Friday, May 30, 2008

Wringing out my brain

Today my brain is in a foggy soggy state, which I attribute to waking up an hour and a half earlier than normal. (Oh 7:30 a.m. physical therapy appointment, you are no friend of mine.) There are a few things I want to discuss today, so let's see if I can get through the haze.

My boss is taking next week off to bike from Pittsburgh to D.C. First, let me just say how much I respect this athletic endeavor she is embarking upon. Now, let me say how COMPLETELY HORRIBLE this trip sounds to me. I get winded after about 4 seconds on my bike in this hilly terrain that we call Appalachia--so I can't imagine something more exhausting than 300 plus miles on an uncomfortable seat that makes my butt hurt for days. (Seriously, can't they come up with a better design for the bicycle seat by now? Aren't we supposed to be zipping around in our flying cars already?)

She has put me in charge of managing the content of our official weekly (biweekly in the summer) publication while she's on "vacation." I'll admit I was a bit surprised she picked me... but I am excited for the extra responsibility.

Yesterday was her last day at work for a while, so I wished her well. This went a little better than the last time she left town...

Scene: Amanda's boss, whose mother has been very sick for some time, is frantically preparing to leave the office for an indefinite period of time. She has just received an alarming phone call about her mother's quickly deteriorating health. Near tears, Amanda's boss quickly gathers her things and notifies the department of her departure.

Boss: Um, thanks...
Amanda, silently: Oh... crap!

Well, I told you I was awkward. I wish I would think about things a little harder before I let the words tumble out haphazardly.

The next order of business: I am going to update my blogroll to include all my new bloggy friends on 20SB. I just need some advice on the organization of it. Can some of you more experienced peeps speak up and tell me if you have any method to your madness? Should there be categories? Alphabetical order? The Dewey Decimal System? Help!

And finally, I am going to start working on my "100 things" list that I've been seeing around blogland. I especially loved Jennifer's list on You are flawed if you are not free. I think we will inevitably have some list items in common--as I cannot make a list about myself without mentioning lolcats, duh. I also love her idea of listing my first CD... and while mine wasn't Michael Bolton, I totally respect that it was hers. My mom made me a big fan of MB at an early age. I love him... even if he is a "no talent ass-clown."

Thursday, May 29, 2008

When my tongue betrays me

Sometimes when I speak, the words get all mushed up in my mouth and come out in some strange order I hadn't intended. This embarrasses me sometimes. Luckily, I don't take myself too seriously and can often laugh about it, or more commonly, pretend what I said makes perfect sense...

Scene 1. Amanda is ordering Sunday brunch at a French-inspired crepe cafe with boyfriend.

Amanda: "Hi. I'll have a glass of small orange juice."
Boyfriend: "Is that made with tiny oranges? Like kumquat-sized?"

Scene 2. Amanda is talking to her friend on the phone about a coworker who is recovering in the hospital.

Amanda: "She's doing really great. Like 10 times a million better."

I also sometimes lose my train of thought when leaving voice messages at work...

Scene 3. Amanda just dialed a number to reach a respected professional at her place of employment. The call goes to voice mail. Amanda, busy contemplating whether she should call the professional by her first name or Doctor Last Name, is taken by surprise at the sound of the beep.

Amanda: Um... Oh... Hi! FIRST NAME! LAST NAME!

Sheesh. I am so awkward.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Million Blog List

I'm number 1744 on the Million Blog List.

An introduction to my crazy dreams

Not everyone remembers their dreams. I have been blessed/cursed with a very vivid memory of mine, however. Luckily, I don't have many typical nightmares. Though, I do have some very bad dreams. Very bad.

For instance, I'm on my own for dinner tonight because boyfriend is going to the Penguins/Red Wings game with a friend. As with any evening he isn't around to cook dinner for me, I heat up a frozen French bread in oven and call it a night. (It's called being lazy.)

However, tonight I am not just having any pizza for dinner. I am having the new pesto pizza from Trader Joe's! I've been salivating over it for days. Tonight, it will be mine.

So what does this have to do with my bad dreams? I will tell you! Last night, I had a dream that my sister came over and ATE MY PIZZA! Oh, the horror! I laid some smack down on her, you better believe.

