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Charlie Brown served toast, popcorn, and pretzel sticks at his Thanksgiving.

Nov. 23rd, 2016 | 08:48 pm

Cheap bastard.

I have to get in the kitchen and get my pies baking soon, but I'm still recovering from my full day of errands and junk. Last night we battled the masses at Shoppers and got almost all the groceries we needed. Butter, cream cheese, and the entire baking aisle were rapidly running out but we managed. And B paid for the whole cart so that frees up ~$160 in my monthly budget! When we got home I ordered pizza and a stromboli, which arrived insanely fast, and that has kept us sated while we focus on prep for Thursday. B did much of the initial chopping and prepping last night, including pre-staling the bread for stuffing.

This morning after coffee and checking some work email, I went to the surprisingly crowded gym. While it would make sense that many people are out of town, everyone that remains is probably not busy at work or off altogether. My chest and shoulder workout went fine; we finally have all of our ceiling leaks fixed and I can use all the equipment (expectations have been reset accordingly)!

I crawled to Pret after that for a salad and coffee, then Andrew joined me and we Metro-ed to Alexandria to pick up our race packets. It had been a long time! Was nice to hear all about his Key West trip, and less happy but also notable about the company layoffs that were announced while he was on vacation. Packet pickup was super easy; the people were completely bored sitting in front of full boxes of shirts and bibs, so I'm anticipating that area to be nuts right before the race tomorrow. From there we popped into some other places for shopping. I got new pants and a latte, all the important stuff.

After all that we popped in to Whole Foods for herbs, and in the spirit of the holiday I helped various confused people distinguish between sage, thyme, and rosemary. We got out of there relatively quickly, and in all the madness the cashier didn't charge Andrew for his cranberries. I expect the WFM empire will not crumble as a result. B has been home doing more cooking the entire time, so we will be completely set for a 17:00 dinner tomorrow. I'll drop him off at Mario's house with a carload of food at 1, then come home to do my squash-corn side deal and go back over around 3.

Our final guest list is us, Mario, Brett, Jason, Kevin, Patrick, Elliott, and Stu (and we have tons of food in case Nealon and Cezanne also join; it is at their house, after all). Our planning group text has been raging for two days. My phone can barely keep up.

Happy Thanksgiving to my American LJ friends!

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This is mostly a reminder to myself.

Nov. 21st, 2016 | 11:19 pm

After all I can't spend an entire five day weekend at the mall.

Doesn't this sound like both a fun event and a good cause? I am posting here so I remember to actually go see it. The National Building Museum is a lovely space and is more or less between home and work for me. So I could even see it after work tomorrow, assuming I have my ish together.

Thanksgiving planning is ramping up in a big way. We officially decided to move the dinner from Brett's house to Mario's, with the benefit of a larger kitchen and a place with cable. Tomorrow B is going to do most of the grocery shopping after his dentist appointment. Then on Wednesday I'll be the ringer, picking up any items he may have missed plus my side dish and pie ingredients, and probably have to haul buckets of brine around town as we usually do.

And on that note, I'm officially off work Wednesday. Annoyingly, Boss Man is on a site visit tomorrow so he had rescheduled our weekly meeting for Wednesday afternoon, when I didn't want to be there at all. But his assistant intervened today and cancelled it! Woo. I'm going to do my best to tie knots as needed tomorrow, but it gets incrementally harder with each person that is already on vacation. Five days off are filling up quickly, between the above-mentioned plans, preparing for them, possible Black Friday shopping, reading, the 5K, and whatever other exercise I'll need to do post-stuffing.

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Howard Hughes isn't just an eccentric dead guy.

Nov. 19th, 2016 | 01:00 pm

His name is also slapped on our overwhelmed property management.

I spent all five days of this work week at the Suburbs Office. In a fun twist, the elevators were out of service from midday Wednesday through midday Friday (supposedly "stuck in fire response mode") and we are located on floors 6 through 9. So I used the stairs when I didn't have to carry a lot of stuff and the freight elevator otherwise, and it was a somewhat fun adventure. The building management people* surely disagreed. There was also a whole lot of eating from either random catering on the full days, the Smelly Deli**, and a new-to-me pizza place where I got the best pizza I can remember in years. Seriously so amazing. I will be doing more stair runs to offset those calories on future visits.

