Sunday, December 25, 2005

Book Recommendations

Best two books ever!

Caldecott Award Winner! Posted by Picasa

My Favorite... Posted by Picasa

I highly recommend reading them aloud with a friend in the children's section of your local bookstore. I love this pigeon. He's real.

So go! Now!

Friday, December 23, 2005

An Open Letter

Dear Christmas Sweater Lady,

It is not my fault that you chose to shop today. So please, stop eyeing my grocery cart as if I stole milk from your starving child.


Shopping for Breakfast

Dear SUV with a Christmas Wreath on the front,

I am pretty sure that the date for Christmas is posted somewhere. Had you planned ahead, you wouldn't need the parking spot that I just pulled into. Calm down. Walking that extra twenty feet to the Target will probably keep you from getting a heart attack for Christmas anyway. Consider it my gift to you.

Warmest Regards,

I'm In the Shorter Line Too

...but seriously folks, why is it that those who celebrate this holiday don't plan ahead? I guess I will never understand....

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Today's Observations

This morning I stopped at Dunkin' Donuts to get an Egg and Cheese croissant and some donuts for my coworkers. Being that it was a chilly morning and I did not sleep too well last night, I decided a coffee was in order as well. As I pulled up to the drive thru window to accept my goods, the girl handed me my coffee cup and the sleeve for it. Not the sleeve over the cup, just with the cup. I wondered if Dunkin' Donuts' training program had forgotten to include an explanation of what the sleeve is for, and the importance of it actually being AROUND the cup, rather than next to it. I pondered this while my hand was seared in the distance from the window to my cup holder...

A woman driving on the wrong side of the parking lot was visibly angry with me for being in her way. In her way because I had the nerve to be driving on the correct side of the parking lot. Her Christmas ornament earrings swayed back and forth as she spewed forth what I am sure must have been holiday greetings in my direction. I watched in my rearview as her Jesus-fish tagged SUV fumbled out onto the highway...

On the drive home, a man on a motorcycle caught my eye, as he zipped down the road in shorts. His legs, his very large legs, were beet red from the cold wind that slapped them as he rode. His shorts had ridden up from a combination of his girth and the wind to an almost obscene height. As we neared a red light, I watched as he gave car passengers next to him the "nod of acknowledgement". I couldn't decide if I envied his level of confidence, or if it supported my belief that too much confidence was a dangerous thing. He then shot snot out of his nose, making my decision far easier...

Listening to: Out of L.A. by Jude
Current Mood: contemplative
Currently Contemplating: personality disorders and the purchase of a domain name

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Hiding Out....

Today is one of those days that I am relieved that a lot of the communication I do in my job is over e-mail. It is cold and grey outside and I would much rather be sitting in a coffee shop writing in my notebook (especially when I have ideas a'brewin'). But, alas, the bills must be paid.

I thought yous guys deserved some sort of update.

Work has still been very busy - but thankfully a new employee will be starting in January, so hopefully things will be slightly less crazy. At least being busy tends to make the day go by quicker.

Other than that there hasn't been too much excitement. I have a story in my head that needs to make its way to paper at some point, so I am looking forward to the little bit of time off I will have the in the next few weeks. It's been forever since I have been able to just sit down and write.

Hopefully there will be time for more exciting tales to tell in the near future. For the moment, I am boring. Boo-hoo.

Currently Listening to: Pixie by Ani Difranco
Trying not to listen to: Elevator Jazz...what is up, Launchcast? Have you turned on me? (speaking of music, guess what is coming in the mail for me in the next few days? it's small and shiny....)
Currently Reading: info about Cyclothymic Disorder and BPD
If I could be any creature with a hard shell I would be....a hermit crab.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Dressing Room Music

I had to take a moment from doing some laundry to let you all know I am dancing around my apartment at the moment.

I am listening to Michale Buble's "It's Time". I purchased it the other day after seeing his Great Performances concert on PBS. (That may have been one of the geekier sentences I have uttered in recent times.)

But seriously, this is happy music. It makes you want to dance around the house. Is it wrong that I love this cd and I am not over 40?

If they piped the first track, "Feeling Good" into dressing rooms, I would be less likely to make stabbing motions at the mirror when trying on jeans. Instead I would dance. And I would think that my dancing looked good. ("Oh, so this music makes you delusional!")

I must get back to my happy and ridiculous dancing.

A Terrible Foe

I am actually writing a post!

Yes, my neglect has been great. And I would probably be continuing my pattern of neglect (because I would normally be asleep prior to 8 a.m. on a Sunday morning...) but I was awakened by stomach pains, so here I am.

No. For the 197th time, I am not pregnant. Sheesh.

My stomach and I have a long history of animosity towards each other. I would treat it badly in high school, living off of Mountain Dews, Publix cookies, and Extra chewing gum. It would decide to get nauseous every time I ate for about a year or two.

In more recent times, it has allowed me to eat again, but nausea is still something I have the pleasure of experiencing frequently. It's latest trick is being painfully hungry at about 5 a.m. This means if I wake up later than that, I have a headache AND I am nauseous. Yay for me.

So here I sit, with my bowl of fruit, taking this rare bit of time I now have to talk to you all. (Or ya'll, as I should be saying, now that it has been a full year back in Florida)

Why so busy lately? My work days have been very by time I come home and take care of all the regular day to day things one takes care of at the end of the day, I don't particularly feel like sitting in front of the computer. One of the reasons work has become so much busier is the hiring and subsequent firing of someone at work.

When I arrived back from Nicaragua, my company had hired someone new. I knew about this prior to my trip, so I knew that I would be training this person on support duties when I got back. I was happy to be training someone new, as this would take some work off of me. That is, once she was trained. Until that happened, I would actually have extra work.

So Wednesday morning, I show up a little early, to get myself situated before she comes in. She arrives, and the training begins. Her liberal application of a perfume made my eyes water and my head pound. This was not the way to start. Despite the pain I was now in and my inability to breath normally around her, I kept a positive attitude. Someone's aroma is not an automatic disqualification from a job. (I used to work with a guy everyone nicknamed "Fumes" when I was in high school - he was a hard worker, despite the smell).

Attitude, however, is something I find more difficult to tolerate. As we started the training, I would try to explain things to the trainee and she would interrupt me. Not interrupt, like waiting for me to take a breath and then jumping in, but completely jumping in mid-word, asking completely unrelated questions. At first, this habit was merely annoying. I kept telling myself that she was just eager to learn, which is a good sign in an employee, right?

That's when the correcting began. Now, believe it or not, I have a very high level of tolerance and patience when teaching/training. The combination of teaching know-it-all techies and 5 year old children gives you a special kind of patience. I may go home and scream at the end of the day, but I remain collected and understanding while with my student/trainee. One thing that I can not stand, is a student who very obviously has NO knowledge of a subject, yet believes that they can correct everyone else, including the teacher. My trainee was one of those people. The first time she did it, I was in shock. I just stared at her for a moment, not sure what to say, then simply said "no, that's not how that works," and proceeded to go back to explain the proper procedure.

This process of being corrected by her and having to readjust her way of thinking went on throughout the day. By the end of the day, I was very ready to go home. Before I left she started asking me about the job placement agency I got my job through. I was placed in my position through the same placement company that sent her, but this was information that she didn't need to know. She started asking me questions about who I worked with. She then showed me a piece of paper that the agency had printed out, that was obviously not meant for anyone outside of the agency, that mentioned that "this candidate (her) should not expect to be promoted as quickly as" and then there was my name.

I looked at her in disbelief. She had been bugging me during the day about who I worked with at the agency, and I had told her I didn't remember. She now showed me this paper and said, "See, you know them, why did you say you didn't know them?" She has essentially just accused me of lying. I do not care for being falsely accused. I looked at her and explained that I never said I didn't know the agency, I just didn't remember who I worked with. She continued to "accuse" me, so I just turned around and walked out the door.

This was all in one day.

The next day, I decided that I would try extra hard to be understanding. I was tired and getting over being sick and getting back from my trip, so I could have been moody. Maybe I was being picky about her behavior. Maybe I was stressed knowing that I had a hundred things to catch up on. So I showed up even earlier, got caught up on a few things, and prepared for her arrival.

This day was NO better.

At one point while I was training her, I stopped talking for a moment to set something up on her computer and she got up and left. Not a word. I figured maybe she suddenly needed to use the restroom, and just didn't have the "home training" to excuse herself from the training. Slightly annoyed, I finished what I was doing, then headed in the direction of her voice (she was not in the bathroom). I found her asking one of the guys a question that I had already answered. Evidently, she didn't like my answer, so she went elsewhere. The guy she asked is just about the nicest person you will ever meet, so he stopped what he was doing, got up, and came over to her workstation to explain things to her. Things that I had already explained.

