Wednesday, February 29, 2012

the chef idea was a little premature

 Less than 24 hours ago I published this post detailing my recent culinary successes

And then tonight I came home from work and started to cook some spaghetti and sauce for dinner.  At the last minute I decided that a lightly toasted roll and butter would go perfectly with the spaghetti, so I grabbed a roll and slid it in the toaster.  


And then this happened. 

 
So I think I'll stick with the paralegal thing.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

perhaps a career as a chef isn't out of the realm of possibility

 Last week was filled with culinary achievements. Given my history in the kitchen, this is notable and worth documenting.
 On Wednesday I made cupcakes for a co-worker's birthday.  The only problem that arose with that was when I stopped at the grocery store for some icing and discovered that my friend Betty Crocker makes both white AND vanilla icing.  All these years I thought white icing and vanilla icing were one and the same, but old Betty shattered that lifelong belief with just one glance down aisle 7. 

I ended up choosing the vanilla, and I had grand plans to empty the dishwasher and organize the fridge while I waited for the cupcakes to bake.  In reality, what ended up happening was that I stood in front of the sink for ten minutes, turning our garbage disposal off and and trying to determine if the loud, unpleasant grinding noise it was making meant that some sort of serious mechanical diagnosis was imminent.

 After living on my own for a few months, I have discovered something about myself.  

I am a big time maintenance hypochondriac.  

Sure, we've had some legitimate maintenance issues, including but not limited to NO HEAT IN JANUARY.  However, let's just say that Michelle and I have the maintenance number on speed dial.  And we have requested EMERGENCY MAINTENANCE not once, not twice, but THREE times. 

I am surprised that our numbers have not yet been blocked at the maintenance office.  It's really only a matter of time.

After thoughtful consideration I decided that the noise coming from the garbage disposal did not warrant a call to our maintenance friends Sid and Bruce because listen, I do not want to push our luck with them.  

And after all, it was probably just the fork that got stuck in there making all that noise.

JUST KIDDING about the fork.

It was totally a spoon.

After my disposal decision I reached into the cabinet to grab some potholders for the cupcake trays, and I came across this little gem.
  Originally I thought it was a bird's beak, but upon further inspection I realized that it is actually some sort of crustacean claw.  I don't know why I never saw it in the cabinet before, but it sure makes removing hot dishes from the oven a lot more fun.  It also makes it a lot trickier, as there is really only room for one, MAYBE two fingers in the top pincer.  Luckily I was able to successfully extract the cupcakes from the oven wearing the lobster claw.  

It wasn't easy, but I did it.

And finally, on Sunday I had my family over for dinner for my dad's birthday.  I will admit that I was a little bit nervous, but it went well!
 
 JUST LOOK AT HOW HAPPY THEY ARE!

Really, we had a lovely time and, as I told my mom, we didn't have to call for a pizza!  I call that a success!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

it was officially the first time i had a real weapon in my car

Well, I spent the better part of my day today at the police station.

I went out partying last night and got a little carried away.

JUST KIDDING.  

I was actually there for work, and as I was driving back to the office I started to think about how I spent the first seven or eight years of my life being reduced to tears whenever I saw a man in any sort of official uniform.  The real kicker was the fact that my family lived mere miles from a large naval base, which meant that there were uniformed men, and therefore tears from yours truly, everywhere we went.  

The bank.  

The library.  

The movies.  

And I can still picture, CLEAR AS DAY, men in military uniforms standing at the deli counter in the grocery store.  

I was a JOY for my parents to take out in public!

I don't know why I had such fear of men in uniform when I was little, but rest assured that I have made a complete and total recovery and now I have to resist saying OH YOU LOOK SO HANDSOME IN YOUR UNIFORM.  PLEASE, TELL ME ABOUT ALL OF YOUR BADGES!

My phone rang at work last week and one of my detective friends was on the other line, calling abut a hearing that he had been subpoenaed to.   Imagine my surprise when I heard him say, "I'm calling about the hearing on Thursday.  Could I...uhhh...ride with you?"

HOLD. THE. PHONE.

And hold the phone is just what I did.  In fact, I said, "Well Detective, let me just think a little bit about that and get back to you," and then I hung that phone right up.

SMOOTH MOVE, LAURA.

I did have several reservations about using my car and driving skillz to transport an officer of the law. 

Specifically, what would I say when he got in my car?  HOP IN DETECTIVE, AND BUCKLE UP!

I was also worried about my occasional lead foot.  Would the detective judge me and my speed?  Worse yet, could he issue me a ticket if I displayed disregard for that pesky speed limit?