I woke up and told boyfriend very sternly that he was not to touch the pizza. Thank goodness my sister won't be raiding our fridge any time soon.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

12 Steps

I think every young woman goes through a stage where she is extremely hung up on someone who is completely wrong for her. Whether he* breaks her heart one too many times or just doesn't treat her like the gem she truly is, for some reason she is unable to see this. She pines for him. She cries for him. And then one day, she meets the man who is everything she has ever dreamed of and so much more. The man who gives her pink unicorn piñatas and writes her love songs about being a panda from the sea. The man who makes her laugh so hard, she shoots hot chocolate out her nose on their first real date. The man who makes her forget about all former heart aches. The best thing to ever happen to her... her soul mate.

Today I am looking through old e-mails from when boyfriend and I began dating. He waited for me when I was hung up on someone else and when I said I wasn't ready for a serious relationship. He waited and waited... and then one day... I came to my senses. I count my blessings every day that he stuck around! Below is an excerpt from one of his many hilarious and wonderfully adorable e-mails:


...Railing tequila shots with my parents and watching fireworks by the ocean, pretty spectacular stuff. Plus we saw this really weird animal down there that I became obsessed with. It's sort of like a groundhog with a weirder tail and stripes I think, but it can jump 7 feet straight up in the air, which, just admit it, is (expletive) terrifying. We called it the dik-dik, after another weird animal I saw in a zoo somewhere one time, but the Mexican thing was actually an agouti. Anyway, I'm rambling now. You know why? Because I miss you. And I have a huge little crush on you. 2007 is the year we take over the city, Ryan and I have already decided. Pittsburgh is ripe for a brat pack type of 20 somethings to knock the city on its ass, and really show it a good time. That sounded more aggressive than I meant it to, and I'm sorry. I'm going through the 12 stages of Amanda withdrawal.

The first one was denial, when I thought I could totally deal with it. (wrong) The second stage is having to pee all the time, for some reason, and I had that last night. Although it could have been from the drinking. The third stage, and the one I'm suffering through now is when you wear two unmatched socks to work and feel like a jerk because your mind is too consumed by Amanda-ish thoughts to process whether or not the socks you're holding even match. The fourth stage, which I'll probably hit later tonight, is pretty serious, and that's talking about the things you like about Amanda when she's not even around. Like, telling total strangers. Lunacy, right? The fifth stage, I don't even want to talk about. It's lice. You literally get lice, from out of nowhere. Spontaneous lice. Terrible, I know. And then the sixth stage is equally offensive, but you're halfway home so it's almost easier to deal with. The sixth stage is voting Republican, which fortunately due to the timing, isn't something I need to worry about right now. If this had happened last month though, shit. I don't know if many people have survived the seventh stage because it's really, really hard to deal with. YOU LOSE YOUR SENSE OF TASTE! Okay? Well you don't lose it so much as it gets horribly transformed, so that everything you eat tastes bad and weird. So a few days from now, when I get to this stage and I want to eat Mom's delicious Christmas dinner, it will taste like old newspaper and fleas. I hate that. It's just gross. Stage eight makes it dangerous to drive, because you have to wear sunglasses all the time, even at night. I don't know why, it's just the way it is. Probably so no one can see you crying like a baby. The ninth stage is weird, and probably something you can relate to. Everything smells like maple syrup, all the time. You could stick your snoot right into a delightful spring bouquet of flowers, and instead only smell the blasted syrup. It's nice for like an hour, at breakfast, IF YOU'RE EATING PANCAKES. But it makes the rest of the day unbearable, so horrible that it almost makes you long for the tenth stage, WHICH KILLS YOU! You're dead for a week! And then you wake up to stage eleven, where you find out everyone else is dead too, and the world is now ruled by sentient squid! Oh the horror! Squid are telling you what to do! Squid is the boss of you! And they wear little outfits and telepathically tease you about your two stupid arms and your dumb hair. How dreadful. So you suffer in some savage work camp, doing the squids' nefarious bidding for what seems like an eternity until finally, thank Christ, you hit stage twelve. Which is when Amanda comes home, and makes you better feeling.

So that's that. That's how I feel, wish me luck...

Wow! I just love this guy so much! I am so lucky he survived the squid!

*Masculine pronoun used for convenience. Please substitute with feminine pronouns where necessary!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Are you there Mike Tomlin? It's me, Margaret...

Dear Mike Tomlin,

If you drive a white Cadillac Escalade, I just saw you! It was totally awesome.


P.S. You are beautiful.


Unique. Masculine. Sensual.

To celebrate boyfriend's new job, I bought him his first ever bottle of cologne. He's such a big boy now!

I don't mind telling you that I made him promise to throw away his Old Spice Body Spray he's been using since we started dating. After we moved in together he starting spraying the Old Spice after doing his business in the bathroom. Let's just say I have come to associate the smell of Old Spice with something not so alluring. (Hey men! It's called air freshener. Use it.)

