Magical sleep powers

Does this happen to anyone else? I won’t be able to solve a problem or find the answer to something, I’ll go to sleep and bam – I’ll have a dream about it or wake up with the knowing answer.

This happened to me just recently over a weekend when I had to go in to the office to do some work. I was reconciling a credit card statement and didn’t have a receipt for one of the transactions. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what on earth it was and why I hadn’t saved the receipt or note of it along with everything else. I ravaged my emails and nary a note was to be found regarding this one receipt. My shoulders hunched in failure and I was dreading having to tell someone that I couldn’t explain the charge (though it seemed familiar and was bugging the hell out of me).

I finished up my work and went home, trying not to think about it. That night, I dreamt about the situation and the answer came to me while I slept: the same person to whom I owed an explanation about the charge had told me verbally a few weeks before that she was putting something on the card and there was no receipt for it. The reason I didn’t remember was because I had never done it in the first place! The relief that flooded through me was immense.

And then I was like, what the hell, brain, how come you couldn’t have figured that out twelve hours ago?

I find the power of the subconscious incredible. When it’s completely relaxed without the stressors of daily life, it becomes my own personal superhero.

I can’t tell you how often this happens to me, though. It could be that I misplace something valuable, that I’m anxiously waiting for something to happen (like a check clearing), and then for whatever reason, I will dream how I want it to get resolved and usually it comes to fruition. Am I psychic? I’m not a god and I didn’t even need twelve years of Catholic school to know that. (Please tell me a few of you get that reference.)

I will say that I only use my powers for good and that for whatever reason that this does happen to me, I like it a lot. It’s not as cool as an invisibility cape, but it’ll do.

Lastly, for your entertainment, I am linking to a particular scene in one of my all-time favorite films. Because you can never have enough Groundhog Day. Amen.

Soapbox

Bath and Body Works Soap

Photo courtesy of danabronsteter on Flickr

A couple of years ago, I made the decision that from then on out, I was going to be a “fancy” soap buyer. I was doing away with the dimestore soap. Does anybody even use the word dimestore anymore? I know nobody says “five and dime,” though I think that is just the cutest name ever for what we now call Dollar Tree. Not knocking on Dollar Tree – you can get some deal$ there.

I have tangential nostalgia issues.

Back to the soap. This morning, we ran out of hand soap in the bathroom. I know, right? Call the newspaper. That is, if you still have one in existence. Anyhow, it wasn’t just the end of the soap, it was the end of the water+soap mixture in the bottom of the bottle, as well. That’s srs bsns. If you don’t know what I just said, that’s internet speak for, “We’re not messing around.” It’s time to get thee more soap when the watery stuff is gone. I will like, freak out if I don’t have something proper cleansing my hands. (For me, bar soap is a last resort, though I will use it.)

Being the internet addicted diva that I am, I promptly sat down at my computer and browsed Bath & Body Works’ array of fine hand soaps for a few minutes and took advantage of their sale. (Do they ever not have a sale?) Five more bottles of hand soap are now on their way to me. Side note: they’re already using words like Spook-tacular and have Halloween-themed bottles of soap. Really?

Back to the point about how I purchased five bottles of soap. You wouldn’t think two people would need so much. We really do go through it faster than you’d think. At least, those of us who frequently hand wash do. Plus, the extra bottles let me decide which scent I feel in the mood for and then I don’t have to get in the car and go somewhere each time I run out. Which, as we’ve established, is at a rapid clip.

Whatever it is about B&BW’s soap, it feels “fancy.” And they know it. They have me in their Target Demographic sights and I have been pulled in. I’ve bought whatever they’re selling and I come right back to the trough for more. Some people prefer to shop at Crabtree & Evelyn or Williams Sonoma for their fancy soaps. All well and good. But I feel comfortable with the bright colors and hundreds of scents that they manage to re-create each year, not to mention the slightly-more-fancy-than-average plastic packaging that B&BW offers.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I think a person is slumming it if s/he doesn’t have fancy soap. Plenty of people are perfectly fine with a bar of Zest adorning their faucet. For a long time, the “aquarium” series from SoftSoap adorned my own sinks. Good smell, decent soap, average price, available just about everywhere. Somewhere along the way, after trying B&BW’s soap, I decided to stick with it. For a Super Smeller Girly Girl like myself, it just seemed the natural thing to do. I get to mix it up with the smells and textures and my hands will come away clean, soft, and amazing smelling. Win win win.

Plus! If I’m feeling lazy and don’t want to trudge up to the mall to face society and consumerism, shopping online in my pajamas affords me the luxury of having the soap brought to me, not to mention the fact that I don’t have to talk to any sales clerks or wait in line behind the woman trying to return used antibacterial hand gel.

