Monday, December 29, 2008

Only 361 days to go

I'll write about the holiday break later, but for now let's just say that I feel the same way about Christmas as I did when I was one year old.



Friday, December 19, 2008

Sugar-fueled ramblings

HELLO, INTERNET! I had almost forgotten that I have a blog. It suddenly occurred to me yesterday, hey, wasn't it a year ago that I started this thing? Turns out it was a year ago on December 3. I missed my blogiversary! Alas.

But whatever! Because I am going home tomorrow for CHRISTMAS. I am like a kid on the last day of school before the holiday break, hopped up on sugar (have I mentioned the number of treats that appear in the office around the holidays?) and accomplishing nothing. Except making list of things to pack and to do before I leave. So far it looks like this:

Pack
  • Gifts
  • Poinsetta (lest it die while I am away)
  • Messiah score (I'm singing with the choir on Sunday, and I've been brushing up on my choruses. BRING IT ON, George Frideric!)
  • Pillow
  • iPod loaded with Christmas music
  • DVDs (White Christmas; Love Actually; The Family Stone)
  • Books (at least three)
  • Toothpaste (I have developed a habit of forgetting to pack toothpaste on recent trips.)
  • Laundry
  • Camera charger
I recognize the omissions in this list (like, you know, clothes), but these are the important, most-likely-to-be-forgotten things.

To Do
  • Pack
  • Load car
  • Figure out which laundry to take home
  • Wash dishes
  • Clean smelly stuff out of fridge
  • Take out trash
  • Clean spilled dirt out of car (The poinsetta fell over in transit from the store.)
As you can see, I have a lot to do tonight. But I shall press onward, because I am going HOME tomorrow, and CHRISTMAS is a'comin'. And I'm ready.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Um….yeah.

I have a problem with follow-through.

This is nothing new. When we were kids, G and I and three other kids in our neighborhood started a neighborhood newspaper. We never actually wrote or published anything, but we spent a great deal of time arranging our "office" in Jenna's playhouse.

In fifth grade, three of my friends and I started a babysitters' club. We had several sugar-fueled meetings. Never did any babysitting, though (not as part of the club, anyway).

Anyway. Remember the Great Purge O'Crap of 2008? Yeah, me too.


Yikes.

And remember how I mentioned the two untouched boxes covered in clothes? I cleaned them off. But then....

Thirty dozen eggs makes a lot of omlettes.

...it, uh, reaccumulated. I would also like to point out that there are six pairs of shoes in that photo--my boots, black mary jane heels, black peep toes, black flats (can you tell I wear a lot of black?), running shoes, and my beloved Pumas--and that in the last two weeks, I have worn them all. Which tells you something about the variety of temperatures I've recently experienced (60 degrees on Thanksgiving in Georgia... 24 degrees in D.C. last night. If it weren't for the week in between, I'd have meteorological whiplash).

My progress since then has been nonexistent minimal. I have gone through exactly two boxes of clothing. That was two weeks ago. I need to get on the stick.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The scene in my apartment most evenings during the month of December:



1) Sweatpants
2) Mug of tea or hot chocolate
3) No lights except the Christmas tree

Ahhhhh, the holidays!

Happy Thanksgiving (a week late, but whatever)

There are a lot of us DeJarnetts. When we all get together, there are 24 of us: two grandparents, four brothers, their four spouses, 12 grandchildren--ranging in age from 25 (me) to five (little cousin Calvin)--and two great aunts/uncles, not to mention assorted pets. It's chaos of the best possible kind.

Two of the babies are not our cousins--we have no idea who they are, in fact--and this photo was taken pre-Benjamin or any of the three youngest kids.

When were were kids, we could hardly wait to for visits with the cousins. As soon as everyone convened at my grandparents' house, we would disappear upstairs, free from our parents' prying eyes, to concoct some brilliant skit or dramatic dance performance (which was inevitably captured on video. We watched several last year, and they are awesome... awesomely horrifying, that is. As G says, "It's not so much how bad we were, it's how good we thought we were).

Most of us are in our late teens and 20s now, so skits are a thing of the past, but we still flock to the kids' table for dinner. Our antics are of a different variety--this year, as we sat around eating barbeque the day after Thanksgiving, we came up with ways to haze incoming cousins-in-law (the first of us is getting married this summer).

"They won't know what hit them when we start singing in parts."
"Hey--what if we all nonchalantly pull out instruments instead?"
"Yeah, we have flutes and an oboe and a horn--"
"Tambourine!"
"Anybody have a violin?"
"I'll bring a rain stick."

1997? Don't know, but we're on vacation in Florida, and I am sick. This was also my awkward phase, as illustrated by my bangs and braces.
Before each meal, the whole family makes a circle and joins hands, the one brief time each year when we are all together--quiet and focused. And then there's this moment, right when we launch into the Doxology, as we slip into the well-worn harmonies, when you see everyone look around and smile. We're all musical, but in none of our other ensembles do we experience this particular feeling--of tradition and of family.

And then someone--usually my uncle Jeff--throws in a suspension and we're forced to hold the last chord until he decides to resolve it. And we all dissolve into laughter. Time to eat!

Cousins--all of us--and grandparents, Thanksgiving 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

On creativity

I have great respect for creative people. My attentions are wide-ranging, from the great and famous--you know, Beethoven and JK Rowling--to the people who invent the most minute, commonplace things. Toilet seat covers, for instance--those tissue paper things that they have in (some) public restrooms. I feel a wave of goodwill toward the management of an establishment when I enter a restroom and discover seat covers.

The inventor of the toilet seat cover, however, pales in my esteem next to the person who came up with this:














GENIUS. Let's take a closer look:











It plugs the hole in the lid so the drink doesn't spill in transport! So simple! And also good for my wardrobe, because I have a tendency to do this:



That's my "nice" black coat. Note the numerous spots. That spill happened sometime between November and March of last year. (Don't judge. I intended to take it to the dry cleaners after coat season was over, but I forgot. And now, I have to, you know, wear it.)




Anyway, as I strolled into the office this morning, holding my cup with its anti-spill hole plugger thingy (that's the technical term), I reflected on how nice it was not to be dripping peppermint hot chocolate all over myself. And I was thankful.

And speaking of thankful! Thanksgiving is two days away! I leave tomorrow night for Georgia (it is impossible for me to type that word with the nice drawl that it deserves), and I am excited. Though the first of the cousins has just gotten engaged, which means, as the oldest grandchild...passive aggressive "are you dating anyone?" questions all around! Luckily, I have answers prepared:

  • Several guys, actually. I can't keep track of all of them!
  • Yeah, we just moved in together last month. ...Oh, I thought you'd heard about it. My mistake!
  • Yes, her name is ____.

