Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's Snooooowing!

Today has been a nice day. Obligations have just melted away by the minute!

When I woke up this morning it was snowing and sticking. Hooray! This is the first real snow we've had all winter (prior to now we've just had "flurries" and "showers" that didn't stick). Even though the ground was already mostly covered by the time Penn got up for work at 7:15, I didn't get my hopes up that classes would be canceled today. My university is notorious for stubbornly staying open even when basically everything else in the region has shut down. So I got up at 8:00 and ate breakfast, read through a project that a friend is working on since I had agreed to meet with a group of people to discuss it over lunch, did my workout in front of the TV (I love Exercise TV on demand), showered, packed my lunch, and was five minutes away from walking out the door to head to campus when my phone beeped with a text message saying campus had been shut down due to the weather.
Because campus is closed, I got out of the group meeting, a meeting with my advisor, AND my first class of the semester, which was supposed to happen this evening. Good thing it was canceled, too, because I was going to have to scramble through seventy pages of reading this afternoon to prepare for tonight. All of these things will be rescheduled, of course, but it's nice to have an unexpected day's reprieve from returning to school.
Then shortly after classes were canceled Nicole called to let me know that she wants to host a Super Bowl party this weekend. Yesterday friends were trying to convince me to do it since the friends that usually host it aren't at all enthused about the game this year and don't feel like doing it. So I went home and convinced Penn that we should host (even though the guy doesn't really like Super Bowl parties because he actually likes to watch the game and chatty people are too distracting at parties. Actually watch? The game? I've always fallen in the "watch the commercials and eat snacks" camp in the past and usually I don't even know who's playing, but after a season of Football Sundays with Penn, I have to admit that I'm beginning to understand the appeal of actually watching the games. Crazy, huh?) Anyway, it turns out my convincing was all for naught since Nicole has stepped up to take the responsibility off our hands. While I was actually beginning to get into the idea of hosting the party, I was also already getting a bit annoyed with the logistics (Do we order a keg? Am I a bad hostess if I just provide snack stuff and ask everyone to bring their own meat to grill?), so I'm kind of relieved that Nicole took over. I suppose I'll just host a non-dinner party another time.

Anyway, I'm off to eat lunch and leisurely do my reading. Maybe I'll even watch some trash TV to celebrate the fact that I now have nothing to do tonight.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

27 Things to Do Before I Turn 27

Look at this, two posts in two days! I'm stocking up a bit since the spring semester starts on Monday and you all know that means I'll be lucky to post once a week here until it's break time again.

So, this is my list of 27 Things to Do Before I Turn 27. Both Briar and Sara have done this on their blogs, so they're my inspiration for making the list. This is quite a bit belated since my birthday was back in November, but I figure 9 months is still plenty of time to make decent headway on a list like this. Also, I realize it might make a bit more sense to do something like 30 before 30 or 50 before 50, but I like a challenge, and I figure anything that doesn't get done this year is either not all that great of an idea after all or can be bumped to next year's list.
I included mostly fun things on this list, things that I want to do but generally don't make a priority when life gets hectic. I did include a few practical and career-related things that I need to try to do, but mostly my thought process as I made the list was, "What new things would I like to try?" So the majority of my list involves things I like: travel, restaurants, and finding ways to be a tourist in my own home. Also, I have to admit I purposely tried to list things that are relatively easy to accomplish. They'll take a bit of effort, but most of them are things that I can accomplish in a single day or even a few hours. I feel like crossing the majority of items off this list is feasible before November, and I did that on purpose because I don't want to look back at this list later and have done nothing. I think if I can accomplish even half the items I'll be satisfied, and I'll have done some fun and interesting things.

