Thursday, December 27, 2007

I think my parents take my career more seriously than I do. They gave me a Levenger briefbag for Christmas. Granted, it was on my wishlist, but I put it there a few years ago in a whimsical "someday when I'm not an intern I'll carry a bag like this" kind of mood. Now that I'm actually not an intern, and I actually have the bag, I don't know quite what to do with myself. Maybe I'll spend a few evenings huffing the buttery leather scent until I figure everything out. Yeah, that sounds like an excellent plan.

Also, am I wrong in thinking that it's a little early for the family to start in on the baby pressure? What is it about the holidays that makes all your distant relatives suddenly curious if you're seeing anyone special? Why does my dad keep jokingly offering me and my hypothetical bastard child a room in the parental basement? (And another thing: career pressure or baby pressure. The family needs to choose one. Not both. It doesn't work that way.)

My cousin brought her six month old for a visit on Monday. (I've mentioned before that my family is tiny- Melissa is one of two cousins, and the only one of my grandma's four grandchildren to spawn thus far.) My mom and grandma passed the baby back and forth between themselves and cooed and peekaboo-ed to the max. Seeing my grandma with the baby, and the way her cobwebs seemed to clear a bit during that visit, I felt like a familial slacker for the first time. I realize that my grandmother's declining mental capacity is not a good justification for for fast tracking Operation: Entire Rest of Life, but I do wish I had more to give her. As it is, the weather is about all we have left to talk about.

Maybe this is just my competitive streak rearing its ugly head. I mean, there's just no matching a baby. No one cares that I like... accomplished another move this year.

Jesus, I'm intolerable. Can you see why I drive my brother crazy?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Today was not an all-star day for the Siblings Herr. The plan was to get on the road at 9 a.m. Unfortunately, when I tried to start my car this morning, Blue Steel was not having it. I've since renamed Blue Steel; the car will now be known as Big Pussy, a la The Sopranos, in light of its pussiness and cold-hearted betrayal.

Jon was not pleased to learn that driving duties were again falling to him, particularly because he was sporting some very uncomfortable footwear. See, Jon stayed with some friends last night, and the friends' dog, Seamus, is very fond of Jon- so fond, in fact, that Seamus managed to peel Jon's insoles out of his boots in the night and chew them to pieces. It's kind of sweet, actually. I think Seamus wanted something to remember him by.

I called poor Emily and woke her up so I could leave her my spare key in case of a snow emergency, hoping that by some miracle my car would actually start. We bought some insoles for Jon at Walgreen's and got on the road about two hours late, then had a fine time plowing through whiteouts for half the drive. (The other half was spent arguing over what to listen to. Jon tolerated Car Talk but took a violent dislike to Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me, which he counteracted with some gangsta rap.)

Forty years later, when we finally reached Sioux Falls, we sat around with the folks for a while, then headed to dinner. I called the snow emergency hotline in the car and then dropped a major f-bomb upon hearing the news. Fun for the whole family. By that time, Em was marooned in Bloomington, though she gamely offered to head back tomorrow morning before my 8 a.m. tow time. But when I checked the weather (forecast temp for 8 a.m. tomorrow: zero) it seemed too much to hope that Big Pussy would perform any better than today.

Solution: get the car towed now and pay a four day storage fee. Better than the city impound, right? Luckily, Papa Herr is subsidizing this plan and I am beginning to appreciate the benefits of accepting parental assistance when it is offered. Now I'm just hoping that the temp was the only real problem and that my dumb skank of a car will start on Wednesday.

Well, now that I've enriched all of our lives with way too many details about stuff that doesn't matter, happy Festivus to everyone. I hope you all get Playstations, or whatever it is that the kids are hot for these days. Don't go crazy on the egg nog. Warmer temps and better days ahead.

Monday, December 17, 2007

About Friday. I'm going to focus on the positive- on the fact that the kid got a bike and that I only cried briefly, and only when I was walking behind her and she didn't see. She asked if she got to keep it, and my heart broke a little bit in a happy/complicated way.

I am not going to focus on the fact that after we'd frozen our heinies off wedging the thing into my trunk and then laboriously unwedging it once back at her house... that no one was home and her mother had left me a note asking me to drop her off somewhere else. So we re-wedged, and re-unwedged at the friend's house. Mom is kind of on my list right now.

The Little is spending her school break in Chicago with her dad, so I told her to call me when she gets back, and she said, "I'll call you when I'm there," and scurried off into the house with her bike. This kid wrecks me.

Speaking of wreckage, after the bike party I hightailed it to the company party, put on my dress in the car, and burned through my drink tickets in record time. There was a brief and ill-fated expedition to Sheik's after the official party had shut down, but we realized very quickly that the ladies in open-toed shoes would not fare well on that walk. Also, apparently bars close at 1:30-ish. We were shocked, shocked to learn this. The fatigue set in not long after and I shared a cab home with Mary, with a brief pit stop for Mary's fellow to yuke on a curb, which, coincidentally, is exactly what I felt like doing on Saturday morning.

