Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas in Minnesota

You can't beat it ... Day 1, December 23: Departure from Atlanta uneventful. Traffic from Columbus was light. Economy parking lot full; at least we won’t have to walk so far to retrieve the car. Airport security moved pretty quickly. We got to our gate in record time. Pickup in MPLS uneventful; we actually arrived early. Timing at the baggage claim, good. I would rather wait a few minutes than have Dad circle the airport for an hour…traffic was crazy. Mom was still in the hospital so we went to see her. We were there for about an hour, got lunch to go, and went to the house to see Grandma. She had lunch cooking : ) We ate. My brother brought his extra car for us to use during our stay. He saved us about $300 in car rentals. For this I am grateful. We will spend a few days with him and his family. Does that sound like gratitude? Take his car, move in, and then kick him out of his bed. Went to visit Mom and discuss our options for Christmas Eve dinner. We had to work around her antibiotic schedule…every 12 hours which gave us plenty of time. Day 2, December 24: Called Mom about 9 a.m. The plan was to get her released for the day so we can go to my brother’s for dinner. We received Dr’s approval so we went and picked her up. We were in charge of the ham, so we could not leave till about 2. She could come home for a few hours. It has been two weeks since she was home. After surgery she went to the nursing home for physical therapy. As always, my bro’s house is immaculate. They repainted the kitchen and redecorated. It looks really nice. We will be spending the next two nights with him and his family. It will be fun. Actually, the most fun we had on the entire trip so far. Of course the nephew’s got a lot of really great gifts: Ipods, notebook computers, and some very expensive ski clothes. Mom, Dad, and Grandma left about 6. Mom was tired and Grandma was not feeling well either. My bro’s bedroom is very small. Day 3, December 25: We drove to St. Cloud to spend the day with TOM’s oldest sister and her daughter. We had a lot of fun that day. We visited for an hour and then we decided to try and find some food. Would you believe that the only place that was open was the casino? Well, it was and that was where we ate Christmas dinner. It was pretty good. Being at the casino we had to play. We gave Sis $20…she took home $60. She can really use the money. TOM won $100…paid for dinner. We did not tell my Dad. He would have felt left out. He likes the casinos. Day 4, December 26: Grandma is not well. She has blisters in her mouth and her face is swollen. We spend the day at the emergency room. By the time she gets checked into the hospital is it 6 p.m. We spent the whole day there. Apparently, she has shingles. Very contagious…just like chicken pox in the initial stages. I hope we (me and TOM) don’t have any problems. What a day. Wasn’t this supposed to be our vacation? Day 5, December 27: Mom got sprung. We brought her home about 12:00. We stopped by to see Grandma before we left. She is looking good. We don’t know when she will get out. Dad got home early from work so TOM and I made our escape to visit the brother in law. Anyway, we got to meet the new granddaughter. Pretty baby. We stayed for a couple of hours and then left for the hospital to visit TOM's sister. Seems to be a theme here… We had to drive thru rush hour traffic. Not good when you are not sure where you are. Anyway, we stayed with her for about an hour. She still looks rough, making progress tho. By the time we made it home my G-ma had been sprung. She looked terrible and was not feeling to good either. Hope she gets better so she can travel to Arizona next week. She has a sister that needs some looking after. Day 6, December 28: We spent the day taking care of sick people. Running to the doctor and the pharmacy, cooking, laundry, grocery shopping. I worked harder this trip than I ever do at home. Only one more day till I can head for home. Bro and his family came over to visit this evening. It is good to see them again before we leave. Day 7, December 29: We fly home today. We can finally get some rest. I do not even care that our flight is delayed. I am on the road, ready to go home. And it did not snow until the morning of our departure.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Today is my Birthday...

TOM had my youngest son buy me some speakers for the IPOD. It is nice not using the earbuds...they are not comfortable at all. And as my hearing is not too good in my right ear so I don't get the full benefit of them. Because it is my b-day, I told TOM that he had to go shopping with me. And he did, with a smile on his face. I have a couple of things to get my youngest. We are going to do a 7 Days of Christmas for him while we are gone so he won't feel so alone. I am going to hide some little gifts around the house. One for him to find each day that we are gone. We are going to have a beer and pretzel day, a sweet tooth day, a smell good day, a movie day, a money day...I still have to think of a couple of themes. But maybe this is enough. It will put a smile on his face. He doesn't do that enough. It is his b-day tomorrow. We will have some cake and ice cream. His brother is coming from Atlanta to see him. He has to work tho, so we won't have much time to do anything else. Maybe go to lunch. In any event, it will be a nice. Today was gorgeous by the way.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I Love Snowmen . . .

I received these cartoons and I thought they were funny. I do not know the origin so I can't give credit. Enjoy. . .

Saturday, December 09, 2006

My mother had a total knee replacement yesterday. The surgery went will until the doc realized that he knicked an artery in her leg...They had to call in a vascular surgeon to fix it. Because of the little mishap she had to spend the night in intensive care. I called for an update today to see how see was doing and she is doing well. I did not get to talk to her tho. My bro is an RN so he was there to check up on her. He said she is doing fine and has a nice nurse to take of her. I really feel sorry for my Dad. He is not good at waiting at hospitals and I am sure that yesterday was hell for him. He got thru it tho. I bet he was really happy when the nurses told him to go home.

