Saturday, May 31, 2008


Wore my new running shoes for the first time this morning. Yes, I've held onto them for almost two weeks. They were very expensive ($140!) and I wasn't sure if I could do better on price while still getting a similarly featured pair of running shoes. I gave up shopping around and decided to wear them. Four miles walking with Kristey this morning was a great way to break them in. I knew they were good when my back didn't seize up at all today. It had been with the previous pair. Hurrah!

I did all the laundry I could do today with the exception of the slipcovers on the sofa and club chair. In between moving them around, folding them and putting them away, I cleaned the apartment. Man...I don't have that much floor to wash and I still despise washing floors! Vacuuming the carpet was more rewarding for me. Dusting was a despicable thing to do especially when I started to sneeze from the act. Grrr. These kinds of labor have to be...well, labored even for your favorite AGOL.

For dinner I made spaghetti dressed with tomato, basil, meatballs and mushrooms in a red sauce. Oh and extra pressed garlic! Made too much of the noodles though. I can't measure noodles. (Read as too lazy to measure.) I just dump a bunch in the salted boiling pot of water without breaking the noodle strands. Twirling the pasta with my fork against a spoon is a lovely way to eat spaghetti.

It wasn't a Sassy Saturday, but I accomplished much including a good nap to catch more Z's. Naps are not sassy, but they are bold. I mean to just say to your laundry Screw you! I am taking a nap on the comfy couch. That's bold. Never let it be said that I don't live on the edge.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Chopstick Chow Down

I thought it was French cuisine that was intimidating, not Asian! A few people who volunteered for the our Asian potluck chickened out and didn't show up even when the rest of assured them there would be plenty of food. Goddess knows I always cook for an army as did those who cooked for lunch today.

We had Chinese pork dumplings which Bridget made (yum!!) , Korean Beef (bulgogi), Nam Sod (Thai pork appetizer with tons of ginger and lime juice with a hint of fish sauce and slices of fresh red onion) with Rice and Black Sesame Puffed Crackers, Pancit (Filipino noodle dish - rice vermicelli noodles with veggies and chicken), and the all important jasmine rice my friend Sharon made. I told Bridget that with all the Asians breathing down Sharon's neck on how to properly to cook the rice, she was to count herself lucky not have volunteered for lot. We were hoping for more variety in dishes, but believe me there were plenty to eat. The ladies laughed at my table arrangement and how I fussed over the placement and presentation of things. For dessert, we had my cake and some French chocolate someone brought. Needless to say, our chopsticks were surrendered for the rest of the day.

I came home late and was weak against the call of sleep. It had been a rough week for my lack of it. Maybe that was the cause of my grumpiness and general bitchiness? I just have to regroup again. It is amazing how easy it is to lose focus...most especially when you're mind is easily distracted with crazy things that do not hold deep meaning.

Feng Shui Cake

Feng Shui Cake? Well...I added the pretty drink parasols for "wind" and I piped a shell border that looks like waves for "water". I brought this in today for our Chopstick Chow Down* or Asian themed potluck. I also cooked a Filipino noodle dish. Should be good eats -- I will give you a full report later.

(Taken with my camera phone.)

*I couldn't help myself. They asked me to send the invite and I decided to come up with a name for the lunch. Why be boring? Other people have that covered.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Instant Family

Asians mothers are a different breed...or can be. This morning I received the mango pictured below from my friend Sharon who stopped to see her mother on the way to/from her trip to North Carolina where she met her husband who just came back from serving in Afghanistan.

Sharon had been talking to her mother about me regarding a particular way to prepare a mango like they do in the Philippines and in the middle of the conversation, her mother takes one of her own mangoes, wraps it and instructs her to bring it to me in Florida (from Georgia) not even thinking we have mangoes here, too. It is this generosity for a stranger that always amazes me. The only thing that mattered to her mother was that she had another Filipino friend (me) and that I could share cultural similarity with her daughter. It was like saying, "Oh! You must bring her one. She couldn't possibly live without having one to remind her of her old home." I was another daughter of sorts -- instant family.

I opened this exotic fruit humbly wrapped in a plastic bag and a paper towel. The towel absorbed some of its fragrance so when I unwrapped my treasure, my childhood wafted into my nostrils triggering memories of the outdoor markets. I said as much to Sharon who sniffed the package and agreed.

My aunt does the same thing for me when I visit her and she has extras of some steamed Filipino rice muffins. She insists on me taking it for my friend Kathy (not Filipino or not that we can disprove yet - ha!) who loves it, but is one of my close friends. Instant family.

Bridget gave me the mini report of how her son received his handmade and handpicked gift from me yesterday -- a decorated cupcake with a chocolate flower on top. He was excited and licked all the frosting off first then ate the cake. He had asked if I was part of the family on Saturday. I guess this was another example of instant family.

My own Caucasian side of my family is a bit disjointed and maybe even shattered in parts. Sometimes a certain loneliness creeps within me when I think of my big disconnect with them, but it is my Filipino side that keeps me sane. That side and the other mothers my friends have.

I am both embarrassed and proud to say that I get many little "I'm thinking of you" gifts from my girlfriends' moms. It is so sweet and very surprising because what I get are always beautiful and seem tailored to me. These mothers are mostly non-Asian, but somehow they practice instant family... The commonality may be that they are mothers or maybe we all tune ourselves instinctively to when our heartstrings are plucked in just a certain note of wanting someone to have a certain thing because we know they will enjoy it and resonate in receiving what we send in giving. Does that make sense?


The whole day wasn't spent in feel good vibes; some crazy testosterone laden vibes came in like party crashers. Rob mentioned how he talked to Dan about shooting and shooting positions then invited him to a possible game of paintball. Dan then responded that I would have to be invited. (I am sure he did this to torture me because it is outdoors and they both think I may be too girlie to get dirty. Got news for you boys -- Don't let the hair and make-up fool you. I will turn Rambo on your, wearing lipgloss and spreading glitter while doing it, of course. Maybe even serving you a canape after you get taken out of the game?) The invite was extended to Bridget where I said that we could do "Gals vs. Dorks". All four of us are very competitive. The men like to hedge their shots while us gals like to pull the trigger to empty.