Another concern I had revolved around my friend Flo at Progressive Insurance.  I am participating in the Snapshot Discount program, which means that I have a small device plugged into my car that beeps when I make a mistake.  Or, more specifically, when I engage in "harsh braking."  During my first thirty days of monitoring I earned a 27% discount (HOLLA), but the device does still beep once in a while because while I'm almost perfect, I'm not quite there yet.  And it is not a dainty, delicate beep beep beep.  Oh no.  It's more of an obnoxious BEEP. BEEP.  BEEEEEEEP.

And finally, what kind of music do detectives listen to?  I doubt he would appreciate a soundtrack of my friends Flo Rida and Pitbull, whose songs place a heavy focus on those same illegal activities that the detective spends his life trying to eliminate.

After some soul searching and co-worker consulting, I called the detective back and told him to meet me at the office Thursday morning and we would journey together. 

And so he did.  The hearing was in downtown Philadelphia, a place I had never driven before I started this job in September.  And if you had told me when I signed that offer letter that in just a few short months I would be driving into Philadelphia ALONE with a detective and his weaponry in the passenger seat I would have said YOU CRAZY.


But alas, that's what happened.  And I am proud to report that I got us there and back with no major crises.  We listened to a neutral radio station.  I didn't speed and and my Progressive monitor didn't beep AT ALL.  I really concentrated on braking very gently because seriously, how embarrassing would a violation beep have been?! 

And the best news of all is that I didn't even shed one tear.

I'm really growing up.


Monday, February 20, 2012

and a happy presidents day to all

I haven't written on this little blog very much lately, and I miss it.

I think the problem is that I've been doing a WHOLE LOT of thinking at work lately (imagine!), and when I get home I just want to let my brain relax for an hour or seven.  And that relaxation usually comes in the form of reading a book or hanging out with Matt or watching reality tv with Michelle or going to Target and walking up and down every single aisle JUST BECAUSE I CAN.

And also, you never know when you may come across an item that you didn't even know existed before you arrived at Target, but once you see it there you purchase it because suddenly YOU CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT IT.

That that rationale is responsible for making me the proud owner of an ice cube tray that makes ice specifically for water bottles and 20 individual servings of cilantro.  


I don't use cilantro EVER, so why I decided that I need TWENTY individual servings is really beyond me.  All I can say is that I lose the ability to distinguish need from want the second I walk through the doors of Target. 

Anyway, after I spend several hours relaxing, I get in bed at 11:00 and suddenly my brain is raring to go and I am thinking in story lines and paragraph organization and word choice and half of me wants to go to sleep and the other half of me wants to get out of bed and write something.

I'll be honest, the half that wants to go to sleep usually wins out because I am a girl who needs her 8 hours every night.  But sometimes I think that is the wrong decision.  As you can see, it is QUITE THE DILEMMA.

And now for something completely unrelated. 

I was using the oven yesterday, and as soon as I turned it on to preheat, I dragged a kitchen chair down the hall to disconnect the smoke detectors in a preemptive effort to save our eardrums from the inevitable beeping.


I decided to just leave the chair in my bedroom until I was finished using the oven and could put the smoke detectors back on.

While I sat on the couch and waited for my dinner to finish cooking, Michelle came into the kitchen.  She stood in front of our kitchen table and three chairs and exclaimed:

 'WE'VE BEEN ROBBED!"
And then we laughed for ten minutes because WE ARE EACH OTHER'S BIGGEST FANS.

And also, what kind of robber would steal ONE KITCHEN CHAIR?

Happy Monday!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

i promise i don't know anyone named donna

When I text Matt a word that ends in "er," I replace the "er" with an "a" in what I can only describe as an effort to sound more gangster.

Or gangsta, if you will.

Well, apparently my new iPhone has not yet become accustomed to my quirky habit of letter replacement.

 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

i hear the prius is nice

On Tuesday afternoon I get a text from Matt asking how things were going.  "Good," I told him.  "I left work a little while ago and now I'm trying to get gas."

He responded with one word.   

"Trying?" 

I informed him that I had been to THREE gas stations and still didn't have any gas in my car and was getting A WEE BIT FRUSTRATED.  And then, coincidentally and/or intentionally, he did not ask any follow up questions.  I think he saw a can of worms there and did not want to open it.

(Perhaps he didn't want to throw FUEL on a fire!)

((Oh, I am so witty.))

Well, the can is about to be opened.

