Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Christmas Checklist - 2005

Here’s a checklist of some pretty standard Erin-Christmas traditions. How many of these things happened to you?

  • Eggnog lattes: 3 this weekend. Home made. Actually discovered that I have yet *another* half gallon of the stuff in the back of my ‘fridge. More nog for next weekend!
  • Number of days 70 degrees or warmer: 3. Put this under my list of “why I hate Texas, reason # 537”. Sure, it snowed here last year when we were in Idaho, and ironically had zero white flakes up there. This year, 70’s and sunny. Blech. It doesn’t seem like Christmas when you’re wearing shorts and sweating….
  • Kitchen accidents: 2 burned fingers, one on my hand, one on Will’s. Turkey recipe called for the turkey to be roasted at 500 degrees, back-side-up for 30 minutes. Then to take it out and flip it. Not an easy thing to do – especially when everything is 500 degrees! And flipping a 12 lb bird is awkward. Methinks I’ll be skipping that step next time I make this recipe. To top it off, the skin from my burn blister peeled off, so now its even more sore. Fun!
  • Smoke alarm soundings: technically twice, but it was from the same incident described above. Boy was that a fun 10 minutes. Bring out this fiery pan from the oven with the herbs and onion and drippings already black and smoking. Have 2 people attempt to flip turkey over, burn fingers. Begin yelling at each other b/c you both have burned fingers and the turkey STILL isn’t flipped. Have smoke alarm go off. Yell at husband to leave the turkey flipping to me and TURN OFF THE DAMN ALARM. Alarm goes off a 2nd time. Yell again – TAKE THE BATTERIES OUT!!! Followed by husband cursing at wife and fire detector at the same time. The batteries are still removed from the smoke detector. Its probably safe to put them back in. Hey, at least Will didn’t light the marshmallows of his Sweet Potato Surprise dish afire as he’s done in past years. Of course, that could be because we didn’t make it this year, either.
  • Home improvement project: 1. Got my cabinets sanded down. 1 trip to Home Depot to buy sander (I had gift cards), 1 trip to Lowes for more sandpaper (its closer to my house), another trip to Home Depot to return sander when it inexplicably died on Day 4 of project, another trip to Lowes to buy 2nd sander, b/c HD did not have another one readily available. Quality time spend with the sander: 15 hours over 4 days, plus 2 hours of down time b/c the sander broke and had to be replaced. Quantity of sawdust inhaled: who knows, I just know it was probably more than is safe. Injuries: none (go me!). Emasculated husbands: one. I wouldn’t let him touch the sander. I figure he had his opportunity several years back when he was laid off and I asked him to do this – and he refused. Besides, this is a detail oriented project. I could see him getting bored with the amount of time it took to a)remove varnish and b)remove stain, thus resulting in me basically having to go back and re-do the sanding. Besides, he seemed to prefer playing computer games all weekend.
  • Bottles of wine consumed: 3.5 (2 during a party). Hey, considering it was only the 2 of us for most of the weekend, and I spent most of it covered in sawdust!
That was pretty much our holiday weekend in nutshell. Really pretty boring. Hope the rest of you had more fun that we did!

      Saturday, December 24, 2005

      Nothing says Christmas like refinishing your kitchen cabinets!

      Preface: I blame this whole scenario on my mother. She does stupid insane crap like this all the time. And I see her do this stuff and think that she's crazy, yet here I am doing the same exact thing. Damn genetics.

      We have wood kitchen cabinets circa 1983. They're decent, but the varnish is peeling and it looks like crap. When Will was laid off and doing nothing for 9 months, I tried to get him to refinish the cabinets. But instead he pretty much did nothing but watch a lot of movies and take a month-long road trip to Idaho.

      So, I basically have two 4-day weekends in a row. And I think to myself, when will I have a window of opportunity like this again? I can sand one weekend and stain/poly the next. Then it will be done, how great?

      So, I buy myself a sander and in my head this all seems splendid. Then I start working yesterday. We don't have a workbench that I can work on. Will built one, but its so tall, that I truly cannot reach past halfway on the table. Not exactly practical. So, I'm sitting on one cooler, and using another cooler as my work bench, b/c otherwise, I'd be sitting on the garage floor the whole time. Its really not *that* hard, but it is tedious. And the sander vibrates so much that my hands stay tingly for quite a bit. And the thing is shaped for man-hands, and well, mine are quite smaller, so I have to hold it with 2 hands. My thumb that I broke 3 yrs ago is still weak as well, so that's not helping. But I did the rough sanding on 8 (out of 13) cabinet doors yesterday. Figure I'll just take it in little chunks. Plan is to finish the rough sanding on all doors/drawers today. Tomorrow I'll either fine sand or start sanding the cabinet fronts. Next weekend will be staining.

      No idea if I will actually finish this all by the end of next weekend - or that it will even look good. All I know is that my muscles are already sore after 4 hrs of this yesterday, and I have many, many more hours to go.

      Do I know how to have a fun time or what?

      Merry Christmas everyone!

      Wednesday, December 21, 2005

      Dear JJ Abrams:

      Do you have any idea the trauma you have caused me in the past month? Ok, its not like you’ve messed up my life, but you sure as hell are screwing with my television life. First, you put Lost on a month long hiatus. A MONTH. You’ll be lucky if I remember what those numbers are and who Walt was. And don’t get me started on the lack of moving forward on your storyline or those “extra bonus minutes” for the Tailaway’s story. Extra minutes? More like heavy recycling of minutes that already aired.

      Then there’s the news that officially broke my tv viewing heart. Alias is no more at the end of this season. Not that at this point, it’s any tragedy. I mean, you guys keep recycling plotlines (SD-6, The Covenant, Prophet 5? Just how many bad guys with multi-level bad-guy networks ARE there?). Then I’m convinced that your writing team is either drunk or they are really a pack of monkeys randomly pounding away on the keyboard. Because that’s the kind of crap you guys are putting on the show. The tiny helicopter of doom? Clifford the big red ball? And exactly how many times did we need to see this red ball in its various incarnations? Its crap. But hey – you’ve been too busy paying attention to your new shiny show Lost and living the good life in Hawaii to even notice that your old show, which was once great, has gone to hell. I guess you’re swayed by the ratings. You fickle bastard.

      You took a show that kicked ass and made it blase. I still remember the first time I saw little Syd on her first mission with the red hair, set out to destroy the mini-Clifford red ball ‘o doom. Ever since then, I want to be her. Who doesn’t? Well, I want to have her job and skills, I could skip the part where all the people she loves die in some sort of tragic and violent fashion, and both of her parents at one point or another have tried to have her killed. But being able to kick ass while in heels and a skin-tight leather outfit? Hell yeah, where do I sign up?

      My thoughts on the show thus far. Season 1 and 2. Awesome. Cliffhanger at the end of Season 2, I still can’t forgive you for that shock, but this is a good kind of shock. The “omg I can’t believe they just did that, that totally blew my mind!” kind of shock. Season 3 with Lauren – ew. MAJOR let down after the cliffhanger. Such potential to do something cool, but yet…. nothing. Season 4… well, that was the drunken monkey season. Oh wait, this was the season where Lost was new. That explains why it sucked. The only good part was the ending with SpyMommy and then the NotVaughn incident (which I replayed about 100 times and STILL have it on my TiVo b/c it was THAT GOOD).

      But now, not so much. The cast has abandoned you. You let Jennifer marry Ben Afleck of all people and reproduce. Shouldn’t there have been some clause with a heavy financial penalty against such things? Then you people wrote it into her storyline even though her eggs were taken from her and then they burned in a Covenant lab. REMEMBER THAT DETAIL, JJ? Well, your team of drunken monkey writers apparently forgot that too. Or maybe your team of writers has been hanging out too much with the cast of Lost and drinking a lot, only they are smart enough to avoid being pulled over. Or maybe they don’t get DUI’s b/c they’re monkeys and can’t reach the pedals…. Something to ponder, for sure.

      This season is still better than Season 4, but not by much. I’ll just have to get my Alias fix by watching re-runs of S1 and 2. And hope that you don’t screw up the ending too badly.

      Very bitterly yours,

      Would you really quit with the month long hiatus shit? First Lost and now Alias?!?!?! No Alias until February?!?!?! It’s bad enough that after May, we won’t have any more Alias at all – but you guys actually need a month break? What for, rehab? To actually FIGURE OUT a closure for the show that makes sense? For all our sakes, I hope it’s the latter and not the former.

      Tuesday, December 20, 2005

      A random collection of thoughts on a Tuesday morning

      I need to quit forgetting items of clothing when I pack my bag the night before for swim practice. Today, while not critical, I forgot my belt. And since I've lost a bit of weight (yay me!) my jeans are a tad bit saggy. I'm meeting a client out on site today, so that should make a lovely impression.


      They have the chlorine cranked so high at my pool that the hair on my arms is falling out. My skin is horribly itchy and I have really bad chemical-induced dry mouth. Our group is stuck at the mercy of the slack-tastic HS swim coach, who I guess just went thru a divorce and is determined to have the rest of the world suffer right along with him. I guess suffering is maximized my itchy skin and hair loss.


