A day in the big city (don’t laugh)

I don’t know if you know this, but Portland is cool, and we need to spend more time there.  We had the whole day to play, but it was cold and raining ice pellets, so walking around wasn’t really an option.  I mean, we still stayed all day (we got home just a few minutes ago, a little after 10), but we drove from place to place and dashed from store to store.  We had brunch at Gravy, which was SO GOOD, and then we went to this synthesizer store so John could play with all the toys, and then we went to a used music store so John could try out other toys, and then we went BACK to the synth store so John could buy the toys he was playing with earlier, then a quick stop at a comic book shop, the Doc Martens store (the original one!) where John found shoes that actually fit (!), Athleta for me (where I tried on everything in the store, of course), and POWELL’S.

And then we came home.  I could sleep for days.

All for me!

It’s a beautiful day and the presents I bought for myself arrived!  Both packages were delayed because of the weather, but they came today and the sun is shining!

First, as you can see, is a little TARDIS backpack.  Bigger on the inside, naturally, big enough to hold my laptop (which is in there in that picture). I love my Bag of Holding, but it’s a little bulky if all I want to do is take my laptop and a book to Allan Bros.

Makes a good carry-on.

Then my Athleta stuff came!  Athleta is in the middle of their end/beginning of the year sale, which is pretty much the best time to shop with them.  I got a lightweight long-sleeve top, my favorite pants in gray, and new running tights, which I will wear when I got to the gym this afternoon because they came today!

Sorry about all the !!! but I’m very excited about my purchases.  Plus it’s Friday and the work day is over and the work week is over and I don’t have to get up before the sun for two whole days.

The only bad thing about today is that my riding lesson was cancelled.  The snow on Wednesday plus lack of melting yesterday plus below freezing temps for three days equals too much work on a horse farm to make time for teaching lessons (which I totally get).  Somehow I’ll make it to next Wednesday.

Offputting

We went into every gift shop in each of the three Disney parks we visited.  That’s not an exaggeration – we went into every single one.  For the most part, they carry the same stuff.  Ride gift shops had some ride-specific toys and shirts, and the other shops had some park-specific stuff, but mostly they were the same.  The World Showcase shops in Epcot had the most variation, and it was there I saw the most disturbing thing.

We were in fake Mexico, in the fake market inside.  I leaned forward to look at an anklet, and then threw myself backwards when I got a closer look at the mannequin ankle it was displayed on.  (I may have overreacted a bit, but it took me by surprise.)

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It’s unnerving, right?  Is it a heeled shoe with toes?  A bare foot with a built-in heel?  Makes me shudder just thinking about it.  Someone miscalculated with this one.

I won’t be breaking any records soon

This weekend flew by.  We went to Oak Ridge for a gig yesterday (pretty drive, but it was hot as hell out there), and then I dragged Christina shopping with me today.  I’ve had more successful shopping trips.  Christina was really good about putting up with me in store after store, thank goodness.  I owe her for that.

We’re traveling for a wedding soon, and I’m starting to feel stress about taking off work.  Combine that with making sure I have everything I’ll need for nearly two weeks away from home, and I’m not exactly relaxed.

The running events have started, though, and that helps.  I spent a couple hours this afternoon watching the coverage online (because NBC on TV SUCKS).  Saw some great races.  I should go running, even if it’s just the pseudo-running I can do right now.

Bad timing

I got a cute sundress at Target yesterday, but I want more than one cute sundress.  More than one more cute sundress.  My one chore for the day was to bike over to Trader Joe’s to pick up dinner while John was rehearsing at Will’s house, so I figured I’d do it after I finished my long bike ride for the day.  It made sense at the time, but I didn’t think ahead to how much I don’t want to still be on a bike after that many miles.  Still, Trader Joe’s is only a mile from the house, and what’s two more miles at that point?

Yeah.

Trader Joe’s shares a parking lot with Old Navy, so I figured since I was there anyway and not in any particular hurry, I’d check out their sundresses.  They have the added benefit of being super-cheap.  It wasn’t until I took my helmet off and noticed how gross and sweaty my hair was that I thought about how gross and sweaty my whole body was.  So….maybe shopping for and trying on clothes wasn’t the best idea.  I cruised through anyway, just looking.  I’ll have to go back.

Then I was disappointed by Trader Joe’s (they don’t have fresh, non-frozen salmon!).  I couldn’t face biking to yet another store, so I called John and he picked up KFC on his way home.  I can live with that.