When I was learning to drive, I remember my dad telling me that I should get my gas at Sunoco.  I can't say this with complete certainty, but I believe his loyalty to Sunoco has something to do with the fact that Sunoco doesn't drill for oil in the Middle East.  I think the oil comes from a place called the Pacific Rim.  I should probably google that to be sure, but googling is a slippery slope with me because one minute I'm researching oil drilling and the next I'm on People.com checking for any updates in the life of Beyonce or seeing if perhaps Kate Middleton wore a new dress this week.

Also, my parents may/may not own stock in Sunoco.  I can't remember, but I always feel good when I support companies that they own stock in.  They also happen to own stock in McDonald's, which is especially beneficial when my car gets a mind of it's own and JUST DRIVE ITSELF TO MCDONALD'S and before I know it I'm sitting in the drive-thru waiting for a medium iced-caramel coffee with two creams, one sugar, and some whipped cream thankyouverymuch.  

And that teeny tiny feeling of McDonald's guilt that occasionally shows up is soon negated by the realization that not only am I enjoying a delicious treat, but also assisting my parents on their way to a luxurious retirement!

THAT'S WHAT I CALL A WIN-WIN!

  Anyway, ever since my dad told me that Sunoco is his gas station recommendation, that is the only gas station I've ever used.  Because I am a rule-follower.  And I knew when I moved that I would have to find a Sunoco near my apartment to become my new "home station."  Turns out that there is a Sunoco conveniently located about a mile from my office and not far from my apartment. It even has flat screen TVs at each pump, which is a bonus because there's nothing like getting the day's news while standing at the gas pump.
 
The other afternoon when I was leaving work, my gas light came on.  I had an important errand to run, specifically I needed to swing by Target for some grown-up necessities like milk and medicine.

Okay, I really just needed nail polish.  And so I navigated Old Blue to Target so I could buy some nail polish.  Gas light blazing and priorities clearly in check. 

I knew I was risking getting stranded on the side of the road with no gas, but at least I would have been able to paint my nails a lovely shade of Fancy Delancy while I waited to be rescued.

Luckily my car started when I came out of Target, and I drove down a busy street that I knew had a bunch of stations.  I found a Getty and an Exxon right next to each other.  The price at the Exxon was about twenty cents lower, so I decided to go there because HELLO, I AM SO FISCALLY RESPONSIBLE. 

I pulled into Exxon and all of the pumps were open, which was surprising since the Exxon is on a busy road, and it was rush hour.  But still, SCORE.  I pulled up to a pump, got my wallet out, and turned the car off.  I walked over to the pump and as I went to slide my debit card, I noticed a sign on the screen informing me that the pumps were out of service.  

Upon further examination of the station, it became evident that the gas station was indeed completely abandoned.  

Nice.

No wonder the price was so low.  IT WAS FROM 2009. 

I'm sure passersby got A KICK out of the girl trying to get gas at the abandoned gas station.   

I turned my car on and drove next door into the Getty parking lot, where I quickly realized that it was a full serve station with attendants at every pump.  I am not a fan of those stations.  I like to pump my own gas because it seems I have some sort of control issues when it comes to my car.

And it was goodbye, Getty.

My last resort was another Exxon a few stoplights away.  While this one was actually in operation, every single pump was occupied and I just left out of pure frustration.  BOTH MY CAR AND MY JOY WERE ON EMPTY.

I decided that I would just get up a little bit early the next morning and stop at my trusty Sunoco station on the way to work, where I could get both gas and the morning news all at once! 

When I walked into the apartment, Michelle asked how I was, and so I told her.  

"I just tried to get gas at THREE GAS STATIONS, and couldn't get gas at ANY of them!!"

And that's when Michelle said "Oh, did you go to that Luk Oil on the corner?!  I ALWAYS have trouble at that one!" 

And that is why Michelle and I are friends. 

And also why I am looking into electric cars.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

let's just say things didn't exactly go as planned

On Saturday evening Matt and I boarded the train, destined for the annual Philadelphia auto show.  There are two big train stations in the city, Market East and Suburban.  As we were riding along, I asked Matt where we would be getting off.  "Suburban Station," he said.  "The car show is at the convention center, which is right above the station."

I would like to state for the record that it was at that moment that I heard a tiny voice inside my head say that the convention center is actually above Market East.  However, since the part of my brain that tends to make sweeping navigational decisions is usually wrong, I ignored it.  

The train arrived at Market East station and things suddenly became SUPER BUSY.  Ninety percent of our fellow passengers exited the train, and a whole new slew boarded.  Matt and I watched the remarkable exchange of passengers and marveled at WHERE ALL OF THESE PEOPLE COULD POSSIBLY BE GOING.

