Sunday, September 30, 2007

every rose has its thorn

Apologies for not blogging yesterday - as usual, I did nothing on Saturday night and yet didn't have the energy necessary to write. I had written in my journal, which obviated the need for expressing my thoughts online. Yesterday was good, though. I went to Sunnyvale to see part of Roopa's classical Indian singing performance. It was v. good, although since I don't understand the words, I didn't get as much out of it as some audience members probably did. However, it did make me homesick for Hyderabad. Or, perhaps as Vidya pointed out, I'm just 'homesick' for travel in general - I haven't gone anywhere interesting since I went to Ukraine in May, and while trips to Salt Lake, Tahoe, and Iowa were fun, they weren't really classic adventures. I think I'm just feeling a dearth of adventure in my life, which is something that I want to rectify sooner rather than later.

After the concert, I had a late lunch with Vidya and Adit, took a nap, and spent the rest of the evening watching TV. I watched 'Moonlight' (the awful vampire show on CBS which I will of course keeping watching, because I have a secret affection for vampires), and 'Chuck' (surprisingly pretty good - it's on NBC, about a dorky guy who gets all of the government's secrets downloaded into his brain), and well as the season premiere of 'The Office'. All in all, the perfect slightly-depressing but still relaxing Saturday night.

Today, I slept in, took a shower, played with my makeup, and went through my usual Sunday ritual of reading every interesting story on the New York Times website. I talked to my mom for awhile, and then met Vidya at Cafe Borrone. We had intended to work, but of course we talked for two hours instead. It was really nice - I was feeling rather depressed this weekend that I'm losing touch w/my friends (for example, Claude, whom I've only talked to a couple of times in the last month, even though we used to see each other at least twice a week), but seeing Vidya was a welcome respite from my standard crazy go-go-go work life.

After hanging out with Vidya, I went to Best Buy and bought a TiVo. I had avoided it for years, but I finally bit the bullet - I would watch television to relax at night if there were things on that I wanted to see at precisely the time that I wanted to watch. The first thing I did was set up a Season Pass (recurring recording) of 'The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson' - so I will never miss Craig again, and I won't have to force myself to stay up in order to see him! Yay!

So that's all for now - this week at work is going to be brutal, but I might as well stop saying that, because they all are. Now I'm going to finish watching the finale of 'Rock of Love' - ridiculous, since I'd never watched it until now, but I kind of love it. Goodnight!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

salaam namaste

In general, today was quite a lovely day. I decided to wear one of my Indian outfits; I hadn't worn a salwar kameeze in a year, and I really miss them. They're so comfortable - it's like I can get away with wearing pajamas to work, even if here I attract far more attention while wearing them than I did in Hyderabad. The consequence, though, is that my desk is situated right under and air conditioning vent and right next to a poorly-insulated window. This made my right arm and hand so cold that I was having difficulty typing, and I couldn't hold a pen properly to write a good note. But, pain i s the price of fashion - and getting to wear a pastel purple tunic, loose lavender gingham pants, and shiny bangles was well worth the sacrifice to my core temperature.

After work, I came home and straightened up the apartment. Then, I went up to the evil city with Jenni, Nick, Arod, and Regina. Arod had set up an expat reunion for us at Heather and Salim's apartment. I had been thinking about the group ever since I had talked to the director of the India office on Wednesday and he had said that the scavenger hunt for my birthday was the 'pinnacle of expat culture' in the Hyderabad office. So, the evening was really nice - we ordered pizza, drank some delicious drinks, and played several rounds of asshole (for those of you who haven't played, it's a drinking game). We played with Salim's naked-lady cards, which was entertaining, particularly since the naked ladies were juxtaposed with the rather tame Indian music in the background. In addition to Nick, Arod, Regina, Heather, and Salim, we also had Rohit, Saamra and Katina in attendance. Everyone was in top form, and seemed to really enjoy hanging out, so hopefully we do it again a bit sooner.

