Friday, December 14, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I think I mentioned it earlier this week


Tonight is my company Christmas Party and I’m totally amped.  I’m taking my partner in crime and potential future baby-daddy, Han.  Every single girl needs a platonic friend to be arm-candy for her when events come to call.  And he makes damn good arm-candy. 

I’m wearing a silky, one shoulder, knee-length dress that poofs out at the bottom in a black/silver/purple/white print with a sparkly blazer over top.  None of the sweaters or shrugs I had with it so I’m going to go a little funky with the blazer instead.  I still can’t wear heels because of my injured ankle, so I’ll be wearing my black sparkly sandals.  Other than those, I’m excited about my outfit.

I also made a new multi-strand sparkly necklace and set of earrings to wear tonight.  My hair is going to be barrel curled into my favorite fun and flirty look.  I opted not to color it, even though my (oh so numerous!) grays are showing through quite a bit.  I’m not sure why but I’ve kind of been enjoying the gray hairs lately.  (Who wants to bet that I’ll be over them and color my hair before New Year’s?) 

We also got our Christmas bonuses today! As the hours started ticking on I was a little afraid that maybe we’d be getting Griswolded this year, but our VP came around and delivered them to us with a smile on his face.  Twas wonderful!

This weekend I’m going to be doing all of my Christmas shopping.  For the most part, I’m going to do as much of it at locally-owned stores as I can.  Gotta support my community!  Now I just have to figure out what to get my parents and my brother.

I’m also going to finally get a fish this weekend.  I’ve had the fish tank set up for three weeks now and my tank desperately needs some fishies.  Time for me to commit to what kind of fish I want. 

But anyway – this post is about Christmas!  So, here are some things that I’m planning to do or have already done to ring in the season:

Holiday Baking!  My best girls and I already did our one-day Christmas baking extravaganza.  My treats were well-loved by my coworkers and disappeared in the span of just a few hours.  I have also made some mint oreo balls and plan to make pizzelles and fudge yet this year for my family Christmas.

Holiday Decorating!  I started to put my decorations up the date after Thanksgiving and was all done by the Monday after.  There are so many decorations all around my apartment, it’s so blissfully cheerful every day.  Here are a few of my favorite things:

I decorated it all on my own!

Because every tree needs a robot.
 Snow!  Mother Nature gave us some snow last weekend and I reveled in it.  Now, it’s all melted but I’m holding out hope that next week we get a ton of it.  I want a foot of snow in one night.  There’s nothing I love more than walking on the quiet city streets during a snowfall, listening to Christmas music.  Which brings me to…

Christmas Music!  I said it earlier this week that I’ve pretty much only been listening to Christmas music since Thanksgiving came and went.  But what I’m most excited for is Christmas eve and Christmas day listening to The Carpenters Christmas Portrait with my family when we celebrate.  I don’t think there’s ever been a better Christmas album.

Festivus! Every year on the night of December 23, my friends and I celebrate Festivus in the grandest tradition of the day!  With copious amounts of alcohol, the airing of grievances, feats of strength, ugly Christmas sweaters, holiday chanting and stumbling home at 4am to sleep for a few hours before family time begins the next day.

Christmas Eve!  Even though I live in the same town as my parents, I always stay at their house on Christmas Eve.  My brother, Clockwork, will be in town and we’ll be traveling to my Grandfather’s house that night to celebrate with my mom’s side of the family.  Then Clockwork and I will stay up late wrapping Christmas presents, watching Red Dwarf and giggling like 12-year olds.

Christmas Day!  Need I say more?  Mom, Dad, Clocky and I will be exchanging gifts, most likely early in the day, then heading to my aunt’s house for a nice lunch with some more family.  That night, if all goes according to plan, my former roomie and I will be drinking vodka and having a slumber party at the barpartment and staying up until 4am playing Kinect and acting like 12-year olds.  Christmas is pretty much the best time to act like a 12-year old.

New Year’s Eve -  UMM.  Hey, kids, what are we doing on New Year’s Eve? 

I hope you all have a fabulous Holiday Season too!  I’m sure I’ll be blogging more in the next couple of weeks but probably not quite as heavily as I have been lately.

Happy Holidays!
Annie Jay

P.S. – Can you tell I’ve had a lot of caffeine today?

P.P.S. – Can you tell I’ve been playing on Instagram?  Check me out.

P.P.P.S – Love me.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just Call Me Miss Wishy-Washy

My date last night was great.

