30 July 2008

Funniest Thing I Read All Day

I come home to a happy pink "Service Request" on my coffee table. Funny thing, but not the funniest thing, I didn't request any service. In fact, I'd be thrilled if maintenance never entered my apartment again. The funny thing is this: written in barely legible printing was "Be back to finish ceiling in bathroom".


You know what, Mr. Maintenance? Don't bother. You can come back to "finish" the ceiling when I move out.

28 July 2008

Gerber Pureed Pears - Now With Speed!

I love my nephew so much it makes me stupid. I always want to give him kisses and rub my chin on his soft little baby head. I love watching him grow and laugh and smile. And I lovelovelove that he isn't mine.

I spent Friday evening with my nephew (I'll call him Frog. You'll see why.) and his mother (Mom - duh). I arrived at their house around 4:30 and Mom was chilling on the sofa, watching a little TV. She said that she was debating on waking up Frog. I walked over to his pack n play, and lo and behold, he's awake. He looked up at me, and I saw the eyebrows go. Yup, he was gearing up for a squall. I picked him up and he calmed down a bit. Mom prepped his bottle as I smothered him with auntie love. Mom took him to feed him and things were quiet for about 10 minutes. After about half the bottle was gone, Frog got fussy. Burping didn't help much, so Mom decided that it was playtime.

Mom dumped him in one of those "surround baby with stimulation" rocky things. I'm sure there's some sort of smart-sounding name; I don't know it. Frog was happy. There are these 3 cylinders that when spun, make different noises. One is a weak-sounding bell, one is kind of a rattle, and one sounds like you're scratching a record. Frog looks to have a future as a DJ because he was all about the scritchascritch. Or maybe I'm projecting.

Frog looks to be teething, what with the rash and the drool. He happily sucked on my index finger; which is an odd sort of feeling. He started getting a little rammy again, so Mom moved him to his play mat. Sort of a mat with soft arches over it where you can attach various distractions. Frog was alternately amused and annoyed. Nothing seemed to hold his attention for very long. I picked him up and started lifting him up in the air. Pretty soon he was bending his knees as I dropped him to the ground, and straightening them as I lifted him. My little Frog. Anyway, I'm not in horrible shape, but hefting a 15lb baby over your head can be a bit tiring. Eventually my arms couldn't take it anymore and Frog had to content himself with sitting on my foot.

I suppose at this point you are wondering where the pears with speed thing comes in. Frog is at the age where he is getting some semi-solid food. Pureed fruit and this cereal that has a strong resemblance to caulk, mostly. Mom tried pears on Frog and he seemed to enjoy them. I mean, he blurped fruit and cereal all over the place, but that's what babies do. After fruit and caulk, it was bottle time again. Mom and I were hoping that he would nod off after the bottle so we could go pick up dinner and grab a movie. Things were looking good until Mom put Frog into his stroller. Oh no, he wasn't having that. Mom inserted the magic shut-up plug and silence descended.

He was relatively quiet as we got into the car and drove to the restaurant. There was a bit of whinging during the ride from the restaurant to Blockbuster. He was OK at Blockbuster, but by the time we got home, Frog was gearing up for some craziness. He didn't want the play mat, he didn't want the vibrachair, he didn't need a diaper change. Nope, Frog was cracked out on pureed pears. Mom wolfed down her dinner; barely tasting it, I'm sure, and rocked and rocked Frog. He was sort of calm during the movie (Airplane, in case you were wondering) and was flat-out by the end. Mom put him in the pack n play and he didn't even stir. This would have been great, if it weren't for the fact that the last feeding of the night was rapidly approaching. Mom went into the kitchen to prep the bottle. Poor Mom. It never ends.

That is why I don't want to have a baby. I love kids, but I don't think I have the proper temperament to be a parent. I know there are plenty of people out there who aren't suited to parenthood, but I wonder how many of them realize it. People are so inculcated/socialized into thinking that procreating is the way to go and they don't (generally) stop to wonder if it is the way to go. Pfft. And sure, it may be different if I had a kid of my own, but what if it isn't? What if I'm so frustrated and angry and tired all the time? What if all that anger and frustration and exhaustion leads to bad things? I don't want to be in the paper because I end up being a lousy mom who can't control herself.

There's probably an element of selfishness there, too. I don't want to give up my quiet time, and what little disposable income I have. I don't want to have months of fractured sleep, and clothing stained with spit-up, and tons of baby crap all over my home and my car. I don't want to develop a tolerance for the Wiggles, Radio Disney, Chuck-E-Cheese and all the rest. Plus, I don't have the least desire to be knocked-up and then squeeze the kid out. If I ever have a kid, I will adopt the of the kids who are waiting patiently in orphanages and group homes for a family of his/her own.

