Friday, August 25, 2006

She goes on curating your domestic museum

What I've been listening to: Vienna Teng, Dreaming Through The Noise. It's a *fantastic* album. I can even appreciate the songs I usually skip through (the more jazzy, experimental sounding ones), but there are only 2 of those, and the other ones are so good that it makes up for it.

I drove to Seattle today for the last day of my class, and it was amazingly traffic-free both ways. I think I actually got there quicker than I do on weekends! Handy tip: if you get to downtown early, park at Pacific Place - it's reasonable, compared to other parking garages and nearly empty before 9am. I paid $18 for about 6.5 hours. On weekends, or for 4 hours or less, it's much cheaper.

I said goodbye to Buddy the Espresso Dog and his coffee-making person Scott. They seem to have a sort of friendly strangers coffee club - anytime you go to his cart there are a few people sitting or standing around talking to each other about various interesting things. That's what I like about cities, or at least accessible ones like Seattle. I don't really feel threatened or afraid (like I did the few times I was in NYC) and it's got a well defined, fairly clean downtown (unlike LA). Again, another thing about Seattle that reminds me of Pittsburgh.

Which reminds me - I'm going to Pittsburgh in October for Kristine's wedding. YAY! I can't wait - I haven't been back there since Karthik and Maya's wedding 8 years ago. Thanks to Deloitte Consulting, I got us free first class tickets to Pittsburgh and a 3 night stay at a nice hotel. Consulting was the job that keeps on giving, I guess.

I did some shopping today but nothing terribly exciting. Replenished my stock of Aveda shampoo with the nice big liter sized bottles, and got a free tote bag. Since I buy so much stuff there, I joined their rewards club for $10 and got a little makeup bag of samples (I'm such a sucker). But they send me cards for free samples every month, and I got a free regular sized lotion for my birthday. I love that store.

Today I got a pair of nice jeans at J. Jill to tide me over the next few months, in a size I really prefer not to own. Quel horreur. But at least I'll have something decent to wear.

This week I finally went back to the gym for a free "bhangracize" class. It was really fun, more like a dance class than exercise and the hour went by pretty quick. I've learned my lesson signing up for series of classes (I never make it through the whole thing) but if they offer single sessions again, I'd definitely go. The class was *packed* and the music was fun. Exercise is so much better when it doesn't seem like a chore.

So where is everybody? I haven't gotten too many comments lately.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Till then I walk alone

So I've been in a training class all week in downtown Seattle, for work. It's been a *fantastic* class and I'll probably blog about it in my work blog next week (it has been languishing for far too long).

One of the great things about the class, which at first freaked me out, is that there is *no* Internet access in the classroom. I hadn't realized how much freakin' time I spend online, either checking my email (work and personal) or surfing the web. Without this huge distraction, I can actually pay attention to the instructor and have learned an amazing amount of cool stuff this week. It is so great to settle my mind and focus on one thing instead of multitasking - it really has reduced my stress level. I'm definitely going to try to keep this going, and minimize my background tasks so I can focus on one thing at a time since it's been hugely effective.

The other great thing about the class is that it's downtown. I have taken the bus there every day this week. Seattle has a great bus system that I discovered while I was in graduate school since parking in Seattle proper is either too expensive or hard to find. Couple that with my pathetic parallel parking skills and the shiny new car, and I'll take the bus anyday. Especially since Microsoft provides us with a free bus pass.

Getting up early to catch the bus, and walking everywhere once I'm downtown has been such a great change of pace for me and is shaking me out of my suburban rut. I have more time in my day, and oddly, am less tired than usual - I guess it's that extra exercise, and maybe the fact that sloth breeds more sloth.

Every morning I've walked past a coffee cart on Pine St, just before 7th next to Vons. There is an adorable Golden Retriever named Buddy manning the cart (with his person making the coffee, of course. Silly you - dogs don't make coffee for people!). I've stopped to say hi to him almost every morning (when he's out of his crate) and also at lunch time just to get some prime dog lovin' before going back to class.

Little things like that make me happy. And tomorrow, I might spend a bit of time shopping after class. There is prime shopping downtown and I'm more than a little sick of my usual Redmond Town Center/Bellevue Square jaunts. I've been looking forward to this all week, and even finished my statistics homework set #7 last night so I could shop with a clear conscience tomorrow. (Though I really should get started on #8 - I only have a week left and 2 homework sets and the final to go!)

One thing that did not make me happy - on the bus yesterday I sat next to a guy who was avidly reading Ann Rule's book about the Green River Killer. I know that True Crime is a valid literary genre and all that, but if you're into that stuff, please read it at home. Otherwise people in public spaces will think you're a wacko. I tried to sit very still and blend into the scenery. Maybe this guy reads these books so no one will sit next to him? I thought about changing seats, but the bus was full and I didn't want to call undue attention to myself...

