Category Archives: Lists

I Hate Sundays

I love my job. I don’t dislike the weekend ending and having to go to work on Mondays. But I really, REALLY hate Sundays. Some people use Sundays as a day of relaxation and getting ready for the week, but the things I have to do to get ready for the week are annoying. Let’s delve into what they are, shall we?

Meal Planning/Grocery Shopping

I love eating, however, I always prefer when the food is made FOR me. I’m trying to get better with cooking, especially now that I’m living alone, but I tend to be much less adventurous with my meal choices when I’m actually preparing the food. Partly because I just don’t have TIME to make these elaborate meals, and partly because food is so damn expensive. Believe me, I cut coupons, I shop sales, and I buy store brand. But I’m still spending about $50/week on meals. Which is far more than I’d prefer to be spending. And that’s usually without fresh veggies (I tend to buy the frozen steamer veggies – way easier and I can keep them as long as I want).

Also, meal planning is a pain in the ass. As I mentioned earlier, I don’t try a lot of new things, and I’m kind of picky. So, I’d hate to buy all the ingredients for a new recipe only to try it and hate it. Plus, it seems like EVERY “healthy” recipe has quinoa or chia seeds. My coworkers know exactly how I feel about both of those things.

chia-seeds3

Chia seeds look like frog eggs. End of story.

Trying to choose a different meal for every day of the week is difficult for me as well. As I mentioned, my cooking skills lack variety, so I end up eating a lot of chicken and salmon. And avocado. Which isn’t bad, it just gets boring after a while.

Budgeting

Budgeting is also a Sunday task. I usually review what I spent for the last week, and try to make adjustments for the coming week. This usually means I look at how much money I have until my next paycheck and try to figure out how to feed myself on what’s in my bank account. And have gas in my car to get to work. But let’s be honest here – just because I set a budget doesn’t mean I stick to it. Sure, it makes me think about spending before I spend it…but I usually just spend anyway. I always think to myself, “If I didn’t buy those two pairs of shoes, I’d have that extra $70 in my account this week,” but it never seems to keep me from buying those damn shoes.

Cleaning

My apartment is relatively small, so I don’t have a ton to clean. But bathrooms, man, are the worst. And vacuuming, now that I have a cat, is insane. I clean up the kitchen every night after I shower, and try to vacuum every other day, but fitting that in with cooking and going to the gym or yoga is tough. So Sundays are usually reserved for cleaning the bathroom, dusting, and generally doing a thorough vacuuming of the apartment. Which is effing tiring.

In short, there’s just not enough hours in the day (or the week, for that matter) to live like a functioning adult. I honestly don’t know how you people do it.

What say you, loyal reader?

Drank Some Beer at the Maine State Pier

[This post is a couple weeks removed from the event, but it’s still worth writing about nonetheless. Also, I promised beer at the end of my previous post, so here you go!]

A few weeks ago, The Boyfriend and I headed up to Portland, Maine, for the #MEBeerPier event, also called “Craft Beer Comes to Maine State Pier!”. I had never been to any type of beer fest, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I picked this festival because I love Maine, love craft beer, and The Boyfriend is interested in getting into the brewing industry, so I thought it would be good networking (right?).

As the name suggests, the entire event revolved around craft beer brewers, so we had the opportunity to sample a lot of beers that either aren’t available down by us, or that we just haven’t ventured out of our comfort zone to try. When we first arrived, we received our lunch ticket, map and tasting glass. The glass was about 8 ounces, and I figured they would give a 3-4 ounce pour for each sample. Boy, was I wrong:

So this was the sample.

So this was the sample.

If I haven’t mentioned it before, I’m a lightweight. So after about 5 of these, I was losing steam. We ate some lunch, I *think* I had a sample or two more, and then I was down for the count. I ended up taking a seat in shade of the food tent while The Boyfriend meandered around a little more.

So what exactly did I sample? Well, lucky for you, I have a handy app called Untappd (find me as SandwichesAndBeer, if you like) where I recorded the samples I tasted – well, the ones I could find, anyway. Some of the breweries were really small, and not in the app yet. I was really in no condition to add them, so I have a partial list. For a full list of the breweries, you can check out this article by CraftBeer.com.