Friday, December 08, 2006

From the Urban Dictionary...Definition of coolbeans 1. Ultimate synomym of cool 2. When something is uber cool 3. WWII era slang for cool 4. When you don't want to say warmbeans

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Christmas is fast approaching. Three weeks but I have finished my shopping. I still have to purchase a leather jacket for my son, but at least I know what I am looking for. It's not like I have to find it. I mailed the box of gifts to my Mom's house yesterday. I did ensure the package, but I sent it the cheapest way possible. One option would have been almost 50.00. That is more than I spent for any one gift in the box. We are traveling to MN on the 23rd...leaving from Atlanta...Do I need to say more? I can only hope that the weather is good at both ends, so at least that won't be a reason for delay. I will also be bringing my notebook and some dvd's so if I do get caught in the airport, I will have something to do. My boys are not traveling with us as they both have to work before and after Christmas. I did purchase a small fiber optic tree so that it would feel a bit more like the holiday. We will celebrate here on the 19th or 20th. It will be strange, but it is the best I can do, I promised my Mom I would be home for the holiday. Well, I better get to scanning. I still have a lot of photos to go. Of course I can always read a book, but when I get tired of doing that.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Love in Black and White TOM and I went Christmas shopping yesterday and we were able to get most of it finished. At least everything that needs to go to MN. We are traveling for the holiday along with millions of other Americans. I can only hope that we survive the trip. I do have one son that I still have to shop for. He is 23 years old and whenever we ask him what he wants he has no answer. I can always buy him clothes, but he never seems to wear them. I can’t figure out his style. He did admit that he would like a nice leather jacket...if he can pick it out. At least that is something. I am also working on a trapeze photo collage. I am using b/w photos of my parents, grandparents, and in-laws, as well as my brother and me and TOM. I am including them here for your viewing pleasure…if I can keep the wireless connection open long enough to get the photos uploaded…. Wish me luck ! This is a photo of TOM and me on our happy day. My dad doesn't look to happy. Neither do I for that matter, but that was 30 ago and we are still togther. TOM's mother tried to talk him into leaving the morning of the wedding...she told him he had plenty of time to that's a mother-in-law for you : ) This is a photo of my Mom on her wedding day. For the ife of me, I cannot find the photo of her and Dad together. I am sure that thru the process of scanning and archiving all of the family photos I will find it. I can then put it in it's rightful place in the collage. This is my Mom's parents. I love this photo. They divorced when I was a child, but it is nice to see them at a time when they were happy together. My grandmother is still alive and kicking...and pretty active too. My grandfather died when I was 12. This is a photo of my Dad's parents on their 45th wedding anniversary. My Grandma had cancer, and they didn't think she would make to the 50th anniversary, so they had the party early. By the way, she did make to her 50th wedding anniversary and we had another big blow out for them...: ) This is a photo of my brother and his wife. They have been together for about 15 years now and have two great boys. We plan to spend a lot of time with them this holilday season. And last, but not least, this is my in-laws. As you can see, they had a simple, civil ceremony. They are both gone now and greatly missed. Although, I never forgave her for trying to talk TOM into leaving on our wedding day : )

Friday, November 24, 2006

It's Beginning to Feel alot Like Christmas... I haven’t been here for a few days. I have been busy scanning photographs. I am sure that my husband thinks that I am crazy. Trying to decide what to do for Christmas gifts this year, I don’t want to spend too much money. I will probably give money to the boys…make it easy on myself. I did talk TOM into going shopping tomorrow. It should be an interesting day . . . There was an article about snowflakes in the one of my magazines. I didn’t realize that you could photograph snowflakes (with the right equipment of course). Check it out if you have time, the flakes are really quite beautiful, These are a few of my favorites.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I Love My IPOD... I finally ordered an IPOD a week ago. I decided to get the Nano...I hope 2 gigs is enough. Anyway, I ordered it online for the same price as wally world, but my name is engraved on it and I did not have to pay shipping. I know I should have waited till my bday. TOM would have purchased it for me, but I did not feel like waiting. Anyway, it arrived within 2 days and every day a load one of my cds to the computer to add to the library. I am still trying to figure out how to keep some tracks from loading to the POD, because they are not my favorites. I don't necessarily want the entire album. I will figure it out. Only 2 days til Thanksgiving. We are going to have the requisite turkey and mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, rolls, mincemeat and pumpkin pies, and watergate salad (only with french vanilla pudding mix). Wally world was out of pistacio pudding mix. I will just add some green food color...the boys will never know the difference : ) I hope not anyway...later.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

"The Mermaid Chair" by Sue Monk Kidd "Something struck me then: I'd never done any of those things my mother had done. Never danced on a beach. Never made a bonfire. Never waded into the ocean at night with laughing women and tied my life to theirs."

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

My Life Today I slept good last night. I ate fajitas and refried beans for lunch today with the data migration team. They are more fun than the A&C team. I ate oriental grilled chicken and fried rice for dinner by myself. I bought a Seacret From the Dead Sea hand care kit at the mall. I bought a box of artificial snow for TOM. He will really get a kick out of this. My son broke up with his girlfriend of five years. Work is good. I drove to the mall by myself. The first time in three days I have been alone. Except for when I am in my room. I did not overeat today. I have been eating too much the last couple of days. My sister in law is tired. I got a new toothbrush. I watched Dog the Bounty Hunter. I called TOM three times today :-) I called my son to let him know I am there for him.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I'm a Traveling (Wo)Man Back in B'ham again. We went to 'Brio Tuscan Grille' for dinner. The food was pretty good. I had italian salad and balsalmic marinated chicken with vegetables. I also ordered go. The Apple Crisp, although they don't give ice cream on the to go orders. Melted ice cream would have better than no ice cream...see previous post if you don't know what I mean. I have a feeling that it would have been better with ice cream, even if it was melted. TOM did a small project for me today. He added a sliding pull out shelf to the computer cabinet. It turned out pretty good. It will make it much easier when scanning the multitude of family photos that I am archiving. TOM did a previous upgrade to the cabinet. He dropped down the front of the drawer to make a handy dandy desk top. This was a cabinet that came from my grandmother. It was not very attractive and I hadn't used it in a long time. It has been in the garage. Anyway, after the remodel last year we have room in the house for it and I needed something to store all of my electronic gadgets. A computer desk that looks like furniture. It needs a paint job now, but I will have to do that myself, TOM doesn't want to paint it. This is a photo of my grandparents, Beatrice and Thomas Barth, on their 50th wedding anniversary. I choose not to tell you how many years ago this photo was taken, except that I was still single. And that's all I going to say about that. Anyway, here I am in my hotel room. I have made the requisite phone call to TOM to let him know that I arrived safely. He was in bed, preparing to go to sleep. He's an early to bed kind of guy. And of course, because I was otherwise engaged, I missed the first half of the Amazing Race. It's usually pushed back because of a football game or some other sporting event on the tube, but today it starts on time. Figures. Anyway, I got to watch the second half.

