November 15, 2007

Construction Delays (Part One)

During the summer of 2002 I was scouting out the Sacramento area Peet’s Coffee locations in preparation for my move up from Los Angeles in August to finish school. After a four year hiatus from college I wanted an easy transition back to student life so I had decided to step down from my management position with Peet’s and transfer to a NorCal location as a regular barista to work fewer hours.

At the time I only knew my family who lived in Lincoln, so I began to look around Roseville for an apartment. Roseville was a 25 minute commute to school, but a brand new Peet’s was supposed to be opening there that summer across from the GREAT! BIG! MALL! I'm sure you can imagine my excitement. But as moving time grew closer, I kept getting the same update about the Roseville Peet’s.

Construction delays.

I realized that my only option was going to be to work at the one Sacramento Peet's location, which meant it would make more sense to move to Sacramento proper. I was bummed because this meant I would be farther from the only souls I knew(and of course that GREAT! BIG! MALL!) but I figured living closer to school and work would afford me the opportunity to meet more people -- and let me tell you, it was one of the best things I ever did. Those construction delays brought me to a major turning point in my life.

In November of 2003, a little over a year after settling into my new Peet’s and my new Sacramento life, a few new holiday hires joined our store. One of them happened to be a guy named Garrett and the first thing I ever noticed about him were his incredible eyes (fret not, his cute behind I would notice later). I was instantly attracted to him, but this is far from a love-at-first-sight story.

If you must know the truth, I can be a little judgmental. Snap judgments seem to be my biggest flaw, but trust me when I tell you this particular situation has certainly taught me a lesson in that. The thing about Garrett's arrival is that I wasn’t the only girl who had noticed. There was plenty of buzz surrounding him, and I thought to myself smugly, "Let the rest of these chicks swoon over him just because he's pretty. I'm so beyond that!" You see, I had just spent 4 years doing some soul searching in Los Angeles (remarkably enough you can find your soul down there if you know where to look) and I felt like I was discriminating, damnit! I had come to Sacramento with a fiercely independent attitude, and I certainly was not going to fall prey to another pretty boy with too much gel in his hair who used to work at The Gap. Been there, done that.

I decided just about instantly that Garrett and I had nothing in common and thus acted accordingly. In my book he was just another prepped out, spoiled douchebag and my independent, all knowing self just didn’t have the time for that.

To this day, that is something I regret.

I spent a good 6-8 months not being the friendliest to him, though I never could quite get those eyes out of my mind. I remember once we had a conversation standing behind the pastry case at Peet’s and the entire time I don’t think I heard a word he was saying. I was absolutely hypnotized by his eyes, and I managed in that conversation to unknowingly twist a button off the back pocket of the green Capri pants I was wearing. When I did, there was sort of an awkward pause in the conversation, I can still see it vividly. And it was in that moment I knew that I had feelings for him.

It was this giant tidal wave of emotion, and I immediately felt self conscious – sure that it was written all over my face. At the time I don't think Garrett even noticed it, but in hindsight I am surprised that I even kept myself speaking in coherent sentences. I don’t wear those pants at all anymore because they are covered in coffee stains and not to mention kind of out of style, but every time I clean out my closet I can’t bring myself to throw them out because they absolutely remind me of that moment when I knew. That moment of realization that all of my self righteous ignoring and immature behavior had really just boiled down to that elementary school style of showing affection – be mean to the ones you truly love.

I wrestled with that epiphany for a while and put it in the back of my mind. As I realized what a jerk I had been and amended that behavior, we slowly became better friends (there's a shocker) and piece by piece we told each other our stories over shared pitchers of Newcastle, and long phone calls that didn't end until one of us fell asleep. We exchanged CDs with each other, and began a tradition of doing pub trivia at Streets of London every Sunday night with a few of our other co-workers. Now, as a fully corporate Monday thru Friday 9 to 5-er, I can tell you with one hundred percent certainty that I have never looked forward to a Sunday night with such anticipation as I did during that time in my life.

