Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween random thoughts...

Happy Halloween everyone! It’s time for my annual Halloween tradition, which consists of turning off my house lights and sneaking off to a location far away from trick-or-treaters. Tonight, that location is Rick’s parents’ house. And although they do live in a neighborhood with lots of safe, kid-friendly streets and plenty of orange-and-black-bedecked houses, they happen to be on the “outskirts” of said neighborhood. Which means their trick-or-treat traffic (hey, nice alliteration… :)) is significantly less insistent than at many of the other houses.

Not that I can blame kids for wanting to forage for free foodstuffs (apparently I’m in some sort of alliterative mood right now…). I just don’t happen to HAVE any candy in my house right now… or any other time, for that matter. And the one year we decided to keep some candy on hand (back when we lived in New Jersey, on a street relatively isolated from other neighborhoods) we significantly underestimated the amount we would need. We hadn’t counted on kids being chauffeured from other neighborhoods in minivan caravans. We finally had to turn the lights off once again and hide from the doorbell…

Rick is on his way back from Chicago, with… Tootsie Rolls! The hotel finally restocked their candy dishes with something other than Starburst. And I didn’t even have to don a costume and knock on doors to get my candy fix…

Speaking of Starbucks (as I was yesterday), my friendly neighborhood Starbucks is advertising the impending arrival of its holiday drinks. I just love the holiday drinks at Starbucks – peppermint mochas, gingerbread lattes, hot chocolate… yum. It’s just hard to find a balance between enjoying a good cup of calorie-laden coffee now and then, and managing to NOT gain weight between Thanksgiving and New Year’s… But still, I can’t wait for those red and white holiday-themed cups Starbucks always stocks up on during this time of year. Like my mom said yesterday – it doesn’t take much to make me happy. :)

Happy trick-or-treating!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Age appropriate...

I went over to my friend Cindy’s house yesterday, so I could hang out with her and the kids and meet their new puppy, Toffee (who is just adorable, by the way). While I was there, Cindy’s ten-year-old son, Jordan, said something to the effect of, “it’s funny – you look like a regular woman, and then you talk and you sound like you’re still in high school. And you act like it too… you’re still eighteen!” I’m not quite sure what to make of that… but I’ve decided I’m going to take it as a compliment, because don’t ten-year-olds generally think anyone over the age of 25 is really, really old? Of course, I’m hoping that Jordan didn’t mean to imply that I sneak out of the house every night and meet my friends at the mall… or that I leave my clothes all over the floor of my bedroom and refuse to clean up… or that I play my music really loud and talk back to my parents…

But I have, at times, been told that my voice is a bit “young.” In fact, I used to like to sing, and spent many, many years in various choruses and choirs. But eventually, I sort of got tired of the fact that I sound like I’m 12 years old when I sing. And that, coupled with the fact that no one can ever HEAR me when I’m in a large group (because my voice is not only young, but very quiet, as well), turned out to be quite discouraging. Now, I mostly just sing when I’m alone and no one is around to ask me when I’m running off to Vienna to join the boy’s choir (and I could SO join the Vienna Boy’s Choir… IF they could get over the fact that I’m not a boy…). This is much to the chagrin of my mom, who, I’m sure, would swear I sing like an angel. :)

And speaking of acting younger than you are – my mom and I made our usual Starbucks run this morning, and the woman waiting for her coffee in front of us was a thin, reasonably attractive woman who, I would guess, was somewhere in her mid-50s. She had a stylish short haircut and manicured nails, and was wearing a nice pair of trouser jeans and, inexplicably, a Hello Kitty sweater. Hello Kitty. The little white cartoon cat that’s so popular on Japanese lunchboxes and with the pre-teen set. A quick perusal of Amazon.com reveals a plethora of Hello Kitty merchandise: A Hello Kitty dollhouse… a Hello Kitty toy tiara… Hello Kitty clock radios… Hello Kitty stickers… Hello Kitty twin sheet sets. But also, strangely enough, Hello Kitty car floor mats, and a Hello Kitty license plate frame. So perhaps the cartoon cat is an acceptable accessory even into the teenage years… but there HAS to be a point where it crosses the line from “cute” to “trying a little too hard to be cute,” right? And I feel like that line was crossed at Starbucks today. I guess if I really want to act like I'm still in high school, I should go buy some Hello Kitty floor mats for my car...