Before I knew it, the group of four grew to nine. We really need 10 for two teams of five players. A small testosterone challenge has suddenly turned into an outing that may be realized at the end of next month. It's not going to be pretty until the pink paint starts making its targets. Canape anyone?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Making Sweeter Things

I could have written about yesterday but it would have been full of Z's. My body spent the day recovering from weekday insomnia and the activities from yesterday. Sleep was a good thing. Maybe too good. I didn't get to sleep until 2:30am this morning. It was Memorial Day and I had the day off!

Today was activity day. My main objectives were getting my nails done and baking goodies for my boss' return to work tomorrow to show him how much we missed him. Hey...Sometimes being an AGOL is a rough gig with visits to Shallowville and Domesticville...

I thought my salon would be busy at the time of the afternoon I went, but I was able to be seated right away. My next stop was to pick up some candy melts for the Chocolate Cookie Truffles and Peanut Butter Cookie Truffles. Three ingredients each on the truffles -- you can't beat that for something tasty and super easy to make! There is an online blogger named Bakerella who has been featured on my evil queen Martha Stewart's show for her goodies including these truffles. I didn't take a picture of mine because I forgot (I know!). By the time I made almost 100 balls and placed them completed and cooled into mini baking cups, I was worn out.

Baked some cupcakes; the decoration on top wasn't what I had planned on but the shop I went to ran out of the colors I wanted for the chocolate melts. Settled for different colored sprinkles I already had at home. I barely piped these chocolate flowers on top. Not my best but it did the trick. It was colorful and that's all that mattered to me. My frosting was whipped in my mixer for almost 20 minutes for a light and fluffy texture. It is a bakery recipe that doesn't taste too sweet and is super smooth, but still carries a wonderful flavor.

A quick call to Tawny had me running samples of the truffles over for she and Jeff to try. They were a hit! Tawny reminded her husband why she needs her food processor (for the cookies) so she can make some of these truffles, too.

Gosh, I love to bake and decorate...and cook. I need a kitchen worthy of my love of cooking. Too bad the ones getting them are the ones that can barely cook/bake. Meanwhile, the rest of us who can cook/bake have to momentarily suffer through postage stamp kitchens with hardly any counter space. Yes, we artists must suffer for our art. Sigh.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weird Science

I ate a very early breakfast as if I were working today and then had a light snack before I was completely ready at 10am for meeting Bridget at 10:30am at the Museum of Science and Industry which just miles from where I live. She called me when she was passing downtown Tampa which was my signal to leave the apartment.

Her son talked up a storm while we were in line getting our tickets. A bit of outrageousn laced his stories as soon as he found out he had a receptive audience: me. Bridget was warning me about him talking all the time and I replied that I could talk to kids all day. Kids are fun especially in an environment such as this kind of museum of exploration into some cool science. We were in time to be seated up close for the magic show. One of the themes at the exhibit was on Magic.

We meandered the different levels where we explored The Universe (solar system) , Disasterville (hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis, etc.), Magnets and Your Body exhibits to name several. In between, we ate lunch and saw an IMAX film Wild Ocean. I forgot that the IMAX at the museum was not like other IMAX installations. This was dome-like where you could get almost a full globe experience. I knew I was going to be queasy after we sat down. Bridget was too and her son was a bit scared by the whole thing until he saw giant projections of dolphins swimming across the screen.

We ended up outside in the mini butterfly garden exhibit enjoying some of the flora, pretty butterflies and creatures in the pond. By this time it was after 4pm and we were all tuckered out. Bridget still had to drive home across Tampa over the bridge to St. Petersburg. Full day for all of us.

Cabal was ready for a walk when I got home. It was very hot outside and very bright. We couldn't wait to get back in. I called Bridget after she got home and thanked her for coming over this side of the bay. She said her son commented that he was going to miss me and asked if I was part of the family now. Oh my God -- how sweet! After the call, I began to upload the photos from today, but forgot that most of the cooler pics I took with Bridget's camera of she and her son.

In the middle of uploading, I received a surprising text from Dan asking if I had any dinner plans. I texted back not yet and that I just got home from being with Bridget and her son. He text back that his refrigerator broke and he had some steaks he had to grill and that he had already talked to Jeff/Tawny who were coming over and if I would like to join them. Dan said that Jeff could pick me up on the way and dinner was around 7pm. Hmmm... I said sure and asked if I could bring anything, but he replied that Jeff had the extras all figured out to round out the meal. Took out a box of couscous anyway and sliced off two tablespoons of butter for the recipe. I wasn't going to assume that Mr. Bachelor had butter. Ha!

The repair guy came while we were making the sides and replaced a part within 15 minutes. Dan marinated some expensive cuts of steak in a new machine that made them tender in minutes before putting them on the grill outside. They turned out very good and I am not a big steak eater. I told him at the table that he was on the approved list for making steaks. He can cook very well when I choose to give him enough credit. (Meanie AGOL!)

Later Dan shared his vacation pics on his big screen TV from when he visited his family in New York a week ago. Tawny and I prepared dessert and watched some more TV. I had extra entertainment with Dan's Siamese cat who always hides when other people are around. The cat came to investigate me and in a totally unexpected thing -- let me pet him for a very long time and on different occasions. I thought he was Cabal as demanding as he was for my attention. SingSing even butted his head against my other hand as if to say, Um -- HELLO -- you have TWO hands. I found myself using my left hand to scratch up and down his back while my right hand scratched behind his pretty head. Tawny teased Dan that he would have to get longer nails now.

We were home before midnight and I was very tired from a very full and fun day. The two beers I had at Dan's weren't helping me either, but I still enjoyed some hot jasmine tea before I went to sleep.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Crickets and Code Violations

Our company hasn't enjoyed a bank holiday weekend for a couple of months. Several people took advantage of the extra day on Monday by taking today off or leaving much earlier than 5pm. By 3pm, you could just about hear crickets in my building...

