Monday, January 29, 2007

Coffee News

MSN has an article today about one of my favorite topics—coffee. It is MSN, so I don't take it as gospel, and I do not believe everything that I read even when it isn’t MSN, but taking everything they say with caution, it’s still an interesting read. Apparently, coffee doesn’t cause dehydration (although I always feel cotton-mouthed after I drink a cup a joe) (“I’m so dry, I’m spittin’ cotton!”) (I never get to say that), but it can cause your blood pressure to spike (but we knew that). Also, caffeine needs 60 to 90 minutes to work its way into your bloodstream—I knew it took some time, but I thought about half that. And apparently, so did whoever wrote this other MSN article. Either way, this just confirms what I already believed, that the cheeriness I experience while drinking my first cup in the morning is purely psychological. A point in coffee’s favor: coffee consumption might help protect against Parkinson’s disease. And to conclude our coffee info tour this morning, I knew that espresso had less caffeine than regular brew, but I didn’t know that a regular cup of coffee has anywhere from 3 to 5 times as much caffeine.

This article also contained a link to a different article, “Know Your Joe,” which you also might find interesting.

P.S. The second part of Jane Eyre aired last night, and it was fabulous, as expected. Some people who didn't like the book when they read (*cough*katie*cough*) might consider giving the movie a try.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Always Keep Your Priorities Straight

I have a lot to do right now. I have 9 cases that I need to do research for, all of which involve multiple issues and some of which, nay most of which involve complicated issues. One of the cases is a ticking clock, counting down until our next chambers meeting at which point I will have to explain why I haven’t finished researching this issue that, for the past four weeks straight, I have sworn I was almost done and just needed to clean it up a bit. I really thought I was. But I’m stuck. And of course, I could just say that I’m stuck, but I’m not really made that way. Admit defeat? Never!

What, never?
No, never.

What, never?
Hardly ever!

Yes, yes, a little G&S to start your day. Anyway, I have stacks and stacks of cases to read and memos to draft. So what am I going to do today? Why, I’m going to take advantage of my coworker’s absence to organize her office. It’s killing me.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

It Could Bee Funny

Have you guys seen the trailer yet for Jerry Seinfeld's upcoming project Bee Movie? It's got Jerry, Chris Rock, and Eddie Izzard. I love it. It's been out for awhile, but I'm just now getting around to posting a link. Click here for the trailer at Moviefone and here for the official Bee Movie website.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Cupcakes A-No-Go

This evening, I decided that I had to make cupcakes. The sudden baking desire may have been fueled by having left overs from when rr made her super fabulous, ultra-spectacular caramel frosting for my dad's birthday cake. And what's a woman to do when she has left over frosting but nothing to put it on?

Anyway, baking is not my strongest skill. I used to be quite the little baker, but at some point, all of my abilities in the kitchen just up and left. I don't really consider that a bad thing, because it means that I spend less time and less money on a fattening habit. But it also means that when I do attempt the culinary arts, I'm practically doomed to failure.

At first, I decided that I didn't need a mix, because who needs a mix? I got a recipe online and went to work. The recipe called for 2 cups flour (sifted). That's not a problem, because I have a (sift)er, left over from my baking days. So I (sifted) once, and then for extra measure, I (sifted) twice. Then I guess I got a little (sift) happy, because I (sifted) again and in the process got flour everywhere.

Then I noticed that we were out of baking powder. Since when don't we have baking powder? Everyone has baking powder!

I went to Target to get some, because that is the nearest place that sells grocery items. It is neither a Super Target nor a super Target. It is, at best, a little bit better than mediocre Target. They did not have baking powder. They did, however, have cake mix, which I purchased. I wanted one that used butter, but naturally they didn't have that kind. All they had was one that took cooking oil.

So then I got home, added the water to the mix, and then I went to add the oil. I discovered that, unfortunately, our oil is "best" if used by November of 2006, which was two months ago.

