Monday, December 31, 2007

NYE Thoughts

Today was my first day back at work since last Monday. It was blissfully quiet until Dan broke the spell by coming over to tease me that he and Ant were coming over at 6pm. He had said the same story to Tawny earlier to which she replied that she would be attending his funeral the next day. She knows me too well in these things...The spell broken gave way to Bridget and I catching up on each other. Her foot was finally healing nicely.

I logged into Messenger and half-assed (sorry, Tawny!) asked Tawny to go to lunch. Truth be told I didn’t even know if she was physically at work. My desperate attempt to fly under anyone’s radar prevented me from investigating her side of the floor. I ended up buying my lunch downstairs and on the way back saw Lisa. She was on her way out to get stamps – saved her the trip by giving her one to use instead. Lisa bought her lunch and sat with me side by side in my cube chatting and looking at the pics and videos I took over Christmas. We were like two peas in a pod.

I shared with Lisa the conversations with my two family members. Lisa understands that I am fragile during this time of year. We both spoke of many things, mostly of how we missed our mothers and that no matter how many years pass, the pain is fresh of their passing. I hadn’t had a chance to really process not having my mother at another Christmas until this weekend when all the psychotic running around with my cousins was over. I had a vision of my mother earlier this morning where she was dressed in ethereal white, almost fairy-like with her face (my face in pure Filipino form) unmistakable. She gave me a light blue box with matching ribbon. Inside was a bright red glittering heart. It was lit as if it were alive. I cried.

People tend to forget that I need time to myself and I can’t just be there whenever needed. I just can’t. If it weren’t for my cousin’s trip from Los Angeles or having to explain to my cousins' kids why their Sarah is being weird, I would remove myself from all Christmas festivities…Lisa didn’t have a good time of it growing up either so we were able to discuss and empathize with how each other were feeling. It is also her first Christmas alone with the kids since she left her husband last month.

We were sprung from jail…er, work at 3pm. Stopped at the airport to drop mail off before I headed out to get the pair of black shoes I saw on sale last week. I was in luck! It's the small things that make me happy...

Cleaned up a storm in my apartment -- something akin to a spring cleaning. I was in a mad craze to enter the New Year in better feng shui. You can't imagine how I've been living in funk shui with my holiday trauma. I feel much better now.

I received thoughtful text messages from Tawny and Kathy for New Year’s wishes. Talked to Lisa for a bit until her daughter became successful in claiming her attention. Crazy kid… Dick Clark's Rockin' Eve is on right now and I can hear fireworks outside. My Pretty Boy Dog is not handling the popping sounds very well. He is almost in my lap. Looking forward to a whole lot of tequila. It was almost a cocktail mix of muscle relaxant and tequila. Sshhh...Don't tell. People freak out easily. We all have our own ways of coping. On rare occasion, mine is with Rum. Tonight it was with Rum's harlot best friend named Tequila. She dressed up as her favorite character, Margarita!
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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Decisions Decisions

Did you notice how the AGOL was playful yesterday? I knew the feeling would be too good to last into the new year. Sigh. What gives you ask? Two conversations with family members whom I love dearly. I won't be going into it with anyone so don't ask me details. Suffice it to say, it will domino into an AGOL shutdown with everyone for the month of January.

The conversations and another thing have influenced this decision. I will still post on the blog, but January's will not include any kind of celebration unless a New Year's Miracle occurs. I've had a Christmas miracle before, but not a New Year's. That would be different, wouldn't it? Hmmm...

The AGOL's penchant for heartfelt revelry will resume on Valentine's. I can't believe I am starting the new year this way, but it is the only way I know how to cope and still keep myself whole inside. If you have other ideas, you can e-mail me from my profile.
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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Feel Like Makin' Mocha

Lazy Daisy was my name today and it was heavenly. I practiced my hermit skills that I've neglected. Did some chores so I wasn't a complete slacker...

About 9:30pm, I decided I needed a nice hot mocha coffee after my hearty soup dinner. Dropped in less than a quarter cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips, some creamer, a healthy teaspoon of instant coffee, a couple of shakes of salt, two packets of nuclear fallout called Splenda, a couple of drops of high grade vanilla and topped off with hot water from the kettle. Within minutes of the chocolate chips dissolving, I had a mochalicious drink.

I stirred the contents for a while and set the cup down. A heart-shaped foamy thingy?! How the heck did I do that? Quickly from the kitchen, I ran through the dining room area, over the dog blocking my way and to my handbag in the bedroom to find my camera. Shit. Found the camera bag, but no camera. (The foamy thingy was probably gone by now!!!) I turned around and saw the camera by the laptop on the dining room table. Again, over the oblivious doggie and trying not to kill myself from tripping on bags of presents I haven't yet sorted through. Aargh. (I repeat: The foamy thingy was probably gone by now!!!)

Okay...so I panicked a little...for nothing. In tact, in my special hot cocoa cup (yes, I have one!) was my heart-shaped foamy thingy. Smiles.

AGOL's Mocha Lurve Pic


Yes, my wenches (Tawny, Kathy, Angie, etc.), I realize how pathetic this whole event was to chronicle. Do you have a picture of heart-shaped foamy thingy YOU made accidentally? I rest my case. I so rock -- I can make heart shapes without realizing it. Asian Goddess of what? Yes, hookerellas, that would be LOVE.

Meanwhile, back in Saneville...
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LQ: Love...Power

"Where love rules, there is no will to power and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other."

-- Carl Jung

...I have a friend who is in Karachi right now resting in a hotel suite after flying from Islamabad. In the background, sporadic gunfire. The trip to cover the Pakistan elections next week was hastened by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto this week.

Fear breeds stupidity and senseless violence. The opposition knew she had a good chance of winning. She was beautiful inside and out, intelligent, a role-model for women in power and powerful enough to engender fear in the others who did not want her to win. How foolish of them because she is now more venerated around the world.

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Friday, December 28, 2007

Sunset Boys

For the first time in weeks I slept well. No coughing interruptions. The sleep was deep as I found myself dreaming of places I have never seen or been. My precognitive dreams were back...

Made my way across town again to spend time with my family. The kids were insanely funny. I've included two videos. One is of my cousin Dave and his sons (Colton & Carter) in my aunt's backyard. Carter decided to feed the seagulls and the rest of us looked on. The other is of baby Colton working his teething gums on his mommy's face. He just started doing this crazy thing this week. I dare you to keep a straight face!

Sunset Boys..


Colton teething on Mommy.


This was my lucky shot of this evening's sunset at my aunt's house.


After scarfing down dinner in the sun room, we watched the latest Harry Potter film and hung out for a while. Dave and his family left and I followed about 20 minutes later to give Angie time to pack before her early morning flight tomorrow. Even though I did not take as much time off during Christmas as I usually do while she is in town, we still had a great visit. She hopes to come again in the summer.

My mind is reminding me of its own sunset. I am looking forward to some rest. G'night.
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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Singing on Sweeney Todd

Weak from being sick overnight...and still coughing a little. I am in need of proper rest and a better diet, but will have to wait for a couple more days until my cousin Angie heads back to Los Angeles. With all of our get-togethers with our family and all the crap leading up to it at work and Christmas parties, it just too much for this AGOL's body to process.

Picked Angie up the first part of the afternoon and then made a stop to pick up the twins (our respective goddaughters) and their old brother Will. We were taking them to watch Sweeney Todd (The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) with Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. It was very good if a bit gruesome. The bloody scenes gave me that same feeling when I saw a particular scene in Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (Love that movie!!) My stomach turned but my eyes were too fascinated, too riveted to turn away. Didn’t know that Alan Rickman was going to be in it. I like him a lot. Also did not know that Borat-fame Sacha Baron Cohen was going to be in it. He gets around. The main actors are not really singers which added to the movie’s raw/gritty quality. How can you go wrong with Stephen Sondheim as your composer? This is best of Tim Burton’s films, I think.