Friday, November 10, 2006

I Scream, You Scream... We all scream for ICE CREAM! Every day is a good day if you have ice cream. My favorite ice cream flavors are: White Chocolate Raspberry (Brewsters) White Turtle (Brewsters) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough (Blue Bell) Vanilla Bean (Blue Bell) Tin Roof (Blue Bell) more to come.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Photo Archiving I have begun the long and arduous task of scanning all of my assorted family photos and documents. I am going to try to scan for an hour each day, then name the photo, and place in the right folder. Then the photo can be placed in the appropriate storage box. It is going to take quite a long time. But if I do it in bits and pieces so I don't get burned out I will get it done. Once all the photos are scanned, I am going to buy an external hard drive for storage. That way, if there is ever a fire, all I have to grab is the drive. Having all the photos scanned will also make it easier to create the photo cd's for my boys. I have so many projects these days, the TOM will soon begin to believe that he is single again. I have tried to get him involved in the scanning, but he is really not interested. Well, that's it for today. I have to watch "Dancing with the Stars".

Sunday, November 05, 2006

America... ...the band not the country. On Friday nite, TOM and I went to the show. I must admit that it was pretty good. I bought the tickets for TOM because he really likes this type of music…the type that I usually have little time for. Anyway, I tried to take some photos, but of course it was too dark in the theatre and we were too far back for the flash to do any good. We had good seats, but not good enough. Of course, that did not stop other attendees from flashing the band thru the entire show. Don’t these people realize that the flash on your pocket digital camera is not worth a damn if you are farther then 15 feet (or less) from you subject. Anyway, there was so much flashing going on that I am surprised that the rest of us didn’t have a seizure. The show was good, I wish I had the set list. They played two or three songs from the new album as well as their old favorites: Sister Golden Hair, Horse with No Name, Lonely People, and Ventura Highway just to name a few.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Procrastination...Or Is It Exhaustion? I have been neglecting my blog responsibilities lately. But I have been so busy at work that the last thing I want to do when I get home is work on the computer. I am actively pursuing new job opportunities at work. I have identifed a number of positions in which interest me and have been working on my resume. I would like to continue in the temporary position that I am in right now, but there are no positions available. So I will be applying for a training, project analyst, and business analyst position. I want to continue to travel, so the training positon might be the best opportunity for that. We have finalized our plans for the Xmas holidays. We will be flying north on the morning of Dec 23 and return home on Dec 29. It is only a week, but I think that is enough. As it is, I may have to stay at my bro's house, because my grandma (bumble bee below) has moved in with my parents for the winter. I hate to be away from my boy's for Xmas, but we will celebrate early. They will be working anyway on Xmas Eve. I told them that they can spend the day together on Christmas. Anyway, the airline reservations are made and the car is confirmed. Now I just have to get shopping. Alot of small, easy to carry gifts...or maybe we will have to head right to the Mall of America to do our shopping before we head to the house. Sounds like a good idea, but in reality it is probably not. Can you imagine the number of people shopping??? We would probably have to park in Wisconsin.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Traveling Can be Expensive...

... and not just for the company. We finished our session early today so I had some time to burn. I went back to Wheeler Wildlife Refuge to see if I could get some more shots.

I walked a short trail to get some exercise after sitting all day. I got a few good shots. I haven't had a chance to look at them yet.

The trail was covered with the fern-like leaves of the cypress trees . . .

After that I headed for the mall. They actually have a pretty nice mall here. Prices were pretty good too. That's what I meant about travel being expensive. See, last week I was overdressed for the group. This week I was under dressed for the group so I thought I could find something to wear that was more appropriate.

I found a great skirt for like $12 and a pair of gauchos for $10. I found a couple of great shirts at another store. So I got some more exercise and so did my wallet. At least I will feel more comfortable in the meeting tomorrow.

My cold is almost gone. Still coughing some, but not too bad. I will be glad to get home. I just want to crawl into my bed and stay there. At least Saturday and Sunday. Read, sleep, and watch movies. Tom will be hunting, so I will have the whole house to myself.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Buzzzzzzz! We just returned from Minnesota yesterday. My husband's sister is sick and her husband was worried that she might not make it. She has been hospitalized before, but she did not want him to call anyone in the family, so he didn't. Of course, he had to go and see her. In a selfish moment, it allowed me the opportunity to go and see my mother, who was recently released from a convelesant center after breaking her arm and leg. Mom is doing well and my sister-in-law is stable. I guess that is all we can ask for. Speaking of my parents, they will use any excuse to go the the casinos on the Indian Reservation in Mille Lacs. My grandmother got sick and ended up the hospital in Aitken, MN, so of course we had to go see her. She is 87 after all. This is a photo of her 2 years ago... Anyway, we drive right by the casino on the way to and from Grandma's. I guess it is a good place to forget your troubles for a while. It was good for Tom, he tends to get melancholy in situations like this. We are home now. Well, Tom is. I am in Decatur for work. Speaking of work, I better make some preparations for tomorrow. I am supposed to lead the sessions tomorrow. Have never done it before...this should be really interesting. Stay tuned...

