12.14.2007

American in Paris, Part II.... not really

I've been really busy at work and at home (Justin's been sick a lot lately) so I haven't had a chance to write much.

But I wanted to tell you about a horrible thing I witnessed yesterday.

I was sitting at the light at William Cannon/290, and I see a big 18-wheeler truck go by in the right hand lane. There is this big, old tree that hangs over part of the intersection, and I guess when he hit one of the limbs in the tree, it knocked this poor squirrel out of the tree and into oncoming traffic.

He's trying to get away, but part of his body is paralyzed from the fall, and a car is coming! I look away, because I've never killed an animal with my car before, and I just can't watch this poor little squirrel go like this.

I wait a few seconds -- and it turns out the car that was about to hit him stopped and waited for the poor squirrel to get to safety. YAY! That's why I love Austin -- any other stupid town, the person would have just run over the little guy.

The end. It ended up being a fairly non-horrible story.

12.06.2007

Day Three, Part 1: My Cherie Amor

(So technically, I don’t think this is French; in fact, I looked up the song on Wikipedia and it turns out Stevie Wonder wanted to call the song My Marcia after a girl he met at the School for the Blind in Lansing, Mich. I just really like this song a lot and the cab driver did a comical rendition of it)

I think this trip needs some back story before I go into the whole day.

So, in fourth grade my BFF Brandi was way cool – all the boys were in love with her, she had the greatest personality and more importantly for slumber party purposes, was the only kid in our class who had a subscription to Teen Magazine. (I couldn’t get one until I was 13 – an official teen – so having access to one at the age of ten was a big deal. And if you were a real rebel like me, you’d sneak some peaks at Seventeen Magazine while at the library.)

Flash forward 16 years (dear God, that is sobering), and Brandi is still way cool and living in Paris where she works as a marketing intern at a cosmetics/facial company while pursuing her master’s degree at the university there. I’ll admit it, I’m totally jealous. Paris is way better than Texas.

When I found out I was going to London way back in September, the first thing I did was e-mail Brandi to see if I could come and visit her in Paris. A few exchanges later (more like 24 e-mails, but we were also catching up!), I had bought my $170 round trip train ticket from London to Paris and eagerly awaiting a stamp in my passport.

But on Sunday night, an e-mail from Brandi had my dreams of sipping coffee (in my case, Diet Coke) overlooking the Eifel Tower crashing down.

That sentence is beyond overdramatic; I just freaked out because her subject line, in all caps said: “MINOR COMPLICATION – DON’T PANIC.” So of course I panicked.

Long story short, Brandi forgot about a class she had that morning, and was just going to be late picking me up at the train station, which was fine. I was to meet her at 10:30 a.m. (my train got in at 9:00 a.m.) at the McDonalds across the street from the train station (obviously, my Yankee self would have no trouble finding that), and then we could go sightseeing from there.

One line in that e-mail that perked my ears/eyes/whatever, was that the train station isn’t in the best part of town, so I am not to go wandering about. Knowing that I’m a wanderer, I’m really glad she told me that.

So Monday night, I stupidly decided to try another NyQuil to get some sleep (because I was so excited and I had to wake up at 3:45 a.m. that morning). Unfortunately, the same NyQuil affect I had on the plane (racing heart, no sleep) happened again, and I maybe got three hours of sleep before my wake-up call from the hotel rang… twice.

After a quick ten pound/$20 cab ride to St. Pancreas train station, waiting in line for awhile, I was finally on the train for departure at 5:21 a.m., traveling 186 mph to Paris.

The train ride, in the dark, wasn’t exactly the most pleasurable experience. At first, I thought I would be able to get some rest. I realized that wasn’t going to happen by the second train stop on the England side of the Channel (and the fact that every tunnel we went in, my ears were popping constantly). In a train where there were literally rows upon rows of empty seats, a family of four had to sit right behind me. And their three-year-old kid HAD to sit in the seat right behind me (I know this, because of all the kicking.)

It is my understanding that in London there are nearly 12 different dialects of English spoken. That’s just in the city. This family must have been from the same family that Audrey Hepburn’s character in My Fair Lady was from. At one point, the children decided to sing their alphabet and I thought I was going to shoot myself.

On top of that, they were going to Disneyland Paris, which means they wouldn’t shut up about “princesses” and randomly, “big hotels.”

Luckily, I had downloaded the musical White Christmas – quite possibly the best Christmas musical EVER – onto my iPod and tried drowning out the poorly spoken English with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye. Sigh. I’m tearing up, singing along softly to “Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep” (gets me every time). And then my stupid iPod dies (damn first generation video iPod and your crappy battery power). Once again, I’m stuck hearing yelling and screaming and feeling the kicks of two bratty children against my seat.

We finally get to Paris two and a half hours later (there is an hour time change if you’re doing the math) and I’m so excited. That gets quickly shot down when I see that practically everything is in French. I see the money exchange place, but it looks like they are only speaking French, and I don’t want to look like an idiot, so I decided to wander outside and see where the McDonalds is.

Well, apparently, the McDonalds is just north of the “Sex Shop” in case any of you are wondering. Oh, and all of the blue sleeping bags cuddled up outside of the train station aren’t there for looks either – they have people in them.

I go into the McDonalds, find the breakfast menu, and realize I have no way to pay for anything. So I trot back to the train station, walk around a few times before I get the courage to ask for Euros at the money exchange booth, then proudly, and confidently hand over my $200 American dollars and say, “Euros.”

And it appeared to work! Glorious! Then she asked me a question. I’m thinking, “Shit – I’m going to have to speak in stupid American, and then she’s going to say something rude in French and I won’t know it.” After a few tries, I realize she’s just confirming I gave her $200 and so I nod my head yes, and I’m on my merry way… back to McDonalds.

As I’m walking back, I look at the receipt the lady gave me – for $200 American dollars, I got 107 Euros! (I just noticed there is a Euro sign next to my “5” on my keyboard – but I’ve tried shift, control and alt with no luck.) Piss – this trip is already expensive.

Back at the McDonalds, I’m letting people get in front of me in line, because honestly, I can’t read the menu. Rather, I can read the menu, but can’t pronounce anything without giving away I can’t speak any French and I’m a dumb American. So, despite not wanting this item (but I haven’t eaten in 10+ hours), I order a bacon egg McMuffin because it’s the only thing I can pronounce. She asks me if I want one or two (I think) and I hold up one finger and say one (because apparently I’m three).

As I’m waiting for my food, a true dumb American orders egg McMuffins as well. I call him dumb because well, the lady is clearly asking him if he wants napkins, and he yells at her, “I can’t speak this, I speak English.” No wonder French think we’re stupid. I mouth “I’m Sorry” to the lady and give them man a dirty glare. And for some reason, I get two egg McMuffins.

At this point, it is only 9:20 a.m., and I still have another hour before Brandi arrives. So I proceed to eat the disgusting egg McMuffins as slowly as possible, making me realize that this tastes a lot better than in America. Odd.

At 9:45 a.m. I finally finish and out of the corner of my eye I see a squatter headed my way. Unfortunately, I not only see him, I smell him. Yuck. Luckily, he just sits next to me and doesn’t say anything so I continue looking out the window, watching people walk by – which was sort of fun.

At some point, this lady taps me on the shoulder and starts speaking to me in French. I have no clue what she’s saying, but she points to her palm. So I say, “Money?” and she nods. So I nod “no” back. And then she keeps pestering me. Seriously, have the French never heard of “No Loitering” signs before??

I give up, and finally gave her a Euro and some pounds (all of the change I had). And the stupid bitch asks for more. Seriously, more! And I say no and try to ignore her. I thought that it worked, and it did for about five minutes and she comes back to me and tries again. Then she starts yelling at me in French.

I’ll be honest, part of me is wondering where management is, because a paying customer is being harassed right now. The other part of me is wondering why the smelly squatter isn’t telling her to shut up, but I think he found it funny.

I finally got up and went back to the train station and just walked around aimlessly until about 10:25 a.m. and walked back, again, to the McDonalds. I’m not going to lie – in my head, I’m trying to figure out a way to get back to London without offending Brandi. Hehe… she doesn’t know this.

And I walk back into the McDonalds and that stupid evil beggar girl is still there! And she almost asked me for money, but I gave her a look of death and she didn’t. Shortly thereafter, Brandi arrived and we headed… back to the train station.

Turns out, the train station is multi-floored because it also serves as a subway stop. It also turns out that you can by lingerie in a train station – which is just funny. We got a day pass for the subway system (6 Euros/$12) and headed to the Eifel Tower.

Surprisingly, the subway was fairly clean, and smelled pleasant enough. I’ve heard in the past that Paris is really smelly, and the people sort of smell, but really the only person who stood out during my time there was the squatter at McDonalds.

The Eifel Tower isn’t all that impressive. I mean, it is – but it’s like going to the Statue of Liberty for the first time and being, “Huh. So that’s it.” Don’t get me wrong – it’s huge and I’m glad I got to see it. It just didn’t do anything for me.

After taking some obligatory photos (shown here), we headed to a café right across the street. I’ll admit – I’m not a fan of coffee. My whole life, people were always like, when you grow up, you’ll like coffee. Once you pull an all-nighter in college and you need something to keep you up, you’ll like it.

