Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Mix

When my alarm went off this morning, Matchbox Twenty's, "Merry New York Christmas" was playing. As a New Yorker this song really resonates with me and can always coax some sort of a Christmas mood out of me. This came in handy this morning as it's Christmas Eve Eve and I'm just not quite drunk with holiday cheer just yet. I'm not even tipsy.

I've had little shots of Christmas here and there but, seeing as how I've raised my tolerance over the years, since they've been spaced out over the course of the last month or so, I really haven't been able to maintain a buzz.

So after waking up to one of my favorite Christmas songs this morning, I decided to break out the whiskey strength way to induce holiday cheer (or 'how to get drunk on cheer' as the analogy seems to be going) and burn a Christmas Mix CD for my car. My car now has a more festive soundtrack than even Santa's sleigh. There are classics like "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas" as well as newer songs by Britney, N'Sync, and Mariah.

Because even Ebenezer Scrooge knows that "All I Want for Christmas is You."

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve Eve

Each year as I grow up the holidays seem to come out of nowhere that much more quickly. There's the standard commercial rush that pushes Christmas on us before our Thanksgiving turkey is even in the oven, but it's more than that. I could pontificate endlessly about Christmas cheer spread thin, but that's all been said before. Besides, my feelings on the subject are far more selfish.

Regardless of the Christmas commercials and holiday stores specials and p.c. decorations, I just feel like Christmas has become a bit hollow for me. In college it was so easy to get caught up in the Christmas spirit. Having attended a Jesuit institution, Christmas was everywhere you turned (not "the holidays" mind you, but Christmas thank you very much), it was easy to remember "the reason for the season" as my mother would say. There was Lessons and Carols, where students, faculty, alumni and residents from the surrounding areas came to sing Christmas Carols and hear the passages that related to them. There was Christmas break, not to be confused with winter break. And Christmas decorations covered the campus, making each walk home from campus just a little bit more magical in the evenings (or the early morning hours).

Post-college it seems that my Christmas gear-up consists only of shopping and even that doesn't do much for me anymore. The malls are crowded with people who aren't even shopping, but came along for the ride. It is my firm belief that the stores should be open for 1 hour each morning during the holiday season for serious shoppers. You're not allowed to enter the store without a list, you are given a time limit of 15 minutes per store and you have a 4 store maximum. If you need to get to different stores in 4 different corners of the mall, then you'd better walk fast.

Maybe it's the recession this year, maybe it's the fact that I don't have a significant other, maybe it's just that I'm growing up and I don't like that at all, but whatever it is, I need to seriously ponder how I can change it for next year because I'm not a bah-humbug kind of gal and this whole Debbie Downer Christmas Special just isn't going to fly two years in a row.

Now I'm going to put on The Waitress' "Christmas Wrapping" and see if I can't lift my spirit a bit.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tory Burch

So I hit up the Tory Burch sample sale this week and was greatly disappointed. The last sale had such a better selection. Granted, TB has much better clothes for spring and summer, I guess I was just expecting cuter sweaters and the like.

The shoe selection wasn't good either. There were mostly black boots, and I have so many of those, they had one pair of practically flat brown boots (I say practically because the small heel they did have was a squat gold thing no bigger than a quarter of an inch) and a pair of brown mock-croc ankle boots that really weren't very cute. The only shoes I liked were her canvas converse-y flats and they were asking $75 for them, which I found ridiculous for a pair of glorified sneakers.

Naturally I got the e-mail today that they are dropping the prices (about $20 per item) and got all annoyed because for the 3 shirts I did get, I could have saved $60. The weather is supposed to be terrible all weekend, so who knows if I would have made it in anyway, it's just irritating. On the other hand, the pants did go down to $45.00 a pair and if I can get into the city over the weekend, I'm going to get a couple of pairs because they fit me really nicely.

