Monday, November 30, 2009

Overheard: My Life

"I've never heard of an advent it Jewish?"
-Anonymous friend

I'm pretty sure he or she was joking about the Jewish part. But he or she really had not heard of an Advent calendar before. I bought one after Christmas last year at Target that I had had my eye on all season. It looks like a house and has 25 little doors the perfect size for a treat. (Or two, as I told he or she that I would put one in for each of us.) When I was younger we had one that we tied peppermints to and ate one each day.

I love little things like this.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The most wonderful time of the year!

I listened to Christmas music almost the entire way back to D.C. on the train today. (Only "almost the entire way back" because my battery died.) I normally start listening to Christmas music on November 1. Don't judge. I never decorate until after T'giving, but I have an obscene amount of music and like to get as much play from it as possible. But this year, I got hooked on some other music, and didn't start the Christmas joy until this weekend. I don't know what I was waiting for. Christmas music makes me as happy as fountains and chandeliers and chocolate!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Oh My Sweet Carolina

Today I had Bojangles for breakfast and Chick-Fil-A for lunch. I listened to Woody Durham call the Tar Heels game. A game that was actually shown on TV.

This is why I come back down south.

(And as for that game. Ugh. I can't believe we lost to a team that has players named Jarvis, Leroy, and Dwayne. Ugh ugh.)

Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday Soapbox

Why are the things that I've bought in the past month, that I didn't think would be on sale anytime soon, of course on sale today, Black Friday? Why are the things that I really do need to buy to give as gifts, the first things to be sold out? But the things I don't need, that I just want for myself, are all over the place?

And how happy am I that Mom and I didn' t leave the house until noon today? And even though we were racing through JCPenney's, and even though we still were surrounded by crazy shoppers and spent way too much money, the fact that we didn't start until most people had already been out for six or seven hours, means we scored a little victory over the Black Friday overlords.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Getting there

Even though I get absolutely nothing done on days like today, when a holiday is right around the corner and everyone is just working for the extended weekend, I LOVE days like this. I love how silly people are, how no one wants to do work, how everyone is contemplating how early they can leave without feeling guilty.

As for me, I'm leaving in just more than an hour, and I have no intention of feeling guilty until Monday, when I realize how much more work I should have done before I left.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Almost there

Just a little more work, a little bit of play, (as in a play at the Kennedy Center, August: Osage County), a little bit of packing, a little more work, a 4-hour train ride, and then I'm HOME.

And what's making this day more bearable? Burgundy tights, that's what. I'd take a picture but I'm still operating on the "Dial Down the Crazy Plan" at work. It has been almost 2 years and I still feel they need to be eased into my eccentricities. Like taking pictures of my legs.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Two more sleeps

For the past few days I've been singing the sea shanty from Jaws in my head:

I'm tired and I want to go home
Had a drink about an hour ago and
it went straight to my head

I don't even know if those are the right words, but I've been singing it anyway. Anyway, the point is,

I'm tired and I want to go home.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Today I...

  • Started my book club book, Olive Kitteredge
  • Went to Takoma.
  • Got a facial.
  • Got my eyebrows done. (Still too thick and still no arch, grr...)
  • Figured out how to repeat a song on my iPod (Finally, after 5 years of owning one. I really hope it's a fairly new feature that hasn't been there the whole time.)
  • Went to the grocery store and forgot to get canned goods to donate at work, the whole point of the trip.
  • Came home and watched DVRed This Week
  • Laid in bed and watched TV shows on my laptop, and did not take a nap.
  • Determined to go to bed at a fairly reasonable time.
And that's that. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What's a girl to do?

Earlier this week, I woke up in the middle of the night to find my blanket wrapped around my throat. Yes, my baby blanket tried to strangle me. After 25 years of love and devotion, it tried to kill me.

As it is now practically nothing but the binding, the day I have been dreading for years is fast approaching: what to do when my blanket disintegrates into nothing. Obviously I will have to take the day off work, lie in bad with the curtains drawn, with a warm compress applied to my forehead while sobbing.

Right now I am Googling "1983 sesame street baby blanket," but so far nothing that resembles mine. Of course, I don't know exactly what mine is supposed to look like so I will have to consult some pictures, but I think I'll know it when I see it. (I'm not sure I would though since mine was reconstructed by my Mamaw circa 1989 and had the binding replaced an infinite amount of times by my mother.)

