Thursday, August 31, 2006

don't you worry what the bitter hearts are gonna say

I ran a fool's errand today; I took a painting that I bought in South Africa to an art store for framing, and spent somewhere between 10 and 20 times the original cost of the painting on stretching and framing. The painting is 19" by 45", and framing ain't cheap, especially for an odd size that has to be custom-stretched and framed--I had an internal debate about whether it was worth framing, but I do really love it, and it will look quite striking in my living room, and it's something that I will have forever (and with me, that's no idle threat, since I tend to keep everything). So, in approximately one month, I will have a glorious red painting to grace my walls. Hopefully by then I will also have a TV and some semblance of order in my life, but who knows.

In other news, I trimmed my toenails, and all is well with the universe.

Another errand I ran today was to stop by this Japanese stationery store in Palo Alto. They had a lot of absurdly cute stuff, but I refrained; I did buy a card for someone because I couldn't resist it. I also bought these amazing little miniature disposable fountain pens; $4.95 each, and probably 3.5" long. I got one in pink and one in green, and they look deliciously tacky next to my more-sophisticated, real fountain pens. That store could drain serious funds from my bank account, and so I'm not allowed to go back there anytime in the near future--especially since I'm contemplating a trip to the Crate and Barrel outlet in the East Bay this weekend. I wonder if you can take methadone to get over an accessory addiction? Or am I destined to end up homeless, destitute, pushing my blankets and tattered clothes around in a lovely rolling entertainment cart with some pink-sorbet pillar candles to light the lonely nights?

After buying pens and getting my artwork framed, I had an impromptu dinner with Adit, and an even more impromptu dinner with Sri (who called Adit right after we ordered, and ended up coming to the restaurant and eating our leftovers). Adit told me the reason for the closure of my favorite Thai restaurant in Mountain View - the place that Walter's family went for his college graduation had a major fire on the same terrace where we enjoyed our curries, and the restaurant is closed until further notice. So, we ate at Amarin instead, where we went for the 'spicy' dishes in a successful attempt to burn out the lining of my mouth. Yay. Then, Sri and I took Adit to the airport, and I came home to wrap up some work and write this blog post.

Finally, you'll be happy to know that I don't have tuberculosis; the doctor prescribed some stuff to get my allergies under control, but was not too concerned. They should be under control just in time for me to go back to Iowa and catch the end of hay-fever season--lucky me! Now, it's time for bed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

warlocks in wonderland

I'm having trouble focusing tonight because I'm unnaturally obsessed with my toenails. They're not unattractively long, but they're longer than I like them to be, and everything is so disorganized that I can't find any clippers (even though I know I have at least three pairs), and so I'm forced to endure my toenails until I either a) clean or b) more likely, snap and buy another pair of clippers. It's the little toes that bother me--my toes are so small that the toenails are also miniscule, which means that it doesn't take very long at all for the pinky toenails to grow to the point that the grown-out part is equal in size to the still-attached-to-nailbed part, and that's when they start to drive me mad.

But enough about that. I just made an appointment for tomorrow with one of the company doctors to check out my lingering sore throat and cough; granted, this happens every summer around this time, and it will eventually go away on its own, but I'd like to speed the process up since I just feel kind of icky as a result. Hopefully I can actually be squeezed in tomorrow, or else it's probably another weekend of hacking up my lungs in a most unladylike manner.

I have nothing of interest to report, so I'm going to bed. Two more days of work, and then a three-day weekend! Yay!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

there's always a siren singing you to shipwreck

I got to work for an eight a.m. conference call, only to discover that the other participant had cancelled it after I woke up (and checked my mail with the desperate hope that it had been cancelled while I slept) but before I got to the office. I hate when that happens! However, I was able to get breakfast as a result--scrambled eggs, spicy roasted potatoes, and zucchini bread did much to restore my spirits. I worked all day, except for a brief lunch hiatus with Alaska Matt, and then came home with the intention of putting my room completely in order. It didn't quite happen, but I did do some laundry and organize my closet, so progress was achieved.

In other news, I saw a catalogue for Stanford Continuing Studies in the cafe near the laundromat, and I rushed home to sign up for a fiction-writing class this fall. I wanted to take the novel class, but it was already full, so I signed up for the short-story class instead. It meets every Thursday evening, conveniently beginning right after Katie's wedding and conveniently ending right before Christmas. Hopefully this will trigger a burst of creativity on my part, and induce me to finish my romance novel; if nothing else, it will provide me with a library card so that I can take naps in Green Library again and relive the days of my lost youth.

The funny thing is that I complain that I never have time to finish my novel because I'm so busy with work--but the fact that I'm so busy with work is what has enabled me to be able to afford a slightly-overpriced $500 continuing studies class. I had wanted to take continuing studies classes when I first graduated, but my entry-level salary was just enough to cover rent, car payments, trips home, and endless stops at Pizza My Heart with Walter; continuing studies had to fall by the wayside, even though I had plenty of free time and a bona-fide 9-6 job. Now, I have the money for continuing studies, but no time, since my job is more like 7-7 and I require at least eight hours of sleep. Anyway, I'm happy that I signed up--I decided to just do it without thinking about it and psyching myself out. Now, I can use the professional opinion of a Stegner Fellow (=prestigious writing fellowship at Stanford) to discover whether I actually have any talent at putting imaginative stories on paper, or if my talents are limited to recounting the admittedly-crazy things that happen to me with near-constant frequency.

