Wednesday, November 30, 2005

My dear friend Annie, whom I have known since we were about eight, sent me this lovely poem today. I thought some of you might enjoy it, too.

The Summer Day
Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

snow and technology

We got our first snowfall of the year last week, the day before Thanksgiving and on Thanksgiving day, mostly. It was the earliest in the year that it's snowed in the three years we've been here. I really hope that's not a sign of an extremely bad winter to come.

I am trying to post a picture but it's not letting me, which is annoying.

Of course, the snow is all melted now. In fact, today it's about 50 degrees and pouring down rain. Strange. Not normal weather for this time of year at all. But I'm not complaining, really. I hope we get another nice dusting for Christmas, and then after that, I hope it holds off for a little while longer.

I suppose I should appreciate the picturesque nature of the snow while we're here in Maine, but that might be stretching it a little too far for me. The most I can do, I think, is to try not to loathe it.

Also last week, we finally bit the bullet and ordered a new computer! Brett's parents said they'd help out, so we decided to just do it. We got an Apple G5, with a 20" flat panel cinema display monitor. It's pretty dang fancy. Or at least that is my impression, since the actual computer hasn't arrived yet. The monitor is scheduled to be delivered today, but the from the information on the website, the computer hasn't left the facility in Shanghai (yes, China) yet.

We also ordered me a little something since we were getting free shipping and an educational discount anyway...a 30g, black, video iPod. YAYAYAY! I am so excited. I have been obsessively pressing the refresh button on the Fed Ex tracking page, watching as it makes its way from China...to Anchorage, Alaska...to Memphis, Tennessee. Right now, it's somewhere between Memphis and here. I should have it in my hands Thursday or Friday. Yahoo! I am totally stoked to get it and to play with it. Tres chouette!

Friday, November 25, 2005

Thanksgiving thoughts...

Brett and I had a nice, quiet Thanksgiving yesterday. In fact, he was at work till 3 p.m., plowing snow, so it was really quiet for me. I read a bunch (in bed under 2 down comforters, a quilt, and another blanket, of course, because the rest of our house was freaking freezing since we haven't turned our furnace on yet to try to save money) and then cooked.

Since we don't do the turkey thing, I pretty much just made the trimmings, which was fine with us. Apple-walnut stuffing, peas, salad, some very good mashed potatoes, vegan gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Quite good. I have leftover stuffing, peas, and pie for lunch today. Yums!

So, what am I thankful for? Lots and lots of things. I'll share a few.

1. My husband. He has been so great lately. I'll be honest; the past 2 years here in Maine have been really hard on us and our relationship, but the past month or so has been wonderful. For instance, this morning, he cleaned the snow off my car for me before he left for work. Aww. :)

2. Our families. Our parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins...they are wonderful. Despite the fact we're so far away from them, we love them very much and I definitely miss them all.

3. Having a car that works. I have had too many crap cars that break down...it's so nice not to have to worry about whether my car will start when I go out in the morning.

4. Our friends. We've made a few good ones here in Maine, and I'm so glad for that. I'm also thankful for all of the friends we have who are now spread all over the country and the world. I was thinking about it the other day, and we have friends in three countries and probably almost every state. It's wonderful.

5. This is going to sound weird...but I'm very thankful for what you might call my internet friends, the Snarkies. It's so strange, but they are true friends who I am thankful to have. They go beyond just being so-called Internet friends. I don't know what I would have done without them the first year or so we were in Maine, when I didn't have friends here yet. Now, they are an ingrained part of my life.

6. My job. Yes, sometimes I am frustrated with it, and although I feel underpaid at times, I love what I do. I get *paid* to *write* and talk to people all day. It's great. There's not really much else I'd rather do, except be a stay-at-home mom someday.

7. 180 days. That is all I have to say. *grin*

8. This is strange-ish, but I'm thankful for our cat, Audrey. She's so snuggly and cute and I just really love her. I never thought I'd be this attached to a pet...but I am.

9. The Internet. I love the Internet. Email, blogs, message boards, netflix, endless information at my fingertips, etc, etc, etc. It's fantastic. I love that I can write all this here and my family in Oregon, my brother in Korea, my friends in DC can all read it and know a little bit about what's going on in my life.

There's so much more I could say, so many more things I'm thankful for. But that's enough for now. I need to answer some emails and start planning out my work for the week.

Monday, November 21, 2005

procrastination...it's so much fun.

Oh. I am so procrastinatory tonight. (I have no idea if that's a word, but if it isn't, it should be.) Anyway.

