Archive for February, 2003


Wow. What a week. I keep trying to update my journal, but either my ISP locks up or I run out of time. Last Saturday, I was in St. Paul helping a friend find a head piece for her wedding and my boss called. Apparently, a colleague of hers from a previous life was leaving for Spain for 5 weeks and was interested in finding someone to housesit. Funny thing, he and his family live about 5 blocks from where I had just eaten lunch not an hour before! So to make a long story short, I’m condo/kitty sitting until March 21 in a really cool place. There are all kinds of local cafes/coffeeshops within walking distance. It’s in the historic section of St. Paul, so the architecture is just fabulous–I actually got lost heading back last night after work because I was too caught up in some of the mansions.

Unfortunately, there is no internet connection so I’ll only be able to read journals and update my own while I’m at work or if I can convince J to let me on his machine (like that’s hard!).

Well, lunch is over and I should get back to work.

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Bridal Showers and Stuff

I spent last night at J’s mom’s filling out 93 bridal shower invitations. Yep, that’s right–93 invitations. Fortunately, his mom and sister-in-law were there, so I really only did 31. We didn’t get any of them in envelopes, nor did we address them. That will be tomorrow night’s excitement. I’m really not complaining–his mother made all of those invitations by hand. From what I understand, both her family and her husband’s family attend one shower. And this family is related to half of the people in two counties! She’s already informed me that hardly anyone will RSVP, but we should plan on about 40 people showing up. However, this is her only daughter. The last shower (the one she bases her information on) was for her current daughter-in-law. I think it’s different when the bride is actually a member of the family attending the shower. I’m just amazed at the size of this shower! Another factor that keeps getting dropped is that this shower will be a Jack and Jill (per the bride’s request). The bride’s father’s family doesn’t do Jack and Jill showers, but the bride’s mother’s does because many of the female family members do not drive themselves around. We’re talking about setting a couple of card tables with some games in the back for the men who don’t have anything better to do.

Don’t think that I’m getting the raw end of this. I get to bring the bridesmaid dress I’ll be wearing in May (different wedding) to have the hem shortened. Does anyone else believe that the fashion industry is out to convince us that we are short and stocky? The dress is a size 8 and it fits perfect everywhere else. It’s just at least 6 inches too long. Oh the joys of being a full-figured petite! Actually I like the dress–just imagine it in what they call peri. The thing in her hand in the photo is the wrap. At least I can wear it. I’ve only had one other bridesmaid dress that was bearable (it was back in the early 90s and would be a nightmare now) but that wedding was called off. I wore it to a couple of formal events before it became too ludicrous. I don’t even have the other two. One was made for me with the intention that I would be able to wear it in other settings (and I could have) but it really wasn’t my style and didn’t flatter me at all. The other was never properly made. I had to stuff my bra with two shoulder pads in each cup just so the front wouldn’t droop (I looked top heavy and about to fall on my face!) and there was a major flaw where the seamstress wasn’t paying attention and creased the netting above the sweetheart neckline and below the collar. It was a very lovely blue diagonal streak that definitely showed in the pictures. But hey, that’s what friends are for, right?

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Valentine’s Weekend

Why do I put so much pressure on myself? J and I went to St. Cloud this weekend for the state bowling tournaments. He went to bowl, I went to get out of town and shop. You know what they say about “the best laid plans of mice and men”. Friday was incredibly hectic at work. Three projects were coming to a conclusion within a couple of hours of each other and I needed to have my pieces for each completed. So, I didn’t really eat lunch–just a couple of bites as I could. Unfortunately, my very thoughtful co-workers had given me chocolate candy bars. Basically, I made myself sick on chocolate. The payroll department where J works had him coded as fired, so his check wasn’t deposited into his account. They were able to cut him a hard check but it couldn’t be deposited. So with me sick and him without money, our first Valentine’s Day dinner was him eating at Wendy’s. How romantic.