Here’s the list of beers I tried, along with any comments I made. All of these are recommended to try, if you can find them.

1. Shipyard Brewing Company – Summer Ale

I started out slow with this one – it was the only beer I had already drank before. I’m not really an ale person, but I decided to whet my whistle with this one. Giggity.

2. Sebago Brewing Company – Hefeweizen

My preferred beers are Belgian whites and Hefeweizens (I’m an unfiltered kind of gal – ask my friends), so of course I had to try this one. Pretty run of the mill, nothing exceptional. But it was delicious.

3. Sea Dog Brewing Company – Sunfish Wheat

This was really good – it was full bodied, which I would expect from a wheat, but also was surprisingly fruity. It was a favorite.

4. Run of the Mill Public House and Brewery – Dog Days Summer Wheat

Continuing the unfiltered path, I tried another wheat. They are so perfect for hot summer days to just kick back and relax with. I was pretty damn relaxed by this point.

5. Rising Tide Brewing Company – Spinnaker

I don’t remember this one, so I had to look it up. Surprise: it’s a wheat beer. ‘Nuf said.

6. Penobscot Bay Brewery – Wildfire Rauchbier

The comment I left on this one was “BACON!” This was a dark beer that is brewed with the essence of bacon – and it had a really great smoky flavor. I would definitely drink this again – but at a time when I hadn’t had five other samples before I tried this one.

7. Allagash Brewing Company – White

The one white I don’t like. It’s a little too crisp for me, for being a white.

Along with beer, there was plenty of food. The food served was German in nature – we had sausage, sauerkraut, and huge pretzels. There were also baked beans, but I skipped those. All of it was very tasty. My only con was that there wasn’t enough seating to eat, nor was there a lot of shade, hence why I ended up sitting on the ground in the food tent. If there were more chairs and tables underneath maybe two or three more tents, that would have been perfect.

Overall, it was a really great experience, definitely something I would do again. And if you get the chance, I would highly recommend you do it, too.

Maine State Pier

Realigning My Goals…Again.

Every Wednesday at my office we have a “Team Lunch”, where we all sit together in one big room (where most of us work – the bullpen) and discuss a topic of interest. Today, we went around to everyone and finished this sentence “By the end of the summer, I will ____________.” Everyone had varying degrees of ambition, and some people aim to do multiple things. Some were work related, some were not.

My goal for the end of the summer is to move out of my parents house and get an apartment with The Boyfriend. This goal is kind of resting on a lot of variables though, and right now a lot of unknowns. It’s kind of on the back-burner for the near future. Am I planning on moving out by the end of the summer? Hell yes. Will it definitely happen? I’m not entirely sure.

This got me thinking – I’ve stopped doing a lot of stuff I was enjoying, mostly because I’m letting work (and stress) get in the way. And it’s affecting me physically: I’m eating awful, I feel gross, and I’m sure I don’t look too hot either. All because I’m letting stress get the best of me. Well, today I decided that’s a big pile of bull.

How I feel most of the time lately.

I wanted to make a list of things that I can 100% do, and make them more near-term goals, otherwise I’ll procrastinate. So, here’s my list of stuff I will do by the end of this month:

1. Get back into my routine of going to the gym (or just running) at least 3 times a week.

I stopped doing this partly because I started working late every night, and partly because I just got lazy. As I said already, I’m a procrastinator. And I hate GOING to the gym, even though I know I’ll feel great while I’m working out, and that I’ll love the sense of accomplishment I’ll have when I’m done. I think I can stand to leave work a little earlier two or three days a week to hit the gym at a decent hour, and work late on my off days. Oh, and there’s the matter of my 5k next month. So. That.

2. Stop buying lunch every day (which means eat healthier)

So, part of the reason I was buying my lunch every day was because my parents were away, and I just didn’t have time for grocery shopping. Now I have a dad at home who cooks every day, so I’ll take advantage for the time being. When I move out, I’ll just have to start planning meals and grocery shop for reals.

