Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Summer Vacation, Days 5-8: Packing, Writing, Unpacking, PaydayNightmares, and DMV Studying

It's been an eventful four days for yours truly, to say the least.  I spent the entire weekend packing up all the belongings we had in our front room and two bedrooms, cramming them into our kitchen, patio, and bathroom in order to accommodate carpet installers that came on Monday morning.  When I wasn't packing, I was hunched over my laptop, hammering out the last paper that for one of my two summer classes.  Luckily, amid all of the boxes and the stress, I was able to complete the paper at a reasonable hour on the due date and get it sent off to the professor.  I do have to say that, all things considered, I managed to write an exceptional paper.  Per usual, it seems that I do my best work under tight deadlines and somewhat dire circumstances; somehow, that fact is both troubling and reassuring at the same time.

Once the new carpet was put it-- it looks lovely, thank you for asking-- we then moved all of our packed belonging back into their respective rooms though, to be fair, we haven't managed to unpack everything.  Okay, okay, I haven't unpacked . . . anything at all.  But, though I am notoriously lazy, I shall unpack and put everything away over the next week.  I will, honestly.  Sheesh!

Today, however, I did experience something of a mild heart attack when I woke up to find that my paycheck hadn't been direct deposited into my bank account (like it was meant to have been).  After a series of terrified calls and texts, I learned that my check had been mailed (luckily it did arrive) and that this month's and next month's paychecks would be paper-based.  Mind you, neither my colleagues nor I had been alerted to this fact so it was a major shock to see my bank account balance far lower than I had originally anticipated it to be.  Luckily, the check was in the mail and crisis was averted.

Humorously though, perhaps because of the stress of the past several days, I took a two hour nap late this morning, curled up with my pug.  Mind you, I didn't even take naps when I was a child, so today's siesta was decidedly out of character . . . though exactly what I needed!



P.S. If you have a Good Reads account, make sure to add me! :-)
*** Update***

08/01: It occurred to me this morning that I didn't elaborate on why I was doing some DMV studying.  Well, dear reader, I was studying for my driver's permit test, albeit halfheartedly.  :-)
Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 4: Remember, Remember, Two Days in September

If you follow me on Twitter or know me IRL, you will be aware of how incensed I have been over the International Olympic Committee's decision to not honor the victims of the 1972 Munich Massacre with a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremonies today in London, not to mention Germany's continued silence over not only their role in allowing the murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches and the campaign of active historic amnesia the Germans have long embarked on.
In that spirit, I would like to encourage all of you, sometime during the next couple of weeks, to watch the video I have posted below, One Day in September (1999), an Academy Award-winning documentary about the massacre in Munich.  After you watch the documentary, please say a prayer for the Israelis who lost their lives and for the hope that, one day, peace will one day prevail in our world.
Thursday, July 26, 2012

Summer Vacation, Days 2 & 3: Hair, Packing, Researching, & Crazy People

The last couple of days, I didn't get as much accomplished as I had hoped I would.  I didn't make it out to the DMV as I had originally planned, but I did manage to get on the DMV website and get the downloadable version of the 2012 Driver's Handbook.  Thank you, internet, for once again supporting me in my sloth-- than you for yet again taking one for the team!

Despite my unwillingness to make it out to the DMV-- which, by the way, is on the other side of town past the bad side of town-- I did manage to make it out to Target on Wednesday because I was in a shampoo crisis.  A few weeks ago, they were having a sale at Target on L'Oreal's Ever line of sulfate-free shampoos which, incidentally, I also had a coupon for.  I'd had a positive experience with some other sulfate-free shampoos like GUD from Burt's and Aveeno's Pure Renewal, so I thought I would give this one a go; I have had positive experiences with some of L'Oreal's other hair and cosmetic products in the past, so I had to reason to think twice about the shampoo. So, I picked up a bottle of the EverStrong Hydrating Shampoo; I didn't bother to get the Conditioner because I have a pixie cut are able to skip washing my hair a couple of times a week, which helps to keep my hair well hydrated.

Boy did this product go wrong.  This shampoo was like Satan in sudsy form.  I used it for about a week and, kid you not, it not only dried out my scalp, but it caused it to itch madly and BREAK OUT.  That's right, I had a small breakout on my scalp!  It was a complete nightmare; luckily, I didn't get dandruff but because of the crazy itchy scalp it gave me, I had to pick up a bottle of Head & Shoulders Itchy Scalp formula at Target yesterday.  Luckily, it seems like the tried and true has started, in concert with my trusty Burt's Blemish Stick, to heal my poor blighted scalp.

