Thursday, April 17, 2014

This Always Makes Me Happy to Read...

...right while I'm getting ready to send in my next student loan check.

Cool so he gave his son a certainly reduced rent apartment that was needed by students, all the while he was approving loans for mortgages for executives and board members to take out to buy themselves summer home's on NYU's dime, and THEN absolving them of the debt.

When will NYU come absolve me of my debt?

image via Gawker via Getty

Maybe once I'm rich and famous enough that I don't even need the debt to be absolved they'll start offering me things.  Maybe you have to be an executive who sits on the school's board (and after all, if you've gotten that far you've made a lot of money in the process) to get a break on your loans.  Makes sense to me!

If I Haven't Done Anything Exciting, Can I Blog About the Things I Didn't Do?

I did NOT go to Coachella and get photobombed by a thumbs-up offering Aaron Paul standing next to a smirking Kellan Lutz.

I also did NOT wear a bindi in the desert, or a flowy floral skirt with a crop top, or leather sandals fashioned from real authentic buffalo.

I did NOT take any outfit pictures, because I did NOT wear anything worthwhile (yes, plain black sweater and grey pants for me please, thanks).

I did NOT successfully complete anything I had planned on, besides finishing the GRE.

I did NOT book my flight to Pittsburgh next weekend and now prices are going up and so I just have to pray for them to go back down again.

I did NOT book a room for Atlantic City like I was supposed to.

I did NOT win anything on eBay this week despite trying for a few items.

I did NOT sell anything new on eBay this week despite listing a bunch of new things (although a Longchamp I listed has a bid!).

I did NOT bake anything, or cook anything, or have any thoughts worth writing down, or watch any new TV shows.

I did NOT successfully avoid the despair that comes along with catching up on a season of Mad Men.

I did NOT solve any of the problems that have been hanging over my head or make any decisions about things that I've been meaning to make decisions about.

I did NOT do anything but put off the inevitable and procrastinate things all week long.

I did NOT act enthusiastic enough during Zumba to make it a worthwhile workout.

I'm in a rut, and I did NOT successfully climb out of it this week.  There's always next week, I guess.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lots Off My Chest

I forgot how utterly grueling those standardized tests can be.  I felt like it would never end, and when I got home I slept for two hours even though I got plenty of sleep the night before.

They give you your scores right when you finish now, which is nice because it eliminates the anxiety of anticipation but also annoying because the test is so fresh in your memory that you can't help but try to run through all the questions to figure out what you did wrong.

I found the math portion much harder than I expected, and I am pretty good with quantitative stuff so I imagine other people must have found it very difficult.  It's possible my scores will be scaled depending on how other people did; I imagine the scores in general on the quantitative reasoning section will be lower than average.

Either way, I did well.  I got a 167/170 on the quant and 162/170 on the verbal.  I was disappointed by the verbal score and felt the air get sucked out of me when I saw it but whatever, I'm not trying to get a master's in philosophy or reading comprehension so I imagine schools will understand.

I am just happy to have it no longer hanging over my head, this thing I should be studying for even though I don't feel like it.  I won't be able to put off doing work or writing here because I should really be doing more practice questions.

Over the weekend, we went to our cooking class at the Institute of Culinary Education.  I got my mom spots in the Essentials of Tuscan Cooking class for her birthday, knowing her love of Italian food and my general indifference towards it that leaves us not getting it nearly as often as we should.  The class itself was interesting: there was no class, just a packet of recipes handed out and we split up into teams to work on them.  My responsibility was the Almond and Anise Biscotti which was delicious, and my mother made the Cipollini Agrodolce (sweet and sour onions) and Pappa al Pomodoro which was a strange mix of bread stewed in tomatoes and olive oil.  Everyone in the class seemed to have a pretty good grasp on cooking which made it fun, and it was nice talking to other people.  There seemed to be quite a few mother-daughters pairs there, putting me at ease that this wouldn't be heavily couple focused as these things sometimes are.

The classes were definitely expensive but I would look forward to doing another one, as it was a fun evening and there were even tons of leftovers for people to take home (not that we did).

