Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Recap

Well it's been a busy week of eating chocolate by the pound (lovingly provided by Steve, who still has the metabolism of a young man, unlike the rest of us) and wearing my pajamas all day long and checking my e-mail only once a day. Exhausting work, I tell you, which explains the near-daily naps.

I think I also managed to confuse the hell out of my mother by alternately talking about how ready I am to be a housewife (tongue-in-cheek, as I had just cooked dinner for the first time in the past three weeks) and then openly obsessing over career-related things that would leave little time for a personal life, let alone marriage and children any time in the next century. (For the record, I WILL HAVE IT ALL, JUST WATCH ME. Hey! Stop laughing. I'm not kidding.)

Alas, the Christmas excitement is over, though the joy of my new egg separator will last for years to come. Now I'm back in California, attending to various work details, grocery shopping, and continuing the Christmas card death march, three weeks late, while watching football and drinking beer. Emily Post is probably rolling over in her grave. But I'll be sure to include thank you messages to those who sent me gifts. Surely that counts for something, right?

And now it's the high-pressure New Year's Eve. To make resolutions or not to make resolutions? That is the question. Followed shortly by, what, exactly, shall I resolve? I guess, since I actually have a place to document them, I may as well. Then perhaps I can even refer back to them, making them, you know, actually useful. (Did I make resolutions last year? No idea.)

The old stand-by: Be a kinder, more patient person. Yes, this is like the fifteenth consecutive year I've resolved to do this. Continual improvement is clearly required.

Physical health: Go to the gym every day. Seriously. Whine all you want, but there are no good excuses for missing it.

Financial health: Save, save, save, save, save.

Mental health: Read books. Maybe even ones that you can't read in a seven-hour plane trip and are more than the print equivalent of a chick flick. And that New York Times subscription you pay for? Try to make use of it more than once a quarter.

And you? How was Christmas with the fam? Did you make any resolutions for 2007? And do we get to place bets as to how long they'll last?

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Weirdest Feeling Ever

I'm headed to the airport. Without my laptop.


I think my head might explode.

What if I need to do something on the Internet in the next four hours? I don't know like what. Just, like, what if? What if I get to my parents' and I need a file and it's only saved on the laptop? WHAT THEN???

(Maybe three hours of sleep isn't sufficient. Hmmmm.)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Love Thursday: Christmas Edition

Alternate Title: What I Would've Sent You, Were I a Bit More On Top of Things

The real cards are a work in progress, I swear! But at this point they may be more like New Year's cards, or Groundhog Day cards or, you know, Happy March 8th! cards celebrating my love of glitter. (Glitter again? What is with your glitter obsession? Do you not have enough to clean up around here?)

So, whether you're celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwaanza or Festivus (and I actually know people who do each -- pretty good for a girl from Smalltown, Wisconsin!), have a lovely time. Feel free to send me any unwanted gifts of jewelry or cashmere, but please, keep the fruitcakes to yourself.

Wishing you and your family peace, love and joy this holiday season.

See other Love Thursday entries here.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I Suppose I Should Update You, Huh?

I survived my week in DC and am now safely back on the Left Coast, where it is 20 degrees colder than it was in DC, and that is Just Not Right.

Last week's head-fuckery is over and I did not toss myself off the Key Bridge, so I've got that going for me, which is nice. I'm beginning to suspect that God is like the Marines, wherein they tear you to pieces so they can then rebuild you stronger. The tearing apart was Tuesday. But by the end of the week, my head was once again screwed on straight. Or, uh, as straight as usual.

In other, there is no other news. Christmas cards are delayed indefinitely, as they still have not written themselves. (And? Why the hell do I have 100 people to send Christmas cards to? I'm not generally known as a likeable person. Why do all these people insist upon liking me?) The package I sent to my sister 2-3 day Priority Mail still has not arrived, despite my sending it ten days ago. Joy. My house is remotely clean, and thank god because I'm having a friend over tonight for a little wine-and-appetizer soiree, and she could totally rat me and my housekeeping skills out to the entire internet. Holiday decorations are woefully lacking, though. (Read: there are none.) Perhaps another bottle of wine will make up for it.

My body is still on Eastern Time, which is just as well because I'm headed home this weekend. However, it does explain why I was pretty much passed out by 8:30 last night, was vacuuming the house at 7:30 this morning and, in a conversation with my boss, he actually stopped mid-sentence to ask, "Is it really before 6 AM in California right now?" Um, yes. Please don't hate me.

