Friday, December 30, 2011

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Good Morning, Kittens!

It's the last workday of the year! YAY! And, there are only two of us in the office today. YAY! All I have to do is pound out my monthly report for December and, then, I am surfing the internetz for the rest of the day. SUH-weet.

So, last night, I had a first date with this guy, R, who I met on OKCupid. He seems nice enough, but he, like the few other guys I have met on that site, has the slight whiff of desperation about him. Or something. Or a tinge of the crazy. I'm not sure what it says about me since I am also on the site. Or maybe I am sure, but I am unwilling to admit it.

ANYWAY, we met at the Clarendon metro station (in Arlington ... where I did see some guy wearing brown flip-flops (um? hello? it was 30 degrees outside. Put on some fucking shoes and sucks, douchebag!)). On the way to the little coffeeshop place, I unexpectedly ran into my
friend, Carolyn. So totally random! She got a new (and awesome) job in Pennsylvania and is only in town for a few days. We are going to get together for brunch on Monday. YAY! A great way to start the New Year, for SURE!

Back to the date, very nice. Handsome. Very talky. And a bit too into the fitness/exercise/gym scene. Apparently, he used to be overweight and is now all into being exercise-y. I, on the otherhand, have neither been overweight nor have ever been into being all exercise-y.

So, to sum up: nice guy. handsome. possibly slightly crazy. really not much spark. but, overall, worthy of a second date, i think.

AND, for the rest of the weekend ... tonight, I am having a New Year's Eve Eve celebration with Eric from Baltimore, Tomokito, and SCGB. I also invited the young (well-hung) ex-Marine. A couple of days ago he said he might come; however, he is also a little flaky. I am not
holding my breath. We are going to Nellie's for happy hour and then to Alero for foodz. YUM!

On New Year's Eve, I will be spending the day scouring my filthy house. I am determined to start the New Year with a clean (and mostly cat-hair free) home. Then, in the evening, I believe I am hanging out and having sake with Tomokito (and Hana).

Sunday, I am having boozy lunch with A (from two summers ago. He texted me out of the blue last night). And, on Monday (Federal Holiday! YAY!), I am meeting Carolyn for brunch. At some point during those two days, I also need to do major grocery shopping (Hello, $75 Trader Joe's gift card from my parents) and ironing (yuck). And probably some martini drinking ... Y'know ...

Well, have a wonderful weekend and a Happy New Year!
*fingers crossed that 2012 is a good year for us all (but, especially, me)*
See you on the flip side!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Year of Good (and some Bad) Books

Good Morning, Kittens!

As 2011 draws to a close (hurrah!), I thought it would be fun to take a quick minute to list the books that I've read this year. Most of them were very good. A couple were truly awful (I'm looking at you, "The Lost Symbol" and "The Land of Painted Caves.").

Without further ado, in (close approximation of) the order in which I read them, here are the Books of 2011:

1. An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin
2. I Am Not Myself These Days by Josh Kilmer-Purcell
3. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
4. The Surrendered by Chang Rae-Lee
5. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
6. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #1) by Rick Riordan
7. The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #2) by Rick Riordan
8. The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #3) by Rick Riordan
9. The Land of Painted Caves (Earth's Children #6) by Jean M. Auel
10. The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #4) by Rick Riordan
11. Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell
12. The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #5) by Rick Riordan
13. Border Dilemmas: Racial and National Uncertainties in New Mexico, 1848-1912
14. The Beak of the Finch: A Story of Evolution in Our Time by Jonathan Weiner
15. Clown Girl by Monica Drake
16. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
17. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
18. The Birth of Venus: A Novel by Sarah Dunant
19. Tomatoland: How Modern Agriculture Destroyed Our Most Alluring Fruit by Barry Estabrook
20. Emma by Jane Austen
21. In War Times by Kathleen Ann Goonan
22. Lady Susan by Jane Austen
23. 10 Ways to Recycle a Corpse and 100 More Dreadfully Distasteful Lists by Karl Shaw
24. Centuries of June by Keith Donahue
25. The Secret Lives of Hoarders: True Stories of Tackling Extreme
Clutter by Matt Paxton
26. Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

I also re-read the Thursday Next Series by Jasper Fforde (5 books) and the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (3 books).

I am trying to finish "The Family Fang" by Kevin Wilson before the New Year.

Interestingly enough, only two of the books I read in 2011 were not on my nook, "The Beak of the Finch" and "Border Dilemmas." I *heart* my nook (sad little first generation nook that it is).

As for 2012, so far I have purchased, "Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government for a Strong Economy" by Bill Clinton and "J. Edgar Hoover: The Man and the Secrets" by Curt Gentry. I will also continue to work my way through the Jane Austen canon. Good times.

