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Back in March, my Jewish Friend approached me with the information that the annual ALA conference is in Anaheim this year. “We should go.” she said, “my rich uncle would probably fly us out for free and we can stay at his mansion in Beverly Hills.”

Saying the word free makes almost anything appealing to me, and crashing at a mansion and basking in the sun sounds like a perfect way to spend part of my summer. So I took the time off work. Then we found out that rich uncle was going to be out of town that week and was unwilling to fly us out to stay at his house when he isn’t going to be there.

So we re-grouped. We started brainstorming places where we could stay for free or cheap.

Chicago, NYC, and Montreal were all mentioned.

Jewish Friend lacks valid passport, so Montreal is eliminated.

Chicago is decided upon, and I find a cheap plane ticket online– things are looking promising.

I get into a car accident, missing an extra shift at work, and incurring at least $500 in car repairs.

Jewish Friend’s father is hit by a truck while crossing the street, so Jewish Friend heads back home.

I start planning daytrips that I can do by myself: New Haven, Cape Cod, beach etc.

I find out that my hours at work are being cut– in half. I start reconsidering whether or not taking a vacation at all is wise, maybe I should just try to grab any extra shifts that come my way, or perhaps I should do a “staycation.” I decide to do a combo staycation/vacation and eliminate my daytrip to Cape Cod, then pick up an extra shift at work to make myself feel better.

I ask Wise Lawyer Friend if she maybe wants to go to Montreal for the weekend. Since she is a pragmatic person and hyper-scheduled, I never really expected her to say yes, but thankfully her brain was a little broken after taking an intense one-week summer class, and she needed a getaway too.

I get my car back from mechanic beautifully fixed, cleaned, with topped-off windshield wiper fluid. Mechanic informs me that I do not need to pay my deductible as he has “worked it out for me.” I want to buy my mechanic a fruit basket, but instead take business cards and promise to send him any business I can– and I will. I love my mechanic, and if you need any bodywork done in the Providence area, ask me for his number.

Wise Lawyer Friend decides to blow off work and come on my New Haven daytrip as does Male Canadian Friend. I feel a cold coming on, but pack tissues and try to ignore it. We have a lovely day ending with a lovely meal.

A little later that night I start throwing up unexpectedly leading me to believe that I have food poisoning. I spend the night in a sleepless cold sweat punctuated by trips to the bathroom.  My cold has also gone full-blown so my head, already spacey from lack of nourishment, is also full of mucus that needs to be expelled.  It was a very wet night.

The following day, I pack for Montreal, try to eat bland food, and buy some Sudafed.  Jewish Friend’s father is doing better, he’s out of ICU but a long way from being good, and she is back in town. She buys me egg drop soup as well as giving me a cold care-package.

Wise lawyer friend and I drive to Montreal without incident, and have a lovely weekend (more details later) proving that optimism and determination are the keys to success!

I need to revamp my list of summer goals because in my haste to not fall behind, I’m gotten way ahead of myself.

* I’ve read Diary of Anne Frank

* Painted the ceiling in my bedroom (which brightens it up considerably)

* been running regularly

* Ate a sandwich while sitting outside talking to a friend (picnic)

* Chapter 4 of Passage to India

* Table is fixed

* Made a dirty martini that was very close to perfect– still a work in progress

* Went to movie theatre with self-service butter dispenser and $5.50 movies before noon, and it was a magical place for a number of reasons which I will now list.

Not only do they serve delightful Coca-Cola products, but they also provide small plastic cups to fill with butter and take to your seat with you so you don’t have to saturate the top of the bucket while leaving the bottom dry. Genius.

My friend and I got the “Jumbo” sized popcorn and soda, which has unlimited re-fills for only $10. They have a second concession stand on the theatre side of the lobby so you don’t have to walk all the way around and take more time when you go to refill your jumbo-sized concessions at a crucial moment during Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.

I’ve joined their movie club, which is free, and that’s already netted me a cool $.50 off popcorn or beverage next time I patronize that establishment.

I have a collector’s bucket, with handle, and Indiana Jones’s face of it still 3/4 full of the leftover popcorn.

Best movie theatre ever.

1. When someone is waiting and allowing me to turn left in heavy traffic, it is rude to pull around them and make me, the person waiting for me, and all of the people waiting behind me wait longer when my left turn would have taken mere seconds to accomplish

2. In this day and age, why would you ever make a salad dressing in a plastic bottle without a squeezy top?

3. It is ridiculous when people (usually short, middle-aged men) check out my speed on the treadmill at the gym and try to match it, but can’t because their little New Englander legs are far too short. This is a bit funny too, but mostly annoying because it happens like every time I go to the gym. I am too fast for you.

