Thursday, December 11

Finally, my hair twin.

Not to toot my own horn or anything, but I'm totally going to be Sarah Koenig in 15 years.

Okay, just kidding. I know Sarah Koenig is way cooler than I am. I have exactly that same hair, though, so I have a leg up on the rest of y'all in trying to be her.

Saturday, November 22

I think someone got vodka!

This past summer I made strawberry freezer jam and strawberry-infused vodka—stuck it all in the freezer, unlabeled, not realizing that once frozen it would all look the same. I gave most of it away as gifts over the next few months...

I thought I held on to one vodka, but I pulled out the last jar today and it's definitely jam, not vodka.

Someone must have had a boozy surprise this summer!

Friday, November 21

Great gifts for car-free folks

Gift card to their favorite car-sharing or ride-sharing service. Zipcar, Uber, Lyft... whatever pay-per-ride option your car-free friend is into, a gift of credit brightens up the whole month!

Gear. Your car-free friend lives in close contact with the elements. Touchscreen gloves, wool socks, arm warmers, leg warmers, hats, scarves, umbrellas, UV-blocking parasols, good bike lights, reflective clothing... These are all items car-free folks use more often and replace more frequently than other people do.

Beer. A six-pack of beer bottles is inefficient to transport, and all too often gets left off the grocery list when you know you'll be carrying a week's worth of food on your back.

Cat litter. You think I'm joking. Show up with a of bag of your cat-owning buddy's preferred litter, and you'll become their new best friend. An extra bag of litter might save your car-free friend the expense and inconvenience of a Zipcar trip to the pet store during the holiday season.

Small gift budget this year? Your car-free friend enjoys rides as much as presents! Make coupons redeemable for "one trip to the mall," "one ride to the pet store," "one Saturday morning, anywhere you want in a 25-mile radius," "one hardware-store visit, fill up the trunk with whatever you want!"

Tuesday, November 11

From Rebecca again: 8 reasons why childless young professionals make ideal foster parents

Rebecca from Fosterhood's great summary on Babble explains why young people who may never imagine themselves as foster parents actually have some really great strengths as foster parents.

Everything on her list, I experienced in foster care as a positive of having been (relatively) young and childless—except for the "no kids already in the home" part. My particular kids would have benefited from having other kids in the home, but many other kids benefit from not having foster siblings.

Not long after I started fostering, the girls' guardian ad litem remarked that I might be the first woman my kids had known who was young, single, paid her own bills, and owned her own home. I had never thought about it that way before, but in retrospect I remember remarks R and C made that showed that the way I lived sort of blew their minds.

Monday, November 10

Thanks, but I don't care.

My credit union just started offering me my FICO score for free. How nice!

Your FICO® Score was hurt because you are not currently demonstrating active revolving credit management.

Yep, that about sums it up.

Tuesday, November 4

I still don't understand my mortgage.

I've had my mortgage for two and a half years now, and I still don't understand it. What the heck is accrued interest. What the heck is per diem (don't translate Latin at me, guys, I know Latin).

In retrospect, it strikes me as kind of crazy that I signed up for this thing that I still don't understand. Definitely never doing it again.

Monday, November 3

Sadly, this is my life right now.

I've been going on to my friends and family about how easily I could be convicted of a murder because I often don't have alibis for my time and I typically delete events in my calendar after they happen, so there's no record of what I was doing a month or two ago...

For folks who aren't equally obsessed, they're talking about the new podcast by one of the producers of This American Life.

Wednesday, October 29

Help UNC dental students become dentists.

The graduating class at the dental school is still looking for patients to perform on for their licensing exam in February. If you might have a small cavity or need a deep cleaning, they're interested in screening you to possibly use in the exam.

Email to make an appointment.

Tuesday, October 28

Car-free voting perk

You know that moment when you're approaching the early voting site and there are like 10 or 20 people out there trying to wave you down and talk to you about your candidate, and you say hello to them because you're not a jerk, and then they try to engage you in conversation and you're trying to smile sweetly but inside you're thinking, "PUNK do you really think you're going to change my vote right here, right now, before I walk in that door and mark up my ballot???"

Well, those people hang out where the voters are coming in. Which is from the parking lot. No one will notice you if you approach from the sidewalk, and you can make your way in to vote in peace!

Sunday, October 26

Speaking of eyes going straight to me

We won't discuss the time I walked onto the bus with a six-pack in hand. No one said anything, but the judgment was palpable.