Our after movie plans were slightly derailed from a call letting us know that Kristen and Carter were spending the night at my aunt's house so they could have a sleepover with Auntie Angie. Stopped to take care of Cabal before meeting them at the house. We all had dinner out first and then a pilgrimage to the bookstore with the kids. I decided to get the soundtrack to Sweeney Todd. From there we went back to the house to pick up something for the twins and then had them home by 9pm before returning to my aunt's...

Finally made it back to my own place about 10-ish. Tomorrow is another day at my aunt's to maximize Angie's visit; my cousin's flight is at 7am on Saturday.
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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Bad Car-ma

Is sleep worse when it eludes you when you're in bed or is it worse when you're forced to give it up for other things? I was up after 5am to take care of the dog, take a shower and get ready for Tawny and Jeff to pick me up at 6:45am. They were kind enough to drop me off at the car shop before they made their way to work with Jeff quizzing me on what possibly could be wrong with the car. I know a great deal of many things, but cars are the least of it.

Explained how my car arrived at the shop to the manager and he warned me it would be $88 to hook up my car for computer diagnostics. Like I had a choice? Then he made conversation as if I was leaving my car to them for the day. I told him that I would wait in the TV room. It was 7am and his "computer guy" doesn't come in until 8am. Okay, whatever. I have my laptop with me so I can surf wirelessly and there is a TV on to keep me amused if needed. Like I said I didn't have a choice. I wanted him to stop chitchatting with me so I could start guzzling down the coffee he had made. Priorities.

The mechanic came round almost a couple of hours later and retrieved me to take me to my car. He was pointing out parts under the hood and explaining things. He might have been speaking Greek: new alternator, serpentine belt replacement and new oxygen sensor. I told him I just wanted to do what was necessary especially the day after Christmas. He said he would see what he could do. I agreed to everything but one item (fuel injection flush) and added an oil change while they were at it. My instincts told me he was being honest so I felt confident in what we agreed to perform on my car. The after Christmas special? Over $700! Holy crap -- I needed a drink and not coffee either unless it was laced with whiskey.

Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God. Oh my God.

Called Myrna to have lunch with me across the road from the car shop when my car was all better again. She walked in, took on look at me and said, That bad, huh? Did I mention my lovelies that I left the house with my hair up, no make-up on and no jewelry wearing a t-shirt and some long ancient pants? Very un-AGOL. She kept staring at me as I kept staring at her because I noticed her teeth were whiter. I asked her about it and she said something to which I replied, You're blinding me over here during daylight! She laughed and said, Now you know how I feel when I see you! Um...Hee.

We left the restaurant and she agreed to help me find a new vacuum cleaner since mine was working on my feng shui nerves. Picked one out that turned out to be extra clean-y. Holy dust bunnies, AGOL!

Update: Forgot that I had this on my phone. Made me chuckle in the store.



Anyhoo, made my way back to my aunt's where my cousin Dave's wife Michelle joined us with her brood and her mother for takeout Hooter's Buffalo Wings. My aunt made fried fish and some other Filipino concoction for her and Michelle's Filipino mom. After eating, several of us decided to go for a quick drive by at a certain neighborhood for Christmas lights before I headed home to the elusive thing called sleep...








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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

AGOL's Hard Candy Christmas

Today was my day of reckoning with the Yuletide. I made the mistake of allowing myself to feel something at 7am as I gathered last minute items together for transport to my aunt's home. Tears fell for a good while. When I do allow myself to experience feelings, I feel them deeply. My sorrow magnified today of all days. Not the best way to greet Christmas, is it?

Sharing some snapshots from today:

Gifts at my aunt's house: it's a start...


Hiding...like dust bunnies and multiplying!


Two of my favorite people: Uncle Dave and Aunt Maria


We all drove to my cousin Dave's house for a whole fried turkey and rib roast dinner. We opened gifts, ate and drank. Did I mention eating??

Gingerbread house decorated by Kristen and Carter


Kristen and Carter rockin' out to their new game Guitar Hero


If you were hungry at this buffet, you were not here!!


Baby Colton plays it cool with Mommy and Uncle John


My aunt, uncle, Nan, cousin Angie and I left Dave's house and headed home. Nan and Uncle Dave headed home for Nan to get a nap while the rest of us did a drive-by gift exchange at my cousin Ida's house. The twins enjoyed their loot and Will loved his rock and roll themed goodies. We had to leave pretty much as soon as the gifts were open to go back to my aunt's and open our gifts to each other. Neverending...

I kept watching the clock because Cabal had to be taken out and fed. Angie's brother Gary showed up and we opened gifts for about an hour and a half. Good grief! Made my way home, but didn't get too far from my aunt's house. I was on the phone with Tawny when I noticed my engine light and brake light silently screaming red from the dash. Parked the car at the mall and called Angie to pick me up. After the running around to and from my place, to the parking lot and to the car shop where the auto club dropped off my car, it was 11pm. I arranged for Tawny and Jeff to give me a ride before they left for work at 7am.

Having a car problem on Christmas Day is not how I wanted this day to end. I know it could be worse...but it could've been better, too, by not occurring at all. Sigh. Good thing I am off the rest of the week. Read an e-mail that had a nice picture of what Christmas was like in the sender's location. I mentally transported myself there, swimming with the swans in one of Bushy Park's ponds.


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Monday, December 24, 2007

Wrapper's Delight

Work was eerily quiet. My boss was generous enough to let us out early at 12pm. Our offices were closing at 3pm. Good thing because I had to hit two stores yet and one was closing at 2pm. Last minute gift hustle. I can't remember if I had the same experience last year.

As soon as I started my car in the garage, the radio played Sara Smile by Hall and Oates. It put an instant smile to my face and was a gentle reminder that everything would be okay. No need for panicking. There was truly no need. I was finished with both stores and a third for more wrapping supplies by 3pm. In one store, someone gave me their extra store coupon. What a nice thing!

I had to really wrap (not rap!) though I began to think about the Sugarhill Gang's hit Rapper's Delight. My word association is just crazy. Soon I was both wrapping and rapping.

Sugarhill Gang's Rapper's Delight

Doesn't this just get you going? I can't sing it by myself, but I can sing along with it. For some reason the lyrics just come to me then. Play it again!

There was a mix-up with Tawny on my afternoon visit with Cabal so we could exchange gifts. I ended up having dinner with her whole family like I did on Thanksgiving. It was fun and Cabal certainly enjoyed the attention from everyone. He is just a ho ho ho! Tawny and Jeff liked the old-fashioned pop-corn maker and accessories I got them. They appreciate nostalgia items and have lots of people over to watch movies all the time. It reminded Tawny of the one her mom had when she was a little Tawny.

Cabal received a clear plastic boot filled with one of his favorite treats. I received a generous gift certificate to my favorite bookstore for New Year's Day and a new bundt pan for my rum cake shaped like a Victorian village which will look kewl with a good helping of confectioner's sugar sprinkled all over it. Tawny's mother-in-law gave me a surprise gift of a clear glass vessel (for a votive) with metal filigree on the edges and dainty chains to hang it from the ceiling. It was very sweet and once again unexpected. Am I the luckiest AGOL or what?

Here was a handsome Cabal dressed in his Jingle Tie at Tawny's.


Went home after 9pm to decompress and continue my wrapping. Tomorrow's three-home hustle should be fun...Eek!
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Sunday, December 23, 2007

A Hustling Ho Ho Ho

(Yes, I am still coughing, but not as bad as previous nights. Thank God.)