We picked the scent together at Sephora. It was quite the spectacle because I insisted on spraying just about every cologne in sight on one of those paper test strip things (if you want to get technical about it). Leave it to me to consistently spray more cologne on my hands than the papers. I left the store smelling more manly than boyfriend.

We chose Prada Amber Pour Homme from the "woody oriental" category of scents for men. Taking a deep whiff of this love potion makes me feel all warm and tingly. According to the Sephora web site it is: Unique. Masculine. Sensual. I honestly don't think I could have said it better myself.

Boyfriend will be the best smelling person at his new job.

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Glad to be off the edge of my seat

My silly and wonderful boyfriend interviewed for an amazing job more than two months ago. It has been a looooong and grueling process for all parties involved. We've both been on the edge of seats, giddily discussing all the exciting things that could happen if he got the job.

Now I will share them with you.

If boyfriend got the job...
  • Boyfriend and I could take the bus to work together in the morning.
  • We could meet for lunch in the park; which is conveniently between both of our offices.
  • Boyfriend could take advantage of the tuition reimbursement program.
  • We could afford to travel more.
  • Oh, and get married!
Well... guess what? He got the job! Hooooray! Woooop woooop!

When he called his mom to tell her the good news, she immediately asked, "Do you hear wedding bells?" His reply, "I hear someone doing the dishes." Very funny, mister. SOMEONE had to clean them. (Don't worry ladies, I happily* do the dishes in exchange for his delicious home-cooked meals. I don't have the cooking gene.)

So excited!

*Well, maybe "happily" is too strong of a word, on second thought.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

And now a glimpse into my paranoid mind

Now that I'm part of the 20-something-bloggers group, people might actually be reading this thing for a change. Finding new blogger friends has inspired me to reveal something a little deeper about myself than my obsession for carbs and lack of follow-through.

Today I want to tell you a bit about why I'm the way I am. And by that I mean paranoid.

My mom has lived through some crazy weirdness in her lifetime. She has narrowly escaped from potential abductors, attackers, and your common harmless nut-cases. Sparing the gory details, my mom has her gut instincts to thank for coming out of her 20's unscathed.

With that said, my mom's style of parenting can be described as "fear mongering." At a very young age, she taught me and my sister the dangers of strangers, date rape drugs, and not locking your doors.

She took paranoia to a new level by not being able to go to bed without making sure the knobs on the stove were all turned to "off." Ok... there's nothing too weird about that. Except for the fact that checked them about five times before calling it a night. She would look at each knob, point to it, and (this is key) said "off" as she pointed to each one individually. "Off... Off... Off... Off." She would chant this lullaby of sorts each night during my childhood.

More important than teaching us to eat all of our vegetables, my mom spent most of her energy teaching us the proper way to use a public bathroom (DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING!) and the best method for walking to your car in a parking lot (RUN!)

Alright, I think you get the picture. Now, I bring you a short piece of non-fiction that I wrote last summer after (probably) being a little too suspicious of some young men in the park on my lunch break.

Wanting to publish this piece last summer, I showed it to a writer friend who said I needed to explain why my character was so certain two complete strangers were trying to kill her. I feel I've given you all the explanation this piece needs. Enjoy.

*Disclaimer: I apologize for any unkind references to the Brits in this piece. I admit it is an awful stereotype that Brits have bad teeth. Please forgive me! It was a literary device... or something.


Still sitting on the bench, quickly losing interest with the loudest person in a 100-yard circumference, I block out the noise and read the same book I’ve been reading for three months during my lunch breaks.

Two 20-something men quickly break my concentration with the question, “Anywhere good to eat around here? We’ve just moved to the area.”

Please. Do any men who approach a vivacious woman sporting a plunging neckline and new push up bra from Victoria’s Secret honestly just want to know where to find something good to eat?

I play along.

What are you in the mood for?

“Spicy,” says the one with the gray front tooth.

Right. Try Lulu’s Noodles. Take a left on Forbes. It’ll be halfway down the block between Forbes and Fifth Ave.

“Is it really good? Like do you go there?” the one with the backwards ball cap and nearly shoulder-length hair asks me. They both strike me as creepy. Like they should be British. Maybe it’s just the tooth.

Yes. I eat there. Good luck. Enjoy your lunch. I say as I put my nose back in my book.

They are still standing there... looking at me.

“How much is it? Is it expensive?”