I've had it since the day I was born. I lost it the week before I left for college, an already trying time, and thought I was going to have a breakdown. Aside from my first trip to Europe, it has been with me through every phase of my life. I sleep with/sit with/walk around with my favorite corner over my mouth, so that now, if I'm at work or anywhere else and need comfort, I'll put my sleeve over my mouth to replicate the feeling. It is the first thing I grab when I'm sad or mad or have the mean reds.

There was an episode of Oprah I saw years ago where they discussed people's comfort objects. One woman in the audience stood up to say that every night she kissed her husband goodnight, and then her blanket. No husband on the horizon to kiss goodnight, but at least for a little while longer I'll have the blanket. I hope.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Soapbox

All this week, media coverage has been saturated by the two things about 2008 that I despised the most: Twilight and Sarah Palin.

Please, please, please go away, both of you. Put a stake in them, they're done.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm in love...

...with argyle. It's a serious obsession. Even though I have about a dozen pairs of argyle socks, every time I see a pair in a store, I have tunnel vision and I can't think of anything else until I have a pair in my basket. I also have sweaters, a scarf, and now tights!

(I would say ignore the slippers, except, they clearly up my cool factor.)

I told my mom I kind of love them like one would a child. And I do.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On growing up

"We're adults...when did that happen?
And how do we make it stop?"

-Meredith, Grey's Anatomy

The second frame pretty much sums up my philosophy as an adult:

"Because we're grown-ups now,
and it's our turn to decide what that means."


I've made it my mission as a grown-up-type person to do everything I can to not ever actually be a full-fledged grown-up. It doesn't mean being immature or stupid, it just means reminding myself to not take everything so seriously. It means embracing the possibility that one day I could fill a room with playpen balls. (Dare to dream, Bonnie, dare to dream!)

I want to be the type of person who never forgets how freeing it is to have popcorn for dinner and M&Ms for breakfast. Who finds Disney TV shows a guilty pleasure. Who can be mature and driven, but buys a Barbie doll every now and then to help relieve stress. I want to be the type of grown-up who plays on a slip and slide, dances in a fountain, plays hopscotch, and jumps rope. I don't ever want to forget the beauty of imagination and creativity. I want my heart to always skip a beat when it hears that unmistakable sound of an ice cream truck. If a kid shows me a boa constrictor consuming an elephant I want to recognize it! I will never call my father anything but Daddy. I can travel all over the world, I can watch the news every night and cry at the state of affairs, but then I can put on a song I loved in high school and un-rhythmically dance around my room. I will grin every time I look at the Paddington Bear my Mom bought me in London...when I was 22. I'll vacuum around the piles on my floor instead of picking them up. I'll have piles of stuff on my floor! I'll set aside money each month for savings, I'll pay my bills (reasonably) on time, but I can have a Magna Doodle on my wall and a tiara on my desk.

I can be a grown-up who doesn't forget that a grown-up was once a child, too. And that life is entirely too short and too hard to never jump on a trampoline or skip in public after the age of 10.

"All grown-ups were children first.
(But few of them remember.)"

-Antoine De Saint-Exupery

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

According to Chanel

Oy, NaBloPoMo, you're killing me. Writing a post a day is hard when you feel like you have nothing to say. (Which in itself is probably post-worthy—insomuch as anything I write here is—since I'm not sure that has ever happened before.)

I'm reading a book about Coco Chanel right now, so I'll just let her have a word.

"A woman should always be two things:
classy and fabulous."

Monday, November 16, 2009

"I'm the Doctor. Doctor...Fun."

Today was not a good day. Just awful. But instead of listing all the reasons why, from way over-sleeping to spilled soda on my clothes, I'm focusing on the happy. I'm putting it behind me and moving on. Besides, it got infinitely better when Jan reminded me that there was a new Doctor Who special out, at last!
So that's what I'm doing. Curling up in bed with my laptop and YouTube and the Doctor and Mars.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Diamonds are forever

I love overhearing conversations. I don't know why, other than the fact that I can be really nosy and gossipy. It also may be related to my being a news addict -- I just NEED to know things. Or because I'm a writer, and I'm always on the lookout for a good line or character I can use in a novel. (Sidebar: When a friend says something interesting or has something funny happen to them, I claim it and tell them I'm going to use it in a novel. If I ever do get published one day, I am going to be SUED beyond belief.)

