Thursday, December 31, 2009

happy :) nerd

*edit*
The bird died Tuesday night. Kind of sucks. Kind of sums up 2009.

I'm winding my way through snowy Connecticut Amtrak-style...my phone vibrates.

I think it's a text, but it turns out it's my dad. "You won't believe this" he says, "but as of Tuesday there was confirmation that the rare Allen's Hummingbird you went to see is still alive"

My response? "Shut up. No way."

I had made my peace with the fact that it would be impossible for a small 3-inch bird native to California and Mexico could survive the last few weeks of New England weather, including about 20 inches of snow and evening temps in the single digits.

How is she surviving? Where does she go to shelter from the weather? I hope this is a sign she's a strong little thing that's going to make it through the winter and wake up one warm day in March, realize she's on the wrong coast and head west.

So I continue my journey to NYC with an even bigger smile on my face (it was big to begin with considering I'm seeing my fiance, haven't seen him since November) but this is sort of the icing on the cake.

Happy New Year all! I'll be back with a year in pictures and the NaBloPoMo January theme of "Best"

Kisses and peace out '09

Monday, December 28, 2009

A Quote From Christmas Eve Day

As I was polishing the silver with my mother...

(yes, sometimes I think I should quit my job and become a housekeeper...you know, and upscale housekeeper, Remains of the Day style, without the....er...weirdness/class issues)

....we were talking about my grandma's ridiculous requirement: admission to Thanksgiving dinner is a Christmas list. This came up:

Me: I don't know what to put half the time because I don't need anything. I mean Jamaal needs a job up here, we need a place to live, we'll need, like, furniture and stuff, but on the Christmas list level, I don't actually need anything. Oh. Oh actually, I totally need bras and underwear (said with hope in my voice...)

Mom: *long pause* Well. No one is going to get you that. You're on your own there.

Luckily the Semi-Annual Sale is on. I might go try my luck after work.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wedding Wednesday 13/54

So my Christmas neuroses has helped me get A LOT done. I only have to finish one, maybe two things before Christmas, and they will be finished in time.

Of course my one fail was finishing the gifts for my Smith ladies. They're so close to being done...but not quite. We went out to dinner yesterday and they both had beautiful gifts for me!! I was kicking myself for not pulling an all-nighter and finishing, but luckily we have plans to get together again in a few weeks, so at least I know everything will be finished by then. I am tempted to make something else to stick in with the gifties now that I have more time. Hmmm...

Though I still have to make Jamaal's gifts...yeah totally put that off too. AND my second cousin just had the CUTEST baby, and I have to make her something. I know, I said I wouldn't take on anything not in the queue til after the wedding, but seriously, that child needs a five hour baby sweater. In red, to go with her dark hair. Adorable.

Then there will be some seriously wedding craft time. Our Save the Dates arrived on Monday and they are AWESOMEFACE! I love them. I'm glad I ordered just those and not the whole invitation suite because I would like to see more paper options (ok more luxurious) paper options for the invites. The "STD's" look great though:
I kind of love them. Hard. LOL. The fact that this wedding is going to happen is still not a reality in my mind. It still seems very far away and almost a fantasy. Each vendor we sign is a small reality check, but the save the dates have been the biggest one for me thus far. I can't imagine how it will feel when I get the invites printed!! This also means that it's time for the first wedding DIY project. These STD's need envelopes and DIY'd lined envelopes at that. Post Christmas rush and baby crafting, I'm going to take a day and go to town on these things. Some facebook friends said to send them out asap, but honestly, I need the time to craft and get addresses first! Plus these warrant some sort of special zazzle-designed stamp I think.

Another thing I did this week was book a string quartet for the ceremony and cocktail hour. My sweet dad offered to pay for it, though out of guilt I paid for the deposit. It feels weird asking them for money...yet if they offered I doubt I'd turn them down, LOL, but still, it's sort of awkward. Anyways, the quartet came back with a great bid for the time and I'm sending the contract off today. Great stuff. I just hope that we can make the music work. I love "traditional" wedding music, but am hoping to walk down the aisle to a Coldplay instrumental: http://www.youtube.com/user/VitaminStringQuartet#p/u/150/eVTwCfGrvyo
I guess we shall see :)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

How My Neuroses Help Me Thrive on Christmas

So Christmas can be stressful, right?
Yes. Totally.

The sick thing is, I eat it up. The shopping, wrapping, decorating, crafting, cooking MESS. I am at my best when stressed and tired. It's when I do my best work. This scares the crap out of me when I think about the big jobs that I will have to tackle in the future, like wedding planning and moving in with Jamaal. Will I be knitting or cutting and pasting til 3AM on the morning of our wedding? Will I pack the night before move in day?

Maybe I should plan it that way, since that is when my productivity soars and flourishes.

I wrote about the bird and how I couldn't have a normal day after that. I didn't. I truly lolled about the house wondering what to do with myself. Sunday, however, was a different story. Not only was I expected to partake in some tree decorating, but I also had to make snacks for the Jr. High Fellowship kids AND finish some homemade Blurb books I have been making my parents for Christmas. I wasn't too worried about getting everything done....well not worried until I noticed the holiday deadlines on Blurb. If I wanted to get my books by Christmas Eve Day, I had to finish them by Monday at midnight. Oh.my.God. How did I let that completely slip by?

Naturally I was hustling around Sunday. After church, I worked on the book, then decorated the tree while simultaneously cooking about 2 dozen cupcakes. Then I blurbed some more, went to fellowship, made Christmas ornaments, came home and blurbed til 2 AM. The books got done though and they are going to look AMAZING.
Of course I was a waste of space on Monday and Tuesday and actually slept in til 8AM Tuesday morning (I'm usually at least halfway to work by then). By yesterday I was feeling better, and now I'm fully recovered from my almost all-nighter. Of course right now I am dying for a coke zero. I haven't had one in like, 2 weeks, but I need a lift. UGH.

Back to the point - I love the pressure. I am a procrastinator, and I think it's not a result of being lazy, it's a result of this neurotic need to feel hard core and accomplished. Sick, isn't it? I love having the huge list of things that must be done in the next week and crossing them off one by one. I feel like I am a rockstar when the list is done. Grrr hear me roar.

Here's my list til Christmas:

Today:

buy stamps
pick up picture for Jam's parents at Walgreens
upload photo contest pics to Ritz
wrap Jam's parents' gifts, address it
write thank you to bird people, include burned cd of photos, address it
write out Christmas letter (short)
double check holiday card addresses
go to MGH party with old coworkers
start cards for card exchange

Friday:
mail Brenda and Sharif's package
mail thank you package
mail Christmas cards
work on card exchange cards
meet sister at Derby St
pick up prints at Ritz
get Summer Shack gift card for parents
get holiday outfit (maybe)
finish Christmas gift for sister
finish Christmas gift for friend

Saturday
mail card exchange cards
mail photo contest submission
buy craft supplies at AC Moore for friend gifst
work on friend gift
work on sister's gift
buy squeeze bottles for cookie decorating party
buy food for Lily
wrap gifts
work on baby gifts
celebrate dad's birthday

Sunday
decorate cookies
work on baby gifts
work on sister's gifts

Monday
make sure girl's gifts are done
work on sister's gift
work on other friend's gift
begin Jam's stocking
wrap more stuff
buy canned goods for office food drive
buy toiletries for blood donor clinic drive

Tuesday
dinner with my Smithies!
pack car with crap for coworkers, food drive, toiletry drive

Wednesday
drive to work
wrap things up
donate platelets
FREEEEEEDOM!
finish crap at home that wasn't finished

So it's not that bad...but it smells like a challenge. Oh, and that's exactly how I want it.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Unwedding Wednesday 12/54

Again, no wedding junk today! We are again at a lull. The happy news is that our invitation suite proofs will be done today...and since I don't anticipate any edits, I'll probably be ordering the first round of samples from catprint.com, a recommended printer from Printable Press - catprint is wind-powered - how awesome is that? I have, at times, stressed about the "disposable-ness" of our wedding, i.e. so much junk is purchased and thrown away. I've tried to cut down on things that will just be thrown out but the invites were one thing I wasn't really willing to budge on, as the only way to truly cut down on trash is to send out something like an e-vite. Uh, no. At least our invites will be produced at a green facility. And given the amount of scrapbooking friends I have, probably only 50% of the invites will get trashed, 25% will actually get scrapbooked and 25% will hang around in a box for years waiting to be scrapbooked. Oh, and I will probably fall into the last category, since I have a box of stuff waiting to be scrapbooked that goes back to 2006. Yeah.