Classes don't start for a month, however, which leaves me plenty of time to slack off. I'm going to begin now by going to bed!

Monday, August 28, 2006

makin' noise for the boys in the vatican

To anonymous commenter #3 on my previous post, who suggested that I should 'get over [my]self already', I appreciate the advice. I doubt that I will ever get over myself entirely, because I'm waaaaay too analytical, and I subject myself to the same intense scrutiny that I apply to all problems, whether they are spreadsheets, relationships, or things on my always-endless to-do lists. However, I think that I have gotten over myself to some extent, or at least demonstrated some small measure of 'personal growth'. I no longer obsess over whether men can fall in love with women who are as witty as they are, or whether I will ever be 'normal', or who my friends are, or why I don't trust most people, or many of the myriad issues that I've obsessed over in the past. Frankly, I've stopped caring what most people think of me. I'm still obsessing over other things, like what to do with my life, whether my phobia towards commitment is healthy or concerning, and why I have these occasional (usually contained) impulses to chop off my hair or wreak havoc with my stable friendships or run away to other countries. Anyway, these issues aren't going to go away anytime soon, but I will attempt to get over them--and until that happens, you're just going to have to put up with me.

Anyway, I was in Seattle this weekend for Jasmine and Michael B's wedding. Question: does that mean I should start calling Jasmine 'Jasmine B.'? Answer: I don't think so, since she's not taking his name, but that would still amuse me. The trip was fantastic, although I'm exhausted and still sick. I think the illness might have actually been allergies, since the island was covered in weeds and my cold got excruciatingly worse over the weekend, to the point that I lost my voice from coughing so much. I feel much, much better today, but that could also be from the 10 hours of sleep I got last night.

But enough about my health. I got into Seattle Thursday night and promptly went to Jasmine and Michael's apartment, where I hung out with some of our mutual friends until ~one a.m. I left for Orcas Island early the next morning with two of the other bridesmaids, whom I didn't know before but whom I now like quite a bit. The trip to the island was something of an ordeal--an hour and a half drive from Seattle to the ferry, an hour and a half wait for the ferry (you have to show up early to get a spot), an hour-ish ferry ride, and then another twenty-minute drive to the hotel. We got there in time to grab a late lunch and try on the bridesmaids dresses (mine fit perfectly except for a slight adjustment to the shoulder straps), and then we rehearsed the wedding. The rehearsal dinner involved a quick and mostly-futile attempt to teach the wedding party how to dance so that we could dance at the reception; I was too rusty on the swing steps I learned at TASP to do very well, and it was clear that my rock-step could use some work [the rock-step is the third part of the standard swing pattern]. Despite my lack of coordination, Shedletsky and I pioneered the rock-paper-scissors-step; this graceful move involves doing a couple of rounds of standard rock-stepping, then breaking apart in what would normally lead to the woman being spun--but instead of spinning, each person throws rock, paper, or scissors with their free hand. You go back together and swing out three times to achieve the classic best-of-three game; the winner gets to spin the loser on the next set of steps. Great, huh?

There was a bonfire that night, which didn't help my lung issues at all, and I went to bed at midnight and slept until eleven. I spent the rest of the morning/early afternoon with Jasmine and the bridesmaids, getting our hair done and helping each other into our dresses. The wedding was around four p.m. in this grassy area overlooking the ocean; the setting was gorgeous, the ceremony was the perfect combination of casual and classy, and everything went very well. The reception and dinner were lovely and delicious respectively, the dancing went surprisingly smoothly given how few of us actually knew how to dance, and the whole day was great. After the reception ended, I went back to the house that some of my friends rented and played mafia until two a.m. I hadn't played mafia in ages, but it was fun. Of course, what wasn't fun was that I only got three hours of sleep as a result, since I had to wake up at 6:30 to go back to the house, pick up Doug, Can, Sean, and Henry, and go to the ferry for the trip home. This lack of sleep caused several disasters: 1) I left my wallet in the restroom of a truck stop (thanks to the miracle of Google Maps and the fact that I remembered that the truck stop was off the same exit as a casino, I was able to use the satellite feature to recognize the right truck stop; I called and they had the wallet, so Jasmine picked it up for me on the way back later that day, and I discovered that everything was intact!); 2) I forgot to fill up the rental car with gas before returning it, thus having to pay their extortionate $7-per-gallon refill fee, resulting in an $89 charge; and 3) I just realized that I didn't grab a skirt out of the closet of my hotel room, and it's probably gone forever. Sigh. I usually am not that scatterbrained, so yesterday was rather frustrating.

Despite the frustration, yesterday was still nice; we got back to Seattle in time to have lunch with Dan Y. and John W., who lived in Loro with us my senior year. Dan regaled us with stories of escaping terrorists in Peru, and it was great to see both of them. Then, Doug navigated us to a hill overlooking downtown Seattle with a great view of the space needle, and we whiled away some time there before I left for the airport. I liked what I saw of Seattle, so hopefully I'll get to go back someday. And, Orcas Island was gorgeous--perfect for a wedding, and I could have easily spent a couple more days there.

