Rotten, No Good, Very Bad Day



Today was a bad day. Not for big serious reasons, but small annoying, aggravating, stupid reasons. Not just at work, but at home too. From the very first voice-mail this morning to driving around at night. (Only redeeming feature was Jason ordering the fried mac and cheese wedges for take out and his looking the other way while I ate four.)

Ok, maybe realizing that it was 15 years ago this week that mom died has something to do with it. Although I didn't realize it until after the fact, as I was signing and dating an invoice at the end of the anniversary day. And maybe that has had a bigger impact that I expected.

This was the kind of day where you realize when the voice inside your head said, 'Stay in bed, it's so cozy here,' you should have listened.

Crew-sing


J. Crew, why do you tempt me so? New catalog arrived today.
But why do you also make weird bracelets that look like odd lipstick snakes?

Yay


Phillies win!
(Sorry I missed it, but the rug I've been coveting forever from IKEA was in stock and I had a friend with a big car who was willing to drive me. And the whole thing was supposed to be over Monday night anyway. ;)

Walk on By


I love that the home section of Urban Outfitters' website is called "Apartment," not "Home," or "House." Knowing their customer so well.

I correct myself so many times when I say that Jason and I bought a house, when it's really a condo; an apartment. I know, but Home nonetheless.

I also think it's funny that the chair on the launch page closely resembles the chair I drove slowly past in our alley twice Sunday. I heard my mother's expert trash picker advice in my head, that upholstery can be infested with bugs, and damp and moldy from sitting outside, so drive on by. I also heard Jason's voice, "Serious? Where is that going to go?"

All the Leaves Around

Friday night Jason and I planned for the classic dinner and a movie date. In the end the work week caught up with us and it was just dinner. (Bill Mahr and Religulous will have to wait until DVD.)

We followed our favorite waiter to his new gig at another restaurant, and in the two times I've visited I've gotten free champagne with the girls and free dessert with Jason. Loyalty rewards, far more than I've gotten from Starwood or Hilton or any of those other cards I carry in my purse when I travel.

My appetizer was a delicious autumnal pumpkin soup, with a little vanilla creme brulee in the middle that melted into yummy swirls when the hot soup was poured over it. The next day at the supermarket the memory of the pumpkin soup was so good that I bought some butternut squash, red pepper and garlic soup. I think I've had soup every day since Friday!
Maybe I can try making my own Pumpkin Soup.

Indeed, it's October. It's fall, and I knew it for sure when I had to pull a warm wrap out of the scarf spaghetti in our closet for the walk to the train the other week.

It means:
Pumpkins
Mums (Do I regret pulling up the still alive summer geraniums to cover the deck in purple and orange mums? No.)
Chapped lips (Carmex in my bag, at my bedside, and on my desk.)
Perfect crisp fall football game days - and I'm not even a fan so much
Soup!
Cozy boyfriend-style cardigans (I covet this one I tried on the other day. Why is cashmere so expensive??!)Caramel apples
The year's first toasty blast of heat coming from the car vent in the morning
Socks and slippers
Shorter days, the sun disappearing just as soon as I leave the office
Switching to oatmeal for breakfast instead of fruit and yogurt
Sniffles

(The top photo is a desktop wallpaper, btw. From here. And the one below is here.)

Undecided, how?

This David Sedaris New Yorker article was recommended by a friend: Undecided.
I've on occasion been jealous of the "undecided" voter. How come they are the ones that get invited to the town hall debates while I have to stay at home and throw things at the TV? I promise that if I were invited to attend I wouldn't throw the remote at John McCain when he makes air quotes about the "health of the mother."

David Sedaris points out that maybe undecided voters are people that just like to be on television. People who just like attention and want sympathy for their conflict.
It can't be that they are not paying attention. How could you avoid the election coverage?

I am planning on voting early today!
(This picture made me nostalgic for when my mother brought me into the polling place with her to show me how it was done. I thought it was fun, probably because any little kid likes being brought into a small secret space where they get to push a lot of buttons or pull a lot of levers.)

Musing


We are about 80% unpacked, and the remaining 20 is the stuff I can't decide upon.
It's also the 20 projects I tell myself not to start until I finish the 12 that are waiting for my attention.
And the 20 projects that I encourage myself to think about more before just tossing something there. Suddenly home decorating magazines are a lot more appealing when I see them at the airport.

But two things have suffered with the preoccupation with the move: the gym, reading good things like The Economist. (My subscription lapsed, which was kind of convenient since it's one less change of address to complete.) So all I can talk about is the economy or Sarah Palin's clothing budget. I feel kind of dumb.

Irresistible


It's a good thing this sidewalk sale was in South Korea, because otherwise I would have come home with a new bunny.
I wonder if my kitten is still small enough for me to make her a sweater out of a tube sock... Winter is coming, after all.
(Thank you, Cute Overload.)