I'm pretty sure the whole episode canceled out whatever "good person points" I had banked from the bike thing. But I like to keep the universe guessing.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Em and I saw Juno at the Walker last night. It was such a treat. I strongly recommend that you cancel your weekend plans and go see it.

Afterward, we went to Lurcat to make up for the fact that we couldn't elbow in to the bar at 20.21 before the movie. (Having been to 20.21 three or four times now, I have to tell you that my official conclusion is this: It's sooooo overrated. Don't go to the trouble.) And after Lurcat, I wiped out on the stairs to my building. Yeah, I'm smoove like that.

Tonight I'm taking the Little to a Big Brothers/Big Sisters party. It's at the dome. She thinks we're just going to play games and eat hot dogs and stuff. Here's what she doesn't know: she's getting a bike. 350 kids are getting bikes tonight. Here's a cautionary note from the event organizers:

From past experience: Once the bikes are revealed, there will be a 10-15 minute period of extreme excitement. There are safety procedures and protocol if you get separated from your child or Little. This information will be provided to you upon your arrival.

There's a good chance that I will cry during the period of extreme excitement. Don't tell anyone. I have a reputation to maintain here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

This sweater makes me look pregnant. I don't know why I keep wearing it.

In other news, apparently Juicy Couture makes a fragrance for dogs. It sells for $60 an ounce. I know that people have a right to do as they please with their money, but am I alone in thinking that anyone who would buy couture dog perfume should probably just fall off a boat? Or maybe be forced to drink it while looking at news footage of starving people? Chandler Burr, the Times' perfume critic (so relevant to my life, by the way, as I do often wonder how to describe the scent of a civet's anal gland), has not yet published a review, so perhaps I should reserve judgment. It might be a totally life-altering dog scent. I always found Hartz shampoo pleasant enough, I guess. Also, I loved my dogs enough to not hose them down with a fragrance that would cost them their street cred with the other dogs. Umm... to each her own, though. But no, never mind, I stand by the fall-off-a-boat statement.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Two weeks until the holiday-that-shan't-be-named. I have a lot of knitting to do.

Yeah, uhh... I'm knitting gifts for my family this year. (I don't know if any of my family members read this, but I think they're aware of this plan. I may have mentioned it a month or two ago. If not, sorry for ruining the surprise.) It's part of my thrifty scheme for surviving the holidays while paying off debt. There are, however, a number of flaws in this plan. Specifically:

1. Knitting is very time consuming, and while that's kind of the point of knitting gifts, I may need to spend every spare moment between now and the 24th working on this stuff. I could take a project to book club tomorrow, but then I would be That Girl and my friends may not sit with me. So far, I've been going through DVD rentals like mad to entertain myself while working. This weekend I watched Scarface and almost the entire Rome series. Yeah, that's a lot of hours. (Side note: Something about knitting a scarf for your grandmother while watching Scarface feels very wrong. Maybe next year I should go all out and do Subversive Cross Stitching.)

2. There is no guarantee that the recipients of these items will actually like them. But since I have a long history of giving bad gifts, this won't be much of a departure.

3. I'm not sure I want to be labeled a crafter. (Might be too late for that after I post this.) Despite recent efforts by a new generation of crafters to sex things up a bit (e.g., Stitch 'N Bitch), knitting still has a definite octogenarian feel to it. I took a trip to the JoAnn Fabrics at Rosedale Commons this weekend to pick up some yarn, and I think I felt my ovaries shrivel up the moment I walked in the door. Must be an evolutionary response to silk flowers and rick rack. A minor issue, I suppose, but it's my list and I'm putting it on.

Busy week ahead. I feel a headache coming on.

Friday, December 7, 2007

I gotta call my mom to tell her she's been wrong all this time, because I solved a problem yesterday just by whining about it. Or rather, Miranda solved it, but it's solved regardless, so my belief in the power of whining is strong.

Last night was the office holiday party, in which we give snarky gifts to whichever coworker victim we've drawn from the hat. (Last year I drew Kevin, whom I gave a sparkly framed clipping of his profile in the Business Journal, which had been mistakenly included in the "Women on the Move" column. He quit a few weeks later, but I don't think it had anything to do with that.) Anyway, it turns out that Miranda drew my name this year, and after I acted like a wet blanket all through lunch because of my car and my lack of money and my wah wah wah, she whipped up an add-on to my gift: a coupon for her dad to accompany me to the salvage yard. So thoughtful! It makes me feel a little sheepish about that talking toothbrush holder I gave her two years ago.

The list of people whom I Owe Big Time just keeps growing, but it's nice. I'm very thankful.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's hard to stay on a budget when you're depressed. It's also hard to stay vegetarian. Or eco-friendly. This explains my lunch of overpriced food court pizza (Canadian bacon and pineapple) served to me in a massive, baby-harp-seal-killing Styrofoam box.

And a merry Christmas to the anonymous lowlife who smashed my headlight. God bless us, everyone.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Happy Wire Day!