A text message from Bridget on the way to work told me that I was in for a "fashion show" with our temp. I will not repeat what she said, but it was rude understatement. When I arrived, I was at Bridget's desk for a bit before going to mine and a few minutes after that, my temp accosted me while I was firing up my laptop.

If you know me well, you know I either have a very expressive face or it can be cooler and hard to read depending on the situation. It took all I could muster to keep the What the f*** are you wearing? look from seeping through the cool side when I saw our temp. Holy Mother of God... Jeezus! Were you kidding me? She was wearing a long sleeve pull on purple shirt that had some kind of large faux white diamond jewels lining a three inch wide margin of the V-neck she was wearing. If that weren't enough, the piece de resistance were the big and extra long gold and purple chandelier earrings hanging from her ears.

Besides shock, all that kept going through my head was how much I wanted to strangle Bridget for not fully disclosing the situation. She didn't tell me there were code violations being committed. The saddest part was that our temp seemed to be looking for validation from me. They say if you can't say something nice, don't say it. It was killing me to be silent about her outfit and to make the conversation about something else. I was just hoping a mad case of Tourette's wouldn't suddenly overtake me. I avoided our temp the rest of the day.

Bridget and I went for lunch at one of the restaurant at the malls and a brief side trip to Godiva for decadent treats of chocolate milkshake and a banana creme truffle each. When we got back, our temp stopped by Bridget's desk and made a remark about her shake which annoyed Bridget. It seemed like a veiled barb about her not being invited or getting her own treat. We think our temp is playing a game of trying to stick it to her somehow. She knows better than to try it with me especially since I am still nice to her. The chocolate stuff was expensive and that is why it is called a treat. Grrr.

Our boss sent us a text message on our phones with a picture (below) of our floral arrangement saying how beautiful it was. You can compare what we sent to what arrived. Very pleased.

Bridget left early to attend something for her son's school but not before confirming our meeting tomorrow at the Museum of Science and Industry with him. I left much later and couldn't wait to come home to a cool apartment.

I forgot to mention yesterday that when I got up (still enjoying our tropical indoor conditions) that my clothes dryer wasn't working either nor could I vacuum. The power coming to the apartment was too low to allow either one of these. When I got home last night, it was blissfully much much cooler. A breaker box had to be replaced by the maintenance crew and everything was working fine again when I got home. Cabal and I were chillin' in the crib like baby Eskimos.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Uncommon Arrangement

Our director forwarded an e-mail to us yesterday that was written by my boss to friends and family outlining the schedule for the next couple of days for his family. They included times, places and addresses for things like his home. He suggested we select an arrangement. Bridget and I searched three online floral shops for a suitable arrangement. We were in agreement that we wanted nothing creepy that some sympathy arrangements can be. We didn't want just flowers, but leaned to something more long lasting like a plant. I suggested the image below which was classy and suggests a certain delicacy, strength and unique beauty.

I don't know what your first memories of funerals and such have been, but mine was certainly unique. My memories take me back to the Philippines as a young school girl under 10 years of age. Between the regular Catholic school I attended and a more private Catholic school was a church called Holy Family.

For a period of time, my mother subscribed to a school taxi (of sorts) for me which left me with some time to roam in the church while we waited for other students to arrive at the taxi. There was more than one time that late afternoon funerals would be held. I can remember on one occasion seeing a painted silver baby (or toddler) coffin outside the front entrance surrounded by mourners. My curiosity would get the best of me and I pushed through the crowd wearing my school uniform of a white blouse and a medium gray skirt with my feet encased in white socks and black patent leather shoes.

When I got next to the coffin, I stood on my tiptoes and noticed a glass covering or window on top helping to encase the little body. I saw a sleeping child within. My child's mind knew it was lifeless, but how did it get there? I didn't feel the sorrow of the mourners but remembered a peculiar smell. When my curiosity was satiated, I went in search for the taxi.

I've been to a few funerals since then of people I've known. As much as I love flowers, I've always hated the monstrous arrangements that would grace the coffin whether at a church, funeral home or tipped on its back on top of the grave. They are ugly and are like a garish caricatures to me. I was not sending one like it today. Luckily, Bridget had the same idea.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Unexpected Events

Bridget called me at 8:30am to let me know that our boss had contacted her to let her know that he wouldn't be in the office because of a family emergency. His sister had died the previous day from accidental causes. My boss is very close to his family and this was utterly devastating. Immediately, he filled the role of point of contact for everyone.

The rest of the day was cast in a somber note of trying to make sure things were taken care of or signed. Our boss had picked up his laptop earlier in the morning and used it during the day to work. He was trying to take his mind off things with a few work related e-mails. I wish you could meet him because he is a really good man who lets us be ourselves. He is well liked and we, as his subordinates, are envied because of his support of us and his engaging personality.

Faced with this kind of situation, my group's demented sense of humor tend to come out. It extended to my boss' director via IM. We were helpless against the tide of teasing. The sad part was none of us were consuming alcohol to be that funny. I declared that beer had to be cold to really absorb the medicinal molecules (yes, I make this crap up). Beer is also liquid bread if you thought about it which means it is nutritional as well as medicinal. As the great orator, Homer Simpson, would say: Mmmm....Beer.

I arrived home later because I arrived at work later and I stopped at the store after. All I wanted to do was go home and relax. Oh, no my AGOL, said Fate. Opening my apartment door was like opening into the outdoors. My air conditioning wasn't working. There was a power surge during the day which caused the lights to go off and on affecting my circuit breaker for the important things like the air conditioning. I was able to turn some fans to circulate the air, but it wasn't the same. I immediately called for a service in the morning.

Fate said gleefully But, wait my AGOL -- there's more! Cooking dinner inside the oven or on the stove top was completely out of the question. The light indicator would come on but the heat would not. There was my next service call. Grrr... Thank goddess for microwaves! Watched some television while Cabal kept looking at me as if it was my idea to turn him into his own sauna. Opening the windows was out of the question because it was more hot and humid outside. Positioned the fans so we could sleep with circulating air. It was 10 degrees hotter than what we were used to inside. Dammit.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

LQ: Inmost Hearts

"When two people are at one in their inmost hearts, they shatter even the strength of iron or bronze; and when two people understand each other in their inmost hearts, their words are sweet and strong like the fragrance of orchids".

