Friday, December 29, 2006

christmas recap

I've finally gotten caught up with all my favorite blogs. It seems that I'm not the only one who had mixed feelings about Christmas this year. And I'm not the only one who is glad it is over.

I'm not sure how it happened (what with society forcing the holidays on us since mid-November) but Christmas snuck up on me. I had a feeling it might so I tried to get all my shopping done before the move. Yeah, as always there were those last minute gifts to buy. I think I finished shopping with 3 days to spare.

Christmas eve is reserved for my Hungarian family. (Yeah, I know, I'm not really Hungarian. Can you be an honorary nationality?) It's fun to see how traditions evolve. Who would have thought that I would spend the night before Christmas eating stuffed cabbage and other traditional Hungarian food? Crazy stuff.

My brother and I exchanged presents on Christmas morning. We got some pretty nifty gifts but the funniest thing is that we both bought each other the same gift. Yep, identical box and present... What are the odds? We spent most of the day with his girlfriend's parents. It was a lot of fun, too. We opened presents and ate and played games and ate and ate some more. And I had a stocking for the first time in ten years.

Like I said, fun but I'm glad it's over. Next, a house update.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

heels dug in

There's been so much change lately that I'm refusing to switch to the new version of blogging. I may be the last one to do it...

Other than that, I've been busy with Christmas and moving (still). I think I'm now about 95% moved in. Tonight is my first night to sleep here. Wish me luck.

I'll write more soon about the goings on and my reactions to it all. For now, though, I feel the call of the unpacked boxes. Hope y'all had a great holiday!

Monday, December 18, 2006

quick note

So what's more fun than moving around Christmastime? Getting sick while all that's happening. I got whatever virus is going around. I blame traveling. I think I'm feeling better today but am drowsy from medication.

Just one more quick 2-day trip to the Big D before I get a 2-week travel break.

And I'm posting from home. Yea for internet access! I'm about 75% moved in (meaning boxes everywhere--props to the friends and fam who helped). I have all the necessary utilities except phone. Please, God, let them come soon. I'm trapped here with only cookies and Cheez-Its to sustain me until AT&T comes.

Am I the only one not finished with Christmas shopping?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

wuv, true wuv

it's what bwings us togetha today... (Love that Princess Bride.)

I love my house. I'm maybe in love with it. I think about it before bed and wake up thinking about it and it makes me happy. And since Friday I've wanted to work on other areas of my life to make myself better. From what I remember about relationships, I think it's love. And speaking of love, I love the brother's girlfriend's mom. Well, I kinda dig her whole family but I really like that her mom sees things the same way I do. What a single person needs (or maybe any person or maybe just me) when she buys a house on her own is encouragement and affirmation. That's what I got from the girlfriend's family--an appreciation of what it is and the vision of how much more it could be. They're nice peeps.

So all this has made me realize (again) how important it is to support people.

It's been a crazy week so far. I had a quick trip to the greater Dallas area (full of stress and unexpected setbacks). Then off to San Antonio and the Menger. It's nice here but somehow I was expecting more. One cool thing, however, is that the restaurant here is painted the same color I want to paint my kitchen/breakfast area. It looked good. It was like a preview.

And the totally random thing for the day... There's a restaurant in a small town south of Dallas called Bubba's BBQ. It's slogan? "You never sausage a thing." Love that, too.

Friday, December 08, 2006

milestones

When I posted about cattywampus the other day I realized that the next post would be #100. Since that's a little milestone, I decided to wait until today to post again (regarding a bigger milestone).

I'm now allegedly a homeowner. I know, anyone I've talked to recently I've said "allegedly" to about a million times. The jacka$$ male homeowner still needs to sign and all the money still needs to clear. I, however, have officially signed my life away. I'm very pleased at how nice everyone was...my agent, my loan lady, and the title company woman.

As I was warned, all my documents said "cjh, A SINGLE WOMAN." Seriously, with bold and capital letters. On the upside, the title company woman said she has a 31-year-old son and that I was just a doll. I told her that she has all my contact information (and then some) so she could pass it along.

Hopefully I'll be able to move some things in this weekend but I probably won't be fully moved until the week of Christmas. Thank goodness for a flexible moving schedule and some time off.

So, yeah, it feels like all the stress is over. Until February 1st, I guess. That big ol' check I'll be writing then will likely freak me out. In a good way...

I'm excited. I feel like I'm finally getting somewhere. Like all the crappy jobs and the second jobs and the paying my dues and the crazy employers have gotten me to a good place. So thanks for putting up with my crap over the years and especially these last few months.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"whopperjawed"

Topeka's version of "cattywampus."

Monday, December 04, 2006

it's the most busiest time of the year...

First, I know..."most busiest." This is both to emphasize just how busy and to fit with the appropriate number of syllables for the song.

Who thought the Christmas season was a good time to buy a house? November was my worst travel month since April (which was my worst month ever). It worked out ok that I was able to do the in-person house-buying things while I was in town for a day or two. But my personal "to do" list is once again a mile long. On Saturday you don't really get going until the afternoon and on Sunday not everything is open. Would someone like to take my car in for an oil change? We could peel off that little corner windshield sticker in advance so you don't get berated for how long it's been. Anyone? How about going to the post office? Like that chore isn't always horrible let's throw in the holiday season. Anyone want to be a personal shopper for hard-to-buy for friends? Or take my computer in to get fixed (yep, still haven't done that)? Or shop for a new cellphone since the one I have lasts about 17 1/2 minutes per charge and then gives no warning before giving up completely?

Or pack boxes? Yeah, I've done zero packing. However, the upside to that is that lots of my things are in storage (meaning pre-boxed). The rest of my things have no due date to leave. That definitely helps. And as it's looking now, I may be officing at my brother's house for awhile after the move. I will, however, have electricity and water on Friday. Gas is up in the air. I'm trying to get cable/internet that next weekend and I haven't even called the phone people. Oh, and I haven't notified my job that I'm moving. That's probably a big one.

And speaking of my job, there's a whole other list there. I'm so behind on things I need to do when not traveling. The post office is on that list, too. And buying a few supplies. And maybe preparing for this week's trip before I leave around, oh, 12:30 today. No rush...

So what am I doing? Blogging. Is that on any list? Of course not. I just wanted to tell you all in advance that I'll probably be out-of-pocket a few days. I am still allegedly closing on Friday. Maybe after I get a few things in there you can all come over. There will be a $5 cover payable in Home Depot gift cards.

Friday, December 01, 2006

one week

So I woke up this morning thinking that this time next week I'll likely be vomitting next to my car after closing on my house. Seriously. But then, I can vomit here (possibly because of that tacky wallpaper):


That's my bathroom! That's my bathroom! MY bathroom! heehee

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

country come to town

That's something we sometimes use in reference to my brother (who finally "came to town" about a year and a half ago after living in the country his whole life). Today, however, it refers to me. I should be asleep since I have breakfast at 7am and it's midnight here. Where is here? The Ritz-Carlton. South Beach.

