Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Slammed and Bored

Have you ever noticed how boring it can be when you are completely slammed at work? Yes, "slammed" is very subjective. One possibility: frantically working to complete a number of tasks with pressing and urgent deadlines in order to appease your boss or an authority figure. At those times, it is difficult to be bored because you've barely got time to breath. The "slammed" I'm referring to here is the boredom derived from the exponentially growing task list. There will always be a ton to do. There will always be deadlines and goals I'm to accomplish. However, none of these facts can change the notion that I'm bored with it all and can't handle being overwhelmed anymore.

Amy emailed me today and got me thinking about this. Today started as a "slammed" task oriented day with a large project that needed to be done before 3 PM EST (I hate that by the way--just because I live in CA I'm deprived of precious work hours). It has since turned into a "slammed and bored" day. There is no end in sight. I will always have way too much to do and way too many things being overlooked because they aren't as important. Serenity Now!

Saturday, February 24, 2007


I like to spend my weekends sleeping and watching television (tv on dvd: scrubs, felicity, arrested development, etc) and reading. When I first moved to the bay area a year ago, I would try and do something touristy every Saturday so when friends and family would come visit I would know what was cool, how to get there, how much it cost and all that stuff you rely on the locals for. I wanted to quickly acclamate myself to become a local. Well, this lasted for quite a bit. I went to several museums and discovered great shopping and cafes. I would basically wake up 10ish, take my time getting ready and then leave on my 1-2 adventure. I was back home and napping by 3 or 4 in time to get ready for the evening portion of the day.

Well, this is the same way that I vacation except it is everyday of the vacation not just Saturday. In fact, this is a Baker tradition. We go somewhere, sleep in every day, read a ton of books, watch Pride and Prejudice and get out for a 2-3 hour adventure each day. These adventures can range from a hike, to shopping, to sight seeing, to laying out at the pool. All four of my brothers-in-law were shocked (and most likely appalled) with the Baker Family Vacation. My dad has never enjoyed this either--he likes to get up early and go exploring. Well, the girls like to actually "vacation" and do nothing.

You can only imagine the adjustment it is on me when I'm forced to vacation with people that are wake up and early and adverture types. Last weekend, Courtney had three friends come into town: 63, Chip and Sean. I'd met dreamy-eyed Sean already when he was in town last year for business. I'd heard tons and tons of stories about 63 and was excited to meet him. I'd heard a couple of stories about Chip and was also excited to meet him. Most of all, I was excited to meet three of the guys that play pivotal roles in almost all of Courtney's stories and anecdotes.

I had to work on Thursday and Friday, so I didn't see them much. However, I met up with them after work on Friday. This was the beginning of a marathon for me. I met them at CityLights Bookstore in North Beach. Then we walked through China Town to the Bloomingdale's mall and went shopping there for a bit. Then shopping at Urban Outfitters. Then we took the greatest shuttle bus ever. Ordinarily, shuttle buses are boring and no fun at all. In fact, we wanted to take the trolley, but it was broken so we took the shuttle (which was free--love that!). We hop on and are on our way back to North Beach for dinner and then Ghiradelli for the car. This means that the closer we get the sooner I'll be home and sleeping.

The shuttle is a regular Muni bus. On the outside there is nothing exciting about it. We sat there riding along. Soon more passengers joined us on the bus. They too may have been a little sad and disappointed that they weren't going to be riding a trolley that night, but the fact that the shuttle was free, quickly cheered them up. The shuttle driver stops at a stop. A lady asks how much the ride is to which the driver replies: as much as you want $10/$20...just hop on. He was joking. She was confused. Good times. Well, on piled a bunch of high schoolers. They all walked to the back of the bus. I guess they decided they were going to sing for their fare. That's right. A high school a cappella group just joined our bus ride to North Beach. How wonderful! So, they sang. The parent chaperones clapped along to the rhythm. It was great. Unfortunately, we had to jump off of the shuttle bus during their second number (first encore). We later saw these kids again at Ghiradelli square--so touristy!

Then we ate dinner at one of my favorite little spots in Little Italy: Piazza Pelgrini. I discovered this place on open table when my parents were in town. Unfortunately, it wasn't nearly as good this time as it had been the first time. However, the balsamic vinegar was still amazing. I think the fact that we didn't Chuck Woolery this time may have doomed the experience.

