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December 30, 2004

Is it the weekend yet?

This whole thing with the tsunami makes me so, so sad. Over 160,000 dead. Go here to donate to the relief fund. And then refresh the page a few times. It's heartening.

One of my coworkers is in Bangladesh. She went home for three weeks. I don't believe she was planning to be in a coastal area of the country, but you never know. There's no way to get in contact with her, as her whole family is there with her and I don't believe telephone communication is plausible at the moment. I'm worried sick.


It's funny how a song can bring back such vivid memories, so much so that you can just about capture the feeling of being back wherever it was you attach that song to. "Hero" by Enrique Iglasias is on the radio. That song came out during the 2001/2002 school year, which happened to be the Year of Watching MTV. I was immediately transported back to 711 Elm and reminded of afternoons doing homework in my bedroom or cold, dark mornings working out downstairs in front of the TV with Aarti and Shelley. There are a handful of songs that take me to that one year, but "Hero" is one I'd just about forgotten about until just now, with that raspy whispered, "won't you be my hero?"


In other news, the job situation SUCKS with big, huge capital letters. Too much drama, and NOT what I needed right now.

December 28, 2004

Christmas is over, back to LA

Christmas and my trip home were, as expected, over much too quickly. Also as expected, I didn't get to see nearly everyone I would have liked to have seen, and I didn't get to do nearly everything I would have liked to have done. This leaves me a little bit sad. But the trip, as it was, was wonderful.

I took the red-eye in Thursday night. When I got to the airport, they didn't assign me a seat. This had me worried. They didn't, however, make me wait in the huge-ass security line (at ALL), despite being two hours early for my flight. When I got to my gate, the flight had been overbooked and they were asking people to take a bump. With no seat, I was afraid I wasn't going to make the flight at all! Somehow, in all of that, the seat the ended up assigning me was in first class!! Not that I really got to enjoy it, as I was asleep before they came around to offer drinks, but at least it was a comfortable sleep.

On Christmas Eve, I got up and wrapped presents like a maniac. Cooked like a maniac, too. The grandparents (both sets), uncle & girlfriend, and aunt, uncle & two cousins came for dinner. Very nice meal, despite ruining the table cloth with candle wax. Oops. After dinner we sang carols, played Pass the Bag to The Night Before Christmas, and basically had a grand old time. Then we went to church, which was pretty (being the candlelight service and all).

My mom's parents stayed the night, as is their tradition, and Christmas morning was like it always is. Sticky buns and hot chocolate and everyone in their pajamas opening presents while Dad alternately videotapes the whole ordeal and plays with whatever new electronic toy someone received. I had done a drawing for my grandparents, which went over quite well. There were tears.

We went to the aunt's house for dinner around noon, where I learned a game called speed stacking. Quite addictive. And then it was back to my mom's parents' house for supper.

All in all, a very enjoyable Christmas.

Sunday was my day designated for seeing friends. I spent a lot of it in the car, as everyone is scattered in opposite directions. I first drove down to about 30 miles south of Joliet to meet Sarah in a tiny little podunk town with three restaurants (only one of which seemed open). It was really good to see her! It was worth the looooong drive. Hee.

Then, it was up to Gurnee to see Em and Frank (also worth the not-as-long drive). Went up with Meghan and Elenid. Greg's back from Afghanistan and was in town, so he came with his girlfriend, and John was in town from Colorado, and he met us there. We had a very nice meal, and then most of us went to Denny's for some storytelling and reminiscing and all-around laughter. Ha ha. That was good fun. And really nice to see everyone!

