Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 In Review

Inspired by posts of others, describing their 2007 in review, I'll weigh in with my own:

Best Day: Hard to say. Still have 8 hours left to make this the one. Not hopeful.

Worst Day: August 1, 2007. Believe me, it was. I may need some therapy to get over it, seriously.

Best suprise: Being pregnant

Worst surprise: Miscarriage

Best moment: Despite the bad year overall, there were many. I think it's a tie: 1)sitting with my mom, making Christmas pies, despite her ill health...like old times....knowing that someday too soon, this tradition will end 2) Riding the Vespa with my husband by the beach, feeling lucky and blessed and completely free, living only in that moment.

Best meal: Dinner at Le Caprice in London

Best Friend of the Year: Pam

Worst Friend of the Year: Me, unfortunately.

Best trip: London, for my husband's birthday

Worst trip: The one we didn't take.

Worst habit: Constant worry.

Best habit: Constant worry.

Best drug: Xanax (due to the afore-mentioned habit)

Best 'let-my-hair-down moment': Didn't have one, and that's a problem.

Best brush with fame: Wearing Daniel Craig's watch to the theatre in London. *sigh*

Best Lesson Learned: It's not all about me. In fact, none of it is, really.

Onward, to 2008! Happy New Year!

Without the Darkness....

Something to take forward into 2008:

A light shines brightest when it's darkest out. If it weren't for the dark, we might not even notice it. Darkness reveals the glory of the light, and makes it shine even brighter.

I'm going to think about this in my darker moments and marvel at the wonder of the light that shines to carry me through.

We are all lights in some way. And we all have the opportunity to shine brightly and illuminate the darkness around us. We have the opportunity to be a light for ourselves and for others. And the darker it is, the brighter we can shine.
Have a wonderful, blessed New Year. Find the light. Become the light. The real, true, forever answer is in the light.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Thankfully, It's Almost Over

One more day. One more day of the year I'd like to leave behind.

It was a year of ups, downs and much chaos.

It was a year where I experienced the worst day of my life....so far.

It was a year where people surely decided I must be an idiot, because my erratic behavior went unexplained. But I could not talk about what was really going on. I still can't. Maybe someday when it is all over, I can.

It was a year of surprises and ultimate let downs. A year where I scratched my head and wondered why God sent me such challenges. Have I really been such a bad person? Is this something I deserved?
How incorrectly have I been living my life to have achieved such a result as this?

It was a year unlike any other. And I hope I can look back and recognize it as an anomoly, and not the norm from now on.

I don't want to relive it. I don't want to think about it. I don't even want to remember it. I just want to move on.
Goodbye 2007. And good riddance.




















Saturday, December 29, 2007

Through the Maze

It was an odd Christmas this year. I knew it would be. And I was hoping that once it was over, I'd feel better, but I'm not sure I do.

There's a lot going on in my life, none of it positive. Right now, I am busy trying to tread water and maintain, rather than succumbing to the negativity around me that wants to pull me down.

I have huge issues to deal with. Some of them I cannot speak of here. But a major '10' on my list is the health of my parents. I spent Christmas with them, mostly trying to care for them and give them some semblance of a holiday. This year, it was all about them, not about me at all. Oddly, that's the only part of the equation that made me feel better -- the giving without receiving. That aspect of it nourished my soul.

My father will soon be going into major heart surgery in January. In the meanwhile, he feels awful and is not himself. He is mostly struggling to deal with the meds they have put him on, which are making him sick and sleepy all the time. Certainly, Christmas brought little joy to him this year.

My mother, in addition to having to deal with my father's problems, has her own health issues. But my mother is the 'giver' in the relationship...my father the 'taker'....so she is all about making sure he is comfortable and taken care of, often ignoring her own issues.

It makes me so sad to see them in this state. And because of the ugly situation which has occurred in my own life, I am not in the best position to swoop in like the superhero and save them. A year ago, I probably could have at least helped them more. But right now, my abilities are crippled. I'm only able to do so much, and I'm so angry that this current situation has befallen me, rendering me almost helpless, at the very time they need me the most.

I have always been an action-oriented, positive, 'do-something' person, very empowered, very much in control of my life. But right now, I'm working with constraints put upon me unjustly by something else. All I can do is tread water, and that is like a living hell for someone like me. The near-helplessness can be mentally crippling.

BUT I won't let it be. I do not know how to sit still. I am sizing up the constraints and looking for ways around them. I am determined to come out the other end of all this s**t with my head held high and my integrity intact. I know it won't be easy, but I don't know how else to do things.

I expect it to be an ugly, ugly year ahead at my house. Dealing with a lot now, a few of the top 5 things you don't want to have happen to you...all at once. I don't look forward to this year, except to meet it head on and get it over with.




Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Things to Ponder...

- Why is the 'e' key the only one on my keyboard that has almost completely worn off? Do I use more 'e's' than any other letter or just with that much more passion?

- Why do drive-through ATM/cash machines have Braille lettering on the keypad? How many blind people drive through to pick up some quick cash?

- Why do intelligent, driven, ambitious men almost always marry women who are none of those things?

- Why is professional golf split into the PGA (Pro Golfer's Association) and the LPGA (Ladies' Pro Golf Association)? Shouldn't it be the MPGA and the LPGA? Does one simply assume if you are a professional golfer, you are a man, unless otherwise noted?

- Why do I wash and style my hair before I go to the salon to get my hair washed and styled?

- Why do men spend the first minute of a phone conversation talking about the weather in their respective locations? Is this a contest of some sort?

- Why do people bother to buy real diamonds? If you're rich, people will think they're real, even if they're fake. If you're poor, people will think they're fake, even if they're real. So, ultimately, what's the point? Buy faux; spend your money on something else.

- Why are diamonds considered to be rare? You can find them anywhere, in any shop, on any street, in any city, at almost any price. Is this really something RARE?

So much to ponder, so little time... all so very unimportant....

Monday, December 17, 2007

Her Soul Is Showing Through

They don't usually look like this until AFTER they've been in the White House for eight years. I can't think of ANYTHING that would convince me to vote for this woman.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

No Joy

It's less than 10 days before Christmas, but at my house, it may as well be a thousand days away. We're just not in the spirit.

It's been a high stress year, one I'd like to forget come Jan 1, 2008, and the stressful events have taken their toll. Christmas feels almost like a nuisance this year. It's going on all around us, but I can't get into it. Not this year.

I've taken care of some obligatory gifts so I could check off the box that says 'I didn't forget', but there was no real joy involved. In fact, I'm having trouble finding joy in most everything right now. And that's so sad, because I can usually find it, no matter how bad things seem. This year, it's almost an impossible task.

I won't be sending cards, won't be attending parties, won't be celebrating the season much at all. In fact, this year, I'd just like to curl up in a ball and hide out until it's all over. It's even difficult to bolster the enthusiasm for a hearty 'Bah Humbug'. I just want it to all be over soon.

I sincerely hope the rest of you have a wonderful holiday season.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's Only Natural....Unfortunately

My husband and I have some good friends (a couple) who are really into the 'natural' living thing. After having been perfectly healthy for 50+ years, for whatever reason, they've decided that somehow their lives will be immensely improved if they purge all chemicals from it. And that's what they're doing.

While I'm all for simple living and do a bit of the organic food thing myself, I'm able to keep perspective on it. I pick and choose what seems to have value as 'organic' rather than paying overblown prices for things where it likely doesn't matter.

My friends, however, have gone overboard with it. At this point, they will only eat 'organic', will only shop 'organic' and even take food to other people's homes when invited as guests, so they can eat 'organic' while there. (They do so under the guise of 'bringing the hostess an organic food basket gift', but ultimately, it is their way of showing up with their own groceries so as not to be subject to the "lesser foods" offered by the nutritionally uneducated.). Downright rude, I say...but maybe that's just me.

At any rate, I used to have them over for dinner quite a bit but am now paranoid to make anything for them, so dinner parties at my house have evaporated. I began to tire of telling them what was on the menu, only to have them show up with 'organic' ingredients and show me a 'new' way to make it. Read: 'You are a nutritional dolt, and we can't eat the crap you are preparing.' No thanks.

Their latest foray into 'natural living' now extends to hygiene products. While I believe things like deodorant and soap are examples of better living through chemistry, they have started to reject all hygiene products with those pesky chemicals in them, and that includes deodorant, which is now introducing a new issue: They stink.

