Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Random question/survey (again)

OK, remember about a year ago I floated the idea of getting a tattoo for my 30th birthday? Most of you were pretty receptive to the idea and had some hilaroius suggestions as to what I should get. In the year since, I think I'm chickening out. I'm a HUGE baby about pain and don't know if I could handle it. Plus I can't really decide on a discrete place to put it.

F has suggested I go another route and get a piercing - a belly button ring. In theory it'd be just the initial pain I would have to worry about (plus the healing). Also, it's some what more reversible should I not want it any more.

Am I too old for this kind of piercing? I dunno. I kind of have it in my head that teenagers get this kind of thing. Is that too closed-minded? Am I being lame?

Help me out, here.

The digital age

Back in college one of my high school friends came across a new thing on the internet and promptly roped me into it. It was one of the first “networking” or “social” websites. If memory serves, it was something called Circles. It was fun for about a week. Not too long after that Friendster came out, so we all ditched Circles and signed up. Again, fun for a couple weeks as you tracked down people you hadn’t seen/heard from in a while, but then our interest fizzled out. Enter MySpace. Again, another mad rush to sign up, call on the same people to be your official friends, play with some of the more novel features, and then lose interest. A couple weeks ago I was mildly peer pressured into joining Facebook.

My resistance was due to an inevitable repeat of the cycle outlined above. Did I really need yet *another* website floating around in the ether with my name and info on it? Was it going to be of lasting interest? Would I get anything out of it?

So far it’s been true to form. I found a lot of the same people that I’d found on the previous sites. I also found quite a few I hadn’t – that was cool. I never did go back for my 10 year high school reunion so I was happy to see some folks I was actually curious about. But once those first few weeks passed, it’s back to “meh” status. The initial mad rush to find and be found is over. The messages and updates are few and far between. (Though the IM’ing function was cool last week).

What I don’t understand is that the people who I already have email addresses for (and some phone numbers!) message me more via MySpace or Facebook than they do via regular email (or over the phone). Do we really need that extra layer of technology between us? Do you really not think of me unless you happen to see my profile picture? I find it strange. Perhaps we’re more voyeuristic than we’d like to admit. We like to check in on people by looking at their profiles and updates but heaven forbid we actually make some sort of contact with them. [Gasp!] That just might lead to an actual conversation! Heaven forbid!

I won’t play a complete hypocrite here, there are some people that I am curious about but not curious enough to start a conversation. I’ll admit it. What I’m more confused by are the people I consider closer friends than that.

I’m also surprised at the number of people who made a point to invite me to be their friend when I barely knew them in high school/college/grad school/here. No note. No message. Just the invite. I feel used – like they’re just trying to inflate their “friend” numbers. Whatever. Monopoly money as far as I’m concerned.

I guess blogging is just another, less involved version of the social/networking websites. Hell, some of them you can even post blogs to. I choose to view my blog more as a “mass email” for sharing news/ideas/humor than anything else. I know you all can keep some tabs on me with it, and I do the same to you. But if it’s something important, you’ll get a personal email. Or, (are you sitting down?) an actual phone call. Promise.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An honor

This last weekend F and I took Thursday and Friday off to go to Florida and visit his parents, as well as his oldest son, G, who is there to visit for about 4 weeks. G didn’t know we were coming and was completely floored to see us – could hardly believe his eyes.

F’s parents are very nice, welcoming and fun people. I had a great weekend with them and G. F’s mom is *a lot* like my mom, so I’m not the least bit worried about the two of them meeting in August and getting along famously. F’s dad reminded me a lot of my Stepdad’s dad – fun, charming, and easy to talk to.

My future in-laws live in a “retirement community” that stretches far and wide – it is its own little city. F calls it a “cult” and to some extent I can see why. There are several golf courses, club houses, swimming pools and commercial districts scattered among lots and lots of individually named neighborhoods. You can get around completely by golf cart if you want (even go grocery shopping or to the movies). They have their own TV station, and 2 radio stations. They have every club you can imagine. You would really have to put some effort into being bored. And, knowing how people like to unload their kids on their parents during the summer, they have tons of fun activities and programs for the grandkids. G has a packed schedule of fun things to do. I’m tempted to ask if I can come for my own month of fun activities next summer.