I grew up poor and in the country (which, incidentally, I think is better than poor and in the city). We didn't take vacations. We didn't travel further than Houston or Corpus. I didn't leave Texas until I was 17. Didn't fly until I was 20. Now I have a life where keeping both feet firmly planted on the ground for more than a week seems like an eternity. A life where I say things like "it's been so long since I've been to Miami--7 months!" A life where people valet park my rental car. Where people offer to help with my luggage. Where, when I'm out to dinner, someone comes and leaves me tiny chocolates on my bed along with tomorrow's weather forecast in quaint, Texan terms (like "gullywasher"). Where a woman brings me room service and adjusts my television so I can still watch it while eating. A woman who--when I say not to bother with the tv (I have two goods hands and legs that work)--says, "I know. You don't want to be a bother. But you deserve it."

Even though it's only Tuesday, it's been a really interesting week. If you're in Ft. Worth I highly recommend the Renaissance. Superb beds. Honestly, I could wax on and on about them. And even though it's a chain it's done really well. Feels like Texas. Which was super cool since I was entertaining one of our clients who happens to be from the UK. I took him to the stockyards for steak last night. I was the one who was highly entertained. Actually, he enjoyed it, too.

We both came out to Miami today. I very easily sweet talked my way into a room with an ocean view instead of a city view. (Moral: never take what you're given?) And I've been in a very talkative mood the last few days, chatting it up with strangers even more than usual. (That's especially good since I'd slipped into kind of an introverted phase.) It's funny how I don't get anxiety when dealing with new people. It comes with the territory, I guess. Instead of feeling anxious at meeting this guy who is high up in his company, a company that has paid our company millions of dollars to complete this project, I was just excited to be able to show a British guy around Ft. Worth. And then tonight I was able to meet several of my co-workers I had previously known only via e-mail or conference calls or spreadsheets. And what was cool (I know, I've said "cool" twice this post) was that many of them from various levels of the hierarchy said, "Oh! You're (insert my first name here)!" My reputation precedes me... How did that happen? I'm home-based. I'm not really sure but am glad that it did. Like I said, an interesting week thus far. Oh, and one more thing before I'm off to bed. In a similar fashion to how I dissolve into a little Texan drawl when I'm around people with a heavy accent, I apparently use a spot o' the Queen's English when around the British. Cheerio, ol' chaps...

Monday, November 27, 2006

crying with oprah

The days go by so quickly, don't they? The days off? Even faster. I had a rushed trip to Dallas last Monday/Tuesday so that allowed me to only need to work a few hours on Wednesday. However, I had to fly back to Dallas yesterday. I stay here until tomorrow and then am off to Miami for some training. Then back home around midnight on Thursday. Thank goodness November will be over. It's been a rough month.

Random quote for today. No need to seek hidden meaning or link it to any other part of this. It's just the Real Simple daily quote. And a good one at that. "I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one." -Mark Twain

Ok, so I got finished with work a little early today and caught about half of Oprah. It was the second half of her Pay It Forward show. Yeah, it was a sob fest. In a good way. She gave each member of her audience a $1000 gift card sometime in October. They were to use it however they wanted to but she asked that they pay it forward. 314 people did. (I'm not sure how many people were in her audience originally--the site just says over 300). But, wow, how cool that so many people actually did it! It was crazy. They helped sick people, kids, people who were down on their luck, and some plain ol' random people. Pizza delivery guys were given $250 tips. A grandmother in a grocery store was randomly given $250. Turns out she was keeping her daughter's kids because her daughter had been in an accident the night before and was in ICU. Some people pooled their money to make a bigger impact like buying a working single mom a car. Some used it as a starting point and got other donations from area businesses and the impact was huge. We're talking $200,000 huge.

It was amazing. I think Oprah should do that maybe once a week. She could afford to lose $300,000+ a week. Ok, so maybe $500 once a month. Something. It makes me want to get out there and help. When you major in a "helping profession" in college, you tend to value the actual "helping" part. That's something I don't think I've been doing enough of lately. I've volunteered time in the past but lately it seems like I give money instead of time. Don't get me wrong, I think every fortunate person has a responsibility to help others. I'm not talking about giving money to someone who will waste it on booze, etc. But I think everyone could think of at least one cause they could support. Why not act on it? It seems like people rarely have an excess of both time and money but you usually have a little extra of one of them. Why not use it? We have so many material possessions. Why not donate to charities for Christmas gifts this year? Would you mind if that were your gift?

So that's my soapbox for today. Pay it forward... It makes at least two people happy when you do. Three if you count Oprah. Four if you count me...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

under the wire

Just thought it would be a tad hypocritical of me to wax on about Thanksgiving and not acknowledge the actual day. However, I was spending it with friends and family and friends who are like family instead of blogging so maybe I'm not hypocritical afterall. I leave you with a quote...

"Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude." -E.P Powell

Monday, November 20, 2006

some little things

Brisk weather. Live music. Naps. Warm beds. Safe travel. Downtown skyscrapers glowing pink in the sunrise. Coffee. Vending machines. A glass of wine. A good meal. An entertaining book.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

not so fast

It's November 19. Last Sunday, the 12th, was the first time this year that I heard Christmas music in a public place. I heard it again on Wednesday and saw someone putting up yard decorations yesterday. This makes me crazy.

I do enjoy the holiday season for the most part. (It's kind of a mixed bag for me.) But why do we have to rush towards it? Why can't we just enjoy Thanksgiving? You know, the holiday that comes between Halloween and Christmas. The one where we're supposed to show gratitude. Gratitude, perhaps, for all the material things society is been pressuring us to buy for Christmas.

Part of my annoyance regarding the extended holiday season is because I like Thanksgiving. It gets overshadowed since it isn't as profitable a holiday. No myriad of gifts to buy. No costumes and tubs of candy. It only requires food. And family and friends. But if you go into craft-type stores like Garden Ridge or Hobby Lobby, you may be able to find generic Fall decorations for about 3 days (less in Garden Ridge). You don't really hear of Thanksgiving sales...only the day after Thanksgiving. The "thank God that holiday is over so we can really focus on Christmas" sales.

So I've been thinking about how the holidays fall. I thought that maybe we should move Thanksgiving. But that's not a good solution either. Thanksgiving has to be in the fall. We celebrate life's bountiful harvest during the time of bountiful harvest. I like the traditional Thanksgiving foods. It would be weird to eat all those carbs and pies during the summer (although I enjoy carbs and pie year-round). We can't move Christmas. So I'm thinking maybe it could be Halloween. What if we made it at the beginning of October? And while we're at it, make it fall on the first Saturday of the month. Parents wouldn't have to feel so rushed getting the kids ready for trick-or-treating after a long workday. Childless adults could always have a fun night to go out and party since it seems weird to dress in costume and hit the bar on, say, a Tuesday. I know Halloween has historical reasons as to why it is when it is...but does that history matter anymore? For any holidays really... But in all likelihood, moving Halloween up would just extend the Christmas season even further.