Okay, THEY don't stink. HE does. And not all the time, but enough of the time to get noticed. In fact, he's become a little 'gamey', ever since he started using 'crystals' to deodorize himself rather than good ole chemistry-laden deodorant like the rest of us. Even worse is the fact that he brings all this up in conversation, extolling the virtues of these crystals and how fabulous it is to now be deodrant-free, as we sit listening, eyes watering, trying not to inhale too deeply. (Well, that's a bit overblown, but you get the picture.) And what can one do but sit there, smile and politely nod?

So now, I don't know what to do. They're the nicest people and great friends, and I've been willing to deal with this 'organic lifestyle' thing, as nutty as they can be about it....but I may have to start drawing the line when it comes to personal hygiene. Surely, the Mrs. will notice sooner or later and will remedy the situation.

Bring on the chemicals, I say.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

'Tis Better to...

It's time. Let the Christmas shopping begin. For other people, that is.

This year, we (my husband and I) have decided not to buy Christmas gifts...at least for each other. We'll take care of his daughter and our parents as usual, but this year, we plan to skip buying each other gifts.

Why? Several reasons, but one is that we'd rather do something else with the money. Rather than rack our brains trying to figure out what to buy each other, when neither of us really needs anything, we've decided to make a special donation to a charity we learned about at church. No, it's not money for AIDS in Africa or one of those fashionably exotic foreign charities du jour. It's a charity organization here that helps every-day people get through life's every-day disasters. A helping hand for people like you and me, down on their luck, if only for the moment.

For example, last week at church, the leader of the organization reported that this past month, the group helped a single mother who had lost her job pay her rent while she looked for another. It had also helped pay some living expenses for an elderly Army veteran who was having temporary financial difficulty and had no family who could help.

These are the kind of people I really want to help. People who are out there trying really hard, but stumble a bit because life knocked them down for the moment. I want to help them get back up, to keep forging ahead. And I want to do that more than I want the latest handbag from Coach or the newest Apple gadget.

It takes so little to be an anonymous angel for someone down on their luck, and it can mean so very much. There but for the grace of God, go I.

This year, for us, it just feels better to try to make a difference in some small way. So that's what we're going to do.

Merry Christmas, all.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving Gratitude

This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for so much. As many of you know, it has been a difficult year in many ways. Still, I believe difficult times can make us all the more humble and thankful for the blessings we do have. I happened upon this quote earlier this week and embraced it:

"Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow."

My goal is to be consciously thankful each and every day for the blessings bestowed on me. It turns what we have into enough....that one line says so much to me.

Without gratitude, nothing good in the universe can come to you. I keep coming back to this thought over and over again. Something in it has resonated with me.

Things to Learn

Words more eloquent than my own, from Maya Angelou:

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today,
life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow."

"I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she
handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas
tree lights."

"I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents,
you'll miss them when they're gone from your life."

"I've learned that making a 'living' is not the same thing as 'making
a life'."

"I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance."

"I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt
on both hands; you need to be able to throw some things back."

"I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I
usually make the right decision."

"I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one."

"I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone.
People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back."

"I've learned that I still have a lot to learn."

"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will
forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Short Week

So far, this has been the longest "short week" of my life. Thursday is Thanksgiving, and noone is working after tomorrow. It should be a short week, but it feels already like it's gone on endlessly.

I had a test of patience today with an insecure sales guy and an office full of people who feel like they need to weigh in on everything, even if they know nothing about it. Suddenly, I found myself pulled into a meeting called by a lawyer and an administrative assistant to discuss sales strategy that the VP of Sales and I had already discussed and resolved. What? The lawyer and admin needed to weigh in on Sales Strategy? What? We couldn't get accounting or the receptionist to give us their opinions, too?

PALEEZ people. In my last job, I sold over $110M in business. I think I can handle this decision. Ugh! But I acted like a duck and just let it glide. I have other things to do, worse problems to think about. I refuse to let these little issues upset me.

But I'm glad it's a "short week" anyway. I'll be headed to Texas tomorrow for a few days of R&R, thankfully.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

For Things That Weren't

Today, after church, I went into the Memorial Chapel, lit a candle and shed a few tears.

Tomorrow, Nov. 19th was my due date. It's the only due date I'll ever have, and it never actually came to be.

I struggled so hard with the shock of it all when it happened. And I knew this next week would be a difficult one. I've been dreading it for some time.

But today, I lit a candle for my little angel in heaven, whomever he or she was. It was all so fleeting, and so many other problems have presented themselves since then....problems that would have made the arrival of a new baby so stressful. I guess God knows what He's doing.

Nevertheless, the experience changed me. I will never look at the tiny, perfect hands of an infant again, without thinking of what might have been.

I Demand a Recount

Matt Damon is the Sexiest Man Alive?

It's official. We've run out of men.

That's the only explanation I can think of.


Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Eastern Promises Delivers

Haven't seen a good flick in a while. Heck, I haven't seen anything in a while, so it was a treat the other night to break from the action and escape to the movies.

Walked down the street to the local art theatre (yeah...I've been waiting to do that....Urban life rocks!) to see the late showing of 'Eastern Promises'....an indie flick centered around the Russian mafia in London. Viggo Mortenson and Naomi Watts are perfectly cast and give great performances.

I don't know what it is about mafia flicks. I love them. I find them fascinating. Must be the whole power thing, watching it in action. In this one, I found myself covering my eyes with both hands no less than five times. The violence was gruesome, and I didn't want it registered on my hard drive forever. So I heard it, I didn't see it, and that was enough to get the point across.

I must say that Viggo delivers one of the most unforgettable and realistic fight scenes I've ever seen on film. Like watching a car wreck, it was simply awful, but you almost couldn't turn away from it. Not to mention that he's totally nude throughout the entire fight, and that makes it worth a good look-see. *winks* Definitely worth the price of a ticket.

I give this one 4 out of 5 popcorn kernels. *****

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Smart Car?

Yesterday, I test drove a Smartcar.

They're headed to the U.S. in January 2008.

I'm not sure I want one. I'm not sure I don't.

I wouldn't want to give up my other car for it. But it could be a fun little car to run around town in. Great gas mileage. Easy to park. Roomy enough for two. A novelty, at least for a while. Always thought they were really cute in Europe. But maybe that's because we didn't have them here.

Dunno. I'll think about it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Bummed

I am so jealous!

The friends who traveled with us to London in March are headed to South Africa for a family visit over the next two weeks. First stop? London for two days. They are staying at The Carlton Towers and will have tea, scones and clotted cream there -- without us! Bummer!

They called tonight on their way to the airport to be reminded of the name of the fabulous Indian restaurant we ate at while there (Veeraswamy). Oh, sure, rub it in!!

I'm so bummed that they're going without us! :( But I do hope they enjoy, all the same.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Urban Bliss

It's Friday night. We spent the week moving into downtown Dallas from the 'burbs. 30 miles later, bliss. It's a really good thing.

Even though I'm in Florida working most of the time now, I'm happy to have the "other place" in a more dynamic part of Dallas. I feel like an urbanite, a city dweller now. Shops and cafes are nearby. Buses go down my street. I can walk to Starbucks. Things are just more interesting here. Yesterday....I saw a biker dude type with long blonde braids and a bright blue beard. You have to love whatever hallucinogen-induced thought process is behind that combination, God bless him. :)

I'm going to try to work from Dallas one week out of the month (which equates to about ten days when you include weekends), and three weeks from the Florida bungalow. I've discovered that my "escape" is wherever I'm not working....the place where the job is NOT. So Florida used to feel like the escape, and now Dallas does. Funny how that happens.
Tonight, I am incredibly tired. I have a million things to do, to organize, to put away. And instead, I'm sipping a glass of chardonnay, listening to the sounds of the city outside my window, watching the skyscraper lights twinkle. The Dallas skyline is right outside my window (see photo above). It's a really good thing.
What would make tonight better? I could really use a new Daniel Craig flick. That woudl be divine. Daniel, lover, hurry up and hit the cinema again soon. I'm ready and waiting.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

More Than Enough Stuff

I'm in the midst of moving my "stuff". Several thoughts leap to mind:

- I have too much "stuff".
- All of my "stuff" is dusty.
- It's hard to look at this pile of "stuff" and imagine how it came to be.
- A lot of my "stuff" will be in the trash soon.
- I have sworn off buying more "stuff".
- "Stuff" is wildly overrated.

You just don't know how much crap you have until you try to box it and move it. Ugh.

More later.

Monday, October 22, 2007

London Tomorrow, by Proxy

I'll be in London tomorrow....by proxy. My brother and his wife are touring a few places across the pond over the next 10 days. Next stop -- London.

Now I'm not sure where they are staying or what they'll be doing, but I can guess that it wouldn't probably be what I would pick. We're family but different in many ways, one of which is the way we choose to travel.