We did as much as we could while we were there, and there’s still plenty left to do for our next visit (whenever that may be). We even had a little “engagement” party. Long-time family friends of The In-Laws went out to dinner with us (they’ve known them since F was 2 years old) and came over afterwards for dessert and champagne and toasts. Even G had a little “toast” for the occasion that was practiced for several minutes in the bathroom beforehand.

“I’m honored to have Kate be my second mom.”

Cheers to that, kiddo!

We even got gifts! The In-Laws gave me birthday gifts a month early. Every night F’s mom would sneak away, turn down our bed and put something on our pillows (e.g. chocolates, tiny liquor bottles, travel-size lotions). They love to entertain and I was certainly entertained.

G was very sad to see us go (I say “us” but I know it’s mostly for his dad) on Sunday, but perked up by Monday with all of the fun activities his grandma had him signed up for. Also, in their little neighborhood, about 4-5 other grandsons G’s age are coming this week to visit their grandparents, so he’ll have some little buddies to pal around with.

We really had a great time – even have a little tan to our skin to show for it. I certainly wouldn’t mind going back, and I don't think they'd mind having me. They even said I wouldn't have to bring F!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

But can they dance?

Since I blogged at you last our lab has successfully moved from one building to another. Not that there weren’t quite a few bumps along the way – but thankfully one of our lab members took it upon herself to be our “full time” moving coordinator and contact person. She had a binder and everything. She also knew everyone involved, their phone number, and could find the answer to any question we had. Poor woman almost had a breakdown, but she’s on a very well-deserved vacation this week so I hope she regains her sanity. Mostly we are functional again – but not quite back up to full steam. At the very least nothing material was broken, and no one was injured. Our boss even took vacation the day we moved and the 3 days after. He knew better than to stick around.

Now my desk is no longer in an office, but rather in a large space of cubicles. We do have a big window, so that’s good. But sound certainly travels here. The lab right across from us plays music that can be heard through the door/wall. That I don’t really have a problem with. It’s the broken-English karaoke hour that has been both entertaining and annoying.

In other news: F and I have kind of started to preliminarily plan for our extremely informal reception next summer. That translates into: I’ve done an internet search on venues, I’ve asked my coworkers for suggestions, and I picked up *the* Rochester Wedding Magazine that only comes out once a year. Basically it’s full of ads – and most of those are for photographers and/or videographers – things I don’t need. Leafing through it last night I was getting discouraged – but lo and behold! At the very end was a 3-page chart of reception locations. I figure that’s the best place to start.

Originally I wanted a “family reunion” feel to it: have it at a park, cater in BBQ, plenty of adult beverages (otherwise my family may not come), have everyone show up in shorts & T-shirts. Easy, right? Casual? Plenty of time to eat and talk to everyone (two complaints I’ve heard over and over from married friends). Well, there are only 3 parks that have amenities for such a shindig, and one of them won’t allow kegs (could be worked around) and one won’t allow alcohol at all. I’m sure that makes park #3 rather popular. Also, all three have noise restrictions – which would really put a damper on getting our groove on.

Now we have to start considering some more “up-scale” options as we don’t want to put all of our eggs in one basket. There are a handful of Mayo-related venues in town (the original Mayo brothers’ homes, and a barn of theirs that’s converted into event space) but, of course, rumor has it that they’re extremely popular and therefore booked out for years.

There are a couple of other “unique” places to consider that the Wedding Magazine thoughtfully provided that we’ll have to call on. They may require a bit of a hike to get there, but Rochester is not lacking in the chartered transportation business. I just don’t want to have it at a hotel or any other “ballroom” type space. Like I said, BBQ, T-shirts and shorts. We need to be outside.

A woman in a neighboring lab has a horse farm with lots of lawn. I think that would be ideal. We could set up a tent, have our booze, AND she promised we could have loud music. Previously we’d eyed the home of one of F’s (now former) coworkers. But then he had to go and get himself arrested and that kind of put a damper on things. F says “It could still be in the running. He hasn’t been convicted yet!”

Um, yeah, put that on the bottom of the list.

Already, at this early stage, I am hating planning. I do not find this “fun” or “enjoyable” in any way. One of my college roommates thoughtfully pointed out to me that starting this early ensures continual planning until the event actually happens. I hope to all that’s holy that isn’t the case. Otherwise, F may be planning this on his own.