All Compliments Accepted

One of my favorite artists in John Singer Sargent. It's probably not the kind of art I'd hang over my couch, but I enjoy seeing it in museums.

I remember my friend Ellyn using one of his paintings on her wedding program, which captured the sensibility of her summer wedding outdoors in the woody Catskills perfectly.So, I was overwhelmingly flattered when I attended a charity gala dinner last night and a co-worker's spouse said that I looked like this painting: One time when my pale skin earned me a compliment, and made holding onto the bridesmaid dress from Juliet's wedding worthwhile.

I need to go the Art Institute more often this winter.

Nothing to Report

Sigh, I have nothing to say about last night's debate. While Obama and John McCain were hashing out their issues, like a bad session of couple's therapy, I was flying home from Dallas. (One of the worst airport dinners ever: glass of Pinot Grigio with dry turkey provolone sandwich -- which I was encouraged to order quickly by the waitress since there were few options left.)
I heard a recap in the taxi ride home, where they billed it as "the most riveting, substantial debate of the election." Of course, and I missed it. I was left to muse over the thought of electing Bob Scheiffer to be my grandpa. He's so folksy and cute in an old fellow kind of way.
I watched the MSNBC recap and cursed aloud when I heard John McCain's minimization of the "health" of women. But loved Rachel Maddow's summation of how stupid his comment was - her words were much more eloquent which is why she has her own show on MSNBC and I'm a blogger.
Parts of the debate may be better (and funnier) in frozen retrospection. I laughed out loud when Jason showed me this 'zombie McCain' picture.(He went the wrong direction and did one of those goofy faces we all make when we're recognizing a small error.)
I can't explain this second one though.
I had to make sure I hadn't fallen asleep and found myself dreaming with the last piece of news delivered by Chris Matthews during his debate coverage: the Phillies are in the World Series. Yay, time to bust out my two-year's ago Christmas present from Jason.Although not an avid baseball follower (the bandwagon picked me up today), the prospect of losing both the Election and the World Series is a little terrifying. And all before we head into the doldrums of winter, prepare yourself for a grumpy blogger.

Lonely 1 and Over-confident, Fooling-himself 7

I entertained myself doing math in grade school by creating personalities for each of the numbers, with accompanying jealousies and rivalries. Addition, subtraction, and long division were such a yawn otherwise. But when you knew that 6 couldn't hide her jealousy over 9's close relationship with 8, it was like Days of our Lives. It's a blessing that there was steady 5 to hold 6 back.

This might explain why math was never my strong suit, since evidently I was hardly paying attention to the final sum.

But it also helps explain why I found The Font Conference video quite funny. Imagine each of the fonts as a person, with a defined personality as well. Wait for the appearance of Wingings!

Too bad Garamond doesn't show up, he was my classy resume standyby for a long time. Arial Black is my signature addition to powerpoint these days. Cezanne appeared on our wedding invitations.

On the Road Again

Oh yeah, I'm going to Glasgow next month for a conference.
It will be November, so I expect it to be cloudy, and possibly bone-chillingly cold. I am told however, that the world's best Indian restaurant is in Glasgow. I am ready for Indian food every night. It's one of my very most favorite foods. A warm pub will be in order too. Genuine shortbread might be worth scouting out. I've never seen another brand besides Walkers.Like always I am taking an extra day at the end to do some exploring, and finding souvenirs with the tartan that my sister married into, no doubt. I'm sure she'll get some of that from every person she knows who goes to Scotland for the rest of her life. (It looks a little bit like yesterday's Crate & Barrel towel, actually.)

Public Service Announcement: Textiles


This is something incidental that I'd like to share with you. It's something that would likely never come up in our day-to-day conversations, and would therefore doom you to the dilemma I found myself in.
I love, love, love the designs of Crate & Barrel's kitchen towels. We registered for a bunch of them for our wedding, and some of you gifted them to us. But when I try to mop up water on the counter I end up pushing the water around, with little absorption. It's very frustrating. They are just about as ineffective at drying the dishes. I've trying washing them again and again, but it almost seems like they sprayed them with Scotchguard before selling these dishclothes to us.

I picked up some cute (and cheap) (and hopefully better) alternatives at Target.
Too soon to recommend the substitutes, and I may end up with the old reliable Williams Sonoma towels. Thirsty standby's -- but stripes are only so exciting.

Rise Above or Stay and Argue?

It feels a little like I'm stooping to their level (Fox News, Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh) but this morning I'm sharpening my own debate points by reading this Rolling Stone article on John McCain:

"In its broad strokes, McCain's life story is oddly similar to that of the current occupant of the White House. John Sidney McCain III and George Walker Bush both represent the third generation of American dynasties. Both were born into positions of privilege against which they rebelled into mediocrity. Both developed an uncanny social intelligence that allowed them to skate by with a minimum of mental exertion. Both struggled with booze and loutish behavior. At each step, with the aid of their fathers' powerful friends, both failed upward. And both shed their skins as Episcopalian members of the Washington elite to build political careers as self-styled, ranch-inhabiting Westerners who pray to Jesus in their wives' evangelical churches.