If it had been a matter of her not understanding what I explained, I would have been less bothered. But that wasn't the case. She assumed that there was a shortcut to what I showed her. When I told her there wasn't, she evidently didn't believe me. The Cuban/Italian temper that I have been so good at controlling for so many, many years, was getting more difficult to contain.

By the end of the day, I was completely done with her. As I went to leave, she stopped me to ask a question (I stared at my imaginary watch several times) and then we had this lovely exchange:

Her: "Do you work two jobs?"

Me: (hand on the doorknob, tapping foot) "No."

Her: "Are you still sick or something?"

Me: ""

Her: "oh."

Me: "Bye."

As I walked to my car, I thought about the string of questions. I thought about a random question she asked earlier in the day ("Do you have kids?") and I tried to connect the series together. What did they all have in common?

They are all reasons for being in a bad mood. She was trying to figure out why I wasn't paricularly friendly. I laughed at this revelation. Being unfriendly/moody is something I am unaccustomed to being considered. But evidently, she had managed to tap into my unfriendly side. Good job.

The next morning she was let go. I have never been so terribly relieved to see someone go. The thought of continuing to work with this woman stressed me out. For the rest of the day, whenever I answered the phone and smelled her lingering scent on the receiver I was reminded of how close I was to hating my job.

That was last Friday. This week has been much better, with only the usual stresses of the job. Usual stress is good. Busy, but good.

Hopefully the next person we hire will make for a less interesting story.

Listening to: We Shout by T.A.T.U
Current Mood: sleepy

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Nicaragua Pictures

If any of you would like to see the many photos I took while in Nicaragua, I posted them on Snapfish. Send me a message if you didn't get the e-mail :).

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Wrath of the Volcano Posted by Picasa

Drinks of Choice Posted by Picasa

In Granada Posted by Picasa

On our way Posted by Picasa

First Meal - Plato Tipico Nicaraguense Posted by Picasa

Post Trip

I'm back!!

Actually, I have been back since Monday night, but the hectic week of work I returned to tired me out, so I haven't had much time to update the blog.

Even now, I don't have much time, but I thought I owed it to you all to at least let you know how the trip was.

Having never been anywhere in Latin America, I wasn't completely sure what to expect. Our friends who moved there this past summer have been telling us bits and pieces, but it was definitely something to experience for ourselves.

Nicaragua is a very poor country. While we were amazed at how inexpensive things were by American standards, we were equally suprised at how expensive some items were when you take into account how much people there are able to make.

It is wonderful to see how giving and kind many people we met were, despite how little they had.

In addition to meeting a lot of wonderful people, we got to see volcanoes, boiling mud pits, and eat lots of yummy food.

I know, more detail should be here. Perhaps I will have a chance to write more later. For now, I leave you with a few pics...more to come....

Saturday, November 19, 2005


hi is very early for me to be up on saturday. that is because we leave for our trip today.

our flight is out of miami, about 3-4 hours from here, so we have to pack up the rental car this morning and head down there to catch an afternoon flight. since we have 5 full size suitcases and 3 carry ons, and we live up three flights of stairs, the process of packing the car will take a little time.

before any of you start thinking that we are some kind of crazy with that many bags, we are bringing a lot of clothes and things to donate down there. and there are three of us going, not two.

i am excited - but i have to be quiet, as boys do not get up early if they can help it.

i will try to write an entry or so from Nicaragua...but if not you will get a full report when I return.

love to all my adoring fans..........

Monday, November 14, 2005

You Can't Spell Eyebrow without the OW

I have a question.

How do you tell an aesthetician performing a brow wax that you are not happy with what they are doing? Think before you answer. You are trapped between their body and a chair, and they are armed with a bowl full of hot wax and sharp tweezers, which are already dangerously close to your eye. You are armed with only your charm and wit.

Yeah. That's right. It IS a difficult question.

Saturday, before I decided to go shopping, I went to have my brows "cleaned up", a bit of a necessity considering my Cuban/Italian heritage. (no way to avoid eyebrows ala Bert and Ernie) When I was living in Seattle, I found an aesthetician that I loved. She performed the procedure practically pain-free. I trusted her so much that I even went to her for a bikini wax (not so pain free). Moving to Florida, I had to find someone new. I have tried several since I have been here.

The first person I went to was a little Vietnamese woman who was doing my nails. She was inexpensive and I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by getting my brows done there. The key word there would probably be kill. She was not so pain free. She actually laughed when I flinched. The end result was nice, but I wasn't sure how I felt about someone who seemed to derive pleasure from my obvious discomfort.

The next woman couldn't stop talking about how "it was about time" I got them waxed. Rule number one of providing a salon service for me: Do not give me your "honest opinion" about my appearance. Not unless I ask. Or unless you are a gay man. So that was the end of contestant number 2.

Number three: crazy lady who I also tried in my run of hair stylists. She did a nice job on the brows, but I didn't care for my hair, and she was CRAZY. No matter how nicely shaped my eyebrows may have been, a crazy person cannot be trusted with items that can burn and maim me.

Next up, Russian lady in the pretty little hole in the wall salon down the road: After I insisted that I did not want thin eyebrows, over and over and over, she gave me thin eyebrows. Not a natural look for me.

Which brings me to our most recent candidate. Overpriced salon with a French name. I believe this is an attempt to make you think they are as cool as the French. I often find that it just means that they are as rude as the French are purported to be. I honestly think that the rumor of the French being rude comes from French named salons in America. Anyway, little blond person proceeds to wax my eyebrows. "Ow," I think to myself. Now just because it hurt didn't mean I should stop. Having tiny hairs pulled out of your head shouldn't feel nice. But this hurt a little more than usual. She acknowledged my flinching with the "I know, it doesn't feel good." So I am assuming there is no blood pouring down my face at this point.

Rip. Rip. Rippity rip. Then come the tweezers. There was actually a full-body flinch at this point, she just smiled and paused for a moment, then continued.

"All done." She handed me a mirror to examine. It appears that all of that ripping was only on the lower part of my eyebrow. No clean up had taken place on the upper part. I thought about mentioning this to her, but then the pain I was still experiencing made me think twice. She slapped some lotion on them, which kind of burned on the right side, and sent me over to the counter to pay.

I paid and then gave my eyebrows a closer look in the mirror when I got in my car. They were pretty red, but mine usually are after being waxed. I figured that maybe I had forgotten how much this process hurt.

Fast forward to that evening. Brows still red. Right side is actually a little puffy. These are not normal signs.

Today, a couple of days after the fact, I have visible abrasions on my right brow. Not pretty. And still painful.

So now I am going to battle with Beau Monde and their brow butcheress.

Listening to: Here With Me by Dido
Current Mood: Fierce! (but not really, just took a long bath, so I am far too relaxed for fierceness...) and also, apparently loving alliteration

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Female Support

For the small percentage of my readers who are male, don't worry, the following entry has nothing to do with shopping for undergarments. You may proceed safely...

Among the many tasks I have set before me on a daily basis at my new place of employment, member support is probably the one that takes the most time. It isn't all that different from teaching if you look at it from a different angle. When I did software training, I spent a lot of class time explaining things many times over, in many different ways. The key in my classes was to always make sure the student didn't feel dumb for asking a question (even if they asked it several times already) and to be very patient.

When people feel "dumb", their reaction is to place the blame on someone else rather than themselves. Nobody likes to think that they are unintelligent, so it is easier to believe that whatever it is they don't understand is severely flawed. And if you are the person associated with said flawed system, then you come under attack as well.

While I have had some irate people at times, I find that I have a slight advantage over the average support person. That is of course making the assumption that the "average" support person is male. My advantage then, as you may have guessed, is that I am female.

How exactly does this give me an advantage, you ask? (you don't really, but it makes me feel good to pretend you are interested)

I am not in anyway saying that as a female I am more intelligent, or that I am automatically more socially adept than a male, and therefore better equipped to handle more difficult people. In my experience of being the one supported, I would have to say that I often received more coherent and amiable support from males than females. So it wouldn't make sense for me to argue that just the mere fact that I am female is an automatic trump card in the world of support. Being female is merely a tool, that when used correctly, allows me to deal with situations in a way that I could not imagine working quite the same for a male.

For example, a member has a question to which I don't have an answer. I need time to obtain the answer, but this member is not going to take being on hold very well. Solution?

"Wow. You would ask me that question, wouldn't you? (--> insert charming laugh here) Well, tell you what, give me just a sec before I answer that, because I want to be sure I give you the correct information, k? (while digging up answer, engage in talk about the weather, or something that may interest the member, based on the little bit of information you have about them)"

Why do I think the above response needs a woman's delivery to be successful? Well, let's look at a comparison. Charming laugh from man to man does not usually go over too well. Charming laugh from man to woman comes off creepy, with the potential of being stalkeresque.** Charming laugh from woman to man has a proven succes rate of 97%*. Charming laugh from woman to woman comes off friendly. Winner? I think you all know.