Thoughts on which I should go with? My coworkers are voting for the third one, just for the shock value.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Heard... (work edition)

...at work this morning from my rather irreverant boss
BC: I saw someone walking this morning that I thought was you, but then I realized that she walked like a longshoreman and she was chewing gum like a cow chewing her cud. And I thought, no, that’s not Hannah.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Great Purge O'Crap of '08: An Introduction

I was sitting on my bed the other night, looking around and thinking "Dude. What is all this junk?" And thus, I am on a mission to declutter my apartment. The goal is January 1. Progress reports to follow.

Integral to this effort is a much-needed clothing purge, because the answer to "Dude. What is all this junk?" is: piles of clothes. Thus, I pledge to make a generous contribution to Goodwill in the next month or so.

Under the clothes pile in the corner of my room are two large boxes that have been there, no lie, since the day I moved in and plopped them (or, more likely, Nick or my dad plopped them) on the floor. Thirteen months ago. One of them has been moving from apartment to apartment with me--unopened--since I lived in the dorms at AU. AND ONE OF THEM IS EMPTY, save for a pair of shoes. This, friends, is what we call laziness, and it cannot--nay, must not--continue!

And so! To add to the fun (by which I mean fun for me, obviously, since you, gentle readers, are not here to help with the Great Purge O'Crap of '08) is that I shall periodically post pictures of the fun things I find. And I can do this now because I! have! a camera! It will be glorious! And also possibly rather mortifying.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Photo fun!

I spent yesterday going photo-crazy on Facebook. Photo sets are up for the engagement party, the Aug/Sept reunion in DC, and miscellaneous other things. Highlights include Ed and Annie acting like four-year-olds, JKempf waving at the camera like a four-year-old, and me as an actual four-year-old.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Heard...

...four weeks ago while discussing Ed and Val's engagement party
J: Can I have a ride to Pennsylvania?
Me: Sure.
J: Shotgun!
Me: [rolls eyes]
J: I'll make a mix tape!
Me: So I can expect four hours of Phish and Bob Dylan?
J: [feigning offense] No.... Also some Grateful Dead and maybe the String Cheese Incident.
Me: Ah, well then. Something to look forward to.

...at 2am on the night of the party as the bride-to-be, who has had a few cocktails, navigates the drive home
Val: [pointing right] Turn left at the stop sign.
Leah: Val, that's right.
[There's a lot of laughter from the rest of us.]
Val: [in a stage-whisper] Shhhh! I can't hear because I can't think that loud.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Heard... (GO TOPPERS! edition)

...last Friday night at the Science Hill-Dobyns Bennett football game, where I unexpectedly ran into two old friends. We composed a personal ad for our quarterback, who was on the field for the entire game.

John: That's our quarterback!
Norman: Number five!
John: He plays offense--
Norman:--he plays defense--
Me:--he likes long walks on the beach and makes a mean lasagna!
John: [pause] What's his name, though?


(I forgot to post this earlier in the week. Was too keyed up by other things, apparently.)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Today

I am the least political person in my family. My sister is a political operative. My mom, quite the activist in her day, virtually ran the McGovern campaign in her county during college and, along with my dad, door-knocked for Obama in southwest Virginia. As of 4:30 this afternoon, he was still out going door-to-door in Virginia. I’m interested—I just can’t watch CNN and MSNBC ad nauseum every day.

But four years ago, I watched a young U.S. senatorial candidate speak at the Democratic National Convention. His was a voice that stood out from the others, a voice that spoke with vision and clarity of a fresh start for our country and the world, a future beyond war and partisanship and insularity.

When that man runs for president, I will vote for him, I thought. But I never dreamed that this day would come so soon.

Over these many months, some said that race would prevent his election, that the demons of our nation’s not-so-distant past would resurface, however briefly, and that this country would not elect a black man for its highest office.


During this year’s convention, a commentator asked Luke Russert what it meant to the younger generation to see a black candidate for president. He replied, essentially, that it was much less of an issue for younger voters, who grew up without the baggage of Jim Crow and the civil rights era. Though certainly not perfect, ours is a much more colorblind generation. That statement resonated with me, though I obviously recognized and appreciated the historic significance of this unlikely candidacy.


Today was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to “go and vote” in a general election. In 2004, I voted by absentee ballot—not quite the same—for John Kerry. The difference today, though, aside from the “I VOTED” sticker that I’m still wearing, was that instead of voting against George Bush, I voted for someone.

I spent the last few weeks trying to manage expectations, waiting for the other shoe to drop. I watched the returns tonight, coloring in my map as projections were called and hardly daring to believe what I was seeing. Breaking News: Barack Obama Elected President.

I have never been prouder of my country than I am tonight. I haven’t been able to say that in a while, and it’s a pretty incredible feeling.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Miscellaneous

It is 11:06 in the morning, and I'm eating Sour Patch Kids. This is probably unwise, as I'll be bouncing off the walls in an hour and crashing right around the time of my 2:00 meeting, but my Mueslix didn't really fill me up this morning and I got a Halloween package (with candy!) from one of my vendors yesterday, so...here we are.

Wow, I'm even typing in run-on sentences.

***********
In other news, I'm going home this weekend for the first time since March (or May, if you count an overnight visit, which I really don't). Will be visiting my parents and going to the Science Hill--Dobbins Bennett game on Friday night at my old high school. Go Toppers!

Unfortunately, this means several late evenings at work this week, but I shall press onward.

***********
Before I can think about packing, however, I must prepare myself for Renée Fleming! (that's how I think of her, with an exclamation point after her name), who I get to hear tomorrow. More on that later.

***********
And finally...six days until the election. [cue nailbiting]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Potpourri

Yesterday Dad complained that I haven't posted in a while. I haven't forgotten about you, loyal readers, but I've been experiencing a significant dearth of inspiration recently. I generally prefer to wait until I have something to say, rather than nattering on about nothing just to fill space, and I haven't had any bug incidents or anything to write about.

That was yesterday, though. Today I feel the urge to natter. About various things. I shall just leave the blog window open all day and add to it whenever I think of something. We'll see what happens!

***********
Well. Fall has officially arrived, which means boots! sweaters! jackets! We're in that glorious period between the humidity of summer and the onset of the dry, cold air that creates great quantities of static in my hair. I treasure this time. It never lasts long.

***********
Someone stole my scissors! They reside on my desk, with their orange handles sticking out of the Harrods Chocolate Chunk and Pecan Cookie tin that holds my pens and highlighters. (The cookies were consumed many years ago, but the tin lives on.) But when I came in this morning...no scissors! This has thrown off my entire morning.