Delayed

I desperately need new running shoes.  Mine have worn out to the point of discomfort, and after running in them this morning, I think I may have actually done some harm to my left foot.  It’s uncomfortable enough that I’m taking tomorrow (Sunday) off, and I’m putting off buying new shoes until it feels better.

I’m disappointed.  I was really looking forward to buying new shoes this afternoon, but with my foot feeling like this, I won’t be able to tell if the shoes are uncomfortable because they’re not for me or if they’re uncomfortable because my foot hurts.

Boo and blah.

Grumble grumble grumble.  I’m off to sulk.

The beginning of the year

You’re supposed to start the new year the way you plan to continue it, right?  (Or something like that?)  Well, I noticed Athleta’s semi-annual sale AND extra 20% off all sale items, so I started this year by ordering five ridiculously-low-priced items from my favorite store for a ridiculously low total.

We did NOT stop at the grocery store on our way back from Emily and Sean’s house (even though we could have AND we talked about it), so we will not be cooking tonight.  Let that say whatever it says about how we’re handling cooking this year.  Miracles may happen somewhere, but probably not in my kitchen.

John is studying for his pilot exam, and I’m going to read (because despite what I said in one of my recent posts, I am capable of enjoying the books on my bookshelf).

Happy new year!

Like sleeping on a cloud. We hope.

Our new mattress came today!  We tried out half the mattresses in the store yesterday afternoon, picked one, and it appeared in our apartment this morning!  Like magic.  For all I know, the delivery guys were special mattress gnomes whose sole purpose in life is to bring new soft mattresses to people who’ve been sleeping on the same cheap one for 15 years.  Maybe 15 years is what it takes to get delivery gnomes instead of muggles.  All I know is that I got in the shower around midmorning, and by the time I got out, our old mattress was gone and the new mattress was in its place.  I wonder if they bake bread or fix shoes.

This picture is more exciting to me than it is to you, I know.

This picture is more exciting to me than it is to you, I know.

Settling in

Our apartment is starting to look more like a living space instead of a storage space, thanks in part to Ikea.  After we donated our couch because it wouldn’t fit (and made our first trip to Ikea), we were left with functional chairs, but no comfortable chairs (aside from the papasan chair, but we can’t both fit in that at the same time).  We went back on Sunday and picked up a couple of chairs that will do, without breaking the bank.  (We found a couple that we REALLY liked, but balked at the price tag.  We’re supposed to be spending LESS.)  Also, if they’re not all that comfortable, perhaps we’ll break our habit of watching too much TV in the evenings.  I suppose we’ll see.  Having random moving-related errands to run after work has certainly helped keep us away from it (not having internet or cable until last Thursday helped, too), but I imagine it’ll be a bigger temptation in the winter, when it’s cold and dark again.  And I might not feel guilty about giving in then.

I hope we can take a break from making decisions soon, too.  I’m over it, to the point where I’m dithering about really stupid things.  I can still figure out what to wear in the mornings, but I wanted to pick up a couple of placemats for my desk, and I stood there staring at the selections for SO long.  It’s not like it was a big commitment; the silly things cost $2 each.  I could not decide.  I did eventually (I went with basic black – no risk to the room’s color palette (which doesn’t exist yet)), and there’s no buyer’s remorse (over the placemats OR the chairs), but I think I need a rest from decision-making.  And I’ll take one, right after we choose a new mattress.  That is not going to be easy.

New shoes! And then more new shoes!

I had a rougher time than usual buying new running shoes over the weekend.  My running shoes were shot -I’ve had them for over year…I’m actually not sure how much longer than a year I’ve had them.  Way too long, certainly, and I could feel it when I ran.  I went to my local running store last Friday evening, tried on 5 or 6 pairs of shoes over the course of 90 minutes (I had a very chatty sales guy), decided on a pair of New Balance shoes, and went home.

See my pretty purple shoes?

See my pretty purple shoes?

I took Saturday off from running, so I just admired my pretty pretty shoes, and then Sunday I took them for their inaugural run.  It was also their final run.  My feet hurt in ways they’ve never hurt before, in places they have never hurt before.  I ran a little over 4 miles, just to make sure I was fully warmed up and loose, and it didn’t get better, so I went back to the store Sunday afternoon.