Friday, October 06, 2006

TGIF It's been a while since I've been here. I've been so busy at work that the last thing I wanted to do in the evening is sit in front of a pc and type. (I'm a technical writer.) However, I felt the urge to scribe this evening. I spent some time editing some of my photos...trying to decide which one to print and donate to a silent auction at work. The money we raise is donated to a scholarship fund for the children of our employees. I think this is the photo that I am going to submit.
The "A" Train
What do you think? I think it looks pretty cool. See the pedestrian on the right side? I didn't realize he was there until I blew it up and changed it to black and white. Now I don't consider myself a good photographer, but every once in a while I get it right. Framing will be very important. It has to be right. If it looks really good, I may have print a version for myself. This was taken on my recent trip to NY. I have always enjoyed photography. And I have had any number of cameras. I think my first was a kodak pocket instamatic. Boy, I loved that camera. I still have the photos that I took with that thing. But I don't have the camera. I think my boys got hold of it. I also have a nice canon ae1 program 35mm with several lenses, but I rarely use that anymore. We purchased in like 1978 or 79. It is a good camera and I just had it refurbished. Gosh, I guess it was three years ago, because I bought a digital for my trip to Hawaii last year. I have to admit I really like digital photography and I want to get a nikon f70 so that I can have interchangable lenses. I have a good camera now, but that is the one limitation...only one lense, no filters... I also need to get a good tripod.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Feeling Old Yet? 1974: Long hair 2004: Longing for hair 1974: KEG 2004: EKG 1974: Acid rock 2004: Acid reflux 1974: Moving to California because it's cool 2004: Moving to California because it's warm 1974: Trying to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor 2004: Trying NOT to look like Marlon Brando or Liz Taylor 1974: Seeds and stems 2004: Roughage 1974: Hoping for a BMW 2004: Hoping for a BM 1974: The Grateful Dead 2004: Dr. Kevorkian 1974: Going to a hip, new joint 2004: Receiving a new hip joint 1974: Rolling Stones 2004: Kidney Stones 1974: Being called into the principal's office 2004: Calling the principal's office 1974: Screw the system 2004: Upgrade the system 1974: Disco 2004: Costco 1974: Parents begging you to get your hair cut 2004: Children begging you to get their heads shaved 1974: Passing the drivers' test 2004: Passing the vision test 1974: Whatever 2004: Depends Just in case you weren't feeling too old today, this will certainly change things: *The people who are starting college this fall across the nation were born in 1990. *Their lifetime has always included AIDS. *Bottle caps have always been screw off and plastic. *They have always had an answering machine. *They have always had cable. *They cannot fathom not having a remote control. *Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show. *Popcorn has always been cooked in the microwave. *They never took a swim and thought about Jaws. *They can't imagine what hard contact lenses are. *They don't know who Mork was or where he was from. *They never heard: "Where's the Beef?" , "I'd walk a mile for a Camel," or "de plane, de plane." *They do not care who shot J. R. and have no idea who J. R. even is. *McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers. *They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Namaste I did a few yoga poses and relaxed for about 10 minutes. It felt really good. I did not realize that I missed it so much. I used to practice on a regular basis, but the joy went out of it for me about a year ago. I was teaching four classes a week while working a full time job. To be a good yoga instructor you have to be committed, maintain a personal practice, and attend training regularly. I just couldn’t do it, so I had to give up the teaching…I was not ready to commit full time to yoga and give up the benefits to which I had become accustomed…you know a regular paycheck and benefits. Some would say that is not the true path for a guru, but you make it your own. Teaching also took away from my personal practice. Yoga is more physical than people think and I just did not have the time or the energy to practice. I need to get back to it; my personal practice. Find a good yoga instructor and take some classes. My body and mind need the peace that yoga brings. In the long run it will help with my work and personal life too. I also began to study the Yoga Sutras. I was finding my way and taking a look at my life. Maybe that is the real reason I stopped my practice. I was beginning to see who I really was and I was not meeting my expectations. I know that sounds like a lot of hoo haa, but there comes a point in your life when you have to take a good look at who you. Maybe you like yourself, but maybe you realize that you have to make some changes. I have never been a spiritual person and the Sutras began to make sense to me. They began to bring some meaning to me, of who I was, and who I could be. You are probably thinking that I am getting all introspective because I am away from home and lonely. But that is not the case. I have never minded being by myself. I always find something to do, even if sometimes the behavior was destructive. I want to improve me. Make my life better. And by making my life better, I can make it better for my family. I will have to give this some more thought. Pull out the Yoga Sutras and give them some more study. I want to continue my journey to maturity and adulthood, but I want to have a good life and have some fun along the way…