It was beautiful out on Sunday so I wore my OD short pants, the shortest of the short. I bought these online anticipating ankle length and was too lazy to return, so whatever, I'm working with them.

shirt: j. crew striped sailor top || pants: j brand agnes coated jeans in stealth || bag: balenciaga black RH city || shoes: saks fifth ave black label nude randi flats

On Friday I am leaving for a weekend away with my boyfriend upstate and then we are having Easter at my house with his family on Sunday.  This whole thing is turning into much more of a fiasco than it should be and I'm honestly dreading it.  My mother and I have been wondering why we even offered but we are trying to make the best of a difficult situation.

Has anyone else ever had problems with an SO's family that at times seem insurmountable? It's scary because when you marry someone you really do marry their family as well, so it's just been making me dwell on these things a lot.  What do you do if someone's wonderful but you absolutely dread being around his family?  I've tried getting over it because I've never had any issue with someone's family before; in fact, most of my friends' families and I get along quite well.  It just doesn't seem to be something I can get over right now, and I don't want to constantly have to do things that make me miserable.  I even circle the block a few times when I stay at his house, trying to delay the inevitable, pondering just going home and playing sick.  I shouldn't feel that way, I'm pretty sure of it.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Avoiding Life

It's incredible how deeply I feel the physical effects of stress.  I am taking the GRE tomorrow morning and even though I am plenty prepared and generally kill it on standardized tests, I still feel sick to my stomach about it.  I haven't even posted on here because I keep telling myself that I should be studying instead, letting the guilt keep me from getting anything done.

I ended up making that cake for my mother's birthday and it came out... adequate.  It was absolutely delicious, and looked like maybe a 12 year old had assembled it rather than a pre-school child, so that's definitely an upgrade over the last cake I attempted.  I am excited to post some pictures of it tomorrow once I'm done with this test.

I have been apprehensive about writing too much because I don't want to use up all my good writing vibes here and have none left for the GRE when I have to argue something I don't care about in the slightest.  When I don't write anything for a few days I feel as if I could ramble endlessly about anything, so I'm trying to keep some of that locked in before I unleash it tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck please! I will need it.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Too Invested

I don't ever go to the movies.  I'm not exaggerating - I saw one movie in 2013 and that was "Spring Breakers" and only out of morbid curiosity and because my friend promised we could pick up ice cream sundaes on the way.  It's not that I don't like them, I just don't like the way they make me feel.  Most good movies have some emotional element to them and I just find myself so mentally effected by movies that I just try to avoid them entirely.

Actually, this doesn't only apply to movies, it goes for TV shows as well.  The first season of Breaking Bad was almost impossible for me to watch, but I didn't want to be left out.  There's an episode of House that I have to turn off any time it comes on, and forget about if I pass "American Beauty" on one of the movie channels - just seeing the name reminds me of all the awful feelings I felt when I first saw it.

I remember seeing the movie "The Wackness" starring Josh Peck (literally from Drake and Josh or Josh and Drake, whatever that Nickelodeon show was) and I found it so upsetting that I felt inexplicably compelled to tell me then boyfriend I was miserable and break up with him immediately after watching it.  I just can't handle things

I've started watching Mad Men season 6 in preparation of the upcoming season on Sunday and I have to say, after the galvanizing fifth season, I am slumping into a very dark place.  I just cannot separate how I feel for these characters from how I feel about reality and I find myself overthinking everything way too much in light of how these characters change, or don't change.

I am going to try to finish the season today just so I can be done with it and not drag out feeling this way, but I apologize in advance for what are bound to be some bleak posts.  On the bright side, only 7 more episodes to go!

Yesterday was my mom's birthday.  She loved (I think) her present - a 4 hour cooking class at ICE called The Essentials of Tuscan Cooking on Sunday where we will make everything from Bellinis and Pear and Fennel Salad to Florentine Porterhouse and Biscotti.  It should be a good time, and I hope that my agonizing over which class to pick ended with me going with the right one.

Last night we went out to our favorite Mexican restaurant on Staten Island to celebrate, Paco's, with my boyfriend and her best friend.  Their margaritas are absolutely the best I've had anywhere - no sour mix involved and a really great 100% agave silver tequila.  Everyone's meals were fresh and delicious, and I wish I had saved some to eat today.