The chatty sales guy was there and recognized me right away.  He brought out my two runner-up pairs, but he had other customers (who were there when I got there), so I didn’t get much help after that.  I didn’t really need any help, though, so it wasn’t a big deal.  I just tried on one pair, ran around the store, then the other, ran around the store, then the first, then the second, then one on each foot, etc., until I felt comfortable enough with my decision.  Of course, this time I was a little gun-shy – what if I chose badly again?  And I didn’t make it easier on myself – I didn’t choose the same model I had before.  I chose another pair of New Balance shoes, a brand I’ve never bought and the brand of the shoes that didn’t work for me just that day.  But they’re so pretty!

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I promise I didn’t pick them just because they’re pretty, and luckily, after two runs now (and a total of 11.5 miles), I can confirm that they’re good (and I am relieved).  Yay new shoes!  But I will be forever nervous when I buy new running shoes in the future.

Tempting

I saw an email from DSW about their GREAT BIG SALE (!) this morning. I get one of those emails at least once a week (from DSW – I get plenty of others from other places), and I’m not usually moved to shop. I guess the timing was perfectly right on this one. I know that I don’t need more shoes, but I really want more shoes! RESIST!

I can beat this. I don’t need shoes. But a cute pair of little white mesh sneakers, or a pair of sandals that’s nicer than flip-flops, but still casual enough for shorts (and comfortable), or a pair of slip-on sneakers good for walking…

This is why I need to unsubscribe from all store distribution lists.

Vive la résistance!

Missed it by one

We managed to do every single thing on our list for the weekend except one.  I still need a pedicure.  But I can probably get that done after work some night.  Clearly not tonight – I had to work late, and now that I’m home, I’m still waiting for someone to get back to me so I can do some more work.  Boo. But everything else, we did this weekend, including a trip to my favorite store.  I am the proud new owner of two new pairs of running capris and two new pairs of running shorts.  I will be happy to weed out some of my older workout clothes.  I love that place.  It wasn’t busy, so I had three sales people helping me.  I needed all three of them; I must have tried on half the clothes in the store.  Too bad I couldn’t buy them all.  Ooh, maybe that’s my new life goal.  Redo my wardrobe so it comes 100% from Athleta and Ann Taylor.  And then gets updated regularly.

I make an easy target

Apparently, all it takes is one day of nice weather for me to get hit with the shopping bug.  It’s still mild (for now), but I’ve started to feel twinges when I drive by DSW, and I’m getting itchy clicker fingers when I get emails about sales from stores.  I got an email about the Ann Taylor Factory Store sale at the outlet mall that’s only a few miles from me, and now I’m fighting the urge to take an afternoon off to shop.  It’s only the beginning of spring.  It’s going to get so much worse.

Breathe deep and remember: I don’t need more stuff.  I don’t need more stuff.  I don’t need more stuff.

Epiphany: If I get rid of things and replace them, it doesn’t count as more stuff!

Wish I hadn’t thought of that.

My couch is a nice place to be

Online shopping is the best.  It’s the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and John and I are nearly done with our Christmas shopping (it’s low-key this year, anyway).  We have yet to see the inside of a mall.  I’m sure we’ll go, but by then it’ll be more to enjoy the decorations and the music.  I like the mall during the holidays as long as I’m not one of the desperate shoppers.  Also, I’m on the couch, laptop on lap, wearing my pjs.  It’s 2pm.  🙂  This is okay with me.

Take deep breaths and count to ten

I’ve been really irritated with Amazon this week.  It’s probably (almost certainly) not their fault, but that doesn’t change how I’ve felt (and how I feel now – there’s no need to be rational).  I got my new phone last Saturday (which you already know).  The Sprint store didn’t have any accessories for it, so the first thing I did when I got home that night was go to Amazon and order a screen protector and a case (three, actually – I can’t decide until I see them in person).  Unfortunately, nothing I ordered was being fulfilled by Amazon directly – they were all coming from the sellers.  My order status was “Preparing for Shipment” starting Saturday night all the way until last night, when the stuff finally shipped.  That might have been okay, but the estimated delivery dates were Jan 31st to Feb 4th the entire time, and there was a message about the status that said the delivery dates wouldn’t be affected.  I’m going to have to call bullshit on that.  If you don’t ship until late Wednesday night, there’s no way the package is going to be delivered by Friday (short of using some sort of express shipment method, which I did not pay for and was not expecting).  So why not adjust the delivery dates?  That’s totally something Amazon controls.  Yes, I’ll probably still have it by the time I get back, but all week I’ve been hoping to have that stuff before we leave for the weekend and now my hopes are dashed.  Dashed!  Manage my expectations, Amazon!  It would have been so easy to set me up for mild disappointment that I wouldn’t have my stuff in time instead of irritation that you jerked me around.  I’m running around with a phone that doesn’t have a screen protector and has NO case whatsoever and now I have to travel with it that way.  Disappointment is acceptable.  Irritation is, well, irritating.  Too bad I don’t go to yoga anymore – maybe yoga would help me transform my irritation into acceptance.

