30 December 2011

Top albums of 2011.

Whew. I'm getting this done in just the nick of time. I feel like this year I'm really slacking in terms of music I've discovered or even listened to this year. In years past, I've had a considerable list of honorable mentions. This year? Just one. And that's because when I was filling out my ballot for The Current, I somehow forgot Wilco.

I couldn't even tell you how many shows I've seen this year. There are three I remember off the top of my head and none of them rocked my world. This is what getting old is all about, isn't it? Damn.

Despite my lack of interest in music this year (I hope that's not really it ... maybe just a shitty year for music?), I've seen several "best of" lists and flew into a rage at the sight of Tuneyards (I refuse to use the precious random caps). Dear sweet Jesus, I fucking hate them? her? whatever? so fucking much. It's just awful, awful "music."

At least Bon Iver was farther down on many top albums of 2011 lists. I swear there is more music I hate this year, than music I like. So begins my descent into crotchety old womanhood.

So, in no particular order, here are my top albums of 2011. Noel Gallagher was my absolute favorite, I think. I fell in love with that bad boy on first listen.

Ryan Adams: Ashes and Fire
The Black Keys: El Camino
The Dears: Degeneration Street
Deerhunter: Halcyon Digest
Elbow: Build a Rocket Boys!
Feist: Metals
Noel Gallagher: Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds
The Roots: Undun
Wye Oak: Civilian
Wilco: The Whole Love

Honorable mention: Mogwai: Hardcore Will Never Die, But You Will

29 December 2011

Running out of time.

I have my list of top albums for the year in a draft blog post. I just keep forgetting to write anything to accompany the list. And I don't feel like I have the wherewithal to do it tonight. Maybe tomorrow? Yeah, I'm sure I'll find time to get it done before New Year's Eve Eve sushi happy hour. And if not before, then certainly after. Hahahahahahahahaha.

I feel like a broken record, but I just feel like this week of vacation has gotten away from me. What have I accomplished? Not a whole fucking lot. What did I need to accomplish? Um ... I guess I really don't know.

Hey -- suddenly I feel a lot better!

Today, I bought my wine for New Year's Eve. I bought a dress and tights yesterday. I also made my fancy almonds. I still might make some sort of cheese puff thing, but I'm going to bring cookies, too. I don't want to seem like some sort of food-pawning freak.

Tonight I made a stir fry and some rice. I also did my toe nails and finger nails. That's worth celebrating. Well, it's an accomplishment, anyway. Not that I did a great job on my nails, but the mistakes should flake off between now and when I go to happy hour tomorrow.

One thing I really need to do is get my oil changed. I need to return the shitty conditioner I bought last week. Don't know that I'll get those done tomorrow before it's time for sushi. With my mornings going the way they are and a workout to get in there, it seems doubtful. But I should have time Saturday? WHO KNOWS?

These repetitive blog posts are starting to get on my nerves. I can't imagine how you must feel reading them. I've not even done a good job of clearing off my DVR. I'm watching basketball tonight. But that's probably because I'm still dealing with NBA withdrawal. It's not even been a week yet, for fuck's sake.

28 December 2011

Doing vacation wrong.

I really do feel like I'm not using any of my vacation days to relax. Today was one of the only vacation days I've had where I didn't set my alarm. Really? What the fuck is that about? And here I am, feeling like I am just sitting down at nearly 11:00 p.m.

Oh well. At the end of the day, what matters is that I'm not at work. I may be busy, but at least I'm mostly busy doing stuff I want to do.

Today, I went to meet my new baby friend, Hannah. She's a pretty awesome baby. I was delighted to see pictures of her on Facebook and see that W&J produced a cute baby. I always hate trying to pretend I think someone's baby is cute when it's ugly as sin. And don't give me that, "oh, every baby is cute!" bullshit. You know that is not fucking true.

But Hannah is cute. She has a freakishly strong neck -- I don't recall any other nine-day-old babies cranking their heads around, or lifting them, like she did. She was crazy alert, too. I like her!

After hanging out with Hannah and W for a while, I went to run some errands. One of them was shopping for a dress for New Year's Eve. I believe I said on my post yesterday that I didn't have plans. That changed at some point in the wee hours and I'm delighted. The Boy I Currently Like and I are going to M&M's place for a party. It's the third consecutive year. I feel like it's a guaranteed good time.