However, I need to start making more time for 'real friends' - they can still be work friends (I can think of a couple of examples), but I need to make it more of a priority to hang out with my closest/oldest friends too. It really goes along with the difficulty I have in setting boundaries at work - I tend to work too much because I don't make firm commitments to myself to get out of the office at a certain time, so I don't manage my time completely effectively because I anticipate that I will have to work at night. Anyway, speaking of making more time for friends, I should really go to bed so that I can go to Roopa's concert tomorrow. Goodnight!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

you're setting me up and i'm taking the fall

Tonight was my team's offsite, and it was super fun - to quote Marci, 'this was the first offsite I've been to that wasn't awkward'. Twelve of us went to Saratoga and did some winetasting, and then had dinner at a restaurant a couple of blocks down the street. It actually qualified as team building too - while we didn't do any lame trust-building exercises, we did go around the room and asked questions of everyone in turn. It was great - I learned things about people that I never would have actually asked about in a normal setting, and fun seemed to be had by all. Two members of the team are leaving for Ann Arbor this weekend, which is really sad, but they'll be back in a quarter, so I suppose it's all good.

Working with such a great group of people sort of makes up for the fact that I have no life, although life is something that I want to work on - I have babies on the brain because several of my coworkers are in various stages of childrearing, and while I shudder to think of the implications of having a baby anytime in at least the next five years, I suppose I should be trying to make progress toward that eventual goal, rather than spending all of my time working and procrastinating from doing anything about my future. It's just so easy to procrastinate - I'm very good at it. But then again, I'm twenty-six, which is horribly scary. So, we shall see.

I am going to embrace life tomorrow night, through the timeless tradition of Circle of Death - I'm going up to the evil city for an expat reunion at Heather's, and depending on the mix of people there, I may be able to con some people into playing Circle of Death. Regardless of what we do, I'm sure a good time will be had by all (unless I get stabbed to death in the evil city - Heather and Salim like to say that I don't like the city because I'm afraid of it, so I like to play into their expectations). The rest of the weekend will likely be spent working, and hopefully working on my romance novel. For now, though, it's time for bed!

i lost my heart...i buried it too deep

It's been a fun couple of days, even though I have absolutely no work/life balance. Yesterday, I had meetings virtually all day, and worked several hours last night. But, the misery was punctuated by a white elephant gift exchange in my team meeting - and I walked away with Michael Bolton's super hits. I apparently rocked out to it pretty hard, considering that someone who sits about 30 feet from me was able to hear it. Luckily I wasn't singing...although his songs are definitely croon-worthy. I also came home and watched 'Mr. and Mrs. Smith' - the movie is a little weird because I feel like I'm watching adultery in action (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie allegedly came together on set, although they claim that nothing happened until Brad broke up with Jen - but they had some violently sexy scenes, so who knows). But, I love assassins and crazy people, so I think it's good. It also brings back fond memories of Hyderabad - I saw it in the theatre there, and was having a pretty good time because I had yet to see or feel any rats in the theatre, but then they cut to an intermission just as Brad Pitt was climbing up an elevator shaft - worst timing ever!

Today, I had a reasonably good day at work, followed by several hours of crafting w/Laura, Ziv and Cody - we were making crafts for someone's wedding, which was a little odd. Laura also amused herself by making fun of Iowa for several hours, which is a shame - people are blind to my home state's charms. Then I came home and got some work done, and now it's time for bed.

Clearly, though, I need to rethink this whole work/life balance thing - I took this quiz on CNN.com called 'are you a workaholic?', and I answered yes to 60% of the questions. Turns out that if you answer yes to more than 3 questions, they think you're a workaholic. Well, I think they're wrong! (reminder: first stage = denial). So I shall contemplate that this weekend, and likely not reach any conclusions at all. Oh well. Goodnight, my friends!

Monday, September 24, 2007

all your dreams have fallen down

It's suddenly gotten warm here again, which is almost frustrating - I went sweater shopping and bought more Uggs this weekend, and I want to wear them! Instead, I'm too warm in my apartment, and I don't want to wear any of my summer clothes - I'm ready for sweatpants, and soup, and hot tea, and curling up under a blanket. Clearly I'm not a California girl at heart. However, I do really want to wear an Indian outfit now that it's warm again - I haven't worn one in ages, and it's like wearing pajamas to work, which is always fun.