Monday was devoted to my mom and sister, as the holiday preparation had left little time to actually visit with them. We went to Starbucks, then see Spanglish (very good), and then to lunch/dinner at Chevy's. After that, it was off to the airport for me. *sniff*

The flight back here was less enjoyable than the one to Chicago. Everything was good and on time until we were ON the plane, when it took them an additional hour+ to get the luggage loaded. We left about 9:15 instead of 8:00. I tried desperately to get some sleep, but it was futile. So uncomfortable in the little seat. The guy next to me was about eight feet tall and did NOT fit with the legroom provided, for which I felt much sympathy, but that also meant my room was cut down as he tried to maneuver his legs so that they didn't jam into the seat in front of him. We arrived in LA around 11:45 (instead of 10:30), and the luggage carousel was FULL of another flight's baggage. Which the kind airport staff did not remove. Which proceeded to cause the carousel to jam about 5637354687354 times.

I'm thankful I did finally get my suitcase. Whew! I met up with Ryan without too much incident, and we waited another 547325746573574 hours for the shuttle to take us to the parking garage where Sean had parked the car.

Rolled in around 2:30, and now I'm a bit late for work for having written this post. Oops.

Hope everyone has a good day! And, for the record, I miss my family. :(

December 22, 2004

Wednesday's Hump Day

I still have not bought all my Christmas gifts. *checks calendar* Yep, it'd be December 22 today.

Tomorrow, I head for home. Not to arrive until Christmas Eve, as I'm taking the red-eye. My only concern is that I'm going to get really sleepy waiting for the time to board the plane, and that'd be torture. No one to talk to on the phone to keep me awake at 11 pm Pacific time!

Just like last night. I went out to dinner after work. We left the restaurant about 10:30, and I asked what the quickest way home might be (the restaurant was in a part of the Valley I'd never been). He says "Oh, the freeway's right there, that'll be your best bet."

Um. So, less than a mile after getting on the freeway, we stop. Like, STOP. Dead stopped with no one even inching forward. I knew it was a bad sign when moments later a firetruck and more than a half-dozen police cars wound their way through the gridlock. When emergency vehicles get on after you do, you know you're there at exactly the rightwrong time. Yee-haw. We were stuck for the better part of 45 minutes. Turn-off-your-car-and-wait stopped. People were getting out, stretching, walking around, trying to see if there was any hope of getting out of there by morning.

Oh, how I wished someone in the world had been awake to jabber at me. Heh.

Once they finally managed to open the farthest right lane of traffic and we bottlenecked and then finally made it through, everything was smooth sailing. Until I got to my exit, which was inexplicably closed (roadwork?). I had to go halfway to Hollywood before I found an exit that was open (that wasn't an exit leading to yet another freeway), and had to make my way back towards home. Needless to say, I rolled in just after midnight, an hour and a half after leaving the restaurant, for what should have been no more than a 15 minute trip at that time of night. *collapses*

Anyway, good morning all! Forecast for the day: Busy with a touch of annoying. Also, sunny and 70, with a bit of wind off the ocean.

Why why why did I check the outlook for Chicago? *shivers* I'ma need my winter coat to meet me at the airport, that's for damn sure.

December 19, 2004

Christmas is coming!

Woke up with a headache, OMG. Ow. And I didn't even drink last night, so it's not like I'm paying for the fun I had.

Last night was the company Christmas party at House of Blues. The first hour and some was torture, as I was looking for familiar faces and waiting for my coworkers to arrive (they were WAY later than we'd planned on arriving!). But once I found people I knew, the night was a lot of fun. Free food and drink (although, I was driving home so all I had was Diet Pepsi) and dancing. There were tons of people there! I think I managed to see everyone I knew, though (which isn't a ton, but ended up being more than I thought). Good times.

What was not good times was the shirt I ordered specifically to wear to the party was all messed up. I ordered from Victoria's Secret, and paid $6 extra shipping to have it by Friday. I wanted a large, but they were out. She said a medium would be fine with my bra size, so a medium I took. When I finally (after a huge runaround from UPS) had it in my hot little hands? It was an extra-small. An extra small! Yeah, so not happening, folks. Even if I could get into it (and the corset part of it was stretchy, so I could get it closed... ha!), my boobs were spilling out over the top in the most indecent of manners. Was that too much information? Hee.