Oh sure, I could have worn a dress I already have. That's what I did the last two years. But I didn't have anything I really wanted to wear. I figured I could find something super cheap on clearance. I did, but it was $50 instead of $35 and not terribly fancy. It's actually a dress I could wear again. I still might hit another place tomorrow, just to see if I can get something party-y and cheaper. But I'll be okay with this dress. After all, I can wear sparkly eye shadow.

I feel like tomorrow is my last totally free day of vacation. Friday is New Year's Eve Eve sushi happy hour. Saturday is New Year's Eve. Sunday I'll be recovering from that hangover and then Monday I have to get ready to go back to work. HOW DID I WASTE MY ENTIRE VACATION? Dammit.

Oh well. I still have five days where I'm not at the office. And by then, I'll be glad to get back to a routine. Still ...

27 December 2011

It's not fair, I tell ya.

I was so tired last night. I went to bed "early." I use the quotation marks because it was still like, 11:00, but it was early in the sense that I didn't have a goddamn thing to get up for this morning.

So, it stands to reason that I would wake up around 3:30 a.m. and never go back to sleep. I suppose because it was a vacation day, I tried to go back to sleep until 7:00 or so. In retrospect, that was was stupid. I could have gotten so much stuff cleared off the DVR (won't be doing that tonight -- I'm recording both the Gopher and Timberwolves games ... I'll catch up with the Wolves game after the second half of the Gopher game. Thank you, basketball gods, for the hour difference in start times).

To say I had nothing to do today isn't quite correct, either. I put in nearly a half day of work. I went to the gym and the grocery store and did a couple of things around the house. I was planning on a nap, then I thought I wouldn't end up taking one. In the end, I slept for no more than 20 minutes. It was probably more like 10-15.

I'm hoping this means I'll sleep well tonight. My new bedding felt horribly scratchy and too hot, but that could have been just because I so desperately wanted to sleep. I'll try to stay up late tonight, too.

There's not really much I have to do the rest of the week. Tomorrow, I'm going to meet my new baby friend, Hannah. There's nothing scheduled for Thursday, as far as I know. Friday I have my annual New Year's Eve Eve drunken sushi happy hour. It feels like this year, I won't end up hung over on New Year's Eve. Not that I have NYE plans, either.

MY LIFE IS SUPER EXCITING.

Whatever. At least I don't have to go to work.

26 December 2011

Comin' home.

Technically, I came home yesterday, but I was here for less than an hour before I went to The Boy I Currently Like's house. So really, I just got home this afternoon.

Most of my shit is put away, but there will be several things that linger around in corners and not-so-out-of-the-way places for entirely too long. I try, but at a certain point, it becomes too much work to put all this goddamn shit away.

Christmas with the fam wasn't entirely terrible. Early on I felt like they were ganging up to talk shit about me, so I just drank more. It seemed to help. I somehow managed to get out of going to church. I was happy to have to get most of dinner ready instead of being crammed into a pew in an overcrowded, hot, noisy church.

I even managed to not be weepy, despite this being my first visit to the farm since Brandi was put down. I think the prospect of the new puppy kept a lot of the sadness away. We talked a lot about names and stuff, so it was at the forefront of my mind.

Now I'm home, after a really lovely Christmas night with The Boy. He got me awesome presents and I feel like I did pretty okay for him. But mostly, it was nice to be around someone who wasn't going to judge me and shit.

I'm pretty excited about not having to work this week. Except for that half day I'm going to put in tomorrow, probably. I need to go see W&J's new wee baby girl and there will be a New Year's Eve Eve sushi happy hour, but that's about it. I feel like I'll be able to do a lot of lounging.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I need to focus my attention back on this TIMBERWOLVES OPENER. Oh my God, y'all, I'm so thrilled the NBA is back. Merry fucking Christmas, indeed.

23 December 2011

Well, that day got away from me.

I probably should have written this when I first thought about it this morning. Oh well. Now it's 1:00 a.m. and I need to be on the road in 12 hours. Crap.

At least the gifts are wrapped and the bulk of the baking is done. Packing shouldn't be too terrible. I need to get to bed. I'm going to need to be well-rested to deal with the fam.

19 December 2011

Can't blog, doing Christmas cards.

Getting my Christmas cards done gives me a sense of accomplishment. Even if I'm pretty much only sending cards to people who have already sent them to me. Reciprocation is totally something, dammit.

I'm waiting to wrap my presents until they all arrive, but it looks like I might be waiting on one straggler. I'll probably do my wrapping on Wednesday. It feels like something I need to do before a day off. I can't drink that much on a school night, dammit.