With all of that said, here's the list:
  • Get another stamp on my passport
  • Cross at least one more state off my list (only 18 more to go!)
  • Bake a cake that doesn't come from a box
  • Host a get-together of some sort at my condo (although whatever it is, I'm not allowed to call it a "dinner party" because Penn thinks dinner parties are only for old people)
  • Write a book review and submit it to an academic journal
  • Attend one of these events celebrating Edgar Allen Poe's 200th birthday
  • Eat here, here, and here.
  • Teach the Meatball to retrieve beer from the fridge
  • Start some sort of savings account separate from, and more stable than, my stock accounts
  • Really master driving standard so that I feel equally comfortable driving my car or Penn's
  • Attend at least five live productions, not counting concerts (it is shameful how rarely I make time to take advantage of the opportunities to see live theatre/dance/opera on campus and in nearby cities)
  • Find a dentist here and make an appointment to get my teeth professionally cleaned for the first time in, uh, years
  • Take a beach vacation somewhere that is not New Jersey. But also:
  • Visit a boardwalk on the Jersey or Delaware shore when it is actually summertime (I have been to Rehoboth and Ocean City, but both times it was fall or winter so I have yet to actually experience the boardwalk scene)
  • Take my boyfriend to my home state
  • Get caught up on my personal journal project and print and bind the past two years
  • Try at least three types of cuisine that I have never/very rarely tried (Mongolian, Peruvian, Belgian, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Guatemalan, these are all options. In my neighborhood, this shouldn't be too hard to do)
  • Read at least two of the books that made me think, "Oh, that's a classic, I should probably read it," as I was entering Penn's books into our GoodReads library
  • Take a group dance or exercise class
  • Buy a printer
  • Buy a Wii
  • Go to this museum
  • Visit this landmark
  • Also, this one
  • Visit some churches in our neighborhood and try to find one we would like to attend on a regular basis
  • Go to a hockey game
  • Make a list of 28 Things to Do Before I Turn 28

Friday, January 23, 2009


***First, a note that has nothing to do with anything else I'm going to write about: it is almost February, and so far I am sticking to my resolution to cook from an actual recipe at least once a week. I know it has only been three weeks, but I'm considering this an accomplishment since we were skiing or housesitting for a large portion of the month. And this week I cooked three times! I made a whole wheat pasta/chickpea/garlic/tomato sautee dish that I've been eating for lunch this week (I made that one just for me, because Penn will eat anything I make but I don't really need to torture the guy with whole wheat pasta), on Sunday I made this roasted sausage dish, and then tonight I made Greek Wedding Soup. I included the links to those recipes because they were both really good and really easy and I know quite a few of us are on a mission to cook at home more often right now so I thought I'd pass them along. The first one is nice because it requires very little attention and you can relax while it roasts. And the second one came together in half an hour, including defrosting the meat in the microwave. For the record, I used hot Italian sausage in the first recipe, and the grocery store right behind my apartment actually had ground lamb when we were there the other day so I was able to use that and I'm glad I did (I think it would still be okay with the ground beef, but it would be lacking something). Also, if you're counting calories you might want to stay away from the sausage dish, obviously (or just make it your only major meal for the day), but the soup is only about 600 calories per serving AND gives you lots of protein, which is my favorite combination in a meal. Oh, and I realize those are both Rachael Ray recipes and I'm trying to branch out, I swear, but I am a fan of her stuff because a) it's generally approachable and doable for amateur cooks, b) the ingredients are usually easy to find at your basic grocery store (we have every sort of market in the world on my street, but I'm not usually in the mood to go from store to store looking for things) and c) I've made 20+ of her recipes over the years and only one disappointed me, so those are good odds. ***