Aside from Thanksgiving getting overshadowed, I dislike the Christmas push because it stresses me out. Time goes by so quickly as it is, why try to make it go even faster? Businesses shouldn't try to make people feel inadequate if they haven't finished their shopping by mid-November. Personally, that just makes me want to buy a handful of giftcards and call it a day. But then I'd feel guilt. I enjoy finding that perfect gift for someone who means a lot to me. So I'm sitting here trying not to feel rushed and overwhelmed. Hopefully that will be successful. And if not, I may be the first person to wish you a happy Halloween next year. I hope the costume on October 6th doesn't alarm you.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

why "i travel for work" sounds better than it is

1. You sometimes are ill-prepared for weather. You try to be prepared. You look, say, Sunday night while you are packing to see what the forecast is for the week ahead. It says the lowest high is 68. Not bad. You take a light jacket. The lowest high ends up being about 25 degrees colder than that with a wind chill in the teens/low twenties. You wake up in the morning and it is below freezing. There is ice on your windshield. You wish you had gloves.

2. You forget (Honestly! See #3 for reason why...) to remove small make-up bag from purse. You usually put it in the checked luggage, you really do. You know lip gloss and liquid foundation are contraband. You know someone somewhere knows how to combine those two items (or identical looking items) with some spit and maybe a paper clip to do some real damage on a plane. You ignore your oversight and hope security is lax. It isn't. You can't send these two small items through security on their own without being safely secured in a tiny, resealable plastic bag. You wonder how tiny, resealable plastic bag keeps aforementioned "someone somewhere" from doing aforementioned "real damage." You throw items away. Sigh...

3. You sometimes cannot find a gas station near the airport. Rental car places charge you about $9 million, your right pinkie toe, and your first born child if you return the car less than full. You think your credit card limit is less than $9 million, you kinda like your toes where they are, and you'd like to keep your first child if, God willing, you actually find someone who is interested in knocking you up. You turn back around, now going away from the airport, in search of fuel. You finally find a gas station. You get out to pay at the pump. Slide your card. It asks for your zip code. NONE of the number buttons work. You can't even enter a wrong zip code. You think your quest for gas may actually cause you to miss your flight. You become frustrated. You are tired of being cold, clad in your inadequate, thin jacket. Why won't the buttons work?!?! You can't even cancel the transaction to pay inside. You ponder switching pumps about the time another car drives up next to yours. A seemingly able-bodied, 30-something, kinda dirty man gets out and says, "When you finish punching in those numbers, will you help me open my gas tank?" Huh? In a frustrated but not rude manner you reply that you may never finish punching the buttons as they are not working. Even though you are a relatively kind, helpful person you do not want to help this guy because it seems fishy. Your momma didn't raise no fool. You continue to try to get any button to work, even the last-resort clerk button. Meanwhile, strange guy asks guy on other side to help with gas tank. Guy on other side does not speak English as his first language and makes no attempt to help. Super freakin' lunatic guy then starts his rant. Ranting about Jesus and Satan and how the world is and how it should be and how you're a whore and are basically going to Hell yada yada. You do not turn around to face him. You do not ask him why many crazy people bring up Jesus. You do not ask how he deduced that you were a Hell-bound whore. You politely say "thank you," all the while frantically pushing buttons. Lunatic finishes up rant, gets in car, and peels off. You and other normal guy exchange words and feel a little relieved that you were not shot or stabbed or punched or rammed with a beat-up car.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

crafts, ben, art, and weather

Let's get the obligatory house update out of the way. The inspector came on Friday. Nothing major. There were two things we requested the owners fix and they said ok. The termite guy came today and no little pests living in the wood. He recommended preventative treatment (who wouldn't?) and also said he could collect the numerous feral outdoor cats living at the house. (Can you have indoor feral cats? That would really be scary.) So the next step is the appraisal. I hope it appraises for a little less and that the owner has to go down on the price. Our (meaning my agent and me) requests thus far have been called "reasonable" so hopefully they just want to get out of the house whatever the cost.

The weekend was good. Got to visit two (count 'em, two) scrapbooking stores. Now, I'm not a huge fan of scrapbooking. I've made one in my life. I do love making cards and that lets me make use of the fun scrapbooking stuff. Well, at one of the stores I found a new technique to use. Fun! Now I just need to finalize the design for this year's Christmas card...

Then on Sunday my brother, his girlfriend, and I went to check out good ol' Ben. It was a really good exhibit. I had only been to HMNS a few times before this year. I've gone four times in the last few months. It's a cool place. When we were driving by MFAH I realized that it had been quite some time since I had been there. I was jonesin' for some fine arts.

So, yeah, a good weekend. On Monday I flew to OKC and don't come home until Thursday. This was a new site to visit and it was just ok. They were nice enough to buy lunch yesterday, though. That's always a plus. And it makes me feel like it's ok to spend more on dinner what with getting the same amount of per diem regardless of what I spend throughout the day. So I had a nice dinner with wine and pie. The pie...not so good. How sad... I got bumped up to a nicer room at the hotel. King Spa Suite. Sweet indeed. Whirlpool tub. I whirled in the pool. Super relaxing evening. I did no work. Oh, but I did help a guy win a bet at the hotel bar.

Today I got finished with work early, bought a sweater (there is a possibility of snow flurries in the early morning--in Oklahoma), and went here. Yea for gettin' my fix. The museum itself is ok. They had a Monet. And there was the Egyptian exhibit. I got to stand in front of this fantastic 4,600-year-old carving. That is unbelievable. And there was glass by this guy, Dale Chihuly. Amazing. How could no one have ever broken any of that stuff? (They haven't; I asked.) Even though I appreciated the art I saw here, it really made me appreciate H-town even more.

I wrapped up the evening with some DWTS. Emmitt vs. Mario. We'll have to wait till tomorrow to know... And I had some good pie. It's been a good day. Tonight the weather is nuts. We have a Wind Warning here. Gusts up to 60mph. The news is saying "the wind is now passing over blah blah blah" just like our guys talk about rain moving through. Windy here but like the oh-so-polite Oklahoman told me the last time I was here, "It is Oklahoma."

i apologize

...to all my friends whom I have been ignoring. Especially the calls I need to return. November is a crappy travel month. And add on all the stuff with buying a house. I will try to call some of you back tonight (but it is Dancing with the Stars finale night so I make no promises) and hopefully send some emails. And maybe post for real. I could tell you that it is cold in Oklahoma and getting colder as the week goes on. Tomorrow? Highs in the 40s and wind chill in the teens. That's nuts. Ok, I better get going. Must get to work at some point this morning.

Friday, November 10, 2006

context clues

"Overheard in the Doctor's Waiting Room" or "How to Tell a Man is Gay"

Man 1: Isn't that just like the first settee you recovered?
Man 2: Yes.

Before I get hate mail, see #82.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

travel tidbits

- I had 4 flights in 3 days (which is not my personal best).
- Only one had what I deem a good landing.
- Two had a bit of a skid (that's comforting) and one kind of just slammed into the ground.
- I like to critique the landings and wish the powers-that-be would give me Olympic (or Dancing with the Stars)-type numbers to hold up.
- I get excited and surprised when my checked luggage is the first bag to come out.
- I dislike valet parking at hotels solely because they take my keys and I forget what car I was driving.
- For the first time since the weird liquid rules started, I tried to smuggle a bottle of water through security. On accident.
- I got a little misty watching some people get greeted at the airport.
- If I ever have a significant other, please tell him that I would appreciate an occasional (maybe twice a year) surprise greeting at the airport.
- I decided that sometimes all I need to put a smile on my face is a relatively cute boy talking with an accent.
- Knoxville was quite pretty with real fall color.
- When my computer gets fixed I'll definitely post pics of that.
- The nice coordinator at the site gave us PB&J sandwiches for lunch.
- For the first time ever on a Continental flight, the snack later that day was PB&J and crackers.
- Between flights I managed to schedule a haircut (for today) and the house inspection (for tomorrow).