23 July 2008

The Gray

I am in a gray hole of apathy. No, I haven't gone all goth; I couldn't think of a better way of describing my state of mind. It's not quite a black hole of despair, but it certainly isn't all sunshine and unicorns.

This happens to me fairly frequently. Yes, it's monthly and, no, it isn't a premenstrual thing. In case anyone wants to mark the calendar, I am post-menstrual. Either that, or I spend most of the month premenstrual.

OK, enough about my cycle. The reason I decided to write about my grayness is because there isn't any apparent cause. While I have recently realized that I hate my job; I'm usually fairly good at separating work shit from the rest of my life. I may bitch about work when I'm not there, but I'm not usually actively angry when I do. As for the rest of my life; it's fine. I'm not any broker than usual, my cats are fine, I'm not sick, and aside from the passing of my great-aunt, my family is also fine.

I'm thinking that I can attribute the grayness to a lack of passion in my life. Not just the passion that is associated with love/sex, but the passion that comes from being interested in things/ideas. Let's face it: I don't do a whole lot. I read, I watch TV, and I eat bacon. I do the internet thing and I talk to my friends on a semi-regular basis. I'm definitely not knocking my friends, but we don't do much. Which is fine. I'm not relying on my friends to provide me with passion and excitement.

Are you shaking your head and thinking, "Silly girl. Why is she complaining? People are suffering. Children don't have enough food, people are being killed for shiny rocks, the economy is in the toilet and China makes everything. She thinks a lack of passion is a big deal?" Well yes, yes I do. Just because I'm not dealing with life-threatening illness, or complete economic collapse, or - or whatever, doesn't mean that what I'm dealing with doesn't suck. 'Cause it does suck; it sucks for me.

I am grateful that I have a job and a home and pets that allow me to pet them right after I feed them. I'm grateful that my parents love me and I have the wherewithal to buy bacon. I'm not looking for someone to come along and completely change my life. I don't want to be famous (infamous is another story) and I don't want to be the secret lost child of someone famous. I really just want to feel that life isn't all about nothing.

I've been thinking about the purpose of life a lot lately. It's nothing especially ground-breaking or coherent, but the thoughts are there. Back in the day (yeah, then), people were all about survival and procreation. If you didn't spend all day looking for food you would die. If you didn't spawn your line would die out. (That could lead me into a whole other line of think about why the hell humans find it so effing important to continue their line. Maybe another post.) While survival is still part of the plan, it seems like life is more about things. I'm not going to go off on a rant about materialism and rampant consumerism, but I still see it. You work to have a place to live, to buy food, to buy stuff. Some people are in a position where their job makes them happy and the fact that they get paid - well, that's just gravy. Maybe those people need fewer things. Maybe it's the cubicle drones, the "I didn't want to be a lawyer but my dad wouldn't pay for art school", the undereducated, who need things. Then again, maybe it isn't. Maybe those people have things outside of work that make them happy; things that they are passionate about. I'd hate to be guilty of defining people by their jobs. It's bad enough that people are still often defined by appearances.

Point? I don't know. I guess my point is that I've got to get up off my ass and find my passion(s). I don't like being in the gray and I know I'm not tons of fun to be around when I am. It would be nice if my brain hadn't evolved and I could be all reptile-like. You know, basking on rocks, eating bugs, etc. Or maybe it'd be great if I could turn off the fucking neurochemicals that make me sad for NO APPARENT REASON. That is all.

21 July 2008

Sad Face

How do you say good-bye to a person you never met? My great-aunt died last week, and I never knew her. My parents made a point of going out to AZ and visiting her about once a year, and my mom called her fairly regularly. For me, it was always "maybe next year."

I'm sad, but I don't feel guilty for not having made more of an effort to head out west to meet her. Perhaps it is selfish of me to think this way, but having not met her, there is less for me to miss. I don't have a mental picture of her, and I don't know the sound of her voice. From all accounts, she was a lovely person (if a lousy cook), and I know she will be missed. She was arty, and I have the hand-painted plates, mugs, and assorted other objects to prove it.

My uncle said that the last time he spoke with her, she sounded tired. She had cancer, and the woman was 93 years old. Her husband had died several years earlier, so I can't feel too sad. It's not as if her life was cut short. She was old and tired, and I don't think there was too much pain, but people want to think that because it makes them feel better - it has no effect on whether or not the deceased did feel pain.

Good-bye, Aunt Ann.

16 July 2008

Give Me Burgers!

My dad, always good for a couple of early morning links to whet my appetite, sent me these articles (check here and here).

I'll admit that my reaction to the French embracing the burger was very similar to my reaction to the bacon explosion. Why are they snobbing up my hamburgers? And why are the French eating them with a knife and fork? That said, I would tear up the burger with foie gras.