Anyways, I just wanted to quickly share some pics for any bird nerds out there :)

Last Saturday, I had the chance to see a rare bird, an Allen's Hummingbird. While this bird isn't rare in the sense that it's endangered or there's only a known population of 50 individuals or something crazy like that, it is incredibly unusual to see one in Massachusetts - it's only the second documented Allen's EVER in Mass. How it got from California/Mexico to Massachusetts is anyone's guess. Most likely a storm system picked this poor lady up, crashed into an eastern storm system that flung her into Mass. Sucks, because she must be like 'um wait. why is it so cold? agh.'

The "keepers of the feeder" have been keeping this girl in nectar since the end of October and it is a testament to their dedication that she has made it this far. They've had the Audubon Society come out to band, measure and feather type her to confirm the species too, just to make sure the find is as rare as they thought. The couple lives near our friend and wedding photographer, who mistakenly told them I was an ornithologist (LOL). They thought that an ornithologist would jump at the chance to see their bird, so they called my dad, who in turn called me. While I clarified that I was not actually an ornithologist, but just a bird enthusiast, I did say that I would absolutely jump at the chance to see her. I was instructed to call at 8am Saturday morning to confirm that the poor birdie was still alive, and when I found out that she was still around and visiting the feeder, I hopped in the car and made it to the house in record time.

She visited twice while I was there, and I was able to snap these photos (which have been cropped and sharpened in Picasa):

Allen's Hummingbird

Allen's Hummingbird

It was so glorious. The lady of the house said "stop with the camera, look through the binocs!!!" but I explained that I see better through the camera - photographing something forces me to stop and concentrate, since you can't exactly shoot telephoto on the fly (frustrating for me sometimes). I got a great glimpse of her through my doubler, but I have a love/hate relationship with that thing, especially when I need to shoot quickly, and of course the pics are totally blurred. I wish I could go over to their house again and set up a tripod and the works, but I don't want to bug the people any more than I already had, though I think they were pleased when I arrived to find that I am totally not averse to sitting still for two hours waiting for something to happen. They went about their day while I sat, camera in lap. I didn't get into it with them, but I told them that I had spent six weeks in Kenya basically doing the same thing with large mammals and that I was used to sitting or standing for hours waiting for an animal to do something. Plus my bird walks in Kenya were usually most fruitful when I sat still and let something come to me. It is possible for me to have all the patience in the world if necessary.

So you may already get the sense from this post that I am hardcore into birds, and that this sighting is pretty much the pinnacle of awesomeness for me. Srsly. I actually had a hard time having a normal day after that as I went about doing mundane things like shopping for crap at Target and cleaning. Of course, at the same time I was incredibly grateful this little hummer had not chosen our yard to stay in - I would not get ANYTHING done for the stress of it all. The home owner said she often spends hours in front of the window, waiting for the bird to arrive - this is possible because I think she's retired, but oh my God, if it were me, I'd have to work from home or cash in some sick time. I'd be worried sick! For now, I am sending the bird "stay alive" vibes; hummingbirds can live on nectar for a while as long as their diet is supplemented with small insects, but I'm afraid those may become scarce in the dead of January. I suggested breeding fruitflies and releasing them but I'm not sure how practical that may be. Apparently other vagrant hummers spending the winter in Mass have made it, but I think the other Allen's only survived til January. I am really keeping my fingers crossed for this bird. I'm asking Mother Nature to not be such a b*tch for once, to send us a mild winter and an early spring, so this bird may find her way back home....

Friday, December 11, 2009

Unwedding Wednesday

Yup, I skipped Wedding Wednesday 11/54
Because....
It's been uber-busy at work
It's been uber-busy at home
I have nothing new and wedding-related to report, as we are stuck in the mud when it comes to wedding planning.

Maybe after the holidays.
We did pass a crazy milestone this week - 10 months to go. We'll be under 300 days to go next Monday. The time is flying by...

Thankfully this day has flown by as well. I am ecstatic that I only have to sit in my back-distorting office chair for another hour or so. Then I'm off to go Christmas shopping (so close to being done!) and be crafty for a few hours.

THEN tomorrow morning I am going to do something super bird-nerdy, but I can't write about it just yet, not only because it's supposed to be under wraps for a bit, but also because it might not happen. I will have to remind myself to go back home afterwards and not get sucked into birdwatching on the Driftway or some sh*t, because once I'm in bird mode, it's super hard to snap out of it. Especially with a camera in hand.

Because I have nothing else to share, here's a cute bird pic I took last winter. It's definitely going into my mother's Christmas gift (photo book...more on that later):

Tufted Titmouse

Happy happy weekend all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Wondering

So my hair has this awkward bump in it today. I tried to be like all the cool girls I've been seeing out in the world, rocking the french braided bangs: http://www.hair.becomegorgeous.com/celebrity_hair/how_to_french_braid_your_bangs-1228.html

I kind of failed. It's cute, but it's not great, probably because I am shaky in the morning. Anyway, the style resulted in a weird bump in the back of my head that I didn't even notice til I glanced at myself in the rearview before exiting the car at the train station. At first I was horrified, then I thought "who cares, these people don't even know me." The more I thought about this though, the more I realized it wasn't necessarily true. Maybe I don't know them personally but I know my fellow train and shuttle bus drivers well enough to recognize them...I usually can tell I'm on the right bus or train according to the faces of my fellow passengers. So yeah, I totally recognize people, and that means other people must recognize me. I definitely see people consistently enough to notice things like hair and clothes too. SH*T. So others noticed the bump. Dang. Hopefully they won't judge me on that.

In other news, I can't believe it's Monday. Last week was a whirlwind, so I planned on having a busy, but very planned and evenly-paced weekend. Not to be. My car died on Friday, as I was driving to work. Everyone at my office was like "oh I hate it when my car won't start." Um NO my car started, it just decided to stop running about a mile into my commute. THERE'S A DIFFERENCE! Thank goodness I was able to pull over and wait for my dad to bail me out, yet again. This time he got in the car and experienced the problem (every other time the car has done this, he's driven it and it has run fine) and decided that it was time to cut the bullsh*t and take it to the dealer. I braced myself for significant financial damage and decided that if the cost of fixing it was over three grand, I'd price out a new car. Jamaal was all "we'll figure it out somehow!" but I really dreaded yet another monthly payment before next year's nuptials. I wasn't sure I'd be able to afford bills, wedding savings, and a car payment all at once, which pretty much took paying rent (ie finally moving out of my parent's house) off the table. I was a bit distraught.

Finally at 3pm the call came through: I needed a new catalytic converter, o2 sensor and right axle for $900, though the Subaru people said they could not replace the right axle and it would be about $650. Since I know people who drive Subarus who've had the right axle go WHILE DRIVING I gave them the go ahead to have that done too. The last thing I need is for the car to come to a full stop while I'm going 70 on the highway. Yeah.

Saturday morning I picked up my beloved Forester. Though I was $880 poorer, the car felt like new. For the first time in about two years, the car didn't chug at a stoplight. It was glorious. It was also a little bit of a special eff you to my know-it-all boy coworker who informed me that "cars don't use catalytic converters anymore." I raised my eyebrows at him and said "interesting, because not only is my car getting a new one, but I also know that that is how cars basically filter their emissions to mee the stringent state regulations for clean emissions in Massachusetts." Ha HA TAKE THAT sexist beast! For once high school chemistry/bio/physics came together to help me outsmart someone, lol.

The new catcon gave me the opportunity to go on a Martha Stewart Glitter Pack hunt. Amy and I had been to two stores looking for this. I really wanted it for the holidays, for future wedding crap that I will inevitably be diy-ing, as well as for a holiday card project. Both stores had been bought out completely. I had a list of all the AC Moore's and Michael's within a 50 mile radius of my hometown as well as my GPS - nothing would conquer me, and I would not give up til I had my glitter dammit.

I had to travel about a mile before I found it. I was almost disappointed that it didn't take an all-day search and 15 stores to find it, but I was willing to settle out of the sheer convenience of not having to leave town limits to buy it. Here it is, in all its glory:

I even had a 40% off coupon. Of course I also bought three Martha Stewart holiday craft punches, a 12-pack of food coloring for Christmas cookies, 3 skeins of yarn for the stocking I'm supposed to be knitting Jamaal, a Scotch gift-wrap cutter, and fabric to make curtains for my bedroom. Um yeah. Bad girl.

The rest of the weekend was spent 1. at the Apple store with my sister, where I had to speak face to face with my archenemy from high school. I think I won the faceoff, for a bunch of long and ranty reasons ;) 2. cleaning 3. crafting 4. doing church things (how did I get so roped in? Oh right, because no one says no to Jesus) 5. saving my pet fish and 6. Christmas decorating.