As always, I am open to your 2012 reading suggestions!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Weekend Update: Xmas Edition

Good morning, Kittens.

It's a lonely morning here at the office. Where is everyone? I have no idea. Possibly still sleeping off their holiday hangovers ... which is where I wish I could be. Oh, well ...

Anyway, I had a pretty good weekend in NC. My flight on Thursday was uneventful and on time! Yay! So, I arrived around 9:30PM. My parents picked me up. We went back to my brother's house. I ate a sandwich and went to bed. Good times.

Friday, the highlight of the day was meeting several college friends at the Village Tavern. It was great fun to see them, catch up, and hang out. In the evening, the brother, his GF, and I went to a Christmas Eve Eve drinkfest at some bar. Good times.

Saturday, I cooked dinner - Winter Vegetable Sheperd's Pie. I posted the recipe on Facebook a few days ago, I think. Anyway, it was quite tasty. Then, we went to an evening Xmas Eve service. Yes, I went inside a church ... and SURVIVED!

Xmas morning, we all opened our presents. I got a Nike+GPS watch. Yay! and a cute pair of shoes and a nice dress shirt. I also some gift cards to Target, Trader Joe's, and iTunes. Overall, a pretty good haul.

And, on Monday, the parents and I had lunch with Liz (aka. the president of my Greensboro Fan Club) at a Thai restaurant. Fun to see her. The food was kinda *meh*.

And, then, the folks drove me to the airport. I had just enough time for a martini and a G&T before boarding. I arrived home around 7:30PM, picked up my mail from Tomoko, ate a quick dinner, and went to bed.

If you'd like to see some pictures from my weekend, they are here:

Have a great day!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

Good morning, sweet and peppermint-flavored candy-coated Kittens!
After work this evening, I'll be heading Home for the Holidays (I'm a home for the holidays Superhero).  Except I sort of consider Silver Spring "home" ... so I'll be going to that other "home" - North Carolina.  And, once there, I won't even be "home," I'll be at my brother's house.  In fact, I'm not even sure where "home" would be in North Carolina.  My parents' house doesn't seem like "home" either. Nevertheless, I will be going "home" to Greensboro, NC.  Good times.
Whilst there, besides the usual Xmas festivities (a.k.a. my family bickering with each other), I will be meeting up with a group of my college friends.  That should be fun.  I'm looking forward to seeing them.  And, hopefully, I will be able to have drinks or something with my Greensboro Fan Club.  And the food and the cookies and the games and the hidden bottles of likker (because my parents don't drink).  Good times, for sure.
I'm supposed to cook a meal at some point (feat. brussels sprouts) for the family.  No idea what I'm going to do.  Maybe something with polenta?  Hm.  I need to get on Epicurious and figure it out.  I'm open to suggestions.
I'll be back on Monday evening, and I'll more than likely be tweeting and facebooking my misery (and joy?).  Follow along there.
Until next time, I hope you all have a wonderful Xmas. And/or a fantastic 5th/6th night of Chanukah.  And/or a brilliant post-Winter Solstice Celebration.  And/or a simply fabulous pre-Kwanzaa. Oh, Saturnalia.  Can't forget Saturnalia.  Have a good one of those, too!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

VUBOQ Gets Political (or, well, rants a bit)

Good morning, kittens.
I would like to thank the Congressional Republicans for f**king me over.  They say they are all for cutting taxes and blah, blah, blah.  I guess we all know that is a big ol' pile of poop, since they have all gone on their Happy Holiday Vacations while letting the payroll tax cut lapse.
I guess when you make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year that tax cut doesn't matter.  Well, it mattered to me.  Without the payroll tax cut, my paycheck is going to drop about $100(ish) a month.  Add to that that with their Congressional Inaction, my metro benefits are also being cut ... which means I will have to be paying about $25-50/month more for public transportation.  AND, (although I can't really blame Congress for this ...), my mortgage interest has increased, so my monthly payment for that is going up about $30/month.
So, in total, I'm getting a $150/month pay cut.  $1800 less this year.  Way to spur the economy.  Fingers crossed my company did well and can afford to give me a decent raise.  Otherwise, I will be cutting back, spending less (except on shoes!), and trying to economize.  BAH. 
Congress sucks.
In other news, I am *almost* finished the StickSteven 2011 Year in Review.
AND, I only have one more day of work (after this one) before I fly to NC for the Xmas.
Good times, yo.
Have a great day!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Update: City of Brothers Who LoveEdition

Good Morning, Kittens!

OMG! It's the week before Xmas (and I still haven't drawn my StickSteven Year in Review letter ... ugh).

Anywayz ... I had a mostly fabulous weekend.

On Friday, after work, I had plans to meet up with my friend, Eric (Not From Baltimore). However, I got out of work at 4 and we weren't meeting until 6:30.