      Swimming is going well, swimmingly. Cranked out another 3,000 yard workout this morning. I need to try and figure out how to swim faster, b/c I'm an in-between-er. Not slow, but not fast either. Which leaves me precisely one lane in our 8 lane pool that I can swim in w/out pissing people off or getting my ass kicked.


      Hubby accompanied me to the grocery store last night. I need to remember that he is not the best grocery shopping buddy. Sure, its nice to have company, but its not so nice when that company makes you forget stuff and pisses you off. See, Will has to drive the cart. But he can't lead. Noooo. Instead, he has to RIDE MY ASS with the grocery cart. And I'm not the speediest of shoppers. I have a list and a mission, but I also like to peruse the aisles a bit. Look at labels. Will is more of a "grab the first item that matches X description and leave" kind of a shopper. Me, I'll stack all the varieties of tomato sauce on the shelf, nutritional labels facing me, and pick the one which has the least sodium and sugar added to them. Well, having Will huffing and puffing behind me with impatience rushes me and makes me forget stuff, which in turn about doubles the time it takes me to shop since I have to go back and forth across the store. Case in point - got a turkey to make Saturday. Got 2/3 of the way thru the store and realized that all I had to cook for Saturday was ONLY turkey. No sides. Sure its just the two of us, and the kitties would be thrilled with a turkey-only meal, but well, I need a *little* more variety. Ended up grabbing a bunch of sweet potatoes. I'll have to think of something else to make, b/c that's not quite the variety I was looking for.


      My supervisor is being passive agressive over email. Gave him this report to review Friday afternoon. He's had oh, since then to look over my ONE text addition, which I did with very little guidance or direction. Last night he said it was ok. This morning he verbally tells me that I need to do a tiny bit more work, but its not too bad. Over email not 5 minutes later, he gets all doomsday on my ass. I'm sure its for documentation purposes, so he looks like a badass manager and its documented that I'm not living up to expectations. Its a fun game. As a result, I'm going to this british pub to sit by the fire and drink this afternoon, because I don't care.


      Made a ton of bling this weekend - website is updated.


      Not doing a whole hell of a lot for chistmas this year. We normally go to Idaho, but it was wayyy too much money to fly (we started researching tix in Sept). Then we thought about going to Big Bend again for camping. But it gets dark soooo early and campfires aren't allowed, which means we'd be shivering in the dark and REALLY bored. And I really hate cooking and cleaning in the dark. So it looks like its a 4 day weekend at the house being bored. I know Will was hoping to do stuff to his car during 2 of those days, so I'm not really sure what I'll be doing. I should make sure I have at least 2 Erin movies from Netflix in the house, though.


      I miss my TV shows. My reality tv shows have wrapped up, which in the case of TAR is a good thing because it was really horrible this season. And Lost is on hiatus. Alias is close to the end *sniff* (I hate you JJ for jacking with my life like this.) My tivo viewing list is reduced to catching up on back episodes of Supernatural, b/c that's all that's on. But those Supernatural boys sure are pretty to look at....

      Wednesday, December 14, 2005

      I was going to post something happy, until work pissed me off

      so, I'm going to post both happy and pissy. lucky you!

      So first - happy post:
      I swam 3,000 yards this morning, which is something I haven't done since high school. Sure, in HS I was swimming 4,000 yards, but hey, I'm clearly not in HS form any more. We've got a US Masters Swimming event next month. The Postal Swim. This post was going to be titled "Going Postal, but not in a Postal Service kinda way" until work decided to kill my good mood. But this is the HAPPY part of my post. Yeah, happy thoughts... Anyways, back to happy. So, the postal swim is an hour long challenge, where you swim for an hour (duh) WITHOUT stopping. The goal is endurance and to see how far you can swim in that time. This is daunting on a physical level, but also on a mental level. Sure, I'm pretty sure I can swim for 60 minutes straight, but can we say b-o-r-e-d-o-m? Not to mention getting past little muscle aches, frustration, etc? So, in practice we are going to work on doing longer sets and focusing on activities within those sets to keep us mentally engaged for the Postal. Yes, I'm a sadist, but well, I accept it and move on.

      So now, pissy post:
      Had a chat with both my supervisior (X) and office mgr (Y) about my future and about me working with the other division. X just started sputtering random stuff, like he's worried they'll stab me in the back, etc. Basically, he's worried about losing me. So, I told him that for me to want to stick around, I need to be doing ENGINEERING work. Which jogged his memory that he has to evaluate some remediation system in Corpus Christi next week, and that gee, it would actually be better for ME, the engineer to go, rather than himself, who is not an engineer. Well, no shit. I got my point across, but I doubt it will be retained. Then I talked to Y, told him I'd like to persue the work in the other division to broaden my horizons (and to give me guaranteed work), but if that doesn't happen then they need to provide me with some engineering work. And that includes involving me in "hands on" tasks for this stupid work plan I've been the work horse on and introducing me to our design engineer not as "data manager" like he did last week, but as "the engineer who will be supporting your efforts." He definitely acknowleged my point - but again, only time will tell. Apparently they do have some cool stuff lined up for me, but they don't tell me these plans. I told him that I need to know what's planned for me or else, I'll go make plans on my own.

      Then, lets add their blantant ploy at pissing me off: I took this sales based training course (in house) last year. Well, Xwants me to take it again. I told him that I wouldn't get anything extra out of TAKING IT AGAIN IN LESS THAN A YEAR. So, he sends this email:

      "I have recommended that you take this class again, as I feel it will improve on you interpersonal skills in dealing with clients. This is only being offered as a "tool" for your personal growth, as our company, is such a sales driven organization. I think this training will help you as you work to advance within the organization.If you are willing to accept the fact that the potential for advancement within the company may be somewhat limited for those who do not get involved in the traditional "seller-doer" role, I will ask admin to remove you from the list of participants. I'll leave the decision up to you. Either way, let me know ASAP, for scheduling purposes."

      WHAT THE FUCK is up with that? For starters, they haven't really provided me an opportunity to actually meet with clients. And the one client I do have and like, actually called me first thing when she had an emergency project. I think I do ok given the lack of sales support I have around here. Then, lets talk numbers. I'm not at a Category where I get incentive bonuses for my sales. So, there's not much really to motivate me financially. They did set a sales goal for me last March for one year. Keep in mind we're just shy of 3/4 of the year, and I'm already at 150% of my goal. So do I really need remedial sales training? reeeallly?

      Seems to me like they are going the "lets piss her off enough to make her quit" route. Based on their responses to my requests yesterday, it seems that while they may say that I need to take initiative, my initiative has to match what they want. And I can attempt to play things my way, but they will do whatever they can to be difficult and un-responsive. And then I get dinged on MY reviews for not being a team player and essentially being a horrible employee. But with all this shit, what here is supposed to make me want to be a good employee? I can beat my sales goal with little support, and in return, I get remedial sales training. Thanks. Way to inspire the workforce there, manager.

      So, in summary: swimming good. work bad. buy more jewelry so maybe someday I won't have to work here anymore, mkay?

      Tuesday, December 13, 2005

      Commando tootsies

      I forgot to pack socks to wear in my swim bag last night..... so now my feet are going commando inside my knee-high leather boots. Not the best feeling in the world, but it beats the days where I forgot other critical items and went without.

      One would think I would learn from this and stash extras in my swim bag. Well, I guess I just don't like to learn from my mistakes all that much.

      Monday, December 12, 2005

      Shameless plug for my hand-made jewelry website

      I've hung my shingle out on the world wide web!


      Here's a few examples of what I make - these are all listed on the website.

      Image hosted by Photobucket.com

      Image hosted by Photobucket.com

      Image hosted by Photobucket.com

      I make custom beaded jewelry from sterling silver, gold, semi-precious gemstones, and crystal. Stop by and ORDER something today ;)

      Now THIS is how to have a Jello Shot party

      Consider this a PSA for all those random hits I get for people searching for "jello" on the internet.

      1,000 jello shots. Keep in mind this is a full-size refridgerator. The top and bottom shelves were just cheap vodka. The 2nd shelf was the "top shelf" shots. Blue rasperry with coconut rum. Lime jello caprihanas. Lemon jello w/Crown. Everclear jello shots. (lets see how many search engine hits I get from this post!) Orange jello with vanilla vodka was my f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e! I got there at 6:30 to help set up. The house was jam-packed, and we really didn't even know quite a few of the people that showed up. I did see several people from school I haven't seen since I was up there. One girl walked up to me and said "I remember you from aerobics on campus in Fall 1997." Which made me wonder what the hell I did to her to cause her to remember me. She claimed to remember me b/c she had the same kind of car - only I never drove to campus.... Turns out, when I was the Butte HS JV swim coach in 1994/95, she was one of my swimmers. Which made me feel much better about her remembering me. For some reason, I don't like being memorable. I always assume it was b/c I was a bitch or did something embarassing.

      This was one of those parties where you lose all track of time - because you're having so much fun talking to people. Talked to Will maybe 4 times all night long (he left early). Oops. Spent more time talking to his friend (and I guess now MY friend) Ken (above). Got home at 4 AM, mainly b/c I was playing car-shuffle getting one of Will's friends home safely. Woke up at 1 PM, went to the beer store for home-brew supplies, spent all afternoon making beer - then off to a friend's b'day party at a club downtown.