Does everyone know what day it is? It's season four of The Wire on DVD day! Party! I'm a little disappointed actually, because I put it at the top of my Netflix queue a few days ago, but the Netflix gods were not smiling on me and there's a "short wait" for The Wire. Instead, they sent me the next available movie in my queue, which happens to be L'Avventura, which is one of those movies you put in your queue because you know you're supposed to see it, but you don't actually want to watch it. Uh, anyway, back to The Wire.

The Wire is pretty much the best show about the Baltimore drug trade that a white girl from South Dakota could ever love. (I made Patrick watch an episode once, and at the end he said, "You know why I liked that? Because it was so relatable.") Season three was positively Shakespearean. I kind of want to start a club about how much I love it. It could be like a book club, only we'd all get together and watch an episode or two and then discuss. Hey, if grown people still get together for medieval role-playing games (they do, right?), then why can't I start a Wire club?

Stop judging. I hate you and you're not invited.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Check it out: Katherine Kersten bears a sort-of resemblance to Andrea Martin, award-winning comedienne and actress. Perhaps you recognize her as Aunt Voula from My Big Fat Greek Wedding:

I point this out so that the next time you get peeved about the latest ridonkulous thing Katherine Kersten runs in the Strib, you can do like I do, and read it over again in an Aunt Voula accent. Let's practice!:

Aunt Voula: All my life, I had a lump at the back of my neck, right here. Always, a lump. Then I started menopause and the lump got bigger from the "hormonees." It started to grow. So I go to the doctor, and he did the bio... the b... the... the bios... the... b... the "bobopsy." Inside the lump he found teeth and a spinal cord. Yes. Inside the lump was my twin.

Kersten-Voula: The group with the bicycles... Critical Mass... they tie up the rush-hour traffic every month, and they rule the streets! They leave the cars fuming but impotent.

Umm. I might be the only one this works for. But still. I like it.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Motivational Plan! Regarding Fiscal Responsibility! Woot woot!

So about an hour ago I was pretending to be an adult and I Reviewed My Finances. And now I've hatched a harebrained scheme that I am going to publicly commit to ("publicly" as in, "here on my blog, because it is so highly-trafficked, clearly"). Ready? Okay:

I, Kate, do hereby proclaim that I will pay off my credit card before my next birthday.

My next birthday is three (3) months or six (6) paychecks away. So this is going to be hard. But, according to my calculations (which I made in a fancy Excel doc with formulas and stuff), if I limit my non-fixed expenses (which include groceries, toiletries, household goods, gas, car maintenance, dining out, entertainment, gifts, and clothing) to $100 a week, I can reach my goal. And after I do that, I can start doing the other money stuff I'm supposed to be doing, like, umm... saving it.

And if any of you legions of readers out there want to be all, "Well, what do you even do to run up a bill like that? Everyone knows you're not supposed to carry a balance on your card. Neener neener nee," you can just zip it! I am well aware of The Rules when it comes to credit. However, stuff happens in life. In my case, a car happened, and cars need tires and alternators and stuff, and these are hard costs to absorb when you're Just Starting Out and don't like the idea of leaning on your parents for help all the time. Geez! Take off, eh?!

So... if I don't get you an awesome gift this year, or if you notice me drinking a lot of Diet Coke next time we go to happy hour, you'll know why. BUT, if you want to party once I'm retired, I'll be ready to rip it up with my healthy and responsible nest egg. See you in Boca.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If you're like me, and you have a giant glass of wine or two at book club, then arrive home at 10:00 on a Wednesday night, it might seem like the ideal time to make a quintuple batch of veggie burgers. And, because you're feeling just swell and invincible from the wine, you might start boldly substituting when it turns out you don't have exactly the right amounts of spices. You might use Thai chili paste, for instance. This would be bad. This would result in you having 20 rather funky veggie burgers on your hands, after staying up until 12:30 to finish baking them. And what are you going to do with that quantity of funk burgers?

This is twice in one week that alcohol has interfered with my prowess in the kitchen. Let's all hope that I've learned my lesson. Let's also be thankful that I haven't lost a finger.

Monday, November 26, 2007

The Herrs are a small tribe, which makes our holidays pretty low key compared to those of other families. The most notable event this year was probably on Friday, when my grandma forgot she was supposed to be tailing my mother back to the highway, and randomly turned down an exit to god-knows-where. It all worked out; my mom found her again and set her on the right path home, and once she'd called to confirm she'd made it all right, our psyches were clear to go to the bar for five hours.

I'm hoping this becomes a Black Friday tradition, and knowing the family's universal aversion to crowds, noise, and shopping, I think there's a good chance. Honestly, I'll take a bottomless vodka tonic over some stupid bargain on a down comforter any day. Especially when Dad is paying.

There were a few years when I wondered how long our family could remain a foursome; Jon and I both had stretches with significant others when it seemed possible that someone might be joining us for the holidays. Thankfully, we both proved incapable of sustaining a serious relationship, and our family gatherings remain comfortable, insular affairs. So we had a lovely time at the bar- I'm making it sound like we're a bunch of drunks, but we paced ourselves, and my dad, on DD duty, was just there to smoke cigars.