But I never grew up I suppose, or pulled a full all-nighter, so I never liked it. And when we got to the café, I did what anyone else would do, I ordered a Diet Coke. (mmm) FYI – Diet Coke, for whatever reason, is way better in Europe. Coke must use a different sugar substitute.

Brandi did let me try her coffee – and if coffee tasted that good in America – I’d be drinking it.

The weirdest part of the café – the parking meter-like device on the bathroom door handle. If I have to pay for the bathroom, it should look better than this pitiful mess. At least I didn’t have to pee in a hole in the ground, like some places have (Ewww.)

Okay – this is getting pretty long, and I’ve still got a few other things to discuss about this day. I’ll post Part II at some point.

12.03.2007

Day Two: All By Myself, Don’t Want to Be

(I’ve decided to try and name all of my blog entries after our memorable taxi driver music from the previous day… this particular song just happens to perfectly match my day)

Note: Obviously my effort to blog each day that evening was a lofty goal I wasn’t going to come close to reaching – seeing as it is exactly a week later. My bad.


Given the great weather in London (Sunny and highs in the lower 10 degrees Celsius, fools!), I was really excited about venturing out into the city in the broad daylight.

Originally, I was planning to go on an early morning run, but my ankle was still bothering me, and I wanted to exert my energy site seeing. Additionally, cough cough, my butt didn’t get out of bed until after 9 a.m.

I forced Justin out of bed via loud banging in the bathroom at roughly 10:30 a.m., mainly because I didn’t want to waste our day sleeping. You can sleep in America, you lazy American! (Granted, in the paragraph before, I also would be considered a lazy American, but that’s beside the point.)

After Justin got ready, we headed out down the same path we took the night before. Once we got over the Waterloo Bridge, Justin started feeling sickly, so unfortunately, we headed back to the hotel. Literally, at one point, I thought he was going to hurl. And given the fact that the one time I’ve seen him puke I almost followed suit, this was not a good sign for me either. After some room service for lunch (where Justin had the same food for EVERY meal while we were in London – poor guy and his food allergies), I headed back out without the better half. Because, let’s face it, I won’t be spoiled by a party pooper :) Plus, Justin really did need his rest and needed to get some work done.

I had two goals in mind on this particular excursion – must see Buckingham Palace, and have to go to Harrods. As an avid shopper, it’s my duty.

Seeing that this was a self-guided tour, with really no idea where I was going, I walked through St. James Park, where a lot of tourists are – oddly enough – looking at squirrels. Seriously, I have never seen so many people so excited about feeding dumb squirrels. I later found out that people in London and other parts of Europe don’t see squirrels that often and think they’re pretty awesome. Ugh – live in Texas for a minute and you’ll see more squirrels. Although I must say, London squirrels are big and grey. So slightly different than our poo poo brown ones here.

Buckingham Palace is just past St. James Park, and it wasn’t quite as regal as I was hoping for. I expected it to be bigger, I guess. The front gates were pretty spectacular, but really, there are nicer looking buildings in London (including our hotel). I stopped in the gift shop and bought a few items (including a spoon set for Justin’s grandmother), and kept walking.

At some point, I notice that the sun is setting, which is odd, because it’s only 3 p.m. After some interesting turns, and a few moments where I thought I was lost, I made it to Harrods at dusk. By now, my ankle is killing me (I had sprained it the week before) and it is pretty dark outside. It took me roughly two hours to walk there – whoops – so much for Harrods looking like it was relatively close to our hotel. Stupid tourist map.

Harrods is interesting, as it is HUGE. I walked in a side door, and went through a huge make up section, then through the food section, purse section then back into the food section to get a few things for my mom and Gran. After that, I headed upstairs where I saw bed linens, rugs, Christmas stuff and a pet department. And that wasn’t even all of it – I still had several more floors to go! My ankle was really killing me by now, so I headed back to the hotel via taxi.

Sidebar One: London is expensive. A bar of soap for my grandmother was the equivalent to $12. A small box of chocolates are $20. Conclusion: the dollar sucks. In fact, there were even travel agencies in London advertising “Shopping Excursion Trips” to NYC.

Sidebar Two: After I got back to the hotel, I needed to get ready for Paris – I was getting up at 3:45 a.m. to catch the 5:21 a.m. train. Lesson learned: never take NyQuil ever again, as it causes my heart to race and won’t let me fall asleep. And for anyone who knows me, me NOT falling asleep easily is quite impressive.

Sidebar Three: BBC owns. During the course of the trip I was able to hear more cussing, see more boobs (in a respectable fashion) and laugh louder than I ever had on regular American television. Conclusion: Americans are self-righteous prudes and/or British are vulgar whores. Kidding! (well, not about the American part)

11.25.2007

London, Day 1: I can’t live, when living is without you.

Today was our first day in London – and I think most of it was spent sleeping. I tried taking a nap on the plane (with the help of my friend Nyquil), but unfortunately, I just had a messed up 20-minute nap every hour.

We landed at London-Gatwick around 7 a.m. local time/1 a.m. Texas time. After going through immigration, we headed to the taxi stand, where we learned that the dollar does, in fact, suck. The countryside between Gatwick and London is gorgeous, with the greenest rolling pastures and adorable farm homes. But the most enjoyable experience of the trip to our hotel in Central London was our taxi cab driver. I have never met a man before who listened to only ballads – and then willingly sang these songs quite loudly in front of strangers. He also belted out some Michael Jackson, but for the most part, we got stuck with such classics as Bette Midler and quite possibly every single song from the Bridget Jones’ Diary soundtrack.

Once we arrived at our hotel (The Savoy, which backs up to the river and Strand Street), we were lucky enough to have a room ready for us. After collapsing and passing out for six hours (with a random interruption of room service trying to clean our rooms – I think Justin started yelling at them in his sleep, which was endearing), we woke up, grabbed some dinner and went for about an hour stroll around the hotel.

Overall, I love the architecture here in the town, because it just reminds me of so many fun movies I’ve seen that were based in London. (Cough cough, Harry Potter)

Tomorrow we’ll trek around in the daylight and see Buckingham Palace and I think there is a casino down the street too… haha. I laugh, yet I think I’m serious too.

In the meantime, I’m stuck in the room with Justin while he is watching football and managing his fantasy team. Some Sundays never change, no matter where you are.

10.28.2007

Cell Phones, Pagers and Halloween Candy at Target

I was at Target this morning, shopping for a wedding gift for a fellow friend of mine, when I overheard the following conversation between a mother and her eight-year-old son:

“Mom, I really need a cell phone.”

“Son, you know you can’t get a cell phone until you’re 13.”

“Ugh, I know, Mom. Will I get my own personal computer then too?”

“We’ll see.”

Obviously, my first thought was, “what a spoiled little brat!” (Granted, I was shopping at the "good part of town" Target). But then I thought about it. Yes, I didn’t get my own cell phone and computer until I went to college (after much begging and paying for the majority of both items myself), but God, how things have changed in seven years to where this conversation is somewhat of a commonplace.

As I’m walking towards the Halloween candy from electronics (seasonal section where the Christmas stuff usually is, or back-to-school items, Easter, Valentine’s Day, etc.), I’m wondering if a cell phone will be listed on my own child’s kindergarten school supply list. (Doing the math, that ends up being about seven or eight years from now, so that time table is somewhat realistic.)

The whole thing reminds me of when pagers were da’ bomb in middle school (might as well throw in some 1995 terminology to describe this). Those got banned from school because you were deemed a drug dealer, which was kind of funny. Gosh, I wanted one so bad too, even though I still don’t quite understand its point.

So, your mom pages you because she wants to know where you are. But what if you’re at Celebration Station or something (another 1995, Mesquite, Texas reference) and you can’t get to a phone? Seriously, what is the point? Cell phones are so much more ingenious really. Especially with the GPS technology built into practically every phone where you (or the government) can monitor your kid’s (innocent citizens’) every move without them realizing it. Sidebar: I'm reading this book Justin has called 60 Greatest Conspiracy Theories of All Time. It's awesome and at some point I'll blog about it.

So, that’s just my random thoughts for a Sunday afternoon and a look into my mind on just how quickly it processes information and seemingly goes off subject. I was already done thinking about all of this and I hadn’t even gotten to the linens section yet. (hope I didn’t give away what I got you, SPFL)

10.10.2007

The Definition of Sharing

After an incident this weekend, I decided to go to the source and figure out the exact definition of “share” or “sharing.” (Which, by the way, I find it highly amusing that when you type “Webster” into Google, the t.v. show isn’t event listed until the eighth entry… just thought you should know)


Inflected Form(s): shared; shar·ing
1 : to divide and distribute in shares : APPORTION -- usually used with out
2 a : to partake of, use, experience, occupy, or enjoy with others b : to have in common
3 : to grant or give a share in -- often used with with
4 : to tell (as thoughts, feelings, or experiences) to others -- often used with with

Synonyms: SHARE, PARTICIPATE, PARTAKE mean to have, get, or use in common with another or others. SHARE usually implies that one as the original holder grants to another the partial use, enjoyment, or possession of a thing . PARTICIPATE implies a having or taking part in an undertaking, activity, or discussion . PARTAKE implies accepting or acquiring a share especially of food or drink .