      Methinks I ought to go thru some sort of detox program for the next week or so....

      Thursday, December 08, 2005

      the dice are tossed

      So, a post about work stuff.... I've been at this current job since Aug 2004 and well, have never ever really felt like I fit in here. I don't really have any friends, no lunch buddies, no partners in crime, and worst of all no real work, no career development, no focus. I went from being completely billable and running some good project at my last job (but having a TON of other issues which made things horrible for me) to this place where I just float and bob from project to project.

      I'm one of those types who doesn't mind working hard if I know my labor is a)valued and b)part of a master plan for my career development. I basically am a horse that needs a carrot dangled in front of me to get me motivated to work. I have to know that there are grand plans for me, be privy to them, have input, and *gasp* see those plans come to fruition once in a while.

      Currently, I have none of that. My "job" is a shape shifting beast that changes on the whims of my managers. I rarely can predict what I'll be doing 2 weeks out, and frequently it seems my "value" to the team is merely being a scribe or database manager, with little opportunity to develop new skills. Case in point, I worked on a work plan to do some groundwater remediation, which is being designed by some engineer in one of our East Coast offices. Turns out, she's been in the office for the past 2 days and NO ONE has even thought that gee, it may be a good thing to introduce us, as supposedly, my work will be supporting her design efforts. I had to go figure out who she was and introduce myself to her. Later in the day, I was in Sr Project Manager's office and she came in, and he introduced me to her as essentially the "data manager" for the project. Not the Jr Engineer who's helping with the work plan and will be involved with design implementation in the future. Nope, I'm data manager. And keep in mind I've had my PE for 2 years. Whoopie freaking do.

      These little disses really don't make me want to perform.

      So, about 6 months ago we hired this guy who does pipeline permitting. He likes to drink beer after work. So do I. Gee, seems like we could be *gasp* buddies. What a novel concept! We both like to diss our company and complain about how bass-akwards everything is here. On multiple occasions, he's attempted to persuade me to switch from my remediation division to his pipeline division. I've always been hesitant, because, well, I have no idea what they do. And "permitting" scares me. I did wastewater permitting a few jobs ago and HATED it. Too much reading, too many regulations to pilfer through, not much creative thought. I like remediation work - when I'M DOING IT (which I'm really not lately). But life in my division is pretty miserable for me and I'm at the point where either I should a)find a new job doing remediation work or b)switch to the pipeline division. I haven't had the best of luck in the job hunt so I think I'll try pipeline for a bit. They have a "role" for me - going to a major oil company for their every-other-week status meetings and basically take notes and produce meeting minutes. Sounds a bit too "administrative" for me, but the advantage is a)face time with some important people and b)there is potential to learn a LOT about how these projects are run and what the industry is like.

      So, we go to my division manager to pitch this "role" to him. And he's all shades of unhappy. "what about Erin's field work schedule?" ("the hell? I've been in the field 5 TIMES in 1.5 years") "what about Erin's role in this project?" (yeah, the one I was introduced as 'data manager') It did not go over well, which is ironic since I asked him about the potential about doing some pipeline work 2 months ago, and he was amenable to that proposition. This makes me want to jump to the pipeline group EVEN MORE because this guy apparently cannot think past a few weeks OR consider that I may want to branch out more. So, there may be a hostile jumping ship from one division to another in the next few months, which should be entertaining. I just hope I like what they do, or else I could be in a world of more unhappiness, at which point, I think I may just want to hide under a rock and make jewelry for the rest of my life....

      Monday, December 05, 2005

      Which Lost Character are You?

      Yeah, another non-post. Sorry. Will recap my Colo trip with photos soon. I spent all weekend on re-vamping my jewelry website (and will be publishing it soon on my very own domain name! woo!), so I'm a bit tired of photoshop right now.

      And yes, I'm 90% over my cold. For those of you that care ;)

      But for now...

      You scored 27% kindness, 65% courage, 36% seedy past, and 41% secretiveness!

      "Stay away from my son. And me."

      You are Michael. You are strong, brave, and a little paranoid. You're not the most social person on the island, but you don't mind. As long as you can take care of Walt, you should be right as rain. You're open about your past and you don't see much of a need to keep many secrets from others. Just try branching out once in a while - who knows, maybe you'll actually make a friend or two.

      Your polar opposite IS: Hurley. You are similar to: Jin and Sayid.

      Link: The Which Lost Character Are You Test written by ack_attack on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test

      Tuesday, November 29, 2005


      I'd like to personally thank the evil person on my flight for giving me their cold*. Which is the reason why I haven't updated the blog since I got back from Thanksgiving week. And I have some very pretty pictures from my day of skiing to post too, but I fall asleep when I get home after work.

      *And yes, I'm taking as much Airborne and Zycam as I can. And its not helping much.

      Monday, November 14, 2005

      Being a grown up makes my head spin, and its not because I'm drunk

      Which may be part of the problem.

      When did I grow up? I know that I really don't want to be a grown up, that's for sure. Except for the having money and independence part, I'll keep that.

      Will and I have decided to do some major home improvement. New siding and windows. Because our windows are single paned aluminum and were cheap ass shit back in 1983, which with inflation, makes them well, cheaper than cheap ass shit. And our siding is currently pressboard which has a nasty habit of rotting and flaking off paint. Nice qualities in a house, let me tell you. So, we've signed our lives away for the same value that my college loans were. Which is more valuable? Siding that you'll never have to paint or replace and *never* having to hear the neighbors kid crying from inside your house ...... or a 4 year engineering degree. Too close to call. And don't even get me started on the home owner association "approval" committee. The guy didn't like the products that we are getting for kind-of random reasons (and reasons that don't apply, as we have warantees for issues like what he was talking about) - although he did say he'd approve our request, b/c there's nothing in the covenant preventing it. All we want is siding and windows. Siding in blue (current color) and white windows. Its not like we're painting the house purple with pentagram accents or anything. But the disparaging comments from the home owner group made me hyperventilate and my head swirl around and completely prevented me from making a decision and being able to stick with it for more than 10 minutes. Then you add in Will, and it wasn't fun at all. Which is why I need a drink.

      See what I mean about growing up? You never had to worry about this crap when you were care free and younger. My worries were more like "which flavor lip gloss should I wear on my date tonight? Grape or rasbperry?" or "which body part do I want to get pierced this month?" Now my decisions are so boring. Although I do get to choose which kind of mixed drink I can make myself from my nicely stocked bar - which is a nice perk for being older. I'll admit that much.

      Monday, November 07, 2005

      Drinking with the Geo-Wizards

      The Society of Exploration Geophysicists is in town this week. Hubby is one of 'em - but he calls himself and his like-minded peers Geo-Wizards (to be cute/funny). Every year, I hear stories about convention - the parties, the freebies, the drunk escapades. Only I never get to play, b/c I'm a) not a geo-wizard and b) the convention is usually out of town and I'm not invited. But this year is different, this time I get to play. Sounded like a good thing. I had fun, but as usual, I'm scarred for life by my husband's dirty-old-men coworkers.

      We go to the ice breaker at the convention center. Get free food and booze. Cool. Stand around a lot and schmooze with people I don't know. And I wore 3" heels b/c the other shoes I was going to wear were open toed, and well, my feet are in extreme need of a pedicure, and I was worried what people would think about my poor toes. Seriously, going 3 months without a pedicure and having chipped purple polish on your toes is probably a crime punishable by hanging in Texas. Thus, the closed toe, 3" heels. After being at the place and seeing the type of people who attend these things, next time, I'll opt for the comfy shoes.

      So, ice breaker is done at 8. We're being kicked out. Word on the street is that my friend's company is having a party a few blocks away. Free food and booze again! Yay! So, we all walk over there (yes, my feet were killing me. no, I didn't take them off for the walk), get inside and get a huge table in the back for our group.

      Group consisted of Will's co-workers, who are mostly normal and very nice people who happen to drink a lot (except for the 2 dirty-old-men who are VERY drunk) and other friends and friends of friends.

      Throughout the night, dirty-old-man co-worker #1 is repeatedly referring to me (in his drunken british accent) as a dahhhhling girrrl. I kept telling him that he just didn't know me well enough to know any better. So, I ended up sitting next to him for a bit. And I swear he was staring at my chest. So, I look down to make sure my shirt is in place and my bra isn't exposed, and he catches me and asks me very slurrily "were you looking at your boobs? you were looking at your boobs, I saw you!" Yeah, thanks for that buddy. Please go away now.

      Then there's the drunken cowoker #2 who is nice when he's sober and turns into a dirty-old man when he's drunk. He's not so much dirty as he is cheeky. And likes to arm wrestle everyone. Its a running joke from one night a year ago that he's kissed me on the lips not once, but twice. Same trick, and I fell for it. So, I was relaying this story to someone else at the table last night. Then later on, Cheeky kissed me again. How I can fall for this repeatedly is beyond me. And why me? Really. At least the whole table got a good laugh out of the deal.