I also like to people watch, in a casual way. I can't just sit somewhere and watch people -- I need a book, my iPod, and a plan -- but I do notice people. Like today, at the Barnes and Noble in Georgetown. A mid-20s woman reading a magazine caught my eye because I liked her shirt, so I did a double take. She had the magazine on her lap, and her left hand ready to turn the page, engagement ring sparkling away, and she wiggled her finger a few times to watch it catch the light. It lasted probably only three seconds and then she was right back to reading her magazine and I turned so she wouldn't know I "caught" her. She didn't know anyone was watching, or didn't care. She wasn't grinning or being googly-eyed at it, just admiring the sparkle. Maybe it's because I like shiny things, I don't know, it just made me smile.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Danger, danger

I got to work yesterday, turned on my computer, only to have it start showing weird error messages, including one that read, "This computer is corrupt and unreadable."

Corrupt and unreadable. Insert joke here.

All I know is nine a.m. is entirely too early in the day to already be corrupt and unreadable.

And it's never a good sign when the tech guy looks at the error and says, "Hmm, never seen that before."

Also, my second monitor at work is melting, no joke. There's about a one inch section on top that is clearly melted.

I wish I could make up the technological mishaps that happen to me, really. If I was truly that inventive and creative I could be making a fortune instead of spending a fortune replacing various electronic necessities.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Soapbox

"Some of the happiest memories of my life are from those early, impossibly sunlit days."
-Sen. Ted Kennedy, True Compass

Davie Poplar, McCorkle Place, UNC Chapel Hill, May 12, 2006

Thursday, November 12, 2009

News is history in the making

As prefaced in yesterday's post—sorry this post-a-day thing is hard—I finally made it to the Newseum on Saturday. As a news junkie of the highest order, this was kind of like my Everest. I stayed for nearly three hours and walked around all six floors at least twice, even prompting one employee to say, "Hey, haven't I already seen you today?" But it was a wonderful place and I hope to go back many, many times. (Like in December when the mom and sis come up.)

The inside. All open space and light.
Part of the outside, taken from the sixth floor patio.Bottom line reads: "News is history in the making. Journalists write the first draft of history."

They have the day's front pages from all the states and many countries on display outside and inside. This is the Raleigh N&O on the inside display.

From the five freedoms exhibit. (Section on blog freedom.)

Communications tower from one of the World Trade Center towers.

Front pages from September 11.

Quote at entrance of journalists memorial from Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Journalists memorial.

View of the Capitol from the sixth floor patio.

Building on Pennsylvania. (FTC? Can't remember.)

Me and the Capitol.

The best part: the THIS WEEK STUDIO! After taking this picture, I waited until the next tour and then got to stand INSIDE. Yes, I'm a dork and I don't care. No pictures inside because no one else was taking them, but it is really small. And the round table and his chair are quite small, too. I DVR the show every week and I stood there and just grinned like a fool.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Weekend recap

Finally getting around to my past weekend. Saturday was the best day I've had in awhile because, in terribly-written bullet form:
  • Clothes. Wore my new dress with tights. I don't get to wear tights a lot since I'm always cold, but they make me so happy, I might just have to sacrifice warmth.
  • Motorcade. After lunch, I walked toward Pennsylvania Ave. and the Newseum, just in time to see the presidential motorcade as he headed for the Capitol. I've been in the D.C. area for two years, and this is my first motorcade. (Excluding the one I saw the day of the pre-inauguration concert; he wasn't President yet.) So what if I stood and watched and grinned. I refuse to become jaded and not appreciate the unique opportunities that living in the capitol provides.
  • Newseum. Finally made it to the Newseum—my new favorite place. More on this later.
  • Movies. Saw Where the Wild Things Are, a beautiful movie. Aside from a few parts where I cried, I pretty much sat there and smiled the entire time.
  • Food. After a long day, with my feet hurting and just wanting to get home, I got a pizza sandwich from Potbelly—perfection.
  • C-SPAN. Got home, ate, got warm, and started watching C-SPAN health care debate coverage. Yeah, I don't know what has gotten into me. It's not my first time watching C-SPAN, but it's the first time I've watched it for as long as I did, with such an interest in what I was watching. And I was in such a good mood, I didn't even get mad at the people I disagreed with. I just yelled back at them.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

His game is called survivin'

Today was a Clash kind of day.

It started as a Carrie Underwood kind of day, but my work wasn't getting done and clearly she was to blame.

The iPod: the only place where The Clash and Carrie Underwood can live in harmony.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I'm going to start carrying my own apple juice

An ad for Starbucks I saw in a metro station. I have a "blankie;" Starbucks is nothing like a blankie. I've lost track of how many times I've gone into one this fall for a caramel apple cider, only to be told they don't have any apple juice. My blankie never lets me down like that. Shame on you, Starbucks, you are no blankie.