So I made it to work for my eight a.m. meeting, left work around seven, came home, accidentally scorched my soup while I was reheating it (what is it with me and ruining perfectly good soup on my third attempt to reheat it?), watched some 'Scrubs', and then worked for a couple more hours. Now I need to go to bed, since I have a meeting at 8:15am tomorrow. Bleh. Things really need to slow down at work, but the next two weeks are going to be an exercise in misery - it's the end of the quarter, which is always rough.

Sorry that there isn't more uplifting content to this post, but I really don't feel like pretending right now. Not that I'm unhappy, I'm just overworked and tired. So I'm going to go to bed and take care of at least one of those problems! Goodnight!

stupid

Man, I'm so dumb. Rather than get anything done earlier in the weekend, I opted to procrastinate, and then ended up working from 2:30pm-6:30pm and from 9pm-12:30am today. Bleh. It would have been clear to anyone who knew me yesterday that I was procrastinating from doing something I truly didn't want to do - I dropped off a bunch of dry cleaning, got a facial, went to the mall and bought lipstick (the hot look for fall!), bought groceries, made potato/leek soup, knocked down cobwebs from my ceiling, vacuumed, did dishes, cleaned the kitchen floor, cleaned out my fridge, and generally tidied up my living room. I should have cleaned my bathroom, but I procrastinated from that by reading part of my new coffee-table book on Regency England interior decorating. I also wrote eight pages in my journal and drank a lot of tea.

What was I so unhappy about that I procrastinated that hard, you may ask? Well, it's performance review time (doesn't it feel like it's always performance review time?), and I have to write ten peer reviews plus my own self-assessment, and I hate doing all of those things. I also had a particularly unpleasant task due for work this weekend that I can't disclose here, but it took four hours this afternoon - and any work-related task that takes me four hours is obviously a pain in the ass. But I paid for my procrastination by having to work tonight, and since it's now almost one a.m. and I have a meeting at 8am tomorrow, I'm clearly starting the week off on the wrong foot :(

But, today is otherwise a joyous day - it's Katie's anniversary and Walter's birthday, which makes it v. nice! And I talked to my parents, and they were entertaining as usual. And I made quesadillas w/peppers and onions (my fave), which was great. And now, I'm going to go to bed, since tomorrow is going to come waaay too fast.

Friday, September 21, 2007

then you say, 'go slow'...i fall behind...the second hand unwinds

I left work early today because I could not stand to start on all of the peer reviews that I'm supposed to be writing. Also, I had preordered Robin McKinley's new book, 'Dragonhaven', and received it earlier this week (perhaps even yesterday, but I can't remember - time is running together), and I really wanted to read it. Robin McKinley, as loyal readers may know, has written some of my favorite books - 'Sunshine', 'The Hero and the Crown', 'The Blue Sword', 'Beauty', 'Deerskin' - the list goes on and on. I won't spend a lot of time on plot synopsis, other than to say that 'Dragonhaven' is, as you guessed about dragons, although to say that it's about dragons is the same as saying 'Sunshine' is about vampires, when really both of them are about one person struggling to come to terms with fate and life and all of the weird internal struggles that we all go through but can never quite articulate.

I think what attracts me to McKinley's novels is that many of them (particularly 'Sunshine' and 'Dragonhaven', which are both first-person, highly-conversational, almost stream-of-consciousness) are written in such a way that I feel like I'm walking through a quiet, private labyrinth when I'm reading them. I was not a completely huge fan of 'Sunshine' when I first read it, but every subsequent reading pulls me further down and further in to the labyrinth. I mean 'labyrinth' in the meditative, contemplative sense here - like the elaborate labyrinths in European cathedrals, or even the silly Snoopy labyrinth that Ritu, Maneesh and I walked through at the Charles Schultz Museum in Sonoma, which are meant to be used for meditation.

