Thursday, March 30, 2006

a somewhat blah entry about our random, boring life

This is just kind of my thoughts as they're coming out right now...there's nothing earth-shattering here, just thoughts about life and what's going on right now.

So Brett's out of town this weekend. He left tonight at 6. He's going to the Mopeds Gone Wild rally in Richmond, VA.

It makes me feel kind 0f melancholy. For one thing, I wish I could have gone too. Unfortunately, I just can't miss 2 days of work. I would have to take the days without pay, which we cannot afford right now, and it would make things really hard for me in terms of getting the paper out.

For another thing, he's going right by Carolyn's, as well as Julie'shouse. Like within 20 miles. So not only could I have gone to a moped rally, I could have spent the weekend with them! Oh well. I am really trying not to dwell on that, and not to mope about it, but it's hard. I would have loved to hung out with those girls this weekend...

As something of a consolation, I was bad and got takeout Indian food for dinner, and now I'm at my friend Becca's house, chilling out and waiting till she gets home. We're going to watch CSI and just veg. So that will be nice.

I am really hoping to find the time and energy this weekend to get some packing done. We roll outta here in 54 days...I'll be in Seattle for 7 of those, and Brett's parents will be here for another five of those. Plus there is work and all...so the bottom line is, I really need to get some packing done. I think I may start with something easy this weekend, like books, just so I can say that I've done something. I really want to get started on the kitchen, too, since that always seems to take forever.

I also need to try to clean the house, at least a little. With me working like 50 hours a week, and Brett working about 30 plus going to school full-time and finishing his senior thesis, neither of us have had the time or energy to keep the house in decent shape.

It meant a lot this week; Brett apologized for how busy he is and how messy our house is and how we never get to see each other and how we don't have any money, etc etc etc. It was sweet of him to say that and to acknowledge that it's been hard on me the past few months and years.

At this point, we're both (exhaustedly, doggedly) holding on by the skin of our teeth and just hoping and praying we can make it through the next 54 days, emotionally, physically, financially, until we are back in Seattle.

Maybe we're pinning too much hope on the idea that things will be good in Seattle, but already I can see several ways in which I know it will be better. For one thing, Brett won't be in school, so we'll have more time together. Also, he'll be able to work full-time, making probably 1 1/2 times as much as he is now. We'll both almost certainly be making more money. It will be WARM. We'll get to see our families more. We won't have a freaking car. (We're selling it when he gets back from this weekend. We won't need one in Seattle.) Not having a car will mean we'll walk more, and will probably mean I'll lose weight. (Which I need to do. Living in Maine, not being able to get out in the winter, not having time to cook good food...all of this has made me gain weight, just enough to make me feel really blah and kind of fat.)

Anyway...I don't mean to be all meh and melancholy and boring. I've thought several times in the past week or so that I need to just take the next 54 days for what they are, and enjoy being here while I'm here. I need to hang out with my friends here, and go to the lighthouses one more time, and maybe drive to Acadia one day. I should do all of the random things I have thought about doing a million times and yet have never done, like going to the Narrow Gauge Rail Museum downtown. I should eat at Kahtadin again. I should go see where the senior Bushes summer in Kennebunkport. I should bike around Peaks Island again. You know, all of those random, stupid things that I won't be able to do once we move.

Tomorrow, after work, I'm going to go to the library, and to get new tires on the Kia, and in the evening, I'm going to go to a play in Westbrook. I'm excited about it -- they are performing The Phantom Tollbooth. As I posted back at the end of last year, it's one of my favorite books ever. So I am excited to see the story performed!

Anyway, I should wrap this up. Becca will be back soon and then it will be time to watch CSI. Yahoo!

Saturday, March 25, 2006

the curious incident of the poorly-placed oven bags. Or, why Kathleen shouldn't be allowed to drive a shopping cart.

This afternoon, I was walking through the grocery store, minding my own business. I was coming up an aisle and I started to turn right, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a display on a nearby endcap showing Annie's Mac and Cheese on sale.

I looked over at the Annie's, and continued to push my cart in the opposite direction I was looking, as I thought whether I should get some or not.