So, I did the most natural thing I could think of ... I went to a bar and had several drinks (and read a book). Once we did finally meet up, we had dinner at the Heights in Columbia Heights. It was pretty good. I had the side platter - mashed potatoes, butternut squash, and brussels sprouts. Nomz.

It was a good time.

We parted ways - He to meet up with his bf, and I headed home. And, that's when the fun really started.

As I rounded the construction at Silver Spring Metro Station, I was texting and misjudged the curb. WHOOOPS! And there I fell, arms and legs akimbo. Fortunately, my phone survived with just a few scratches on the sides.

I have a large bruise on my knee and this:


Yeah. Ouch. It has scabbed over, but is still kinda painful.

Saturday morning, I woke up early and headed to Union Station to catch the bus to Philadelphia.

I arrived at 30th St. Station around noon. I walked around a bit and stumbled into this really yummy restaurant near Rittenhouse Square, Tria.

They had rosemary potato chips!

Potato chips

And, I had a spinach, mushroom, and cheese panini.


and I may have also had several glasses of wine.

Then, I walked up to Love Park to the Christmas Village. A guy I met online (but had never met IRL) was working at the Mulled Wine Shop. I got a cute little mug filled with mulled wine:

Christmas village

The guy was really nice (and cute ...). We walked around the Village and had a nice chat. I am kicking myself because I forgot to take a photo of us. Oh, well ... next time.

Then, I ventured onto the Philly Subway to go to Lora and Dave's Annual liday Spectacular. And, it was spectacular. They have a lot of friends! And lots of good food. And lots and lots and lots of booze. Lots. of. booze.

Around 9PM, Dave drove me back to the train station ... and I came home on the Amtrak. I think I slept most of the way.

I got back to my place around midnight:30. And went to bed almost immediately.

Sunday? Very. Hung. Over. *ugh*

And, that was my weekend! Have a great day!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Finally Friday

Good Afternoon, my Fine Young Kittens!
I had my post-op doctor's appointment this morning.  And, it was the fastest freakin' doctor's appointment I've ever had.  My appointment was at 9:30AM.  I got there around 9:15.  Before I had even settled in to the waiting room, they called me back.  Doctor came in.  Talked.  Left.  Done. and, I was running to catch a 9:30 bus to the metro station.
As for the actual appointment, there was much good news.  No cancer.  Very low chance of future cancer.  Healing nicely.  Huzzah!  Someone is having a martini (or two ... or, y'know, seven) tonight!  Let's hope that we are done with this mess for a long, long while.
And, my bloggy gift exchange recipient received his package yesterday.  AND, it arrived in one piece ... as opposed to several pieces, which has been known to happen when I have shipped the breakables in the past.  *whew*  I wonder when I will be getting my package?  And what (or who?!?!) will be in it?
As for my exciting weekend plans, I believe I already shared with you that I will be heading up to the City of the Brothers Who Love on Saturday morning for an afternoon and evening of holiday boozing and celebrating.  The Candy Cane Vodka is ready for the trip!  It tastes like candy canes ... and vodka.  I can't wait.
Tonight, we finish work at 4 (yay!). I am meeting a friend for drinks/food in Columbia Heights at 6:30.  Should be fun.
And, on Sunday, I plan on sleeping late and then doing fun stuff like ironing and grocery shopping.  Oh, the good times.
Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Life is Dull

Good almost afternoon, kittens!
The longest week ever (a.k.a the first week back after being off) is slowly grinding towards a close.  I was supposed to have the morning off to go to the surgeon for my post-op follow-up, but the doctor changed the appointment to tomorrow morning.  I was really looking forward to sleeping in this morning.  Oh, well.
Last night, I started some Candy Cane Vodka.  so easy to do.  Crunch up about a dozen regular size candy canes and let them slowly dissolve into a fifth of vodka.  Pepperminty goodness, fer sure.  It tastes a bit like peppermint schnapps when it is finished.  I'll be hauling that shit up to Philadelphia on Saturday for Lora's fabulous (so I've heard) holiday party.
I talked to my BFF from college last night as well (while I was doing laundry).  We're going to meet up while I'm in NC for Xmas.  It looks like I'll be able to see several other college friends as well.  Yay!
And, that's about all that's new here in Vutopia.
Enjoy the rest of your day!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

