Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving, etc.

Our trip to California was fun. We had a bit of a delay in the airport in Seattle, so we got to Palo Alto around 5 PM on Wednesday night, a couple of hours behind schedule. We went out to dinner with my folks, and then went to a bar with Jessica and a few of her lawyer friends. She seems to be doing pretty well, although she has made the questionable decision to spend next semester in the Hague working on Charles Taylor's defense team. I didn't know who Charles Taylor was, so I Wikipedia'd him. He's a former Liberian warlord and an all-around bad guy. The charges against him include, but are not limited to: child soldiers, chopping off arms, cannibalism, and human sacrifice. And Jessica is trying to set him free. She says she's doing it to promote justice: in order for a trial to be fair, the defendant must have an equally sound defense and offense. She really just wants to go to the Netherlands.

Thanksgiving day was nice; we went for a hike through a trail at Stanford that has really pretty views of the Bay Area and goes really close to The Dish, a giant radio telescope that used to search for extraterrestrial intelligence but is just sitting there and rusting now. We went over to Jessica's family's house for dinner; the guests were Jessica's brother and his family, her aunt and her family, me, David, and my family, and a couple of Jessica's law school friends. Kate, her mom, prepared a delicious feast. I was shocked by how much of a MILF Kate has become- she works out constantly now that she is retired and is in great shape. I've known her since I was 5 and have never seen her, or anyone else her age (65) for that matter, this fit. It's scary. Anyhow, she's a good cook and cooked a lot of good food. Their house is impressive in both size and grandeur, and if I hadn't grown up in it I would be a little intimidated. The whole thing was a little over the top but fun. David handled it very well.

On Friday, we woke up at the crack of dawn to hit up our local Walmart and go shopping. Just kidding. We took highway 1 (the scenic route) down to Monterey. David lived there for two years and my family would take weekend trips when I was growing up, so we both wanted to go back. We went to El Torito, which is a Mexican restaurant right on the water. It's a must-do in Monterey. The food is so-so but the view is spectacular. We thought we saw a whale, but it was just a wave. We wandered around Cannery Row. There used to be an indoor carosel with an old-time picture place, which I thought would be fun to do, but it's all been replaced by an imax theater. We stopped by a cafe that had a heated outdoor bench, which was the highlight of Cannery Row. Even though it was chilly and overcast, this crazy stone bench felt like it had been sitting in the sun for hours. We drove to Pacific Grove, and David showed me the route he used to run in the Army. I was impressed: it was very long and steep. We couldn't go on the base, which was disappointing, since I wanted to see where he used to live, but we drove around and he pointed out other important landmarks. We went to Carmel too but it was all overpriced shops, so we didn't stay long. When we got home, we went to this loud Japanese restaurant and hung out a bit with my parents.

I went to a spin class at my mom's gym on Saturday morning; I wanted her to do it with me, but she was afraid her knee wouldn't be able to handle it. We got some coffee and picked up pastries to take home to the menfolk. Peet's has a scone that I really like, so I try to eat it whenever I am home- there's a Peet's two blocks from our apartment, but they don't have my scone. We had talked about meeting Jessica up in San Francisco, but we weren't feeling up to it. So, we did a bit of shopping. David had never been to Costco, so my mom took us there. I got a fuzzy robe for lounging around the house, and he got a light jacket. I realized while I was there that Costco is probably the reason I enjoy free food samples so much. My parents took me there all the time as a kid, and I loved to snack on the little samples they hand out. We came home arounf 3:30, had some sandwiches, made some margaritas, and that's pretty much the rest of the day. My dad rented a couple of weird foreign movies; we watched one all the way through, but the other was too bizarre to finish: it was this Armenian art film full of symbolism and pretension.

This morning, my mom got bagels for breakfast, which is what I was secretly hoping she would do though I didn't want to ask. If she hadn't brought them home, I was going to suggest that we go up and get bagels. She must have read my mind. We walked up to the Farmer's market; I got some almonds to take to work tomorrow, and David got some almonds for the plane. The we said goodbye to my mom, and my dad drove us to the airport. It was a pretty quick flight, and now we're home. The Cobra was really happy to see us. I'm not looking forward to work tomorrow, but I am glad to be back in Seattle.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


My co-worker George was wearing a suit this morning. "Looking sharp," I said, "Client visit?" "No," he said, "I figured I would look good for the CEO." I had thought that the CEO was coming in on Wednesday, so I was surprised; since I'm gone tomorrow, I hadn't even really registered his visit at all. I quickly scampered off to turn on the coffee machine and wipe off the conference table. It's a good thing I didn't wear my jeans today like I had considered; I'm tired of putting professional outfits together just to throw crap in boxes, but denim would have looked pretty shabby next to everyone else in their CEO-best. Next week it's all comfy and casual, except for Tuesday, because I have an interview for an internship at a Marketing firm.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I found three people to write me references for grad school: Cait, Len and Shahrayne, all folks from my old job. I was really putting off asking, not because I didn't think that they would help me, but because I've been out of contact and it's awkward asking for a favor after not speaking for a while. They've all been busy, so they understand and probably haven't even noticed. One shocker that's bumming me out: Cait is having surgery on Wednesday to remove the early stages of cervical cancer. Len said that it's not uncommon for this to happen in transplant patients, but she's suffered enough with her kidneys. Kidney failure is just as lethal as cancer, but it isn't as scary for some reason.