So as I was reading 'Dragonhaven' tonight, it was not just about the story...it seemed to be stripping away everything that was making me so frenzied at work this week, all of the worries and concerns and thoughts about my future, and helped to ground me. Even though I wasn't a huge fan of the story, I kind of just want to go back and read it again. That's the interesting thing about written forms of 'meditation' - for example, this blog. 95% of the time, I'm writing drivel, more intended to let people know I'm alive than to really get anything out. But the other 5%, I am attempting to tackle something at least somewhat real, even if the real personal development is happening offline in my journal. And with written communication, I often feel like I'm in a labyrinth - that I keep walking in circles, but occasionally get back to a place where I can recognize the intuition that I was struggling to express several days/weeks/months previously, and even if I still can't name that intuition, I am at least getting closer to understanding its meaning in my life. And I suppose what I'm trying to say about Robin McKinley is that she is the author who most helps me to focus my thoughts in a meditative way; romance novels are good for relaxing, much like Meteos or watching 'The Lord of the Rings', but I feel like her books help me to focus enough that I can come to greater awareness of myself.

Anyway, what I shall do with this awareness, I do not know. I think I'm going to take as much time to myself as possible this weekend - I have to do some work, but other than that, I really just need some time to relax and think. That's the other good thing about these books, though - they slow down my mind, which is an amazingly restful feeling, since generally my brain never stops. I wouldn't want to live in this state all the time, since I do typically enjoy the weird paths that my mind races down, but it's nice once in awhile. Now, though, I'm going to go to bed - sleep would probably help more than just about anything right now.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

it's not as simple as it sounds to keep your feet planted on common ground

Yesterday I wrote down ten good things that happened; today I shall write down ten bad things that happened.

1) I woke up too late to wash my hair, and despite trying to hurry, I was still five minutes late for a 9am training.

2) The aforementioned 9am training was pretty annoying and rather useless - we spent like an hour discussing how to use a whiteboard. Turns out it's pretty easy - you write on it! But, it wasn't enough to know that - in fact, they videotaped me writing on the whiteboard so that I could watch myself. And given that I hadn't washed my hair, it wasn't a pretty sight.

3) I was really excited to see that the cafe had cornbread - but then it turned out to be jalapeno/pepperjack cornbread, and I'm too much of a purist to enjoy that, so I threw it away.

4) At the end of an all-hands meeting with my entire department, my director took Q&A - and made me get up and answer one of the questions that was asked. The answer itself was fine and I managed to be concise and articulate - but again, allow me to reference my unwashed hair, oversized four-year-old sweatshirt, and Uggs. I hardly looked like a rising star, or even a dim star (although to be accurate, I probably did look like a white dwarf).

5) I'm out of allergy meds and haven't had time all week to fill the prescription, so my allergies are gradually returning. Bleh.

6) I had a meeting from 5-5:30 and had intended to come home and take a nap afterward - but it ended up lasting until almost 6:30, which cut into my sleep time.

7) I received the brand new Robin McKinley book that I had preordered from Amazon - the first one she's written in five years - but I'm too busy to read it!

8) I had to talk to my parents on the phone rather than in person (but saying this may bump me up on the sibling ladder after my disastrous fall last weekend when I had convinced them that I was dead).

9) I ate a bologna sandwich, which is normally very comforting, but I felt like throwing up afterwards when I started thinking about the percentage of fat calories in a slice of bologna and how it's really not that dissimilar from the pure pork fat we had in Ukraine - although I chased this with tea, rather than homemade vodka.

10) I'm not nearly done w/what I should have done tonight, but I'm going to go to bed anyway - I have to be effective tomorrow (and I need to wash my hair or else I'll be a health hazard), so I can't afford to oversleep. Which leads to...

11) I won't get to see Craig tonight!

Okay, that's it - it's interesting that I actually had to struggle to come up with 10 bad things, and none of them were really that bad. However, the training really was annoying - wasting four hours is fun when it's spent on gossip blogs, but not when it's spent in a room with an overly-excited consultant. In fact, I may have offended her because at one point, she described an exercise with such enthusiasm that I laughed out loud, and rather than keeping my mouth shut, I said 'I'm sorry, it's just that you were so excited...'. Oh well, it's apparent that I don't always get along with people. But I get along with my pillow very well, so I'm going to seek it out. Goodnight!

come to my window

Tonight I shall force myself to list ten highlights of the day to remind myself that I will get through this week, even though I feel sure that it's Thursday (actually, it is, since it's 1am! yay!).