But seriously, the support part of my job seems to be going well. It can be frustrating at times, but even the frustrating moments are often tempered with humor. And I do have to admit, I enjoy helping people (back to the why I enjoyed teaching...), so there is a pleasant feeling of accomplishment when someone thanks you, even if it took a long time to get them to that point.

So that's one aspect of the new job that, so far, is going well.

*may or may not be based on actual data
**may or may not be a real word

Listening to: Paper Doll by Rachael Yamagata
Current Mood: ...supportive?...
Currently Reading: Oh, c'mon...the same thing I was reading 10 minutes ago!

In Absentia

I have been working for about a month now at my new job and I have said very little about what it is I do, which is probably a bit suprising considering how I tend to ramble about the most insignificant going-ons in my life.

The absence of any information about my job was due, in part, to the fact that the president of the company that I am now working for has my blog address. How did this happen? During the course of my interview, my writing ability came into question. In order to provide a sample of my writing "ability", I decided to rattle off my blog address. In all honesty, I did not expect the guy to check it out, so I didn't really give it a second thought.

However, after working there a few days, I sat down in front of my computer, prepared to write about my new job, and I thought to myself, what if he did actually read this? Not that I had anything negative to say. It was more of a discomfort knowing, yet not knowing, one of my readers.

To clarify, (since I am sure a couple of you went "wha?") the majority of the people that read this blog are people I am very close to. Family and friends that know me very, very well. These are people that I have an established comfort level with. Then there are those who may read this site that I am completely unaware of. Completely anonymous. This is also comfortable to me. I can't connect a real person with these anonymous readers, so I don't worry about possible judgements they may make about me.

Mr. President does not fall under either of these categories. He is someone I don't know well at all. Yet, I do know him, in that I see him on a fairly regular basis and we do have some interaction. End result? Weirdness in thinking that he may be reading my blog.

The other day he mentioned something he had read on my blog, so I know now that he has at least read it once. Whether he is or will be a regular reader remains a mystery.

Despite this fact, I have decided that I will have to write about my job here and there, as it does take up a large portion of my time, and there are things that I observe while working that I find interesting.

So Mr. President, if you are listening (er...reading), consider yourself warned.

Listening to: Paper Towel by Jude
Current Mood: good! went to the gym twice this week so far...mmmm the sweet smell of commitment
Currently reading: Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (also reading the authors' blog)

Friday, November 04, 2005

Picture Time!

There was a request by one of my many adoring fans (ha!) for recent photos of me. Being that I just finished dying my hair and it is all freshly styled, I figured this was as good a time as any.

And by good I mean terrible.

I hate having my picture taken. Hate hate hate. Sometimes I wish I was a member of one of those tribes who believe your soul is stolen when someone takes a photo of you. Then anytime someone goes to take my photo I can yell "SOUL STEALER!" and shake my fist at them. That would keep the picture taking to a minimum.

But because I love my "fans", I will set my vanity aside. And curse you all under my breath.

As an introduction, here is my poor husband, the "expert photographer" for the evening, who was coerced into taking about 100 photos before I could be convinced that I do not look like a cow in every one. He is a patient, patient man. Bless him. Him, and his David Brent-like pose.

"This is what it must be like to work with supermodels," he mused.

Of course, if I was going to be subjected to a series of photos, there would have to be quality mirror time. The expression on my face made it clear that I was not satisfied with how I looked, and yet my photographer insisted on taking this photo.

He felt it humanized me. It's important to be just like one of my adoring fans. They need to know that I have bad hair days too. Bad hair days and a messy closet.

The philosophy behind this shot? Everyone looks pretty blurry.

I like to share my dreams with my adoring fans as well. Take a close look at the following shot and you will see that I dream of...

...toilet paper. Perhaps my daydreaming is a good explanation for the lazy eye in this shot as well.

When I am not dreaming about Charmin softness, I enjoy a good cup of tea.

I also think about the "I'm a little teapot..." rhyme, and how it is so true. Short and stout. I really must get back to the gym.

And then I am back to the computer, talking to all of you again. My photographer is a fan of extreme closeup.

My pores and double chin are not.

And of course, a photo of me and my photographer.

(Actually, I love this accidental shot. The little bit of his silvery hair, pinky hued skin and blue eye(s), nexy to my olive skin, chocolate hair* and eyes just looks cool. The description of myself also makes me hungry.)

So now you have very up to date photos of us. Autographed copies will be made available for a nominal fee.

Listening to: I Was Meant for the Stage by The Decemberists
Current Mood: goofy

*did you notice that the dye/cut job did not turn out tragically? I, too, am shocked.

Self Destructive

I am at this very moment dying my hair. This is what happens when I am bored.

The scary thing is that I am looking at a highlighting kit and seriously considering using it. This is NEVER a good idea. I have used them in the past. My hair never has those lovely even streaks that the pretty lady on the box is flaunting.

What else is there to blog about? Hmmm....good question. Let's see. Not too much. Which means, random list of unrelated items! Here it goes...

I made a declaration today to an officemate that Monday will mark my re-return to the gym. The idea is that once I say it, it must be done. I felt compelled to make this declaration as I now am officially a member of TWO gyms. There must be some sort of law against multiple unused memberships. You people really need to keep on me this time. It's getting embarassing.

Tommorrow I continue on my Nicaragua-shopping-quest. Last week, I sought out exotic spices to bring to my friends (turmeric and ground cardamom are more difficult to come across than one would think). This weekend, I shop for cotton sheets. I love shopping for other people. It's so much more fun. I will also be on the lookout for clothes that breathe.

I have decided that the Colbert Report is the only way I wish to have news delivered to me. Eat that Channel 9.

Yeah, that's about it. Dull.

There is a pair of scissors sitting next to the highlighting kit......hmmm.....stay tuned.

Listening to: St Augustine in Hell by Sting
Current Mood: fiesty...probably not the best mood to be in while dealing with scissors

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Bad Day...

Yesterday morning, my grandfather passed away.

I was going to post about this yesterday, but I was a bit overwhelmed, unable to gather my thoughts.

It did not come as a surprise really. His health had been degrading for the past several months or so, and none of us expected him to last very long. My sister and I even discussed that it would probably be good if he went quickly, so he wouldn't suffer. It's funny how you can speak so practically about someone's death before it comes, but how your emotions kick in once it happens.

I got the call early in the morning, before 7. I missed a call from my mother, and since it was so early, I assumed it was important and got out of bed to call her back. My father answered and told me, "Abuelo died this morning." Before I could really say much he had passed the phone to my mother. We talked briefly, then I hung up and headed back to the bedroom. I looked at my husband, half awake and wondering why I was up on the phone, and I just started to cry. I loved my grandfather, although I wouldn't say we were especially close, so I was a little suprised at my own tears. After a little while, I was better and got ready for work.

At work, my mother called me to tell me that she and my father were driving to Miami for the funeral services, which would be held that evening. It was so soon that they didn't expect any of us to be there. I hung up the phone, and lost it again. I thought about my father. I was overwhelmed by just the thought of losing him, and how terrible it must for him to lose his father. I felt so helpless not being able to be there for him at his father's service. My boss kindly offered to send me home for the day, which I gladly accepted, as I could not seem to get the crying under control and I HATE crying in front of people.

Later that evening I called my grandmother, to say hi, as I didn't really know what else to say. This added a whole new layer of grief, as I thought about how I would be feeling if I had lost my husband. She and my grandfather had been together for many, many years and spent all their time together it seemed.

I cried again over the hamburgers I was cooking for dinner.

Today, my body dealt with the stress my giving me a stomach virus and cramps. But no tears today. I am determined today to not be sad, but instead, think only of happy stories of my grandfather.

Like chicharrones as a cure for the sugar. :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Trip Journaling Begins!

No...I haven't left yet. I still have several weeks until our trip to Nicaragua. However, I did go to the public health center today to be vaccinated for my trip.

I am not a fan of public health centers. They all seem so dark and depressing. (Not to mention that their bathrooms are gross - seems contradictory that they should be breaking health codes in a health center.)

I sat in a waiting room with about 5 other people, all of whom were well over the age of 60. An old man and woman in front of me were swapping navy stories, and what it was like to meet Jimmy Dean and Minnie Pearl. The old lady told Jimmy Dean that she didn't like his sausages. And I learned that Minnie Pearl is a delightfully tall woman. I am still not exactly sure how one becomes "delightfully tall". I was left to wonder if some people are considered morbidly tall, when my letter was called (I had a letter rather than a number, as I was the only one there not receiving a flu shot). I headed down a hallway to a small room with a nurse.