My day went by really fast and I'm not even sure why. It was nice though. It started off really well too: I decided to treat myself to a baked good at Whole Foods for breakfast. As I was walking towards the pastry case to get a bagel, a man came out of the kitchen with a big tray of freshly baked mini-baguettes. I followed him and he said to me, "the ones in back are the best." I picked one out and sure enough, it was still warm. It was still warm when I ate it at my desk a half-hour later. I hope to repeat the incident tomorrow.

It was a good weekend too: we had sushi with Dan and Mollye on Saturday night, and went to the zoo and did a little shopping on Sunday: I bought some yarn and David bought a new game.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


I came to the realization this morning that if I do my Christmas shopping before going down to California for Thanksgiving, I will be able to save a lot of money on shipping just by bringing presents for my family down with me and leaving them there. So, I went shopping today. I had some gift cards from places I never shop at (Borders, Anthropologie, Sephora) so I was able to get good gifts for my family without breaking my budget too much. I love getting a good deal. I also got a piroshky from the piroshky place at the market, which I had been wanting to try for a while and turned my good day into a great one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Art Imitates Life

On Monday, I cleaned the office microwave. It hadn't been cleaned since I started working there, and had become so gross that something had to be done; I presume that since no one else cleans it that this is my job. We have a service that comes in and "cleans" the office on the weekends, and I feel that this should fall under their jurisdiction; I would complain to Carol, but this service is really just one of the Architects in Training and his girlfriend, so I would just feel like a dirty rotten tattler doing that. They get paid as an outside vendor for vacuuming and taking out the trash, but apparently not to dust or clean the microwave- am I wrong that this should be their responsibility and not mine? Eh, probably. Anyhow, I cleaned the microwave; scoured is a better word. When I was done, I put a little sticker above the clock that says "If your food spills or spatters, please clean it up."

On Thursday, "The Office" aired (we just watched it online). The opening scene: Pam the receptionist notices a mess in the microwave and puts a note telling people to clean it up. People are angry that she has put the note on the microwave, not at the person who made the mess.

Anyhow, I just thought that this was funny (in a coincidental, not ha-ha, sort of way). Sorry about the cleaning rant. I actually had a really good day at work today: I was surprised by a marketing mailing to be sent out ASAP, so I spent most of the day working on that. These are always fun. Randy the marketing guy is a horrible writer, and I enjoy improving his work. Plus, he always tells me that my corrections are great, which isn't always true but still feels good. Architects are so blunt and critical that it's nice to receive empty praise every now and again, especially for something I've actually used my brain for.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sick Day II

I just talked with a man doing a background check on one of my college roommates; apparently she's trying to get a security clearance. Some of the questions are ridiculous: "have you ever known this person to be involved in an organization planning on overthrowing the U.S. government?" Umm, no. I can see how it is important for the sake of national security that people working with confidential documents are not terrorists, but if they are, you probably aren't going to get an honest answer out of their friends. The interviewer also seemed concerned when I told him that she socialized with people other countries.

I had my first Illustrator class last night. Illustrator is a really neat program- I'm really excited to be taking this class. I have to miss next week because we're going to California, but the instructor said she would send me what we're going to be working on so I can practice on my own.

I took another sick day today; it's just a little cold but I'm not feeling so hot. I want to take tomorrow off too, but am not sure if that's a good idea. I don't have anything to do, but I don't want my boss to think that I'm not a good worker. Still, I just don't feel like dragging my body into the office and pretending to work when I could be on the couch sleeping. I'll have to see how my voice sounds; if I sound sick I'll stay home, because I don't want to answer the phone with a croak.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Sick Day

I took a sick day today. I was considering taking one yesterday, but didn't. Then this morning, I woke up with sniffles and a sore throat. So, serves me right for trying to fool the system: Karma. I went to work, but really didn't need to be there so I left around 10 and slept for a while (a long while). My first Illustrator class is tonight, so I want to feel well for that! It's also a nice chance to work on my resume and improve my job search tactics, although all I really want to do is sleep.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I just got a call from Seattle Central that my InDesign class has been canceled. They are going to give me a refund, but I'm pretty bummed: I really need those skills to be a viable candidate for even the most basic entry-level graphic design job. Knowing InDesign might even help make my current job better, since the firm overall has a strong graphics department but the Seattle office does not. The Illustrator class is still on, so that's at least a start.