Also, by this point in the day, Courtney had told her friends that I had a nice butt and they should all look at it. So, that's right, I was forced to try and never turn my back to her friends because they were staring at my butt the whole time.

Then we walk over to Ghiradelli. At this point, I'm thinking yes, we'll be to the car in no time and then I'll just sleep on the way home. No, we were going to Ghiradelli square. Why do all tourists want to go to Ghiradelli Square even if they've been there before. It's just chocolate and, quite frankly, I've had better. So, the boys and Courtney get ice cream while I sit there willing myself to stay awake.

Finally, we get to the car and drive home and I go to bed. The main reason I wanted to go home and go to bed (besides me being tired from a really long week at work) was the plan to wake up at dawn to drive to Half Moon Bay and go whale watching. So, I woke up early on a Saturday. The one day during the week that I get to sleep in and wake up without an alarm clock. I woke up before 7. We went to Jay's (yummmm!!!) and were on our way by 7:45.

Whale watching: something that actually sounded cool and was happy to participate in. I think because it was so early I wasn't yet coherent enough to form any expectations which is a good thing. We did get to see the spray or whatever it is called when the whale blows water out of his/her blow hole. We were really far away though so it just looked like little geysers or something. We did see one whale come up out of the water a bit and then head back under after it had blew the water out its blow hole. Basically, we sat there floating in the middle of the ocean just waiting and looking. It was fun and a nice pretty day for the middle of February (bless the bay area!).

Best part of whale watching: Dreamy-eyed Sean wasn't feeling so hot so he puked over the side of the boat. he he he he he. Later on, Chip wasn't feeling so hot so he too puked over the side of the boat. he he he he he he. Boys getting sea sick and puking: totally funny. I was fine and had no sea sickness at all.

Another good highlight: trying to go to the bathroom that they were hosing down thus causing a one-inch puddle over everything. I was trying to balance my coat, sweatshirt and camera while walking carefully to not get my pants wet. Then I had to hover over the seat because the toilet was all wet. It was quite a difficult task, and I'm proud to say I succeeded! Well done me.

Good thing I don't care what I look like because Saturday was not a glamor shot day, at all. First of all, in an effort to be prepared for the cold, I wore a beanie. This wreaks havoc on the bangs and the hair in general. Plus, all the salt water spray over my body. I got back to land and tried to make myself salt free and normal looking in the bathroom--it didn't work and I'm just barely back to my old self.

After whale watching I was hoping the plan was to go home and nap. Of course that wasn't it. We drove down to San Jose and went to the Winchester Mystery House. That lady was crazy. And in case you were all wondering, so not worth. Stay home and nap this day. However, the diner right next door is delicious. Honestly, I don't really remember what the food tasted like, but there is a dessert case full of the largest cakes I've ever seen in real life right when you walk into the restaurant. They were enormous. The only time I've ever seen anything even close was while watching Pollyanna. I always love that part at the carnival thing. Those cakes are enormous. I didn't eat one, but I like to support and sound my vote of approval for anyone and everyone making cakes that large...well done!

Again, I was secretly hoping that the next stop would be my bed...I'd almost given up any hope at this time. We were headed back to San Francisco. This time we went to Haight/Ashbury. I'm pleased to report that there is no longer a Gap on the corner...hurray, damn the big corporate conglomorate. First stop: a coffee shop. Then we walked down to Ardvark's. I've turned into a germ-o-phobic. I've never been a big fan of buying old clothes from other people, but have spent time sorting through items at the DI or Salvation Army. However, I'm much too old to do it now. I didn't even want to touch anything in the store. Courtney and I left and went shopping somewhere else. I bought some new tops and a dress. It was fun. I like shopping. Then we went to put our name on the list at Cha Cha Chas...two hour wait. It was already 7. I was becoming suicidal at this point. I just wanted my bed. So, to occupy ourselves during the two hour wait we went down the street to Amoeba records. I like music, but I'm not nearly as into it as everyone else. Therefore, I was bored within about 10 minutes. We probably loitered around there for about 30-45 minutes. Chip went off to check on the waiting list at Cha Cha Chas...still another hour to go. With the help of Courtney, we were able to talk the boys into getting food in Alameda--music to my ears. We were heading home. We ate dinner at Toomy Thai's--it's in Alameda and it is good. Then we went to the store quickly. And then finally, just when I didn't think it was actually going to happen, we got home, and I went to bed! Best sleep ever!