Now I'm back in California, and I'll be here for almost a month--yay for stability!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

darjeeling puttabong

So I bought this tea awhile ago ('darjeeling puttabong', as you might have guessed from the title); it was more expensive than the looseleaf Irish Breakfast tea that I got at the same time, and yet I like it much, much less. I like my tea almost like I like my Guinness--really dark, but with cream on top to cut the bitterness. Darjeeling puttabong is more of a light, almost floral tea, even after I let it steep for ten minutes. Meh. Oh, well, it gave me an excuse to use my awesome teapot, so I can't complain too much.

After that effortless display of tea snobbery (which, ironically, showed that my tastes are still plebian rather than refined), it's time to report that I have nothing to report--I did nothing today but work, sleep, and go underwear shopping in anticipation of wearing a dress on Saturday that I have never tried on or seen. I decided I should arm myself with a strapless bra just in case, and this of course resulted in a thorough replenishment of my lingerie stocks. Not that anyone will ever see what I bought, unless I'm in a tragic car accident that results in massive head trauma but relatively little damage below the neck, or unless I start outsourcing my laundry duties. On that slightly depressing note (compounded by the fact that I turn 25 in less than three weeks!), I'm off to bed.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

this is the dawning of the rest of our lives

I have nothing to say. How sad is that?

Let me attempt to dredge something up. I had dinner tonight, quite impromptu-ly, with Terry. I should have stayed home and worked; I wasn't really able to sleep last night, and so I went into the office at 7:30 (a full hour earlier than necessary), which afforded me the opportunity to eat breakfast with Subz before the ubiquitous conference call. But, that threw me into a slow decay of energy, which bottomed out around 3:30 and forced me to come home and take a nap. The nap lasted two hours, rather than the thirty minutes I had intended to take, so hopefully I'm still able to sleep tonight, but I'm not going to hold my breath. Of course, holding my breath would ensure 'sleep', or at least its cousin asphyxiation, but I'd rather wake up sans brain damage. I came home from dinner and did the two hours' worth of work that I should have done at the office, and now it's time to go to bed so that I can get up for my seven a.m. conference call tomorrow.

What did I do to deserve so many early mornings? I'm perhaps the antithesis of a morning person--there are times when I feel that I would rather stab myself in the eye than get out of bed in the morning. In an effort to ensure that I don't do that tomorrow morning, thus protecting my precious eyesight for one more day, I should probably go to sleep. Goodnight!

and if i said it a hundred times before--expect a thousand more

So I stayed home sick from work today, because I picked up a nasty cold that unfortunately is not the bubonic plague. I get so tired of just having a sore throat and a runny nose, rather than buboes. Sigh.

Staying home was a good idea in some respects; I may work 12 hours a day in normal circumstances, but my sole concession to work/life balance is not working in the office when I'm miserably ill. In other respects, it wasn't good at all, since I ended up sleeping from noon to four--it definitely made me feel better, but had no positive impact on my jetlag. Between all that sleep and all of the sweet tea I've imbibed to soothe my throat, I'm wide awake and surprisingly punchy. That feeling will probably not last through my 6:30am alarm, so I should consider going to bed. I hate going to bed, though--that's why I should be a novelist. I would thrive in my own little world, where the day would start at noon and last until I fall asleep over my keyboard, where I could periodically take naps in my gorgeously-arrayed bed or a gently-swaying hammock, where I could subsist on strawberry shortcake, oatmeal, steak, and Diet Coke (okay, perhaps 'thrive' isn't the best word). Instead, I need to get up at 6:30 so that I can make it to the office by eight for several hours of meetings and conference calls. Oh, joy. Wish me luck!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

wish upon a star, but do you know what stars are?

I feel like I've been up forever--perhaps because I have been. My August 19 just ended, only 36.5 hours after it started in Hyderabad. It started v. surreally, too--Darragh, Kim and I went clubbing with the other expats before leaving for the airport. The club was called 'Ahala' (which I prefer to call 'Holla', as though it's alluding to SoCal-rap-speak), which has replaced a club that I went to in one of the Taj hotels in Hyderabad last year. Happily I only had one drink, which was key since they charge 750 rupees (~$16) for a single screwdriver. That sounds like the same extortionate prices that the government occasionally pays for screwdrivers, although the government's screwdrivers contain less Absolut and more metal.

Anyway, the ridiculous prices weren't surreal (although they should have been, given that that's more than I've paid for four-course dinner extravaganzas in India)--but it was surreal when photographers for the society pages in one of the local newspapers showed up and started snapping pics of us dancing. It quickly went from amusing to creepy as more photographers kept showing up, including a couple of videographers who seemed to be filming some sort of conservative Indian version of 'Foreign Girls Gone Wild' (conservative because we were all modestly attired, wild because they liked filming up and down from head to toe, v. slowly, in a way that didn't seem to be destined for the evening news). It will be interesting to see if these pics show up in a bona fide newspaper, or if one of my friends someday will recognize me on an illicit Indian porn site.

Being in India was great, but the trip home was brutal and I'm suffering from some crushing exhaustion. I managed to avoid falling asleep after getting back to California this afternoon, although it was a close call; I hit upon the brilliant idea of staying up by rereading one of my favorite romance novels ('Ain't She Sweet' by Susan Elizabeth Phillips), which worked like a charm since I couldn't put it down and so stayed up until almost midnight with it. Tomorrow, though, I need to get up and accomplish something with my day--my apartment is messy and I want it to transform from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. So, I shall take myself off to bed, and perhaps tomorrow I'll have energy to accomplish something (hahahaha, I'm so optimistic).