I always go for an interesting hotel, an unexplored area of town, a list of new and chic restaurants and foods to try. I don't think they do those things so much. I think they go a bit more by the tourist manual and are probably a bit more budget minded than I. And that's okay, as long as they enjoy themselves. God knows they'll probably spend half of what I do on a trip like that and will have a great time, all the same.

And while I don't really wish to travel with them -- we'd be in a constant clash of cultures -- I can't help but be a little envious that they will be in one of my favorite cities tomorrow, and I am here working. *sigh* How things have changed. :)

Dallas Week

Working from home in Dallas today. Although it'll only be "home" for a few more days, as we are moving our things out and into the townhouse downtown on Thursday. While the move is grueling, it hasn't been as grueling as dealing with all the real estate issues and decisions over the past year. That's been the hard part. Brutal is the only way to describe it.

And I know people must think we are crazy. Moving, not moving. Selling, not selling. On again, off again. Dallas, Florida. On and on. But what they don't know is that we haven't exactly been in full control of the helm this year. We've had several unanticipated things happen to us to cause us to make odd decisions, change our minds, go back to start, move left and then right. Through the uneducated eye, we look like complete dolts, for the most part. Can't get a direction, can't make up our minds, don't know what we want. But, what they don't know is that our usual direct path has been tossed about by things out of our control. And they're very personal things (like a miscarriage and the current disaster we are dealing with), so I do not wish to explain them to the world. So I'll just go on and let them think I'm flighty and an idiot. What can you do?

I'll be here the balance of the week, through Sunday, then I'll return to Florida to work from the HQ office again. Technically, Florida is now home, although as a native Texan, one never quite leaves the big state for long. Have to touch base often or they won't renew my visa. :)

In the future, I am hoping to be able to work remotely for one week out of the month from Dallas. I should be able to, as pretty much everyone in the office does that sort of thing. And that would be bliss! Three weeks a month in Florida, one week a month in Dallas. Perfect.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Just Lucky, I Guess

In a spare moment yesterday, I flipped through a Lucky magazine to take a peek at the latest fashion trends for Fall. I don't generally buy this magazine, as it's just another collection of junk ads geared to make us buy things we don't really need to try to make us look like people we don't really need to be....but that's another blog post for another day. Sometimes when I travel on business, I pick up this magazine, because I can escape into it and make it last for a 2 or 3 hour flight, cover to cover. Often, I toss it in the trash at the arrival airport, but this time I kept it. And yesterday, I perused it again and came away with some general thoughts about it.

If you're not familiar with Lucky, it's a magazine "all about shopping", and it puts together outfits and looks and then tells you where you can find all the pieces and at what price, etc. That is, in between pages and pages and pages of ads filled with 12-year old models trying to sell us wrinkle cream and overpriced handbags (just like every other fashion magazine out there).


Yesterday, I spent some time looking at the outfits created and some of the individual pieces that had come together to make 'the looks', and it occurred to me that most of it makes no sense. For example, they'll put together an outfit with a skirt from Christian Dior for $2400, paired with a blouse from J.C. Penney for $50 and a $7500 bracelet from the latest jewelry maven. Now who wears this, really? If you had the money to spend $2400 on a skirt and $7500 on a bracelet, would you be caught dead at J.C. Penney? Conversely, if you were a JCP shopper, would you be inclined to buy the blouse and then suddenly bolt over to Neiman Marcus to pick up the Christian Dior skirt? Would that ever even cross your mind? Nope, didn't think so.


I'm also quite amused when they try to show us "fashion for less'. They'll pair together an outfit -- blouse, skirt, shoes, jacket, jewelry, etc. -- all for a fairly reasonable price. And about the time I think, 'well, that was clever', I'll get to the last piece on the list, and it'll be a Louis Vuitton handbag for $3,450. Now, hold the phone. I'm spending $250 on my entire outfit that I cobbled together from the discount stores at the mall, and I saved so much on it, that I'm now going to waltz over to LV and splurge on a $3500 handbag? Uh-huh. Yeah, sure, that's how my budget works.


WHO is writing this stuff?

Friday, October 12, 2007

My Friday

A glass of wine, some cold pasta, the sofa and a chick flick.

This is my Friday night, sans husband, sans pup, sans all cares for a while.

It's not too exciting, but I'll take it.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Good, Bad, Ugly All Day Long

Today was good, bad and ugly.

The Good: I sold a townhome....finally. The extra one. The one that was under contract before and fell through. Finally sold, for real this time. Closed and funded. And I sold it, not the realtor. I reeled in the buyer, nurtured them for weeks on end, negotiated and closed the deal. The realtor did nothing but the paperwork, and for that, he got paid handsomely. Made far more money than I did. Total highway robbery. Note to self: Don't ever hire a realtor, ever again.

The Bad: The buyer who raped and robbed us on the sale of our home in the suburbs (it's under contract at a disgustingly low price) decided to come back today for more. She wants us to lower the price yet again because some jerk-face appraiser she hired said we should. Guess what. We're not doing it. She already stole the thing, but apparently that's not quite good enough for her, so she's back. Tough. No deal. Take the ridiculously low price we agreed upon two weeks ago or take a hike. Game over. And my realtor is not helping the situation at all. Note to self: Don't ever hire a realtor, ever again.

The Ugly: The ugly situation of which I do not speak specifically continues to rear its horrid head at us. It keeps me awake at night. It's something we have to live with for now, but I wouldn't wish it on anyone. It's a terrible situation to be in, and all we can do is pray, try to keep our emotions under control and our heads clear... and endure. I don't know what else to do with this hell. It's a wonder I can function at all, and I attribute my ability to do so to two things: 1) the ability of the mind to remain in denial as a defense mechanism, and 2) the amazing grace of God. For those of you who don't know Him, I feel sympathy. His grace and generosity are boundless, and He gives me hope. I am nothing without Him.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Don't Forget the Sunscreen

Just read in the newspaper that 800 people posed nude in Miami today for a photo. Note to readers: I was not one of them.

While a crowd of 800 nude people might be alarming in some places, in Miami, they call that Monday.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Grazie Christopher!

I am so happy, I could just....smile. :)
I just found out that I have a three-day weekend ahead. Three wonderful, beautiful days where I do not have to work. No alarm clocks, no sleepy showers, no rushed half cup of coffee, no traffic to fight for THREE WHOLE DAYS.

Personally, I think every weekend should be three days. And I salute Christopher Columbus for making sure we get at least one in October.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Don't Spend It All In One Place....

I haven't been blogging much lately, which is mainly the result of being too busy with the new job. It feels like I am always either getting ready for work, going to work, at work, returning from work, or recovering from work...each day, every day, 5 days in a row. And I'm exhausted.

I counted it up....right now, I spend an average of 12 hours a day devoted to work in some way. An hour (or more) getting ready for it; 20 minutes driving to it; 10 hours at it (8am to 6pm on avg), and another 20 minutes coming home from it. I try to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, if I can. So that leaves 4-5 hours a day....out of 24....for myself. A whopping 17% of my day, not work-related. Yee ha. Don't spend it all in one place, eh?

While I need to work right now for various reasons that are beyond my control, and I am ever thankful for this job, it does suck the life right out of my day. Hence the blog is sorely neglected. *sigh*

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Not Enough

Why are weekends only be 2 days long? Who made those rules, and why did the rest of us follow them?

We spend Friday night trying to recover from the week prior; we spend Sunday night getting ready for the week ahead. The only peaceful day unto itself is Saturday, and that's far too fleeting, full of random errands that have to be run then because there is no time to do them during the work week. Whew!

Truly....who voted for this two day weekend thing, and can we get a recount, please?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Pizza Pie Thighs

One of the nice things about being back at a regular job is that Fridays are now so meaningful. TGIF in a big way. Once again, we've resumed our old Friday evening pizza night, plopped on the sofa with a bottle of vino and a hot pizza pie. Horrible for the thighs, good for the soul. One of the simple pleasures of life. I'll take it. :)

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Plastic Cups, Bad Shoes and no Rice-a-Roni

I'm back from San Francisco. As usual, I have observations:

- San Francisco has a huge homeless population. I think I personally stepped over every single one of them on my way to work each morning. I've never seen that many scraggly, bearded men shaking their plastic cups all in one place. Ewww!

- They're homeless, but they're creative. One held a sign asking for money because 'he needs a haircut'. Another asked for something...anything...'even if only a smile'. That's all he got, too.

- It's only September, but already, a slight fall chill is in the air. Leather boots, gray tweed skirts and light fall coats abound. And those are the men. (Hey, it's San Francisco....what do you expect?)