So anyway, yesterday yielded an emergency trip to the mall, where I finally, after much searching, found two shirts I liked. One I liked a lot, and one I liked alright, but after the 30% off and the 40% off THAT because I was there before noon, it was $10 and I couldn't pass it up. The one I liked a lot, however, was not on sale at all, and was $59. Figures. I hemmed and hawed and figured I'd buy them both, take pictures of them for my family to help with, and if they said go with the black one (the cheaper one), I'd take the purple (expensive) back. The general opinion, however, was that the purple one was WAY cute, and while the black was fine, the purple was better. So. Tis the season to spend money, right?

Other than that, not much happening 'round here. I'm doing laundry, and there is some wrapping that needs to be done, and a few more gifts to pick up. Just a few. I'm going to try to get everything done today. Yay!

December 16, 2004

Rumors hurt people!

I heard a rumor somewhere (vicious lies, I'm sure) that Christmas is next weekend.

Now, I've been raised well. Don't believe everything you hear, don't take stock in rumors, don't get involved in gossip. Check, check, double check.

La la la. I have plenty of time to finish my Christmas shopping, yes. La la la, I don't hear you. It's a rumor, just a rumor!

December 14, 2004

Sunlight in the Bathroom

The sunlight comes into my bathroom in the most blinding fashion in the mornings. The room is not large -- there is a small notch carved out of the door so that it will pass by the toilet upon opening and closing -- and the sunlight just comes in and fills up the entire room and bounces off the mirrors and is blinding, I say, blinding. I cannot apply make-up in the bathroom in the mornings because I can't see properly in all that light. I have to go into my significantly dimmer bedroom and use the full-length mirror. And the overhead light in the bathroom is completely useless. If anything, having it on makes less light in there.

So anyway. Caitlin left this morning for a two week trip home, so it's just me and the boyz. I can't believe Christmas is less than two weeks away! This also means that 2005 is less than three weeks away. This, my friends, is insanity. Where did 2004 go? How did it whip by so very quickly?

This time last year, I was in Florence, Alabama visiting my dear friend Heather.

I was contemplating the appropriate time to start inquiring at work about transferring out to California.

Is time moving faster now? I think it might be.

December 11, 2004

On a Saturday in December

The Problem: No real food in the house for lunch.

The Solution: Peanut butter and Nutella sandwich. With a side of Cheese Nips. Mmmm, calories.

To be fair, the Cheese Nips are reduced fat and it's wheat bread, does that count?

Yeah, we should probably go grocery shopping. It's so hard, though, with everyone leaving so soon. Caitlin heads home on Tuesday. Tuesday! Which means Christmas is, like, super duper close. Two weeks away!

Christmas in two weeks I'm contemplating turning on my air conditioning. How weird is that? It's December 11th and 84 degrees outside. I'm not used to it, although I'm not complaining. The weather is one of the bigger reasons I moved out here. With the last couple weeks getting down into the low 30s at night, I was thinking that maybe California isn't as warm as I thought it would be. But, ahhhhh, here we are. 84 and sunny, with blue skies and green palm trees (and a few red-leafed regular trees holding onto autumn) and mountains hills rising up in the distance. Lovely.

December 10, 2004


I unloaded all the pictures off my digital camera. There were tons and tons! I uploaded "a few" of my favorites. Some are from my trip home over Thanksgiving, others are from here, just before I went home.

A sample:

My house during the blizzard

We stopped at the beach along the Pacific Coast Highway, right after turning off of Topanga Canyon.
(Jamie, this is what the beach looks like during the day)

The rest can be found below.


My house while it was snowing...

...and once it was done (Thanksgiving day).

My street. Notice how well you can read the street signs. *g*

My backyard, all snowcovered and wintery.

Christmas decorations outside Marshall Field's, and the famous clock.

Part of the Chicago skyline.

This bean-shaped dome is in Millennium Park, and reflects the skyline.

My family in front of the Dome, minus my grandparents who stayed home.

The inside of the Dome (I just thought it looked cool).

All the cousins, and part of my grandpa. Boy, do we all look tired or what?

Birthday shots!

