Thursday, August 23, 2012

Proverbial Headless Chicken

The last three days have been insanely busy ones, for me.

Tuesday and Wednesday, I was allowed to cut out of work around 3-ish (never mind that I was actually supposed to have the whole week off), and I've used those afternoons to accomplish a lot of errands and chores prior to starting back to school this coming Monday.

Yesterday, I tackled the grocery store, as one of my BIG BIG BIG plans is to make gobs of freezable food and then, er, freeze it for consumption at a later date.

I now have four heaping helpings of coconut chicken curry and six servings of vegetable beef stew snuggled not-so-cozily in my freezer. Tonight, I tackle the seafoodless jumbalaya (a.k.a. "pork product pottage") for freezing.

Look out, piggies, here I come!

Today, I had my hair cut, dropped off a package at UPS, picked up the 355+ pages of research I've done towards my master's thesis, and which I paid FedEx Office to print for me, and had lunch with my sister.

Lunch was definitely the highlight of my day. Gluten-free pizza and salad at Ruggles Green? Mmmmm...

I also went to the grocery store (again) and then had a manicure/pedicure.

In other news, I'm tired.

But it's not over, yet!

Because, tomorrow, a cleaning service will descend upon my apartment, probably blanch when they see my bookshelves, with all their lovely nooks and crannies to be dusted, and hopefully not increase the charge for cleaning because of the aforementioned bookshelves.

I am keeping my fingers crossed on the last point, which makes typing infinitely more difficult, I might add.

After that, I intend to go to The Galleria to stock up on make-up and to try on the suit my parents are giving me for my 30th birthday.

Yes, 30th birthday.

I requested the suit from my mom, the other night, and she seemed kind of surprised by the request. It's something I've wanted for a long time, though, and I think it will by very useful come March (when I hope to start interviewing for post-graduation jobs).

I'll give you a sneak peek at my interview day outfit:

But black. Because real architects wear nothing but black.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Internet Dating Criteria

Over the past several months, I have come up with a few handy ways to skim through the mountains of prospective beaux that fill my inbox daily.

Okay, so by "mountains" I mean 3-4 guys, and by "inbox" I mean that part of eHarmony's website where you can go to view your "matches" (and which I check about once every 3 weeks).

I call my every-3rd-week marathon man-vetting-session Culling the Herd.

Criteria for Culling (aka what will get you RE-jected):

No Photo
Some people on eHarmony - and other dating sites, I'm sure - don't post photos. The most oft-cited reasons for photo-less-ness are:

1) they don't want people from work recognizing them
2) they don't want to be judged by looks alone.

Okay, I get those, in a way. In another way:

1) we're in the 21st Century, and people Internet date. It's no longer something to be ashamed of doing.
2) What are you hiding?

Seriously, I assume if you don't have a photo, then you're not worth looking at (and we've already established that I'm a little bit superficial when it comes to potential partners, because damn! Look at me! I'm GORGEOUS!)

Photo Contains Cats
I'm allergic to cats. If you have a cat, you're out of the running. I - and my dander-hating skin - will be looking elsewhere for love.
 Okay, so if Steve McQueen showed up at my door holding a cat, I'd just pop some Benadryl, but otherwise...

Photo(s) Contain Motorcycles
 In the interest of full disclosure, I feel it is necessary to let you know, dear reader, that I cannot - and will not ever try to - ride a bike. So a man who spends his free time (and money) rocketing around on a motorcycle is obviously not one I'm likely to get involved with.

Age Too Low
I accidentally went out with a 23-year-old (I thought it said 28, I swear!). It was not a good thing. If you're under 27, your odds are not good. At all.

Age Too High
Seriously, dude? You're 49? 52? Ican'tevencountthathigh? How the hell did you even find my profile?!?! It was that stupid "What If..." thing, wasn't it? The thing where they pair you up with someone outside your "comfort zone" (be it religious, height-wise, or age-wise). I hate the "What If..." thing

Passionate About...
If you're passionate about watching TV... Seriously? TELEVISION?!?!?! No human rights? No gender equality? Not even a Free Tibet tidbit? Seriously, being passionate about the Republican Party is better than being passionate about TV. Or video games. Or NASCAR. And if your only "I'm passionate about..." entry is "Sports: all of them! LOL!"? Aw, hell no! I will not be a football/basketball/baseball/golf/water polo widow. Be passionate about one sport, and I'm A-OK. But if you expect me to go to a pro-sporting game every week? Game off.