The occasion for being there all week was prepping to be a trainer for Big Project. 3 of the 4 of us got what we needed for sure, so the actual training (scheduled for the week after Thanksgiving) is more likely to go well. I never did get to almost any of my regular tasks, though, so that'll make the coming short week kind of disastrous.

Anyhow, once I got home I walked to Trader Joe's to shake off the horrid car commute home. Bought all the ingredients for this recipe for less than 10 bucks. Then I cooked, had dinner, and still have two more servings for the weekend. Today it is 70 degrees again, so I'll be out the door to run/train for next week's 5K soon, then back here to watch Michigan-Indiana. Second to last regular season game already! Where has the time gone. :/

* Long digression: The founder of my company also developed the whole suburb by scooping up farmland under the guise of multiple shell companies back in the 60s. The portfolio in the "town center" where our office is located is now part of the Howard Hughes Company, and they are now finally filling in much of the superfluous open space that no one ever used. It's a lovely place, but good luck getting around on transit.

** There is a cute deli in our HQ building that has great and cheap food, and they are the nicest people you'll ever meet. But their bacon grease odors waft up the elevator shafts every morning and smell really stale and unpleasant by the time they reach us near the top of the building. These elevator shafts have a lot of influence on my work experience, apparently.

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Can I sell you pumpkin pie futures?

Nov. 15th, 2016 | 10:37 pm

I'm going to buy six and then be too full to have any.

All of the madness of November has kept this in the back of my mind, but Thanksgiving is in nine days! We are going to Brett's new place in Columbia Heights, where I am told the kitchen is big. This is crucial because ours is tiny, and though we pulled it off last year, it was far less than ideal to cook for ten people in that space. I will enjoy the stuffing and the daylong lounging with our chosen city family, but I also look forward to the downtime. The day before, I will in fact be working from home which is a thin, thin excuse we all use to be manically driving from store to store in a desperate search for sage.

Other than the eat-a-thon with friends, the significance of the day is that I will be running the same 5K as last year. I was only able to convince one coworker to do it with me, but Andrew will be there, as well as Melisa, Rudy, and their running group. So I am trying to keep up the running routine and call it "training," even if that is on a treadmill.

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My birthday cake is still in Iowa City.

Nov. 13th, 2016 | 03:12 pm

I donated it to Harbaugh for consolation purposes.

Thanks to this quite successful friending meme, I have a good handful of new LJ friends. Welcome! I don't have an intro post per se, but my profile is up to date and I said the basics in that comment thread. Very nice to have new blogs to read. Anyhow, if you're looking for more friends, comments over there will be open for just a couple of days longer.

Last night's birthday drinks were a rousing success. Sarah and Elliott kept the mood light despite the fact that some other event interrupted the music and football viewing with lengthy announcements and singing. We arranged to Uber over with Andrew. On the way down to the car, we checked again and B's new debit card was finally in the mailbox, so he activated it while we were driving over. Then Brandon, Dan, Mario, Rohan, and his friend Jennifer also joined us (and Kevin and Patrick were already there!) and we had a lovely night.

All was perfect except that Michigan lost. Great job on choking on the road, Wolverines. Anyhow, we still only have one loss and I'm feeling good about the rest of our regular season schedule. Peppers can't and shouldn't have to carry the whole dang team* on his own but I think everyone gets that. Don't make regret typing that, Wilton Speight.

We came back home with Mario around 1 and watched SNL from the DVR. Where on Earth has A Tribe Called Quest been hiding? The last time I really remember them being big was my freshman year of high school. But they were dope, and Dave Chappelle was a good host. He's obviously super comfortable performing live on stage, which a lot of actors that host ... aren't. No shade because it is a really hard medium to master.

*The team, the team, the team. Apparently no one printed that out in their random quest to cover the pink visitor's locker room in maize and blue.

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Super-late meme time

Nov. 13th, 2016 | 01:45 pm

Because I'm finally both at home and not closing JIRA tickets.

1. What is your favorite food to eat prepared by someone else (parent, spouse, friend, etc.)?
B makes an insane lasagna. It starts with Anne Burrell's bolognese sauce, which literally does take four hours of simmering and is worth every second. From there it's a pretty standard lasagna, but gd does that sauce take it to another level. Seriously. Make this sauce. #notsponsored

2. How many times a day do you typically eat?
Oh, gosh. Typically four or five, which on weekdays inevitably entails at least one at my desk. I try to not have anything crunchy or pungent for the sake of my desk neighbors.