- The aroma of exoticly spiced food seemed to be in the air all the time.

- Starbucks coffee is cheaper in San Fran than in the Palm Beach airport.

- High tech is still king. Every human (probably even the homeless guys) sported a cell phone, Blackberry, iPod, iPhone or some other late model chip-laden gadget, and they were all actively using them.

- Street-car/trolleys can be annoying.

- Food was everywhere, but I saw no Rice-a-Roni anywhere. :)

- I walked down a very busy shopping street with some fun architecture, but I noticed that it was still pretty much all the same shops you can find at any mall -- Old Navy, the Gap, the Container Store, Crate & Barrel, William-Sonoma. Corporate America has moved in and ruined yet another formerly unique neighborhood.

All in all, it was a quick trip...no real fun to be had....just work and trying to deal with the time zone differences and sore feet from wearing new/wrong shoes. I may be crippled for life now. Perhaps that's what happened to some of the homeless guys....the ones in the wheelchairs. Perhaps it all started with bad shoes, a long walk to work and people shaking their plastic cups at them.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Catching Some Air

Today, I’m blogging from 33,000 feet, high above...oh, probably Utah or Nevada currently, heading to San Francisco on business for a few days. Today will be a very long day, as there’s a three-hour time zone difference between Florida and California. So I just backed my watch up from 3:00 pm to noon, and the flight attendants are serving us ‘lunch’ again. I say ‘lunch’, but what I really mean is a snack – peanut butter crackers specifically – to at least try to acclimate us to the Pacific time zone, meal-wise.

It won’t make much difference, really. I won’t be out here long enough to reset my time clock. It’ll just be a few days of waking up at 4am and falling asleep on my feet at 8pm, and then I’ll be back on a plane headed eastbound again on Wednesday afternoon.

I’m attending a trade show in downtown San Francisco. Going to SFO usually excites me, but this time it just feels so functional, so non-entertaining and work-related, it may as well be Detroit. I won’t see anything, except on the cab rides to and from the airport. So it’s not like I’ll be able to enjoy the city. I’ll just exist in it for a couple of days, and it probably won’t even know I’m here. And that’s the glamour of business travel. Sometimes you go cool places to work. And all you do is work. That’s what happens when someone else is footing the bill. You’re on their time and dime, not yours. So work, it is.

I am meeting four work colleagues out here. It’s a bit uncomfortable, because they all know each other, and I’m the newbie. And they each fear that I am somehow here to replace them. As an ‘FOJ’ (friend of Jim, the new CEO), I’m quite sure they’re not sure what my presence here is all about. So I expect them to be disingenuous, on guard, worried…studying me. The truth is that I have no agenda, other than to try to help create some new business. We’re all on the same team and have the same mission, but I’m not sure they believe that. It’s a period of change for the company, and they’re all a little insecure about their jobs. Some of them should be. Things are definitely changing. But I don’t think my presence has anything to do with it, truly.

Landing in a few minutes. Hope my bags made it. I don’t wish to spend more than one day in today’s business suit. I had an hour layover back in Atlanta. Surely that was enough time for someone working on union pay to move my bags from gate A19 to gate A9, but don’t ever bet on it.

More later…...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

And It Wasn't Even That Good...

It's happened again, and this will be the last time. I just can't do it anymore.

I've talked about this before as a minor annoyance, but now that I am spending most of my time in Florida, I have to put my foot down and nip this in the bud. I'm talking about friends who invite us to dinner, order grandly and then insist on splitting the bill in half, even when we ordered very little. It's just not fair.

I could overlook this practice when it was infrequent. But now that it has the potential to become a common event, and since I've put our household on a tighter budget, I simply refuse to subsidize other people's expensive entrees on a regular basis.

Case in point: Last night for dinner, I had an appetizer as entree, my husband had some grilled fish, and we split a salad starter. The table also shared an appetizer and ordered a bottle of wine, although my husband didn't drink any wine (due to a stomach issue), and I didn't eat the appetizer. By all accounts, our portion of the bill should have been maybe $80 with tax and tip.

But what were we asked to contribute? $130. Yes, $130, for a portobello mushroom and a piece of fish. Our dining partners had ordered grandly, not so much the Mrs., but her husband ordered several pounds of King Crab, and God knows what that cost.

So...on the way home, I told my husband that we just can't do that anymore, and we need to find a way to alter this practice without hurting anyone's feelings. These are lovely people and dear friends, and I feel bad even posting this on my blog, but the practice simply has to stop.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

No Need To Look

I was out in traffic today running errands during lunch break -- to the bank, to the dry cleaners, to the coffee shop. And in about an hour, I noticed the same thing several times -- NOBODY LOOKS. Drivers in cars, when they turn, when they go to change lanes, when they come to an intersection -- NOBODY LOOKS! And you can watch them and actually see them NOT LOOK. They just drive on, like they're the only car on the road. I am simply amazed by that.

I dodged two or three potential accidents in a single hour today - even laying hard on the horn once -- by watching and noticing that people did not bother to look my way. I can't believe more people aren't killed on the roads out there every day. Truly amazing.


Sunday, September 9, 2007

The Boys of Fall

It's back, and I'm ready!

This is what I love about Fall. Even though the temperature still screams 'summer' all day, every day.....it's officially Fall because football season has kicked off, and the weekends are loaded with games, games, games. College football, pro football, heck even high school football. Bring it on! I love the season!

Tonight? NY Giants at the Dallas Cowboys in a Dallas home opener. Rivalry mania!!! Eli Manning vs. Tony Roma. Rockin'!!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

McGrilled

I haven't been following the Madeleine McCann story as closely as some of you out there, for obvious reasons, but I did hear that the parents are now officially considered 'suspects' .

While I have no idea if this has any merit -- it may very well be heading down the right path -- I can't help but think that if it's not, what an absolute nightmare for those parents.

I can't imagine having lost a child so randomly like this, suffering through heartache, sleepless nights, endless days, feeling completely helpless, and then suddenly someone points the finger at you. Clearly, if they are involved, it's warranted. But if they're not, what a nightmare upon a nightmare. I can't imagine.

I did hear that the police grilled the mother for 11 hours straight. I'm not sure that's a fair way to assess someone's potential guilt, unless there is some really hard evidence to point at. In a dejected emotional state over the loss of a child, if someone grilled me for 11 hours straight, I'm not sure what might come out of my mouth out of pure emotion and frustration. Certainly I would never confess to a crime if I hadn't done it, but I might grow weary and say something that the police would try to hang their hat on -- an inconsistency in a timeline or something, perhaps. And if they are on a mission to find someone guilty, they can certainly railroad someone into fitting their own needs. There have been accounts of people under stressful interrogation conditions who confessed to a crime they didn't commit, just to get them to stop badgering them. Seems odd, but it happens.

So I guess we'll see how this plays out, but after having lived with the JonBenet Ramsey case in our faces for years and years now, and having witnessed the way the police and press absolutely destroyed the lives and reputations of the parents over this (with basically no evidence), I'm a little wary of diving in and swallowing the line of thinking from the Portuguese police. It may very well be correct, but I'll reserve my judgement for later.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Smoked Out

Every day now, I pass the smokers....the sad and forlorned faces standing in the building doorway on my way to work, puffing their lungs out. I don't like them. They give me a bad feeling.

I wonder why people smoke. What in the world ever causes them to put a burning piece of anything to their lips and inhale? Who decided that was a good idea? It stinks, it's unattractive, it's expensive and there are so many nicotine nazis out here now, it's become a total social faux pas. So why do they do it? I can't think of a single redeeming factor it offers. Yet they puff away like there's no tomorrow.

I wonder if they know....that automatically, when they light up a cigarette, they assign themselves a lower I.Q.; they move themselves directly into a lower class of people; they reveal themselves as being woefully uneducated; and they scream to the world that they're worthless and weak and a slave to a filthy, nasty habit.

And you know what? None of those things may be true, but that's what I think when I see someone light up. I can't help it. It's simply my perception.

I do not have friends who smoke. I've never specifically set out to socialize only with non-smokers, but it seems to have turned out that way, and I don't think that's an accident. I remember my dating days. I wouldn't go near a guy who smoked, no matter how hot looking he was. It simply turned me right off.

My parents smoke. Or they used to. In their 70s now, they've all but quit, finally. My dad has given it up completely; my mom has cut down to a precious few per day. But they were from a different time, a time when smoking was part of growing up, a right of passage into adulthood, something glamorized by the big screen. So I can forgive them my perceptions because when they first lit up a cig, it was a different world. Today, it just makes me cringe to see a young person smoke.