I've also spent the past two days packing up things around my home to prepare for some new carpeting that we are going to be getting in on Monday morning.  You never realize how much stuff you truly have, or the weird things you have horded like a crazy lady, until you start boxing and bagging it up.  Needless to say, packing has been a chore, especially since I know that things aren't going anywhere . . . they're just going to be stored in non-carpeted parts of the home until it is done.  Basically, we have to pack and move everything just so we can move it back and unpack it.  All of the packing and moving has not only been a chore, it's been upsetting my dog who, I believe, suspects we are going to ship off to Argentina and leave her behind, or so you would believe by how jumpy my poor little lady has been.  Amidst all of this packing and pimply scalp, I have also been researching and organizing materials so I can begin to write two papers that I have due at the end of the weekend.  So, it seems as though I have been burning my slothful candle at both proverbial ends on the packing and researching front.

Also today, I was verbally assaulted by an old lady who didn't want me to walk my dog past her house for fear that my dog (who's a pug and who smells everything) would pee on her lawn.  Now, pug was not peeing or in the process of peeing; rather, she was just walking in smelling.  Anyone who knows pugs knows that they smell everything and have to be walking for at least 78.3 minutes before they piddle.  My girl had only been out about 5 minutes.  In any even, I stayed calm and she screamed at me and acted crazy.  Then, after I took my dog home and was walking to CVS a few blocks away with my mom, the crazy old bat came out and started screaming at me again for walking my dog past her house and for taking a picture of her home (which I was posting on Twitter to document the verbal assault); mind you, during the second screed, I was on the opposite side of the street, with my mother, and did not have my dog with me.  Seriously, how crazy is that?  It's not like I have a dingo, or that I was walking a Shetland Pony without a poo bag in my possession; rather, my dog was just trotting about and smelling and I was armed with a poo bag, ready to pick up any mess my little girl may have made elsewhere.  Honestly, why pick on the girl with the pug?

Anyhoo, people are crazy, but you should always make sure to document that craziness online, should you need to get a restraining order later.

More about my adventures close to home later.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Summer Vacation, Day #1: More Goals

Today was the first *official* day of my summer vacation and, in true Sunny Jim fashion, I spent it lounging around in the air conditioning, halfheartedly working on one of two papers that I have due at the weekend, and watching the last episode of Twin Peaks (seriously, can anyone explain the whole Black Lodge thing to me?-- would it have made sense were there a third season of the show).  So, by my own very low standards, I have actually accomplished something.

Despite this veritable torrent of activity (ho, ho, ho), I decided that my previous set of ten summer goals may not be as ambitious as someone like me needs.  As such, I have devised some alterations and addendum to the original list:

  1. Read at Least 6 books: Read at least 4 books: I often find myself having to read to prepare for work or having to read for the extended education classes I take; it would be lovely to read books that I have selected myself for myself.  I want to read selfishly!  I am going to read at least one book per week of vacation that doesn't relate to any of the courses that I take.  I had previously decided to read four books that had nothing to do with work (where I need to read and re-read perpetually, but I know that that would be both ridiculous and shortsighted.  For the most part, I read things for work that are of my choosing and that I find to be personally compelling and of literary merit; so, the line between professional and pleasurable reading is blurry at best.   Also, let me be honest, I am a voracious reader; one book a week will be a cake-walk for me.

  2. Try a new activity: Now, I don’t mean that I want to do something dangerous or something that is grossly out of character (I’m not skydiving—ever); I simply want to try an activity that I’ve either never had the chance to do in the past or, at the very least, something novel.  Who knows, I may take up cricket or join a fight club.

  3. Eat more consciously: I am sure that many people, me included, have a bad habit of eating mindlessly while at their desk at work.  It’s easy to mindlessly eat an entire bag of Fritos without realizing the quantity that you are eating or where that added corn chip weight may end up; I want to be really conscious of what I eat, how much, and when this summer, especially since I have the time to make more informed choices.