So here’s what I find the most interesting about the definition share, and may give insight into why it’s so difficult to do/practice: the usage scenario we as humans normally associate with the term “share” or “sharing” isn’t really an exact definition, rather it is implied, and typically implied poorly or flat out wrong.

Take for example the “incident” I’m referring to. So I’m inside of this small built-in cabinet (think a kitchen cabinet but within a living room) with a three-year-old, a five-year-old and an eight-year-old (shockingly I have the picture to prove it, which I will post at some point) and they are all arguing over who gets a nice flashlight versus the crappy wind-up flashlight.

(I swear, I’m going somewhere with this)

To keep the screaming down to a dull roar, I calmly ask the seemingly most logical of the three (eight-year-old) to share the flashlight with her two-year-old cousin. I get a resounding “no way.” Of course I ask why, and I don’t really get an answer (mainly because I feel at some level she realizes how stupid it is to be arguing over a flashlight in small cabinet with three other people in the first place).

I try rewording my ask a few different ways with no luck, trying logical reasoning techniques I’ve learned in very expensive work seminars. What I learned is that these techniques cannot be used against individuals under the age of 10. Sigh.

But after looking at the definition of sharing, particularly #3 and the bolded part in the synonym section, kids think of sharing as “giving up” something that they feel is rightfully theirs. And they don’t think, despite your desperate pleas, that they’ll get it back. Rather they associate “sharing” with giving away something for good.

So the next time you’re in a cramped space with multiple children and they start fighting, either remove yourself completely from the situation, or get earplugs. There is just no way out.

10.06.2007

See. Jenni. Run

Last Sunday I got to run! Wee! And despite the ridiculous heat and humidity that comes with running at 11:45 in the morning, I was able to go 3.5 miles under 38 minutes. Now while the guy that won the 12k portion ran that in 34 minutes, I'm not down. I can't wait to run it again next year and try and shave more time off.

Here's a link to the results from the race: http://www.doitsports.com/newresults3/client/100525_214360_2007.html I was in the WE are Family group -- or you can just do a search for my name.

Anyways, the next race I'll be running is the Jingle Bell 5K -- so if you want to join in on the fun, let me know.

And for anyone thinking about Birthday/Christmas gifts -- a gift card here would make my day! http://www.runtex.com/

Pics from the race are on Facebook!

9.28.2007

Ask and You Shall Receive

So after last night's quick post, apologizing for my lack of writing on here, I spent the evening and the better part of the morning trying to think of something to blog about.

Then this fell in my lap on the way to work this morning, and really, how could you not post something about this ridiculousness:

http://www.wescooppoop.com/

Yes, I passed a pick-up truck for the "We Scoop Poop" people, better known as "Dog Duty." For only $9 a week, you can rid your backyard of all of that poop your dog does.

Or you can save yourself $9 bucks and bag it up yourself. OR, do what Justin and I do, just leave it -- and in a few weeks it goes away on its own, and your grass is greener for it.

I think my favorite part of the Web site is the FAQ section. For example, the first question in my mind is, "What in the heck do you do with the poop after your scoop it? Do you have a manure pile somewhere?" And that just happens to be the first question! Their answer:

"We leave the bag at your house in the roll-away trash can. If you keep your trash can inside your garage, then we leave the bag next to your garage door farthest away from your front door."

Personally, that's just asking for some stupid 14-year-old to walk by and set it on fire, but that's just my opinion.

Another good question, "I have a scary dog. Will you still scoop my yard?"

My answer -- why would you make some poor individual pick up scary dog poop? Why do you have a scary dog in the first place? Anyways, their answer is pretty much yes.

Now, to be fair, after looking at their site, they also provide lawn service and pet sitting -- so they aren't exactly hanging their hat on trying to make a buck picking up just dog crap.

9.27.2007

Well, hello there

I guess it’s been awhile since I’ve last posted. It’s funny, because I’ve wrote a few posts, but ended up erasing them and/or not posting them. Guess it’s like calling an old friend you haven’t talked to in awhile. You think about it, and eventually you do it, but it takes a few tries.

So, hello. Long time no talk. ;)




Maybe this posting is more like an answering machine message.

8.22.2007

Oh, bother Solved!

Okay, after I calmed down, I went to the ever-wonderful Fitness Magazine Web site (love that magazine!) at found the following document: http://images.meredith.com/fitness/images/pdf/6WeeksTo30Minutes.pdf

It's a workout plan designed to get the beginner runner in shape and kickin' it in time for a 5k. They also had a section for preparing for a 10k, triathlons, marathons, etc. I doubt I'll get that far, but now that I have a plan and direction, my goal is to not look like a running idiot in front of my co-workers ;) I'll keep you guys posted on how I do.

Oh, Bother

I’m freaking out – it’s a month before and I’m freaking out!!

Okay, so here’s the deal – my work is the sponsoring a group of employees for the annual Silicon Labs Relay Marathon. Relay marathon means that you split up the 23 miles for a marathon among five people (I think five people)… So something like, two people do a 10k, one person does a 12k and two people do a 5k. One of the 5k co-workers will be out of town this weekend and I stupidly raised my hand to replace her yesterday afternoon.

And less than 24 hours later, here I am, freaking out. To clarify, I did the 5K Bun Run back in April in about 36 minutes, which is great considering it was my first 5K ever and I’m not that great at running. The problem is, everyone on the team that I’m running with are seasoned pros at running (you know, the ones that are at Town Lake every day or that I see running in my neighborhood with her husband at seven in the morning). So essentially, I’m totally ruining their chances at winning because I suck.

So I have four weeks to prepare (it’s Sept. 29) starting today (I would have started last night, but my piano lesson went to two hours). I’m going to puke, and I haven’t even started running yet.

8.08.2007

Why I Blog

I was going through some old boxes my Mom had in a closet a few months back, and stumbled across journals and school projects dating back to elementary school. My favorite document was something my fourth grade teacher sent back to me a year or two ago as she was cleaning out some of her files. Apparently I created this personal dictionary and my own bound book. I’m not going to lie – the stuff was total crap. I mean, how did my parents allow me to turn in such blatant misuse of English for a grade?

Point being – I love writing. I enjoy expressing myself via words – even more so than playing my violin or piano (which honestly, is more like interpretation than expression [as you’re playing someone else’s music for the most part], so it probably isn’t an apples to apples comparison). I remember going to creative writing classes, submitting poems and stories growing up for local contests, and sadly, writing the worst lyrics to songs that I never put music to ;)

That love of writing (and incorrect English usage) got tested my senior year of high school, when a requirement in one of my classes was to write in a journal every other day and submitting the stupid thing for a grade (1-5 scale).

Before we began this year-long assignment, I remember the teacher saying that she rarely gave out 5s. Once that tidbit was revealed, my personal goal for this class (a.k.a. competitive side) suddenly became how many 5s I could get.

I tried everything – sad, happy, wit, humor, insight, death, one page, three pages – to no avail. I never got a single 5, and usually hovered around the 2-3 range, with the occasional 4. Most of the time, the teacher would just complain what a poor writer I was, which I now find slightly ironic since I write for a living. (So, odd thank you for nearly train-wrecking my career path – you made me work that much harder.)

But thinking back, I do think it’s a little wrong to rate a student’s (or anyone else for that matter) equivalent to a forced-personal journal. It’s almost like judging this person’s thoughts, emotions and experiences based on your own set agenda. Now, if she had given us assignments (I want you to write about your thoughts of Chapter 8 from “Cry the Beloved Country”), I could see justification for such grades. But really, it should just be a simple completion grade more than anything. Especially if this perfect score was so subjective. I could probably go into a longer discussion about how most grades are subjective, but I don’t feel like talking about it right now.

Tying it to my present writing, it’s different than a blog – writing that I choose to share and fully expect you to judge how poorly or well-written and insightful each post is based on your own internal criteria that I may or may not be fully aware of. (Talk about a run-on…) Part of me will always care what others think, but at the end of the day, I write this blog for me – to allow the free movement of creative juices, let off steam, express the randomness in my head, voice my latest triumph (or failure) and share who I am and who I want to be.

The End

8.05.2007

Right out of a sitcom

This weekend, Justin spent the whole weekend studying and writing for his graduate paper that’s due Tuesday, which meant I was free to go and party! (Note: I would have been free to do that no matter what Justin was doing, it just sounds better that way for storytelling purposes)

After some discussion earlier in the week, Ashley and I decided to go to Hamilton Pool – it is this natural watering hole about 40 minutes West of Austin (between Bee Caves and Dripping Springs). You hike about a quarter of a mile down a fairly steep hill and can either go to the left – where you can continue hiking to the Pernadales River – or take a right towards the watering hole.

I’m not going to lie (my new catch phrase if you’ve been around me the last few weeks), it’s gorgeous. Literally, this amazing, God-created goodness for city folk like myself.

We got there super early, and stayed for about an hour – once people start coming, the area gets a tad crowded and kids are yelling, ruining the serenity of it all.

So, um, we decided to spend the next three hours laying out the country club. Total 180 right? About three weeks ago, one of my friend’s, Kim, told Ashley and me that we look iridescent. So we stayed out about an hour too long at the pool and our backs are red as some random metaphor I can’t think of at the moment.

