Saturday, December 31, 2005

cream cake

For the New Year I decided to paint our living room, again. When we first moved into our apartment Zack and I were eager to paint the stark white walls that surrounded us. We choose blue for the living room and deeper more tealish blue for the dining room/office. I love the dining room but the living room didn't come out so great. The blue was a kind of icky sky blue and would have been much better suited in a little boy's nursery.

Since I have a few days off here and won't have another few days to myself until the end of May, I took the plunge-the Cream Cake plunge that is. I choose the color Cream Cake for it's soft yellow hue relaxing and open at the same time. It looks glorious in the paint bucket, just like a buttery batter. I almost want to lick it!

I started last night with the prep and the trim. We have really high ceilings in our apartment and so I was fully stretched out, standing on two stacked crates to reach the high areas of the wall. Well, low and behold, what do you know, I loose my balance. Me! Who'd have thunk it? So now in the hallway, there is a gigantic Cream Cake splotch on our new carpet.

Ironically, we got a notice the other day about our complex requiring residents to get renter's insurance. I think I'll strategically place a bookshelf where the unsightly and ever so inconvenient splotch of Cream Cake now lives.

Pictures to come...
(I'm sure you can't freaking wait!)

Friday, December 30, 2005

Star of Persia

For Christmas my little sister gave me some rocking red mugs along with some loose leaf tea. I love tea as anyone who had read this blog for longer than a week will know. I made my first cuppa this morning and damn, am I impressed. Someone had the genius thought to include little red sugar crystals in with the black tea. It's a steaming cup of rosey sweetness. Yum! While I don't usually drink my tea with sugar, this is an awesome treat.

Has anyone else out there ever seen loose leaf tea with sugar crystals in it?

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas in New Hampshire

It is so nice to be home for the holidays. Stepping out of the airport into the dark, cold, New Hampshire air was as refreshing a feeling as I can remember having in a long time. We spent a couple of nights in Portsmouth, visiting with friends. Walking into the Inn and smelling the toffee and coffee and fresh baked bread brought me home immediately. I had forgotten what a luxury it is to wake up and sip tea in the kitchen with Sally, to have a drink at the Brewery with Jaclyn, to dance at the Red Door. That town is home for me in so many ways. I only lived there for 2 years, but I don't think I've ever established such roots in any other place I've lived. Portsmouth is, by far, my most favorite place to live.

Monday, December 19, 2005

i think it was the gold curtains that hypnotized me

  • I do not believe the war in Iraq was really about Weapons of Mass Destruction, ever. I believe it was waged for oil.
  • I believe we are in Iraq rebuilding the nation so that we can sustain our ridiculous consumption of fossil fuels in this country.
  • With the money we have spent in Iraq we could have made solar and other alternative forms of energy a realistic choice for consumers in the US. Instead we are funding the big business monopoly of non-renewable, short-term energy consumption.
  • Democracy is a cloud of smoke our leaders blow in faces of ignorant, middle Americans brainwashed by television and propaganda.
  • If our country's leaders really felt strongly about spreading Democracy and helping those in need, that our resources would be better spent in Africa or here in the US.
  • It sucks living in a Red state.

After making all the of above statements clear and known, I have to say that the President's address last night was one of his better speaches. I don't agree with our position in Iraq at all, but now that we've completely destroyed what infrastructure was once there it is our responsibility to try to rebuild it. I thought it was important for the President to acknowledge those that don't support this war, conceding to the fact that our premises for invading were false. He conceded to the fact that this war has been difficult and expensive. I appreciate that sentiment.

I found myself feeling a glimmer of hope of the state of Iraq's government, military, and economy during the address. I believed for a minute that maybe we were training Iraq's military to defend themselves, that when we leave they'll be able to take over. It was nice to hear about the dissolving divisions between the tribal ties of citizens. And to think that the economy there is growing and prospering, and that people feel an improvement in their daily lives gave me hope. For the first time in my life I was hopeful after hearing GW talk. Then I remembered to whom I was listening.

This hope was quickly squelched when I read back through the transcript of his address. All the 'war on terror' talk really started to piss me off. The war on terror is like the war on drugs. We're trying to fight a concept, the enemy is everywhere within every culture, every school, every religion. Terrorism exists on many levels all around us on a day to day basis, just like drugs. An entire country is trying to fight a war against individuals, extremists.

