Between my job and my commute, I have n time for anything. :(

Couple things:

Work - Has been super crazy busy. I hardly have time to even catch my breath. And I am still behind all the time. I'm getting tired of this. They clearly don't have enough people for the work load.I am trying to run at 100% capacity every day, but I'm not a robot. I can't keep this up.

Commute - Metro has been a disaster the last couple weeks. First of all, the crazy up and down weather has caused the rails to crack on several lines. Other train systems haven't had a problem, but metro uses rails not designed for this sort of weather. And then, they recent bought a bad batch of breaks, so a part on the breaks keeps cracking and falling off the trains. Add on the usual door issues and sick passengers and you have the commute from hell for weeks on end. For several nights, I've had to take the bus through dc because metro was so horrifically backed up. Best part? Metro announced last week they were going to raise fares.


Home life - Ben is wonderful. No complaints about him. He keeps me sane despite the madness during the workday.

Dogs - Maggie recently started puppy school. She seems to be enjoying it. In the first class we went over "watch me" and "sit." Maggie knew those already though. In the second class, we went over loose leash walking and sitting for strangers. Maggie is having some trouble with the leash walking. She wants to speed ahead all the time. I'm sure she'll get it eventually though. She's smart. Noname on the other hand is a grumpy grump. I wonder if she'll ever chill out. She's cuddled in my lap right now, so she's good for the moment.

Cooking - I have made a few tasting things these last few weeks, but had no time to take pictures. Thismushroom pie was very easy to make, filling, and rather tasty. It also reheated very well. And this vegetarian cassoulet was also easy to make. It was a good, filling stew to have after a long day at work and a long cold commute.The flavors are not very complicated though, so if you like more complexity, it would probably be good to serve it with some herb bread perhaps.
holytoastr: (melting panda-aurianrose)
It is the weekend. I am glad. I had a rough end of the week. For three days in a row, metro had major meltdowns that resulted in hot, miserable two hour commutes. On one day, I watched a guy on a bike outrun my train. *sigh*

Work has been dull and useless. Our marketing agency doesn't listen to a thing I say. I have to have my boss repeat what I told them to get anything done. This is unacceptable.

And on friday, ben and I had an argument in the morning. It was over something really small and stupid, but I still cried. And unfortunately I wasn't able to get the puffiness down before a meeting. They told me to go back to my desk and not worry about the meeting. I was so embarrassed. I got them to let me call in so at least I would know what had happened.

This morning, I got a lot of chores done. Before it got too hot, I pulled up weeds and sprayed poison in the yard. I was the great bringer of death. Then I pruned my indoor tomatoes and gave all my indoor plants their nutrients for the week. I also started some laundry and a load of dishes. And then I went through the many boxes of junk my parents brought when they last visited. I was able to sort them into 2 boxes to keep, 4 bags of trash, and 2 bags for goodwill.

After all of that, it was late enough in the morning to mow the lawn. I was a spaz the entire time about the poison ivy. It's weird because before I knew what it was, I was walking through it without a care. Now I freak out every time I so much as brush against it. I hope the weed killer takes care of it soon. It's even climbing up onto the deck. (I used to yank those vines off barehanded!)

I was extremely gross after mowing, so I took a badly needed shower. Then curled up with ben for a bit until lunch. After lunch, I thought I would play with my dog while resting on the bed. Four hours later I woke up from my unplanned nap. Sometimes it worries me how easily I can fall asleep without trying.

When I got up, I made bean burger patties. I'll fry them up once ben is hungry for dinner. Not sure what I will do with myself until then. I was contemplating making ice cream.
holytoastr: (melting panda-aurianrose)
Yesterday was a terrible metro day. I think I waited at least an extra hour total for trains. I read someplace that they took 50 cars out of service for ac issues and that is why all the trains are so crowded.

Other than that, the day was relatively slow. I contacted a breeder to adopt a corgi. They have yet to call me back. I guess if they don't call back by the end of today, I should call them.

In the evening, I forced myself out to the food store. My dog was out of dry food because my parents' dogs ate it all. They really liked it. Probably because it was better than that walmart junk my parents buy.

The grocery store's options were pretty lousy though. Ended up getting rachel ray brand dog food. To my horror, my dog really likes it. My dog really has no taste.

Ben called me very late last night. He had a bit too much to drink again, so most of the conversation was about how much he loves me and how pretty he thinks I am. I'm glad he's a sweet drunk. I hope he doesn't have a headache today.