The best part of our newfound friendship was that on top of Garrett being a wonderful guy that I was loving to get to know, he was also my coworker (which, hello! meant I got to see him ALL THAT MUCH MORE). A few mornings per week he would be the first face I saw at 5am when we would roll into Lyon Village with our sleepy faces on and claim our regular parking spots. Those mornings are some my clearest and fondest memories of that time – the days when I got up a little bit earlier to plan my outfit and used just a little extra anticipatory Cool Mint Listerine.

I can see those days in my mind still– how on the outside they must have looked like dark, foggy, winter mornings so full of routine when the rest of Sacramento was still asleep -- but on the inside it was actually toasty warm, we were drinking espresso, cracking inside jokes, and accidentally brushing arms while making drinks. The intimacy was palpable and we built a relationship over coffee beans that plays over and over in my head to a soundtrack of Radiohead, Stars, Muse, and The Arcade Fire. To this day when I hear Muse's "Endlessly" it makes my heart beat just a little bit quicker in remembrance of that time.

But this phase in our relationship did ultimately cause a problem of its own. Not really dating, but having a relationship that didn't really qualify as being "just friends" meant we were in limbo-- and this went on for a LONG time. For OVER A YEAR! And let me tell you, for a high strung gal like me who is always trying to take action in her life– that limbo phase ate me up inside. In my mind it all made sense-- Boy: check, Great Chemistry: check, Butterflies: check, Shared Values: check – the potential was amazing and every day that it wasn’t being realized it began to irritate me more and more. All this philosophizing about life and agreeing about relationship standards-- all the laughing and having fun and the late night phone calls just weren't working for me without a label (I know, I’m a total spaz – spare your comments, I’m totally aware). BUT I WANTED A TITLE DAMNIT! I was an English major, I liked definitions, words that identified things. Words, to me, brought clarity, and I wanted it settled in my mind already. I wanted to know what we were doing, where we were going, and I definitely wanted that fairytale exclamation that Garrett had loved me this whole time-- you know, confessed preferably in some romantic, grandiose fashion

Ha!

Unfortunately that wasn’t exactly how we came to be. The beginning of my relationship with Garrett was wrought with its own construction delays...

Story Continued here

November 14, 2007

Three Cheers for Girls Night!

I've been jonesing for some girl time this week and tonight really quenched that thirst:

6 pm - meet Garrett for tea over at Peet's just to check in. With his mom in town our visits have been few and far between, but we spent a little time together just to say hi and chit chat face to face. Even though he's a boy, that quick visit was a great way to start my evening.

7 pm - Talked to my mom...for an HOUR! About what, you ask? Who Cares? It didn't matter that I had already talked to her twice today -- we somehow mustered up 60 minutes worth of stuff to gab about.

Put on Pajamas.

8 pm - Watched America's Next Top Model with the roommate and made bitchy comments about how stupid all the models are. (Bianca is such a hater -- and dang that photo shoot made her look like Dennis Rodman!) Threw in a few sarcastic remarks about Tyra Banks just for good measure.

Ate Dessert.

9 pm - Watched tonight's episode of Oprah aptly titled "The Greatest Love Story Ever." In tears after 10 minutes. Holy hell, have you heard this story? It was just about the sweetest love story every!! I dare you not to cry!

Now we are just waiting for the Season Premiere of Project Runway, which I'll be watching right before I curl up into bed with the ubiquitous Eat, Pray, Love.

What can I say, some nights are Ladies' Nights, and tonight there are no boys allowed.

November 13, 2007

Asked and Answered

So if you refer to yesterday's wishlist, it included getting out of jury duty and having a day off of work so that I could just read and relax. Although I also did a ridiculous amount of errands, today was spent mostly reading, killing time on the internet, enjoying tea and pancakes as I watched the View (shut up!) in my pajamas -- and this was all because I ended up NOT have to go to jury duty today. CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT? Is that a 24 hour turnaround or what? Hallelujah!