Now, I love food in most of its incarnations. I'll eat pretty much any burger you put in front of me. Sure, I have my preferences as to toppings: onions, swiss, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, ketchup, mustard, brie, and occasionally bbq sauce. I'm a little leery of a burger served with "black ketchup," a concoction of blackberries and black currants served with a waygu burger. I'm not saying that it isn't delicious, but I probably wouldn't order it.

I'm also baffled at some chefs' persistence at using super expensive cuts of beef. I would love to try a Kobe steak some day, but I'm not going to pay upwards of $60 for a burger made from the stuff. Well, I would if I had a guarantee that I wouldn't need to eat for the rest of the week.

On the smaller side, sliders are the "new" go-to bar food. Practically every chain, and many independent eateries, have some variety of the two-bite burger on the menu. I've never been a fan of the White Castle version, despite Harold and Kumar's best efforts, but some of these tiny sandwiches sound pretty good - if you're willing to shell out the dough for them. At Kobe Club, 3 waygu (again with the fancy) sliders are served with caramelized onions, tomato, bacon and black truffle sauce, for the modest price of 27 bucks. It's as if something only gets better if you pile expensive ingredients on top. Barclay Prime, here in Philly, has been home to a Kobe cheesesteak for a couple of years now. It's made with made with shaved Kobe beef, sauteed foie gras, and garnished with shaved truffles and melted Taleggio cheese (which looks to run about $12-$16/lb). Oh, my overwhelmed palette!

There are some places that have jumped on the slider, or miniburger, bandwagon, and offer more reasonable priced options. Considering I'm getting all this from The New York Times, the places listed aren't really convenient for a lunch break if you're in the Philly area. Not that I have any doubt that there are many places in Philly which offer sliders. Barclay Prime, for one.

14 July 2008

Monday Rant

It has not been a great morning.

It's gray and rainy here in the NE. I don't mind rain and while I don't own an umbrella, I'm a big fan of hats, so I manage pretty well. I was having a fairly efficient morning despite having gone to bed significantly later than I usually do on a Sunday night. I was going to stop at Wawa on my way to pick up a co-worker, get my caffeine infusion and hopefully be somewhat functional at work.

It was still raining fairly steadily as I walked to my car. I beeped my car open and as I opened the door, I noticed a drop of rain fall on the seat. Not a big deal, I can hear you thinking. Except that this drop of rain fell too far in. Normally, when you open your car door in the rain, the door frame and possibly the edge of the seat will get spattered, but not much else. Well, unless it's raining sideways. This drop of water fell more towards the middle of the seat. A random occurrence, right? I slid into my car and promptly felt wetness seeping into my underpants. My. car. was. soaked.

Since I found out my left foot is fractured, I've been driving my mom's car. The podiatrist looked so horrified when I told him that I drove stick - apparently the pressure is terrible. Luckily, my excellent parents were willing to work a trade until my foot heals. It's a nice car, but it has a few quirks. For example, the sunroof will open all the way when you flick the switch. Nice one touch feature, right? Yeah, well, it does not work the same in reverse. When you go to close the sunroof, it closes most of the way and then stops with the roof still open about 6 inches. You have to tap the switch again to get the roof to close all the way. Guess what Carrie G. forgot to do last night?

Oh, the profanity. I dug out my house keys and stomped back to my apartment. I changed my pants, grabbed a pile of towels and a roll of garbage bags. I stomped back to the car and wrestled a garbage bag over the back of the seat. Mind you, my semi-dry ass is hanging out in the rain, becoming progressively less dry. I finished my seat-covering and clambered into the car.

By this point, I've completely blown my margin. I make the decision to bypass Wawa and go straight to my co-worker's house. I get to her house and shoot her a text. She texted back "2 min." I did not want to hear that. I'm already running behind schedule and you're going to make me wait? My ass is still wet, I'm dangerously undercaffeinated, it's fucking Monday and it's pissing down rain. Oh, and I forgot my lunch and everything I had in the pockets of the pants I was wearing? Yeah, still in the pockets of the pants that are not on my body. Grrr.

The thing is; I don't want to be in a bad mood. I don't want to have to pay extra attention to what I say so I don't inadvertently offend someone. I don't want every little thing that may go wrong today to drive me into fits of rage. So, I'm going to lay back for a bit. I'm not going to initiate conversations unless I have to. I have some coffee in me, so that's a step in the right direction. Also, they finally fixed the A/C here at work. You are my witness - I will never complain about it being too cold in the office. I'd much rather have to wear a hoodie to keep warm than be too warm and only want to take a nap. Um, the nap thing may happen regardless of the temperature. I am at work.

09 July 2008

Kitty Tales

My cat is strange. Probably not the strangest cat ever, but weird enough for me to have the occasional story about her bizarre behavior.

