Monday, February 15, 2010

This and That, continued

I know, not very original. Oh wait...I think the TV game show Jeopardy would call this "potpourri."

It's been a while since I've posted and I know I said I'd do a better job at posting regularly. I'd like to say that I've been busy but I just haven't been inspired to write. There just hasn't been a lot to talk about. But, I've got some stuff so we'll just go with it.

A couple weeks ago, Denise informed me that her television broke. Not good, knowing that the Winter Olympics were fast approaching. She was going to make it happen, work some magic and have a new TV by the opening ceremonies. Polo came up with a great idea, he suggested that we all buy Denise an early birthday gift. So we pooled our funds and surprised Denise by presenting her with a new televsion set. We all went out to dinner and as nearby table was celebrating someone else's birthday with a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" we sang along and Tina threw a card at Denise, confusing her. The timing could not have been more perfect. We celebrated with delicious food and margritas.

Unrelated, a couple days later, I found myself sick in bed with food poisoning. I say unrelated because there was too much time between that dinner and when I got sick. I'm attributing it to a jar of preserves that I had in the pantry. It was sealed when I opened it but perhaps the batch was not properly preserved. All I know is that I don't recall ever being so sick. No details, but it was UGLY. My knight in shining armor, Dan saved the day by bringing me Gatorade, which was about the only thing I could stomach for about 36 hours. I was in recovery mode most of the week.

By Friday I felt fine and I'm glad because I got to enjoy an evening out with my dear friend Steve. Since he travels back and forth and spends half of each month out of town, we get to go out a couple times while he's in town. It was a fun night, but because Steve knows a lot of people and doesn't see them very often, much of the evening was spent watching him socialize and catch up with people. I get it, I don't mind it, I enjoy watching him having a nice time, but something about Friday night left me seriously feeling like a third wheel. I would wander away for a while, seeing who I could find to chat with and I just had this overwhelming feeling that people were looking through me and not at me. It was one of those night where I felt completely invisible, to the point where if I didn't leave, I was going to lose it. I said my goodnight to Steve and I came home.

Saturday was a better day. I ran some errands and had some me time at Starbucks. I ended up not going out Saturday evening because I decided I wasn't up for a redux. Knowing that the following day was Valentine's Day, I wasn't in the best frame of mind anyway.

I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day. I'm sure I've blogged about it in the past. No, I don't feel like looking at last year's post, I'll bet I was pretty bitter. This year was no exception and I wasn't looking forward to the day. I got up early, went to the gym, then went to Crate and Barrel. Wouldn't you know it was filled with happy couples doing their bridal registries? What was I thinking? Okay, maybe the cute gay couple wasn't registering (not legal, ya know) but they were having a nice time shopping together. Needless to say, my visit was a quick one. I ended up stopping off at my friend Cyd's house to help her clear some things out of her apartment. She's moving next weekend. Afterwards I came home and prepared a delicious shrimp stir fry. I was celebrating Chinese New Year.

Over the weekend I got new tires on my car. The original ones were still on the car, they were over 5 1/2 years old but only had 38,000 miles on them. However they were showing their age so it was time. Next up will be brakes. Those will happen in the next month or two.

I mentioned the Olympics earlier. Did you watch the opening ceremonies? What did you think? I thought they were great. How exciting was it to see the team from the United States enter the stadium? I love all of the pageantry. I couldn't help but tear up when the team from the Republic of Georgia entered. They were solem and wore black arm bands out of respect for their team mate who had been killed during luge practice earlier in the day. Aside from the glitch with the lighting of the torch, I thought this opening ceremony held its own without trying to compete with the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

So that's what I've been up to? What about you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

This and That

So January is over, the first month of 2010. I hate the month of January. Always have, always will. Okay, I guess I don't hate all of January, Just the last 30 days of it. January 1st is usally fun with everybody still feeling a little of the holiday spirit (unless they're feeling like a brick fell on their head from the previous night...I've felt like that a couple times), but after that it's all downhill.

Why do I hate January? It's winter in Chicago. It's dark when I wake up to go to work, it's dark when I'm getting home from work. Everybody is back from vacation, traffic is a crap shoot. And if the weather is bad, that just makes the commutes that much uglier. Speaking of weather, and Chicago, and January, chances are it's not going to be very pleasant outside. Snow, ice or frigid temperatures are common place. People are tired of it. They're cranky because of it.

Professionally it's a challenging month because there are a lot of questions about benefits, deductions from paychecks, whether their time-off accruals are right. Then it's always a guess to see who will be the first to ask "when do we get our W-2 forms?

Thankfully W-2 forms were issued a couple weeks ago and everybody was happy, including me. I filed and already received my refund (no I didn't go and get one of those rapid refunds that take a chunk of your refund as a service fee), I filed online and apparently my taxes are so simple they didn't take much checking. Having endured such a blah month, I bought myself a new iPod. I've now got the iPod Touch and yes, I get aps! Mind you, I don't have a constant internet connection, it only works if it finds an hotspot or an unsecured internet signal. Regardless, it's pretty and I like it. I also bought new cookware. I too is pretty and I like it. While I would have loved the All-Clad, I ended up getting Cuisinart. It may not be top of the line but it's better than the old Farberware I had with the handles that were about to fall off. The problem is, it's so pretty, I'm afraid to actually use it.

Every year, I try to do something responsible with my tax return. This year, I will buy new tires for my car with the remainder of it. I've been talking about new tires for the car since last summer but kept putting it off. I have a very slow leak in one, so I don't think I can put it off much longer.

January is over, thankfully. The Groundhog saw his shadow today so it looks like we've got another 6 weeks of winter. Duh. I mean, the groundhog is cute and all, but did anybody really expect, if he didn't see his shadow, that tomorrow we'd be sitting outside in shorts? Me either.

Valentine's day is in a couple weeks. I couldn't care less about it. Bitter, you say? Yes, but I have been for years. Bite my ass, Cupid!

Anyway, that's my story. What's new with you?