Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Smallest Things Can Conquer

I've reached the age where any allergies that have lay dormant for most of my life are waking up to wreak havoc. I saw this happen when my own bubble boy, Matt, entered his 30s. His doctor explained to him back then that as we get closer to 40 until about the age of 60something, our allergies kick into high gear because our immune system is working better than ever. I had great hopes that I wouldn't be too susceptible. How soon I forget!

When I was in high school, both my violin teacher and my mother determined during a lesson that I would not be going to school the next day. I remember gazing back with a sad, exhausted look as I reached for another tissue to save my nose from dripping down my face. It was May. Maple tree pollen lightly dusted everything. Fast-forward to last year. This was the first time I had the need to try taking Zyrtek since high school. Oh wondrous drug! I could breathe! I quickly forgot about allergies for a couple seasons. Then Easter came. Safe to say, I've been consistently on Zyrtek since that day, aside from missing a day here and there. I spend my mornings in a Zyrtek-induced fog, finally feeling somewhat normal around 10am.

Damn tree pollen. And yes, I do recognize the irony, and humor, of being allergic to trees when I work for a Parks Department.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Heard About Pittsburgh, PA?

This past weekend I went to Pittsburgh, PA for the first time. I was accompanied by my parents (their 2nd trip) and Matt (his umpteenth trip although former trips were mainly to skateboard and buy records). The purpose of the trip was to celebrate my dad's birthday and to take advantage of free rooms my mom earned through Holiday Inn Express.

We couldn't have gotten a better weekend weather wise. I not only broke out the shorts, but a tank top and bathing suit. Hooray for hotels that have pools.

Saturday, we left at the crack of dawn and got to IKEA by 10am. There we spent way too much money, but we really did need blinds for our kitchenette and stairway hallway. After lunch at IKEA, we enjoyed rush-hour style traffic on a Saturday that took us into Pittsburgh. There, we found the road we wanted to get to the top of Mount Washington where skyline pictures were taken. We also semi-crashed a wedding that was a half hour from starting because we wanted pictures inside a historic church.

After the overlook, we headed down to the Strip. This part of the trip involved a lot of wandering in and out of shops and buying ridiculous amounts of fabric and crazy, cheap prices (7 yards of upholstery-like material for $14). The highlight was drinking Augustiner lager at Bella Notte and watching the Penguins take on Philly in NHL playoffs.

After a swim and shower, we went to Church Brew Works for dinner and more beer. Fun evening.

Sunday, we all slept in but got up in time to partake in a somewhat decent free breakfast at the hotel. I want more cinnamon rolls! We drove up to the Phipps Conservatory, but opted to look at the gardens outside rather than pay the fee to go inside. Plus, it was getting to be pretty hot out and I can't imagine what it was like inside under all the glass. Since we were near the University of Pittsburgh district, we opted to eat at the Primanti Bros. on the main drag. Amazingly enough, we all managed to eat our coleslaw, french fry laden sandwiches without too much left over. Maybe it was all the walking we did, which we continued after lunch. We walked around some museums, but didn't actually go into any exhibit areas. Education wasn't a priority this trip. Mid-afternoon, we headed out of the city toward home.

You'd think we could have avoided Grove City, but no luck. My dad did get a new pair of shoes and I found some stuff I can wear to work that's casual. I still blame my mom for this because she wanted ice cream and, "I bet we can get some at the outlets." Yeah. Suckers, we are.

We got to Erie, PA in time to grab dinner at Smuggler's Wharf before finally making it back to Jamestown. A fun and fairly relaxing trip. I don't recommend driving around Pittsburgh if you can avoid it due to either construction or just the odd street layout. We'd go back though.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Cravings and Logic

I've had a bountiful crop of cravings this week. Many women know what this feels like at least once a month. For some reason, I fixated on doughnuts this month. I was particularly craving Tim Hortons. When I went to bed thinking, "Oh god, a sausage breakfast sandwich would taste amazing right now. If I got the meal deal, I'd get a doughnut too!" one night, it was no surprise that I found myself putting the turning signal on to pull my car into the long line of cars for the Tim Horton's drive-thru lane.

I'm not sure if it's just a Western New York phenomenon that lines for Tim Hortons must stretch beyond the normal drive-thru lane and into on-coming traffic. I've heard of police being needed to help guide traffic in parts of Buffalo. This winding line is the main reason I'm able to resist caloric temptations on my way to work each morning. However, no line would deter me when my cravings are kicked into high gear. But wait, somewhere logic flared up and I realized I should just park my car and brave the line inside the store rather than let my car idle behind the other Tim Horton fanatics. I grabbed a spot not too far from the front door, walked inside, and saw... no line. While people needing caffeine glared behind the steering wheel inside a snaking line of cars that were now seeping into the turning lane outside, I had two registers to choose from inside to place my order. Oh joy and happy day!

