Monday, August 28, 2006

Life's been too normal

So here's a slightly less scary photo from Miranda's visit, just so you didn't think we really look like aliens.
On another note, I haven't had any weird encounters in a while. Things have been pretty normal. Until today. I stopped at the grocery store after work to pick up some much-needed food, among which was a head of broccoli. I thought it looked fine as I put it in the plastic produce bag. Green. Fresh. What more could you ask for from broccoli, right. Well, apparently the check-out guy felt differently. "Honey, you don't want this," he said, making one of those scrunched up little kid faces. Then he tossed the bag over his shoulder, hitting the cash register in the lane next to him. I just kind of stared and then said "OK, thanks" a bit too excitedly. I have no idea why I thanked him. I just really didn't want to offend a guy like that. Who knows what would get tossed next, or if I'd even leave the store with any food in my cart. He mumbled a couple other things before announcing the total; maybe it was an inspection of the grapes, or the lettuce. However, it was only the broccoli that got cut. I think I'll stop at the competing grocery store tomorrow and try to buy some of it there.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Another visitor

Miranda, one of my high school friends, came to visit for a few days. We spent a good amount of time making dumb pictures, like this one, but we also managed to see a bit of the outside world. We ate dinner at Smithpoint, a beach on the south shore, discovered that one of the local bars offers $1 beers on Monday nights and learned how to navigate around LaGuardia airport, after getting lost and stuck in deadlock traffic a couple times.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Mom visits

My mom flew into New York this weekend. It was a short visit – less than 48 hours – but we really did a lot. We spent Saturday on Long Island, mostly in Port Jefferson. After opening up some birthday presents my mom packed in her luggage, we walked downtown for lunch at a vegetarian restaurant I've wanted to check out. I'm not used to having many choices when I'm out to eat; when the meat dishes are ruled out, most lengthy menus can be reduced to just a couple vegetarian-friendly options, which usually include a salad, some type of sandwich and possibly a pasta dish. So it took a while to pick a selection. Afterward we walked in and out of some of the shops and had a drink on the roof of one of the waterfront restaurants. The weather was really perfect the entire weekend. We drove around for a while after that, making stops at Kohl's and Trader Joe's, neither of which exist yet in Florida. The Trader Joe's stop was especially painful for my mom, who picked up frozen and refrigerated foods left and right only to replace them on the shelves after she realized they'd never survive her trip back home. I guarantee you that a letter to Trader Joe's pleading for a southern expansion is in the works.
For dinner we headed back to Port Jeff, to a pizza place my dad really enjoyed when he was here. Then we waited in a ridiculously long line at Maggie Moos for desert, where it was obvious that the employees really just wanted to lock the doors before anyone else came in. We woke up early on Sunday to catch a train into the city, my mom's first visit there. We met Abbey near Penn Station and set off at high speed to keep to with our packed itinerary. Our whirlwind tour included: the Empire State Building, Macy's, Times Square, veggie burgers at McDonalds (as far as I know they're only sold at the golden arches in NYC), Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, 5th Avenue, FAO Schwartz, where we played on the giant piano, and Central
Park and Strawberry Fields. Although there's so much more to do, I think we covered a pretty fair share of the city in the time we had. And by the time we headed back to the train station I don't think anyone felt like walking another step.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I got a new laptop at the lab, a super nice Macbook Pro. My favorite feature, besides its really sleek look and the pop-up menu at the bottom, is Photo Booth, a program that allows you to take pictures of yourself with the little camera on top of the screen and seriously alter them. (Leah and Jason, I think I had as much fun as you two did with this program!) These are some of the results:

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Scary thought

I'm tired of the world being scared. I don't want to "Look out for suspicious activities," as the signs posted at train stations, outside of ATM machines and in the parking lots of fast food restaurants will tell you. I don't want to wonder what the guy sitting next to me on the plane might be carrying inside his suitcase or in his British sports drink, or watch the nightly news to discover what "deadly food" is lurking in my fridge, or what vicious bacteria is living on the bottom of my purse. Al Qaeda, orange and red alerts, freeway shooters, west Nile, North Korea, SARS, Iraq, bird flu, Iran, Israel, nuclear missiles, shoe bombs, university kids arrested on terror charges. And now, I must fear toothpaste. And mouthwash, and baby formula that hasn't been taste tested in front of a TSA official. Watch out. That bottle of face lotion might have been expensive, but it also could be deadly.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


