeat on the stereo.
There is nothing wrong with that. I like cider, and a Karen Carpenter Christmas reminds me of home. But for some reason, I have absolutely NO desire to do any of that, ever. It puzzles me. My stock excuses are: 1.) I'm lazy, and if I don't put decorations up, then I don't have to take them down, and 2.) I'm never here for Christmas anyway, so what's the point. Those are definitely the easy answers. But I don't know if they are wholly true.
Oh, and I also don't send out cards or a letter. But that, I firmly believe, is laziness. If I set the expectation level low--like you're not getting a card--then you won't be disappointed when one isn't in your mailbox. In fact, consider this post your card, "Happy Holidays from my household to yours. And many bright wishes for a wonderful New Year." Look at that, you get all the glory of Hallmark, without all the loose glitter all over your hands, table, floor...
I know that I'm not alone feeling this way. Many people I talk to keep finding it harder to pour themselves that cuppa cheer. I wonder if it's because I'm single (last Christmas was the only Christmas I've spent attached), or if it's because I don't have kids? Maybe the wonder and joy they have is contagious? I sure hope so, because I'd like to think that some day I'll have a use for all the ornaments I have stashed in storage.
It just feels like Christmas has lost that magic--and it's lost in all the commercialism. For me, Christmas is about love and family. It should be special. And I don't think any amount of lights or any tree, real, fake, or otherwise, can bring about any of those things. Am I being too cynical?
My hope is that when I get back to my family, the warmth and the love I feel there will be all the specialness that I need.
Note to self: Until then, keep the ho-ho-hope alive!
- One jar of marinara sauce--yes, someone already pointed out the irony in that to me today
- A couple spoonfuls (to taste) of olive tapenade--I HATE olives, but don't really get the taste of them in this sauce, it's mostly used for the saltiness factor
- One can of white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- Fresh chopped parsley--we may have had a little too much, so use this sparingly
- Peeled, tail off shrimp--I really don't like shrimp, but I thought they sounded good with this dish, considering I don't like olives or shrimp, it's a wonder I liked this... and even more of a wonder that I suggested we cook it. What's up with me?!
- Parmesan cheese--grate it yourself off of a fresh block, or cheat like I did and buy the pre-grated version
- Salt and pepper to taste
Simmer the marinara sauce with the beans, parsley, and tapenade. If the sauce doesn't have enough flavor, add more tapenade.
While the sauce is simmering, put the shrimp on a non-stick cookie sheet, or on parchment paper on top of the sheet. Maybe don't use an olive oil spray to make the sheet non-stick because when you broil the shrimp in your gas stove, it may start tiny little fires on the pan. I'm just saying...
Anyway, sprinkle cheese on the shrimp, season with salt and pepper, and broil for 10 minutes.
When the shrimp are done, serve the sauce in a bowl with the shrimp on top. Enjoy.
One thing you need to know about the J______ is that he likes to evaluate our evenings. On a scale of one to ten how would you rate the first date? On a scale of one to ten, with ten being "right about now," how soon do you think that's going to get old? Don't get me wrong, I do love the fact that we are reflecting on the experience, and I know we're in the early on phase, trying the thought of dating each other on for size, and it's great to be honest and open--I really do respect that tremendously. But I'm just thinking if this lasts for much longer, we certainly won't. On a scale of one to ten how was that trip to the grocery store? Um, I'd have to give it a GET THE HECK OUT OF MY CAR.
So it's not fair for me to say that, as really I'm just trying to be funny and I think I genuinely could like this guy (how's that for being non-committal in the early stages of a "relationship"). He's a really good guy, passionate about life and his community, attentive, considerate, attractive, funny, well-educated and curious to keep learning... okay, so I could go on and on. I just wanted to be sure that I stated that the jokes I make are probably my self-defense mechanisms to keep me from jumping too deep, too soon.
So, for date number three, he came over to my house (and those of you that are wagging fingers of scorn my direction for inviting him into the sacred temple, just know that I did not shave my legs and we only held hands on my parents old disco couch). We made dinner, the recipe is quite simple, but appears gourmet and chic. It was actually going to be the topic for this post until I just realized that may make this the world's longest post. That one will be separate.