I've never smoked. Never smoked anything. Never even tried it. No cigarettes, no cigars, no marijuana, not one puff of anything, ever. I simply abhor the notion. To me, the smokers in the doorway are just nasty little addicts. They may as well be standing around shooting up heroin.

I wonder if we'll ever come to a time as a society where people simply don't want to do that anymore....they just stop and never do it again. I don't know what it would take to make that happen. What attribute can we discover about smoking that would make it so abhorrent that everyone would just stop smoking? We already know it can kill us, so that wouldn't do it. Maybe if they discovered that it made us fat or old or short or bald, people would actually want to stop. But somehow, I doubt it. And that's a real drag for all of us.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Say It Ain't So

No, no, no....tell me it's not so!!!

I just read that my main man, Daniel Craig, has become engaged to his horse-faced, bird-legged, man-chick of a girlfriend. SAY IT AIN'T SO!!!!!

He's so very hot, but I do wonder about his taste in women. Are those beautiful crystal blue eyes functional or is the man BLIND?

Oh, no, this is not good. Not good at all.

The First Day

Today, I rejoined the working world. What seemed like an experience sure to cause hyperventilation turned out to actually be okay. It was a good day, probably because I found myself sitting in meetings with someone I used to work for. Sort of felt like old times, and it was a good day overall.

I wore a great dress, my black ballet flats (ala Audrey Hepburn) and a black blazer. Being dressed up made me feel good.

It was a long day, a day without lunch, a day that lasted almost 11 hours, but it was a good one nonetheless.

The first day is always the hardest, and I'm glad it's behind me. Onward.

Monday, September 3, 2007

All Dressed Up and Some Place to Go

I'm in Texas today but will be jetting back to South Florida this afternoon to begin my new job tomorrow. Yay!!

I'll be going in as a consultant, not a regular employee, but that's mostly semantics, as it's easier to get me started this way, since it keeps my boss from having to go to his 'uppers' to get approval for an unbudgeted position. The plan is to plug me in now and make me permanent as a position evolves over the next few months.

I'm very excited and flattered that my boss has made room for me in his organization, even when it doesn't really exist. There's definitely a need for some talent; there just isn't an official 'opening' for it at the moment. But he's found a way to make it happen anyway. Yay him! Yay me!

So this weekend, I had to run out and buy some new work clothes. I had a few things, but my working wardrobe had dwindled over the past year, so I needed to replenish. Thankfully, everything was on sale, and I scored some great stuff. I found a $600 pinstripe suit on sale for $200. It was a spectacular find and a real shopping coup because I found the jacket and the pants on separate sale racks, the only ones left, both size 4. I reunited them as a set in the dressing room, and they fit perfectly. That was pure shopping GOLD.

I also bought some separates to serve as 'gap fillers' that pair well with skirts and pants already in my closet, plus two great dresses which can be dressed up or down, depending on the accessories. And I found all this within two hours. I was like a whirlwind through the shopping mall on Saturday. Topped it off with a pair of black patent open toe sling-back pumps and a pair of black open-toe ballet flats with a slight wedge heel. All wonderfully interchangeable with most everything in my closet.

So with job in hand, new clothes on my back, some great new shoes and a spring in my step, I am ready to go. More than ready.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Wait

After a 4-hour meeting yesterday, now I await the next step. It went well, and I would be surprised if a job offer is not forthcoming, but right now, nothing is a foregone conclusion.

I should hear something from somebody in the next couple of days. Fingers crossed!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

High Noon

Today at noon, I have been summoned back to the potential 'office' for further discussion and to meet a few team members. I can't help but think this is a good sign, although I know I will be raising some eyebrows of people (men) who will be threatened by an 'unknown player' from the CEOs past life possibly making an entrance. Not surprisingly, the organization has broken into camps of "Jim's people" versus the "non-Jim's people", with the intimidation factor high among the nJP crowd.

Still, I will go and try to be somewhat non-threatening, although I'm starting to think a little threat may be good. They don't know me. They don't know how highly (or not) Jim thinks of me, and they will be wondering 'what's is up with that'? Sometimes it's nice to be the mystery person. It can wield a lot of power, and for the first time, maybe I need to try to harness that and use it rather than relinquish it to make others feel comfortable (which is my general nature). Maybe I'll just let them sweat a little and see what happens. :)

Of course, I don't have 'the job' yet, but there are some good signs here.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It's Not Just a Job, It's an Adventure

Seriously thinking about going to work again and visiting the office for the first time yesterday, I am reminded of the good and the bad (besides the obvious ones) of going back to work. The peripheral things that affect your mood or your day just a little:

Negatives:

- Having to walk by people on break who stand just outside the building, smoking as furiously as they can. I hate walking through the cigarette smoke and the unhealthy vibe going on there just to get to the lobby. Why can't those people just kick the habit? If someone suddenly banned one of my habits from the building, I'd just give up the habit. It's hard to imagine that people will go stand in the rain just to suck down some nicotine. Give it up, already.

- Early morning traffic. Ugh.

- More dry cleaning.

- Having to tame my fear of elevators. Seems like nobody is located on a good, solid ground floor anymore. I can climb five flights of stairs daily, no problem. It's the customers I worry about -- when I go to places like New York or Chicago, it's almost a guarantee that my customer will be on the 400th floor of something. So I'll have to suck up my claustrophobia and ride into the sky again. Ugh.

- A growing office that will quickly be overcrowded. This means I'll likely get a cubicle rather than an office, which is something I'll just have to live with.

- Office politics. Ugh. Too many men vying for position, feeling threatened by a woman. What they don't know is that I don't have a political agenda; I just want to do good work to further the team's mission. But they never seem to get that, and so many of them are immediately intimidated by a tall, smart woman. They're like pathetic little boys, and I can't be bothered with most of them.


Positives:

- When someone asked what I do, I will have an answer for them. Again. Finally.

- I can catch up on pop culture every morning by listening to the radio during rush hour drive-time. Amazing how behind one gets without access to that.

- Added confidence. Someone is paying me to do something, which means they must have some level of confidence in my abilities. That's always a boost, not just for career but for self-esteem in general.

- New clothes. I'll have to beef up the wardrobe again, and it'll be nice to put something stylish on every day and go forth into the world.

- Coming home at end of day. Something to look forward to and further appreciation of the domicile, a quiet respite from the world.

- Lunch breaks. I've missed those.

I'm sure that more will occur to me as time goes by, both good and bad. I'll view it as a whole new adventure and remain open to all the possibilities. Optimism makes things happen.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Step One

I'm in Florida this week. I didn't come for the usual reasons. I came to talk to a former colleague about a job opportunity. Yes, a JOB. I know, I can't believe it either. Let the hyperventilating begin.

But with the turn of events recently -- things that shall remain undescribed but keep me awake at night -- I feel like it's the thing to do -- try to go back to work. And this opportunity is a good one, so I'm thankful to have a shot at it.

I spent the morning talking to the CEO. He's invited me back on Wednesday for more discussion. I hope that's a good sign.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed for me. With the events of late, this is step one of the action plan needed to right the ship again.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Prepare to Choke

Bad charma. I can't help but think it comes and bites people in the ass when they least expect it, and perhaps when they most deserve it.

Right now I'm thinking about the situation with Bridget Moynahan, Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen.

Bridget, having dated Tom Brady for over three years, just gave birth to their son earlier this week. It's not even clear if Brady was actually present for the birth. He seems to be very busy flitting around the globe with the world's richest supermodel, Gisele Bundchen.

About the same time that Bridget is heaving and pushing and birthing Brady's son, Tom and Gisele are announcing their intent to wed, after what seems like a rather brief courtship (shorter than the Bridget-Tom relationship anyway), and Gisele is said to have started her search for a wedding gown. (Oh My!)

Now maybe I'm just old and uncool, but I can't help but think this is an ugly situation. I feel for Bridget Moynahan. She may be beautiful, rich and famous, but I would expect that she might choose to give up all of those things to have the father of her child with her, excited about her and the new baby, rather than announcing his wedding plans to the world's richest supermodel. No matter how 'modern and independent' of a woman you are, that has to hurt in a big way.

And apparently, Tom, America's football hero and all around good guy, is not an all-around good guy. He seems to be a bit of a cad if you ask me, and I think a lot of people have lost respect for him in all this, as they should.

Bad charma. Put it out there, and you'll have to breathe it back in someday. I just can't help but think that Mr. Brady will be choking on a lungful of it sooner or later.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

All Play, No Work


People who don't do their jobs. I am inundated with them lately, and it's making me crazy.

Recently, I've hired a couple of people to provide some services that I might be able to do myself, except I don't really have the time to dedicate, and they claim to have certain expertise in their respective fields, so I figured spending the money to hire them would save time and add value - worth it in the long run. So I hired them.