The hotel room was nice and the first night we hung out with his bowling team and their wives. We got back to the room and just crashed. We were rudely woken at 6:30 am by flashing lights and loud alarms. Yes, believe it or not, there was a small electrical fire at the hotel and we all had to evacuate the building. Remember, that I am in Minnesota. It was about 10 degrees. After about 45 minutes and 3 fire trucks, we were allowed back into our room. However, the rest of the team couldn’t sleep so they called to see if we wanted to go out for breakfast. Not. J went and I slept. The rest of the day was okay, J didn’t bowl as much as he would have liked, and I spent too much money. We got incredibly crappy service at the bowling alley for lunch. We decided to relax in the hotel whirlpool and went down at about 9:30 pm. There were a bunch of kids in the game room hooting and hollering at us. I was wearing a very discreet one piece and he was wearing full trunks, but I guess that was entertainment enough. The boys just wouldn’t stop and we were doing our best to ignore them. About 10 minutes after the kids left, the manager came in and said that he had received some calls from parents complaining about a couple in the whirlpool having sex in front of their children. For the record, J kissed me once–apparently that is sex. I forgot to mention that these are the same kids that had been running through the halls all evening banging on doors. So we left the whirlpool. Unfortunately, I allowed that incident to ruin the rest of the night.

Sunday was spent eating and driving back home. I drove part of the way because J wasn’t feeling well. When we got to town, my mother invited us to her in-laws for dinner and cards. We spent the evening playing Cancellation Hearts. I had today off, so I slept in and unpacked and got some things done that I had been putting off. Oh and to top everything off, someone tried to unsuccessfully to break into J’s house while we were gone. Lovely.

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I was talking with J last night during the ride home from work. We’re carpooling now that the gas prices have begun to jump–it really adds up when you have to fill the tank every other day. Anyway, we decided that I’m under a lot of stress, which seems kind of silly. However, I have been moody and irritable lately without much for an explanation. Things are obviously getting to me, even though I think I’ve got them “tucked away”. My life just seems to be filled with decisions that need to be made. I realize that decisions are par for the course, but I’m feeling overwhelmed–and they just don’t stop!

For example, J’s sister is getting married on April 26th. While everyone was expecting her to have a short engagement, the details were not made until just this last week. I have known since October that both of the boards for the nonprofit agencies I’m working for were planning a joint retreat on the 26th. The retreat is an all day event, and I would have to participate for the entire day or hire someone to fill in if I’m not there. This has been eating me up. J and I spoke last night, and he made it clear that he would be fine if I were only able to make it to her reception. So that problem is pretty much resolved.

I have decided that I am going to give the soon to be ex a deadline for the taxes. A couple of months ago, he offered to file jointly to resolve some back taxes we were unaware of. Because both of our names appear on the return, we are both responsible and he gets a good credit for being a student. Otherwise, I won’t be getting any money back this year. However, promptness and attention to details are not exactly his forte. I am going to set up an appointment with an accountant because my taxes this year are too confusing for me to deal with (income taxes for two different states is just part of the fun). I will contact the soon to be ex as soon as I set the appointment and if he doesn’t have his stuff to me in time, then I’ll be filing separately. Perhaps not the most financially sound decision, but perhaps better for my mental and emotional wellbeing.

Now we come to the next bit of fun. I love my job. It is challenging. It varies hourly. It is worthwhile. However, it is nonprofit. We are funded entirely by grant money. Unfortunately, grant money is getting harder to come by because the major donors have all taken huge hits financially. So, I’ve been a bit worried about job security because I perform mostly administrative tasks and our main expense is payroll. I am transitioning to more program work, but the process is slow. Anyway, enter a possible job offer received last night from a company that I temped for over the summer. It’s a good job, closer to home, but less pay. This company has had issues with high layoffs in the past. However, there is a new general manager who has supposedly put an end to that. I worked well with the people at the other company but I was not challenged in the least. I have been assured that since my temp contract expired, the position has grown to include more responsibilities. I also get along with my coworkers in my current job. Just writing this out has helped me to sort some of my thoughts. I should probably stay put for now.

It’s just all these decisions.

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I am definitely not at my best this morning. Not that I ever really am on a Monday. My family got together at this little Mexican restraunt called La Fonda de los Lobos in Bloomington last night to celebrate my uncle’s 60th birthday. It was a lot of fun–but that may be in part due to the raspberry margarita. However, after dinner last night, I was not feeling terribly well. Plus the drive home was through blizzard-like conditions. Minnesota has just gotten its first accumulated snowfall in the past two weeks, so the drivers have not yet adapted.