Highlights:

1) I happened to catch the rerun of the 'South Park' parody of '300', in which the lesbian club is bought out by a bunch of Persians. I love that they also randomly include some Mexican day workers whom they dress up as Persians. Ha.

2) I'm doing an amazing job keeping my work emails down - I currently only have TWELVE emails in my work inbox. You don't understand what a miracle this is.

3) My team at work did crafting with Laura - it was a really relaxing 'end' to the day, even though the 5-6pm crafting sessions was then followed by a videoconference with Laura, Cody, and someone in Hyderabad from 6-7:30. I love crafting, even though I'm not that good at it and get far far too competitive - I can't help myself, I just have a compulsive need to win that I do my best to hide since my company is all about 'collaboration' and 'teamwork' and crap like that. I'm not evil about my need to win, I just want to win really really badly. Sigh.

4) I had some awesome steak for lunch, prompted by the fact that the line was too long to make my beloved tuna melt. I also had lunch w/my future new manager; she seems really nice, and she was born in Iowa! However, she moved away when she was four, but I still feel that it means something.

5) I 'slept in' until 8:30 and blew off the first meeting of the day in an effort to ensure that I slept for at least six hours.

6) I had Taco Bell! Some of my favorite memories of college occurred at Taco Bell.

7) I wore my glasses for much of the day, which makes me feel alluringly intellectual even if to other people I just look tired.

8) This sort of happened last night, but I'm still happy with the conversation I had with Lauren yesterday - we know each other really well because we worked together for so long, and so it was good to talk to her because it's easy to be open and honest and everything (particularly after when I passed out on her couch in July!)

9) I love the taste of diet coke in the morning - the slight burn when I take the first sip of the day, probably similar to the first cigarette of the day for a smoker.

10) I got to see Craig for like the third night in a row! yay!

Okay, that's it - look around you and think of all the great things that have happened to you. Goodnight!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

lately there's a whole lot of leavin' goin' on

My life may be depressing, given that I came home to put on sweats before going back into the office and working from 9:30pm-12:30am, then came home and watched Craig while working from 12:45am-2am. However, it doesn't seem to be as depressing as Hal Holbrook's - he was on 'Evening Shade' and has been married for the past twenty years to Dixie Carter from 'Designing Women', and he's won four Emmys (according to imdb.com), but now he is doing infomercials for Fisher Investments. He just doesn't seem to be into it at all, although he does get to wear tweed and sit in a lovely oversized leather chair. He even laughed just now when what he said didn't merit laughing ('getting good advice is essential') - like he didn't believe it at all.

I actually had a good day today - I've been pretty relaxed recently, despite my overwhelming amount of work. I also got to see my friend Michelle, who is visiting from Dublin, and I had a really good chat this evening w/Lauren, my former manager who is now in Boston. And, I got to watch Craig - he recapped his monologue tonight for his Russian audience by putting on a shapka-like hat and drinking vodka for thirty seconds (actually not vodka, since he's on the wagon after being an alcoholic in the eighties, but still). I think the fact that I get to watch Craig when I'm overwhelmed at work almost (almost!) makes it all worthwhile.

Okay, I really must go to bed - I need to be at work by 9am. Goodnight!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

you better run for the hills before they burn

Not only am I still alive after twenty-four hours of silence (shocking, I know!), but I've uploaded pictures for the first time in months. There's one random pic of Claude at the Great Salt Lake (I apparently never uploaded my pictures from Zach and Maggie's wedding, although I don't have any pics of the actual wedding - just me and Claude wading in a bunch of brine shrimp), and per Felicia's request, a bunch of pictures of my parents' new house. Isn't it idyllic? Doesn't it make you wish that you live in the Midwest? Can't you just feel the peace and solitude and insanity-inducing isolation?

Today was a good day; I slept relatively late, was rather productive at work, had lots of meetings, and still managed to get myself down to only seventeen emails in my inbox. Granted, five more have come in since I stopped reading half an hour ago, but this is a new first for me, and I'm rather happy about it. Yes, I'm a dork.

