Thursday, January 31, 2008

Happy Birthday Camie!

Today is my BFF Camie's birthday. Last year I really outdid myself and got her three really awesome gifts.

First, a cool picture frame from Anthropologie.

Second, I wrapped all of the things I'd borrowed from her over the year and regifted them to her. I think there were three books, a couple of pairs of socks, and maybe a notebook.

Third, this Lookin Good for Jesus Fix-It-Kit. Which I think you'll agree is both WAY AWESOME and TOTALLY USEFUL (both spiritually and physically).
This year's gift could never measure up to last year's in coolness or originality. For one thing, I didn't borrow anything from her this year (that I'm planning on giving back). But even though this won't be as cool as Jesus Lip Balm, part of my gift to Camie on this, her 33rd Birthday, is to list 33 reasons why I'm glad Camie is my friend.

  1. She likes grilled cheese sandwiches more than anyone I know.
  2. She also really value Tots. I respect that.
  3. She's my favorite person to sit with after church ends and look at (critique) everyone’s outfit. I’ve tried doing it solo … it’s not the same.
  4. For years she was my Visiting Teacher. Best VT EVER! It was the only time I’ve ever been consistently Visit Taught, and the only time I would actually have considered calling my VT to help me out if I needed anything.
  5. Excellent at theme parties. Hello? Plastic lunch trays for the back-to-school party? Genius.
  6. My favorite dancing buddy.
  7. My favorite shopping buddy.
  8. Her driving doesn’t scare me.
  9. She remembers the first time we met, even though I don’t. We both remember that we talked to some guy named Al Winner.
  10. We became friends by fighting over a boy. It was a tie.
  11. We decided to be best friends in a van in Punxsutawney, PA.
  12. Neither of us saw the groundhog in Punxsutawney, but we did see WAY too much of the Elderly Turbo Lover in his spandex pants.
  13. I can text her at 3AM when I'm attracted to inappropriate men and she won't get mad.
  14. We hid in the ladies room together when Tod the Bod started to take off toooo much at Vicki's bridal shower. That was scary.
  15. She is my style guru. Seriously.
  16. She doesn't get mad (for keeps) when I copy her and buy things that she bought first.
  17. She was glad that I left her for dead when she passed out in the shower. (That worked out nicely for me, since I was busy with the international billing rules that may or may not apply to text messages.)
  18. She introduced me to 100 calorie Hostess Cupcake packs.
  19. She listens to all of the advice I give. She doesn't always take it, but she always lets me give it. It makes me feel useful. (And occasionally wise).
  20. She is a really good story teller.
  21. I love how she uses the names of co-workers and other friends I don't know in her stories, making it seem like I know them too. Makes me feel included.
  22. She thinks that she isn't a people person- but let me tell you, she is. Definitely. She is an expert at making new friends and opening up.
  23. She loves Guns 'N Roses. Even though she didn't notice that when she went to see them in concert she thought the opening band was them, and left before GNR took the stage. An honest mistake.
  24. She is the Glue.
  25. She is the Voice of Reason. (Unless she's flipping out, then I am the Voice of Reason).
  26. She loves neutral colors.
  27. Her favorite non-neutral color was, and might possibly still be, purple.
  28. Beach time with Camie is always uber-relaxing.
  29. She has some really good one-liners which I've adopted such as "Tan fat is better than white fat."
  30. She has a refreshingly nonchalant attitude regarding parking tickets.
  31. Thankfully, she doesn't judge me for the dumb things I do. But even if she did, she would still be my friend.
  32. She makes me laugh. V. Important.
  33. We're both 33, we're both single, and we're both dealing with the same &^*#. If we had to do this by ourselves I'd definitely be a lot more bitter, and she'd probably be a lot more jaded. It's nice to have someone along for the roller coaster ride.
Happy Birthday Camie!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I'm Seeing Stars!

Could I be MORE in love with this sweater?