So if you're in the city and you can stop by, the sale is worth it. If you're not, I'd say that this is one you could go without. Feel free to post any specific questions about what they had when I was there Wednesday and I'll answer to the best of my ability

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Toad-Induced Worry Wart

In general, my worry setting is either "On" or "Off." It's not like I'm constantly worrying about some small thing all the time; I'm either freaking out completely or cruising through my day, not a care in my little world.

My father has many sayings, but one of them is "Don't get in a fight on the way to the fight." This along with a Ziggy comic I found years ago that says, "Worrying is like a roller-coaster; there are a lot of ups and downs and you always wind up in the same place" are two of the more valid analogies I've ever heard. So I try to make that my policy.

So when someone tells me, at a time when I can do noting about it, that there might be a problem, I'm kind of like, "Really? You're telling me this now? You couldn't tell me before so I could look into it?" Obviously we're past the point where they could have told me before, but they didn't, thus here we are.

So why not wait to tell me until you know if there's actually a problem or not? Because by telling me now, if there's in fact no problem, well then you just worried me for no reason.

So my question is; are you still a Worry Wart if the cause of your worry is the toad sitting on your hand?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Grand Theft Kimbo

Racing up the middle lane of the expressway I shift back over into the fast lane, cutting off the person talking on their cell phone. Or, at least, that's what I imagine they are doing; I can't really tell because it's raining this morning, making my commute that much more of a challenge.

Do you ever feel like your commute is like a video game with obstacles at every turn? Those mornings you hit every traffic light and sit at the red wishing you knew Seth Green's character in The Italian Job. "You'll never catch the real Napster," right?

People on cell phones and red lights aren't the only obstacles though; the other morning I saw a man sleep-driving. Perhaps this is the next step-up from sleep walking and he was part of a clinical study, but somehow I doubt that. Besides, don't those experiments take place in a closed course with controlled conditions? Let's hope so.

So obstacle after obstacle I begrudgingly made my way to work this morning. At the big turn off the final main road I found myself on the cut-through side street facing a school bus. Stop-sign out like a gun drawn in the old westerns I could hear that music in the background, like a low whistle. Fortunately the flashing lights went off and he pulled the stop sign back in before I had to draw. Yellow belly.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Yesterday's Case of the Mondays

So yesterday I woke up late, got in here late and just had a general case of the Mondays. Thankfully that wasn't combined with a case of the mean reds. Either way, I was pretty cranky and wouldn't have written anything of interest (whether I do that on a regular basis is something yet to be determined on here anyway).

I did get some great shopping done over the weekend. Some gifts for the fam for Christmas and a few gifts for me too. My biggest score was probably the Miu Miu gold strappy sandals that I scored for under $100. I heart having small feet. Nordstrom Rack was where it was at and if you have small feet as well I recommend you go there since they always have a wide selection in the 5-6 range.

In other news, this week is the Tory Burch sample sale at clothingline. I'm going either today or today so I'll keep you all updated on my winnings.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Impatience is not a Virtue

Each morning I stay in bed 3-7 minutes longer than I should, inevitably throwing off the rest of my morning until I get to work. This has consequently made me late to work fairly often by 5-10 minutes and I don't like to be late to work, regardless of how flexible my employers are, so I then tried to come up with different ways to cut down on my prep time.

Last week I started picking my clothes out the night before. This sounds silly, especially since I could come to work in sweatpants or a clown costume and it wouldn't matter, I rarely interact face to face with anyone outside the office, but in order to keep some semblance of self I feel compelled to at least put on jeans and a sweater. This little compulsion was costing me 3-5 minutes each morning, so this helped. Until it got to be really cold in the mornings and I realized that this could translate into a little bit longer in bed.

This week's tactic has been to throw my entire body up into sitting position the minute my alarm goes off. If the cold air has already hit my skin, it seems as though I have a 70% better chance of getting out of bed (the other 30% is for the extra cold days when the air hits me and I say 'screw this, I'm not ready for the cold').