I hate needles. Hate. So I tried very hard to not think about the shots I was about to receive. I started to think of what I would tell you all about my visit. I examined many posters on the wall, like this one:

Yes, I took a picture. I was considering taking a picture of the old folks in the waiting room, under the guise that I was writing a report about public health, but then I decided against that, as it could possibly have unpleasant results. Instead, I only took a picture of this poster*, and that was in the brief moment when the nurse left the room.

I got one shot in each arm. It wasn't as bad as I worked myself up for, but I am sore now, and I have a slight fever and a headache (perhaps brought on more so from the anxiety then the actual vaccine).

It was rather uneventful (besides the aforementioned Jimmy Dean exchange) but I thought in the interest of keeping a true journal of my first trip to a third world country, I should record the experience.

Next time on "I Want Rick Steves' Job" I answer the question: What is a second world country?

Listening to: My DVR on pause...what's paused? Law and Order: Criminal Intent
Currently Feeling: Kinda in pain

*each map on this poster represents a disease...the colored in areas represent areas where you may contract said disease, and should therefore be vaccinated...kind of creepy with all those Precious Moment-looking children all around the edge

Monday, October 24, 2005

Moms R Funny

This "quotable quote" deserved it's own entry.

"Oh, they eat everything. Whatever they can find...berries....crawfish..." ~ My mother, discussing the raccoons that come to her porch to eat the cat's food.

My sister looked at my mother and said, "Crawfish? And where exactly do they get those?" There is no location near my parent's house, other than perhaps a chinese buffet, which would still require getting in a car and driving, where a raccoon could acquire a crawfish. What kind of raccoons do they have in their neighborhood?!

My mother could only laugh in response.

Upon hearing the story, I promptly called my mother and asked her, very seriously, what raccoons eat. (The fun thing about my mom, is that she started to give me a serious answer before she realized she was being teased.)

Perhaps she had read this story recently:

My mom is awesome :).


To all of you who are e-mailing wondering how things are here:

This is what the sky looked like last night....

A bit ominous, no? I was slightly concerned that we were in for more severe weather than I had planned for. (Geography update: I live in CENTRAL Florida. That means in the middle. Florida is a fairly large state, so CENTRAL is not really that close to SOUTH.) Throughout the night, the wind howled (literally) outside and the rain beat against the window. Still slightly ominous, but also kind of pleasant. If I hadn't been so intent on sleeping, it would have been fun to pull out a favorite novel and read by candlelight. I was actually kind of hoping for just a little power outage.

When morning came, the wind was still howling, the rain still falling, and the sky still ugly. So I decided to head to the office. For those of you thinking I am crazy, you have never experienced the wrath of a Florida summer thunderstorm. Way more rain and something a lot scarier, lightning. Driving in this morning's outer bands of Hurricane Wilma was quite tame in comparision.

At the office, I worked away from a window, just in case those tornado warnings had any validity. When I finally left my windowless cave around 5 pm, I was greeted my about a 20 degree temperature drop and conditions that looked like this:

Not so much scary. It was beautiful outside. Still a little breezy, and a whole lot cooler, which, after many days of 80 degree plus weather, was a welcome feeling.

So Wilma was good to us up here. For those of you who inquired about my family in South Florida, they are all ok. They are experiencing life with no power like millions of others there, but their powerless homes are intact and dry on the inside, which is enough to be thankful for at the moment. There are many others that did not fare as well.

In better storm news, Tropical Storm Alpha has slowed to a trough* and should eventually be absorbed by the remnants of Wilma, so no threat there.

Listening to: a boiling pot of is cold enough to comfortably drink tea!!
Current Mood: sleepy (actually pretending not to be nervous about getting immunizations tomorrow a.m. ... ouch)

*An elongated area of relatively low atmospheric pressure, usually extending from the center of a low pressure region. That's right. Watch me drop my meteorological knowledge on ya'll. Boo-yah.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Hey all,

Just a quick post before I go to bed...

So far, there have been dark clouds and some lightning, but otherwise it is quite still here. In the area where we are, we may experience tornadoes, heavy rain and wind. But we really should be ok. We have plenty of water, and super-mega flashlight if the power goes at all.

I am amazed as I watch coverage of the storm at the number of South Floridians who are in mandatory evacuation areas that still won't leave. They all have the same answer.

"I've been here for (enter number) years, and I have never left, so I ain't leavin' now."

Nice. This is why people in the other 49 states make fun of Floridians.

I will update "ya'll" tomorrow, as the storm should have greater effect on us then. (Unless of course it has REALLY great effect and we lose power)

Listening to: the Weather Channel
Current Mood: excited about the stormy weather (yes, I know after all the destruction that these storms this year have brought, I shouldn't be excited...but I love storms - I am fascinated by them)

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Room With A View

Ahhh...nothing like the acquisition of a new camera to make you post useless pictures.

But really, since most of you have not seen our new "digs", I present you with one of my favorite parts of our new place: The view.

This is what you see when you look out of our living area onto the porch. Pretty cool, eh? Despite living in a fairly busy area, it feels like we aren't so close to everything when we look out here. When it storms the view is AMAZING. The lightning strikes all over that area in the distance where you can see a couple of buildings. Very very cool.

Posted by Picasa

Posted by Picasa

More pictures will follow I am sure, as I continue to play with my newest toy.

Any requests?

Listening to: I Remember by Damien Rice
Current Mood: trigger happy

Friday, October 14, 2005

Up and Down

In preparation for a dinner party I am having tomorrow, I stopped at a specialty food store today. One of the dishes I am serving required a decent amount of pancetta, which I cannot find at my usual grocery store, and I wanted to get a few bottles of nice wine.

I chose a store I had driven by many times but never tried. As I went in, I could see they had a good selection of all sorts of specialty products, and a very nice meat/deli department. I turned the corner to find their wine section, with a decent sized selection of wines from all over. As I attempted to find some Italian wines (in keeping with the Italian theme of tomorrow's dinner) I was approached by the very friendly wine buyer for the store.

I explained to her that I was looking for a nice red and white in a lower price range. Rather than judging the low range I gave her, she went to work recommending excellent wines under $15. One in particular she thought I should try, so she grabbed a wine glass off the shelf and opened the bottle.

"Here, shopping is more fun with a buzz," she said, as she handed me a glass of wine. "Walk around with it while you shop so it has a chance to breathe."

(incidentally, the wine buyer refused to sell me the wine I tried, as she said it wasn't "opening up" after it had a chance to breathe. Instead, she grabbed a substantially more expensive wine and gave it to me for the same price as the cheap one. Woo-hoo!)

Awesome, I thought to myself. This is the way to shop. I sauntered over to the deli (one must saunter when shopping with a glass of wine in hand) to get some pancetta.

"What can I do for you?" said the young girl behind the counter.

"A pound of pancetta, very thinly sliced, please," I answered politely, smiling, as I was enjoying this shopping experience.

The girl began slicing. Suddenly, an older woman showed up behind her.

"Is it for lunch meat or for cooking?? Cooking, right?"

I looked at the woman oddly, and told her it was going to be cooked. She made a face and then told the girl to slice it thick.

I waited for the slicing girl to turn around, so I could see what was happening to my meat. It was now being sliced far thicker than I wanted it.

"Excuse me," I interrupted, still politely, but feeling a little annoyed, "I asked for it to be sliced thin. Like paper thin. That isn't so much, ya'know, thin."

The girl looked frightened, and looked back at the older woman who had obviously instructed her to slice it the way she had. The woman stepped in.

"You are using it for cooking. It should be thick. It just falls apart when it is thin."

She held up a perfectly paper thin slice for me to see, as if this was proving her point, when in reality it only made me more annoyed. I was less polite this time.

"I WANT it that way. That is why I ASKED for it to be sliced thin. I do BELIEVE I know how I need it."

The woman shook her head, "No, we won't slice it that thin. We can't."

I shook my head in disbelief. A woman who was waiting on her deli order turned to me and smiled, "Evidently you don't know what you want?"

At this point I, rather loudly, said, "Of course not. What do I know? I'm only cooking the dish. I wouldn't know how I need the meat to be sliced. I may be Italian and actually know how to pronounce the word PANCETTA, unlike the lady behind the counter, but hey, what do I know?"

The lady walked away, and left the poor slicing girl behind to deal with me. I took the meat and decided that rather than make this poor girl cry, I would just make a phone call when I got home.

Fast forward to an hour later. I am back at the store, after having a talk with the manager, to have my meat sliced properly. The crotchety deli woman was nowhere to be seen, but three other ladies, including the original slicing girl were there to assist me. The manager made sure to let me know that I would receive free deli products next time I came in to make up for the inconvenience.

Who knew getting groceries would be such a roller coaster of emotion?!

Listening to: Just a Ride by Jem
Current Mood: Still assertive. Yeah, that's right.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Pink is the New Black

I am pink now. This will change quickly I would imagine, as I am not the pink type. Just needed a little change, but couldn't decide what to change, so this is the pre-change change. Got that??

