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The Revolving Door

The revolving door known as my roommate situation has swung again. All of the other people who moved into my current place with me originally have moved out now. Sure, there are still some bills to figure out and items of mail to forward, but today life here changed again.

My latest new roommate will be moving in this weekend, and then all the rooms will be full again. I hope for another batch of folks I can call my friend. If you've got to have a revolving door, it's nice to make sure there's always laughter on my side.

Plus, it was about time for a new adventure. :)

Love always, ~Heather

A Million Gajillion Years

I know it feels like that long since I've posted here. Here's what's been going on:

I work on a team that has two responsibilities - I focus on the more communications side and my counterpart (a level above me, but not my direct supervisor) did more of the government relations. She left in August, and I am super excited for the new adventures her life is taking her on. However, this left me doing two jobs.

My team has a few other people on it too. Two full-time interns/fellows. Now they're not fetching coffee or making copies - they're doing substantial work; and one position was taken away in September. That left 80 hours of work a week (let's say that it's 80, instead of the reality which was 9+ hour days more than once a week) to be split among myself, a new fellow, my direct supervisor, and our administrative assistant. My direct supervisor is leaving in two weeks to start a company. That's an additional 60+ hours for the fellow, our assistant and me.

Party Fun

I am apparently the party person this week. My boyfriend Richard's birthday is today (festivities throughout the weekend with a party on Saturday), my counterpart at work has her last day on Friday so there's a send-off for her, and one of my favorite volleyball folks is having a baby shower on Sunday.

My kitchen has become a bakery of deliciousness - pictures to be posted soon - and there are various bags of presents and surprises scattered throughout my house. With all of the craziness going on in my life (to be elaborated on AFTER this week of parties is over), it's nice to be celebrating the fabulousness of change.

Another year for Richard. School and a new career for SC (Super Colleague). Life, literally for Jen.

In other barely tangentially related news, all of the long term setters in my life (that's a volleyball position for you non-sports folks) have been named Jen(n). An odd coincidence for someone who's been playing ball for 14 years.

Also, let it be known t…

No Power in the 'Verse

There's no power in the 'verse that can stop me.

Not you, thee faithless in my skills.
Not you, thee weak of heart and lacking in courage.
Not you, forces of awful interpersonal communication.
Not you, thee unwilling to do something for another - even a friend.
Not you, onions I cut way too thin and burned while trying to make onion rings (without a recipe).

I am strong and have faith in my abilities.
I am brave and pure of heart.
I am a master communicator (literally).
I am a friend.
I am going to have to start reading recipes before I cook.

No power in the 'verse can stop me.

Collaging to the Rescue

Anyone who ever visited my room in college probably noticed I'm a bit of a collage fanatic. There is just something so relaxing about cutting out fun things from print publications and then rearranging them, laying them out, and gluing them together to make art. Something that is perfectly me, perfectly creative and fun to look at, perfectly smart and put-together, perfectly perfect.

That urge to take something I find useful and wonderful on its own and then make it greater by simply rearranging sneaks into other parts of my life. It is how I schedule, edit my writing, decorate my house, frame pictures, make dinner ... you name it.

Today at work I had one of those moments - the ones you always hope for at work - where you know you actually got something done and were really able to help someone. A colleague had been working on a multi-page document that looked really text heavy and lacked cohesiveness. I took a pair of scissors and a glue stick and got started. I cut about 2 inches …

This is the part of my life I like to call

... not getting aggravated with stupid people.

I swear, if I wasn't such a people-person, I would really not like people (in the plural, impeding-my-path form).

I love my readers, my family, my friends, most strangers (as individuals), and a fair number of co-workers, former classmates, residents, and students. But there is something inside of me that just gets set on fire when someone ceases to use their brain.

If I wasn't nicer (and anti-murder), I would definitely plot ways to undo some of the social constructs that prevent "survival of the fittest" from happening.

There's a good chance the writer's block I've been experiencing all afternoon has effected my mood. I apologize.

Love always, ~Heather

Three Paragraphs and Cut Grass

Another late night after another long day. If I'm not careful, this is going to turn into a Les Miserables song.