      So, its then 11:30. My friend (hosting the party) is drunk, which, yay! The girl has 2 kids under the age of three. She deserves a good buzz once in a while. Its time to leave, which is a good thing for all involved. We're standing outside the restaurant trying to figure out our game plan (because simply walking back to our cars is just too complicated). Then a homeless dude shows up and Cheeky starts chatting with him. The rest of us stroll down the block, hoping Cheeky will see us and follow. Nope. None of the guys are willing to get Cheeky away from homeless dude so we can leave. So, its up to me. In my 3" heels, I have to grab Cheeky (who was having a very detailed conversation with the guy and exchanging email addresses or something, I really am not sure) and drag him away. Me. I laughed at the irony. But I wanted to leave and this was the most direct way about it. Then we all walked arm in arm to our cars. Hubby and I drove home. I got home and scrubbed all of Cheeky's cooties off of me and went to sleep.

      Makes you want to play with geo-wizards doesn't it? Yeeahhh, me too.* Hey, at least the wine was free!

      *Actually, they are fun people. I just need to remember to watch out for Cheeky and his drunken attacks.

      Friday, November 04, 2005

      Which Sci-Fi Character are You?

      Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?


      A reclusive seer shrouded in riddles, you reveal very little and only what is deemed congruent with your plans.

      Understanding is a three edged sword. Your side, their side, and the truth.

      Kosh is a character in the Babylon 5 universe.

      Wednesday, October 26, 2005

      Photos from the Swamp

      I was working in Southern Louisiana, supervising the clearing of these 55-yr old drilling mud pits. It was really, really boring. Mainly because the work consisted of watching some dude on a trackhoe move muck around. But I managed to get some pretty cool pictures...

      First off... here's an example of where I was working. Isn't it lovely?

      Sunrise and fog over rice fields on the way to work one morning:

      Big ass banana spider:

      Red Fern

      Maple leaves (never mind the fact that we kinda ran this tree over and it will be dead in a week or so...)

      Swamp plants (moss, trees, and palmettos)

      And my favorite - sunrise on Black Bayou

      Tuesday, October 25, 2005

      After Dinner Conversation

      I'm in southern Louisiana for work this week - staying in a bed and breakfast b/c most hotels in the area are booked with hurricane relief people. Tonight, the host family and their friends are sitting by the fire outside on the back patio, drinking beers, and talking. Somehow, the conversation turned to my generation, particularly people like me who are educated and not procreating. You know, because that's our function in life, and its a sin not to have 10 babies, and blah blah blah. Host's friend starts spouting a conversation that went mostly like this:

      My daughter only has 2 kids and doesn't want any more. I keep telling her that *those* people (you know, the poor uneducated people) are having 5 kids, and the sum of the parents and kids will OUT VOTE you and your family.

      First of all - how is voting a good argument to convice your daughter to have MORE kids? Granted, the logic kinda makes sense, but the argument is flawed. Then she spurts out this gem:
      And what about the 3.5 million [give or take] BABIES they've killed? (We're wondering, what babies?) You know, all those babies that have been MURDERED by abortion.

      Her point was that most white, educated people with money get abortions, whereas poorer non-white people do not get abortions, and therefore in 30 years she will be in the minority. Granted, she's southern and 65, but damn.

      And this is about the point where I decide its best to head inside the house and drink my beer by myself.

      Tuesday, October 18, 2005

      Jello Flavors revisited

      I have this handy dandy thing on my blog called sitemeter. It tracks who visits my blog, where they're from, how long they stay, and the referring website from whence they came.

      In the past two days, I have had three (3!!) different visitors (Idaho, New Zealand, Arizona) who located me b/c my blog came up on a search for Jello. Who are you and WHY are you doing an internet search on jello flavors? Is this a research project? You want to find out the latest and greatest in jello taste trends? Want to locate a hard-to-find flavor for your next jello shot party? (btw, if any of you people can find me some Barbie flavored jello - don't ask - let me know ASAP b/c I need it for an upcoming jello shot party).

      This little search trend has just made me chuckle today - and for that I thank you. Keep the jello searches alive!

      Monday, October 17, 2005

      Anniversary Camping Trip

      Will and I have kinda turned our anniversary into an excuse to go camping. Not exactly the most romantic thing to do, but we like to camp and generally have fun doing so. Nothing exciting to report from this trip. Neighboring campers were actually good (and quiet), campsite was nice, and the racoon managed to break into our cooler (which was latched) the last night and stole what was left of our anniversary cake. And for that, I hope he got really, horribly sick. We also went on a really nice hike Sunday and managed to get enveloped in literally a cloud of monarch butterflies. Which was the coolest feeling. Until I heard buzzing right next to me (and within the cloud) and realized I was standing right next to a bees nest. So, I then admired the monarchs from a distance and snapped a bunch of photos.

      Here's Will thinking he's clever and smoking a cigar. He's doing this b/c he knows he can get away with it here.
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      Our campsite (and me drinking a beer)
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      Sunset Saturday Night
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      View from the top of Twin Peak (yeah, its really a hill, but I guess for Texas its a "peak")
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      Classic Texas shot. Rusty barbed wire fence and greenery.
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      Pretty plants where we stopped for lunch
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      Harvest moon over our tent
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      Wednesday, October 12, 2005


      I don't know who is responsible for this at my old college, but I think they're frigging awesome! This was a postcard that the Admissions people gave us to hand out at high school recruting fairs. Nerds! In 1978 playing basketball! I *love* it!

      Sunday, October 09, 2005

      Why can't he just go away?

      My dad and I do not get along. Well, in his head, he thinks that he is a great father and I'm the messed up one for not wanting a relationship with him. In reality, he was very emotionally abusive to me - to the point where I became physically ill. I on more than one occasion tried to explain to him what he was doing to me - and he just turned what I said around on me and said it was examples of how selfish and horrible I was. I don't know. Being on pain killers when you're 15 b/c you're so stressed out over what your dad does to you that you can't move your neck or back really isn't what I would call healthy. Long story short, he is a horrible, evil example of a human being, took custody of my younger brother and has completely screwed him up, and I basically booted him out of my life shortly after my 16th birthday. Because if I didn't do that, I really don't think I'd be alive or sane at this point.

      Despite the fact that he's evil, karma has yet to recoginze this. Which sucks in ways well beyond what words can express. It can really only be expressed in horrible, exhausting sobs and tears that are specially reserved for him and the way he torments me.

      Normally, I go on about my life never even thinking of him. Which is great, all things considered. But he has this nasty habit of doing something every 1.5 years (give or take a few months) that makes him pop up again on my radar, which results in a minimum of 2 days to about a week of depression and tears.

      In the past, his re-appearance in my life has been by him sending me letters that he's been writing over time and then he'll mail them to me in hopes he'll guilt me into caring, hiring a P.I. to get my personal information and then him calling me "to see how I am" (that was a short conversation), to him sending me a letter about how great his life is and attaching a short story he'd written about a camping trip we took when I was 8 (which was so full of lies that it made me question my childhood and memories). Then this past Friday, my mom mailed me a news article about him The man formerly known as my father has donated the largest contribution ever to his alma matter - so much in fact that they've now named a branch of the university after him.

      I've known about him having money for a while (he made a smaller contribution about 5 years ago). I know he "discovered" some large natural gas supply and is now worth way more money than someone that evil should ever see. I know that he keeps my brother at arms length and on the payroll (with the agreement that he won't appear on his doorstep - b/c what would his rich neighbors think?). And I know that what pisses him off more than anything is that his responsible and upstanding daughter - who would be great for press releases such as for this University donation - will have nothing to do with him. Its his desire to "look good" to his following and public that drives him to reappear in my life.

      So, I read through this newspaper clipping. And like and idiot I had to go online and read the release from the University. There's video interviews, photos, all sorts of crap. And just seeing pictures of him sent me into sobbing hysterics in about 5 minutes. When this happens, I always start out saying to myself "no problem, this is routine, you can handle it." But then I settle into this haze of memories of my past, think about how horrible he was, and how much different my life could be now if only I made one simple phone call. If I called him, I'd never have a financial worry again. Ever. However, the strings that would be attached to that money would strangle and kill me. But I can't help thinking of the "what ifs". Especially when I'm so sick of my job - so tired of working. But I must be strong and not give in to what's "easy".

      I just think over how when I was younger, he'd drive us home from our court-ordered every-other-weekend visit, and he'd sit and write out his child support check ($500/month for 2 kids - when he owned his own oil exploration company). The whole time he'd be writing this check, he'd bitch about how much he resented having to make out this check every month and how horrible my mom was. Then he'd hand ME the check and then it was my job to hand it to my mother. And there was the time when I had my wisdom teeth removed and he refused to pay for his share of the surgery. But instead he went to Hawaii on vacation and was kind enough to send me a postcard with a stick figure drawn on it - the stick figure was meant to be me and it was his way of expressing how he wish I could be on vacation with him instead of RECOVERING FROM SURGERY. And how after he got custody of my brother, he went on an african safari, and instead of taking my brother with, or paying someone to care for him, he put him in basically a juvanile detenion hall. There's tons of examples where he had money and for whatever sick reason, he wouldn't provide for his kids.

      But now, he is more than willing to help out who knows how many people, as long as he gets the publicity and his name on the door.

      I guess all I can hope for is that someday karma will kick in. I'm hoping that this happens sooner than later, because it seems that every time he reappears on my radar, it gets harder and harder for me to stand my ground. I get tired of the waves of grief and my husband's inability to even remotely have a clue of what to say to make me feel better. I get tired of the battle of ethics going on in my head. I get tired of feeling like I have to do the right thing all the time while others involved get all the benefits. And I get tired of the fact that this cycle will continue every 1.5 years until he finally decides to go away for good.