Yep, you read that one right. In one of my only animal-saving victories EVER I rocked this one. My poor neon was floundering....um for a few...days (ok I am not the best fish owner in the world) and I noticed it was only swimming straight up and almost tipping over backwards. Cause it's old for a fish, I thought "let it go" but the thing would not croak. Then I was overcome with guilt: the pain! the suffering! I decided to extensively google fish diseases and found that the fish was either constipated or poisoned by high levels of ammonia and other contaminants in the tank. Or it possibly had an undiagnosable, untreatable disease. Uh ok. I decided to go with a 50% water change, a filter change and some water conditioner. Wouldn't you know, it totally worked?!! After a few hours Mr. Neon was swimming parallel to the ground, finally looking normal.
I probably give myself way too much credit, but I was all "who needs vet school?!" walking around my house, patting myself on the back. Sad, but these are the things that keep me entertained.

Now that the Monday morning calls have stopped, I'm off to eat lunch and do some work. Fun times. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wedding Wednesday/Thursday 10/54

I really don't have too much to report in terms of wedding junk.
Seriously!
I ordered our invites/std's/thankyous/rsvps this week, which was great. Of course, because I'm me, I had to fight with Jam a little bit before ordering. Ha ha. I felt bad later, bad enough to tell my mom about it, and she said "yeah, your father and I are like that, but we agree on the big picture....so try not to worry about it." I guess what annoyed me was feeling like I'm doing this entirely on my own, then having him pitch in his two cents. Not that I even really cared in the end, nope, not at all, it's just that I was sort of like "uh excuse me, when you're ready to help, then you can have an opinion." Bitchy! Oh well. He helped. By making up the menu....you know, that we won't actually need until a week before the wedding. Ugh. Whatever.

So I guess the goal of sending out save the date's with holiday cards has officially been thrown out the window, but that's ok. Some of them would've been lost in the Christmas madness anyway, plus January and February are, to me, two of the most boring and unpleasant months on the calendar (dark, cold) and I'll need something to keep me entertained, right? Yeah. So we'll tackle that stuff after the new year.

For now I am plotting some crafty stuff for Christmas. I've tried to limit the amount I'm doing, but it never ever works. I've worked out what I'm giving my girlfriends and am literally PRAYING that I'll get it done in time. Who knows. Hope they like it too. I at times feel bad for the people who are subjected to my homemade gifties year after year, but so far no one has really complained...thus I continue to holiday/birthday craft. My sister is getting a little crafty something, I'm supposed to be making a stocking for Jamaal and I have to finish up my ornament swaps by next Monday. So I'm on a tight schedule.

Of course, staying up til 1am making cookies did not help ANYTHING. I am still trying to figure out what the HELL made me stay up that late to make what will amount to be a tray's worth of bookclub snacks. I should've thrown away the dough when I realized it was a disaster and gone to the supermarket and purchased a snack. This is what happens when you are afflicted with the sad condition of "first-born overachiever syndrome." Sad. Those cookies better taste like little slices of heaven that were baked to perfection in a pan greased with my blood, sweat and tears, dammit!

What else? Oh. I have to go to the dentist today. Kind of a bummer. I hate it there. I often wonder to myself on the way to the dentist "would I rather be here, with someone's gloved hand in my mouth....or at the gyn...with someone's" Well you get it. The gyn usually wins, though since my friend brain integrated me and did whatever to try and quell my dental anxiety, I do not experience that sick feeling of badness I used to feel. So that's good, right?

Yikes. I'm so going to crash in about 20 minutes. My head may hit the keyboard. Might have to log onto hulu to have something going on in the background to keep me distracted.

P to the S: someone is feeding my work fish behind my back (I know because whoever they are broke the top of the food dispenser!) and it's causing a disgusting film of algae to grow on the tank sides. I actually had to hide the food this week. Annoying.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Poking Fun

So there aren't too many laughs here at the cancer hospital, as one might imagine.
Not that we don't have a good time, but it is sometimes a sad and mostly dull place to work. I do like my job, sure, and I think the work that I am doing is good and very useful, but it's not exactly a barrel of laughs, you know?!

Every once in a while, one of the physicians I work with does something so stupid I laugh about it all day. Thank GOD no one's life is at stake in the research field, unless you talk about death by stupidity, LOL.

We started a study about four months ago looking at the survival rate of patients with a certain type of disease receiving a certain type of treatment. We went back and forth between our country-wide team of physicians trying to figure out exactly WHAT types of chemo we'd be looking at and what course of treatment. We narrowed it down to patients getting A1, B2, and A1 plus transplant. B2 plus transplant is another option, but usually these patients had had a lot of chemo before transplant, had issues, did not receive treatment in a certain amount of time, etc. SO basically B2 plus transplant did not put patients on an equal playing field with A1 alone, B2 alone, and A1 plus transplant, so we took it off the board completely. We had a few phone calls about this, submitted a proposal that was approved by all our colleagues, and then submitted to a big hematological conference. The paper, to our delight, was accepted as a talk. Woohoo!

With that success under our belts we got down to the gritty details of the project. Even though the talk is officially based on an abstract and not a paper, we wanted to cover all the bases, which not only made us look good but also made publication an easier and more likely process. The doc who is my direct boss is a perfectionist and has worked tirelessly to make everything just so. We discussed the talk on our HUGE conference call two weeks ago. We sent out the presentation last Wednesday for the rest of the doctor's approval. And heard

Nothing.
Nothing.
Nothing.

I sent a reminder last night giving everyone til Wednesday night to respond.
Who should pipe up but a doc from the West Coast who 1. never responds to emails 2. never joins conference calls OR RSVP's for them and 3. allegedly ignores her data collection person to the point where they can't even schedule a meeting together. Not only is her email a grammatical nightmare (not that I can talk b/c you've seen this blog, but at least I'm not sending professional emails here!) but she writes "On slide 3 you should really have B2 plus transplant because that what a lot of people get here"

I want to hit reply and say "Dear Dr. X. Thanks for your keen observations. It is quite obvious that you have looked at all of the slides. If you had been as observant the past four months as this study moved through the various phases of approval and discussion, you would be aware that we dropped this specific group of patients from our study for a number of reasons. The study parameters will not be changing, as the presentation at the annual meeting will be taking place in less than a week."
Thanksbye.

UGH. While I did have a good laugh over that (though nothing will ever be as funny as the dr. who could not read a bar graph and morning conference) it is equally irritating to have to deal with these people. Some would probably say that this proves that doctors are human too. Of course. We all make mistakes. We all have insecurities. The thing that gets me is that this doc, much like the bar graph lady, made a huuuuge deal about the "mistake" and "omittance" they "discovered" and even after letting them down easy, they continued to make a fuss. They seem to have no sense of self-preservation, no instinct to save themselves from embarrassment. This woman's name is on our paper...what if someone had asked her a question about it? That would make the whole lot of us look bad!

I think I'll let the doc I work for handle this one. I think today I might just sit back, relax, and bear witness to what I know will be a very interesting conversation.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Random Post Containing Complaints, Fueled by the New England Patriots playing the undefeated Saints on Monday Night Football

The Bad/Ugly
1. Advice Giving
OK so I belong to an online wedding community. Part of this community is a board organized by subject. I rarely start my own topics, but for some reason, am addicted to throwing in my two cents every once in a while. It's fun. Especially when it's stuff like "how did you meet your fiance" or long-distance relationship junk. Today I commented on an "emotional" post, a post where the author mentioned that she couldn't quite get past the feeling that her fiance's friends wondered whether she was "good enough" for him. Instead of giving constructive advice and support, people were like 'oh just breathe' (though they typed the egregious mispelling 'breath' ugh) or "be yourself" or "love yourself as much as your fiance loves you." Oh please. This girl didn't post to be told to inhale, people. I know what it's like to get the whole 'hope she's good enough for you' deal. It SUCKS. Then people on the board turned and were like "someone had to tell me to cut through my own bullsh*t and help me realize I'm a great person." While I did not reply to that, I thought, "oh honey, I know I am a good person, and plenty good enough for the man I am marrying. That I know this is all that matters. There are going to be people who judge you no matter what happens. You might be the nicest person in the world, and they'll still be people that hate you. The trick is learning to rise above and ignore them, not to take a breat, not to stare in the mirror and tell yourself you're fabulous, to IGNORE THE HATERS."
Ahem.
The end.

2. I get emails from my employer every once and a while informing me of new cancer drugs that have made it into the official treatment guideline. Without fail my data manager fowards them to me with a "FYI." I just never respond and delete them. But a big part of me wants to say to her "Don't you think I get these emails?! I'm in charge of submitting these new drugs for coding as well as concordance, don't you think I covered this already?!" Instead I just delete and go about my day, mildly annoyed that this woman thinks that I don't subscribe to company updates. A better person would say "oh thanks XYZ, I saw this just this morning in my inbox!" but I did not feel like taking the higher road this morning.

3. I am so sick of wedding plans and fighting about wedding plans I want to scream. Lately, I've kind of hated every second of it. Especially when they cause me to b8tch out my fiance. *sad shame face* The end.