No, I could not. Not unless it was free and came with a lifetime supply of Diet Coke.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I Deny It All

So I just got back from a work trip to Las Vegas. And really, for a work trip, I had an AH-Mazing time. I met up with a bunch of friends that I haven't seen for a long time, and made a bunch of new friends. If there's anything I can't have too many of, it's friends that live in exotic places around the world. The food was great, the hotel was AH-Mazing (complete with AH-Mazing marble bathtubs and turn down service with MINTS!), and the casino only shanghaied me out of $5. Good times, good times.

But even with all of the good times, there are still some things that should definitely stay in Vegas. Such as .......
  • Seeing one of the male Sr. VPs watching Charmed while running on the treadmill. Come on now, we all watch Charmed from time to time ... but we don't admit it, and we should never do it in public.
  • The animatronic show at Caesar's Palace. It was horrible. They could learn a thing or two from Chuck-E-Cheese.
  • Dancing like a fool at the opening social. I wish I could blame doing really bad air guitar (twice) on the booze. But I can't. I'm just hoping everyone else really took advantage of the open bar and can't remember.
  • Singing along with every song at a piano bar. It was a DUELING piano bar, so maybe that makes it better. But probably not.
  • Seeing some Ladies of the Night trolling for business in the hotel bar. Got me some edumacation there, I'll tell ya.
In the category of things I'm happy to replay in my memory, I saw the fountain at the Bellagio, and I think I might like that better than fireworks. BETTER THAN FIREWORKS!!! That's serious love.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Desperately Seeking Gargamel

I bought some cute smokey-blue corduroy pants last week in preparation for my trip to Las Vegas (more about THAT later). I wore them on the plane ride home today, and overall I really like them. But there is one tiny little problem.

The dye bled all over me and now my legs are entirely blue. Really blue.

If I put on a white shirt, I am a reverse Smurf.

Hot. Super hot. Thanks a lot snazzy cords.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Wherin I Get Served by a Kiosk

Don't you just hate it when you go to the airport, and you walk up to the kiosky thing to get your boarding pass, and it has the audacity to tell you that your flight has already departed? And you're all like, "UH, HELLO kiosky thing, my flight doesn't leave until 10:25, and it's like 9:15. So why don't you go ahead and spit out that boarding card, thankyouverymuch."

And then the kiosky thing gets all up in your face and says, "There IS a flight leaving at 10:25, but YOUR reservation was for the flight that left at 6:30. ThankYOUverymuch. Goodbye."

And then your all like, "WHAT-EV-AH ! You're just a brainless kiosk, what do you know? My massive brain distinctly remembers the 10:25 flight. Here, I'll even SHOW YOU that I'm on the 10:25 flight ... " and then you pull out your printed itinerary, all ready to shove it the kiosk's LCD face, when you see that um, .... yes ..... uh ... "Well, even though it SAYS 6:30, clearly someone has been mucking with the reservation since there's NO WAY I'd ever book a 6:30 flight when there was a 10:25 flight available."

oooooouch. That's rough. I hate it when that happens.

Not only is this a stark reminder that I should engage in reading my itinerary from time to time, but also that flying standby can be a real hassle. And also, that I'm an idiot.

It has cleared a few things up for me though.

First, I now know why Orbitz called me with my flight status at 3:30 in the morning. I couldn't figure out why they were calling me 6 hours before my flight ... usually it's only 3 hours.

And secondly, I really need to look into getting a personal assistant to keep track of all of this crap for me. Clearly I can't handle it solo.

I'm off to Vegas on Sunday ... let's hope I can get my head screwed on straight for that trip.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Live from Michigan

I'm so dedicated to bringing you the LATEST in election '08 coverage, I flew to Michigan to be the first to bring you the news of how their Primary turns out. I'm dedicated like that.

I mean, this is probably the most exciting primary since New Hampshire! Like there are some things about delegate seats and boycotting, best-laid retaliation plans backfiring, and not everyone appearing on the ballot. And holy cow Hillary will have back to back wins; a major advantages of being the only Dem on the ballot. It's pretty exciting stuff. And if I cared about politics at all, I would most certainly be out doing some scintillating exit polling.

But I don't.

Let's illustrate ...