Whatever, I'm making progress.

Also, today is a big day. My new baby friend has made her debut! Congrats to W&J on the birth of wee Hannah Katherine. I can't wait to meet her. There's so much going on these days.

18 December 2011

Just some puppy pictures for you.

We ended up meeting two different litters of puppies yesterday. There was a third, but there were only two puppies left and we didn't get to pet or hold them.


My dad wasn't intending to buy a dog yesterday, but after we saw the pups and their parents and learned a little bit more about them, he put down a deposit. The puppies are only three weeks old, so it'll be another five before she can come home. I'm not sure I can wait that long!






When we went to see the puppies' sire, we got the bonus puppies. There was a litter of five-week-old puppies and two left from a litter of seven-week-old puppies. Those were the ones we didn't really get to pet.




16 December 2011

It's mostly over. I think.

I hope. I'm talking about my crazy-ass baking spree. I've made four batches of cookies over the last few days, in addition to all the cookies I made last weekend for the cookie exchange and the cookies I made the weekend before to help me decide which cookies to make for the cookie exchange.

What the fuck is wrong with me? I haven't the foggiest idea what made me want to bake all of those cookies, but I HAD TO DO IT.

So now I basically just have to put them in treat bags for my friends and family. And one coworker. Because I can't bring cookies for everyone. Apparently, some people have no self-control, so no one gets cookies. That's more for friends and family, I guess.

I really feel like I wasted these three days off work. I mean, I did more than a half day work, which is bullshit. Then I went to a work happy hour. I did get pretty much all of my Christmas shopping done. That is awesome. I might get one more thing for The Boy I Currently Like. I probably will. I seem to have cleared stuff off my DVR, too.

Yet here I am, feeling like I didn't fucking relax at all. Oh well. That's what next weekend is for? What the fuck else will I do at home? And the week after, where I'm off THE WHOLE WEEK.

Hey -- you know what? I should quit bitching about how I've wasted my days off, get my cookies bagged up and pack my bag so I can chill a bit before bed, because I HAVE PUPPIES TO SEE TOMORROW. I need to remember to put some extra Kleenex in my purse. I've been crying a lot lately.

15 December 2011

PUPPY.

My dad just called to ask if I would be interested in going with him Saturday to check out a puppy he's considering getting.

HOLY SHIT. Do you even need to ask, Dad?

She's still pretty young yet, so we won't be bringing her home. I say "she" because my dad said when he started looking in the spring/summer that he'd be getting another girl. The mother will be there, and apparently the father lives just down the road, so we'll go check him out, too.

This was pretty good timing on Dad's part, as I had a couple of crying episodes today when I was thinking about what it was going to be like to be home next weekend for the first Christmas in nine years without Brandi. We'll probably still be dog-less and it'll still be hard, but knowing there's a puppy on the horizon helps take some of the sting away.

Because the puppy is too young to bring home, I'm guessing that means the whole litter will be there. Which is AWESOME. I want to be attacked by puppies. I want to sit down and let them crawl all over me. Not sure that'll happen, but a girl can dream, right? I can also dream that they have just one week left before they're ready to go to their forever homes, but that's probably a reach, too. Guess I'll be visiting the farm a lot over the next several months.

14 December 2011

"Vacation."

My mini vacation that started today started with a good two hours of work immediately after I woke up. Yay? In fact, I feel like I just barely sat down to relax at 10:00. How did that happen?

Part of it is my continued obsession with cookie baking. I had to go to the gym and a work happy hour, too. Lucky me, tomorrow I have a poorly-timed conference call as well. Fucking bastards. My weekend isn't going to be any better. Hanging out with The Boy I Currently Like, extended family Christmas, birthday lunch for brother and SIL and a friends holiday drinks party. I'm tired just thinking about it.

Went to see Ryan Adams at the State Theater last night. We found out when we got there that there would be no beverage service. Okay, fine. He's a recovering alcoholic. But there was no coffee or soda either. Not even water. I was so fucking thirsty when I got home. I pounded two huge glasses of water so fast it hurt.

The show was still good, despite my legs practically falling asleep because I never stood up. The crowd was ... annoying. The girl next to me had her purse practically in my lap. She was also singing along, off-key and out-of-time. Not so awesome in a super-quiet acoustic show. I'm not a fan of totally acoustic shows, either. I like the occasional stripped-down version. However, I found myself missing harmonies and bass lines and whatnot.