3. How often do you cook for yourself?
Well, B does a great deal of the cooking and in abuela quantities, so I only really have to a couple of times a week.

4. I wish I ate more: Oysters. Crabs. Lobster. Fresh seafood in general. But it can be expensive, so this doesn't happen all the time.

5. If I want a "real breakfast," I: Get in the kitchen and cook it, but I don't really want or need this all the time. I can be pretty content with yogurt + granola, or oatmeal or a breakfast sandwich from the billion places around the office. By contrast my parents are intense about this; I think it does help them kick off the day by getting everyone together at the table, which is laudable. But to pull it off they have arisen at an ungodly early hour to prep eggs, potatoes, and toast pretty much every day.


I do actually have to get some work work done today, which is a downer. But for now I'm having coffee and watching Batman Begins. At 4 I'll take B to work, then with luck actually do a living room workout. Just not feeling the personalities at the gym today, and I'm sufficiently equipped to get the basics in at home.

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I will warm your new home with pleasant conversation topics.

Nov. 2nd, 2016 | 10:28 pm

And Jameson.

On Sunday at around 3 we went to the housewarming party for Ben, Marty, and Third Roommate* in Bloomingdale. There was an impressive spread of food and booze to start with, some guy named Diego grilled huge amounts of steak, and late arriving guests brought lots more beer and food too. TR and many of the gathered guests watched a lot of NFL games with a lot of teams we didn't care about (there are Raiders fans in DC?!). As a result we spent most of the time on the porch with Sergio, Kelly, Meg, Marty, and assorted bartender Mafioso/as rehashing what everyone did for Halloween and enjoying the crazy nice weather. It was a great little party! And even a sudden rainstorm at 7 didn't kill the fun. We eventually came back home to sit around feeling full and watching Star Wars Episode IV.

More shenanigans today at the gym: I left work around 4:45 (basically the second my last call ended; I will accept my Employee of the Year trophy later) and got on a somewhat crowded train**. It ratcheted up to horridly crowded in the short four-stop ride, but I made it fine. I changed, stretched, warmed up, and did my usual time on the elliptical with the good view. When I went back down to the locker room, one bro was frantically walking to the coat hanging area, then around the whole place, then back. He apparently said someone had stolen his dress shirt, and I assumed he'd hung it up. But then later, he went to the shower leaving his locker totally unprotected and it became clear someone had taken it directly from his locker because he had no lock at all. I presume his phone and wallet had been on his person during the whole workout, else they would have followed his dress shirt. Moral: I am never leaving stuff unsecured in there. If the rare instance like the linked entry occurs again where I cannot find my lock, I will pop over to the CVS right above the gym and buy another. They are $6.99 and it's open 24 hours a day.

Football has been going extraordinarily well. Michigan is now 8-0 for the first time since I've ever been associated with this team and university, and I don't even know how to react. Our 2 bars (plus Ivy & Coney) are madly overrun for every game so I don't even try to go there to watch. The OSU game is going to be out of control, and I look forward to taunting Nick regardless of the outcome.

* I should perhaps sweat the details a bit more.

** "Safe" Track is going horribly. But at the least, lots of coworkers are using it as an excuse to work from home frequently, so the office is quieter.

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Too grown and sexy for this mess.

Oct. 30th, 2016 | 02:29 pm

Besides, I can get sloppy in the comfort of my home.

In keeping with the theme of joining my mid-30s, I will only be wearing my Halloween costume to work on Monday. There, as in prior years, we will have an in-office happy hour/lackadaisical costume contest where the winner gets whatever candy is left in our receptionist's top drawer. :)

I did have a couple of events I could have attended last night, but I just ran out of fucks to deal with the amateur masses out drinking. And it has been unseasonably warm this weekend so that emboldened even more people to come out. In any case my energy was low because yesterday morning I went to the gym, then had a Pret salad and came home to finish the grocery list. Then we battled traffic to get to Shoppers and do the full monthly shop. I'm very glad we got it out of the way, but it was tiring. And Shoppers continues to not stock dark soy sauce! Apparently we were the only people that bought it when they did.

