Friday, January 23, 2009

Do I have to be a growup?

I'm trying to figure out Quicken, so that we can be financially responsible. This is an admirable goal, but I'm beginning to think that my old Excel spreadsheet method is better. For one thing, I can actually indicate that my direct deposit is income, not just some random deposit. For another, I can export the information from my bank directly into .csv form. To be fair, I was able to successfully export my bank info. to Quicken once. I've tried about 10 times today (no exaggeration), and I'm still having no luck.

If you have any suggestions, I would LOVE to hear them. In the meantime I'm going to go beat my head against the wall for a little while.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Shameless Self-Analysis

What does it mean that as a 30-yr. old, happily married, employed, home-owner I'm starting to develop an incredible fondness for Avirl Lavigne?

Or does it mean anything at all, other than her music is actually pretty interesting and good...

Friday, January 9, 2009

Airplane Etiquette and the TSA

On our recent trip across the country, I was seated next to a small, talkative woman in her fifties wearing a Christmas turtleneck. She looked the part of a kindly mother, but her choice of vocabulary as she regaled the trials of traveling across the country for work quickly changed my impression. Here was a kindly little sprite with quite a strong potty mouth! I made polite conversation with her for awhile, but then begged off to get some rest. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when I groggily awoke to find her painting her nails in the airplane. Yes, folks, painting her nails in the airplane!*

There are obviously questions of airplane etiquette here. And I'm also wondering how/if the Transportation Security Administration determines whether the 1 oz. containers of liquid people are bringing on planes are flammable or not.

*To be fair, she was painting them a nice shiny cherry red to go with her Christmas turtleneck, and they looked very pretty.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Grey's Anatomy IS Like Real Life

This past fall there was an episode of Grey's Anatomy featuring the dermatology department at Seattle Grace (the hospital where all the doctors on the show work). The humor of the situation was that the dermatology department represented a sort of Shangri-la to the surgical residents on the show, who got sucked up in the New Age vibes they encountered there, from relaxing music, to massage, to grapes and filtered water. Of course, in the show, reality quickly crashed back in on the residents when they headed back to the surgical ward.

Typically, I do not like to use the word reality when referring to Grey's Anatomy, but after my experience at a dermatologist's office on Monday, I've been forced to reconsider.

Upon entering the dermatologist's office, I quickly became aware of Enya-type music being softly pumped through a speaker system in a waiting room made up of cushion-covered wicker chairs and tables. I was okay with all of this (although my husband's skin would have been crawling), but I felt sorry for the 10-12 year old boy sitting with his mother - he looked trapped. Seriously, a new-agey waiting room is really not the place for a boy that age...or maybe for almost anyone.

The waiting room experience was followed by my meeting with a physician's assistant, who, at various times told me in a very soothing voice, "We can open a window for you if you need some air" (it was in the 30s outside), and "You are so in tune with yourself to feel your blood vessels in your nose dilating when it's cold outside. That's wonderful."

Such was my experience at the dermatologist's office. It was somewhat surreal, and reminded me more of going to a spa or a massage therapist's office than a doctor's. Given that so many dermatologists are becoming pseudo-plastic surgeons these days, this is not super surprising. The soothing environment becomes an exchange for the money you are going to be asked to shell out for laser treatments or face peels.

Personally, I'd rather not sugar-coat the whole thing. What do you think?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Year

Holiday Countdown 2008:

1) Baked Christmas cookies/candy, which were then distributed to the office staff in my and my husband's department and the neighbors.

2) Bought and mailed Christmas presents over 1 week before Christmas!

3) Left home on December 17th for a 10-day trip to two cities on the west coast. Got caught in the traffic muddle that ensued after Las Vegas got snow and stayed the night in a sub-par hotel in Phoenix. There was no shower curtain in our room, but once you've been awake for over 20 hours and can only sleep for 4-5 that night, little things like shower curtains don't seem that important.

4) Graduated on December 19th. Yes, it was totally worth it to make a trip to our alma mater for graduation. My husband and I spent 7 years working on our masters and then our doctorates, and getting our hoods felt great!!! It also put closure on a long process.

5) Saw friends in city of alma mater, which was soul-reviving. With the long months of sickness last semester, and getting used to a new place, we haven't yet made many new friends (that's one of our combined resolutions for 2009).

6) On December 20th flew to Santa Barbara to spend Christmas with my parents and grandmother. We took walks in the 50-60 degree weather (which felt wonderful!!!), saw the beach, visited Trader Joe's and remembered why we miss it so much, listened to my grandmother tell stories about her childhood Christmases in Vienna, sang Christmas carols, made really yummy Chicken Cacciatore (Giada De Laurentis made a typically time-consuming, and potentially complicated, dish very simple), and generally spent time together.

7) Arrived back home the evening of the 26th. We were glad to see our pets and our house. Having your own house to come back to changes things.

8) Today: finally got out our holiday cards, complete with a message from the dog. The message from the dog follows. Enjoy!

Dear Everyone,

In the spirit of the season, I have decided to take a break from bone chewing and cat chasing to write this holiday newsletter. This year, two dissertations were earned in our household and my masters are now entitled to be addressed as Dr. X and Dr. PracticingIdealist X. They spent a lot of time on this decision but I don’t really see the point. I just call them ”food guy” and “bride of food guy” myself. Humans are so picky.

As if this weren’t enough of a shake-up, Drs. Food Guy then stuck yours truly, the orange cat and the gray cat into cages in the back of a car. Every morning we went in and every night we came out in some new place. The smells were really cool! I mostly slept but the orange cat spent a lot of the trip complaining. During our nightly breaks I tried to comfort him but for some reason the Food Guys thought I was just biting his leg. Please! Finally, we pulled in to our new home.

The house is amazing! A large back yard complete with big birds and these things called deer and squirrels. I haven’t seen a reptile in months! I’m not so sure about this white stuff that falls from the sky- I barked at it at first but now it seems to know who’s boss. Some days I don’t see the cats for hours on end- they like to hide in the basement, I think, but it’s weird down there. The Food Guys seem happy, too.

Well, that’s the news! We wish all of you our warmest holiday wishes and hope the new year brings you lots of yummy rawhide bones.

Dog X