3. Make a budget. And actually stick to it. No really this time.

I’ve made budgets before, and I’ve been okay at following them. But if I’m going to be moving out, I need to make sure I can manage my money and be able to pay rent every month. I was using one before when I *thought* we were moving on June 1st, but since that hasn’t happened I’ve been all LOL EFF YOU WALLET. So cutting down on spending is key right now.

So that’s my list of the top three things I want to do by the end of the month. Think I can handle it? I’m sure as hell going to give it my best try. Oh, don’t worry – there will be another post letting you all know if I stuck to this. Because I’m sure you’ll be on the edge of your seat until then.

I Still Think 1990 Was 10 Years Ago.

So, I haven’t written in a while. A long while. Let’s just say I’ve been less than motivated. But I was inspired once again to put fingers to the keyboard, and thought I would give you one of my favorite things: a list.

This post is courtesy of a conversation we were having in my office today, which started off as a casual question of “Do you remember LiteBrite?” and devolved into “How many old toys can we find to ask DO YOU REMEMBER THIS?!” When the conversation started to include some interns (who were born in 1990 and later – you know who you are), it went steadily downhill. None of them know the greatness of 90s toys! And so, guys and gals, I present to you: My favorite toys of the 90s.

LiteBrite

LiteBrite was created in the 60s, but definitely still had a lot of traction during my childhood years. Basically it’s a box with a light bulb inside, and a screen on the front with holes in it. It came with opaque black paper and little colored pegs. The black paper had patterns printed on it, and you would punch the pegs through the paper into the holes on the screen, and the pegs would light up. It was a really simple concept, but it kept me busy for hours. Until I used up all the black paper. Then I was done.

I totally remember the clown.

I totally remember the clown.

Skip It

Not to toot my own horn, but I was AWESOME at Skip It. It was another super simple toy, but it was so fun. It’s really hard to describe, so here’s what it looked like:

I told you it was hard to describe.

I told you it was hard to describe.

You put your foot through the loop, and skipped over it . The ball counted how many times it went around, counting your jumps. Again, hard to describe, so here’s a demo:

anigif_enhanced-buzz-19044-1347316185-8

It’s a good concept, until you realize you can just spin the ball around and pretend you got a really high score. Thanks, best friend. Give me my Skip It back.

Oh, and accidentally hitting your foot with the ball when it was going full speed was the WORST.

 

View Master

This also originated in the 80s (I think) but it carried over well into the early 90s. Before there were smartphones, there was the ViewMaster. The little discs had pictures on them, like slides, and you pulled the lever down on the side and the disc rotated through the pictures. You just needed to make sure you had a  good light source. And nothing better to do.

I saw lions with this thing.

I saw lions with this thing.

Easy Bake Oven

So in the 90s, a metal box with a light bulb was good enough to be used for cooking. And so it was. I loved using my Easy Bake Oven, just as much as my dad pretended to love eating what I “baked” in it. I’m sure it was all terrible, but he was a good sport. Chocolate cakes, upside down cakes, cookies, you name it. This oven cooked it. Or just burnt the outside and left the inside raw. Either way.

Yum.

Yum.

 

I had a lot more toys (I was an only child, after all), but these ranked in my top favorites. That, and I’m making myself feel really old. So I’ll open the floor to you: what’s your favorite 90s toy, or toy from your childhood?

 

“Please Advise” Is the Worst Phrase Ever.

I was going to write a post about my disdain for the phrase “Please Advise”, but we had a little round-table discussion at dinner the other night and I found two other phrases that are equally nails-on-the-chalkboard-sound cringe inducing.

But first, let me start with the title phrase: Please Advise.

 Please Advise

It may be one of the worst lines I’ve ever read in emails. Here’s an example: “I’m having trouble understanding your expense report for 8/11/12. Please advise.” What I actually read then I see that is, “I’m having trouble understanding why I’m such a douchebag. Please advise.” It just sounds so condescending to me. Like, I already know what you’re talking about, I just want to make you feel like an idiot for not explaining it in the way I want you to. Well, guess what? You sound like an idiot too. Next time you want to write please advise, consult your phrase thesaurus (if there isn’t one of these in existence, let me know. I’ll create one.) and choose a better phrase. Let’s eliminate please advise from our vocabulary forever.