Monday, November 06, 2006

to do list

Ever notice how you sometimes tend to let things go? Something comes up, whether you wanted it to or not, something that you don't normally have to deal with... Say, trying to buy a house, for example. Most of your energy goes to that one thing and all the little things go by the wayside.

I really need to do things like take in dry cleaning and get my freakin' computer fixed. Maybe get a haircut (it's only been 3 months). Return an ill-fitting pair of pajama pants. Buy a cell phone that works. The thing that's driving me most crazy, though, is the computer.

If it were fixed I could share with you how cool this hotel is. I'm in our great state capitol. I didn't early vote. I know, add it to the list. And I'm not going to be home tomorrow. I'll be here. You think they'd let me vote anyway? Cut out the middle man? I don't think I'd vote for the current governor so I doubt he'd let me sneak in a vote in the wrong county. I don't know who I hope wins. I'd just like a change of scenery here in Austin. Yes, I'm a bad Ag.

Anyway, this hotel is really nice. Stunning, actually. It was built in 1886. The first inaugural ball held here was for Sul Ross when he became governor. (Does that cancel out the previous bad Ag comment?) Later, in 1934, a young politician named Lyndon Johnson met his future wife, Lady Bird, for their first date in the dining room for breakfast. He went on to await election results here at the hotel...for Senate, for Vice President (with JFK here with him), for Presidential re-election. Other politicians who stayed here and/or held their inaugural balls here include William P. Hobby, Ma Ferguson, John Connally, Ann Richards, Bill Clinton, and George W. How fitting that I'm staying here on election eve. Makes it feel even more grand.

Maybe once the computer gets fixed I'll just put up a giant picture post to catch you up on all the exciting photo ops I've had over the last few months. Wait with bated breath...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

eeeeeeeeeeee!!!

I don't know...it's just the sound I'm quietly making. I just heard back that the sellers slightly countered and we have settled on a price. Now we just have the inspection and the appraisal. And then...I'll be a homeowner. The homeowner. Of the coolest freakin' house around here. Woohoo!

Friday, November 03, 2006

the next step

I made an offer on the house.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

i got nothin'

If I'm really only supposed to post about house stuff once per week (per my self-imposed restriction), I don't think I'll be able to post anything until Monday. It is an all-consuming, stressful, exciting, wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night, splitting-headache-inducing whirlwind of, um, fun?

If you ownded a home very near the coast, do you think you would have some degree of worry in the back of your mind all through hurricane season?

If (sticking with starting all paragraphs with the same word) you had a choice, would you pick what seemed like your dream home over other so-so homes if you knew it would make money slightly tighter in the short-run?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

happy halloween!

Here's to being whoever you want to be...

Monday, October 30, 2006

decisions, decisions

Yes, feeling torn. Here's the house update...maybe it could become a weekly thing so that y'all suffer less. Meanwhile, it will remain pretty much the only thing I think about.

I have a realtor. She was referred by friends (thanks) and I really like her. We spoke on the phone on Friday (twice and for quite awhile). She's very helpful and explains lots of things that I never even would have known to ask about. When I asked her questions she either answered them or said she would have to do some research on that. She actually did do some research. When I sent her two other houses I was curious about she promptly gave feedback, both positive and negative and all practical and relevant.

Since I'm still not sure about the house that you've all seen, I wanted her to go with me to see it. And I took the brother along. (As an aside, it's weird to be a fairly goal-oriented person who is now in the position of just wanting to be told what to do, what decision to make... If it wouldn't be inconvenient and bothersome I'd like to take each of you to see the house. Then you could fill out little questionnaires, we could put the data in a database, and magically the decision could print out the other end.) My brother is pretty knowledgeable about house things, is handy, and has a weird, very selective attention to detail...I thought all this would be helpful. He's also my brother and it's important what he thinks. It was better walking through the house this time. The owner was gone as were some of her things. It was easier to take your time and some secret little cubbies could be delved into, some of which you couldn't see before. (cph...the upstairs secret cubby held shoes. Shoes! A secret shoe closet!) I could talk more openly while going through the house because I like this agent and she's actually working for me. She was great on the walk-through, too. She pointed things out that she'd want to ask the inspector about. She paid attention to all the little flaws; things that may be nothing or things that may be indicative of problems you'd want fixed. At the very least, you'd want to ask about them. But she liked the house and thought the price was pretty fair but that it should be able to go down a little.

Last week I emailed an old insurance connection and emailed him again yesterday to get specifics about this house. I also got pre-approved through my bank (just so I'd be pre-approved somewhere and it was easy to go there). Thanks to my lovely friends, one mortgage place kept coming up repeatedly in their suggestions so I contacted them as well.

Yesterday morning I looked on the har website with a really open mind. With a mind that was pretending the other house didn't exist. I looked at all the areas around here...even places that were a little further away than I want to live. I even went up in price about $25k more than this house costs (and way more than I could ever spend) and I still found nothing else interesting. They honestly all look the same. I want my friends to be able to know that that house is my house. I want people to be able to recognize it even if my car isn't parked out front. Even if there were no house numbers and all the landscaping died. Even if I'm not sitting on the front porch drinking sweet tea.

There was only one set of houses in one neighborhood that looked ok. My realtor told me they have MUD taxes. So basically, I could get one of those houses that costs about $20k less but would end up spending more per year for less house and more taxes. How much sense does that make? (We're in the middle of rationalizing here.) So then, just for fun, I looked up houses in the Heights. Comparable houses there cost $200k more and sit on a lot that is less than half the size.

So I still love the house even if I'm trying to ignore it or trying to hate it. The difference in monthly payments between it and the arbitrary limit I had set in my head is only $100. I still have to wait on info about the insurance. I'll still sit here in the evenings plugging away at the calculator. And I'll still have a decision to make...

Friday, October 27, 2006

the night shift

So, yeah, I've been awake for 4 hours. I woke up during that last band of storms--the one that was followed by these gloriously lower temperatures--and I couldn't fall back asleep. After about an hour I figured if I was up already I might as well get some work done. Now, at not-quite-8:00, my workday is nearly halfway over.

I really do need to start a list about why my job is great. This would be one of them. That if I can't sleep (which has never happened before), I can drag myself (PJs and all) the few feet to my office. If, for some reason, I do get tired later, I can nap without guilt because I know probably not many people were at work at 5am reading some boring crap and sending e-mails. That's actually why I started working this morning--the boring crap. I thought that if anything would make me want to go back to sleep that would be it. But it didn't. The upside is that, again, not many people are reading the boring crap at 5am and the program works MUCH faster.