I made cookies when we got home. Giant, misshapen, delicious cookies. And my mom sent Jon and I away on Saturday with a giant batch of Chex mix to split between ourselves. My half is already gone, and now, considering the salt content, I think I know why I had a headache all weekend. Will have to tell Mom that I can't be trusted alone with Chex mix in the future. I feel gross. I'm definitely going to the gym tonight. We shall never speak of the Chex incident again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Umm... a postcard is a piece of paper that you mail without an envelope...

Question of the day from a 10-year-old: "What's a postcard?"

Man alive, this kid has a way of making me feel old. We also had a conversation about Raven Symone, and how I know her as "that annoying kid from the Cosby Show," while the Little knows her as "Raven, of 'That's So Raven,' a.k.a. the coolest girl alive." (Okay, she didn't say it exactly like that, but that was the gist.) Ah, generational differences.

Things are going well, despite the fact that I'll never be as cool as Raven. We went to The Bad Waitress last night because it was our last chance to hang out pre-Thanksgiving. She ordered the Buckaroo Burger and a hot chocolate, and I think she liked the whole "write your order and your superhero name on the memo pad" concept. She kept taking these weird steps when she got up for things, and then I realized that she was trying to only step on certain colors of floor tiles. She's pretty much the most adorable kid ever.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Fictitious Crush: Steve Dunne

Back in the day before Cameron Crowe made crappy movies that unintentionally parodied his earlier, better movies, there was Singles. In Steve, Crowe (master of the Highly Evolved Male Character) gave us an outgoing, articulate, gridlock-fighting audiophile, who won our hearts by overthinking the significance of Linda unlocking his car door, and by dubbing her ex “Mr. Sensitive Ponytail Man.” He thinks of Xavier McDaniel to distract himself at critical moments. He takes a brave leap when Linda delivers unexpected news. And his post-breakup phone call to her answering machine from a rock club phone booth (“I was just having many beers…”) stands as one of the greatest drunk dials in cinema history. Steve’s descent into madness after Linda never gets the message finds him living as a hermit among mountains of pizza boxes and unopened mail, yet somehow we still love him in the dirty t-shirt and scruffy facial hair. In fact, we may even love him more once it dawns on us that he’s Mr. Sensitive Unshaven Man.

What took us so long, Steve Dunne? We were stuck in traffic. Let's get an apartment together to avoid future separations.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Karl Rove to Become Newsweek Contributor

Oh. My. God. Bitches, if I had not already let my subscription lapse due to your innumerable other sucky editorial decisions, you can bet your asses it would be canceled now.

Newsweek's crappiness of late actually makes me sad. It was a real institution in my house when I was growing up. I used to read it every week when I got home from school, and I can remember my dad getting annoyed with me when he would try to start a conversation and I'd just murmur "mmm-hmm," because I was reading. I even got my own subscription when I went to college. I defended it when an Economist-reader friend called it pap. I read it on the T on my way to class. It was just a ritual.

Maybe I've changed more than the magazine has, but it's really felt like hooey lately. Meacham sure does love his Jesus coverage, and the addition of Markos Moulitsas, as well as Rove, will only make for more shrill partisan debate. That's not what I want to read over dinner. In fact, it's not what I want to read... ever.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

This just in

Mattel Introduces Barbie-Inspired Clothing Line

Blah blah blah... "The collection, which includes sportswear, vintage-inspired dresses, signature jewelry and handbags, has been designed to combine [the designer’s] inventive, often outrageous style with Barbie’s sophisticated style... The line is ... targeted toward older teens and young adults. “The Barbie by Patricia Field collection is an unapologetically fun and stylish way for girls of all ages to indulge their Barbie fantasy,” [Mattel spokesman] said.

As someone who is not that far removed from young adulthood, and who could conceivably go looking for "vintage-inspired dresses and signature handbags" at my friendly neighborhood Macy's, I took some time to consider what my "Barbie fantasy" might be. Thoughts:

* I'm not sure that I fantasize about being so disproportionately top-heavy that it's physically impossible to stand upright.
* Also, having feet that can only wear heels: not a fantasy.
* Cheesy beefcake boyfriend? Meh.

Nope, my only "Barbie fantasy" turns out to be seeing what happens when you put Barbie in an industrial strength paper shredder.
Patrick sent a note about the last entry that made me realize I need to clear something up: "I love that you've concluded that there's no hope for you because you're too smart for all the guys you've met/will meet."

It's not that I think I'm too smart for them. But, according to the Columbia study, the ones that I actually am smarter than will avoid me. And, because of my freakish need to win at everything, I will avoid the men who are smarter than me. I can't take it. In fact, Patrick's superiority at Scrabble is probably half the reason we broke up.

So, you see, it's not that there's no hope for me because I'm too smart. There's no hope for me because I'm insecure and crazy. And really stupid, actually.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

So this economist did a study on speed daters and found that "men avoided women whom they perceived to be smarter than themselves." Maybe I shouldn't have kicked that guy's ass at trivia last week? But kicking ass at trivia is one of my favorite things to do! It satisfies my need for meaningless intellectual validation, as well as my freaky competitive streak! This is terrible, disheartening news.