To make our backs a little worse, today we decided to go hike the Greenbelt and then layout (only on our backs) at Barton Springs. We’re really asking for it. And apparently this 10-year-old walking by us thought we were too.

I’m laying there with my eyes closed, and I hear this voice from in front of me say, “You know doin’ that causes skin cancer, right?”

I open one of my eyes, look around, find the girl through my squinting, and respond, “The key is moderation – if you don’t do this all of the time and use sun screen, you’ll be fine.”

I thought, honestly, that would shut the kid up. I mean, how hypocritical of her – standing there, in the same sun as I am – telling me I’m going to get skin cancer.

And then she’s like, “I’m serious. You’re going to get skin cancer.” At this point, I’m looking around for her parents so she can leave me to my sun/skin cancer.

I politely smile at her and lower my head back onto the towel, hoping the gesture will signal her to try the next group of sunbathers to my right.

“Maybe this will cool you off!” And the kid, out of nowhere, pulls a water gun and sprays me. Then she turns and sprays Ashley, walks to the sunbathers next to me, and sprays them too.

I have to admit, the whole thing was funny, except for the fact I would never allow my child to do spray random people while lecturing them on skin cancer.

At the same time, that water sure felt good on my sunburn.

8.01.2007

Drugs=Love

I think I was in ninth grade when I told a fellow friend of mine, “If I ever act like that when I’m dating someone, slap me.” I think girls notice it more than guys do – once your girlfriend starts dating someone, you take the back seat, and honestly, they act like idiots.

And I can say this, because the latter half of high school, I’m pretty sure I was one of those idiots. I had a few friends verbally slap me, but it didn’t do me any good.

Looking back at this period of my life, sometimes I wonder why I was such a dipstick. I’m sure my parents think that too. And apparently, now we know why. According to this study I saw on the Today Show this morning (no link is up yet, but I’ll post it once it’s available), researchers took the brain of someone who is spaced out on drugs, and compared it with someone who is in love. Apparently the brain shared many of the same characteristics as someone who does lots of drugs.

The whole thing makes sense, because breakups suck – it’s like you’re going through detox, or you end up with the guy again (can’t break the habit). In fact the more I think about it, the more love is exactly like some type of mind hallucinogen.

That said, I’m quite content with the state of things in my relationship. And I’m pretty sure I don’t act like an idiot or drive my parents bonkers. Of course, it could be that I’m not 17.

7.30.2007

Change

I love going to weddings with my husband – he’s a great date – but sometimes I get so embarrassed. Not by him surprisingly – he actually looks pretty sharp when he tries – but by myself.

Take this past weekend for example. We attended the wedding of a friend of ours – I’ve known her since about seventh grade, and Justin knew her ever since elementary Quest days (where the smart kids went during elementary school while the stupid ones got left behind – obviously I’m bitter).

So we’re sitting there looking at the program, and Justin’s holding my hand, and I’m already crying. I don’t even think the grandmothers’ had been escorted down the aisle yet. I just remember looking over at Justin, saying, “She’s going to have a different last name now!! Wahhhh!”

Thinking about this a few days after the fact, I’m still trying to comprehend exactly why the name change upset me. I mean, more than three years ago I changed my name and I didn’t cry over it (though I should have – my former last name ruled).

I guess what it boils down to is the idea of change. I hate change. But, at the end of the day, I’m getting older, parents are getting older, and the decisions and changes we make affect our lives far beyond the decisions we made even seven years ago as college freshman.

And I was going to finish this blog with a really good quote from someone knowledgeable and wax eloquent on change like no other. One of my favorite sites for digging for these types of quotes is www.quotationspage.com and I’ve used it ever since high school debate (see – I don’t change much).

So, I set the search button to only search “classic quotes”; that is, people that are smart and old (Plato, Shakespeare, Margaret Thatcher, etc.). And I come across this quote: “I won't change anything because I think the most important thing is being yourself and that's what I'm going to continue to do.”

Stupid Avril Lavigne. Who the heck told her she is a classic quoter?! And what kind of insight on change is that? Bullcrap. That is one change I would embrace and look forward to – her music and idiocy dropping off the face of the earth.

7.20.2007

My favorite moments from Seattle...

Here are two of my most favorite moments from Seattle:

We're crossing the street and I'm in my beloved Doc Marten sandals from college (rather, running across the street because cars were coming and we were jay walking), and the sole of my shoe comes completely off and I have no time to collect it because cars are coming. Luckily it wasn't run over by the 7-10 cars that went by, and I was able to go fetch it, and take a picture in the process. Yes, I know I'm in need of a pedicure.


Phuket Thai Cuisine. HAHAHA! It's like that South Park episode and the Chinese restaurant called City Wok -- but it's pronounced Shitty Wok. Okay, I'm amused easily and I know that.

7.18.2007

Yikes! It's Been Awhile

You know when your uncle asks if you're still blogging, it's been awhile ;)

So I guess that honeymoon period at work is over, because I've been quite busy the last few weeks, which is why my last post is from almost a month ago! As we speak, it's about 9:43 p.m. in Seattle and I've had quite a long day, starting with a great wake-up call from my boss at 6:30 a.m. telling me there was a mini-crisis with the client. Sigh. Glad that got straightened out -- unfortunately, I had to wake up my co-worker who is also in Seattle so we could get the whole situation fixed. Blah. Luckily, it wasn't our fault and we had tons of e-mails to prove it.

After that, I raced to get ready so I could be at an account training down the street for work. Busted out of there after about nine hours, came back to the room to check e-mails, and then ate at Chanantee Family Thai -- apparently one of the best Thai places in Seattle. And dang, it was a solid effort, that Phad Thai was. Yum.

We leave tomorrow, and I can't wait to come back to Seattle honestly. I like the people, the environment here, and the downtown owns.

Best part about the trip? I'm rereading the sixth Harry Potter book on the plane ride. I'm halfway after the flight here, so it's realistic to think I can knock out the rest on the way back. Clutch.

Here's a link to some of the places we went downtown (like Rite-Aid... they need these in Texas), and some people flinging fish. Because that's what they do here. Oh, and best part about them flinging the fish? We got all girl giggly when they threw it, started to walk away, and they threw a fake stuffed fish at us. Except we thought it was real at first. We screamed. It was funny. But you probably had to be there. :)

http://www.flickr.com/gp/23677584@N00/R969Vv

You'll note I also took a picture of the ferry area where the scene from Grey's Anatomy was shot. You know, the one where the series jumped the shark with the whole life/death/ghost bullcrap.

Okay, I'm sleepy. My clock here says 9:50, but my computer says 11:50.

6.21.2007

People are idiots.

Someone told me about an incident that happened a few months ago with the Washington Post and violinist Joshua Bell. Watch both clips.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0KdAXLSO0Y
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hnOPu0_YWhw

Sigh... only one person recognized him. It's not even like the violinish (term loosely used) that sits at the corner between 6th and 7th on Congress that attempts to play.

6.13.2007

Today in History

1942: The Office of War Information was created, with the intent of disseminating timely information of American’s war effort through film, texts, photos, radio and posters to its citizens – you know, those super cool-looking “We can do it” posters of women, presumably “doing it.” “It”, I suppose, is subject to interpretation – but I say whatever those women were doing, they were doing “it” better than men.

1966:
The Supreme Court ruled on the landmark case – Miranda vs. Arizona – and the “Miranda Right” was created. Personally, I think everyone knows by now that you should have an attorney present before answering any questions, but people somehow still forget. Oh, and you freakin’ idiot cops that don’t read Miranda Rights because you “forget” – I’m onto your game. I’ve seen enough Law and Order to know what you’re trying to pull.

1988: The world didn’t know it, but it was about to witness overuse of the word “Dude” by four-year-old twins – MK and Ashley turn 20 today. I don’t know – I thought they were at least 21… Oh, and fellow former network pal Tim Allen turns 53 today (she types as she sings the Home Improvement theme song).

1994: A jury found Exxon Corp. and the captain of the boat that leaked a ridiculous amount of oil in Alaska, guilty of being idiots with oil and killing some adorable wildlife (I’m pretty sure I sent part of my allowance to help clean up the poor birds that got oil all over them).

2000: Two 18-year-olds decide that their summer is going to be boring as hell if they didn’t have someone to hang out while having make out privileges.

2004: After a pregnancy scare, two 22-year-olds decide that a dog is a much better option. Especially one that comes to your house and immediately passes out on the couch, and who has the coolest old-man name ever.

6.11.2007

I Hate MySpace

And yet I continue to log on daily. I can’t stand the fact that half of their features work less than half the time. If I was the Facebook founder, I was be seriously miffed. Facebook is a superior service, yet more people use an inferior product. I suppose it’s the Web 2.0 version of the Microsoft/Apple tale.

I’ve often thought of deleting both accounts all together, just because I’m sick of the time suck each provide, but I correspond with some individuals solely through these two web communities. *Sigh*, why can’t people go back to e-mailing? *Bigger sigh*, why can’t people go back to calling on the phone??*HUGE SIGH*, why are we suddenly confined to devices for interpersonal communication instead of more 1:1 interaction in person???