Suffice it to say that the most productive components of my day involved writing a three paragraph letter (again and again and again) and eliminating as many weeds as possible from the backyard. I am slowly becoming an expert at running my landlord's ridiculously tempestuous lawnmower, which is evident in the buzz cut my grass got today.

In other news, I still really love ordering wings at the end of a long day (college, how you spoiled me), my phone charger is going to need some kind of St. Anthony intercession, and the algae blocker seems to have saved my fish tank from ruin.

This coming week is going to be the definition of an agonizing workload as one of the three people on my team is leaving on vacation for a week and I am her back-up. The House and Senate are going to mark up the appropriations bill, a new round of primaries are going to cause a round of mailings…

Merging

Things in Heather-land are changing. Big changes, small changes, the sorts of things you sit up and take notice of and the sorts of things you forget ten minutes later.

Let's start at the beginning: I am dating someone. As in, using the boy/girlfriend titles and sharing secrets and sneaking kisses in elevators; dating someone. I'm in a Relationship. I promised myself I would never become one of those girls who disappeared into a relationship, so my schedule has become even more insanely full than it was before. I don't mind even one, minuscule bit though, because he makes me ecstatically, emphatically happy.

(It occurs to me I should ask his permission to use his name or a derivation thereof, so I'm holding on further boyfriend storytelling for the moment.)

This has been a big change. Other big changes are going on at work, where people are dropping like flies. Not literally, but including interns and fellows, at least six of my colleagues will have left the organization …

La Soupe Oignon

Tonight I made french onion soup, Mastering the Art of French Cooking-style. It didn't turn out exactly as I predicted for a few reasons, but it was certainly delicious. Here are my suggested tweaks:
Use sweet yellow onions. Vidalia's are good but after all that cooking, were not super sweet.Don't cover the onions during the 40 minute simmer. They'll brown faster.Lamb stock is not ideal, as it has too much of its own flavor.If you make your own stock, simmer the herbs and spices into it independently, not as the soup simmers.Croutons should be baked to golden brown, not cinnamon brown.All that being said, it was a lovely soup. So lovely, in fact, that I have approximately 4-6 servings leftover. Anybody want some? :)

Always, ~Heather

Living Social Cynicism

I signed up for these online LivingSocial deal emails everyday, wherein I get an email about a local place that has a coupon for sale. Yes, for sale. Basically, you pay $10 or $25 or some amount for a coupon worth usually twice to three times that value. If you forward it around and three of your friends purchase it using the link originally sent to you, you get the coupon for free.

So today I was looking at one for miniature golf (which I love despite my occasional lack of aim) and talking to a friend about it since he'd already been to this place, and he said he'd go with me if I wasn't otherwise able to use the coupon with a date or other friend. Which is incredibly nice. Except my first thought was: "Will I still be friends with this person by the time I'm ready to use this coupon?"

Between friends who have fallen off the map (if I ever stop socializing because I magically conjure up a boyfriend, please beat me with a stick or something) or re-located , I&#…

Vacation!

I've been away for far too long, but my excuse is international and bi-coastal travel matched with some big changes at work and a transition into a new Heather-year. I have lots of pictures and tales to share (if you haven't already seen them on Facebook), and I'm hoping to become a bit more regular of a blogger again now that I have easy access to the Internet at home (hooray for new computers!).

My, how I've missed you.

Always, ~Heather

Point of Etiquette

In case you were wondering:

If someone invites you to something, it is polite to let them know whether or not you are coming - even if you will be unable to attend. Then the host(ess) can stop bugging you. It's a win-win.

Additionally, if you can't hang out with someone when they invite you to do something, the appropriate response is: "I'm sorry I can't make it, why don't we hang out [insert alternate time]?"

Seriously folks, this is getting ridiculous.

Lent as Refreshment

At the Ash Wednesday service tonight, the priest explained that this was a good opportunity to refresh ourselves as we take steps towards spring.