Though maybe this study is flawed in that it only examines speed daters. Speed daters, as a group, might be a little stupid and easily threatened, right? Oh... they were Columbia students.

Dammit, there's no hope for me.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nine Good Things

I had a problem with pessimism when I was little. It got to the point where my mother used to tuck me into bed and make me list three good things that had happened every day. Wow, I haven't thought about this for a long time. I was one dour kid for a while there. Anyway, in honor of my mother, and as penance for the recent spate of mopey/furious entries, I present the following list of Nine Good Things:

1. The Omnivore's Dilemma. I cannot recommend this book enough. While you've probably heard some fringe arguments for mass changes in our diets and food policy, it takes a journalist like Michael Pollan to credibly explain how we've gotten to where we are, what's wrong with the choices we've been making, and some possible paths for moving forward. You might be able to ignore your hippie neighbor when she starts spouting off about the virtues of non processed foods, but you can't ignore this book.

2. Homemade veggie burgers. (Inspired by #1.) I just added a Williams-Sonoma patty press to my Festivus wish list, because I've got big dreams for mass producing these little babies. And by "mass," I mean "enough to fill my freezer," because they're just for me, I'm not sharing, and if you want some you'll have to make your own.

3. Working Girl. This movie gets no respect from people my age. (Probably because we were 7 when it was released, and unless you secretly watched your mom's VHS copy in the basement after school like I did, you may not have seen it.) Allow me to direct your attention to its IMDB Awards Page. It was nominated for Best Picture. Deservedly so. And Joan Cusack was robbed, by the way.

4. Gilmore Girls. Season 7 was released today, and I don't even care that Amy Sherman-Palladino has left. It might suck, but it's at the top of my Netflix queue and you know there's a marathon weekend in my future. A pathetic, pajama-clad, man-free marathon weekend.

5. Friday Night Lights. My friendship with Braden requires me to recommend this show, but having recently watched all of season 1, I can honestly tell you that it is superb, even if you have no interest in football. Stay home on Fridays and watch it. Tell your friends. Invite them over, if the idea of staying home on Friday bugs you.

6. The Oceanaire. I don't know what got into my dad's head, but we've got a Saturday dinner reservation. Fancy!

7. Free tickets to Sunday's Vikings game. Thanks, office business card drawing!

8. $100 gift certificate to 20.21. Thanks, Frida Kahlo party drawing! Plus, now that I don't have any pesky date possibilities, I can go by myself and get a super nice bottle of wine!

9. The Daily Mole. Still in beta. Go see. This site, plus the more staid MinnPost, proves that when you eff with real journalists, they will find a way to out-create and out-class you. Then all you'll have left is a bunch of 22-year-old cub reporters with no mentors, and an asinine business plan for digging yourself out of the poo. (coughcoughVita.mncough!)

There. Nine good things. I feel better already.
And just like that, my short-lived term of popularity with the menfolk seems to have expired. Do you think it's the haircut?

It's fine, really. I may or may not have walked to work this morning with the same Ryan Adams song on constant repeat, but it's really fine.

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Rate Your Recent Return," says the recommendation gizmo on Netflix. So I do. I give one star ("Hated It") to St. Elmo's Fire. And somehow, based on my hatred for St. Elmo's Fire, Netflix helpfully informs me that I will LOVE both The Natural and A Time To Kill.

Umm... somewhere in there is an algorithm that needs perfecting.
Dear Au Bon Pain,
Bitches, I will cut you if you have discontinued the steak and cranberry salad. I don't know why there was masking tape blocking it off the menu today, but I was so discombobulated that I walked out and wandered into CHIPOTLE, and, as we all know, Chipotle is not the answer to any question.

Great, it's not on the website either. Why would you do this to me? Are you not aware that this salad is referred to in my office as "the magic salad"? Do you not know that when I order this salad with no steak, as I've done for the last year of vegetarian experimentation, that the friendly downtown ABP staff only charges me for a garden salad, thus making my lunch both healthy and affordable? DO YOU KNOW HOW LITTLE MONEY I MAKE, YOU JERKS? DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO FIND GOOD VEGETARIAN LUNCHES DOWNTOWN? DO YOU THINK YOUR DISGUSTING CARROT GINGER SOUP IS ANY SUBSTITUTE???

We're over. You're dead to me. You can keep your damn Asiago bagels, too; I will most certainly NOT be bringing them to the office staff meeting the next time I'm on treat duty. So eff off, you pretentious, un-American, steak-and-cranberry hating, faux-gourmet, money-grubbing, disgusting-soup-making corporate entity. An e. coli plague upon your house.

That is all,

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Yes, please.

Thoughts upon being asked by very talented, very good-looking, not at all Sandler-esque wedding singer, "Hey, can I give you my number?":

1. Seriously? You just had a front-row ticket to my absurd dance moves for the past three hours, and you'd still be interested in associating with me?
2. Are you drunk? I mean, I didn't see you drinking up there... but are you drunk?
3. Is this a ploy to increase your number of MySpace friends?