My Life So Far

Good morning, kittens.
I am one v. tired v.uboq this morning.  I woke up at 3 this morning to go to the bathroom, but I couldn't fall back asleep.  I am blaming recently giving up the night-time Percocets for this calamity. 
So ... lessee ... what has been going on in Vutopia?  Hm.  On Sunday, I ventured out of the house to attend a social event for the first time since the surgery.  The German and His Wife held a yummy holiday brunch.  It was fun.  Interacting with people after prolonged solitude was difficult.  and weird. 
After brunch, I met a friend for a late lunch at Alero in Dupont Circle.  That was fun as well.  At the end of lunch, he offered to drive me back to Silver Spring.  Huzzah.  Except we spent over an hour walking around trying to find his car.  He couldn't remember where he had parked.  I was tired and my butt hurt, so I took the bus home.  He texted later to say that he eventually found his car ... we had walked by it at least twice.  Srsly.  Ugh.
And, yesterday was my first day back at work.  I didn't do much but catch up on a bunch of stuff.  I was very glad when 5PM rolled around.  It was a long day.  I was tired, but at least I wore cute new(ish) shoes. I came home, made some chili, read for a bit, and went to bed.
Oh, my exciting life.
Have a great day!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Week Update: What I've Been Doing Edition

Good Afternoon, Kittens.

Well, it's been awhile, hasn't it? I would have blogged more whilst in Recuperation Mode; however, I didn't really do much other than sit on the sofa, take Percocet and have Very Weird Dreams. All of the days of the past week have sort of blurred into one big, very long day.

Fortunately, the PWS was not nearly as horrible as last time. I don't know if that's because the surgery was not as invasive/extensive as last time or if I took more Percocet. Anyway, can't complain about less PWS, that's fer sure.

I did manage, in my drug-fueled haze, to get a few things done ... I sorted a huge pile of papers into Shred, Toss, File, and Taxes piles ... and then filed and tossed the File, Tax and Toss piles. Shred is still sitting there waiting for me to borrow a neighbor's shredder.

AND, I created a HUGE mess trying to get several packages ready to mail:

AND, I finished knitting the Panda Scarf for my BFF from college (except I still need to attach the eyes. No idea how to do that. Help?):

AND, I started knitting ribbed and tweedy sock Number 2:

AND, I've watched Harry Potter 1-7B more times than I'd like to admit.

I think I will take a nap now. Yay Nap!


Monday, December 05, 2011

Weekend Update: Percoset-Infused Vodka Was a Bad Idea Edition

Good Morning, Kittens!

As you may remember, I was surgered on Friday. Everything seems to have happened as planned. I spent most of Friday and Saturday and Sunday popping pills and sleeping.

On the plus side, this surgery does not seem as bad. So, fingers crossed that the recovery will happen more quickly than last time.

During the times I was awake over the weekend, I managed to spend lots of money! Yay!

I registered for the Spring semester of pottery class. And, then, I bought a bus and train ticket to Philadelphia to go to a Holiday Party (I'm hoping I feel better by then, but if not, I should be able to exchange them for later dates). And, then, Mush sent me a Barnes & Noble gift card so I went shopping for Nook Books. Yay!

And, that's about it. Other than sleeping. Eating. Drinking. and Slightly Painful Pooping. Great weekend.

Have a wonderful Monday. I'm off all week!

Friday, December 02, 2011

Calendar Boy

Good Morning, Kittens.

And, just like that, it's December.

As some of you may know, there is a group of Bloggy Friends that put together a calendar each year. This year, it was a swimsuit calendar, and I am December!

Swimsuit by Hugo Boss. Body by Genetics (and Carl). Awesome Photoshopping by Michelle M

For next year's calendar, I get to wear a lot more clothes. Yay!

Have a great day! Send me good vibes as I get surgered (around 10AM).

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Here We Go Again

Good afternoon, kittens!
Sorry all has been quiet on the Vuboqern Front recently.  Not much exciting has happened since the Weekend and the Day of the Giving of Thanks.  I've mostly spent my days working and my evenings drinking and running errands (not always in that order).
Tomorrow morning, I am having *another* surgery.  UGHZ.  According to the surgeon, one in ten people need a follow-up procedure.  Hurrah.  I am lucky.  I have to be at the hospital at 8AM.  The surgery is scheduled for 10.  Hopefully, I will be back home and in some sort of Percocet Haze by around 1. 
I have taken all of next week off to recover.  The surgeon also said that the follow-up surgeries usually aren't as bad, so I may not need the whole time.  We'll see.
I am hoping that I will be able to do a lot of the following:
-Blobbing on the sofa
-Watching lots and lots of DVDs (I now own all 8 Harry Potter DVDs)
-Knitting (I have 4 projects that I need to get to work on: finishing up the Panda Scarf, working on the seamless sweater, starting a sock to match the one I finished months ago, and casting on of the Dragon Scarf)
-Job hunting
-Cleaning up the spare room (at least getting my files organized for my taxes)
-Drawing StickSteven's 2011 Annual Holiday Letter
-AND, experimenting with Percocet Cocktail Recipes.
Have a great rest of the day! 
And, I'll provide updates later this weekend, I'm sure.