It is what it is.

This is another phrase that seriously irritates me. While “Please advise” is mostly used in business settings, “It is what it is” can be used in either. It’s one of my mom’s favorites. She has it on a shirt and on a plaque in the kitchen. I’m pretty sure that’s just to piss me off, though. Anyway, not only is it annoying, it doesn’t really make sense. I mean, of course it is what it is. If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be what it is. Duh. This phrase goes along with “It’s whatever,” but that doesn’t irritate me enough to make it into this post. Just a side note. If you say it is what it is to me, you run the risk of being throat punched. You’ve been warned.

Your thoughts?

This was my dad’s contribution. Someone makes a statement (usually in an email chain with more than one recipient), and then ends with “your thoughts?”. To me, this is a really passive-aggressive way of saying, I’ve told you what we’re going to do and I’m just asking your opinion to make myself look good to the other people in this chain. They aren’t going to take your input and apply it to the situation. They’re probably going to say, “That’s a great point, but blah blah blah.” A virtual slap down, if you will. If you’re making a statement of what’s going to happen, and it’s already been decided, don’t ask for other people’s thoughts just to be politically correct. It just makes a really long email chain that I don’t want to read, that really isn’t getting anything done.

Well, there you have it. A short and sweet (sour?) list of the top three worst phrases someone can use. If you hear someone use this, please politely point out that they sound like an asshat, and suggest some other phrases they could use. Until those get on my nerves, too. But I’ll be sure to let you know when that happens.

(Image taken from someone else who also takes issue with please advise)

Why Are These Olympic Sports?

The Olympics. An international event that’s held every 4 years to celebrate the world’s most elite athletes. Or at least it was. For a while. Now it seems that any sport with even the slightest semblance of physical activity can be considered Olympic level. With all the info graphics and news going around, I couldn’t help but see some lists of the events held during the Summer Olympics. And I had one reaction: WHAT?! I can do some of these in my backyard! Okay, so maybe I personally couldn’t do these “sports” for lack of coordination, but they could be performed almost anywhere. So I had to share them. Without further ado, the top four sports that shouldn’t be in the Olympics. In my opinion, anyway.

Handball

From what I’ve read, this sport seems to be a weird mix of basketball and soccer. Players dribble, pass and throw the ball into a goal. But they can touch it with their bodies. And also have contact. Sure, it requires some level of skill, but so doesn’t soccer or basketball. Which are already in the Olympics. And I disagree with those being Olympic sports as well, but that’s another topic for another day.

So, why is this in the Olympics, but something like, say, lacrosse isn’t? Good question. One that I’m sure only Olympic officials can answer. And unfortunately they didn’t answer my Tweet.

Trampoline

This one really boggles my mind. I wanted a trampoline when I was little. If I had known I could make a living off of it and possibly go to the Olympics, I would have made sure I got one! Who was the guy whose vote got this one in? I’d like to meet him.

Now, I’m sure you’re saying, “This is like gymnastics!” It’s also something my 12 year old cousin can do. Flips and routines don’t take that much effort when you’re being catapulted into the air by another force. Just look at the kids who use the Jumpy Thing at the mall. Uneven bars and floor routines? That’s where the real skill comes in.

Table Tennis

Better known as – SURPRISE – ping pong. I’m pretty great at it on the Wii, not so much in real life. But does a game that is played in basements and backyard BBQs across America deserve to be an Olympic sport? Some may say yes. And to them I say no, good sir. Yes, you have to be quick on the draw. Sure, it takes skill to be good at it. But do you REALLY need sweat bands when you’re slamming a little plastic ball back and forth? Think about that for a minute and get back to me.

Curling

I know, I know. This is the summer Olympics, and curling is a winter sport. But I just had to get this one in here. Curling is basically throwing a donut shaped weight onto some ice and using a broom in front of it to sweep the ice, thus smoothing it, to make the weight go farther into the goal circle. It reminds me of bowling. Except there’s no pins. And no excitement.

Well, there you have it. Four of the most pointless Olympic sports I’ve heard of. I’m sure there’s plenty more that I can’t think of, and frankly making a list any longer would make my head hurt. But you can leave a comment if you know of any others. Enlighten me.