      All in all, I'm just tired.

      itunes tag

      Thanks KT for the tag! I don't subscribe to itunes (I instead LOVE XM radio), but I can play along.....

      THE RULES: List five songs that you are currently loving. It doesn't matter what genre they are from, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying right now. Post these instructions, the artists, and the songs in your blog, then 'tag' six other bloggers/friends to see what they're listening to.

      1. Franz Ferdinand - Do you want to
      2. The Killers - Things that I have done
      3. The Killers - Mr. Brightside
      4. Garbage - Metal Heart
      5. Green Day - Jesus of Suburbia

      I tag (and its not going to be six bloggers, b/c well, I don't know all that many bloggers that haven't already been tagged by this):

      Just Ask Jess

      Sunday, October 02, 2005

      I give up

      On a lot of things, really.

      1) Having my own cool custom logo for this blog. It didn't work. I have no idea how to make it work. I've reverted back to a blogger format..... but at least it works.

      2)Work has been really, really, really crappy. At the risk of blogging about work here, I'm just really unhappy. I've been there just over a year - and have never really fit in or felt comfortable/needed/respected. I came in as a mid-manager and they didn't have any substantial projects to give me. The majority of what I've ended up with are projects where former co-workers did a crap job, blew the budget, and the project still needs to get finished. And its never been - "Hey, do what you need to do (even if you go further over) and get this done." Its been more like "Why is this even more over budget and what are you doing to minimizing charges?" When you have complete idiots who screwed the projects up - its really hard to be able to predict the level of effort that needs to be done to complete it. In several cases, I've had to start over from scratch. Anyways, I'm not working on that many projects that are billable, I just got my 2nd negative review (out of 3 in the past year). And my boss refused to provide specific examples of why I deserved a negative review. And I really don't understand the negative points, as I thought I've been doing a good job. Whatever. Anyways, this just means that its time to give up and move on. Hopefully.

      Monday, September 26, 2005

      The long road home

      We're packing up the truck and the kitties and driving through (please help me) KANSAS tomorrow. Oh how I hate Kansas. Then down through Oklahoma to Texas. Lovely. Hopefully it will take us 16 hours. We are going this route b/c its all interstate, so we can cruise (brainlessly) at 75 mph the entire time. And only have corn fields to watch for entertainment instead of cool stuff like mountains and topography. 1,142 miles. And who knows how many chiropractor visits afterwards to repair all the damage sitting in a truck has done this week.

      Saturday, September 24, 2005

      Evacuating really, really, REALLY sucks

      Ok, I'm retyping this beginning portion for the THIRD TIME because my mom has a crappy Imac, and I keep thinking its my PC, and my posts keep getting deleted. I HATE MACS!!!

      Ok, so anyways, my brain is fried (this computer isn't helping things) - but I will try to chronicle my really, horrible mis-adventure to the best I can. Just keep in mind that my brain is fried, so if I don't make sense, then JUST DEAL. Ok?

      Rita is upgraded to a Cat 5 and is not 350 miles across. We decide to evacuate to Denver - which is a bit extreme, but there really weren't any hotels available in other cities, and I was fully expecting my house to be un-livable ala Katrina, so I wanted a place to stay and hide out for as long as I needed to. Work was being a bunch of bastards. My boss was all pissy at us b/c none of us were working. And he said that we were welcome to evacuate, but if we did, any time spent away from work would have to be billed as our vacation time. Compassionate, huh? So, my day at work was spent getting personal affairs in order, and securing my office for the storm.

      I departed work at 5 PM and on the drive home, I lost it. Like near hysteria crying lost it. It was just the first time all week where I've had a moment to let my brain relax and think about what could happen. It wasn't pretty.

      So, I get home, Will is taking a NAP. I was pissed. He had NO CLUE about how much work needed to be done or how serious this all was. So, I sent him to get gasoline while I start packing and securing the house. And let me tell you - packing up the house was surreal, not to mention figuring out what you could take with you. I basically packed up all our files, photographs, computer hard drive, a weeks worth of clothes, kitty stuff, some jewelry - and THAT'S IT. Which is crazy, but its all I could fit. Then came securing the house. Taking down all pictures on the walls, picking everything up from the floor in case of flooding, cleaning out the fridge and freezer. Yes, we have no food in our house that was perishable. Which is horrible. I kept all the nice frozen meats and several condiments (plus some food we could eat along the way) to take with us in coolers - and everything else went in the dumpster. About 8 kitchen sized bags of food - all trashed. But it was better to toss food then to ruin a refridgerator.

      Will came back after a little over an hour. Keep in mind, I sent him out for gas ~6 PM. He said he waited in line for over an hour for gas, due to the huge lines. But good news, there were cops present to keep order. Craziness.

      So, at about 11 PM the truck is packed and we watch a little tv before going to bed.

      Wake-up is at 2:30 AM so we can hit the road at 3. We each had a hard time sleeping and got a whopping 2 hours of sleep each. We pack everything up (including kitties - who were wigged out), turned the electricity off at the breaker, and said good bye to our house.

      Now as if that wasn't bad enough - it gets way worse. Traffic is crazy. At 3 AM. We take my back route to get around Katy to hit I-10 Westbound. We get to the road which connects to I-10 at approximately 3:20 AM. We travel approximately 2 miles over the next 3.5 HOURS. The sun is starting to come up. Lots of people are out of their cars, walking dogs, wandering around, wondering what the hell is going on. We can see I-10 from where we are. There have also been several police cars and light-duty fire trucks that have driven past us. At 7:30, we decide to bail and find another way to get to I-10. We turn on the local radio, discover that all routes out of the city are parking lots and most gas stations are out of gas. We find a road north, drive over I-10 and its a sea of brake lights. We decide to try to get out of town on little country highways rather than the interstate. So, we find FM 529. There's tons of cars, but its moving - VERY slowly, but hey, compared to the last road we were on, even slow movement is still movement. Its basically stop and go the whole time. I think we finally crossed the Harris County line at 10:30 (or so - my timeline is fuzzy). Around noon, we're still on this road. We've only managed to drive 20 or 30 miles - in 8 hours. Gas is 3/4 full, so we're ok, but my bladder is getting full and I'm worried about the kitties needing food and water. This is basically where chaos begins. FM529 is a little 2 lane country road. Masses of people pull out of line and beginning driving in the opposite lane, pulling to the side when a car wishes to drive east. At first, I thought these people were reckelss idiots. Then, overcome with frustration (who wouldn't after going 5 mph for HOURS) decided to jump into the eastbound lane as well. For the most part this was going ok - I wasn't putting us in danger. Then I end up behind these 2 cars - one with Texas plates, the other with Louisiana plates. Tx car is very abruptly swerving in and out of traffic, cutting off the LA car frequently - to the point of almost hitting her. Think bumper car movements - that's what was going on here. Then the LA car is in front - stops her car (keep in mind we're in the eastbound lane going west) and starts yelling at the TX car. Now, I can't really blame her. Then the TX driver (ghetto-looking black woman) gets out of her car and pulls out (what I swear was) a knife. They get in a screaming match. I'm right behind them with no way to escape going please don't involve me, please! And I'm in disbelief that I'm even in this situation. Finally, everyone surrounding them starts harassing the ladies, and they get back in their cars. About an hour later - we're still driving in the opposite lane - only traffic isn't moving AT ALL. In fact, I notice more and more cars headed eastward - and that these cars are full of stuff, looking like they're evacuating as well. Then it hits me. The county roads are all jammed up and NO ONE is going anywhere, and these cars have decided to turn around and try other routes. I'm in utter disbelief pretty much the entire morning. To have to leave your house, hoping you'll return to see it ok - then to spend 10 hours traveling hardly any miles, only to have to turn around. The thought at this point did occur to me to just head back to the house, but the even scarier thought of a Cat 4 or 5 hitting us made me realize that we had to get out of town. We did turn around on the road, catch another county road south to 1-10, because at this point, TXDOT had opened up all lanes of I-10 going westbound. We stopped in this small town for a gas/bathroom break (we were on a half tank). None of the stations had gas. What they did have was lines of at least 20 cars waiting for a fuel tanker to come in and resupply them. Even the bathroom line was insane. So, we decided to keep pushing to I-10 for gas because there were big truck stops along the way and our odds were greater along that corridor. So, we get to I-10 and what do you know, no traffic. People are crusing right along. We jump on, get in the normally east-bound lanes, and bam, 50 mph. There's cars, but we're all moving. At 3 PM we stop in Luling for gas - 12 hr into our trip. We had travelled something like 120 or 150 miles. In 12 HOURS. This truck stop was very clean and very helpful. Bathroom was clean and uncrowded. I got some bottles of water and come Coke Icees for the road.

      At this point, Will and I had to come up with a plan. Our original plan was to drive straight to Denver. Theoretically, its 17 hours, if you drive to Dallas. Well, we had to drive to San Antonio (the road to Dallas was much worse than where we were). So, we were not only well out of our way, but WELL behind schedule. We decide to get to San Antonio and call for hotels, then most likely take county highways north to wherever.