By the way, my “Pre-Halloween Holiday Commercial” count is up to five… After tomorrow, I expect the holiday commercials to begin in earnest. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

More random stolen pictures...

I was at mom and dad's house taking care of the cats this morning (they're on their way home from Buffalo as I type...) and I happened to discover dad's pictures from Hawaii. Yay! More random pictures! So, in no particular order, some more Hawaii pictures:

Me and a sea turtle friend at the Maui Ocean Center...


Dad got this cool picture of me in the light glowing from the jellyfish tank...


Rick's parents, mom, me and Rick hanging out in the plexiglass underwater tunnel...


Dad took this picture of mom taking a picture of Eric D. talking on the phone to Eric in Chicago... so really, it's a picture of Eric up in Chicago...



I love this picture -- I'm not sure what dad did to it, but all the plants are green, and the rest of it is black and white... cool...


Cute picture of Debbie on the hotel balcony...


Nice sunset on the beach...



Another shot of the beach at the hotel -- it was pretty uncrowded most of the time, which makes it more fun to visit the beach...

Me and Rick at the luau...



Eric and Debbie with our waiter at the luau (I think Eric is holding a plate of some of the strange, gelatinous, coconut-flavored dessert we all found rather icky)...



This is me feeding the birds, right in front of the sign that says "please do not feed the birds." Yeah. That's right. I'm a rebel.


Eric and dad hiked down to this blowhole, but the rest of us stayed up on the cliff overlooking the scenery...


Waving down to dad and Eric...


Mom in front of the hotel's main entrance, where she made sure to block the "Kea" so her name would be the prominent feature... (mom loves all the "Lani's" in Hawaii... :))



Laughing at something in the condensed New York Times printout we had outside the door every morning...



Dad at Haleakala...


Wow... I have a lot of hair... I mean, it seems like even more than usual here. Must've been the wind...

Mom and dad at Haleakala...



And finally -- this was part of the roof at the hotel, which looked like... well, you can decide what it looks like to you, but the rest of us pretty much came to the same conclusion... :)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Yum...

Rick and I are hanging out down at my parents' house, while a realtor is over at our place for an open house (pleeeeeease someone show some interest... an offer... any offer. Well, something a little higher than the "100 bucks" offer we got from our friend Jamie yesterday. :)). We were supposed to have this open house last week, but the realtor had car trouble and had to cancel. Which really stuck in my craw (I have never, ever used that expression. Ever. I guess I just thought it was time...). I had spent all weekend cleaning every nook and crannie of the house, and was just finishing up when the realtor called to cancel. Sigh. Of course, the good news is that I didn't have to work nearly as hard THIS weekend, because how dirty can a house get in seven days? Wait, I should add something to that -- how dirty can a house get in seven days if you don't have kids? :)

Anyway... we discovered -- or, rather, re-discovered -- a great restaurant last night. We headed down to the Domain shopping center, with the intention of eating SOMEwhere, but with no particular restaurant in mind. After walking past a few of our "regulars," we spotted Cru -- which, compared to most of the other restaurants in the Domain, is quite small and nondescript and easy to miss. Which is probably why we never think to eat there when we happen to be in the area. We did stop in for lunch several months ago, and I believe we thought it was fairly good. But our dinner last night cemented Cru onto my list of top places to eat in Austin. It's billed as a "wine bar," but even if you're not a drinker, the food alone is reason enough to go.

What I really liked (I mean, besides the fact that my roasted rosemary chicken was EXCELLENT) were the portion sizes -- it's so rare to find a restaurant that serves reasonable portions. Most of them bombard you with so much food that you either feel a) completely stuffed by the time you leave, or b) completely guilty for leaving so much food on your plate. I generally fall into the latter category. I'll eat as much as I can, and then sort of push the rest of the food around until I have achieved the optical illusion of a nearly-empty plate. Apparently the illusion is not very convincing, however, as I've been asked many times by various servers at various restaurants if my meal was "okay." And then I'm left wondering just how big the average person's stomach IS, exactly...