If you must know the truth though, the real reason I got out of jury duty was because I didn't read the form correctly and I actually just have to call tomorrow night to see if I have it on Thursday. So all this time worrying about "Tuesday's Jury Duty" has kind of been for naught. Huh. So sue me, I guess I'm a bit of a rookie at this. But while we're talking about I was wondering -- if you have it in your heart, will you cross your fingers for me tomorrow that I get the word that I don't have to go back on the following day-- because frankly, I got the sitting-around-doing-nothing out of my system today and I certainly don't feel like doing it again on Thursday at a Courthouse. I mean, I hear down there that there is no wi-fi OR pancakes. And that would be a travesty!

November 12, 2007

10 Things I Want Right Now

1. You to forgive me. So, apparently my smug Next Iron Chef prediction yesterday was incorrect, and actually Michael Symon won. Humph!
2. A Doctor's Note to get me out of jury duty tomorrow.
3. My pride back. I just fell down the stairs at my work and totally clawed up my hand. There was someone at the bottom watching. Awesome.
4. A home cooked meal. I went home for lunch only to find that basically my fridge is empty except for condiments, one Corona, old orange juice, mascarpone cheese, and a ball of pizza dough from Trader Joe's.
5. A massage. See #3.
6. A day off to lay in bed and read. Although if you see #2, it is sort of a happy medium. I won't be in bed, but I will be armed with reading material, and most likely hours of free time.
7. A new car. It's not what you think. I'm not that spoiled. My car was totalled on August 9th and I have yet to replace it. I've been lucky enough to have Garrett loan me his second car (don't worry, he's not spoiled either, it's a hand me down 1991 Toyota Cressida that belonged to his granmother). This has worked swimmingly until this weekend when the radiator started acting up. It's old, it's allowed to, but I just hate that feeling of unreliable transportation and think it is probably time to start looking for cars seriously.
8. A day off work.
9. Grey's Anatomy to be on 7 nights a week.
10. The heater in my apartment to start working.


I dont know, is that too much to ask?

November 11, 2007

November 10, 2007

I can't see.

Dear Internet,

I can't see myself blogging today. I'm not even sleeping at my own house, and the computer I am on at the moment uses dial up internet. Extensive blogging might blow it up.

Until Sunday...

November 09, 2007

Doing My Homework

I'm working from home today for a multitude of reasons. The most pressing reason is that I have like 500 things to take care of before Monday, and my office is full of other obligations that ironically enough can sometimes keep me from doing actual work. My boss is awesome and was like "hey, do it at home, in your pajamas, drinking some tea." Awesome, right? Home is supposed to hold less distractions, less stress. Honestly though, I am feeling totally possessed right now by the idea of the laundry I could be doing, the kichen I could be cleaning, um...the blog I should be writing -- yeah. This is harder than it looks. Wait, hang on a sec, I think I just stepped on a crumb, I should go grab the vaccuum.

IT'S SO HARD.

It's funny how something that seems like such a relief -- "working from home" (sigh)-- is actually proving to be more difficult that keeping chatty coworkers at bay. Advice?

November 08, 2007

The Devil is in the Details: A Photo Essay

Before we get started, I feel obligated to state that I do not think I am the most fashionable person on the planet. In fact, I am quite sure I would be laughed right out of Rachel Zoe's office due to the fact that just about my entire wardrobe consists of cheap and easily mixable pieces -- namely GAP favorite tees, jeans, and sometimes the occasional colorful item from oh, I don't know Target. For the record though, most of the time I think I look relatively put together and it has mainly to do with how I accessorize my bare bones wardrobe. In my humble opinion, the quickest and easiest way to spice up any plain jane ensemble is in the details, and the following are some tactics I employ on a regular basis. For Example:

1. Heels

I double dog dare to you to wear heels and not feel pretty. Okay so if you have a hard time walking in them and fall on your face, you may not feel so pretty -- That one I'll give you. But seriously it only takes a little practice, start with a kitten heel and move up from there and you will immediately have a foolproof way of making even jeans and a t shirt look classy.

2. Cute Flats

Because hammer toes ARE NOT sexy. Wanting to feel pretty and spending everyday in heels is like wanting to look young and laying in a tanning bed on your lunch hour. No bueno in the long run, ya know? But that doesn't mean you can't rock the flats, or quite frankly your creamsicle complexion -- the world has no shortage of leather faced girls! Cute, flat shoes can add some sugar and spice to even the simplest attire.

