Thursday, October 28, 2010

Consumables #31

One book, two movies, three songs.

In Me Own Words: The Autobiography of Bigfoot by Graham Roumieu.
This cracked my shit up. Bigfoot commentating on pop culture, and love, and the nature of existence. He starts off the whole thing by cursing out Chewbacca for stealing his game. Come on, that's just good stuff.

The Book of Eli
A good one for me to watch to prepare for the post-apocalypse shitstorm I was mentioning before. This one gave me hope because what ends up being the most coveted thing of all? Knowledge of BOOKS. Perhaps I can use this as evidence of my worth on the anti-zombie squadrons.

How can you not love Jeff Bridges? It's just kind of impossible to me.

Laid, by James
There are certain things, in a relationship, that will always make the other person laugh, no matter how many years go by. For me, it's Nordic Boy's Don Knotts impersonation. The first time he did that we were standing backstage of a theater while the show was going on. He was in the wings stage right and I was in the wings stage left. He had a prop gun and he pulled it out of its holster in a dead ringer impression of Don Knotts in The Shakiest Gun in the West. I literally had to fall on the floor in silent hysterics to not disrupt the show. To this day, that will get me laughing if he does that. I am laughing just thinking about it now. Anyway, a thing that I do that will always get a laugh out of him is break into the song Laid, by James. When I belt out the high notes with full on gusto, it cracks him right up.

CBS Romania- Mask It!
If you are tidying up your house, or doing dishes, or cooking a meal, is there a better, sillier song to get your groove going than this? I don't know. I was folding laundry this week and this came on and somehow it was the perfect housework song.

The Black Keys- Howlin' for You
I think this is a good Halloween Week song. Put your Halloween costume on and do a spooky/sexay Halloween dance this weekend. I will if you will.

Happy Halloween, friends.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

When the Zombies Come

As part of my job, I have to think about things like emergency preparedness pretty regularly. Working in public buildings throughout the city, we do fire drills, and emergency evacuation plans, and earthquake preparedness. If anything were to happen to our city or in our buildings, we want to make sure we are all ready to deal, and also to help the thousands of patrons that come through our doors deal too. Emergency preparedness has become totally normalized in my world. For instance a couple of weeks ago I was sitting in a small conference room before the library opened, visiting with The Soggy Librarian. Chat, chat, chat. Then in the middle of our conversation a voice came over the loudspeaker saying that it was time for an Earthquake Drop and Cover Drill. She and I looked at each other, shrugged, and got under the table and just kept right on with our conversation until we got the all clear. That's just how we do in Big City Libraryland.

One of the things that the Mayor's Office asks all of us to do is to have an individual Emergency Preparedness kit at our offices. Water, snacks, stuff like that. Each work unit is also asked to think about particular challenges that we would face depending on where we work. If we work downtown, the likelihood that walking shoes might be needed in case public transportation or roads are not operating might be higher. If we work on the 10th floor and the power fails, we better make sure we have working flashlights. Stuff like that.

So now we have all of my library friends (aka Very Smart and Imaginative People) thinking about how to prepare for things if we had an earthquake.

Let me re-phrase so that I am being more true to what kind of people my friends are: we now have all of my library friends getting themselves prepared, in exquisite detail, for a zombie apocalypse.

I am not kidding. We have made emergency preparedness into some sort of weird end-of-times game where we figure out what we would need to do if the zombies come. And the planning is elaborate. My friends know where the best hiding spots in the buildings are. They know where they would hide their food. They have decided which books are going to be burned for warmth first. They have identified which entrances the zombies are likely to break into and how to shore up those weak spots with heavy desks. They have located which duct openings are easiest to get to in case they have to escape that way. It has all been discussed and planned for.

The most important thing about apocalyptic zombie planning, though, is teams. Because when the shit goes down, you want people on your team that can help you survive. NO SLACKERS! NO DEAD WEIGHT!

My friends will leave your ass in a heartbeat if you can't help their brains stay uneaten.

This, thus far, has been a problem for me. Why? No one wants me on their team! Can you believe that shit? I am delightful! I am funny! I have cute clothings! And I know pop culture facts, like that Claudette Colbert was the first lady to do the bit where she hitchhikes by showing her leg!

But unluckily for me, none of those things are survival skills. You never see any of those weird survivalist cult people trying to be delightful or smartly dressed, do you? Cormac McCarthy didn't have the father telling Who's the Boss summaries to the son in The Road, did he? There's a reason for that.

Here is my saving grace, however. I HAVE NORDIC BOY.

Nordic Boy is heavily coveted when it comes to survivalist zombie planning. Unlike many of my urbane friends, his survivalist resume almost could not be more perfect. He can build anything, out of anything, first of all. And he doesn't need power tools to do it- he's got handcrafty skills. He also has engineering skills. He can weld and do other metalwork, and work with electricity, and from his childhood, he knows his way around subsistence farming too. He knows how to sew. And the list goes on. Truly, he is the gold standard for when the world ends.

So whenever we are at a party and this topic comes up (and yes, my friends talk about this at parties, often), people start wooing Nordic Boy. Without fail.

And my sweet Nordic Boy always has the same answer. "I'll be on your team, but this one [me] comes with me."

Take THAT, my friends. I have a ticket on the Nordic Boy zombie-apocalypse gravy train! He will not be on your team unless I COME TOO.

My friends sometimes argue this point. She'll just slow us down! they say. But he insists. Sometimes they try to work with me. Do you know how to do anything that can help? And I think, and think, but nope. I don't really know how to do anything to help. But no matter. Nordic Boy and I are a package deal.