4. I want to throw my stupidass Blackberry out the window. It's busted. I need to go to AT&T except the last time I went there after work I waited for 90 minutes in line and then another 30 while some barely-in-high-school teen messed with my phone, spending at least 20 of the 30 minutes staring at it till he realized it needed a new sim card. Annoying.

5. I overslept and got here late so I have to stay late. It's already dark as night. Thus, I am cranky.

The Good

1. Football is on tonight which simultaneously pleases and scares the sh*t out of me.
Example:
The Patriots will take on the Saints in prime time, allowing me to run on the treadmill whilst watching football. Hurrah!
The Patriots are taking on Drew Brees and his undefeated team..oh SH*T.

This is mostly good because I have faith in my Pats.

2. Thanksgiving. It was really really nice. Chill even. The food was delicious, two of the three pies came out really great and the other was totally decent and edible (just not my thing). The fam was on their best behavior and we managed to play a post-dinner game of Pictionary without murdering one another. Though everyone was made and my sister and me who have a nearly telepathic method of winning the game; we are so similar in the way we think that we dominated things from the beginning. For examply my sister drew something that resembled this :
/--/
I I
and I guessed electric chair. Sick, eh?

3. Free food. Jam and I earned a free dinner when we were up in Portsmouth. We had a 2 hour wait for din din which was made ok by drinks, crackers, conversation and a couple rounds of checkers, but once seated waited 30 minutes to even put in a drink order. I was pretty pissed but didn't say anything. Then the managers came over and were srlsy embarrassed. I actually started to feel bad for them! They comped our drinks. Then comped dinner. THEN gave us tea, two t-shirts and a 25$ gift card. Yikes! I have to add "send CM a note" to my to do list this week!

4. Peabody Essex Museum. Those three words sum it up. It's AWESOME and fun and I could seriously go back there tomorrow because it's not overwhelming and there's a lot to see. If you're over that way (thanks for the edit, R, especially after I talked smack about the breathe/breath people!) be sure to check out the Yin Yu Tang house. Fascinating.

5. Wedding planning. OK it's not all bad. I'll be ordering our invites tomorrow. Yay :)

6. Smith. I swear, it's the only organization that gives me a warm fuzzy feeling when they hit me up for cash. As I type in my credit card information I can't help but hearken back to the good ol days when work study left me with a serious cash flow problem and I was typing the same credit card digits into amazon.com and other websites to buy random crap I didn't need....like wooden platform shoes....then in turn this makes me think of all the fun times I had in aforementioned wooden platform shoes....and remember how great college was! the friends! the camaraderie! the food!! the parties and drinking and the quaint New England campus. Glorious! Then I remember the academic pressure and struggle and think "glad I don't have to do it again...but I'll gladly give you money so some other poor, unknowing, idealistic, naive soul can try in my place." heh heh heh.

Well I think my six good things have officially outpaced my five bad and ugly things. I just had an impromptu meeting with a doc I'm working with and she is a total rockstar. She reminds me a ton of a friend from college who is in her fourth year of med school, maybe that's why we get along so well. So I guess maybe this day hasn't been a total bust after all. Hmmn.

Ok, off to cheer for the Patriots! If you've made it this far, thanks for reading about my complainin' :)

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Every year as we practically roll our overstuffed bodies down my grandparent's driveway post-Thanksgiving, it seems unfathomable that in less than 24 hours we'll all be heading back for leftovers...

Yet every year we do. Tommorow, despite my overstuffed-ness will be no exception.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thaanksgiving holiday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Wedding Wednesday 9/54

We are 1/6th of the way there. And probably have about 1/6th of what we need done, done.

I don't have much to add in terms of wedding junk this week. Planning this soiree long distance is pretty irritating. Why? Because I have about a billion ideas a day and really just want to go home and say "hey, Jamaal, what do you think of xyz?" But that doesn't happen because I am an engaged 27-year old lady still shacking up with her parents. Oh yeah.

One thing he did ok without a second though were the stamps. Have I mentioned these before? I totally have, haven't I?

Well if not, here they are, in all of their splendiferous nerdiness:
I think the bottom is greyed out due to copyright shizz from the source. But you get the idea. These are from 1982 (the year of my birth!) and it will take four stamps per envelope to have enough postage sufficient for our wedding invites. Right now you are probably thinking or saying "WHY" or "WTF" Honestly, I don't know. Because I like birds. Birds are awesome. I am nerdily obsessed with them. I would like to rock a navy blue envelope for the invites, and think four bird stamps would look colorful and interesting against the dark blue backgroud. Of course, I would have loved to have done something vintage-y and chic like this:
But I am too dang lazy to go 'trolling for vintage matchy stamps when I could find some on ebay still in full-sheet format, rocking birds and state flowers, set to go. So that's what's happening for postage on the outside.

Our reply cards are going to be in postcard format, and for that little adventure, I have purchased (finished purchasing, I now have enough!) some tropical birds to go on the replies:
These are a little brighter and more flamboyant than their state bird/state flower counterparts, but that's ok, I like how they look! Of course this is about a nickel over the going rate for postcards (last I checked they cost .27 to mail) but since I bought these at face value, I only wasted about $5 on them. Not too shabby.

We will be sending out save the dates before the invitation suite finds it's way to the mail. I thought I could sneak these in with Christmas greetings, but the reality is that there is no way in HELL that is going to happen, LOL. Even though Printable Press has about a 7 day turnaround time, I'll still want to get envelopes and make liners and get special stamps blah blah blah blah blah. So yeah. Instead of searching high and low for more bird-themed vintage postage, I think I'll head on over to zazzle and design something cool.

I love zazzle and have had excellent luck designing postage there. I can't copy and paste the products, but here's a link if you're so inclined. I'll be making my holiday stamps over there too. Last year I used this image, and while I hate to repeat, Mr. Cardinal is very hard to resist:

Northern Cardinal

He is so red and delicious.

Anyways, that's my postage saga for now. There's still a ton of trolling to be done on ebay, as I realized I'm about 5 sheets short of my stamp goal for the state birds. Right now though, I have to go donate some platelets! I've been taking iron like a fiend to boost that hemoglobin, and I'd love to leave the blood bank with some "product" over the holiday...my neighbor fighting ALL is back in the hospital, and while he is just fighting a fever and some med-related side effects (as far as we know, no leukemia relapse) he might be in need of a boost tomorrow...even if my platelets aren't a good match for him, knowing that other people like me are willing to donate this week makes me feel great. I do it for people like my little neighbor and because I am grateful that I am healthy enough to be a donor - I'm so thankful that I am able.

SO that's that. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

When in Doubt, DIY

I went to Whole Foods and Williams Sonoma last night at Derby Street.
Srsly, Derby St is glorious, rivaled now only by Legacy Place in Dedham (which has a Paper Store AND a Paper Source, a WFM, a Loft, and *sigh* Anthropologie). Because Dedham is a bit far of a post-work drive for me, my loyalty to Derby St remains secure...especially since they're putting a Chipotle in there.

Anyways, I picked the perfect time to hit up WFM, 6pm on the Monday before Thanksgiving. By Wednesday morning the parking lot there will be inpenetrable, and the store will be full of three types of people: foodies intent on making some sort of elaborate Martha Stewart-esque stuffing for their free range turkey, people who forgot an essential ingredient and are forced to WFM because Shaw's ran out of cinnamon (me, usually), and the truly desperate, looking for anything pre-made that will sufficiently impress the crowd at Aunt Mabels, or *gulp* their future mother-in-law's. Jamaal is smart and has decided he is brining wine to my grandma's.....but I digress.

So WFM was blissfully empty, and by empty I mean only about a dozen carts were 'trolling the produce section. I walked around and around, trying to decide what kinds of apples would be best for my pies. I wasn't going to use 100% granny smith as one recipe called for, but as a hater of pink lady and gala apples, my choices were limited. Then I had to choose pears. The usual bartlett and danjou were hard as a rock, and yes, I have been vanquished by rock-hard pears before. Because Whole Foods is awesome, I whipped out my iPod and connected to their free wi-fi and googled "pears for a pear pie." Well INTERNETS you FAILED me. Every recipe I found called for "pears." Um specifically please? I gave up after a few websites, as a small, impeccably dressed man kept sighing at me: I was blocking the pomegranates. I finally gave up and bought the ripest pear I could find, a comice pear, which come to find out, does not taste particularly good baked or poached. Crap.

After finishing up at WFM, where I left a mere $36 poorer (holiday specials WHAT?!) I decided to drive on over to Williams Sonoma. The people in that store are decidedly weird - they always always stare as I walk in, as if someone under the age of 45 could not possibly be using anything in their store - but it's the only place around I knew I could get a reliable pastry rolling pin and a fluted pie crust cutter. I picked up what I needed, having to crawl over an irritable employee to get the pie crust cutter, and made my way to the cash register where an urgent, hushed conversation was taking place between the cashier and a customer.