My actual, super-cool response to the question: "Yes, please."

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Last night brought another freaky reminder of how small this city is. An acquaintance at Nikki's birthday party told me, "You should meet my friend Justin. He goes to your gym and you guys would totally hit it off."

Turns out that her friend Justin is the same Justin that I already have a date with tonight. He's a friend of my coworker, who has no connection to the people at the birthday party.

If I were really into "signs," I'd probably be all aflutter about this. I'm taking a wait-and-see approach though, since the last time I thought the universe was trying to tell me something, I ended up getting dropped like a bad habit.

Also, in the past I've found it problematic to date men who frequent my usual haunts (see: Barista Debacle of 2003, also: Barista Debacle of 2004, also: Bookstore Debacle of 2006). In the event that things go badly, I'll feel obligated to switch my routine at the gym, and I think we all know how unlikely it is that I'll be successful at morning workouts. Although, I'm the more long-standing member of the gym, so he's really the one who should have to switch.

Maybe I'll draw up a document outlining this contingency plan and make him sign it before the appetizers. That would be quite winning, I'm sure.

This entire entry is like something out of Sex and the City. Apparently I've been lobotomized without my knowledge.

Monday, November 5, 2007

So I'm driving my Little home after Bee Movie on Saturday afternoon (skip it, by the way), and a block away from her house I notice a teddy bear sitting on the curb, with a heart-shaped balloon tied to its teddy bear arm, surrounded by empty beer bottles. Because I'm a MORON, I chuckle and say, "Why is there a bear sitting on the curb?" And she- totally nonchalant- says, "Somebody got shot there last night. They moved the body though. He lived right there."


When I told Brendan this story, he knew what was coming as soon as I got to the teddy bear. He's got this annoying (and correct, thus far) theory that I'm going to learn more in this relationship than she is. So far, we've covered:
* how to flee Chicago because Dad beats Mom
* how, sometimes, your birthday trip to the water park gets repeatedly postponed because "your sister's check didn't come," and
* Sometimes your neighbors get shot.

And I asked for an easy case.

Friday, November 2, 2007

I've definitely got a cold or something. Probably shouldn't have gone spinning last night. Will probably use this as an excuse to not go to the gym all week, and will look like an overstuffed sausage at Emily's wedding. Perfect.

Well, the good news is that I canceled my appointment to donate platelets on Sunday, so I've just gotten 3 hours back for myself in a very busy weekend. (Never mind the platelet shortage.) That extra time on Sunday will be spent in the kitchen, as I stupidly signed up for the agency bake sale on Monday. I don't know what I was thinking. The Herrs are not a baking people. I certainly don't have any recipe worthy of entering in a contest, much less asking people to pay money for. I get the impression that my paternal grandmother knew what she was up to in the kitchen, but unfortunately she died before I was born. My other grandmother, bless her, is Dutch, and the only thing Dutch people are known to bake is rusks, and "rusk" sounds like some kind of skin rash, so clearly I am not making rusks for the bake sale.

That is all.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

I neglected to mention in my last post that a friend of mine was admitted to the ICU yesterday due to complications of his cancer treatment. And this is another thing that's making me crazy today, because (to state the obvious) it's so, so unfair when terrible things happen to good people. And cancer is pretty terrible. Especially when you're 30, and there's no cure for what you have.

Why don't I just cry at my desk now. That's great.

Childen: Why don't they watch where they're going?

I made the mistake of going to the Mall of America last night. I didn't even consider the fact that it was Halloween. I should have, because it turns out that the MOA hosts trick-or-treating, which is crap for so many reasons. Here are a few:

1. Going to the MOA is a harrowing enough experience even with normal traffic levels, so when you add to the mix several thousand short people who can't walk, the suck level increases exponentially.
2. I have no respect for indoor trick-or-treating. I don't care what kind of neighborhoods those kids live in; they should be out freezing their diapers off and working for that candy, just like the other Midwestern kids have done for decades. In my day, we wore parkas over our costumes, and no one could tell what we were actually dressed up as, and we LIKED IT.
3. PARENTS. It's bad enough that you let your toddlers wander aimlessly into the paths of people who are actually at the mall for legitimate reasons. Don't make it worse by stopping dead in the middle of a busy walkway and repeating, "Whitney! Look at Minnie Mouse! Whitney! Lookit Minnie Mouse! WhitneylookitMinnieMouse!" over and over and over. I'M WALKING HERE.
4. Macy's was playing a special Halloween soundtrack, which, if I'm not mistaken, actually featured a Chipmunks rendition of "People Are Strange."

Umm. I think that's all I've got for now. I also couldn't find a reasonably priced black shrug to wear to Em's wedding, which was the whole stinking reason I went to the mall, but that irritation was not Halloween-related. Also, I'm so broke that it's not even depressing, it's just infuriating.