I wonder why we don't do more with education in combating terrorism. It seems to me that we should be educating the American people about religious tolerance, about cultural differences, about the worldview of America through the eyes of other countries. Why do French hate us? Why do African children covet ragged American tennis shoes produced 20 years ago? What types of Anti-American propaganda is being widely distributed in North Korea? We are an ignorant society wholly consumed with ourselves. Instead of rehashing the events and tragedies of 9/11, why don't we look closer at the terrorists and their motives. Why were we the target?

If you asked President Bush, I would guess his answer would be that the terrorists have fundamental objections to 'our' religious beliefs. This is not untrue. However, people all over the world in growing numbers feel the US is a crafty nation full of self-absorbed, lazy people. What can we, as citizens, do to change this image? How can we extend our resources to really help attain global peace?

i'm a sucker

I've been at my new job now for over 2 months and I've still got all my health insurance and 401k paperwork sitting on my dining room table. In my defense I am waiting for my rollover check to arrive so that I can send everything in at once. In my stupidity, I am living sans health insurance.

Last night I was sitting on my red couch reading Will in the World, an interesting biography of Shakespeare. I started to feel a little itchiness and scratchiness in my right eye. I took out my contacts and went to bed. I awoke this morning to a crusty, swollen eye.

I recognize the symptoms as conjunctivitis. I wonder how I contracted this sickness as I haven't left the house in the past two days but to go to the grocery store and the hair dresser. I wonder if the itis can be caused by stress or anticipation of a vacation. The only other time I can remember getting the Pink Eye since childhood was last summer when I conveniently contracted it just days before I left for Bonnarroo. I'm going home in 2 days to see my friends and family, to tell all about our new life out here in the desert, to give and receive hugs and kisses, to laugh with my girlfriends. How the hell am I supposed to do this with the itis?!

I've concluded that I am obliged to dish out the $100 it costs to see the eye doctor here without insurance. He will surely glob some antibacterial goo into my eye and hopefully this nastiness will go away promptly. I so don't have time for this!

Friday, December 16, 2005

commercials flanked by commercials

I don't know if it's the season that's getting to me or the place in which I live, but I feel overrun with commercialism these days. I know it is the season, but this year it's affecting me more than usual.

Because I live a leisurely existence these days, working from home without travel, I get to indulge in a little daytime TV. I've seen something that's more heinous than the lace collar on Judge Judy's robe, and that is the 'Favorite Things' episode. I think it's nice that these shows gives gifts to the audience and all, but are we really kidding ourselves into thinking that this is not an hour long commercial?

This year Oprah's "Favorite Things" show was attended by Katrina volunteers. Now this was a nice thought. Oprah really is a great human being and a superb business woman. I thought it was really great of her to reward all the selfless volunteers with lots of fabulous gifts. Two of Zack's friends from Red Cross were invited on the show and received all of the Favorite Things.

I love the sentiment, but watching the show I felt like I was watching one big commercial. Then I caught a couple of episodes of Ellen with her 12 days of Christmas where she unveils a new present each day and totally plugs these gift items. It's great for the studio audience, but is it really worth making your tv audience sit through a 10 minute commercial every day?

The more I thought about this, the more it makes sense. Talk shows, for the most part, really are just one long commercial. Celebrities come on to promote their movies, self-help authors offer psychological advice while plugging their books, and musical guest appearances almost always coincide with an album release. I guess it's appropriate then that during the season of buying and giving talk shows should commercialize themselves even more than usual.

The answer to all of this, for me, is to just turn off the television. So simple. I think I'll start today, that is as soon as Charlie Brown's Christmas Story is Over.

Tomorrow: Is The People's Court a real court of law?

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Yes, you're in the right place

I got sick of that yellow real fast so decided to switch things up around here again. Hope you all like the new, prickly design. This new design represents a new phase in the life of brinki-dink. You are now entering the 'tell it like you see it' zone. Raw, unedited viewpoints straight from the mind of 27 year old sales rep with poor spelling skills living in the desert with her long-haired boyfriend.

Raw topic number one: Blog Ads

I've noticed that many of my favorite blogs are selling out to advertisements these days. I'm usually the last one to know, shocked when I click to to get a dose of humor or reality from a favorite writer only to find that my text-bliss has been overshadowed by advertisements. I can see that there are temptations to doing so, mainly monetary temptations. I guess there's a lure to the possibility of making money for writing a blog, especially for those who put a lot of thought and time into their posts. So many people read blogs on a daily basis and the readers aren't paying anything for the entertainment. So, why not seek another source?