Thursday, August 17, 2006

when you find me there you'll search no more

I can suddenly barely keep my eyes open, which is unfortunate since I have all this stuff that I want to do for work and don't have time to take care of. Alas. Anyway, today was good; I managed to sleep well last night, and then spent a whole day at the office thinking (painful!). I left around 7pm and brought Jogi back to my hotel for dinner, which was v. nice. We were later joined by Salim and Heather (and Darragh, after Jogi left), and so I had a great, relaxed, entertaining few hours in the hotel restaurant. Now, I should really go to bed--I have to be on my way to the airport in 24 hours!

It's strange the directions that life takes you; when I was growing up, I never dreamed that I would live in India (except when I was reading 'The Secret Garden' and wanted to have an ayah/nanny and parents who died of typhoid or some other crazy disease), let alone live in India long enough that I would feel jaded when I returned. While other people went shopping tonight, I had no desire to go--my house is already full of as many Indian textiles and mementos as I can keep, and my drawers are going to overflow if I don't get control of my spending habits. I've also fully (almost, rather) quelled my 'I'm gonna die' adrenaline reaction to riding in cars with the drivers here, which I think is a big accomplishment. However, I am going to die if I don't get some sleep--goodnight everyone!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

exhaustion

I am beyond exhausted, and it's all my fault; since I was 'recovering' (aka hungover) yesterday, I slept until eleven, and then took a nap in the afternoon. This meant that when I went to bed a little after eleven p.m., I was only able to sleep until three a.m. At that point, I awoke and laid in bed, tossing and turning fitfully without falling asleep again. Sadness! This made me an extremely surly participant of the summit today, and a v. tired attendee at the dinner tonight.

However, dinner was delicious--it was Indian Chinese, which is like Chinese food but spicier. We went to Waterfront, which was where my going-away dinner was last fall, so that brought back bittersweet memories. Now, it's ten p.m. and there's work that I should do, but I'm too wiped out.

Two more days and I'll be getting on a plane!!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

today is our independence day

If an alien spaceship showed up at the Novotel in Hyderabad, I'm curious to see if the security guards could get it to stop long enough to sweep under it for bombs. They take this duty v. seriously; I went into the hotel complex Sunday approximately five times with the same driver, and they checked under the car every single time. You would think that it would be clear that a car full of five people wouldn't be a suicide-bomber car; it's not like suicide bombers are so easy to come by that groups send several in the same car. Of course, that would help to increase the death toll from such a bomb, but it wouldn't do much for recruitment.

Anyway, today was India's independence day, and I spent it recovering from a thoroughly-Western night of drinking and general debauchery. Monday was the first day of the conference I'm here for, and by the end of it I was thoroughly exhausted--I took a ten-minute power nap between getting back to the hotel after work and leaving for dinner at Angeethi (home of the delicious murgh makhni and garlic naan about which I waxed so enthusiastically last year), but it wasn't exactly long enough to revive me. Murgh went a long ways toward ensuring my healthy, which I then promptly destroyed by coercing three other people into playing Circle of Death with me. We'd been pretty good up until that point; leisurely chatting, followed by a nice Salim-produced fireworks display. Salim loves to buy the string of 10,000 firecrackers, which lasts a long time; he also bought mortars to set off a bunch of nice aerial fireworks. But, Circle of Death was the beginning of the end. The four of us drank enough to become completely giddy and hysterical, which meant that we had tons of fun last night and all felt v. sick this morning. Salim said it would have been quicker and easier if he had just let us take turns hitting him in the head with a baseball bat, but where would the fun be in that?

So anyway, I spent the night at Regina's, then came back here with her around noon and had a nice lunch at the hotel. I didn't do anything the rest of the day, and now I'm ready for bed.

I only have three days left of this whirlwind trip--crazy! Now, it's time to see whether my jetlag will let me sleep through the night; goodnight, everyone!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

one way ticket

I woke up this morning to the sound of a hotel staffmember knocking on my door at 9am. He v. thoughtfully decided to hand-deliver my newspaper; apparently, the little bag with the handles on it is meant to be carried to one's room and delivered immediately, rather than hung from the door to await one's attention. There is no placard that says 'Do Not Disturb'; there is a little light outside that is supposed to signify one's desire to be left alone, but I can't find the switch to activate it. Therefore, I am destined to be awoken every morning by a man delivering a paper that I have no intention of reading. Welcome to India, indeed!

Anyway, despite that inauspicious opening, today was brilliant. I went to brunch at the Taj Krishna, which is one of my traditional haunts of old; most of the expats still go there every Sunday, and so I had my usual croissant with salmon, followed by a barbecued chicken pizza, followed by an order of fries that never ever comes, followed by a cup of black tea. Mmm. I had a fabulous time seeing Roy, Leigh Anne, John, Holly, Heather, Salim, Regina, Brian, and the other expats who have arrived more recently. Then, those of us who are here for the week went to Charminar to buy bangles--which is one Indian commodity that I don't need any more of, given the boxes upon boxes of bangles currently inhabiting my living room. I limited myself to one set of four, and focused the rest of my energies on attempting to cross the street without being run over by autorickshaws, cars, buses, motorbikes, regular bikes (always seemingly consisting of more rust than metal), or even a donkey-drawn cart. The area around Charminar is considered the old city, and it is a madness-inducing swirl of people, vehicles, dirt, animals, amazing Technicolor saris, bangles, turbans, and other fantastic products. There are people *everywhere*, mostly staring at the unexpected white people in their midst, unless they are actively trying to run over said white people. Actually, no one seems desirous of running people over; instead, they just don't care if people are crossing the street. This makes navigating the Charminar area v. difficult. The Charminar itself is a Muslim monument in the center of a roundabout, while the only parking area is off one side of the roundabout and the bangle street is off the oppposite side. Therefore, to get to the bangles, one has to navigate the unintelligble traffic patterns of an Indian roundabout, with the disadvantage of not having any wheels or horns. I highly recommend it, and it probably explains why I ended up with so many bangles--the adrenaline rush from surviving the street crossing leads to a lust for life that bangles are strangely suited for.