I think a moment for a reasonable estimate. It’s about eight bucks for an entrée.

“That’s not bad. What are you reading?”

These men are not going to leave me alone without an awkward conversation about Chuck Klosterman.

After discussing Chuck’s talent for making a surprisingly convincing argument about why Saved By the Bell is relevant in society, and getting a quick lesson on E-prime, I am relieved to see them go.

I wait an appropriate amount of time to get up from my bench so I don’t accidentally run into them on my way back to the office. I start wondering if maybe I should give people more credit. Maybe they really did just want a good place to have lunch. Just in case, I’m not walking through that alley like I usually do today. Staying in plain sight. My mom always says to trust my gut instinct. Still, I feel bad. Those guys seemed okay.

My feet are aching from the stilettos and wishing I hadn’t opted for a long-cut. Suddenly, all of my paranoid thoughts are coming to realization when I see the guy with the gray tooth’s yellow t-shirt walking towards me through the crowd. He and his friend are walking the opposite direction from Lulu’s. These men are going to kill me. I knew it.

I walk faster. Again, cursing my choice of footwear. My heart is racing. These men are going to kill me. I quickly visualize the final block of my walk and decide if there is trouble I’ll run into the mechanic’s garage off of Craig Street. The heels of my stilettos make a sharp noise against the concrete as I try not to twist my ankle and I hurry back to my office. Each person that I pass is a private victory, and one more person that will hopefully call the police when these guys catch up to me and kidnap/murder me. I reach the lobby of my office. Waiting for the elevator to take me to the fourth floor feels like an eternity. I look around at the people outside. A yellow shirt. My heart stops beating entirely. It’s a woman. The elevator is here. I’m alive.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

No Ghosts. Just Quiznos Today.

I was too lazy to pack myself a lunch last night, so I threw a can of soup in my bag and called it a day. Unfortunately, Lazy Amanda forgot how much Hungry Amanda despises soup for lunch. It's boring. It's unsatisfying. It contains no bread. What is to like about soup, really?

I was so displeased with the idea of vegetable soup for lunch that I waited as long as could to eat lunch--hoping hunger is a temporary state of mind, and maybe those 20 ginger snaps I just ate would be a good lunch substitute.

Well, 3:00 rolled around and I am one of those people who need to eat every two hours or I start feeling dizzy and weird. When I get really low blood sugar, it isn't pretty, my friend. Ok. The soup is still in my bag. Should I just go heat it up in the microwave? No. Soup bores me. (Except miso soup. Andrew, I am totally serious about killing you if you eat my soup from TJ's. Srsly.)

Cue the impromptu dash to Quiznos. I have been packing my lunch in an effort to save money. Quiznos is by no means a luxury splurge, but it ain't exactly a can of soup either. To compromise, I tried the very affordably priced $2 Sonoma Turkey Sammie. I brought it back to my office and eagerly took my first bite. HELLO FLAVOR EXPLOSION! I didn't even know what was in a Sonoma Turkey Sammie, but I figured it would be better than soup no matter what. Had I read the ingredients, I might not have ordered it because I am not big on exotic spices like pepperjack and chipotle. But boy-oh-boy! This little gem hit my tastebuds in all the right places. FYI: the Sonoma Turkey Sammie contains turkey (surprise!), pepper jack cheese and Chipotle Mayo--as well as the usual tomato and lettuce. Mmmmmmmm!

I can't wait to go back for the 2 sammie special. Tell them Amanda sent you. (Then please tell me about all the weird looks you received from the Quiznos peeps who don't know what you're talking about.)

In other news, I am now part of the 20-something bloggers. My question is, however, do I get kicked out in six years when I turn 30? That'll be way harsh.

Monday, May 19, 2008

All that and a haunted buckeye

No wonder I am so exhausted today. My weekend was chock-full of fun and craziness.

I kicked things off Friday by whooping boyfriend's bottom at two rousing rounds of Rack-O. Ever beat someone by more than 600 points at anything? I have! Let me tell you, it is more fun than it sounds. We also shared a yummy Sumatra French press coffee at Enrico’s Tazza D’oro in Highland Park.

Saturday afternoon was filled with shopping in Shadyside, petting greyhounds (i want!), and delicious lunch at the Shady Grill (yummy California BLT with avocado and turkey).

Boyfriend asked what I wanted to do Saturday night. I said, "umm... go roller skating."

For some reason, the day before he ignored my suggestion to go sky-diving, but welcomed the skating idea with open arms. I don't get it. I haven't been skating for more than ten years though, so I'm glad he humored me.