He showed up at our meeting place 45 minutes early, which of course took me out of my pre-date zen routine (eating a light dinner, primping, telling myself I’m awesome, etc.) and into “AHHH I’ve gotta go mode”.  So that was a little annoying.  But I shrugged it off.  He probably didn’t know how long it would take him and I decided I wasn’t going to rush myself just because he was early. 

So I got there promptly at our agreed upon time.  He was already sitting in the booth I had planned on us sitting at, which was a nice surprise (it’s farthest away from the door and would be less cold than any other seat).  He was also a little better looking than his pictures had been online, which was also a nice reversal from the way these things usually go.

And he’d ordered me my beer of choice so it was nice that he had been paying attention to our conversations - I’d actually forgotten telling him until I saw what he was drinking and I remembered teasing him about his favorite beer. 

The conversation flowed pretty smoothly and we laughed a lot.  He bought all of my drinks and put money in the jukebox and we took turns picking songs.  It was very pleasant.  He was polite and gentlemanly, but not in that annoying too-nice kind of way.  We had a nice kiss at the end of the date and an agreement to see each other again.

But today… well… I’m not sure if I have enough faith in romance to give a (barely) long-distance relationship a try.  Hell, I couldn't even decide if I should post about this today!

I guess we’ll see!

Annie Jay

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Crossing My Fingers

Before I start my real post –

Dear Makers of Wide-mouth Cans,

Why?  Maybe my mouth is exceptionally small or something but - Dammit! I hate you.

The Girl With The Wet Blouse


So I have that date tonight.  I’m getting a little apprehensive.  I’ve been on so many bad or just completely BLAH dates that I don’t know if I can take another one.  I hope this is at least a fun evening.

This guy and I have been texting like crazy for the last several days and in text he seems pretty decent.  But I kind of hate that – the texting a lot before actually meeting thing.  You start to form a stronger connection before even figuring out what the person is like in real life.  In some cases it’s just fine, but texting affords an ability to be able to think through your responses before everything. 

What if he’s not witty when he’s face to face with me and doesn’t have a Backspace button to save him from making a bad joke?

We haven’t met yet because he doesn’t live in my town.  He’s just an hour and a half away so he’s coming to my town tonight.  This was his suggestion, which was a definite plus – not expecting me to be the first one to travel.  We decided to get a drink somewhere we could sit and chat and get to know each other.  So naturally, I chose Paul’s

Do I know how to wow a guy, or what?

But all of this has got me thinking of what I expect from a relationship if I am to get into one.  

Here’s a little list of what I want in a man:

You have to be fun.  I did the safe and easy doormat relationship in the past.  I want someone who can go out and have fun with me and not make me feel guilty for wanting to be around my totally kickass friends.

You have to be reliable.  Don’t back out on me.  Don’t let me down when I’m in a crunch.  If I really need something (for instance, if my car stops working and I need a ride) and you aren’t doing anything, you’d better get off your ass and come rescue me.

You have to be tidy.  Listen, I can be just as messy – if not messier – than the next person when I’m left to my own devices.  But as soon as I know company is coming, I make sure my house is clean and tidy.  The only time I let anyone see my apartment in an unkempt state is if they’re one of my closest friends.  (Or if, like last Friday night when Han and I were relaxing and watching BSG, friends who were at the bar downstairs decided to come upstairs unannounced and look in all of my closets. *evil stare* You know who you are.)

You have to be smart.  For the love of the gods, please have at least have the ability to carry out intelligent discourse with me. 

You can’t be a douche.  Although I want you to be smart, please don’t be a dick about it.  Well, ok, you can be a dick about it every once in a while, but not all the time, ok? You have to be able to enjoy low-brow things as much as you enjoy the high-brow.

You have to be at least a little geeky.  Or at least appreciate the fact that I am really geeky.  I play video games, I watch/read/write Sci-Fi/Fantasy so I don't want you to expect that to stop.  But I don’t want you to be so geeky that you spend your entire life inside and hide from the sun.  I like the sun, yo.

You have to like spending time with my family and friends.  You have to like at least 75% of them.  They’ve been in my life for a hell of a long time.  If you don’t want to be around them, I probably won’t want to be around you.  You also can't talk bad about them until you've gotten to know them.  Even if I'm mad at them, you just nod and give me hugs, not join in on my bad-mouthing because chances are, I'll get over being mad at them but I might not like the mean things you said about them.

You can’t be overly religious.  I’m sorry, I just don’t do God or the church.  Like, at all.

You have to believe that gay marriage is a civil rights issue.  If you can love me, then men can love other men, and women can love other women.  If you don’t believe that same-sex couples have the same rights as heterosexual couples, your beliefs offend me and I won’t put up with them.