I saw the sunrise and then ran to Whataburger for a taquito. "Still in jammies?" you ask. You betcha.

Another reason the job is great...and not just the job but the company...is the new benefits package. They are promoting our well-being with things like free smoking cessation help, free Weight Watchers, lower prescription co-pays, and no co-pays for preventative healthcare including cancer screenings (pricey things like colonoscopies, etc.). Do you think you can get in trouble for blogging positively about your company?

Well, I better get back to work. The day's just flying by. Before you know it it will be time to go home...wait, I'm already there.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

a day in the life

6:45 am - Wake up.
7:00 am - Get out of hotel bed. Look outside and realize it is very dark. Time change is coming, as is bad weather. Think that flights will probably be delayed today.
7:45 am - Look for Starbucks online.
8:00 am - Get stuck in traffic even though hotel to Starbucks to office should be very short trips.
8:15 am - Use Starbucks Drive-Thru because it is pouring. Think how annoying the car in front of me is because woman does not turn off wipers causing water pouring off Starbucks' roof to fling directly at barrista.
8:16 am - Turn off wipers.
8:30 am - Make it to office. Still raining.
11:30 am - Tired of snarky comments written in notes by employee here. Decide to be a b!+ch right back and point out every little thing she did wrong.
11:31 am - Annoyed at employee using ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME. Why do people not know this means they are yelling? Maybe she does know...
1:15 pm - Finished with work. Go talk to employee before heading to the airport. Feel uncomfortable (again) that she apparently had bad experiences with previous co-workers and generalizes to me. Glad the next visit here will be the last.
1:30 pm - Leave for airport.
1:33 pm - Decide I probably won't use enough gas to go below "F." Decide not to stop to get gas.
1:42 pm - Take exit per directions. Realize that last time I did this I thought it was a stupid exit to take (yet did not make a note on directions).
1:44 pm - Make a note on directions while driving. Also take liquids (lip gloss, concealer) out of purse and place in quart-size Ziploc bag with other liquids, put folder back in bag, and move ID from purse to travel wallet also while driving (don't tell the police).
1:50 pm - Get to rental car place and have to return car in the rain despite having a large covered area. Wonder who hasn't been doing their job. Feel simultaneously annoyed that I'm standing in the rain and grateful that my job normally doesn't require me to stand in the rain.
2:00 pm - Helpful Southwest woman puts me on stand by for 2:15 flight.
2:01 pm - Notice security line is obscenely long. Think I'll never make flight.
2:20 pm - Get to front of security. Annoyed that woman in front of me walked through before her numerous bags and bins made it through x-ray. Sure, I'll push them all through.
2:22 pm - Make it to Gate 5 expecting to miss 2:15 flight. Hear that plane has been boarded but has been delayed 10 minutes. Go down jetway.
2:23 pm - Realize that flight is pretty full. Flight attendant says the middle seat in Row 4 is available. Notice very large woman in Row 4. Also, sickly man.
2:24 pm - Get one bag in overhead and other under seat. Squeeze into middle seat while offering large woman option of leaving the armrest up between us. Doubt she could put it down anyway.
2:25 pm - Feel like sardine but at least I'll be home early.
2:26 pm - Lean toward sickly man to try to respect space of large woman.
2:27 pm - Sickly man coughs. Not a dry cough. Wet. Lots of phlegm. Sounds like he needs a spit cup. Delicately balance between sick man and large woman. Large woman coughs as well (dry).
2:28 pm - Try to rank my least favorite characteristics of previous row-mates. Smelliness. People who touch me. Phlegm. People who talk when I don't want to. People who try to get me to quit good job that utilizes Masters degree to become a secretary in order to find a husband.
2:33 pm - Decide it is difficult to put these things in ranked order.

The rest is pretty mundane. Just thought there hadn't been a good glamorous travel story in awhile.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

life as it should be

A little more of a break before getting back to house stuff. Here's the post I've been delaying. I got this e-mail from a friend of mine who was around during these times. Thought I'd share. Walk with me down...

Let's go back... Before the Internet or PC or the MAC. Before semi-automatics and crack. Before Playstation, SEGA, Super Nintendo, even before Atari. Before cell phones, CD's, DVD's, voicemail and e-mail...

Way, way, way back... I'm talkin' bout


- Hide and seek at dusk
- Red light, Green light
- Red Rover, Red Rover...
- Playing kickball & dodgeball until the first...no...second...no...third street light came on
- Ring around the Rosie
- London Bridge
- Hot potato
- Hop Scotch
- Jump rope
- Duck...duck...GOOSE!!!
- YOU'RE IT!!
- Parents stood on the front porch and yelled (or whistled) for you to come home (no pagers or cell phones)
- Mother May I?
- Hula Hoops
- Seeing shapes in the clouds
- The sound of crickets
- Running through the sprinkler
- Cereal boxes with that GREAT prize in the bottom
- Cracker jacks with the same thing
- Ice pops with 2 sticks you could break and share with a friend

But wait...there's more...

- Watchin' Saturday Morning cartoons
- Fat Albert, Road Runner, Smurfs, Bugs Bunny
- Schoolhouse Rock
- Wonder Woman & Super Man Underoos (I totally loved Underoos)
- FONZIE...AYYYYYYYY
- Playing Dukes of Hazzard
- Catchin' lightning bugs in a jar
- Christmas morning
- Your first day of school
- Bedtime Prayers and Goodnight Kisses
- Climbing trees
- Swinging as high as you could to try and reach the sky
- A million mosquito bites and sticky fingers
- Jumpin' down the steps
- Jumpin' on the bed
- Pillow fights
- Sleepovers
- A 13" black and white TV in your room meant you were RICH
- Runnin' till you were out of breath
- Laughing so hard that your stomach hurt
- Being tired from PLAYING
- Work meant taking out the garbage or doing the dishes
- Your first crush
- Your first kiss (I mean the one that you kept your mouth CLOSED and your eyes OPEN)
- Rainy days at school meant playing "Heads up 7-Up" or hangman" in the classroom.

Remember that? Oh, I'm not finished yet...

- Kool-Aid was the drink of the summer
- So was a swig from the hose
- Giving your friends a ride on your handlebars
- Wearing your new shoes on the first day of school
- Class field trips with soggy sandwiches
- When nearly everyone's mom was at home when the kids got there
- When a quarter seemed like a fair allowance
- When ANY parent could discipline ANY kid (or feed him or use him to carry groceries) and nobody, not even the kid, thought a thing of it.
- When your parents took you to McDonalds and you were COOL (ours was Pizza Hut)
- When being sent to the principal's office was nothing compared to the fate that awaited you at home
- Basically, we were in fear for our lives but it wasn't because of drive by shootings, drugs, gangs, etc.
- Our parents and grandparents were a much bigger threat! And some of us are still afraid of em!

Didn't that feel good? Just to go back and say, "Yeah, I remember that!" Well, let's keep going!! Let's go back to the time when...

