Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

In what is becoming an annual tradition (or at least a pick-up from where my parents left off) I had a pumpkin-carving/Halloween party at my apartment on Saturday. Just a few people showed up to the event last year, but attendance this year was considerably larger. Although, we've got to do a better job of actually carving our pumpkins. Mine and Abbey's remained untouched on my balcony, most likely because playing with sharp knives doesn't seem like such a good idea after a few drinks. This was probably a good move on our part. The night was great, though, and so were the costumes. Here are some pictures:

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The Last Domino...

aka John Orr, aka, Amy's new boyfriend, has been staying with me this week. John is on a two-week tour as a one-man band and is here for three NY shows. The strange part is that I've never met him before this trip, although through phone calls and conversations with Amy, I was pretty sure he was a good guy. And I was right. Abbey, Mason and I went to his Manhattan show on Wednesday night and were really impressed.

He leaves Sunday morning for North Carolina, followed by Tennessee and then back home to Indy. Getting to know him without Amy around seemed a bit unorthodox at first, but it's been kind of nice as well.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Lucky October 16

I feel old. Stephen – my longtime neighbor, little brother of one of my best friends, Lindsay, and pretty much my honorary second brother while growing up – is engaged. I always get these shocks of reality as my brother’s friends pass certain landmarks. These “little” kids driving, graduating from high school, showing up in the same bars as me, getting their degrees, and now, marriage? Even though they haven’t been “little” in years, it’s still strange to think of them as actual adults. Maybe it’s because I still struggle with thinking of myself as an adult. Or maybe it’s because I feel like they’re catching up to my generation. Or is it just that we’re slowing down?

Anyway, back to Stephen, who proposed to his girlfriend Janelle on Tuesday, which, coincidentally, is the same day Lindsay got engaged two years ago. It’s the birthday of Lindsay’s husband, Chris (aka Trep). I’m told that the ring is also from Lindsay’s jeweler. Now, if the wedding date is set for December 22, I’ll have to question this coincidence thing. But at least I know that whether they’re catching up or trailing close behind, they’re following some good steps. Congrats, Stephen!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Best. Weekend. Ever.

And if it wasn't the absolute best, it was pretty close. Abbey, Amy and I took Friday off of work and all flew into Tampa from our new homes on Thursday night for a weekend at my parent's house in Gulfport. Our itinerary was pretty complex: beaching, eating, shopping, and drinking, and we accomplished it all. Seriously, though, it was one of the most equally relaxing and exciting weekends I've ever had. We never rushed anywhere or stressed about anything. My mom made us some great food. My brother took two days off to drive us around. And I got to hang out with the people who are probably the five most important ones in my life. Some highlights:

The beaches: We went to Sunset Beach and St. Pete Beach, both within 15-20 minutes of my parent's house. The weather was gorgeous all weekend and we all were a little red by the end of the trip. The only downside to our beach-going was a HUGE school of fish that had to be crossed before entering deeper waters. We all did it, but not without some screaming. And my fear of the ocean wouldn't let me stay out too long before thinking something was circling around my feet.

NEPB at OG: If you're not hip to the language of Abbey, this stands for the never-ending pasta bowl at Olive Garden, one of our favorite restaurants, or rather challenges, in the fall. Amy told Abbey earlier in the day that she could eat more bowls than her. This, of course, meant war. So the two trash talked for the rest of the day and throughout dinner as they struggled to stuff just one more fork of pasta into their mouths. Their arguing left room for a silent challenger to take the lead. That's right, my mom beat them both, finishing two whole bowls and making us all question where on her little body she put it all.

POM: Or Puddle of Mudd. As we left a bar in St. Pete on Saturday night, we walked by two tour buses. Abbey and I continued to walk by, but somehow, Amy struck up a conversation with a girl poking her head outside the bus window. Before we knew it, Amy was on the bus peeing. Then I was on the bus peeing. We chatted a bit with the band's bassist and who I assume were a bunch of roadies. Amy told him the lead singer was a Nirvana wannabe and we were back on our way. We didn't really realize how cool of a situation we were in until the next morning, even though I'm hardly a fan.

Swimming while drunk: Don't do it. At least don't jump into the deep end when you can't even walk straight. Abbey and Amy learned this the hard way.

I think this will have to become an annual tradition.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Volley of the Dolls

People assume that because I’m tall, I’m good at volleyball. Not true. But I joined a lab team anyway along with a couple friends. Called the Volley of the Dolls, we’re an all-girl team in the lowest of three leagues, which means no overhand serves and no hard spikes, both fine by me. I could probably count the number of times I’ve played volleyball in my life on two hands, the most recent games in a similar league at Fermilab. So I was a little hesitant to join this year. We lost all three games in our first match last night, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expected. And I wasn’t as bad as I expected. Maybe by the end of the season I’ll be halfway decent.