After a couple hours of good conversation--laughing about some of the most traumatic and dramatic dating situations we've faced--we ended up watching episodes of Curb Your Enthusiasm on the couch I have in my TV room that I cannot bear to ever get rid of. Yes, that in and of itself is a whole different post. Oh, you have much reading in your future! At any rate, we sat there and he had his arm around me. The setting may not have been a picture of romance, but it was comforting and nice. And just the right blend of friendliness and chemistry to give me butterflies and tingles when he gently traced the outline of my fingers with his. Sigh.
Here's to the lost innocence that seems to be rare in the adult dating world. And here's to posts about food and crazy cool disco couches.
Before each game we have a little ritual with the ref, having to show them our shoes (to make sure they aren't the type of cleats that I guess could poke somebodies eye out), our badge (to prove that we actually work there), and our mouth guards (to help us keep our pearly whites in tact).
Last weekend my team was in the championship game. As the ref came over to us to do our gear check he asked to see our mouth guards and proceeded to tell us that the weekend prior someone had concussed and lost five hours of his weekend because he just couldn't remember it, so it's VERY important we have our mouth guards.
I turned to the guy next to me and wondered if all mouth guards prevent concussions? I mean, I may not know exactly what holding is, but I think I know some basics about where concussions come from.
Note to self: My next mouth guard should maybe not be the $.99 special from Walgreen's. I need a magic concussion preventing mouth guard.
I couldn't help but wonder if maybe the ref was he-who-was-concussed, and that maybe he lost more than just five hours of his previous weekend?
And I swear, it was not my Coors Light in there--however, there was an 18 pack of it in there. Along with the silver bullet long necks there were 18 MGDs, over a dozen Mike's Hard Lemonades, a dozen Pyramid Hefeweizens, and a six-pack of Redhooks. I'm serious. I had to open one of the crispers to store my lunch.
I'm hoping that someone was storing that for a holiday event or something to that effect? Otherwise we may need to have an intervention, says the girl caught buying beer at 8:00 AM the day before.
I decided to stop at the store by my office and pulled in just shy of 8:00 AM. There I was all dressed for work, walking down the aisle to get the one item I needed. I grabbed it and headed to the register. I set my item up on the conveyor belt and waited. The person behind me set a giant box of donuts on the belt--obviously it was his turn to bring in Monday morning treats. Me, well I had a six-pack of Coors Light.
Yes, that's right.
Note to self: Next time you need to purchase schwag beer, maybe think about the time and the place.
There is a perfectly good reason for my purchase. We were making a gift basket to be raffled off at our upcoming holiday party, and the group I'm in on this with decided to make ours a gift basket of wines from whence we came. And I'm from Colorado. And the chance of me finding a Colorado wine out here is slim to none. And Colorado is known for Coors Light, it's a Rocky Mountain original... just like me. And I tried to class it up in the basket by calling it "Le Silver Bullet" (with a silent "et").
Regardless of what I can justify, I was slightly mortified to be buying beer at 8:00 AM on a Monday, but I'm sure it gave the guy with the donuts something to talk about with his colleagues.
When was the last time you thought about your eyelashes? I mean really thought long and hard about your eyelashes? Well, if you belonged to my gym, they would certainly be top of mind, as they should be. I mean, eyelash health should without a doubt be a top priority.
Among the many amenities the gym boasts, one of them is an advanced spa/salon, that clearly has its finger on the pulse of breakthrough beauty technology. Below is the content--verbatim, people, I cannot make this stuff up--of a flyer posted in the locker room announcing some exciting new research:
J-- M------ Skin Research
Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner*
A Stunning Technology Gives You the Lashes of Your Dreams!
Your Lashes Will Appear Fuller, Thicker and More Lustrous!
Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner can produce dramatic improvement in the appearance of volume, texture and density.
By using breakthrough technology that features reconstructive components, Age Intervention Eyelash Conditioner prevents new virgin hair from being adversely affected by cosmetic and environmental factors.
Plus, by increasing flexibility and preventing breakage, eyelash hair can reach its full potential. Users will quickly perceive that their lashes appear far fuller and more lustrous.
