Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Day 18 – Your favorite birthday, in great detail

My favorite birthday was last year's, my 30th.  It was really great!  I have never been a big party planner, so maybe that's why my birthdays never were that great.  For this one, I started telling Jube early (from January of 2012) that I wanted something special for my "Big Three-Oh."  (I even mentioned having a big party in some Christmas cards.)  I actually referred to it that way in front of my dad, who mocked me mercilessly.  But I didn't let that discourage me!  I really wanted a big bash, but I also didn't want to do any of the work (wouldn't that defeat the purpose of a party?).  I had the "grandes lignes" ready for Jube: 

1. I made the guest list and gave it to him.
2. I told him I wanted a keg.
3. I told him what restaurant I wanted to go to.
4. I came up with the punny name for the party on my own.

After that, I let him take over.  It was soooo great.  BB flew in from out of town.  My parents drove up from Virginia (they arrived early, as usual!).  Everyone else showed up on time.  Even though the restaurant was kind of annoying (seating us late and serving us late), I had had enough to drink that it didn't bother me at all.  BB and my mom & stepfather spent the night at our place.  The next morning, we had homemade breakfast and mimosas. 

It was absolutely the best birthday celebration I ever had.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Day 17 – Your favorite memory, in great detail

This is kind of a weird prompt, don't you think?  Do we really have "favorite" memories?  I have some moments where I am so happy (or maybe just so contented) that I tell myself, "Remember everything about this moment.  You will want to remember this later."  One of those moments was the one I described a few posts ago.  Another was when I was fourteen or fifteen.

I had just started high school (I was a freshman or sophomore).  I shared a room with my cousin Shannon.  We had one of those bunk beds that could be changed around: a regular bunk bed, two twin beds, or one high bed and one low bed.  We had all configurations at one time or another.  The night of my memory, we had two twin beds.  Mine was in one corner, and hers in another.  My bed was pushed horizontally against the wall with the windows so that I could see outside.  The room was dark and quiet; Shannon was already asleep, or maybe we had just turned out the lights.  I think this is more likely, actually.  I was lying on my side, looking at the windows.  My dog, Merissa, slept in my bed.  She was also lying on her side, facing the windows.  I had my right arm and leg draped over her.  I remember feeling warm and happy.  I tried to match my breathing to hers.  I had actually read this in a short story, where a boy breathed in while the dog breathed out, and I tried to do it periodically, but her breath came too fast and I always ended up feeling lightheaded. 

The moonlight came in the window a little bit.  By this time, Merissa was "old" for a dog.  She was eight or nine, and my brother the Rooster had started talking about how "When she dies, I'll be able to get a beagle."  I was so content, snuggled up with my dog, that I thought to myself, "You need to remember every single little thing about this moment, right now."  Merissa was a terrier mix.  She looked like an Irish wolfhound, but smaller, or like a Norfolk terrier, but bigger.  Her hair was longish and wiry.  It didn't mat, and so we brushed her rarely, although she adored the feeling of a wire brush scratching her back.  In that moment, I stroked her side.  I put my nose in the hair on her head, near her ears (which had a different hair, soft and velvety), and inhaled her warm doggy scent. 

Merissa was an easygoing mutt.  I knew she didn't love my evening cuddles, but she would lie there for ten or fifteen minutes until she finally heaved herself up and out of the bed to curl up on the floor.  Sometimes I would hold her back, and she would subside back onto the bed, resigned to being loved.  On this night, I let her get up when she wanted to.  I rolled myself into the spot where she had lain, enjoying the lingering warmth.

She was a very good dog. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Day 16 – Your first kiss, in great detail

I am not sure how much detail I will go into here.  I will say that my first kiss was very nice.  The boy it was with touched my face.  He pushed back a strand of hair that had fallen out of my ponytail.  I could tell he was really nervous.  So was I.  I remember feeling hot and cold at the same time.  He said, "I think you are really cool.  I think you're the coolest girl I've ever met."  And then we kissed.