Sunday was stake conference which means church was only 2 hours and started 30 minutes later than usual. Awesome! Best part: we got home from church and the boys actually wanted to nap. That's right. I napped. I read, watched tv and napped for about 2 hours to occupy my time on Sunday. I did also go down and visit my sisters in Palo Alto. Kellie is in town. That will be the next blog.

So, following are all of the pictures from my trip with the boys to San Francisco.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Pop! Goes my Heart

Watching Hugh Grant sing and dance 80's style has always been a life long dream of mine. As of tonight, I can die a happy woman.

Such a great Valentine's Day for me. Yes, work was work blah blah blah. However, I did pass my review. My boss was actually really nice and positive. In fact, he may have even said that I was doing a great job! How wonderful is that? So, that was good. Unfortunately, it was still only Wednesday today and this horrifically long week is still going on.

I bought two bunches of daffodils and took the bus up to Richmond. Vicky and Sarah were my dates for Valentine's. It was awesome. Plus they are such great dates. We had Panda Express. Now, I hadn't had Panda Express for so long. One of the greatest things about living in the bay area is the food. There is so much good food and no chains! I love it! I really do. However, for some odd reason that I can't explain...I sometimes crave really crappy chain food--like Panda Express. So, I was super happy about the dinner selection. It was unfulfilling cheap Chinese food, and I loved every bite of it.

Then we were off to the movie. If I were to ever write a screen play, I would start it off with a wonderfully cliche 80s music video. So, you can only imagine my surprise and delight when this movie started just like that! Hurray! Two dreams fulfilled similtaneously. Could this really be happening? The movie just got better from there. Yes, it was a very predictable plotless chick flick...but it was splendid. I just love that Drew Barrymore, she's absolutely adorable. And that Hugh Grant is so dreamy with that British accent. If only all men had British accents.

After much analysis and reflection, I'm definitely going to have to mark this Valentine's Day as the best ever! Bearing in mind that my memory doesn't go back to last year's Valentine's, let alone any previous year, I do hope I remember this one forever!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sing, Sing a Song

We concluded last nights' game festivites with a rousing game of Encore. For those unfamiliar with the game, you should get out more. This is a game all about singing songs. Two teams compete against each other to determine which team can sing more songs with the word "think" or girls names, etc in it.

The game was awesome...what's not to love about a game dedicated to singing songs at the top of your lungs--I don't believe that is mandatory but it is the natural result of the perfect song lyrics suddenly popping into your head. There are several strategies when playing this game. One would be to stick to one artist/band (the Beatles for instance) that sang so many songs that you are bound to get the word used in several of them. My strategy was to keep a stockpile of little known songs and try and pick out parts that the word was used. I didn't actually plan to do this but the Wilson Phillips song Release Me kept repalying in my head--I've no idea why. However, I was quite happy about that when the word we had to use was "release." Too bad the other team had a different song all ready and we had nothing else. I'd save the stockpile of songs after I had blurted out the first song that came to my head. For instance, "think" was the word. I instantly sang "I think we're alone now." The other team countered with "Think, think about what you're trying to do to me." Then we had to start using the stockpile...I don't remember what came next.

So, best song of the night: Billy Joel's Piano Man. That's right this song has several words in it that were used in the game: drink, melody, think...the list is endless. Plus, the tune is so great and everyone knows it that the other team is thrown off and can only sing the "la de da laddy da, de da, daddy da" over and over in their head making it impossible for a comeback song. I probably shouldn't be revealing my secrets, but it's too late now. Keep Piano Man in your back pocket next time you play Encore!

Saturday, February 10, 2007


So, I'm still new at this blogging thing. I've yet to really get in my groove. However, I'm quickly learning how cool it is to get people to add comments to my blog. I like to be reassured that I'm really as funny or as clever as I think I am. Yes, the true fact is that no one finds me as clever as I find myself, but any encouragement helps!