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Adventures in Picture Framing I purchased a really great poster in NY to hang in the red room. Also known as the travel room. I purchased a frame (can't afford to have it professionally framed) and enlisted 'the old man', in future to be referred to as Tom, to help with the trimming and framing of the poster. Now, first you need to know that Tom draws blood during the easiest of tasks. Maybe he likes the color red. Anyway, whether he is working on the car, building a shelf, or doing yard work Tom always comes in the house bleeding. Suffice it to say, we can add framing posters to the list of dangerous things to do around the house. Luckily, Tom just changed the blade in the utility knife so it was a nice, clean cut. The cut probably needed some stitches, but being Tom he said "nah, let's just get it cleaned up and bandaged". Which is what we did. Amazingly, Tom did not get a drop of blood on the frame, poster, or in the work area. I told you, he was an expert. He did wake up with a throbbing member during the middle of the night. No, not that member. Tom elevated the finger and the pain went away. This morning we cleaned, added bacitacin and re-bandaged the wound to help with healing. Then Tom was on his way to work, planning I am sure, the stories he would tell about his newest injury and the daring adventure in which it occurred.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Day 5, September 14: Our last day in NYC. The desk clerk knocked on my door at 6:45. My business credit card was declined again. I spent the next two hours trying to get a limit increase on my card so I would not have to pay on my personal card. One of my colleagues went to the front desk to get an apple and when she returned she was locked out of her room. I convinced them to let her back in and paid for the difference in the room charges on my personal card. What a way to end our trip. It would have been worse. I was so happy to get picked up for the airport. As interesting as NYC is I was ready to go home. Breakfast: Apple from the front desk Lunch: Sausage with onions and water from a street vendor Dinner: Hamburger happy mean in Ladonia, AL with my husband at 11:00 Entertainment: Convincing the desk clerks that we were not going to run out on our bill Shopping: None
Day 4, September 13: Today was a work day and our last full day in the city. We were going to try to catch the 6:00 ferry cruise. We had to be on the subway by five. I also got the name of a sushi restaurant in the Village. We could stop and eat on the way back. The ferry was great. The weather was cooler, but not cold. The ride was about an hour and we could finally say that we made it to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. Of course, we only took photos and we never got off the boat, but that was ok by me. By this time, my blisters had blisters. It was windy enough that there were several sailboats in the harbor and river. Quite picturesque. I recommend the ferry. It is just enough to give you a view of NY from the water and get some great skyline shots. We enjoyed the trip. We headed to the subway. We had dinner plans in the Village and needed to get going. On the train, we didn’t recognize any of the street names so we got off at the first stop…in Brooklyn. We were going the wrong direction! We got back on the train, heading in the right direction. We were hungry and tired. I had the address of the restaurant and we began walking…again. I could lose a lot of weight if I lived in this city. I am not sure how far we walked, but we were unable to find Samba Sushi…We hailed a cab and headed to Times Square. We knew there was a sushi joint next to the pizza place where we ate the night before. Taxi’s are slow, but faster than walking. We finally made it to the restaurant and they actually had a table. Of course I order teriyaki chicken. I was not ready to order a complete sushi meal when I wasn’t sure if I would be able to eat it. I also ordered a Philadelphia roll. The chicken was great and the roll was too. I tried a small piece of eel, the texture was interesting, but it tasted like smoked fish. The real surprise came after the meal when my business card was declined. It was good preparation for what was to come. Breakfast: Apple Lunch: Great turkey sandwich with brie at Green Beans Dinner: Sushi, it tastes like chicken...oh, that was the chicken Shopping: 3 bars of Olive Oil facial soap from a local market Entertainment: Reaction on my face when my business credit card was declined
Day 3, September 12: Second attempt to purchase theatre tickets; Wicked, Sweeney Tod, or Spamalot. We did not have to be to work until 2:00 so we had plenty of time. Having learned our lesson on Sunday, we headed to Times Square. We stopped at Starbucks for coffee and a roll…great breakfast. Right next door was a theatre store where you could buy souvenirs…so we did. And on to the TKTS booth…but they did not open until 2:00 today. We were not yet on city time. We had three hours before we had to be at work and we headed to the Empire State Building (ESB). We worried that the lines would be long and we would not be able to make it, but we would give it our best shot. We agreed to purchase the trip to then top…the 102nd floor. It was $14 more, but worth every penny. (Total $30). We went to 102 first. It was clear as a bell that day and we could see for miles. I told my husband that I would call him from the top and I did. It was great. We did not want to go down, we had to descend eventually. We almost had it to ourselves. Very few pay the extra money to come up. I signed the guest book “Simply amazing,” because it was. 86 was really a let down after that. It was so crowded you could not get a decent photo. You could hardly walk around the deck. I did buy a poster of the NY skyline to hang in the adventure room. It will look great when I get it framed. We checked with the concierge at the hotel for show tickets, but they were going to be very expensive. We skipped the idea of a show and went for pizza and beer. Then we spent a few hours at a local tavern and relaxed…the deep dive was more stressful than we thought it would be. What happens in NY stays in NY! Breakfast: Hot Chai Latte and Blueberry Scone, apple Lunch: A cool shower Dinner: Bella Vita for pizza and beer Entertainment: 1 Strawberry Mojito, 1 tequila on the rocks, 1 corona Shopping: 5 I {heart} NY Teddy Bears for the DS team, 1 New York Apple Bell Christmas ornament, Skyline poster from the ESB
