Bright Lights, Big City

I’m off to New York again tomorrow for another business trip. When I was there in October, I honestly thought it would be a one shot type of deal. Here it is just three months later, and I’m off again. This is going to be a ridiculously short trip. I fly out tomorrow morning, arriving at JFK at 4:20 in the afternoon. I fly back just about 48 hours later, leaving JFK at 5:45 in the evening on Friday. With the time difference, I’ll be back at SFO by 10 on Friday night. At that point, I’ll drive myself home and collapse immediately.

I’m not really looking forward to this trip. I think it’s just too short to be enjoyable. I don’t even care about the fact that I’m going to be in New York. I love that city, but I just can’t get amped this time. One of these days, I’m going to save up some cash and just spend a whole week there doing whatever I want, going to as many shows as I can, seeing all the museums. Of course, I’ll spend as much time in the East Village as possible.

But on this trip, I think I’ll just do the work stuff, get in, get out, and come home.

Gym Motivation

I thought of a new reason to go to the gym today. I’m not cold at the gym. Working out warms me up like it’s summer. Almost like it’s summer in the central valley.

The thing is, I hate winter. I hate chills, shivering, and I absolutely abhor goose bumps. I hate cold that I can’t escape. Lately, there’s no escaping cold.

It’s unusually cold in California this week. I think the high in Oakland was 47. That’s usually the low. I’ve said before that I think 70 is my personal minimum. Maybe 68. I could deal with a day like today every once in a while, but it’s been two days already, and I think tomorrow will be more of the same. Plus rain. The only thing worse than bitterly cold is bitterly cold and wet.

On top of the cold outside, the heat in the office is lame. Someone from my office calls the maintenance dude every day. I sit on my hands. I take off my shoes and sit on my feet. I wear sweaters over my sweaters. I wear my coat. It’s just ridiculous. It’s inhumane. I’m about to call my boss in New York and tell him that if nothing can be done to fix the heat, then I’m going to insist on working from home. It’s that bad.

So, in the midst of the hellish coldness, it occurred to me that if I was on the elliptical, I wouldn’t be cold. So for the rest of the week, the gym is my blanket. My calorie burning, thigh toning blanket.

I Want to Be an Eccentric Old Lady

When I grow up, I want to be an infamously odd old lady, with an equally odd and mysterious house. I came to this conclusion after visiting the Winchester Mystery House yesterday.

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I had always wanted to visit the house, but it’s kind of one of those things that you don’t do when you live here, kind of like Alcatraz. Fortunately, J4’s cousin was visiting from Ohio, so the three of went down to check it out.

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If you don’t know about the Winchester House, it is the home built by Sarah Winchester. She was the widow of the heir to the Winchester Rifle fortune. She was left all the money from the company, and used the money to build the house.

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It is assumed that she thought that the spirits of those killed by the rifle haunted her, and were responsible for the death of her husband and only child. She may have been constantly renovating her home in order to appease the spirits. She was said to have daily seances where she would communicate with the ghosts who gave her the ideas for how and what to build.

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This is why it is believed that there are so many strange elements in the house, such as the door to nowhere, windows in the floor, and many odd combinations of thirteen.

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Above all that, it also happens to be a great old house, with many lovely Tiffany windows and other architectural elements. It also survived the 1906 earthquake, though it was slightly damaged.

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My mom has always wanted to visit the house, too, so I am looking forward to going again the next time she visits.

Overall, I’d say the Mystery House is worth the price of admission. If you’re visiting in the area, and you’re thinking about whether or not to check it out, I say do. I’ve spent a lot of money on tourist spots, tours, and such that were not nearly so cool.

Worst Day Eva

Have you ever had one of those days where things just start out bad, and before you know it, they’re spinning out of control to the point of utter ridiculousness, and you end up ostracizing even the people closest to you, because you’re just completely over-sensitive, and they just can’t handle  you’re drama?    And why should they really?
Yeah – that was yesterday.     I’m pretty lame.

Just sayin’.

A Great Start

This morning I did something that I haven’t done in quite a long time.  My alarm went off, I got up for a moment, and then laid back down thinking I had hit the snooze.   I didn’t hit the snooze, though.   Apparently I had turned the alarm off.    I realized this, when some time later, a voice from the back of my mind reached through the haze and spoke to me in my unconscious space, “hey, the alarm never went off again, did it?”   My eyes flew open and to the alarm clock, which read 8:03 (which is actually 8:00, because I’m one of those people), and I bolted upright.    