But like I said, the portions at Cru were just right -- a small piece of chicken, a few fingerling potatoes, and some Brussels sprouts. That was all that was on my plate. And I actually managed to eat the entire thing (well, with the exception of the Brussels sprouts, which Rick ate... I've never developed a taste for those things...). And I had plenty of room for the very yummy chocolate chip cookie cake for dessert...

So why can't more restaurants follow that example? Why do I need a plate piled with mountains of food when a much smaller amount will do just fine? There are many places where I would happily pay the SAME amount of money for a meal with LESS food. I suppose some people enjoy the option of taking home leftovers... I, however, am not one of those people. Leftovers never seem to reheat very well... more often than not, that doggy bag full of excess food reheats into a mushy, sticky, extremely unappetizing mess. (Although I readily admit I am one of the pickiest eaters in the world, so perhaps this is not a problem for most people. :))

And this whole post is reminding me -- I have to go grocery shopping...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Well, it's official...

I have now seen two -- yes, two -- holiday-themed commercials on television. And it's not even Halloween yet. In years past, I've often wondered if I've imagined the consistently earlier arrival of Christmastime ads, or if they actually always pop up at the same time each year. But no, I'm pretty sure they ARE getting earlier and earlier every year. Doesn't it seem like marketers used to wait until sometime right around Thanksgiving to start pitching their holiday wares? And then the ads slowly creeped backwards to mid-November... and then they imperceptably inched their way back to the beginning of the month... and then the day after Halloween... and NOW they're popping up before I've even stocked my cabinets with candy for trick-or-treaters (which will never actually happen, by the way... I'll be sneaking out of the house before nightfall again... :)).

I propose that we do away with all this sly holiday commercial subterfuge and just bring everything right out into the open -- let's just run Christmastime commercials ALL year. I mean, why not? It makes more sense to start shopping early, anyway. If the ads don't start showing up until the end of the year, they only give you a couple months of reminders before the Big Day arrives. But what if you happened to be hanging out on your couch one stuffy evening in June, watching Scrubs reruns and sipping iced tea, and suddenly the TV was blaring Jingle Bells and an announcer was chiding you on your lack of holiday forethought? ("The year is half over already! Why haven't you made a list of holiday gift recipients yet? How lazy are YOU?? Stop the procrastination!")

Okay, okay... maybe that would be a little extreme... :) I've never been much of a procrastinator myself, and even I think Christmas commercials in June would be annoying... Or not so much "annoying" as "out-of-place." But how much further back in the year can these commercials be aired before they REALLY start feeling decidedly unseasonal? Half the fun of the holiday season is its brevity -- the fact that it's only around for a short time every year before we go back to our usual less-than-festive lives makes it fun to anticipate. It would be much less fun if it was a constant... but it sort of seems like that's where all these commercials are headed...

But they ARE a reminder of how quickly the end of the year is approaching... do I REALLY only have 60 shopping days until Christmas??? I guess I'd better start paying attention to those holiday commercials...

Friday, October 24, 2008

Speaking of politics...

Ugh... I hate politics... I really do. People always get so emotional about things... and then they get mad... and then they argue... and nobody ever changes their mind about anything, no matter how much reason or logic is thrown their way. Because someone else will always counter it with reason and logic of their OWN. Which, basically, is why nothing ever really gets done in Washington D.C. So until people start realizing we all have pretty common goals and should try to find a way to work together towards them, nothing much will change. Because instead, we seem to always just have one side trying to prove the other side wrong, and vice versa. Sigh... no wonder this country is so polarized and frustrated right now...

However, that being said, I found this essay to be SO good that I had to post a link to it. It asks a lot of questions that we SHOULD be asking, but no one seems to be asking... this entire presidental campaigning season has had me scratching my head in confusion so many times...

But this is it... no more politics for a while... I shall now resume my happy-go-lucky regular postings... :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And maybe a pedicure, too...

A friend of mine, who shall remain nameless (oh, heck – he hasn’t been reading my blog much lately anyway, so I’ll just say it – Faisal. Faisal Faisal Faisal Faisal. There. Now if he happens to Google his own name for some reason, there’s a chance he’ll stumble upon my blog. Heehee… just kidding, Faisal. IF you’re actually reading this… :))… uh, what was I saying? Oh yeah – a friend of mine, who now has a name, has been texting me about Sarah Palin’s wardrobe expenses. In case anyone hasn’t heard – the RNC shelled out $150,000 for clothes, hairstyling and makeup during the campaign for Palin, her husband and her five kids. Once the campaigning is over, the clothes will be donated to charity. And the extravagance of this expense has been repeatedly pointed out by Palin’s critics.