I guess I understand now why my parents “just didn’t understand” things. I barely understand things now, especially when it comes to teenage interactions – like through MySpace and Facebook. For example, I was watching “High School Musical” for the first time on Saturday (that is a blog entry in itself… good Lord), and at the beginning of the movie when the two leads are exchanging phone numbers, I thought they were just going to write their numbers on a piece of paper. I was seriously thinking to myself, “Why on earth is he taking a picture of her?” Followed by, “Why on earth is she taking a picture of him?” Conclusion: I need to get a camera phone so I can partake in this activity.

Okay, so at the end of the day (or blog), I’m not going to delete either one of these accounts. Maybe it’s because I enjoy both on some level, or I care enough to right a blog rant about it but not actually go through with it. Hmmm.

6.07.2007

If you're near a T.V. in Austin...

Check me out on the 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. news discussing what the Las Manitas Cafe forgiveable loan means to downtown and other Austin businesses.

Because apparently I'm an expert on city council agendas and politics.

Because I sit on a bench in front of the restaurant.

Because it was my first time eating at the restaurant.

It's going to be on NBC-KXAN Channel 36 -- I'll see if there will be a video stream on the Web site later.

6.06.2007

The New Digs

For the two of you that care, here are some pictures of my workspace at the new job.



This area is to the immediate right of my main sitting area. I have pictures of people, silly decorative items (like my Grey's Anatomy valentine cards), and my coveted Ikea lamp.


I am a firm believer in the two monitor workstation, as I've noticed sharp increases in my productivity. Seriously. Oh, and that's the newest Mr. Potato Head -- it's a transformer -- Optimusmash or something.


This area needs serious work. You can see some Dave stickers at the top, my Bloomberg flipflops acting as a book holder thingy, and some pictures of my husband and dog. Oh, and my phone headset. That's nice when you're in a cube.

In cube world, outside light is glorious. And I have a window that looks out to -- ANOTHER WINDOW. Haha.

Here is the entryway into my cube, with a terrific view of Sixth Street, Whole Foods, the Hill Country and you can't see it in this picture, but the lake. Nice.

Probably the coolest thing about the job is everyone's in cubes -- from the top of the organization to the bottom.

At my previous job, a lot of people made a big deal about the size of their office, what direction it was facing, and then the wee babies were in the cubes. Saddness. Anyways, I like this everyone approach -- it leaves out the drama.

6.02.2007

For your viewing pleasure...

I got the eyebrows done this morning -- and because of a few requests, I decided to take some before and after shots.

And in the process, I've decided to share some eyebrow wisdom I learned along the way.

1. Waxing is bad. I got that idea back in November when this idiot screwed up my eyebrows and all of the hair still has not grown back.

2. Waxing is bad because it pulls the hair folicle out in such a way that it takes it six months or longer to grow back (my current problem).

3. Waxing is also bad because it takes a little skin with it -- and in time -- around the 40s is my understanding -- your eye area will start to sag and look older than it should.

So let me just say, my eyebrows -- as she put it -- still have a lot of work to go before everything is fully grown back in and normal. I have these bald spots that make it difficult to fully shape the brows properly.

But, I also learned about where exactly my eyebrows should begin and end, and where my arch should be placed. It was quite informative.

So, take the before and after with a grain of salt -- as I've got some bald spots that need to fill in, but in a year, everything should be back to normal.

And by the by -- the next available appointment I was able to secure is January 4, 2008. Holy crap, this woman needs to duplicate herself.


6.01.2007

Why do I have to work?

It’s not that I don’t like working – okay well, really… who likes to really “work” – so let me rephrase. It’s not that I don’t like working at my current establishment, because I do, it’s that my job interferes with a variety of activities I would rather be doing. Like the Alamo Drafthouse’s Summer Kids series.

Okay, within that title states the obvious – I am not a kid; therefore, it would make since that your job would, in fact, appear to interfere with such an activity.

I mean, I really want to see “The Muppets Take Manhattan” on Monday at 11 a.m. – it’s my favorite Muppets movie EVER. Like, I cried when Kermit didn’t recognize Miss Piggy the first time I saw that scene (an subsequently fast forwarded through the scene because it broke my heart to watch that scene).

And Lord, I rolled when Gonzo did the water skiing act with the lady chickens.

AND OMG – the scene where Sweedish Chef takes the two popcorn containers and does his, “Deet deet deet deet deet deet” had me and my sister re-enacting the scene all the time. Seriously, I just paused to do it right now.

Sigh. I don’t like being a grown up. That has to be it. Being five (before kindergarten) was just the most perfect age.

And I didn’t tell you this – but Justin totally tears up when he listens to the John Denver and the Muppets CD – the Christmas album – especially the second song, when Rolf is singing, and then he’s like, “John…” Please tell me you know what I’m talking about!!!

5.28.2007

90 is the new 60

I have good genes. I mean, I had a really hard time believing this – mainly because I’m thick through the middle, have occasional acne (which sure as hell beats the breakouts from my pubescent days) – but damn, I’m going to age well, both body and mind.

Well, if I take after two of my grandparents. Well, three – my paternal grandmother was always a little sickly. Anyways, today is my grandfather’s 90th birthday! And I just talked to him, and he played nine holes of golf with my dad today. Keep in mind, about a year and a half ago he broke his hip! Oh, and he is about to sell a plane he just built. And he’s flown it recently. My granddad is the stuff heroes are made of.

Not to leave my Gran out – she’s going to be 90 soon (either this August or next) and she still works out, her mind is sharp as a tack, and just all around cool.

Today, I was trying to think what I would be doing at 90. I would prefer not to be in a nursing home (my granddad still lives on his own, and my grandmother technically could be living on her own – but she lives with my parents), and I’d like to be playing the piano everyday – but not crappy. I wouldn’t play it if I sounded like crap. I’m thinking it would be a little hard to play the violin, because older adults’ hands shake really bad – at least, all the ones I know do.

Part of me also wants a crap load of grandkids – but that would require me having more than two kids myself, which I don’t see happening.

Okay, hmmm… I’m tired. I’m not writing a blog this late for awhile.

5.21.2007

IDIOT! (said in the voice of Napoleon)

Sometimes I think I’m an idiot. I mean that in the kindest way possible, as I don’t want to offend myself – or others , like my parents, for example.

Have you ever been in a truly awkward situation and your only response is to briefly acknowledge said situation and then run away? Or better yet, don’t acknowledge the situation and still run away? I do this a lot more frequently than I thought, despite it going against my better judgment and sensibility.

Take for example an incident that occurred awhile back. I walk into a restaurant to grab lunch with a friend and see someone I know (who I know for a fact thinks I am, quote, a “bitch”). Sigh. I see her look at me with a death glare, and what do I proceed to do? Shrink to the size of a prune, look down, and not acknowledge her at all. Lovely.

Or the other day, I ran into someone I didn’t want to see, said hello quickly, and hopped in my car as quick as possible.

Or a year ago, I almost bumped into this old boss of mine who is a total jerk-off. Key word is “almost” in this sentence. I happened to see his car pull up, so I get into my car, hide, call Justin (who is still talking with the person throwing the party we’re at) and make him take me home.

So the question is why? Why on earth do I hate confrontation on every level? Why do I not have the guts to see someone who thinks poorly of me, (or I think poorly of them – which is only about three people) carry a semi-casual conversation and go about my day? Further, why do I then sit and over-analyze the whole incident?

Like, what would have happened if I told this guy off? Or if I had given this girl a big “EFFFF you” glance, or better yet, smiled, waved and walked away casually.

I would ask, WWJD while looking at my blue bracelet engraved with the slogan (how very 1995 of me) if Jesus saw someone He didn’t like – but I’m pretty sure The Man liked everyone. I mean, there were tons of people who didn’t like Him, and I’m sure he prayed for them, cared for them. And I do that with my “Top Three” haters – from afar, and preferably with my tennis shoes on.

Sidebar: Twelve more days until I get my eyebrows done! I’m so sick of people looking at me like, “WTF is going on with Jenni’s nasty looking eyebrows?” Yes, I know they look like crap people – but I’m growing them out so a professional can make them amazing. This lady is so apparently awesome at the art of the eyebrow, that I had to make this appointment almost four months ago! Everyone who is anyone in Austin goes to this lady. And since I define myself as “anyone,” I’m there! ;)

5.15.2007

Happiness is Quite Fleeting

The week off from tasks and responsibilities has quickly come and gone, and to utilize a lame analogy – passed as quickly as a Texas Springtime. Monday I started a new job, which is freaking awesome. Many of my co-workers sit on exercise balls all day long, so I must go in search of one for the workplace, and I sense a hard work=hard partying atmosphere, therefore I should acclimate rapidly.

And to top the great day at work, I proceeded to get pulled over for speeding in Lakeway while driving to the country club to workout. It was my first time getting pulled over, and as I teared up while the cop checked my license and such (to clarify, I did not cry in front of the cop because that is stupid), Justin said I was bound to get my “cherry popped sometime,” and he’s probably right – I was about five years overdue for one.