Anyway, afterwards Darragh and I split off from the group and went to this lovely handicrafts place, where we each bought gorgeous rugs (yay for consumerism). We came back to the hotel, worked on the presentation that we're giving tomorrow, and then I went over to Salim and Heather's. We ended up going out for dinner at this place called Little Italy, which opened after I left; it serves Italian and Mexican food, which I found to be an odd combination. The Italian food was excellent, and I love Heather and Salim, so I had a great night.

Now, I'm going to go to bed--surprisingly, I'm doing really well with the jet lag, considering I made it through the entire day without taking a nap or relaxing much at all. Hopefully it doesn't hit me tomorrow, but only time will tell. Goodnight!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

dehydrated

I have arrived in India, and I have checked into a hotel that is so new that they apparently haven't turned the water on to my wing yet. So, even though it's 3:25am Sunday here, and I've been travelling for an unknown amount of time (actually, it is known, but I'm too tired to figure it out), I can't go to bed yet because the maintenance guys are coming back. Predictably, the maintenance guys consist of one guy who turns the tap on, and another guy who carries a walkie-talkie and supervises. I've really missed India!

Among other amusing things, I'm watching the news (on a nice flatscreen tv), and the Indian version of CNN was showing footage of security guards checking luggage at the airport. The best piece of footage involved four men standing around while one guard picked up a small duffel and tossed it five feet. I couldn't tell what they were checking for--if they were checking for bombs, they would have been blown up, and if they were checking for drugs, they wouldn't have found them without opening the bag. Perhaps they were stress-testing the seams on the bag? In any respect, I feel much safer than I have in ages.

The flight was uneventful, although I stink something terrible since I wasn't able to bring deoderant, toothpaste, perfume, etc. I was, however, able to bring Ambien, and we all bought these amazing neck pillows in the airport. I always scoffed at people who lugged around neck pillows before, since I thought they were for chumps--but, after the blissful sleep that I had on my SF-Frankfurt flight (aided by an Ambien, a face mask, and my noise-cancelling headphones), I'm fully converted to chumpdom.

My sleep on the airplane didn't start as early as I would have liked, since Lauren did my Q2 review on the plane--I'd been joking that it would happen all week, since it was due to happen on Thursday and we were both v. busy in the lead-up to our trip. But, the joking apparently put the idea in her head, and as usually happens with me, joking turned into destiny. So, after the fasten-seatbelt sign turned off, Lauren came back to my row (where I luckily had an extra seat beside me), and we spent an hour talking about my performance at work. It was actually quite productive--we had a good chat, and flight attendants periodically brought us drinks and refreshingly-moist washcloths. I think that my company should introduce the moist-towelette tradition in all reviews, as it was lovely! Happily, my review was great, since it would have been rather awkward to be stuck on a plane with my manager for 24 hours if the review had been difficult.

Okay, the water is now on, which means I can shower and go to bed. Goodnight everyone!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

welcome to the grand illusion

Contrary to popular belief, spinach-artichoke dip is not improved after sitting in soapy water for five days. Actually, I'm not sure if anyone ever held that belief. But, since I haven't been cooking and have barely been home the last few days, I forgot that I had left a pan and a casserole dish soaking in the sink, and the soaking had long since gone beyond 'helpful' and into 'disgusting'. So, I cleaned up the remnants of the spinach-artichoke dip tonight; a year ago, I would have just left it, so I think I'm growing up. Actually, a year ago, I would have left it and the servants would have taken care of it, but in some strange way I still feel that I've made progress.

I'm leaving for India tomorrow, right on the heels of some drastic changes to aviation security rules. I think that I'm a harbinger of terrorist activity; I was born on September 11, and most of my major trips since then have been within days of terrorist activity--I booked my London trip last year only days before the tube bombings, I left Hyderabad less than a week after a terrorist threat kept us grounded in our apartments, I made it to Sri Lanka just months before the Tamil Tigers and the government restarted hostilities in their decades-long civil war, and I left Dublin a day late because a bomb scare grounded all flights. Kim went so far as to say that when I'm travelling, the Homeland Security threat level should automatically go up to 'severe'. However, I'm not concerned--so far nothing has happened to me, and that's all that matters!

I'm pretty much packed up, and in some ways the whole ban on liquids is a good thing, since it cuts out several pounds of carry-on luggage. In other ways, it totally sucks; I'm not looking forward to a 24-hour trip without toothpaste, deoderant, contact lens solution, or lipgloss. There are gonna be some pretty nasty people on arrival in Hyderabad--and this time, I'll know to use the airplane bathroom right before we land, since an airplane bathroom at the end of a ten-hour flight is still preferable to the holes in the ground (with carefully-placed blocks for one's feet) in the restrooms at the Hyderabad airport. This is particularly true since I won't have access to hand sanitizer or soap until I retrive my checked luggage. Ah, the joys of travel.