This morning, I found a CNN article about how there’s a bit of a double standard here. Women, it seems, are EXPECTED to “look” good – and no matter what anyone thinks about this expense, you can’t deny that women are often judged by their looks. I mean, think of how many people have called Palin a “naughty librarian” and talked about how “hot” she is… nobody is out there saying OBAMA should strip and pose for a Chippendale’s calendar. And, interestingly, no one has tallied up the cost of any of the MALE candidates’ clothing expenses. You think they’ve all been wearing the same $1000+ suit at every campaign stop? No, of course not – they probably have DOZENS of expensive suits, ties and shoes. And that’s just the candidates themselves. They all have families, too – just like Sarah Palin – which means their family members are no doubt spending exorbitant amounts of money on THEIR looks, as well. Yet Palin is the one catching flak for it.

Faisal, however, pointed out that John Edwards – a Democrat AND a man – was criticized several years ago for his “$400 haircut.” A valid point. Edwards WAS criticized for his expensive haircuts (and his hair doesn’t even look that great… at least not in MY opinion… :)). So I did a little bit of math – if you account for 67 days of campaigning (the time between Palin’s nomination and election day), that 150K works out to about $320 per day per member of the Palin family. This is actually LESS than a John Edwards haircut, and it includes clothes, shoes, makeup AND hair. A much better value, if you ask me… :) The difference is that Republicans tend to espouse the “you should do what you want with YOUR money” idea, whereas Democrats espouse the “we should spread the wealth around” idea – and if you’re getting $400 haircuts, you’re obviously not caring much about “spreading the wealth around.”

I think the bottom line is that ALL campaigners do this sort of thing – it doesn’t matter if they’re Republican or Democrat, male or female. It’s na├»ve to think this is something unique and exclusive to Palin’s campaign, and, therefore, it’s really not something that’s worth too much aggravation. There are too many REAL issues with the candidates in this election, many of which seem to be getting overshadowed by silly, petty, or downright imaginary concerns. And this is not limited to Palin or the Republicans – some of the ridiculous rumors about Obama have been frustratingly annoying. It irks me to no end when people spread false information through mass emails or internet postings. It doesn’t make Obama look bad – it makes whoever SENT the wrong info look bad.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment for a $600 manicure…

Monday, October 20, 2008

I need a candy fix...

Back when I worked at the law firm (a job with memories that I’ve tried to shove into some rarely-accessed corner of my brain), many of the secretaries used to keep dishes of candy on their desk. There was an obvious hierarchy at the firm – the lawyers, of course, being the center of the law firm universe, followed by the planetary bodies of paralegals. The paralegals would metaphorically revolve around the bright, burning egos of the lawyers, always at their beck and call and apparently permanently entangled in their gravitational pull. These people took themselves and their jobs much too seriously to ever have something as frivolous as candy anywhere within their general vicinity.

But then there were the secretaries. They were the nicest, most laid-back, and arguably the hardest workers of the entire bunch. They were the ones who would actually smile and say hello, and say crazy things like “please” and “thank you” when they needed projects taken care of. AND they had candy…

Usually, when I was at work, I liked to hide out in the file room. There was plenty to do, and my boss only trusted two of us – me and a coworker named Marc – to go anywhere near the files. And the best part of the file room was the fact that it was MY domain – if anyone wanted to remove a file, they had to ask me. If anyone wanted to FILE a file, they had to leave it on the shelf near the door and I would go through the process of logging it in the computer and finding its proper place in the room. Not even the lawyers, with their giant egos and comfortable place atop the office hierarchy, were allowed to shuffle through the file room without my permission. A fact I came to love, by the way…

But every now and then, the guy who delivered the interoffice mail would be late, or sick, or on vacation, or need to leave early – and I would take on the mail duties. This would entail collecting all mail/faxes/memos/packages, attaching slips of paper to each one with the initials of the recipient (everything was done by initials… after I’d been working there a few months, I could’ve told you anyone’s initials, but not necessarily everyone’s name), and then arranged in order of which office was where. Then I’d scoop up all the mail and begin a lap around the 18th floor, followed by a jog down the stairs to the 17th floor and another lap around the building…