This morning was fairly typical. Alarm goes off, I haul my sorry ass out of bed, feed the cats, and proceed to the bathroom. My girl cat, Pudgy, was sitting outside of my bedroom door as I left the bathroom. I keep the door to the bedroom closed at all times because I have an antique dresser that I don't want clawed up. Pudge looked up at me beseechingly, her cat eyes huge in the early morning dimness. Miaow? Rowr? Hmm, it's really difficult to spell cat noises. She's talking to me and pawing rather frantically at my bedroom door. I decided to do a little experiment. I was going to stand there, staring down at her, and see how long she would continue to beg to go in the bedroom.

Well, I gotta give the fat furball some credit; she kept it up. She looked sort of pitiful - her tiny head and fat body and stubby little tail. After a few minutes I relented and opened the bedroom door. Pudge immediately darted inside and began to rub her little face on my laundry basket. I don't know if she felt that my clothes weren't permeated with enough "Essence of Pudge" or if she simply enjoys the feel of the rope handles against her whiskers.

After marking my laundry, she crept over to the closet and sniffed at the door. She has a bit of a fascination with closets but since she has a nasty habit of clawing at the things she finds in them, I tend to discourage her from exploring them.

As I wrote that last sentence, an idea popped up. We have all observed cats staring into space and attacking nothing that humans can see. Maybe when Pudge is clawing things up in the closet, she's saving me from monsters that are only visible to felines. Perhaps I owe my continued existence to my brave little kitty.

At this point, I'm dressed and ready to leave the bedroom. I'm hoping that I'm not going to have to tackle her and throw her out of the bedroom. I had to do that to my boy cat, Penguin, once and I managed to give myself a decent case of turf toe in the process. Not fun. Surprisingly enough, when I opened the door, Pudge strolled out, cool as can be.

I have decided that Pudge is making periodic inspections to assure herself that everything is up to her feline standards. Laundry basket? Check. Monster-free closet? Check. Clean sheets? Check. Okie-doke, my work here is done. However, this does not explain why she finds it necessary to hide in the cabinet with my pots and pans. Maybe she loves the feel of Teflon against her fur.

07 July 2008

Food for Thought

My dad sent me this article at salon.com this morning. Aside for making me seriously hungry, it got me thinking about how something as simple and delicious as bacon is subjected to over-analysis. Bacon is, as I've heard many people put it, god's perfect food. I could eat bacon daily and it would take a long time before I tire of it.

I don't have much else to say about bacon. It's delicious. Eat some.

01 July 2008

Wanted? Maybe, maybe not.

"Kill one, and maybe save 1000. That's what we believe, and that's why we do it."

If you don't live under a rock, or have a severe allergy to all forms of media, you probably recognize that line. Only, they don't say "maybe" in the previews - probably because when you add the "maybe" there is more moral gray area. It's from the movie Wanted, and it's the guiding principle of the Fraternity of Assassins. I saw the movie last night and it got me thinking about some things. Oh, and this isn't a review, but there may be spoilers. You've been warned.

Very short synopsis ahead. Wesley is a loser - an anxiety-ridden, cuckolded account manager at some nameless corporation. One night at the store, he encounters Fox (Angelina, looking luscious yet somewhat expressionless), and mayhem ensues. Skipping right along, Wesley learns he has these gifts that, if trained, can make him a very effective assassin. Training montage, small bits of plot, lovingly filmed violence, bendy bullet trajectories, fin.

What got me thinking was this: This poor, sad sack was aching for a new, more meaningful existence. It didn't matter that said existence could only be achieved through many training montages and intricately carved bullets. I'll admit that I've had the odd fantasy or two about being pushed out of my life into another. This other life may be scary and throw me for a loop, but I'd rally and embrace my shiny new meaning. Then I think about what I'd have to leave behind and I wonder if being swept away is really what I want.

See, in these fantasies, I'm either an entirely different person or only one aspect of my life changes. This allows me to indulge in the idea of being some sort of world-saver superhero type without leaving my friends and family behind. While I am an independent creature, I do enjoy the occasional bout of human interaction. I find I have the same kind of problem when I'm fantasizing about, well, sex. I've been known to be attracted to the odd celebrity/personality/musician now and again. Once I discover that said celeb isn't available, I stop thinking about anything. For some reason, I can't simply erase my competition. I have to come up with some bizarre and convoluted reason why the fantasy object is single. If kids are involved, well you can just forget it then.

At the end of the movie, Wesley asks us, "What the fuck have you done with your life?" I think I can say, with all honesty, I'm OK with not having killed people, or fallen into a gorge, or made out with Angelina Jolie. OK, that last part is probably a bit of a lie. Who doesn't want to make out with Angelina? Also, I would love to be able to curve the path of my bullet, but I don't want to get banned from my shooting range attempting it.