*.23 oz mascara-style tube with eyeliner brush applicator (one tube lasts about six months)
Just sit with that for a moment.
Note to self: Christmas is coming... I think eyelash conditioner would make the most perfect gift for everyone on my list.
I love two things about this. One, that this conditioner "prevents new virgin hair" from being hurt by all the vile and disgusting things in this world. We must protect the virgin hair! People, unite! I mean we all know cosmetics, and we all know that they only have one thing on their mind and that's to get in the proverbial pants of the nubile and pure eyelid hair. Thank goodness we have this protection we can dole out, but that really makes you stop and think, shouldn't we be teaching abstinence to the young and innocent lashes? Oh, my, this could cause quite a heated debate.
And two, my eyelash hair can reach its full potential. Finally! I mean seriously, it's been slacking off for quite sometime now. At first I thought that maybe there was something wrong with it and that it was simply underachieving, but now I know it was just bored. It will finally be able to live its eyelash destiny. Yesssss!
And I'm excited for the prospect of date number two.
Until that happens, keep holding your breath for the mother of all posts about the gym (I need to do some reconnaissance and hope to get up early tomorrow AM and do that for you, my faithful friends).
The other day when I was at the gym, admiring the view from the elliptical, I noticed that I also had a view of the rooftop of the building next door. It was pristine--very unlike the Centennial Halls cafeteria roof--except for one item. On the roof there was one compact disc. It got me thinking about the random things I'd see on roofs in college and I imagined stressed out students, strung out on caffeine and No-Doz, post-final, thinking that the best way to celebrate and stick it to that Organic Chemistry prof would be to launch the book out the window. I'm sure they must have felt some release somehow. Take that, O-Chem!
I imagine the CD must have met a similar fate... one of the aerobics instructors must have had a particularly frustrating step class (no, I said grapevine, step, clap, what's wrong with you people?!), had a major meltdown (I picture steps and risers scattered everywhere in her wake), and sent her CD filled with Jock Jams, More Jock Jams, and Even More Jock Jams, soaring.
Note to self: Save yourself. Stick to the elliptical. Avoid the crazy step classes.
All I know is I still don't like going down into my basement.
Oh, and I didn't have to go out and buy a new hammer (but I also didn't bravely march downstairs and get my good hammer that day either). I happen to have my "Do It Herself" toolkit from college upstairs in my house and it happens to have a "Do It Herself" hammer that I gladly used to hang my item. Now if only it had a "Do It Herself" pest remover, then we'd be in business.
When it comes to working out, I'm a minimalist. Which is why the gym I belong to now is a bit overwhelming. Is it the fact that when you walk in the door the smell of rosemary and lavender waft through the air? Don't get me wrong, it smells peaceful and lovely and not at all like the sweaty damp socks mixed with the metallic smell of dumbbells (or the smell of the 17 meat heads likely named Blade, Laser, or Blazer at the Globo-esque Gym I belonged to first). Or is it because in the lobby and in the locker rooms there is actual art, fancy art? Or that when you change into your workout clothes, you hear classical music? Again, a far cry from the death metal I'm used to at most other gyms.
It's not the equipment, in that arena it's like an average gym--the weights aren't plated in gold or anything. Maybe it's the view. Yes, the gym has a view. It's situated in a building on a hill that overlooks the Space Needle, downtown Seattle, Lake Union, and on clear days the Olympic mountain range. Um okay, I'm used to mirrors. And as much as I love to see my haggard work out face chugging away on a treadmill--oh wait, I don't. And perhaps one of the coolest things about this view is that on the second floor of the gym, it's the "dimmed" workout room. I don't know if it's dimmed to create harmony and zen on the treadmill, or if it's for people that are self-conscious working out in bright fluorescent lighting, but they don't turn the lights on and in the morning or the night, you workout in the dark and you just see the whole city in lights. Hmm, the last gym I belonged to was actually a really nice gym, but it was in the basement of an Italian restaurant.