On a positive note, I got an email from one of the jobs I applied for last week asking when would be a good time for a phone interview. Plus, I found another job opening that I would be perfect for: someone with workshop leading/planning experience and a background in International Studies, so I am looking forward to writing that cover letter tonight. I am trying to be optimistic.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


This afternoon was the Seattle Art Museum's annual Members Meeting, as well as a members-only preview of the Edward Hopper exhibit that opens tomorrow. My mom gave us a membership, so I figured we should go; we're probably the youngest members by about 50 years.

The meeting started at 3:30, so I booked it downtown after work. The first part of the meeting was pretty basic: talking about the events of the past year, budget, electing trustees, Q&A, etc. Then, the lady who curated the Hopper exhibit talked for a while. I met David in the lobby after the meeting concluded, and we went upstairs to view the show, after checking my coat and deciding that the line for beverages and light snack foods in the post-meeting reception was too long. The exhibit was small, but included many of his famous works. I really like Hopper, so it was neat to see these paintings again: most of them were in the the Hopper Retrospective at the MFA in Boston, which was pretty sweet. This isn't as impressive, but it's still nice. We walked through the rest of the Museum too. I like it a lot.

Other things I did today: got my teeth cleaned, unsuccessfully tried to convert Carol to chard, covered the Boise office's phone lines, tried my new favorite flavor of Clif Bar (maple nut), went out to Mexican food for dinner, worked on my grad-school admissions essay, was suckled by the Cobra. It was a pretty satisfying day: I had stuff to do at work (thanks, Boise office!), and better yet, I was only there for 5.5 hours (thanks, dentist!).

Thursday, November 6, 2008


It was bound to happen sooner or later that I meet one of the Bates people in Seattle. I wore my college sweatshirt to the gym, and as I'm standing at the magazine rack I hear behind me, "did you go to Bates? In Maine?" We chatted for a little while. It was a little awkward but the girl was really nice. I'm going to try to go back to the gym at the same time next week so I can build a friendship.

Speaking of building friendships, I had dinner with Lindsey tonight at Six Arms, a bar/restaurant that I had been wanting to go to for a while. It's across from the art store, so I walk by it every once in a while. The atmosphere was fun and we sat on a comfy couch and chair in the back; I love it when restaurants have living room furniture instead of the usual restaurant stuff. She got burrito that probably weighed as much as she does (she's petite) and I just got a salad because I went a little crazy with the post-gym snacking and wasn't too hungry. She just started a program at UW, so we talked about that, Halloween, the election, etc.

Oh yeah, the election! Awesome. It was like a really good Christmas where Santa brings you everything you want: every person and issue I voted for was elected or passed except for one (won't say which one because voting against it probably makes me a bad person), but I didn't really care about that issue too much anyhow. Living in Seattle is great because everyone thinks like me. We went over to Chris and Kristen's apartment for a couple of drinks and a good time. Chris made hummus. It's funny to be watching an election on the West Coast, especially one so decisive: about 2 minutes after West Coast polls closed, they called it. I was up until almost 2 in '04 (I was in Maine and it was a closer election) and so I was gearing up for a late night. The honking and fireworks and people making out on Broadway street corners went on for quite some time though, long after we got home.

Monday, November 3, 2008


After complaining to the school about only getting 4 out of my 5 monoprinting classes due to their mistake, I got a call last week saying that there would be a make-up class tonight. So, I showed up at 6:30, and it's just me and the instructor. She was getting over a cold, and not too thrilled about being there. Plus, her accent is really thick, so making small talk is a challenge. She showed me some handmade paper samples from a conference she recently attended in Hawaii and we got to (sort of) talking. She asked me what my plans were for the next couple of years. I said that I am probably going to go back to school. She asked if I had finished high school. Ouch. I had hoped to peace out around 8 because just the two of us in a huge art studio was making me really uncomfortable, but somehow I managed to stay the entire time and make some masterpieces. I've had my fair share of awkward experiences, so I have a pretty high tolerance for this sort of thing, but I've never been more glad to sit on the couch and be suckled by the Cobra, far far away from Seattle Central and the printmaking room.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Last night was fun. A little too fun maybe: after eating junk food and sleeping all day, I am finally feeling well enough to sit on the couch and watch David play GTA. But last night was fun. We went as Eurotrash. David shaved his beard into a stylish goatee and gelled his hair into a sweet fauxhawk. I wore my purple sweater dress and red beret. Capitol Hill on Halloween is crazy: people dress up so much in real life that they have to put in extra effort on Halloween. We got dinner and a couple of drinks (aka, taking Subway to a bar that lets you bring your own food) before meeting up with Chris, Kristen and Casey and going over to Hart's apartment, which was pretty far away but fortunately all on the same bus. Hart lives in an artist's colony, and most of the partygoers may have been artists, ie, kinda weird. Shane showed up around 11, and drove us downtown. We went to Shorty's, where I thought about getting a veggie dog but instead went for a bloody Mary. Probably a bad decision: I think that Bloody Mary is the reason I'm hurting. We walked home from there, maybe a mile and a half. I think I'm about ready to get off the couch and get on with my life. Not sure if the gym is a good idea, but I feel the urge to tone and atone.