Ads just seem a little sleazy to me. One of the things I love so much about the blogosphere is that bloggers are independent. We don't have to answer to anybody, there's nobody censoring us or telling us what to write about. We have the privledge to choose what we do, when we do it. I imagine that if you agree to sell your blog out to a conglomerate that you then succumb to a set of rules or standards of conduct for your blog. Advertisers, I'm guessing, probably don't have the same kind of pull. But, by selling space on your blog to advertisers you loose some of that precious independence.

So, when I see some of my very favorite blogs morphing into corporate templates I loose a little of my ideology. I want my favorite authors to get paid for their work, but do they really have to go corporate? I guess that's a bit better than the alternative which seems to be slathering your blog with advertisements. It's so ugly and impersonal to see ads for random TV shows or gadgets flanking the posts you are there to read. I doubt said bloggers actually endorse all of the products they so prominently display on their web pages.

I'd have to be making a shitload of money to put an ad for hair cream or MSNBC on this puppy. I vow here and now not to sell out my little blog to advertisers or corporations (not that it would be worth that much anyway). This woman is independent and planning to stay that way.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

home office

Getting to work from home was just about the best thing to happen to me this year (except maybe the all-inclusive backstage trip to Bonnaroo!). I love getting out of bed, putting the water on for tea, and sitting down to work for the day. No makeup or ironing necessary. I travel a lot and most days I'm on campus working and pj's don't fly as appropriate attire there. However, every Friday and for the rest of December I get to work from home.

At home, I am the master of my to-do list. I can munch on homemade coffee cake and sip tea while I check emails and work on my projects. There is something so liberating in not having to go to an office.

And, when the day's work is done I can close up shop and turn my attention to other things like dinner.

One of the challenges that comes with working solo is that I don't have a built-in group of people that I get to interact with on a daily basis. I meet and see plenty of 'clients' with whom it is very interesting and challenging to spark up discussion. But, I don't have friends here yet. I don't have a watercooler over which to gab about last night's episode of Gilmore Girls and there's no girl's night out. The only person I see regularly is the UPS man who shows up faithfully on my doorstep everyday to deliver the latest book or package.

This situation, I guess is a blessing and a curse. I guess it's up to me to find and choose my friends independently. This is a good thing because I will be able to choose who I want to get to know. The challenge in this is that I have to take initiative and seek out these friends on my own. I was so blessed in Portsmouth to have such an amazing group of supportive, funny and intelligent friends. I just need a little kick in the ass to get out the door and explore this area culturally. I know AZ has got to have a crunchy set, a poetic set, an adventurous set. I guess it's up to me to seek them out.

Monday, December 12, 2005

hmmmm, yeas

One of the totally awesome things about living in Arizona is that we get to play outside year round, in tee shirts. On Saturday we drove around in circles to find the entrance to Pinnacle Peak, a little pointy mountain about 15 minutes from our abode. We were greeted at the entrance with, no joke, a line of Mercedes and BMWs parked on the side of the road. I should have known then that we were not on any normal hiking exploration.

Pinnacle Peak is itself a neat little mountain. The park is about 150 acres big and is chock full of Saguaros and Cholla Cactus. The hike is short and sweet over rocky terrain. It's a great place to visit if you are a novice rock climber as there are huge boulder-like rocks at the top which look perfect for those just learning to climb with gear.

The odd thing about Pinnacle Peak is that it seems to be THE outdoor rec playground for the wealthy set of Scottsdale. No joke, every woman (and many men) we passed on the trail left a waft of perfume in their wake. Seriously, the whole little mountain was swathed in Chanel and Dior. I'm telling you it was weird.

I've also never heard so much complaining among hikers in my life. Now this is a LITTLE mountain. It took us about 15 or 20 minutes to climb to the top and then another 20 to climb down and over to it's neighboring mountain. We heard numerous women, outfitted in black spandex and jogging tops with coiffed hair, complaining about how out of shape they were. I heard one lady proclaim at the beginning of the trail that she would be lucky to make it to the top and back down without killing herself.

Another thing that was kind of odd about this park is that there are rules galore. No Smoking. Keep Voices Quiet. No Climbing. Stay on the Trail. Geez! And, there was even a police lady standing mid-point just to keep all the Richie Riches in line.