We kissed for a little while, and when we were done, he asked if I wanted a glass of water.  I said no, to be polite (I didn't want him to feel like he had to leave the room).  But it turned out he was being polite, asking me if I wanted a glass of water because he was going to get one anyway.  When he got back, I realized I was really thirsty and changed my mind.  He went back and got another glass (he gave me the first one). 

A few days later I went to church (this was back when I was going to Catholic mass with my parents).  I was distracted the whole time.  I kept touching my lips and thinking about that kiss.  I remember feeling guilty, not for having sinned, but for thinking about how great it was in church. 

That was my first kiss.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Day 15 – Your dreams, in great detail

I have very realistic dreams.  Unfortunately, when I say realistic, I don't mean "it seemed so real, it was like I was really flying!"  Instead, it is more like, "I dreamed that my receptionist told me she is Israeli."  (She is actually Israeli.)  It is usually quite easy for me to remember my dreams.  Sometimes they are so realistic that I get them confused with what has happened during my waking life.

I often deal with stress by dreaming about the situation that is getting to me.  Before exams, I dreamed about sitting down, writing out the answers, and getting the exam back with a big red "A" on top.  Sadly, upon waking, I would realize that I hadn't yet taken the exam.  The same thing happens at work before a big event or meeting.  I hate those dreams.

Once in awhile I will dream about something impossible.  But even the impossible things are still "real."  I saw my dog again once.  She died in 2001, and it was heartbreaking to wake up and realize she wasn't actually back. 

Rarely I will have nightmares.  They usually involve lots of running and hiding, not killing or scary bugs or anything like that.  Once someone tried to run me over; another time, I was running from a floating mask.

Once I tried writing down my dreams in some kind of journal.  It started getting depressing when I saw that I had very little fantasy life!  My boss told me that she dreamed about her dog.  One day, her dog turned to her and said, "Why don't you let me free?  It is so horrible to be in this collar and leash all the time.  I never get to do what I want!"  I have never had a talking animal in any dream (except maybe my dad's bird, who talks in real life).  But on the whole, I will try to consider that my real life is satisfying enough.  I don't need to have crazy dreams!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Day 14 – What you wore today, in great detail

I am wearing a pink-and-black houndstooth patterned mini-dress with a gold zipper detail over black fleece leggins.  I am obsessed with houndstooth.  It is hard for me to resist trying on any houndstooth item I see.  I have so far managed to resist buying a winter coat in a houndstooth pattern, but I have dresses, jackets, sweaters, and scarfs already.  I am wearing black leather boots.  I bought them in 2004 for 60 Euros.  I remember feeling very decadent paying that much for them, but they have ended up as a great investment.  I have worn them to weddings, to work, in the snow, in the rain... the heels are getting a little less black as time goes on, but I still love them.

I am wearing long dangling earrings in silver and black (one silver triangle on top of one black triangle on top of another silver triangle).  They were a cheap purchase that I wear more often than I thought I would.  They give a kind of 80's flair to an otherwise normal look.  I am, as always, wearing my star sapphire ring on my left hand.  Finally, I am also wearing a black belt.  It is a fabric belt that came with a sweatshirt; the clasp is black plastic. 

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Day 13 – This week, in great detail

I will tell you about the week of February 11-17, since I am writing these in advance.  Sorry if you wanted something more recent!

Monday: I wore navy blue pants (they look kind of like jodhpurs), a cream shirt with a bird pattern, and a navy blazer with white polka dots.  I went to work, as usual.  I started listening to Brothers in Arms (no, BB, not the Dire Straits album!) in the car on the way to work.  Actually, I started by trying to listen to Le Pere Goriot, but I just couldn't get into it (especially knowing that I had a new SF book on deck).  On Sunday I had gone to Target, and I had to return something, so at lunch, I went to the local store.  I returned what I had to, and then bought more than I needed (shoes, shirt, skirt, Cheetos...) I was planning on buying lunch, but I couldn't figure out how to get into the parking lot of the Chipotle, so I just ate back in the office.  We prepared for a little Mardi Gras party the next day, hanging decorations, putting the coffee pot out in the lobby.  Jube and I watched The Bachelor on TV (Tierra was sent home to everyone's delight except hers).  We ate flounder with spinach and carrots while we watched.