My alarm got me up at 5am and it was a slow start beginning with taking Cabal out. Wrapped the girls' presents and was ready when Myrna picked me up a little after 7am. On the way, she presented me with her mother's Christmas gift to me which she had sent from Ohio - a metal crystal encrusted dragonfly pin! As soon as I finished ooh'ing and aah'ing over it, Myrna made me open her mother-in-law's gift to me which was a jade and jade colored-crystal bead necklace with matching earrings she picked up from the gem show. These women were so kind to think of me. Both gifts were very pretty and very unexpected.

Kristey drove up as we arrived ourselves. We were seated immediately and ordered breakfast. Kristey regaled us with her Steamboat Springs ski trip. One of their companions displaying horrible horrible manners and behavior mortifying the rest of the skiers. Do people actually behave that bad? Yes. She finished the story with a funny ending so all was not lost on the long weekend.

We exchanged gifts with me receiving way more than I bargained for. Among the items I received was another dragonfly pin from Myrna which had a Mama Dragonfly and a Baby Dragonfly. Kristey got me a sage blue heart pin from a local Steamboat Springs ceramic artist. I received more stuff but I feel that is really bordering now on bragging if I tell you the rest. I am so blessed.

Pretty dragonflies to keep me company.


Handmade heart pin with friendship poem.


Myrna dropped me off at my aunt's house and stayed for a visit and reacquaint herself with my family. Angie drove us to a few stores around town so we could finish...We didn't. Tomorrow is the absolute last day to shop. It is not quite making me bite my fingernails. I won't -- they are expensive. Ha! We ate a late lunch/early dinner before she Angie came for a short visit. We were grooming my Pretty Boy Dog and taking videos of him just being too cute so she could show her brother later.

Instead of diving into the gift wrapping like I should have, I decided to decompress and veg a bit. It was Sunday after all! Being on the go all weekend without any time to just be would not be good. I had been feeling queasy from lack of sleep mid afternoon. I updated my blog and recounted the things I bought so I wouldn't miss anyone in case I needed to get more gifts after work tomorrow. It will be just a few hours at work! Okay, that is ONE redeeming quality about Christmas: time off.
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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Naughty Double Entendres

Oh my gosh. The coughing has got to stop. Sleep was once again interrupted not only by coughing fits, but two weird text messages I didn't quite hear through the medicinal haze of the cold/flu tablet I took. The reminder beep bothered Cabal who kept waking me up. I was getting frustrated with him, but didn't realize the beeping was occurring until a bit later. Trish from San Francisco (3 hours behind me) was the text messaging culprit.

Was late getting started which meant I was late getting to pick up my cousin Angie at my aunt's house. I had spent some time on the Internet trying to clear my head and wake up. Received a nice note back from Pete. (He is still MEBFKAY, but I am now referring to him by his given name.) It is nice to finally get on an even ground with him after sporadic e-mails back and forth. He's still a good man in my eyes and I still value him. The world is too small and life is too short to waste good connections with good people just because one decides to take a sudden left turn when you thought you were both turning right. You get the idea. It wasn't easy getting to this point, but that's what being a real grown-up is all about...

I arrived at my aunt's where a late breakfast was being served. Delay. Once we finished, my aunt announced that we could stay and sit with Nan while she got dressed and made a trip to the oriental store. Delay. My uncle saved the afternoon when he got home from playing golf. I still had a dozen people to buy for!!

Well, I was able to buy a couple of presents, but not all. The mall was packed. I was blessed with parking close to an entrance. A large Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks made it into my system. Ooh, coffee. One more major stop before dropping Angie off so I could get ready for Jeff and Tawny's Christmas party. It took me an hour to get home thanks to insane holiday traffic.

I wrapped four presents to bring to the party. Black was the color I dressed in from head to toe and accented with sparkling crystal jewelry. I made a decision to take my time and arrive later. My cold/flu helped make that decision. Apparently, I waited too long. The party started at 7pm and Tawny texted me at 7:40pm to find out if I was coming over (a five minute walk across the complex).

Jeff and Tawny had a nice spread of Christmas decorations, libations and food to counteract the generous libations. Everything was conducive to having a fun holiday party. Saw my best-loved friends and was surrounded in the security of their love. It was a great feeling.

Laughing. I laughed from the time I arrived to the time I left at midnight. Sitting next to me was taking your health into your own hands if you valued breathing normally. John and his life partner Ryan were sitting on one end of the leather sofa. I decided to sit next to them. John laughed at everything I said. Truth be told, I was being a whole lot devilish and full of naughty double entendres. (I was fortunate not to have additional coughing fits. That malady awaits until I am sleeping for some reason.) My naughty notions were repaid when Dan sat next to us and began to lay on me about things in our past. I might have blushed a little and took the teasing like a good AGOL. Several joined in on the fun until I got up to go to the other side of the room. I forgot there were plenty of AGOL stories to tell. Ha!

I left at midnight to walk the dog and to try and get some sleep before the alarm sounded off at 5am. Jeezus.
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Friday, December 21, 2007

Coughing and Counting

Coughing at 3:06am. That's one way to wake up. Managed to get back to sleep after a trip to the bathroom where I had full bodied coughing fits to only wake up about 30 minutes later with more coughing. Almost an hour and a half went by until the alarm sounded. My ribs hurt. By 6:30pm, I felt exhausted.

Work was quiet as several people took the day off to extend their Christmas vacation, but the work was steady. I tried to find my way through the fog in my brain. My boss kept looking at me in askance. He knew I wasn't feeling well and wanted to make sure I was still okay. I stared into space during lunch and was only half interested in my meal.

There were some discussions on varying subjects. It made me want to count my blessings. I ended up sending several notes out to people. Half wishing them a Merry Christmas and half thanking them for what they have contributed in my life or some cool thing they did. It was just something different.

My cousin Angie picked me up for dinner and some shopping. Sadly, our catching up together superceded my extended shopping plans, but we're going to make a good go of it tomorrow instead. I was able to buy two more gifts. Every little bit counts this late in the game. Angie stayed at my apartment a while loving on Cabal. He was in attention heaven...

Oh! I decided that when I hit a certain milestone in my training, I will reward myself with a daring activity. I hope to be skydiving in late spring. There is a place about an hour from where I live that offers skydiving. How cool is that?! An AGOL and a parachute? Yeah, baby!

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MORE Christopher Walken Christmas.
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Thursday, December 20, 2007

Truffled Out

How can it feel like Friday three days in a row? It just messes with your head...

Bridget and I exchanged gifts. She gave me a gift certificate to Sephora (yay!) and I got her this specialized drink container and a raw health bar symbolizing our intent for a healthier new year. We are all Godiva'd out, cookie'd out, luncheon'd out and whatever kinda other goodies you can think of to receive. We are just sick of them. Just as we profess our sickness, someone gives each of us a box of chocolate truffles. Good grief.

I can't wait to shake this cold/flu so I can start training for sprints which are partial triathlons. Baby steps. Can't just work into a full triathlon, you know, at least not with your AGOL's current body. I expressed my frustration to Rob the Trainer and he reminded me that it is about long term (goals) meaning that I am to just relax until I feel better enough to get going again. He is so dedicated. He ran 5 miles in under an hour today during his lunch and he has a spin bike (literally) next to his bed. I told him it was bad feng shui, but he doesn't care. He'd rather be fiendishly fit. Rob is off the next couple of weeks from our work and I am off most of next week so we'll regroup when he gets back.