Such bitterness, right? I suppose Justin could write multiple blog entries on his cop escapades, which are all quite ridiculous, and now he has a new one to add – wife gets clocked going 15 over the speed limit (mind you, going down a hill on a highway where the speed limit had dropped 5 mph) and got off with a warning. He proceeded to complain the rest of the way to the gym that I should have gotten one. MUHAHAHA. And the cop couldn’t have bestowed this warning on a more grateful citizen, as today I traveled well below the speed limit for the majority of my commute. I say majority, because let’s be honest, it’s quite impossible to go only 35 mph on Fifth Street.

5.07.2007

I’ve just wrapped up day two of my “Week of Rest” from work, stress, and general strategic thinking and I’ve discovered two things:

*This is glorious; and,
*I’m already bored.

I’m so bored in fact, that I don’t really have anything to blog about, other than I’ve taken it upon myself to convert my entire closet to wooden hangers instead of wire and plastic. Not only is it pleasing to the eye, but it’s supposed to help your clothing somehow. Let me tell you, buying 16 packs of eight wooden hangers quickly takes up the majority of your trunk space.

Other than that, it’s been a pretty uneventful last few days. At some point, I’m going to start piano lessons with the next door neighbor (she’s a former concert pianist – incredibly amazing) and so I hope to get back into the groove of playing. Then I might get a few massages, take some yoga classes, lay out at the pool, and watch the six-hour version of Pride and Prejudice.

I’ll be ready to go back to work in no time!

5.02.2007

Heart Racing, Head Throbbing, Water Pumping?

Let me preface by saying that I should never stay up past 11 p.m. on a weeknight. I just can’t handle the seemingly “late” night. And I swear I’m not 12. Some individuals just need more sleep than others, and I’m one of them. Additionally, I should never watch Pride & Prejudice back to back on HBO.

About 5 a.m. this morning, I awaken to a methodical beating sound. Maybe because I’m delusional at this hour, I think my heart is beating so loud that my head is throbbing. I take my pulse, and honestly, I can’t feel anything. I freak out a little more, and then realize that maybe this beating sound isn’t me. That’s probably after about 15 minutes of thinking I’m going to die alone. (Justin is in NYC). Haha.

Stumbling in my room, and Walter also a little out of it, we walk to the bathroom, where the pounding noise gets seemingly louder. At this point, I think that Ashley is in the middle bedroom sewing and beating her sewing machine with some kind of hammer or bat.

So we venture out to the other end of the house where the noise is definitely getting louder – but her door is shut and all the lights are out. And the noise is obviously coming from in-between the walls. At this point, I’ve concluded the following: I’m not going to die, my house is flooding through the walls, and there is a woodpecker floating in the flooded wall trying to peck his way to freedom/avoidance of death. Okay, I honestly thought we were having plumbing issues or the woodpecker got stuck.

I think we all know what I did next – I woke Ashley’s ass out of bed. Because, two girls trying to solve a plumbing problem or a trapped animal is much better than one. So, I wake up Ashley, who also went to bed at late watching the same movie and we both stumble upstairs to see if it is the hot water heater or something.

Putting our ears against the wall to determine if the sound is coming from the attic (instead of just opening the doors like wise individuals – I thought an animal might scurry our or something), we figure it has to be the hot water heater. I grab the attic keys, and discover it is – but have no idea how to turn the bloody thing off. So I just turn it to low and go back downstairs to figure out my game plan.

1. Call warranty plumber. Unfortunately, I can’t find the number, our Internet is down, and my computer broke. Yes – all this morning.
2. Text message Kim (work office manager) to figure out why the crap my computer isn’t working.
3. Call my dad. I think we all knew the parental phone call was coming. He said we may have lost water pressure and to call the city.
4. Call Kim. She gives me the number for the computer help desk at work.
5. Call the Help Desk and leave a message.
6. Call Justin and chew him out for not being here when I needed him. Unfortunately, I woke him up and he doesn’t remember much of the conversation, other than the fact I was chewing him out for no good reason. Which is true. Haha.
7. Call the city. They don’t even ask for my address (retards) and say that it’s my problem and not theirs. Of course, in the middle of that call the noise stops.
8. Call my boss to let him know I am coming in late. Unfortunately, the voicemail cuts me off and I have to call him back saying “The point is, I’m not coming in this morning so I can get this stuff sorted out.” He didn’t get the first message. Haha.
9. Call the plumber. I finally got the stupid phone number for the warranty plumber and they didn’t open until 8:30.

So by this point, the knocking as stopped, so we wait about thirty minutes and try and go back to bed. Unfortunately, every time I almost fall asleep, I keep thinking I hear the noise (which I wasn’t) and eventually just give up.

Long story, well, long story – the plumber won’t come because the noise stopped, my computer is fixed (I need to remember to reboot before calling people so I don’t look like an ass) and I’m at work, hoping my house isn’t flooding. Weeee!

4.30.2007

Weloome to my blog!

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend the wedding of a couple I had never met before, and will most likely never see again. I sort of felt like a wedding crasher, but more for the food and alcohol and less about the hooking up (because, I’m married and such).

So about 4 p.m. Ashley and I set out on a drive to the lovely Brenham, Texas, by way of Austin. I’ve taken this drive many times before – it’s a fairly quick route to get to the North side of Houston – but this was the first time I started noticing a bunch of “oddities” during the road trip.

Let me start by saying, I love Texas so much. I could never live anywhere else for a long period of time because it’s home. The people, the land, the history – I just get a wonderful smile on my face sticking my nose against the window during two hour drives through the country.

And it is during those “nose against the window” moments that you find the most ridiculous items to blog about. Seriously, I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing items down, especially in the small town of Giddings, Texas. (which I don’t have with me… so I’m still going from memory) When Justin and I went to the Woodlands for a DMB concert a few years back, we stopped in this town at the local DQ. But, it wasn’t just any DQ, it is a “DQ Restaurant.” Side note: we also received our food in record DQ time – literally Justin was paying and our food was already ready. Nice.

On this particular trip, here are some other random places that would only make sense in Small Town, Texas:

*Weloome to Giddings – You know it’s a bad sign when you enter a town and a hotel sign says,“Weloome to Giddings.” You’re already off to a bad start. Freaking spell “Welcome” right, people.
*Sands Hotel – A few signs along TX-21 and Hwy. 290 (think old school signs) advertised this particular hotel. Most of the time, I’m used to inns/motels advertising free HBO or something. This hotel apparently features “free cable w/ remote.” Because, you know, cable TV just isn’t good enough unless you have a remote to go with it.
*Slender Lady, Weight Loss and Fitness Center – immediately under the sign, “Tan 10 minutes.” Hey, get yourself in awesome shape, and then kill yourself with skin cancer. Nice.

Then immediately out of town, there was also a “Hydrocarbon Corporation.” I don’t know what hydrocarbon is for, but what on earth is it doing in this town, where the nicest “restaurant” is DQ?!

By the time we got to Brenham, home of Blue Bell Ice Cream (and passed through the town of Gay Hill – real smart name in redneck land), the wedding was about five minutes from starting. It was at a place called the Antique Rose Emporium and it was gorgeous. Seriously, if you are wanting a beautiful, small-town Texas wedding, this is the place.

4.27.2007

The Middle School Diary

The other day I was cleaning out a closet (and its contents are still strewn across the study floor – I lost interest), and discovered my half-assed attempt at writing in a diary, circa 1994-1995.

It had a lock on it (which doesn’t work anymore), and apparently was from Hallmark – because I demand only the highest quality diary-writing material. Right.

I immediately open it up (however, I still remembered what the combination for the lock is), and on the back page, is a will I wrote for myself. I haven’t written a will since, so I guess if I die, the following things need to be addressed:

1. “All my belongings go to my friends and family” (because not specifying what things need to go to who is a smart solution – people can work stuff out – eh?)
2. “Tell Leti I’m sorry for our stupid fight” (To clarify, me and this girl named Leti were BFFs in fourth and fifth grade, and for whatever reason – probably stupidity and hormones – we had a falling out. In the will, I also say to give her back this keychain she gave me that said “purrfect friends” with some cats on it. How very 1994.)
3. “Tell (omitted) I love him and I’m sorry I never told him” (Only Justin knows who I put down, because it is incredibly embarrassing and something you only share with your husband because it’s so ridiculous.)

And that was it. Now, a friend of mine said how morbid it is for a 13-year-old to write a “living will and testament” in her diary, and under normal circumstances, I completely agree. However, the previous year I had this rare blood disorder that made me a hemophiliac for about six months (originally, they thought I had leukemia) and I very well could have died. So, the idea of a will makes more sense at that age, but its content is still ludicrous!

Side bar – Becki – you apparently stole my diary at one point in eighth grade and wrote an entry that was typical Becki witty. So, you probably know who “omitted” is… maybe ;)

4.24.2007

BSC!

A blog that I read quite religiously is Pop Candy on the USAToday.com Web site. Whitney Matheson pretty much likes a lot of the stuff I do (her Lost postings, for example, are a must-read if you watch the show) and one of today’s posts proves it!
“Back when I was shorter and wore enormous glasses, I was hopelessly
addicted to The Baby-Sitters Club. In fact, I probably read Ann M. Martin's
series of books way longer than I should have, but, let me tell you, these
things were impossible to put down! (Favorite character? It's a tie between
Claudia and Mary Anne.)”
Mine was Stacey, hands down. She was hip, cool, from NYC. LOVED HER. My grandfather had diabetes, and so it was great to get a girl POV on the subject. Helped me to better understand the blood tests I would see Gramps do.