My decision to park my car got me to work about 10 minutes earlier than normal and I was able to enjoy my breakfast craving before the phones started ringing off the hook to signal the start of the work day. One craving satisfied. Now I just have to figure out how to fend off my continued desire for doughnuts the rest of this week so my waistline doesn't explode.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Consume iPods

Without warning, my iPod decided to do a non-connecting to computer trick on Sunday. It was still perfectly usable, but my computer and iTunes decided they didn't want to be friends anymore with my little silver devil (also affectionately called "Music In My Head").

Since the last thing I wanted to do was call tech support, I started hunting around the support pages of Apple, trying out all the trouble shooting suggestions for my issue. Nothing worked. With a heavy sigh, I placed my order for service. A nice guy called me back in less than a minute and became equally frustrated after we tried everything else I hadn't thought of. Unfortunately, this involved setting up my iPod to go through the restore process, which requires it to be hooked up to my computer, but my computer doesn't recognize it, so the silver devil will be headed to Apple to be fixed or replaced. And because it's in "restore" mode, I can't listen to it either.

Good thing my friend Tom has given me about 5 mix CDs in recent months, so I'll have something to listen to at work for the next week and some.

I should note that I think this is the third time I've had to send an iPod into Apple to be fixed. The previous two times, they had to replace my iPod. I assume the same will be true here. I'm really trying not to think about how much I'm going to miss having my iPod. I rely heavily on it to keep me sane during the work day, on road trips (FECK... what am I going to do on the way to Pittsburgh this weekend???? FECK!!!!), and for random occasions when asked to play "dj" on Thursdays. Ugh.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

A Sort of Beer Heaven

For the past couple weeks, Wegmans has been tantalizing us with an open area back near the beer coolers that was to become the new International/Microbrew Beer section of the store. This weekend, it was unveiled.

I was the lone girl in a meandering group of guys who wandered down the short aisles, mouths agape at the selection. While it's not a big section, there are some good picks. I immediately snagged a 4-pack of Dogfish Head Brewery's 90 Minute IPA. I also saw a sixer of Sackets Harbor Brewing Co.'s 1812 Amber Ale that I'll have to pick up sometime. Naturally, there was an abundant selection of Southern Tier Brewing Company beers including the limited edition 4-22 Earth Day Ale. FYI, Hop Sun is now available!

The new beer area seems popular since some brands looked a little depleted. Note: you cannot mix six packs up. Your best bet is to get a friend who wants to try something different from you and split the cost that way.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Sconce Project

Since we have a mostly free Saturday, I decided I better get the last of our wall sconces spray-painted so the dining room could be another step closer to done.

First, I put on face mask in some attempt to keep dust and fumes from doing me in anymore than allergies already have. Then, I roughed up the brass with sand paper I found laying around in our basement. After wiping down the sconce with a rag to remove dust I put some painter's tape around the light switch on the front of the sconce and taped down the wires in the back.

After donning some rubber gloves and shaking up my can of textured Rustoleum, I held onto the sconce where the light bulb is screwed in and made even passes over the fixture with the spray paint. When I was satisfied that I couldn't see shiny yellow brass winking at me through the paint, I carefully set it down on an old dish rack to dry.

The last picture in this set is of a sconce I had finished last year.

Friday, April 17, 2009

All Of My Days..

The weather has turned for the better. Softball and baseball fields are open in the city. Between my phone and walk-in's, I can barely keep up with any work that doesn't involve issuing field practice permits.

The image you see is what my desk looks like as I've been trying to juggle creating schedules and signing teams up for fields.

Here's to Spring!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pre-Easter Egg Hunt

Easter Egg hunt site in Allen Park before the eggs are put out and the kids arrive. A little chilly but the sun is beautiful!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Honest Scrap

Matt and Kevin tagged me for the Honest Scrap award.

The Award and Rules:

This award is bestowed upon a fellow blogger whose blog content or design is, in the giver’s opinion, brilliant.

Apparently the rules are as follows:

1. When accepting this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim, and link back to the said person so everyone knows she/he is real.
2. Choose a minimum of seven (7) blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don’t have seven friends. Show the seven random victims’ names and links and leave a harassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well, there’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
3. List at least ten (10) honest things about yourself. Then pass it on!

Seven Bloggers

1. LJC FYI: Great design, fun posts. This blog is written by a fine woman I met in the mid 1990s. Jenny also blogs/twitters for Kodak. Her blog is one of the reasons I decided I need to start writing my own oh so many years ago.

2. Ineffablog: Nick is a local newspaper journalist and bartender at Forte. He mostly blogs about music when he gets around to it. He's a good guy and I think a little more traffic might encourage him to blog more.

3. Eriepressible: This blog has a mix of Erie, PA politics; discussions on being child-free, and other assorted items. It is updated frequently and I've enjoyed the peek into this woman's life.

4. Jamestown Horribly Awry: Not a frequent blogger, but worth going to take a look at a series of Star Wars paintings that he's currently working on for a show.

5. The Dayton Time: This hysterical blog is written by my college sophomore roommate, Pam. She details life with four kids (the fourth is a very recent arrival) and her husband, The Mister. This blog generally falls under the "Mommy Blog" category, but the writing is so strong that you forget that. I recommend putting this on your "must read" list.

