You are currently browsing the monthly archive for December 2007.
I started noticing, as the holidays approached, that Rhode Islanders like to put Christmas wreaths on the grills of their cars. The first time I saw this, I stared a little, eventually dismissing it as something some cute little old lady does. When I saw it the second time, I craned my neck around trying to determine if it was the same car as before, and by the 3rd 4th, 20th times, I was completely numb. They come in a variety of sizes and fancinesses, but at the end of the day, it’s a wreath on your car, which I still think is a little odd.
After I came to terms with the car wreaths, I saw a car with antlers. No other holiday adornment, just a pair of plush antlers jutting out above the front doors. They were in pristine condition despite the fact that recently we had a lot of rain and the “blizzard” that dumped 6.5 inches. I wondered if this person ever took them off and laundered them, or if these car antlers are just really well made.
If I had to choose between the two, I would have to go antlers every time, for a number of reasons:
- They seem more whimsical. You can just see a prankster, that guy in your office who is always joking around and making the day go faster (or slower), finding these antlers in the store where you buy car antlers and saying “eureka! I’ll spread holiday cheer from my car by pretending to be one of eight tiny reindeer—doesn’t matter which!”
- I don’t get wreaths. I guess they smell good (?), but we’re never had one that was real, so ours always smelled like plastic. In first grade, one of our assignments (cause I went to an elementary school where it seems all we did were art projects—no this wasn’t an art school) was to make a wreath out of pine-scented garbage bags. Yes, they make pine-scented garbage bags, although I can tell you definitively that in a town of 1200 people and about 4 stores, it’s a real pain in the ass to find them. One girl either waited too long, or just couldn’t find pine, so she would up with cranberry, which was a lovely magenta color. At first I felt really bad for her because she was the odd one, but then I looked at my dull, green garbage collection that smelled more like a cleaner than a tree, and I got jealous. What a waste of garbage bags.
- There really is no third reason, I just don’t get wreaths.
After I accepted the car-wreath and car-antler phenomenon, I felt like there was nothing New Englanders could put on their cars that would make me turn and look. Then I was driving home from work one night over the Claiborne-Pell bridge, and an SUV drove by me completely coated in blinking Christmas lights. This was alarming, to say the least. The SUV looked like a giant ball of light shooting over the top of the bridge. It was after dark by this point, so the bridge was also lit up, and since I couldn’t look away from this monstrosity of holiday cheer, I got little light trails blinking behind my retinas making this a very unsafe endeavor.
This guy (I’m assuming it was a guy, cause I couldn’t see) must have plugged like 10 strings of lights into his cigarette lighter somehow and then driven around with the windows down (?) This is only speculation, because it was so bright that even looking straight at it, all I could see was *BRIGHT*.
Maybe I’m a Grinch or a Scrooge or a girl who has been hurt by Christmas decorations in the past—but the lights are too much. They did not make me say “oh how fun, and/or quaint”, they made me say “I really hope he gets pulled over.” Yeah, I really hope he did.
Recently, a friend told me that the only way to get people to read your blogs is to make lists. Lists are the answer, apparently. Well, to do a little recap of the year, I’m going to make a list of the things that have happened to me over the past year that are cool. These are in no particular order:
- I got accepted into the URI graduate school of library and information sciences
- Upon telling my parents that I was going back to grad school and moving halfway across the country, they cried and disowned me. Then they came around and have gone so far as to say that this was a wonderful decision on my part
- I moved to Providence, RI, one of the coolest cities I’ve ever seen
- I got a kick-ass job at the oldest lending library in America (still in its original building)
- Before leaving Fargo, I worked at 3 jobs, now I only have 2
- One of the jobs I had in Fargo, Fargo Public Library, is the first job I’ve ever left that I still loved, so I am capable of having a job that doesn’t fill me with rage
- Watson (kitty), Jill (human traveling companion), and I made it safely and successfully across the country and my car didn’t break under the weight of all my crap
- I managed to furnish my new 1100 square foot apartment spending only about $75
- I didn’t flunk cataloging
- I reconnected with the friend I’ve known the longest (since preschool) via Facebook and via that friend, the friend that I’ve known second-longest (almost, that’s still a work in progress)
- I decided for sure that the field I’m pursuing is really the one that I can see myself working in indefinitely
- My scrabble game has improved quite a bit, even though I’m still not very good
- I just set my Ipod on shuffle, and it landed on the BeeGee’s cover of Islands in the Stream, which apparently includes them actually saying “ghetto superstar, that is what you are”
- I have free cable, how weird is that?