I suppose I should get to winding down. I have to get up early tomorrow on my day off.

11 December 2011

Can't stay out of the kitchen.

The Boy I Currently Like and I changed shit up this weekend and hung out Saturday instead of Friday. Well, this was mostly because Man Candy wanted to switch nights because the AV Club was in town (oooh, new nickname!). I was a little bummed I found out so late she was here, 'cause I didn't get to see her.

Switching shit up meant I had to go straight from his place to Cookie Exchange 2011. This was okay because a) there were cookies (plus crazy awesome cheese, boozy cider and exotic preserved meats), b) there were friends, and c) there was my CORGI! buddy Ein.

After that, I stopped to see W&J and my dog buddies at their house. It may be my last visit before the baby comes. I had to drop off some cookies, too. My deck cooler is getting seriously full. And yet, I made the filling for meneinas after making my lunch for the (short) week. That shit is still cooling now at 10:30. I may have fucked up my timing of things this evening.

Man, I thought this post was going to just flow from my fingertips; instead, it is like pulling teeth. So, I think I'll put myself out of my misery and sign off for now. With my short (on paper) work week coming up, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time for proper, well-thought-out posts. Hahahaahhahahaha.

08 December 2011

A little bit better.

I didn't cry too much at all today, which is good after the day I had yesterday. I woke up with a horrible crying hangover -- headache, puffy eyes and generally groggy feeling.

Oh, and I woke up at like 3:30 a.m. Because that's exactly what I needed. Yesterday sucked like you wouldn't believe. I was in a fog. I felt like I sleepwalked through the day. You know it is bad when a 90-minute nap doesn't do anything to hamper your regular going-to-bed plans. Also, I overslept about 40 minutes today. Holy shit. That news took so much out of me.

However, I have some really amazing friends who get why I was so upset. For a couple of them, I know I'm going to be gutted when their dogs are no longer with us. Fortunately, their awesome pups are (mostly) healthy and definitely happy and I will be spending time with them this weekend.

I was worried about spending time with dogs I love, so soon after getting the news about Brandi. But since I can't get over the loss of a dog with a new puppy (recommended by experts), I shall visit my canine pals as a next-best option.

So, I'm tired and stuff and I think I'm gonna randomly be done with this post. Not even gonna edit or proofread. Or spell check. Sorry.

06 December 2011

I really hate it when you can tell a phone call is going to bring bad news.

I've known my dad for a very long time (all my life, in fact), so I could tell when I listened to his voicemail that something wasn't right.

They had to put Brandi down last night. Brandi was my parents' Golden Retriever.


Honestly, I was expecting bad news about a relative. I know she was nine years old, but that's nothing. My sister called a little while ago (she didn't really even like Brandi, but she's a good enough sibling to know I loved the shit out of that dog) and said, "Well, she was old."

She had a tumor in her chest that was restricting her ability to breathe. It all came on suddenly; Dad said it was Sunday night when he realized something was wrong. I swear, when I was home just less than a month ago, that I felt something in her chest. But Dad thought it was just a fatty deposit. Guess not.

It seems like just yesterday that my dad was taking me on an unexpected trip to help him pick out a puppy. It was Thanksgiving weekend, I think. And I was living within 20 minutes of home at the time. I'd come over to help my mom put up the Christmas decorations. Getting to go visit some puppies seemed like a pretty great reward for doing that.



I can't remember how many litter mates she had, but there were a ton of puppies running around in this machine shed. It was one of the most awesome experiences of my life -- standing there with all these puppies surrounding me and jumping up on my legs.

But one puppy stood out from the rest. The family had a bunch of cats (barn cats, it seemed), and this particular puppy was beating up on those fucking cats. When my dad asked which puppy I thought was best, I said her. For whatever reason, my dad agreed. In about a month, she would be coming to the farm - to her forever home.

She came home the weekend before Christmas, I believe. For whatever reason, all of us kids were around. Brandi was out in her kennel in the garage, under a heat lamp (she was the first winter puppy my dad ever got). My five-year-old nephew didn't know there would be a puppy. I got to go out and get her and bring her to the house. It was pretty exciting.

I have so many great memories of playing with her and the silly things she's done. I loved the shit out of that dog. I love the shit out of a lot of dogs, truth be told. But I didn't pick any of them out of a passel of other puppies.

Going home for Christmas is going to suck so hard. As I told The Boy I Currently Like, sometimes I went home just because I missed Brandi. What the fuck am I going to do now? It's going to be hard. Shit. It's hard now. I'm a mess right now.