Day 2, September 11: Today was a work day, so we did not get to do any exploring until after work. We did decide that we were going to Central Park, the Rose Center, and Serendipity 3 for dinner. We took the subway to Central Park West.We stopped at the Dakota and Strawberry Fields to pay homage to John Lennon. Of course we got the requisite photos. I sent my poem to John via a burning candle. Quite corny actually, but it made me feel good. I hope he liked it. Then we headed to the Rose Center. You know how when you look at things on the map they don’t really look that far…? When in NY the blocks are short one way and long the other way…it seems we were always walking the long way. I had a blister the size of a quarter on my heel and it was giving me a lot of trouble. But I kept moving forward. After the Rose Center, we decided it was time to eat some dinner, so we started our trek to Serendipity. Of course the walk was longer than we anticipated. We had to walk from the west side to the east side. My dogs were howling. My compadres suggested another restaurant, but I was not going to let my sore feet be the reason we did not make it to a restaurant in which they wanted to eat. Now Serendipity has been around for a long time and is famous for desserts. The rich and famous bring their children here; however on this day we saw neither the rich nor the famous. We finally got the timing right and only had to wait about 10 minutes for a table. What we did get was the best sandwich north of the Mason-Dixon line. I had A Summer Bries. Rye bread, turkey, and melted brie. I have never had brie before and I am now a fan. It is wonderful. If you have never tried you really must. There was some kind of sauce on it also, but I can’t remember. Food always tastes so good when you have earned it. But what we really came here for was the Frozen Hot Chocolate. And it really was worth every penny we paid for it. I highly recommend both the sandwich and the dessert. We decided to hail a cab back to the hotel because I refused to walk back to the subway station. It may have taken a little longer, but the price would have been about the same and I was finally sitting down. Breakfast: Green Beans, apple from the front desk Lunch: In the Office Dinner: Serendipity Dessert: Frozen Hot Chocolate Shopping: None Entertainment: Pooping the blisters on my feet
Manhattan . . . brings a different image to mind for everyone. Me, I think of crowded streets, smells (some good and some not so good), horns honking, hot subways, tall buildings (and small), ESB, Lady Liberty, WTC and ground zero, crazy taxi drivers, and street performers. It also brings to mind good food with good friends, a few beers in the local pub, walking almost everywhere, sensory overload, culture shock, and street vendors selling everything from hot dogs to designer handbags. I managed it to make to most of the places on my “to do” list. Our hotel was in midtown Manhattan…just two blocks from Times Square, more restaurants and bars in two blocks than the whole of Columbus, GA, and Broadway. Day One, September 10: We arrived around 11:00; plenty of time to get to the room and see some of the sights. Our first stop would be the TKTS booth to get theatre tickets. We assumed it was ten blocks from our hotel (we were informed that the Times Square booth was a long wait and more expensive…) so we walked…and walked…and walked. We walked thru the garment district, the flower district, the flatiron district, Union Square, Greenwich Village, NoHo, Soho, and into the financial district. There were protestors at Ground Zero and blisters on my feet. 30 blocks and we were at least 10 blocks from our destination. We spent some time at Ground Zero. I was in the middle of a protest that I knew nothing about before my arrival. But it was exciting. I wanted to be a part of it. I did not want to walk another step (and not just because my feet were sore). I wanted to sit down and talk to the people and feel what they were feeling, be part of something bigger than myself. The pulse of the crowd was palpable, as was their passion. They brought their voices together for the greater good, expressing their ideas in a peaceful and respectful manner…this is, after all, a place of memorial. My companions were ready to move on… When we finally found the TKTS booth, it was closed. We were deflated, tired, and hungry. It’s about 2:30 and we got an outdoor table at Red, a Mexican restaurant on Fulton Street. The food was ok. We could have got the same thing for half the price at Taco Bell, but it was a beautiful day and my feet were finally at rest. The streets were filled with people: a young bride and her groom walking to their reception; a young Jewish girl dressed for her Bat Mitzvah, her father, brother, and photographer trailing behind her, Elvis singing his greatest hits in gold lame shorts. After lunch, we headed over to the pier 17 to take a look around. We bought tickets for the ferry. We were going to say hello to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. The ferry would be leaving in about 45 minutes so we took some photos of the Brooklyn Bridge and checked out some of the local entertainment. At the appropriate time, we headed over to the ferry loading area. Our timing on this day continued to work against us as the harbor was being closed by the Coast Guard for the arrival of Bushy and his entourage. We had had enough. We got a refund and headed for the subway. 20 minutes later I was back in my hotel room, ready to take a nap before dinner. After resting for a couple of hours, we decided to eat at an Irish Pub just off of Times Square. The food was stick to your ribs good. After a beer we headed back to the hotel to prepare for work the next day. Lunch: Red Dinner: Irish pub Shopping: 7 t-shirts for $15… Entertainment: Elvis, street performers of all types, the local citizenry