***********
Aside from Work Work Work, I've been consumed with Wedding Mania. There is something in the water, I think--Ed and Val were first with the engagements, followed by a friend from high school and then Jules and Miguel. And then! My favorite blogger from over at Nothing But Bonfires got engaged in Rome (and wrote a beautiful story about it).

E&V and J&M are getting married a week apart next September, which....YIKES. And also, fun! So my email inbox is chockablock with dress designs and flower colors and hairstyles and "Yikes, Who Does That?" photos. (Jules sends a lot of emails). It all seems so far away, until I remember that E&V's engagement party in PA is in three weeks, and I have no idea what I'm going to wear.

***********
At work I edit a lot of schlock, much of it written by individuals with less understanding of English grammar than the average fourth grader. (I'm not talking about my colleagues at work. Much of the text I'm talking about comes from external sources.) However, I would like to commend whomever at the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra wrote the company bio that I edited today. It is well written, interesting, and uses the phrase "an historic moment," which I appreciate.

***********
Apparently one side effect of not living with J anymore is that I no longer have a clue about what's going on with the Red Sox. (Me, on Saturday night: "So what's the significance of this game?" It was Game 6 of the ALCS. Oops.)

***********
In case you were wondering about my sleep issues, they seem to have resolved themselves. I attribute this to a) reduced work-related stress, b) the Silly Putty that I bought last week for stress relief, and c) my bed being a haven of comfy wonderfulness. I flipped my mattress and put the Awesome and Ugly Sheets of Yore* on the bed. This, combined with the cool weather and my new ability to sleep past 6am, means that I never want to leave my bed.

*These sheets were my father's in college. They are both Awesome in their softness and Ugly, due to a tremendously ill-advised combination of colors (orange, blue, and brown plaid).

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Thoughts on Jules and Michael's engagement

Me, upon answering the phone: I KNEW IT!!!!!!!!

Dad (mine), via text: 'Bout time.

Alison Bilz (maid of honor and sister of the bride), via phone to Jules: [on bridesmaids' dresses] No pastels or brown or green, and thank God Hannah already nixed yellow.

Val, via G-chat: oh yay, i'm glad i'm not the only one going through the hell of making these color choices!

Me and Ashley, via phone: [hysterical giggling]
Ash: Our little Jules is growing up!

Dad, later via phone: Tell them I'm available to perform the wedding.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Science of Sleep

All week, I've been waking up 30 to 45 minutes before my alarm. This is quite unusual, as I normally hit the snooze button several times before hauling myself out of bed and into the shower.

I'm trying to pinpoint the cause of this newfound early-bird-ness. I've been under incredible pressure at work over the last few weeks, so I frequently find myself gripped with panic about the program that didn't get delivered (it did) or the proof I forgot to approve (I didn't). I fall asleep--eventually--with my mind racing through the things that need to get done the next day, and I pick up right where I left off the instant my eyes open the next morning. I have had a perpetual knot in my stomach all week because of the stress. Seems like a good enough reason to wake up early, yes?

Or! Is it possible that I am, in fact, actually sleeping better these days? During the summer, I sleep with my windows open and, though I'm able to ignore the street noise, I wonder if I'm actually getting a deeper, more restful sleep now that the temperature has dropped, my windows are closed, and it's quieter?

I've spent most of the day contemplating this.

The good thing about this, though, is that I have had time to spend the day contemplating it. Work has chilled out a little (until Monday, at least), and I have a little time to breathe. So, naturally, I am blogging.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

So much culture!

On Saturday I saw (heard?) the New York Philharmonic. Tonight I will be attending closing night of The Pearl Fishers at the Kennedy Center (for free! and probably in awesome seats!) and then I will be dashing home to hopefully catch the last half hour of the debate. Good thing it's a (relatively) short opera.

Or I might just leave after "Au fond du temple saint." But that would probably be rude.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Heard... (work edition)

...as I obsess over many teeny details in a project for our company president
Him: Hannah, it's not the Magna Carta.

The pound is silent?

Work has been nutso recently, and I've been staying sane by watching many hours of season 1 of The West Wing over the last few days. Some day I will produce a real post again, but for now I leave you with this little gem from the episode "He Shall, From Time to Time."

The president is rehearsing for the State of the Union address
President Bartlet:
'I came to this hallowed chamber one year ago' -- and I see that we're spelling hallowed with a pound sign in the middle of it.
Sam: We'll fix that.
President Bartlet: The pound is silent?

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"I got you some spackle"

I'm not the only one who is psyched about the new 10th Anniversary DVD box set of Sports Night, aka The Show That Made Me Love Peter Krause (and No, It Wasn't Six Feet Under).

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm now fairly confident that G didn't read my diary in the sixth grade

...because I just spent 20 minutes trying to pop the lock on it with no success. Various methods were employed, involving paper clips, bobby pins, and a screwdriver. No such luck.

It is KILLING ME. There is so much juicy adolescent awesomeness to be rediscovered. But the stupid little metal lock is thwarting my efforts.

*Like the Tooth Fairy, but better

Hear that? Hear it? No? ME NEITHER. That thing that you don’t hear is not the sound of the freight train that previously resided in my kitchen. No, it’s the gentle purring of a BRAND NEW REFRIGERATOR!

I know. It’s exciting.

I opened my freezer on Saturday morning, and green goo with chocolate chips in it came drizzling out at me. My fridge had died. It was sad (if not unexpected—it was a pretty old fridge), primarily because of the various Omaha Steaks products in the freezer that were ruined. Alas.

(The question that occurs to me now is what was I going into the freezer for anyway at 10am on a weekend? The freezer consisted entirely of the following: several varieties of nuts; half a package of Thin Mints; mint chocolate chip ice cream—or, well, goo; a tuna noodle casserole, probably from February; two packages of Omaha Steaks stuff (burgers and filets-or-beef-tips, I still can’t tell); two popsicles; and four bags of whole cranberries. Not exactly breakfast food.

Which brings up another issue, which is that I have clearly inherited my parents' thing where they stock up on cranberries during the holidays so that they can “use them year round” or something. I do it too, even though I only use them in the fall/winter when they’re easily found at the store. But I digress.)

Of course, because it was Saturday, they couldn’t install a new fridge until Monday, so I made a grocery run for items that would not require dairy products or create leftovers. I left the store with: peaches, Hamburger Helper Microwave Singles, Maple & Brown Sugar Frosted Mini Wheats (for breakfast, since they’re tasty without milk), and apple juice boxes.

Then I went home and played a game called ‘Is This Okay To Eat After A Night Without Refrigeration Or Should I Throw It Away?’ It’s fun, you should try it. And, best of all, I was forced to clean out the three bowls of Former Food, Now Probably Penicillin, one of which has been there for many months.