- I Ching

The words are simply beautiful. Just makes me let out a big sigh. SIGH.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Cooking Up a Storm

My mind hasn't been in the right frame lately. It was this internal war going on within myself. Part of it felt like depression. Today I remembered to take my Vitamin B Complex and all seemed well in the world again. I am not sure how I fell out of the habit and for how long. Chocolate hadn't helped my mood at all. It is amazing how one non-prescription pill that happens to be a vitamin helps me maintain my equilibrium...

The gals were appreciative of the servings of soup I brought them. Bridget and I augmented ours with some salad from the cafe downstairs while the temp enjoyed hers before the lunch she brought. My boss teased me about not bringing him any. It was a treat for the gals -- what can I say?

Full Moon was today. The tempers and general edginess around the office were telling, but I managed to avoid many people. I think I am going to enjoy my new cube. It is away from everyone. Hee.

I couldn't wait to go home and dig into two recipes I found. One was for easy Chicken Enchiladas and the other was for a special rub mix for a flank steak that had to be broiled. My place was smelling really good. I ate a portion of the Enchiladas for dinner and bagged the rest into servings for both the freezer and easy access portions in the refrigerator. Yum!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Smart Substitute

Enjoyed my Sunday morning routine and didn't feel too hurried to do more errands in the afternoon. Accompanied by two store coupons, I visited Bed, Bath and Beyond to buy my new stainless steel rice cooker. My old one was about seven years old and needed to give up its ghost. An inexpensive toaster made it home, too. Yes, the AGOL has never owned a proper toaster until today. I don't really buy bagels or sliced bread, but there are some whole grain muffins I want to try.

Surrendered more dead presidents at the shoe store to replace my current walking/running shoes. I haven't decided on whether to keep them yet or not. While functional and fit well, they are rather peculiar looking. That is why I am not sharing a picture of them. Whoa - who sneaked Shallowville in?

Your AGOL also spent some quality time at the grocery store. I had three new recipes I wanted to try and they required special stuff. I was bound and determined to have home cooked meals for lunch and dinner this week. Tonight I cooked a Potato and Corn Soup which was surprisingly full of flavor. The only bad part was that the recipe made a vat of it. I am sharing some tomorrow with Bridget and the temp...

You know why this recipe was so good? Not only did it require some bacon rendered to cook the chopped onion and garlic in, it also asked for 4 cups of half-and-half. Holy cholesterol and fat, my lovelies! I cut the half-and-half by substituting (1:1 ratio) fat free evaporated milk*. It was only 1 1/2 cups, but it was better than nothing. Next time, I am substituting 3 cups of it for the evaporated milk and keep the 1 cup of half-and-half. I am going to try the full substitution for heavy cream when I make Alfredo Sauce, too. Think smart substitutions because face it -- getting old sucks thanks to that dratted thing called cholesterol and his best friend called fat.

*For 1 cup half-and-half, 1 cup heavy cream OR 1 cup whole milk, substitute 1 cup of evaporated milk (regular or fat free).

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Sticky Rain

Kristey didn't call me to cancel so I guess that meant we were still walking in the light rain. Walked we did. Ew. It was hot and sticky...and not in a good way. There were other crazies biking, running and walking in the wooded park. We laughed when we saw two ladies walking their four large dogs. The car should be smelling of Eau de Woof when they get all of them inside. Four miles later, I was ready to go home and take a bath.

I ate soon after I got home and fell asleep on the couch. A call from Tab woke me up from my nice nap. He was zooming across town for an errand. It was my cue to get up and get ready to do my own errands. I had to buy a replacement handbag for one.

During my shopping expedition which yielded (from three different stores) one new stylish handbag, sports socks, denim pants, two blouses and one double CD with flamenco music. The second CD was a taped concert. Tab and I spoke intermittently during this whole time, giving each other progress updates on our errands. Quite comical actually.

I was pooped by the time I got home which matched Cabal's need to poop on his walk. I apologize; that was in poor taste. Dinner wasn't anything to write home about either, but it did the trick. (OMG -- the sentence strings in this paragraph are a scream!) I played the new music movie concert from the CD set on my TV/DVD to decibels unknown*. It was like being in their concert in Barcelona.

*No, I wasn't being a rude neighbor. The neighbor on the other side can't hear my music while my upstairs neighbor was in England visiting her brother so I wasn't disturbing anyone except her cats.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Straight Answer

Was that a yes or no? I texted Rob this morning as a follow-up to the one from yesterday afternoon to find out if he wanted to have a Vietnamese lunch with Bridget and me today. We knew he was not taking his doctor's orders well. Dropping out of this weekend's Half Ironman race, needing recovery time and ramping back up to his current physical level would preclude him from three to four other races coming up.

He called me about a half hour later sounding really dejected. Today wasn't a good day for lunch although he would love to torture Bridget and me. By the time we ended our conversation with me teasing him about disappointing his girls, he asked if I could give him about a couple of hours to rearrange his doctor's appointment in the afternoon. Both he and Bridget were on the injury list for their respective sports. This was my argument on why exercise and sports were bad for you. Just kidding!

I got into work feeling bubbly and hoped it would hold the whole day. Rob was telling me he wasn't able to make it as Bridget was IM'ing me the same thing. One thing Rob can't stand is disappointing people. I said okay. Wouldn't you know it, he IM'ed back that he could go quickly if we drove ourselves instead of him picking us up so we could arrive and leave when we wanted. His schedule was tight and the Vietnamese joint was a bit away from work. I took his order which would be placed when he called me as he left work.

Rob finally joined us. Bridget and I were finishing our meal while he dove into his. I ordered extra jalapenos for him just like he requested. Damn -- a couple of them apparently really spicy. He was sweating from that or the edgy ribbing he was receiving from Bridget and me. We laughed a good bit. I knew his disappointment on his hip injury wasn't going to last long. He mentioned something about getting a new bike to cheer him up.