- Decisions were made by going "eeny-meeny-miney-mo"
- Mistakes were corrected by simply exclaiming, "do over!"
- "Race issues" meant arguing about who ran the fastest
- Money issues were handled by whoever was the banker in Monopoly
- Catching fireflies could happily occupy an entire evening
- It wasn't odd to have two or three "best" friends
- Being old, referred to anyone over 20
- The worst thing you could catch from the opposite sex was cooties
- Nobody was prettier than Mom
- Scrapes and bruises were kissed by mom or grandma and made better
- It was a big deal to finally be tall enough to ride the "big people" rides
- Abilities were discovered because of a "double-dog-dare"
- Spinning around, getting dizzy and falling down was cause for giggles
- The worst embarrassment was being picked last for a team
- Water balloons were the ultimate, ultimate weapon
- Older siblings were your worst tormentors but also your fiercest protector

Share this with anyone who may need a break from their "grown up" life... I TRIPLE DOG DARE YA!

Monday, October 23, 2006

somewhere over the...

Ok, cheesy new poll to pass some time and give us all a little break from the house stuff. (Note--It's not my picture. Still can't post any of those as the personal computer is still dead.)

No one was very interested in Hal. No one cared why I loved him. It was because of all those things...

Enjoy the cool weather!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

regrouped...for real this time

Ok, so I've decided I just really want the house. That the stand-in real estate agent just sucks. Why should I listen to one stranger's opinion when he doesn't even know the neighborhood I'm talking about or the geography of the area despite his 20 years of experience? And, after painting his grim little picture, doesn't even follow-up.

Tomorrow I'm going to run up to my bank to see if they have a mortgage person there. If not, I'll call the woman in town who can help me get pre-approved. Then I'll shop around...just want to have that pre-approval.

Thanks to some of my fabulous peeps (new and old), I now feel like I have some direction in which to move. I've never done this before, it's scary, it's not something I want to learn as I go along (because I've never been that kind of person), and all big events make me crazily emotional (because even the happy things are tinged with sadness because Mom isn't there).

I'm not apologizing for being emotional. I don't want my mood stabilized. I like to feel life and that means a variety of emotions. Here, among some other things I'm sure I'm leaving out, is what I've got swirling around in the background: changing jobs 4 months ago and all the new stuff that goes with that, turning 30, being single and childless while it seems everyone around me is remedying those two conditions in their own lives, buying a house (of course), realizing that the last "practical" step that comes with having no parents will soon happen (dividing the stuff), making the transition from my +1 (my bub) becoming someone else's +1 (which has all sorts of mixed emotions but despite those I'm really happy for both of them), being concerned about a few of my friends. Honest to God I think I'm allowed to flip out when someone who is supposed to be an expert and working on my side tells me I won't be able to fulfill that good ol' American Dream.

But I'm feeling better now. Regrouped. Ready to kick some booty and take some names. (Why do you take names? So you can later brag about the booty-kickin'? So you don't kick the same booty twice? So if you don't get around to their booty kickin' you know who to come back to?)

Here's another tease of the house...the (slightly blurry) master bedroom.

Friday, October 20, 2006

regrouping

***WARNING: If you do not want to be subjected to sad whining, please read only the information in bold.***

That's what I'm supposed to be doing--regrouping. I'm supposed to say I didn't want that house anyway. That surely there were tons of things wrong with it. That it just wasn't meant to be. That all feels like bull$h!t right now.

I love that house. I think it should be my house. I saw it and didn't want to look around for another one. I still don't really. I want to sit on the couch watching the Project Runway finale (finally!) and cry a little with them because their dreams are coming true. And maybe eat some sweets...

It sucks. The woman who owns the house only bought it 2 1/2 years ago for probably more than she should have. That pretty much translates into cjh won't be able to afford it. Still. Can't afford it. The other houses like that around here--that could possibly go on the market if all the stars aligned--would go for about $15-20 more a square foot. So the agent I talked to (and disliked) yesterday basically painted a pretty grim picture. It seems like unless there's some sort of miracle, I'm not going to be able to get a house I love. I could get one with the characteristics I'm looking for but one that's too small to hold my stuff. Or I could get one of a reasonable size that is like every other freakin' house out there. (I apologize to those of you who live in "every other freakin' house out there." That's great for some people but not what I'm looking for.)

I'm trying to be over it today. I'm trying to think "water under the bridge" and all that. How I'll just keep looking and something will work out. Or that maybe this woman just needs to get out of this house and will take a loss. What I'm thinking is how I'm tired of things being so hard. That for once it looked like things could easily work themselves out. God knows that rarely happens in my life. Take my love life...yeah, no reason to elaborate there. Or my job. I like my job and this is what I've been working towards. Yep, working...this is my 4th job out of college, slowing paying my dues to get a reasonable paycheck and a few perks. Meanwhile, others just skip those steps and ease right in there. And do they have something I don't? Who knows but it appears what they have is less education and a worse work ethic.

So what is being responsible and working hard and saving money and going about life the way you "should" getting me? Apparently disappointment. News that I'll still not be able to buy the house I want. In addition to just wanting a house, I know I can't keep living with my brother forever. His life is moving on. He should live on his own and then get married, etc. I can't keep living here. And I don't want to throw money into an apartment. I don't want to live in an apartment again. Isn't 7 years of that enough? No second income on the horizon. So what am I supposed to do? I know, I know. I'll be ok after a few days and will be able to think rationally again. It just doesn't feel like I'm asking for much. I don't want a million dollar home or 3,000 square feet. I want this great old house that's 1,800 square feet and about $15,000 more than I want to spend. A house that the mere prospect of owning made me happier than I've been in a long time. And now the loss of which has gotten me pretty bummed. (Ok, the bold in the last paragraph is a little joke...see, can still find humor.)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

too sad for a title

It's not going to be my house.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

visualizations

Tigger, this one's for you... I know you believe it is most important for me to visualize what I want but I could seriously use everyone's help. What we need to be visualizing is me in this house (even if you've never met me--I think you can visualize my spirit or something). We need to visualize me getting pre-approval for a loan. We need to visualize the inspector saying it looks great. We need to visualize the sellers coming down on the price so that I feel comfortable with it. We need to visualize it all going smoothly and positively.

Honestly, I love the house. I could see myself living there and at the same time can't believe I could be so lucky as to own that house. It would make all the waiting and the sacrificing and the being responsible all worth it. It's so beautiful. And like all big steps in my life, I wish Mom were here. She'd be so proud that my brother and I are doing so well. And I think she would have loved the house, too. (Ok, I didn't mean to go there but was suddenly overwhelmed with emotion.)

Ok, so anyway, the house is fantastic. It is not as "perfect" as the pictures looked which suits me just fine. There's enough cosmetic work in it to keep me busy and let me put my own personality in it but doesn't appear to need anything major. I could go on and on about all the little details but I think you'd like to hear just the best part. I won't mention the original built-ins, the fantastic original wood floors, the original glass door knobs, the fantastic staircase, the (not just crown but) dental moulding. The best part is that the house was built in H-town. A carpenter bought it and moved it down here about 10 years ago. It was in bad shape then so I'm thinking he probably did electrical and plumbing. Central air and heat have been put in. He built the garage and porch then. AND...it wasn't built in 1940. It was built in the '20s. Yep, that's the best part.

your two cents

Yesterday I forgot to mention what made me really nuts. I knew I needed to call the real estate agent to set up an appointment to see the house. It was like calling a blind date. I was nervous and had to psych myself up. How ridiculous is that?