But today, the Apartment Fairy* came and removed the old fridge and put a brand new one in. It’s so white and clean and pretty and cold! My first thought was, hey, now I can cook! Which, as you know, has SO much to do with the fridge and nothing at all to do with my perfectly functional stove.

The one downside is that the new fridge is about six inches deeper than the old one, which is a slight problem since I most definitely have a one-butt kitchen (no more than one person can properly function in it at a time—I have tried, believe me) and now it’s really only a half-butt kitchen back by the fridge. I expect that this will present some challenges, but I’m too enamored of my shiny white fridge to care right now.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Improv Blogging, Part 3: Pépe

Improv Blogging is a feature where you, my (tens of) loyal readers, suggest topics and I write on them, no matter how random or out there. Full details are here.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I got sidetracked with the Improv Blogging "initiative," if you will, from earlier in the summer for various worthy reasons like
Aaron Piersol and books and visits to and from people. Several suggestions were left hanging, for which I profoundly apologize.

However, Jules is here this week for work and is staying with me, which leads me to....Pépe. Who was suggested as an Improv topic by the lovely Ash.

But. I don't exactly know where to start with Pépe.

Pépe (full name Pepino Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales) is many things. A prawn for starters. A Muppet. A Spaniard (from Madrid, specifically). A film star and self-styled Casanova. For a while, the Long John Silvers spokes-prawn. Master of the non sequitur.









In this photo, Pépe dons an apron for a scene with his best friend, Kermit the Frog, in Muppets in Space.

He is also Jules' alter-ego, featuring prominently in her speech patterns and inspiring her blog, "
Pepe Pontificates."

There are many things one could say about Pépe, but instead, I offer you his screen test for the coveted position of Spokesprawn for Long John Silvers.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Things that happened today

1) My Obama t-shirt arrived!
2) I learned that sweetened condensed milk does, in fact, spoil. (Evidence: weak brown color; glue-like consistency; curious smell.)
3) How I Met Your Mother returned. And all was right with the world again.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

On the upside, I did get to see NPH and Boreanaz in tuxes, so it could've been worse

I don't know why I do it, but I can't help myself. It's like watching a car wreck or the early rounds of American Idol. But I JUST CAN'T LOOK AWAY.

I'm talking about the Emmys, of course. This year's were particularly bad, due in large part to the terrible idea of having it hosted by five REALITY TV "personalities." Heidi Klum is not funny, folks. And don't get me started on Ryan Seacrest.

However, four moments stand out as the most painful of them all. In no particular order:
1) Kathy Griffin (who I'm going to see in a week! woo!) presenting with Don Rickles, who is, apparently, clueless. I have never seen Kathy at a loss for words before, and I sure hope she talks about it in her act next weekend.
2) The wonderful, hilarious, smokin' hot David Boreanaz (aka my TV husband Special Agent Seeley Booth of Bones--or THE Bones, according to Heidi) being forced to present with LAUREN CONRAD of The Hills. WTF, YA'LL? Even Boreanaz looked mad, like, "Dempsey gets Sandra Oh, and Ferguson gets Brooke Shields, and they give me this chick??"
3) They cut Neil Patrick Harris (and Kristin Chenoweth)'s funny banter! Why? Why, why, why would you do that?
4) Josh Groban. Ohhhh Joshie, how far you have fallen. I cringed--CRINGED, I tell you--as he butchered those 30-some various TV theme songs. I mean, Whitey McWhiterson Groban, singing "Movin' On Up" from The Jeffersons? Not okay!

Anyway, yikes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Makeover!

New blog look! It's time for a change.

One of these days I'm going to get myself a custom-designed header and maybe a fun new template, but for now I shall have to deal with a new Blogspot look. I'm not sure how I feel about the pink yet, but we'll see.

Anyway, it is a lovely almost-fall day here in D.C. My windows are wide open, and I'm watching the Vols choke against the Gators, listening to someone play the saxophone outside my window (not very well, either.... He seems to know only four notes), and weeding through the piles of mail and junk that have accumulated around my apartment. I'm making piles--to file; to pay/deal with/mail; to trash--and just generally putting my life in order. Bills are paid. Letters are written. Magazine subscriptions are renewed.

I'm discovering--and this is nothing new--that I have a lot of paper. My life, apparently, is all about paper. Once every two weeks or so, I spend an hour at work unearthing my desk from the piles of paper that accumulate there. Yesterday I spent the morning cleaning out a filing cabinet full of PAPER. The tall bookshelf in my office is covered in piles of brochures and programs and flyers and postcards--the fruits of my (and my predecessor's) labor. I suppose it's inevitable in my line of work. I mean, I read and write and print things for living. Paper is a fact of life--all the drafts and proofs and work order forms and lists.

That's another thing--I make a lot of lists, but I never seem to finish one before I start another. I usually have three or four lists going at a time.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this, really, but the environmentalist in me is dying inside a little bit as the pile of discarded envelopes and credit card offers grows.

Anyway. Happy almost-fall.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oy with the bowling already

It would appear that one side effect of bowling is turning into a 90-year-old Jewish woman.

The transformation happened overnight. I got out of bed this morning, and my legs immediately said, “Not so fast!” My thighs and glutes ache like I’ve run a marathon. I am honestly surprised I ever made it to work, given that I’m waddling around at about half my normal speed. Various utterances, like “OOF” and “OY,” issued forth from my office at various points today, any time that I attempted to either a) sit, or b) stand. In other words, every 20 minutes or so.

In my defense, I was not the only one in post-bowling pain. But I do believe that I was the most vocal.

I can barely walk. I have to lower myself into chairs because I can’t trust my legs to get me there safely. Going up or down stairs is agonizing.

I really need to start running or something. Jeez. BOWLING.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This one will win a Pulitzer for sure.

Want to know what I'm doing right now? Sitting on my bed! With my computer! While online! So exciting! I have been sans internet for about a week (and NO I don't know WHY), requiring the occasional use of dial-up (AOL, ya'll! So primitive! So 1997!), requiring me to sit at my desk.

There is something surprisingly unnatural about sitting at my desk while on my computer.

Oh, and also. This will come as no surprise to anyone, I'm sure, but: I am Not Good at bowling. In case you were wondering about that.

We had an office party of sorts today--bowling--and it was actually quite fun. I was not actually the worst, but I am possibly the most inconsistent player ever. Zero pins! Zero pins! Two pins! Zero pins! STRIKE! One pin! Nine pins! Spare! Zero pins! Very confusing.

Anyway. That's all. Aren't you glad you tuned in today?