I am glad today is friday. I don't have much planned for the evening. I think I'm going to drop off some more clothes at goodwill and then do some gardening in the front yard. It's about time I started doing battle against the weeds out there. Some of them have started to creep into the path and stab me with their horrible sharp stems.
Something must be in the water around here. People on the metro today were unusually antagonistic this morning.

As I boarded a train this morning, two old men approached a seat from opposite directions. Keep in mind that there were about 5 empty seats around that section of the train. These two men started to argue over that one particular seat. It got so heated, it nearly reached violence level as one man chased the other man down the train. Eventually he backed off and left the guy alone at the opposite end of the car. It was pretty weird.

And then a few stops later, a 40ish woman started to sit down in one of the "reserved for seniors and persons with disabilities" seats when this old woman rushed in, SMACKED the 40 year old, and jumped into the seat. Then she started yelling at the 40 year old, "This is my seat. It's reserved for me. You're just a child!" I was so annoyed. How did that old woman know that the 40 year old woman didn't have a disability that isn't easy to see? There's more to disability than missing limbs. Or maybe she was pregnant? She had a big coat on, so who knows? Anyway, a younger woman sitting in the opposite reserved seat got up and offered the 40ish woman a seat. The younger woman gave the old woman a nice burn too, commenting that it's a shame that manners and grace don't come with age. The old woman just sat there and scowled at the world.
My commute this morning was a bit of a nightmare. I think it was metro's way of making up for the good service I had last Friday.

When I got to the station, the platform was totally packed. A train pulled up a few minutes after that, but it was almost full. The driver told everyone not to force themselves in because an empty train was right behind her.

She lied, of course. There was no empty train.

About 20 minutes later, another nearly full train arrived. By that point, the platform was dangerously full and all the escalators had to be shut off.

10 minutes after that, an empty train finally arrived.I managed to force myself in. Barely.

Our train was so full, it was unable to take on extra passengers at the next couple stops. And we nearly broke the doors. Finally we got to the city and people began to trickle out, but so many other people were waiting at each station that there never was any chance to spread out and breathe.

I had to push my way out to get off at my stop. It was unpleasant. I hope whatever was broken is fixed by the evening commute. I do not want to go through that again.
Yesterday I gave my dog new dog food. I decided to splurge and get her the good stuff. The kind where the first ingredient is a meat rather than a by-product or a plant. She LOVED it. She consumed the whole bowl nearly 10 minutes after I poured it. I felt bad and gave her extra because that was supposed to last her all day. But she immediately consumed the extra bit too.

Work was work. The usual demoralizing stuff. The super nice coworker from online found a new job and is leaving next week. I hope it ends up being a really good place for her to work.

Metro had another breakdown in the evening, so it took me a very long time to get home. Trains were running every 15 minutes instead of the usual 3-5 minutes. When I got to the bus station, I had to stop and put more money on my card. I ended up at the end of the line for the bus.

The bus filled up, leaving about five of us behind. But another one came about 8 minutes later. And since the trains were 15 minutes apart, that meant there was no one else but us five. We had the whole bus to ourselves. It was really nice and totally makes up for having to wait a couple extra minutes.

After ben picked me up, we went to microcenter so ben could buy more monitors while they were still on sale. He really liked the one he got on his birthday. Then we went to the pho place which was just a few shops down.

Pho is a perfect meal on a cold rainy day like yesterday. Ben had veggie and made it deathly spicy. I had dark meat chicken and made it super sweet. We also got bubble tea. It was a good dinner that left us very full and sleepy.

Unfortunately ben ended up getting called into work. I slept for a few hours without him. It was sad and lonely. I was glad when he came back.

Today is bitterly cold. I wish spring would get here already.
Ben left for a business trip this morning. I am sad. I will miss him. :( He doesn't come back until saturday. That's like a billion trillion years.

After I dropped ben off at the airport, I attempted to get to a park and ride so I could get to work. There was massive traffic and almost everyone was a real jerk about letting me change lanes. (Also, left entrances onto busy highways are evil.) I'm glad I started changing lanes when I did, because it took several miles to get all the way over to the right. I nearly missed my exit!

Then when I got to the park and ride, the entire lot was full. Well, not exactly true. The top section of the lot was blocked off. There were probably another 100 spots up there if we were allowed up. My options were:
1) Drive around and find another park and ride that wasn't full. Seeing how it was after 8 already, the chances of success were slim.
2) Get back onto the highway and drive in DC. In traffic. And then pay expensive DC parking.
3) Park illegally in the garage and risk a ticket. Other people were parking illegally too.

So I went with option #3. I think a parking ticket is about $50. Hopefully I won't get one, but if I do it won't be a budget buster. It's really upsetting that I had to illegally park in the first place. I wonder why the top of the garage was closed in the first place?