Around 3:30pm, I received this exceedingly nice note from Tawny who has taken time off for the holidays:
Just saw beautiful dragonfly - reminded me of you - all copper and shimmer.
I joined her family and another from work for dinner at their place. Jeff made calzones for everyone. Yum! It got loud with the discussions and had to be reminded that it was an apartment building...Got to see Tawny's daughter Jessica whom I haven't seen since she graduated from high school about a year and half ago. She's the one who designed my site. You should see her other work. Her dad is so impressed with her progress in her art in college this year. Enjoyed Tawny's pretty tree, too. See...I didn't need to put up a tree. I get to enjoy everyone's.

Got home too late to take cold/flu meds, but I felt good. Possibly energized from all the fun people I just spent time with this evening. The pressure of Christmas shopping is making itself known. Tomorrow night. I will try to get it all done. Okay, mostly done. Wink.
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

9 Down, 14 More to Go!

Those cold/flu gels from last night did a number on me. I could barely get up. Taking them earlier in the evening would have been smarter. Quickly had coffee and later caffeine pills to perk up. Self-medicating with over-the-counter drugs is always good.

Work was hectic. My boss is off tomorrow, but here Friday and then off for two weeks. Bridget is off Friday and Monday and I am off the rest of next week. We won't all see each other until after the beginning of the year...

Made sure I had some caffeine reinforcements before I left work so I could do some Christmas shopping. Went to one store and came out with several items. Over the past two and half weeks (including tonight), I have purchased for nine individuals. I have 14 more people to buy for. It's tough on a single AGOL's wallet, that's for sure. Would you believe me that my list was shorter this year? The pains of having a large family and a large circle of friends. I give them stuff throughout the year so it doesn't need to be as much pressure as it could be. All I know is that I still have my work cut out for me.

Took the cold/flu gel caps much earlier. I can feel the effects now as I type. Well, my lovelies, I'd better take my dog out now and head for bed. I am hoping the rest will get me on the way to recovery much quicker.
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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Let Them Eat Cake

Felt weak getting up this morning and had a hard time getting my breath out. Talking to Cabal was an effort. I had to get ready for work this morning and bake Bridget's birthday cake before I left the apartment. I arrived at work later and had warned Bridget by leaving her a voicemail.

Bridget received a card signed by several people, the rum cake pictured below and our group singing Happy Birthday to her. She was so embarrassed, but smiley especially at the prospect of eating rum cake.

Famous AGOL Rum Cake, disguised as Bridget's Birthday Cake


Today was our group luncheon which was at The Cheesecake Factory. Five of us dined outside in the cool air. Portable propane heater lamps were everywhere so it wasn't bad. We laughed a lot; my boss was in rare form. The meal was a gift from our director while my boss gave each of us gals a gift certificate from Target. Both of these gentlemen were so generous!

Received a call from the owner of the health food store during lunch confirming my request and we chatted a couple of minutes on other stuff from the same brand. She was curious as to how I found out about the product and how did I know she carried them. I am ahead of the curve she says because it was just made available in the US from Canada.

I also couldn't help but take a picture of how beautiful the sky was from where we sat. Blue Sky on Bay Street (International Mall), sitting outside The Cheesecake Factory patio area.


The rest of the afternoon was rough. I forgot I had to go to a meeting! Aargh. My throat was starting to really sting and every time I breathed my throat felt like it was on fire. My boss noticed the volume of my voice had lowered; I told him it was because I had a hard time getting air out.

Rob IM'ed me to respond to my spreadsheet tracker I had sent him. Of course, he had to one-up me and show me his uber geek physical training tracker that could give you different kinds of information to let you know how well you were progressing. He also had another piece of software for his diet. Not there yet. He recommended a special heart rate monitor though. I will be definitely checking it out at this site.

Shared my Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake (I am enjoying it now while I can) late in the afternoon with Tawny. Enjoyed talking with her since I have barely seen her lately. I will see her a bit on Saturday night at her party. She listened to my woes I expressed. Thank goddess she loves me like family.

Had a bit of static trying to get together with my cousin Angie this evening. She wanted to escape the house because my aunt and uncle were having a Christmas party. After a few phone calls back and forth, we weren't able to get it together and will try again later in the week. Just as well. I was feeling really crappy. I took two cold/flu gel caps in the middle of typing this blog. Does that mean that I should sleep like a dream? I hope so.


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Behind the Scenes Secret Pic - Who else would set up gold moire satin fabric as a backdrop for her famous rum cake? My kitchen is cluttered at the moment hence the small pic. I just wanted to show you the crack happening at my place.

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Chilly Dance

Ohhhh yes! It was 40 degrees this morning. Half the temps last Tuesday! Cabal and I were doing the Chilly Dance around the complex at 5am. Not sure how he took it, but he seemed energized.

Bridget was back and was I happy to see her looking well, but less than fashionable with her moderately cast foot from her surgery two Fridays ago. Our team was complete again. Tawny was off because she had two appointments for two of her kids.

I felt tired all day...sleep deprived really. Much more than with my insomnia. Everything was fuzzy in the afternoon. IM'ed my trainer Rob and let him know that I completed my walking assignment and about my research on certain topics. He, on the other hand, was a biking fiend on Saturday; he pedaled at a good pace for 28 miles with a group of about 20 guys.

Later he called me and asked what I was doing in the evening and I told him I was going to walk again. He seemed tickled and gave me pointers on doing the elliptical machine to start it out as if I was cross country skiing to get the feel of riding a bike. This may sound funny, but it has been a while since I have ridden a real bike. Rob rides a special road bike and a mountain bike on trails -- your AGOL is not quite ready for those kind of actions.

I stopped at Abby's Health and Nutrition on the way home to see if they had this special supplement I have found that will go with the program I am designing for myself. They didn't have it but would order it and a few related items. Apparently, the brand is new and was only available in Canada. It was a Canadian who first got this brand in the store. I will await a call for when my stuff comes in...

By the time I got home, I was feeling really exhausted and a slight tickle in my throat. I opted to go for a later workout after my dinner. I was halfway there and was running through my game plan in my mind when something told me to turn back. I was disappointed, but I knew I had to listen and get some rest.
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LQ: First Kiss

"The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has within it that surrender."

-- Emil Ludwig

...Hmm. Have to mull on that for some time.
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Sunday, December 16, 2007

Early Birds

An alarm ringing at 3:15am is a rude awakening. This is bad, but I slept in my holiday outfit from the night before. It was nice, but not glamorous and wears well. Redid my hair and took the dog out before feeding him half his breakfast. I was going to be gone for a bit.

Who were all these people driving on the interstate at 4am?! Good grief. Arrived in Brandon with my eyes barely open. With both my aunt and uncle awake and my cousin Gary on a club chair waiting to go to the airport, it seemed everything was normal at 4:20am. For some reason when I sat on a stool watching my aunt work in her kitchen, I experienced a tremendous chest pain. I got up and walked, stretched my torso and just forced myself to concentrate on my breathing. The pain went away. Odd.

My uncle drove three of us to a busy airport. I was jonesing for some serious coffee. Where were my buckets of coffee? Angie arrived on time, but her luggage didn't. That happened to her last year, too. I begged for a Venti Caramel Macchiato from Starbucks. We all had some coffee and sat down just talking and me telling dirty jokes. What I loved was that I was able to tell them to my uncle, too. Maybe he was too asleep to censor me? Ha!

My aunt and uncle's ginormous Christmas tree: This is about a 7.5-ft tall tree and at least 4-ft wide. My aunt looks like an elf next to it. I will take a picture of her next to it next time. Hee.


I love watching the lights dance and blink around the tree. Oooh...pretty!