Now I don't want to come across as having a totally negative experience at Pinnacle Peak. It was nice little hike complete with views mansions and golf courses. It's a good place to get some fresh air and a little exercise. Just be sure you're not allergic to Eu de Scottsdale before you hit the trail.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mostly Cloudy

It's mostly cloudy here in Scottsdale today. This means there's one cloud in the sky. It's a pretty big cloud though, one those long wispy ones that seem to stretch miles and miles. It's set against a bright blue shiny sky though and it's 67 degrees.

I'm smiling right now after watching a little weather channel. Portsmouth is getting pummeled right now and I don't even own a shovel. Suckers!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

I am a sucker

I like to think of myself as a nice person. Last month I started a new job as a sales person of sorts. So, when I was approached by a Mishel from the Seacret kiosk at the mall I was polite. I told him that no, I did not want to try his lotion but thanks for the offer. He stopped me, looked at my nails and said "so you keep them natural, your nails?". I am what you call a 'low-maintenance' girl. So yeah, I keep 'em natural.

He starts in on his schpeal, holding my hand, and begins to buff my nail with the Seacret buffer. Now, all kinds of thoughts about germs and bacteria from all the other women Mishel has accosted are flying through my brain. For some reason though I just couldn't pull my hand away. I let him tell me all about the cotton and silk in his buffer, about the one year guarantee and then all of a sudden poof! I had a shiny, pretty nail.

Now the shininess was appealing and all but I certainly wasn't ready to pay $39.95 for a freaking shiny nail. Mishel just kept talking and complimenting me and then offered me a bargain and said he'd give me the whole shebang for just $19.95.

I didn't really want to buy this thing but I felt bad for poor Mishel. He had really worked hard to sell me this nail shit and I couldn't look into his pathetic eyes and disappoint him so I bought it.

I have to admit my nail is still shiny and I'm looking forward to trying it out on my toes. I wonder if there are any inherent sales techniques that I can learn from my experience with Mishel. I don't think pity is the way I want to go though so I'll have to think about it a little bit.

On a side note, it's getting kinda cold here in AZ. I think I'll turn on the fireplace (yes, I said turn on).

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

yeah redesign

There is something so refreshing about switching-up the design of your blog. It's akin to cleaning out the refridgerator or vacuuming your car. And, (drum roll please) I FINALLY figured out how to put my content in the middle of the page. I'm sure all of you with widescreens are thanking me right now. ;)

before & after

I have to give it up to Nikki at Sachi salon in Scottsdale, AZ. For the first time I can remember I got a haircut I actually like. What can I say? She listened to my concerns about layers, she felt out my need for something new but not crazy, and she sympathized with my inability to upkeep with any maintenance involving product or straight irons.

Since my camera is broken, I resorted to the worst form of internerd photography--the cellphone in the mirror self-portrait. They're kinda fuzzy but you can get the gist.



It may not seem substantial but as you can see I've got BANGS! I haven't had bangs since the days when we believed the higher the hair, the closer to God. And, as you can clearly tell, I ain't got no layers. Hallelujah!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Squeaky Squeaky

I love Saturday mornings. I love getting up with only personal tasks on my agenda. The sun is shining brilliantly today (as it usually does in AZ) and as I breathed in the fresh crisp air this morning I set my sights on cleaning.

I never, ever had an affinity for cleaning until I met my old college roommate Kate. She showed me the joy that is having a clean, well-arranged living space. Our apartment is in a relatively new complex where the floors are level, the appliances new, and the cobwebs non-existent. This is big for a girl who was previously living in an house built in 1800 where everything needed to be fixed or scrubbed all the time. Here there is only one layer of dust and it's dust that belongs solely to us.

In this I find pleasure. I so enjoyed putting in Fiona Apple's new CD, blasting "Extraordinary Machine" and scrubbing the shit out of my kitchen, vacuuming under the couch we've only had for a month, scouring the toilet, and making the bed. It's so much easier to get results here. After just 3 glorious hours of organizing, arranging, and dusting our little love abode sparkles just as it did when we moved in.

This afternoon I'm getting my hair cut (please pray for me). I have sever hair cut anxiety which is why I only do it about once or twice a year. EVERYTIME I get my long brown hair cut I tell my stylist that I hate layers and that I don't want them. Each and every time I walk out of the salon with a sickening layered do that requires a blow dryer and a hair straightener to keep it manageable. Even in that manageable state I hate the look. It's just not me!

So, I'm going into this new salon with an open mind. We'll see what comes of it. It's been ages since I chopped my hair last and it's way too long right now, like past my boobs long. Let's hope this wide canvas will give my stylist some room to give me a decent do.