Anyway, I got on a bus. Then a train. Then got stuck in a tunnel because this is the metro, which only breaks down on days that end in y.

I need to work late to make up for coming in late today and leaving early yesterday, but I really don't want to leave my car illegally parked too late. Maybe I'll leave normal time and come into work super early tomorrow. If I come in early enough, there should be no problems finding a parking spot in the garage. (Because everyone will still be sleeping.)
Had an exciting metro morning.

When I got on the train, there were announcements that there was a sick passenger on another train further down the line. Trains were single tracking around it until the passenger could be taken off the train.

Not too long after, it was announced that delays would continue because the sick passenger could not be removed from the train. EMT was on the way.

Then we were told that EMT was having difficulties removing the passenger from the train.

Only to be followed up a few minutes later with the announcement that the sick passenger had become irate and refused to leave the train. The police were on their way.

And finally it was all resolved when the sick, irate passenger was subdued and escorted off the train.

Crazy stuff. Keeps the day exciting, right? Too bad it made me 30 minutes late for work. But fortunately I was able to say, "metro issues" and all was forgiven.

[EDIT] Wow. And yet my morning was significantly better than it was for these people.
I think ben is learning to hate the metro as much as I do. I was supposed to be at the park and ride at 6:15 yesterday. Instead I arrived at 6:50. All thanks to some door problem which backed up the orange line really badly.

The whole thing put me in a foul mood, but I still managed to make dinner without too much of a tantrum.

Before we moved, we were mostly vegetarians (usually eating meat at most twice a week), but during the move we ate a lot of bad for us fast food. We're trying to get back to our normal eating habits. Over the weekend, we bought a ton of fresh veggies which I plan to make into delicious things all week.

Last night I made stir-fried cashew vegetables. I found the recipe in a rachael ray vegetarian cookbook. She is one of the most annoying food personalities out there. But I found that if you totally tune out all the commentary and intros she includes, the recipes in the book are pretty basic and non-offensive.

I was very proud of myself for not burning anything. Our new house has an electric stovetop, which has been a real challenge for me. I've only ever used gas! The first week we moved in, I burned soup. Burned it into a black sludge at the bottom on the pot. But I have been reading up on electric stovetops and have been learning where I have been going wrong.

For example, I foolishly thought that the highest setting correlated with the highest setting on a gas stovetop. Not so! The highest setting exists only to burn things. To get a normal high heat, I need to stick somewhere around 6-8.

Also, you can't just turn on the heat and start cooking. The stovetop needs time to warm up, like an oven! And once it is warmed up, it stays that temperature for a very long time. So if I need to boil something and then reduce to a simmer, what I really need to do is have one heating surface set between 6 and 8 and one heating surface set somewhere between 2 and 4. Then when I am ready to simmer, I move the pot to the pre-heated simmer surface.

It's all so complicated and requires a lot of planning!

Tonight is one of ben's d&d nights, so I don't have to make dinner. But I'm making walnut stuffed mushrooms tomorrow night and I want to prepare the stuffing tonight. That way all I need to do tomorrow night is pop the prepared mushrooms in the oven.

Later this week I'm making spinach ragu and lentil chili. And I was thinking this weekend I might make some vegetable lasagna!
Metro had a circuit problem just as I got on a train yesterday, so we were stuck at the station for 20 minutes. By that time, we were packed in like sardines. With my sore leg, it was extra miserable. I probably should have asked someone for a seat but I didn't think anyone would actually give one up for me.

When I finally got home, it was snowing. I'm glad the snow didn't stick around for very long.

Before bed, ben read me a thing about the Midnight Game. Even though very logically I knew it was silly stuff, it got into the primal monkey parts of my brain and I saw shadows looming around the bedroom all night.

I had absolutely no delays on the metro this morning so I got to work 15 minutes early. At first I thought the clock was wrong. It was confusing. I think that means I can leave early today.

I'm really happy this week is almost over.
My commute took two and a half hours this morning. (Normal commuting time is one and a half.) First there was heavy traffic on the way to the station. Even the special bus lane was totally backed up.

I thought I was really lucky when I got to the metro station because there was a train WITH SEATS pulling up just as I got to the platform. I got comfortable and then...the message... "Attention passengers. We have been directed to hold here. There is a fire at metro center."

*sigh* At least I had a seat...

We slowly slowly made our way into dc, holding at each stop for easily 15-20 minutes. I'm so glad for video games.

At one of the stations, a woman fell off the platform! I didn't see it happen, but the guy looking in that direction said she looked wobbly and then fell right over. People jumped down onto the tracks to lift her back up. It was good that all the trains were stopped or that could have been very tragic. And then, a bunch of people tried to call 911, but that station didn't have phone service! I think she had a seizure or something similar. Eventually she got up and was ok.

Eventually I got to work. And got charged peak of the peak fare for that lovely service! Metro makes me crazy.
So my train station is the third stop on the line. By the time the train reaches my stop, it's almost full already. For the last couple weeks, I have found myself waiting 20-25 minutes for a train simply because there was no room.

This is the exact same reason I started leaving for work 30 minutes earlier. It used to be I would get to the station at 8:30 and have to wait over 30 minutes for a train that I could squeeze on. So I started arriving at 8 and was able to catch a train in only 5-10 minutes. I was even able to get a seat on the train!

But now we are back to the same crowded conditions I was trying to avoid. There is no way I'm going to be able to force my body to get up an additional 30 minutes earlier. I would die. I can barely handle it now.

So I am considering taking the train BACKWARDS to the second or first stop on the line, then switching over to the correct direction. It would add about 10 minutes to my commute, but that saves me 10-15 minutes really when you consider how long I'm currently waiting.

It's really disappointing that I have to do stupid stuff like that just to get to work on time. I've been late nearly every single day these last couple weeks.
It seems like whenever I wear a particular pair of shoes, metro breaks down AND there are bus problems. I think it's because they are my least comfortable pair and metro hates me. Ben thinks metro breaks down every day and I only notice how super bad it is when my feet are uncomfortable.

About 5 blue line trains went by before an orange line train did. I had to let 3 orange line trains go by before I could squeeze into one. Thanks to that, I got the the bus station about 5 minutes after my bus had left. To make things worse, the fare gates were not working correctly so no one could get out of the station. There was a huge backup. I think the manager had to restart the gates, cause they did eventually start working again. Well, at least some of them did.

I got out of the station just in time to see the bus after mine roll away. Ben had offered to pick me up from the park and ride, so I was aiming to catch that one. I had to wait for the next one, which arrived about 10 minutes late. It was a bit crazy.

On the bus, there was a horrible woman talking on the phone to someone about her baby. The whole way. About every stupid thing he does. I wanted to yell at her that no one cares about her crotch droppings but her, but I just bit my tongue and tried to focus on my crossword puzzle.

Ben was super sweet after my awful ride home and helped me make dinner. We made mushroom stew. It involved cutting up a ton of mushrooms. The end product looked a lot like medieval peasant food. It was very earthy looking. I even cut myself a big hunk of bread to complete the effect. Didn't taste bad though. And was extremely filling.
When I got off the train this morning at Farragut West, the station was full of cops. I wonder what happened. The officers were lined up along the platform about a yard apart. And there were also K9 dogs being walked around the station.

I can't find any information on what happened though. It was pretty weird!
Yesterday was a crazy day full of crazy storms. And it's stormy again too. But luckily we haven't lost any power. Back when I first moved to VA, we would regularly lose power in storms. I hope the steady supply these days means that the lines were upgraded or something.

Noname does not enjoy the storms. She's not afraid of thunder or anything. She just really hates getting her feet wet. She goes to great lengths to avoid cold wet toes. She's such a baby.

At least the metro isn't flooded today. Yesterday, water was pouring in through the ceiling at some stations. And sometimes water would pour into the car when the train doors opened. It was pretty crazy. And another good reason why metro needs to rip out all those carpets.

It's supposed to be like this for the rest of the week too! I hope the trees enjoy all the water at least. They're so dry, they've already started changing colors!
A canopy at one of the stations broke and fell onto the tracks last night on the blue and yellow line. Unfortunately for me, the blue line shares track with the orange line, so my trains were totally backed up as well. It took me forever to get home last night.

The trains were running really far apart, so when they arrived, they were already full. Your trains had to pass before I could squeeze myself into one. Then we frequently got backed up in tunnels or at stations, waiting for the backed up trains in front of us to move. I think I sat at ballston for at least 15 minutes.

Thankfully a very nice person gave me their seat when they saw I couldn't reach a pole and am too short to grab the ceiling ones. Nice people are wonderful.

Eventually I did get to my stop. I had missed my bus, as well as the one after it. But I was able to catch a bus after that and meet ben at the park and ride. (He is my hero.) It was a very long ride though because it was pouring. The driver couldn't safely go at pull speed, so we inched along the highway until the rain finally let up just before our exit. Isn't that always how it goes?

Ben and I then went to costco. We were out of many essential things like toilet paper and hi-chew. Now we are fully stocked once again. This has to last us until we move.

When we got home, we watched a movie called Tideland. It's the first film I've ever seen where the director appears before the film and warns viewers that they would likely hate the movie. Just as he predicted, I did not enjoy it. I don't like sad movies and this one was very sad. It's about a little girl who's parents die and she's left alone in rural texas with only her decapitated doll heads and her creepy neighbors for company.

I wish netflix would send me the movies I want. They all list a really long wait for them. I suspect they don't actually have the movies. They are big liars to even offer them!
I missed my bus again yesterday thanks to delays and crowding on the train. While I was walking home, I tried to think positively about metro's terrible service.

For example, while I was waiting on the platform, I was able to read my book. I have been reading quite a bit lately while waiting for delayed trains. Without metro, I'd barely have any time to read.

And the non-air conditioned train isn't so horrible, because the muggy heat is probably good for my face. Why pay for expensive steam treatments when they're included for free on the metro?

Then when I missed my bus, I had to take the local which drops me off a mile away from my apartment. That's great exercise! A brisk 1 mile walk is just the thing to get the heart pumping!

See? Metro is actually doing me a service by constantly breaking down. And by thinking positively about things like this, maybe I can forget about the NTSB report that came out saying that something like half of all metro's track circuits are defective and need to be replaced before they cause another crash...
Metro was a total failure last night and I missed my bus. The worst part was that there were no disruptions on my line. They were just running trains 8-10 minutes apart during rush hour.

Ben was sweet and offered to pick me up at the park and ride if I could catch a bus there, but the buses were running late too! *sigh* Eventually I did catch a bus and ben came to save me.

We have a inventory inspection today in our apartment, so we did some cleaning last night. I think an inventory inspection means they're going to make sure we haven't stolen the cheap microwave the apt came with when we moved in. I hope that's all it is, because we didn't have time to clean the apt all that well. We just cleared a path to the key rooms we thought they would look through.

In the middle of the night, I had a nightmare about a lovecraftian monster fighting a dinosaur. I don't remember the details too well, but I know the dinosaur had to win. I woke up in a panic, turned to ben, and told him with terror, "The DINOSAUR!!!!" And then I think I fell right back asleep.

This morning my bus stopped working randomly. Didn't seem like it was overheating. The driver was able to fix it by turning everything off and turning it back on again. I am beginning to think all the buses in town run on windows.

The turnstiles at the metro station exit were not working, so I got a free ride. Considering how much it costs me each day to ride, I don't feel bad about it. And I was reading how prices are going up again in August. They're adding a peak of the peak fare of another 20 cents if you ride the metro during rush hour. Silly me to think that peak fares covered rush hour already.

Hopefully today will go by fast so that I can get home. The yarn for my skully sweater arrived yesterday and I am excited to start it.
Metro says that only 10% of their train cars are experiencing ac malfunctions. If that is true, then I really have the most amazing luck because more than half of my rides this week have been in train cars without ac.

This morning was no exception. I wouldn't mind it so much if people didn't smell so awful when they sweat like that. It makes me want to gag. Even a little outside air circulation would help. The outside is certainly cooler than inside the cars.

A guy the other day did a test to see just how hot the cars get. He brought a thermometer on the car with him. It read 100 degrees by the time he got off the train.

At least today I was prepared for the heat. I'm definitely inappropriately dressed for work, but I'm about as well prepared as I can be for a hot metro car. And I had my water bottle with me. That's about all I can do because metro definitely isn't going to be fixing the ac any time soon.
Forgot to mention my commute this morning!

There was a guy on the bus this morning complaining about everything. It must have been his first day or something. Loudly complaining about traffic the whole way. What was anyone going to do about it? Not like the driver could magically remove the other cars from the road.

Then when we got to the train station, he complained about the cost of tickets. And the crowded conditions on the platform. And the 5 minute delay between trains. And the crowded trains. Seems like this guy would do better traveling off peak. I complain a lot, but not loudly at the station!

I skipped the train with the complainer and waited for the next one. Unfortunately the next one had no ac. I tried skipping around from car to car, thinking it was one small malfunction, but it looks like it was the whole train! In the end I just tried to sit and think cool thoughts. I was not feeling up to waiting for the next train and having to stand the whole way. At least the hot train had plenty of seats.

The man sitting next to me was cascading sweat. He smelled pretty bad. And then he started scratching himself all over. Like he had a giant rash. He ended up taking off his shirt so he could scratch more of himself. It was extremely gross and I moved to another seat as soon as I could.

After the train though, the outside air felt wonderful. The walk to work was so nice, I wished I could just keep going. But I was a good girl and went in.

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holytoastr

January 2015

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