On a side note, Abbey, Amy and I are flying to Florida tonight for the weekend. For those of you who don’t know, we were all roommates senior year. Our apartment number was 11F. So is it a coincidence that 11F is also Amy’s seat on the plane? I think this weekend was meant to be.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Abbey's birthday week

My BFF, Abbey, turned 24 yesterday, but our celebration actually began on Sunday. Abbey, her mom, Adam, and his parents met in NJ for the weekend and they all drove out to Long Island for some wine tasting. I don't think I've talked in much detail about the wineries out here. More than 30 vineyards and wineries dot the forks of the island. Some people say the wine quality isn't the best, and I agree that some are pretty terrible, but there are quite a few that I really like. Part of the fun is being able to judge one from the other. And when it's nice outside, it's refreshing to take a drive out east, past the land of strip malls and into farm country. Unfortunately, our drive on Sunday wasn't so fun. Being in the thick of Halloween season, everyone and their mom decided to venture out to the north fork for fall festivals, pumpkin picking, corn mazes, apple picking and shopping at the hundreds of farm stands. This turned the usually quick 45-minute drive into a much longer excursion. Our moods were quickly restored, though, once we ate some lunch and started the first of numerous tastings. We stopped first at Martha Clara (which in my opinion, doesn't produce the best wine, but has fun entertainment like hairy cows and llama). We spent the rest of the day at Roanoke, which is one of my favorites. I'm a wine club member there, meaning I get free tastings and discounts in exchange for buying three pre-selected bottles each quarter. The people there are incredibly friendly and can tell you anything you want to know, and more, about the wine they make. And it doesn't have the commercial feeling that many other wineries do. Abbey and I drank some of her favorite Roanoke wine, a rose, and Adam's parents must have enjoyed some of the reds because they left with a box full of bottles.

Yesterday, for Abbey's actual double dozen celebration, I met her, Adam, Sarah, Matt, Mason, Keith, and Walt at Carmine's in the city for a HUGE dinner. After putting back platters of penne vodka, salad, meatballs, and chicken (I mostly worked on the pasta), we ordered the "Titanic," a monstrosity of chocolate cake, ice cream, strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and nuts. Sooo good.

But the party's still not over. Tomorrow night, I'll meet Abbey and Amy in Florida to visit my parents and celebrate a little (or a lot) more.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

ATM woes

So the ATM machine in the lab’s cafeteria is one of the oldest I’ve seen. Whereas practically all other machines have a reader that you slide your card through, this one actually takes the card from you. I'm used to the newer models, where once you have your money and receipt, you’re done. The Brookhaven relic, however, doesn’t return your card until after you’ve taken your money and answered one more question: “Would you like to make another transaction?” Lots of people just grab their money and walk away, forgetting about their card, and leaving the next customer the ability to drain their checking account. I rescued one of these people's cards today, returning it to one of the cafeteria workers. But in doing so, I also forgot my own in the machine. Now I have to wait until tomorrow to see if it shows up at the branch while I worry that someone is spending my slim, but much-needed life savings.

Friday, October 05, 2007

The Lifers

Amy and I would have been in stitches had we still worked at The State News when this story was published. At the end of the article, those "eight grown men who never managed to shake the Panchero’s-at-3-a.m. mentality,'" we know them. Actually, we more than know them. As the youngest of the bunch, and therefore the last to graduate, Abbey, Amy, Emily and I woke almost every fall weekend to find them sprawled every which way across our living room. We witnessed rumbles and fights. Late-night Pokey stick feasts and a number of East Lansing signage being pulled from the ground. Yes, the Holden Lifers are some of the best tailgaters I know, and I miss them.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Meet me at Blondies

Blondies has become the place for college reunions. Last week was Nate and Andy. And this week, Kris was in NYC for the weekend and stopped to cheer for the Spartans between stops at Prada and Armani. It's been great to catch up with everyone lately. And despite MSU's first loss of the season, we still had a great time. Abbey and I began early with lunch at, where else, Burritoville, followed by tailgating in Central Park.

Later, we ate dinner with Justin and his friends, Amir and Gil, at a Spanish restaurant, where we drank sangria that we definitely didn't need. We continued at a couple bars afterward, and following brunch in midtown, we finally headed back to Jersey more than 24 hours after we started and curled up in Abbey's bed for some much-needed sleep.