So, she links to a site from Scholastic – and it has a pop quiz to determine which babysitter you would be. So I did it. And crap, I’m freaking Kristy. I HATED HER. She was a turd. Probably my least favorite character. Unbelievable. Apparently it’s because “I always speak my mind and sometimes it gets me into trouble.”

But it gets even better. There is a blogger out there who is actually re-reading all of the books. Now I’m super hacked that I gave away a bunch of my BSC books – because I want to re-read all of them.

Anyways, she’s reading one of my favorite books right now – Stacey’s Ex-Best Friend, a.k.a. #51. I don’t think I ever told anyone I wanted to name my future child Anastasia because of the BSC, did I? Now, I’d maybe name my cat that. If I had/wanted/wasn’t allergic to cats.

Sidebar: Me and my BFF, Brandi, went to Town East Mall one Saturday in sixth grade to meet Ann Martin (author of the BSC series) as part of her mall tour. We gave her the biggest stack of book ideas EVER. Haha. I can’t believe we thought she’d read them!

4.20.2007

Two weeks...

Notice.

I've accepted another opportunity with an PR agency here in town that provides a significant growth opportunity for my career.

The whole thing is very bittersweet, and it is almost like a mix between breaking up with a boyfriend and graduating college. You know you have to, but yet you'll always have good feelings towards that individual/organization.

So I'm taking a week off around this time, so if anyone wants to plan a trip to Austin, now is a good time to do that :)

But seriously, the whole thing went down very painlessly, and I have a tremendous amount of respect for everyone I work with here. That's the toughest part about leaving.

Soooooo... that's the big news.

4.16.2007

stay tuned...

Big changes are coming!


But before I tell you and in the meantime, someone actually took the time to develop a graph of change. I wish I came up with that -- this dude probably made money stating the obvious.


4.11.2007

Three Degrees of Separation...

...to Paris Hilton. High-larious. In eighth grade, Justin's cousin was "The Man" -- I think he dated every hot girl that year (so obviously, I wasn't one of them). Ah, the memories.



4.04.2007

Tack on another year…

When Justin and I got engaged, we started talking about when we would ideally like to have children and settled on what’s known as the “Three-to-Five-Year Plan.” As you know, we recently celebrated our third anniversary and are now in this midst of this “plan” we devised.

Two news stories during the past twenty-four hours make me want to consider a “Thirty-five-Year Plan” instead. Or home schooling my children, which up until this morning I would never have considered. Let me explain…

Last night, after a particularly late evening at the office, I come home around 8:45 and watch the last few minutes of South Park. I hope my children would never be vulgar, but at times, I hope they are that sharp about what’s going on in the world – Cartman doesn’t count.

Justin then asks what’s on the movie channels, and so I flip around and end up on HBO Family, where they are showing “Middle School Confessions.”

Now, my mind immediately goes back to middle school and how horrible it was. Everyone is confused, hormones are wild, and you knew of about 12-15 kids in your grade that were total whores. I’m thinking to myself nothing has really changed, because I was in middle school only 12-13 years ago.

So this show starts interviewing a bunch of girls about how normal it is to give head at the age of 11 and 12. And I’m shocked. Justin and I are looking at each other like, we are never having kids, ever. I mean, these kids are talking about it in front of their parents! And these girls are saying how empowering it is, because they are in control and they wouldn’t even have to know the person and could just walk away. Seriously, my jaw was on the floor. Crazy. Which, by the way, if you go to the link I provided above, the girl that said that is the one with the braces.

Then this morning, I read an article on CNN about a group of fifth graders in Louisiana who had sex in front of their class for the fifteen minutes their teacher was out of the room. I mean, the worst thing that happened to me in fifth grade was the teacher left to use the restroom and some kid put a roach in my seat and I sat on it. I’m still bitter about that. These kids eventually were arrested because they were doing this in front of other students.

I mean, by the time my daughter is eight, will I have to start her on birth control? Will I have to worry about pregnancy by the time she’s 11? By the time she’s 18, will she be mixing my ashes with cocaine because she’s led me to an early grave? What is this world coming to?

Are parents not teaching their children morals, safe sex practices, or talking to them at all? Granted, 70 percent of the blame lies with the children, because a parent can teach two of their children the exact same principles with different results. But at the same time, are parents too consumed with work, their own activities, to sit down with their children and tell them how stupid they are behaving?

In my most thoughtful moment, I think the end of the world is nearing with stories like this, but then I was watching “The History of Sex” on the History Channel (it was interesting and I was bored) and learned about how people from the Middle Ages addressed sex. The Catholic Church at the time considered prostitution a necessary evil; at the same time, if you had sex and the woman was on top, you could be hanged. Then, there are these old prayer books from this time period with pictures of people getting it on in the margins.

So I suppose this isn’t abnormal behavior necessarily, but is happening way too early in a child’s life. Children at the age of 11 or 12 should not be expressing themselves sexually, and most likely are not engaging in safe sex. Think about it – you don’t even learn about STDs until ninth grade in the state of Texas, and most of the time, the teacher blows through that subject in about three days, and the topics never make a lasting impression.

All this to say, I would wait a long time to have children, because the idea of raising a hellion that sexes it up on the weekends, in-between classes and in his/her parent’s bed mortifies me, but the longer I wait, the more likely it is I’ll be worrying about this stuff during their terrible twos.

Regardless, don’t be expecting any birth announcements from me in the next year.

3.28.2007

How to get high without smoking

Sigh, I guess I knew at some point, going to a Dave Matthews Band concert would lead to drug use.

Granted, I’m proud to say that I have yet to willingly participate in drug use at any point in my life, nor have I ever smoked a cigarette. Call me a prude, a goodie-goodie, or what have you, but I don’t feel the need to ever alter the state of my mind. I like my mind and the way I think just fine.

That said, I got totally high on Saturday in Vegas. So here are the three ways to get high without trying/wanting to:

Step One:
Attend either a Phish or Dave Matthews Band concert. Either will ensure you receive enough second-hand smoke to be high as a kite.

Step Two: Unknowingly get seats where there are no concert attendants/cops monitoring the crowd for pot use.

Step Three: Make sure the seats are as high up as possible, as smoke rises.

Justin and I like DMB – that doesn’t mean we have to smoke it to enjoy his music. Unfortunately, a lot of tools do, which makes me sad. And honestly, the only thing I enjoyed more during the concert being high wasn’t even the music – it was the cool light affects on the stage. And Lord, I scarfed down some serious food afterwards. How stereotypical.

3.21.2007

I Heart Co-Workers

I seriously work with the best group of people --

Back in February, I had accidently offered to play Ave Maria at my great-aunt's funeral. Two problems:

1. I had never played Ave Maria on the piano or violin before.
2. I had not played in public on the piano or violin since May of 2000. And to show off my mad math skills, that's almost seven years.

Amazing how time flies. So, me and my worry-wart self made my co-workers suffer through Ave Maria. Our GM/head honcho had brought wine, beer, cheese and crackers for the little shindig, which was quite sweet.

I don't really remember much from the event, or playing, but apparently I made someone tear up. Because it was good or because it was horrible remains unseen.




3.15.2007

South by South suX!!

Oh yeah, I said it. And I mean it.

First off, let me say how much I luv my STFL and I’m glad she’s playing SXSW this week. However, for the most part, I hate this festival, and here are a few reasons why:

Price Gouging: I loathe the fact that the majority of Austinites are priced out of SXSW. The average wristband sells for the cost of 15 CDs. People that are making a trip out of this festival consider it a reasonable cost as part of their “vacation” (as I see my $400 spree to see DMB for two nights in Vegas… completely worth it in my eyes), so I understand, kinda. But for the average Austin citizen, it’s a lot to pay to see people in your own town plus put up with the upheaval. I can’t even get into shows without wristbands. DUMB.

Traffic: You tools coming to SXSW ruin my ability to get home every night from work. Jerks. They shut down all the necessary roads downtown, making the other roads even more congested. Suck!!! I want to get home at a decent hour.

Posers: This is a t-shirt and jeans city. Justin and I went and had dinner at Eddie V’s the other night for our anniversary, a pretty upscale restaurant, and there were a lot of people wearing jeans. But the infiltration of total posers means stupid girls dressing like sluts and guys trying to dress, well odd. Oh, and then all the people proudly displaying their badges like they are in some kind of cool crowd. Get over yourselves, posers.

There are other reasons, mainly me being grumpy and about to ride the crimson wave, but I’m telling you, I’m not the only one that feels this way. The music is so loud, that I am in my cube on the 25th floor, and I hear music. How am I supposed to get my work done?!

After thinking about that for a bit, why am I complaining about not getting work done? Sigh, I just want my downtown back, where the only weirdo I see is Leslie, the cross-dressing homeless man with Bluetooth technology. I don’t even have Bluetooth technology. Oh, and he also has his own line of “Dress Leslie’ magnets on sale at BookPeople. I need to check that out.

3.13.2007

Three Years Ago Today...

... I said "I do" to this man:


He's just as cute as ever! Nice man boobs in this picture! Haha.

3.07.2007

Your life is subject to interpretation.