I really wanted to write about Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday night when the excitement was high, but by the time Penn and I got home to our apartment and unpacked I was too tired to think about doing anything else. And then I went back to work and I had other things to catch up on so that's why it's Friday and I'm just now getting around to writing about it.
When I moved here a year and a half ago, one of the things I remember being excited about was the fact that I'd be able to see a presidential inauguration in person. I had decided way back then that I wanted to be there to see it, no matter who won the election. As the media keeps reminding us, an inauguration is "an historic event!" and I wanted to stand in the cold and watch it happen. I would have been there if it had been Clinton, McCain, anyone. Then Obama won the election and it turned into this HUGE thing and over a million people were planning to crowd the public transportation and people were rumored to be renting out their houses for thousands of dollars to the Obamamaniacs from out of town and, well, you know all that. And I thought, "Hmmm. Maybe I don't actually want to deal with all of that." Up until last week, Penn and I were still waffling about whether or not we actually wanted to brave public transportation and go (actually, I think he had more or less decided he wanted to go, but I was beginning to lean a bit more towards the "it won't be worth the hassle" camp). We're within walking distance of a subway stop, one of the last stops on the line, and it takes about half an hour to ride downtown from here. So it would have been feasible to make our way to the ceremony from here. It would have been easy, in fact, compared to what most of the rest of the crowd had to do. But still...
Then my friend who I housesit for occasionally called and asked if Penn and I could stay at her place Friday through Monday while she and her husband took a vacation. This friend lives on Capitol Hill! So I said, "Sure, but can we stay at your place Monday night so we can go to the inauguration?" and she said yes, so that's how we ended up with a place to stay within walking distance of the Mall. Score!
It was fun being there in the days leading up to the big event. We walked down on Sunday afternoon and the Mall was still relatively uncrowded, so we were able to walk right up to the Capitol and check out the set up and watch all the media getting into position. We were also bombarded by the vendors selling an endless array of Obama crap. I think my favorite was the Obama water, or maybe the Barack pistachios. So ridiculous.
On Tuesday morning we planned to get up around 7 and leave by 8 to walk over to the Mall. We figured that would get us there in plenty of time since the musical prelude wasn't supposed to start until 10 and I still sort of thought that everyone was probably exaggerating the estimated crowd counts. But at 6:30 Penn's phone rang. It was one of his friends who gets up early for work, telling us that he'd seen coverage on the news of people already pouring out of subway stations in a steady stream and letting us know that we should probably get up and going. So we got up and were out the front door by 7:45.
The walk to the Mall from my friend's house normally takes about twenty minutes, but it took us about an hour and a half on Tuesday. There were lines of people with tickets blocking all of the routes we would normally take, so we just followed crowds being directed by cops and "inauguration volunteers". After being funneled into an increasingly tight mass by an actual human chain of police officers and being held up momentarily by a motorcade (I couldn't see who was in it, other than a military official whose chest was covered with more stripes than I have ever seen on anybody in my life), we eventually came onto the Mall at the Washington Monument. We were far, far away from the Capitol, but, hey, we could see it! We also had a clear view of one of the big screens and the sound system worked well so we could hear what was going on, and the nice thing about the Washington Monument is that it's on a slight rise so we had a great vantage point from which to view the crowds filling in. And fill in they did. There were people around us from Seattle, California, and Ohio, and while I think those people were crazy to travel all the way here to stand a mile from the Capitol, I have to admit that it was really exciting.
The whole thing was really exciting. I'll also admit that it was pretty freezing, but that's why I have a toasty-warm boyfriend. For a while before much was going on he wrapped his arms around me and I stood facing him with my hands in his coat pockets and my nose burrowed into his neck. He kept laughing at me and telling me that it wasn't that cold (it was 26 degrees, that is COLD!) and then he said, "What are you going to do when I have to let go?" and I yelped, "When is that going to happen?!" and Penn is still laughing about how panicked I was at the thought of standing on my own in the cold. Fortunately, he let me use him as my blanket until everything got interesting enough that I was no longer thinking about being cold.
The main thing that stands out in my mind about the actual ceremony was how quiet, calm, and attentive the crowd was. I was envisioning a riotous mob, people so loud that I wouldn't even be able to hear Obama take his oath. But it was the complete opposite of that. All day long people were friendly. I didn't notice any deliberate pushing or shoving, even when we were basically being herded toward the Mall like cattle. There was a really annoying, know-it-all guy standing in front of us but while we all ignored his rambling, nobody was bothered enough to tell him to shut up. During the oath and the ceremony, the crowd was basically silent, except when they were cheering. I can't even explain how strange it felt standing in the biggest group I have ever been a part of (and probably will ever be a part of) in my life and somehow still feeling a sense of calm and quiet. Maybe I just got lucky and ended up in a good section of the crowd, but I also just think that was the general vibe of the day, because everyone else I talked to that was there described the same friendliness and reverence. That alone made the experience amazing, and the fact that almost 2 million people can come together to witness something important and treat it with the proper amount of respect makes me feel like maybe Americans as a whole aren't all that bad.
After the ceremony I was a little worried about how we were going to get through the crowd to get off the Mall and walk back to the house where we were staying, but it ended up not being much of a problem. We walked along the Tidal Basin, then sort of along the waterfront, and then we were able to walk on two different highways that were closed to traffic. That was weird. It looked like those movies about the end of the world, where almost everybody has been killed by zombies or aliens or something and the only people left just stroll along the empty highways to get where they need to go. We did have to scale a fence and jump about 10 feet down a highway median (actually, Penn jumped and then I climbed down into his arms; again, this is what boyfriends are for!), but we were home about half an hour after the ceremony had finished. Not bad!
I'm so glad we went. I feel like there are very few events that happen in a lifetime that are big enough that future generations will want to know about the day in detail. I remember asking my grandparents about Pearl Harbor and about Kennedy, and once having a class assignment where I had to interview my parents about their memories of the moon landing. And now I think that maybe someday someone who isn't born yet might ask me about September 11th, and then they might ask me about this and I'll be able to say I was there. Or maybe eventually we'll get to the point where it's par for the course to have black presidents and female presidents and gay presidents and Latino presidents and future generations won't really think that much about the first time it happened because to them it will just be normal. I don't know if that will happen in my lifetime, but I'm hopeful that it will happen eventually.
I'm skeptical of celebrity worship, and I must admit that the way the world is reacting to Obama feels like that to me sometimes, like we're going wild with excitement before the man has even done anything to really warrant it. Who knows what his presidency will entail. But then sometimes I get swept up in the hype, too, and I really am thrilled that any child I raise will grow up in a world where there has always been a black president of the United States. We grew up being told that we could do anything if we set our hearts and minds on it, but we didn't have many examples of that actually being the case. Now, I think we get much closer all the time to that actually being a reality. I wish Obama well, and even though I know he will screw up (he's only human, after all) I really, really hope that he sincerely has good intentions and will do well for this country and leave a legacy that the millions of people who celebrated this week can be proud of.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Something in the Water...

