Return of the UFIL

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:12 am EST

I’m still back! I swear! Just been a little swamped.

Remember the UFIL? Well he just arrived (at 1:30 am) for a three week visit. He was supposed to be here at 3:30, but his flight from Italy was delayed, so he missed his connecting flight in Paris, then got rerouted through Atlanta before he finally made it to Philly. Poor Papi.

The bad news? We still only have a one-bedroom apartment.

The good news? It’s not the UMIL.


Everytime I Tried to Tell You, the Words Just Came Out Wrong

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:39 am EST

I’ve been “back” for a week now, and thus far I’m having trouble coming up with something to say. It seems like I had so much to report while I wasn’t blogging, but now that I’ve made the decision to come back, it’s all disappeared into the musty backlog of my brain.

So over the last few days, I’ve been re-reading a lot of my old posts. I had forgotten just how much I had written during my two years of active blogging. According to my stats, there are currently 600 posts (this will be 601) and 2,604 comments, contained within 40 categories. It’s kind of awesome, actually. And some of my posts were really quite good (if I do say so myself). It now makes me regret my silence all the more.

I guess it’s not so much an issue of having nothing to say as it is a problem of where to begin. You’ll have to bear with me as I try to find my “voice” again. I think it will come. I just have to be patient and persistent.

Of course, this may not be an issue, since I don’t think anyone besides Holz has figured out that I’m back yet!


I’ve been too long, I’m glad to be back

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:57 pm EST

Dear Katie, please drop me a line,
just write, Love, to tell me you’re fine.

I’m not sure if anyone out there even cares about this little blog anymore, but enough people have encouraged me to come back that I thought I’d give it another go. There were countless times over the last year and a half where I thought “I would so like to blog about this.” I’d even start composing the post in my head. But it’s surprisingly hard to get back into things once you’ve let them go for so long.

There were a lot of factors that led to my sudden disappearance. One was that I was just spending way too much time online. I was getting a bit obsessive (as I often do with things), and I needed a clean break. Another is that I moved at work and no longer enjoyed the privacy I once enjoyed.

But the main reason is just that I was burnt out. I couldn’t make the words flow anymore. I felt like I had nothing interesting to say. And hey, maybe I didn’t. But I think I do now. SO much has happened during my blogging hiatus. I have so much catching up to do. I’ve got a million stories to tell. And there are a few rants in here somewhere, too. ;-)

I can’t promise daily or even weekly posts, but I’ll try to give you a reason to keep coming back. So what do you say? Can we be friends again?


Office Space

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:48 am EST

I know that some of you have been wondering where the hell I’ve been these past few months… Well, there’s no simple answer. I have been many places. Some of them real, some of them more… conceptual in nature.

One of them was the level of hell designated for office moves. More specifically, the sublevel reserved for moves from a private office to a cubicle in space shared with two other groups, located further away from almost everything. I’m currently clawing my way back out.


Going to California

Filed under: — Kate @ 7:20 am EST

As you might have guessed from the leg blogging post, I was in California over the weekend; more specifically, in Santa Monica. But alas, I was there for work, and it was a short trip, so unfortunately I didn’t get to see much.

The trip got off to a shaky start, beginning with my flight from Philadelphia. The plane actually boarded on time, but we got rerouted due to thunderstorms and had to wait while we took on more fuel.

Well, we made it to the runway, but when we were finally the second plane in line for takeoff, a storm rolled in and pounded the airport, grounding all flights for 20 minutes or so.

After the weather cleared, they announced that the storm had affected flight control, but they would have it fixed right away. A few minutes later, they informed us that we were reverting back to the original flight plan, which had us taking off in a different direction. That meant that we had to go to the back of the runway queue and start over.

So we taxied to our new position, and waited. And waited. And waited. Until they told us that during the storm, a flock of geese had landed on the runway, and we would have to wait until they were cleared out. (At that point, everyone on the plane just burst out laughing.)

We finally took off two and a half hours late, and people were getting pretty hungry. Too bad they ran out of food. And ice. Oh, and did I mention the screaming babies? Because there were three of them.