Friday, September 12, 2008

Little known facts*

Many of my favorite blogs have these sections called "100 Things" (or some variation) where they list a bunch of random facts about themselves, so I--being devoid of anything interesting to say these days--decided to give it a go. I made it through 64 facts, and then I read back through them and realized DUDE, this is BORING. Except for a few of them, which actually made me laugh and which may not be common knowledge. So, in lieu of a real post, I offer you Random Tidbits of Hannah-ness:

1) When I was in 6th grade, we were studying medieval times in all our classes, and my English teacher invited my father in to sing medieval ballads to our class. OH, THE MORTIFICATION. Having your dad sing "Scarborough Fair" and assorted other ditties in front of all your friends (and, worse, enemies) ranks somewhere just below getting your braces tightened and above getting your hand slammed in the car door. Shockingly, he seemed surprised by this. (He also came to my class in preschool dressed as an elf, or something, and played the tin whistle. Apparently I was much more receptive then.)

2) I was a band nerd in high school (GO TOPPERS!!!!) and marched in both the Rose Parade and the Macy's Parade. For Macy's, I was one of the drum majors, and I was responsible for making sure none of us ran into anything (since we marched backwards), so I spent the entire parade looking over my shoulder, watching for manhole covers and curbs and the float in front of us. I needed a serious massage once we were done.

3) The only C that I ever got in high school was the first time through Algebra II (I ended up taking it again later because I couldn't stand to have it on my transcript). I blame it on my friend John and Tetris on my calculator.

4) After having traveled the subway systems in Washington, London, Paris, Boston, and Toronto with no problems, I spent years being baffled by the New York subway. I finally conquered it this spring, and the personal satisfaction that I derived from it cannot be put into words.

5) I have had exactly one illegal (under-age) drink in my life, consumed two days before my 21st birthday when my high school friend BMac threw me a surprise party at his apartment. It was half of a Bailey's milkshake, and I felt guilty about it the entire night.

6) That was the second of three surprise birthday parties that I've had: age 17 (by my high school friend Monica), age 21 (BMac), and age 23 (Jay, Ed, and Jules).

7) I have traveled to 22 states and eight foreign countries (Canada, England, Ireland, France, Italy, Germany, Austria, and Liechtenstein). This does not count states/countries where I have landed (like in the airport), but not actually spent any meaningful time. (For instance, I have flown through the Zurich airport, but I don't count Switzerland as a place I've visited.)

8) At parties, I'm the girl who cleans up (even when it's not my house).

9) One evening, a couple of years ago, Jay and I were dressed to go out on a Friday night, but we ended up playing Scrabble and falling asleep on the floor of the living room, fully dressed, before 10pm.

(Wow, I sound like kind of a loser, don't I?)

10) Despite attending college in D.C., I never took a political science class. Plenty of international studies and global communications stuff, but no straight U.S. poli sci.

11) The first time I was ever asked out was in a note "disguised" (badly) as a questionnaire and stuck in my locker. I chickened out and said no. But I think I still have the note somewhere.

12) I have a song for every occasion. It is a useful skill (if sometimes obnoxious), and I credit my parents for it. (*The title of this post, for instance, was inspired by a song. First one to guess wins... my undying love and respect.)

13) I think Julie Andrews hung the moon.


14) My southern accent only emerges when I'm tired or mad or both (and occasionally if I'm talking to someone from home). I do, however, say "ya'll" a lot.

15) The first musician/group that I ever fell in love with was Simon & Garfunkel. It was junior year of high school, and I vividly remember buying the Greatest Hits album. It also provided the soundtrack for one of the more memorable weekends of my adolescent life, a band trip to Miami.

16) No! Wait! That's not true! Hootie and the Blowfish came first, in seventh grade (I had Cracked Rear View on CASSETTE, ya'll) but their impact on my life was not as lasting as Simon & Garfunkel, which endures as one of my favorite albums to this day.

17) In college, Jules and I would lay out complete sets of clothes every night before bed in case of a fire alarm, which we had at least once a week during sophomore year. I always had to climb out of the top bunk and nearly killed myself every time.

18) I am afraid of rollercoasters, but I don't know why. I don't mind heights or speed, and I don't get carsick easily, but they scare me to death.

Heard.... ("Jay's back!" edition)

...while discussing Val and Annie's recent visit to see Jay in Chicago
Val: Several things reminded us of you.
Me: Like what?
Val: There was this fountain that played music and we knew you'd know all the songs.
Jay: [singing] Da da da da da da da dum dum dum...
Me: 1812 Overture. Tchaikovsky.
Val: See?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Twist-twist-twist-twist-mashed potato-mambo

Jules gave me the "Shake and Shimmy Edition" DVD of Hairspray for my birthday, and I am addicted. I've watched most of the extras two and three times and have even learned most of the dance to "Ladies' Choice." Unfortunately, the side effect is that I've had the song in my head literally for three days straight. I love Zac Efron, but it's getting a little old.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Heard...

...halfway through dinner with the family in Pittsburgh
Grandma: [looking horrified] Do I have to eat all these carrots?!

(We had a casserole, and she somehow ended up with four million carrots in her helping.)

ALRIGHT ALREADY

Apparently a girl can’t take a brief blogging break without disappointing her millions tens of readers. YOU CAN’T RUSH THE CREATIVE PROCESS, people. But I aim to please, so here I am.

Anyway. I’ve just come off of two fun-filled weekends, entirely different but both quite noisy. Last weekend's AU "family reunion" of sorts was jam-packed, and we visited nearly every museum known to man that isn't on the standard Smithsonian roster, specifically:

  • The OTHER Air and Space Museum (Udvar-Hazy Center) out by Dulles, which is awesome. (It has a Blackbird! And a space shuttle! And other things.)
  • The Newseum - I had been to the old one in Rosslyn, but the new, recently re-opened one is so much cooler! I could spend hours there. Among the museum's extensive collection of historical papers was one covering the 1925 Scopes trial. The paper in question? The Johnson City Staff-News, former rag of my hometown!
  • The Spy Museum - I was expecting it to be overrated but…well. It was not, primarily due “Operation Spy,” an hour-long interactive extravaganza (!) where you become a spy and go on a mission. My hours of watching Alias paid off, though Jason started things off well by figuring out how to open a secret door. (The answer? Push.) Anyway, it was exceedingly fun and well worth the extra $7.
  • Mt. Vernon - Honestly, it was a lot like any other historic landmark (Monticello takes the cake, in my opinion), except for the view, which is spectacular. Also, the peanut soup was quite tasty.

We also went to Zorba’s (obviously), spent large amounts of time wedged into my car, and ate a lot of food. And we talked a lot—generally all at the same time—though it obviously wasn’t very exciting because we nearly made Miguel fall asleep in his raspberry tiramisu at the dinner table. It was lively and exhausting and all the things that a good reunion should be.