I like the idea of refreshing where things are. So after three blizzards this winter, I bought tickets for a cruise with Caroline (who you may remember as the awesome friend who came to visit me in France; drove through the blizzard in Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany; got lost with me in Barcelona; and showed me how to make apple goodness in Iowa). She's graduating from chiropractic school next Friday, and I couldn't be more proud of her. Which is why we're celebrating by taking this great Caribbean adventure.

In addition to that friend refreshment, and anticipated personal mental health boost from vitamin D, I'm also going to be doing a couple of self-cleansing things as my Lenten promises. I have some specific tasks planned out to improve my patience. For my roommates, I have a couple of literal cleaning tasks I plan to mak…

Silence, Revisited

Awhile back, I wrote about having to be silent - about cutting off communication with people who were hurting me more than being a positive force in my life.

One of the people I recently had to stop speaking to (let's call them Friend1) had a serious work crisis recently. With everything I knew they had going on, I couldn't not offer a listening ear. What was odd, was that this person didn't even seem to notice that we hadn't been in contact in months. That we, who were so close we were hanging out multiple times a week, had not had a single dinner, phone call, or chat conversation hadn't really registered as something being wrong.

One of the others (Friend2) sort of disappeared from my radar. You'd think this would be a good thing, since having to sever ties with someone is so incredibly painful. But it wasn't easier. It was harder. I was freaking out. What if they died? What if they were being hospitalized for something? What if they lost a family m…

If I actually listened to myself ...

... this is what I would tell me:

Breaking My Own Rule

So I have this rule (which I bet you wish was not starting sentences with the word "so") about not writing negative things on here, because, let's face it, we don't usually read our friends' blogs looking for the things that aren't going well in their lives. We read about the awesomeness of their little people (read: children), their pets, their fun adventures, their happiness. I don't know about you, but it sort of makes my day when I flip through the Friends section of my Reader to find out that so-and-so had a birthday, or this one is pregnant again. I love it.

So, (there I go again) I try not to vent. I try not to whine. But if you're really my friend and reading this, then I hope you want to hear about everything, and not just the good stuff. I hope you want to hear about me, not just the shiny, happy, reflection of me that sometimes appears in mirrors.

I'm having a perfectly good week by any normal scale. But I just can't get happy …

Oh my Jets, I love thee

I would just like to take this opportunity to say that I have been a Jets fan since approximately the 3rd grade. I've loved them every season, not just the ones that they've won. In fact, if I'd only loved them the seasons we won (yes, we), I would have rarely loved them at all.

I'm not sure what this says about me, that I have always been a sucker for underdogs. Maybe it was God's way of preparing me for being a Gamecock fan later in life.

Or maybe my heart is just too big for its own good.

Either way, I'm looking forward to next week.

Love always, ~Heather

Finding My Soul Mate

So I was just watching Grey's Anatomy, the end of last season where Izzy is talking about the biggest days of your life, and how they usually just start out as normal days. How you don't even realize it's going to be an important day until after it becomes big. Until you realize you don't want the day to end because there just isn't enough time.

She suggested some types of days that fit into this category, including the day you meet your soul mate. Now, I am convinced that soul mates are like people, mostly we're born in ones. You know, just you in there with all that fabulous amniotic fluid. But others are born in twos, or threes, or more. I tend to think I am one of the lucky ones born with more than one soul mate (though I was definitely born all by my lonesome).

I met my first soul mate the summer before I started college. I didn't know it that day. In fact, I thought he was a bit scandalous and crude (actually, I sometimes still think that). He …

The Return of Adventures in France

It's been a long time since this blog - orginally named Adventures in France - was actually written on from France. However, I couldn't let the opportunity pass me by to say hello to everyone from Vitré, France.

So far, the trip has been exceptional. All of the transportation went well, 2010 was rung in in style, and I've visited Mont St. Michel and St. Malo. I have plenty of details and pictures to share, but I'm remembering how long it took me to get used to the different keyboard here.

For now, I wish everyone a happy, healthy, joyous New Year; and I'll post all the fun details when I get back to the States at the end of the week.

Hugs, kisses, and love always,
~Heather