Instead of going out, Mario came over, we cooked a mess of tacos, queso and rice + beans and finished Luke Cage. So good! I actually liked it more than Jessica Jones, perhaps because there was more of an element of urban politics and utilizing the neighborhood as a character. Which very much appeals to me, though not so much to comic book nerds like B and Mario.

Anyhow, we are now off to a housewarming and then a belated October babies birthday party at LGL. Happy Sunday, LJ! Also, welcome to my new friends; I am very glad the friending memes are bringing more eyes to my now 14-year old blog.

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I couldn't catch my friends if they were falling in slow motion.

Oct. 26th, 2016 | 10:51 pm

Maybe I should befriend a crash test dummy and practice.

Let's see how much catching up I can do for y'all. As expected, my phone finally stopped charging last Friday night and would not recover. I woke up early Saturday, quickly researched my options, and went to the Verizon store (with an interim stop at Pret for breakfast and coffee in case I'd have to wait). There were plenty of people working there so I got attention right away and was able to get a 6S, which totally works for me. Within 45 minutes the nice lady had gotten me squared away, except that I only got about 3/4 of my contacts into the new phone. Will eventually get the rest from the backup on my laptop.

Of course not everything could go so swimmingly. I went to the gym and discovered my locker lock was not in my bag, so I did a leg workout with my wallet and two phones in my pockets. I probably looked ridiculous, but it got the job done and nothing was stolen! I later discovered the lock on the floor under my desk at work. From there I went to Nordstrom Rack to look for birthday gifts for B, but didn't have luck. So my successful shopping was at REI on Sunday and Urban Outfitters on Monday. Last night I did hand off the gifts and they were well-received. The actual birthday shenanigans were just drinks at DC9, nice and low-key. Symone was in fine form and we got to watch a few innings of the World Series, so it was fun all around and we were home reasonably early.

Quite an eventful evening at the gym tonight! I crammed all of my stuff into a locker (not taking the lock for granted!), stretched and went upstairs to the fancy ellipticals. I set one for 32 minutes and was well over halfway through my workout when two ladies in their early 20s came up the stairs and turned to exit. Before they'd gotten three paces beyond me, one of them slumped backwards and started collapsing. To her credit, it is a very long flight of stairs and I can understand how folks might feel light-headed after a strenuous workout plus ascending them. But I had not seen that in my 11 months there, and the staff there tonight certainly have been there less time. Her friend* immediately caught her, and by the time the gym staff, me and other nearby gymgoers reached them, Best Friend had already lowered her to the floor, removed her backpack to put behind her head, and lifted her legs to get her blood flowing back where it needed to. It was an impressive showing. Anyhow, Best Friend said she has a heart condition and that this happens sometimes and isn't as alarming as it might appear. So the gym staff finally aroused her and she eventually just came back up and walked out. A very nondescript ending to what first appeared to be a super dramatic situation.

*Super friend, for real. Everybody needs a gym buddy like this.

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I need a job that entails watching TV all day.

Oct. 19th, 2016 | 11:27 pm

Can I be a one-man Nielsen family?

I just watched the 3rd POTUS debate, which was not a great use of the last 90 minutes. Oh well. 20 days until the election! Initially B asked me how many more days of torture we were in for and my pre-dinner mental math came up with 27 days, so I was glad to be wrong there. It's not only the presidential election that's become insufferable, and it is just about sewn up anyway. Worse is that we are bombarded with dumb ads for northern Virginia House candidates that we don't care about. Because 1) we don't even have a voting rep in the House, they're just in the DC media market, and 2) the number of likely voters in an individual House district is low enough that a continuing onslaught of ads could actually make a difference.

Our DVR is bursting with stuff we need to watch, which I should have tended to instead. Last night Mario came over and after dinner we did make a fair dent in Luke Cage. There are four eps remaining on season 1 of that, and we may knock that out in one evening given how entertained we three are. But that's Netflix, so I probably should have been burning through Designated Survivor or American Horror Story or Madam Secretary (and I'd forgotten that one even got another season, oops).

In other news, the much earlier sunsets of fall have led me to get to the gym more frequently, because what else am I going to do in the dark? A large swath of the ceiling on the lower level sprang a slow leak a couple of weeks ago and is still going, unless you count a maze of buckets and towels catching water as a fix. So we are all basically trying not to stumble over those while working out. LA Fitness, it's a good thing you only charge me $36.96 a month.

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