All of my friends and relatives really need to stop synchronizing major life events.

Remember a couple of years ago when approximately half* the people I know all got married at more or less the same time?
And then remember last fall when everyone who wasn't already married** got engaged in a single week and I put a moratorium on the announcing of engagements until 2007 was over? (Which worked very well...too well, in fact, because in the months after that way too many of my friends went through break ups and divorces, so, uh, I guess I shouldn't complain anymore.)

Well, now the inevitable has happened. And it has happened much sooner than I thought it would. You know what I'm talking about...
The babies are on the way! People close to me are becoming parents! On a seemingly-daily basis! Ahhhhhhhhhhh! I am very, very not ready for this.
Don't get me wrong, I like babies. At least, I think I like babies. I definitely like them in theory. In practice, I have no idea since it recently dawned on me that my actual experience with infants is pretty much nil. But at any rate, I've recently discovered that despite my best attempts to ignore the damn thing, the proverbial biological clock is very real. Some moments it feels like my stupid uterus is audibly ticking (especially now that I've met someone I can actually envision myself potentially procreating with eventually. EVENTUALLY. NOT NOW. Emphasis completely necessary because apparently these days making babies around here is as easy as drinking a glass of water.) So yes, I'm excited about having a baby someday, but the regularity with which my friends have been announcing pregnancies lately is crazy. It makes me very happy for them, of course, but every announcement simultaneously forces me to anxiously eye my enormous stash of birth control pills while googling "anti-fertility rituals."
I'm thinking about this today because a friend I taught with over the summer just announced her first pregnancy via Facebook. She's hot on the heels of Penn's sister, who told the family last week that she's pregnant with her third child. Cas is due with her first in April. My cousin Rae is due with her first in June. As part of my current job I assist a secretary who is going to have a second baby any minute now. One of my fellow PhD students had a baby just before Christmas (well, he's the dad so he didn't give birth to it, but still). Two of my friends from college who had a whirlwind courtship that led to what I still think of as "The Most Unlikely Marriage Ever" (despite the fact that it has already lasted almost three years) had a baby just before Christmas, too.
I really am thrilled about all of these babies. As I mentioned above, I have very little baby experience so I'm excited that everyone else is popping out these little people for me to hopefully get some practice with. In fact, I think I have unwittingly planned things perfectly since I don't think I'll be the very last of my group of friends to have a baby but I also don't have to be the first. Muahahahahaha. Plus, it's just exciting. Babies!!! My friends are producing offspring!!!

All in all, I think it's pretty cool. It's just that there's nothing like vicariously venturing into carseat and diaper bag territory to make me realize that I really am closer to 30 than 20. Yikes.