Last night, I hung out with Claude, and she v. kindly accompanied me on my quest to find a bridesmaid's dress for Katie's wedding. Not that it was much of a quest, since I'm not a Bridezilla (or Bridesmaidzilla, if those things exist); I tried on four or five dresses, liked two, tried to order one and was told that it would take eight weeks, and so ordered the other one. The second one fit perfectly, except for the requisite shortening required by my pint-sized frame, and I'm quite excited. You can see it here. Katie picked pink, for which I will adore her forever, more than I already adore her, which is quite a bit. And, I look v. fetching in the gown, which means that I have a chance of stealing her away from her fiance at the altar, which would cause the scandal of the decade back home and guarantee me a partner in crime for future road trips across the US. Then again, I don't want to have to pay for law school, so I may have to let her stay with James until she's done with her student loans, at which point I can swoop in. Great plan, eh?

Okay, I should probably go to bed so that I can get up v. early, finish packing, and work for a couple of hours before going to the airport. The next time I write, I should be in Hyderabad! Yay!!

[And also, congrats to my nephew Zane, who got two blue ribbons at the Iowa State Fair! Don't you all wish that *you* could go to the State Fair??]

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

all i really learned from love is how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

I probably shouldn't even be attempting to blog, since I'm rather tired, but if I don't blog, my fans start getting antsy. And by 'fans' I mean 'my parents'.

I went to bed late last night and had to get up early, which resulted in me not showering before work. I also didn't put in my contacts. Nor did I fully wake up for several hours, which was frustrating. So, when I left the office around noon to fill a prescription for malaria pills, antibiotics, and Ambien (a delightful combination!), I was excited to find that I would have to wait for it to be filled, and so I ran home (only two blocks away from the pharmacy) and took a half-hour nap. It was fantastic, and completely saved me for the rest of the day.

I left work around six, went to the mall, and procured some necessities. Not that expensive mascara and moisturizer are really necessities, but I like to pretend that they are so that I feel less guilt over my ultra-bourgeois lifestyle. Then, I came home and crossed off a surprising number of rather unpleasant (and therefore avoided) tasks on my to-do list. Now, it's time for bed--and I leave for Hyderabad in three days! I got my passport and visa back today, so unlike my Dublin experience, it appears that I won't get deported. Yippee skippee.

taste the saline running down your cheekbone

I really just like the line in the title of this post; it's so melodramatic. As you probably know, I'm all for melodrama! This means that I've thoroughly enjoyed listening repeatedly to the song that my father recommended to me - 'The Riddle' by Five for Fighting. You would think that a band called 'Five for Fighting' would be a little more hard-rock, but the singer is extremely fond of singing in falsetto. I love falsetto almost as much as I love melodrama (funny how they go together), so I'm enjoying this song quite a bit. The title of my post isn't from that song, though; I just threw that in to confuse everybody, including myself.

Okay, that was a rather meandering opener to this blog post--apologies!

Today was fine, although I need to break my stupid habit of not doing anything at work and then working from 8pm to midnight to make up for it. I feel like I'm allowed to relax just a little bit given the amount that I worked over the past few months, but I don't really have time to relax a lot--but if I didn't relax at work, I could get my stuff done and come home at a relatively normal hour. But, it's difficult for me to stop being stupid, so perhaps I'll continue this idiotic trend until I go to Hyderabad. Since that's less than four days from now, my prophetic vision of time-wasting seems destined to come true.

I have nothing of any importance at all to share tonight, so I'm going to go to bed. I will, however, leave you with this: picture of Johnny Weir. I'm so jealous of this guy; the color commentary on him didn't come right out and say that he was gay, probably to avoid losing the viewership of the small percentage of Americans who a) didn't catch on to his lifestyle after watching him parade around in furs and designer jeans, and b) wouldn't want to watch him skate if they did catch on. Not that male figure skating seems to be a popular sport for the heteros, but Johnny Weir's color commentary was awesome--it was all about his designer jeans and handbags, how much he spends at Gucci, and his hundreds of pairs of designer sunglasses. I don't know where he gets his money, but he has fabulous taste, even if he's too inconsistent to medal.

Only three and a half more years until the next winter olympics! After realising that, it's time to cry myself to sleep; goodnight everyone!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

just waiting for the daylight to come crawling in on me

I was not nearly as productive as I should have been today. I didn't get out of bed until noon, which was awesome. Then, I tried to clean my room, but got hungry, so I went out for lunch instead. Despite the fact that I had people over yesterday, I didn't really have any food in my refrigerator; the only thing in there is a lot of beer, which is sad because a) I bought too much and then had more brought to me, and b) I don't drink alone, so I'm destined to have a lot of beer sitting around for awhile. So I went out for a burrito instead, and also got my car washed. Then, I came home, took another stab at organizing my closet, failed, talked to my parents for awhile, tried with my closet again, failed again, and then leapt at Claudia's offer to 'study' at a cafe. However, the cafe we chose was a lovely place that was not meant for studying; we realized almost immediately that it was more of a fancy-eating-place than a dirty-studying-place, but we stayed anyway and were rewarded with two awesome desserts and a delicious cappuccino. Claude came back to my apartment with me and was going to study here, but we just ended up talking for a couple of hours, before I finally kicked her out so that I would have the energy necessary to unearth my bed from the detritus accumulated from my efforts in the closet.