All pluses.

All of this having been said….Are we amazed at my ability to discuss something as innocuous as soap yet? Fancy soap on my sink is like Folger’s in your cup. If ya know what I mean, and I think ya do.

You get what you pay for and other -isms

If ever there were a catchphrase that embodied me, it would be, “You get what you pay for.” I have stood by this time and time again and it continually rings true. That isn’t to say you can’t get a sweet deal at Dollar Tree – you can. (Especially at Christmastime – wrapping paper and tags helloooo!) But you know you’re not going to throw a fit if you buy a glass from Dollar Tree and it breaks in a week because hey, it was just a dollar. You can go back and get another. You can laugh and go, “Well we got a dollar’s worth of use out of it.”

I have yet to find a situation or product to which this aphorism is not apropos. When I bought my first real designer purse a few years ago (a Coach, if you must know), I got my money’s worth. There is a huge, vast difference between buttery, hand-crafted leather, heavy zippers, silk or satin lining, and quality hardware on a purse versus what one can buy at Target, Kohl’s or Marshall’s. And I rocked a purse from Target in New York City when I first lived there. I got my twenty-five bucks worth and then some; and then I was able to throw it away when it fell apart on me.

I purchased my very first Kate Spade bag in May and it’s everything I thought it would be and more. Totally worth making my credit card cry. It’s been a dreamboat of a handbag, if that makes sense. And! I know that by properly taking care of it, I will get years of use out of it.

My dearest dude Kevin thought I bought into this whole thing a little too much but even he has had to concede the point much more as of late. Like my search for good moisturizer, he has been seeking out a pair of sunglasses that don’t crap out on him within two days. He went through two different pairs in a week before he relented and let me take him to a couple of places where he’d have to actually drop more than $30 (or $80, or $100) on sunglasses. I know what you’re thinking. At a certain price point, sunglasses become overpriced plastic. And you’re right! But there is a “sweet spot” with sunglasses and dropping $100-150 for a pair isn’t unheard of. These designers know what they’re doing.

Though we tried and tried and tried to find something at a reasonable price, there was nothing to be found that would fit him well, be comfortable and be worth the money. We landed at Sunglass Hut where all the designer sunglasses strutted their stuff and eventually he settled on an “inexpensive” pair of Ray Bans. $160 later, he is the hap-hap-happiest cool shades wearing guy out there – and they look great on him, too. Anytime I see them sitting out, I nudge him (by mentioning their price) to put them back in their hard case. It’s very motivating.

