Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Farewell 2014, I loved you

Last blog post of 2014 - I finally broke down and joined real online dating. Ew, it's hard!

I can hear the fireworks already. Let's not rush this people!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas - before I forget

This year I didn't get to go up until the morning of. When I got there the Mujahids were also there, but not my brother. MWF cooks macaroni and cheese now. My mom was there because her oldest sister was with my grandparents, who can't be alone because of Nana's stroke. The biggest surprise was that my dad got us all earrings from Helzberg Diamonds which fit our personality. I think I liked my mom's the best. So gold. So shiny. Mine have some kind of clear jewel which I know is not a diamond and are silver. MBF's are kind of elvish design. So we all wore them.  I pulled out the dress PP gave me in PR, which is hideous. I think she hates me without knowing me or she has horrible taste. There were puffed sleeves and a bubble hem, which is atrocious on a 5'4" person. I used the seam ripper to get ride of the puffed sleeves, and then I cut off the bubble hem, but I didn't have time to hem it. Mom and YM told me to burn it. Christmas was at my grandparents house since they can't leave the house and we all contended with Sheba who is a 200 pound mastiff who is very sweet but knows that she's 200 pounds and isn't afraid to throw her bulk around. So many desserts.

Next day I went to get oil and filters with the Mujahids. Then my dad did my oil change while I stood around and watched, held the occasional funnel. At night, the sisters and my aunt and cousin went to see the Hobbit 3. MWF tried to bail for an hour to see her friends instead, but she was the one who organized the whole thing and her bf helped her see the light. Weird that she needs him to make decisions now. She was less hissy-fit about it during the movie than I thought she would be. She tends to get moody, while my other sister holds grudges. I now see why my cousin regards Thranduil as her husband. He was really impressive, even if he's still generally crabby and an ass. Will not spoil.

This whole time, I slept on an airbed in the living room. Stayed up until 3:30am and so the next day was super hard to get up. That day was Saturday and SC invited me to go see an indie band play in Glen Mills, but I really wasn't feeling it. I was tired and Glen Mills reminds me of my cousin who was there for juvie and is currently in jail. No, juvie didn't work. Nothing did. So I just stayed home with MBF, who I get along with most comfortably of my siblings, and we chilled and then went and bought a pizza from Dominos - too garlicky but okay else. I like that she likes to drive when she's home because I like to not drive. Oh, and the Mujahids left to get the youngest one back to Arlington where she caught a megabus to A-Town; they also left behind a lot of their stuff that they forgot to pack. The oldest is now in NYC living with the drama of being in a rented apartment with a bunch of early 20-something boys and girls. She loves it.

The next day I'd stayed up until 3:30am again, so I woke up late. Watched Pinocchio episode on my tablet. It really is good to bring on a vacation. Then I took a shower and uncle Mujahid came over to wash his clothes. He's staying at my grandparents' house as he builds the extension onto their house because there's no bathroom downstairs. He hopes to be finished in a week. Then I stopped by my grandparents' house on my way back to MD. Nana told me she loves me more. Poppi was wearing the robe MWF got him for Christmas. Sheba was giant. The back roads were fine, but 95 was slow. Took an extra half hour. Was back by 7pm.

Must Record - PR Day 3

PR seems so far away now. Let me try to remember Day 3.

This was the Old San Juan Day, so we started out with breakfast in Condado at a restaurant called Pinky's. Best thing was when you ordered the smoothie you got not just the glass with the smoothie in it, but the blender too. Can you say 3 servings? With all the smoothie I drank, could only eat about a third of the dish I ordered - the Skinny Biache and a cafe con leche. The place was busy, felt like a cute downtown, like West Chester only with palm trees. And the sky a bright cloudless blue. It was near a hospital, so there were people in scrubs picking up a quick breakfast at the register. And since the girls I went with are residents, it prompted some doctor talk too, which I didn't try to understand because I was on vacation. Notably, the menu had a naked cherub baby on it. So indecent and hilarious. After Pinky's we walked outside, west, in the direction of Old San Juan until we found something like a CVS and bought water bottles. Then we got into a cab pulled up at the side of the road and an elderly cabbie took us up up up to El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, which is a 400 year old fort maintained by the National Park Service. There was no shade. Just a green lawn about a quarter mile long and El Morro was at the edge of the harbor. It's really a fort. It cost $5 to get in. 7 levels I think. Sweat all over. Saw an iguana - pretty scary but he/she was just sunning. Then we walked down to the Castillo de San Cristobal. Then we watched a couple cruise ships come in and walked into the town, did the tourist thing. At one point we walked into a park where there were pigeons everywhere. In the trees. On the ground. They rose up for a moment we were terrified of getting pooped on - I used my painting to hide under, but PP hid under AC. There was a banyan tree decorated for Christmas. There was a fountain with stone horses. I took the best landscape picture from below the walls of the fort, looking towards the harbor.
Castillo del Morro on the left there. No trees.
I bought a painting of Castillo de San Felipe del Morro that I have yet to hang up. We had lunch. Saw a lot of cats. Stopped a bar with annoyingly powerful air-conditioning. I eventually found some frozen yogurt. The only icecream that seemed to exist there was Ben and Jerry's, but I wanted soft serve. Caught a taxi back near the cruise ships. Went back though rush hour traffic to the Intercontinental.

