Monday, January 26, 2009

On remembering why I don't drink (and more great music I'm finding)

I went to a conference in Denver over the weekend, by myself. This is a Big Deal because I have some irrational fears with traveling alone. I guess I feel like if I leave J for a weekend and go have fun and dump him with all of the Cat Responsibilities, I'm a Bad Wife and he'll find someone who won't do that to him. Obviously this is irrational. A) I'm actually working at these things, so it's not like I'm just hanging around at the spa, and B) he'd kinda like me to be me, which includes this travel thing. But nobody said that irrational fears have to make sense. Especially your first few years of marriage. Especially with someone who's Single Girl identity was as strong as mine was.

So anyway, I went to Denver and remembered how much fun I have traveling alone. I love my Airplane Time when I can just think and listen to my music and nobody is asking me to clean up cat poo or cat puke or do anything. It was always special to me, and now even moreso. I also loved having a ginormous king sized bed all to myself. The one thing I did to take advantage of being out without my hubby, was get ragingly drunk on Friday night. J doesn't drink, and I generally don't drink at home, so this was out of character. Add to that what altitude does to alcohol (I heard it makes every drink the equivalent of four) and I was toasty on my three glasses of wine (with no food). I woke up at 5am thinking I was dying of thirst and drank one of the overpriced bottles of water in the hotel room. I still don't think I've fully hydrated myself yet. It was a forceful reminder of why I don't drink much. But I did have fun riding the elevator at the Curtis Hotel (all the floors have music themes so that when you get off the elevator on the Elvis floor, a voice sounding like Elvis says "hey baby, don't be cruel, you're on the fifteenth floor." I had to check out each floor to see this kitchiness for myself. The people riding the elevator with me were none to happy).

The only time I was in Denver was in 2000 when I was chasing an Inappropriate Man. Actually, The Inappropriate Man who led me to London. It was a very bad time in which I lost every shred of dignity I had managed to create for myself, and it was weird being back there as a grown up, and not caring about said Inappropriate Man. I didn't wonder how he was, or visit the concert hall where I saw him perform, or anything like that. For three reasons. 1) I was too busy. 2) It was too cold. 3) I really didn't care. Being grown up and not caring about the Inappropriate Man who so dominated my life from age 23 until 29 was weird. It felt comfortable, but strange.

In keeping with being a non-irrational Grownup Girl, I asked J to go run some errands tonight so that I can be alone in the house with the cats. We have a bit of snow on the ground, a nice fire going, and the cats and I are all curling up listening to Locatelli. It's a good evening.


Speaking of Locatelli I have found a new way of getting music. Here are the three basic music services I use for discovery/ownership.
1) Rhapsody because I love the on-demand feature for my favorite songs.
2) Pandora to discover new music
3) eMusic to download the new music discovered via Pandora

I've found that Rhapsody, while thoroughly awesome and an amazing bang for the buck, doesn't really help me in discovering new music. I'm pretty certain this is down to my inability to pay attention to their recommendations for me, or the radio stations, but either way, there you go. Pandora is a wonderful way of discovering new music that I might like - I found Adele that way, and I'm totally digging her (her song Best for Last is sublime). But there's no on-demand beauty like with Rhapsody. eMusic is simply amazing in terms of download prices (they don't have the big names, so can sell stuff for as low as 20 cents per track) but there's no on-demand gorgeousness with eMusic. Sooo, all in all, it's becoming a complicated form of discovery and ownership, however I can't really complain because I am totally digging on my new music and my entertainment crisis, at least as far as music goes, seems to be abating. I should add that I have also subscribed to a bunch of music podcasts to discover good new music, which is very helpful.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Nimrod makes me cry

I'm listening to Nimrod from the Enigma Variations (Elgar is wonderful, I've rediscovered) and he just makes me bawl my eyes out. I started listening to a CD I've had called Poppy Classics - all these quintessential British pieces - when I saw the recent Reece's Peanut Butter Cup commercial that featured Jupiter from The Planets. So now I'm thinking about June in Bath with Vaughan Williams and Elgar. J and I are going to go back to London, and hopefully Italy, during August and I'm hoping I can catch at least a couple of Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

Ooh, the other fun thing I'm going to do this summer is go to Iceland for the summer solstice. We are combining it with a trip back home to PA. Actually, I'm combining it. J is going to stay in PA and hang out with my parents and Lancaster friends, and I'm going to go to Iceland for a weekend from NYC, which is only a four and a half hour flight and really cheap. I've been wanting to go to Iceland for ages - midnight swimming in the Blue Lagoon, etc. I'm going to stay awake the entire time and pretend I'm 23 again and get ferociously drunk on Icelandic beer. Oooh, I can't wait.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Weekly Recap

I have just discovered Kate Ryan on Friday on eMusic - and I am also totally in love with eMusic. I don't know why I never played around with it before. I think I just assumed it was kind of crappy. I don't know why. Maybe because everywhere you look they're giving away free downloads, and I kind of went with the "perceived value" line of thinking, ie if they were giving it away all the time, it must suck. Shame on me and my snobby attitudes.