I was going to go to bed, but now that I've stayed up this late, I get to watch Craig's opening monologue! I should really just get ondemand - paying to record his show would probably be worth the extra sleep I would get by not being incentivized to stay up past my bedtime. Oh, well this is a debate for another day. I shall attempt to stay alive for another twenty-four hours; in the meantime, goodnight!
my grandma - i will probably look like her in fifty years
 
Posted by Picasa
all that hay is ours! or rather, my parents' - they disowned me for not talking to them last week.
 
Posted by Picasa
the deer probably weren't very happy when i rode my aunt's scandalous pirate boyfriend's four-wheeler at v. high speeds across the fields...
 
Posted by Picasa
kitchen/dining area
 
Posted by Picasa
can you spot the round barn?
 
Posted by Picasa
idyllic view of the pond from the living room windows
 
Posted by Picasa
our new living room
 
Posted by Picasa


Claudia at the Great Salt Lake - Memorial Day Weekend/Zach and Maggie's Wedding, May 2007



Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 17, 2007

it's not living a lie if you're not living at all

Okay, so my parents apparently thought I died this weekend, and much of my conversation with them this afternoon involved varying degrees of chastisement for not blogging, calling, or responding to emails since Thursday. My bad. I have assured them that I am alive and well, and now I am doing the same for you! Friday, I worked really hard, then had a v. fun dinner w/Terry and a bunch of coworkers (including Subz, Arod, Regina, Kim, Chris, and Sean) in joint celebration of our birthdays. Saturday, I had an early brunch (9am!!) w/Sriniketh, felt ill and so bailed on Julie, and then had pizza and watched a movie w/Heather and Salim. Today, I went to work, did crafts w/Laura for four hours (and left my phone on my desk, which is why I didn't answer the seven calls that my parents left for me), worked on my romance novel, took a nap, and then worked from 9-midnight. Now, I should really go to bed - the next week is going to be hectic.

I hope that all of you are alive as well! Please accept my apologies for any concern I may have caused.

Friday, September 14, 2007

message in a brothel

OMG, I love Craig Ferguson. Loyal readers already know this. In fact, the title of this blog post was stolen from tonight's monologue, regarding how Sting was photographed leaving a whorehouse in Germany. However, my love was just confirmed - he had a sketch tonight in which he ran through the set of 'The Bold and the Beautiful' while Brooke and Ridge were arguing, he interrupted them to tell Brooke he had always loved her, and then made out with her while Ridge looked on. Awesome! 'The Bold and the Beautiful' may be the trashiest of all the CBS soaps, since they never really expanded the cast too much and so it mostly just involves Brooke and Taylor sleeping with various male Forresters while Stephanie occasionally tries to kill Brooke. So, the combination of Craig Ferguson and 'The Bold and the Beautiful' made my night.

I was sad to discover, though, that he's performing in San Francisco tomorrow night - had I known in time, I would have gotten tickets, but I now have plans to have a joint birthday dinner with Terry and a bunch of our coworkers :( Oh, well, swooning after Craig Ferguson in person will have to wait for another day.

I'm in a great mood despite the fact that I worked from nine until now - the weekly meeting that I had today usually goes really disastrously in the sense that we have a lot of long-winded, intense, argumentative discussions that never go anywhere (I believe I described it as 'herding monkeys' a couple of weeks ago), but I was so successful at keeping us on the agenda today that we made every decision that we set out to make and ended on time. This was such an accomplishment that everyone actually clapped at the end of the meeting, which I thought was hilarious. Corporate America does have its entertaining moments.

Okay, I should go to bed, I have to be at work fairly early tomorrow. Goodnight!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

doublecross the vacant and the bored

As befitting my newly-elderly status, I wore all black today. Well, except for the armful of red bangles, but that hardly counts in comparison to my usual fuchsia explosion. I also came home and did laundry and worked - it doesn't get more depressing than that.

Here's the best quote that I've read in awhile - it's not exactly inspirational, but it is thought-provoking: ""I paid off a poker debt with sexual favors, and I fell in love," Pamela Anderson told DeGeneres. "It's so romantic. It's romance."" I think that should be eHarmony's new ad campaign - they could team up with partypoker.com and help to match up desperate, broke singles with sexual predators.