AND THEN. This weekend, when Hanna (the hurricane or tropical storm or whatever) came to visit the area, I went to Pittsburgh for a Steelers game with my family. It was also quite loud, but fun was had by all. The weather was lovely, the Steelers won convincingly, and I discovered the joys of Nintendo DS Lite and the game “Brain Age,” which is addictive and awesome.

So now I am home, where I intend to stay for the foreseeable future.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Uh, duh.

Did anybody besides my mother notice the typo (now fixed) in the title of the post prior to the "Mavrick" one? Withdrawal. Yeesh. Clearly I should not be a smartass unless I check my spelling first.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Withdrawal

So. They were here. It was awesome. Now they are gone. It is quiet.

I shall write about it later, but for now I leave you (well, them, actually) with this: COMMIT, and MERGE!!!!

More later.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

YES WE CAN!!!!!!

I really don't know where to start about Obama's nomination acceptance speech tonight, so I'll just say 1) I got rather emotional--still am, actually--and b) if this man does not inspire you, then....well. That's another issue entirely.

I watched MSNBC entirely tonight, which I don't normally do because, although I adore Keith Olbermann, I generally want to stick a sock in Chris Matthews' mouth. But tonight I stuck with them and was not disappointed when, at the conclusion of the speech, they immediately began comparing it with Aaron Sorkin's brilliant writing, specifically in The American President. I had totally picked up on that--first in the phrase "the better angels of our nature," which President Bartlet (on The West Wing) used and which, of course, came straight from Abraham Lincoln--and also when he said, "Well that's a debate I'd like to have" and "It's not because John McCain doesn't care. It's because John McCain doesn't get it." ("Bob Rumson's problem isn't that he doesn't get it. Bob's problem is that he can't sell it!" ~Pres. Andrew Shepherd) Anyway. Sorkin-esque rhetoric at its finest.

And, lastly. Charles Babington of the Associated Press will not be getting a job with Keith Olbermann anytime soon. Did you HEAR him lay into Babington's AP article? It was fabulous. Talk about biting contempt.

Wishing I was in Denver tonight

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Oh, hell.

There are days when you feel awesome. Unstoppable. "I am grand! I am a force to be reckoned with! I am a magnificent pearl and the world is my oyster!" Other days...not so much.

Today is one of those Other days.

Few things are worse than walking into work and immediately having a Situation to deal with. A big one. One that is ultimately my problem, my "fault," even if it isn't entirely. I find myself longing for my days as a lowly editorial assistant, where the buck stopped elsewhere. "With great power comes great responsibility," said Peter Parker (or his grandfather or somebody....whatever). Truer words were never spoken. I mean, I wouldn't say I have great power, or really any power, but the responsibility part is true.

I guess, technically, a more apt quote would be "With responsibility comes responsibility." Which, if you think about it, is really no fun at all.

Anyway. I'm having a bit of day, is what I'm saying.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Heard..... (100th post edition!!!)

In honor of the 100th post on this here blog, I offer you... some sisterly advice. And some profanity. You've been warned.

....while chatting with G at work today.
Me: There is a violinist playing in the conference room.
G: Hmm.... Watch your back. Violin music is always in the background when shit goes down.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Final Olympic thoughts (for this year, anyway)

Further thoughts on the closing ceremonies:

1) I'm not gonna lie, I got a tad teary during the Kenyan national anthem as they awarded the gold for Men's Marathon in front of 90,000-odd people.
2) Yao Ming is TALL, ya'll. I get tickled every time I see him standing head and shoulders all the other athletes.
3) The replays of various big moments of the games that they're showing at all the commercial breaks are pretty cool, actually. I got all scream-y AGAIN when they showed Jason Lezak winning the men's 4x100 free relay.
4) Well. That was quite a waste of David Beckham's time.
5) Um...please explain how Plácido relates to Beijing or London? I don't understand.
6) I am a sucker for a good montage, I tell ya.
7) Not nearly as good as the Opening Ceremonies.

Two other things I've been wanting to say:

One: Rhythmic gymnastics. I DO NOT GET IT.

And finally, the US men's basketball team. I am not an NBA fan at all, but I have fallen a little in love with these guys over the last two weeks. For all the crap that America's professional basketball players typically deal out, the US men were so poised and supportive of the other athletes and seemingly happy to be there that it was just a little endearing. One of my favorite moments was during one of Michael Phelps' races (I think the final one where he broke Mark Spitz's record) when Kobe and several others were in the stands, waving the American flag and cheering Phelps on with everything they had. So anyway, props to them for a) winning, and b) doing it with class.

Well, Bob Costas is signing off from China "this one last time" (ooh, final montage!!). Tomorrow it's back to my regularly scheduled blogging, so no more rambling about Aaron Peirsol.... Actually, I can't promise that, but significantly less, anyway.

Can't wait 'till Vancouver in two years!

****************************
UPDATE: They're using the theme from Remember the Titans! And I'm a little worried that I know that.

Three months ago the papal mass, and now this

And in this installment of Random Places My Former Boss Turns Up Around The World we have....the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympic Games!

I'm sitting here half watching, and I hear, "And now, singing [something something], Plácido Domingo and [somebody]."

He sounds pretty darned good, though.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Heard.... (typed, actually)

...on G-Chat, while discussing wording on wedding invitations
Jules: you can do just the bride's fam
Jules: "Doug and Sue invite you to Pannie's wedding to Aaron Peirsol on XX date"
Jules: Can I tell you if you marry Aaron Peirsol and use the words Doug and Sue and Pannie that I will pay for the invites?

Dinner party update!

Hark! I have added a third name to my "Five Famous People I Would Invite to a Dinner Party" list. Drumroll, please.....

Garrison Keillor!

The man is a genius, of course, and completely hilarious. He could regale us with his fabulous "O Captain, My Captain" monologue and then ease quite nicely into a "You Know You're An Anglican When" discussion with Desmond Tutu, and then he can compare notes with Neil Patrick Harris about the great blessing/burden of being expected to be witty and funny on command (which I, too, will naturally require of them at various points throughout the meal).

It occurs to me that I probably ought to come up with at least one female for the remaining two spots.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Worst. Girlfriend. Ever.

Oh, the shame. I have been spelling Aaron "E-before-I, in this case" Peirsol's name wrong. Now going back and fixing all previous entries...

Phelps, Murphy, and Pepe

Well. It's Monday, yet, oddly, I am feeling a great deal of relief. Because, ya'll, it was a WEEK. And then a WEEKEND. And today is the first day in eight that swimming and gymnastics aren't on until the wee hours, so I can go to bed at a reasonable hour. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with my evening.