If any of you do not believe that “you get what you pay for,” I’d love to hear why not! If you do, what are you willing to pay a high price for? Sheets? Makeup? Silverware? (For me, all three.)

~~~

Writing about that catchphrase got me thinking about other colloquialisms and aphorisms that are pretty common – some more applicable than others.

  • When it rains it pours. Pretty self-explanatory. And something I am currently dealing with, if I’m gonna get all personal. It can’t be just one thing, it has to be a slew of things happening all at once, right?
  • Everything happens for a reason. I want to punch someone when I hear this one.
  • A stitch in time saves nine. Whatever.
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. This one I actually kind of buy into, as well, because I am definitely a person who’d rather not take the risk and have something guaranteed, rather than gamble on gaining more.
  • Right church, wrong pew. I don’t quite know what this means but it’s funny and a friend knew it off the top of her head.
  • Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. Yes! Though hardly anyone “gifts” horses anymore, if you do get one, don’t check its teeth. Just say thank you.
  • Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. A little confusing but basically it boils down to not doing something stupid and self-destructive out of revenge or hatred, because it’s just going to do you more harm than good.
  • Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. My mother LOVES this phrase. It is irritating to hear when I want to overgeneralize and overreact, however.
  • There’s more than one way to skin a cat. Ew. But…also true.

Add in your favorite in a comment below!

“Happy” Tuesday – at least I hope you all are having a good one. I’m still mucking it up in the rain.

I need a scientist…

…to explain to me why microwaved coffee gets flat and nasty and awful. It’s barely drinkable!

It doesn’t matter if the coffee is fresh and it just needs a quick pick-me-up. It will turn into the dreaded flat, bodiless beverage I can hardly choke down.

This is not happy coffee, folks. No siree.

An Exception to Every Rule

Some time ago, I realized that despite my usual cheerful demeanor, I do possess one grinchy part of my persona.

I really hate it when people whistle.

There is just something about the loud, piercing sound of it, even when someone is really, really good at it, that I cannot abide. I discovered that the cacophony sound made me want to stamp my feet and scream, “STOP IT!” at the top of my lungs; I made said discovery when I was in college and there was a guy in my class who was an excellent whistler. He could probably whistle Beethoven’s symphonies and make a decent living from the proceeds of an album.

My senior year, I lived in a series of dorms that were over a foot bridge and so were removed from the majority of the rest of campus. Apparently he lived there, also, as I could hear his whistling through my open window on many a day or night. I would seriously grind my teeth until he stopped or I could no longer hear him. Thank God I didn’t have to room with someone who did that all the time. There might have been a murder at my university.

This seething rage against the sound of anybody whistling shrilly and loudly has stuck with me. I have forbade my dearest other half from doing it. Thankfully he didn’t protest much, although he does like to tease me about it.

And yet.

As with all rules, there is at least one exception. Let me preface it by saying that there is a Christmas album that exists that is one of my all-time favorites. We had it on an actual record album when I was a kid. It’s called A Music Box Christmas. You can sample and even buy all of the songs from it on Amazon. It is seriously not Christmas until I listen to every song, start to finish, in their entirety. Generally I decorate my tree to it.

I have met all of two people in my life who don’t like the music. While I do my best to withhold judgment, it completely baffles me. If you like instrumental music and you like old-fashioned Christmas music/hymns, you will enjoy – and even rave about – A Music Box Christmas. It is an imperative staple for me during the holidays.

Back to the exception. My father has always, and still does, managed to whistle in harmony with the carols of this album. I find it endearing and actually miss it when I don’t spend the holidays with him. He is one of those people who can whistle through his teeth, which is a skill I definitely did not inherit from him. For whatever reason on this earth, that whistling is lovely, in tune, and the only time throughout the year or in my life that I welcome the sound.

Aren’t people strange creatures?

I don’t have an explanation but I know that unless you are my father,  it is Christmastime, and A Music Box Christmas is on, you are not welcome to come within any physical distance of me and be whistling. Or there will be consequences.

Do you hate whistling? What drives you absolutely crazy?

Rudolph or Ru-doff?

Over the weekend, I learned that out of myself, my other half, and our friend who was staying with us, I was the only one who pronounced the L in Rudolph (as in, Red-Nosed Reindeer).

Similarly, they also say Ran-doff instead of Randolph.

I have listened to several different versions of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and they ALL say the L, even if it’s not strong. It’s there! (Thanks, Bing!)

Ru-doff sounds like he’s from Jersey. Rudolph sounds like he just has a very old-fashioned name.

So I’d love to get your replies by putting a poll here.

How do you pronounce Rudolph?

Card Freak

Some of you may recall that in my post about being obsessed with pens that I also collect greeting and stationery cards. I have umpteen boxes in my desk drawer and I have to stop myself from buying them all the time. The vast amount of cards worthy of purchasing staggers the mind. Well, at least mine. Just recently, I purchased a new set of holiday cards. I wanted to get a jump on buying them before I had to wade through the bins marked 50% off because it’s one week to Christmas. Having made my satisfactory purchase, that makes at least six different kinds that I now possess – possibly more. A girl needs variety.

Anyhow. Aside from card hunting and swapping with my best friend, I also Google Image search a lot. You never know where inspiration will strike. I happened across the cutest, most creative “I’m sorry” cards that I’ve ever seen. I’m posting the photo below but you can also click the link above. (Edit: this post was written prior to Pinterest, where you can be sure that somewhere, the below image exists.)