Back at the hotel, the girls didn't want to take a last walk on the beach, but it was supposed to rain tomorrow, so I went out for about 45 minutes and just walked with my feet in the sand until it got too dark. I watched a cruise ship float past, nothing but lights in blackness. How are they not all scared when they look out and see nothing but the blackness of the ocean? It's like being blind a little when I did that activity in Atlanta with Amy and Mary back in spring of 2010. Anyway, the other people were mostly couples, guys drinking, a lone middle aged man doing the same thing I was only with a drink in his hand. I went back and my hair was all thick and salty from the seaspray. I showered and dressed up in my pink Target dress and we went out to an expensive place to celebrate AC's birthday! We walked, which was fine because it was close, but she was having allergies because of the cats earlier and PP and I both had heels on. Totally worth it as I can stand to walk a few blocks in heels. The restaurant was my first time at a super fancy place where the waiter explains the meal to you and there are courses and a bunch of presentation to eating. We had the popcorn soup to start, which was like potato soup. And then something with chicken that was so rich. Had a signature PR drink that wasn't very strong. Had pumpkin donuts for dessert. The waiter brought AC something with a candle in it and PP and I split the bill. AC wondered if the cats had been rabid. I thought she meant the pigeons. We found this extremely funny, probably thanks to the alcohol. Walked back to the Intercontinental where the people held the doors open for us again. I loved that.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Must Record PR - Day 2

First I have to say that I am thoroughly enjoying the Kdrama Modern Farmer. At least once an episode I debate on whether Lee Hongki is appealing as a man. No definitive answer on that, but Park Minwoo is. And I watched the first episode of Pinocchio, which I expected to be bored by, but it made me feel, ya'll. I was crying by the 25min mark at the sad back story, despite the fact that it was predictable.

Also, last night I was brave and went to DC on the metro all by myself at night to meet a friend who is in town for a couple days. I even changed trains! Many thanks to her for putting up with me and my lateness. It had been 5 years since I last saw her, so I had to go though. I'm a country girl, in cities I spend half my time mourning the lack of trees. I'm always surprised that homeless people sleep by the metro stations. There aren't homeless people in the country much (at least not visibly homeless), mostly because there aren't many people period.

Okay, PR day 2.
Sunday. I woke up at 8:30am for no reason. The girls were not awake, so I just did stuff in the bathroom for an hour. Then AC woke up and opened the curtains and it was the brightest summer day. It was our beach day! I wasn't brave enough to wake up PP, but eventually AC and I were ready so we went downstairs and talked to the towel guy and got wristbands and sat around by the pool until PP came down. The the hotel staff called us a taxi and we were off to Condado and a brunch place called Cafe Marquesa. It was our second choice, but the cabbie couldn't find the first place. AC turned on gps on her phone and we all figured it out. We got his card so we could call him for a ride back. Anyway, Cafe Marquesa was cute and reminded me of Caffe Fontaine in Alexandria, VA where I had crepes with my cousin a couple months ago. At Cafe Marquesa we had cafe con leche (I'm a serious addict now). Also soursop mimosas - delicious. And tamarind mimosas for the second round. Mimosas are like candy. It's like drinking no alcohol at all. Breakfast was an omelette to get protein for the beach day!
soursop tree in Jamaica