I got home from the Westbrook council meeting at a record early time, about 8:45, all ready to write the three stories I need to take care of before I go to bed, since our deadlines are screwed up this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Yeah. Well, good intentions didn't get me very far. I came home, listened to Brett talk about the new computer he asked his parents to buy for us, made some dinner, listened some more, ate my dinner, listened some more, and then finally, the computer was mine.

And, fool that I am, what the hell have I done during the past hour and 15 minutes? Write my stories?

No. Of course not. First it was checking my email, and my Snarkies board, and the Moped Army board, and then looking up monitors to go with the computer Brett wants, and then looking up the iPod I want, and then looking up the Bose docking station for the iPod I want, and then going to the Seattle Times website to read about the shooting in the mall in Tacoma, and then doing a real estate search to see if there are any apartments I want to rent in the greater Seattle area (there aren't, and it's a moot point anyway since I'm 3,000 miles away), then looking up the hours of the store in Seattle where we bought our wedding rings to find out if they were open (they weren't) so I could call them about getting Brett's ring re-sized, then checking the blogs I read regularly, then linking to a blog from the comments on www.amalah.com, then reading that blog, then linking to another blog and reading all the back posts of that blog, then wanting to write on my blog...

And here I am.

I managed to (sort of) write my column in the midst of all that, although I am not happy with my column this week, but at this point, I don't really care.

I also realized that I left the notebook with the interview I need for one of my stories on my desk at work. Yeah. Not smart.

Sigh. I guess I can't win 'em all.

Also? I bonked my head TWICE today on the kyack (how the heck do you spell that anyway? I have no idea) rack on the car I'm borrowing this week, so that I have twin bruises calling even more attention to my gargantuan forehead. It looks like I'm going to sprout horns or something. Ew. I should have bought that new MAC concealer I was eyeing at the mall a few weeks ago, after all.

I know Brett is going to come in here soon and ask me if I'm almost done...so I suppose I should do some more real work. It's so much more fun to blog...

Ok, he just came in and threatened to take the ethernet cable away from me, so I had better work now.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

close call

Brett and I have sold some stuff on ebay recently, mostly moped parts and that kind of thing. Tonight, we were packing up three things we sold so he could mail them tomorrow. I had just finished taping up the last box (which was needing a lot of tape, because it was an old box, so I'd taped every freaking seam, edge, and corner on it), when he looked up with a really strange look on his face, kind of a half smile/smirk.

Him: Uh, oh.
Me: What?
Him: Um, my wedding ring isn't on my finger anymore.
Me: You're kidding, right? It's really in your pocket, right?
Him: Uh. No. I'm not kidding.

We proceeded to tear apart our storage room upstairs, where he'd been getting boxes and packing material, and the staircase, and the landing...and we didn't find it.

We looked at each other and he said, "Well, I guess it must be in the box." By that he meant the box I'd just taped up, on every single edge.

So we had to unwrap the whole box, take out all the shredded newspaper packaging, and lo and behold, under the moped gas tank we sold, there was his wedding ring.

Whew. I'm so glad he realized it before we mailed it...or some girl in California would be getting a nice chunk of platinum in addition to the rusty old moped gas tank.

We'll be looking into getting it resized (or something) asap.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

It's back.

The cold...is back. Blech. This is now week nine of my marathon illness. I had 4 or 5 days of bliss last week and weekend, enough to get me through my fabulous DC weekend, and now it's back with a vengeance.

I went to the doctor yesterday. Again. For the third time in almost as many weeks. She perscribed another anitbiotic and told me to stay home from work. So I called work. Yeah, that didn't go so well. They pretty much told me it was a "problem" to stay home. Well, screw that. I have 6 sick days, and I am using two of them. It doesn't change the fact that next week will be horrible, catching up, but at least I get to rest for 2 days. Or so I thought.

Because last night, after I got home from the doctor (where I've spent $60 in three weeks) and the pharmacist (where I've spent $75 in three weeks on perscriptions alone, not counting NyQuil), Dave-the-landlord was in here, making an ungodly mess in my so-called dining room. He's spackling and sanding the ceiling that has now been a mess for 40 days, since the great dining room flood of 2005. The dust from the sanding is all over my kitchen, my living room, and -- horror of horrors -- my precious KitchenAid mixer. Grrrrr....

Oh, and might I add that he's in here again right now, just after I fell asleep for the first time today, and now he wants to come in tomorrow.

I'm not sure how to type the feelings I wish to convey. Some swear words come to mind, but I already swore up the internet yesterday on the Snarkies board, (which I'm kind of ashamed of, by the way) so I've mostly got that out of my system.

Partly I want to just lose it. I've hit the wall. I want to just cry and say it's not fair and I want to be a kid for a few minutes and let someone else deal with all this crap for me. But I'm a grownup. And I guess that means I have to deal with it myself.