I felt my cart nudge something.

I looked over, and everything started going in slow motion, as a cardboard display of foil oven bags started to teeter.

As the display fell over, I said, "Oh, sh*t!!!"

And I looked up to see a young-ish mom pushing her toddler in a cart, standing right there.

I managed to choke out, between giggles, "I'm so sorry!! I didn't mean to say the s-word!"

She said, "That's ok," and started to laugh.

We both stood there for a minute, cracking up.

I said, "I should take a picture!"

She said, "Want me to take one of you in it?"

I said, "Yeah...well, no, that's ok. This will do."

She continued on down the aisle, and I took this.

The offending cart, and the stupid oven bags that were not placed in a very good spot, given the narrowness of the aisle and the large size of the grocery carts at this particular grocery retailer

I tried to put it back together, but I couldn't figure it out, and I didn't want to do more damage than I'd already done, so I just set the bottom part upright and continued on my way. I had to walk back down that aisle later, since in my embarassment and cracking-up-ness I had forgotten to get olive oil. The display was just as I left it. I wonder how long it will take for someone to notice it is on the floor?

At least I didn't knock over a wine display, like my sister did once. Thank the Lord for small blessings, anyway.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

of pucks, and penalties -- and oh, who could forget the Zamboni?

On Saturday night, we attended the first hockey game I'd been to in probably 20 years. When I was really little, my dad would take me to see the Portland, Oregon Winterhawks, but that must have been back in like 1986 or so.

Hockey's big around here (seeing as it's so freaking cold all winter); even so, we had never been to a Portland Pirates game since we'd lived here.

The Pirates -- with their mascots, Crackers-the-Parrot and Salty Pete-the-Pirate (SALTY PETE? What the crap? Who comes up with this stuff?) (Oh, and Crackers-the-Parrot is scary. We saw him grab a toddler from her mom and pretend to "play" with the kid. Meanwhile, the kid is screaming and reaching for mommy and Crackers is doing that "I'm a dress-up-like-Mickey-Mouse" thing where he pretends to giggle behind his hand, as if to say, "Oh, me? You want me to give your kid back? Hee hee. Oh, you know I'm joking." It was really disturbing. That kid is going to wake up in 15 years with some complex about parrots and pirates and hockey and have no idea why.) -- are actually really popular around here. Surprising, I guess, considering the low status hockey endures in the Pacific Northwest. That said, however, our friend Erica, who scored the freebie tickets through her work, said that Saturday's game was one of the most crowded she'd seen.

It did look like the (quite tiny) Cumberland County Civic Center was pretty full for the Pirates' match against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. (What the hell are Sound Tigers? Tigers that live near a sound, as in the body of water? Tigers that are loud, and therefore make sounds? Tigers that are stable and reliable, as opposed to those that are unsound, mentally or physically? I don't know; the explanation was never offered. Given the fact that the Pirates had them beat pretty (heh heh) soundly, I'd say it's probably the latter -- they weren't a very SOUND team.)

Anywhoo, the game was exciting. The Pirates scored a goal within 40 seconds of the puck being dropped. (Aren't I kewl using a phrase like "Puck being dropped"? Because, you know, it's hockey lingo. It's like the tipoff in basketball or the first pitch in baseball or the kickoff in football.)

There was lots of skating... (Leen: "Wait, what? What happened? Where's the puck?") As much as the game was exciting, it was kind of hard to follow. The puck is so little and my eyesight isn't great, especially sitting in the nosebleed section of the arena. (Which, in any other, larger arena would not have been the nosebleed section. Still, it was kind of high up.) I kept thinking I could see the puck and I'd look where I'd think it was, and suddenly all the players would be making a beeline for the other side of the rink, where the puck really was.

a few broken sticks over yonder (Leen: "Wait, what? Where's that guy's stick?! He's pushing the puck with his HANDS!")...

a lost helmet here...

a lost glove there...

an injured player in the background (Leen: "Hey, that guy's lying down! I think he's hurt! I think the puck hit him in the face!
Think there's going to be any blood on the ice?") (Of course, there wasn't any blood on the ice and the guy walked off the rink just fine after a few minutes. The trainer/coach/guy shuffled out to walk him back to the box. Do they really think that's a good idea, though? I mean, having the guy with no skates on come and help the hurt guy back to the box? It can't be very safe or very stable for the helper guy...and hurt guy is certainly in no position to hold himself up or whatnot...)