You have to believe that the government has no right to tell a women what to do with her body.  Whether you believe abortion is wrong or not, you should at least understand that the government has no right to tell anyone what they can and cannot do with their body.

You have to be giving.  Give back to your community.  Give back to those in need.  Just give, when you can, please.  (Hint: You can probably give more often than you think you can.)

You can’t be mean and you can’t be a doormat.  I want a person who is assertive in a tactful manner.  I’m assertive as hell and I need someone who is willing to work with me, not control me or let me control them.

So there’s a list of what I’m looking for.  If you think these items pertain to you, please apply for a date in the comment section below.

Much love,
Annie Jay

PS – Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Although There's Snow On the Ground, the Grass is Awfully Green Today

I’m feeling light today - like I could fly up into the air and soar across the sky.  (And use overused similes))

Not just because I started talking to a new boy.  Yes, I put my dating pants on the shelf for a little while… and then they fell off that shelf and I put them on again.  I’ve never been very good at holding myself back.  …Unless it comes to commitment, in which case, I’m really good at holding myself back.

So I have a date Wednesday night. I have all kinds of thoughts (positive, apprehensive, indifferent…) about that but I don’t really want to talk about them just this moment.  I’ll report back after the date.

Anyway, I’m feeling good.

Why this sudden change?  I guess that my chemicals and what not are just balancing better this week.

Or because we FINALLY got some snow!  I love snow.  Love it love it love it.  I could never live in a place that doesn’t have seasons.

Or because I’m just feeling the love.

For one thing – I flipping LOVE the Holiday season.  I never listen to the radio (I listen to my CDs or mp3s instead) but for the last week my car and kitchen radios have been tuned to the station that plays Christmas music all day everyday.  My house looks festive and warm.  In short, I’m in Holiday Heaven.

And my coworkers are fabulous.  We have such a great dynamic in our department right now.  Everyone is getting along.  Everyone is pulling their own weight and helping out everyone else.  From past experience, I know these times come in waves.  Sometimes our team dynamic sucks, other times it’s great - It just makes me appreciate the great times all the more.

I also have amazing friends to thank for my happiness.  Friends like Francesca and Han, who understand the value of just providing another friend with company – without expecting them to be entertaining in the process.  Friends like Mac who are reliable and always there to rescue you when you’re in need.  Friends who like to do silly things that people our age shouldn’t do anymore.  Friends who like to do grown-up things that are way beyond our years.

So today, I’m feeling the love.

I hope you’re feeling the love too.

Annie Jay

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Wait Wait... Which Bar is Next?

*Disclaimer: This post is entirely about drunken antics.  If you don't like reading about mindless drunken antics - or if doing so makes you want to reach for a bottle of Jack right now - give this post about grudges and forgiveness a chance instead.  If you love reading about drunken buffoonery - read on!*

If you’ve been reading my posts for the last couple of days, you know I’ve been planning to tell you about Saturday and the fun times that ensued.  But now I’m sure I’ve built it up too much and when I tell you about it you’re going to be like “Really, this is what people do for fun in Iowa?”

Yes, yes it is.

I won’t get into all of the details because for the most part you just kind of had to be there.  But what happened is that 8 friends and I competed against 30 other teams in a downtown Pub Crawl/Scavenger hunt this last Saturday afternoon. 

Teams could be 1-6 people but we had 9 total so we decided to split into two teams and that we’d work together and then split the $500 grand prize.  Sure, $500 split 9 ways is only about $55 but we figured that if we won we’d at least be able to write the money spent at the bars that day off as a business expense.  Because drinking is a business when you do it the way we do.

Pretty much all day Friday was spent with mass emails racing back and forth about the plans for Saturday.  We decided that I would make lunch and have everyone over to the barpartment before the hunt so that no one would be drinking on an empty belly.  By the end of the day Friday, we were all so ridiculously excited.  I barely slept.  If you were checking the Facebook newsfeed for any of us Saturday morning you would’ve seen that we were all up early and taking care of our normal Saturday business so that we could devote the rest of the day to the mission.

At lunch, our typically boisterous group was subdued, like a group of soldiers preparing for battle.  We then carpooled downtown and went to the downtown bar, The Hub, to register at 1pm.  The next hour passed in flurry of activity as we registered, got our first beers of the day and The Hub filled with more teams for the hunt.  By the time it was all said and done there were about 30-40 teams.  Our teams were numbers 15 and 19. We had originally planned for both teams to go together but the rules sent us in different directions so we planned to meet up and compare answers before the closing ceremonies.