Anyway, I woke up this morning with a touch of food poisoning. And I didn’t trust the roads, so J had to drive me in. Turns out that the roads were fine–once we got out of Red Wing. I felt rather silly.

By the way, I highly recommend Chicago. J and I saw it Saturday night and we both really enjoyed it. (Although I suspect the skimpy costumes had something to do with the grin on his face).

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Or is it Inaction?

I spent most of Wednesday at the state capitol for a press conference and a senate hearing on a proposed bill banning the manufacture and sale of dishwasher detergents containing phosphorus within the state. I could not believe the shoddy research offered as evidence!

One senator took the time to do some research on his own and found a study done by the Australian EPA that he used to say that the phosphate-free alternatives on the market can cause more damage to the aquatic life by restricting their reproductive capabilities. Through his argument, he implied that sodium citrate was a cause of this problem. He further claimed that the wastewater treatment plants do not have the capabilities to remove this product from the water, unlike phosphorus. No one else in the room was familiar with this study, so I did a little research.

Turns out that his study was an information sheet put out by the South Australian EPA. One paragraph mentions that phosphate-free alternatives (in dishwasher detergent) use other builders instead of phosphorus like sodium citrate. Some alternatives may contain alkyl prophals which may create difficulties in the reproduction of aquatic life. None of this information is sourced anywhere. A co-worker discovered that sodium citrate is one of the standards used when comparing biodegradability and environmental impact–in a positive way! I hate shoddy research! And throughout the entire hearing, this senator was asking the environmental groups to produce solid scientific research!

Anyway, I had to vent. I feel better now. No, I really don’t because I can’t believe that people like this are running the state–even worse, the country.

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I had a good weekend in spite of myself. On Friday night, I had a great conversation with . By the way, congrats to on his awesome score!

Saturday, after sleeping in, J took me shopping at the nearest Barnes & Noble. I’ve got three weddings coming up this spring: my brother’s in Jamaica, J’s sister, and one of my dearest friends. J’s mom had asked J on Friday night if he thought I would be willing to help host a bridal shower for his sister. He said that she’d have to ask me. While visiting goingbridal.com, I saw an advertisement for “The Bridesmaid Guide” and decided that it must be mine. So J and I drove to the nearest Barnes & Noble. I also picked up one of recommendations, The Bad Girl’s Guide to the Party Life. Both are incredibly humorous, and I’ve enjoyed reading both.

Saturday evening J and I went to my Mom’s and played Cranium with her and her husband, Cliff. Cliff and I were a team and were able to find our strengths pretty early on, so we beat Mom and J twice (but the second game was really close–we got some real easy ones at the end). We kept the same teams, and I learned how to play Canasta. Poor Cliff, with me as a partner, strategy was completely out the window. But he was patient. Anyway, Mom and J got some of their own back by thoroughly trouncing us. All in all, we had a great time.

Mom had mentioned that I must go see Chicago, which is currently playing in Hastings, so I made J drive me there yesterday (yes, through the blizzard because I am an evil and demanding girlfriend) only to find that the only show was at 7 pm. We arrived at the theater a little before 2 pm and decided to see anything that started between 2 and 3 because we had some errands to run. Unfortunately, the theater only had matinees between 1 and 1:20 and 4 and 4:30. We decided to quickly run our errands, go back home, make some cocoa and watch DVDs. After reading ‘ last post, I think I’m glad we went that route.

Last night, HBO went on the fritz, so I couldn’t watch Oz. Bummer. But it airs again tonight. Instead, we watched the Hallmark movie, “Brush with Fate”, an adaptation of the book, “The Girl in Hyacinth Blue”. Very good adaptation. I had enjoyed the book, which traces the history of an obscure painting back through history to it’s creation and how the painting affected the lives of its owners. For anyone who enjoyed John Grisham’s “A Painted House”, Hallmark is airing it on April 27th.

Well, it’s time for me to hit the grindstone and start my work week. Happy Monday.

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