Isn’t it funny how you see your life in one way, and others see it a completely other way?

Take for example in sixth grade. This girl was being a real butt to me. Turns out, I was a real butt to her in fourth grade and it was retaliation. Who knew?

It’s interesting how what we remember about ourselves and others shapes who we become, and how others see me (sometimes the same situation in a completely different/wrong light) shape how they think of me.

During Lent, I think about these things, because I am curious to know what God thinks of me -- 'cause He's the most important and all. Is He looking through the lens of others, or through the lens of my intentions? I’m guessing it’s a mix of both – haha, God isn’t near- or far-sighted, He’s both! What an opthamologist bill he must have! (Whoa, way corny. My apologies)

So, random lesson for the day: before you do something, think of how God and others see you, and not just yourself. It’s a way to embody the Catholic-Guilt-Ridden approach to life;)

Sincerely,
Guilt-Ridden Girl

2.25.2007

Ashes versus Pamphlets

I think it’s a valid question, don’t you? I don’t normally talk about religion – but I do on certain occasions, and this is one of them.

Let me start back at the beginning.

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 11:00 a.m.
Jenni attends an Ash Wednesday service at the Cathedral downtown. Fun times had by all, and I particularly enjoyed the Statesman’s pictures of the occasion. Usually, the priest skimps on the ashes, but I got a good glob on my head that took some serious scrubbing to get off that evening.

11:30 a.m.
I went and got sushi at my favorite downtown sushi place – Silhouette. It’s cheap, really. Or at least, cheaper than the other places downtown. Unfortunately, after almost two hours, I still didn’t have my sushi. Ridiculous, right? But I was in a slightly forgiving moving, given that I had ashes all on my head, so I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I was with a group of 12 people. And there was only one sushi roller, and they had other customers.

1:32 p.m.
So every month, or near a religious occasion, some evangelical Christians stand at the corner of Sixth and Congress to berate those walking by. Sometimes they have large signs, other times a huge horn player, and generally, five to six individuals trying to hand out pamphlets to unsuspecting individuals that proudly proclaim how everyone is going to Hell if you don’t believe EXACTLY what they do.

Honestly, I thought with the huge blob of ash on my head, I wouldn’t be a target that day. I mean, hello, my God is their God, I believe Jesus died for my sins, etc.

But this rude individual decided to berate my ashes in front of everyone at Sixth and Congress. I mean come on – if you are already trash-talking Christians, what makes you think that someone who isn’t a believer is going to listen to you?

Specifically he said, among other things, “Those ashes won’t save you, but this will,” as he tries to hand me a paper detailing all the ways me and my dog are going to Hell.

Jerks. Of course, you can’t get into a conversation with them, because it will just make them even more rude and cruel.

So- ashes or pamphlets? Honestly, I’d like to burn some of those BS pamphlets and smear those ashes on their foreheads. Just a thought.

But seriously, I know that the ashes aren’t going to save me. But I also know that’s not the point of them. Obviously, these guys have no idea what they mean. I’m just glad they think they know what they believe.

2.14.2007

Uncle Jesse and Valentine's Day

Rarely do I blog about work conversations, but I simply couldn’t pass this up… my supervisor, Eric and I were discussing a Valentine’s Day card I got him (Grey’s Anatomy themed – Dr. Shepherd on the front, “Keep the McDream Alive” inside the card) and he didn’t get the joke. Sigh. Totally ruined the funny.

So we get on topic about ER and how he used to watch it when George Clooney was on there. So I say, “I know, and now none of the original cast is there, and Uncle Jesse is on it. How bizarre.”

And Eric goes, “FROM DUKES OF HAZZARD?!”



Then I had to say no. So embarrassing to admit I watched that chop on television and thought he was cute at age 8. Sigh.

1.23.2007

Which Dallas Girl Am I?

Got this from a fellow co-worker, and knowing that many a Dallas-ite frequent the blog, I thought this would be worth sharing. *Sigh, I can't believe the Mesquite one.

Mattel recently announced the release of limited-edition Barbie Dolls for the Dallas market:

" Highland Park Barbie"
This princess Barbie is sold only at Northpark. She comes with an
assortment of Kate Spade Handbags, a Lexus SUV, a long-haired foreign dog named Honey
and a McMansion on Beverly Drive. Available with or without tummy tuck and face
lift. Workaholic Ken sold only in conjunction with the augmented version.


" Plano Barbie"
The modern day homemaker Barbie is available with Ford Windstar Minivan
and matching gym outfit. She gets lost easily and has no full-time occupation.
Traffic jamming cell phone sold separately.


" Oak Cliff Barbie"
This recently paroled Barbie comes with a 9mm handgun, a Ray Lewis knife,a
Chevy with dark tinted windows, and a Meth Lab Kit. This model is only
available after dark and must be paid for in cash (preferably small, untraceable
bills) unless you are a cop, then we don't know what you are talking about.


" Frisco Barbie"
This yuppie Barbie comes with your choice of BMW convertible or Hummer H2.
Included are her own Starbucks cup, credit card and country club membership. Also
available for this set are Shallow Ken and Private School Skipper. You won't be able to
afford any of them.


" Mesquite Barbie"
This pale model comes dressed in her own Wrangler jeans two sizes too
small, a NASCAR t-shirt and tweety bird tattoo on her shoulder. She has a six-pack of Bud
light and a Hank Williams Jr. CD set. She can spit over 5 feet and kick mullet-haired Ken's
butt when she is drunk. Purchase her pickup truck separately and get a confederate flag
bumper sticker absolutely free.


" Grand Prairie Barbie"
This tobacco-chewing, brassy-haired Barbie has a pair of her own
high-heeled sandals with one broken heel from the time she chased beer-gutted Ken out of Southside
Barbie's house. Her ensemble includes low-rise acid-washed jeans, fake fingernails, and a
see-through halter-top. Also available with a mobile home.


" Lower Greenville Barbie"
This doll is made of actual tofu. She has long straight brown hair,
arch-less feet, hairy armpits, no makeup and Birkenstocks with white socks. She prefers that you call her
Willow . She does not want or need a Ken doll, but if you purchase two Point Breeze Barbies
and the optional Subaru wagon, you get a rainbow flag bumper sticker for free.


" East Dallas Barbie"
This Barbie now comes with a stroller and infant doll. Optional accessories
include a GED and bus pass. Gangsta Ken and his 1979 Caddy were available, but are now very
difficult to find since the addition of the infant.



" Oak Lawn Barbie/Ken"
This versatile doll can be easily converted from Barbie to Ken by simply
adding or subtracting the multiple snap-on parts.

1.12.2007

Thoughts on a Friday Night

This evening – sitting in traffic – I started thinking about things. Maybe it was the song on the radio (Five for Fighting, 100 years), but I had just gotten off the phone with my mom. My great aunt is pretty sick and broke her hip/fractured her femur earlier in the week. Now they think she might have a tumor in her lung, which is never good, especially at the age of 84.

But something hit me talking with her that made me happy. My parents are trying to get my great uncle home before the ice storm hits Dallas, and he refuses to leave the hospital – he doesn’t want to leave her alone. She’s in ICU, so he doesn’t even get to see her all the time, but he doesn’t care. He won’t leave.

I don’t know how long they’ve been married – probably close to 60 years, maybe more – but I started thinking about Justin and I at that age. We’ll probably still snippy at each other, but in a cute way. But more importantly, I hope we’re just like that – never leaving each other’s side, ever. Maybe that’s what happens when you are married to your best friend. Just a thought.

Sigh. We’ll probably still be losers too – he’s watching the Houston/Denver game while navigating the ESPN Web site, and I’m writing this blog. When we’re 84, we’ll probably still be doing the same thing, just slightly altered. I’ll be thinking thoughts for a blog that will automatically be posted on someone’s brain, and he’ll be watching the basketball game in some virtual console that makes it look like he has courtside seats.

And so now you know what happens when I think too hard…

1.09.2007

I'm in Love

Come June 2007, I'm going to be married to this sweet thing! (And by default, sucked into the Cingular world... sigh)

http://www.apple.com/iphone/

Apple is consistently an innovator -- and this device proves it. Take that Microsoft! This is the year the B's go Apple/MAC!

1.08.2007

No work when birds die?

Okay, I lie -- I'm working from home today, but the lucky fools that don't have access to their networks get to stay home and do nothing because a bunch of birds died.

Odd. See latest AP story: http://news.bostonherald.com/national/view.bg?articleid=175992

1.04.2007

You know -- You Suck at Speaking

Okay, maybe I'm taking this a little far, but I couldn't even finish this article because one phrase kept being said over and over again by the interviewee.

So here's media training 101, kids -- figure out what your speech "ticks" are -- such as, "yeah," "um," "gosh," etc., and then don't use them. Please. For the sake of anyone listening to you. Maybe that will actually require you to think before you speak, and you'll kill two birds with one stone.

On a side note, I also think whoever transcribed this is being a real jerk. Most writers would have just left out the "you know" part.

Second side note -- I think Donald Trump and Rosie O'Donnell are both being real babies. Whoever is wrong/right doesn't matter -- please, just grow up and shut up. The higher moral ground would be to not say anything at all.

Enjoy!

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/16469812/