Today was busy. Running ID over to the placement company, taking care of a ticket, and visiting my chiropractor.

Trips to my chiropractor are always pleasant. Today, it was informative as well. We were discussing our upcoming travels and I mentioned how I was not too excited about the shots and meds I would be receiving in the weeks to come. When I mentioned antimalarial meds among the list of things I would be getting/taking he advised against taking the one that comes in a weekly dose. Bad things happen. I took his word for it, but I was curious, and wanted to learn more.

Welcome to Mefloquine (me' floe kwin). Also known as Lariam. Ever heard of it? The name Lariam sounded vaguely familiar. After some quick googling I discovered why. Remember those spousal murders in Fort Bragg? For a while, this drug was suspected as the culprit. (They concluded that the drug wasn't responsible, from what I remember, but we will get to why they would have even suspected it.)

Here is a list of possible side effects. Keep in mind, this is the list that normally says things like, "drowsiness":
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • stomach pain
  • loss of appetite
  • muscle pain
  • dizziness
  • loss of balance
  • ringing in ears
  • headache
  • sleepiness
  • difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • unusual dreams

Long list. Now here is the list of serious side effects (yeah, the ones you just read were the ones that are "no big deal"):

  • tingling in your fingers or toes
  • difficulty walking
  • seizures
  • shaking of arms or legs that you cannot control
  • nervousness or extreme worry
  • depression
  • changes in mood
  • panic attack
  • forgetfulness
  • confusion
  • hallucinations (seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist)
  • violent behavior
  • losing touch with reality
  • feeling that others want to harm you
  • thoughts of hurting or killing yourself
  • rash

Ummm...seeing things that don't exist? Thoughts of hurting or killing yourself? I was under the impression that taking medication is supposed to protect you. Not potentially make you "crazy-go-nuts".

Really glad I had the friendly chat with my chiro before getting my prescription. Otherwise, I might have made a pretty awful traveling partner, ya'll.

"That toucan KEEPS LOOKING AT ME!! Does anyone have some more ointment?"

Listening to: the sounds of silence...not the song, just silence. it is past my bedtime
Current Mood: relieved to be slightly more educated on these crazy drugs

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Let the Games Begin

Today was the first day of interviewing in the lovely process of trying to find a job. It was very simple, since I was only interviewing with a job placement rep.

Simple and lengthy.

If you have never used one of these services before and expect it to take the normal amount of time an interview might take, you would find yourself sorely behind in your plans for the day. So for the benefit of those who may find themselves in a position where they need to avail themselves of such a service, let me walk you through my "appointment".

Arrive early. Not that this gets me started earlier on anything. It just looks good.

Expect to wait a little while before they hand me a very large stack of documents to fill out/read/sign. Upon completion of this stack, wait some more.

Sit down in a really warm room, place some headphones on head, and prepare to be bored for 15 minutes. This is an introduction to the company that is working to place me. They tell me interesting things, like how to lift a heavy box. They also tell me not to lift anything heavy unless you have express permission from them. Here I pretend to be confused for the fun of it. Horseplay, violence, weapons or any other illegal activity are prohibited in the workplace. I begin to wonder when horseplay became illegal, and think back fondly on office horseplay I have been involved in. They flash the number for HR several times. Being sexually harassed? Call this number. Concerned about your benefits? Call this number. Thirsty? Call this number.

After spending 15 minutes wondering how many people have worn these headphones before me, and consequently having the urge to vigorously scratch my scalp, I move on to a computer where I take a safety exam. The safety questions are based on the video. I begin to worry that I should have paid better attention to the video, and not to whether or not I could catch bird flu from a pair of headphones. Then I realize that it is multiple choice, and the wrong answers are ridiculous. I answer one wrong, just for sport. I finish the "test", quicker than was anticipated by the staff, as no one is ready to talk to me yet.

"Would you like to take some more tests?"

I struggle not to answer smartly, and smile pleasantly and nod.

I am set before another computer. The monitor looks similar to one I used when I was in fifth grade. Awesome. I am set up to take a Word, Excel, and typing test.

The Word and Excel tests don't always like my answers, because they are designed to do things the long way. I have to stop thinking like someone who actually knows how to use the program in order to pass. The typing test goes ok, but I am slowed by people talking right next to me as I type. I am slowed to 55 wpm though, so no one questions the results.

Finished with the tests, I sit down in the reception area once again to wait. I have run out of things to look at, as I have read all the OSHA posters on the wall, and the fixed asset barcodes on all the equipment close by.

Finally, I am greeted by the "interviewer" or Account Executive who will be responsible for placing me. She is very bubbly, but not overly so. I am pleased. She looks over my resume and test results. She is pleased.

We discuss my experience, what I would like to do, and then she asks me a question I was not prepared for.

"Give me your Top 5 companies you would like to work for in this area."

Hmmm...I give her my Top 1, as it is the only one that comes to mind. She happens to be meeting with them on Thursday and will talk me up while she is there. Score.

She tells me that I remind her of her best friend who moved to Seattle, so she feels like she must find me something great, and she already has a couple of things in mind. Double score.

So as you can see, these sort of interviews can take much time, and for someone like myself who can, on occasion, be somewhat snarky, much control. But, you never know what the end result may be.

On a sad note, it looks like my days of horseplay may be over.

Listening to: Hey Ya by JD Natasha
Current Mood: Hopeful...and I also feel the need to wash my hands

BONUS!! 10 points to anyone who can figure out who the "Top 1" company was. (My sister is automatically disqualified from guessing)

Monday, October 10, 2005

Irish, eh?

I took one of those tests that people always put on blogs...which I usually find cheesy. But job search boredom has led to this....

Your Inner European is Irish!

Sprited and boisterous!
You drink everyone under the table.

Hmmm...considering that in reality, when it comes to being European, I should probably fall under Italian or Spanish, I thought this was kind of funny. Last I checked, I can't drink anyone under a table, or any other piece of furniture. Spirited? Perhaps yes. Boisterous? Sometimes. According to the picture, I also enjoy knee socks and colorful printed skirts.

So since I have now subjected you all to such cheesy blog fare, you also must take the test, to make me feel less loser-y for having posted this nonsense.

Listening to: Delicate (Live in Dublin) by Damien Rice (Yes, coincidently, I am listening to someone Irish singing in Ireland)
Current Mood: wistful

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Back on the Wagon

Or is it off the wagon?

Aside from updating you all on the latest going-ons in my life, I am also sitting in front of the computer job searching. After a lovely stint of being happily jobless, it is sadly time to get back to work.

My husband's job is currently in danger, as the people who own his company contemplate selling it or merging it with another company. This means that anytime in the very near future, he may be let go. As unemployment doesn't pay all of the bills, I am preemptively job searching in hopes of finding work before things go downhill.

I hate job searching. Not so much the not knowing what will happen part. I am cool with all of that - I can be low stress when I want to (read: need to) be. However, I HATE composing cover letters. Which is odd. Considering how much I enjoy expressing myself in writing, one would think that the cover letter would be a piece of cake for me. Nope. Not at all.

So that is what I will be up to for the next couple of days/weeks. Which also means there is a decent chance I will be visiting the blog a little more, to stave off the boredom of job hunting.

Listening to: The Ballad of Booth from The Assasins
Current Mood: appreciating launchcast's need to cheer me up through Broadway musicals


As I sat in front of the computer, poised to finally update the blog, I typed in the address, only to be asked if I was ready to meet Jesus. Wah?

Evidently, I had typed in the address incorrectly. Rather than I typed Multiple times. I was beginning to think that my blog had been hijacked by someone that, evidently, wanted me to immediately get down on my knees and pray for forgiveness of my sins.

After all those years, my first grade teacher was right. Spelling IS important.

Next post: We learn that reading actually is fundamental.

Listening to: We're Not Sorry from The Broadway Musical Urinetown
Current Mood: scattered

Friday, September 23, 2005

That's Love

Warning: The following entry may contain graphic descriptions. Reader discretion is advised.

This morning I took my husband to the dentist, to take care of some terrible tooth pain he has been experiencing lately. The dentist was able to identify the problem, but it will be several days before the pain will subside. So, a prescription of Vicoprofen was given, and off we went.

As the hours passed after the first dose, with no relief for him, I decided to play pharmacist and recommend that he take some Tylenol (acetaminophen) with his next dosage. This goes directly against the instructions given with the drug when you pick it up at the pharmacy. Right after the sticker saying you shouldn't drink with the drug, it specifically says no acetaminophen. That is because Vicoprofen is simply a combination of hydrocodone and ibuprofen. Hydrocodone is one of the things that makes up Vicodin. The other is, you guessed it, acetaminophen. Since Vicodin is an addictive narcotic, they don't exactly want you messing with it on your own. The conclusion I came to, however, was that Vicodin is great at killing pain. So let's make some.