      At 5 PM we arrive in San Antonio after 14 hrs on the road. Keep in mind that it normally takes 3 hours to get to S.A. We call hotels, there's nothing. We manage to get a hotel in Abiline, TX, which is on our way to Denver, so that's the plan. Once we got past San Antonio, the roads lightened up and driving was actually pleasant. We got on some random US highway and drove through the Hill Country, slowing down for these small little towns. Finally got a Abiline at 9 PM. Total mileage - 500. Total time, 16 hours.

      We're just spent and exausted. Checked into out hotel (Courtyard) - which as it turns out did not take pets. So then we had to perform "operation smuggle kitties". And the hotel luggage dolly thingy was AWOL. so we had to carry everything up the stairs.... Anways, we got settled, ate dinner (leftover pasta salad I brought from the house) and crashed for the night.

      The local news was interesting - apparently all the hotels were booked with evacuees, and they already had on Red Cross shelter that was full. Craziness.

      I'd also like to add that the kitties were very strangely quiet the entire way. I didn't even have to drug them. These are the same cats which can't even go the 15 min drive to the vet w/out yowling the entire time. Very strange. We kept checking on them too - to make sure they were alive, and they were fine. Which was good for us, even if it was very strange. But it just added to the strangeness of the day.

      Woke up at 8:30. Packed. Found the hotel luggage dolly. Smuggled kitties back out of the hotel. Stopped for gas and then went to Starbucks for b'fast. Even though we're evacuees - we still have standards. ;) Hit the road at 10:30 and begin the trek to Denver. Roads are pretty much empty. Cross the Colorado border at about 5 PM. YAY! Then just more driving, driving, driving - until we reached my mom's house at 8:30.

      My mom was actually very sweet and she cleared out the basement for us and the kitties. She's allergic to cats, so I was pretty worried that she would freak out with them here. She even made us a bed down there so we could keep Ernie and Swift company. And then she even had dinner waiting for us. Nice mom.

      Well, we're still tired. Kitties (Swift in particular) are pretty freaked out. Swift is pretty scared of the noises from upstairs - floors creaking, footsteps. So she's pretty much hiding under the bed. She's eating and drinking water, so I'm not super worried. Mom's alreayd put Will to work doing chores. I'm not doing much, just trying to chill out. Thinking about swimming laps at the local pool later, and maybe even catching a Rockies game at Coors Field (even though I'm sure they'll lose).

      Caught a bit of Rita coverage. At this point - I feel pretty silly for driving all the way up here. Like I really over-reacted. But at the time, there was no way of knowing how this would end up and my objective was to go somewhere where I knew we would be taken care of.

      I'm sure we will have power at work on Monday, meaning those bastards will basically expect me to show up ASAP. Lovely. Not sure when we'll begin the big drive back - I'm very afraid of traffic being super crappy again.

      I'm not really believing the reports that 2.3 million ppl from the Gulf Coast evacuated. Houston itself has 4 million. I'm thinking the quoted 2.3 million is the popluation of the manditory evacation zones - and doesn't include people (like us) who evacuated volunatarily. Anyways, I'm pretty certain that they will not make I-10, etc. open to travel east or south only on the way back, so you'll have basically the same situation on the return trip. Which really isn't my idea of fun, as Thursday was really one of the most surreal and horrible days I've yet to experience - and I wasn't even one of the ones who were bad off.

      Anyways, I'm rambling at this point. So I'm thinking a nap is in order. Woo!

      Thanks for all your good thoughts and concerns :) I'll keep everyone posted about details for the drive back home.

      Wednesday, September 21, 2005

      We're evacuating

      As Hurricane Rita approaches Cat 5 strength - and is headed towards Houston, Will, the kitties and I are evacuating. To Denver. Because there are NO hotel rooms available in Dallas, Austin, or San Antonio due to Hurricane Katrina. So, I figure for what we'd spend on gas to a hotel, then hotel for an indefinite amount of time - we'd spend the same, if not less on gas driving to my mom's house. And then I can be comfy and see friends and maybe have some fun while my house is being battered.

      The scary thing for me is that I cannot plan. I'm a planner. I have a plan for everything. And with this storm - so much is unknown. All I can do is that me and my family is safe and just hope that our posessions and house will be ok. Which sucks so much, I can't even describe. I've been anxious and jittery all day long, and I am NEVER like this. I can't focus, either. Well, except on the hurricane and potential disaster.

      So, we'll be leaving tomorrow AM for our lovely drive with whatever we can pack and the two kitties (heavily tranqulized, of course). My mom has internet (even if its on a crappy IMac) so I should be able to respond to email.

      Wish us luck!

      Sunday, September 18, 2005


      I decided to update my header and colors with some custom stuff..... but either I did something wrong (most likely) or Blogger doesn't like what I've done. All I can say is that it looked fine in preview mode and it looks like ass once the changes are saved. Help is on the way....hopefully.

      Friday, September 16, 2005

      All I can say is wow....and thanks.

      Wow for people and their generosity. As some people know, Hurrican Katrina has affected me more than your average American, because I can put faces, names, and voices to the images of the destruction and the feeling of hopelessness. I've got my sister-in-law who lived in Mid-City and worked as a musician and played piano at Pat O'Briens. Then there are stories of acquaintances of mine that started coming out of the woodwork - people who knew of others in need who weren't staying at Red Cross shelters, and therefore, were not getting much needed assistance.

      Try to imagine a 3-generation family consisting of 7 people - one of which is wheelchair-bound. None of them have more than a high school education. They all are satl-of-the-earth people. Hard working, honest, but no savings to speak of. And they're crammed in a hotel room in Houston with no other family or friends able to help them out. And they want to leave the hotel and rent a two bedroom apartment, but can't even find the cash for a deposit on the apartment. Then there's clothes and food and medicine - all the basics that they left behind and don't have money to replenish.

      These are the kinds of people - the ones who are trying to rebuild their lives on their own - who need help the most. They're teetering on the edge of hell and are doing their best to try to pull their lives back in order and recover.

      I put a suggestion out to my family and friends that if anyone wanted to give me money, I would buy gift cards and distribute them to people like those described above who need help in more ways than words can describe.

      Total sum collected - $800.

      I am in absolute awe of how generous people are. THANK YOU so very much for helping me to help others in need.

      Today was like Christmas. Me handing out gift cards to people and then me recieving much more than I could imagine. Just the look on their faces as I handed them fairly large sums of gift card was amazing.

      Tuesday, September 13, 2005

      Distance Swim

      Today we did one of my favorite swim sets today.
      • 12 min swim for distance (600 yards)
      • 6 min swim for distance (300 yards)
      • 4 x 3 min swim for distance fast (150 yards)
      When I was younger, I used to *hate* swimming ladder sets, where you started at a low distance, and gradually built up. I hated distance swimming.

      Now that I'm older, I have an appreciation for distance swimming. Of course, as I'm older now, I realize that I'm really not good at sprinting, which conversely gives me an appreciation for more slow, methodical, paced distance training. It also helps that coach has tweaked my stroke to make things more relaxed. I try to make my arms feel very loose and relaxed during each stroke - this in turn keeps my arms from getting tired (and worse, injured). I think its this relaxed deal that makes me able to just swim for what feels like forever. Because I don't get tired. Sure, I'm not fast. But my pace is consistent and steady. I just love that feeling - being able to swim forever - its just very freeing, and it makes me feel like I'm actually *good* at something, to boot.

      Saturday, September 10, 2005

      Long time no blog

      Haven’t felt much like writing, with all the hurricane stuff going on. The past few weeks have been very surreal for me. I’ve got my SIL who evacuated NOLA – she and her boyfriend got out, but all her music gear was left behind. At work, we have many clients and job-sites in the affected areas, not to mention all the friends and family involved. Days have been spent pretty much doing nothing but being glued to various news websites, trying to get information of what was happening, all from the air-conditioned comfort of my office. Its been hard to try and be funny and sarcastic, with all that going on.

      Now things are settling down – or rather, the damage is done and we are all working on making new plans and plundering ahead with them. And getting used to that new hollow part in your heart, knowing that NOLA won’t be there for a long time.

      But, life does move on. I need to get back in the habit of writing things down for this blog. Its so hard to start again after this long break.

      Friday, August 26, 2005

      Remedial Spelling

      Why is it that people in Texas have the hardest time spelling my name? Its E-R-I-N. Four letters. Spelled the "normal" way. When I lived up north, I had few problems (past professors not reading for comprehension, and calling me Eric during roll call.) Since I've been here, I get creative spellings quite frequently. Most of the time from the staff at Starbucks. Its so bad that I say my name, then spell it for them right after, in hopes that they'll get it. They rarely do. In fact, this confuses them even more. I'm not sure why people have such issues with my name. Perhaps Hooked on Phonics is to blame? Or parents creatively spelling names? I dunno. Either way, it irks me. So, for your amusement, some examples:
      • Eric/k
      • Karen
      • Arin (today's SB mistake)
      • Erwin (happens more often than you'd think)
      • Aren
      • Aerin

      And my personal favorite - Darlene. No idea how one could derive Darlene from Erin.

      Wednesday, August 24, 2005

      Just said to me a few minutes ago...