*This is possibly a slight exaggeration.
**Okay, okay, this is also a minor embellishment of the actual facts.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


I got my grocery store's weekly savings flyer in the mail yesterday, and as I was flipping through it I noted that the store is having an "Inauguration Grab 'N' Go Special." And do you know what the special is? Fried chicken! Seriously. So what do you think, is the store racist or just completely oblivious?

Changing the subject completely, Penn and I are back from our ski trip. We had such a good time!
Last Friday we went to a used sporting goods store and I was able to buy a pair of used skis, boots, poles, and nice gloves all for less than half the amount it would have cost to buy a new pair of skis and for only double the amount it would have cost me to rent for the duration of our trip. If I even use the skis just once more in my life they will have been worth the investment, and I like the pair I got. They're not super-fast, but that works well for me and I should hopefully be able to use them for several seasons before I need to upgrade.
We drove to Boston on Saturday and spent the night with one of my college friends who now lives there and then on Sunday we got up (before sunrise!) and drove the rest of the way to Maine. I would like to point out, by the way, that I drove Penn's stick shift truck on the highway in Maine for about an hour and a half so he could take a nap. I even had to go through a toll plaza, which I managed to do without freaking out and stalling! True, it was seven in the morning on a Sunday and we were in middle-of-nowhere Maine so there was pretty much no one on the highway except for us, but I still feel like that's at least a little accomplishment.
We went skiing at Sugar Loaf. I highly recommend it. Supposedly it's one of the very best places to go on the east coast, and while I can't vouch for that (since it's the first place I have ever skied on the east coast) I can say that it's very comparable to the place where my family used to ski in the Rockies, and apparently comparing anything on this coast to the Rockies means it's good. My only complaint about the mountain itself is that it was really, really windy. I've never been on such windy slopes. Given, I think we happened to pick a really windy week, too, but I was looking through the packet of brochures and several of the restaurants and in-town activities offered "wind hold" specials, so I think that means the wind is probably a pretty regular thing at Sugar Loaf. Here's how windy it was: several times I was skiing along and the wind would be so strong it would stop me in my tracks! Given, this never happened on a particularly steep slope and I'm not an incredibly fast skiier, but still. Pretty bizarre. At first I thought I was just being a wuss about the wind, but then on the windiest morning the ski report said something about "sustained winds of 30 mph with gusts up to 65 mph" and I no longer felt like such a weakling.
The little-too-windy factor was tempered by a lot of other really awesome things, though. There is a good variety of terrain, and all of the lifts led to many slopes so that even though Penn and I are at different levels (he can do anything; I will gladly do all blues and can often be talked into a black but I won't attempt double blacks...yet...) we could always get to the top and find something that would either work well for both of us or would allow us to split up and easily meet up again partway down the mountain. Our hotel was great because it was literally ski-in, ski-out. We would get up in the morning, bundle up, walk down two flights of stairs to the locker room to put on our boots and get our skis, and then we'd walk out the door of the locker room, pop our skis on, and get on the lift that was steps away from the back door. It was wonderful, especially at the end of the day when we were exhausted and wanted nothing more than to be back in our warm, cozy room, beer in hand. Most of the condos and hotels seemed to have a similar ski-in, ski-out arrangement, which is definitely a major plus for the mountain. The other great thing was that there was hardly anyone on the slopes. I suppose we just picked a good week to go and I'm sure some weeks (the spring break weeks, for instance) will be much more crowded, but we didn't have to contend with any crowds. Our hotel was nice and quiet and seemed to be at only half-capacity, at the most. We skied for five days and waited in line for a chairlift exactly twice (and both times the "wait" was about two minutes). Most of the time we could ski right up to any lift and hop on. There were many times when Penn and I would be the only people on a trail. I knew I was getting spoiled when I was approaching the base of a long-ish trail one afternoon and there were suddenly about half a dozen snowboarders in front of me and I thought, "Damn it, where did all these people come from!?"