This weekend is going to be rather busy - I have birthday dinner plans on Friday w/Terry, two separate brunches on Saturday, afternoon playtime with Vidya, and dinner with some of my former expatriate compatriots. It will be nice, though, I'm sure - if I can survive until then. My throat is starting to feel sore, which isn't a good sign - it can't be allergies, since I've beaten them into submission by my expensive cocktail of allergy medications, so I'm probably getting sick. Speaking of allergies, though, I should really see the allergist who told me to get more extensive tests back in July - I felt rather sick and my mouth itched after I had a lot of guacamole on a sandwich on Monday, and if it turns out I'm allergic to avocadoes too, I might as well just throw in the towel and hope that my advanced age strikes me down quickly.

Okay, bedtime!

out of the womb and into the void

Thanks to everyone who left well-wishes in comments, on facebook, or on voicemail! It means a lot to me :)

Alas, it is no longer my birthday :( I'm apparently just like a little kid - I woke up early this morning and was too excited/happy to go back to sleep, so I took the time to blowdry my hair and iron my skirt (both of which were extremely abnormal activities). I went to work, had a reasonable day at the office, and was taken to lunch by Heather, which was nice. It's strange that we get free ultra-gourmet food every single day, and yet eating out at a run-of-the-mill Thai place is a treat.

In the afternoon, I had my standard weekly team meeting, and the team surprised me and Tolu (whose birthday was yesterday) with cake and champagne delivered by our director and his admin. So we sat around for half an hour chatting and eating one of the best cakes I've had in awhile - Cold Stone's ice cream/butterfingers cake. Mmm. I'm also pleased to report that I can now drink champagne again, despite the debacle at the beginning of July in which I drank two full bottles of champagne and had to be at work the next morning. Yay.

After work, I drove up to the evil city and had dinner at Little Star Pizza with the remaining core of my original college friends - Vidya, Adit, Oniel, John, and Jess. A good time seemed to be generally had by all, except perhaps by Oniel - he arrived late with the flimsy excuse that Google Maps had lied to him (impossible!), and then was not happy when we nearly voted on and ratified calling him 'Fauxneil'. We spent about twenty minutes trying to come up with another nickname for him, which resulted in many inane and hilarious suggestions (one of my favorites was Bill Crosby). I think 'Oniel No Deal' won, although I personally guess that Fauxneil is the one that is going to stick - any previous person in the group who has vehemently opposed a nickname has ended up stuck with it (see 'Santy Claude' and 'Swamplestiltskin' as examples).

But, it was nice to spend some quality family time with that particular group of friends, even if our numbers have shrunk considerably. Time was, I could easily get up ten or fifteen people to see a movie - granted, that was before I burned through a lot of goodwill by conning people into seeing 'King Arthur', but it's just not like it used to be. All sorts of great people have moved away - Emily, Walter, Ritu, Renee, Tammy, Chris, Zach, Felicia, Nita...the list actually goes on and on, and I know I'm going to offend a dozen people because I inadvertently left them off the list, but so be it. The latest and saddest departure was Claudia - it's been three weeks since I've seen here, which is probably longer than any period since I got back from Dublin. We toasted her memory several times tonight, a trend which I'm sure will continue.

Okay, I'm exhausted, so it's time for bed. Goodnight!

Monday, September 10, 2007

who says you can't go home?

I have returned from my sojourn in my native land - which is sad, particularly since I have returned to a world of painful emails and myriad pointless meetings. Actually, today wasn't too bad - perhaps because I cleared out on time and spent a couple of hours at a cafe working on my romance novel. I'm up to 37,774 words, and the scene I wrote tonight was great - it involved kilts, a sheep's head, and a man named Ferguson (an homage to my dear friend Katie, who is perhaps the only person who will find any humor in what I wrote tonight - although there is no MacPherson involved, because international transvestite superspies have no place in Regency romances!)

Many apologies to my loyal readers - I really left you hanging while I was in Iowa, but I shall endeavor to write more regularly in the future. I had a v. relaxing week - I didn't check my work email at all, and I spent quite a bit of time eating, watching tv, and talking to my parents. I also spent quite a bit of time cleaning out my childhood bedroom, as I mentioned before. In general, the week was great, and my parents didn't get divorced or seem to be annoyed by my presence, so I definitely can't complain. I also got to spend some quality time with my brother (although I'm v. concerned that there are speakers built into my bedroom wall and that he can pipe whatever music he wants into my room), I saw my sister and her kids, and I saw my aunt, her scandalous pirate boyfriend, and my uncle/aunt/cousin, as well as my grandmother. The funny thing is that I only left the 'estate' twice - once to go out to lunch, and once to buy some dairy products. I really could be a hermit if I so desired, particularly in a huge house with plenty of sunshine.

