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.