Tuesday: I wore black pants tucked into purple boots, a white t-shirt, and a green blazer.  Mardi Gras colors, y'all!  Back to work. This afternoon we actually have the Mardi Gras party, with coffee, tea, and doughnuts (we tried to pretend they were beignets, but they were just from Dunkin Donuts).  I left work early, at 4:00, and drove to College Park for class.  We talked about Le Rouge et le noirAfter class I gossiped with a classmate for awhile before heading home.  I had chowed down on doughnuts at work, so Jube made me a salad and he had a sandwich.

Wednesday: I wore the outfit I wrote about for the "What You're Wearing" post.  Work!  We have a 2-hour staff meeting, immediately followed by a 1.5 hour committee meeting for me.  By the time I actually get into my office, it's practically time to go home.  At 5:00pm, it starts raining... and then it turns into a "wintry mix."  My 60 minute commute doubles.  At least I get a little further in my book on tape.  By the time I get home, I am ready to veg out.  Luckily, it is the season premiere of Survivor, and Jube and I eat while we watch it.  Because it is the season premiere, it lasts for an hour and a half.  This means we miss Modern Family.  We can see that it is snowing hard outside, and I hope for a snow day.  I head to bed to read, and I fall asleep right away.

Thursday: No snow day.  I wear the red shirt I bought at Target on Monday along with gray pants and my navy polka-dotted blazer and blue boaters.  Before leaving for work, I drop the Valentine's day card on my pillow for Jube to find when he wakes up.  Once at work, it turns into a busy day.  I have a few appointments and check on statistics in the morning.  At lunch, my colleague Dharma and I go to "Power Yoga."  It is really intense (and we get a "yoga valentine").  Once back in the office, I eat lunch at my desk while going over those statistics.  I leave late on Thursdays to make up for leaving early on Tuesdays.  I am able to get a lot of work done between 4:30 and 6:00, since no one is in the office.  As I am leaving, Jube calls to tell me he received his Valentine's day marzipan in the mail.  He says it is very tasty!  As a Valentine's treat for me, we order Chinese food and eat it in front of Parks and Rec and The Office.  I have almost finished Brothers in Arms, and I am hoping that I will be able to download the next book in the series from the e-library before the next day.  Nothing tonight, although I am "patron 1 of 1" on the waiting list.

Friday: I wear gray pants, a gray turtleneck, a black cowlneck shirt over that, and gray shoes.  Before I leave for work, I check to see if the next book is ready to be downloaded.  No luck!  Once I get to the office, I hop in my boss's car and we go to downtown Baltimore for a local conference.  It is okay - at least I get a free muffin for breakfast!  We get back to the office at 12:30.  I eat lunch and my boss decides to take a personal afternoon.  I do some followup work, but by 3:30 it has dried up and I am also ready to leave!  Too bad I can't.  I get home and almost immediately leave the house with Jube.  We take the metro to DC, where we eat at the Bistro d'Oc. After dinner, we go to the Warner Theater to see Nick Offerman (the late showing at 10:30pm).  We don't get home until after midnight!

Saturday: Sleeping in is great! Unfortunately, my body seems to have gone crazy after yoga.  Everything hurts, including my throat.  Ugh.  I lie around for most of the day, although I do go to Trader Joe's with Jube in the afternoon.  After we get home I read a book and go to bed early.

Sunday: Sleeping in really is great, for once!  I wake up feeling awesome!  The day is cold but sunny.  I read in bed for a bit while Jube goes out to pick up bagels and do some grocery shopping.  In the afternoon, we go to Target where I return some purchases, and then to the library, where Jube uses my card to get some books on digital photography and I read a trashy magazine.  We then go to the University of Maryland to watch a women's gymnastics meet.  It is really neat!  Jube takes some pictures.