The cat. *pets*


Same beach as above, different angle.

Um, same beach again...

...and again.

A view into the Valley from Mullholland Drive.

And last but not least, my little Christmas tree (with the camera held a little crooked).

Whew! That was a lot of pictures. And probably only a third of what I unloaded off the camera.

December 02, 2004

Back to LA

I think I left off on Thanksgiving in my last entry. I was home until Sunday, so there are a few more days of Chicago-y activities to cover here.

Friday: Black Friday Shopping? No.

On Friday, we all went downtown to go to Marshall Field's. It was insane, being Black Friday and all. But fun! Since all the "kids" had stayed at our house and the "adults" at Grandma's, we took separate trains in and met downtown. We briefly lost my dad at the Christkringlemarket (oops), but caught up at Fields. We ate not at the Walnut Room under the tree (4 hour wait for a table... yikes!), but in a little cafe place, Seventh on State. There's an opening in the middle of the store that goes from the top floor to the basement and every floor can overlook it, and it snowed! Inside! Every hour on the hour, snow set to music. That was fun.

After lunch, we went out to look at the windows. They were really good this year. The theme was Snow White, but they were Snow White with a kick. Very funny. For example, Snow White had a Louis Vuitton purse, and the road signs pointed to other fairy tales, etc. Cute. There was also a pair of Salvation Army guys by one of the doors who were singing a verse of The Twelve Days of Christmas, complete with a synchronized dance routine, every time someone donated money to their bucket. Totally made the holiday spirit!

We took a walk to the Civic Center to see the architecture, and then crossed the street to see Millennium Park. It's very modern-looking, but neat. I like it. Afterwards, it was back to Grandma's where some of us stopped for a Christmas parade in downtown Wheaton and we celebrated birthdays.

Saturday: Just One Year From Halfway to Fifty.

Saturday morning, which was also my birthday, the "kids" went to see The Incredibles, which was much better than I was expecting! It was quite cute and funny, and I enjoyed it muchly. Then it was back to Grandma's to celebrate the rest of the birthdays, say our goodbyes, and home to pack.

Sunday: Dad's Day

Breakfast Sunday morning for Dad's birthday, and then off to the airport nice and early. My security line in LA had been over an hour, and this day being the busiest travel day of the year, I was sure it would be a mess. Not the case -- I was at my gate within fifteen minutes of stepping foot inside the airport. Yeesh! I mean, better early than late, but I then had two hours to kill. Heh.

Got back to LA. Caitlin and Sean picked me up like the dears they are. Then the three of us and Ryan went for all-you-can-eat sushi (they treated), and we came home for Ebony and Ivory birthday cake, complete with candles and singing! So sweet!

Monday: Back to the Grind

Back to work on Monday. Nothing terribly exciting, I don't think. La la la.

Tuesday: More of the Same

Yep, nothing exciting on Tuesday, either. My life is thrilling, I swear. Work, home, work, home... like a monkey.

Wednesday: Hump Day

Yesterday was a busy day at work that had me in a constant state of frustration from catching every. single. stoplight on the way to work, all the way through to stop-and-go traffic just because people wanted to see what a fire truck was up to parked on the side of the road on the way home.

But after work, Caitlin and I met the boys in Burbank for a movie. The three of them went to see The Incredibles, which I would have seen again, but somehow wasn't in the mood last night. So I did something I've only done once before (and that was on a Tuesday afternoon for Lost in Translation) and went to a movie by myself. I saw Kinsey, which was very, very good. So many people were in it! Chris O'Donnell, Tim Curry, Oliver Platt, Laura Linney, the friend from Garden State, etc. I had known it was a movie about a sex study, but I never connected that knowledge to the Kinsey Scale, which we all learn about in Psych 101. Ha. Silly me. But yes, quite good. Go see.

Thursday: Day of Rest?

And that brings us to today. Day off, yay! This means I work Saturday, but that's okay. I have lots and lots to do today, so it won't be that restful. At least I won't be at work. ;)