And the best part of delivering the mail around the office was that I HAD to walk past all the secretaries’ desks, and more often than not, at least one or two of them had a candy dish sitting out. And since it was the nice, friendly secretaries, anyone who walked by felt free to help themselves to the candy. After a while, I discovered that my favorite candy dish was on the desk of one of the secretaries near the copy center. She always had Tootsie Rolls – but not the usual chocolate Tootsie Rolls. No, she had a whole bowl of Tootsie Rolls in different flavors, like lime and orange and cherry and vanilla. I had never seen these colorful Tootsie Rolls before – I’d only ever seen the usual, common, run-of-the-mill chocolate ones. So every time I walked past her desk, I’d grab a few Tootsie Rolls in different flavors, and then head back to the sanctuary of the file room to enjoy them.

And when I quit my job at the law firm, I totally forgot about those yummy unusual Tootsie Rolls. Forgot about them, that is, until my recent trip to Chicago. Because there at the front desk of the hotel, in big, inviting dishes, were piles and piles of flavored Tootsie Rolls. I hadn’t seen them since my days of mail runs at the law firm. The hotel seemed to rotate their candy supply – in the morning they’d set out dishes of Starburst candy, and in the afternoon they’d fill the dishes with Tootsie Rolls. I made sure to grab a handful of Tootsie Rolls every evening, so I’d have enough to tide me over until the next evening…

And since Rick has made that hotel his temporary “home” in Chicago, he’ll be staying there every week until we have a house/condo/apartment up there. So last week I reminded him to bring me a few Tootsie Rolls from the hotel… but apparently they ran out – because all they had the entire week was Starburst (at least that’s what Rick SAID…). And I asked him again tonight when he got to the hotel – any Tootsie Rolls? Nope. Just Starburst. What happened to the Tootsie Rolls? Were they ever really there on that desk? Or were they just a figment of my imagination? At the risk of sounding like a five-year-old: I want more Tootsie Rolls!

I’ll just wait here patiently… eventually someone at that hotel will come to their senses… :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Fly away...

It was 60 degrees this morning! I’m wearing a sweater! Actually, I have to be honest – this is not quite as exciting as it usually is, because I know I’m (eventually) moving to Chicago. And in Chicago, I’ll be LUCKY to get a 60 degree day once Halloween rolls around. I suppose I should be grateful for warm Texas weather as long as it lasts. I am a little bit worried that the house won’t sell until we’re smack dab in the middle of winter, and then once I DO move, it’ll be like climate shock. (Of course, with the total lack of interest we’ve had so far, it could be spring or summer before the house sells. And by then it’ll be temperate again…)

Rick is gonna be SO peeved if he has to keep flying back and forth much longer. Flying isn’t his favorite form of transportation. And it’s filled with all sorts of unknown variables. A couple weeks ago, he called me from the airport and I heard a high-pitched screeching noise in the background. I thought he was at the airport Starbucks – through the phone, it sounded like someone was steaming milk for a cappuccino. But it turned out to be a screeching child – who, much to Rick’s chagrin, ended up occupying the seat across the aisle from him on the airplane ride home. Now, screeching kids on an airplane are bad enough – but as the plane was landing, the rambunctious kid’s mom decided to read to her child in an effort to calm him down. And what was her literature of choice? A Disney book, perhaps? A story about adorable little puppies? Maybe a classic like Charlotte’s Web or The Secret Garden? Nope – she pulled out the safety pamphlet and started reading to her kid about what to do in the event of a crash landing. (“Put your oxygen mask on first, then attend to those who need assistance… in the event of a water landing, your seat cushion can be used as a flotation device…”) That is some soothing bedtime story material right there…

I’m not sure which is worse – the bedtime-story reading of the safety pamphlet, or the NEXT flight Rick was on, where he AGAIN was seated next to a child. This time, as the plane was descending, it hit some turbulence and bounced around a bit. All the bouncing made the child loudly exclaim, “are we crashing?” I don’t know, kid – but just in case, let me read you a delightful story called “The Seat Pocket Safety Card”…