(This post brought to you by Bonnie's fatigue, bitterness, and lack of caramel goodness.)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oh, baby brother

I routinely start posts and never finish them. Thus I have about 20 posts in drafts that I keep around because I'm a pack rat. This is from when Joey visited in September. The kid can make me laugh like no one else.

[on my walking speed]
Joey: You walk like a cyclops!
Me: Um...cyclops aren't exactly known for walking fast. I think they're just known for having one eye.
Joey: No, they are known for their speed, too.

I started to argue that if they only have one eye and walk so fast, they'd probably run into things a lot. Then I remembered that I run into things a lot. Maybe the kid has a point...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Most Over-Used Words

Words to strike from my vocabulary:
  • random
  • sketchy
  • totally
  • so
  • seriously
  • awesome
  • creepy
  • super cool
It looks like entries in a book titled How to Speak Like a 13-year-old Girl, doesn't it? Except, I didn't start using any of these words until college. And of course this is made all the more sad by the fact that I'm a writer. I love words!

I'm posting this because starting last week I am working on removing these from my brain, one painfully idiotic but expressive word at a time.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Soapbox

I tried to keep it in but I have to get it off my chest. If I lose readers then that's ok, sorry.
I love the fact that we live in a country where we are free to protest. My biggest regret about college is that in four years at one of the most politically-conscious colleges in the country, I didn't attend a single protest. Bu the protest yesterday at the Capitol, and the many in the past few months, have just got me thinking.

The media coverage has been focused on those against the health care debates and proposals, against the so-called "socialized" medicine. They deserve to have their voices heard, but they aren't the only voices. And that's what bugs me the most, about some of their signs and messages, some of them acting like they speak for everyone. Some people want this! Please quit making it out to be Congress steamrolling the electorate. Some people have fought for this, voted for exactly this!

And "tea parties" where they claim they have no representation? They have representation, they just don't like what their reps are doing. (The only people who can legitimately claim no representation, are D.C. residents. And I thought that long before I became a resident and will continue to think so after.) The same people crying "hands off my health care," are probably the same ones who would shout down someone with a pro-choice "hands off my body" rally-cry. (Of course, I want government hands off my body but on my health care, so maybe I'm a hypocrite, too.)

This is what I voted for last November, so I'm happy. But I do need to try to remember how miserable I was for 8 years, and that a good portion of the country is feeling the same way now. (Of course I'd be a lot more patient and tolerant if people would stop saying the President is Hitler, the Joker, a Kenyan national, and a Grandma-killer.)

And while living a mile from the Capitol has made me less tolerant of protesters, particularly when they're exercising the First Amendment in the middle of a workweek, I still appreciate living in a country where it's at least an option. Where it's a guaranteed right in the pocket Constitutions they were waving around yesterday. Though I don't remember them doing so when freedoms were trampled on with the Patriot Act. Just another difference of opinions and perspective, I guess.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Happiness is...

It's the little things, people. And if I keep googling things more often than usual just so I can look at his wonky eyes, then, oh well. Yesterday was Big Bird, I just hope tomorrow is Grover, my favorite.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

It's that time of year again...

...when I complain and moan and groan about how COLD it is. When I pine for the sweltering days I bitched about in the summer. When I wonder why I moved further north when the winters in NC were plenty harsh enough for me. When I accept begrudgingly admit that for the next six months I will be COLD all. the. time. When I drink around six cups of tea a day and twitch constantly as a result. (I've heard a rumor there's something called decaf, but I haven't looked into it.) When if I'm outside for more than two minutes without a hat my ears feel like they're bleeding and my nose runs all day. When I try to invent a way to have a space heater permanently attached to my person.

Yes, it's barely a month into fall. Yes, the high is nearly 60 today. Yes, I'm a pansy. But I'm COLD.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


I was reminded in an article yesterday that November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). From their web site:
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30...Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It's all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

I'd love to be inspired enough to write a novel in a month. Even a crappy one. However, seeing as how I've been working on a "novel" for the past seven years, I'm not so sure how good of a NaNoWriMo-er I'd be. (Besides, I much prefer re-writing the first two pages over and over again.)

Also, "lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly." What do those words even mean? No, really, there's a reason this blog is called "Learning to Fly — it's because I don't. I plan, I agonize, I complain. (I've considered changing the title to "Kicking and Screaming into Adulthood.")