3. Flip Flops

Oops! Wait, scratch that. I'm pretty sure flip flops never "make" the outfit, but who doesn't love them? What did I ever do before Old Navy and their Rainbow Brite wall of $3 flip flops?

4. Baubles

Haha! I just like that word. I don't actually have any, really, but I do like a big fun necklace every once in a while. If nothing else, 9 times out of 10 they are a great conversation piece, and nobody notices that underneath it is that plain black favorite tee again.

5. Scarves!

Silk scarves, wool scarves, it doesn't really matter. They are all absolutely fabulous and worthy of wear whenever you have a chance. I love to tie them on my neck, on my purse, on my head -- the possibilities are kind of endless, no?

And last but not least, if nothing else works and you must call in for reinforcement, you should always have an option or two for going incognito:



It beats wearing a paper bag over your head, right?

November 07, 2007

Dear Target,

Ok seriously, the fact that Christmas is around the corner is totally blowing my mind. You see Target, every year come the first of November, all of a sudden the greedy "I want" monster that usually lives dormantly inside of me is fiercly unleashed. Everywhere I go, there are multitudes of things I just want to run off with. And everything feels like a MUST HAVE. I need that turtleneck, I must hang that wreath, that purse would be perfect for the holiday party, wouldn't those new plates make that dinner taste better? You don't help with this my dear friend, you are making me lose all sense of reason.

Don't get me wrong, Target, I've always liked you, but seriously, during this time of year you feel like a compulsion that I am working daily to fight off. I need a remedy. Maybe there's there a vitamin for that? Ooooooh, might you perhaps sell it in your Toiletries Section? Hey- wait- No! Damn you Target! There you go again, luring me in with your sensible products. You are like the super strength sickness that has become immune to all antibiotics. I mean how am I supposed to be able to my q tips and toothpaste in peace when I have to see stuff like this lying around:



Seriously. I want that kitchen. I NEED that kitchen. But look, its not even really a kitchen! Your marketing folks are geniuses, you know. I mean really, just randomly placed appliances sitting on a table? Yet I still feel an immediate lust for it. It doesn't matter that I have almost everything there already because I don't have them in RED! And don't even get me started on your adorable TV ads with their catchy songs. ARGH!

Look, I'm trying to be nice here. I don't want this to get all ugly or anything, all I'm saying is -- quit reading my diary, ok? Oh yeah, and one last thing -- did I hear correctly that your cover charge is going from $50 per visit to $150? Get back to me, could ya?

XOXOXO,
Holly

November 06, 2007

Does YOUR Nightstand Do This?


Mine seems to multiply when I'm not looking. It starts off with the book I'm reading, then I get an idea about what I want to read next, then I get a recommendation...and then it all goes downhill.

Current Read: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Quick and easy, I am burning through this one at every opportunity. Too bad I picked it up in the middle of reading our BookClub book.
BookClub Selection: The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud. I'm only about 60 pages into this one and I have to have it read by the 19th.
Beach Read Without A Beach: Make Him Look Good by Alisa Valdez Rodriguez. My cousin gave this to me in August at The Treehouse -- it looks fun and sugary, but still unopened.
Rest In Peace: IV by Chuck Klosterman. One of my favorite writers, this is a collection of unabridged magazine articles such as SPIN spanning the past decade. He's hysterical and I read about half of this at Pajaro Dunes and it has now apparently come to my nightstand to die.
On Loan From My Aunt: Grace (Eventually) Thoughts On Faith by Anne Lamott. Graciously given to me by my Aunt (hi Elizabeth!) who is one of the only members of my family who loves Lamott as much as I do. Yup, still sitting there.
Too Pretty To Read: Glamorama by Bret Easton Ellis (who I LOVE!) But sunshine and summer don't always mix with an Ellis novel. This one had to wait.
Overhyped Now Undermotivated: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Garrett bought this for me at 1/2 Price Books because it has been on my "To Read" List for ages. Before I had a chance, my roommate read it and said it was only alright. HUMPH!
Less Than 300 Pages, No Excuse: Old School by Tobias Wolff. Enough said.
Pretty Cover But Needs to be Retitled: How To Be Good by Nick Hornby. Too bad it's not called How to Be Good at Reading the books that are multiplying like gremlins on your nightstand. Maybe then I would be further along.