The first thought to pop into my head was, ‘call in sick.’   The second thought was, why burn up a sick day on something so stupid.   This was all running through my head as I jumped out of bed and leaped across the room to my bathroom.   By the time I got there, I knew that I was going to try my best to get to work as close to on time as I could manage.

First, I gave myself a quick sponge bath.  Then I wet down my hair, to tame the mad scientist ‘do.   In case you’re one of those people that say things like, “oh, having short hair must be so easy,” I have to tell you, no it’s not.   With long hair, there’s this thing called a pony tail that is a fix-all for bad hair days.    With my pixie hair, I wake up with the mad scientist, Einstein hairdo.  It’s all over the place, and not in a cool spiky way.   It’s impossible.   I have to wet my hair and blow it dry every day. 

The one thing that saved me this morning was that I had originally intended to get up at the crack of dawn to try to make it to the gym.   That idea went out the window at about 1:30 this morning when I was wide awake contemplating whether it was the small pot of Ethiopian Sidamo coffee or my insatiable desire to load up my iPod.   Anyway, I had packed a bag with a pre-planned outfit, which meant that everything was all in one spot for once, and made it really easy to get my hair sorted out, get dressed, get makeuped, and get out the door in record time.    Just 17 minutes after I woke up, I was out the door.  

I managed to be at my desk just two minutes late.   Now I’m sitting here at work, writing a blog, clearly with nothing to do, and wishing that I had called in sick, because I would rather be playing with my iPod right now.

Just sayin’. 

Cool New Technology – Smart Shopping Cart

Microsoft, in collaboration with MediaCart has developed a smart shopping cart.  I read about this on Salon. When you swipe your loyalty card, it will upload your shopping list. As you pick up items from your list, and scan them, it’ll check them off and give you a running total of the cost. It will also be able to help you find items within the store. Of course, they’ll need to find a way to make money off of the system, so they’ll be selling targeted video ads which will appear on the screen depending on what’s on your list, past purchases, or which aisle you’re on. They’re planning on testing the system in ShopRite stores later this year.

I think it sounds like a neat idea, that’ll make shopping more easy and efficient. It sounds like the type of thing I would have fun playing with in the store. Of course, I could also take the conspiracy theory angle, that The Man or the Eye of Microsoft is spying on me, and using my purchase history against me. What do you think? Is the smart cart super cool or super scary?

Lunch Date

First off, I have to say, I’m not a fan of “gourmet” food. My favorite foods are ones that are most like the things my mom would make. I was a little bit of a skeptic, therefore, when my co-worker offered to take me and another from my department to Spruce. I was a little bit concerned that they wouldn’t have anything that would be veg friendly, so I decided I would just go ahead and ask right off the bat.

So, the co-worker, who had eaten there before, ordered an assortment of cheeses for an appetizer, and also a meat platter. Of course I didn’t have the meat. The cheese was amazing. We had a bleu, goat, and European cheddar. I love cheese. Every time I’ve thought about going vegan, I’ve had second thoughts due to cheese.

For my entree I had a small plate of gnocchi with rapini. I can honestly say that I had never even heard of rapini. The dish was pretty good, with a light kind of watery butter sauce. It wasn’t nearly as heavy as I was afraid it would be. I would have to say that this was my least favorite part of the meal. I also ordered a glass of wine with the meal, but as I just ordered “what he’s having,” I don’t know what it was. It was a white, which I don’t normally drink, and it was from Bishop’s Peak, but I’m not sure what varietal.

I was really looking forward to dessert and coffee. I love having after meal coffee, but can never order it after dinner, since I have enough insomnia problems as it is. For dessert I had a hazelnut cake with coffee ice cream. It was served with a white chocolate cream in little dollops under this candy thing that reminded me of the top of a creme brulee. See, I’m not a foodie, and I have no idea what that’s called. Anyway, it was pretty good, but I have to say that the Ethiopian Sidamo coffee that I had was one of the best cups of coffee I’ve ever had.

So over all, it was a good lunch experience, but if I had it to do over again, I would have ordered a salad instead of the gnocchi. I would order the cheese, wine, and coffee again in a heartbeat.

I still say that my mama could have made it better.

Just sayin’.