Friday, September 08, 2006

Whale Watch Five years ago, I had an opportunity to take a whale watching cruise in Alaska. We were looking for a pod of humpback whales and before too long the the call went out, "there she blows". There were more cameras than people on the boat that day; still and video, digital and 35mm. And we were all trying to get the perfect fluke shot. As I think back on it now, I should have just spent the time watching the whales. You have to stay at least 50 feet away from them. We did get to watch the whales fish. They dive down and release bubbles that trap their prey in a "bubble net". Then they swim toward the surface and eat dinner. Pretty cool. It really is amazing. As we cruised thru the Inside Passage, I kept my eyes open for orca sightings. Didn't have any luck. I did have an opportunity to see orcas (I hate to admit) at Sea World a few years earlier. They are so intelligent and beautiful, they brought tears to my eyes. It would have been great to see them in their natural habitat. Which leads me to the reason for this post today. I was read an article in the NY Times about a group that is trying to preserve the habitat of three pods of resident orcas in Puget Sound. Resident orcas stay in one area and live in extended family groups. If you have time, give it a read. I added a link to the article. You may have to register for the Times to read it but it's free. Namaste...

Saturday, September 02, 2006

To John: This haiku is for you. I plan to visit the Dakota and Strawberry Fields when I travel to NY next week. See you then.
From London you came Your guitar on your shoulder And peace in your heart.
(Photo by Richard Avedon)
Other things to do in NY: Empire State Building Statue of Liberty Serendipity 3 for frozen hot chocolate Times Square Good Morning America Central Park Shopping
Grand Central Station
See a Show
China Town
Ride the Subway
Photograph Everything so I can share it with Al!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Office Ping-Pong (Is it Really Burnout?) This is my second reference to office ping-pong and maybe you are asking yourself “is this some new version of the traditional table tennis game?” In one word, the answer is no. Office ping-pong is that moment in time, or maybe even an entire day, in which everyone person you come in contact with wants something from you, every phone call, every email, and every face-to-face meeting requires an immediate response from you. You try to do ten things at once and you have to be conscious of what you are doing. You are running into a concrete wall at mach 1 and you can’t stop. You just keep moving forward because you know you have to get the ball over the net and win the game. You are highly productive during the ping-pong session, or so you think. But what details are you missing in your attempt to keep your eye on the ball? Did you forget your kids at school? Leave the dog outside and you are leaving for a three day business trip? Miscalculate a column of numbers that means millions of dollars in lost revenue for your company? You have highly developed organizational skills, but in all the excitement that comes with this frenetic energy, did you throw something away that you needed in a misguided attempt to clear your desk? Or did you put something into a folder that won’t be rediscovered until three years from now. Not much use to you then. Garbage. By the time you finally slow down, you are so jazzed that you can’t. And you had only one cup of coffee! And nothing to eat! This leads me to believe that the combination of caffeine, adrenaline, and an empty stomach can drive us to great professional heights and deep emotional lows. Your opponent just scored a point. The ball bounces past you. You are weak and exhausted. You stare at your desk in a daze and wonder where the time went. It is 1:00 in the afternoon and you’ve been in the game for five hours. Bed sounds good, but you still have three hours left. You know you need to eat lunch, but the adrenaline high that kept you going all morning is telling you “you don’t need food, your stomach is full”. Ahhh, endorphins. You take lunch anyway, but it is a less than satisfying experience. You eat too quickly and get heartburn. You did not relax. You spent your time thinking about what you should have done differently in one situation or another. You wonder if when you get back to your desk it will be more of the same. Or not. You can’t find the ball. You can’t get it started? Or finished? The rest of the day is a bust. You might as well go home, but your office does not believe in “flex time”. You’ve done eight hours of work in five, but you still have to hit the clock. And it is likely that you did more work in those five hours than 50% of the people that work in your office. So what’s the trade-off, professional success or personal suicide? Do you thrive on the excitement of the game or is the pressure too much to bear? When do you say “I have had enough”? You are too young to retire, but too old to change professions. Do you want to? You need a break but you just got back from vacation! You can still win the match but at what cost? Are you willing to pay it? Is there a compromise or do you become complacent and maintain the status quo? Finally, it’s time to go home. As you walk to your car you begin to relax. It feels good to be outside, the smell of the river, the warm breeze against your face, the sound of the fountain. You stop to smell the flowers and you get stung in the ass by a bee. It’s always something isn’t it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Office Ping-Pong Yesterday was one of those days in which I never seemed to get caught up. I only had one cup on coffee, but I felt like I was on speed. I was really jazzed. Sometimes you really have to work under the gun to get things done and stay focused. Having said that, I made a conscious effort to do just one thing at a time today. I managed to get a lot of things cleaned up and ready for my rotation. I have five days before I have to leave for NY for a week. A week in the BIG APPLE...Empire State, Statue of Liberty, MOMA, the theatre, Central Park...Las Vegas but not Las Vegas...I am sure much better. Maybe I will see Johnny Depp... Of course I will be working five of those days, but we will have the weekend. April and TJ are also coming, we hope to go to a show and do some sightseeing. I am going to the top (102nd floor) of the Empire costs about $30, but it will be the best view in town. I wonder if it is better to go at night? Anyway, back to the office. TJ was overheard talking about the trip and this is not something that we in our group often get to do, so it is really special. It would have been better to be discreet about the fact that we were going. You don't want to create any animosity. At least I can say that it was not me that spilled the beans. I was so glad when that day was over. My horoscope also told me to save my energy. So eerie how that can be dead on sometimes. I also gave a speech in TM "Waiting to Exhale", about the seizure disorder from which my son suffers. Considering I did not rehearse it went very well. I made my time. Now, I just need one more speech to get my CTM...I am actually kind of excited about it. I need to try to do one more speech before November. It may be hard with the rotation, but I am going to give it my best shot. Well, I guess that is about it for today. I got my blog fix. Maybe I will sleep better tonight;)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Riding the Roller Coaster No, I did not go to Disneyworld or Six Flags, but work yesterday was one wild ride. By 2:00 I was so mentally tired from all of the juggling I just wanted to go home and take a nap. But I had to be the target speaker for a Toastmasters contest, so napping was definetly out of the question. See, I am preparing to start a 90 day rotation in another department of my company. Very exciting and I am ready to try something new. I need a challenge and up until a few weeks ago my current position was not fulfilling that need. If I like the change, I may ask to stay there. Anyway, for some reason, the current project (in my current department) decided to really heat up and because of the rotation I will have to pass on the responsibilities to others in my area to get the job done. The saying "when it rains, it pours" is really accurate in this case. I had been working on this project for the better part of two years on and off. The group we needed to work with are in another state and going thru some growing pains. Needless to say, communication with them was difficult at best. Anyway, I spent the morning trying to coordinate a trip to New York for me and my teammates, attend a team meeting, schedule a Monday morning meeting, prepare for another Monday meegting, hand off projects that were in the works, define objectives for my rotation, and try to schedule a meeting with my supervisor (which has been hard because she has a sick child). I tell you, if not for my to do list, I would be in a world of hurt. And I still feel like I am forgetting things. One of the good things about my team meeting was that I told the team leader that I could not help with the assignments she was getting ready to hand out. I have always worked hard for her and have taken on more then my share of the work. I was given things to do because she new I would get them done, but I also felt that sometimes I was being taken advantage of. Give the new writers on our team an opportunity to shine...share the love. I can truthfully say that I am suffering from BURNOUT. I can write data streaming bulletins in my sleep and do manual updates with my eyes closed. Definitely not a challenge for me anymore. That's why I applied for this rotation. It will either open my eyes to new opportunities and challenges or send me running home with my tail between my legs; glad to live in the quiet world of documenting our system on the pod (I like the UK term pod better than cube) farm. Actually, the position in to which I am rotating actually fits my personality better. I am more of a big picture thinker and know a little bit about alot of things. I am less good with the details. That's the reason for the to do list and the very well defined organizational skills. I had to stay organized to keep the details in order. Anyway, by 2:00 I was bushed. Ready to go home, but still had 2.5 hours left in my day. I had to be at the contest by 6:30, so I did get an hour to relax before I had to leave for that. My husband went with me, he had never been to a Toastmasters event before. The humorous speeches were great. We had a lot of fun. My speech went well. The purpose of my speech was to give the contestants in the evaluation contest would have a speech to evaluate. I had given this speech previously at a regular TM meeting and had it memorized. The evaluations I received went from serious to funny, with several good suggestions for improvement. I really did not take it too seriously, although I was being officially evaluated for my CTM. I still need two speeches to meet that goal. Anyway, I am glad today is Saturday. I do not have to do anything that I do not want to today. I have yet to get out of my PJ's and I may just pop a girlie flick in the DVD and stay in bed. Adios, amigos y amigas.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Untitled Haiku , 2006 In the fall of life Take joy in the memories Rejoice in the light. Rain soaked spirits are Like clouds, that block the Light from the Heart of mother. Auto Insurance Sucks the life from my wallet Like the leech my blood. Coffee on my mouse Pad, Like a sponge, it saves my Computer from shock.
You are a South African bush pilot. You fly in some critical medical supplies, enjoy a quick lunch at the hospital. It's a stifling 100 degrees in the shade and you're eager to get back up to the cool, high blue yonder. On the way back to your plane, you discover that the only bit of shade, within 1 mile, has become very popular . . . You start calculating the distance to the plane door and wonder . . . "Do I feel lucky today?"