So I just told him he could come in from noon to 4 tomorrow. Meh. I don't want to but I really want my dining room back before Thanksgiving. I guess I can't have my cake (get a real day off to rest and be alone) and eat it too (have my dining room back before Thanksgiving).

I"m going to go take another nap now. He's gone so maybe I can sleep for a bit.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I *heart* DC.

This past weekend, I went to Washington, DC to visit my friends Julie and Carolyn. How do I know them, you ask? Well. This has been something I haven't talked about to people in the past, but I'm ready to come clean now. I am sure some people won't get this...but we met on a message board.

When Brett and I moved to Maine 2 years ago, I was so bored and lonely that I started hanging out on the Knot.com's message board. The Knot is a wedding-planning board that I had discovered when I was planning our wedding.

Shortly after I found the Knot board, about 30 of us formed a private, subscription-only board called the Snarkies on MSN. Julie, Carolyn and I were three of the original members (the board has now grown to about 42 girls) and we are now the managers of the board.

I know this sounds weird, but I am friends with these girls. For a while after we moved here, they were the only friends I had. We are online together pretty much every day, we email, we talk on the phone. We have shared the best and the worst moments of each others' lives since March 2004. Weddings, divorces, the deaths of parents and grandparents, the death of one woman's niece, the death of one woman's husband, illnesses, recoveries, promotions, raises, being fired, miscarriages, pregnancies, births...just about every day-to-day joy, sorrow, or frustration you can imagine. I hope that gives you some idea of the depth of our relationships so that it doesn't sound like some random message board.

Anyhow, I have met two of the other girls (Andrea, in Portland, OR and Minda in Seattle) and decided I really wanted to meet Julie and Carolyn. The feeling was mutual so I used a bonus from work to buy a plane ticket to DC for this past weekend.

Not only was the city great, but so were Julie and Carolyn. It didn't feel like last weekend was the first time we had met in person. It felt like we'd known each other much longer. And really, we have. The three of us agreed that the "girls on the board" know us better than many of the people we've known in so-called real-life for years.

So why is that? I think part of it is that it is so much easier to be brutally honest about yourself and those deep, dark things inside you with people you can't see. And on the same token, it's easier to respond to that kind of a thing when the person isn't right there in front of you.

If I ever go to grad school, I'd love to write my thesis on how the Internet is changing and redefining community. But anyway. Enough theorizing.

We had a great time. Here is a photo essay of the weekend:

In the front: Julie, Katie, me
In the back: Julie, Carolyn
This was at our ill-fated Thai dinner on Friday night. I will have to post about the hilarity and weirdness that was our dinner another time.














Notice the typo on this menu...the so-called "blush" wines are referred to as "brush" wines. We laughed so hard when we saw this.


















Airplanes inside the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum













Julie and Carolyn ponder the oft-thought-of, rarely asked question...how do you go to the bathroom in space? Even after seeing this exhibit, we still weren't sure.














We prepare to see the 3-D IMAX movie, "Magnificent Desolation," narrated by Tom Hanks. It's about man's journeys to the moon. The glasses, as I am sure you'll agree, are oh-so-sexy. ;p (l to r: Julie, me, Carolyn)














The Washington Monument and Smithsonian Castle from in front of the Air and Space Museum


















Carolyn, me and Julie at the Smithsonian National Zoo













Me, in front of the elephant fountain at the zoo.




Washington National Cathedral, an Episcopal church. Unfortunately, we couldn't go in the nave because there was a concert, but we got to walk through the garden and go in the bookstore. It was really beautiful.


















Carolyn shows off our amazingly tasty bruschetta. It was this soft, crispy pizza dough, topped with cheese, olive oil, baby arugula, pesto, marinated tomatoes, and parmesean shavings. It was incredible. The picture does not do it justice.



Me, Julie and Carolyn at Paolo's, the Georgetown restaurant where we had our last meal together. It was so good!



I had such a great weekend. It was really nice to get away and be somewhere different, to get a bit of a vacation. I hope I will get to see Julie and Carolyn again soon.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

I'm back from yoga.

Holy cow. It kicked my butt today. I can tell I didn't have enough water before class, either this morning or yesterday. I had to sit down several times (which I've never had to do before) becuase I was afraid of puking.

I guess that's what I get for bragging on my blog how hardcore it is and how I can do it without feeling sick. Heh.

Oh well. I talked to the instructor afterward, and he said that drinking more water would help a lot, and that I did a great job for it being my first time in a long time. Whew. At least I know the poses well enough to be able to do them without help.