Yeah, flying can be interesting… I mean, just the fact that you are literally trapped inside this manner of conveyance with a bunch of strangers, tens of thousands of feet in the air – it’s a strange thing. If you get sick of them, you can’t step outside for a few moments to get some fresh air, or walk down to the onboard coffee shop (although how cool would it be to have an onboard coffee shop??). So most of us just try to shut out the rest of the plane and get lost in our own little high-altitude world. We work on our laptops, or peruse a magazine, or listen to our iPods, or sleep… or occasionally read the safety card in the seat pocket. I wonder what would happen if all the seats were removed from a plane, and everyone was forced to sit in a group and mingle… ugh… actually, that doesn’t sound fun at all…

And I recently read a report about how rarely the seat pockets are cleaned on airplanes – which means I haven’t pulled out one of those in-flight magazines in a while. Because I don’t even want to think about what ELSE might be festering in that seat pocket… So maybe they SHOULD remove all the seats from airplanes, just to cut down on the germs. (Nah… then where would they stash the safety cards???) :)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Let me in...

We’re back in Austin… it was weird to leave Chicago without the car yesterday. Kinda like, “hey, aren’t we forgetting something? I’m sure we had more than this when we got here…” Our flight was nice and uneventful – especially since the weather in Chicago was perfect yesterday (after being consistently rainy and cloudy the entire time we were there). We were in the second to last row of the plane, RIGHT next to the engine. And I was suddenly very grateful that I always carry earplugs with me when I travel, even though I don’t always use them. But I think I would’ve had a huge headache by the end of the flight if I hadn’t immediately made use of my earplugs to shut out the engine noise. Well, DECREASED the engine noise… it would’ve taken more than a couple little foam earplugs to completely shut it out. So I was still very aware of the constant thrumming of the engine, droning on and on… thud… thud… thud… (this, of course, is actually much better than the alternative SILENCE of the engine, which is really not a very good option at all when you’re 25 thousand feet above the earth…)

I didn’t have any chances to blog while I was in Chicago, since Rick had the only computer. I don’t usually travel with mine (and besides, Rick always has HIS, right?). So while I had plenty of extra time that I could’ve used to write random thoughts and post them to my blog, I had no way to DO that. For the majority of the day, I was cut off from the outside cyberworld. Which really isn’t such a bad thing, to be honest. I mean, if you’re always online and reading about what’s going on in the cyberworld, you can kind of lose touch with what’s going on in your own REAL world…

So even though I had no computer and Rick was gone most of the day, I still found ways to keep busy and discovered little moments of drama throughout my day. For instance, the first day I was at the hotel, my key stopped working. I had planned to go down to the fitness center and walk on one of the treadmills for a while – so I dressed in my workout clothing, put my wallet and camera in the room safe, grabbed my phone and room key, and headed down to the lower level fitness center. To get in, you have to swipe your room key outside the door – that keeps out all the riff raff fitness buffs. (I’m kidding – it’s actually a good idea to make sure only hotel guests can use the facilities… especially since it’s in the basement and, at least when I was in there, practically deserted…) So I swiped my key outside the fitness center door – and instead of the little green light that announces, “yes! You’ve been cleared! You have been granted access to this room of privilege!” nothing happened. So I tried it again. And again. And probably again. (Yes, I was quite tenacious.) Finally, I accepted the fact that the key was NOT going to work, and gave up. And then I realized something – if my key wasn’t working for the fitness center, that probably meant it would no longer work for my ROOM, either. So I took the elevator back up to my floor and confirmed what I already knew – I was locked out of my hotel room.

Okay, no problem – I just had to go to the front desk and tell them to reprogram my key. So I explained to the woman behind the counter that my key had stopped working, and told her which room I was in. And of course the first thing she asked was, “do you have ID?” (Um, yeah… up in the room safe… the room that I happen to be locked out of…) So then she asked whose name the room was registered under, and I gave her Rick’s name. And then she wanted his phone number, so I gave her his new Chicago number, but that seemed to confuse her. So I gave her our home number, and that didn’t help much either. Maybe Rick’s old cell phone? I gave her THAT number, and she was STILL staring at her computer screen with a furrowed brow and a look of concern on her face. And I was running out of phone numbers… Finally, she said, “I’ll go ahead and reprogram the key, but tell Rick to put your name on the reservation so we know who’s allowed to be in the room.” So I guess she decided that I did NOT look like the kind of person who simply wanted to break into someone’s room to steal all their stuff. And when Rick and I came back later so he could add my name to the room, we discovered that they had some weird phone number on file neither of us was familiar with. Rick figures it must’ve been because this was a work reservation and not a personal reservation. So it’s some random company number that I never would’ve been able to guess. Good thing she finally reprogrammed my key anyway… otherwise I guess I would’ve been stuck in the lobby all day…