This tactic has held me in good stead for a few years now. Until recently, when you know what two of my friends said to each other, right in front of my face?

"Well, I guess she can come. And who knows, we might run out of food at some point, and if one of us has to be eaten, better to have someone like her around. We wouldn't lose anything vital if she had to be dinner."

Ever since then, no one has argued against my being on their team. Harsh!

On the upside, I guess I can add "looks kind of tasty" to my apocalypse resume.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Salad Damage

I haven't been very excited about food lately. You ever get into a rut with food? It's stupid, because I don't actually eat the same things all the time (my weekly visit to the same restaurant with Biogirl where we both order the same thing that we order every week notwithstanding), so I don't really know what exactly I'm sick of. Just food, in general.
Anyway, I made a simple salad a couple of days ago and it rocked my SOCKS. I have made it twice since then and I don't know what the deal is. It's like I am Jeremy Irons and the salad is Juliette Binoche.*

The salad is simply this:
A cup of cherry tomatoes
A chopped up avocado
Thawed but still cold frozen corn
A squeeze of lime
A spoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper
A few scallions if I want to get fancy

As the saying goes: NOM NOM.

This may be my most boring blog post ever, and that is saying something. Deal with it.

*God my references are weird.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Consumables and other stuff

Pretty much every weekend, I have some sort of jaunt. A dinner with a friend, a show, a movie, a hike, something. This weekend, I did nothing. Just, nothing. I had the day off on Friday so I walked over to The Soggy Librarian's house where we sat on her couch and played with the uber-adorable Soren for an hour or so. Then, we decided to go for a walk, so we walked...5 blocks back to my house, where we sat on MY couch and played with the uber-adorable Soren. Then Biogirl and I went out for an early bird burrito and were home by 7:30. Aaaand...that was Friday.

I worked on Saturday, and it was a superbusy day. I got home and collapsed on the couch (it's always a sign of over-tiredness when I bust out the TV tray for dinner) and watched old Harry Potter movies with Biogirl and Nordic Boy. Nordic Boy had been working on house projects all day that day and he fell into a dead sleep by 9:30. I made it to midnight, but was so sleepy by that time that I sort of felt barfy. Saturday night at our house- woooooo!

It was a fricking ridiculous downpour all weekend- big, fat raindrops everywhere. We dragged ourselves out of the house on Sunday afternoon to get take out and the 10 yard walk to the car had us looking like drenched cats.

Sometimes my life is so glamorous that I just feel braggy, but don't hate me because I am fabulous, people.

Forgot to do Consumables last week, so here's the deal lately:

Harry Potter movies:
I had a friend, Hang, whose first language is not English. She only learned it as an adult, when she moved to this country. Sometimes she would make some gaffes (did I just say "gaffes"? I thought that we could only use that word when talking about Joe Biden), and she always had such a good sense of humor about it when she realized what she had actually said as opposed to what she wanted to say. For instance, one time she wanted to say "I broke into a sweat!" but instead she said "I broke into a sweater!" I think my all-time favorite quote from Hang was when the first Harry Potter movie came out, she was so excited that she messed up the name of it. "Oh my god! I am so excited to see Harry Potter and the Social Security Stone!"

As we watched the Social Security Stone and its sequels this time, I somehow decided to call out when certain characters looked like other famous people. So like when Argus Filch came on, I would yell out "IT'S WILLIE NELSON!" or when Moaning Myrtle would come on, I would say "IT'S TINA FEY!" I should make this into some sort of drinking game or something, but I am not that clever.

One Day, by David Nicholls
A sort of When Harry Met Sally novel about two friends who meet in college and how their relationship grows and changes over the years. The book is structured where each chapter is about the same day, July 15, of each successive year. At first I thought that the book would be a sort of British will-they-won't-they get together sort of thing, and it is, but it turns out to be more that that too. The male character, Dex, starts out a bit dickish, and unpredictably sort of stays dickish throughout the book, which hardly ever happens. You're supposed to learn to love the dickish man, aren't you, and see that he really isn't so bad underneath it all. That's the archetype: from Dr. House to Brian Kinney to Lou Grant to every recent Jack Nicholson movie, that's what we are trained to expect. So in a weird way, I was happy that it was not written that way. Stay a dick! It seems more realistic! That's what I say.

Dancing With the Stars
I have never been able to get into this show, but this year I am giving it a try. Here's the thing. I appreciate the construct whereby people who are clearly not trained dancers try to learn and you see them do things that surprise you. I embrace that. The thing I can't embrace is the dances where they don't actually dance at all, and they just mug for the cameras. Which usually happens in Week One and Two, and it makes me want to gouge out my own eyes so I quit watching. This year, The Hoff was the one that almost made me turn it off. I know- it seems unlike me to dislike cheese of that caliber, but when it comes to dance I can be sort of a snoot, I can admit that. That sort of thing just disrespects dance. (Oh shut up, me). But I persevered, and am still with it. The second thing is that contest shows? TOO MUCH FILLER. That's why I can't watch American Idol. They can shave that thing down to a 15 minute show, and yet it's like 2 hours every week. Can't deal with that. So for DWTS, I tivo it and then rely heavily on my fast forward button. I watch the rehearsal process and the dancing, and maybe some judging. I am spending 15 minutes on that show every week, tops.

Wallandar, starring Kenneth Branagh
They have been showing these on PBS lately, and I find them soothing, in that cerebral PBS way.

Have a good Monday, everyone!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Note to self

You know that thing called gallows humor? I think Nordic Boy has a thing called gallows planning. That dude doesn't just plan for the small things that might happen in advance. He plans for the tsunamis in advance. And the water zombies that will swim out of the tsunami waves. And the scary zombie body lice that will infect us as they are trying to eat our brains. He will take it ALL THE WAY THERE. Right away, zero to sixty. It's weird.