It was a two hour lunch for Bridget and me, a fact lightly remarked upon by our temp as we walked in. When I came in from doing whatever I was doing this morning, you guys were gone. I took this as you've been gone at least an hour and half (at least). We're salaried employees, we can occasionally do this, I wanted to scream. You know what our temp was doing this morning? Getting a device installed on her car that requires her to blow into a tube for five seconds to test her breath for alcohol before it allows her or anyone who drives her vehicle to start it. This device also has random tests during the drive to make sure no has imbibed after the initial start. I guess they suspect flasks lurking under the seat cushion for anyone who has come to that point of having (to be required by the insurance company) to install this device. Sad really.

Spent an hour before taking off work talking to Sharon with Amy about motivational (non-monetary) ideas for a committee she's on. I have some experience in this arena and happily shared my ideas. Put a stop quickly to Sharon thinking she could volunteer me for her committee. I wasn't born yesterday -- I know how committees work.

Had dinner with Myrna and drank a tasty Margarita since she was driving. Everything on her end seems to be coming up roses: personally and professionally. Finally! Made her almost lose her breath from laughing too much. I showed her the murder mystery party pics on my laptop and other ones she's missed out on after dinner. Begged off at 11pm so I could gather my marbles, decompress and set my alarm for walking with Kristey in the morning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Breaking Bread

Wednesdays are wacky. Why is that?

Trainer Rob found out that he has to pull out of the Half Iron Man at Disney this weekend per doctor's orders. He has been told to scale back on his training for now to prevent chronic injury later. This man has trained like a demon (we're talking hours a day!) for this event and now he can't enter the race thanks to injuries sustained from last Thursday's mishap with the SUV. Bummer.

I had scheduled myself for lunch alone since I was feeling introspective. Lisa came to sit at my desk to eat lunch. She talked the whole time while I made appropriate responses. Sigh. So much for introspection.

The afternoon was spent in a staff meeting and a conference call. Eh. They were okay. I wanted to drink Margaritas. We know where my mindset was don't we?

I was able to escape early as I had a Greek dinner date with Kathy and Tawny. Dinner with the girlies was fun and our food was super duper tasty. Took most of my entree home for lunch tomorrow and the leftover babaganoush (eggplant pate). Now only if I had remembered to ask for some more pita bread to take home. We pigged out on appetizers and saved room for dessert and coffee. This was funny: Tawny spent a few minutes telling me all the hellos from the other building that needed to be conveyed. It was nice to be missed by some of the AGOL entourage...

Monday, May 12, 2008


Our whole floor was in a state of disarray with disoriented employees trying to find their new desks like an army of ants whose path have been wiped of their scent trace to follow. Boxes upon boxes were being unpacked. My own cube had my own boxes, but there were two extra chairs. I picked a less cushy guest chair to discourage parking in the AGOL cube.

My little ornaments and cards were well received. I was thankful I brought extras in case I forgot someone and I did forget one lady. I had looked on the new office map and I don't recall seeing her name.

As the day settled, Goldilocks was everywhere...My chair doesn't fit...It's too hot in this section...My office is freezing...My new cube is smaller...Wow my new cube is huge...My monitors are in the wrong place... I couldn't wait for the day to end. My eyes were sick of rolling all day every time I heard a complaint. Put your big girl panties on people...! I do. Hahahaha.

It felt great to sort my things out of the boxes and be able to hang things up to make it more homey. I dislike a sterile looking environment. Minimalist is not a word associated with me. Nesting is more like it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Sweet Thoughts

Sunday...Mother's Day. I had thought about this on Friday and it got me a little depressed. I didn't have a mother nor was I a mother. Would I ever be one other than to my Pretty Boy Dog? Luckily, I was too busy to let it sink in. Today I was too exhausted to have it sink in further. Getting home at 1:30am will do that to you. Any plans I had were scrapped in lieu of long naps on the sofa.

Updated my blog and made my little welcome packets mainly for four of the marketing people I know moving over tomorrow. They are getting a painted wooden angel/princess ornaments (I did not make these) to have in their cube and a card filled with iridescent heart sprinkles. Don't the packets look cute with the iridescent shreds and red heart sprinkles? Perhaps they are a bit childish, but are sweet thoughts nonetheless.

Sweet thoughts...

I couldn't help myself. It was better than wallowing in self-pity. Used the energy into making things that are sure to bring smiles tomorrow. Made four more packets for a total of eight that I will give to the other four gals I talk to at work. They get to play musical cubes, too. Oh, joy!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Murder Mystery Party

Our famous humidity was in full force this morning during my four-mile walk with Kristey. Seven-thirty in the morning was oppressive. Ugh. Barring the discomfort from heat and encountering a snake on the walk, we made it through okay.

I stopped at the craft store for some last minute items for my costume, namely feathers. Dan's St. Valentine's Day Murder Mystery party was set in the Roaring 20s AKA the age of the flappers, gangsters and Prohibition. Flappers wore feathers on their heads. I also bought a stencil set and blow pens that mimic spray paint with an exhale of air into the tubes. I needed to make signs for the prop boxes of booze I wanted to have on the scene.

Prop boxes were hiding a fog machine.

Outlining Dan's body for the murder scene on his floor was one of the most fun times I've had setting up an event. It took about 15 minutes of me giggling and bumbling around Dan's awkwardly posed body to complete using blue painter's tape. I had to add the weird bump on his bum because he really doesn't have one and it would prove a source of fun by other guests later.

The party was in nine rounds of clues and questioning with breaks in between to let the clues sink in and time for noshing party fare and refilling wine glasses. No one knew if they were the killer until the first round of paper given to their characters. The revealing to everyone was at Round 9.

Ant (as Al Kohol) rented his Zoot Suit.

Ant's wife Rebecca was the quintessential flapper girl Brandy Chaser.

I forgot to take pics during the party so this is only crowd shot I liked of the two I snapped.

Gil T. Azell (Dan) and Al Kohol (Ant) during a break.

More props were on table to set the birthday party of murdered mobster Tommy Gunn (fedora hat, fake cash, poker chips and a cheap cigar...and curlicue sprinkles!).