I eventually landed at LAX and made my way down to ground transportation in search of a cab, grumbling to myself about the hotel not having a shuttle. I almost didn’t notice the man in the suit standing there holding a sign with my name on it. That’s right, to my shock and wonderment, there was a car waiting there for me. ME!! And at that point, the trip started to improve.

More on this later (possibly with pictures if you’re lucky). Right now I’ve got to go earn my living.


Blowin’ In the Wind

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:19 pm EST

Holy crap, I came very close to blowing away today! As I was leaving work tonight, the wind kicked up something fierce. By the time I got home, I was covered in city dirt and grit. In my shoes, my hair, my eyes, my ears, my mouth… and a few other places I won’t mention. YUCK.


Put That In Your Pipe and Smoke It

Filed under: — Kate @ 12:52 pm EST

Before I forget… I wanted to show you guys the cake I made for the UFIL. He’s been an avid pipe smoker for more than 50 years, so Edo thought we should use that for the design. Originally, I also was going to have smoke rising from the pipe to form the words “Happy Birthday,” but that turned out to be a bit much (plus his real birthday was back in May). A painting by René Magritte was my inspiration.


Birthday Girl

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:32 am EST

Holz and I are another year older today!

(I know, I know, try to contain your excitement.)

So, in honor of our continued aging, here’s some useless information about 7/11 throughout history…

On July 11, 1274, Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland was born.

On July 11, 1533, Pope Clement VII excommunicated England’s King Henry VIII.

On July 11, 1767, John Quincy Adams, sixth President of the United States, was born.

On July 11, 1798, the current US Marine Corps was formed.

On July 11, 1804, Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr killed Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in a pistol duel near Weehawken, NJ.

On July 11, 1838, John Wanamaker, founder of Wanamaker’s department stores, was born.

On July 11, 1889, the city of Tijuana, Mexico was founded.

On July 11, 1899, American writer E. B. White, author of Charlotte’s Web, was born.

On July 11, 1914, Babe Ruth made his major league baseball debut with the Boston Red Sox.

On July 11, 1921, former US President William Howard Taft was sworn in as the tenth Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, becoming the only person to ever be both President and Chief Justice.

On July 11, 1934, Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani was born.

On July 11, 1959, Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora was born.

On July 11, 1969, David Bowie’s first hit single, Space Oddity, was released.

On July 11, 1979, after over six years in space, Skylab, the first American space station, reentered the Earth’s atmosphere and disintegrated over the Indian Ocean and Australia.

On July 11, 1987, the world population reached 5 billion (according to the United Nations).

On July 11, 1991, there was a total solar eclipse in Hawaii. [I remember using a homemade pinhole projection viewer to watch the partial version of this eclipse during my birthday party.]

See Also:
-July 11 [Wikipedia]
-On This Day [NYT]
-On This Day [Encarta]
-This Day in History [The History Channel]
-July 11 [On-This-Day.com]


The Way to a UFIL’s Heart is Through His Stomach

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:00 pm EST

So… the UFIL left yesterday. And I have to admit, I really didn’t mind having him around; not that much, anyway. He’s really very sweet, and our communication deficit was quite amusing at times. Things probably would have been great if Edo and I had a spare bedroom. Well that, and a magic perpetually stocked refrigerator…

The day after he arrived:
Me: What happened to all the crackers?
Edo: What you should really be asking, Kate, is “What happened to all the cheese?” Remember all the cheese we had?

At the Indian buffet:
UFIL: You not having more to eat?
Me: No, I’m full.
UFIL: You eat like a bird!
Me: Well, I did have a good amount of food on my plate…
UFIL: A very tiny bird!

Wednesday night:
Edo: Are you hungry?
Me: Nah, I’m okay.
Edo: My dad says he’s not hungry, but I don’t believe him.
Me: Well, if you saw how much cake was left in the fridge, you might understand.
Edo: *looks in refrigerator* Oh…

Later Wednesday night:
Edo: Papi, do you want more food?
Edo: Are you sure?! Do you want some pizza?
Edo: Kate, check his pulse!
Me: *checking his carotid* Well, he’s still alive.
Edo: *explains to his father in Italian why I just felt his neck*
UFIL: *giggles*
Me: You know, Edo… it took two weeks, but I think we finally filled him up!