We thought we took some decent pictures of my outfit beforehand, but of course the memory card was not in the camera.  These pictures were after two pitchers of margaritas and my mom accusing me of having "drunk face" and so naturally I tried to prove her right.

top: babaton ainsley blouse || pants: rich and skinny coated jeans || jacket: zara essential tweed || bag: balenciaga papier two tone flap

I'm thinking about buying these but I'm not sure - are they hideous?  I can't tell.

Probably.  I have to bake something for my mom today but I'm not sure what to go with - do I try my hand at a sure to be doomed cake again or quit while I'm ahead?

I'm a masochist so I'm sure I'll be going with the cake, although I'm not insane so at least I'm not expecting different results here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The Problem with Client Based Work

I am a systems engineer first and foremost, but my boss is always quick to remind us that we are really salespeople at heart.  While the people on the sales side write up the actual proposals and schmooze with potential clients using the company's season tickets for two NFL teams, we have to develop the systems those guys promised and sell the client on why they meet their standards.

Clients tend to not know a whole lot about the system we work with (after all, that's why they hire us to do it) and so explaining why it works and why it's robust enough can often be a tough sell.  They ask stupid questions but, being clients, you can't tell them that they're stupid questions - you're forced to attempt to answer it as best, and as politely, as you can while simultaneously reassuring them and moving them along.

My day yesterday was spent with a well meaning but particularly tough client in the sense that he likes to do everything himself and that he gets caught up on the minutiae of a system and spends too much time on the little things.  Oh, and he tells way too many stories about his time working for a different pharmaceutical company and his wife.

Seriously, when I put my time in my description for the 7 hours spent with him was "Listening to client tell stories about his wife".

It would be so quick and easy for me to do the things expected of me and then test them to ensure they do what they are supposed to but instead I have to walk someone who is unfamiliar with the system through every single step (including hit the "Start" button) and it straight up takes for-ev-er.

Yesterday my boss implored me to stay on top of this guy to ensure that he didn't get caught up with other stuff and we actually finished what we were supposed to do, but when he goes off on a tangent how can I reel him back in?  If he asks to be left alone to work on some aspect of something, I can't just do what I did when I used to babysit and insist that his mother demanded I stay with him at all times to make sure he does his homework.

There's such a fine line between being forceful about getting work done and being naggy, and when this guy is bringing us millions and millions of dollars worth of business, I certainly don't want to piss him off by insisting that he stop showing me pictures from his vacation and keep moving.  I try to move the activities back to work at every possible moment but when he just wants to chat, dammit he's gonna sit there and chat.

I've always thought that switching over to the sales side wouldn't be as good for me because I am not the biggest fan of client relations, even though my bosses have insisted that they think I would do well over there and hope to have me transition to sales, but maybe those client relations would be better than the ones I have now.  Less technical explanations to laypeople, more company-sponsored sporting events, lots more fancy dinners on my company card... at least if I'm an actual salesperson I can accept that my responsibilities include salesperson actions, rather than being annoyed when talking to customers and feeling like the guy in Clerks who keeps repeating "I'm not even supposed to be here!"  When I'm stuck in a tiny room with some guy for 8 hours watching him procrastinate I can't help but think to myself that this crap wasn't even in my damn job description.

Oh well.

Today I had this idea of an outfit in my head but in execution it just did not work, leaving me with very little time to find something new, so naturally I threw on a dress because that's the easiest thing.  I probably should have skipped the tights but it felt super cold in my room with the window open this morning so I figured better safe than sorry.

Also, my hair has totally returned to original color so I think I'm going to have to do this ombre shit again, which is both terrifying and annoying.  Maybe I should just quit while I'm ahead, I don't know.

dress: alice and olivia employed v back dress || sweater: j. crew jackie cardigan in deep riviera || bag: balenciaga black RH city || shoes: saks fifth avenue black label randi flats

The literal worst client just strolled in so if you'll excuse me I have to go tell him why the green light is more of a neon green and can't be changed to a kelly green.  You know, assuaging a legitimate concern.