Having entire trails to yourself is definitely a huge perk, but there were a couple of times when I thought, "This would be a bad, BAD situation if one of us fell and got hurt right now." On the fourth day we skied it snowed all day, which led to some really nice powder conditions and hardly anyone other than us braving the weather and taking advantage of it. There was a lift on the far side of the mountain that we liked because it went to the very top (well, as high as you could go) and led to a series of blacks and double blacks that Penn could do and a blue that I liked and would do a few times in a row while he tackled the harder trails. On the morning it was snowing we skied over there and got to the lift right as the operator decided they needed to close it because of the wind (and probably because it was snowing so hard at the top you could hardly see). So there we were, getting ready to sit down on the chair when the lift operator yelled, "We're shutting down, it's too windy." Since we were the only ones in line at that point (or even in sight, for that matter) and since our only other options were either taking off our skis and hiking back up to a higher point to ski down to a different lift or poling along a series of annoying, flat cross-cuts to get back to another lift, we talked the guy into letting us be the last people to head up. He shook his head and said, "You're brave," but he let us do it. It was definitely weird getting off the lift and hearing it grind to a stop. I realized at that point that we were pretty much on our own, and I was really grateful we were together, just in case something had happened.
Luckily, nothing bad or painful happened all week. We both had the usual post-skiing soreness, but I'm pretty sure Penn didn't fall once and I only had two minor falls and only one where my ski actually popped off. And even then I didn't go head-over-heels, it just popped off because I came off a powdery patch onto a really icy patch and the change in texture surprised me and I overcorrected and ended up facing sort of uphill, crossing my skis and flopping over. I pretty much fell uphill. Of course, the one time I managed to lose a ski Penn was ahead of me and couldn't help. We were on a black slope at the time, and usually when we did a black (or any trail we thought might be more challenging for me) Penn would let me start well ahead of him so that he could stay behind me to help just in case I needed it. It worked out pretty well, usually. I would start, he'd wait until I was partway down and then he would ski until he was slightly ahead of me and wait for me to catch up, we'd both rest for a second, then he'd let me take off again...as predicted, I was much slower and more cautious than he was (which is pretty much our personalities in every life situation, to be honest) but he slowed down and I tried to ski a bit faster and we were able to ski together in a way that was fun for both of us (at least, I think it was fun for him; he can save the crazy speed competitions for his next boys' weekend on the slopes...and as I pointed out, I'm much more fun for the apres ski experience than any of the boys are! They don't cuddle.) Anyway, fortunately just after I fell a woman came down the slope and stood below me so that I could lean on her to put my ski back on, so it wasn't a big deal. Penn asked what I would have done if she hadn't come along, and I said, "Uh...grabbed my ski and scooted down on my butt until I got to you?" which is honestly what I probably would have done because it was a pretty steep slope and I really couldn't stand up on my own.
Anyway, all in all the skiing was a big success. Penn is really good for me because he challenges me to try things I wouldn't try otherwise, but the couple of times that I said, "No. Really, NO. I am not going to do that trail, I don't feel good about it," he understood and didn't force me. I'll never be as fast as he is (I value the feeling of being in control of myself way too much to truly get flying) but I think if we keep skiing together I'm definitely going to get better. I was already much better at the end of our five days of skiing than I was at the beginning. I also realized that part of what makes me cautious is purely psychological. There were a few times where Penn said, "We're going to do this one," and I said, "What is this one?! I don't see it's name, how hard is it?" and he said, "Just do it, it doesn't look that hard, right?" and then we'd get to the bottom and he'd go, "You did a black!" I do psych myself up a lot more when I know that a trail is "Most Difficult," and now that I know that, I'm a little more willing to judge the trail based on how hard it actually looks and not on what color it supposedly is.
It really was funny how much our skiing could easily be a metaphor for our entire relationship. He challenges me to take risks and bend the rules a little bit and spend more time living in the moment. I think I challenge him to show more self-restraint and look more at what is best for the big, long-term picture instead of just looking for the in-the-moment benefits. It's a pairing that worked well on the slopes, and so far seems to be working well in life, also. We have a good balance, I think.

Anyway, now we're back in the real world. In Maine we'd gotten into a total old people routine: getting up by 9 at the very latest so we could hit the slopes, coming in for a quick lunch-and-defrost after 2-3 hours, going out for more skiing until 4, then eating dinner, having a few drinks, and watching football or movies until we fell asleep by 9:00. I was working out all day and sleeping at least 10 hours a night. I kind of wish life was always like that.
But now it's back to work for both of us tomorrow (I still have two weeks until I'm back in classes, but I start my assistantship work and an independent study project tomorrow). I'm not particularly excited about going back to real life, especially since I ended up wasting most of this weekend by getting sick. I started feeling sick when we were driving home on Thursday, and by the time we actually got home on Friday (after another night spent with college friends in Boston) I was feeling pretty lousy. In fact, I barely remember Friday night because I was so fuzzy-headed and loopy from cold medicine. One minute I was lying with my head on Penn's lap watching an episode of The Sopranos, the next thing I knew he was putting me in our bed. He literally had to carry me to bed because I was so sleepy and out of it! Yesterday wasn't much better, although I rallied enough to finally go to Slumdog Millionaire, which I really liked. Luckily, I'm feeling much better today. There are still a lot of personal things I want to accomplish before classes start again, though. We'll see if I can get any of it done.

And now to end on the same sort of completely unrelated note I started on, I would like to point out that Penn and I are currently drinking "HeBrew: The Chosen Beer." I'm not kidding! It was on the Make Your Own Six Pack shelves at our favorite liquor store, so we had to try it out. Who comes up with these things?!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

On the Right Foot

2009 is off to a good start. For one thing, I just realized 2009 is very easy to type because the 9 is right next to the zeros. I like that. As always when a new year starts, though, I can't believe how quickly time has gone by. It seems like just the other day that my grandma was giving us Y2K gifts for Christmas and I was drinking sparkling grape juice at my friend Sara's party with all of my high school friends. And now almost an entire decade has gone by.

Anyway, last night was a lot of fun. I ended up wearing my purple dress after all and with tights and my winter coat I was actually perfectly comfortable. It helps that we were either inside the club or on the subway for most of the night, and we drove to the subway station rather than walking so I was really only outside for a grand total of ten minutes. The concert was so much fun. Robert Randolph is funk and soul, so it's great music to dance to. Since the only time I can ever get my boyfriend to dance with me is at concerts, I took full advantage and we danced all night long. We were also just tipsy enough that we thought it would be a good idea to make out like horny teenagers all night long, too. Actually, that WAS a good idea. Once you're an adult there's something really fun about just kissing for a while. Plus it's not like every other couple in the club wasn't dancing close and kissing all night, too. New Year's is definitely a holiday made for couples, which I had never really thought much about until this year. At one point I thought, "Hmmmm, maybe I should be appropriate and stop kissing for a second," but then I looked around and every couple around us was kissing, too, so, yay, guilt-free public displays of affection! Happy 2009! The concert was a good way to ring in the new year. At midnight the band led a countdown and a ton of balloons rained down from the ceiling as we grabbed our free shot of champagne and the music started up again and we went back to dancing. It was the perfect mix of low-key and celebratory, and I had a great time. The night even ended well because we hadn't put much thought into how we were going to get home, other than hoping that the trains would run later than they usually do on Wednesday nights. Fortunately, the trains were running later than usual and we somehow lucked into making our way into the station two minutes before the last train of the night pulled up to the platform. All in all, it was a fun way to say goodbye to a very memorable and special year.

I celebrated the first day of 2009 by not leaving the house at all other than to take the dog outside to go to the bathroom. Penn and I woke up, napped for a while, woke up again, decided to nap a little more. I finally took a shower at about 4:00 in the afternoon. Penn and I spent most of the day sitting on the couch watching football with his friends who are visiting and Anna, who came over for a while. We also had bratwursts for dinner, since apparently it is good luck to eat pork and sauerkraut on new year's day (crazy Yankees...I only knew about good luck black eyed peas prior to this year).

Tomorrow I'm on a mission to buy a pair of used skis because on Saturday Penn and I are driving to Sugar Loaf in Maine to go skiing for five days. Skiing! In Maine! I've never been to Maine, and even though it's going to take forever to get there (we're basically going to Canada) I'm really excited to see it since it's supposed to be beautiful. I'm also really, really excited to go skiing since it is my favorite physical activity and the last time I got to do it was almost four years ago (and, actually, the last two times I was on a mountain I was snowboarding, not skiing...I think there's going to be a pretty steep re-learning curve next week). Penn loves skiing. I'm fairly certain he's going to be bored out of his mind skiing with me, actually, since I know I'm going to be much more slow and cautious than he is. But I hope it's going to be really fun. The only downside is the high in Sugar Loaf was 9 yesterday. THE HIGH. So I might die of frostbite, and I might end up with broken bones, but I hope that I get a couple of good runs in first. I'll let you know how it goes.