So...What are you reading?

November 05, 2007

Whining and Dining

Though I'm not usually one to frequent your your run of the mill franchised dining establishments, on Friday night Garrett and ended up at Mimi's Cafe. Shut up! Don't judge me, their French Onion Soup kicks ass and means I don't have to spend hours in my kitchen in tears slicing onions and then caramelizing them (although I did get new soup crocs for my birthday and I am dying to use them!) Um, Quick sidebar: I'm pretty sure all of my birthday presents involved food or the preparation of food, is that weird? Wait, don't answer that.
Anyway, back to Mimi's...Our meal was only ok, but I have to say the environment was what was most entertaining and almost a bit Twilight Zone-ish. Did you know that the only people who go to Mimi's on a Friday night are members of the Red Hat Society and men and women who are meeting their Internet Blind Dates for the first time? Well it's true. And although the last one made for great people watching, I can't say I'm dying to go back there on a Friday night -- oh and did I mention the parking lot smelled like sewage? Yeah, so if you are interested in that, you should really head over there pronto. Me, not so much.

On the other hand I am quite interested in eating at the following three places, in no particular order. Not only do I have coupons but they're NEW! And who doesn't love new restaurants? Well okay, not all of them are new, but at least new to downtown:

*Chicago Fire - okay so it's not new -- anyone who has had a drunken night at Powerhouse Pub in Folsom knows of the delights that are Chicago Fire Pizza, but now instead of the trek to Folsom, there is one on J Street. Yay. That one is a bit more in walking distance, if you know what I mean. On a totally unrelated note, did you know that you can have the World Famous Giorodano's Pizza in Chicago overnight you a pizza in dry ice for only $16? My God, I love the internet!

*Stonegrill and Bar - Okay, so I pretty much HEART Nishiki Sushi, and since they are the masterminds behind this restaurant, I am definitely interested in giving it a chance. And cooking on stones? Ok, maybe. That could be fun. But did I mention I have a coupon for a free entree? FREE. DINNER. That did it. Now I'm definitely interested in giving it a chance. The weird part though, check out the "menu" section on their website. I hope they're using that term loosely...Pretty informative, eh? And no I'm not from Canada, so shut up.

*Three Monkeys - The idea that they serve Modern American Cuisine, Sushi, and have a "Saloon" has sort of piqued my curiosity. How are the owners going to get these ideas together under one roof succesfully? And do they hang out with Guy Fieri eating Rock-n-Roll Sushi/BBQ on the weekends? Because I think we all know how that turned out...

Any other must-eats that you recommend?

November 04, 2007

Because Thank You Notes Show Gratitude

Dear Universe,

Thank you so much for recently making all of my Le Creuset dreams come true. I wanted you to know how much I appreciated you understanding that enameled stoneware and I go together like ham and eggs, spic and span, um...gin and tonic? Right...so anyway, like I was saying -- Thanks! I wouldn't want you to think I wasn't grateful. Because I'm very grateful, I have had so much fun with that pot and plan on many more future shenanigans just me and my dutch oven. Did you like the picture I posted? Yeah, pretty neat huh, all shiny and red and stuff. Well, since you asked, I took that with the digital camera I currently have. It's cute, and small, and fits in my purse and stuff, but sometimes it takes me 5 or 6 attempts for me to get the shot I'm trying to get. It's not the camera's fault, I mean it has proved to be quite the companion over the years while I was learning to docuement my life digitally. But it's nothing like, oh...I don't know...this guy:


Have you heard of him? Yeah he's supposed to be pretty cool. And I was just thinking that if you have one hanging around, that needs a new home -- I mean, I'm nice, and I like pictures you know. So, uh, it's just something to keep in mind.

I'm just saying...