But I rediscovered them when Rhapsody didn't have something I was looking for, and they did. For the "People who do really Cool Things" file: I heard (on NPR, of course) about these guys who wrote songs in honor of each US President: Of Great and Mortal Men isn't a compilation in the traditional style of school songs about Presidents - they aren't songs with lyrics like "Buchannan watched the clock while the country fell apart/Just hanging around eating pizza till Lincoln would start." They're more like folk/popish songs that evoke the feelings around the presidency that they're about. And they're on eMusic.

Earlier this week I had a weird couple of days. To start with on Monday night I had insomnia for the first time in years. I was awake until 3:30 having imaginary conversations with everyone from Jesus to Lil Wayne (is he on every hiphop album made?) and then had to get up at 5:15 to go up to San Mateo. Man, I'm getting too old for that stuff. When I was in college I could go for three days on coffee and Turkey Hill Iced Tea. Not anymore. It was some kinda painful. I kept just counting down the hours until I could go to sleep. To make matters worse, I had to rent a car to drive to the office and they gave me this Jeep, which was huge. I guess they thought it was an upgrade, but I hate it when car rental places give me big cars as an upgrade. I drive a freaking Chevy Aveo. I only know how to drive small cars. I can't drive a Jeep for pete's sake. So I drove like a grandma, with the windows open to keep me awake. I finally slept on the plane on the way home. Then J picked me up and brought me dinner, and when I got home I just patted the cats and went straight to sleep. The next day I had to get up at 6 to drive to San Diego for a meeting, so by the time I got home on Wednesday evening, I was in dire need of a nap.

That night we went out for a drive to watch the car's odometer pass over 100,000 which was exciting.

Yesterday we went down to Carson where J's grandma used to live before she passed away. His parents are fixing up her house, getting it ready to sell when the market starts to turn around, and J was putting in flooring in one of the rooms. I dropped him off and went off to the Natural History Museum, in keeping with my "visit one museum each month" resolution. We got home late, and spent today just being lazy. J is watching the rap channel and I'm listening to non-rap music with my wicked noise cancelling headphones. And we've had a fire going on all day, and ordered pizza. Lazy days are good.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

More on my ongoing entertainment crisis

Back in 2001 when I lived in London and was super trendy, I had a mac. One of those turquoise clamshell ones with the little handle so it was kind of like a cute briefcase. Like the kind Aiden bought Carrie on Sex and the City when her computer crashed. Anyway, I had itunes on that, but since then I've not been an itunes person. I subscribe to Rhapsody, and love it, and I have a creative zen 80gb player along with random assorted smaller ones that are better for travel, but I'm still a (reluctant) pc person, so I don't do much with itunes. But for fun I downloaded it the other day and was totally blown away by all the radio stations. I'm not sure why I find it so amazing - they just put streams of various international radio stations all in one place - but I'm just thrilled with it. J and I have been listening to hindi pop from Mumbai, and trip-hop from Frankfurt. It's pretty cool.

I still haven't been able to find books I want to read, but as it's Sunday, I'm planning to do a big closet-and-bookshelf clearout today (took down the Christmas decorations yesterday and need to reorganize the bookshelves) and I'm hoping that something in my huge library of unread books will show up. I have a new Haruki Murakami book that might be interesting.
Yesterday I made really delicious sticky bbq ribs, and they were so easy. I'm not a big beef-eater (as opposed to beefeater, the British soldiers that wear the funny red outfits) so I don't buy a lot of it, but it was on sale for like $1 for a huge package so I bought it and figured I'd do something with it. I browned the meat, and then threw out the oily grease, put the meat back in the pan, covered it with bbq sauce and a little sugar and paprika, and then filled the pan mostly up with water. Let it come to a boil, then turned it down and let it simmer for 2 and a half hours, turning them over once. We have this tradition of getting bbq on the day of the Super Bowl (because we used to live by the famous BBQ King on Cesar Chavez) but after eating the stuff I made yesterday, J has declared that we don't ever need to buy bbq again. I really enjoy making new foods and trying new recipes. I guess that's the eggs talking or something. Nesting instinct.
Speaking of nesting and eggs and babies, we were out at Carrows (our new favorite place to eat because two people can eat, and get desert and drinks and it's still less than $25 including tip) and there was the most adorable baby ever at the next booth over. J was just going crazy. 2010 is the year we have planned to have a baby, but at this rate, we're going to have to get pregnant tomorrow just to keep him from having his Baby Fits.
I have a busy week ahead. I fly up to San Mateo for the day on Tuesday, arriving back home at 9ish, and then get to wake up early and head down to San Diego for a 10am meeting on Wednesday, which means I'll need to leave at about 7 or so.