In case you’ve never participated in a Pub Crawl Scavenger Hunt (this was my first time), here’s how it works:
  • Rule #1 – No driving.  Everything was within about a 10-block radius and you’d be walking no more than about 3 blocks between bars so taxis weren’t even needed.
  • At each bar you would get a clue telling you what bar to go to next – This was very easy as they gave you a picture of the bar and a clue.  They knew they were creating a scavenger hunt for drunks.
  • You also get a piece of paper with approximately 10 trivia questions at each bar.  These trivia questions could be about the history of the bar, about sports, about music – anything that relates to the bar itself.
  • Then you have to take a picture with your team and one of the bar’s icons (for instance the giant painting of JFK on the wall at The Hub) and email it to the event organizers.
  • We also had to take a picture of our team on the walking bridge across the highway (this is how they prevent you from just running across the highway while drinking – smart people organized this)
  • They gave each team a mylar M&M balloon that they had to keep alive the entire night, this lead to many interactions with other teams trying to break each other’s balloons.
  • They also spelled out the words “Bud Lights” (the hunt was sponsored by the local Anheuser-Busch distributor) and for extra credit you had to collect something that started with each letter. 

The extra-credit items were the most fun to collect.  We started off collecting somewhat mundane things but in the end we had some rather hilarious items.  Since one of the letters was “U” every team we ran into had at least one person who would come up to us and say “I don’t have any underwear on! I donated it to the cause!”  Oh, well, thank you for sharing. 

We opted not to go for underwear.  We went classy and got a urinal cake instead.  No no, we didn’t pry it from a urinal.  We asked our bartender friend to give us a fresh one.  At least I’m pretty sure that’s how it went down.  I wasn’t part of the process of procuring the urinal cake. 

I went classier and bought a Lifestyles Condom from a bathroom condom vending machine so we would have an “L”.  That’s me baby - all class, all the time.

Throughout the course of 5.5 hours, our team visited 10 bars, answered all of our questions, ate greasy bar food and came up with some great extra credit items. 

The highlights of the event:
  • Seeing old friends I haven’t seen in years.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Playing with a lightsaber.
  • My buddy Phin getting a tattoo in the midst of our hunt.  (We used “Tattoo receipt” for our extra credit “T”)  No seriously, this really happened.
  • Running away from my team at one of our last bars.
  • Finding our other team while I was running away from my own.
  • Using the fire exit and setting off the alarm at one of the bars.  Twice.
  • Sitting under a table with our other team’s Team Captain at the closing ceremony talking about what horrible Team Captains we are - right as they announced - 


You would have thought that we had won the lottery with the way we were cheering. 

We collected our prize and ran outside to leap up and down with joy and count out our money.  And I mean we stood outside screaming out “20-40-60…” and on until we got to $500. 

We also might have set a world record for quantity, quality, and volume of "Woo"s in a 15-minute time frame.  Oh, who am I kidding? I didn't stop "Woo"ing until I fell asleep.

Then we went to the local karaoke bar to drink celebratory shots and to lift our voices up in joy.  I sang.  I don’t remember what exactly.  But I definitely sang. 

We were back to the barpartment by 11pm, enjoying leftovers from lunch and ready to pass out fall asleep. 

I’m sure this day doesn’t sound that extraordinary to a lot of people, but the all-day camaraderie and teamwork was just freakin fun.  Running all over downtown on our mission, meeting people we’d never met before, going to new places, spending time with people I love – it was just all freakin fantastic – all topped off by winning. 

And damn, do I love winning.

Annie Jay

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hey Man, We're All Dying. Right. Now.

I am still going to tell you about the funness that was Saturday.  But before I write about that I need to get this off my chest.


People seriously do this all the time.  All day long it’s: 

“Oh, you’re smoking a cigarette.  Did you know they cause cancer?”  

This isn’t even an exaggeration; people still think that in this day and age there are people who don’t know that smoking kills.  Apparently there are also still people who don’t know that smoking looks cool.  At first.  Then it just feels good.  Then you don’t even really know why you do it but smoking just becomes a part of your identity.  Are you a smoker or non? “I’m a smoker.” You know, that kind of thing.  And then to give up smoking you’re giving up a part of your identity and people won’t know I’m a badass unless I’m smoking because obviously anyone who’s a smoker and does something several times a day that could kill them is obviously a mother fucking bad ass mother fucker.  Suck it.  (Ps, I’ve been quitting for a few months now and I’m doing pretty durn good but I do miss being a bad ass every day.  That’s why I bought a leather jacket. Bitches love leather jackets.)