Today should have gone off without a hitch. Unfortunately I woke up by hitting my elbow into the dresser. I was gaging my progress by expressway exits and doing well, well enough to stop at the deli and reward myself with an egg sandwich.

And that's where it all went wrong. So this is what I have to say to the girl who waited on me this morning:

Working at a deli is all about multi-tasking. people go to a deli for quick service, good food, and cheap prices. This morning you provided two of those three. Why you felt the need to put in each grill order individually, rather than taking several at once and getting them all to cook on the grill simultaneously, is beyond me.

So, yes, I was opening and closing my phone hoping that the snapping noise would give you a hint as to my impatience. Yes, I was rolling my eyes as you carried the bag of rolls from one end of the deli counter to the other instead of checking on the progress of my sandwich (which judging by the temperature when I ate it at my office, was most certainly ready at that point). And yes, I was short with you when you asked 'Is that it?' My 'Yeah' was meant to escape in that staccato burst because it was already 7:01 and you're still ringing me up.

So here's to you deli girl, may it take you forever to get your first drink at happy hour tonight or your take-out food for dinner. May the servers wherever you go tonight have your same sense of urgency on the job.

Wasn't being late my fault in the first place, you might argue, yes. Is my anger misplaced? Absolutely. But where's the fun in acknowledging that?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Leaving 7-11 at 7:11

So I am all sorts of loopy right now. Late to work. Over-tired. Wondering how I'm going to feel later. And basically wishing I could go back to bed.

Left the house during the 5 minute window of my "normal time to leave without being late" and still wound up not getting off my exit until 7:00. Of course I couldn't go to work without sustenance, so I stopped at Sevs. After selecting my buttered roll, coffee, and Vitamin Water, I make my purchase and peace out. When I get in the car I look to see just how late I am and the green neon mocks me; "7:11."

Seriously? I left 7-11 at 7:11? There must be some sort of prize for doing that unintentionally. Well, maybe not a prize, but this morning I pretty much feel like everything I manage to do deserves some sort of reward.

Last night was our neighborhood Christmas dinner and I am exhausted. While I didn't do much to help prepare (I owe the roomies for this one) I did bake a cake that took 2 hours to cook in our oven. K, D and I didn't get to bed until after midnight and that's way past my bedtime.

Speaking of bedtime - is it nap time yet?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Watching Paint Dry

So the old adage for being bored is that whatever you're doing is "like watching paint dry." This morning it is so boring at work that I actually had to paint something just in order to watch it dry. Or watch "them" dry really, I painted my nails.

Normally I'm against doing something so noticeable at work (the smell is always a dead giveaway, if it wasn't many more women would paint their nails on the train), but no one is here and there is nothing going on. Base coat done.

Few things bug me more than when the nail polish doesn't cover the sides of my nails, but making sure I get them usually means getting polish on my cuticle, and I wind up wiping the excess on the desk calendar at my mom's seat. So much for no one noticing. First coat of color done.

This has to be as boring to read as it is to sit here. Maybe tomorrow I'll bring in a coloring book. Second coat done.


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Miley's "Rumors" - Eh, I mean "Fly on the Wall" Video

So I'm getting ready in the morning with MTV on and I hear annoying little Miley Cyrus with her catchy pop tunes in the background. When I actually pause for a moment to see the video, I realize that it's a cross between the Lindsay Lohan "Rumors" video and Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Now I know that no one is original anymore because it's just about impossible to accomplish, but if you're going to copy someone, why LiLo?

Back when "Rumors" first came out I was still quite the LiLo fan. She was from a neighboring hometown and a felt a certain sense of simpatico with her. The video cracked me up because the dance moves were strongly reminiscent of the cheerleading moves at the High School she went to, but I figured that's what I would have done had my pop star dreams ever come true.

Now Miley's doing it over again and she doesn't even attempt the choreography really. She just throws her arms around and wiggles her fingers together (I guess to symbolize "creepy little") like all the girls listening to it at their winter formals will be doing. You would think that with all of her dance war videos and whatnot that she could come up with something better, but maybe "Manders" (of Milers and Manders YouTube fame of course) was the brains behind the operation.