November 03, 2007

The Art of the Give and Take

Have you seen the people who lurk in the video game aisles in Best Buy? Well today that was me, and not really because I'm a gamer or anything. Wait a minute, did I just say "gamer"? I don't know where that came from because I'm fairly certain that I've never said that word aloud. Hmmmm. Anyway, so Garrett was looking for something specific (sorry I'm outing your video game habit baby) and so lucky for me I got to hang around with people who ya know, might potentially be looking to spend their time playing things called Alien Disco Safari and whatnot.


They're an interesting group. (*Note: Just to clarify Garrett wasn't there to buy Alien Disco Safari, but I totally made him take a picture with it because it was so ridiculous. In the middle of Best Buy. You'd love me too if I was your girlfriend.)

So afterwards just because I was trying to make up for taking random photos in the video game section, I also happily headed over in the Sci Fi/Horror section of DVDs. (It was there that I made the connection that people who play things Alien Disco Safari also seem to have a hankering for movies that involve aliens as well. Hmmm...what does it all mean?) So I think it goes without saying that I was slightly out of my element, but I was still enjoying myself because I was in such good company. The whole shopping trip, though not exactly my cup of tea, was still a major blast because Garrett was so enthralled. And do you know, lo and behold, the Universe rewarded me...
You see, afterwards, after all the hob nobbing with Halo Freaks, Yoda fans, the occasional person who actually knows the difference between Blue Ray and HD DVD and has a vested interest in which company comes out on top -- do you know what I go to do? I got to traipse around Old Navy looking at clothes and shoes and crappy plastic headbands and metallic clutches and shruggy off the shoulder sweaters made out of wool (which really, do those make sense to anyone?) -- and the entire time Garrett followed me, holding my crap, encouraging my purchases, and all the while telling me that I looked cute. And at the end -- at the end of my little shopping excursion -- HE BOUGHT ME SHOES!!! Super Incredibly Cute shoes that I promptly put on when we left the store. I mean seriously, could a Saturday afternoon end any better.


How did I get so lucky?

November 02, 2007

Wishful Thinking - Rewarded!

I sent a little love letter to the Universe around this time last year via the blogosphere stating that All I Really Wanted was a Le Creuset Dutch Oven that was shiny and sparkly and new. Well the Universe sure doesn't have a 24 hour turnaround, but fortunately for me I have a pretty stellar boyfriend who took the hint (or perhaps just couldn't take the constant ooh-ing and aah-ing Every Single Time we passed one) and look what showed up at my house for my birthday:


Don't you just want to kiss it? I wanted to kiss it! In truth, my love for it was so intense that I wanted to take it out of the box immediately and curl up with it and whisper sweet nothings, but I read once somewhere that enameled stoneware doesn't really like to cuddle, so instead I made soup! Delicious soup, as it were, which by the way was also made possible in part due to the other fabulous birthday gift I received.

All in all I'm starting to think this Love Letter thing might work. And I definitely know it's going to be a good Winter!

November 01, 2007

Just Say the Word....

There is a gentleman who works in the cafeteria/Starbucks at my office who looks a bit like Tone Loc. So much so that almost every morning when I see him I inevitably get some terrible song like "Funky Cold Medina" in my head for at least 15 minutes afterward. So this morning I am waiting in line to order my usual latte (shame on me) and he busts out with an impromptu version of Phil Collins' "Sussudio" and honestly it brightened up my whole morning. I mean I didn't even have to start playing mindless Fergie songs on loop in my head just to stop the singing of "Wild Thing" under my breath -- which mind you, is probably not the most appropriate utterance while walking through the hallways at my place of employment.

But as I was walking back to my desk I kept wondering to myself, what in the hell does Sussudio mean? I mean seriously, is that even a word? Well hallelujah! internet, I just googled that exact question (complete with punctuation, thank you very much) and found this. I mean really, who knew? Did you? If so, kudos my friend, you are smarter than me. I bet you also knew that Falco died in a helicopter crash in the Dominican Republic, didn't you, you smug little shit? If not though, feel free to thank me later when you are on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and that is the million dollar question and Regis or Meredith Viera or whoever hosts that god awful show now asks you and you are able respond with zeal! Or at least call me so I can Tivo it, ok?

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