So far, I've been nothing but disappointed. Their marketing pitches were great. Since then, they've basically done nothing for me, and it's driving me nuts.

Last weekend, I decided to jump in and try to bring some aggressiveness to the process, (at which I was fairly successful) but I know at the end of the day, even though I'm the one who did the work, they will be standing there with their hands out, waiting to be paid.

I just don't understand what's happened to the world. There used to be a time where people took pride in their work. They wanted to do a good job for their customers and were energized about their efforts. Now, it seems like people just want to put out as little energy as possible to do a half-ass job on something and then expect to be paid in full and move on. Work ethic has gone the way of the dinosaurs, and I wonder what it will take to bring it back.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Captain, my Captain

While attempting to continue daily life with some semblence of normality, I am still dealing with this disastrous situation we've been handed recently and am constantly trying to solve the problem in my head, even though I know I can't. And it's keeping me awake most nights.

I lay there and try not to think about it, but it's like an alarm goes off in my head if I start to drift off to sleep. Solve the problem, solve the problem, solve the problem. It's like a time bomb ticking in my brain. The difficult part is that I can't solve the problem. It's a problem with many things out of my control, and it's something that will have to run its course and go through a painful process to get sorted out. And nothing will be pretty during that process.

I really need my sleep because I need to have my wits about me during the day to think clearly and not fall apart while I try to work the part of the action plan that I can control. I do have a plan, complete with contingencies for different outcomes, and it looks good on paper, but the time spent waiting and the unknowns that eat at my psyche are pure killers. The idle times eat my brain alive.

I feel like it's something we're going to get through eventually. Right now, it feels like a dark, cold cave we're drifting through on a boat captained by someone else, in some sort of forced transition of life that is scary and uncomfortable because even though there's going to be light at the end of it, I don't know where the end of it is or how long it will take to get there. It's just out there somewhere, and I'm trying to get to it as fast as I can. But I'm not the one in charge of the ship this time.

I went and sat in a cathedral yesterday and talked to God about this. I asked Him to captain the ship, because I am unable to. I'd like to think that He has already taken over.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Infinite Incompetence

A phone line. A simple basic phone line. No bells, no whistles, just your basic dialtone. That's what I've been trying to have installed at my house for over 10 days now. I still don't have it.

I called my current phone provider, which 3 years ago was the only service provider in this area, and they won't give me a basic phone line. They're digital cable telephone, and they claim they can't strip off the special features (call waiting, caller i.d., voicemail) as required for this line. Seems odd to me, but I've been given that story by 5 different people at the company, so it must be true.

So I called good ole AT&T and asked them if they provide service to my area. Yep, they do! Finally! So last week, I scheduled them to come install this simple basic phone line. It took me over an hour on the phone with the customer service rep to get it set up, but by God, it was scheduled for installation on August 15.

Just because I'm a skeptic on the phone company, on August 14, I called to verify that everything was still good to go for August 15. I discovered, much to my dismay, that NO, things were not okay. My record had "errored out" and no installation was scheduled. I then worked with the rep for another hour to 'correct' the problem, and when I hung up, I was assured that a technician would be out the next day for the installation.

Ever the skeptic, the next morning I called AT&T again. Once again, there was an 'error', and no installation was being scheduled. This time, they claim they could not verify my address and when they called me, nobody answered. When I inquired about the number they called, it was an 877- number, which is a prefix for a toll-free number and couldn't possibly be my phone number. Nevertheless, they canceled the installation. Again, I worked for over an hour with the rep on the phone to verify my home address and reschedule the installation, however at this point, they couldn't do it on the 15th; it now had to be on the 16th. Fine.

So yesterday morning, I called AT&T again to ensure we were on track. Yes, they told me, the tech had me as 5th on his list, and he should be arriving around 11:30 am to do the install. At 3pm, when no tech had shown, we called again. This time, the tech had moved our appointment to 4:30pm and would arrive then. At 5:30 pm, we called again. The tech had arrived and looked around outside but decided that he needed engineering help from his office, and instead of knocking on our door, he called us (the incorrect 877- number again), did not speak with us and left the scene. No installation.

This morning, I got a call from a supervisor at AT&T. Seems that they don't provide service to my area. AAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHH!!!! So it's taken me 10 days, 10 phone calls and 5 hours on the phone with AT&T for them to figure out that they don't service my neighborhood. To say that I am not amused is an understatement, and I plan to write them a nasty, nasty letter. AAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHH!!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Press and a Box of Salt

They just can't wait. The press, that is.

They just can't wait for the opportunity to jump all over a tropical storm this season and completely sensationalize it in the media. Oh, yes, it's been far too quiet for them so far. They're like hurricane vultures out there just living for the next raincloud to brew up out of the tropics and blow away a mobile home park somewhere so they can report devastation and destruction. They just can't wait!

In fact, why wait? Let's just go with what we've got right now! Case in point....there's a small tropical storm moving into South Texas as we speak. It's moved in over the area where I grew up, where my parents still live. I just spoke with the folks. It's cloudy, it's not even raining, and they haven't experienced a lick of wind from it. All is calm.

But when I turn and look at the television, the national media has whipped this thing into a natural disaster. It's top headlines of the day -- Tropical Storm Erin threatening the Texas coast. Emergency crews readying. Massive flooding expected. People boarding up their homes.

And here's the really laughable part. Top winds are at 35mph. For those of you who have never been to Corpus Christi, it is actually one of the windiest cities in the U.S. Winds of 35mph would actually be a slow day for them. What a joke.

So if the press can't find a real natural disaster to overblow, they'll just jump on any ole thing that comes along and embellish it to death.

And don't think it's because it's a 'slow news day'. They do this crap all the time. The daily newspaper ought to be delivered alongside a box of salt every day, because that's what it would take to believe half the stuff they report. Vultures.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

'Tis the Season


The tropics are heating up. Yikes!

It's been a quiet June, July and August (so far) on the tropical storm front, but now things are heating up, and I'm very glad I brought my patio furniture in when we departed the Florida house in July.
My parents live in Corpus Christi, Texas, and they are gearing up for Tropical Storm Erin which is hovering close by in the Gulf of Mexico and will make landfall in the next couple of days right on top of them. Fortunately, it looks like rain and not much wind, and they think they can handle that pretty easily.


More worrisome is Tropical Storm Dean which was born off the coast of Africa (as are all whopper storms) and is now drifting into the Caribbean as we speak. Most computer models have it moving into the Gulf of Mexico in the next week while becoming a Category 3 hurricane or beyond. This one is definitely a worry and all of us who live and love on the U.S. coast are dusting off our hurricane tracking maps and hoping for the best.

Currently, I am scheduled to go to Florida for a couple of days later this month. I am keeping fingers crossed that this storm does not alter my plans. I don't need a hurricane on top of all the other storms that are going on right now.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Don't Pop Your Cork

Forget war, poverty, global warming and all the other more popular calamities in the headlines right now. Looks like we have a REAL tragedy on our hands -- a worldwide champagne shortage.

Yes, according to 'the industry', demand is threatening supply levels, and we're dangerously close to running out of bottles of bubbly, despite the 100 million bottles being held in cellars by the champagne makers for 'later'.

If we're going to have to suffer through a shortage of the bubbly stuff, it's probably good timing, since there also seems to be a shortage of things to celebrate. Seems to work out pretty well in that regard.

Forever Monday

Some days are Mondays, no matter what day of the week they actually fall on. Today would be a Monday, even if it were actually a Tuesday or Thursday or Friday. It feels like things are just piling on now, and every day of my life is now a Monday. There is no refuge in sight.

I need a bright spot, a sign of daylight out there. Surely something will give soon. I need an uptick.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Big is In

Whew!! What a relief. A BIG relief.

That's Mr. Big to you and me....Carrie's Mr. Big. He's finally signed on to do the 'Sex and the City' movie.
I mean, could they really do one without him? I don't see how, truly.






Good People, Bad Things

By nature, I'm a fairly optimistic person...my husband far much more so. I generally have a positive outlook on life, at least giving it a fair shake of an assessment most of the time. But every once in a while...I do wonder why things happen.

I'm not really up for speaking about specifics here, but let's just say we've been dealt something recently that is potentially devastating, and we're in a bit of shock about it. And I'm trying to figure out why bad things happen to good people. I mean, I consider us to be good people -- we're not criminals, we're honest, we have compassion for others, we have good intent, and we're basic God-fearing, positive people. So why has this fallen upon us?