When we got back, Nan was awake and joined us in the sun room to enjoy a traditional breakfast my aunt made called "molly cakes" (essentially fried dough) which we slathered with butter and sugar free syrup. The sausages were good, too. AND THE COFFEE!

The humor and zingers were in full swing. I had accidentally put too much Splenda in my coffee which my uncle noticed and asked me if I was trying to get sweeter. I said yes and he replied, You'd better pour some more. OMG. Angie had gotten up to go inside the house and she yelled something to Gary. Impishly, Gary replied in a loud and horrible rendition of what was supposed to resemble Chinese. Nan was startled and said he had scared her. Gary quick as lightning added, You should see me with an ax. OMFG. We were howling with laughter at 7:30am and had to remember the neighbors were still sleeping in on a Sunday. The sun room is enclosed, but the windows were open to let the cool breeze leftover from the passing storms. My face and sides hurt. I was just glad I didn't choke on any food. Aside from their loving nature, this is the best part of my family: the smartass humor.

Left the gang before around 11am so I could get some sleep. I would miss the visit from my cousin Dave's family which was fine with me. The kids would outsmart me in a heartbeat as tired as I was. They can smell weakness and would take advantage of the fact they are incredibly cute. Little ghouls.

Talked to Tawny on the way home. Her daughter missed a flight from Detroit to Tampa and had some issues getting another flight. She ended up making a flight to Orlando instead. Tawny and Jeff picked up their middle child after midnight. Tawny was happy. Now she won't be able to contain her happiness and will run amok talking about Christmas. Yuk! Expressed my embarrassment to her in what would be construed as the walk of shame from my neighbors. They didn't see me get home late and leave a few hours later in the same clothes, but would see me arriving near noon in the same clothes. Oh, well...

How did I know I was overtired when I got home? I trolled the Internet researching some nutrition supplement and replying to e-mails before finally taking a hot shower and try to catch a nap. I was in sleeping bliss when my phone rang. It was Trish from San Francisco sitting at her favorite deli. We caught up and cackled. The usual. It's been a few hours and I am about to do a two-mile walk. I had an assignment after all.
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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Fun at Sandy & Mark's Party

Woken up from a deep sleep by a call from an agitated Angie letting me know that she missed her flight from L.A. due to traffic and that I didn't have to go to "mom and dad's". It was 1:10am and I had finally gotten to sleep 30 minutes before. I was able to mentally register the message and reset my alarm from 3:15am to 6:30am.

Ended up calling my aunt and uncle's house mid morning trying to find out more, but they didn't have any more information at that time. Soon after Lisa called me while she ran her errands to catch up on stuff. She was very happy in her new home.

Shopped the grocery store quickly for ingredients to make my much anticipated rum cake. It is baked in a bundt shape and the rum sauce drenched on top is made with a generous helping each of butter, granulated sugar, water and rum. Most of the alcohol does get cooked off, but one whiff will let you know it has rum in it. Some recipes call for straight rum being poured over the cake (yuk!), but my recipe has a buttered taste.

I've had the recipe since 1992 from a guy named Rick whom I worked with at Saks Fifth Avenue in Chicago. After it has had time to absorb the extra liquid on the plate, a generous sprinkling of powdered sugar is added. I tend to add more during Christmas for a heavy snow effect. Since it will be served at someone else's home, I pre-sliced the cake before the powdered sugar step which makes serving a snap.

Picked up Kathy and headed for Sandy and Mark's Annual Christmas party. (They live just a few miles from my aunt and uncle.) We've been going for about nine years. I took a lot of pics than I ever have at their party to show the things Kathy and I always search for when we visit at Christmas. It brings comfort somehow. They always go all out. The whole house is decorated down to the last details of having their comforter on their bed have a Christmas theme and swapping their everyday dishes with Christmas ones during the season.

Out poolside bar with Sandy and Kathy


My own handmade ornaments she received from my ornament exchange parties from previous years were hung on their second tree outside by the bar:

Felt fabric Santa underwear that contained bracelets with jingle bells for the gals to wear.


One of the many designs of origami boxes I've made.


Their indoor tree with and without a flash!


Every year their piano is decorated this way. The giant Santa on the left sings and dances.


Sandy wraps all of her art and photos, too!


Kathy enjoying the rum cake I baked.


Our hosts: Sandy and Mark, the nicest people you will ever meet!


Clearly Mark and Kathy are not believing the story Sandy is telling.


A very exhausted Perkins rests from running around dozens of guests.


I enjoyed myself at the party and felt my Christmas freakishness only a few times. By the time I dropped Kathy home and I got back to my own home, it was 11:35pm. Only have a few hours to sleep and drive to my aunt and uncle's to accompany my uncle to the airport. Buckets of coffee will be in my future.
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Friday, December 14, 2007

I'm Thinking Triathlon

Hearing the sounds of a two-man jazz band as my entourage and I entered the large training room cast a different vibe on our Christmas luncheon entirely. They had two laptops set-up, a keyboard, a trumpet, a soprano saxophone and various other percussion instruments behind their mics. We sang Christmas songs and standards while we followed the amusement park-like line weaving around the room to the buffet. It is only during these times you find out how many people are on both the 3rd and 4th floors we occupy.

The food wasn't bad, but I barely noticed it because we were having so much fun at my table. Michelle, Jeff and Tawny, my boss and Lisa were joking around. AND THEN...the sounds that make the right women get their groove on...the sounds of the Lou Rawls song, You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine. The singer in the jazz duo did a good job, but Tawny and I were singing at the table and a few other ladies who were still in line. It was great! My boss was laughing and Jeff seemed embarrassed. This type of music is not his cup of tea. Definitely a tough time getting back to work and staying focused.

There is this saying by Louis Pasteur that I have always loved, Chance favors the prepared mind. Another variation includes, Luck is opportunity meeting preparation. I think today is that day. This particular subject has been on my mind for a few years now and I never knew quite how to go about it until today: competing in a triathlon. It is a steep goal considering my lack of any kind of respectable fitness level and current weight. Every time I have seen the license plate frames with SWIM BIKE RUN, I have felt an automatic respect for the driver and wondered if I could really do it...the discipline, I mean.

An interesting man at work trains and competes in triathlons. He's got pictures and videos to prove it, too! He just signed up for the Florida 70.3 which will be at Disney and he can make it a family thing with his wife and daughter. The man owns (I think) three bikes for different terrains. Now that is dedication. We got to talking and he's sent me links for something to think about. He's going to come up with an AGOL project plan for a fall '08 competition. (A man with a well-thought out plan and mapped? Really? Seriously!?) I am to research this bike shop up the road from me when I am ready and my first physical assignment is to walk two miles this weekend sometime. I've done the Saturday Four for a few months so this is doable. Even if I don't make it to the triathlon, there are other smaller running competitions before that I can try which is great. Maybe Kathy and I can start entering together, too? She is a fitness freakazoid.

Does the above sound a bit wild? It is! Why be boring? Other people have that covered. I am excited at the prospect of challenging my mind and body. Not only will I get fit, I will get to buy cool new gear! Please -- you knew Shallowville had to be represented there somewhere. Don't worry, I will be toning down or foregoing the whole make-up thing (OMG!!) during training. My friend is serious about his sport, but luckily he has a great sense of humor. I'm appreciative in his generosity to want to help me. Besides, he will earn major karma points for transforming a tub of lard into something more pleasant....kinda like tofu shaped into a turkey shape for tofurkey. Ha! I'll keep you posted on the AGOL's progress.