Paging the Pieces of Kate’s Scattered Brain…

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:17 pm EST

I got a pager when I started my job four years ago. And since then it has taken a lot of abuse. I’ve dropped more times than I could ever count, often busting it open and sending the battery skittering across the floor. It’s fallen down stairs, landed in puddles… once it came off my bag in the middle of oncoming traffic. And yet, it kept working. I was beginning to think I had an immortal pager—until last week, that is, when it finally gave up the ghost.

I always imagined it would suffer a tragic death: crushed under a subway car, drowned in a toilet, stolen and buried by wild animals; there would be lots of smoke, possibly even flames. After all, it was a tough old bastard! But it actually passed quite peacefully in its sleep. The battery died, and it just never woke up after I inserted a new one. And even though it was a crappy hand-me-down, I still felt a little sad. I’m weird, I know.

Anyway, I got my replacement on Friday. A nice shiny brand new pager (though still crappy). But by the time Monday morning rolled around, it was missing. I tried beeping it, but with no luck—I didn’t even know if the sound was turned on, as I hadn’t yet taken the time to set it up. I tore things apart in my frantic search, but I finally had to give up and go to work without it.

I paged it several times throughout the day, hoping that someone might find it and call me back. That night, I retraced every step I’d taken on Friday–even stopped in the restaurant where we’d eaten dinner. Nothing. I couldn’t believe it. I had my first pager for more than four years, and my second for less than 24 hours.

Then last night, it hit me that I’d spent time at my parents’ house over the weekend. I didn’t remember taking it with me, but I was out of ideas, so I called and asked them to look. And after I paged it a few more times, wouldn’t you know it? My mom found the little bugger in their car!

Needless to say, I was beyond relieved. And as it turns out, so were my parents: they were going nuts for the past two days trying to figure out why their car was making such a strange noise!


I Trip Through Your Wires

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:01 pm EST

So… the UFIL arrived safe sound this evening. We had a light dinner, got him unpacked, and sent him off to bed. Things mostly went well. Except for the part where I made a total ass of myself.

Not five minutes after he arrived, I tripped over the power cable to Edo’s laptop and went flying across the room. I landed face down on top of the papers and books I was carrying, and skinned my knees on the carpet.

Guess I won’t be wearing short skirts for a while. GODDAMMIT!!

My knees, in all their skinned up glory, after the jump. (more…)


Filed under: — Kate @ 9:24 am EST

Many of you may recall my adventures with the UMIL last year. Well, now it’s time for the UFIL. That’s right, my un-father-in-law is coming to visit for two weeks.

Now he’s rather harmless when compared to the UMIL, but he does present his own set of challenges.

For starters, he’s a bit older, so it’s harder to find ways of occupying him. He doesn’t do tons of walking, and as far as he’s concerned, he’s seen everything there is to see.

He goes to bed early (like 8 or 9 PM), which isn’t a big deal until you consider that we only have one bedroom. Try working that one out. Last time he was here, I was a prisoner in my bedroom for most of the evenings. The good thing is that he’ll probably only be sleeping at our place for 4 or 5 nights, because he’ll be staying at a place down the street or travelling the rest of the time.

Perhaps the biggest stumbling block, though, is the language barrier. His English has gotten worse, and my Italian has stayed, well, non-existent. All I can say is “I love you,” “I’m sorry,” and an assortment of dirty words and blasphemes. (And yes, I know that’s pathetic given that I’ve lived with a native Italian speaker for the last 5 years, but that’s not really the point right now, is it?)

He arrives late this afternoon, so I’m home from work today getting ready for him. Wish me luck!


Going Solo

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:45 am EST

As some of you know, Edo has been toiling at a new job for a while now. One of the many perks is his weekly trip to Asscrack, USA (actually, it could be a LOT worse… so let’s just call it Armpit, USA). Anyway, that leaves me home to fend for myself at least two nights a week, and that’s fine, but I never know how to feed myself.