Monday, December 8, 2008

How Much I Like You: As Measured By Facebook Response

My Senior year of college Facebook came out. Still totally obsessed with my school and the tattered hard copy of the original Loyola Freshman Facebook that my roommates and I all received our first day at school, this seemed like the natural progression bringing it to an electronic format that could be accessed from anywhere.

So I like to think of myself as part of the test group for Facebook, a loyal (Loyola) user since 2004. People who made fun of me for belonging to the social networking site back then now have pages and hundreds of "friends" and yet I refrain from reminding them of this; I understand their initial hesitance.

The funny thing is, those who have joined so late in the game don't see how Facebook has changed. Sure they have accepted it into their general lexicon, but they weren't around for the evolution. They didn't witness addition of applications, the pre-newsfeed days, the time before tagging pictures and the change that rocked the Facebook nation: the "new" format (which I still don't like).

Discussing this with new Facebook users is pointless as I will inevitably sound like a zealot, but if you're on the Internet so much that you're reading random blogs then there's a chance you'll understand where I'm coming from.

It's gotten to the point where people are asking one another at bars, "Are you on Facebook?" If I wake up on a Saturday or Sunday morning and I see a new friend request from someone I met the night before I am likely to have two reactions.

One: Indifference. You seemed banal and I don't see the harm in accepting, but I'm not terribly excited about it. This might also be mixed with a little bit of disappointment if I met another person I was hoping to get a request from and did not, so your little e-mail alert was a false positive. I add you to my friends and don't even bother looking at your profile. Ever.
Two: Excitement. Yes, you are the person I was hoping to hear from. I am also hoping you are interested in me beyond the realm of Facebook. This is sad. I am aware.

Every once in awhile there's another response mixed in there. For example, this Sunday I woke to find a friend request that I was not expecting and, even though I was hoping for another one, I found myself pleasantly surprised. I did the full profile check-out and everything.

To be honest, I think that that's part of the appeal for me. In today's dating world it is so hard to meet someone and once you do it's difficult to get to know them. There's so much time wasted pretending you're not interested or waiting for them to show that they're interested before responding. If you're able to look at someones Facebook page you can see if you like the same music, movies, or even if you're of the same religious background if that's important to you. It's a sort of background check and while people could manufacture a page to make them seem a certain way that's pretty manipulative and on the unlikely side. Besides, if someones straight up lying, people can always post on their page and call them on it. Kind of like Facebook justice?

And I'm back in the zealot territory.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Eggs Friday

At my old job, when I worked in the city, every Friday my friend Meghan and I would get eggs for breakfast. Since we worked "in fashion" every girl was super weight conscious, even if they didn't have to be, so eggs on a Friday was a treat.

Personally, I got a toasted sesame bagel with cream cheese every other day, so eggs Friday was more to break the monotony than shrink my waist size (especially since even when the rest of my body shrinks, my waist stays the same as always, like that of a 12 year old boy).

But now when I observe the holiday all it does is remind me of the fact that I no longer work in the city. Bummer.

Yesterday I applied to 2 jobs. Postings have slowed considerably with everyone cutting back and I must admit that I miss the days of sending out 5 cover letters a day. Despite my best attempts to "always look on the bright side of life" I'm finding it difficult not to notice that I'm several cast members short of the Monty Python kick line required to perform that song.

Plenty to do to keep me busy though, holiday parties and whatnot (the holidays are my other standard answer as to why no one is hiring right now). I may need to go all shopaholic though and freeze my main CC in a block of ice, freeze my spending if you will.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Tattoo #2

Back in college I got my first tattoo. It was not your standard 'I was so messed up and I woke up with a huge butterfly tribal symbol across my back' situation though.