Those are the basics. Granted, there are other more esoteric criteria for elimination:

1) Single word responses in the blurbs where you can write up to 500 characters (serial killer)
2) Not writing anything in the "Last Book I Read and Enjoyed" blurb
3) Ticking the box indicating that you "Don't Have Kids at Home", then listing your children as one of the things you're thankful for
4) Saying you're "Spiritual but not religious" and then listing one of the things you're thankful for as "The Lord Jesus Christ Our Savior" - that means you're Christian (or a Jew for Jesus) and therefore religious

And there are other intangibles... like not having your shirt ironed in your photo (slob).

But maybe I'm just too picky. Personally, I prefer to think of myself as selective.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Love My Niece

If you're not already aware, I love my niece. I do.

She's adorable, and intelligent, and bilingual, and can count to ten (even though she skips seven, and sometimes five). And she can give hugs to other kids that are so adorable you can overlook the expression of sheer terror on the other child's face because she hugs SO HARD. She gives "aggressive hugs." But they're aggressive in a loving way.

I am a happy recipient of her hugs. I have breakfast with her almost every Saturday before I go to work at Fabuloso Furniture, and it's the absolute highlight of my day when she sees me and comes running towards me so I can give her a big hug.

She's two years old. She's little.

But she has big germs. Germs as aggressive as her hugs (and not as loving).

Because of some smothery kisses I gave her (and the fact that I ate a bit of food she rejected... oops) I've been miserably sick since Monday. Actually, I started Monday with a mere scratchy throat and a bit of ickiness, but by the end of the day, I was miserably sick.

I went to the grocery store, because I had NO FOOD, and I needed to eat, and so I went, after work, to buy soup and ice cream and gluten-free ginger snaps, which are all required if I was about to get really sick.

It was 7:45 p.m. by the time I left the grocery store. I put my groceries away at home, and decided I'd go to the nearest "minor emergency" clinic to get some antibiotics.

I parked my car and got out, and promptly tripped over the hem of my wide-leg jeans. Down I went - because I didn't already feel like crapola - and I cursed a little bit. I stood up, dusted myself off, and went inside the little chamber where there was a security guard waiting to buzz me in. He looked at me - he'd missed the tripping/falling performance - and asked if I had someone with me.


He squinted. I was stopped up, all nasal sounding when I answered.

Are you here because you're sick?


Is it an emergency?

Well, not technically, but it's pretty uncomfortable.

Ahem. This is an emergency room, not an "urgent care center," he explained. Then he handed me a flier for a nearby urgent care center.

I trudged out to my car. I looked at the flier.

It was then 7:59 p.m.

The urgent care center closed at 8:00.


So I went home, and woke up feeling like I had a head full of boogers because I DID have a head full of boogers, and I went to the urgent care center at 8:30 a.m. in a baseball cap because no I'm not getting dressed up for a doctor's appointment and I hoped that I would be finished in time to call my leasing company to ask them to pleasepleaseplease don't replace my air conditioner because I was sick and needed that air conditioner for the day. Please.

When I saw the doctor, I explained to him that I had acute sinusitis and an ear infection in my right ear and possibly a burgeoning one in the left ear. He looked at me skeptically, despite my correct use of some high-falutin' medical terminology, and performed his examination. A few seconds later, he looked at me very seriously, and explained that I had acute sinusitis and a severe ear infection in my right ear and what looked like the beginnings of one in my left ear.

Thank you, Dr. Obvious.

I received my prescriptions and headed for the pharmacy, where I bought a king-size Almond Joy and a pint of orange juice to drink while I waited for my meds and read Elle Decor.

When I got home, I discovered, to my everlasting joy, that my air conditioner was not in bits and pieces all over my bathroom, but in its entirety out in the breezeway. A brand-spanking-new AC was parked in my dining room.

I asked the maintenance man how long it would take. "At least 4 hours," he replied. I snuffled and told him I was going to my sister's house.

The substitute-nanny was a bit confused when I showed up, but I explained why I was there - no air conditioning at home, I was sick, etc... - and her daughter dutifully translated (sub-nanny is not as English proficient as regular-nanny).

My niece was overjoyed to see me until I announced that I was sick and was going up to the guest room to take a nap.

"Nap?" she asked.

"Yes, I'm going to take a nap."

I lied. I didn't actually nap. I read and surfed the internet on my telephone, but I was sick and just wanted to lie down. I'm a terrible person, I know.

Every so often, I would go downstairs to raid my sister's pantry, and my niece would announce, "No more nap!" joyfully. I would agree, brandish my apple/MumMum/water glass, reiterate that I was sick, and tell her I was going to take another nap.

This obviously confused the poor munchkin.

"More nap?" she'd ask. I could just feel her judging me. "Man, Aunt StrainedConsciousness is really lazy! I only take one nap per day! And I'm two years old!"