Colleague: So when does Maryland have their primary?

Me: {Blank Look}

Colleague: Is it on Super Tuesday?

Me: {Blank Look}

Colleague: February 5th?

Me: Sure. That sounds good.

So no, I'm not here to bring you the second-by-second summary of the Michigan Primary. Politics are not my cup of tea.

Work is my cup of tea. (I actually have some to do! It's a minor miracle!) Consequently, I'm in Michigan as part of a two-week Work Triptacular. First stop, Ann Arbor ... where my brain will be jammed with useful facts and cheerful information. Then home for the weekend to do laundry and repack before scooting off for a week in Vegas, baby, Vegas.

Consequently, posting will probably be light because obviously I can't tell you about the shenanigans I get up to in Vegas. And there are no shenanigans to be had in Ann Arbor.

But I don't want to leave you high and dry. If I can't think of anything interesting to post about I will just do what I always do and exaggerate wildly until the mundane is exciting again. If that fails, I'll just start following politics and turn this into a political blog. Because the world definitely needs more political blogs.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Is It Spring Already?

I just read this quote by Carson Kressley. (You'll remember him as the loud crazy one on Queer Eye) He said,
"If you have and organized closet and a balanced checkbook you can rule the world!"

He's so wise. And look! Look what I did! I refolded all of my sweaters, organizing them by style and color. I know! I'm a little in awe of myself, too.


And After:

I refound a whole bunch of sweaters by doing this. It was like I gained 1/2 a wardrobe! (You might also notice that my shirts are also organized by color. I did this a long time ago. But I highly recommend it ... it's easy to maintain and feels like you are shopping in your own closet when everything looks so pretty!)

I got so energized by my tidy closet that I decided that I would also tackle the china I had strewn all around my desk. I unpacked it last year to see how much I had inherited from my grandmother, and well, just never got around to putting it away again.


And After:

This still needs a little pretty-ing up, but seriously, it's a MAJOR accomplishment to have even cleared up the space.

It's a whole new world here at Chez Gretchen. I'm going to try to be more dedicated to cleaning. Because I really like it when my house is clean. And I'd be clean all of the time, if it weren't for the fact that my dislike of cleaning is kind of a bully. So things get ... um cluttered. And messy. (And hairy. Holy cow ... I have long dark hair, and it is all over my apartment. I can't believe I'm not bald. Fortunately, if I do go bald, I have plenty of hair on hand to make myself a wig.)

To keep things tidy, but not deprive my slothful self, I've decided to follow this cleaning regimen and devote 10 minutes a day to cleaning. A lousy 10 minutes of scrub-a-dub-dub and then I can go back to watching Gossip Girl. My little matchbox apartment will be sparkling in no time!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

And The Last Shall Be First

I signed up for Blockbuster's answer to NetFlix (Total Access) a few months ago and up to this point I have been very pleased with it. I like being able to take the video into the store for that "instant gratification" factor. I like how quick and reliable the deliveries are. And I like that the DVDs are in pretty good shape. It's been a pretty positive experience.

I should have known that some idiocy would surface sooner or later. For months now they've been dutifully shipping the #1 item in my queue. But today I got a notice that they had shipped item #2 in my queue. Generally, this wouldn't be a problem, but item #2 is Disc 2 of a Two-Disc set of The Thorn Birds. (Just to be clear, item 1 was Disc 1). And call me crazy, but I'm just not interested in watching the end before I get to watch the beginning.

So, now I'm all conflicted. I don't know if I should watch the second disc first, OR if I should send it back immediately, get disc one and put disc two back into my queue (in the first position, of course). Option 2 sounds good ... but I hate waiting. And what if they still don't send the right disc? Oh man, this is hard.

Anyone got any other brilliant ideas to counteract this colossal display of moronitude?

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

My Horoscope

Courtesy of the Salt Lake City Weekly Paper. (Thanks Anna)

Do you ever wonder if God loves Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton more than he loves you, as seemingly evidenced by those celebrities’ charmed lives? Do you suspect that Tiger Woods’ fame and Bill Gates’ wealth meant that Fate is friendlier to them than it is to you? If so, you’re in for a major surprise, Capricorn. Events in 2008 will bring you big deliveries of the next best things to riches and fame. You’ll get more proof than you’ve had in a long time that God and Fate adore you.