Last weekend was replete with holiday gatherings, which made my being in DC nothing short of miraculous, because I sure don't get to plan my life that way. I have very little photographic evidence of the festivities, but here! Have this one and feel all Christmasy!

I mean, does this look like a woman who doesn't have her shit together? I didn't think so. But she sure doesn't have memorized InStyle's tips for taking a great picture -- sheesh! Photoshop can only help you so much, darling.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

One wintry Tuesday twenty-eight years ago, I came into this world, kicking and screaming and determined to do things My Way. (Unfortunately for my mother, I was facing the wrong direction. Eventually they straightened me out, though not without considerable effort.)

Turns out not much has changed since then.

The original title for this post was going to be "Anti-Climactic," as my birthday this year, as in many years, was subsumed by holiday festivities. There is no birthday party planned, there was no birthday lunch with co-workers, there will be no birthday happy hour. Today was the annual company holiday party, so there was plenty of merry-making, though not directed at me. This is just part of the territory, when it comes to having a December birthday.

Also, most of my friends are older than me and everyone who's "my age" (really, my grade in school) have long since turned 28, some of them having moved on to 29 or even 30 already, and somewhere around September of each year I start thinking of myself as whatever the upcoming birthday number is, so by the time the day actually rolls around, I've already mentally adjusted to being that age. (In fact, I have more than once recently characterized myself as "pushing thirty," irrespective of the fact that 30 was more than two years away.) This was all fine, as I didn't need to make a big deal out of this particular birthday, so, whatever.

At this point, I would pay good money to lock in "Anti-Climactic" for the rest of my life, because what I got instead was, "Happy Fucking Birthday, please have an identity crisis while you watch your career plans unravel into a giant pile of yarn at your feet, compliments of the Universe, two bosses and one god-damned ex-boyfriend."

I didn't even get cake with it.

So, today was an awful lot like that original Tuesday, December 12, with kicking and screaming and perhaps a bit of staunch determination on my part that would benefit from a little turning around, but I'm not ready to admit defeat yet. Tomorrow is another day and it can only be better than today, right? It'll be hard to top my champagne dinner, (and unlike a "champagne brunch" where you have champagne with brunch, a "champagne dinner" is one where you're consuming only champagne, at dinner-time) but at least I know there are some lovely chocolates waiting for me in California.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like -- Oh, Who Am I Kidding? No It's Not.

Here we are, another Christmas season in California and I cannot wrap my puny little mind around that fact. The grass outside is lush and green, there are still trees with plenty of leaves (red and gold leaves, yes, but full of leaves nonetheless) and not a snowflake in sight. The only way I know it's almost Christmas is because the CD that plays on endless loop at Banana Republic tells me so.

(Is it wrong that this is, quite possibly, my favorite Christmas song? For sure it's in the top five, along with this one, which I think captures my every Christmas need quite perfectly. But hey, no need to wait until Christmas -- you can get a jump on the list and start sending them for my birthday.)

So, it's a wee bit difficult to get motivated to do festive things like decorate the house or send cards or drink a whole bowl of eggnog by myself. I crafted my plan of attack for writing Christmas cards, finishing up my shopping, and getting all of it in the mail and safely to their destinations in plenty of time. But, you know what they say about best laid plans...(please tell me you do, because I don't. Something about mice and men and the Dust Bowl, maybe?)


Today work decided that, rather than complete my holiday tasks in some sort of orderly, low-stress fashion, I should instead hop a plane and spend next week in DC.

I will not freak out. I will not freak out. I will not freak out.

Don't get me wrong, it's a good thing and I'm long overdue, but my To Do list just got a lot longer and the time in which to do it all got a lot shorter. Screw wrapping any presents, I'm just going to toss it all in a box and deal with it when I get to Wisconsin. And for the second year a row, I can do my Christmas cards at the airport. Heartfelt thoughts abound there, you know? But at least I get to spread glitter all over the place and somebody else is stuck cleaning it up! (Just like last year. Sorry, M.)

The good news is, I have many presents already purchased, mostly for my mom. (Dad and I have an arrangement: I shop, he writes me a check. In all fairness to him, I only shop for the clothes, he picks out the other stuff.)

Shopping for my mother is an interesting challenge. She doesn't spend a ton of money on clothes (actually, she doesn't spend a ton of money, period) and would probably curl up in the fetal position and cry if she ever saw some of my receipts. However, she actually likes nice stuff.