After I found a buckeye in the pocket of my jeans for no apparent reason (thanks, ghost), we headed to Glenshaw's Romp 'n Roll for R&B Skate (true). There were tons of peeps getting funky on they skates. Some were invading my personal space with their funkiness, and almost knocked me on my tush a few times.

Our friend, who I shall refer to as "Sk8terboi," made the evening far more enjoyable with his highly-refined skating style. It reminded me of a little tike learning how to walk for the first time. I'm not actually sure you can even call what he was doing "skating," as at no point did I actually see his skate wheels spin. He baby-stepped his way around the rink in such an amusing fashion, that I had to shield my eyes from him so I didn't get distracted and lose my balance.

We had a blast, and though there were many close calls, neither boyfriend, Sk8terboi, nor I took a spill. By 10:30 the rink was packed to the gills and boyfriend had an oozing blister forming on his foot. It was time to call it a night. But first, we all had to smell boyfriend's fingers, which apparently "smelled like someone else's feet and sweat" from his rented roller-blades. Don't worry. When asked to smell someone's fingers, I always decline.

On Sunday I headed to my parents' house where my mom requested I join her for a day of decoupage (true). I made my friend something simply fabulous for her birthday. I won't give away too much, in case she reads this, but let's just say some of it is metallic and all of it is awesome.

Hope your weekend was filled with as many buckeyes, roller skates, and glue as was mine. It was truly outrageous.


Friday, May 16, 2008

The case of the missing slipper

Last night I was looking forward to curling up on the couch with a David Sedaris book and eager to get cozy in my jammies and slippers. I saw one of my pink fuzzy slippers sitting in the hall between the bathroom and kitchen, but its mate was no where in sight. I found this to be rather odd, as I usually take off both slippers together, rather than taking one off... walking through the apartment before abandoning the other.

I searched for that lone slipper for several minutes before enlisting the help of the boyfriend, who helped me turn the apartment upside down. We were on a mission to find that damn thing. I was Cinderella. And my feet were cold.

Boyfriend, in the midst of cooking up a delicious dinner, had to forfeit the search because his water had come to a boil on the stove. After looking under every piece of furniture and in every conceivable hiding spot, I finally gave up. Had I accidentally thrown it away? What the duce?

This morning, I awoke from my slumber to get ready for work. Still wiping the sleep from my eyes as I stepped into the shower, I was in deep thought. "Don't forget your leftover portobello ravioli awaiting you in the fridge," I cautioned myself. "Even if it makes you a little gassy, it would make for a delicious lunch," the voice in my head continued.

It was after the shower that I saw it. Both of my slippers, lying together in a pair as though nothing had ever happened. "Oh, I guess boyfriend found my slipper?" my inner monologue rang. "But when? How? I don't understand!"

I ran to snoozing boyfriend, and gently awoke him. (Read:: shook him violently as though I had said "And this is what it would feel like to die in an earthquake!")

"HEY!" I excitedly hollered. "DID YOU FIND MY SLIPPER???"

Boyfriend gasped and quickly lifted his head, frightened.


"Huh? No!" Boyfriend was startled. But not as startled as I was.

"You didn't!? Really!? OMG! AHHHHHHHHHHHH! THAT'S CREEPY!" I was stunned, I didn't know what to do except hit groggy boyfriend over the head with my pillow several times as I screamed in horror.

As I finished getting ready for work, I kept my eye on the haunted slipper in fear that any remaining ghost particles might attack me--possibly when my mascara wand was uncomfortably close to my retina.

Before I left to catch my bus, I cautiously picked up the slipper with my thumb and index finger. I looked on the bottom of the sole for a cryptic ghost message, written in pig's blood. Nothing.

I examined the cloth for any ghost clues... and there it was. The label on my slipper sent chills down my spine. "Easy Spirit." I $h*t you not.

"Ok, I'm outta here," my inner voice proclaimed.

I grabbed my jacket and purse (but not my ravioli... dang) and ran for the hills... or bus stop.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Can't stop the lol...

LOL #1
LOL #2

Help! I'm unable to stop making lolcats. My only salvation is that the boyfriend is allergic to cats, so hopefully I won't ever become a crazy cat lady.

Witch lolz does ewe prefurs?

Monday, May 12, 2008

Presenting: My First Lolcat

I have been enjoying lolcats for some time now. I have made it one of my personal missions to educate my friends about the joy that can be found in these captioned critters. I finally took the plunge and made one of my own. You can rate it 5 cheezburgerz here.