- There’s no sales tax on beer in Massachusetts, and you get 5cents back for every bottle you return
- Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee is a delicious meal in a cup and it’s affordable
- The other day, one of my new Providence friends told me that she’s very glad to know me and call me her friend
- I now know the deliciousness of tempeh
- In the time after I graduated and before I moved, even though I was working all the time, I managed to read a really lot of books and see a lot of movies
- One of my best friends finally ended a relationship she should have bailed on years ago
- As much as I hate the commute, I do appreciate the fact that I get to spend time in a city as beautiful and historic as Newport, RI
- Another friend told me a few days ago that he loves my blogs
- Although library school is the most tedious thing I’ve ever done, and most of the people I go to school with are the strangest kind of weirdo I’ve ever encountered—I’m one of the cool kids, which is hilarious
- I just found $20 in one of my pants pockets!
- This list could go one for quite a while
I expressed to my boss the other day that I need to get a wall calendar. The last time I bought one was two years ago, but I left it hanging on my wall until I left Fargo. Actually, I left it hanging on my wall after I left Fargo because years ago, in a fit of rage, an ex-boyfriend punched a hole in my kitchen wall. Not being a carpenter, or wanting to pay for one, I patched the giant, gaping, conspicuous hole with a combination of spackle, duct tape, and an old poster of a Parisian scene. The wall appeared solid, but over the years started to get wavy. I disguised my handiwork with a wall calendar of more Parisian scenes and called it good.
Naturally, after a year, the calendar went bad. The dates it gave me didn’t correspond with the new days of the week in 2007, and my last-minuteness prevented me from buying a current one. I would still consult the calendar, even though it was still on December of 2006, then I’d remember that it could not give me true information, and get out my checkbook register.
Since I left this calendar in Fargo, and it would be nice to have an accurate one, I decided to suck it up, wait until after the New Year, and then get one (most likely lame) for 75% off at Border’s or some such place. When I told my boss that I needed one, though, she said “Oh, I have quite a few, I’ll bring you in one.”
This is odd, who has quite a few calendars just lying around, waiting to be gifted to a cheap co-worker? So I figured that these were free calendars that her husband’s business gives away, or some that she got free from the bank. Imagine my surprise when she bought in a pristine calendar (still in the plastic) of Monet paintings. I don’t have the boner for Monet that most old ladies seem to, but his work is soothing on the eyes, and in this case, free. I accepted it graciously, and ran it out to my car so I didn’t forget it at work, and hurt her feelings.
A little later that day, I wandered by the circulation desk, and she said, “Andria, I found this calendar in VOGUE magazine, if you want another one.” I looked at it, white background with bright lettering in a variety of colors, and a nice, plump, smiling woman over the words “New Year, New You. alli”
“Isn’t this the weightloss drug that causes anal leakage?” I asked.
Without missing a beat, she replied, “I believe so.”
If anyone is unfamiliar with this product, here’s what it says on the website:
The active ingredient in alli attaches to some of the natural enzymes in the digestive system, preventing them from breaking down about a quarter of the fat you eat. Undigested fat cannot be absorbed and passes through the body naturally. The excess fat is not harmful. In fact, you may recognize it in the toilet as something that looks like the oil on top of a pizza.
Some people would rather poo oil, than be fat. Why am I surprised at all at this?
I flipped though the months and saw that at the beginning of each month, you were supposed to record your weight, then again at the end, doing the math as to how much you lost. For a brief moment I thought hey, that could be kind of fun. Then I realized that while, yes, I have indulged in cookies, fudge, baklava, ice cream, and mixed nuts over the holiday season resulting in my pants feeling a little tighter—once I stop eating all that crap, I’ll go back to normal. Also, I don’t have a scale, so partaking in the dieting adventure that the calendar holds, would requiring me buying something, which negates the joy of a free (second) calendar in the first place.
I passed on the free second calendar and all of its anal leakage propaganda. I’ll stick with Monet. According to the alli readiness quiz, I may not be ready for alli, but I can retake the quiz, or come back when I am ready– to poo oil.
I’m spending x-mas in Providence by myself this year, and that fact has caused many people a lot of distress. Even my Jewish friend who is spending the holiday babysitting (and who got nothing from her parents for Hannukah– she’s the one everyone should feel sorry for) cried out when I told her that I had no big plans.
Here is why my spending x-mas alone is not a big deal:
— I spent 10 days (and 9 nights) with my parents over Thanksgiving—It’s best if I don’t see them again any time soon, so we can maintain a healthy relationship.
— I’m broke, so I can neither afford to fly, nor can I afford to shun the hours available to me at work since everyone else is gone.