Well, after bearing my soul and admitting that I'm not the best blogger and that I'm still learning, "anonymous" adds this comment to my blog: "perhaps some comments will inspire you..." Really? How in the heck is a comment from a stranger that says nothing going to inspire me? This was my initial reaction. Think about it, it's true...no inspiration can come from a comment-less comment.

First of all, I've no idea who anonymous is. I'm sure there is a way that I could go and find out who was reading and posted on my blog at that time, but I've no idea how to do that. Of course the mystery is intriguing and makes a girl wonder...it even drives some crazy. Then I got to thinking that this comment actually did cause some inspiration. I'm blogging about the comment. Awesome. Tricky, tricky, tricky. So, well done anonymous. I won't find you out so you can keep your mystery...but well played sir (or ma'am)! Well played!

I Got No Skill

So, Tony Mercer, the hottest guy in the ward, organized a pool tournament. How fun! I exclaimed. There is a pool table in the institute; however, I always forget it is there so I never play. One would think that a girl that took a billiards class in college and has a pool table in the basement of her parents' house would be able to hold her own. Yep, I thought the same thing. But as it turns out, I'm really not good. I guess if I were to practice and play more often, I'd be a pro--I find this to be true with most things that I claim I do.

Well, I signed up under the assumption that I could probably do an okay job and make it at least to the second round. The roster was released. I was scheduled to play Dallas. I love Dallas! Hurray! This will be fun because I'll get to spend quality time with Dallas and get the inside scoop on his current dating life. Such a cute couple he and Ashley make.

So, today was the big game. You may remember from a previous post: I'm a gimp therefore I blog, that I'm currently injured. Yes, that was a few weeks ago. Think what you want about my wimpiness. However, I got my x-rays and went back to the chiropractor. The prognosis: my neck is insanely out of alignment and I started traction on my neck to try and fix it. Well, starting yesterday my shoulder began to hurt! Awesome! I'm totally falling apart.

I iced up all night and morning in preparation for the big game. So, Dallas shows up and we rack up the balls. He breaks, none go in. I get the first ball in. Not bad, I'm thinking. I may actually proof to be a worthy opponent. My confidence soon got the better of me and I lost the first game. We rack up the balls again. My turn to break. I miss a direct hit on the cue causing it to go around the triangle of balls at a speedy snail's pace. This was the beginning of the end for me. Not really the beginning since I already lost and was not getting any better. It was just another mid-point of the horrible game I played. So, no surprises when Dallas won again. Game over. I'm out of the tournament.

So, being out of the tournament sucks, but whatever, I'll survive. The thing that sucks is the limited amount of gossip I was able to gather from Dallas. Again, I cracked under pressure. It's almost like I pulled an Alisa (like pulling a Monica--think about it, you get it).

For future reference I should really start practicing my pool game if I wish to enter anymore tournaments.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Cracking under Pressure

So, Lori has been trying to talk me into blogging for months now...months! Well, I love reading Lori's blog. Wait, I mean, I used to love reading--she's "busy" blah blah blah. She's so funny...reading her blog is like looking into my soul.

Now, I know I'm funny. I am. It's a gift. I often think of funny things to say as well. However, the task of being a blogger seemed daunting. How could I be expected to be funny every day. Each day a new story to tell. Each day a new diatribe on the intricacies of life. Being a "lazy" person, I knew that I wasn't ready for this challenge. Therefore, I happily dedicated a few minutes everyday to Lori's blog. I was very content with this life. In fact, I even discovered Kellie's friend Cindy's blog. This blog has brought me hours and hours of happiness and entertainment.

So, after much reflection. I began to think: hey, maybe I actually could blog. So, I started to think about what I could blog about as I went through my daily life. I also started taking pictures of stuff that I thought would be fun to blog about (hence the blog about my coasters). Well, I thought I had gathered enough material and could think of several funny things....and I finally started my blog. I'm a blogger. I've arrived. I did it. I even blogged for a couple of consecutive days. I told my two friends about it. They read the blog. They laughed. It was awesome. I was taking the blogging world by storm.