Thursday, October 23

Urban black

Once cold weather starts, the bus is a sea of black jackets, with a few dark browns and other neutrals mixed in. Almost no color.

Last year, this struck me as odd. Then I remembered the stereotype about New Yorkers wearing black. It's not just New York—it's an urban thing in general, for some reason, and the people I'm riding the bus with are urban. Colorful coats are for the 'burbs.

My transitional coat—for chilly but not frigid weather—is an intense color, and I stick out like crazy on the bus. Eyes go straight to the coat.

One time I was sitting in the bus station and this guy sat down across from me and asked, "Is that your usual attire?"

"Not at all. It's my crazy-wear."

Wednesday, October 8

My Gmail address isn't (always) me.

My Gmail address isn't my primary email, but some of you do have my Gmail address.

Gmail has been a mess for me from day one. I constantly get messages from sites where I've supposedly created accounts, emails from people who think I'm their relative or friend, etc. etc. Apparently there are several dozen people out there who THINK that my Gmail address is their own Gmail address, and dozens more who think that my Gmail address belongs to their friend or family member.

At this point, I'm locked into my Gmail—not just because I use my Google account to run this blog and other stuff, but because I'm actually doing some side work for a company that contracts with Google, and I'm required to use my Google account in my interactions with that company.

The other day, someone created a Facebook account with my Gmail. I don't think it was done as an attempt to impersonate the real-world me. But still, someone who hasn't met me offline—such as a company I do work for remotely—could have my Gmail address, look up that account, and believe that it's me. I logged into the account and deleted it, but who knows when something like this might crop up again.

So I just want to go on the record as saying: it isn't me. If you know my Gmail address and you find stuff on the internet that seems to be linked to it, be skeptical. Other people out there are doing way, way more with my Gmail address than I've ever done with it myself.

Monday, October 6

Oh, by "loose layers" you mean, loose layers...

For like 15 years I've been hearing that the way to stay warm is to wear loose layers... And my brain has been thinking, Of course you mean fitted layers, because I'm female, and that exempts me from the laws of thermodynamics, because obviously I wouldn't wear loose layers...

I'm so toasty warm.

Thursday, October 2

Finally been converted

I was a rice-cooker enthusiast for years—couldn't be convinced that stovetop was "just as good."

Well, I finally gave it up and stopped using my rice cooker (at the same top that I stopped using my microwave). Sold the microwave, but I'll give my rice cooker away for free to whoever wants it!

Today at the bus station

Gorgeous hijabi, in a black scarf and abaya no less, carrying a skateboard. I tried not to double take, but I'm sure I failed.

Tuesday, September 30

And today on the bus

I sat down and another rider immediately offered me candy. You know that never happens to you when you're in your car on the highway...

Saturday, September 27

Does somebody have my caulk gun?

I've been going crazy trying to find this thing for months now... only just occurred to me that I may have let someone borrow it and forgotten about it.

Wednesday, September 24

Nice moment on the bus

One of the awkward features of the bus is needing to pull the cord/push the tape to signal for your stop when you're sitting on the aisle.

Option 1, you can reach past the person sitting next to you, which always feels awkward and even rude when there isn't much space. Option 2, you can politely bother the stranger you've been sitting next to in silence for the past 10 minutes and ask them to do it. Works, unless they're totally spacing out/sleeping—which sometimes they are—but even when they're alert, if you're a little bit shy it's not 100 percent fun to do.

Today there was no Option 1—not enough room to reach past without being rude. I had just taken out my earbuds and was gearing up to say, "Excuse me, could you please pull the cord?" to the guy sitting next to me, when he turns to me and says:

"I remember you get off somewhere around here—should I—" [points to cord]

Immediate relief and gratitude! "Thank you!" The man pulls the cord and the bus stops.

It's a simple thing, but it's occasional moments like these that brighten up rainy days on the bus and remind you that you have bus camaraderie. It's so much friendlier than being in your car.

Tuesday, September 23

Remember: don't hang up on 911!

Here in the 919 area code, there's an apparent epidemic of people accidentally dialing 911. Careless fools, all?

Careless fools—and me. I joined the ranks of the 911 misdialers the other day.

Luckily, I remembered the advice to stay on the line and let the call go through. I quickly apologized for my misdial, and the whole thing probably wasted no more than 10 seconds' worth of county resources.

The temptation to try to hang up before the call could go through was pretty strong, though. So remember: if you accidentally dial 911, stay on the line! If you don't, they're obliged to hunt you down and make sure you're not dead.