Case in point. The other day, when I got home from work at 9pm and was wolfing down the dinner he had made for me, using a tv tray and staring at the wall while dreaming about the next 10 minutes when I would commence pajamification, he said this. Out of nowhere.

Him: You know, if I wasn't working right now, we have [$ x amount] in my 401k, plus I have a bunch of vacation that I could cash out. We could live on that for a while. How long do you think we could live on that? Or maybe we should sell the house?
Me: (stopping chewing and pajama dreaming) What?
Him: Well, we might have to. I just want to know how you'd feel about that?
Me: Why? Why would we have to? Did something happen? Are you quitting? Being laid off? What?
Him: (giving me the what's-the-big-deal eyes) I'm just saying.
Him: What's wrong?
Me: Do you have a paper bag? I need to hyperventilate now.

Ok, so I didn't really say the thing about the paper bag. But I did almost hyperventilate. See, if you have been on the edge of your chair all year wondering if you would lose YOUR job, and then you find out that yay, you're not going to, and then you work a really exhausting day to where you can't really think straight, what you probably don't need is your partner all the sudden talking about LIVING ON YOUR RETIREMENT MONEY. It's just, I don't know. Bad timing.

So you know what we got around to, after this conversation went on about 10 minutes longer than it seriously needed to go? That Nordic Boy was just talking out of his ass. Just wondering aloud. And making my ticker rupture in the process.

This is like the time that he went to the doctor, and there was nothing wrong with him, but instead of opening the conversation with "hey, I'm healthy as an ox, but going to the doctor today made me think about what would happen if I really got super sick. Maybe we should check into our health insurance policy a little more closely, what do you think?", instead of that, he says: "I went to the doctor today. We should really check our health insurance to see what's covered when someone is terminal."

You see the difference? If you do, could you please explain it to my loverman, because he doesn't see the difference.

It's sudden, these weird morbid pronouncements. And they are often ill-timed. He doesn't do it often, which is good in a way because granny's heart can't take that, but bad in way too, because if you only do that maybe once very couple years or so, I forget that you do that. And so it shocks me all over again, each time.

So I am writing this out so that I don't forget again.

Part of what I think is going on is the fact that Nordic Boy and me have been together since the days of horseless carriages, which means that sometimes I think we forget that we are indeed two separate people. We know each other so well that we forget that we aren't actually in each others's minds. So he doesn't remember that I wasn't actually AT the doctor's appointment with him, and that I know he's fine, and I wasn't in his brain with him on the drive home where he started to think about more dire circumstances. I think he forgets that sometimes and skips right to the end of his thought process. We often joke about the fact that we have maybe gotten to a level of bodily intimacy where we don't see boundaries between us in physical space anymore, which is why we are constantly running into each other and accidentally sitting on each other (yep, we totally do that) and tripping each other up. Some people stay together so long that they act like each other or start looking like each other. We don't do that. Instead, we can forget that we are indeed separate entities.

Yeah, so asking me how I feel about living off our retirement without giving me any context? Irritating. And the mere fact that I am irritated is not a feeling I am used to having around him, so that irritates me even more. I don't know if it's a function of being together for a long time, or if we are just That Extremely Annoying Couple, but there isn't very much about that dude that truly irritates me. I am not an irritable person in general and neither is he, so that helps I am sure. When it comes to small irritations, we are truly too fricking lazy to get all excited about it. Being irritated takes up lots of energy. And we are tired a lot of the time, ya'll.

My friend Neighbor J and I summed it up like this. Some people are little yippee dogs by nature. They are going to yap around whenever anyone says boo to them. Other people are like Old Yeller. Old Yeller likes to sit by the fire and yawn when someone says boo and only gets up if there is really something Big going on.

I don't think I have to tell you where we fit on that spectrum.

But yeah, that one makes me crazy. And then I forget about it and a few years will go by and then all of a sudden it's Mr. Seriousface saying "I was thinking about building a panic room and moving into it full time. Will you help me make a to-do list about making that happen?" and I am all WHAT THE FUCK?

Except I won't be all What the Fuck. Because I wrote this post. And so now I'll remember that he's just full of shit on a biennial basis.

And now we shall all have a moment of thankfulness that Nordic Boy does not have a blog where he can decide to write a post about the times when I am full of shit. Aaaaah-men.

Monday, October 18, 2010


I love it that he plays games involving baby penguins, snowflakes, and cute fireballs with eyes on them.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Now how could we involve Bill Murray in this?

In our new and improved Pretty Much Free Plan from Comcast, we have digital music channels. A showtunes station, a Top 40 station, a 90s R&B station (oh Johnny Gill, I have missed you). Sort of like free Pandora without the commercial interruptions. On Saturday night, Nordic Boy and I stayed in and made ourselves a fancy three course dinner. While we were making dinner, I turned on the music channel. "Which channel should we try?" I said. "I don't care. Just pick one."

I chose 70's, what the hell. Hadn't tried that one before.

I don't know what was happening with that digital channel that evening, but they were playing the slowest, sappiest, sleepiest 70s music ever. The playlist:

That If-A-Picture-Paints-A-Thousand-Words song by Bread

Don't It Make My Brown Eyes Blue by Crystal Gayle

I Just Want To Be Your Everything by Andy Gibb

Some Emerson Lake and Palmer song

Rainy Days and Mondays by The Carpenters

Cat's in the Cradle by Harry Chapin (or is it Jim Croce? I forget. And I'm too lazy to look it up. You know what song I mean).