I miss her so much already. I was going to get her a new squeaky toy for Christmas.

I need more wine.

05 December 2011

Abandoned underpants.

Friday at the gym, I discovered a pair of underpants in a (fake) tree planter at the gym when I went for a final stretch after my work out.

Really? UNDERWEAR? Among the rocks in the tree planter. They kind of blend in, since they're gray and the fake rocks are shades of gray, as well.

And underpants are funny (that's why I keep calling them underpants instead of underwear).

I delayed my gym visit tonight in the hopes that I could get a machine, and it mostly worked. Then, I went to stretch and ended up back at the planter. THE UNDERPANTS WERE STILL THERE.

While I'm grossed out, I also find it hilarious. Tracking this has given me renewed zeal to get to the gym. It's sad, but you gotta take your motivation wherever you can find it, right?

If only I could take a picture, but cameras are prohibited. Not that anyone else pays any attention to the rules, but the second I fuck up, I'm sure I'd get busted.

Stay tuned for the LA Fitness Underpants Saga.

04 December 2011

Doing stuff.

I kinda feel like I've been going non-stop since I got up this morning. It wasn't terribly easy to get out of bed, but I managed to do it, all the same.

Within about ... oh, I don't know, a half hour of waking up, I was full of energy. I WANTED TO DO STUFF.

So, I went to the gym. Then I went to the grocery store. After eating and showering, I started in on laundry. Then I made Double Chocolate Cherry Espresso cookies. Then I did dishes. Then I finished laundry. Then I made corn chowder for lunch this week. Then I made Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies. Then I did dishes again.

And here I am, still not entirely ready to recline on the couch to flip between football and Harry Potter. It's a bit disconcerting, to be honest.

After the third batch of cookies this weekend, I've now made three practice batches for the bit Cookie Exchange next weekend. And I have no idea what I'm going to make for the exchange. At the moment, I'm leaning toward one of the chocolate cookies. Probably the cherry-espresso cookies, because they don't involve double-boilers. Except, I've not been able to find instant espresso powder. I just used an instant dark roast. They were lacking a bit in coffee flavor, but still had that depth that coffee gives.

Since I have to wait until late tomorrow to go to the gym, I think I'll make one more practice batch. This time it's double chocolate with sea salt. Well, I'll make the dough. It has to sit in the fridge for a bit. Then I'll bake them on ... Wednesday? I'll have to go to the gym late on that day, too.

So much fucking baking. At least I've got another short week. Actually, I'm totally excited about this week. Which seems a bit odd, with the four days of work. But since I have nothing scheduled, I feel so ... free. For now. I'm sure something delightful will fall on my plate before too long.

03 December 2011

Can't. Stop. Baking.

This is my second batch of cookies in as many days. And I've been amassing the ingredients for another three cookie types over the last couple of days. Unfortunately, while out buying shit like gray sea salt, orange blossom water and instant espresso powder, I neglected some of the basics. I'm running quite low on granulated sugar and all-purpose flower. Nice work, idiot.

But what else is there to do on a night like this?


I've been making cookies from my Alice Medrich book. Yesterday I made Bittersweet Decadence Cookies and tonight it was Triple Ginger Cookies. I've got a number of ideas in mind for tomorrow, but I have to keep in mind that I have several days off coming up. So, you know, I don't want to make everything right away.

The snow keeps on coming, and the Weather Channel total keeps getting revised. We were supposed to have less than an inch, but there was a half inch on my car when I went out within an hour of it starting. The Weather Channel now says 2.4 inches, but I have at least three on my deck railing and other surfaces out there.

I'm concerned I might (finally) be getting a cold. I will be bummed. But maybe it'll be like all of those other false alarms I've had. *crosses fingers* I started taking the generic zinc tablets pretty much as soon as I got home from The Boy I Currently Like's place today. It might help if I go to bed early-ish tonight, but ... well, that just ain't me. There's stuff to do/watch/read.

01 December 2011

Trying.

I am tired and crabby. It's cold out and getting colder. The Varsity Theater doesn't have a coat check and we are taking the bus.

But I'm having a little pregame wine. I've got lots of layers that can hopefully be stuffed into my purse at the show. At least I'm used to a heavy purse? (I did remove the biscuit cutters I've been carrying around since I bought them Sunday, though.)

It's gonna all be okay. Plus, I don't have to get up for work tomorrow.