I called my mom to ask if it was ok. I should have taken warning from the fact that there was a perceptible pause before she answered. My mother drinks milk past the expiration date. There is medicine in her medicine cabinet well past the "best if used by" date. She has given me face cream that expired more than two years ago. So the fact that she didn't immediatley say, "oh, I'm sure it's fine" should have made me forget the whole idea. But I didn't. "I don't know," she said, hesitantly. "It will smell if it's gone rancid," she said. I smelled it. It smelled like oil. Maybe not rancid oil, but then again, I don't know what rancid oil smells like. "It will taste bad, too," she said, "so taste it, and if it tastes ok, it's probably fine." I dutifully tasted it.

Who tastes cooking oil? Why did I do that? I don't know what cooking oil tastes like when it's rancid, and I don't know what it takes like when it's fine, but this left a taste in my mouth that is still lingering, an hour later, and it's gag-inducing. I ate two oatmeal cream pies, and it's still with me. It just won't go away.

When the cupcakes were done, I tried one to see if it tasted like something containing spoilt ingrediants. It tastes fine. Except that the taste is either still there, or there again because of the cupcakes. I am trying so hard not to throw up right now. I don't want to go down that road again.

So I am abandoning the cupcake idea, and if I ever stop feeling like I'm going to yak, I'm just eating that frosting straight, like I should have done in the first place.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Gymboree? More like, Gym? Boring!

Ok, so I broke down and joined the gym, as I mentioned in my last post. Who wants to give odds on whether or not I’ll actually go?

There are those people who, having signed up and paid for a gym membership, and have further more agree to let said gym deduct monthly payments automatically from their checking accounts, would then be motivated to go to the gym. In other words, there are people who believe in getting their money’s worth. I am not one of those people.

No, indeed. My motto in life (and rr’s as well) might as well be “meh.” In a way, that’s a good thing. Almost any of life’s disappointments will be met by either of us with little more than a shoulder shrug and a “eh, oh well.” But at the same time, it means that it takes a lot to get me excited about something. So I don’t know that it would motivate me to go that I'm already paying for it. More likely, I would just cancel the membership–provided I could work up the energy.

The only thing even remotely likely to motivate me is the fact that my coworker joined the gym at the beginning of the month, and she has been going consistently. She has already lost an inch off of her waist. It would bother me if we passed each other on the weight continuum, like two ships passing in the night, me on the way up, and her on the way down. But how much would it bother me? That’s the question. Enough to motivate me to pack my gym clothes every day? Enough to make me drive past my house on the way to the gym, knowing that inside my house, my comfy pants await me expectantly? I’m just not sure.

On a gym-related note, my i.d. picture is not the worst I’ve ever had, that honor being reserved for either one of the i.d.’s I had at college. In my first i.d., I looked like I had been recently released from prison. It was very รก la Nick Nolte. In my defense, it was the last day of orientation, and I had rolled out of bed and run down to the administration office to take care of some last-minute stuff before heading out of town, not realizing that my picture would be taken that day. In my second i.d. picture, I had actually done my hair, but at the last minute I decided not to smile, so I have this very strange look on my face, and it does make me look a little bit like a hit man (hit woman?). Ok, a lot like a hit man.

So this picture is a little better. My hair is more or less styled, I am smiling, and I do not have a weird look on my face. But the picture is quite pixilated, and despite that, you can see distinctly that my nose looks huge. It takes up about half of my face. I am not kidding. This is one reason why I don’t like to smile in pictures. At least the picture is slightly distorted, so I don’t think anyone will look at it that closely.

Does anyone have any words of encouragement, something that might motivate me to actually get what I’ve paid for?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

None of Your Nevermind, if You Don't Mind

This Saturday, RR and I met a friend of ours at IHOP* for lunch. It was just supposed to be lunch, but we wound up hanging out for about four hours because we hadn’t seen her in at least a year—maybe two. Law school does that to you. It just eats up all of your free time, and anyone that lived farther away than a 10 minute drive just didn’t see me. Anyway, it was so good to see her! Old friends are wonderful, you know? They know all your quirks, and all of your good points, and you don’t have to pretend that you’re anyone but who you are. We sat there for awhile after our meal, but we left more than 20% tip to try to make up for the extra time we spent there, and it wasn't crowded. And the waitress had forgotten to bring us our syrup, so we had to ask another waitress for it because ours was nowhere in sight, and in fact never came back into sight until it was time to bring us our check. And then after she picked up our check, she never came back, and I was so thirsty! So we decided that our welcome had definitely worn off at IHOPO, and we moved on to the Barnes and Noble coffee shop down the road.