Nordic Boy: DUDE. The 70s are depressing.
Me: Maybe this mix is supposed to be romantic?
Nordic Boy: Bread is talking about the world ending. That's not romantic.


Nordic Boy: Wow, Patty Murray.
Me: What about Patty Murray?
Nordic Boy: I haven't heard Patty Murray in forever.
Me: Really? But she's everywhere.
Nordic Boy: She is? Still?
Me: Well, I know she's been around for a long time, but it's election season, so her ads are everywhere.
Nordic Boy: Is she campaigning for someone? I thought she was Canadian.
Me: How could she be Canadian? She's in office here. Are you saying she's naturalized? I didn't know that.
Nordic Boy: She's IN OFFICE?
Me: Oh my god. You know that! She's our State Senator for the past bazillion years!
Nordic Boy: No! Our Senator's name is...oh. Patty Murray.
Me: Who did you think we were talking about?
Nordic Boy: Who is singing this awful "You Needed Me" song that's on right now?
Me: That song is by ANNE MURRAY. Not Patty Murray.
Nordic Boy: Oh.

(Silence, chopping veggies, listening to the song)...

Nordic Boy: Are you thinking about how awesome it would be if Senator Murray actually sang this song?
Me: Totally.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Consumables #29

I haven't done Consumables in a while. Let's catch up.


The Last Time I Saw You, by Elizabeth Berg
Super light read about a bunch of folks heading to their 40th high school reunion. It was cozy and cute, and everything turns out just as you want it to in the end, no fuss no muss. It was like a really well done Hallmark Original Movie. On the one hand, I loved how all of the characters weren't written as Mid-life Crisis People. Even though it was set at a reunion, the book isn't about nostalgia. On the other hand, there are several references to the fact that certain characters felt a lot of urgency about going to the reunion, since it'll be the last one. "I have to go! It's my last chance to go to a reunion, because it's the LAST ONE!" they kept saying. What was that all about? A little morbid if you ask me. Do people just literally stop having reunions after the 40th? Is that really a thing? I guess I didn't know that.

Room, by Emma Donoghue
This book, which is about such a disturbing topic (a woman who is being held captive by her rapist for years has a baby and brings up her son in this little room- he has never known the outside world at all and is the narrator of the story), made me feel guilty because I found myself singing "In Your Room" by the Bangles every time I picked it up. NOT COOL, LIBRARIAN. But I couldn't help it, for some reason. I found the first part of the book a little tedious, but once it picked up I really liked it. And the fact that I read this novel during the same time that Oprah couldn't shut up about hostage situations was just a coincidence. Weird.

The Various, by Steve Augarde
Upper elementary school age novel about a girl who goes to live with her uncle and cousins for the summer in the English countryside and discovers a forest nearby inhabited by a fairy civilization. The girl was gutsy and adventurous and the fairy civilization was interesting and not cutesy. I liked it enough to finish it quickly, but not quite enough to read the rest of the series. I think it's a great one to have in your pocket for kid reader's advisory.


This happened a while ago, but I heard that Jon Stewart was going to be on the Oprah show sometime but was too lazy to look up when. Instead I just tivo'ed every episode for the last couple of weeks. Aside from Jon, I got a lot of episodes about people who survived being held somewhere against their will. Ingrid Betancourt, the Discovery channel hostages, American hikers jailed in Iran and a lady that was assaulted via Craigslist. I think that's a weird theme. Anyway, I did get my Jon Stewart episode and he made a John Cusack "Say Anything" reference. My friend Alli is in love with John Cusack. Hot, dirty love that has lasted for pretty much since puberty, uninterrupted. He has maintained #1 status on her List for years and years. I am a fan of Jon Stewart. My love for Jon Stewart is not quite as hot and dirty as her love for John Cusack, but we have been known to call these two our Johns (which, yes, is sort of whorey but whatever). Her John is Cusack, and mine is Stewart. This is why it was cute when she saw this episode of Oprah and texted me IMMEDIATELY when Stewart referenced Cusack. "Your Jon mentioned mine!" It was like we were on a double date. Except it wasn't anything like that.

Gossip Girl
How can Chuck Bass talk like that so consistently? And when will Serena stop calling him "Chalk"?


Rattle and Hum
I ran across this on tv, and it brought me right back to the days when U2 seemed so fresh. The babyfaces on them!

I told you already about how we got to see this on the big screen. I wanted to go back and see North By Northwest last week, but alas, time was not on my side.


Summer is totally over, and fall is starting to wane a bit too. Let's say goodbye to warm weather with a warm weather song, shall we?

Have a good weekend everyone!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hope and Change

I'm going to say something about fast food, and it's going to make me sound like an arugula loving elitist*. Or something. Maybe.

I haven't eaten fast food in SO FREAKING LONG. Like, many years. I would like to say that that is because I am super healthy and politically aware and that I totally care so much about where my food comes from and my palette is so sophisticated that I ain't eating no jacked up Jack in the Box. And I would say those things are all true. But really, I think the more real thing to say (and I am nothing if not one who Keeps It Real) is that I live in an environment where I sort of have to go out of my way to get fast food. There is a McDonald's kind of near where I live, but that's about it. No Taco Bell, no KFC, no White Castle, nothing like that in my vicinity. Maybe if that was all that there was to eat when I was in a hurry, I would eat there. Or if it was on my way to something, I would go. Lord knows that when I was a teenager, I WAS IN HOT PASSIONATE LOVE WITH TACO BELL. And not just the dude. The restaurant.

I am about to get nostalgic about Taco Bell. Just to warn you.