Have to get to bed early (good luck, Sarah) so I can wake-up at 3:30am to drive to my aunt's in Brandon and accompany my uncle to pick up my cousin Angie who is taking the red-eye from Los Angeles. I guess I have too many visions of sugarplums dancing in my head to sleep early. I couldn't be bothered with dinner so that could be right.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Close, But No Cigar

Today blew like firecrackers doused in water. Yeah, that good. There was no Bridget and Tawny again. These gals are the anchors to my day. How can they abandon me like this? I know they can't help their maladies, but the AGOL needs balance.

Tawny took another day off to recover from cold and poor Bridget was miserable at home. She sent us a note and did not hear from her the rest of the day. I suspect her visit to the foot doctor didn't go so hot. Being an athlete doesn't guarantee you a faster recovery rate. She's already had tomorrow as a vacation day.

I called the corporate recruiter around 2pm because I was trying to plan my day and see if he was successful in scheduling any VPs. The under trained jackass scrambled on the phone and said, "Oh, maybe I should have called you earlier, but we hired someone this morning." WTF? Ever gracious AGOL (but secretly wanting to pull his testes from the inside out) "Yes, you probably should have called me, but you know what? Good for you. I'm sure the candidate is a better fit" and other pleasant words I almost gagged on.

Immediately wrote the hiring manager (copied my boss, too!) whom I actually liked with:
Hello (Hiring Manager):

I had just called (I.M. Jackass) to see if I was interviewing with one or two VPs today since we were trying to set that up yesterday for the phone. He just told me your good news of making an offer to another candidate earlier today. Good luck to you on your new hire.

Again, thank you very much for taking the time to speak with me and for arranging the meeting with (Cool Director) as well. It was my pleasure to speak with you both. Please keep me in mind if something else comes available that might make a better match.

If I don't get to speak with you before then, please have a great holiday!
Within a minute of sending it, I received a call from the hiring manager who was doing some serious damage control. Now I knew she was in an online training class, but I think she either saw my e-mail notification blip on the screen or saw it on her Blackberry. She was saying they hired someone local (as opposed to putting me up in corporate housing in Atlanta for 3 months before working remotely in Trampa) and the person is from the brand of servers we buy. Fair enough. She gave me good feedback and said that she has another position opening up in a few months that she wants me for as soon as it breaks. Meanwhile, she wanted me to participate in some projects, too.

My boss had read my e-mail and was livid at how the whole thing was handled. He later returned her phone call and let her know as much. (My boss was very proud of how far I had gotten in the interview process and how professional I was during the whole thing.) The hiring manager told my boss about the new position coming up and forewarned him that she would be harvesting me for her own team. He was nonplussed. I was a tiny bit disappointed, but I am not crushed. I'm thinking the VPs forced her to make a decision ASAP with regard to the holiday. God knows I have seen VPs use their muscle with swift precision without any regard to other people.

Left late and talked to Jill on the way home. She made it to the beach bar last night just as I was leaving...Went to the store to get the dog some food and realized I had agreed to visit Tawny tonight. Oh, crap! Called Tawny and let her know I was not coming over to watch a show she had taped. I felt drained and I hadn't done my routine with Cabal nor eaten dinner yet at 7:35pm. After my early evening routine, I read a note that made me laugh and cry at how depressing it was and felt its futility as it affected me directly. I carried on for a good hour. Strangely cathartic. Needed it, I guess.
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Christopher Walken's Christmas

WHAT A SCREAM!! Saw this on one of the dozens of blogs I read. OMG - This is hysterical and perfectly fits my Seasonal Mood.


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Office Feud: Survey Says...!

Tawny texted me at 7:13am that she was staying home because she had no voice thanks to her cold. I arrived at work with no Bridget to greet me. She had been on her way to work, but panicked while trying to drive with the boot cast on her right foot. Bridget had her boyfriend come get her and bring her back home from wherever she had stopped. I wondered what else would unfold at work. Sheesh!

Joined my boss for lunch as our corporate building gave their annual Christmas luncheon being held in the front circle/water fountain area of our building. It was delicious barbecue fare. (Where was my white rice?) We took our goodies and ate in his office. Of course, my temp found us after we had gotten lunch and whined that we didn't ask her. She retrieved her own lunch and joined us. Thankfully her joining us was not painful. Lucky Bridget getting to miss weird lunch vibes.

While my temp was getting lunch, I received a call from the recruiter at our North American mothership to schedule calls with VPs instead of getting me a flight to Atlanta. Apparently, there were too many scheduling conflicts to get on their calendar earlier. It didn't make a difference to me so we are waiting for them to respond. One was supposed to be today and the other tomorrow. The one today I kind of put off for my Team Meeting. Is that nuts? No, I don't think so. My boss has been generous in allowing me to interview three times already during work hours. I still have to function at work and this VP's availability conflicted with my Team Meeting. I didn't feel right asking to be exempt from our meeting. We'll see...

I've been invited so many times to the Office Feud at this beach bar near work. Our co-worker and friend Rob has been playing the host (a la Richard Dawson of The Family Feud). Today I agreed to watch. I joined Lisa, Megan, Tawny's husband Jeff and some of our other office gang. Next time, my gang is playing! Honestly, I just needed a change of scene. I wanted to freshen my perspective. This place overlooked Tampa Bay. In the video below, the curtains are blocking the view of the bay.

Rob, our host!


Office Feud Clip with Rob


Smiley girls Lisa and Megan


Stopped on the way home to get a birthday card for Bridget for everyone to sign tomorrow. She is off on Friday and her birthday is actually on Saturday. Our boss ordered her a gorgeously delicious chocolate cake from his favorite deli and is having it personalized. Bridget will be pleasantly surprised. When we IM'ed each other earlier in the day, we both said that we've missed each other while she's been at home recovering from foot surgery. We provide a good amount of comic relief for each other. Tonight, I was the comic relief by telling a set of dirty jokes to our group at the beach bar. While my audience laughed, I was complimented on how well I delivered each joke. Never a dull moment...
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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Snowy Dreams

My heart sank as I watched the forecast today which called for an unseasonably warm 80s by noon. Goddammit I am trying very hard to get into the Season, but...but...I can't...not with fucking 80s temperature. I could feel my soul yearning for the cloak, cold and comfort of snow. It was what I thought about all day. I felt a weepy-ness about it that I couldn't quite fathom.

The first time I saw snow was a week after landing in the US when I was 11 years old, visiting my dad's friends in Alamogordo, New Mexico. The next time was when we moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming (5 years) and after that when I moved to Chicago (almost 3 years). The first blanket is always so incredibly visually arresting whether the sun is hitting it or the street lamps.

Because it is very dry in Wyoming, the snow is mostly powder flying along the plains without anything to really break it except houses and buildings. In Chicago, I learned what bitter cold really meant especially when I worked downtown and would feel the freezing wind coming off Lake Michigan. I've shoveled it, fallen in it, walked in it, driven in it, and been afraid in it. It has been about 13 years since I've lived in snow, but for some reason I am wanting it now. I expressed my craving for it today to a few people who thought it odd of me, but they are not quite surprised...at the odd part.

I was quietly busy all day which belied the mental storm in my head. My imagination would take me to a space where I could almost touch, taste and feel snow. The feeling was so powerful that I shivered at my desk for several moments at a time. I have no answers nor do I have any questions about it. The feeling of wanting to be in it is still there as I type this. Rushed home and took care of Cabal before hurrying onto this blog entry. Realized that since early September I have been thinking about it: The end of this entry and in the poem An Autumn Thought. Hoping that writing about it will exorcise the yearning for it which couldn't be ignored today.
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Monday, December 10, 2007

Frazzled

Spoke to Bridget on my way to work to remind her not to process certain items in the queue. She was feeling better, but agitated with her car that wasn't starting and with our boss who seemed to be stressing out on the new credit card option we're rolling out of which Bridget is the administrator. I told her I would put some Valium in his coffee when he wasn't looking.