I’ve become one of Wawa’s best customers, which is bad, but I suppose it’s better than my alternative plan of popcorn and ice cream. Then last night as I was walking home, I had a craving to duck into a casual restaurant along the way, but I couldn’t bring myself to go in alone. I’ve never been able to do that, to dine out alone in public. I guess I’m too afraid of looking like a loser.

I mean, I’m okay in a coffee shop if I have a book or a laptop to keep me occupied, so it looks like I’m alone with a purpose. But in a regular old restaurant—even just a diner—I feel like some sort of outcast if I’m only a party of one. I don’t even like waiting alone at a table when someone is meeting me.

I’m fine doing most other things alone, so what’s my problem here? Is it that eating is inherently a social activity? I’m interested to know your thoughts on this so I can judge just how neurotic I am acting here.


God Save the Cake

Filed under: — Kate @ 3:14 am EST

So… I stayed up half the night baking and decorating a birthday cake for my mom. I’m not 100% satisfied with it (the writing looks like ass, I can do better), but I think it’s okay.

And frankly, I can’t afford to invest any more time into a cake that somehow has to make it all the way to the end of the R6 without being destroyed. It’s already had a near death experience: I tripped while moving it the four feet from the counter to the fridge. Lost my slipper, but saved the cake.

Anyway, I hope the damn thing still looks decent when I wake up tomorrow, though I doubt there will be much difference between my bleary-eyed vision now and four hours from now.


Death Valley: T-7 Hours and Counting

Filed under: — Kate @ 10:50 am EST

Man, the last day of work before I’m off for a few days is always so stressful that I find myself almost wishing I wasn’t taking time off. Almost. I NEVER have enough time to prepare work for other people. Sometimes that just means I leave late, but when there’s a flight to catch at 6:00 PM, that’s not really an option. Grrrrr….


Some Days…

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:33 am EST

…you wish you never got out of bed. This is going to be one of them for me.



Hailfire and Brimstone

Filed under: — Kate @ 9:33 am EST

On Wednesday, just as Edo and I were about leave from a building where I work, the annoying rain that had been coming down all day decided it was time to become a torrential downpour. Sheets of water were being dumped from the sky like it was going out of fashion.

So we stopped in the little entry area of the building and just sort of looked at each other in that “Can you believe this shit?!” sort of way. We wondered if we should try to wait it out.

Then it got loud. REALLY loud.

Because it was hailing.

Now I know that hail is a common phenomenon, but it’s been a while since I’ve seen it. And it happened at precisely the moment we needed to walk home!

It had all day long to hail if it wanted, but noooo… it had to hail on me.

I blame Pat Robertson.


Where Did My Day Go?

Filed under: — Kate @ 4:15 pm EST

Crap, is it after 4:00 already? Where did my day go?

And can I have it back, please?

Could this have something to do with the fact that I didn’t get my morning latte until 12:35 PM, and therefore don’t remember what happened before then?


Back to the Grind Back to Bed

Filed under: — Kate @ 8:20 am EST

At least that’s what I’m trying to do.

I woke up so sick to my stomach this morning. At first I tried to tell myself that it was psychosomatic, that I just didn’t want to go back to work after so much wonderful time off. But I think maybe it’s a little more than that. I’m really nauseous.

I took some Emetrol, and I’m sitting here at home waiting (hoping) for it to kick in so I can walk to work without fear of puking in the middle of the street along the way.

UPDATE: Yeah… basically as soon as finished writing that, I found myself bowing before the porcelain throne. Oh well. Maybe I’ll start feeling better now.

Still feeling like crap. I’m crawling back into bed for a while.


Where Has All the Content Gone?

Filed under: — Kate @ 11:43 pm EST

Been a little lacking in content lately here at the Landslide in my Ego. Sorry about that. Seems like I’m not the only one though. I think the blogosphere has been on vacation this week.

It’s funny, I thought taking some time off from work (I’ve been off this whole week) would allow me to post more. But between the stress of work and the stress of the holidays, I guess I really needed to just slack off this week and relax.