I really love my bedroom; if I keep the door closed, it stays almost perfectly dark in here until well after noon. My windows face the west, and there's an overhang on my patio that prevents all but the late-afternoon sun from reaching the bedroom. This would sound like a complete disaster, but as I believe I mentioned before, there are skylights in the bathroom and kitchen, and so those rooms can be bathed in light while the bedroom is still encased in sleep-sustaining darkness. Despite my utter laziness today, I'm really excited about getting the place organized and decorated--I'm already half in love with this place, and I'm sure that once it's prettied up, I'll be delirious with happiness. Now, though, it's far from perfect, which makes me sad, and so it's time to go to bed before I flip out and spend all night reorganizing things. Goodnight!

my fast likes the windows down (down, down!)

I was reminded tonight of how fantastic those Volkswagen fast commercials were, and for a few blissful moments I was carried back to the 2006 Winter Olympics, watched in the comfort of my gorgeous corporate apartment with a key cadre of individuals (namely Tammy and Claudia, with a few guest appearances by Oniel). Ah, the memories.

Today was great, albeit a bit stressful at first; I had people over for a barbecue since Emily is visiting this week, but I woke up late and took too long to get ready, and so I only had a couple of hours before people arrived to buy groceries, make food, and put my apartment in some vague semblance of order. My family will be happy to know that I've gotten much faster at turning out foodstuffs than I was during that marathon potato-salad endeavor (which took me about five hours longer than it should of because I was such a slow and meticulous chopper). I threw together a batch of chocolate chip chewies, made a Greek salad (which I knew didn't look right, and I didn't realise until ten hours later that I had forgotten to add feta cheese), cooked up some delicious spinach artichoke dip, washed dishes, and gave an abbreviated scrub-down to my bathroom before my guests arrived. All that was left after they showed up was to cook sausages and steaks on my absurdly-small George Foreman grill.

In some ways, I was rather unlucky today; case in point, I was in danger of dropping the (closed, plastic) ketchup bottle, and saved it by sacrificing the (open, glass) relish jar, which then shattered on the kitchen floor, spreading glass and relish everywhere. There was glass between two of my toes, and so I just stood still while my friends found my broom and cleaned up around me. Nice of them, eh? I had visions of them leaving me trapped and then pillaging my apartment Viking-style, but they refrained from the burning and stealing tendencies that are so ingrained into the human psyche. Since this was the second time in two days that I've dropped something that shattered, I think I need to start being a bit more careful with dishes of food.

In other ways, though, I was completely lucky; my friends put together my patio table, which would have been extremely difficult for me to do by myself. This allowed us to sit outside and enjoy the late-afternoon sunshine, and all in all it was quite lovely. The barbecue crowd was rather small, since many of our friends were out of town, but I saw Garry for the first time in a couple of years, which was great. Shedletsky also came over, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The arrival of Claudia, Victor, Laura, and later Oniel ensured that we would spend a significant amount of time reminiscing about the past, but that's always nice because our collective past is rather amusing. And, of course, it was wonderful to see Emily--it's been over eighteen months since the last time I saw her, which seems impossible, so hopefully I'll see her more in the v. near future.

The immediate future, however, contains my bed and my pillow and no alarm clock. When I do get around to waking up tomorrow, I'd like to organise my closet, clean up my kitchen (including a thorough mopping of the area contaminated by the relish before it begins to reek), and perhaps meet up with Claude for some coffee if she's available. Then, it's just four days in the office next week, and I leave for India on Friday! I can't freaking wait.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

i heard my mama cry--i heard her pray the night chicago died

Dad - you thought having Red Hot Chili Peppers stuck in your head was bad! How about a little Paper Lace?

In completely unrelated news, today was just a so-so day. I was barely able to drag myself out of bed, and so decided to make myself feel better by wearing one of my Indian outfits--the one with the long red tunic covered with rows of rainbow sequins, and the yellow scarf with the beads on both ends. Anyway, I was walking to my car, carrying my laptop bag, my purse, the dish with the yellow cake, and the plate with the blueberry cake, when I realised that my scarf was dragging on the ground. While I was fussing with the scarf, I forgot that the blueberry cake was just resting on top of the other container, and so I didn't balance it properly, which resulted in the plate shattering on the sidewalk, destroying the cake in the process. Actually, the cake looked really damn good, and I thought briefly of trying to salvage it (you know they say that women are more likely than men to eat food that they've dropped on the ground--probably a survival instinct from back when it took us all freaking day to make some boring meal), but decided against a rescue operation when I noticed that the cake was covered in ceramic shards. Dirt is one thing, but I don't know how I would explain to a paramedic that I had sliced up my esophagus by eating cake off the ground.