I pretty much hate everything today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Minor Issue

Today is my Little's 10th birthday. Last night I stopped by her house with a very pink gift; she didn't open it then, so I don't know yet if it was a hit. I'm not used to buying gifts for 10-year-olds. It's kind of hard, especially if you're averse to indulging gender stereotypes.

I got her a bead kit, but now I'm second-guessing, given how cheap it was and her oral fixation. Oh god, those beads were made in China; they're probably coated in lead and she's probably sucking on one right now. I poisoned my Little. I'm the worst Big ever.

Monday, October 29, 2007

On Drink(!)

I have to stop going uptown with groups of people I don't know well. See, when I'm with my own friends and someone says, "Let's go to Drink," (though this hardly ever happens with my friends), I feel comfortable saying, "Okay, well, you guys have fun. No hard feelings, but this is the part where I go home." And my friends know that I really do mean that; I totally understand that sometimes people want to be grinded on by sweaty strangers, and want to wait in line for the privilege of standing on a rooftop patio, and want to shout introductions over a deafening Justin Timberlake song. I don't have that gene, though. In fact, I would rather gouge my eyes out with a rusty spoon than do any of those things. So I really don't mind taking my leave when the party heads to Drink.

But something about being with people who don't know me makes it harder to exit gracefully. If I'm with a coworker and her friends, for instance, like I was this weekend, I worry that people won't understand. They'll think I'm bitchy, or high maintenance, or that I'm lying about the no-hard-feelings business. So I end up tagging along and turning into a wet blanket as soon as I get inside. (Which also, rightfully, makes people think I'm bitchy, so it's really a lose-lose situation.) Anyway. Then someone spills a beer on me, or my foot gets gouged by an errant stiletto, or etc., and all my fears of going to Drink are realized. Then Emily realizes that I am not going to pull out of the funk, and takes me home. Then I feel bad for being Debbie Downer and making Emily cut her night short.

The moral of the story is this: Never never never go to Drink.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Call Me Tinsley

It's a big week, gang. I got my first byline. Normally I don't get bylines; they're sort of contrary to the point of ghostwriting. So while technically I've been published many times before, you wouldn't recognize me in the headshot of the chubby balding man. Now, however, the agribusiness world will know my name. Except that the publication misspelled it. Minor detail.

In social news, I've got four (4) very promising events on the calendar for the next two weeks. Tomorrow is the Frida Kahlo Walker After Hours, at which Emily and I will get lost in the parking garage, spend approximately 10 minutes craning our necks to actually see the paintings from the back of the crowd, and take the remainder of the evening to get our money's worth in Wolfgang Puck catering. These events have been the highlight of my membership at the Walker; I'll be forced to renew for the discounted tickets alone. Oh, and art appreciation... blar blar blar... "I find the work interesting, but derivative."

Saturday, I'll be attending a Halloween party at which I'll know one person (Emily again). Meeting new people on Halloween is actually pretty efficient; you can instantly gauge someone's intelligence, creativity, or knowledge of current events based on their costume, rather than wasting time in conversation before you realize you've just been introduced to a Neanderthal. Take the party I went to last year: Girl in the Playboy bunny costume- don't want to meet her. Guy dressed as Steve Irwin with stingray attached- now that's someone I'd like to get to know. For the record, I'll be going as a Robert Palmer band member. I struggled with this decision, as I have an intense hatred of Halloween Hoochies. I decided, though, that the costume is not overly hoochie-esque (I'm allowing some extra length in the skirt), and redeems itself anyway because anything related to the 80s is kosher in my book.

Next Friday, another Halloween party at which I'll know next to no one (same costume), and yet another one on Saturday. (Different costume, as apparently someone in this circle has already done the Robert Palmer thing. I'll be recycling Rosie the Riveter from '05 and '06. It's the antidote to hoochie-ism.)

AND, I just realized that the weekend after that is my boss's wedding, and after that it's practically Thanksgiving, then my mom's birthday, and then obviously it's Festivus, and I'ma be broke broke broke and busy busy busy for the next three to six months.

I'm tired. Maybe I should skip one of these parties.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Stasiu's = Twilight Zone?

I had never been to Stasiu's before last week, but my friend Nikki is prone to frequenting bars in spurts, so now, having been there twice, I am prepared to state that strange fripping encounters take place at Stasiu's. A list:

1. "My friend Mike's band is playing," Nikki said when she invited me the first time. I'd been there for about two minutes before I spotted the Spyhouse barista who'd been totally unapologetic about the lack of decaf the night before. "Hey," I said, "that's the Spyhouse guy who gave me attitude yesterday."

"Oh, that's Mike," she told me. Mike turns out to be very pleasant.

"I think I bought a cup of coffee from you yesterday," I told him when Nikki introduced us.

"Oh," he said. "Was I a jerk? Sorry."

2. "I'm from a small town in South Dakota," a new acquaintance shouted in my ear over the music. "Aberdeen." Trust me when I say the fact that I never knew him before is truly strange. Apparently he played football in the Heupel era. Not that anyone is still holding onto that.