After wanting a tattoo for years I finally decided that I would get one in college when a friend of my parents gave my sisters and I money for the holidays and said we could spend it however we wanted. My sensible sisters probably bought sweaters or alcohol, but I decided that, whereas those were things I had actually budgeted for, extra money should be spent on something you hadn't purchased yet because you hadn't had surplus cash.

So I did a little research and on a random weeknight, sitting on the back of a couch in our guy friends' dorm room, I looked at my roommate and quietly said, "You want to go with me tomorrow to get a tattoo?" To which she said "Yeah!" then paused and said, "I don't have to get one too, right?" No, L, did not have to get one too, but I was a little concerned that I might be in too much pain to drive home and I wanted a witness anyway.

The next morning we went downtown to the Baltimore tattoo museum and I showed the big, burly, and very sweet tattoo artist the Gemini symbol I had picked out. Simple, black, small, and something that would always be true about me. He penned a trial version on my right lower back, we decided it was too high (I didn't want it to be visible in every pair of pants I wore), and he said he'd adjust it.

Straddling the backwards stool, fit with handlebars for gripping in pain, I chatted with my roommate until he said to take a look.

"Yeah, there's good, you can do it."
He and L just looked at me. "It's done," he informed me.

And so I had my first tattoo.

7 years later and I think I'm finally ready for #2, which is funny since the first looks just like a swirly Roman numeral two, or my second tattoo. As I mentioned before my first one is on my right lower back, and off center tramp stamp, so I'd like to go with a different area of my body.

For awhile I really like the wrist tattoo, but I'm (unfortunately) not a rock star, so I just don't think that's appropriate. Right now it's looking like it's going to go on the left side of my rib cage, just below where my bra sits, although I'm not sure if I'll go vertical or horizontal with it. The design will somehow involve 3 stars for my sisters and I, but I think I'm going to keep it basic.

For awhile I was playing around with the idea of a "3" in a really cool font, but then I remembered that everyone confuses my first tattoo with a roman numeral, or worse when my pants are covering the bottom of it a pie symbol, so I think I'll stay away from anything else that could go with a math geek theme.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Deli Guy

As is the case with so many people, my morning coffee sets the tone for my day. Fortunately for me there is a deli down the block from where I work that makes excellent coffee and is 25-50 cents cheaper than 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts respectively. So each morning I stop there and each morning the people who work there feel the need to converse with me before I've had said cup of coffee.

This is not such a terrible offense and I realize that the people who work at the deli have no way of knowing that I am not a morning person and no reason to oblige my moods even if they did. It was even bearable when my hours were a very flexible 9-5 (with random days off) and the deli lady and I would engage in friendly banter.

Recently my hours changed and I now work 7-5 (no more leaving early, only scheduled days off). In order to be in any sort of mood to deal with my co-workers (more for their sake than mine really) I need my coffee in the morning. True coffee drinkers and non-morning people will understand why I say need instead of want; I must have my coffee if I'm going to be up earlier than 9am. Is it all in my head? Maybe it started that way, but at this point it's a full-blown caffeine addiction and any addict without their substance of choice is going to be something to recon with... but I digress.

So, since my hours have changed, the deli guy is the one who makes my coffee every morning. Prior to the hours shift I already had an aversion to him form the day I found a $20 on the floor and, being the honest moron I am, handed it over to him and watched as he promptly put it in the Tip jar. They gave me a free cup of coffee, but only after I guilted them into it saying, "If I had known you were going to do that I would have kept it for myself." I also now repeatedly tell my mother that if they didn't make such great coffee I wouldn't buy anything from "this crook."

My new hours have not gone unnoticed, in fact, every morning for the past 3 weeks since my new hours started the deli guy has felt the need to say "early today" with raised eyebrows. The first two weeks I let it go, but last week I said, "early everyday, new hours," before walking out. Apparently that wasn't enough of a cue for him though, as he felt the need to say it again today, followed by, "You do good job now."