When I have those kinds of busy times I realize that I spend a lot more time worrying about them in advance, than just being in the moment with them when they're going on. Inevitably they're never as bad as I think they're going to be, and I'm never as tired as I think I'm going to be, and I spend so much time and energy worrying about them for weeks ahead of time, that I lose a lot of life that way. I need to come up with a new resolution - not to worry about the stuff that hasn't happened yet. Because I'll either be really tired on Wednesday morning, or I won't. Either way, worrying about it isn't going to help me get more sleep.
Oh, and the Big News, I got my official invitation to the inauguration. Too late, though. I can't get a flight this late without spending a fortune. On one hand, I'm like, "yeah, well, it's history, and I want to tell my grandkids that I was there!" and on the other hand, I think that it's not really worth $1000 to be able to say I was somewhere when I'll get a better view at home in front of the tv.

So I really have become a practicle person. I guess I really am out of my 20's now. Sigh.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Entertainment Crisis Part 2

I'm very happy that some of my friends have recognized my Entertainment Crisis and are coming to my aid. I'm totally digging on Vampire Weekend, She and Him, and Martha Wainwright.

Also absolutely loved The Darjeerling Limited, which is playing on HBO now. Not only does it feature a kooky story, but the Indian scenery, and the train rides are amazing. I really want to go to India before I have a kid.

In other news, I've had a cough since shoveling snow two weeks ago. It's not really bad, but it's there. The point is, I make fun kinds of hacking noises, which is totally hot. I know how to bring the heat, let me tell you.

But I've been working out and have happily lost two pounds. Yay for me.

And I'm trying to set up singing lessons and get a choir started. Also yay for me.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Entertainment Crisis

I'm experiencing an entertainment crisis right now. I don't like my books, I don't like most of my music, and I never like anything on tv. So I play around on youtube and read every article in Vanity Fair and the New Yorker. I used to devour books. Now I look at all my chick-lit and get seriously annoyed with the main characters. I need to discover new books, I guess, but I don't know what I like anymore. It's so weird. I really loved The Pillars of the Earth and the sequal, and the Matthew Shardlake tudor mysteries, but I've read them all now. I'm sure I must have some books that I want to read. I bought a new Haruki Murakami book recently that's been sitting around waiting to be read. I could read that.

It's really weird. Does this happen to everyone when they're in their 30's?


Today I am having a Recession Spa day. The idea of dropping $150 on highlights and coloring and cut seems terribly impracticle right now when so many people are hungry/broke so J helped me do highlights, and gave me a cut that basically just chopped off my split ends and took some of the weight off the top with one of those razor-shaver things which I bought at Sally Beauty Supply for like $4. After a blowout, it looks almost like I came from a salon, and cost me $13 in color and highlight kit, and $4 razor. And I didn't have to tip him. Now I can buy the $60 gap jeans and $50 Hayden-Harnett bag at Target I want and not feel in the least bit guilty.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


I have been having fun making lenses on squidoo. I need more hobbies or something. Check out this one I made on bare minerals. I heart bare minerals.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Babies Babies Everywhere (and weird ex's)

Genesis, who works for a library that we work closely with, had her baby this morning at 2:44 am and was blogging about it by 8am. Man, that is some kinda dedication to blogging. She needs to win some kind of Blogger of the Year award.

We trapped a feral cat yesterday to take to get neutered, vaccinations, FIV testing, etc. It's our little part that we can do to clean up the feral cat mess up here. I get so angry at our neighbors, who have been here for 20 years, and somehow got the idea that because we feed these things, and provide a semi-warm spot for them under our deck, that they're ours. They say things like, "Oh, yes, we see your cats all the time. They are so cute" and I'm like, "have you noticed that these cats were here for much longer than we've been here?" I mean, the complete obliviousness. How can you just let cats multiply and die right under your deck and not know about it? I get so mad. So before Spring (and mating and kitties) arrives we're going to trap the main ones that show up all the time, and get them fixed. It also might get them to stop fighting.

So yesterday Fluffy Cat got trapped, and the poor thing was just so frightened. We brought him in and let him stay in the bathroom overnight, but we didn't take him out of the trap (it was big enough for him to move around in, and we put down blankets, food and water) because he never would have gone back in if we'd let him go. Plus our bathroom would have been destroyed. J took him this morning, and fortunately his FIV came back negative (thank goodness). The next cat to get it is Mama Cat (who is really a boy, but who we used to think was the mama of everyone). Mama Cat needs to go in soon because he is really hurt. He can't walk on his left front paw. He disappeared for a week and we thought he had become a victim of the cold, but then he showed up yesterday with his awful paw, and he's been sleeping on the blankets covering our woodpile. Every time I go out to give him food, though, he hobbles away, and really doesn't trust us. It breaks my heart. We need to trap him and get him taken care of - hopefully that will come next week.


And it's officially Time to Leave Facebook. My husband's crazy ex-girlfriend sent me a friend request. What the? She's all, "Long time no see! I hope you two are doing really well." And I'm like, "yeah, that's it, I'm leaving Facebook...." Too many weird people around. Am I being really anal, or is it weird to send your ex boyfriend's wife a friend request on facebook? Especially when you haven't seen or talked to said ex boyfriend in like three years? This is why I couldn't be gay. Too many crazy chicks out there.

I am currently listening to: Social Distortion
I am currently reading: The God of Small Things