So, I threw away half of the best cake that I had made in months, and went to work in a thoroughly surly mood. Work was okay, but definitely not exciting. I came home and tried to clean, but failed miserably; so I went to Target in an attempt to get underbed storage containers, but they didn't have any. The day finally, finally took an upswing when Claude fortuitously called me around nine p.m. I was on my way back from Target and about to stop for dinner, and she was just leaving her lab, so we decided to meet at CPK. I enjoyed my traditional roasted garlic chicken pizza, and then Claude came back to my place for a pot of tea. She left about twenty minutes ago, and I should probably go to bed because I have a ton of stuff to do tomorrow before my barbecue guests arrive. I also need to figure out how I'm going to barbecue, since I haven't had time to get a grill; hopefully people won't mind a little George Foreman fat-reducin' action.

My bedroom is taking shape even if my living room is a mess; I reoriented my bed for the third time in six days, and have apparently gotten more adept at it since I didn't end up with any new bruises. The major problem now is the living room; I can't figure out where I will put a TV (particularly a nice, large TV) if I still have my couch and loveseat in the room as well. I could put the loveseat in my bedroom and forsake a dresser, but that seems silly. If you had told me ten years ago that I would ever be paying $1300 a month for a one-bedroom apartment that I didn't even own, I would have told you that you were a fool. Alas, times change, and I was stupid enough to move to one of the most expensive areas in the world. Oh, well; the sadness that I feel at spending so much money on housing is ameliorated by all of the delicious Mexican food and sushi that I consume on an almost-daily basis. Granted, sushi isn't exactly cheap, but it also isn't exactly a tator-tot casserole, so it does have its benefits.

More blogging won't do me any good tonight, though, since sleep is the most important thing currently on my agenda. Goodnight, everyone!

Friday, August 04, 2006

the love i made is the shape of my space

I have to go to bed, since it's one a.m. and I got up a little before seven this morning. I should have gotten up even earlier, but I just couldn't do it, so I took my seven a.m. conference call on my couch in my pajamas. Awesome, huh? Then I went to work, worked, came home and threw a cake together, went back to work for a meeting, came home around 6:15, and had Vidya, Claudia, and Roopa over for a tea party. There was minimal tea and maximal food; I shouldn't have made two cakes (blueberry cream cheese coffee cake and lemon cake) for four people, but I plan to take the leftovers to the office in a shameless attempt to buy friendship, so it's all good. I also made a lot of devilled eggs, and Claudia made delicious cucumber sandwiches and salmon/avocado sandwiches, so all of that food made all of us rather uncomfortable by the end of the night. Also, three of us managed to spill boiling tea on ourselves at some point; I was lucky because, even though I spilt the worst (to the point where I feared that I would end up like my brother did that one time when he spilled the boiling coffee and burned off half his chest), I was able to run into my bedroom and strip off the burning clothes in exchange for some pajamas. I was actually alright, although Claude seemed rather amused when I mentioned five minutes later that my stomach was still warm from the tea, but warm on the outside rather than the inside. Judging by the silence that I'm guessing you read that sentence with, you probably had to be here for that to be funny.

Anyway, it was a great night, but unfortunately I had stuff that I had to get done for Dublin before they got into the office, so I worked from around 11pm until now. Now it's time to go to bed!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

we're all dumb and jaded

I went to Taco Bell tonight, where I proceeded to order my two standard baja chicken chalupas. I also ordered a 'small diet coke', which was silly because Taco Bell is one of the primary purveyors of Pepsi products. However, I have never been met with such an unequivocally negative response to such a request before. Most food service workers will automatically say, 'Diet Pepsi?' or 'is Diet Pepsi okay?' This dude, however, just flat-out said, 'We don't serve Diet Coke'. No offer for a different beverage, no indication that they serve Pepsi product, no nothing. I was shocked. Luckily they actually gave me chicken chalupas; the last time I went to that particular Taco Bell, they gave me beef ones instead, which just weren't the same. I think that Taco Bell only has serious appeal when you're there with several of your most insane friends; the rest of the time, it's just kind of dingy and depressing. Despite all that, though, I keep going back--I think they put MSG in the baja sauce or something.

Today, I had a conference call at eight a.m. (which is better than seven a.m., which is when my day starts tomorrow, so I should *really* go to bed). But, I came home around noon to wait for the Comcast guy, and didn't go back. I got here just in time; there were delivery guys waiting for me outside with my new patio furniture, and they'd been there for twenty minutes. I was stunned. I had requested Tuesday as the delivery date, but the woman at Crate and Barrel had said that the shipper would contact me about the move time. I never got a phone call, so it was lucky that I showed up when they were here. Yay! Now I have patio furniture, which I need to set up. I also reoriented my bed again, and the new scrape is higher up on my arm, where it luckily doesn't look like a track mark or like an abusive boyfriend grabbed my wrist. I tried putting together my stupid Ikea desk, but I'm missing some screws and the desk itself sucks, so I'm debating getting a new one, but I have so many other furniture (and television) purchases that I'd like to make, so perhaps I should wait. I also need to buy plane tickets to two weddings. I had a nice long chat with Katie this afternoon; this was the first day we'd talked on the phone in at least four months, and she happened to pick the day where I wasn't sitting in the office, so we were able to do some proper catching-up. I also unpacked several more boxes and washed a load of dishes, and then worked tonight for a couple of hours, so all in all I had a v. good day.

Tomorrow, however, there are no guarantees; it will start too early, will most likely last too late, and I need to come home and clean up some more because I'm having a tea party for two (well, three, if you count me, which you should, because I'm making the dessert) on Thursday and need to have a place for my lovely lady friends to sit. Take care, everyone!

P.S. Alan, I have always loved that poem! Excellent choice :)