So now I must get busy with unpacking and laundry, so I can clear the bedroom of suitcases in the event someone should want to see the house (even though there’s been very little interest the last couple weeks… stupid economy. But that’s okay – once the Great Wise Benevolent One Obama has been elected, everything will be puppies and rainbows and world peace and harmony… Chant with me now – yes we can! Yes we can! Change! Change! All hail our Soon-to-Be Dear Leader!) Um, yeah… like I said… laundry… :)

Friday, October 03, 2008

Friday random thoughts...

I accidentally missed the season premiere of one of my favorite new shows from last year – Chuck – when it was on last Monday. And I got lucky when I noticed that “Pushing Daisies” – another one of my favorites from last year – was starting up again. I managed to Tivo that one. But I’ll have to find Chuck online and watch it before next week. The problem, of course, is that the stupid writer’s strike completely threw off the entire television season last year. So we ended up with these great shows that aired about eight episodes before they ran out of material, and then they just disappeared into oblivion for months and months. How was I supposed to remember that Chuck was back on the air, when I’d gotten so used to watching reruns of “Family Guy” and “The Office” on TBS every night because of the lack of original programming?

So I’ve been seeing these ads lately for a show called “Good Day Austin” – which is like Austin’s version of Good Morning America, I suppose. In the commercials, they go out on the streets downtown and ask people about New York – “Do you know what the weather is like in New York today? Are you a Yankee fan?” – and the people, of course, answer with, “no… who cares… I’m a Rangers fan…” etc. And then the ad ends with, “don’t watch news about New York! Watch news about Austin!” But clearly these people never asked ME any of these questions, because I would say, “New York? Oh yeah, it’s sunny and about 65 degrees there today – doesn’t that sound nice? And I LOVE the Yankees! Thanks for asking!!” Some of us actually LIKE watching the news from New York, because it makes us feel nostalgic and wistful… and it makes us look forward to the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center, which is only a couple months away… (what?? Do I have to start my Christmas shopping already???)

Eric is here for a visit this weekend… which is funny, because Rick and I are actually driving up to Chicago on Sunday. (But then Eric flies back on Monday, so we’ll see him up there, too… unless he tries to hide somewhere and pretends like he’s not home when we show up at his condo…) We’re driving up to Chicago so Rick will have his own car up there – we’d be moving it up eventually anyway, and this way he doesn’t have to rent a car every single time he flies up. Plus, he’ll be able to keep some of his stuff in the car – like full size toiletry bottles, instead of those tiny little travel-sizes you need for carry-ons – so he won’t have to pack as much when he leaves every Monday. He negotiated a good deal with a hotel that has covered parking, so he can keep the car at the hotel even when he’s back in Austin. So I’m going up this week just for the fun of it, which means I’ll probably be totally bored most of the day… but the hotel has a gym and a pool and a Starbucks, so hopefully I can waste a little bit of time…

Well, that’s about it for today… have to head out now to take the car to a tire place to get new tires… Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Hungry?

A foodie friend of mine, who writes under the pen name Arthur J. Stern, recently started reviewing restaurants for an online paper (which, I guess, isn't actually a "paper," since there's no paper involved) -- okay, an online publication. His column is called Stern Eats, and you can find it at www.thealternativepress.com. I've been proofreading these articles, so if anyone finds any mistakes, please don't point them out... I must tenaciously hold on to my misconception that I am perfection personified. (I don't REALLY think that... in case anyone thinks I'm being serious... :)) And if you happen to live in the Northern New Jersey area, definitely check out some of Arthur's restaurant picks -- every time I read one of those reviews, I end up hungry. I was especially intrigued by the "roasted garlic ice cream" mentioned in one of the columns. (Garlic? In ice cream? Hey, if it's good enough to keep vampires away, it's good enough for ice cream... Right?) :)