How hard can it be to get two pieces of wheat toast and a few strands of bacon? Apparently, it can take about 10 minutes from the cafe downstairs. The guy helping out couldn't manage his time and he dropped the first set of toast. Finally got my order and brought it up to my floor. Sheesh! A large mug of coffee was definitely in order, but before that a quick stop to Lisa's desk to drop off goodies which she loved. She gave me a hug for her little Christmas theme goodies (kitchen towels, activity for her kids and her new ornament).

Tawny gave me an update on her in-laws who were sore from injuries on their fall last night. They were going to be okay, thank God! I have nicknamed them "Mamasan and Papasan" when I see them. Tawny herself was sounding like crap. Her voice was changing due to a cold. What the hell?

Bridget's printing from home wasn't working so well. I had to scan all her stuff myself and send to her in two batches. So much for pre-planning last week...

Didn't hear about my plane ticket but that could just be a Monday thing. The CIO is supposed to visit tomorrow so my (potential) new group is probably scrambling for that. I really don't know; I am just guessing and trying not to get freaked about it.

Couldn't wait for the day to be over. Ordered Chinese on the way home. I was soon in the comfort of bits of Moo Goo Gai Pan, Veggie LoMein and Egg Drop soup. Not my usual Chinese fare, but it was still good. Bringing some for lunch tomorrow...My head is still not in the right place. I know what part of it is and I am just not brave enough to talk about it online. Just have to work through it myself without any outside help.

On a good note, my friend Sandy sent me a note saying how she was looking forward to seeing me (and Kathy!) on Saturday. She and her husband were putting up their tree and thought of me and the handmade ornaments they were putting up from my previous Handmade Ornament Exchange (H.O.E.) parties. I do miss having one this year because I didn't see all the cool things my friends would have made, but I just couldn't...I can't bring myself to try and pretend something I am not remotely feeling.


Saw this earlier and decided to mull on it:
.........................................
Success Quote:
If A is success in life, then A equals x plus y plus z. Work is x; y is play; and z is keeping your mouth shut.
Albert Einstein 1879 - 1955 (Observer, Jan. 15, 1950)
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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Holiday Nails? Not!

Depression and the AGOL don't go well together. For some unexplained reason, I was a little under the emotional weather. Must be the Season getting to me...

Had my nails done to cheer me up and in case I do get my Atlanta plane ticket this week. My nail lady asked me about getting "holiday nails". Um...How do I explain to her that in IT, they wouldn't like that especially since I am interviewing. Maybe after? It's bad enough they will be meeting with someone unlike the women in their group, a glam girl. They might think that I would choose hardware based on Cuteness Rating and Ooh, it comes with accessories that you can add on! You know... I need to be taken seriously. I can't help I am a secret geekess underneath all the lip gloss.

Myrna called me to meet her for an early dinner at our usual place. She cheered me up so much; she had me laughing so hard, I was in tears at the table. Afterwards, I bought some stuff from the country store for Lisa including an ornament with a section big enough to write on with permanent marker. I scripted "Beginnings 2007" on it for her and her kiddies. We ended up calling her to check on a used futon from the yard sale the other day for Myrna and me about the nice 7-ft Christmas tree the lady had out. Lisa began to get excited about me putting a tree up for Christmas and I had to squelch her enthusiasm. Still no tree plans in AGOL Land this year. Maybe for next year...when my mood is better.

Called Kathy later who was busy squeezing a whole bunch of oranges she bought from a road side vendor. She loves that kind of stuff. On a different note, received a late text from Tawny that both her in-laws fell while they were all at the botanical gardens admiring the Christmas lights. I won't go into it, but it didn't sound good. Poor Tawny. There is always something unusual going on in her world. The woman could use a break -- not like this though. Tomorrow is another day.
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Saturday, December 08, 2007

LQ: Affection

"Don't be afraid of showing affection. Be warm and tender, thoughtful and affectionate. Men are more helped by sympathy than by service. Love is more than money, and a kind word will give more pleasure than a present."

-- Sir John Lubbock


...The AGOL definitely lives by this.
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Helping Out

Text message from Tawny said something like Crap! Alarm never went off. We'll be there soon. A call from Lisa right after says that her moving truck rental was secured at the location on other side of a main road instead of the one near her new place. Okay, we're all late getting started this morning. When I arrived at Lisa's, I parked and walked back up the street to investigate a yard sale to keep myself busy. Found a nice shower curtain with matching hooks that would go well in her kids new bathroom and some vintage cookbooks for me.

I hailed Lisa over after she parked her moving truck rental. She ended up buying an iron, some dishes, an entertainment center and a used handheld electronic game set for cheap. I also got her a toaster after I found out she didn't have one. When you're starting life over, gently used items always have a good price...Found out right after that she forgot her garage door opener in her SUV so we had to retrieve that and let Tawny know we were going to be a bit later getting started. Eek!

There was a bit of a to do with her garage door after we got inside her home, but Jeff and Jeffrey figured it out. The men moved furniture and larger items while Tawny, Lisa and I moved smaller items or softer stuff. Most of the kids toys were left at the house with her soon-to-be ex-husband. He wasn't present; he wasn't taking her moving well.

Lisa's new town home is incredibly spacious, light and airy! It was gorgeous. The kids were dropped off by one of her best friends who had been watching them. I wasted no time trying to get the pizzas heated up in the oven for lunch. Tawny helped me with setting up lunch and getting the items I bought for Lisa in the appropriate cupboard or bathroom.

All in all, the move went incredibly well. She didn't have as many things as I do even with her two kiddies. The cable/phone/Internet guy came, too. Tawny and her crew left about an hour and a half before I did. I stayed to watch Lisa's kids while she returned her moving truck rental. The first thing she remarked upon coming back in was how good her house smelled thanks to the air freshener plug-in I bought.

Lisa was very vocal about how appreciative she was all day to all of us and demanded that we tell her if she could ever repay us or help us out in the future. When I was leaving her, she expressed to me that I helped make her move really smooth by taking care of the little things. One day someone who will be in a similar situation will need your help. Remember and help them, I told her. (The theme of paying it forward has been prominent in the last couple of days.) Texted her tonight to see how she was doing and at 9:12pm, she was putting up her Christmas tree. Tears pinpricked my eyes. Lisa was going to start her new life well and God knows she deserves it!
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Sorry, Santa...

One of my friends left me a not so nice message (she was trying to be funny but went over the line) somewhere commenting on a Christmas photo. She irked me so much I left her message with this signature:
- Christmas Haters Anonymous (Founder & Club President)
"12-Step Programs are for Sissies - One Step: Fuck Y'All"
I thought it was cleverly hilarious! Sorry, Santa...
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Friday, December 07, 2007

Whoosh!

My week had somehow gained momentum like an ocean wave in the Pacific. No time or energy to update my blog. Hell, I can't quite remember everything...

On Wednesday, I attended a meeting with two people from our North American mothership. I answered questions regarding our process while my boss facilitated the discussion. Bridget and the temp listened in mostly. The temp was asked to speak on her process, but left out some key things which I picked up. As annoying as she can be, I didn't want her to shortchange herself. Bridget contributed a little bit, too. We all had lunch together at The Cheesecake Factory and continued in the afternoon. Bridget and I barely had any time to do our own work...I had my third interview at 5pm which went very well and surprisingly, no technical questions, by this man who would be my director. I was in a conference room with a slew of technical papers at my disposal during the call. He said the next step would be for me to speak to two VPs and warned me about one of them. I was glad for the heads-up and later sent him a nice thank you e-mail.