The smartphone saga continues

It feels like it was just yesterday I was listing the problems with my HTC Evo 4G.  Now it’s time to start looking again – my Samsung Galaxy S2 has started acting up.  The battery was really low (close to dead) last night, so I plugged it in next to the bed and set my alarm.  This morning, my alarm didn’t go off.  I picked up my phone to check the time, but the screen wouldn’t come on.  I could see by the indicator light that the phone was still on, but my screen remained black.  I tried unplugging it, which usually triggers the screen.  No screen.  I took the back off and popped the battery out.  Battery back in, push the power button, and there’s my screen!  Of course, it’s going through the power-up process, but at least it’s there.  And it’s been there all day, off and on like it’s supposed to.  The black screen followed by battery thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago, too.  Maybe I just need a new battery, but you know what?  I’m due for an upgrade.  After reading CNET reviews all day, I’ve narrowed down my choices to three: the HTC One, the Samsung Galaxy S4, and the Google Nexus (that John just got).  My work phone is an S4, so I can play with two of the three before I ever set foot in a Sprint store.  If anyone has any advice, I’m all ears.

This is how we roll

John and I have found the best way to shop for Christmas presents.  With snow beginning (1-2 inches forecast) and sleet coming later in the day, we decided to brave the biggest mall in the metro area less than 3 weeks before Christmas.  It was great.  I’ve never seen Tysons so empty (maybe not a good sign for retailers, but wonderful for us).  No huge crowds of people, no crazed shoppers, no long lines – heavenly.  We got there as the mall opened (10am), parked right next to the Barnes & Noble entrance, got some Starbucks, and got it done.  I think the weather and the threat of bad roads kept a lot of people away (something that wouldn’t have been a factor closer to Christmas).  The roads certainly weren’t great on our way home, but with fewer people out and most of those driving slowly, we got home incident-free, shoveled the driveway, put the flannel sheets on the bed (it is seriously cold out there), and now we’re relaxing and lamenting having to go to work tomorrow (like usual).  And we’re done!  We have a couple of things to order, but the plan is to do that tonight, so we’ll really be done.

Want to shop like John and Zannah and actually enjoy a trip to mall with the decorations and the Christmas music?

  1. Go early in the shopping season.
  2. Go early in the day.
  3. Bring bad weather.  This is the hard part.  It can’t be too bad or you’ll get stuck.

You’re welcome.

He’s taking advantage of us

I am now the proud owner of a pair of jazz shoes and a pair of tap shoes because I have signed up for a contemporary jazz class and a tap class (both for beginners because, well, I’m a beginner).  I’m very excited.  The first class is a week from tomorrow.

While I was out shopping for these shoes, John spent the afternoon upstairs with Riley, who still isn’t allowed on the furniture.  The last time we allowed him to sleep on a piece of furniture on a regular basis (a wicker loveseat we kept on the sun porch in our last house almost TEN years ago), he ate it.  Chewed it all to bits ATE it.  So now, Riley isn’t allowed on the furniture, and he knows it.  We know he knows because he never tries to get on the couch or the bed when we’re at home (only when we’re away and he thinks he can get away with it).  Usually.  He’s getting bolder.  Today, with John just across the hall in the office, Riley got on the bed twice.  I guess his dog bed with an old cushy comforter on it isn’t soft enough anymore.  I’ll know he’s made the next logical leap when he tries to get on the bed while we’re still in it.

Boots and livestock

I found my boots!  And I’m never shopping again.  Seriously, I am all shopped out.  So back to yesterday’s trip to the Waterford Fair:

Pop quiz, Jess: What kind of chickens are these?

All I know is they were cute and fluffy and not at all phased by the crowds of people streaming by.  This sheep wasn’t particularly bothered by people or dogs, now that I think about it.  I guess the people of Waterford socialize their livestock.

Frosty the Puppy was terrified of the big bad sheep.  They eventually went nose to nose, but then the puppy ran away.

It was cute.  Because puppies.  Also cute?  Ducks getting into water for the first time ever.