For what it's worth, I'm glad the guy was ok, although (honestly) I was a little disappointed there was no blood on the ice. I know, I know...but it's hockey! There's supposed to be blood! And throughout the game, there was no blood! No fighting! They didn't even play the Zamboni song! (Horrors! A hockey game without the Zamboni song? What is the world coming to?!)

And then, there was the, um, creativity that was the half time (or third time? You know, since there are three periods?) entertainment.
They did this thing where people had to throw pucks onto the ice and try to hit the Napa Auto Parts target. And then they had like 30 people (and three mascots) there to help clean the pucks up. I didn't really see the point of the whole thing.

This photo showcases "Oakie," the Oakhurst Dairy Acorn.

Yeah. Oakie. I don't get it either. It's a very short person wearing red tights in a very round, foamy (I know! I poked it.) costume. I don't get it. Does MILK need a MASCOT? AN ACORN MASCOT? What the heck happened to, I don't know, the COW? Since when is an acorn an acceptable mascot? An acorn? I didn't get it.

Then Salty-Pete-the-homicidally-happy-pirate and Crackers-the-child-abducting-parrot helped with some kind of puck shooting contest. I don't really know what happened. Some kid won a $50 gift certificate somewhere. And that was another thing: the blatant, blatant advertising wrapped up in it all. Maybe it's because I live in some kind of non-consumerist cave or something, but it was just insane...every time the announcer opened his mouth, it was preceded by a , "This segment of our game is brought to you by [insert business name and tagline here]." I mean, I guess that's what pays the hockey players' salaries (is it?) or something...but it was just weird. I felt accosted by marketing images and slogans.

And then, in some kind of very, very strange marketing attempt, they drove a car onto the ice. I didn't understand. I was baffled. Why? I mean, I guess it's to show people this car. That was never made clear. Maybe the announcer said it and I missed it...but it was just weird, and very, very incongrous.

I wondered what the guy driving the car was thinking. "Oh, heck, I really hope I don't crash into the side." Or, "This thing's AWD better be as good as they say." Or, "How's I get stuck with doing this again?" It was just weird and didn't make much sense. It's not every day you see a brand new car in the middle of a hockey rink, I guess.

I can't complete this post without showing you the guy who was sitting in the next row over. I'll call him "Mr. Hockey Fan." I didn't get a very good photo, so I apologize for the blurriness...but man, he was a die hard. The jersey, the do-rag, the standing up-and-pumping-arm thing during "Sweet Caroline" (BUM-BUM-BUUUUM) (of course I thought of you and your Caroline, Kissy!)...it all combined to leave the impression of a die-hard fan.

Maybe the blurriness is a good thing, since it lends itself to some kind of obscuring Mr. Hockey Fan's face. So Mr. Hockey Fan, if you see or read this, know that I post this out of awe for your hocky-fan-ness, and am not necessarily mocking that very hocky-fan-ness. On the contrary, I find it rather fascinating. I wonder if you attend every game? If you wear that jersey and Pirates kerchif on your head to places other than the game? Perhaps you do. I fear that's a mystery that shall never be solved.

Finally, during the game, I weasled Brett into letting Erica take a couple photos of him and me, since we have so few recent-ish photos of the two of us.
We're pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

Overall, the hockey game was fun...a glimpse into another world, of which I am certainly not a part. Maybe we'll go back again before we leave Maine...I can think of worse ways to spend an evening.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

the waiting game.

Maybe it's a combination of the season, and of the place we're at in life right now, but it seems like I'm just in a state of limbo, waiting waiting waiting for the next thing to come along.

As most of you know by now, Brett and I are moving back to Seattle exactly 69 days from today. We both feel as though we're in limbo, waiting to get back to Seattle and start our lives up again -- make real money, pay off debt, save money, get ready to buy a house and have kids. I know it won't be just like picking up where we left off in Seattle, but at least it will be familiar, and there are a lot of old and new friends we'll be able to reconnect with.