I'm going this evening at 6pm. First, I'll have to do my hair and change clothes nine times.

Anyway, I've never purchased a home before. My credit is quite good. I have a bank and a credit union. I know nothing about home-buying--loans, paperwork, realtors, making offers. A friend told me yesterday that she figured I would know a lot from when my brother bought this house. I talked to him about it last night and he said all he could tell me was that after he signed the papers he felt like he needed to go outside and throw up. Unfortunately, that's the only part that I think will come pretty naturally to me, too.

Any and all advice is welcome. Feel free to comment or e-mail me. (The upcoming post I mentioned this past weekend will have to wait another day. Maybe when there's less to talk about.)

Monday, October 16, 2006

insanity

Ok, it's tomorrow. I called the agent and am waiting for her to call me back to set up an appointment to look at that house. Seriously, this is already making me insane.

I woke up early this morning because it is super windy here. Granted, it is always fairly windy but when the Weather Channel's little picture tells you it's going to be windy you know you're in trouble. The wind chimes were making me insane. I went outside to take them down and then couldn't fall back asleep. I was thinking about the house. Since it's been so long since my "stuff" has lived with me instead of in storage, I was thinking about my old apartment and what was where. Then I was thinking about where I would put things in the new place. And what colors I would paint things. And how much I could really afford to pay for a house. And if anyone else wanted "my" house. And how it would look decorated for different holidays. And on and on.

I know if this isn't my house, I'll find the one that is. I know there isn't a rush to move out. (Do you think sellers would like that? Sure, take all the time you need...I'll just pay you $5,000 less.) But it sure is a cute house. With a bit of a yard. And a newly renovated kitchen. And some wood floors. And that porch... And, some of you will be terrified by this but to me it's a selling point, it was built in 1940. How great is that? Sigh...

Wish me luck with this whole process. And sanity.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

home sweet home?

How beautiful is this house? I'm going to call the agent about it tomorrow. Not that that means anything but I guess the house hunting has begun...



The other post will have to wait another day...

Saturday, October 14, 2006

oddities

Just a quick little note... I really should keep a list of things regarding work. Things that make it cool to travel, things that are nifty about working from home, misconceptions, how it makes you weird. Here's a weird one.

I never really traveled before this job. I grew up a poor, country kid. I never left Texas until a band trip the school raised money for when I was 17. It was Disney World, by the way. And I never flew until I was almost 21. That was to see a friend in Phoenix. I didn't feel left out then. It really was a simpler time even though it wasn't too terribly long ago.

(My post for tomorrow will oddly relate to this. "Why are you not posting that today?" you ask. Because I still want comments on my last post--God love you and your motherly concern, Bubba's Mom--and poll responses.)

So here's the weird part. As I was driving (off into the sunset) to the BBQ cook-off last night, I saw a plane coming in for a landing at the small airport. I was wistful. It had been, get this, a whole 10 days since my last flight. The life I have now says that's too long. That poor little country homebody would never have believed it.

Friday, October 13, 2006

yea for fall! yea for hal!

It's here. It's really here! At least for today...

So even though I haven't been traveling out of town this week, it's been very busy. I've been trying to fit in all the social obligations, deal with some dilemmas, get all my work done.

Last night I had a fun, progressive evening. Before-dinner drinks, dinner, dessert and coffee each at different places I've never actually been inside before. Good times... Somewhere along the way I mentioned "Hal," my recently developed crush. At the time, I could not think of his last name (don't you hate it when that happens?). It's Sparks. (I was going to just ask questions here but I'm totally making a slightly inappropriate poll. I apologize in advance to the people who think I'm still 8 years old and think boys are icky.)


Here are some pictures. Tell me why you think I like him so much (you can vote for more than one choice).






Oh, and people love The Breakfast Club most, then Ferris Bueller. No one liked Weird Science? Shocking.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

maybe pluto's to blame

Remember how I mentioned before that my personal computer broke? Apparently that was only the beginning.

Yesterday my work computer crapped out at times. About the right third of the keyboard ended up taking control. And by that I mean it was like I was pushing the "control" key. That's fun. And I could only use the left shift key. I have realized that I almost solely use the right shift key when typing so this has thrown me off. And sometimes "shift" did not work at all. And some of the numbers just ignored me at times. I tried to restart. Still broken and I couldn't even log on because my password and ID each have a capital letter. Sweet. If I shut down, walked away, and started all over again it would work. For maybe an hour. Today it seems to be ok.

During all of that I was listening to my iPod. It suddenly just stopped playing. Six seconds left in an REM song...froze. No button would work. It would do nothing. This sucked because I have most of my music (as a back-up) on the broken personal computer. After walking away from this, too, I found out how to re-boot it on the Apple website. Praise Jesus.

Then, just for fun, my cell phone charger that I use in my car...yeah, broke. This only reinforces my thinking that I need a new cell phone.

So three things in one day. I don't know a whole lot about astrology but one thing I've heard numerous times is that when Mercury is in retrograde bad things happen with technology (and you should also not sign contracts or make really important decisions). I looked it up...Mercury is not in retrograde. Just when astrology had a chance to prove itself...

However, this is the summary of my October forecast: "You need something good to happen, and you need it fast. You have become tired of waiting for a really positive, happy month, especially because you haven't had one in a long time. Few signs have had to carry so much, with so little positive feedback to keep you going. Happily, now you will have your superb month, and it comes at precisely the right time." Maybe there's something to it afterall.

Friday, October 06, 2006

tgif

Usually it kind of gets on my nerves when people say that. However, when you've worked more than 40 hours by Wednesday, it pretty much captures your feeling by Friday. Despite that, it was a good week. I'm not sick (knock on wood), I didn't die in the broken plane, I had an interesting chat with a girl in the airport who told me she had a learning disability but neglected to mention she has auditory hallucinations as well, I dug myself out of the hole I was in at/with work...

I got a piece of mail addressed to "the amazing (insert my real name here)." Let me just say that if you actually send fun mail to a person, you should always address it to "the amazing," "the fabulous," "the beautiful," etc. person. It is an even nicer way to get mail.

I got to see and feel Fall for a good 4 hours. Did you know there are fall foliage hotlines as well as regional fall color maps?

And last night we had a little girls' night dinner. It was a good time--good food, good sangria, good company, good conversation. I love all my girlfriends, near and far. I love that women can have conversations about anything. That you can pick up right where you left off with even the ones you rarely see. How you can talk about frivolous things or your deepest fears. How all this stays the same as you get older, as told by Bubba's Mom. And how even though I know men can have deep, satisfying relationships with other men, it just seems better between the girls.