Ten guests...and the murder(ess) was dancer/singer Roxanne Redlight! She was also a contract killer paid by The Illinois Temperance Society. They wanted to start a gangster war in which they all killed each other.

My self-portrait in the guest bathroom at the end of the night wasn't as flattering as I would have liked it. It looked wilted -- the headband was barely on my head so no feather included, just the ones from the boa. Sigh. Here are the stylized versions anyway.

Let me introduce Roxanne Redlight...

Everyone had great fun in dressing up and playing their characters. We truly played the game for about four hours which went by very quickly. Playing the game was a unique party idea and I highly recommend planning your own Murder Mystery Party. There are already a few themes being bandied about for late June.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Musical Cubicles

The rip of packing tape from its tight roll could be heard all around our floor today. It was packing day for most of the floor as we were all playing a game of musical cubicles and offices. Productivity was at the week's all time low.

I started hanging my stuff in my new cube while the current occupant was still there. He didn't mind; he loves the Hawaiian stuff. He was busy casing his new place before the movers moved his stuff. My boss determined that my new cube is a bit bigger than the current one since the new one allows me to have chairs for guests. (Just what your AGOL needs!) I will have more guests than I have now thanks to the marketing group migrating from the other building. Simple welcome signs printed from my laser printer made it to some of their cubes so they would feel good about their new move.

Bridget accompanied me to the other building so I could drop off my laptop for a final data transfer to the new laptop that has 2MB of RAM and a faster processor. We made a brief stop in Dan's office to get some chocolate at his desk. I was sitting in his chair writing him a note when he walked in and caught us lurking in his office. He smiled and sat in his chair after I got up. Finding two extra spicy girls in his office never happens. Ha!

After lunch and another trip to the other building to pick up my groovy new laptop, we returned to our own space and finished packing. Everyone left early and I stayed longer just to finish a couple of things. I ran my car through the extended car wash and sprayed some tire shine on the wheels when I came home. My lack of sleep caught up with me. I fell asleep early, but not before I remembered to set my alarm for the early walk with Kristey.

Thursday, May 08, 2008


I love love love (yes that much) this AT&T commercial for Mother's Day:

The visuals remind me of a James Bond movie intro. The song in the commercial is the Lupe Fiasco version of Daydreamin, which samples the I Monster version, adding Jill Scott's vocals.
I fell asleep beneath the flowers
For a couple of hours
On a beautiful day

I dream of you amid the flowers
For a couple of hours
Such a beautiful day

Coffee Identity

The day is always busy when I am the designated buyer for the day. My queue is longer and filled with crazy things people need and want. I felt the pressure also to pack my cube before the day's end tomorrow. The boxes are in my cube but not packed -- progress of some sort, I guess.

I forgot my lunch at home and became at the mercy of the cafe downstairs. I picked a surprisingly delicious chicken dish and ate it at my desk. I saw that I had an IM from Tab inviting me to meet him for coffee at the mall. I messaged him back that I was just eating. He said eat quick and to call him when I was on my way over. I shook my head and ate quick.

Ever impatient, he was calling me as I was calling him to let him know I was on my way and to ask him what he wanted at Starbucks as I would be the first one on the scene. He said no and that he was buying me coffee and to sit inside on the cushy sofa and wait. I did not follow directions and was chastised to go and wait on the cushy sofa while he got our drinks. He was goofing off making me laugh while the drinks were being made. My eyes drank in his outfit because this man can dress. Tab handed me my Caramel Macchiato and showed me the writing on the side. Wow. I can only imagine what the barrista was thinking as he wrote those initials on the cup. Tab said the full version would've been a little awkward.

Just four little letters...

We decided to walk the mall a bit while we sipped our coffees. He loves to shop and has opinions on everything. It was great fun to have a special surprise break in the middle of the day. The only freakish thing for me is that I saw Dan waiting in line at the Starbucks on the level below. I think he saw me which meant he saw Tab, too, but wasn't sure . What a precarious line...

Got out late and enjoyed a quiet evening with one hiccup. Received a startling phone call from Rob saying that his bike was mangled thanks to an SUV running over it. He had taken his bike on his car to work this evening so he could get a ride in tonight and then tomorrow another ride back to work from home, but drive home tomorrow night. It was about a 20 mile ride either way. He was preparing for that half Ironman competition at Disney in two weekends.

Mind you he was solemn at first then later was laughing. He is an experienced and careful rider. He had stopped to do something, but the lady in the SUV was on something or wasn't paying attention. All he could hear were brakes squealing behind him. He turned around and saw her. He jumped off the bike and somehow left his left shoe on the bike. The SUV's side mirror still bumped him; he was okay. The bike was salvageable, but had to be put inside a police cruiser next to Rob. The cop ticketed the lady and drove Rob back to his car at work. His wife wasn't pleased and had warned him of the perils of such a ride when he called to tell her. He said he was going home and getting drunk. Shoot, I would too if I was almost turned into roadkill. In the end, he would do it again. You can't stop a determined athlete or one that seems to be on some brand of crack. Ha.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Switching telecommute days from Thursday to Wednesday this week for an inspection was freaking me out. In my mind it was already tomorrow. Thankfully, the apartment inspection occurred before lunchtime. Cabal never barked so I know the two men entering my home were okay. I don't like uninvited guests I don't know putting their energy in my sanctuary. I'm sensitive like that...or was that paranoid?

Wouldn't you know the day I work from home, freakish things happened at work? One of the guys from the help desk IM'ed me about a user needing my input on something which required multiple applications open on my end. My new laptop hasn't been configured yet so this was attempted on my aging laptop and on a wireless connection. At some point I had to give the user my personal cell phone number to contact me so I wouldn't have to keep updating her ticket and waiting for an e-mail response a few minutes later. (I don't have a regular phone at home because it would be superfluous at the moment.) All my other troubleshooting almost ran into my time to leave to meet Myrna and Kristey at Maggiano's for Myrna's birthday dinner.