  4. Get a tan—an even one: I’m of Dutch and Irish ancestry, so I am not going to be a bronzed goddess anytime soon; nonetheless, it would be nice to have a little color for the season . . . even if that means I have to even myself out with a nice spray tan.  Hey, I’m down for it.  It’s summer.

  5. Go on a road trip: I’ve not had enough of these in my lifetime.  Since I live in California, it only makes sense that my family and I would do a little driving and go and see some of the cool attractions that our little corner of the world has to offer.  Now: to get the Xanex I’ll need to put up with mom’s menopausal road rage . . .

  6. Get out more: I’m going to be honest with you, readers: unless my dog needs to go to the bathroom, I’m not keen on going outside unless it’s to board the bus to the mall.  Getting out (perhaps while working on goal #2) could only been a positive thing for someone like me.  I almost think that being an only child and having developed the ability to amuse myself is a bad thing is so much as it has curtailed my need to seek the society of others.  Others—who needs them?

  7. Update wardrobe: I’d like to add some more classic pieces to my wardrobe, both my professional and my casual wardrobe: shirts, sweaters, blazers, et al. I’m almost thirty; I think it’s high time that I dressed a bit more grown up.

  8. Watch ten movies: I love film; it only makes sense that I would make a point of watching ten movies (either at the cinema or on DVD) that I haven’t seen before.

  9. Complete summer classes: So . . . I take extended education courses year round (I’m an intellectual masochist, I know).  I’d just like to complete the classes that I am currently working on and to complete them on a high note.  I don’t want to feel hurried while finishing the classes; I want to feel positive about what I have done.

  10. Complete a grand multi-disc miniseries or television show: I have watched entire series on DVD before (Britcoms, Twin Peaks, et al.); I’d like to do that again.  Preferably, I’d like to make my way through one of those stiff collar miniseries things that they have on PBS all the time.  That seems like something sophisticated people do. Addendum: I'm not going to count the Twin Peaks Series that I completed today; I started that foray into the surreal months ago, it wouldn't be genuine to claim that has a summer victory, would it?

  11. Get my driver's permit: Unlike most people, I never got my driver's license.  I have an appointment to take my permit test  on August 1 so that I can practice on the road before taking my final street-level test later this year.  I've also started to take some online practice tests and will be picking up the driver's handbook from the DMV tomorrow morning.

  12. Reward myself for my accomplishments: After a trying period, I surmounted two professional hurdles and I would like to reward myself for weathering those storms in classic Sunny Jim fashion-- I want to buy myself some awesome and/or luxurious stuff.  I have been thinking about getting a few pairs of Hunter boots for the winter, or buying a more upmarket professional bag, or even getting some J. Crew bips and bobs for myself.  I just want something nice for having done well.  I am sure that speaks poorly for my socialist ethos, but whatever.

Again, I don't think my goals are particularly ambitious-- I haven't vowed to clean anything, mind you-- but they are encouraging me to step outside of my bubble and to take stock of my life as it is and as I would like it to be.  I don't think pushing yourself or rewarding yourself are but virtues.

So.  Do you have any plans for the test of your summer?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Getting All Goaled Up

So, as I mentioned a while back, one of my main goals for the summer is to read at least four books.  That goal, while four books is one more than the average American reads in a year, that's a conservative goal for me.  I am sure that, in six weeks, I will complete more than four books; however, I'd rather aim low and be proud of my modest accomplishment than to totally crap out on a huge goal.
In any event, I thought I would make you all aware of some of the books that are in my queue between now and the end of my vacation.  Some of these books are must reads for me and some are just for fun.  Whatever my reason for reading them, I don't watch a lot of TV and I've scaled back my Netflix subscription so I should, in theory, have time to read them. 
So.  Here are some of my possible reading selections:
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (teaching it)
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (teaching it)
  • Day of the Locust by Nathaniel West (teaching it)
  • The Inferno by Dante (teaching it)
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith (teaching it)
  • 1984 by George Orwell (teaching it)
  • Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes (teaching it)
  • Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (teaching it)
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (teaching it)
  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers (teaching it)
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (teaching it)
  • The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (teaching it)
  • Official Book Club Selection by Kathy Griffin (for fun)
  • The White Album by Joan Didion (for fun)
  • A Queer and Pleasant Danger by Kate Bornstein (for fun)
  • The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury (for fun; completing it)
So, what would you like to tuck into this summer?  What do you think about my (extensive) reading list?