The customer wasa woman my age, maybe a little younger, short with long dark hair. The cashier was around my age also, tall and blond with an effeminate voice. "Ohmahgah I just don't know if we'll have any!" he exclaimed.
The woman said "You have too...come on it's Thanksgiving, you HAVE to have some."
Cashier "No, no I mean we WILL have some, it's just that it's kind of been reserved for weeks and I don't know if I can get you any."
What the hell were they talking about? Pie plates? Turkey roasters?
Woman: "I just don't know what I'm going to do then. Do they have any in Portland? Can you call the Portland Maine store, please??" Her tone was becoming desperate.
Cashier: "well I can see what time they close."
While he was on the phone, another store employee came over and said "We have dried. We always have that, I can sell you dried orange rind."
Woman: "No, no I NEED the fresh!"
Wait.
What?
This woman was freaking out about orange rind? SERIOUSLY?!
I started to open my mouth, ready to explain that for whatever she was willing to pay for freshly grated orange rind she could buy a microplane and some oranges, and with a little finesse and practice and very little effort, have a pile of her own freshly grated orange rind...
BUT
She left in to much of a flurry and huff for me to help her.
I will say though, she certainly entertained me while I was waiting to pay.
I'll be wondering about that lady on Thanksgiving...wondering if she really drove to Portland for her fresh orange rind....wondering what the hell she was making that needed it....wondering if anyone nice took pity on her and told her that she could totally do it herself...

Monday, November 23, 2009

So I failed to post this weekend

Whoops. Kind of let blogging fall by the wayside. I had material too dang it! I was going to write about how busted up I looked on Friday, that I felt old and worn down...then I was going to write about my surprising rejuvenation at a spa party I attended Saturday afternoon...and usually I have something to ramble about by Sunday....not the case this weekend.

Why do Mondays make me more cranky than any other day? On a work week as short as this, I should be happy to go into the office and get things done, right? Not so! I found myself as irritable as any other Monday. Maybe it's because I feel a little run down (sore throat, headache) or maybe because I feel like I have a ton to do (make pies, entertain friends over weekend, craft) but the smallest things have been setting me off. Like the girl who wedged herself between me and my seatmate on the bus (our bus has some seats that are parallel to the sides of the bus, not the traditional row seats) and then refused to put her hands on her lap and had her pointy elbows sticking into my sides.

Don't get me started on facebook. Why I even throw status updates on there is beyond me, but when I tried to be funny this morning, one of Jam's friends commented right away about how I shouldn't use a Kindle when my fiance is in publishing. This friend looooves giving advice and opinions, and since I've only met her once and feel like I shouldn't judge her, I try to be lighthearted about it. I don't get into with her, not even the time she told me that she knew Jamaal longer than any of his other friends (untrue) and that they talked about him proposing to me for a long time and she helped him weigh all the pros and cons and that I should know that it wasn't a decision he made lightly. Um ok, am I supposed to be grateful? Because honestly, that kind of makes it sound like he was simply capitalizing on what he thought may be his only opportunity to pin a lady down and marry her. UGH. So back to the Kindle, LOL. What annoyed me is 1. she doesn't even know Jam doesn't work in print publishing anymore, he works in E-PUBLISHING - oh yeah, and that's E for Electronic 2. by "Kindle app" I meant "Kindle application on my iPod 3. Jam told me he wanted to buy me a Kindle for Christmas (ok now typing this I am actually quite amused by the know it all friend) and 4. My mother is a damn librarian, I am NEVER EVER going to give up buying books, borrowing books from the library, reading a tangible book in my HAND for a soul-less piece of technology. Harumph. I only have the Kindle app because it makes reading in bed a lot easier, i.e. I don't have to put on my extraordinarily dorky camping headlamp to read a book.

I'm dying to say something to this girl, but it's so not worth it. I want to say "um I said nothing about you buying your 8 year old the juicy, coach, uggs and abercrombie products she put on her Christmas list, so you stay the eff off my facebook status and mind your own business when it comes to my ipod apps." Hor. LOL.

But see what I'm saying about the rage? On any other weekday, I probably wouldn't have even bothered responding!

Eh well.

I am off to get some soup and try and do something prodcutive today besides fight with adobe reader and drink tea. I get to go to Whole Foods today and buy pie supplies. It's kind of pathetic, the extent to which I am looking forward to going to Whole Foods, but there it is. I just hope they have the blackberries I'll need and that they're not 8.99/lb.

Happy Monday all :)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Wedding Thursday 8/54


Good LORD these past two weeks have been KILLER!
I made it though - I made it through the meeting with my ArchEnemy.
It was actually kind of sad - today I realized that what she really is is not particularly evil or nasty or bitchy - she is totally and completely insecure. That's what makes her so unbearable. It's weird because she is actually smart, totally knowledgeable in her field, she scares the CRAP out of people, and hell, if her paycheck can buy some Donna Karan boots, she must being doing well for herself. Inside though, I think she might be scared as hell.
Of what I don't know, it's certainly not of me. Maybe she has a mean boss or maybe she lives in fear of losing her job. Whatever it is, it's making her a terrible person, and for that I only have pity.

Oh don't worry, I still intensely dislike her ;)

For now I have a few weeks that stretch ahead of me with nothing stressful scheduled beyond my usual inane conference calls and the occasional donation of platelets. Oh, and I have to bring a snack to book club on December 3rd. Don't let me forget that! I just seriously paused blogging to envision my snack - who does that? I was thinking about pie bites and Christmas cookies and maybe cake pops for about a minute there, when I realized I had stopped typing. WOW.

Of course there's Thanksgiving too. If there is one thing I love about the holidays, it's the visiting. Jamaal is coming up to visit and we've made plans to catch up with some friends we haven't seen in a while. So nice. Love having an excuse to get together with people. I also love any excuse to make a pie, so I will definitely be recreating last year's Grandma Ople's Apple Pie,
My First Apple Pie
sans overdone crust, hopefully a new and improved pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream and no cracking on the top,

My First Pumpkin Pie

AND I really want to make this apple blackberry pie, though maybe substitute the apples for pears...or probably some of the apples for pears, as pears can get mushy. Of course I am doing this almost solely for the purpose of using my leaf and turkey cookie cutters on the crust. Yes lame, but also DELICIOUS!
Ok enough about food. Wedding stuff. I don't have much to add this week since things are moving at a snails pace lately.

We finally had a wedding success: the photographer. Did I mention meeting with him already? If not, he's a family friend who first photographed my sister and I in 1987...then I landscaped for him in high school and did some work for him in the production room, stuff like putting together, in order, stacks of hundreds of bridal proofs, putting proofs in album order, etc. We're pretty tight and he would impart little bits of photographic wisdom upon me from time to time. I can't believe that I've remembered it all these years (9? 10 years?) later, but for some reason, it still occupies a part of my brain. This will make working with James so easy - why? OK for example, I know that lighting is important and that the best light of the day is either morning or later afternoon light. So I didn't even make a tentative schedule of the day until I talked to James. He was like 'wait. what? you waited to make a timeline?' I'm sure most brides go in and tell him how things are going to go, but I knew it's best to wait for his OK, especially since the photographs are so important to me.

Besides helping me with all things photography, he also perused the Barns brochure to help us come up with a decorative scheme. Last week I was bitching about the paper lantern thing, how we'd need our own ladder etc (still mildly irritated about this) He flipped through the pages, came to the last photo and said "This. This right here. This is what you need to do. I LOVE IT." Luckily Jam and I totally loved the setup too - it's just that an outside opinion confirming the awesomeness of a decorating scheme is kind of nice...we need the validation.
So here it is:
I am not so sure how the orange-y thing will look with navy....but I think I kind of love the orange. The bridesmaid dresses will be navy, my dress is ivory, and the bouquets are going to be a bright mix of fall dahlias. It works, right? The centerpieces are totally neutral. I notice these are green - ours will be glass jars with ivory votives and fall colored details. I like the idea of sparkly/embossed mini pumpkins as our centerpieces...so basically, I am getting comfortable with this set up. I wish we were rich and could rent the chiavari because they are gorgeous, but alas, I'd rather put the $1200 we'd have to spend on chair rental towards a honeymoon on the beach and a spa treatment a day because I am selfish like that!