*ahem* I digress.  Cancer - People yell at me all day long:

“Make sure you wear sun block.  You could get cancer if you don’t!”

“Oh, you’re using a cell phone – cancer.”

“Oh, you ate something with high fructose corn syrup – cancer!”

“Whoa! Danger! You have a vagina – cancer!”

“Your mother’s brother’s sister’s cousin had cancer – you’ll get it too!”

“You have to always be thinking about the 500,000,000,000 things that cause cancer! ALWAYS!  Constant Vigilance!”

Seriously guys?  I work with cancer. 

Cancer is on my mind all day, every day at work.  That’s 40-50 hours a week of thinking about, joking about (hey, you deal with this shit all the time, you’ve gotta joke about it), talking about, and crying about, cancer.

If you really think that I’m turning a mother fucking blind eye to cancer, you’re a fool.  I probably know more about cancer than most people who’ve died of cancer. (I say this with the utmost respect for people who’ve had cancer.  Please don’t take offense to that – my own grandmother died way too soon, way too quickly because of cancer.  This rant is coming from a place of frustration.)

Listen, I like you, I really like you.  So please don’t take up my time off the clock (aka out of Cancerland) by reminding me that cancer exists.  I know it exists.  Cancer signs my paychecks – actually, more than that – fear of cancer signs my paychecks. 

If I spend 40-50 hours at work every week consoling the bereaved, helping people going through chemo and arguing with doctors and nurses because their patient is too damn sick to do it on their own - I think I deserve the rest of my waking hours to think about anything other than cancer.

Yes, I know that we don’t have long to live in this mortal coil.  Yes, I know that cancer affects everyone – young, old, rich, poor, physically fit, physically unfit, smokers, nonsmokers, vegans, carnivores – we are all just as likely to get cancer or die of some other dreaded disease as we are to die of old age or by getting mauled by a bear.

But the fact of the matter is that I can’t spend every waking minute obsessing about when my life could end and why.  I’ll take the necessary precautions (quitting smoking, wearing sunblock, eating more fiber, etc.) but I refuse to live in a bubble just because cancer might decide to come knocking on my door some day.

I fully believe that if cancer is meant to come for you, it’s going to come for you.  Don’t spend every day in fear that today it’s gonna pull your name from the hat. 

Life is too short to worry about when and how we’re going to die.  Worry instead about how you can celebrate the days you have left to look forward to.

Annie Jay

Monday, December 3, 2012

Take Me Awaaaaay

Seriously.  I need a vacation.

So I haven't posted in a while.  I'd like to say that it's because I've been so busy that I just simply couldn't find any time to write.  

Although that's part of it, I guess.  There's been lots of stuff going on and Saturday was potentially the most fun I've ever had (more on that to come).  

But more than anything I've been lonely.

And I want to whine about it.  Gods know that if you've been around me in the last couple of weeks you've heard me talk about it.  I feel like I need to talk about it because it feels beyond lame to hide it.  But now I just want to whine.

So I'm not going to.  

Fuck whining.  I want something to happen.  Good gods I just want something new to happen.

I have wonderful family and friends, a good job and a nice house - but I'm feeling uninspired and unmotivated.  Just give me something to be passionate about.  

I've been feeling that itch - no, not that kind of itching, gross-o's - I've been feeling antsy, needing to get away.  I haven't been out of town since Labor Day's campout, and before that it was August for an overnight trip to Des Moines for a girl's weekend.  Before that I hadn't been out of town since Cabo in February.  All were great trips, but the last time I was anywhere farther away that the tri-state area was almost a year ago.

This time, I think I need to go somewhere new and explore on my own.  Or somewhere old and explore on my own.  Yes, I've been lonely so maybe a solo vacation doesn't sound logical on the surface, but I think it could do good things to get me feeling confident alone again.  I know that my old solo journeys were wonderful for me.  I mean, look at this happy girl here - I want to be this girl again:

On a lobster fishing boat on the shore of Prince Edward Island
Even the last solo camping trip I took was over 5 years ago.  I got in a relationship and I became a couple and I lost myself - then I never got out of it, not really.  Time to bring that girl back.  This time I might have to go somewhere a little more exotic than Canada - not that I don't love Canada but I've been all over that great country. It might be time to explore my own for a while. Spring would be a nice time to go somewhere.

Ahh where to go?

Annie Jay

PS: In case you were wondering, this isn't a real post, it's only my attempt at breaking my writer's block and getting opened up again.  And whining.  It's mostly about whining.