There the conversation continued to be wonderful, with us kvetching about everything under the sun. We are all of us actually fun, cheerful women, but we tend to bottle up every complaint or grievance we have until we hang out, at which time we unload on each other. No problem for us, but I can see how it might be annoying for eavesdroppers (who *ahem* ought not be listening) to think that we are a group of Ms. Negatives (I know that the traditional expression is “Debbie Downer,” but I hate that expression so much that it actually makes my skin crawl).

I suppose that’s what the man at the table next to us thought, because as he got up to leave, he put a book on our table—Jeffrey Gitomer's Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude—and recommended that we read it. He then spouted off that he’d heard rr talk about problems with her (former) boss, and that maybe she should try not responding negatively, because that just makes the situation worse, so she should just take a deep breath and respond positively. I said, that only works when you’re dealing with a sane person. He thought I was joking. But rr’s boss was really, really awful. He just . . . I just couldn’t stand him. He lied to people all the time, he blamed everything that went wrong on others and took credit for everything good. He is really almost exactly like the pointy-haired boss in “Dilbert,” including being completely delusional and using words when he didn’t know what they mean. Also, rr doesn’t work there anymore, so I guess Mr. Eavesdropper missed that part. But anyway, rr hardly ever says anything negative to people, but if she did, her former boss deserved it more than anyone.

My point here is—stay out of other people’s conversations! If he thought we needed help with not responding negatively to people, then I just wish he could compare what I was thinking about him with the polite interest I expressed. So there. We tried to keep our voices down when talking, but even if we hadn’t, I just don’t think you’re supposed to interrupt other people’s conversations. I may be overly sensitive about it, but if I am, that’s only because this kind of thing happens to rr and I with unfortunate regularity. At least he didn’t ask us for a hug.

Also, Barnes and Noble is not a library. Do not read the book cover-to-cover without buying it.

In other news, I joined the gym. Let’s just see if I go. On the way home from work, I have to drive past my house to get there, so we’ll see.

*RR, Hils, and I refer to it as IHOPO, as in International House of Pancakes ONLY because of the time we went there, and they told us they were out of waffle batter. Seriously, you can’t add a little more milk to the pancake batter and put it in the waffle maker? I don’t know, maybe not. But we were a little irked. Chalk up one more for Denny’s!

Friday, January 19, 2007

How Excited Am I?

This Sunday, "Masterpiece Theatre" presents its production of Jane Eyre. I know that when the Bronte sisters come up, everyone ohs and ahs over Wuthering Heights, which ok, Heathcliff, Catherine, love, death, whatever, blah blah blah. Jane Eyre was one of the first classics that I ever read (though I think I read Pride and Prejudice first), and I poured over it and cried while reading it as only a girl in seventh or eighth grade can (I don't remember how old I was, but I know that my successful reading of it gave me the confidence to later try Last of the Mohicans, and I know that was in the eighth grade--turned out that at the time that one was a bit over my head, vocabulary-wise, I'm sad to say).

No matter what it's flaws, it still has a special place in my heart.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Still Out, For Now

What is it about office supplies that makes everything better?

Last week I began to have a mild flutter about the amount of work that had shown up on my “to do” list. I didn’t actually panic, it was not a full-scale freak-out, I just got that nervous feeling you get right before the hysterical laughter hits you. I usually deal with stress that way. If you ask me if I’m feeling stressed, I’ll say no, but I’ll have trouble controlling nervous giggles and my body quietly runs around in a circle saying “what to do . . . what to do . . . . I can’t think, I can’t think!” [I tried to find the video link for this clip, which is hilarious, but I didn't have time to sort through all the clips on YouTube] Then I usually start feeling ill but can’t figure out why.

If I become conscious of the nervousness, then my instinctive way of dealing with the problem is to pretend that there is no problem, and just keep on going at the same pace as before. That’s why if I figure out that I’m stressed, I force myself to come up with a plan. My plans usually involve a trip to the office supplies store. It works for me.