Before I continue, I would like to make it clear that the man was in a great deal of pain, and I made him fully aware of the fact that some people (like myself) have unpleasant reactions to Vicodin. Like vomiting. He was willing to take that risk.

So, first dose from my at home pharmacy was successful. As the hours wore by and it was time for the next dose, he complained of being nauseous. I warned him that there was a good chance if he took another dose, he would be revisiting the can of soup he had earlier in a not so pleasant manner. The pain of his tooth won out though, so he took the dose.

Within minutes, he left the room.

And then there was the sound.

It is a horrible sound, one that usually makes you want to move as far away from it as possible. But my wifely instincts kicked in, and I headed for the bathroom, patting him on the back as he kneeled before the toilet. The vomiting was violent, but only lasted a few minutes. In his attempt to be considerate and turn on the bathroom fan (in hopes that I wouldn't hear him and get sick) he was unable to keep the vomit completely contained in one area.

(If you are now thinking, "Ew. That was entirely too much information," all I have to say is a) there was a warning at the beginning and b) I didn't even get into what it smelled and looked like, so stop complaining.)

Here is where the love kicks in. I can't leave the bathroom that way all night, and I can't possibly make the poor guy clean up when he just went through the Vicodin pukes (they aren't fun...if you have never had the misfortune of having them, they control you). So I just finished cleaning the toilet, floor, and wall of my bathroom.

It is amazing how long you can hold your breath when you really need to.

Listening to: The sweet sweet sounds of no more puking
Current Mood: I feel the need to wash my hands again...

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


You will all be pleased to know that I am able to breathe normally again. Thanks to the best chiropractor in the world, I am back to almost normal. (Still not able to sneeze, but all else is good.)

I was even well enough to try out my latest purchase, MTV Pilates Mix. Ow. Ow. Ow.

Spending my time this week plotting out our Nicaragua trip, and searching for a reasonably priced digital camera to purchase and take with us on the trip (then I can show you all my adventures). I will be keeping a paper journal while I am there and will throw some of it on the blog when I get back. ("Finally, we were hoping you would have something interesting to talk about sometime soon!")

Any of you have suggestions on a decent digital camera?

Listening to: Hey Ya by J D Natasha
Current Mood:excited about my friend's new apartment

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Progress Report

Typing is one of the many activities which cause me pain at the moment, so this will be brief.

Since the last post, the pain increased, making it impossible to function. I basically just sit in an awkward position watching the DVD collection of The Gilmore Girls (perhaps not the wisest choice, as they often make me laugh, which is excruciating).

The pain has let up slightly, as I visited my chiropractor again today. Hopefully the progress will continue.

Currently Watching: Old Felicity reruns
Current Mood: In pain, and getting sick of being stuck on the couch.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

I Will Try Not To Breathe

So I know you are wondering how this morning's interview went.

It didn't.

You see, I find that if you wake up throughout the night finding it painful to breathe, going on an interview the following morning is not such a good idea.

My husband suggested that my back was out of place and causing pressure on my lungs, making breathing painful. So off to the chiropractor I went. He agreed that this could be the cause, made some adjustments, then informed me that it would take a day or two for the adjustment to have the desired affect, that being no more pain.

So I am spending my day being acutely aware of every single breath I take. When each one hurts, you pay attention.

I'm off to take pain killers and lie down.

Currently listening to: Aside from the sound of my own breathing? All This Time by Sting
Current Mood: IN SO MUCH PAIN. Whatever you do, don't make me laugh. Or sneeze. Or hiccup. Or move.

Monday, September 12, 2005

I'm OK With That

The latest in what is going on:

Last week I found my lost passport (yay!) and sent it off with the appropriate paper work for a name change (my passport still had my maiden name on it). I will be booking our flight to Nicaragua sometime this week. This also means that I need to find a doctor (haven't found one here in FL yet) so I can get some immunizations and such before I head down there.

Last week also brought with it the rebirth of actually using that gym membership I pay for. Suprisingly, I didn't die when face to face with the elliptical as I suspected I would. I haven't been sleeping very well lately, so I figure getting back to excercising regularly may help with that.

Ants have found their way into my apartment, so my project for today (among other things) has been getting rid of them. I purchased a cinnamon broom that I plan on breaking into pieces and dispersing throughout the place, as I have read that ants despise cinnamon. I love cinnamon, so that seems like a good idea. In addition, I have just finished pouring some sort of ant-death-powder all over the carpets and will be vacuuming it up shortly. Note to self: Next time wear socks. My feet are starting to itch from walking over where I powdered.

Tommorrow, I have an interview. ("But Amber, we all thought you enjoyed your unemployed status...sitting at home watching reruns of 24 and ER and eating Bon-bons....") It's for a freelance writing job, which would mean I could continue my non-scheduled lifestyle AND get paid. So I figure I will give it a shot. My chances are slim, considering my lack of paid experience in the field o' writing, but hey, chances were slim I would get an interview, so we shall see what happens.

10 more days until my dining room table arrives - which means I can finally have friends and family over to eat. I am very excited, since it has been quite some time since I have been able to have a proper dinner party. Time to dust off those Gourmet magazines.

Speaking of cooking and all things domestic, my sister and I were helping some friends move into their new house this weekend. The previous owners had been smokers, so she and I went about cleaning fixtures, windows, screens, and the kitchen. One of the guys who was helping with the heavy stuff stopped and said, "Who woulda thought you girls were so domestic?" We love the guy who said it, so we took no offense. I just thought it was an interesting comment. My sister and I both have a very independent way about us and stayed single longer than a lot of our friends (which is amazing, considering we got married at the young age of 23), so I am assuming that those qualities are what give the impression that we lack the ability to be domestic. Who knew taking care of yourself meant not being well equipped to take care of others.

Anyhoo...I need to vaccuum up the death powder in here before I suffocate. Perhaps I will post later about my observations of how people dress in Florida v. Washington, and who makes the more egregious choices.

So there is my post. I never promised excitement.

Currently listening to: Letter Read by Rachel Yamagata
Current Mood: Good. Except for the suffocating...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

In Memoriam

A dear friend passed away early this morning after battling with cancer. He was an exceptional person, a good and faithful man, and he will be missed by many.

So Much To Say...

Hey everyone.

I have sat in front of my computer several times in this past week or so, thinking about what to say on the blog. A lot has gone on, so it seems that there would be a lot to talk about. But everytime I thought to sit down and talk about what was going on in my own life, it seemed so trivial when compared to what is going on in the Guf Coast.

I can't watch much media coverage anymore - maybe that's selfish, shielding myself from reality because it is depressing. Watching the interview with Aaron Broussard on Meet The Press or Kanye West going off script about how the media distorts what is going on in New Orleans, its all so heartbreaking.

We have felt the effects here with high gas prices and efforts to conserve energy. (Our local grovery store keeps some of the lights off in an effort to conserve). But none of that seems to matter much.

We are waiting to hear more about the efforts to rebuild that will be organized, and will be seeing if we can donate some of our time to go help.

It seems sad how so many have turned it into social commentary or a debate over politics. I have nothing particularly poignant or thought provoking to say about what has taken place. It just seems to emphasize to me more where we are in the stream of time, and how we need to really focus on the important things in life.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

If My Blog Were a Child... services would have been called. Sorry I have been neglecting the blog as of late.

I purchased a cd the other night while wasting some time at Borders. Borders has been a hang out of sorts for me since my teenage years. It has a calming effect on me. Fight with my parents? I headed to Borders. Boy trouble? You'd find me sipping a latte', writing in a journal and contemplating why I hated men. Bored? Yup. Same place. When I was living in Seattle, I did this a bit less, since there are so many other book stores to choose from, and there seemed to be something wrong with going to the big chain book store rather than the small independently owned ones. (Think Fox Books v. The Shop Around the Corner in "You've Got Mail")

But here I am, back in Florida, where the chain store rules. And being that I live 2 minutes away from a Borders, I have returned to my old ways.

As I browsed the music section for the second time, I picked up Alanis Morrisette's "new" cd. She re-released "Jagged Little Pill", a cd she first released 10 years ago. This time, the whole thing has been redone acoustically. I was a big fan of this cd 10 years ago. I have fond memories of driving to the Physics Olympics listening to this one. I was 16 when it came out, so listening to these songs remind me of the many things going on in my teenage life. It reminds me of skipping Spanish class. It reminds me of a guy on the golf team who complained about my lack of interest in him while he was drunk at a party, then later yelled at me because one of my friends upset one of "his golfers" the day of a match (Is that what they call it in golf?). It reminds me of wishing I was older and done with the nonsense of high school.