6. The Mister: The Mister is the husband of my friend Pam. I can see why they're married as they're both intelligent people with fantastic senses of humor. I think of their separate blogs as companion pieces. You really do need to read both.

7. Buffalo Pundit: Alan Bedenko writes about Buffalo politics, state politics, cars, WNY news items, and other goodies. I ended my Buffalo News subscription over the summer and haven't really missed it between Alan's blog and the TV news I catch here and there.

Honest Stuff

1. I don't like the show "The Office." I've watched it more than several times and barely laughed.

2. When I was a small, small child I was afraid to get in swimming pools. At toddler swimming lessons, I would hold onto the chain link fence screaming bloody murder when they tried to get me to go in the water. A year or two later, you couldn't get me out of the pool once I overcame my fear of putting my head underwater.

3. I earned extra cash from around age 12 until I graduated from high school by babysitting. I'm not sure if the kids liked me, but I kept getting called back and had steady gigs every summer. I did make two girls, Julia & Mary, listen to The Smiths one rainy afternoon. Like my parents, they didn't get it either at the time.

4. My friend, Sabrina, who I talk to almost every week day online is someone I met on ISCA BBS my freshman year in college. She's one of the few people I met in college that I keep in very regular contact with.

5. During my internship with the Junior High Orchestra my senior year in high school, I realized I might not want to teach. I would complain to the WIRQ General Manager that I didn't want to go to that class and he'd yell at me to go. A little over a year later, I had switched my major from music education to radio broadcasting.

6. I truly loved my job in radio news.

7. I never thought I'd like living in a smaller city and never planned to stay in Jamestown more than 2 years. I will have lived here for 10 years this June and have no plans to leave anytime soon.

8. I have very low tolerance when it comes to alcohol. I enjoy beer, wine, and mixed drinks but usually can only order 1 drink when we're out. If I order a second drink, it's only because I know I have someone who can drive me home or that I'll be out long enough to get sober.

9. I chose to transfer to Buffalo State College partially because I saw an interview done with the Music Director of WBNY in CMJ. My GPA wasn't high enough to get into Ithaca due to failing two music classes (Intro to Elementary Music Ed. and Solfege).

10. I traveled to Albany with Buffalo State College's NYPIRG group for an Earth Day Lobby Day. I went along to get audio on their mission for a production class project, but found myself joining in the lobbying effort. That involved a very uncomfortable meeting with one of my State Legislative leaders where I fumbled with my materials and generally felt bad I was wasting his time since it was never my intention to get involved in the process I was trying to document. In the end, I got the sound I needed and intertwined the sound bites with "Poison In The Well" by 10,000 Maniacs. I never saw the grade on that project but I passed the class.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Who Is Calling?

The past week has had some odd occurrences that I haven't experienced since I was a teenager. Over the weekend, I was jolted awake by the sound of a girl loudly saying, "Ma'am!" to me. Matt mumbled, "You okay?" as I snuggled closer to him. I had been half asleep when I heard the voice. The voice was very distinctive and clear, as if the speaker had been standing at the foot of our bed, impatiently waiting for me to get up.

Later in the day, I mentioned this to Matt and he said he had something similar happen to him a week or so ago. At first, he thought it was me coming home and trying to wake him up because he thought the girl said "Matt," not "Ma'am."

Earlier this week, I was working hard on a project when I swore I heard my female co-worker call my name from the other end of the office. I sighed, got up and went over to ask her what she needed. She looked at me like I had two heads, "Nothing? Why?"

"You didn't just call for me??" I asked incredulously.

"Uh.. no," she continued to look at me as though I was nuts, so I shrugged and went back to my desk.

When I was a teenager, I would do my homework in my bedroom with the stereo on. Frequently, I would swear I heard my mom calling my name. 95% of the time she wasn't. So either I'm feeling the stress lately, or some ghostly entity is hanging around again. I'm thinking it's a combination given that Matt had a similar experience.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spring Break for Forte

We really love Forte. Hell, the place even gets its own blog label here. Anyway, our favorite place to drink, see friends, and get food is shut down for two weeks so the owners can defrag and renovate. Forte really is our "third place."

This past Saturday, a big party (Surprise Party #16) was held there to kick off the break. I went and danced the night away to tunes spun (CDs spin, so I can still say that) by a couple friends. As I left, I realized that I didn't know where to find my friends for the next two weeks.

"But where will Shannon and I play alternating DJ with my iPod?" I sadly thought.

"Will I even see NickDean or Peggy or Steve or.. or.." my brain whirled. Or maybe that was just the remnants of the second gin & tonic I had drank.

Then the planner in me went into action and send out a Facebook broadcast. If all goes as planned, Shannon, Nick, Lori, Matt and I will be at the Wine Cellar this Thursday terrorizing the regulars by taking over the Internet Jukebox. If you want to request something, be prepared to pony up the $1 for the song.

Away, Away

We're on a mini-vaca in an area where they're experiencing forest fires (thanks asshole arsonist). It's an area that makes Clift...