First of all, Taco Bell had bean burritos for 49 cents each. I don't know if that is still true, but back in the olden days, it was. Is that not a teen dream? You get a dollar and you have a meal and one for your date too. Instant romance! No matter that a bean burrito is kind of boring, because you open that puppy up and pour in as much hot sauce as you can stand. Unboring that thing pronto.

There was this one time, when Nordic Boy and I were starving artists (and I mean that almost literally), and we were so freaking hungry, and we didn't have any money. Like none. Zero, zilch. Not even a dollar. So we walked from my apartment towards a Taco Bell, looking down at the ground the whole way, hoping that we would find enough change ON THE SIDEWALK such that, by the time we got to Taco Bell, we would have enough for a bean burrito. I shit you not, we totally did that.

The story would be so much better if we had actually found a couple of quarters that day. Sad to say that we didn't, so we arrived at the Taco Bell and then had to turn around and go home. What a couple of sad sacks we were. But the point is, it could have happened. We could have found enough change to feed ourselves. This brings a new meaning to the phrase Hope and Change, doesn't it? You hope for loose change, and bam! Burrito time! Obama and Taco Bell should have totally gone in on some ads together, am I right?

The last time I had Taco Bell, it was about 10 years ago. Nordic Boy and I were on our way back from Vermont where my brother had just gotten married. We were catching a flight from Albany and we had no time to eat anything, so we stopped at Taco Bell. It was so disappointing, you guys. The love had definitely faded. It was like seeing your first love at a high school reunion and although you remember him being totally hot, he now just looks like George Costanza but you make out with him anyway and then you wonder how you could have ever let that dude get in your knickers. Sometimes, letting a great memory stay a great memory is the best thing to do.

I'm kind of craving a hot fudge sundae from McDonald's right now. Tell me not to do it. I don't want another George Costanza in my pants.

*It's true. I love arugula.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day One of Poop Pipe Replacement

When I got home last night, the side of my yard looked like a crime scene.

I couldn't help but think about how, if this were Little House on the Prairie, then Carrie would for sure fall down this hole, like that mineshaft episode. Or Nancy, when she fell down the well. Or when Laura was held captive in the underground storm cellar hole by crazy Eloise. Because if there was a hole in Walnut Grove, some little kid was going in it for sure. It was like, a law for the show.

That show was sort of messed up ya'll.

Remember when Carrie falls down a hole and ends up in a 70s weirdo Alice in Wonderland world with a twin? You don't remember? Well god bless Youtube, here's a series of clips. Unfortunately the soundtrack is not original to the episiode.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Bills Bills Bills

The whole year of 2010, the idea that I might not have a job in 2011 was pretty dang real. The City Budget of Doom was upon us in Libraryland, and so we had to figure out what the plan was should I lose my paycheck. One of the things that we did to prepare was to rip into turbo speed with the savings. We are already pretty good about saving money, but this year we did more than usual. We were counting pennies, yo. We paid for everything via credit card (and then paid it off every month) just so we could get rewards points that paid for all sorts of free shit. Literally, we went to the Midwest for 2 whole weeks and it cost us $14.50. Free plane tickets, free car rental, free hotels, free food. We also bought a new mattress this way, and some other stuff we need too. Cheapskates, party of two!

We also refinanced our mortgage to get a dirt cheap fixed rate and lower payment, raised the amount of our paychecks that went directly into savings, halted all home improvement projects (aside from the ones that we had to do in order to refinance), and budgeted ourselves down to the penny. Each week, we took out a certain amount of cash for food and other expenses. Once it was gone for the week, it was gone. We even made a game out of it, where at the end of each week, we compared who had more cash left over. The winner had IN YOUR FACE rights, which are kind of a big deal in our house. We also called the cable company to cancel our service, and found out that we apparently had the Stupidfuck Plan from Comcast, wherein we were paying a lot of money for not very many channels. The Comcast lady was all like "How about we sign you up for this Pretty Much Free Plan, which, by the way, gives you twice as many channels as you had before?" Why didn't we know about the Pretty Much Free Plan before, lady? And why do you have a plan where you get so much more for so much less money? Comcast, I am so tired of your mind games.

On Thursday of last week, I found out that I will indeed, for sure, have a job in 2011. HOLLA! Not only is that exciting in the Paychecks Are a Very Sexy Thing department, but in the meantime we had collected a nice little extry money pile to pay for shit I usually pay for, just in case I wasn't able to pay for it anymore.

I am not a hoarder, but with money? Hoarding it can make me do a happy dance.

So yippee for us! we said on Thursday. A job for me and also some extra cabbage on the side. Mmm-uh, mmm-uh, mmm-uh! (That's the typed out version of the Cabbage Patch End Zone dance that we did when we got the news).

Then, on Friday? The tree in our front yard busted through our main sewer line with the power of its root system. CRACK GOES THE POOP PIPE!

Dudes, it was like our house knew that we had a little stash of cash set aside, and was all "LISTEN UP! That money is mine, suckers!"

So we are getting our side sewer replaced. In case you don't know about these things, it costs about 5.2 trillion dollars to do that. You know how much extra savings we saved this year? 5.2 trillion dollars. So if we want to be able to flush our toilets, we have to flush that savings right down with it. Awesome.

But you know what? I am actually not that upset about the whole thing. Usually, spending money is not my favorite thing in the world. I am a tightwad and letting go of my dolla bills can give me a nut-ache most of the time. But this time, I am totally ok with it. I think it is because:

1. I keep thinking: what if the Hulk Hogan root system had busted our pipes ANY OTHER TIME? Now that would have sucked even more. At least we had this "extra" money to pay for it. Who has anything called extra money? Not us, usually. So, if it had to happen, it was perfect timing, really.