However, since this is the Internet and there's always something being made up, November is also National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo). A much more manageable goal for the commitment-phobe in me of writing one measly and mundane blog post a day for a month. (In light of how I posted every day last year, this shouldn't be a problem. Of course, if you followed my blog at all last year, you know I tended to post once a week, seven posts at a time.)

So here I go. Work is about to get crazy and I need something else to keep it from consuming me. Plus, nablopomo is fun to say. Or at least it was until Doctor Who invaded my brain, as it is apt to do, and now I can't get this out of my head:

Repeat after me: I never said I was normal.

Monday, November 2, 2009

After the flood all the colors came out

The past few weeks have seen a succession of gray, windy, dreary, chilly days. Saturday was a nice change, at least somewhat, in that it was still gray, but rather warm and pleasant outside. Thus I set out to capture some of fall's colors.

Coming from eastern North Carolina, we don't really have trees that change colors. We don't really have the trees that ignite in reds, oranges, and yellows. Our pine trees are regal, but they just coat the ground with their crunchy brown needles. Other trees also tend to just drop their dead leaves everywhere, though sometimes it seems like the leaves just dissappear entirely. (We do, however, have magnificent Bradford pear trees in the spring.)

Because of this, I still find changing leaves a novelty. I'm almost childike when encountering a tree blazing red or orange, that just last week was green and lush; I become entranced. So on Saturday I walked around town until my feet cried and my camera whined, capturing all the colors while they last.

Pictures are uploaded to my Flickr. They aren't amazing or anything, it was just too gray outside and I'm not sure I have the color settings on my camera right.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Slow Cooker Sunday

Last year, for my birthday, my parents got me a Crock Pot:

It would be correct to say I was less than thrilled. However, never wanting to show anything but gratitude for a gift, I hope, and the fact that it was red, and I love when kitchen items are pretty colors, I kept it. (And I'm pretty sure Daddy picked out the red.)

Mom said it would be so easy to just throw a few things in in the morning, leave it all day, and then come home to a meal. Let's see about that...

So easy
I have to admit, compared to my other forays into cooking, it has been rather easy. And I've grown quite fond of the little contraption and the goodness it has brought me. I tend to make a lot of appetizer-type foods, which are my favorite type of food, as well as some soups and stews. It's really just good for someone like me, of the "never preheat-cook everything on 450-burn is just a variation on well done-what the hell is mince" school of cooking, to put everything in at once and leave.

Throw a few things in
Except, I'm really not the type who can just "throw" something together - whether it be ingredients, an outfit, or an assignment. All my meals require scouring for a recipe, making a detailed grocery list, and then making 15 laps of the grocery store trying to get everything I need.

Even then I still have trouble, since this is me. I made a chipotle chicken stew for the brother last month that miraculously came together despite my not knowing the real difference between chicken breasts and thighs. (I came uncomfortably close to asking the guy beside me at Safeway the difference between breasts and thighs. I then imagined how that would sound, the kinds of answers I would receive, and laughed to myself.)

Leave it all day
The idea of leaving an appliance on in my rented apartment for 10+ hours while I'm away, terrifies me. I'm just not sure my renter's insurance covers death by slow cooker. Thus I tend to make my meals on Sundays and eat off them all week. Coming home to leftovers on Monday is less nice than sitting down to a freshly-cooked meal on Sunday, but it's certainly better than chicken nuggets and french fries for the 9,000th time.

Come home to a meal
As has been made clear here: I hate to cook and I'm not good at it. I especially hate paying for food, going through all the effort and money to cook for one person, and maybe not like it but still eat it for a week. So all in all the little crock pot that could, and the handy box o' recipes the parents also gave me, has been perfect. (And, no, I'm not the only one who eats what I make. Others have tried things as well and they've yet to stop being my friend, or die.)

Tonite's meal is Brown Sugar Chicken, my first attempt at just "throwing" whole pieces of chicken in and letting it do its thing.

However, lest ye think the slow cooker has cured all my cooking calamities, it has not. I had trouble with the meat part since I didn't know if my three pieces of chicken were equal to the six half-pieces called for in the recipe. I decided there was a 75% chance it was, and stopped halving the recipe, which was good since I forgot I was halving, and at one point had to scrape off some brown sugar and black pepper. I also, as you can tell from the picture, couldn't quite manage the "chop and smash" of garlic, either. But this is all still an improvement from last month when I tried to weigh chicken using the bathroom scale.

I'm sure everyone's just dying to eat at my place now, right?

The finished product. Really tender and juicy and it fell right off the metaphorical bone. (It was boneless chicken, I'm not sure what the correct phrasing is here.) I don't think I'll mind eating this all week.