I weakly reiterated that I was sick, again (rereiterated?), flapping tissues around as I said it, and fled from her judging two-year-old eyes.

It's hard having an over-achiever for a niece.

I bet she shook her head in disappointment and informed her substitute-nanny - in fluent Spanish while they played canasta - that she didn't need more than a single two-hour nap per day. And then she sat down and explained to Raggedy Ann how she was going to solve all the world's problems, including her Six Point Plan for Syria.

Or something.

Friday, August 10, 2012

1Q84 - Book Review!!!

During my recent bouts of migraine, I've accomplished a lot of reading.

(Side note: I often cannot sleep during a migraine, and a book is the only thing that takes my mind off of it without exacerbating the pain.)

I reread The Forsyte Saga for the millionth time. It's one of my favorite books, ranking right up there with The Count of Monte Cristo.

I finished The Forsyte Saga at around 9:00 pm, one evening, and then had nothing else to read. I didn't feel like rereading The Count of Monte Cristo. Or The Hunger Games. Or any of the other books on my shelves. (Or under the shelves. Or under the chairs.)

And then, I remembered that I had a copy of 1Q84 languishing in a living room chair.

I'd purchased 1Q84 from Amazon a couple of months back. I kept reading wonderful things about it in The Economist and Vogue. So I bought it. But for some reason, I couldn't force myself to read it.

Until, that is, I had nothing I wanted to reread and a migraine that meant I couldn't drive to a bookstore.

I picked it up. I opened it.

I was immediately hooked.

At this point, I would like to offer a heartfelt apology to Mr. Haruki Murakami for letting his book suffer all by itself, unread and unloved, in that chair for two months.

Without going too far into the details, the book details the relationship between Aomame - who is a fitness instructor with a morally ambiguous side job - a cult, and the love of her life - a man named Tengo who she hasn't seen since they were 10 years old.

It's difficult to review the book without giving everything away, but let's just say that everything changes for everyone in the book when Tengo is hired to ghost-rewrite a story called Air Chrysalis, written by a 17 year old girl who appears to have some emotional problems.

From the point when Tengo begins rewriting the story, and from when Aomame decides to get out of a taxi stuck in gridlock to walk her way down an emergency stair on the expressway (she can't be late for a morally ambiguous appointment), the characters cease to exist in 1984, and enter the divergent metaphysical pathway of 1Q84, or - as Tengo refers to it - The Town of Cats.

It's a fascinating story written and translated with beautiful descriptions and a sense of urgency. Although it takes place over the course of a year, there is a sense of compressed time, as if everything must be done - and read - as quickly as possible. I was desperate to know what would happen to Aomame and Tengo, and the book was written in a subconscious Neverending Story type of way: If I didn't keep reading, the world as the characters knew it would cease to exist. I began to truly care for the characters - despite a rocky start with the somewhat frigid Aomame - and wanted them to reach a conclusion, happy or not. I wanted them to have some sense of closure, and the only way to make that happen for them was to keep reading.

If that makes any sense whatsoever. Which is doubtful.

Pretty much, you should read it. Read it now.

It's a matter of urgency.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Dagnabbit... Not Again!

In the past five weeks, I've missed 5 days of work due to migraines.

Okay, 4.5 days of work, but that cuts down on 1) my paycheck; 2) my sales potential; 3) the days I feel decent and happy.

I'm frustrated, and I don't know what's triggering the sudden upswing in days-with-migraines. For a while, I was holding steady at 1-2 migraines per month, which was pretty good, for me. And they were (mostly) manageable migraines: I could still run errands, go to work, etc.

Not the most recent bad boys, though. They are knockyouflatonyourass, makeyoutakenauseapreventive type migraines. These suckers don't mess around.

And they hit almost every Tuesday (and then, sometimes, on Friday, too. I don't miss work for those, though, because that's my day off, luckily...)


And as if it's not bad enough that my migraines are so frequent, they're messing with other parts of my physiology (which is different from physiognomy. Thank you, Wikipedia!).

My face has broken out in a very stubborn spot of eczema, due to the migraines. I began eliminating things from my diet to see what was exacerbating its itchiness (since I can't just "quit" migraines).

Caffeine. And milk.

So, "Goodbye, mocha lattes!" I weep, glancing forlornly at my cute ceramic coffee cup with its adorable silicone lid and gripper/insulatorthingy.

"Goodbye, iced tea!"

On the positive end of things, because of the whole "everyone serves caffeinated iced tea" thing (except Cafe Express, who gives me a choice!), I've finally forced my beverage intake to accord with my human rights beliefs.

I no longer have a reason to go to Chik-Fil-A. Ever again.