And follow me on Twitter: @marymallard

Let Me Google That – How Our Vocabulary Has Changed in the Digital Age

Back in the day, before computers, we used books. Remember, those things with words printed on paper? Dictionaries, thesauri, and – wait for it – encyclopedias. Now our lives have been made faster and easier (open to opinions) with the digital age. We can look up baseball stats, find old friends, and order a pizza, all in a matter of seconds, and usually from a handheld device like a smartphone. Thomas Edison has nothing on T-Mobile.

With the introduction of these digital devices into our lives, our vocabulary has slowly changed. I’m talking about brands and services that have now become verbs. It’s really kind of fascinating when you think about it. When things were introduced before, say, the phonebook, we never used to say “Oh, let me Yellow Pages that.” But we have managed to incorporate brands into our everyday language, as normal to use now as “LOL” or “BRB”. Here’s a list of the most common ones.

Google is probably the most common brand that has become a verb. Have a question about your computer? Google it. Need the address of your doctor’s office? Google it. Want to know something about anything at all? You get the idea. Google is the most popular database for fact-finding that’s out there.

Wikipedia is an extremely large collection of user-generated content. It works like an encyclopedia, except people can edit the posts, which can lead to erroneous (and sometimes just outrageous) information. Advice: don’t use it for your history report. But if you want to find some useless information about a celebrity, you can Wiki it and you’ll find pretty reliable information.

Yelp is probably one of the most used apps I have, aside from google. When you want to find out what’s close to you, you Yelp. Food, entertainment, activities, pretty much anything you can think of. It includes information about the place, and user reviews. You can also write reviews to help others in their Yelp quests. One of the more functional brand-verbs out there.

With it’s recent IPO (epic fail), Facebook has been in the news a lot lately. But for those of us that have been using it since it became available in 2004, the action of Facebooking is a normal activity. We use it when gossiping: “Guess who Facebooked me the other day!” Or when talking about sharing what we’re doing: “Oh, I totally need to Facebook this.” Everything in our daily lives goes on Facebook, which has generated the verb out of the name. I actually wrote a post about this a few months ago, completely unrelated to this, but check it out anyway.

Ah, YouTube. Probably one of the most entertaining sites out there. Search for any video, and you are able to find it. Generally within minutes of it even happening. For example, celebrity snafus like Madonna tripping in the SuperBowl halftime show. Or, entertainment like The Bed Intruder song. Or, user generated content like my best friend Sam’s channel. Whatever you’re looking for, you can YouTube it and you’ll most likely find it.

With new technology emerging all the time, I’m sure we’ll have more brand to verb words in the future. I’m interested to see how our language evolves in the future.

I Never Want Roommates.

Unless I really like you. And we really get along. And there’s no chance of us ending up hating each other. Which, right now, applies to about 3 people in my life. Friends, sure. But roommates? Not likely.

I’ve had roommates before, so I’m speaking from experience here. There was tons of stuff that bothered me about living with other people, but I’ll just outline the biggest issues. Otherwise this post will go on for days.

They’re never as clean as you are.

I don’t know what it is about kitchen sinks, but they always attract the grossest stuff. And for some reason, people think its okay to leave bowls half full of tuna salad in the sink for days and days. Okay, so maybe I leave a plate or glass in there from time to time, but for the most part, if it’s something that’s going to get gross, I clean it right away.

To that end, I usually seem to be the person always cleaning up after people. And I’m not a clean freak by any means. (You should see my room. War zone.) But it just really bothers me when there’s dust build up, dishes everywhere, gross spills….you know what I mean. We’re adults. Clean that sh*t up.

They eat your food and drink your booze.

And they never seem to have good stuff for you to steal. Now, I’m all over communal grocery shopping and just having the food be for everyone. But no one ever wants to do that. So they write their names on their food, and you respect that. But as soon as you leave your booze out unattended, its gone. And when they buy you replacements, that’s gone too before you can drink it. True story. Happened to me.

I’ve also noticed that if they do steal something from you, they never have anything as good as what they took for you to steal. It’s always super healthy, or super gross,  or super something that you don’t want.  Never a fair trade.