This time I made a very detailed list of exactly what needed to done and exactly what day I would address each item of my list. It wasn’t just “research the issues coming up in that case,” it was “Monday, address subpart A of Issue X, Tuesday, research and draft a summary of subpart B of Issue X,” etc. And I carefully plotted all of this out on my calendar. That made me feel a little better, because then I could actually see how I had everything under control, I had a plan, it wasn’t going to be overwhelming. And then, and then, I gave myself a little treat by making a list of office supplies that I thought would help me stay on task and allow me to organize the stacks and stacks and stacks of files in my office threatening to become overbearing. I didn’t want to one day look around my office, realize I didn’t know what was where and I that had no place to set my coffee cup, and then start hearing Grieg’s “In The Hall Of The Mountain King while internally screaming like a banshee. Or externally screaming like a banshee.

Of course I got thrown a little off schedule because work was closed yesterday due to inclement weather. Luckily, I had left a little extra space in my schedule for getting behind, so that wasn’t too much of an issue. And staying home gave me the opportunity to finally address the two boxes of filing that I hadn’t addressed since I moved in August. The filing prevented me from going full-on screaming banshee at home, something I’ve been very close to doing pretty much since I moved. Now I can stand to be in my room, so long as I concentrate on my now-organized bookshelves and don’t look at my dresser or my desk.

Anyway, in the afternoon the ice had melted, so I took a trip to Office Depot, and this morning I spent some time organizing. I can now stand to be in my office. I’m not panicking at all. I just keep looking at the pretty project jackets and my new dry erase board on which I wrote out everything I’m working on.

If I’m MIA for longer than I had anticipated, it’s because I’m distracted by the pretty colors, which is understandable, and by my work, which is the way it should be.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Down For the Count

Sunday, Monday, and yesterday, I was plagued by what may have been good ol' norovirus. Much throwing up. Today I'm back at work, deprived of coffee and its rejuvinating, if stomach-upsetting qualities, sluggish but hopeful. RR may blog about it later, so I'll save any details (mmm, yummy).

I was hoping to be back to full-time blogging this year (or full-time for me), but until I'm fully recovered, I don't think I'll have anything to say. Check back periodically.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Ok, so, my eyelashes.

The eyelashes on my left eye have parted ways.

Let me elaborate. It seems that the eyelashes have developed a definite part. They were not like that this morning when I shellac-ed them for the day, but when I looked in the mirror just now, there they were, mocking me. This fact alone would not bother me, for I am well used to the hair on my body doing inexplicable things that I cannot control or prevent and that I’d rather it didn’t. My natural contrariness causes me to frequently cut off my nose to spite my face, and this character trait does not restrict itself my thinking self, the part of me that I could, in theory, control. My body, not to be out done, frequently does the opposite of what I want it to for no good reason other than that it refuses to be told what to do. So far this mulish tendency, as far as the rebel hair caucus goes, has primarily displayed itself to the public through the hair on my head, my eyebrows, and one stray hair on my left arm. But now, apparently, it has spread.

I wouldn’t be so much bothered by the eyelashes joining the fray and taking up the cause except that, for some reason, where my lashes have parted they’ve also decided to curl in opposite directions, and this curling is not only visible to the naked eye, it’s quite noticeable. And so, if you looked at my left eye, you would notice that my lashes appear to be giving some sort of “hook ‘em horns” or “rock on” type hand signal. Or perhaps they are merely tired of my curling and mascara-ing them into submission every morning, and thus are saying to me, “you mess with the bull . . . .” I don’t know. I only know that it’s hard for me to concentrate at work while my own eyelashes engage in what appears to be some sort of mutiny. But if they think this is over, they can just guess again.

Apparently, where's there's Wil, there's way too much free time

If you like Star Trek (or "Star Truck," if you're one of the women on last night's Beauty and the Geek), or if you like TWoP, then you’ll probably like Wil Wheaton’s recaps of Star Trek: Next Generation episodes, from which I take my quote of the day (and as always thanks to E.W. for the link):

Before Picard can offer one of his soon-to-be trademark rebuttal speeches, Q transforms into a WWII-era American military officer, and really lays into Picard about how humans are a savage race that's unfit for tooling around the galaxy in spaceships. Surprisingly, he doesn't transform into Michael Moore at any point during his diatribe.