— I enjoy spending time by myself, doing what I want, and not feeling guilty about it.
— I’ve been adopted for x-mas day, so I will end up fed and cared for. I’m alone on x-mas eve only.
— I’m an atheist, and don’t particularly care for x-mas in the first place.
— I spent the last five years working in television, which means I volunteered to work x-mas eve and day so other people who had long drives (and who really care about x-mas) could see their families—I’m just glad to have a couple guilt-free days off.
— My family has never been good at the holiday festivities, so all I’m really missing are a couple games of pinochle, too much HGTV, probably some family-friendly movie that I didn’t care to see, and mashed potatoes (which I make better than my mother anyway).
— Watson (kitty) and I have big plans to watch a James Bond movie, and read for pleasure, which I’m looking forward to immensely.
— Finally, if I don’t feel sorry for myself, don’t stress out worrying about me. I appreciate the consideration, but I am more than fine. I am thriving.
Is catching up on an old friend’s blog (among other things), and I found this, which is kind of fun, and also the kind of thing I’ve been subjected to over and over from other people– my turn.
So you go to the Google search bar and type in “(your name) is” with the quotes. Mine is “Andria is”, and here are the results:
Andria is thinking of a clever tagline.
Andria is a student pursuing a dual MBA/MS in Public Policy at …
|Andria is a spicy girl next door who hangs out in Glendale, A|
Andria is a small hotel founded at the end of the 19th century managed by the 4th generation of the Peguera-Sort family. …
Andria is featured in the following brochure
Andria is a certified Usui Reiki Master and an Angel Therapy Practitioner®
Andria is running as good now as she was in February of last year
Andria is a city in Bari Province, Puglia, Italy
Andria is in your extended network
|Andria is the president of SpeakEasy M.E.D.I.A., Inc.|
My neighborhood’s reputation is not good. In the few months that I’ve lived here, I can really see why. Aside from having vice cops hunkered down in my backyard, there is an abandoned car parked in the yard that is not my yard, but that looks like it should be, people walk by all hours of the night and day swearing at each other on those goddamn Nextel walkie-talkie phones, I witnessed a drug deal go bad on my way home from work but it barely registered with me, and there’s a bullet hole in one of my front windows. That said: I have a really nice apartment, which is even nicer now that I’ve painted it. It’s huge and airy, cheap for the city, and I really, really like it. I have on-site laundry for the first time in 7 years, off-street parking, and my landlady is pretty cool.
One thing that I’m really fed up with, despite the positives of my place, is the mail theft. Before I moved out here, the power cord for my laptop was fried to the point of sparking and being a general safety hazard. I decided to not take it with me, and instead, order a new one to arrive in Providence about the same time I did. Genius? Yes. Unfortunately, it did not arrive. I had a laptop with wireless but the battery was dead so I had no internet. The only place in the entire city of Providence where you can go and use a computer with internet is the public library. Since I moved over labor day weekend, I had to wait until Tuesday to check on the status of my order. Apparently, the item in question had been delivered 2 days before I arrived, but my landlady (who I asked to look out for it), had not seen it anywhere. I tried to give my neighborhood the benefit of the doubt, told Dell that it never arrived, and got a replacement 5-8 days later.
Now USPS.com is telling me that the two items I ordered from Amazon.com were delivered Wednesday, December 19. I do not have these items. I ambushed my friendly mailman today and asked if he remembered dropping anything off for me on Wednesday. He remembered a package that arrived the previous week (I swear I don’t do that much internet shopping, it’s just been a run of things), but didn’t recall anything from Wednesday. Then in true Providence fashion he proceeded to tell me stuff that was none of my business and most likely, classified: the lady two doors down had received a number of smaller boxes (he held one up as an example), and that the gentleman next door had gotten something on Thursday, but he just didn’t recall anything for me.
“I usually leave your packages by the back door, you know. You didn’t see anything there?”
I told him no, and thanked him for being so thoughtful as to do that (I really do love my mailman), then I said that USPS.com had the package status as delivered 12:13pm on Wednesday the 19th. His face just fell, “It said delivered, huh? That’s not good. That’s the time I usually end up at your place too.”
I concurred that he was very punctual, and that was also the reason for my concern in this matter (he’s kind of amazing in the punctuality department, even the day after the “blizzard” he was dropping off my Netflix at 12:05).
“I’ll call Amazon,” I assured him, “and have them re-send it. I just wanted to check with you first.”
“Man, I feel terrible.” He deflated, right in front of me. “I hate this street. I just really hate this street. It’s even worse than (here he named some street that I’ve never been on, but hope I can avoid).
So fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. People in my neighborhood steal mail. I always thought the whole “it’s a felony” thing was so scary that no one would ever actually do it, but I guess when you’re already a drug dealer, you might as well rack up the charges. So I hope some young (or old) felon is out there smoking crack and enjoying the amazing performance of Bette Davis in “All About Eve”, while I wait for my replacement shipment.
Years ago I visited the Roman baths in Bath, England and upon entering was presented with a large, awkward piece of plastic that looked like a quasi-futuristic telephone in a bad sci-fi movie.
“You’re all set.” The aloof, but still unfailingly polite in the way only the British can be, woman told me.
I puzzled over what in the world this thing was until I realized that it was talking to me. I pressed the thing to my ear and realized that the soothing voice was going to give me the tour of the baths. We all quickly realized that these “acoustiguides” gave a person entirely too much information resulting in the lot of us standing around awkwardly trying to find a point on the wall to stare at while not being underfoot of the other tourists. We rejected the idea of acoustiguides and wandered around with absolutely no idea what we were looking at.
My parents came to stay with me recently, and I was charged with the overwhelming task of finding ten days’ worth of family-friendly entertainment for them. I decided that touring the Newport Mansions was a good way to eat up an afternoon. We started at “The Breakers”, the Vanderbilt family’s summer home. It was big, and I didn’t see Anderson Cooper anywhere.
Then we went to Marble House. We walked in and the smiling lady ripped my ticket, then another woman hung a heavy, black, piece of electronic equipment around my neck.
“100 should get you started.”
I had been acoustiguided.
I quickly rallied, and once we were in the first room of the “tour”, a room that looked like Versailles, only much smaller, but with the same amount of stuff, I grabbed my mother, “You don’t want to listen to these things do you? These things are terrible. Let’s just walk through without them.”
She glanced over at my father, now fully absorbed in staring at an ornate fireplace that was hemorrhaging gold cherubs, “I think your father likes it.”
I tapped him on the shoulder, and he spun around with a dazed look on his face. After awkwardly fumbling for the pause button, he finally said, “what?”
“Do you really want to use these things, or should we just go through without them and read the placards?”
“No, this is really interesting. I want to do this.”
I glanced back at mom, who just shrugged. “Okay, but don’t listen to the extra stuff at all, just the basics.”
H acquiesced and then struggled to turn the acoustiguide back on. Finally, I reached over and the play/pause button for him.
Admittedly, this acoustiguided tour was much better than the one at Bath. I learned that whatshername Vanderbilt had chosen an Italian marble because it has golden tones in it and looks warmer. Frankly, if warmth is a concern, I’d say don’t build a house out of marble—but it’s too late for that. The dining room chairs were huge, and completely plated in gold, which made them so heavy, that the Vanderbilts couldn’t move them themselves, and the room was decorated with “scenes from the hunt” i.e. wild boars and stags, all in gold, and all completely creepy. There is nothing more disgustingly fascinating to me than extreme wealth.
Honestly, the one thing I can really appreciate about the acoustiguided tour, is once my tour of a room is over, moving to the back and just watching everyone else. The silence is almost eerie, and it’s like watching someone rock out to music only they can hear. Certain rooms had very ornate ceilings so I’d stand back and watch people’s heads swivel around and pause on significant decorations.
My newfound acceptance of acoustiguides was tested when we got upstairs. We saw the separate bedrooms that Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt occupied, heard an actress read from Mrs. Vanderbilt’s memoires addressing her divorce, and wandered into the trophy room bursting with sailing memorabilia. Mom and I wandered into the daughter, Consuelo’s room, taking in the austerity, and in my case, wondering why the hell this woman named her daughter Consuelo.
After leaving poor Consuelo’s room, we waited for Wayne to meet up with us. He didn’t show up. I ducked back into Consuelo’s room, but he wasn’t there. Finally we noticed that he was still in the trophy room, staring gape-mouthed at a giant painting.
“You’re doing extracurricular listening.” I accused.
He turned toward me looking sheepish, which quickly turned to indignation. He fumbled again for the pause button on his acoustiguide, finally, again, just letting me do it.
“Wayne, we agreed that we were going to stick with the basic tour.”
He pointed at the painting, “But, this is really an interesting story.”
“But we’re standing in a stairwell waiting for you.”
“Oh.” he said as if this had not occurred to him, “I’ll hurry then.”
I don’t know what I’ll do next time I encounter an acoustiguide. My biggest gripe with them is that it just seems so much like cheating. Either give me a guided tour, or give me placards that I can read myself.