They’re passive aggressive.

If you have a problem with something I do, just tell me. Don’t dance around the issue, constantly be pissed about something, or, the worst, leave me notes. Just tell me what’s bothering you. This is the single reason why guy roommates are better than girls. You can tell them something straight out, and they fix it. They don’t take it personally, they just say “Okay, cool,” and go about their daily business. Makes life much easier.

This pisses me off.

Like I said, those are just a few reasons why I don’t want roommates. Hopefully, I won’t have to deal with them any time in the near future. But if I have to, I’ll be sure to let you know how it is.

Cash-only businesses kind of piss me off.

I promised myself I wouldn’t be all complainey in my blog, but this is something that I feel is an actual issue (as well as being a complaint).

Cash-only businesses are few and far between, to be sure, but they still exist. And they seem to exist in the most inconvenient places. To be fair, I understand that not accepting credit cards reduces your overdraft from eliminating swipe fees, but carrying cash is getting less and less common. With debit and credit cards being the norm, and apps like TheLevelUp (https://www.thelevelup.com/) and Google Wallet (http://www.google.com/wallet/what-is-google-wallet.html) allowing you to pay with your smartphone, cash is becoming the exception to the rule. I’m probably biased because of where I live and my age group, but I honestly don’t think twice about not having any cash in my wallet.

Which means I usually don’t have any.

Herein lies my problem with cash-only businesses. I’ve complied a short list of the most common places that are cash-only; coincidentally, they seem to be the places where you would want the most payment options. I also realize that some cash-only places have ATMs available, but that’s beside my point.

Gas Stations – Everyone needs gas, at one point or another. The worst feeling in the world is riding on E and thankfully finding a gas station to learn they don’t take credit cards. Yes, I know I shouldn’t be riding on E (thanks, Dad). But, still. At that point I need my gas and can’t get it because you won’t take my debit card? Lame. In most cases gas stations that are cash only are cheaper, but out of pure convenience I would rather go to one that takes credit cards. I hate going inside, paying, and then having to get change if I overpay. I’m actually really shy about that sort of thing (if you can believe that), so I do anything I can do avoid it.

Coffee Shops – Yeah, I know. You’re hipster. Big business is bad. Wah wah wah. I just want my damn coffee. And maybe that coffee roll. And I just want to use my debit card. But you won’t take it. I’ll just go to Dunkin Donuts. Take that, Mr. Skinny Jeans.

Parking Garages – This one seems kind of obvious to me, but apparently it isn’t. I work in the city, so I’m used to parking garages. The majority of them take credit cards. You’re usually in there for more than 4 hours, which means they charge you half a year’s salary. I probably wouldn’t have that kind of cash on me anyway, so I’d prefer to use my debit card. I parked at one the other day that was cash only. I went to the ATM prior to leaving, and got what I thought would be an adequate amount of money because I had parked overnight. Turns out I was $10 short. I had to back out of the lane (someone was behind me, by the by), park, and go back to the ATM to get more money. Annoying. Just annoying.

A lot of people might see it as my problem for never carrying cash, and maybe I’m in the minority because of my age group and the fact that I live near a city. But I just feel like this is a thing. And it’s going to keep being a thing. And I will continue to be annoyed.

Restaurant Observation

Three? Really?

This is going to be short and sweet, because it’s just something I’ve noticed and I’m not sure why it happens. And that makes me want to write it down and put it out to the interwebs.

Why do appetizers in restaurants always come in odd numbers?! It’s oddly frustrating. And puts undue stress on the couple (or group) that is eating said appetizer. Who gets the last one? Do we split it?

Examples:

My restaurant’s shrimp cocktail – 5 shrimp

Pomodoro caprese from an Italian restaurant I went to Friday night – 3 tomato and mozzarella stacks

Butternut squash aracini from the Tavern in Salem – 3 arancini

It’s fine with things you can cut in half. But shrimp?! I don’t eat shrimp, but I feel cutting one shrimp in half is extremely awkward.

One restaurant that did get it right: the 99’s Outrageous Potato Skins. They give you 8. Rock on.

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