I met Abbey, Adam and Walt in the city yesterday to celebrate my birthday. I left work a little early and took the train into Penn Station. From there it was a short walk to Carmines, a family-style Italian restaurant that Abbey loves and planned for us to eat at. Right outside of Times Square, Carmines was really busy, even on a Tuesday night. The wait time for a table was about an hour, but it was worth it. Afterward, we had a couple drinks at Heartland Brewery before heading back to the train station. I'm still amazed by the energy of the city every time I visit. I'd love to live in Manhattan, or closer to it. Just for a couple years. I know it would be overwhelming, not to mention expensive, but it's one of those things I want to try. It's like that "Suncreen" song that used to dominate the radio suggests: Live in New York, but leave before you get too hard. Live in California, but leave before you get too soft. Sounds like a good plan, right?
But, anyway. Back to the birthday. The people in my office "surprised" me at work, although I was already onto their plan. My boss asked me to come back to the building in the afternoon for a meeting, (I switch offices after lunch), and I immediately became suspicious, knowing that usually an email is sent out for things like this. Of course, there was no meeting when I returned, but there was cake in the conference room.
The only downside to the day was my ride back home, when three drunken guys about my age started making fun of everyone in our train, including me. They catcalled at an older woman in the front of the car, asking how much she was worth, talked about the dangers of high cholesterol when two heavier girls sat in front of them and hurled homophobic-inspired slurs at a younger guy with eyeliner on. I was dubbed as "fatty," by one guy, although "kind of pretty," by the other. His friend vehemently disagreed. Basically, they were top-of-the-line, not to mention kind of ugly, jerks who should probably take a good look at their own bodies and personalities before being so mean to others. The worst part is that no one really said anything back. After trying to ignore them for a while, I made a couple comments that did no good. It's tough to get the strength to speak up when you're a girl who knows she'll have to walk by herself through a dark parking lot along with the creeps when the train stops. However, for as large as their bark, the boys must have been scared for their own safety once the train stopped. They stayed seated quietly once we reached the end station, waiting for everyone else to de-board before they moved.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Lindsay's bridal shower

If Mrs. Crutchfield ever wants to switch up jobs, she could definitely make a go at a career as a wedding planner. Lindsay's bridal shower on Friday night was so nice, with chocolate martinis, watermelon strawberry mojitos, a tablefull of deserts and decor inspired by Martha Stewart. I flew in Friday morning and stopped by Lindsay's house a couple hours before the shower to help set up decorations. Under Lindsay's mom's direction, we attached ribbons, Japanese lanterns and white lights to tents in the backyard, set up tables of food, gifts and centerpieces with miniature roses. It probably would have worked just fine for the actual wedding reception, still four months away.
Each guest was given their own martini glass, which was filled by the neighborhood "moms," who doubled as bartenders for the night. Fighting against the estrogen-heavy vibe, Trep filled his with beer.
The friends from high school (and earlier) dominated the games, including putting pictures of Trep and Lindz in chronological order, answering questions about Lindsay's life, and predicting which questions about Trep she'd get right or wrong. And I got to see Michelle, who used to live next door, and was a permanent fixture in our childhood games of kick the can and hide and go seek.
The rest of my short weekend home was super busy. I got to visit with two sets of aunts and uncles, my cousins Brian and Nikki and their almost one-year-old son Jakob, and Carl. My dad and I had lunch at one of my all-time favorite restaurants, Cedar Gardens, and we ate dinner in Greektown on Saturday night. I really miss those places. Lindsay, Trep, Carl and I went to Fishbones for a drink later on Saturday and of course ran into a couple people from high school. (A visit to a SCS bar wouldn't be complete without that). And I managed to squeeze in two loads of laundry that I brought along with me because I'm lazy, broke and didn't feel like battling the cockroaches in the basement of my apartment complex.