Went back to the hotel and changed into bathing suits. Down to the resort to pick up towels. A man set up beach chairs for us for free and we rented an umbrella for $10 and charged it to the hotel room. I read my Philippa Gregory book, The White Princess and sipped a drink from the bar. AC and PP went jet skii-ing for a half hour and I watched as people fell off their jet skis, took pictures of them where they're tiny. We left the beach for the pool. Cramps, so I didn't get in, but did some more reclining and reading. Ate a margherita pizza. Then just sat around until we went inside and showered and laid around and ordered room service and watched a really sad Eagles game where they failed in every way. I ventured to the ice machine. It was far and there were elevators in there - so that's how the staff gets around. We had a message from the front desk because we'd left something on the balcony. Oops. The girls called me weird for not eating again, but I wasn't hungry so I didn't.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Must Record PR - Day 1

How was Puerto Rico? Before I forget.

Day 0 - Friday
I left work at 2pm so I could stop by the bank, pick up a beach book, pack, then sleep early. My beach book was Philippa Gregory's The White Princess. But when I got home, I was so nervous that instead of packing I stalled and ate and watched tv. I didn't wind up sleeping until 2am because I forgot I had to shave parts. Anyway, during my stalling, I finished the 10th and last episode of Gracepoint. It had a really sad ending and I never once suspected the one dad because I was so busy being suspicious of the shifty son. Gasp. Gasp. Gasp.

Day 1 - Saturday
I set my alarm for 5:40am so that I could get to the airport in the 6:30-7am range. I wound up leaving late and speeding up 95, dressed in 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, and a coat. I parked in long term lot A. I didn't drive far enough at first because I saw a lot on the left that I thought might be lot A even though there was no sign. Well it turned out to the ee parking lot. Anyway, I could have parked in B, but I chose A for Aryanne. The lot was vast. As I parked, I saw the shuttle in the far part of the lot. I thought I'd never be able to catch it, but it was going around slowly, so I got out of the car and hustled over. I noted that I was parked in row I. I got on the shuttle, I even saw a man with a NASA hat. Luckily he said he didn't work there, but had visited over 10 years ago and bought that hat. The shuttle filled up and then when it came time to leave the parking lot the plastic gate wouldn't open. So we sat there for 15 minutes as various men tried to override the gate by hitting the control box. The other people on the shuttle got restless and wanted the bus driver to drive right through. A young, smarter looking man came and opened the control box and pressed a manual override button and the gate lifted up and we went to the airport. I got off with all the rest of the people at the first stop. I used curbside check-in at the Southwest counter, after asking one of the people if I was flying domestic. I was pretty sure I was since Puerto Rico is a US territory, but I wanted to be sure. He said I was in the right place, so I got my luggage receipt and went inside. 
The security line was really long. I was now worried about making the flight. But I got lucky and was diverted to the TSA pre-flight line, so I didn't have to take anything off. They swabbed my hands for some reason though. I just googled it and it's a search for traces of explosives. I was gate A2, which was right in front of me down an escalator. There were a lot of people waiting. I didn't see AC and I'd never seen PP in person, so I sat down at the edge of the people and called AC. She came down and we hugged and she said that PP was still in the security line. The call for boarding happened. I was B8, so I went to the boarding line ahead of Amanda and walked down that fake airplane hallway that I don't like to contemplate how high off the ground it is. And it's always cold in there. And I saved a row of seats since they were 3 across. PP knew we were saving her a seat, so she went to Chipotle and bought 3 bags of chips with guac. I was nervous and was thinking she'd gone to Chick-fila and that the chips were fried in peanut oil, so I didn't eat many because I was afraid of breaking out. Hours later, I remembered that those are two different restaurants. The window was in a weird place - mostly in front of me - so it made me feel sick to look out of it. There was a sassy airline hostess who entertained by threatening the passengers, but in a jokey way. We mostly talked, then towards the end of the 4 hour flight I read the beach book. The book isn't any great feat of writing, but it holds your attention and blood/betrayal is always riveting. I didn't google the characters since it was historical fiction and that would spoil it.
We landed in PR and the airport was very white inside and under construction. It wasn't like the Oahu airport, which is open air. It was more like an emptier version of PHL. We walked pretty far to get to baggage claim. My bag came out right away - a carry on because that's the only suitcase I own. The other two girls had packed standard sized suitcases. We walked outside to the taxi line and felt the warmth and humidity right away. The taxis are all white mini vans. For $15 we went to the Intercontinental San Juan hotel. It was gorgeous. Elegant. The fanciest hotel I've ever stayed in. It was also a resort with a few pools, a jacuzzi, a bar in the pool, a restaurant/bar, and if you walk past those it's the beach with complimentary towels, chairs, and umbrella rental for $10/day.
We went upstairs to room 1214, changed into our summer clothes, and used yelp and a taxi to get to To Ma Te, a Mexican Fusion restaurant where the best waiter - Julio Cesar - translated the entire menu for us. I got the tacos el pastor and we all got watermelon mint margaritas. Then we had chocolate shots and he told us to go party at La Placita and to go to the restaurant a few doors down and ask for his friend Lion. Then we walked on the beach back to the hotel. Then we explored the hotel more. Went to Levis for dinner in which I had chicken soup that tasted like bbq sauce. Then back to the hotel where we did midnight jacuzzi instead of La Placita because we were so tired. I saw two shooting stars.