Since the cd has been redone acoustically, it has a slightly different sound. It is more mature and, to me, more powerful. I miss the old one, but I also love the new one. Which reminds me that I too am more mature, and that on some days, I miss the nonsense of being a teenager, but at the same time I am pleased with what 10 years has done to me as a person.

It also makes me think that perhaps I analyze things too much, and that my brain needs to go on vacation one of these days :).

In other news, we are currently planning a trip to see our friends in Nicaragua in November, so I am working on my Spanish. I have three months to accomplish quite a bit, so don't be surprised if I bust out with a little Espanol on the blog.

Quote of the Day: "POO!" ~exclaimed by a friend who is going with us on the Nicaragua trip - this was his way of expressing excitement
Clip of the Day: This one is a tie between two singers on the Rock Star:INXS reality show. (Yes, I started watching it....stop judging!) Check our Marty and MiG's performances.

Currently Listening to: The Ballad of Booth from Assasins (Broadway Play) sung by Victor Garber (he is the man, ya'll)
Current Mood: Excited about planning our trip!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Hot and Cold

So I think that I may have come down with something. I have been coughing all morning, headachey, and my neck feels really stiff. As of this moment, the day's activities have consisted of video games, laying on the couch, watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off (and reviving my long time crush on Matthew Broderick), more laying on the couch, and then passing by the mirror to see how fantastic I look in sweatpants and fuzzy pink robe.

Fantastic? While feeling miserable? Yes. That would be thanks to my new haircut. I tried my sister's stylist this week, after failing at finding someone closer to where I live. I have to say, the man is well worth the drive. After all, the test of a truly great haircut is what it looks like when it dries naturally while you are lying down. Usually, scary things happen to even the best of hair when subjected to this level of testing. However, I can assure you that if I were to change into something more suitable than the pink fuzzy robe and some lipgloss I would be ready for a night on the town.

This is the hair that epic tales are made of.

Well, maybe not quite epics. But it was definitely deserving of a blog.

(Sidethought: In this age of technology, where we have developed all sorts of new vocabulary (i.e. blogging, im-ing, etc...) I began to worry that someone might read the word "epic" and think I meant e-pic, like a picture you send via the internet. You laugh, but try reading most adolescents blogs. Completely new set of vocabulary I tell you. And now I sound old.)

Listening to: Narcolepsy by Ben Folds
Current Mood: Sickened by the slow demise of the English language. Or it could be the flu. You pick.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Everything in Balance

I haven't written in a while, so I was trying to come up with something to write about, to be sure that you all know I am not dead.

Nothing to exciting has been going on here...working out (yes, fairly regularly again), shopping, playing video games...that's about it.

So instead of writing about what is going on, I thought I would take a moment out to send some positive thoughts out there by talking about some of the things I am really grateful for having.

- A family that I not only love, but also like. I love spending time with my brothers and sisters. They are the funniest people I know, and I never have to worry about who I am around them. My mom calls me to go shopping with her. Even though it may take her an hour to pick out a set of silverware, we have fun doing it. My mother is probably largely responsible for my high cell phone bill. My dad calls me if we haven't talked in a few days, just to see how I am. We spent 8 hours in the car together in one weekend and weren't sick of each other by the end of it. My father saying he is proud of me is all it takes to make me cry.

- Wonderful friends. I have a network of friends that time and distance have no effect on. We can always pick up right where we left off, no matter how long its been since we last spoke. My friends are great listeners and never judge. They always seem to know what needs to be said, and how it needs to be said for me to actually hear it. My friends are also truly good people. In a world that is sorely lacking in that area, I am very fortunate to know so many.

- My spiritual heritage. I am glad that my parents brought me up with a desire to know about God and the bible, and discover my faith for myself. In a society where religion is frowned upon by many, often time with good reason, I am glad that I have such a strong backing in and understanding of my own faith. It gives me hope and has helped and continues to help me to lead a good life.

At this point I was thinking of writing about the things I am not thankful for (like crappy radio DJs for example), but I decided instead just to be positive for today.

That, and one of the cats keeps putting herself between me and the keyboard.

Listening to: My Last Breath by Evanescence
Current Mood: mellow

Friday, July 22, 2005

Tales of a 5 Pound Shirt

Today was my fourth successful day in a row getting my butt to the gym. I "biked" for six miles or so, then worked my abs, arms, and other parts of the body. (I skipped thighs, because they are burning from the last three days of working out)

I decided to step on the scale to see if my four days of working out had done anything. Y'know, not that I expected any great weight loss, just for kicks.

I have gained 5 pounds in the last 4 days. That's right. It's not a typo. I gained five pounds.

So one of four things happened:

1) A weekend of tasty hospital food and guava pasteles caught up with me.

2) My overly ambitious work outs of the past four days have packed on major muscle.

3) I need to make a MAJOR bowel movement. (Ha! I just made someone choke on their lunch)

4) My shirt, the one major difference of my workout wardrobe today, weighs approximately 5 pounds.

I am hoping it is not number one, for obvious reasons. I also have reason to doubt this, as my stomach is visibly flatter than it was on Monday, pre-working out.

I don't know enough about how muscle is built and how much it weighs to know if number two is even a possibility.

Number three...I just said that to remind you all that I can be gross and immature at times. (In case you didn't get that from my repeated laughing over "groin".)

So that leaves numero cuatro. On Tuesday, the initial weigh in, I was wearing a super lightweight (seriously, I may as well have left the shirt home) non sleeved shirt. Today, three quarter sleeves in a fabric of a more normal density. A five pound difference? Perhaps not. But it is definitely a more comforting option.

Not too much else to report. Man. I am boring. Pretty soon I am going to have to start making up stories of what is going on in my life.

Actually it isn't that bad.

Quotable Words of the Week:
"Hippocampus" ~used by my almost Phd brother in explaining what could be causing my grandfathers dementia
"conclusing" ~my husband, when evidently undecided as to whether he should say conclusion or conclduing

Listening to: Miss Independent by Kelly Clarkson
Current Mood: I feel GOOD! Exercise is a good thing, ya'll.
Currently Reading: Poems from e.e. cummings

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Didn't That Hurt?

Two posts ago, a good friend of mine commented in Spanish. With my limited knowledge, I tried to get the gist of it. I am pretty sure there are areas where I was really off. So I threw it into an online translation engine. This is what it gave me:

"I not wise that your grandfather was going to lose its finger. That sad! I feel it. It is very sad to see our beings wanted suffering. I remembers like was when my grandmother was in the hospital. These people that have seen hardly all our life now seem the half that they were. Dime if you understand what escribi, but I wrote it in groins. "

I wrote it in groins?! Is that some sort of ancient way of lamenting sickness? Kind of like when Israelites would tear their garments in ancient times?

"And then Jehezielem, upon seeing Behaziah covered in illness, wept to his gods, and proceeded to inscribe a dirge in the groins of the people, as a rememberance."*


Word to the wise. Do not rely on a translation engine to help you communicate with others. You never know what you might end up telling them.

Ha ha ha's still funny.

Listening to: Woman Like a Man by Damien Rice
Current Mood: still have leftover energy from this afternoon's workout - woo hoo!!!

*not an actual biblical account

Once Upon a Time...

...I started this blog in part to keep track of my working out/weight loss progress. Then, somewhere along the way, I got distracted by a million other things.

Today I decided it was time to get back on track. I went to the gym!

(----> insert cheers from the crowd here)

I was there for over an hour. (Yes, I was actually working out that whole time...why must you all doubt me so?)

Special thanks in completing that hour go out to:

Glamour magazine: You taught me what cut and color of jeans hide my exponentially expanding posterior, how not to have "bra bacon" (yes, that is a direct quote), and that it is ok to be my size, even if the model on your cover is about 10 sizes smaller and 5 inches taller. During that educational process you distracted me for a good thirty minutes, and unwittingly reminded me that my stomach is not worthy to grace your underwear ads.

IPod Shuffle: I never know what you are going to play next. You are so mysterious and unpredictable. And you never judge me for mixing Judybats with J.Lo. I love you.

Fat lady doing sit ups next to me: I feel so less self-concious about the sit-up roll I create when you are close by. What would I do without you?

Torrential downpour outside: A healthy fear of your powerful and awe-inspiring lightning bolts and the thought of the impromptu wet t-shirt contest I would be joining if I had left the gym inspired me to spend an extra 20 minutes burning calories.

I feel that with such overwhelming support, it would be ungrateful of me to ignore my workout routine another day. So there may be mention of it here and there again.

If you would like to join my support team, please, feel free to tell me stories of your own attempts at getting yourself moving. Or call me fatty. Either will do.

We will be like Oprah's little weight loss club. Except poorer. And a little meaner. :)

Current Mood: I feel energetic. Sweaty and smelly, but ready to do a little sweaty, smelly dance.
Listening to: Destiny by Zero 7

Monday, July 18, 2005

General Hospital

I have returned from my weekend in Miami.