Sometimes I wish I could just go back to being a kid at Christmas. So much less to worry about. This year the stress just seemed to keep coming, whether it was the frantic shopping up until the LAST MINUTE (which I hate doing, but couldn’t seem to avoid this year), or the frustration at being the ONLY person decorating the tree (okay, so my brother and Edo helped a little), or the staying up all night wrapping presents. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like it was all bad. It was really great to spend time with my family, and I love my parents’ house at Christmas. And all in all, I felt better at the end than I did at the beginning.

Anyway, I hope all of you are enjoying this holiday season. I’ll be back to my old prolific self before you know it.

Until then, there are a few pictures after the jump. (more…)


It’s All Over Now

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:57 pm EST

Well, I made the cake for UMIL. I wanted to make a Navajo sand painting, because I know she’s interested in Navajo culture, and it would be different from the typical flowers and “Happy Birthday” style cakes.

I got my inspiration from the artwork we saw on the Navajo Reservation this past July, as well as a few online sources (namely this one) and a couple google image searches.

I think it came out pretty well, though it was a bit iffy there for a while. Let me tell you, it is NOT easy to force sugar into small detailed patterns.

As it turns out, this was the first time anyone baked UMIL a birthday cake in forty years, so hopefully that wins me a few points. ;-)

Anyway, she is gone now, Thanksgiving is over, and things are slowly turning back to normal around here. As far as normal goes, anyway.


Just Call Me Martha

Filed under: — Kate @ 2:27 pm EST

I’m home baking a cake for the UMIL (today is her birthday). So far the concept is going really well. Maybe I’ll post a picture if the real thing turns out anything like my fantasy.


UMIL: Day 12 - If She Leaves Us Alone, We Would Have A Happy Home

Filed under: — Kate @ 1:11 pm EST

lyrics by Ernie K-Doe, 1961

The worst person I know
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
She worries me so
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
If she leaves us alone
We would have a happy home
Sent from down below
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law

I come home with my pay
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
She asks me what I make
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
She thinks her advice is a contribution
But if she will leave that will be the solution
And don’t come back no more
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law

Sin should be her name
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
To me there about the same
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
Every time I open my mouth
She steps in and tries to put me out
How could she stoop so low
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law
Mother-In-Law, Mother-In-Law


Every Bond You Break, Every Step You Take

Filed under: — Kate @ 6:10 pm EST

I’ll Be Watching You…

Okay, first, read this. Then come back here.

And now for the really messed up part:

So, today I open my office door, as I’m heading out for my coffee, and I hear some U2 music. It was coming from Moe’s office. And it was pretty loud—I could easily make out the exact song before my office door was completely open.

Now I realize that there are a lot of people in this world who like U2, so I tried not to think too much of it. But it was an old album, so it was all the more unusual. And I could tell that it was an old album (as opposed to greatest hits) because of the song he was playing.

And even though I tried to shrug it off, one word kept going through my head: bait.

So, I mustered up my courage and walked past his office looking straight ahead (but glancing sideways). He was totally watching for me, but surprisingly, he didn’t follow.

So I go get my coffee, and come back the same way.

About five minutes after I’m back in my office, my phone rings. (more…)

Every Breath You Take, Every Move You Make

Filed under: — Kate @ 4:04 pm EST

Sorry for the length of this entry. I tried to keep it short. I failed.

So it seems that I have a stalker.

I’ve been meaning to mention this for some time now, but I was having some difficulty writing it down.

Well today it went from creepy to disturbing, so I thought I’d better type this up before he kidnaps me. You’ll need it to look for clues to wherever he hides my body.

It’s a guy from another department who works a short distance down the hall from me. Let’s call him… Moe. I think he started working here some time over the summer.

I had passed this guy in the hallway lots of times, and he barely even looked at me. I actually sort of assumed he was gay (and no, not because he barely looked at me). I mean, how often can a man wear pink without raising a few eyebrows? But, it turns out that he’s just foreign. Now I am well aware of the differences between the American concept of masculinity and that of the rest of the world. Still, I thought I’d accounted for that. My gaydar isn’t 100%, but it’s not bad.

Anyway, it all started one day as I was going for my daily tall triple skinny sugar free hazelnut latte. (more…)