Monday, December 24, 2007

I Must've Been a Very Good Girl

I just swung by the Barnes & Noble where I work to do my last-minute shopping, and when I got there a few of my coworkers mentioned that my Secret Santa gift was in the break room, and that it was a huge bag of stuff. So I went back and opened it, and I don't know yet who my Santa was, but it's someone who gets me. The giant bag contained a little party: Asian-inspired trail mix, cheddar and scallion sourdough twists, dip bowls, plastic cups, beverage napkins, and a mixed six pack of good beer. (For those of you who are interested in these things, it contains Hacker-Pscorr Weisse, Golden Leaf Wheat, Peroni, Sierra Nevada Wheat, Singha Lager, and Sapporo. Ha! All lagers and wheat beers, which Eric doesn't like and won't steal.)

I hope my Secret Santa's intent wasn't that I'd share...because I just don't think that's going to happen. You know, because I'm full of the spirit of holiday giving.

We leave for Eric's parents' house tonight...hope all of you have a wonderful holiday!

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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Birthday Self-Indulgence

Today's my birthday. And I'm milking it. Last night, Eric and I initiated the festivities by going out for a semi-romantic dinner (We're really a very grounded couple, and don't spend much time gazing into each other's eyes. I'm pretty sure eye-gazing is a requirement of a fully romantic dinner.) at the Loring Pasta Bar, where they make incredible food and lay the atmosphere on as thick as possible, and where there was a live jazz quartet. This morning I was up before nine, and I've spent the hours since doing yoga and drinking almond-infused black tea and finishing The Golden Compass in my pajamas. Next up is a long hot shower, and baking myself a birthday cake from scratch (which I haven't done before, but seems easy enough), and playing The Sims ad nauseum, and eating leftover chicken marsala, and listening to the Tori Amos CD my mom gave me for my birthday. Later tonight, I'm going to Natasha's solstice party, where I will make people eat my homemade cake, whether it's any good or not.

Birthdays are awesome.

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Sunday, December 16, 2007

A Bad Case of the Crazies

Combine pre-holiday stress with a job change (tomorrow's my last day of teaching, and then we'll be relying much more on the online writing for income), a $98 ticket for expired vehicle registration (because I never received the tabs in the mail after ordering them online), a grandma in the hospital, a day of feeling vaguely sick and disgusting, plus the guilt of not getting through even half the work I had planned for that day, and you end up with a pretty scary Amber.

I'm feeling better now, thanks to burger-fries-root beer float-boyfriend therapy.


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Christmas Meme

I wasn't tagged; just felt like borrowing this from Laura.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper. Because I enjoy wrapping presents and because my cats usually try to eat gift bags.
2. Tree--Real or Artificial? When I was living with my parents I always said real was the only way to go, because the smell was so important to me. But for now, an artificial one is more space- and cost-effective.
3. When do you put the Christmas tree up? Never ever until at least December 1st.
4. When do you take the tree down? Right after New Year's. And then Eric does a little jig of happiness.
5. Like egg nog? Oh yes. So much. But it's a problem for my cholesterol.
6. Do you have a nativity scene? Nope. In our house, Santa Claus is the reason for the season.
7. Favorite gift received as a child? I got lots of good, memorable gifts. And honestly this question makes me nervous, like I'm forgetting a gift that was incredibly important to me. But I'm going to take a stab at it and say the bright red Barbie Ferrari.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My grandma on my dad's side.
9. Easiest person to buy for? My mom and my friend Nils are equally easy. With both of them, it's more about limiting what we buy than trying to find something.
10.Worst Christmas present? Couldn't tell ya.
11. Mail or email a Christmas Card? Usually neither. I've mailed cards in the past, but it's been quite a few years.
12. Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Carol (any version, really; I just bought an NPR version on CD to listen to this year) and A Christmas Story.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Early December, during Employee Appreciation Days at Barnes & Noble, when I get an extra discount on books.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I don't think so.
15. Favorite food to eat on Christmas? Lutefisk and lefse. But I only get it on Christmas Eve if I'm with my dad's family.
16. Clear or colored tree lights? Colored.
17. Favorite Christmas Songs? "Silver Bells," "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer," and, strangely enough for an atheist, "O Holy Night." Because the melody is haunting.
18. Travel during Christmas or Stay home? Travel. But I'm not a big fan of it. When we have kids I think I'm going to be torn between seeing family and having a relaxing Christmas at home.
19. Can you name Santa's reindeer? I just tried it, and apparently yes.
20. Angel or Star on Tree top? A nice, big, secular velvet bow.
21. Open presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas morning. But because my birthday is December 22nd, I usually get to open my birthday presents from whoever we're visiting on Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

How the Sprint Guy Stole Christmas

Late this morning, Eric left on a solo shopping trip to get my Christmas present while I stayed at home and did some work for my class. An hour or so after he left, I started to get hungry and made a mental inventory of what we had in the house for lunch. And came up with nothing. So I tried to call Eric to ask him to pick up some lunch on his way home. But after a single ring, a pleasant voice interrupted to tell me that my account could not be validated. I was instantly pissed. I pulled up the checking account online. The bill was paid, just a few days ago. I dialed *2 to talk with customer service and was told that because the account is in Eric's name they couldn't give me any information without his password or the last four digits of his social security number. Which he wasn't around to give me.

After speaking rudely to the woman on the phone, I fumed for a few minutes and then realized that I probably knew where Eric's social security card was. So I found it and called Sprint back. And the woman I got this time (a different one, thankfully) asked me to check the device number under the battery of my phone, which I couldn't since I was on the phone. "Did you get a new handset?" she asked. "No, I've had the same phone since we opened the account." "You didn't go to a Sprint store recently? Because the account is showing a device number swap for that line." "No, not at all. That doesn't make any sense.... Oh wait."



"What is it?" she asked.

So I told her about how my boyfriend had gone to get my Christmas present today, and, well, I was pretty sure I'd just figured out what it was. She asked what kind of phone I had, and I said, "I don't know, a dinosaur phone. It's a Sanyo." She confirmed that I had indeed just figured out my Christmas present and apologized for ruining the surprise and advised me to act surprised when he gave it to me. Which was impossible because I knew he wasn't planning to give it to me until Christmas, and I wasn't about to go two weeks without a phone.

When he got home a few minutes later, I told Eric the story and he was bummed because he had confirmed and reconfirmed with the guy at the store that we could set up the new phone later, after Christmas. And we could. But the guy forgot that for us to get the upgrade discount I was due for, my line would have to be associated with the new phone. And my old phone would be automatically disassociated from that line.

So the surprise was ruined. But the important thing, in case you haven't heard, is that I have a new phone. I can call people on it. And it takes pictures. And it fights AIDS in Africa. (No, really.) And it's pretty. See?

Saturday, December 08, 2007

26, almost 27. Why do you ask?

I swear the frost did this on its own. That makes nature the immature one.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Minnesota After All

An hour ago I spent a little while outside in around-zero temperatures in a skirt, and even now that I'm home, wearing flannel pajama pants and a thermal-lined sweatshirt, I cannot get warm. I just spent the better part of five minutes draped across the radiator in the kitchen, and I'm terrified to clean the litter box because it means I'll have to go back out there. Out there, in the screaming vortex of cold.

On the bright side, it'll only be like this for another three or four months.