In one vital respect, however, the comparison is deeply unfair to the current president: George W. Bush was a much better pilot."

I'm only on the first page so far.

After seeing an email forward pinned to the outside of a coworker's cubicle that proclaimed "you vote Democratic because you support the slaughter of millions of babies but want criminals to live forever on death row" I wondered if rising above the fray was an effective tactic.

I'm considering replacing the posting with this picture instead: There's no winning with people with such polarized, exaggerated arguments, so why not post something that no one can disagree with: is that not adorable? (Cute Overload saves us from ourselves.)
Eh, I'll probably just leave it alone.

Best Year Ever

Last year I ordered this letterpress calendar from Etsy, and every day it delights me to come to work and see such a small piece of exquisitely perfect art on my desk.

I just ordered my 2009 calendar tonight. Get yours here.

Ctrl-Alt-What?


Not all of you have the privilege that I enjoy of essentially having a capable Help Desk technician in your home. Jason can be quite handy. When he walks through the living room and sees me sitting there with my brows furrowed, biting my lip he'll ask,
"Whatcha doing?"
"Realizing I have to re-size all 100 wedding photos to get them uploaded to this electronic photo frame I want to display at our wedding dinner. It's going to take forever."
"You can have Photoshop do that automatically you know."
"I can?" [Eyebrows lifting, ray of sunshine falling on my face.]

This David Pogue NYT column has many of the tips and tricks I've learned along the way, either from Jason, or from befriending my company's IT guy.

(If I were offering career lessons to new college grads I'd say that there are 2-3 people that it is VERY IMPORTANT to be out-of-your way friendly to in the office: the receptionist, the office manager, and the IT guy. The office manager will make sure you get the better office chair, the better cubicle when it opens up and usually is the first to know the gossip of someone coming or going. Same for receptionist, and she won't mind if you get your personal packages delivered. But the IT guy, if he likes you, will tell you about the cool toggle keys, and much of the stuff of this column.)

I'd also add that if you're trying to figure out how to do something, whether it be in Powerpoint, photoshop, or there's just a problem with your iPod or Tivo, it's much easier to Google your problem rather then read the official instructions. Google gives you access to the more popular, multiple, phrasings of your problem, whereas the manufacture won't be of much help if you don't even know the right term for that Tivo button with the arrow and the line.

Jason is still wondering what I bring to the marriage. ;)

(Rings from Etsy.)

Where Buyer Meets Seller

And a corollary to the essay I'm about to write, in a more poetic way, is that one man's trash is another's treasure. But few of us have the time to search through the trash to find the treasure we want. Which is how it must be that Pottery Barn can charge $1,299 for the same thing we got for free from Jason's sister. And she probably paid less than $50 for it.

Ours:(A dark photo since I didn't have a professional photographer and studio, just my living room.)

Theirs: And what's even crazier is that ours is likely genuine, and theirs is a mass-produced fake.

So does anyone want to buy a trunk for $1,000?

Maverick


If I tell enough people, enough times, that I am a maverick, can I join the Republican ticket?

I guess I was a little happy that the VP debate last night was a non-event. Sparing uncomfortable embarrassment for either candidate and those of us watching them. I nearly fell asleep on the couch.

But it did seem like Sarah Palin ran out of content towards the end and, "with a team of mavericks" I guess that might happen?And don't forget, John McCain is a maverick.

The Art of Furniture Placement

We're in a state of 80% un-packed-ness. A primary factor halting our progress is my indecision about furniture placement. Also that going home and watching America's Top Model is more interesting than figuring out where a bookcase goes. Especially now that I do have a couch and coffee table assembled to settle into.

I'm thinking of inviting my friends over for a Furniture Placement Clinic. I enjoyed it very much when my college friends called me over to their dorm room to arrange furniture. But that was so easy: three pieces of furniture - bed, desk, and chair. And a very small space too.

At the top of the invite list, the neighbors who hosted a party where the cocktail napkins read, "By the looks of it, your home could use a homo." Indeed.

I do love my new circular dining room table though. It was just a little annoying that West Elm relies upon UPS to deliver its furniture, who showed up at 5:30 after I'd taken the day to work from home to wait A L L D A Y for them. When I called to inquire on the whereabouts of my driver, the operator readily shared that I could just pick up the boxes myself at their shipping center. Yeah right, like I'm going to lift and fit a 71 lb box with a 4 foot diameter into my sedan. Thanks, lady, but where's your driver??!!!
And why does a new table wobble?
 

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