Everything else in the evening seemed serendipitous. I had no problems in rush hour traffic. Driving was super smooth as was the ideal parking spot that became available as I navigated into the car park...Dinner was great with the gals...We walked around the mall later and I found an appropriate black dress for Dan's party on Saturday including a pair of Spanx hosiery that all the celebrities have been touting to smooth down muffin tops and hide visible panty lines on their red carpet figure. Well, I don't have close to a red carpet figure yet. It was the last dress, about a half size too big and needed something extra for a knockout look. The accessories I have picked out from my own closet for the roaring 20's theme will go nicely (pink feather boa and long strand pearl necklace). Dan is renting a tux and I figured I should make a better effort. Oh and the thing about this dress: I loved it the moment I put it on which never happens and it was on sale.

Cabal scared me later in the evening. He couldn't get up and I thought he was having a seizure. Rather than engage in full fledged panic, I called Tawny and asked if she could come over with no details as to why. By the time she walked through my door, I had Cabal on his side and was petting him. As soon as he saw Tawny, he got up and wanted to play. OMG -- I wanted to kill him. Little faker. I mean, it could have been legitimate earlier as he is getting on in years, but give me a break! It was a bizarre excuse to catch up with Tawny and for him to get more lovin'. Damn dog.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I asked my temp and Bridget to take this personality test: Meyers-Brigg*. It is (I believe) a good preliminary indicator of basic personalities. The temp's and Bridget's scores matched their personalities. I have taken this test a few times over the years including as part of a hiring process. I used to score the letters ENTJ and this week I scored ENFJ ( Extraverted Sensing - Extraverted Feeling - Introverted Intuition - Introverted Thinking). I love this stuff.

On an foreign note, when Sarah Sprinkles AGOL are googled, this is what comes up on the second page:

What I liked is that it listed keywords I wanted associated with me. Yes, I pre-plugged them into my youtube account, but it was still cool to see. Speaking of youtube, I hope to get more videos put up by mid to late summer. Another location for video cooking shoots has presented itself. Wait until you learn how to properly tickle your mushrooms. This is will not be your grandma's cooking show, my lovelies.

*Please take the test and let me know how you did and if it sounded like you.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Weird Already

Why are Mondays so...well, weird? Other drivers in the garage couldn't quite decide how to maneuver within the tight aisles causing a bit of a backup on the weirdest slopes. People inside my building weren't behaving like themselves like say on a Wednesday. Ugh.

I had a vendor meeting right after lunch which made me leave my gear for the gym at home. Bridget brought hers but we ended up going to the Thai restaurant for lunch for a spicy treat. We stopped at a grocery store on the way back to pick up a six-pack of chocolate cupcakes with bright yellow frosting topped with summer-themed plastic picks and a cheer-up card for our temp.

Right before we left, we asked our temp how her evening at Maggiano's (my favorite restaurant) turned out on Friday with her husband and another couple. The poor woman looked like she was on the verge of tears. She said it was not good and that her weekend was no better. Apparently, on the way to the restaurant, her husband declared it was too much to spend which plummeted any excitement she felt from having a date night out with her husband and another couple. This situation is very rare for her.

Anyway...he behaved weird at the restaurant by apologizing to the other couple and left her there with them. She was embarrassed and ended up getting a ride home from them. When she got home, he slammed the bedroom door in her face saying he was getting ready to leave her from her having her second drunken violation (months ago) which now required a special device to be installed in her car from the special insurance company that cost money itself and the monthly subscription. He was angry at the extra cost of the violation (thousands of dollars in fees). She was already working two jobs to offset the added cost as they were barely making ends meet prior. All this was still no reason for him to behave poorly in front of her friends. Bridget and I will be taking her out to lunch at Maggiano's soon. I refuse for her to have left with a bad feeling of that place. She is supposed to remember the cool the atmosphere and how delicious the food is there. Our sweet treat and card enlivened her in the afternoon.

My favorite vendor flew in for our quarterly business meeting and spent a few hours with us going over the extensive report she put together. I missed any catching up with other people. I forget that I am there for work and not for socializing. Hee. Tab called me during his lunch and after work. I missed laughing with him during the day. On another weird note, Dan unexpectedly stopped by at his desk early this morning to discuss a hobby he was taking up. Did he suspect anything? The jury was still out, but one can't help thinking things. Tab was sure he knew. Sigh.

Caught up with Kathy in the evening and a quick chat to Tawny. Received a note on my door that my apartment building had inspections so instead of my working from home on Thursday, it will be Wednesday. What a pain in the butt. I also sent two e-mails out that were responses to last week. This week should be better. I hope.

Oh yeah - Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sigg You Soon

Thankfully no hangover this morning. Not much was planned for today other than catching up on my blog and completing chores. In the middle of everything, I decided to get my environmentally friendly and reusable Sigg bottles online. The main site has a great selection, but had some more unique ones.

Ordered this from - 1 Liter Capacity:

Ordered this from, too - .6 Liter or 20oz. Capacity:

Had to express the L in AGOL, you know. Anyhoo, I thought they were very cute and humorous.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sprinkles Day

It felt great -- great to have a day I could claim as my own...

I dropped my handbag and planner in Michelle's salon before going to the boba smoothie shop to get our favorite flavors. The owner was flirting with me. I wasn't sure at first and I can be aloof to such things, but he kept at it. This is going to sound bad but I am not generally attracted to other Asians. He was cute and had a muscular build, but I had no desire to play "sticky rice" as my cousin in LA has described to me.

Two hours later, I felt more like myself after having my roots retouched and general shaping of my hair through Michelle's expertise. Hello, Shallowville! We had some good laughs. It was made bittersweet by Michelle's recounting of the new man she was dating. He seemed her dream come true, a spectrum opposite from her ex-husband. Little details of his whereabouts don't seem to add up lately and she suspects him of dating another woman while dating her. Gosh, I hope she's wrong or she will never trust another man again. I think he forgets that she is wicked smart and can add timetables, too. Here's a hint gentlemen: Over explaining yourself can be a sure sign of guilt.

