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. :)