Thursday? It was spent trying to catch up and making sure Bridget had everything she needed to work from home after her outpatient foot surgery. She has a bone spur growing and affecting a nerve on her right foot which makes roller skating painful. She should be back on next Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest. I was asked to do another demo today, too. My boss left me alone with the guests so I guess that means he trusts me. Ha! Nah, he has nothing to worry about. I will have to deal with these guests if/when I get the job.

Now...today...Friday. Another busy day - this time without Bridget who had her surgery today. She called me before noon to let me know it went well and she was dismayed at the very "unsexy boot" she was made to wear. (She lives in Shallowville, too!) No crutches, though. Later she texted me the picture of her boot and it was indeed ghastly. I told her she may want to put one of her lacy underwear on it to make it sexy.

Received a call from my potential manager in the North American mothership. She was inviting me to Atlanta next week for the last series of interviews which means I made the Top Three or Top Two. Groovylicious! I don't have a plane ticket yet, but I am sure I will have one early next week for a day trip. My schedule will include two VPs and a director in addition to the other people I have already spoken with last week and this week. It will be intense, but I am okay with that. The fact that I have gotten this far is icing on the cake. My current boss got to speak with my would-be manager and they are all impressed on how I do things which is by just going for it and finding ways to make things happen. I blush when I am told this, but whatever it takes to get the job. I will be studying my tech stuff this weekend.

Arrived home later thanks to an extra workload and my stop at Wal-mart to buy sundry items for my friend Lisa's move from her current home to the new town home she found for her and the kids. Leaving her husband, starting over and being a single parent with young kids are difficult steps. I bought stuff like paper products for throughout the house, hand soap for all four sinks, some easy to make kid-friendly food including pancakes for Sunday, air fresheners to make her home smell homey and other stuff she will need, but might not think off initially. Also bought four frozen pizzas and drinks for tomorrow's move. Poor thing. Lisa is so nice and appreciative. She knows this is her Christmas present because I had a very full cart coming out today...

Let me share this rude but hilarious joke sent to me:
Woman wins the lottery and decides that after having had 5 kids she wants some surgery as it looks like a ripped out fireplace "down there"
Wakes up after the op to feel a little sore and 3 bunches of flowers at the end of her bed in the hospital. "Nurse, who are these flowers from?"
"The first bunch are from the surgeon who performed the operation, you were a model patient and everything went well"
"Aha, and the 2nd bunch?"
"They are from your husband who is missing you and can't wait to get you home"
"Aha and the third bunch of flowers?"
"They are from Mr. Smith in the burns ward, just to say thank you very much for the new ears."

Lovely, wasn't it?
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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

LQ: Love is Risk

"Do you want me to tell you something really subversive? Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. . . . It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk everything, you risk even more".

-- Erica Jong in How to Save Your Own Life (1977)


...Risk is also a board game of strategy. No matter what strategy you try to employ in love, you will always lose. It is not about being strategic, but being open to risk...whatever the outcome.

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Smiley Tuesday

Smiles. I couldn't help but smile today (a complete switch from yesterday) and there was no specific reason...not even for showing off my recently whitened teeth. It became infectious...

Quizzed Lisa at lunch on how much stuff we were moving from her current home to her new home on Saturday. Tawny, Jeff, one of Tawny's sons and me are helping out. You may recall I mentioned that she is leaving her husband. She itemized her things and I was stunned. It was about 1/3 of the stuff I have. Holy cow! She has two kids to move, too! Either she is economizing or I am a pack rat. I'll just keep pretending I am divorced to justify all my furniture and stuff. Hee.

Made sure Bridget was set for her time off Friday and a few days next week. She has a bone spur pinching a nerve on her right foot; her outpatient surgery is Friday. We decided we would set her up with an all-in-one printer so she can process orders while she is at home. All good.

My Inbox showed a meeting request for my third interview tomorrow at 5pm with a director. I am a little nervous. I am to call him in Atlanta. Wish me luck please!!

Spoke to Kristey on the way home and she concurred that 12/25 will be just another day. Still had a good laugh though. An hour later, Kathy picked me up for curry at The Taj. We needed a break from our Vietnamese kick. The chef was a little heavy handed for the level of spice so we asked for raita (a yogurt mix) which made the heat a little more palatable. Hot-cha-cha.

Cutting this shorter which you may appreciate, but -- really -- I need to sleep now so that I may get up early. Big day tomorrow.
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Monday, December 03, 2007

Rotten to the Core

The day could have only been described as rotten. The vibe was so far off for me and others that the day was painful. Bridget and I found ways to be playfully evil just to cut the tension. I guess it was just Monday...

I shared my favorite joke of all time with one of my peeps on facebook (using cleaner words here than the dirtier version I sent):

This guy loves his girlfriend Wendy so much, he had her name tattooed on his member. When it is flaccid, it just says W, but when it is happy (ahem!) it says W-e-n-d-y. Finding himself in a public restroom, he notices this big Rastafarian guy with dreadlocks standing next to him in the stalls and he couldn’t help but notice the guy has a W on his member. Curiously nervous, the guy asks, “I am not trying to be funny, but I noticed a W on your member and I have one, too, for my girlfriend Wendy. Do you know Wendy?” Rastafarian looks at him and smiles, “No, mon. Mine says Welcome to Jamaica!

The drive home was horrible and the whole walking the dog bit when I got home as Cabal turned into Cujo when he saw the other dogs being walked. He almost broke my finger from him tugging the leash so hard. Aargh. Quickly called Tawny to ask for a rain check on my visiting her and Jeff. I told her I didn't want to spread this kind of freakishness. So...watched telly for a bit before calling it a day.

Update: Okay...it wasn't totally horrible, I was perky around 3pm at which time one of our attorneys accused me of being too happy in the middle of the day and on a Monday. She should have seen me then at 7:15pm. There were no smiles to be found.
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

Laughing Out Loud

Laughing with one of your closest girlfriends has got to be one of the best things on earth. I had such a great time with Dianne (aka Possum) and we usually do. For us to have an off get-together signals a disturbance in the universe.

We walked the mall a bit first before making our way to Rice & Company Asian Bistro for delish dishes and hot jasmine tea. It has been five months since I have seen her. (We have talked and e-mailed though.) Not quite full enough to be ticks, we walked our way over to the Godiva store for a cold chocolate drink and some melt-in-your-mouth sexy chocolate.

While in a fine gourmet food store, Dianne saw something and called me from the cooking utensils section. She was laughing and kept saying how it was great. It was the product pictured below. What a total scream! Of course, I had to take a photo.

Great name, huh?


Possum noticed rather large silicone spatulas with holiday cut-outs for slots. She thought them odd and asked what they would be specifically used for in the kitchen. Devilishly I said, Spanking. She quickly made a motion to me as if to spank me with it and said, Great -- now we can tell the story of how we got kicked out of the mall. Yeah, her husband would love that and demand a recreation so he could take appropriate photos. Tee Hee.

We decided to take a quick break by sitting on one of the bench islands in the mall. What I saw next being demonstrated across the way in the high end gadget store for adults almost made me swoon. Drawn like moth to flame, I made my way to it and tried it out for myself. I was startled by the power up sound and it made familiar sounds as I brandished it from side to side. It was incredible! Let's just say I felt The Force.

The football game Dianne's husband was watching somewhere was over around 3pm; she had to make her way back to him and maybe meet up for drinks. After hugs, we went our separate ways with plans to get together again before Christmas. I decided to fill the car up with gasoline and run it through an extensive car wash. Sprayed the tires with tire shine foam when I got home to complete the look.

Today's Grade: A+ ...with glitter sprinkles.
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