After my sleepless (yet fulfilling! go US gymnasts and swimmer-people!) week, I had high hopes of catching up this weekend, though that was not to be. Hence, YAY, it is Monday, and I can go home and go to bed. All week! No late nights!

Anyway, it was a Big Fun weekend. Saturday night were pre-birthday festivities night, including dinner (oddly, even though everyone I know moved this year, this birthday had the highest turnout of any I've had in DC) and post-dinner Olympics-watching. And let me tell ya, there is no better place to watch Michael Phelps break the all-time medal record (and Dara Torres almost win the 50M freestyle) than in a sports bar. People went BALLISTIC. It was like being there live, with the yelling and the GO GO GO!!!" and the "USA! USA! USA!" Big fun. Many thanks to Ed, Val, Brian, Shelley, Nick, Ryan, Becky, Angela, and Harris for the birthday funness.

Then, yesterday, B and I went on a Virginia wine country excursion, sponsored by Murphy and his infamous law. It was a beautiful day, and the view were spectacular, but darned if it didn't take us three tries to do anything. By the numbers:

Vineyards visited: 3
Vineyards attempted to be visited, but lacking visible signage: 2
Random dirt/gravel/one-lane roads traveled due to worthless maps and/or lack of visible signage: A bazillion and four
7-Elevens visited for pitstops: 3
7-Elevens with broken doors (photo to come) and/or toilets, requiring visits to additional locations: 2
"Recommended" restaurants closed upon arrival: 2
Restaurants dined in: 0
Minutes spent in Whole Foods (back in DC) waiting for B to decide what to put in the pasta sauce: 42

That said, we had an enjoyable day, and I have a whole new appreciation for the geography of northern Virginia, which is quite lovely. I'm now looking forward to a nice, uneventful ten days, followed by impending insanity of having Ash, Jules, Miguel, and Jason ALL HERE AT THE SAME TIME. Hilarity will ensue! Madness! Also, probably lots of Pepe. I can't wait.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

MY age, in Celsius, is -4

Upon further examination of the aforementioned Dave Barry column, it turns out that he is also blogging about the games (surprisingly not as funny as I expected) and writing daily columns, which ARE, in fact, quite amusing.

This, for instance, sent me into gales of laughter for a good five minutes today:

"China is still winning. The big heartbreak Wednesday was that their women's gymnastics team beat ours, and in the spirit of Olympic harmony, I will refrain from pointing out that, even though the minimum age in that event is supposed to be 16, some of their women appeared to be more like 7. Maybe the Chinese calculate ages in Celsius. Or maybe it's like the Silk Market bargaining system, where the official minimum age is viewed as merely an opening offer. In any event, I see no need to make allegations of cheating, so let's just forget about this whole thing and move on." (From the Miami Herald)

It was the ages in Celsius thing that set me off, although--by the double-and-add-30 rule, that would make their age in Celsius something like -8. It's also possible that my threshold for funny is significantly decreased by the (also aforementioned) sleep deprivation, but I don't think so.

wtf, ya'll?

James Blake beat Roger Federer in STRAIGHT SETS. And I think a pig just flew by my window.

(By the way, I initially typed "James Black beet Roder Ferer." The sleep deprivation is starting to affect my motor skills.)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Heard... (work edition)

...at work today
JK (my boss):
So you stayed up late watching the Olympics again last night, huh?
Me: How did you know?
JK: You just...look a little...
Me: Exhausted?
JK: Well...yes.

Funny funny

Hilarious!
"We'd Never Win the Name Game" by Dave Barry

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Aaron Peirsol makes me nervous

Well. Banner day yesterday for the Americans, that's for sure. I was all prepared to stay up until midnight--past my bedtime!--to see the men's gymnastics team final, but it wasn't over till 12:30! But the boys were doing so amazingly well, sticking landings right and left, that I couldn't abandon them! So I stayed up, and, consequently, I'm about to fall asleep on my computer keyboard.

Big night for the swimmers, too, with the US collecting three golds, a silver, and two bronzes. My boyfriend Aaron Peirsol (see? isn't he pretty? don't you think we'd have beautiful children??) handily defended his gold in the 100m back and set another world record while he was at it. He's so laid back, however, that he makes me nervous--EVERY time, he's the last one on the starting block (or whatever the thing is that the backstrokers hang off of under the starting block, and EVERY time he's the last one to get into starting position. He just takes his sweet time, not an urgent bone in his body, and I'm yelling at the TV, "DUDE! You're going to MISS the START of the RACE!" And then I smile like an idiot during the medal ceremony, every damn time. I am a loser.

Anyway. It occurs to me that if you're not interested in my (obsessive?) musings on the results of various sports, you may be a tad bored with me for the next couple weeks. The Olympics have taken over my life, and I don't see that changing much until they're over. Just warning you now.

Monday, August 11, 2008

2.5, 1, and .25

Because I'm sure you're wondering, those are the numbers of:

a) books I finished while at the beach, which is low for me, but one of them was 700 pages [completed: Outlander (D.Gabaldon) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Shaffer/Barrows); halfway through: Neither Here Nor There (B. Bryson)]
b) the number of audio books completed on the drive [Comrades (S.Ambrose)]
and
c) the number of cassettes-worth of The Lord of the Rings that I made it through [specifically, one half of the first side of the first cassette; there were 20 in all, I think]. Thus, UTTER FAILURE on the Tolkien front. I shall give it a go sometime with the actual book.

I would just like to say this now...

...before the primetime coverage begins tonight.

I love Aaron Peirsol. I do. I have loved him since Athens. He is my favorite of all the US swimmers and possibly the entire US delegation.

We are the same age. He has a delightful Texas drawl, is involved with environmental preservation, and owns a house in Costa Rica, but I just found that out ten minutes ago, so it doesn't factor into the reasons I love him. I think we could be very happy together.

I am just saying that now, in case he wins the 100m backstroke tonight (or either of his later two events) and I am accused of only liking him because he won.

And THAT is why I love the Olympics

HOLY MOTHER OF PEARL, did you people see the men's 4x100 freestyle relay???? I was yelling like a crazy person.

I am thrilled that most of the swimming finals live, but I am going to lose so much sleep staying up and watching all this stuff over the next two weeks!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Opening Ceremonies, via the wonders of text messaging

On Friday night, my family watched the Opening Ceremonies at our beach house in South Carolina. True to form, my sister kept us entertained--via text message--despite the fact that she was 500 miles away in Charleston, WV.

Me (to Jules): omg, es bob costas, ohkeh!
Jules: ewww, no me gusta! (Jules, as you may be aware, does not like Bob Costas.)
[five minutes later]
G (unprompted): I love bob costas!

Following the Budweiser ad where the dalmation trains the horse to become one of the famous Budweiser Clydesdales, we were all sitting around talking about how cute the commercial was
G: I love beer commercials!