Strangely throughout this SC was texting me. It felt like more than normal. Is it just because I wasn't as focused on work? I like him as a person, but I don't feel attracted to him. I guess the only two people I've felt that attracted to were BB and TB. Even R whose last name recently escaped me, even he was more of the novelty of the experience. R I think would have grown on me eventually though. Anyway, the great love so far aka BB, I remember only thinking he was 'kind of cute' the first time I saw him. Wow how that 'kind of' snowballed fast. Is it with age that I'm being attracted to less people? Probably because most people are married/practically married so I shut it down unless I find out they're single.

I'm so tired. I'll do Day 2 tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2014

nervous nervous nervous

But not as nervous as I was earlier, because my appetite came back. What could go wrong? Well. I could miss the flight, in which case I'd be to embarrassed to go to work and would spend the time I was supposed to be away sobbing. I could get lost trying to find the long term parking. I could give my apt-sitter the wrong key. I could get the airline wrong. I could forget the boarding pass. I could forget to pack my contacts... I am being ridiculous.

I got the cutest family Christmas card in the mail. My friend, MB's has the cutest children of all the people I know. Yes, I have friends with cute kids, but MB has two... so she wins. MB is really pretty and so are her girls. I don't know how I have never actually met her husband, but she got a good egg!

P is holding off. Dare I say will fail to show up until sometime next week? It will be much easier to deal with P during the Hobbit movie. Oh yeah, driving all the way to PA to be able to see it with the crew. It's our tradition. Sadly, we can't do the midnight premiere this year, but we only did for LOTR3 and Hobbit1 anyway. The bro will be absent again as he's still in Miami, but it'll still be awesome. Legolas alone is enough.

Anyway, tonight I want to:

  • finish sorting through my mail
  • watch the last Gracepoint if it's onDemand
  • pack
  • upload some music to my phone (?) eh, I have my iPod 5Gen
Also, I have two bottles of wine because at the RA holiday party at work yesterday I won a door prize which was a bottle of wine. And then there was the bottle I already have. I want to make some sangria out of it. I love sangria. 

Peace and love everyone.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

aldi, late lunch, hair and tv

Big things in my immediate future. For today, the only thing I did was go to Aldi for the second time. I lost a coat button there. It wasn't a button I needed, but still. And then I went to MW's for a delicious late lunch. I never did eat anything after I got home but tea and 7 honey twist pretzels. 7 is a serving. I have to restrict myself, because those things are my addiction. And I also did my hair and caught up on Gracepoint and Haven while doing it. LB, one of my friends, had a baby this year and said she started watching more tv because there's nothing else to do while nursing. Years of doing my hair has conditioned me for that. Not that I want to have a kid and start nursing any time soon.  Need to lay off the spearmint leaves, because my chin is red. Boo! It has to be them. I haven't eaten anything else unhealthy. That I know of.

Going to get my lunch for tomorrow together quickly, and then wash my face and head to bed. Trying to leave the house on time because I don't like having to stay at work later because I got there later. This weekend was the first time all week that I got to see my apartment in the daylight. It's actually pretty nice upstairs. I'm busy for the next 3 weekends, so I won't get to enjoy it much. I'm not going to Philly for New Year's after all. Too much back and forth in my December. I'm going to need a break by then. If I can just convince MW and/or AC to go somewhere fun with me, or even just to burn logs in MW's fireplace, then I'll be set. No way am I having a repeat of last New Years.  I learned that lesson.

Wish me luck at my last full week of work in 2014!

gimme gimme! yum yum