      I was walking down the hall, clutching something in a plastic baggie in my hand. Ran into coworker. Conversation went like this:

      Coworker: Oh, you must be going out tonight!
      Me: ummmm, what makes you say that? (I'm not wearing anything closely resembling "going out" clothes)
      Coworker: Oh, well, you're holding toothpaste in your hand. I figured you were off to brush your teeth and then go out after work.
      Me: ummmm, no. (shakes head, walks away)

      SEE?!?! I AM a freak/idiot magnet. I am so lucky. And for the record, I was not holding toothpaste. Why I would wander around my office with toothpaste and a toothbrush is beyond me.

      Whole lotta nuttin'

      Work has slowed down for the time-being. Got back from a wonderful 4 day weekend in the Bay Area (which I still need to recap). Just kinda feeling blah and tired, no real reason why. Thought I'd post some random comments that have been popping in my head the past couple of days.

      Halloween Stores
      Those freaking Halloween costume stores are springing up already. Its August. I mean really, how much business could they get pre-October? And I'm sure that I'll be spying Christmas displays in stores shortly, which pisses me off even more.

      Wasabi Peas
      Ironically do not taste like peas. But do have that lovely back-of-the-throat/nose wasabi kick. Will thinks is hilarious that I will eat them - as I hate Peas. I blame my friend Jinni for introducing these little dried green crunchy snacks into my life.

      I am an freak magnet
      Really, I should get a t-shirt saying this. Freaks love me. I do not, however, love them. Unless they allow me to laugh openly at them and not get mad.

      High School
      The pool that I swim at is in a high school. Which in and of itself is bizarre to me. School started up last week. And we have to share the pool for the last 30 min of our practice with the co-ed water polo team. Today, there were some very hot (albeit young) guys. Is it wrong of me to be checking them out from behind my goggles?

      This whole getting ready for work in a HS locker room is also trippy. And a blow to my ego. These girls are tiny. And spoiled. And they look at me like I'm old. And my self image takes a hit, as I'm not skinny anymore or nearly as cute. But I just think to myself that, if those girls are anything like I was, they have no idea what will become of them in 10 yrs or so. And they'll probably be worse off. And that makes me chuckle to myself.

      I discovered this show early in the summer - when USA was re-playing the 1st season. 2nd season started in July. And its ending in a few weeks. Why so short? Grrr!

      Well, that's about all the random thoughts I have at the moment. And my lunch break is over and I'm out of wasabi peas. Guess that's a sign I should get back to being productive.

      Thursday, August 11, 2005

      You know you have too much work to do when...

      You are afraid to drink any fluids ALL day because that TWO minutes (yes, I'm fast) spent in the bathroom may just make you miss your deadline or not get everything done for the day.

      Sad, right?

      For the past several days I've been Excel Bitch. Tables on uranium. Tables on arsenic. Taking tables from Word, pasting into excel. Taking data from Access, putting it into Excel. And my least favorite, hand typing in data. Ugh. Seriously, I am about done with Excel. Which says a lot b/c I'm a huge geek and I love Excel.

      So, that's why I haven't posted a whole lot. Because I'm in Excel Hell.

      But, silver liming. I'm going to make damn sure that I'm able to leave early tomorrow so I can meet my friends in San Antonio, get plenty drunk, then spend Saturday floating down the river. Yay!

      Monday, August 08, 2005

      Mojitos for Everyone!

      One pint glass
      fresh mint (~12 leaves, give or take)
      1 lime, cut into wedges
      simple syrup*
      sparking water

      1) Take mint leaves, place in glass. Take 1 lime wedge, squeeze juice into glass. Put lime wedge aside for later.
      2) Smoosh mint leaves/lime juice with a wooden spoon until the mint is properly bruised, but not yet pulverized.
      3)Squeeze lime wedges into glass. Put wedges into glass (along with the one from Step 1). I use ~1/3 to 1/2 of a lime per drink.
      4) Add ~3 Tbsp of simple syrup.
      5) Add rum to taste. Less if you're a wuss, more if you drink like I do. Trust me, the rum is really not all that noticeable in this. Stir.
      6) Add ice. THEN sparkling water. Stir. The idea is that you want the mint/lime below the ice so you're not constantly straining crushed mint with your teeth. This is ok if you're drinking at home by yourself, not so great if you're with others and you get a big blob of mint in your teeth.
      7) Drink up and repeat until you've got a good buzz.

      *simple syrup = 2:1 sugar:water. Boil water in saucepan, add double the amount of sugar into boiling water, dissolve. Store in a seal-able container in the fridge. This is rumored to keep indefinitely. If you don't feel like making the simple syrup, you can just add plain sugar, but then you'll end up with a crunchy mojito.

      Monday, August 01, 2005

      Mexican Jello Flavors

      Just got back from the grocery store. The store I like going to has an entire aisle filled with strange foreign foods. From British to Asian to Brazillian to Mexican. I love wandering down this aisle and just looking at all the crazy stuff. The mexican jello flavors always stumps me, though. I mean, what's so appetizing about walnut, pistachio, or eggnog flavored gelatin? Although, I will admit, as scary as it sounds, the eggnog flavor smelled pretty damn good. But not good enough to actually buy. Maybe someday when I feel frisky and like I want to gamble 97 cents, I'll try it.

      Sunday, July 31, 2005

      Spread 'em!

      So, Will's little Subaru group organized this photo scavenger hunt. Each team pitched in $20. Top 4 finishers won $ back. There was a list of ~60 items that we had to bring back or photograph, each with varying points associated with. We had from 8 PM to midnight to complete this.

      I think we were pretty efficient and had a good plan. Well, I had a good plan. Will played along. And I drove around the downtown areas. Much easier than him missing turns and us fighting. Lol.

      Most of this involved humiliating Will. Which is always amusing for me.

      Some highlights:
      *Pic of Will in a fountain downtown (except then he had wet *Teva feet" and couldn't run very fast)
      *Pic of Will on balcony (this bar I go to - I made Will run up there)
      *Pic of Will on the light rail train (he jumped on, I snapped the pic, he jumped off)
      *Pic of Subaru (Will's car) in front of Minute Maid park, Toyota Center (Rockets b'ball), and Reliant Stadium
      *Pic of Will in a sombrero at a specific restaurant
      *Pic of Will with a fish tank and bringing back chopsticks (ran into a sushi place, snapped a pic - which confused the staff and ppl eating there, grabbed some 'sticks and headed out the door)
      *Pic inside this room at this one bar I used to frequent. Except there was an "engagement party" who had reserved the room. We barged in anyways, got our pic, and wished the couple congratulations on our way out.
      *Job application (not from a restaurant). I tried 4 gas stations and NONE of them had paper applications, but REALLY wanted to know when I'd be back so they would have it for me. Ended up at CVS.
      *Pic in front of a $80,000 car. Stopped at a mercedes dealership - they had some $97,000 porche out front. Bonus points for being in the car and driving it, but it was too late. And the car was locked (I tried the handle...)
      * business cards from a tatto place and a bail bonds man
      * 1959-1970 penny (we dug thru my wallet while we were stuck in traffic)
      *hotel soap or shampoo. I had to get buzzed in by the front desk guy to get in the hotel. Then I asked for soap. He handed it to me, I walked out. Hee.
      *happy meal toy
      *candy from a restaurant with the restaraunt's name on it. This was a bit tricky, as we had to think of where to go. We called Melting Pot at 11:05 - a guy did pick up, but they were closed. He confirmed that they had the candies that we needed and left them on a window ledge by the front door. Nice!
      * Pic of Suby on dirt road. We parked on the construction road in front of my office.

      And my FAVORITE. Which is awesome. 100 points for partner in hand cuffs. 100 points for partner with a cop. 100 points for partner bent over squad car, as pictured above.

      Will is *such* a good sport. As was the cop. We were one of the few teams who met a cop that would do this for us. And yes, the cop did place AND lock the cuffs on him. Very trusting on all our parts....

      Some of the things we didn't get:
      * Pic in a fireman helmet - bonus points for full gear on team-mate
      * Pic of airplane on the ground
      * Pic of dog in Suby (we don't know anyone with a dog)
      * Pic on ferris wheel (I tried, but it was a PITA and we scrapped it)

      Sadly, we didn't even place. Oh well, we had fun and I got a *really* good pic of Will on the squad car!

      Tuesday, July 26, 2005

      Update on Strip Club Parking Lot Activities

      An update for my previous post....

      I've been meaning give an update about the bbq'ing and other assorted activities at the strip club parking lot at 5 am. Mysteriously, no more activities have been observed. Coincidentally at about the time I blogged about them. Hmmmm. Behold, the power of the blog.

      Now watch - tomorrow morning, they'll be back. Just to prove me wrong.

      Frank Black

      A Frank Black song was on XM Ethel on my way from swim practice to work this morning. Any Frank Black song instantly zaps be back to June 1993.

      A few months earlier, we got this new guy at school - Adam. He was quiet, didn't talk to anyone. I prefer to think he was shy. I thought he was too cool for words. Not handsome, but good looking. Vans, funky t-shirts, sideburns. He was cool because he wasn't trying to be cool, you know? Just that classic Gen X/Alternative indifference-independence.