Mom: I really like that blue sweater you got me last year.
Me: The cardigan?
Mom: Yeah. It's so warm and soft!
Me: Mom, it's cashmere. It should be warm and soft.
Mom: Ohhh, that explains it.

So I have to balance my desire to buy something nice with her worry that we'll buy her something nice but outrageously priced. Which is how I ended up at J.C.Penney. Yes, really. I walked into the ladies clothing department and nearly spontaneously combusted, so surrounded by synthetic materials was I. But, I perservered and hopefully found something worth my efforts: a pair of jeans, which are non-mom-jeans enough for my taste and, I believe, comfortable enough for her taste. (All the clothes out there are for you young, skinny people. I can't wear those!) Now they just have to fit. And I will have to convince her that the wash doesn't highlight her non-existent ass. (Oh, won't Christmas morning be fun!)

Anyway, once I decided I could cut corners on all this Christmas-
related stuff by, oh, just not giving a crap anymore (which, really, I hate. I hate that I don't have time to lovingly write out lengthy Christmas cards and wrap beautiful presents and make gingerbread houses and whip up batches upon batches of cookies. I hate that these things have to take a back seat to the rest of my crazy life. But, I don't really have a choice. I can't make more time.) I remembered that my trip to DC will involve a very festive party that will require me to get all fancy-dressed-up for. [Mental note: pack a dress.] Fine and dandy, until I realized that means I'll have to do something with my HAIR. And holy crap, if my hair is not the most obstinate thing around when it comes to up-dos. I have made stylists cry with their inability to get my hair to stay in a french twist. How the hell am I supposed to manage this one on my own? And the thought of trying to book a salon appointment only a week in advance? They will LAUGH at me. So, um, ponytail it is! Yee-haw!

I will not freak out. I will not freak out. I will not freak out.

Oh yeah, and in the midst of all this, I have actual real work to do. Which I should probably make a higher priority than frosting snowman cookies, right?

Why yes, the majority of these bags ARE from Banana Republic!
You noticed that, too?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Fall Into...Something


I don't even have a good excuse for not writing, like I'm working on some super-secret project, it's just that I work. A lot, these days. Besides, if I were busy selling nuclear technology to the Chinese, I couldn't really tell you about that without seriously compromising my plans for world domination, now could I?

Neal's in town, which pretty much guarantees I'll be annihilated at least one night this week. Should be great! I'll try to bring you some good stories, if not the hangover. Now, onto the meaningless drivel I'm finally getting around to telling you about.

There is a special relationship between a girl and her stylist. That relationship, like any, relies heavily on trust and good communication skills, right? I thought Frank and I had that, I really did. In addition to the trust and open lines of communication, he thinks I'm the hottest thing to walk into his salon (and there are A LOT of attractive clients there), so I get what can only be described as superior service, despite the fact that I'm not the biggest spender. (Note: I tip quite well. I just don't require expensive treatments, so the base purchase isn't as spendy as it could be.)

So, this special relationship with Frank is what led me to -- oh, god, I can't believe I'm saying this out loud -- request bangs the last time I was in there. Bangs. Holy crap, I don't think I've had bangs since sometime in high school. But, you know, all the cool kids are doing it, so...

I told Frank I wanted long, sweepy bangs. Like Audrey Hepburn. I was thinking something like this:

Apparently Frank was thinking something like this:

because I ended up with this:

[Note to self: Next time you're feeling adventurous, maybe try that Vietnamese restaurant down the block, or pick up a bottle of white wine or something. Leave your poor, defenseless hair alone!]

Really, it's not a bad haircut (believe me when I tell you, I've had much, much worse), it's just, um, not what I had in mind. THOSE ARE BANGS! REAL BANGS! But, if bangs are good enough for Carmindy, they're good enough for me.

It's taken me a couple of weeks to get used to the bangs, instead of wondering who that twelve-year old girl in the mirror was. And, I don't mind them, exactly, I'm just concerned about the youth factor. As in, I really don't need any more youth right now, thanks. (Want to quintuple the youth factor? Pull the rest of my hair into a ponytail. Yeah. Think, Olympic gymnast. I won't be documenting that look for you here.)

Of course, such is the joy that is my crazy-fast-growing hair, I discovered today that the bangs might be long enough to do the sweepy thing I intended in the first place. And maybe I'll add a headband...