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Do You Believe Your Horoscope? I guess I do. I read mine almost every day and today's seemed especially appropriate: "Today's New Moon initiates a cycle that requires you to find a place in your life for the little things that you usually set aside. You are the champions of the big picture and often have difficulty in keeping up with the finer points. Now your career may depend on your ability to keep track of the details and to follow through with them. It won't be as difficult as it sounds if you just make a commitment to yourself."
Traditional Traits... Optimistic and freedom-loving Jovial and good-humored Honest and straightforward Intellectual and philosophical

On the dark side... Blindly optimistic and careless Irresponsible and superficial Tactless and restless
Sagittarius, the ninth Sign of the Zodiac, is the home of the wanderers of the Zodiac. It's not a mindless ramble for these folks, either. Sagittarians are truth-seekers, and the best way for them to do this is to hit the road, talk to others and get some answers. Knowledge is key to these folks, since it fuels their broad-minded approach to life. The Sagittarian-born are keenly interested in philosophy and religion, and they find that these disciplines aid their internal quest. At the end of the day, what Sagittarians want most is to know the meaning of life, and if they accomplish this while feeling free and easy, all the better. It's the Archer which represents Sagittarians, although in this case it's a Centaur (half man, half beast) which is flinging the arrows. Centaurs were the intellectuals of ancient Roman mythology, and Sagittarians are quick to consider themselves their modern-day counterparts. Those born under this Sign are clear thinkers and choose to look at the big picture most of the time. They also like it when others agree with their well-thought-out point of view. The alternative to this, for better or for worse, is a Sag who can become argumentative and blunt. That's not to say that these folks are intransigent -- Archers will listen to what others have to say, in keeping with the Mutable Quality assigned to this Sign. Indeed, Sagittarians are enthusiastic consumers of information (and enthusiastic in general), the better to get the answers they need. It's also a good idea to give Sags lots of room to explore their world. Once these folks start to feel hemmed in, they'll become impatient and difficult.
Sagittarius Intransigent Mutable

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Is Your Boat Too Small?
You Should be Working... One day my housework-challenged husband decided to wash his sweatshirt. Seconds after he stepped into the laundry room, he shouted to me, "What setting do I use on the washing machine?" "It depends," I replied. "What does it say on your shirt?" He yelled back, "University of Oklahoma." Q: Why do little boys whine? A: They are practicing to be men. A couple is lying in bed. The man says, "I am going to make you the happiest woman in the world." The woman replies, "I'll miss you..." Q: What do you call a handcuffed man? A: Trustworthy. "It's just too hot to wear clothes today," Jack says as he stepped out of the shower, "honey, what do you think the neighbors would say if I mowed the lawn like this?" "Probably that I married you for your money," she replied. Q: What does it mean when a man is in your bed gasping for breath and calling your name? A: You did not hold the pillow down long enough. He said "shall we try swapping positions tonight?" She said "that's a good idea... you stand by the ironing board while I sit on the sofa and fart." Q: What do you call an intelligent, good looking, sensitive man? A: A rumor. A man and his wife, now in their 60's, were celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary. On their special day a good fairy came to them and said that because they had been so good that each one of them could have one wish. The wife wished for a trip around the world with her husband. Whoosh, she had airline and cruise tickets in her hands. The man wished for a female companion 30 years younger. Whoosh, he turned ninety!!! Gotta love that fairy! Q: Why do female black widow spiders kill their males after mating? A: To stop the snoring before it starts. A PRAYER.... Dear Lord, I pray for Wisdom to understand my man; Love to forgive him; And Patience for his moods. Because, Lord, if I pray for Strength, I'll beat him to death. AMEN Q: Why do men whistle when they are sitting on the toilet? A: It helps them remember which end they need to wipe. Q: What is the difference between men and women? A: A woman wants one man to satisfy her every need. A man wants every woman to satisfy his one need. Q: How do you keep your husband from reading your e-mail? A: Rename the mail folder "Instruction Manuals" Have a great day :-)
Funny but True Q: How many women with MENOPAUSE (or PMS) does it take to change a light bulb? A: One! ONLY ONE!!!! And do you know WHY? Because no one else in this house knows HOW to change a light bulb! They don't even know that the bulb is BURNED OUT!! They would sit in the dark for THREE DAYS before they figured it out. And, once they figured it out, they wouldn't be able to find the #&%!* light bulbs despite the fact that they've been in the SAME CABINET for the past 17 YEARS! But if they did, by some miracle of God, actually find them, 2 DAYS LATER, the chair they dragged to stand on to change the STUPID light bulb would STILL BE IN THE SAME SPOT!!!!! AND UNDERNEATH IT WOULD BE THE WRAPPER THE LIGHT BULBS CAME IN!!! BECAUSE NO ONE EVER CARRIES OUT THE GARBAGE!!!! IT'S A WONDER WE HAVEN'T ALL SUFFOCATED FROM THE PILES OF GARBAGE THAT ARE A FOOT DEEP THROUGHOUT THE ENTIRE HOUSE!! IT WOULD TAKE AN ARMY TO CLEAN THIS PLACE! AND DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON WHO CHANGES THE TOILET PAPER ROLL !! . . . I'm sorry. What was the question?

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Viva Las Vegas Sunday and Monday was dedicated to exploring (read gambling) and sleeping (read sleeping). We checked out a number of the Vegas hotels, the new fancy ones, and played in most of them. The temperatures averaged 102 every day and you had to get out early in the am. Because of the time difference, we were up each morning by six, hit the casino, eat breakfast, and walk around the strip. This is the best time of day to gamble by the way...everyone else is hungover and sleeping. Paris

New York, New York




We also made it to the: MGM Grand, Ceasar's, Treasure Island, and the Venetian. We stayed at the Flamingo. No picture of that.