2. I am happy that I still have a job. Happy, happy, happy.

3. The ability to flush toilets is kind of a top priority in my life. Call me crazy. I am willing to pay for that service.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Holey Moley Me Oh My

This week, I took two days off of work to celebrate the old Bee Day. It's sort of amazing how two extra days off can feel like a month. I decided that, for my birthday this year, I wanted to celebrate the super ordinary awesomeness in my life right now. What are some things that are super ordinary that I love about my life? I'll tell you.

1. Meeting up with friends
I finished up the actual birthday by going out on the town (by which I mean we sat in a bar) with a bunch of homies. We met up at 8:30, and were wrapping it up by midnight. I remember when my night used to start at midnight, ya'll. You should have seen how tired I was when I got home that night- it was comical. I was straight up stumbling into bed, motor skills evaporating, and it wasn't because I was drunk. It was because OMG IT'S AFTER MIDNIGHT SLEEP WHERE IS MY BED SLEEEEEEPY.

Did I mention that I am not 20 anymore? I always forget that.

On the other hand, I was talking to my brother on the phone at about 9pm and he was amazed, AMAZED, that I was out on a Thursday. "Your night is just starting?? We are about to go to bed now." So, according to some, I am still a young whippersnapper.

I went out with about 20 of my pals and they all bought me fancy drinks which in a way I felt bad about because I tend to be kind of picky about fancy drinks and so I ended up downing some kind of lemony shit that to my unsophisticated palette tasted like you might want to clean your toilet with it (lemon fresh scent!) rather than put it down your gullet. But that's just me. I am also the person who thought a Seagram's Wine Cooler was the height of tasty when I was in high school so you might not want to use me as a drink guide.

2. Shoes
On Friday I went and bought a new pair of shoes. As I was sitting there, a young cute dude struck up a conversation with me. Like, super cute. Ok, hottie hot hot. In my head, I am thinking "Cute boy, trying to talk to me? STILL GOT IT." Then he says to me: "I love those shoes. They're Anyi Lu's, right?" And I said, "Yeah, you're right."

I'm not one to stereotype, but we have to consider the fact that this might have been a gay fellow, yes? Not only the shoe thing, but the fact that he was striking up a conversation with me. What are the chances that a straight hottie, ten years younger than me, was trying to pick me up in the middle of the Nordstrom shoe department? Not a really high liklihood, is all I'm saying.  But whatever the case, I am deciding to file that under "straight cutie who knows his shoes but was overpowered by my animal magnetism." We'll never know the truth, but that's how it's going into the history books, ok?

3. Hiking the city
I went on a long walk around my city. We have been having the most pleasant autumn this year. Just sunny, and crisp, and delightful. Sometimes Seattle can go from summer right into the grey winter of doom overnight, so this has been quite a treat.

4. Comfort food
Nordic Boy had a list of fancy suggestions for a birthday dinner out. "Anything you want to eat, we're going!" But what I really wanted? Was for him to just make me his spinach enchiladas and spanish rice. It's sometimes really weird when I think about how, for many people, comfort food is associated with something a parent or grandparent made for them growing up. For me it's the same- there are some things that my mom makes that I just want when I want to feel safe and loved. But over the years, more of that space in my belly is for stuff Nordic Boy makes for me. I guess it stands to reason- we have been taking care of each other for a long time now. So he made me his simple enchiladas. And then the next night? He made pot pies. Ordinary, but perfect.

5. Old movies
You know how I love me some old movies. A cinema in town is showing Hitchcock movies on the big screen. Um, heaven! We went to see "Vertigo." Seeing Jimmy Stewart be such a friggin' crackpot always kind of freaks me out. And Kim Novak's fake painted-on eyebrows on a screen that big? FRIGHTENING.

The next night Biogirl came over and we watched "An American In Paris." That big dance number at the end is kind of a hot mess, is it not? And the costumes at the Black and White party? A feast for the eyeballs. Why can't real life be like a Gene Kelly movie?

Pot pies, Gene Kelly dvd, present, and cupcakes. Heck yes.

6. My parents
My parents are just heartbreakingly sweet, you guys. On my birthday, my dad had to go back into the hospital, as he has to do sometimes now. My mom had called me that morning to wish me a happy birthday, and had said that my dad would call back later, since he wasn't feeling well. By the time I was ready to go out with my friends that night, I hadn't heard from him, so I knew something was up. I spent a few hours that evening on the phone with my mom, who was by then at the hospital with my dad, and then contacting my siblings and all that other stuff you do when things like that happen. When we were at the point where there wasn't anything more I could do, I left the house to go out with my friends. That's just what you learn to do when you have someone you love that's long-term sick. You figure out when you are needed and for that you drop everything. But when you aren't needed, you have to just keep living your life. So you do it. It's hard, it sucks, but there really isn't anything more to be done sometimes. Does it feel weird to be out hooting it up celebrating with my friends while my dad is in a hospital bed? Yes. Do I want to curl up in a ball and freak out sometimes? Yep. And sometimes I do. But most of the time, I get on with it. Mostly because I know that's what my dad wants me to do.

When my dad got out of the hospital over the weekend, he called me. And you know what he said? "Before we get into anything else, I want to hear all about your birthday." Did I mention heartbreakingly sweet?

So that's my Super Ordinary Everyday sort of birthday that I had. I didn't really do anything special. But yet it was all special. Ooh, deep.

Thursday, October 07, 2010


What do you do when you're solidly and most grown-up-edly in your 30s and you want to go out on the town to celebrate your birthday?

You put on fishnets and a farmy cowgirl dress. Obviously.