I formally handed in my notice last Friday, which means a few things: I can talk about the fact that we're leaving, and that I only have 49 days of work left. Woo-hoo! Having already worked 32 and a half hours as of noon today, I am looking forward to getting a break. It's looking like this week is easily going to be another 50-hour week...fuuuuuun.

Anyway, March in Maine is torturous. It's a month where, in other states, spring has sprung. My mom emailed me this week and said, "It is so spring-like here. The trees are blossoming and the daffodils in my yard are blooming." But here, it's still fully winter. Last week, the weather was in the 20's all week, and there were flurries too. Then, last weekend, we had 60 degree weather and sun. Today, it's snowy again. I wish the weather would make up its mind that it is SPRING! I am so ready to see some flowers, leaves, green-ness again!

I am just so ready for spring, in every sense. Brett graduates on May 14 and I can't wait. (Only 60 days from today!)

This state of limbo isn't very fun to be in. I feel in a funk, honestly. Just very blah and bored and annoyed with things. And that's no way to be. Even if I am looking forward to how our lives will be after Brett graduates and we move, that doesn't mean I should blow off what our lives are like now, and cease to enjoy them, as much as that would almost be easier to do than to make the effort to enjoy how things are now.

Looking back through my posts during the past few months, I find that it seems I've felt this way a lot. And the times I haven't posted about it have been more numerous than the times I have...and that's kind of sad.

So anyway. I am trying to strike some kind of balance of enjoying our remaining months here in Maine, while gearing up for the move and all of the changes it will bring.

As this move is becoming more and more real, I can't help but feel a little sad that we'll be leaving this place, as much as I've wanted to move home for the past two and a half years. There are people I'll miss, and places I'll miss...I guess anything looks better when you're looking back on it than when you're experiencing it.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

ah, the indignity

Not only did I have to work Friday night (when I attended the fabulous performance of Footloose at Gorham High School) but I also had to work Saturday, to go take photos at a trade show in Gorham called the Gorham Marketplace, where local businesses can set up booths and the public can come through and see them. It's a really big deal around here. Not exactly what I wanted to do with my Saturday, especially after already working 50 hours a week, but oh well.

So there I was, taking photos of various booths and of various people. You know, doing my job. I came to a booth for a bank, where they had one of those phone-booth-type machines where you stand in it and cash swirls around, and you try to catch the cash.

When I walked up, there was a group of three 12 and 13-year-old boys standing there. One was in the booth, so I started snapping photos. He got out and his friend got in. I turned to boy number one, and said, "Can I get your name?" And the woman running the booth (who must have been about 40) said, "Wow! That's an interesting way to pick up guys!"

My head swiveled to look her, and my mouth dropped open.

I held up my left hand, pointed to the wedding band and diamond solitaire engagement ring on it, and said, "I'm very happily married, and I'm twenty five." (I embellish a little there -- I won't actually be 25 until May 13, but 25 sounds better than saying, "I'm almost 25" or "I'm 24" so that's what I tell people. But I digress.)

She said, "Oh, hahaha! You look like you're about 12!"

I shot her a look that could have frozen boiling water.

The college-aged girl who was helping the lady said, in a reproachful and embarrasing voice, "[Lady's name (which I cannot recall)]!! That's not very nice."

I said, "I'm with the Gorham-Westbrook Gazette."

She said, "Oh. Well, you just look so young!" She laughed again, like it was all one big joke.

I then got the kids' names and walked away.

UGH.

Why, oh why oh whyyyy do people think that it is in any way remotely acceptable to tell me that I look like I'm 12 or that I look really young?!

In what universe would it be ok for me to tell someone, "Oh, hahaha! I thought you were, like 70!" I'd probably get shot if I said that to someone. So how is it ok for people to tell me that I look like I'm 12?

As Diane Court said in Say Anything, "That's age-ism, Lloyd, and that's being prejudiced against people because they're old. Maybe their mouths don't work as well as yours."