It's official, both God and Fate have hopped on the bandwagon and will start to adore me forthwith. This is one trend you don't want to miss!*

(PS. Hey, God and Fate, it's great to have you on board! Listen, I know it says the "next best things to riches and fame," but you really don't need to limit yourselves like that. If riches and fame are easier, I'm sure we can work something out. Anyway, think about it.
You both do great work; it's great to finally have you both on Team Gretchen.)

* NOTE TO SYCOPHANTS AND HANGERS-ON: Worm your way into my affections now, while I still believe your intentions are pure.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I (hate) Vitamins

I am the worlds worst vitamin taker. I know this because I have a trucker hat with the words World's Worst Vitamin Taker on it.

I haaaaaaate taking vitamins. It is one of those things that I decide I should do and so I buy a bottle take about 2 of them, and then fall out of the routine. About four years later I'll pick up the bottle only to find that it expired in 2001. I'm not exaggerating about that. Last fall I had to teach a young women lesson on "being healthy" and taking vitamins was one of the suggestions. So I said, "Well, I better practice what I preach" and went to the medicine cabinet and pulled out a full bottle of vitamins that expired in 2001. Meaning that it, like Mustard, came along for the ride on at least 4 moves. Unlike Mustard, I threw these nasty vitamins into the trash with a glint of triumph in my eye. Nasty vitamins!

The thing is, I should really be taking vitamins. I'm not known for being the most ... er ... nutritious eater. I didn't drink milk throughout my entire 20s, so unless there's a LOT of calcium in cheese pizza I think I'm in trouble.

Hi there, Osteoporosis. I'm Gretchen. I'm introducing myself now because we're gonna be good friends.

What I want to know why they can't make vitamins more fun to take? I think I'd be much more excited about it if they had Flintstone's vitamins for adults. Don't adults need to be bribed with purple Dinos and pink Wilmas too? (yes, they do.)

This vitamin problem is just one example of how getting old and having to take better care of your body is completely devoid of joy.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Put on Your Party Hats

Today is the big day. The day I leave 32 behind and turn ... gulp ... 33.

In honor of it ALSO being National Trivia Day, and I since I love trivia, I thought it would be fitting to provide some interesting bits of trivia about me, my birth, and my birthdays. On this, my 33rd birthday.

  • I am a Saturday's Child and thus work hard for a living. (This isn't the same thing as being a Saturday's Warrior, just in case you were wondering.)
  • I was the first of my parent's seven children to be born on their due date. If I hadn't been born on my due date I would have been either "loving and giving" or "bonny and blithe". Both would have been more rewarding than having to work hard for a living, I'm sure.
  • I am the first of my parent's seven children that my dad saw born. That's why I'm his favorite.
  • My dad almost missed my birth because he wasn't expecting me to arrive on my due date, and had gone on Ski Patrol. But I waited around for him. I've always been accommodating that way.
  • I was born at 9:30 at night. Obviously, a Night Owl from the very beginning.
  • The last time I was in a hospital was when I was born.
  • I share a birthday with Michael Stipe of R.E.M, Patty Loveless, Dave Foley, and Julia Ormond.
  • The first American Ice-Skating club was formed today in 1850. In consequence, Michael Stipe, Patty Loveless, Dave Foley, Julia Ormond and I all LOVE ice skating.
  • In third grade I got a pair of ice skates, two porcelain unicorns with golden horns, and a sweater which had a key-hole opening (I thought it was really risque, and almost never wore it).
  • I have had only ONE birthday party with a piƱata. A sad deficiency, I think.
  • I had one birthday party at the Skate Castle Roller Skating Rink. I got a baton.
  • When I was 12 my parents let me choose between having a party or a fancy dinner. I chose the fancy dinner. We went to Red Lobster. I had the lobster. In retrospect, it was not fancy.
  • I turned 23 and 24 in Chile. On my 23rd I spent the day bawling my eyes out and scratching flea bites. My 24th was marginally better and included cake.
  • Angle Food cake (with confetti) was my birthday cake of choice until I learned about cream cheese frosting. Then it was Angle Food Cake (with confetti) and cream cheese frosting.
  • My birthday presents were usually presented in the bag of the store from which they were bought. I didn't mind. It made unwrapping them go much faster.
  • I wore a Cookie Monster Sugar Cookie recipe shirt to my 3rd birthday party. This is the only childhood birthday party I have any pictures of.
  • I have a lot more pictures of my birthday parties now that I'm an adult and much less blond. I'll even take some tonight when we go to the one restaurant in DC that might have good Mexican food. They make the guac right at the table, and if that's not a step in the right direction, I don't know what is.
I'm sad to not be 32 anymore. But I think 33 might turn out all right.