Anyways, this will save us some time and effort, and I think some cash, with which I can't exactly argue! So here's what we'll have to do to decorate this:

String lights, wrap poles in chiffon, set up centerpieces, set up just married banner (so cute), set up guest book/card/escort card table, set up candy bar. I really love how this sounds as opposed to "make 50 LED throwies, string up 50 paper lanterns from barn rafters" Sooo much better. This also means that I can sneak over to the Barns to help with the initial chores and be back in my hotel room around 10 am or so. Here's how the day should go:

ass-early: wake up and do the sh*t that I will have inevitably left to the last minute
8:30 am: head to Barns
9 am: help with initial set up...of course I will have a team of 20 people to do this. LOL.
10 am: get kicked out of Barns by Jam/family
10:15 am: get back to hotel room, pop bottle of champagne, shower (with champagne in shower with me ha ha ha)
11 am: hair done
12 pm: drinking. makeup.
1 pm: mill around. drink.
1:15 pm: put on dress, start to head out
1:40 pm: leave for church
2 pm: music starts
2:15-2:30pm: head down aisle, try not to faint
3pm: ceremony ends
3:30pm: receiving line ends
4:00pm: get to Barns after church pics
4:45pm: photog promises formal shots will be done, catch the last 15 mins of cocktail hour with bridal party
5pm: get the party started
You get it!

So yeah, very good stuff this week. As for this coming week (THANKSGIVING! YAY!) Jam promises to have his guest list modifications complete and to help me pick out an invitations suite. I am still heavily leaning towards this one, though I told Jam that he obviously has a say and that you really can't go wrong with Printable Press:
I am falling in love with this one too though, so a change is entirely possible:
Jam also loved my favorite invite format from the DIY Wedding Invite class I went to at the Paper Source over the summer, so that works too. It's nice when we just agree.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Make that Wedding Thursday

I have a meeting with the previously blogged about ArchEnemy tomorrow.
I am dreading it.
I spent most of the day trying to catch up on a pile of paperwork I determined that she might find possible "impressive" and failed.
I've spent the last five hours at home (HOME! Even during ANTM AND Glee) on this stupid excel file.

Yes, I'm that scared about my meeting with her.

You think I can get away with throwing some Captain Morgan in my DD mediumcreamnosugah tomorrow??!

Needless to say, Wedding Wednesday is way the hell out of my mind til tomorrow at 10:30. For now, it's back to excel....

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

An Actual Conversation

Allison: I love "Empire State of Mind." I know I shouldn't love a NYC song that hard...but I do. And it's Jay-Z, sooo yeah.

Jam: Oh yeah, that IS a great song.

Allison: I love the part about the cabs.

Jam: What part's that?

Allison: "Yellow cab, gypsy cab, dollar cab, holla back."

Jam: *silence, then* "HEY!! We've been in all THREE!!"

I can't believe I'm admitting this...but yeah, I really will miss our adventures in New York.
Not that we won't still have them when we pop down for a visit, but somehow, it won't be the same....

IMG_7767

Jam and I and the Statue

Ladies World

Who are these people?

Lovin'

Monday, November 16, 2009

Etiquette Talk

First of all
*let us never again speak of the devastating loss the NE Patriots suffered during Sunday night football*

Ooook now that that is out of the way.

ETIQUETTE.

I posed a question on weddingbee today: should we lie about our ceremony time?
We've decided to get married at 2:30. Jam insists on putting "2 PM" on our invites.
I have mixed feelings. On the one hand, I want everyone to be there, butts in pews, and not walking in whenever. Then again, I want to start on time, because I LIKE being on time, and I like to stick to a schedule. But we have friends we love who are always late....and friends who are always early and may be frustrated to wait 45 minutes. The wedding bees had mixed reactions to this. A good many said to lie. Some said that they would be totally annoyed waiting 45 minutes for a bride to walk down the aisle. Most said to print 2pm on the invite, and walk down the aisle at 2:15pm. I think I like this the most. It's a compromise for everyone. And the powers above forbid, if someone important is super-late (his mom, my grandma, etc) we will wait. And blame them when the guests complain. ha ha ha.

So that being solved, I trolled weddingbee a bit more and stumbled upon a photography blog. Naturally I am interested by interracial couples, so I was drawn to one of their weddings in particular, so I clicked to open their entire wedding photo gallery. The bride was so beautiful and everyone looked so happy. Then I saw this picture:
You might be like "what? I don't get it?!" Look just to the left of the bride, at the guy in the gray jacket. What is in his ear? A FRICKIN' BLUETOOTH. O em gee.
If I were the bride and I saw that (she probably didn't notice because, hey, she did just get married) I would flick it out of his ear. Those people who wear bluetooths 24-7 irritate me NO END. Why would you ever presume you were SO important that you had to wear a bluetooth to a friend's/family member's wedding? No idea. So any guests reading this, if you wear a bluetooth to my wedding, you'd better have a damn good reason, like you're waiting for the hospital to call you about your kidney transplant or your wife is in labor (though why you'd show at the wedding if you had that going on in your life is beyond me!) Otherwise, you will TOTALLY get flicked!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Night

Gah, how do these weekends fly by?? Insanity.

I actually dropped a day of NaBloPoMo without even realizing it, probably because whenever Jamaal is here for the weekend, we try and pack as much as possible into 48 hours or so...plus this weekend, Jam was departing at 6 am Sunday morning to get to New Jersey for some pre-Jets game tailgating.

You know, it's totally cheesy and part of me cringes to admit it, but through my slightly tipsy stupor on Friday night, as I watched Jamaal laugh at something stupid along with my parents, I felt this incredible contentment deep down inside. Then I start thinking about "the powers above that brought us together" blah blah blah even though I am not particularly religious and am often quite cynical about things like "faith," "fate," and "meant to be." Know that I am rolling my eyes at myself as I type this, oh gag...I am not "that" girl. But seriously, I just felt so happy knowing that this is the guy I'm ending up with. I'm lucky. Of course I tend to get intensely emotional when intoxicated...though I always tell the truth...

Ok back to regular Allison.

So we had a productive weekend and had a fantastic meeting with our wedding photographer, a long-time family friend. Photography is probably the most important aspect of the wedding in terms of vendors. The DJ, musicians, video guy, etc, don't tend to get me so excited, but the photographer? Definitely a priority - maybe it's because I'm a scrapbooker. Anyway, it's great that I used to work with James a bit. I mostly landscaped for him but on occasion he would have me come into the production room and work on family reprint orders and bridal proof books. I didn't know at 17 that this would later give me a huge advantage when working with a photographer at my own wedding. We click well - I had already made certain plans about particular aspects of the day that would make James' job easier, and he was happy to hear that I was a bit ahead of the game. I guess looking through pictures and coordinating the timing of the day made everything sink it - in 11 or so months, this is really happening.

We rewarded our two hours of planning with McDonald's. Twice in one week for me, so bad, but oh so delicious.

The rest of Saturday was totally lazy. Jam knocked off two cover letters and I watched way too much HGTV. We tried to decide on a movie to catch whilst watching a papa lion kill a hyena on Animal Planet - and of course could not decide. In the end we skipped the proposed "2012" because neither one of us could bear the thought of sitting through it for 2 hours and 4o minutes and headed to the Olive Garden for some cheap eats disguised as Italian food. Because we are a classy couple like that. And yes, we avoided the seawall in Hull as the hurrican remnants caused an ocean surge that would've been lapping at the hubcaps of the subaru!

My Sunday has been equally lazy, though my sister and I were totally entertained by two kids in our church's jr. high fellowship group. We only had the two show this week, and we weren't sure if that would make our scripture scavenger hunt fun or totally lame, but we pulled it off fairly well. For boys that usually only want to play dodge ball, they were forced to invest some serious time in Bible verses (I was impressed with their navigation of the Bible, to tell you the truth) and have some fun finding stuff we hid around the church hall. I think the associate pastor will be proud to see what we did all by ourselves.

Funny moment of the weekend: The boys were doing their scavenger hunt, looking for the one item that really stumped them "rings." One says to my sister and I "Are you two married?" Because it's 1. Massachusetts and 2. a UCC Congregational Church (i.e. we marry same-sex couples) and 3. I don't get what he's actually getting at I say "Um....to each other?" The poor kid. He was like 'NO no, oh NO NO!!" Amy says "Yeah cause we're sisters...." He's like "no no no I know that, I mean, do you have rings on your fingers, that's what I meant!"
Bwahahahahah poor kid. Totally embarrassed. We're bringing the two guys that showed Dunkin Donuts gift cards next week, so I think they'll forgive us.

Also, I mentioned I "graduated" from middle school in 1996. One said "Oh!! The year I was born!"

Ha ha ha HILARIOUS. Thanks. Old lady signing off to go watch the Patriots kick some Manning ASSSSSS.

Friday, November 13, 2009

All blogged out.

Wow, we haven't even hit the midpoint of NaBloPoMo and I am blogged out. Whew.
I'm not sure what I can even write about today

*pauses to let all three readers of my blog brace for ranting, raving, or worse, WEDDING posts*

Nah. Don't worry. I'm so over all of that.

I think I'll try and write a bit about the craftasticness that is building up on my "To Do" list.