Then we go home where we eat dinner and I watch The Amazing Race. Then it's off to bed - but luckily, Jube has President's Day (or, officially, Washington's Birthday) off, and I took a personal day, so we don't have to get up early then either!  All in all, a fun weekend.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Day 12 – What’s in your bag, in great detail

I always carry a bag.  I even did a mini-post about my bag when I lived in Nice!  My latest bag is a big gray one I got from Zara.  I love it.  It fits just about everything I need:

Wallet - money and credit cards, of course!
iPod - with all my books on tape downloaded
Male-to-male connector - to connect my iPod with my car stereo (no Bluetooth for me)
My checkbook - in an awesome paper cover I got from the Sackler Gallery in Washington, DC
Small bag - with my nail file, chapstick, business cards, tampons, and rewetting drops
A spoon - to eat my soupy lunch with!
A pen - to sign those checks
Glasses case - with my sunglasses inside
iPad - I am going to class tonight, so I need my iPad to take notes and pull up my books.  The ipad is actually in a brown-on-brown patterned clutch to protect it from scratches.
Wireless headset - so actually, I do have a Bluetooth wireless headset so I can talk on the phone while I drive.

And that is what is in my bag.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Day 11 – Your siblings, in great detail

I have three people whom I would consider siblings: my brother, JW, my half-brother, the Rooster, and my cousin, Shannon.

Not counting Shannon, I am the oldest.  She is two years older than I am.  She moved in with us when I was in fifth grade, although she had spent summers with us since I was seven.  We shared a room.  She was my best friend and at the same time we distanced ourselves from each other at school.  She is tall and formidable with a Roman nose and fair hair.  I was always jealous of her--she seemed to make friends so easily, she didn't care about her grades.  She had boyfriends and I never did.  She seemed fearless.  She had one of the first Internet romances (in the early days of the web), chatting and phoning an Idaho boy.  She even went to visit him one summer.  (I overheard my mother complaining to my stepfather once about how we must have received the wrong phone bill - "long distance charges to Idaho? We don't know anyone in Idaho!  I'll have to call and complain."  I took her aside and said, "I think it is Shannon.  Please don't tell her I told you!"  I didn't want to betray my cousin, but I couldn't bear the thought of my mother calling the phone company and hearing it from them.)  When she graduated from high school, she joined the army.  Although she was discharged for medical reasons before she finished basic training, I always thought she was amazing.  She left Ohio before I went to college and lives in California now.  I haven't been out to visit her, but I want to, and soon!

My brother JW is two years younger than I am.  We are close in age but dissimilar in temperament.  It was with JW that I experienced the most sibling rivalry.  I am pretty easy-going and (as I have mentioned) I try not to take myself too seriously.  When I get angry, I get over it fast.  JW on the other hand takes life very seriously.  ("Life" of course includes himself.)  He gets angry quickly and ferociously, and can take awhile to come down.  Despite our differences, we share a sense of humor, often enjoying the same TV shows and jokes.  Like my father, he loves auto racing.  He is tall, dark-haired and -eyed, and loves dogs, specifically Brittany spaniels.  He studied Philosophy, Classics, and Religion in college, although now he works for a nation-wide grocery chain.  He loves meat and bacon, but is married to a vegetarian.  It has forced him to learn how to cook his food, which can't be a bad thing!

My brother the Rooster is the one I mentioned who moved to Puerto Rico this year.  He is seven years younger than me, and we have never had a fight.  I babysat him a lot when we were both younger, and I'm afraid I introduced him to a lot of things that were too mature for him... we watched The Highlander together, and I took him to see Tombraider on IMAX on opening night.  He won a copy of the PS2 version of Tombraider 3 by doing a "stunt" in front of the theater - basically running and throwing himself on the ground.  I think he won because he was the youngest one there.  He has worked many jobs, most of them in food service, most of those in gourmet restaurants.  He is a great cook, and has taught me how to make my own pasta and not to be afraid of butter.  The Rooster is a bit of a hippie, and I just can't convince him to shampoo. condition, and gel his beautiful curls, so they end up as dreads most of the year.  I am hoping to be able to head down to PR to see him.  I may have finally convinced Jube to brave the Caribbean!