Three blog entries later, I was spent. I had nothing in me. Sure, funny things happened. Sure, I still emailed Amy and Natalie about my crazy life and analysis, but there was nothing left to blog about. I decided that taking a day off was okay. So I did. One day turned into two and then three. I then started thinking about things I could definitely blog about: I've forgotten all of them. Well, the pressure to blog has gotten to me and I've gone several days with nothing. Plus, this isn't a story and there are no pictures.

I do not consider myself a failure. I'm merely learning my limitations (really, I'm not too surprised by this--ask Lori, I totally called it). So, be patient with me as I'm learning to blog--I guess that I can't be perfect at everything.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Secrets Secrets

I'm obsessed with secrets. I even use Secret deodorant. I don't like to keep them or make them because I never can remember them and find it impossible to keep them, but I love getting people to tell me them. I especially love it when people tell me other people's secrets. Warning: never trust anyone with your secret.

A few years ago, when I lived in Salt Lake I began gathering secrets from strangers and friends. It actually began as an ice breaker. Hey, I'm Alisa. Do you have any secrets? This obviously elicited a laugh out of people because they didn't think I was serious. I'll have you know that I am always serious.

So, the secret collection began slowly. I began convincing people that I was writing a book full of secrets that I had learned about people. (I've since discovered that someone actually stole my idea and did a book of other people's secrets: don't remember who or the title but ask Courtney if you are interested in more information) This made me an automatic authority and people were much more willing to open up. Unfortunately, my plan was flawed. I never carried paper or pencil with me. Thus relying on the memory of a two year old (my own memory level) made it virtually impossible to remember any of the secrets I learned.

Luckily, I was able to store just a few that I will now disclose to the world. This will help clear up my brain for more important things to remember like things I want to get for my birthday.

Jason Burton: he thinks the governor of Utah has a hot wife. (lamest secret ever but this is all I could ever get out of him)
Jon Madsen: he shared secrets about his roommates--awesome!!
Clint: sleeps with a stuffed animal
Joe: is afraid of the dark

Sad, I really just sat here for another minute trying to think if I could remember anyone's secrets. This is really all I could come up with.

Last night while playing one of my favorite games created by Courtney and myself (the story game) I was able to gather additional secrets without even having to use the "I'm collecting secrets line." It was amazing.

The topic given to Vicky was lies. Everyone knows this has got to be a good story going into it. Vicky tells the story of her friend that almost failed her driving test. In and of itself, not too exciting or impressive. My own sister failed the test three times. However, the secret was the lie behind the almost fail. This girl--Vicky later confessed her name to be Debbie (I think, honestly I can't remember)--was the last of her little group to turn 16 and get her license. She was a very cautious driver and obeyed all traffic laws. She went into the test with confidence and a positive attitude. During the test she almost hit an old lady. That is correct, she almost crashed into a female pedestrian of significant age. According to Vicky, the minimum deduction for almost hitting a moving object is 20 points. So, the near-hitting experience was quite traumatic on young Debbie and she began to sob in front of the instructor. He gave her a 72, thus barely passing the test. Debbie confessed this only to Vicky who was sworn to secrecy. Now, Debbie's story is out there...sorry Debbie, I'm sure you are an excellent drive. Such a great secret was told by Vicky in the company of strangers to Debbie all for our entertainment and the story game.

It makes me think: what is the purpose of a secret? Do they really save you from yourself? I mean, aren't you therefore forced to live with the guilt? Vicky's story of Debbie prompted Courtney to tell her biggest secret story. It was awesome!! I cannot repeat it because Courtney actually lives with me and could quite possibly beat me up if she wanted to. My neck is still sore--I'm a gimp. Anyway, her secret made her physically ill for a year until it was resolved. How did this protect her? Maybe that is where my fascination with secrets came from. Maybe my own apathy for keeping secrets stems from the fact that I don't believe in them rather than my inability to remember it was a secret or inablitily to stop talking.

I will have to agree with the lesson I learned from watching The Office on Thursday:

Secrets secrets are no fun.
Secrets secrets hurt someone.

However, I concede that all of this goes out of the window if the keeping, telling and retelling of secrets is for the entertainment value they possess. I maintain that humor trumps all!