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Fire hazard

Delium: "I just got you one candle since there was NO WAY I could fit enough on there to be accurate! ...I mean, not that you're that old. That's not what I meant. It's just because the cake is small. Yeah, um, the cake is small."

Birthday back-pedalling is always appreciated.

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Oh no he didn't

Apparently grossing me out on my birthday is perfectly acceptable. Dill pickle with whipped cream????? Maybe Delium is preggers.

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Some of you might know how to pair wine and cheese, but Delium, for my birthday lunch, has made us sandwiches. To accompany them, he has expertly paired mustards and chips. Ooh la la.

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And the baristas are deciding to blast Depeche Mode? They must know it's my birthday.

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Blogging the Birthday

Treating myself to a pumpkin doughnut. More awesome than the sweet breakfast? The fact that, from my seat, the neon sign just says NUTS.

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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I Am Not A Trapper Keeper

My birthday is coming up, and I have barely given it a moment's thought, you guys. There was a time when I made a big hairy deal about my birthday. Party! Cake! Fancy outfit! Friends! Family! A present for myself! Field trips! Ah, me! I love you! I am a big believer in self love (dirty!).

You know what? I am trading all of that in. Well, most of it in. Technically, when I look at those things on that list I just made, I will still gladly partake of all of those things. I love cake! Who doesn't want cake? Nutpants people, that's who.

But here is the part of my birthday that I have given up. I no longer have any interest, whatsoever, in planning shit for my own birthday. I corral, organize, plan, administer all the livelong day at my job. And the thought of corralling, organizing, planning, or administering anything FOR FUN has just drained right out of me. I just don't want to do it. So if anyone wants to bring me ice cream on a platter, or give me presents, or what have you, I am totally down with that. But I ain't spending this here birthday organizing NOTHING, you dig?

I just wanted to be emphatic about that for a moment. Ok, I'm done now.

Ima now do a weekend wrap up, because the weekend was a glorious thing. First of all, I got home from work on Friday night to find a package from my parents containing cookies from my mom, and birthday money. Cookies and money! I do believe I have discovered the secret to birthday happiness.

On Saturday, who should show up at my front door but blogfriend @AnnieRauh! (Ok, well I invited her but I wanted to make it sound like more awesomeness kept showing up at my door unexpectedly, like the cookies and money). We walked to a neighborhood cafe for brunch where I only managed to talk about work for like 10 minutes (good job, me) and we also got maybe a small lecture from our waitress about the integrity of Annie's sandwich. I have since decided that "integrity of the sandwich" just might be a great band name. We then hiked over to a park (sorry, Midwestern Annie, for all the pesky hills) before she had to be on her way. I love blogfriends.

That night Nordic Boy and I went to see a dance show. One of the pieces we saw was Glass Pieces, which I have wanted to see live, full out ever since I was about 13 years old. And man oh man was it worth the wait. Jerome Robbins and Phillip Glass and super costumes and staging and sweet ass dancing. I was kind of high after I saw it. And can I just tell you how much I love that Nordic Boy dude, because he enjoys this stuff, and really gets it, and has come to so many shows with me over the years that he has developed a good eye and vocabulary about it all? I love all of my friends and family but I have got to say that the dance part of my brain can get awful lonely at times. It sort of hurts on a level that I can't quite explain. So there was a moment during the show where a particularly breathtaking piece of choreography happened, and Nordic Boy squeezed my hand, and it made me want to cry, in a good way. He not only was there, but he was enjoying it, and paying attention, and knew enough to see what I was seeing, and share that with me. Swoony.

On Sunday morning I met up with some lovely librarian ladies for brunch where ok, yes, we talked about work, but we talked about other things too. Hopscotch brought along her little baby cutie pie so we got some time in staring at him, which honestly I could do all day long. The cuteness on that kid would stop a train, I tell you.

After that I stopped over at Delium's house, where he hand delivered me a postcard that he wrote me while he was in Italy last week. Never let it be said that that man won't save money on postage. Then Biogirl and I went on a field trip to the burbs where we got lost in a mall parking lot. And then we got lost in a mall. Both Biogirl and I have a good sense of direction, but there is something about this particular place that makes us lose all sense of where we are. Luckily, we made it out alive.

Then Nordic Boy and I went to the recycling station at the local dump, as we sometimes do on a Sunday. Biogirl pointed out that this just might be the closest thing our family has to Sunday worship. Recycling at the dump. Amen.

Then Nordic Boy and I went to the mall (two different malls in ONE DAY, people. I am not a mall person, so this was truly spectacular). And, as we were walking through Nordstrom, Nordic Boy asked me if I was still having trouble finding a good pair of boots. To which I said YES, and also that I am breaking up with the boot industry for now. He then asked me where I had looked for boots, and I listed off every shoe store known to humanity, including online. Also including Nordstrom, where we were standing. And then, this happened.

Him: So you couldn't find anything at ANY of those places?
Me: Nope.
Him: Wow. That's a lot of places. You really looked in every one of those places?
Him: So you're just going to be bootless for now?
Me: I guess. I literally have perused every boot on earth.
Him: Well, I don't know. What about those?

And he pointed at this pair of boots. Right there in front of us. AND THEY WERE LOVELY.

Me: Wait, but, how?
Him: Those are cool, right?
Me: But! Wait, those were not here when I looked last week! Nor were they on the website! Where did they come from?
Him: I don't know. But I think you should try them on.

So I did, and they rocked, and I got them. Because Nordic Boy is apparently the Shoe Whisperer.