      So, I noticed him. Decided he'd make a good challenge. I asked him out. Well, I asked him to a movie, the details of "friend or date" didn't come up at that moment.

      We hung out all that spring and into the summer. Mostly as friends. Mostly. See, he came to Littleton from Phoenix. And had a long-term-girlfriend (as in years....) who still lived there. And silly me was convinced that I could convince him that *I* was much better for him to be dating. What the hell was I thinking?

      Anyways, he took me to see Frank Black at the Gothic in Denver. We managed to score front row, which really consisted of standing (it was standing room only) and being squished into these metal bars guarding the stage by screaming fans (fun, right?). Reverend Horton Heat opened. It was a great night.

      So, somewhere along the way of us hanging out during those months, we kissed. A wonderful kiss under the elm tree at night in my backyard. I was feeling victorious. I had suceeded in winning him over. He was talking about breaking up with his girlfriend in Phoenix. Yes!

      Then, for whatever reason, he went back to Phoenix for 6 weeks. And predictably, they got back together (or continued to be together?) Then, for the rest of the summer and a few weeks of the school year, she stayed in Littleton with him. And me being the stupid girl that I was, I called him WAY too much for the first part of the summer that he was home. Bad form. I finally came to my senses and gave up and hung out with several other guys that summer.

      Then school started and it was just awkward between Adam and I. I'm sure my incessant phone calls during a 2 week time-frame caused tension btwn him and his girlfriend. And my starring at her when he took her to school functions (she had her bellybutton pierced, which was a BIG deal in 1993). We signed up for a class together for the semester - back in May. So now we were stuck in this class, not really knowing anyone else in there. Poor guy. I did explain to him that yes, I was well, obsessive for a bit of the summer, but I'd accepted the fact of Phoenix-girl being around, and had moved on. He'd never really believed me. And I think I treated him a bit too much as an enigma after that for us to truly be "friends" in a casual and laid-back hang-out sense of the word. Which is sad, b/c he was a cool guy. So cool, that he's one of the few ppl from back then that I think about and wonder what they're up to. But I messed that up and he went back to Phoenix for college with Phoenix-girl and I'm sure they're married and all that crap by now.

      But we'll always have Frank Black - and for that Adam, thanks.

      Friday, July 22, 2005

      The itsy bitsy spider

      Decided to live inside my video cassette which contains my Amazing Race (TAR) application! You just know he's going to go squish when the tape is played.... Do spiders affect the quality of video when they're squished?? I seriously almost re-did our tape due to the spider factor...

      This whole TAR application process has been much more stressful than it should be. Which makes me wonder if we (my hubby and I) should even be applying for the show. If we are fighting over the application process - what makes us think racing would be better?

      Making the video has been nothing but a painfull process. We had to borrow our friend's video camera. Have had it in our possession for well over a month. I had all these cool ideas for our video - a montage of all the cool stuff we do. Will racing, me swimming, us biking on trails, maybe some footage from our skydiving video. Did we manage to actually do any of this on tape? No.

      Our first attempt at making the video was the day before the 4th of July at Brazos Bend. Then I got the beginning of heat stroke (ok, exaggeration, but still - it was HOT) and didn't feel like talking into a camera.

      Then the video came along with me to my swim meet. I really don't want ppl seeing me swim, so I had him record my races so I could evaluate my stroke - and not to use them for the application.

      So, then its the week before the damn thing is due. All Will can come up with is to sit on the couch and explain why we'd be good on TAR. Why, how original. I come up with the concept of driving and taping eachother. You know, like a preview of what they can expect to see on the show, since so much time is spent in cars with a camera in your face. Pretty lame idea, but it was the best I could come up with, given our time and geographic constraints. Once I got Will to quit using the voice from the Seinfeld episode where he went "Heeeellllloooo!" and talk un-cheeseball-ish, it was ok. Some funny comments, good banter, race strategy. About 30 min of video.

      We get back home to edit it down to 3 minutes. A few revelations:
      1) I do not like my profile. At all.
      2) I look fat.
      3) I talk really, really, frigging s-l-o-w. Like crazy slow.

      I had no idea I talked so slow! I think fast. I type fast. Why do I talk so slow???

      So, editing this thing into 3 minutes, while retaining content, was NOT FUN. I hope what we ended up with was ok. Discussion on how we can both drive standard. Why we'd be good for the show. And discussion about what would break our "rules" for the game, what the rules were, and alliances.

      Then we ran out of time and the tape merely ends. No finale or closing message. Just static.

      Oh well. Like I said, given time constraints (and the fact that this was all done during the week after work) its the best we can do.

      Then there's the photos and copying of our passports. Misery. Took me 3 hours to print 3 pics. Because we don't own any recent actual photos from film and I had to go all over town playing with various digital picture producing machines, buy inket printer paper, and then had to print them off the crappy laser printer at work. And when I was dashing to and fro from my desk to the printer (on opposite sides of the office), someone decided (unbenownst to me) to put my folder of photo paper (which was in a neat stack on the table by the printer) in the supply closet. So, I came running back from my computer to load paper into the printer - and everything was GONE. Just gone. This sucked b/c A) I needed the printer paper and b) our passports were in the folder WITH paper. I lost my mind for about 10 minutes until I found it. No idea who the hell did that, but I'd like to reclaim those 10 minutes back.

      So yeah, wish us luck with the application. Because it sure as hell hasn't been easy so far!

      Friday, July 15, 2005

      Flippers Anyone?

      So, we're at Smith and Woolensky's for Thursday-night-martini's. About 8 or 9 PM (I lost track...) we get hungry. But being girls, we can't decide where to go - until on of us is RAVENOUSLY hungry. We spy PF Changs across the street, and hop into my truck, as its the closest, and its raining and we don't want to get wet. Well, I keep my swim gear in my truck at all times (b/c I swim up to 4 times a week - its just easier to keep it all in there.) K sees my flippers and flips out (how punny of me). Immediately puts them on. Fortunately, I had my camera to document all of this, in our semi-drunken hilarity. So, its raining, but she rolls down the window, puts her feet outside. I've got another friend up front with me trying to talk on the phone while K is tapping the outside of her window with the flippers, and T & I are dying laughing. Oh yeah, and I'm trying to drive one block across the street while this is all happening.

      So, we park and have to walk to the restaurant. K decides its funny to walk to the resturant with the flippers on - you know, b/c its raining and there's puddles. And they're FLIPPERS! Anyways, about 10 steps into it, we realize this is a pain in the ass, pose for one shot, and remove the flippers. Then we didnt' even eat at PF's b/c of the huge wait. But, we did get a really *good* laugh out of the deal, so it was more than worth it. Thanks K for the laugh!

      Saturday, July 09, 2005

      Saturday Swim Practice

      I actually got my ass out of bed at 6:15 this morning to attend a *voluntary* swim practice. This never happens. I specifically have a rule against getting up early on Saturdays - unless its absolutely necessary. I must be insane. Husband and the kitties think I am.

      I only went b/c I've got this swim meet next weekend. And we're doing a team entry for relays. So the point was to practice relay starts and set up our relay lineup. Well, that only sort-of happened. No starts, but we did go out for breakfast (another benefit of Sat AM practice - b'fast with friends) and set up our relay order.

      Dude, I am going to die.

      This meet is outside (must remember to buy tinted goggles....) in a 50 meter olympic sized pool. I've never swam in a 50 meter pool before. I practice in a 25 yard pool. So, I'm guessing that psychologically, this will be pretty tough, b/c after 25 yards, I'll be expecting to hit a wall and do a turn, but in reality, I'm in the middle of the pool. This could be good or bad - I haven't decided yet. Then there's the fact that meters are longer than yards. Not much, but enough to make a difference. So that will kill me as well.

      Then there's my events. I swam competitively in high school, then destroyed both shoulders swimming 100 butterfly (as my specialty) my senior year. Phys. therapist said it was either surgery or quit swimming. Since I really wasn't all that good of a swimmer (not good enough to qual for state or swim in college) and I was going to attend a small engineering college in Montana that fall (which didn't have a swim team), I opted to quit swimming. So, since college, I've tried a variety of land sports (running, hiking, biking) and well, my knees don't like land activities so much. In fact, so much that knee surgeon told me to quit running and start swimming again. Eeek. Fortuately, I've found a team with a GREAT coach who has tweaked my technique so much that I have zero shoulder pain.

      So where was I? Oh yeah, my point was that I have not really swam competitvely in oh, 11 yrs. I entered a meet last December just to "see" Old Erin compared to Young Erin. Surprisingly, my times weren't all that far off my best JV times. I'll take that.

      So for this meet, I'm kicking it up a notch. Swimming as many as 6 events in one day. Which doesn't sound like much, but trust me, it is. Swimming 100 breastroke (which I haven't swam in a meet in 12 yrs - this should be fascinating), 100 free, 50 back, and then 3 relays. Based on the lineup we set, I'm anchoring the 400 medley relay (swimming 100 free as the last leg - it was either this or frigging 100 butterfly, which violates the "no butterfly ever again rule"), starting the 200 free relay (meaning I dive off the blocks - no pressure!), and then who knows what I'll swim in the mixed (men and women) 200 medley relay (assuming I have the energy).

      So, I've got my work cut out for me next week. Think good thoughts for me - and hope that I don't get too sunburned.