I'm definitely going back on Wednesday. I have to just jump in and do it again without thinking about how hard it is.

After class, I went to Wild Oats and got a slice of cheese pizza and a smoothie. So good. And I did some grocery shopping and spent WAY too much money on two bags of groceries, but I did get a box of Satsumas for $5 and I got 4 containers of soy milk, since the brand we like was only $2.50. (Not that you care how much I spent on soy milk. This is more me justifying to myself why I spent the money.)

On my way home, I called my mom's house, where my 2-year-old neice Adeline and 5-year- old nephew Zachary had spent the night. I talked with them for a minute. Zachary asked what I was doing. I told him I was on my way home from the store.

Him: What did you get?
Me: Oh, soy milk, satsumas, tomatoes, avocadoes, granola, yogurt, some chips, macaroni and cheese --
Him: That's my favorite! Macaroni and cheese!
Me: Yeah, I like it too.
Him; [mumbling something] MumfmfMFf.
Me: What?
Him: Did you get any pineapple?
Me: [thinking, Where the heck did that come from?] Um, no.
Him: Ok, bye!

I don't pretend to understand that one.

Ok, it's now becoming difficult to type since the cat is sitting on my arm. Ugh. I need to get up anyway and put the groceries away and clean the house up a bit before I babysit this evening.

I'm off to yoga.

I finally went to the yoga studio and bought a package of classes yesterday. I had a coupon for 15% off the purchase of a package, so I took advantage of it and bought 10 classes. I am going to try to go twice a week from now on.

I cannot spend another awful Maine winter sitting on the couch and eating pie while I watch re-runs of South Park and That 70's Show and The Simpsons as I feel myself get fatter. Something has to change. So, I am going to try to go at 10 a.m. on Saturdays, and 4:30 p.m. on Wednesdays.

Oh, and this isn't just regular old plain yoga. This is hardcore Bikram Yoga, which is a series of 26 asanas that take an hour and a half to complete and are peformed in a room heated to about 106 degrees. (See www.mainebikramyoga.com for more info.)

I love it. I come out feeling cleansed and awake and alive, albeit sweaty. The first few times I did it, I surprised myself by being able to do all 26 poses without having to rest, as many first-timers do. Brett had major issues (ie, puking in the bathroom after the class) but I was ok. It's surprising to me how well I did and how much I enjoyed it. I guess it's just not for some people, which is fine.

Ok, I have to go now unless I want to be late, which would mean I couldn't get in since they lock the front door when class starts. I hope it's as good today as it was when I went the last time, back in August.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I'm not sure what to think...

Yesterday, my boss told me he thinks I use my cell too much for personal calls at work. I hate conversations like that. It wasn't too bad, I guess, but just awkward and I could tell he felt weird saying anything. He was totally nervous and kept asking me indirect things about my cell phone, to the point that I wasn't sure what he was trying to say at first. I had to ask him, "So, are you saying I use my phone too much at work?"

This all sprung out of the fact that I had a long-ish conversation with my mom two days ago while I was sitting at my desk. Sigh. Usually, when I call my mom, I go outside, which I told him. The one time I don't...and this happens.

In retrospect, I don't think I defended myself enough. I don't think he knows that I use my cell phone for work-related calls all. the. time. despite the fact they don't reimburse me at all for those calls. I also don't think he knows that probably 70% of the time when I'm on my phone at work, it's for work-related things.

Now, the question is, do I tell him this? Say something like, "I just want to clarify, becuase I wasn't clear yesterday, that I do give this number out as my primary contact number for work, so a lot of the time, I am talking about work-related things."

I feel all weird about the whole thing now. Alas, I can't change it, so I'd better just deal with it, I guess.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Things have been changing...

Well, I did it. I finally bit the bullet and chopped my hair off! This is something I'd been debating for a long time. I started growing my hair out a few months after we moved to Maine, mostly because it was too expensive to get it cut every 6 weeks, and the one time I did try, I paid $40 for a really crappy cut.

My hair got longer, and longer...and it finally started pissing me off because it wouldn't curl anymore, it would only frizz. So I decided it was time to go back to my old, short-haired self. I went to see my friend Becca's amazing hair lady, Tracey, and she worked wonders.

What does this new do look like, you ask? And how long was my hair before I cut it? Here are some photos. The before photo was taken over Labor Day weekend in New York City. My hair was probably a bit longer, more like touching my shoulders, when I got it cut. The after photo is a grainy image from my camera phone taken the day of the cut. (That's our friend Ben in the background, being extremely silly.)

BEFORE:












AFTER:













It's been a good change, and I'm happy the old Leen is back.