Foremost in my mind at the moment is all the baby crafting I have to do.
I really think that hearing baby news is the best thing EVER. Why?
Hmmm....because having babies is awesome (as long as it's not me!) and I get to craft teeny little sweet things for the babies, play with the little tiny humans, and then hand them back and go back to my sans-children life. It's kind of fantastic. I know someday Jamaal and I will work on kids, but right now it's so much better to get to celebrate pending baby news with family and friends, enjoy their kids, and leave :)

Back to my point: baby crafting!
A friend from college just answered my congratulatory email I sent three months ago when I found out she was expecting. I was starting to worry! The thing is that this is how we are pretty much - I see her at a party, we chat, have a good time, and then don't see each other/talk til the next party. Most people would probably question the fact that I even call this woman a "friend" BUT she was my "Big Sister" in college, and for some reason that makes seeing each other only twice a year still OK. When I found out she was having a baby boy I freaked out with the excitement. I've been knitting a ton of girl stuff, so I am ready for a boy challenge, and this friend is craft-worthy x 10 because not only is she my college Big Sister, but she is also incredibly artsy and will appreciate handmade goodness. Hurrah! Plus being the first close Smith-friend to have a baby, we-ell. It warrants a special effort (though my '04 Smith ladies, if you ever have kids, watch out. I will give myself arthritis crafting for your progeny!).

Today I bought this fabric bundle:
It's definitely going to be a car/car seat quilt. I know there are other crafty people in this lady's life, so I really would NOT want to steal anyone's thunder by making a big quilt. It'll probably be 24" x 36" or so.

Next up, I have to find something to knit. So far there are some frontrunners on Ravelry:
Five Hour Boy Baby Sweater. Gah, the red is so cuuuute
source







Too cool for school brimmed hat
source








Baby Mittens. Thumbless!
source








Wee "vest"
source







Overlap Pullover
source










Hex Hat
source








Wee socks!
source








Is that way too much? I thought that if I packaged it all together and the stuff coordinated, it wouldn't be too much. Of course what it will come down to is time. So I should probably prioritize or at least figure out what I want to coordinate and start knitting in a specific order, so if I don't finish half the stuff it doesn't look super-random. The nice thing is that the hats, mittens, and quilt can be done in a single day. The five hour sweater is truly five hours, so I guess the only hurdles would be the baby vest and pullover. We'll see.

This kind of makes me want to give myself a Christmas vacation. Tee hee. Just crafting.

OK - next.
My second cousin is having a baby right before Christmas. She asked for a quilt. A bird quilt. Since she was all request-y and demanding and we are not that tight AND she has one kid already, she's pretty much only getting a quilt.
Ha.
Ok a quilt and a five-hour baby sweater with a matching hat.

Here's the quilt fabric I bought:
But of course I have no earthly idea of how I'm going to arrange this quilt. Usually I do log cabins as they are beyond ridiculously easy, but for some reason, I don't think that style is going to capture the full impact of the bird pattern. I'll probably just do some squares, which is a bit boring, but practical. I'll probably make this sweater, maybe even in this color.
5 Hour Baby Sweater
It's the most popular thing in my ravelry queue for some strange reason. It's easy though, so that's good. Maybe I'll be nice and get some Old Navy baby tees to throw under it, but since she has one girl already, she probably has a lot of girly clothes....

Next up, my friend from childhood requested a hat and mitten set for her nearly two-year old. Plus it will be Alexa's birthday at the end of January, and usually I get her a little something crafty. I have been obsessing over hats and mittens. I want to be cute but also practical. Some faves from Ravelry so far:
How cute is this Golden Compass inspired hat?
Alexa's coat is bubblegum pink, and this would match really nicely. I am worried about sizing, as this is meant to fit a preschooler. I think I can manage to adapt it though.
source






Miss Lady loooves ladybugs. These wouldn't match her jacket, but they'd make a great gift at her 2-year bday party. I might have to save these for that.
source





These would be most practical, plus I can make them to match the hat.
So that's settled I guess!
Source







What else?
Oh yeah, there's all the stuff I've promised/owe people.

I told Amy I'd make us both a pair of Bella's Mittens:


There's the gay quilt I promised to make EE for her 25th bday (um she will be 28 in March. Go me). I'm not putting it's picture here because I want it to be a surprise!

There's the pink explosion quilt I told Amy I'd make.
There's the pink and purple quilt I told Jen's sister Libs I'd make. Two years ago.
Ummm there's the NY sports quilt I wanted to make Jamaal for Christmas....
There's the inevitable Christmas gift crafting I will take one.

OH.
And of course...I joined an ornament swap.
I'll be making these again this year:

I need to make 20 of them. I feel strangely up to the challenge!

So yes. We won't even discuss the fact that I am supposed to have finished 6 of my bridesmaid shawls (self-imposed goal) by the end of 2009. Ha ha.

I'll pause so you can all tell me that I am NEUROTIC.
Remember though, I thrive under pressure.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Negativity WHAT?

Oh goodness.

Ever have one of those weeks where you feel like the world is conspiring against you?

I'm not talking about one of those horrible weeks, where something truly horrible has happened, like your house burns down or your pet dies or you find out a friend is sick...no that's different.

What I'm talking about is a collection of highly irritating things that add up to push you to point break. Taken alone or one per week, you probably would just shake it off, but adding them up together makes them see irrationally big and looming - as if the world is conspiring against you.

I'm having one of those weeks.
First off, it never helps when your calendar looks like this:
Yes, those are many crossed off things in fluorescent pink.

So there's my calendar, setting the tone.
Monday - infamous board meeting, where I discover I am trapped on the board for the next seven months and not given options. Left my ATM card in the ATM machine. Drowned sorrows in double quarter pounder. Felt regret.
Tuesday - multitude of calls giving me crap about the meeting I've scheduled. Demanding admin assistants. Rude admin assistants. Want to bang my head against the keyboard.
Wednesday - bank closed, cannot get my ATM card back. Wore new red patent leather shoes that seemed like a great idea till they started giving my big toes blisters. Field more calls from admin assistants accusing me of scheduling exec board call "behind our back." Dinner with irrational Republicans who actually said "What Massachusetts needs is Sarah Palin" If she comes here, I sh*t you not, I will move to Alaska. Spend rest of night looking at clock, calculating my escape. Missed Glee.
Thursday - Internet at work royally f*cked. Bank does not have ATM card. Got peppermint mocha at Starbucks instead of what I ordered, a pumpkin spice latte. May have to bail dad out of jail later tonight...ok that's kind of funny. And it won't happen, as our state leaders seem to be doing all they can to quash a protest, so probably no acting up and rage and rock-throwing...at least I don't think....though I have to say if it did, it would be justified, because thanks to this guy and his band of brothers, I almost grew up fatherless and siblingless soooooo...yeah. This week, for lack of a better phrase, has been super f*cked up.
SUPER.
I can hardly bear to see what Friday will bring.

Though because I try and see the glass half full, here are some very nice things that have happened this week:
-Three - yes THREE people have asked me if I have lost weight because I look skinny. I lied and told them I have been exercising really hard and it's paying off. hahahahahaha. Maybe McDonald's will be my new weightloss strategy.
-My awesome eyebrown lady was even more awesome last night and gave me some free microdermabrasion. It rocks and sucks the impurities right out of your pores. I felt pretty for about 4 hours, lol.
-I got some validations from my bosses.
-One of the admins actually emailed me to say "Thank You"
-I had a bunch of good and hilarious phone calls with the Jamonster
-My college friend who I've kept in casual touch with finally returned my email (the congratulatory email I sent her when I found out she is pregnant) and she is doing well and happy and having a boy. That kind of made my week.
-My other college friend texted me that she was wearing the shoes we bought together (we bought the same pair of shoes in college for interviews. Nine west extended toe slingbacks) and that she was thinking of me. Aw, sweet.

So ok, it's not been all crappy. And I will really laugh if I have to drive out to Western Mass to get my dad out of SP Northampton. Though I doubt cops would arrest other cops unless things got really shady and bad LOL. AND
JAMAAL COMES TO VISIT TOMORROW!
YAYAYAYAYYAYAYAY. His visit may consist of going to Asian C, getting slightly tipsy on scorpion bowls, eating enough sushi to sober up again (I never drive intoxicated, just to assure all you readers!) and then driving to Hull to make out by the seawall. Because we are not 27 and 32 but rather 17 year olds who just exchanged a learner's permit for a real license and have raging hormones. LOL.

My pregnant friend was funny in her email when she asked how the wedding planning was going. She said "I remember the whole thing as being kind of a horrible experience..." She kind of hit the nail on the head for me. The whole thing has been kind of nightmarish. The one thing that went beautifully though was the dress shopping. That was a dream. I told Jamaal that of all the superficial junk involved in a wedding, the thing I am looking forward to most is putting on that dress.