4. When my internet hiccups and I miss crucial bits of chat. This is my fault for having the lowest tier internet speed, but still.

5. Also, the fact that I can’t watch instant Netflix movies because, again, my internet is too slow even though I’m paying what I feel is an exorbitant amount of money per month for it.

6. The fact that I cannot ever decide what to wear because the temperature changes every 30 minutes. I eventually do decide, because I must leave the house, but I’m rarely comfortable.

7. I still haven’t managed to find a good burrito in the state of Rhode Island, although I now have better idea (information which was previously withheld from me) of where to look.

8. The fact that even though I flatly refuse to ever buy diet anything, I still manage to come home with stuff that has phrases like “only 1 gram net carbs!” on it. It’s Chunky Blue Cheese Dressing (without a squeezy top), it will make you fat– full stop. Who the hell cares about how many carbs are in it?

9. Because my mother wholeheartedly embraces diet food, I still have a Lean Cuisine frozen pizza in my freezer from when the parents visited my in November. I do not want to eat it; I’m fairly certain it will taste like sand, but I hate throwing away perfectly good food. I also have two muffins from Tim Horton’s that my dad didn’t eat. I had one of the dozen he bought, and I know for a fact that these two extra muffins, now freezer-burned will taste appallingly bad, but I keep thinking that I’ll get poor enough/ drunk enough/ trick someone else into eating them. They stare at me every time I open the freezer, with their little freeze-dried bullshit blueberry eyes.

10. The two plants I bought last week are looked seriously peaky.

Now that school is over, and I’m finally starting to feel like school is over, it’s time to turn my attention to what to do with all of this spare time.  Lately, I’ve been coming home feeling guilty about schoolwork that I don’t want to be doing, then when I realize that there is no more schoolwork–for now, I wander around my apartment listlessly doing nothing, snacking, eventually half watching a movie or half reading a book feeling like I’m forgetting something.  That is finally fading, I need new goals.

1. Pay off Visa bill– this is a big one, but I think I can do it, maybe.  I’m certainly going to try, anyway

2. Learn Hindi alphabet, and start learning Devanagari script, work on vocabulary

3. Run at least 10 miles per week

4. Read Moby Dick

5. get a tan

6. Read The Diary of Anne Frank— I just can’t get through that stupid thing, it’s a long story, but I have a lot of history with that book.

7. paint ceiling in bedroom, and do faux-finish to walls– I know that faux-finishes are beloved of Trading Spaces fans the world over, but I think I can do it in a way that won’t look stupid.  Also, my room is too dark and gloomy, but I do like the wall color, hence, faux-finish!! I can retain the lovely base tone while bringing more light into my life.  I require light.

8. Make a perfect dirty martini

9. Wait and see if landlady plans to clean up the backyard, then, if she doesn’t, do it myself.  Then utilize backyard in a lounge chair/cocktail manner

10. Go on a picnic

11. Go to the beach– technically, I’ve already done this, but it was really cold, and there was no swimsuit involved.  Goal is: Go to the beach for real

12. repair table

13. Fix fridge door so I can line up condiments without worrying that they will fall and break everytime I open the fridge door.  I imagine I can accomplish this with thick string and adhesive

14. Go to movie theatre where they have the self-service butter dispensor and $5 movies before noon (sounds like a magical place)

15. Read A Passage to India— I read it as an undergrad, but that was before I was obsessed with India.  I think it may resonate more now

16. Watch All Quiet on the Western Front, since, apparently, the one I saw was a made-for-tv version and the real one is kick-ass

17. write

I’m sure I’m forgetting something, but whatever.  This is a good place to start out.

 

 

* This $4 bottle of pinot noir is not as good as the first time I bought it…

* I’m starting to think it’s inevitable that I will acquire the New England accent no matter how much I fight it…

* I went to the store to buy soup that is on sale and found out that it is not on sale until Friday, why send out the flier so early and trick me?

* I wish I was friends with Henry Rollins…

I have two jobs, neither of which are in the city where I live. I do a lot of driving, is the end of that sentence. A few days ago, I was leaving job #1 and I saw a pack of Canada Geese, at least 20, hanging out by the side of the road. It wasn’t the side of the road that was a field, but rather the space between two busy highways. They were standing there, completely unconcerned. It looked like they were having a tea party.