Made a quick stop at one of my clothing stores. I bought more workout gear on clearance. Four workout pants, two matching windbreaker jackets, one tee shirt and a pair of trouser socks came to a whopping $44. My casual pants usually begin at $55 at this store. These were past the end of the season items from last fall. The store was in full swing for late spring and early summer. Yoga style pants that were $45 were on sale for $4.99. I was super thrilled enough to call Angie in LA to brag about my deals.

My next stop was to get my nails done and check off another box on my Shallowville list. The old man from a few months ago was my nail tech today. He was talkative. I asked him what he had done when he lived in Vietnam. He said he had been an electrical engineer and a lieutenant. Age had been his enemy so he switched to doing nails when he got too old as he said. It was an easy profession to get into coming into the States. We also discussed the Vietnamese restaurant I have been frequenting which he approved and was able to make some other recommendations around the city.

The afternoon dissolved and I found myself hustling to get home so Cabal could be walked, fed and played with before I jumped in the shower. Tawny was having a party tonight with our friends. A couple who used to live here were visiting and staying with them a couple of days. It got loud as the libations were consumed. I had the best time. The only portion that bothered me was the push from the couple visiting for me to consider Dan as a dating option. He's a decent guy, Sarah. Why aren't you guys dating? I never disputed that he was a decent guy and quite frankly, he is a wonderful catch for a single girl.

There must be a rift in the space-time continuum somewhere for this subject to be coming up lately. Have they ever considered that he may not like me? It was as if it was my doing we were not together. Maybe I don't want to be with him either after all the BS in between the 10 years we've known each other. Just because we get along and seem to have this special rapport, doesn't mean we're dating material to each other. Of course, seeing us demonstrate this rapport tonight didn't help. Any dates we've had have been stilted with him not saying a whole lot back. He clammed up. As much as I love to talk, I can't keep the conversation up the whole time; I need feedback. I know our close friends mean well and only want to see us happily enjoying the same kind of happiness they have. Still, I was able to leave the party with a comforting feeling from an evening with great friends topping a day with Sprinkles-filled activities.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Sharkfin Pie

No one was in my area when I arrived -- my boss' office door was shut, too. Where the heck was everyone? I called Bridget on her cell and she didn't answer. Rather than letting unwarranted panic set in, I fired up my laptop. I got up and looked down the hall and saw Bridget and the temp walking together. They informed me that our boss was working from home today.

Morning flew fast and lunch loomed quickly. No workout gear was brought in by either one of us. B-girl and I decided to finally make it over to a restaurant we have never tried before. We made it to Mitchell's Fish Market* on West Shore Plaza. We sat in the lounge area instead of the dining room. Later a group from accounting made it over, too, and accused us of not inviting them. Well, they didn't invite us either! Ha.

The Magna Carta-length menu was a bit intimidating, but we managed to zero in on a couple of dishes for this excursion. The dishes were so beautiful that I had to take pictures:

Bridget had the Cedar Plank Salmon (Balsamic eggplant, roasted vegetables, asparagus, portabella relish, and goat cheese)

I had the Shang Hai Seafood Sampler (Fresh Atlantic salmon, scallops and shrimp steamed in ginger and scallions, sticky rice, spinach and rice wine soy sauce)

Um...Yes, we had room for dessert. She was insisting we get two. The other was supposed to be the Banana Rum Bread Pudding until the waitress dissuaded us by explaining how big the pie was going to be. Our Sharkfin Pie (Butter fudge ice cream, honey roasted peanuts, fudge and Oreo cookie crust) managed to take up a large footprint on our table. Holy Sugar!

I had Bridget hold the Splenda packet for scaling purposes. To see it is to believe it.

This was a rather cheeky Bridget pic from my cellphone we sent to our boss. He needed some humor while he managed chaos with three little boys playing in the swimming pool and worked from his laptop at the same time. He laughed when he got it.

I warned our boss that I would be requesting a new laptop after our move a week from now. He said to just put the ticket in now. Hooray. Looking forward to a new machine with more memory and a faster processor.

The evening was more subdued. Truth be told, I was tired. It was a weird week and I didn't sleep all that well. Tomorrow would be better. My name will be all over tomorrow: Sprinklesday.

*Check out their website for dozens Recipes under From the Chef including all the dishes we savored today and priceless information in their section called Tips for Chefs. Also, they have a section called Fish School which is also educational. I am very impressed with this chain. They are so confident with their business that they are willing to share many of their secrets. Oh -- if you look under The Experience, the video is from the Tampa location...Five smooches out of five for Mitchell's Fish Market. You must swim there now!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Just a Question

Cabal was barking up a storm. Did I forget to set my alarm because I was working from home today and overslept? I checked the clock and it read 4:45am. Huh? I got up and over Cabal's antics, I heard a faint knock on the door. Did Tab decide to come over? He would have called me first.

I looked through the peep hole and it wasn't anybody I recognized. It was an adult male, but I didn't feel any panic. Thank God I have a safety lock on my side of the door which would prevent anyone from pushing their way through if that was their intent. I opened the door and said hello. In a strung out or drunken voice, the knocker asked me if I he could ask me a question. Annoyed, I said No, thank you and shut the door. I watched him shuffle off and mumble a complaint about just wanting to ask a question. Grrr. When I retold this story to Tab, he said I should have greeted him with a .357 and reminded the guy that it was before 5am.

Working from home proved to be more an aggravation than a privilege. My laptop was not behaving well and has been showing its age the past couple of weeks. I almost cried a few times when one simple thing took 15 minutes instead of two. A few applications had to be shut down numerous times. It was not pretty. I would have to approach my boss for a new replacement very soon.

Left my apartment at 4:40pm to meet Kristey for a four-mile walk in the wooded park area. On the way, I confirmed my hair appointment for Saturday...There was a respectable amount of cars on our side of the park. It was sunny, but the breeze blowing cooled us as we meandered around. Received a text message from Dan near mile marker 2 letting me know of a few props he picked up for the party. Kristey laughed and said she could not wait to see pictures and hear about the whodunit.

Updated: I attempted to update my blog a few times this evening, but I hadn't been feeling it. The weekend was coming up and I could do it then. I received a couple of how are you doing e-mails from people who usually check here first to get an update. Guilt was starting to sink in.