So for those of you who don't know me from a hole in the wall or know me and have yet to see it, here's the dress:



I love it. It's beautiful. Can't wait to wear it.
Now I'm going to try and accomplish something today. And you know, try and not be so negative :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wedding Wednesday 7/54 aka A Post of Fails

ETA: I would like to step out of my self-indulgent skin to think of all the veterans who have served this country and continue to defend it today. I so admire the sacrifices servicemen and servicewomen make for this country, so I can go about my stupid life without thinking about my safety and freedoms. Thank you.

*************************************************************************************

Oh the fails this week.
Unbelievable.
Mostly work fails.
An ATM fail, where I left my ATM card in the machine yet again. At least this time I was distracted and on my cell, but still. When I went to the bank in hopes of retrieving the card before it met its death in the shredder I found the bank closed for Veteran's Day. Fail.

Now the wedding fails.

I emailed our point person at the reception venue with a list of questions.
Some I liked the answers to very much, like "yes candles are allowed" and "yes you can use the property the day of the wedding, even if it's before the official reception begins"

Others, not so much.

So we can't get in to decorate before 9am on Saturday morning. This makes me queasy. Since we're not blowing $50,000 on this affair, it is very DIY-oriented, but because I am NEUROTIC I have an elaborate scheme in my head as far as decor. Unfortunately, it does not like this will be a possibility because 1. we do not have a crew of laborers to help us 2. I will NOT let my nearly 60 year old dad, Jam's dad, Jam's brother or my cousin Andrew or uncle who has fallen off a ladder twice climb a ladder on my wedding day (I would never get over the guilt of someone getting hurt decorating for our wedding) and 3. we simply won't have the time or the ladder, which we have to provide, to pull it off:


Though if we keep our numbers down, and don't have to use the balcony for seating, maybe we could pull this off by not having to climb up and down a ladder too many times. I don't know. I am just feeling discouraged today I guess.

The good thing is that I have concrete answers. Now I can go over timing with the photographer and we can tighten the timeline for the day. Jam's response to this time constraint is to severly limit decorations. While I agree we may have to limit decorations, I kid you not, we are going to have a sign-up sheet or something and recruit as many people as possible to help us out. I am so grateful to know that there are a couple of people in particular who are hardcore into aesthetics and will work with us to make the barns beautiful.

So while I can admit to being sad about changing our decorating plans, I'm happy when I think of the great people who have our back...and I'm grateful that the one thing that worked flawlessly (or has worked flawlessly so far) has been the hotel. There may be a wedding at our venue on Friday and Sunday, but as far as I know, I beat everyone to the hotel block! AND I HAVE THE BRIDAL SUITE B*TCHES! Which up until wedding night will be called "the factory of craftiness, flowers and decorating." I can imagine the scene 11 months from now, the bridal suite full of ladies on Friday afternoon gettin' stuff done, and it makes me happy. I always thought I'd want to have a room to myself and enjoy the peace and quiet leading up to the "big day" (blech) but now I am so grateful I reserved that room. I want it full of people :) drinking champagne and hot gluing sh*t. ha ha ha.

Well I kind of talked myself out of that funk. It helps that I saw this tremendously gorgeous wedding today on weddingbee. Totally DIY and amazing. I just love it. I am totally poaching ideas. Really the only hurdle that comes with the time constraint is what to do with lighting...when I really think about it, centerpieces can be set up ready to go in boxes/crates. I can say to the bridesmaids "this is how it's supposed to look" and we can throw them on the tables. Escort cards will be premade and ready, menus, made and ready. Then the other details, pumpkins, gourds, guest books, etc, that will be easy. Just have to figure out the lighting and stuff.

So I am totally rambling and thinking out loud. Ugh sorry to the few that read my stupid blog ;)
It gets to be too much sometimes, and I shut my head off from all things wedding, then something comes up and it seems to be all I think about. I can't wait til we have some things in place and are making foward progress. I'll be super-relieved!

For now I have to get back to work. We're getting so close to figuring out this big lymphoma thing for a presentation at the American Society of Hematologists. Too bad I am too unimportant to be flown down to NOLA for the conference. Dang.

More later!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

OMG

Another assistant just called me on the phone.
SERIOUSLY?
WTF?
I said "I'm sending out the agenda tomorrow"
"Oh I guess I can wait til then" she says.
That's it, I'm sending out an irritated email to everyone right now.

A List of Thoughts

Reading the NY Times does NOT make you SMART

- I belong to a certain bridal site/blog where there is a discussion board. For the most part it's friendly banter, you know, like 'OMG we're date twins!' or "My colors are navy and I don't know what the accent color should be." There's other intense stuff and then there's additional completely non-wedding related things. I seem to like to comment most on the non-wedding things. Recently in a movie discussion, someone quoted the NYT. I was like "Just b/c the NYT says it's so, doesn't mean it is." Seriously though, it's a wedding site and was I going to get into it with this user? Oh hell no. Not worth it. Then I notice that this person is a serial poster/NYT-referencer. While there's nothing wrong with the NY Times or wrong with referencing it, I want to smack her upside the head and say "Get an original idea." C'mon woman, break away fromt the narrow opinion of a sole newspaper. Instead I just rage on this blog. Ha ha ha.

I hate an inflated sense of self

- I always tell Jam that I hate to have my time wasted. Then I usually go on to say that I don't have an inflated sense of self, I am perfectly aware of my own insignificance. I am finding that people I am working with are not getting their own insignificance and the extent to which they are wasting my time. Very frustrating. I keep getting emails from various physician's assistants asking for things that I told them I would send on November 11th. Now do not get me wrong, I respect these people. Their jobs are NOT easy, many of the doctors are divas in the extreme, but seriously, do not hound me for something I told you would be arriving in your inbox on X day. And if you MUST could you at least be polite? The most recent email I received said only this: "Send in the call-in info for this call"
Heh? No please? No thank you? Not even a greeting?
My reply: "Hello, It will be sent out November 11th. Thank you. Allison."
In other words "Incredibly rude tw@t, I told you to wait. Leave me alone. PS this is what a salutation and closing look like."
EH. At least this one was to the point. The last email I received from an assistant berated me for adding her as a "participant" in Friday's conference call when she will not be "participating." Then she goes on to say that she must be CC'd on ANYTHING sent to the doc for whom she works. Uhhh. Yeah, thus you listed as a participant. I know you won't be calling in, but if I don't enter you as a participant, your doctor will never get the proper info. Disaster!!

Emotional Eating

-I recently admitted to emotional shopping. I said that food didn't really do it for me in that post, and said that to fill an empty void after a bad day or a death or something I usually like to charge things on my credit card. Yesterday was a rare exception. I belong to an alumnae club board and I desperately want to leave. I am in charge of the South Shore area and participation in events and sheer interests is abysmal. A-B-Y-S-M-A-L. I get about a 2 % participation rate in my planned events....the club thinks this is great, but out of 400 alumnae? Not so much. Anyways, I decided at this month's board meeting I would prepare the club for my departure in February, which marks the end of my 2-year term. I came up with a bunch of solutions and offered to aid my replacement in any way possible. There was a low rumble in the room when I said "February" - the short version of the story is that at some point in the last almost 2-years, someone decided that all term limits would end in June. So even though I was actually elected in December 2007 (didn't attend meetings til Feb, so I decided to cut the board a break) I can't be finished til June 2010..."unless you move far away" one of the members clarified. California never sounded better. Misery, boredom, and apathy are not good enough excuses to leave. My college friend and fellow board member says that I am being manipulated to stay on the board - this may be quite true. Anyway, last night I bolted from the meeting so I didn't have to socialize with any of the weirdos in attendance (my friend had left already LOL) and I ran to the T. I was flustered and angered and stressing. My heart was pounding. Suddenly I realized that every heartbeat conveyed a message, "McDonald's, McDonald's, McDonald's." I knew right then that a quarter pounder with cheese, fries, and a diet coke would literally solve all my problems. I know feeling that gustatory satisfaction would erase my sorrows. Rarely would I find my solace in a hunk of x-grade meat, rarely am I possessed by a desire for food so strong that I actually don't remember my ride home on the foul MBTA - but last night proved to be the rarest of rare occasions. I sped out of the Braintree T to Five Corners, one of the MOST reliable McDonald's in eastern Massachusetts. I wanted to order a quarter pounder, but accidentally ordered a double quarter pounder. I threw care to the wind as I bit into it and found it still STEAMING HOT. So many of my fast food experiences have let me down with a lukewarm burger. This was so hot it was as if my father had just taken it off the grill...so freakin good. My stress melted away. My headache and hunger melted away. My thighs grew by an inch each and my cholesterol shot up to 250, but good LORD in that moment, life was perfect.