Believing in good charma and that the universe generally reflects back what you put out to it, I can't figure out why we've been handed this one to deal with. There must be a reason. Either we haven't been good people (contrary to my belief), or something good will eventually come of this in the end, and all will be exonerated, with us coming out as better people ultimately.

In the meanwhile, as we try to work through it, there will be many days of ups and downs, and I will try to keep my chin up and plow through it. Because....what other option do I have?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Triple Digits

For those of us sitting here in August wondering when 'summer' was going to finally hit....rest easy....it's definitely here.

In Dallas, up until now, we've been drowning in buckets of rain. It's so odd to see the resulting green grass here this time of year. Usually it's all brown and crunchy by now.

But, here it comes. They're telling us it will reach 100 degrees on Thursday, and we should be seeing 103 degrees by the weekend. And dry, dry, dry.

In Florida, what had been strangely drier weather has now turned to humid and sticky (or so I'm told), the sort of weather that creates big, chaotic hair on my head. I vow to stop going there when the size of my hair doubles the minute I step off the airplane. Such is the case now. So unless there's some pressing reason, we won't go to Florida until the muggy weather begins its decline, and my hair can feel safe again.

So summer is definitely here, despite its strange delay. I wonder how long it will last now.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Hard Drive Blues

After some massive computer problems this week, I'm back online and will be posting again shortly.

Cheers to all, and I hope to catch up with my blogosphere buds very soon.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

David Doesn't Do Dallas

Following up on the 'Becks' post earlier.....he's not coming now. Too injured to play, so the L.A. Galaxy isn't bringing him at all.

Just saw a poll in the Dallas newspaper (non-scientific, yes) where 65% of the respondees said now that Becks is not going to be there, neither are they. Wow. Those are some dedicated soccer fans, huh?

I think that's pretty lousy all the way around. The Galaxy should at least bring the guy, for all these idiots who only bought tickets to see him. At least they could watch him standing on the sidelines, and that might be enough to get people to show up. If I were FC Dallas, I'd probably be a little ticked right about now, as are many fair-weather fans, no doubt.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Vanity and Insanity

Giselle Bundchen made $33 million last year as a 'supermodel'.

Why do the least important jobs get paid the most amount of money?

If Giselle hadn't appeared in a single ad last year, would any of us have been the worse off for it?

Nothing against Giselle personally, but society's priorities have gone completely wonky. And this is yet one more glaring example of that.

Cruise Control

Though I happen to think Katie Holmes' new do is an improvement over the too-long little girl locks she sported forever, has anyone else noticed that she, Tom and Suri now have the same haircut? As if the 'cult' rumors weren't enough, now they all physically look alike, too.

Actually, I've never been able to decide which one of them Suri looks like, because to me, Tom and Katie look just like each other. They could be siblings, which brings an even odder dynamic to the whole scene. And now it's even scarier with the interchangeable haircuts. *shudder*

Much Ado About Becks, For Naught

For months now, there's been a billboard on the Dallas North Tollway trying to get us all excited about the forthcoming visit of the L.A. Galaxy (starring David Beckham), for a soccer match against FC Dallas later this week. I don't know how many tickets usually sell for these things....hard to tell how popular soccer is here among anyone older than age 10....but I did hear that as of last week, 1000 tickets were still left for the Beckham extravaganza. That's probably pretty good for a city enamored with the NFL and Dallas Cowboys, where soccer is generally viewed as something played by school children.

I just read in this morning's news, however, that because of Beckham's latest ankle injury, he may not even travel to Dallas this week at all. In fact, the Galaxy coaches will make the call on his status later today after their practice. So after months of hoopla and boosting ticket sales for this game, it looks like Becks may not even show, and if he does, it's unlikely that he'll take the field for any meaningful period of time.

In an ironic note, I did read, that despite the nagging ankle injury, Becks did manage to amply hit the dance floor at his All-Star A-list celebrity party the other night in L.A.. I wonder if there were 1000 remaining tickets for that. Not likely.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Should We Seek Fat-Free Friends?

A recent study has concluded that the people you hang out with have a greater impact than your genes in determining whether you're overweight or not. Really?

In looking around at who I 'hang out with', the study's conclusion seems to have some merit. Most of my friends are on the leaner side and in pretty good shape, and despite the occasional splurges, everyone exercises and watches what they eat.

I do wonder about cause and effect, though. Are we leaner because we hang out together? Or do we hang out together because we're leaner -- a by-product of having common interest in nutrition, fitness and weight-consciousness? Or is it all just happenstance, and I just happen to randomly be in a leaner group?

Now that I think about it, it does strike me that I have very few....if any...overweight friends. In fact, I can't really think of any. Must be a reason for this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Out of the Blue

While recovering on the sofa on Monday afternoon, in an entertainment void, I watched -- well, sort of watched -- 'Into the Blue'. It wanted to be a modern-day version of "The Deep" (starring iconic beauty, Jacqueline Bisset) but it wasn't. It was a terrible movie. I often wonder who puts up the money for these things. Nevertheless, I watched off and on until it became unbearable. Somewhere along the line, I stopped listening to what passed for dialogue and just enjoyed the beautiful scenery -- Bahamian waters, beaches and Paul Walker.

Why isn't he a bigger star? He's a good looking dude with a decent amount of screen charisma, and it was almost like watching a new art form as he moved through the ocean on his dives. With those piercing blue eyes and chiseled mug, why do we not see him in more films? Who is managing this guy's career?

Also, while I'm not a Jessica Alba fan....(does anyone really consider her to be a serious actress?).....I must say she looked pretty good running around in her tiny bikinis. It was a good role for her -- she should stick to those deep, complicated characters. :)
I'm always amazed that she gets labeled as a fashion icon. That's telltale about the state of fashion these days. While she's a pretty little girl, she strikes me as exactly that -- a little girl. When she dresses up, to me, she looks like a child playing in her mommy's clothing. Fashion icon? Paleez.....

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Perv Alert!!

MySpace: 29,000 sex offenders in the member base. And those are the ones they KNOW about.

Ewwwww!!!!

Angels Among Us

In my ongoing 'mission' as an 'observationist' on this planet, I try to step back and notice as much as possible, even when the situation might not be optimal to take in all the details. Case in point: My recent trip to the ER on Sunday.

Now I must admit that I was a bit alarmed when, based on my symptoms, my OBGYN instructed me to go to the hospital emergency room and to possibly prepare for surgery. That sort of news over the phone on a lazy Sunday morning can be a bit disconcerting. But I immediately agreed with her and bolted for the door as quickly as I could. This didn't seem to be something to dawdle over.

In the midst of the slightly panicked state (all day, by the way...waiting for surgery), there was something in my surroundings that stood out for me - something very positive: People.

I had every flavor of medical personnel in and out of my room all day long -- doctors, nurses, orderlies, people taking blood, bringing me blankets, taking my vitals, bringing me ice chips. All day long. And everyone was so nice and caring. It got me to start thinking about people who make their living caring about other people. Amazing, really.

I thought about what it must take for them to get up every day, work long hours, care for sick strangers all day and night, deal with emotions, bodily functions, other people's baggage...and still smile and offer a kind word. That's a real gift. Those people are truly angels among us. And I don't think you can really appreciate them until you are the one laying on the gurney.

There were the OR nurses -- large, portly women who would be considered relatively unattractive by shallow standards, yet they smiled and lightly chatted with me on my way into the OR, and their inner beauty radiated. And the anesthesiologist who smiled and joked with me before 'making me sleepy'....the last person I'd see on this planet, if anything happened. And the sweet nurse who kept bringing me ice chips because they would not let me drink water, and she knew I hadn't had a drop of anything all day. All angels among us, every one of them.

Though they will never read this, I'd like to offer my gratitude to all the people who poked and prodded on me on Sunday...not only for their trained talents, but more for their attitudes and the comfort they offered. I was truly amazed, in awe and thankful.

And I actually feel grateful for the experience, because I walked away with a humble, positive feeling from it. The people made the difference, hands down.

Monday, July 23, 2007

How Not to Spend a Sunday

I haven't talked about this on my blog, but ever since the miscarriage, I've continued to have physical complications from it. I've always been very healthy, so it's been a real surprise at how much difficulty I've encountered with all this. It just didn't seem to want to straighten itself out, no matter what I did.

I thought things were back on track until a few days ago, when they veered way off course. On Sunday morning, it landed me in a nearby hospital emergency room and ultimately, an operating room. Surgery. Not exactly how I'd planned to spend my Sunday, and I can't say I'd recommend it.