Tomorrow I'm going to drive (all the better to transport my shopping!) so no weird bus dudes for me.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Make me a pretty person

I've got two TV shows I absolutely make time to watch. In fact, they're so important I even studied for my statistics class midterm while watching them. The jury is still out on how well that worked out for me...

One is Rock Star:Supernova and the other is Project Runway (Season 3). While none of the candidates on Rock Star have really impressed me consistently, on Project Runway, there are several really talented ones.

The challenge on today's episode was great - each designer had to design for one of the others' moms or sisters, most of whom were plus sized. And oddly enough, this stumped a few of the designers. I guess that shouldn't have been surprising to me, but I figured if you called yourself a designer who actually makes clothes (as opposed to pseudo designers like Gwen Stefani, J. Lo and the Olsen twins who put their names on other peoples' work), you'd be able to dress a wide range of *real* people not just the superhuman size 0 runway models.

Anyway, it was nice to see what they came up with, and reminded me yet again, that clothes really do look better on well-proportioned bodies.

Which just served as further motivation for me to lose the weight already dammit! TJ and I have done quite well with our not eating out plan (we're in the second week of three now). We went out to Claim Jumper, once as a weakness when it was just too damn hot to stay home, and once with John and Jenna. But other than that, no spontaneous bad meals out. And I don't think I've eaten a single deep fried item in those two weeks, which is also great. (Laugh if you must but I was seriously on a bad path before this...)

Anyway, buying new clothes, or even fitting into my boxes of "used to be" sized clothes would be amazing. I'm taking baby steps to get there, and need to get a couple more of my "projects" out of the way so I can focus on this better. The first one being that darn Statistics class. It will be over on Sept 2. And I'll get my $1000 back as tuition reimbursement from Microsoft and move on with my life. Yay! The next change after that will be figuring out how to adjust my work life balance (waking up before 9am would probably help there...)

Anyway, I just had to spontaneously blog after Michael Kors' awesome quote on Project Runway - "That looked like Comme des Garcons goes to the Amish country". Rock on Michael!

Back to regularly scheduled programming (so I can find out who won and who's OUT!)

Monday, August 14, 2006

You should know by now - we're all liars

Hmmm, I meant to write when I returned from my trip to see my friend Alice in Alberta, Canada. And now that was a week ago. Well, I'll post about Canada separately.

I just got back from the Toad the Wet Sprocket concert at the Moore Theater in Seattle. And I'm so happy. The last time I saw them was in 1997, I think, also at the Moore. I was really sad when they broke up. Their music completely and totally reminds me of college. This was the seventh time I've seen them - the first time was 14 years ago, at the University of Redlands.

It was a great show - they played nearly all the songs on Dulcinea, some from Coil, a few from Fear, and a few other random ones. We're all a little older now :). They came out for two encores, the first was for "Walk on the Ocean" and "Hello" and the second was "I Will Not Take These Things for Granted".

And just like almost every single other Toad concert I've gone to, I went with Jasmine and Chris. But this time, I had new friends with me as well - Dre and Dave met me there, and Dave scored some incredible seats from some folks he knew, so instead of sitting on the balcony, we ended up with seats in the 4th row!! It was amazing. (The Moore Theater is pretty small, so even our balcony seats were great.)

Some people are movie people (like TJ) - they'll watch the same movies multiple times and will watch all sorts of new ones. I only like movies where I have a reasonable chance of liking them - a bad movie will put me in a bad mood for days. And except for a few movies, I typically don't care to watch them more than once.

I'm a music person. I will listen to the same few CDs a million times and not get sick of them. I seek out new music and there's nothing like "discovering" a new artist that rocks my world (Hello, Vienna Teng or Kasey Chambers). If I go on a road trip, there are a few CDs I make sure I have with me: Queensryche "Operation Mindcrime", Matchbox 20 "Yourself or Someone Like You" and Toad the Wet Sprocket "Fear". Everytime I hear those albums, they're comforting and familiar, as well as new and interesting. A certain song will take me to an exact point in time where I can remember where I was and who I was with, even if that was 15 or 20 years ago. And my brain is full of song lyrics from approximately 1983 (when I discovered Cyndi Lauper and Madonna) onwards. If I used that brain space for something else, I probably would have done much better academically...

I've seen *a lot* of concerts since my first one - David Lee Roth/Poison at the Civic Arena in Pittsburgh, 1989. TTWS and Queensryche are the two bands I've seen the most (7 or 8 times each) and I'd still go see them every time they play somewhere nearby.

At this point I'm just rambling and trying to share some of that happy vibe I'm feeling right now. (And no, this isn't chemically induced!) All is right in the world tonight. :)

It's all worth waiting for...

sharing is nice

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