Naturally I walked out muttering colorful things, but under my breath because I can't deal with trying to find a new coffee place.

Oh and as I began writing this post and lifted the tab on my coffee lid, it spilled all over the new December page of my desk calendar. Happy Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

New Music Please

Last night, despite my plan to get to bed immediately after watching my CW11 shows, I stayed up until after 11:00 trying to put together a new mix CD. Being as anal retentive as I am the amount of thought and effort that goes into burning a mix CD on my part is completely ridiculous, but nothing drives me nuts when listening to a perfectly good CD than a song that's out of order or one that I get sick of too quickly because the CD is then ruined for me. Irrational? Yes. Ridiculous? Sure. Bordering on insane? One of the many things about me.

My problem with last night's CD was a lack of selection. I was looking for happy tunes, but nothing holiday (one week after Thanksgiving is still a little early if you ask me). The songs can be mellow (I'm all about the singer/song writer and piano-rock tunes) or upbeat (the last few songs include Britney Spears and Lady Gaga), but mostly they have to be positive. The working title of the mix is "Can't Get me Down." And yes I have a "working title" for it.

So this is a call out to you, whoever you are reading this, to share your favorite tunes with me. Ones that always put a smile on your face and force you to sing along. Remind me of an oldie-but-goodie or hit me up with something you think no one else has probably heard before, I'm open to anything.

Thanks in advance.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Take Me Out to the Outlets

Sample sales are not the only place to find fabulous deals. On one of the most popular shopping weekends of the year the roomies and I ventured to the Tanger outlets in Riverhead and it was well worth the trip.

While we decided to skip the whole fiasco that is "Black Friday," we were feeling adventurous enough to hit the holiday shopping hot spot on Saturday AM. Upon our arrival we saw that the crowd there was no different than it is on any sunny Saturday. Maybe it's the recession, maybe it was the death and injury toll from the day before, but for whatever reason the outlets were averagely crowded.

The final count was as follows:
(1) Brown "going out" bag from Coach
Retail Price: $329.00
Sale price: $104.99
(1) Gunmetal all-purpose pocketbook from Cole Haan
Retail Price: $295.00
First Mark-down: $189.00
Second Mark-down (30% off): $132.97
Final Mark-down (Additional 30% for spending $200.00): $92.61
(1) Pair of champagne colored peep-toe pumps from Cole Haan
Retail Price:
First Mark-Down: $180.90
Second Mark-Down (Additional 50% off for Clearance): $90.45
Final Mark-down (Additional 30% for spending $200.00): $63.31

Another shopping success story. The outlets are clearly kicking the sales up a notch in order to keep people coming out this holiday season. I recommend you take advantage of these hard times if you can.

Don't Believe the Hype

Just I had anticipated, I missed nothing by not going back to my hometown for Thanksgiving Eve. My night in Queens was uneventful and the world still existed the following day, Turkeys and all.

Bell Blvd. on Thanksgiving Eve was sure to be packed, so we made it out early. The bar was charging a cover, the first time ever since I've been going there, but it was only $5. My friends and I stuck to our own insulated group for most of the evening and I couldn't have been happier.

Some friends from Grad School stopped by, but they're both pretty low key people and they managed to both let me be and lighten my mood at the same time. There's something special about people you can see out and not have to spend the whole night with, I find friends like that to be a comfort.

So the night passed by and began to blur as we all melded into a similar satisfied stupor. The funniest part of the night was probably the 21 year-old who tried to convince me that "5 years isn't that much of an age difference." Sorry kiddo, I've heard that one before. Besides, as most people who heard this story pointed out, if he's claiming 21 then he's probably 18 and I definitely don't need to get involved with that.

Younger boys seem to be my latest recurring problem and, while this is a serious improvement from the total jerk boys that seemed to seek me out months ago, I'm tired of feeling the need to ID a guy just to let him chat me up. It may be time to rethink my game plan, but if that's the extent of my Thanksgiving Eve drama this year, then I'm doing okay.