But I'm home now, feeling better and hoping for the best. I was glad I was back in Dallas with my OBGYN. I'm a little dinged out today but hopefully on the mend. It's been a long haul and very frustrating. It needs to be over with, because I simply can't be bothered -- too much to do, too many places to be, too many other things to think about. I can't be bogged down with a lingering health issue.

Onward.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Texas Bound

We've had a few things come up that need our attention in Texas, so we are jetting back to Big D tomorrow evening. Really hate to leave the beach and the gorgeous weather in Florida, but duty calls. Hopefully, we'll return soon. I'm guessing the beach will still be here when we return. Bon voyage.

Indecent Exposure

Here's a problem you don't have every day: I'm in my friend's television commercial, and I hate it.

Some background: Friends who run their own business hooked up with a television production company to film a commercial that will run sporadically on cable channels nationally. They approached my husband and I to be in it, as customer testimonials.

Now I balked from the very start. While I'm flattered that they view us as some of their more 'attractive' friends and wanted us to be in their commercial, I just don't like those sorts of things. I don't want to be in any spotlights and prefer to be behind the scenes. I cannot tell you why...that's just me. If I were an actor, I'd be one of those people who never watches their own work. I feel exposed, and it makes me uncomfortable.

Nevertheless, to spare their feelings, we agreed to be in the commercial. We just saw a pre-final cut of it yesterday, and it's genuinely awful...really bad. And that's not even our part (which turns out to be the least offensive of the lot). It's the whole thing...it's just bad.

So now, we're in this really awful commercial, and it's going to run on national television, and I hope to God no one I know sees it.

My friends asked us for suggestions on final edit. My husband fears that the one we asked for will hurt their feelings. I wanted them to use our first names only....no surnames. Besides it being unneccessary to use them, no one ever asked our permission, and I had no idea they would plaster our names across the screen. That's just a little too much exposure for me. Someone may recognize my face but won't be sure it's me, unless of course my name is also in their face. So, please, remove it. It's not necessary. My husband thinks we probably hurt their feelings by asking for that, but I pointed out that by now, they know I don't like exposure, so it's in line with my general views, and not a commentary on the commercial itself.

So my initial instinct to not appear in this thing was spot on. Now I'm on TV...bad TV. I'm going to be the idiot on bad TV that some boxer-adorned insomniac is watching while eating leftover Chinese noodles in front of the TV in the the middle of the night. Lovely. Just lovely.

They Flunked

Re: Job Interview Panic

Well that didn't take long. Had a short preliminary discussion with the folks looking for a writer. It didn't take long for me to X them off the list. They failed the interview almost immediately.

The reason? I don't want to drive 40 minutes to an office every day. I realize that sounds petty, because most people do that, and I did that myself for a lot of years. But for the last 5+ years, I did not. I home officed and went to a company office only as necessary. And now, that's a must for me. I need to be able to work virtually because I refuse to spend an hour and a half a day in traffic again. Nope, just won't do it. Only for the most fabulous job on the planet where fame and fortune are guaranteed. Maybe.

It's part of my balance of life mission. I just refuse to sit in traffic, burn gas at $3 a gallon and become yet another road rager out there. Not if I don't have to. And in the age of the internet, where locations matter not, I shouldn't have to.

Onward.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Commitment Phobia

In the past year plus of being on 'sabbatical' from the work-a-day world, I've come to realize what a commitment phobe I am. I don't want to commit to a permanent place to live or commit my time to someone else's mission (as in work) or even commit to watching a television show that is more than half an hour. It's really bad, and the hard part is, when I do commit to something and get into it, I generally get some real satisfaction from it. But the fear of commitment keeps me from jumping in...hence a constant dilemma.

The latest manifestation of commitment phobia popped up yesterday. Recently, I was perusing some job postings online, just to see what was out there these days, and I saw one looking for a writer in the area of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations. The job description sounded like it could be fun, given the right environment, and since one can only tell so much from a written job posting, I decided to send in my resume and a letter to find out more about it.

Ten days later, last night, my phone rang. They want me to come in for an interview. Yikes! I don't know any more about it than I did when I sent the resume, but my commitment phobia is kicking in, and my blood pressure is going up, already. I am like one of Pavlov's dogs. Someone says 'job', and I start to panic.

Dilemma! Do I want to go to work again? Do I want to commit my time to someone else? Could it be the start of a whole new career in writing? After all, that is certainly a change from what I was doing for 20 years that made me so sour on corporate life. Could this be something where I could actually work and find balance of life?

I realize that my fear of commitment stems from my other primary flaw of being a control freak. I fear committment because I know once I commit, something will suck me in and take over my life because I will want to control every aspect of it in order to produce 'perfect' results. And I just don't want that to happen again. If I could do something productive and satisfying, while finding balance in life, that would be the ultimate. But for me, I wonder if that's possible.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dim Bulbs

Yesterday, I caught this headline (but did not bother to read the article):

'Sienna Miller Urges Energy Conservation'

First of all, why is this news?

And secondly, with 'experts' like this publicly campaigning for the cause, is it any wonder that people don't take it seriously?

Monday, July 16, 2007

Next Stop, Mumu

Went shopping with a friend on Saturday, and though we had not planned it, we ended up at a swimsuit sale. Trying on swimsuits in department store dressing rooms is generally a fate worse than death, however, this was a half price sale, so we couldn't resist. Like brave soldiers, we faced the ghastly lighting and mirrors in the dressing rooms and fearlessly tried on bikinis -- GASP!!

Now, I'm not a youngster ...and I generally refuse to appear in public in anything but a stylish one-piece suit, unless I am among complete strangers who I know I will never see again. It's not that I look all that horrible -- for my age -- but I am a little self-conscious of people I actually know walking away with that mental image on their hard drives. I'd just rather not do it.

BUT for some reason - I think I was egged on by my spotlight-seeking friend -- I engaged in the bikini-fest and ended up purchasing a couple of them for use in my own backyard or in other appropriate (for me) settings. I came home and tried them on for my husband, who loved them and said he felt I shouldn't be so shy about wearing them, as he thought I looked better than most in them. (yes, he's a doll.)

SOOOO....the next day, we were invited to the regular beach gathering at the home of friends (who I've mentioned before). They are the loveliest people...South African...and a little less prudish about beach wardrobe than I. Regardless of their ages, body shapes, tan lines, etc., most of the women wear bikinis in order to maximize the tan impact, and they're always after me to wear one....because WHO CARES? Right?

So, okay....between their urging and the support of my husband, I decided to don one of the bikinis for yesterday's beach gathering. I decided to do it, 40-yr old body and all. What the hell.

I selected the least offensive/most coverage suit of the bunch, put it on, threw on a cover-up and went over there. Sure enough, the gang was all there in their bikinis -- thin, fat, short, tall, tan, white, you name it. No worries. I felt I would fit right in.

Then, as I slipped off the cover-up and got comfortable on my lounge chair.....I spotted a new female attendee coming out of the pool. Hmmm...she was new...hadn't seen her before. And my goodness...didn't she have the perfect bod in that teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini (literally)! Based on that, I wanted to throw not only my cover-up back on, but also anything else that might immediately erase my presence from the scene.

And then I found out -- wouldn't you know it -- that yes, she was new to the crowd....a friend of a guest who had not attended before. And oh, by the way, she was on the cover of Playboy magazine not long ago and featured in several issues....among other things. Geez.... could it get worse?

So...see what happens? You talk yourself into being vulnerable to the world with your 40-yr old body in a bikini, baring almost all....and then a Playboy model emerges from your pool, and you just want to drown yourself.

Next time I'm wearing a mumu.

By the way, that's her in the picture above. Not that I would trade to look like her (body by Dow Corning, hair by Clorox), but she can certainly make a 40-yr old feel wholly inadequate in a bikini.

Oh, well. I guess there are worse things. :)

Two There, None Here

While walking the dog last night, my husband ran into some neighbors who live around the block. They're a young, cute couple who are the parents of a big flopsy mopsy white labrador retriever, whose feet have always been bigger than him, whose sweet face and eyes make you melt as he falls all over himself to move in for a pat on the head. He's adorable...a real-life Pixar animated character on four paws.

But tonight, my neighbors had some new news. They are expecting twins....in November. It seems like carrying twins would be quite the task for such a tiny little girl, but she's doing it. Congrats to them all.

But....I couldn't help but think....I couldn't keep my mind from going there. Maybe I was just tired or having a down day.... But I couldn't help but think that life is certainly unfair and sometimes even cruel. Come November, there will be two babies at their house and none at ours.

She's the first person I've run into who is due at the same time I was, and that piece of news really hit a tender spot. I'm not looking forward to November, as I feel it will be a down month for me. While I'm happy for them, I can't help but feeling sad for us.

But life goes on.