What people are doing to me is age-ism. It works both ways. Just becuase I look somewhat young doesn't mean I enjoy being reminded of that fact. It's hard enough to maintain a professional demeanor at times; now I have the added onus of having people think I'm TWELVE EFFING YEARS OLD.

And another thing. When people assume I'm young, and I tell them I'm 25, and then they say, "Oh, well you'll be glad when you're older and you still look young," that doesn't instantly make it ok that they've just inferred that I look like I'm pre-pubescent. (HellO, people, would a twelve year old be a 36B? I don't think so.)

Sure, maybe I will look young when I'm older, and maybe I'll enjoy it and and they'll be right. But then again, maybe I won't enjoy it, and I'll be more like my mother-in-law, who was once carded for alcohol at the grocery store when she was 45 years old. That's embarassing, too. (She was so mortified that the cashier thought she was under 21 she almost made my then-boyfriend-DH and his sisters march back to the store with her to show the cashier that she was born before 1978, dammit. As she kept saying to him when he kept telling her, "You had to have been born before 1978 to purchase alcohol," she was married in 1978.)

I think people don't understand how hard it can be to gain respect from others if you look young. The respect I've earned from people through the course of doing my job is something I've had to fight for, tooth and nail sometimes. I've had to prove through extremely hard work and extremely dedicated and accurate reporting that I'm not the naieve, young woman they all thought I was. Just because I'm short, or I look young, or I sometimes wear pink does NOT mean that I shouldn't be afforded the same respect as someone who is 45 years old, is 5'10" inches tall and wears business suits every day.

While the incident is kind of humorous, the whole underlying nature of the issue just really, really bothers me. Bottom line? People just need to learn how to STFU and keep their opinions to themselves.

Friday, March 10, 2006

randomness, gerund-style

Here is a collection of random thoughts that are going through my head right now, brought together into some kind of cohesive post thanks to the mighty gerund.

Wondering: Where are the 5 boxes of Girl Scout cookies I ordered several weeks ago? Everyone else I know is getting their cookies. Where are mine? I WANT THIN MINTS, DAMMIT!

Covering: I'm getting ready to go cover the Gorham High School musical in about 30 minutes. They're performing Footloose. HA. Should be fun.

Rejoicing: It broke the 50-degree mark today! YAHOO! I love warm-ish weather.

Anticipating: I'm finally getting a haircut this weekend. With short hair like mine, I can't go much more than a month or 5 weeks between haircuts or I start getting majorly poofy hair. It's 6 weeks, I think, since my last one, and I've hit the wall. I cannot stand it anymore! So I go in on Sunday, thank goodness.

Congratulating: Another good friend whom I've known for a long time is pregnant...I just found out this week. I'm so happy for she and her husband. Congratulations! You know who you are. ;p

Venting: OH yeah. I've been meaning to post about this. I was in the grocery store the other night, standing in line. As I stood there, I looked at the magazines and saw this:
Notice the headline on the top: "Paris Hilton Looks Pregnant!" I just have to say -- if Paris Hilton, who is like, a complete RAIL, looks pregnant, then what in the name of all that's holy does that make me, a non-pregnant probably quite average-sized person? I guess, by celebrity standards, that I would look like I'm 9 months pregnant with a baby cow or something.

Anyway. It annoys me that every time a female celebrity has a perfectly normal-looking tummy pooch that it's automatically assumed she's pregnant. If every person in this world who had a tummy pooch were pregnant, we'd have a lot more babies floating around.
I think that in that picture, Paris Hilton still looks quite svelte, despite the wee bitty tummy pooch she's got going on. I should be so lucky to look that way.

Enjoying: I have been listening to two Death Cab for Cutie songs a lot lately, Photobooth and This is the New Year. I like both of them a lot for some reason, although I am not altogether sure why.

Selling: We've sold a ton of stuff on eBay this week, which rocks. We've made about $150 or $160 by selling things we don't use/need anymore, like old DVDs. It's awesome, like pulling money out of thin air or something. It's a great feeling.

OK, that's all the time I have for now. I'm off to Gorham to see Footloose...