During the tai chi section, featuring thousands of Chinese men forming perfect concentric circles
G: this is like the world's biggest marching band show

When Sarah Brightman appeared (looking like the undead, as is her usual look) to sing the Official Song of the games from atop the giant globe thingy
G: well i agree, nothing says China like a stoned Sarah Brightman

When the French delegation appeared in the parade of nations and they showed Sarkozy in the stands
G: I have a crush on the French president
G: too bad we couldn't communicate with each other (French was the one subject she nearly failed EVERY YEAR in high school and part of college)
Me: are you kidding??
G: no he is funny

Monday, August 4, 2008

Three very exciting (to me) pieces of news:

1) I am leaving for the beach To! Mor! Row! I know you are as pumped as I am. I went to the library yesterday and stocked up for the trip (3.5 day vacation? 6 books, not including audio for the car ride). This year's Book En Route for my 18-ish hours in the car? The Lord of the Rings. I will either be enthralled or I will reeeeally regret it. Time will tell.

2) The Olympics start in FOUR DAYS, folks. Opening Ceremonies are on Friday night, and I will be taking time out from my packed schedule of reading and hammocking to watch them.

3) Washington Post sportswriter Dan Steinberg's Olympic blog, the Beijing Sports Smog (get it?) is up and running! (You may remember that I wrote about his Torino blog a month or so ago.) If the Torino blog is any indication, the Beijing Sports Smog will not disappoint (unless you're looking for actual coverage of the sports, in which case you may want to look elsewhere).

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yes, AGAIN with the book thing (or, The Longest Post of All Time)

(Beware, lots of scrolling on this one!)

Probably nobody gives two hoots about what I've read except me and perhaps my mom and maybe Jules' mom (whose total would, I'm sure, put mine to shame). But I don't care!

I stole this book quiz from another blog. Below is a list of books printed by the NEA-sponsored
The Big Read, which apparently seeks to "restore reading to the center of American culture." They say, though, that the average American has only read six of the following hundred.

Key
1) Bold the books you have already read
2) Italicize the books you intend to read
3) Add asterisks ** to books that you LOVE
4) Added bonus! Snarky comments by me are in parentheses.

***********************
1) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen**
2) The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
3) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (I have not technically finished this book, I am counting it anyway. I have gotten halfway through it THREE TIMES, but I cannot seem to get through it. Effort made. Ultimate failure.)
4) Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling** (Um, duh.)
5) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee**
6) The Bible (Is it wrong that I'm not putting asterisks by this one?)
7) Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
8) Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell (I'm not sure how it's possible that I'm nearly 25 years old and have not read this. But it's true. See also: #41)
9) His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (Have read 2 of 3, and the last is on my beach reading pile.)
10) Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
11) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott** (Favorite Book of All Time)
12) Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
13) Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
14) Complete Works of Shakespeare (Don't know if I've read EVERYTHING--I mean really, every last sonnet? Doubtful--but I've come close.)
15) Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
16) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
17) Birdsong by Sebastian Faulks
18) Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
19) The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger* (This book pretty much rocks. It is not on my Best Books of All Time list, but I'll give it one asterisk.
20) Middlemarch by George Eliot
21) Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell
22) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
23) Bleak House by Charles Dickens
24) War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
25) The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Seriously? This is on the list? I finally read this one summer while home from college because several of my male friends in high school were horrified that I had not. So I read it, and we discussed it during many late-night Ultimate Frisbee games.)
27) Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28) Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
29) Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll** (Would you like me to recite The Walrus and the Carpenter for you? Because I can.)
30) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
31) Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
32) David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
33) Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis (Have read a few. Own them all.)
34) Emma by Jane Austen (I am working my way through all the Austens, so I'll get there. Currently on Mansfield Park.)
35) Persuasion by Jane Austen**
36) The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis (How is this different from Chronicles of Narnia?)
37) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
38) Captain Corelli's Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres (Started once. Read 1/3. Got bored. Made effort, so am counting it.)
39) Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
40) Winnie the Pooh by AA Milne****** (They should totally add Now We Are Six to this list, also.)
41) Animal Farm by George Orwell (See also: #8)
42) The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
43) One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44) A Prayer for Owen Meaney by John Irving
45) The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
46) Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
47) Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
48) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
49) Lord of the Flies by William Golding (I can't remember if I read this or not...)
50) Atonement by Ian McEwan
51) Life of Pi by Yann Martel
52) Dune by Frank Herbert
53) Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
54) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
55) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
56) The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon** (Loooved.)
57) A Tale Of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
58) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
59) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
60) Love In The Time Of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez**
61) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (No, but I've seen the opera, which is NOT GOOD.)
62) Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
63) The Secret History by Donna Tartt
64) The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
65) Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
66) On The Road by Jack Kerouac (Similar situation to #25. Seriously overrated, in my opinion.)
67) Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy
68) Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
69) Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
70) Moby Dick by Herman Melville
71) Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens (HOLY COW, does Dickens really make up half of this list?!)
72) Dracula by Bram Stoker (Either this or Frankenstein, I can't actually remember...)
73) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
74) Notes From A Small Island by Bill Bryson (Liked a lot, but Bryson's A Walk in the Woods is by far the best. Recommended to anyone!)
75) Ulysses by James Joyce
76) The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
77) Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
78) Germinal by Emile Zola
79) Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
80) Possession by AS Byatt
81) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (FINALLY, a Dickens book that I've read!)
82) Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
83) The Color Purple by Alice Walker
84) The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
85) Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
86) A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
87) Charlotte's Web by EB White** (I think this might be my mom's favorite book.)
88) The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom (Nope, but I've read Tuesday's With Morrie!)
89) Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90) The Faraway Tree Collection by Enid Blyton
91) Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (I started this once, but it wasn't exactly beach reading--which is where I was at the time--so I stopped. Will try again sometime.)
92) The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93) The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
94) Watership Down by Richard Adams
95) A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
96) A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
97) The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98) Hamlet by William Shakespeare (Again...doesn't Complete Works of Shakespeare cover this?)
99) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
100) Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
********************
Total: 39 (sort of)
Not bad. I think this list is pretty weird, though, considering that practically the Complete Works of Charles Dickens are on there (yet not in one single category, a la Shakespeare) and several things that I would consider worthy are not. I, for instance, would include the magnificent The Tender Bar, which has some of the most richly drawn characters in literature. Also, where is Hemingway? I'm not the hugest fan, but no The Sun Also Rises or The Old Man and the Sea or SOMETHING? That one surprises me. And I could add numerous others. But whatever, it's kind of fun anyway.

UPDATE (9:05PM): Jules thinks that I should create my own list of must-reads, so I believe I just might do that.