3. I'm fairly certain I spotted a guy I had an awkward blind date with a year ago. I remember him saying that he hung out there. Guess he still does. This significantly limits the chances of my returning frequently, despite:

4. A GO-GO. I kid you not, Jane Wiedlin was there on Saturday night. I guess her band played (not the Go-Gos, duh), but I was stupidly in the other part of the bar, discussing Central football and ducking out of the view of Blind Date, so I was not even aware she was there until after she'd played. She hung out afterward though, canoodling with some much younger fellow. Girl's still got it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Todd Knows All

Office conversation upon delivery of pink pink pink "Barbie Dream Bouquet" to coworker:

Dustin: Todd, did you know it wasn't okay to send girls carnations?
Todd: I don't even think it's okay to accept carnations if they're handed to you for free.

Monday, October 15, 2007

An Open Letter to Minneapolis Coffee Shops

Dear Coffee Shops,
Economic factors notwithstanding, running a coffee shop is not that complicated. Don't try to deny it. You've got your goods, you've got your customers, you sell the goods to the customers. The goods are not that varied. Coffee beans. Syrups. Dairy products. Etc. Yes? So what I have a hard time understanding is how the coffee shops that I frequent are so often OUT of the basic goods. Examples: Decaf. Cream. These are mind-numbingly basic necessities for any reputable coffee establishment, and yet I always manage to ask for them on the day that they're gone. Then I have the pleasure of being blandly informed by the hipper-than-thou barista that what I've asked for is unavailable. Then he or she wonders why I don't tip. It vexes me. The end.


So on to the real business of the evening. I'm at the Spyhouse, where I've come for no better reason than to leave my apartment, and to justify the fact that I took my laptop home from work today. For non-locals, the Spyhouse is our local tres-vintage coffee spot, always popping up on Best-Of lists and the Missed Connections. City Pages just cut to the chase this year and named it something to the effect of "Best Place for Men to Stare at Women Whom They Will Never Actually Approach." I didn't come here to be stared at, but it never hurts to be reminded, when in a down cycle, that one is not a troglodyte.

Do I need to do introductory stuff? Maybe that would be helpful, if I'm to eventually realize my dream of INTERNET STARDOM. (This will be difficult, assuming that I forgo posting of naked pictures. Nonetheless, I sally onward.) Okay, introductory stuff. If you already know me, you can take a long recess while the rest of the kids get up to speed.

Name: Kate
Age: 25
Marital Status: Deep, all-consuming aversion
Children: None, in light of the above, though my father seems to think this shouldn't hold me back.
Occupation: Disclosure here would violate Founding Rule #1.
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Various Other Locations: Aberdeen, SD (1986-2000); Boston, MA (2000-2004); Washington, D.C. (Summer 2005)
Notable Sidekicks: Emily, Katie and Brooke (coworkers); Brendan (long-distance bestie and confidant, Impossible Love of Life); Braden (not to be confused with Brendan, but also a long-distance chum, good at tough love); Jon (brother, currently turning over new leaf in tech school, all sunshine and puppies these days); Patrick (fellow book-club member, ex-fellow, current friend); others to be introduced as they pop in
Interests: Coffee, reading, journalism, half-hearted vegetarianism, environmentalism, writing
Currently: In need of restroom. Also, have hankering to work on Sunday crossword.
Result: Am quitting this entry.

Deirdre! You should be an actress!

To kick things off on a totally egotistical note, friends and family keep telling me I should blog. Now, I've done the blog thing before, and, when I wasn't getting threatened with a libel suit by my college professor (he couldn't handle the truth), found it a quite enjoyable outlet. And since I am definitely in need of an enjoyable outlet these days, I think I'll give it a whirl. However, my postings in the previous blog were typically limited to obsessive rehashing of my awkward dates, and obsessive worrying that I would never get a real job. In order to avoid repeating history (libel threat included), I need to establish some ground rules for myself. Friends and family, please hold me to these:

The Rules of the Blog
1. I will not discuss work. Much. The reasons for this are two-fold: 1) While getting fired might prove a liberating adventure in the end, it's not a life goal at this point, and 2) I already discuss work too much. In fact, if we talk in person, feel free to tell me to shut my yap when I start yammering about work. (Funny how things have changed since the days when all I wanted was any old job in the glamorous field of marketing.)

2. I will not write things about people that I would not tell them directly. This will prevent all manner of mean-spirited and neurotic postings. The aforementioned date-rehashing falls into this category as well, because I would not say to a date, "And then! When you opened my car door and your hand brushed my back! I got shivers!" Caveat: Celebrities do not count as people and I will write anything about them that I please. Let's start now: Mel Gibson is responsible for all the wars in this world. Oh, snap.

3. I will not write things that are profane or vulgar, despite how much I enjoy both qualities. This blog will be Grandma-friendly, Mom-friendly, and workplace-friendly. I don't promise that it will be interesting.

End of lunch hour. The rules may be added to as I deem necessary, but not today. It's back-to-work time. And that's all I'm going to say about it.