Once everyone had a seat, the train started chugging again and a few minutes later we arrived at Suburban.  Matt and I got off the train and walked upstairs so we could find the right entrance to the convention center.

After a few moments Matt started walked a little bit slower and semi-aimlessly.  Finally he said, "I'm looking for signs for the convention center.  Do you see any?"

"I.......actually think the convention center is above Market East Station," I told him.

I wasn't sure what kind of reaction he would have to this major navigational error, but he laughed and shook his head and said "OH MY GOSH YOU'RE RIGHT! WHAT WAS I THINKING?"

And also, NO WONDER ALL OF THOSE PEOPLE GOT OFF AT MARKET EAST.

Matt works in the city.  He gets off at Market East Station, and sees signs for the convention center, EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  I'm just going to say we chalk this one up to the fact that he was so focused on my beauty that he wasn't giving navigation his full attention. 

(AND WHO COULD BLAME HIM?)

((I WAS WEARING NEW LIP GLOSS.))

Anywho after it was determined that we were in fact at the wrong train station, we walked around for approximately four more minutes while we looked for the staircase that would lead us up to the correct street.  

In those four minutes we saw an older fellow running through the station violently screaming profanities at the top of his lungs, a man who had not one stitch of clothing below his belly button use a recycling container as a public restroom, and some questionable characters participate in what I am fairly certain was a drug deal.  

WELCOME TO PHILADELPHIA.

After the probable drug dealing incident I squeezed Matt's hand as hard as I could and whisper-yelled through tightly clenched teeth, "I don't care what street we end up on, just find the nearest staircase and Get.  Me.  OUT OF HEREEE."

Once we were safe outside, we decided to walk to the convention center.  It's really not too far of a walk, and we figured that we could find someplace to eat along the way.  Somehow we ended up at the convention center SEVERAL BLOCKS AWAY and had not found a dinner spot.  My hunger level was approximately a 4 and my cheerfulness level was approximately a -300.  

I will be honest with you, the next hour or so is a bit of a blur, but before I knew it we were back on the train to Suburban Station because word on the street was that there was an Applebee's near the station where we could eat, and far be it from me to turn down a trip to Applebee's.

Applebee's had a TWO AND A HALF HOUR WAIT.

We tried the Irish pub next door.

An hour.

The Italian restaurant down the block.  Forty minutes.  I informed the hostess that I COULD NOT WAIT FORTY MINUTES.  CAN'T YOU SEE THAT I AM A WEARY TRAVELER?

And so we walked across the street to Cozi to get some sandwiches and FOR GOODNESS SAKE SOME WATER.

We ordered at the counter, found a table, and waited for them to call out our dinners.

Suddenly my tuscan chicken pesto sandwich became like a mirage in the dessert.

Matt went over to inquire as to the state of our sandwiches because HE HAD ONE GRUMPY GIRLFRIEND ON HIS HANDS.  LOOK AT THAT TABLE OVER THERE, SHE IS THE ONE WITH STEAM COMING OUT OF HER EARS.

EVEN MY 3-D GLITZY LIPGLOSS HAD WORN OFF.

Matt returned to the table and I couldn't quite decipher the look on his face, but it was somewhere between extreme frustration and a resigned smile. 

"Well," he said, "They have to make more bread."

And it was at that moment that my head exploded into a million tiny pieces.

I will admit that I was not operating at full capacity by that point.  I was hungry and thirsty and my feet hurt and I JUST WANTED TO BE GRUMPY.

And then Matt said, "Look on the bright side, Laura!  We will have extremely fresh bread!!"

Clearly we deal with hunger and exhaustion in similar fashions.

I'm happy to report that our sandwiches FINALLY, AND I DO MEAN FINALLY arrived.  I devoured my tuscan chicken pesto and chips, and my mood improved and I was ready to salvage the evening.

We walked back to Suburban AND GOT ON THE TRAIN AGAIN and made it to the car show.

It was all worth it, because we ended up having a lot of fun together AND I scored some snazzy new wheels...

I don't recognize that man standing beside my new ride, but I can only imagine that he is just jealous of the fact that my car says BOSS in large silver letters.

After the car show we got back on the train and rode home.  We said goodbye to the train conductors, who at that point felt like old friends, ONE LAST TIME.

And then we decided that next year we should drive to the car show.

After all, you can never go wrong driving somewhere in a yellow 'Stang with the word BOSS painted on the side.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

i can't believe she didn't give me a little more credit


Last night I texted Emily for some sisterly/medical advice.
 

 And then I learned that Emily is a girl who doesn't shy away from asking the obvious questions.

Exhibit A.

I am happy to report that my thumb and I will be just fine.

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