Now, though, I shall go to bed - I have to work tomorrow, and then I'm going to the city to have dinner with my California family (who are generally browner than my Iowa family - maybe it's the extra sunshine?). Goodnight!

Friday, September 07, 2007

madeleine l'engle is dead :(

How sad...I loved her 'Wrinkle in Time' series, and I read one of her adult novels when I was in college, which I recall loving even though I should have been reading books for SLE. She was 88, though, so I suppose it isn't a tragedy, but still.

Here's the obit: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/08/books/07cnd-lengle.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin

Thursday, September 06, 2007

sucio!

My dear reader, I apologize for my profound silence over the past several days - as you perhaps know, I have been on an extended sojourn to the land of my ancestors. It may provide you with no solace, but I have not been neglecting my journaling - rather than writing here, I have been writing in my journal every night while drinking tea and watching 'Craig Ferguson'. Doesn't that sound lovely?

What has *not* been lovely, however, is cleaning out my childhood bedroom. The difference between my parents' new house, and my parents' old house, is extreme - I don't think it's even possible to conceive how different they are. Though they are separated by only a hundred yards, it's clear that they wouldn't even be in the same neighborhood under normal circumstances. The new house is gorgeous, and I love my room - I chose a color called 'Bombay' which turned out to be a lovely muted rose color. It's not exactly a color that I would choose as the primary scheme if I were to build my own house, but perhaps I was drawn subconsciously to how I had always wanted my bedroom to look when I was younger. And for one's parents' house, where one goes to escape from everything, a girly bedroom is perfect. Anyway, the new house is pretty much perfect; it looks out over the pond, it's extremely bright (annoying, since my bedroom faces east - I've had to resort to sleeping w/my travel face mask), and there's plenty of space.

The old house, by contrast, is a farmhouse with a hundred years of history. You might suppose that I would feel nostalgic, but I don't feel even a shred of nostalgia - as soon as I saw the new house, I half-jokingly told my parents they could just burn my old stuff. The biggest issue is that the old house smells now - a hundred years of cooking, smoking, dusty gravel roads, and intermittent rodent invasions (pretty common in the country) does not lead to a pleasant underlying odor, and it's been compounded by the fact that it's been shut up and unairconditioned for the past few months. Ugh.

Luckily for me, I have less stuff than anyone else in the house, probably because I shipped many things to California - but Vidya, you should realize that this is proof of what I've told you about my family's packrat tendencies, when I look like an ascetic by comparison to my family even though I probably have more stuff in California than any two of my friends combined. So I've successfully moved it all over to the new house (with the help of my mother, who helped me to pack, and my father, who drove it around on a trailer to the back of the new house). Now it's just a matter of organizing it so that it doesn't overwhelm my new room.

That's all for now - perhaps later I shall regale you with stories of the other fun things I've done this week. However, it's time for me to shower and finish organizing my bedroom. Have a great day!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

amarillo by morning

Okay, maybe not amarillo, but I am flying through Dallas, which is an
extremely unfortunate way to fly to des moines. I also talked to Katie
tonight for quite awhile when I should have been packing, so I almost
feel like a texan. I just need a ten gallon hat and an oil well.

Today was a little rough...I was at work for eleven hours, but I was
insanely productive, to the point that I was able to leave my laptop
at home with no guilt and no tasks hanging over my head. Then I talked
to my parents and Katie, went to the mall to get some essentials (aka
expensive skin products at sephora), and then went home to pack
furiously and shower before driving to the airport. My flight takes
off at one a.m., and I will probably get a maximum of five hours of
sleep during my travels, which is unfortunate. Ah, well, at least I am
escaping from the crazy, sinful coast for a sojourn in the heartland.
Goodnight, everyone! When I write again, I shall be in Iowa!