Being in Miami is very strange for me. Everyone there speaks Spanish, in fact, you are hard pressed in some areas to find someone who speaks English well. Being that I look the part, no one even attempts to speak to me in English. Which is always difficult to explain when someone comes up to you and says something you don't understand. I do a lot of smiling and nodding while in Miami.

Since the majority of my time there was spent in the hospital (Palm Springs General Hospital - and it is just as soap opera-y as it sounds; young, attractive doctors were plentiful) I purchased a spanish workbook to pass the time, and to aid me in communication with mi abuela (my grandmother), who I would be taking home in the evenings. My grandmother's grasp of English is very similar to my grasp of Spanish. That made for fun conversations on the drive to her place. Lots of drawing things with my hands to try and explain what I was trying to say. (Por exemplo: I wanted to know where the bakery was, but she didn't understand "bakery", so I said "pasteles" which are a pastry and sort of drew a house in the air. She understood this, and told me in spanish that it was on 119th. I then asked, "Izquierda o derecha? (Left or right)". I managed to find the bakery and bring home muchos pasteles.) The workbook didn't help a whole bunch, as I was only at the beginning, and my knowledge now extends to telling you that the notebook is on the table. (El cuaderno es en la mesa.)

Despite our difficulties in communication, my grandmother was thrilled with my attempts. As I finished reading "Examinando Escrituras..." in the morning, she looked at me and said, "Ay, Amba, tu sabe mucho!" (for those of you who know Spanish, please excuse any error in spelling - I can only write what I hear; for those of you who don't speak it, like me, she told me I know a lot)

My grandfather, who is the one who is in the hospital, will have his toe amputated today. It was sad to see my father and uncle try to explain to him what was going to happen so that he could sign the consent form. My grandfather has dementia, so it is difficult explaining things to him, as he will forget that you talked about it later on. And he was scared. My grandfather is a tough man, so it is strikingly sad to see him frightened and in a way, helpless. At least he had family around him, and there were friends from his congregation that came to visit. There were many other elderly people on his floor that seemed to never have a visitor.

As much as it was a sad, and at times, difficult visit, the hospital had one redeeming quality (besides attractive doctors). They have the BEST cafeteria in the history of hospitals. I am serious. The food there was better than most fine dining establishments, and at five-six dollars a plate, you couldn't pass it up. I had salmon, pork loin, and dolphin all in my stay there. For the price of a value meal at McDonald's, you received high quality, delicious, healthy food. Yum. If you are ever in Miami, I highly recommend it.

So that was my trip. I am glad to be back, sleeping in my own bed, and not feeling quite so guilty about not knowing a second language. I will, however, continue working in my workbook. You never know when I might need to tell someone where that notebook went.

Listening to: Innocent Man by Billy Joel
Current Mood: still waking up, so sleepy; looking forward to eating a pastry :)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Road Trip

I am leaving today for Miami once again.

My grandfather (dad's dad) needs to be in the hospital again, as they need to amputate his toe. Because of his failing memory, someone needs to be with him all the time in the hospital to explain why he is there and what is going to happen. So my father is going to stay with him at the hospital this weekend so his brother can have a break.

I am going along since it seems like a sad thing to have to do alone. I imagine if I had to go sit in a hospital for a few days to explain over and over to my father what the doctors are about to do to him, I would be a wreck. And having a four hour drive before and after to sit in silence and think about it would drive me even crazier.

The Element's road trips seem to be sad ones - a cross country move, and a long distance trip to the hospital.

In happier news, I pick up my mom's anniversary present today. And I will probably make a book store run so I have something to read during the long hours in the hospital waiting room.

Listening to: The Boy in the Bubble by Paul Simon
Current Mood: dirty and sweaty (not really mood - but that is what I am)
Currently Cleaning: the Element, since my dad will be riding in it

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!

Dad Posted by Picasa

Mom Posted by Picasa

Please Understand Me

We are moved into the new place. The major moving took place on Friday, with the movers moving the big stuff in, and then on Saturday I sent Jaycel back to the old apartment to gather the little things up. I have managed to unpack and organize most everything, except a pile of clothes sitting in the bedroom.

So I am writing an entry in avoidance of the pile that awaits me.

I was reading J's blog this morning and felt compelled to take the Keirsey temperament sorter test. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with this, David Keirsey wrote this book that divides people into four main temperaments (based on the sixteen personality types set out in The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator). Basically, you answer seventy questions and find out what your personality type is. I rediscovered the book as I was unpacking, and decided to take the test again. When I took the test in high school, I was what they call and ENFP - which told me all sorts of interesting things about my personality, things which were dead on, so I thought I would check to see if I had changed at all over the years.

Taking the test again, I discovered that I am now teetering between an INFJ and ENFJ (I and E represent introversion and extroversion by the way)

What does that tell us about me?

Well, one, I have changed somewhat as I have grown older. My temperament (NF) has remained the same, which makes sense, as this should be the core of who you are. But other aspects of my personality have changed. For example, I was very strongly an extroverted personality when I was younger, but I have withdrawn a bit as I have aged, and I no longer thrive off of social interaction. The change from P to J was also an extreme one, jumping from a person who hated deadlines and organization, to a person who prefers leading a scheduled, organized life.

Those traits combined with my Idealist temperament (N stands for intuitive and F for friendly) make me apt to be a teacher or counselor (hmmmm....what profession have I been involved in most of my adult life?).

Some other descriptions of my "type":

- "preoccupied with how those around them are feeling about themselves...want to do everything they can to keep people feeling good about themselves, to lift their spirits, to brighten their mood, to boost their morale"

- "seek out occupations in mentoring and advocating"

- "can be uncanny at discerning the nature of others' distress, at soothing those of low self-esteem, and at helping uncovering their latest potential"

- "can become caught up in others' troubles...can tire out"

- "believe in things easily...see good everywhere and in everyone"

- "hurt rather easily by those around them"

It is interesting to read, as many more of the descriptions in the book seem to fit (or at least that is what Jaycel tells me).

What personality type are you?

Listening to: Run, Freedom, Run by Urinetown: The Musical (Original Cast Recording)
Current Mood: strangely serene
Currently Reading: rereading Please Understand Me II by David Keirsey

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I am AWESOME....

...and sweaty.

This morning was spent sitting in an empty apartment waiting for a dresser to be delivered and the cable man to show up. I managed to finish the book I was reading and start on a new one (purchased today for just that reason).

I had just a few hours to return to the other apartment, only to get back here for yet another delivery. After the long hours of waiting this morning and feeling rather unproductive, I decided that I should move our computer to the new place. I had not yet packed it, and honestly, would not be able to as I had run out of boxes. So I figured I would get it over to the new place today and set it up, so that tomorrow I could blast Launchcast as I spend countless hours unpacking.

A computer and monitor are heavy, ya'll.

I piled it all into a laundry basket, determined to accomplish this all in one trip. I was successful, but not without pain as I made it to the bottom of the stairs at the old place. I was already sweating far beyond a lady-like glisten, and there was still the job of carrying everything upstairs (to the third floor) of the new place.

For my Seattle friends, that perhaps don't experience the same intense heat that we have here in Florida, I will let you in on a little something. Things grow heavier when it's 90-plus degrees out and your hands are slippery with your own sweat.

I headed to the new place, stopping off at Walmart (I'm sorry, I don't care that evil WMart is choking out the small business owner - I love a place where I can buy cat litter, deodorant, and underwear all in one trip for the low price of whatever change I can find in my car). As I pulled up to the new place, I felt that being in the air conditioned Walmart and my car I had sufficiently cooled down enough to try moving the computer again.

As I opened the trunk, a questionable looking character walked by and offered help. As the beads of sweat already began to gather on my brow, discussing the appropriate path to slide down in order to blind me, I thanked the man, but lied and said I could handle it. I figured at three floors up, if this man was in fact some sort of psychotic killer, my escape options would be limited.

Up the first flight I struggled. I got to the top step and my keys fell out of my pocket. And of course, they couldn't just land on a step. They had to fall through to the ground level. I put down the laundry basket o' technology and ran down to retrive the keys. Back up again, now silently cursing my desire to accomplish something more than waiting on deliveries all day, I headed towards the next flight. It is a good thing that there wasn't a fourth floor for me to go to. If there had been, someone on the third would have been the proud owner of a computer and laundry basket right about now.

So I am writing this entry in the new apartment! (Yes, I managed to not only get the thing up here, but also get it connected to the internet)

Tomorrow we will officially be moved in here (the bed will be here - I believe you are officially in a place when your bed and computer are both there)

Listening to: Recycled Air by The Postal Service
Current Mood: HUNGRY - no food in this place
Currently Reading: a moment ago - The Bible (I guess that should always be under the currently reading category, as I try to read a little every day); also just started Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs.