The past week has gone by very slowly, but very quickly at the same time. Does that make sense? No, probably not.

Well, last week I was in Maryland with my family where we celebrated Christmas uneventfully but with lots of laughter. Everyone seemed happy with their gifts, and my mother made out like a little bandit! I’ve known about this for a while, but didn’t want to risk my mother finding out (not that she reads this – happy birthday to her, by the way): there was a ring at a local jewelry store that she was crazy about and every time she was near the store, she went to visit it. Well, when I was there for Thanksgiving she took me to the store to see the ring, but the ring was GONE. Turns out my father bought it and surprised her with it on Christmas. She was shocked, and I was very proud of my father for doing something so sneaky and wonderful for her.

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas I’ve stuffed myself silly. I’ve been inexplicably losing weight, but I think I put it all back on. I couldn’t help it. With the exception of ME, everyone in my family is a good cook, and they all made such good stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I’m disappointed to be back home where dinners consist of PB&J and the occasional bowl of cereal.

My ears are popping like crazy right now. They’re probably still infected. I stopped taking my antibiotic about five days into the 14-day treatment. Not a good idea.

Um, so, yeah, back from Maryland. I was able to be a bum on Saturday and Sunday, worked the first three days of this week, then I’m off for FOUR DAYS. I can’t wait. I absolutely can’t wait. I’m so desperate for time off. This fall has been crazy-busy for me, and as fun as it was, I’m ready to do nothing for a while. I don’t think I’ll be leaving Raleigh again until February. Then I’ll be going to either Arizona or Key Largo. I forget which, but regardless of where I go, it’ll be WARM!

I decided I wanted my hair to be more red, so I got a box of dye, threw it on my head and voila! Clown hair! It’s not actually that bad, but I’m not used to it. I don’t think I’ve ever had such red hair before. I think it’ll grow on me and I’ll get around to liking it, but by that time, I’ll be bored and it’ll be something different. A guy stopped by my office today because he said he just loved to see what my hair looked like. He said it was always a surprise. And Quri said she wished she changed her hair as much as I change mine. I guess I really do kinda change my hair a lot. It’s fun and it’s just hair. If I don’t like a cut, it’ll grow back. And if I don’t like the color, I can change it. I’m very lucky in that I have yellowish skin, which allows me to pull off basically any color. In the past four months I’ve had long, blonde hair, short brown hair and short red hair.

Quri’s in town for the holidays and we went to dinner tonight with her son who thinks I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread. Clearly the kid needs to get to know some more people! He’s a cutie pie, and I have to add him to my list of people who need to approve anyone I might think to marry. The list is pretty long as-is! Below is a picture of me with Alexander (Quri’s son). We both have new hair.

My camera is broken. Something’s going on with the settings wheel and I need to send it back to Sony to be repaired. Thankfully it’s still under warranty and thankfully Shel doesn’t use his camera much and is letting me borrow it until mine returns. I seriously miss it already! I’m so used to Sonys, and using an Olympus is totally foreign to me.

You know how they sell nail polish to make your nails grow more quickly? (Boys, they really do!) Well, I think they should also sell nail polish to make your nails stop growing. I’m annoyed because I have to file my nails all the time, but I’m even more annoyed by my anal need to have short, short nails.

Ok, I’m going to get back to my book. I got The Historian on CD for my trip, but when I got back to Raleigh, I still had three CDs left to listen to. Because my drive to work is less than five minutes, I decided to just buy the book and finish the story by reading it. I sold the CDs to Edward McKay Used Books for a whopping $2.45. Yeah, I’ll never do that again.

Whoa! Shanahan’s gone!

And in my last bit of randomness, I need to stop over-thinking things. I think that’ll be my new year’s resolution.

Hooray Walgreen’s! That’s a pretty weird sentence, right? Well, they saved me a trip to Crossroads, which I have no doubt is an insanely crowded place filled with bad drivers and last-minute shoppers. It’s also the home of Red Lobster, which is the restaurant from which I wanted to get J-Dawg (Jason) a gift certificate. He likes their biscuits or something. I think that boy would eat nearly anything that wouldn’t eat him. Have you seen him lately? He’s a big dude. Anyway. Walgreen’s has a rack of gift certificates from places ranging from the Gap to Banana Republic to Starbucks to Bass Pro Shops. It was awesome. And they had tissue paper!! SCORE! Love one-stop-shopping.

I have so much to do before I leave on Tuesday. So why am I typing in here? I really don’t know.

So, I got this Judy Blume book the other day and I’m reading it, but I read it a very long time ago and it was like my favorite book when I was little. That and one other one, which I can’t remember right now. It was a book about a girl named Meg and her sister was dying. Damn. What’s the name of that book? If you know what I’m talking about, email me, yo. So, this current book I’m reading is called Tiger Eyes and it’s good. I had good taste in books even when I was in middle school – HA! I think the other book I’m talking about is A Summer to Die. Of course I would pick that book off of a shelf. I’m morbid, in case you didn’t know. My original major was psychology and I wanted to be a forensic psychologist. I wanted to study why people killed other people. But after I took a class called The Study of Death and Dying, visited the Allegheny County morgue and planned my own funeral, I had second thoughts about surrounding myself with death and switched my major to journalism. I think it was a good decision.

Ok, I’m going to Google A Summer to Die to see if that’s the book I’m thinking of. We’ll see what I come up with. It is, it is! I’m going to order it. I order nearly all of my books on Amazon. They sell used books, so I get them super cheap, and they have the one-step checkout, which I love. It makes it so easy to waste my money. No, actually I don’t consider my books to be a waste. That’s basically the only thing I don’t chide myself over buying. Books are good for my brain.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed this edition of Allie’s Stream of Consciousness. Join us next time when we’ll talk about shampoo.

Tylila will be here in about 40 minutes and we’re going to the gym. I don’t want to go. I’d rather stay home and watch tv on the couch or something, but she’s on an exercise kick, and I may as well go along for the ride. I haven’t been to the gym in forever. Once RBC stuff kicks off, a lot of my free time disappears, which is fine. I love being there. But I miss free time, and believe it or not, I even miss the gym a little. I didn’t go on a terribly regular schedule, but I went a few times a week. And last year, when I had a running buddy, I went on a very regular schedule. I think part of it was not wanting to let him down; I said I’d be at the gym on a certain day at a certain time, so I couldn’t cop out.

Shel, Tiffany and I went to watch the Steelers (lose) game at a sports bar, and it was very smoky – or smokier than what I’m used to – and now I have a headache and stinky hair. Ironically, when I got my mail after the game, the Steelers were on the cover of Sports Illustrated under the headline: Steel Curtain II – DEFENSE. So much for that. But we’re still in the playoffs and we still have a first-round bye. The only thing this game cost us is home field advantage, but we’ve already proved we don’t need home field advantage to get to – and win – a super bowl.

Oh happy day! I can pull my hair back into a ponytail. It’s very exciting. It’s not a nice ponytail, and I need a headband to keep the layers from falling into my face, but it’s progress. I like my hair and I have no regrets about my decision to chop it off, but I’m ready for it to be at least of medium length again. I’m pretty damn lazy when it comes to primping, and short hair requires more effort than I like to give.

My office holiday party was pretty nice. It started off being pretty awkward – those things always are – but as the night wore on and people got more comfortable, it was more fun. I was concerned about my cleavage, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it’d be. I’m just self-conscious.

I have to get a few odds and ends at a Target-type-store and I’m afraid to go. They seem like terribly scary places to be right now thanks to all the last-minute shoppers. I’m a super shopper for Christmas because I get everything done before Thanksgiving. It’s pretty awesome, I know.

Speaking of Christmas, I leave for Mary-Land on Christmas Eve. I’m hoping that by leaving on a holiday, I’ll reduce the amount of traffic I run into. I’m really happy to be driving – I’ll be in control of myself and my travels, which is a welcome change from my 5,000 airplane trips over the past few months. One of the things I need to pick up before I go is a book on CD. That means going to Barnes and Nobles, which means I’ll have to go by a mall. Again: FRIGHTNING! And I need to get an oil change and my car inspected. I guess I’m going to be busy on Tuesday night.

Alrightie, time to get my tennies on. I’m kicking myself because my iPod is at work, so I’ll have to listen to some random tv stuff at the gym. Oh, and I can’t find my exercise watch. Have you seen it?

I already brushed my teeth, but I’m really hungry. Like, my stomach is growling hungry. I hate when that happens. For dinner I had a bowl of soup and some edamame, which apparently wasn’t enough. I wonder if I’m so hungry because I had two (count ‘em, TWO) cups of coffee today (and caffeine is supposed to speed up your internal stuffs). The Starbucks people were surprised to see me twice in one day, but it was one of those days where you’re like, screw it, I don’t care if I’m consuming enough caffeine to make a horse hyper. It was a dreary, topsy-turvy kind of day and I needed those two cups of coffee to survive.

Sooo, office Christmas party is tomorrow night and I’m worried about showing too much cleavage. I’m going to walk up to the wives of my coworkers and be like, hi, I’m Allie, pay no attention to my boobs, I’m not really a slut. It’s actually not a skimpy dress at all – I think I posted a picture on here – but it shows much more than I’m used to showing. Remember, I’m the kind of girl who would rather go to the beach in a hooded wet-suit than a bikini.

I’m still hungry. And I’m torn: should I paint my nails, get in bed and read, or should I watch the DVRed episode of tonight’s Private Practice. Decisions, decisions.

Gregory called me three times today. All three times he called because he needed something. He only ever calls because he needs something and I answer the phone every time. I love him with my whole heart, but once I’d love it if he’d call just to say hello. Jason, on the other hand, calls all the damn time and gets frustrated if I don’t call him back within the hour. My brothers, so vastly different in nearly every possible way.

Oh, I’m sick. I have a sinus infection and an ear infection in both ears. I’m on over 1600mg of antibiotics for the next 14 days and the pills are HUGE. They’re big, white monstrocities of medicine. But if they’ll make my head and ears stop throbbing, I’ll take them as long as necessary. I’m tired of feeling like my brains are going to fall through the front of my skull. Nice mental image, huh? You’re welcome.

Um, I need to figure out what to wear tomorrow. Any suggestions? I think I’m going to wear my long black pants (I can wear heels with those!) and a teal cardigan. It has ruffles. And rhinestone buttons. Fancy schmancy!

I heard this today and it made me laugh. I also heard this today, which made me laugh.

Now that I know what I’m going to wear, I’m going to watch Private Practice. And maybe I’ll eat some mini muffins and get fatter. Sounds like fun!

Although I’m awake, my body still feels like it’s asleep. Does that ever happen to you? I think it’s happening to me because I’m Exhausted (yes, with a capital E). This is the first day in over a month that I’m not required to be anywhere or do anything. I have no jobs to go to, no airplanes to get on, no sight-seeing to do. So, although it’s nearly 3:00, I’m still in my pajamas, I have yet to get a shower, my glasses are on and I’m wearing striped socks with individual openings for each of my toes. I suspect that shortly after posting this, I’ll be asleep on the couch. This is coming from a girl who takes about two naps a year. Like I said, I’m Exhausted.

There’s a really good football game on today – Steelers vs. Ravens, but because I live in Raleigh, NORTH CAROLINA, I’m not going to get to see it. Instead they’re showing the Panthers/Broncos game. I’m disappointed.

Liz came into town on Thursday to surprise Shel for his birthday! It’s more fun surprising Shel than the average person because he’s SO smart and sometimes it seems like he knows absolutely everything, so pulling one over on him is especially satisfying. He’s going to read those sentences and his head isn’t going to be able to fit through the door of his office – hi Shel! But, yeah, seeing his reaction to her standing there was pretty great, and of course I got a picture.

For those of you who don’t know, I met Liz through Shel. She and I hit it off and now we’re friends in our own right. But they’ve known each other for a very long time and are very, very close. She came into town for Shel and Tiffany’s birthday/Christmas/kickball party, which was a whole bunch of fun. I hated to have to leave earlier than I wanted, but I had to be at the arena very early in the morning. Bummer.

My aunt’s on Facebook. We’re Facebook friends. It’s a little weird. She and my uncle were married for over 20 years and recently went through a messy divorce; I haven’t seen her in years. Although she’s legally not my aunt anymore, she’ll always be my Aunt Sandy. But I think she’s in an awkward position. I dunno.

She left a comment on my wall about my full name, and how apparently no one uses it anymore. Ok, here’s the deal with my name: my full name is Alicia, pronounced ah-lee-sha. Thing is, though, there are oodles of ways to pronounce that spelling. I’ve heard everything under the sun, and I’ve even been called Allison and Alice. How you get either of those from Alicia is beyond me. So, in high school some people started calling me Allie. Then when I went to college, if someone had a hard time pronouncing my full name, I asked that they call me Allie. The mispronounciations drive me nuts. And eventually it just got so that nearly everyone at WVU knew me as Allie. So when I moved down here (to Raleigh), I decided to forego the whole mispronounciation thing and just go by Allie. Plus I think Allie suits me better than Alicia. My father named me, so he hates that I don’t use my full name, which makes no sense because he (and the rest of my immediate family) call me Lee Lee. Lee Lee is what’s on mail, gift tags, cell phones, etc…

Ok, I’m going back to the couch now.

Long time no write, huh? I’ve been really busy. A traveling fool. DC, Denver, Pennsylvania, LA. But now I’m home for a while, well, till Christmas. But I’ll be driving to Maryland, so I won’t have to deal with airports, although I may end up dealing with traffic. Nothing could be as bad as the traffic in LA, though, but I’ll get to that later.

I think part of the frustration with all the traveling is the lack of control I had. I’m not a huge control freak, but it was difficult to be at the mercy of so many people from friends to family to taxi drivers. And I couldn’t ever completely relax or feel comfortable. My favorite part of coming home is getting into my own car, taking a shower in my own bathroom and crawling into my own bed. Living by myself, I’m very spoiled in my freedoms, and I miss them when I’m not here. I can basically do whatever I want whenever I want (within reason, of course). I suggest everyone live alone at some point during their lives. Sometimes it’s quite luxurious.

So, California… The flights were both pleasant, especially with my portable DVD player, which was an early Christmas gift from the parents. The smog was a bummer and the traffic was God-awful, but other than those annoyances, it was a great trip. I revisited the beaches, did the cheezy Hollywood thing for the first time and walked along Rodeo Drive (where I felt ridiculously out of place). Gregory and Elissa’s wedding was full of dancing, drinking, laughter and love. Her family is now my family, and they’re an interesting addition! They were very, very warm and welcoming and told me over and over how happy they were to have me as part of their family. They’re really very lovely people. Liz was my wedding ‘date’ and I stayed at her place my last night. It was cool to spend time with her in California because like I told her, I see her when she’s here, we keep in touch online and I hear her voice on the phone, but I’ve never seen her life. So now she’s more real.

During my flight I finally got around to watching two Netflix movies I’ve had since AUGUST. Ugh. I could have bought them and probably two more movies with the $$ I’ve spent being a procrastinator. I’m going to stick them in the mail tomorrow, and I should have two more movies to not watch for months in a few days. Next up in my queue are Atonement and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. I picked Atonement for James McAvoy. He’s one of those non-stereotypical hotties that I like so much. Jason Statham’s another one.

I hate everything that’s going on with the economy right now. When I turned on the news this evening, the first thing from the anchor’s mouth was, “And more proof that the economy’s worse than expected.” It’s really scary to me. I was planning on buying a house this summer, but I’ve decided to push it back a year. Things seem too unstable right now, and I don’t want to get in over my head. Although I just said living alone has some great perks, sometimes it’s a big burden. I only have ME to rely on. I put a lot of pressure on myself. No one has ever been harder on me than me, and sometimes I get freaked out. Like now. Sigh. But everything is a-ok in my life, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for it to stay that way.

I’ve played this song like six times in a row while writing this entry.

Ps: I finally updated the links in the picture section.