For those of you who may not be computer savvy in terms of shortcuts, Ctrl Z is a keyboard shortcut for “Undo.” The sweet little “i’m sorry” in lowercase just makes it all the more adorable. I believe on the seller’s site you can order the cards individually. It almost seems silly to pay for shipping for one card when a first-class stamp costs $.44 but in this case, it’d be worth it. I can’t make any promises I won’t order one or more of these.

Arbitrary Musings on a Hot Summer Day

Melted

It is hot as crap outside. Summer is officially here.

Actually, today is only 88 but the 90s have come and gone and are only a day or two away from happening again. I’m finding that there are those people in New York City who love how hot it gets here in the summertime. I am baffled by them. The streets hold in the heat, feeling like you have an invisible electric blanket shrouding you everywhere you go, even in (and sometimes especially) on the subway platform. (How did people live here before air-conditioned subway cars?)

In the past two weeks, I have only been able to wear my hair down once. And not because it was cool enough to do so. The high was only going to be 86 yesterday and I determinedly blow dried my hair and put a touch of anti-frizz silk stuff on the crown of my head to keep my hair from making me look like an unkempt 7 year-old the second I stepped foot outside of my un-airconditioned bedroom. Usually I can’t stand the thought of having long hair cover my nape while I am trying to keep cool to and from work so I think screw it, and I put my hair up wet in a makeshift bun. (I have yet to learn how to give myself a French braid but am hoping to get a lesson very soon.) Having my hair up everyday is not the most stylish thing to do but when it comes to being sticky and uncomfortable, I always end up choosing comfort over style. The picture you see here is how I look pretty much everyday in the summer at work. Hell, it’s how I look right now, minus the mascara and earrings.

If you haven’t already been able to tell, I am very fair-skinned and I do not have a high tolerance for heat…or direct sunlight, for that matter. My boyfriend despises the heat more than I do, and if I had any doubts as to his tolerance for temperatures above 78 degrees, I had only to look to the dog that he came with. I present to you below Lucas, an Alaskan Malamute/Husky mix.

This is a dog who eats ice like popcorn and bathes in snow.

The three of us go into either the living room or the bedroom, switch on an air conditioner and proceed to stay cool doing all the stuff we normally do at home – watch TV, get on the interwebs, sleep, etc. And so here we are, on a gorgeously hot Saturday afternoon, hanging out in the cool bedroom while I sit at my desk and the boyfriend does whatever it is he’s doing on his laptop. On Monday morning, I’ll be regaled of stories of what other folks did over the weekend besides sit next to an air conditioning unit. This is just how we roll.

And now, as if that introduction wasn’t long enough, I’ll detail the few wisps of thoughts I have had over the last week or two to share with you all. Because, you know, I should have something to say after a six month hiatus from the blog.

Enjoy these random observations from yours truly and stay cool (or hot, if that’s your preference).

1. Have you ever thought about the fact that when your phone isn’t ringing, it means that not one person on the face of the planet wants to call you? Considering the number of people, telephones and phone numbers that exist, you’d think the odds of your phone ringing at any given time would be higher.  Maybe I just don’t get that many phone calls. Hm.

2. I tried the new snack size Reese’s McFlurry from McDonald’s the other day. It melted into candy soup in about five minutes flat. However, for the 180 seconds it was semi-solid, it was absolutely delicious. There was a run on ice cream snacks when I ordered it. People were running in and shouting out ice cream orders like the streets were frying them alive. Maybe they were. Anyway, a guy ran in and ordered three or four sundaes and asked if the ice cream was soft. The server replied wryly, “Well yes, it’s soft. It’s soft serve.” The man replied, “Too soft?” The server answered, “I guess.” I suppose it’s possible that there is someone who has never gotten ice cream from McDonald’s and that every second, someone new tries it, but I’m just perplexed at anybody who doesn’t understand the consistency of fast food ice cream. It’s not even real ice cream. What do you expect for $.99?

3. Working in the summertime reminds me that working in the summertime sucks. Hard. I always think about when I had summers off as a kid up through the time I was 16, and I never really appreciated it. Actually, I was unable to find work between years in college and I enjoyed lazy days then. I could do with a solid month off, even if it was just sitting in front of my air conditioner and pondering how I have nothing to do.

4. In order of use and preference of social networking sites, it goes Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare. For those of you who don’t have Foursquare yet, I absolutely recommend trying it. You earn Mayorships and Badges the more times you check into venues. It’s become so popular that you can actually earn discounts from participating companies the more you check in to places. The novelty of earning the badges/mayorships keeps me remembering to do it. It’s kind of like a real life video game, where you earn meaningless rewards for just walking around. (I think that was the creator’s intent, actually.)

5. I hate when people ask you if the elevator is going down, when the wall indicator not only alerts you audibly, but lights up a big red down arrow – twice! The other day, I’m in the elevator in my work building going down to the lobby and it stops on the second floor (the SECOND floor), where a man on his cell phone looks up distractedly and asks, “Is this going down?” The other guy in the elevator and I stared at him incredulously before replying yes. Seriously, dude, you’re going to hold us up even further by clarifying whether the elevator is going down before you get on it? To be clear, there is a stairwell for the folks on 2. They ought to wear a blazing red A for Asshole when they need to take the elevator DOWN. Or at least have the decency to apologize when you get in. Yeah that’s right, you should be sorry. I’m not a skinny gal but even I would be taking the stairs everyday if I worked on the second floor.

6. Robyn’s new song, Dancing On My Own, (click on that link to see her video!) has taken over my life. I have listened to it obsessively and I ended up buying her album, Body Talk Pt. 1, on iTunes, because I loved it so much.  The song invokes images of Flashdance and J. Lo impersonating Jennifer Flowers in Flashdance, because if you’re like me, you’ll just want to dance and dance to the crazy awesome beats. Get you some Robyn!