Happy Birthday to Moi!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Off To A Weird Start

I thought it would be more interesting to tell you about this crazy dream I had last night than to do a more traditional New Year's post and share that this year's resolution is to "Love My Job." That theme is a little tired. But dreams! Now that's exciting stuff!

I am one of those fortunate fools that can remember their dreams. I've always loved this about me because my dreams are CRAZY!! (But one of the many many reasons I enjoy sleeping so much.) Typically they are pretty wild featuring lots of chasing and fighting. My favorites are where I'm punching the hell out of somebody. It's so out of character for me, that I find it very satisfying. I'm a bit of a badass.

In last night's dream I had an ATM card that would gift me with thousands of dollars in quarters every time I swiped it. After a few swipes the bank figured out that I was being gifted with this money (for some reason they called it "stealing." The nerve!) and had put the kabash on me ever using it again. Even though I was forbidden to use it I still had the card and wanted to see if it would still work. (One does this type of crazy nonsensical stuff in dreams). So I swiped it between the grates of an air grille and quarters instantly came spilling out everywhere!

No sooner did the quarters start making a nice little pile than my phone rang. The caller ID showed that it was the police! I didn't answer (duh!), but I knew that THEY knew that I had swiped the card again, and they were coming after me.

Scared to death, I high-tailed it out of my apartment. Not stopping to grab anything ... I just ran. I ran all the way down the street, into Rock Creek Park, through various neighborhoods, dodged behind some school buses as I watched cop cars patrolling the area, before finally making it to a train station where I hopped on a train.

It was at this point where I realized that I hadn't brought anything with me. No money, no phone, no magic ATM card. Nothing. I started freaking out (even more than I was already freaking out). But then I thought, "Calm down, it's ok. Just call Mom and Dad. They'll wire you the money for the train ticket to Colorado. It'll be ok. It'll be ok." And I started to relax.

But then I remembered I didn't have my phone. I'd left it at home with everything else. Blast! I reluctantly asked to borrow one from the woman sitting behind me. With the phone in my hand I started to dial, but then remembered that my parents no longer live in my childhood home in Colorado ... and I had no idea what their new phone number was. For that matter, since all numbers are stored in my phone and not in my brain I didn't know ANYONE's phone number! I had no idea how I was going to pay for my train ride, let alone where I should go, or who I could get to help me. I was entirely alone in the world. A huge family, tons of friends, and I couldn't contact any of them. That's a really scary feeling, friends.

With the conductor closing in on me, I thought I was lost. He would kick me off the train. The police would catch me. My life would basically be over. I HAD to stay on that train! But with no money and no one to call I couldn't see how.

But then, like a flash I realized that I could be saved by the most unlikely of sources: Online Shopping! Doing so much online shopping has drilled my credit card number into my brain. I was saved! I knew all of that shopping would become really handy some day! I happily drifted out of the dream repeating that blessed 16-digit number over and over again, knowing that everything would turn out all right so long as I had a credit card number. The end.

I'm now putting myself through a regimen of memorizing my family member's phone numbers, and stashing cash and credit cards around the city just in case this dream ever comes true. My dreams have come true before, so it's best to be prepared.