The following day, I was driving to job #2. It was a rather cold day, but I passed a group of about 5 people gathering in front of a building. They were setting up pictures on easels. I assumed it was an art sale of some kind. When I was close enough to see the pictures, I realized that they were dead babies, some in pools of blood. This was 8:55am.

I grew up in two states that are very pro-hunting. When I was very young, I accepted it as just a thing that adults do, and didn’t really feel one way or the other about it. Growing up, I started to find it to be rather deplorable because no one could give me what I felt was a decent reason of why it was necessary. I thought having deer wander into my backyard was magical.

I was walking to work one day in High School, and I had to walk past a deer head that was lying on the curb in front of someone’s house. I had to walk past it again on the way home. It was there for days.

In high school, one of my best friends was hit by two deer. She hit them, because they ran into her car from the side and then bounced off of her grill. She was uninjured, but had to buy a new car– I can only assume the deer died. Years later, I was with that same friend driving down I-94, when a pick-up in front of us hit a deer. Previously, I ignorantly assumed that hitting a deer caused it to fly into the ditch off of the road. That is not the case, certainly not on a busy interstate. By the time that deer got to our car, it was just a torso. The torso hit the grill spraying the car in blood. We ran it over and I head firsthand that awful “body under the tires” sound, then I imagine the car behind us pulverized it further.

My brother hit a deer, a few years later, and had to drag the still living, but fatally wounded creature into the ditch while it groaned and writhed in agony.

I’ve changed my mind about hunting, but I still don’t think heads should be left on the side of the street in the middle of town.

* Movies are too expensive– full stop

* The more I listen to the news, the more pessimistic I become, but I like being informed

* My boss at job #2 told me that my rate of pay was slightly higher because I have a Master’s degree already– that’s the first time I’ve ever heard that, and I’ve had that degree almost 2 years

* This semester is going to be better than last, but even after saying that, I have no more ambition than I did last week

I’ve been having a lot of nightmares lately. Maybe it’s the stress of starting school, maybe it’s the stress of a personal relationship, maybe it’s the dryness or frustration with the fact that I keep feeling run-down and sick. For whatever reason, I keep waking up exhausted. I dreamt that I had a huge fight with my father and he disowned me. I dreamt that is a post-apocalyptic world I was being hunted by my enemies. I dreamt that an entire room of people was mad at me for something I didn’t do. I dreamt I was fired from both my jobs and called a fraud. Usually my nightmares are that people are angry at me, and I wake up probably crying out in my defense.

I’m in a state of financial fast for the first time in a long time since the bills for my post-christmas shopping are coming in, and my gas bill was exorbitant last month. I have to break the fast today though, to go buy that soup cause it’s just too good a deal to pass up

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:

  1. 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!”
  2. 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.
  3. 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’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 cat is seriously mad at me, and can be really rude
* I haven’t had to buy toilet paper in ages
* People keep telling me I’m “skinny,” which I think may be a code that actually means “haggard”
* If I have a night off, the thought of going out, even to a movie, sounds exhausting. I would prefer to stay home and groom myself or do laundry
* When I tell people I have three jobs they are completely horrified–always. It’s the great equalizer
* In my quest to catch up on sleep I may have actually slept too much resulting in some weird waking dream state where I look dazed and probably stupid most of the time
* I exert approx. 1/3 less effort at each job since starting this crazy experiment
* I want to write more now than I have in a long time because is seems forbidden and impractical
* I promise people I will call them back soon, but actually it takes forever
* I haven’t spoken to my mother in six weeks and I’m sure she’s fuming and waiting for me to call her
* I don’t feel like I have any more money than I did before because right when I got the third job I encountered a whole new expensive problem
* This list sounds really whiny
* I long to be at home when I..m at work, but once I get there I don’t know what to do with myself
* I’m really glad that at 2 of my jobs I can sometimes sit and read books, and at Stupid Pepsi I can read trashy magazines and write out my blogs and lists on a notepad provided for me by PepsiAmericas that I have never used for actual work, but I will demand is replaced immediately after I use it up
* I’m really sick of reading celebrity gossip magazines, and of reading about TV shows I’ve never seen
* I’ve started to act put upon and a little whiny, as evidenced by this list, and I don’t like it
* I must be better organized than I thought because I haven’t had any scheduling snafus yet. Well, there’s the one two weeks from now, but I have plenty of time to work that out