Sunday evening was spent on the couch watching tivo'd episodes of Stewart and Colbert. While eating my birthday cookies. And thinking about my new boots. That I bought with my birthday money. None of which I had to organize or orchestrate myself.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Maybe I do want a wedding

You know what today is? It's my friendy-versary with Biogirl. My awesome BFF, my non-blood sister (ooh, that sounds zombie-ish), my platonic life partner. It was on this day many years ago that she and I went on our first friend date. And you know how you go on awesome first dates and you just can't stop hanging out with the other person so it goes on for hours, and hours, and hours? That's what our first friend date was like. We went for a really long walk, and then we went to a (really awful) movie, and then we made dinner, and then we talked until the middle of the night, and then we made fun of Nordic Boy for talking in his sleep in front of us.

So many years later, and we still do all of those things.

Biogirl and I have often joked that someday, we should have a platonic life partner commitment ceremony. Because we have groused about the fact that we really have missed out on getting to have a registry. So why not commit ourselves to each other in front of our family and friends, and make them buy us blenders and crock pots?

For the sake of the friendy-versary, I started to think about what our vows might sound like. What would I say? Let's give it a whirl.

I, Librarian Girl, do solemnly swear that I will always:

Call you, text you, or email you approximately 3-5 times a day.
Apologize profusely, on a periodic basis, for shutting your hand in the car door that one time.
Make up imaginary bands, towns, townspeople, video games, businesses, personas, and presidents that died on volcanoes with you.
Sit with you when you want to have a good cry about something.
If I shock you too much with something I have said, and you want to hide in the bathroom for a while, I will wait for you to come out.
Always pick up the phone when you call.
Not put tomatoes in your salad.
Have a room for you in any house I live in.
Help you to drive in the snow.
Make inappropriate jokes at inappropriate times.
Let you help me with lunch.
Call you from the dressing room while I am shopping.
Help you move, pick you up from the airport, water your plants, take care of your (future) dog, and pick up your mail when you're gone.
Tell you when the back hem of your skirt is tucked into your underwear.
Be your plus-one.
Let you be my burb sherpa.
Celebrate, in one form or another, as much of Christmas with you as I can possibly bear.
Tell you everything. And I mean everything.
Keep all of your secrets.

I would also like to have a moment to shout out to Nordic Boy, who never minds that I tell the BFF all of our private business, or that we talk about the fact that men die sooner than women so we have planned out our retirement together as Golden Girls style ladies, and who does a bang up job at keeping up with our various other nonsense, and who loves Biogirl almost, almost as much as I do.

And then, I think I have to say the sickness and health, for better for worse part, because dudes, you have no idea. We have so done that.

Biogirl has been there for me through the thickest of the thick and the thinnest of the thin, day in and day out, for over a decade. Literally, every. single. day. She and Nordic Boy run neck and neck for loving me and being there for me no matter what happens on a scary-consistent basis.

Biogirl is, without a doubt, the other love of my life.

To that, I raise a toast to you, dear girl, and say: "BALLS."

Friday, October 01, 2010

Snap Out of It

Oh my dear internets. I have totally neglected you this week. However, you should totally thank me for that because all I have been doing is working, and when I have not been working, I have been running my mouth about work. And when I am not running my mouth about work, I am sitting in quiet contemplation about work. And when I am not doing that, I am sleeping and having dreams about work. WORK WORK WORK. And snow. For some reason I keep dreaming about snow.

I am a person who does many things poorly: gardening is not my forte, my knitting is only so-so, and somewhere between age 12 and now I have lost my rollerskating skills. This is only the tip of the iceberg of things I do badly. One thing I do well, however, is time management. I have a lot of people in my life and big piles of work stuff to do and time for myself to be had and other things going on pretty much back to back all day every day, but for some reason that does not overwhelm me. I live a balanced life and the clock does not scare me at all. You hear me, clock? TICK TOCK BACK AT YOU.

But this week, I admit it. Time won. It got all in my grill and then laughed and did the booty dance dangerously close to my nose. Ok fine. Dance it up.

Here is the bad thing about being a good time management person. Good time managers are totally transparent in their intention. The reason that we are not getting around to calling you? It's not because we don't have time. It's because we don't WANT TO. Because if we wanted to, we would make time. Maybe a little harsh, but at least you know what's up, right? My theory about bad time management is that it's just a lack of being honest with yourself about the fact that there are almost infinite choices to make about how you are going to spend your limited time, and that means that for a lot of those things, you're going to have to say no. And some people just don't know how to say no. It's like having a really huge menu at a restaurant and too many things look like a good idea. Either you make a decision that you are going to have the pork and beans, and you own that, or you order everything on the menu (because what if the meatloaf FEELS BAD?) and then only eat the pork and beans anyway. Which then makes you feel bad that you ordered everything but just couldn't go the distance. Plus, let's face it, if the meatloaf would have felt bad about not being ordered, how does it feel about being ordered and then ignored?

I don't know how this whole thing became all about meatloaf's feelings.

Anyway, so if any of that is even remotely true, then what was it that threw me off this week? Oh, I'll tell you what it was. Control.

See, lots of things are happening, workwise, that are completely out of my control. The Mayor's budget came out (slash goes the library's funding) and the fallout from that has ripped into overdrive. Now there are some things about this situation that I can control. Organizing with my co-workers about what to do, for example. Totally legit. But other than that? There is absolutely nothing I can do about the rest of it. Except think about it. And talk about it.

And think about it. And talk about it.

It's like, if I think about it enough, and talk about it enough, I can tame this stupid beast. Right? Because stewing on something around and around? Makes you, like, totally in control of it. Duh.

So anyway, yeah. I am going to stop that now. I need to conserve my time and energy for other things in life, like being a better rollerskating knitting gardener lady.