Yes, this is the gym for the privileged. And the only reason I have the privilege to workout there is because it is completely subsidised by work. I don't feel like I belong at the gym, which is crazy to me because I am a gym girl, a jockette. I actually feel like I need to have nicer workout clothes, make-up and a nice smooth ponytail to be there. But I don't, and I won't, and I just can't. So I will continue to be the girl at the gym in a rumpled old t-shirt, with stray hairs sticking out of my half ponytail-half bun, and will be the minimalist amid all the excess.
Note to self: All I need is an elliptical machine or a treadmill, free weights, and some space to do crunches and maybe a push-up or two... and maybe the smell of rosemary and the view of the Seattle skyline.
- The obvious reason--I stay in shape, and keep that body all those fitness magazines promise me in their table of contents.
- The not-so-obvious reason--the gym is rife with potential blog posts, in fact I have three percolating in my mind right now. Just you wait... I think one of them may make some of you pee your pants.
- The I-can-justify-anything reason--by going to the gym I will decrease my carbon footprint and keep Al Gore off my case.
You all know that I love showers. And that my love for showers drives me to take ridiculously long, excrutiatingly hot showers. Well, I don't really like to take showers at the gym the same way I do at home. I stand there in my flip flops (yes, carry overs from public showering and fungi fears in college) and they get all slimy, so I tend to be a little bit quicker. Plus #1: I use less water.
Now, it matters not where I shower, I still love them scalding HOT. But at the gym, they have a ginormous water heater. They have to with all those showers. Plus #2: I never have to worry about the hot water running out during my shower.
And finally, showering at the gym means I don't use water or gas to heat the water at my house. Plus #3: My bills decrease, ka-ching!
Note to self: Get in shape, girl!
Thus begins a series of posts that will revolve around the gym.
If you grew up, or if you live in a climate where it snows regularly, that sentence is not a big deal. But in Seattle, when it snows, it's the only thing anyone can talk about for the week. I'm sure that tonight, if I were to watch the news they would already have a snappy logo and a catchy nickname for this storm, like "winter storm blitz 2007," complete with dramatic music too.
For those of you worried about Nutty... I think he may have survived the raccoon rumble. Either that or his ghost, or maybe one of his peanut babies grew-up and like Pinocchio dreamed one day of becoming A REAL LIVE SQUIRREL.
At any rate, here's evidence of Nutty, or his progeny, or his ghost, plotting his revenge on me in the backyard.
And somebody has been digging through my planters on my front porch. Peanut babies everywhere.
But as I've mentioned before, Nutty is my nemesis. I firmly believe--if he was not eaten alive by raccoons--that he will stop at nothing to get into my house. And something is in my house.
Last night I hung more of my shelves and when I returned my drill and tools to my workbench in the basement, I noticed pellets on the bench. I've been dreading the day when I'd find a creature down there and now I'm one step closer. Based upon the size of the droppings I'm not sure if they are from mice, rats, or maybe a vengeful squirrel?
This afternoon I was hanging out with a couple of friends and I told them about what I suspect has taken up residence in my basement--it was determined that I needed to get a mouse trap RIGHT AWAY, so we drove to Lowe's in the snow. If anyone ever wondered if I am a girlie-girl, talk about rats and mice in my house and the fact that I have to trap them and then dispose of them, and then you'll have your answer.
After I danced around the mouse trap aisle (although I'm convinced it's a rat), I got the most humane trap I could stomach... one with glue and a nice anesthetic--so that as the rodent struggles to free himself from the sticky puddle he steps in, he just has to count backwards from 10 and he'll fall into a deep sleep. I shudder just thinking about it all. But the trap I have is a mouse and rat trap, if it's Nutty in the basement, I'm not sure the glue or the anesthetic will be strong enough. And I already know the exterminator will not do anything for squirrel removal, so if it is Nutty and the glue doesn't work, I may have to adopt a raccoon for the basement.
I just set up the traps and now I don't think I'll ever go in my basement again. Ever. Except that's where my washer and dryer are.
Note to self: Reread Little House on the Prairie to get ideas about how to use washboards down in the creek effectively.
I have recruited help (read: my friend's husband, presently the most dependable man in my life), and hope he'll be available to come by anytime I need to go downstairs to see what's waiting for him, I mean me, in the trap. Stay tuned...