So it seems I'm out of the funk I was in, which is nice. Have a good weekend, people. If you're in a place where the leaves actually change colors, please take advantage of it in honor of those of us who are patiently awaiting the arrival of cooler temperatures and crock-pot meals...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

journey of 1,000 miles

Ok, so it wasn't 1,000 miles (more like 768) but it should have been. Since I've been so backed up with work lately (I'll interject here that this is kind of punny as I'm working on a constipation study), I felt thankful yesterday that I was smart enough to have booked myself a 5:30pm flight. I still had time to get some work done yesterday and attend a conference call. Made it easily to the big airport. All my tiny liquids and gels fit in their resealable, quart-size plastic bag. We were leaving from a B84 gate, which sucks. That's the gate that crams way too many people in way too small a place and then makes you take a teeny, tiny bus trip to the plane. They called for us to board the bus right on time. Things were looking good.

As soon as I hauled my bags up the bus steps and got settled, some kind airport employee peaks her head into the bus and tells us we'll have to go back inside. Apparently there was some mechanical problem with our plane. That's always encouraging. I sure hope those inspectors really care about their jobs. So, yes, you'd rather have them say that there is a problem than to ignore it. You would, of course, rather there be no problem to begin at all. They weren't sure how long it would take to address the issue.

Then they come on and say we should only be delayed about 30 minutes. Not too bad.

Then they come on again and say they were misinformed. We would probably leave around 7:00pm. At this point, I went to grab some food with two ladies who were strangers only minutes before. We all chatted a little to get to know one another.

They actually let us board the bus again around 7:10. Sure, I thought, we'd gotten this far before. We got on the plane but didn't leave the ground until around 7:50.

When I'm sitting on the plane before we take off I always say a quick prayer that it will be a safe, uneventful flight. I'm no fool; it could be safe and still super scary. And I'm not completely sure about my religious beliefs but I think a quick little prayer can't hurt.

The flight was uneventful and safe. We landed and the plane's steering broke. Again. We had to get towed to the gate. Very slowly.

By the time I left the rental car location, it was 10:40. I didn't get to the hotel until midnight. Ugh. The hotel is much better than the ghetto one I stayed in the last time I was here in Topeka. But the bed, oh, the bed...it's the tiniest little bed I've slept in since my toddler bed. Ok, maybe since the dorm. Still, it's small.

So that was the journey. Let's hope the trip home tomorrow goes a bit more quickly.

Monday, October 02, 2006

miscellaneous weekend stuff

In an attempt to get caught up with work, I spent most of yesterday at "the office." In an attempt to not be too pathetic, I only did the mindless tasks and ones that may possibly be construed as fun (if, say, one were imprisoned or something). But I did get work done...work that I would never have had time for because of all the catching up I have to do. And, maybe, work that will help me do a better job in the future. Success? Only time will tell.

Very sad that the Astros season is over. So close... But it was an incredible run at the end, and I'm still proud. I blame Doug, my former supervisor, who felt compelled to talk about the winning streak. What kind of male/sports fan is he? That's the quickest way to end a streak...

Thanks for all the comments on the last post. Feel free to keep throwing out ideas whenever they come to you. And the new anonymous, welcome.

I spent part of the weekend looking at houses online. My house isn't for sale yet. I think I'll know it when I see it. And since I haven't felt very productive at home (what with needing to be productive at work every minute I wasn't sick during the last month), I got a little work done here, too. It all kind of seems like it's preparation for the new house. I went through my closet, filed, and organized some other stuff. Seems like I'm trying to make it easier to move. It will be very exciting. "This is my house." So many people take that for granted. If it ever happens, you're all invited to stop by. Please bring Home Depot gift cards.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

...and now, back to our regularly scheduled monotony

Finally, I'm back home. It was a long week as indicated by my inability to answer a simple question posed by an airline representative.

"What was in your luggage?"

"Clothes," I say.

No kidding, thinks Rep. "Yes, but what kind? Even saying 'a green shirt' would help locate your bag if the tag fell off."

"Hmmm, slacks? Yeah, some khaki slacks?" I reply. Why can't I think of what I wore this week. What did I wear yesterday? "Honest to God I can't remember what I wore yesterday. It's been a long week."

"I bet."

Honestly, it was. My luggage is supposedly arriving by 9pm tonight. Doesn't it seem weird that there are people who drive other people their luggage? It's their job. Airlines need to pay people to do that...seems strange and wasteful and an exercise in inefficiency but whatever.

So on my way home I was listening to the radio, flipping through the stations. You know how occasionally you'll do that and two stations are playing the same song? What are the odds? You think that maybe you hit the same preset twice and double-check. No, two stations really are playing the same song. The same two stations who bad-mouth each other and claim to be so different. This happened TWICE on the way home--once with a pair of country stations and once with a pair of rock-ish ones. I know radio stations beat the poo out of songs, but to play them at the same time?!

This is just a representation of how I've been feeling the last few days. Don't get me wrong, I really am still grateful that I don't have any negative, crazy drama in my life right now. Things just seem a little monotonous. I started thinking more about how there aren't a whole lot of huge moments in people's lives (as in, it's the little things...). I mean, people have days where they say "I got the job!" or "I'm having a baby!" or "I bought a house!" But most of them are just regular ol' days. Again, don't get me wrong...there are plenty of times when you yearn for regular ol' days.

Think back over, say, the last 10 years (let's make it big). So that's 1996-now. Can you think of big things that marked each of those years? And, if not, why? I know I can't. I don't feel like I've had a lot of milestones lately. But you don't have to have milestones. Can't you create them? That's what I'm thinking. I need to make the effort to have years (months, weeks...) that I can look back on and say "that's when I..." I need to break up the monotony. Any ideas?

For the record, I can think of big things for the following years: 1997, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006 (one of the years is for a bad thing, one for a mixed thing, and three of them are kind of stretching it).

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

reciprocation

Tigger stealthily sneaked my quote from the other day to use in her blog. Today, I'm sending you there for this. Would love to do this in airports...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

big ol' behind

There's so much to do. You know how missing work because you're sick makes you behind? You know how when you're out of the office for pretty much any reason (even if it is work-related) it makes you behind? I'm really, really behind.

My schedule was so well-planned before I got sick and had to rearrange things. I was supposed to have two busy weeks separated by a catch-up one. Instead, I was sick (physically and then mentally from that freakin' medicine) for two weeks. Schedule began to suck. Now, pull out your calendar. See September 14th? Yeah, from then till the end of the month, wanna guess how many days I was in the office? You have a good number in your head? Mmhmm...the answer is one. One day. That's not enough to catch up on things. And then you pile on more work every single day. Ugh.

When you tell people you travel a lot for work you get "must be nice" responses most of the time. These come from people who never travel for work. Or maybe they travel once or twice a year for some sort of convention where they are wined and dined. This is not how my job works. I really do try to work in something interesting on each trip, especially if it's to a place I've never been before. Maybe it's a restaurant you can't find at home. Or one of my wonderfully interesting historic hotels. Maybe a mall. Or chatting with a stranger in the hotel bar. Right now? None of these. Lame restaurants and boring hotels. It's more important to try to get some work done in the evening than to try to find some quaint eatery. Proximity to my site is the most crucial quality in a hotel. So sad...

So here's to another night of work in my cookie-cutter hotel room, eating take-out from a chain restaurant...ah, the glamorous life of a traveler.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

life's real big prizes

It appears that people become concerned now if I don't post on a somewhat regular basis. That's kind of nice to know. Or maybe they just become concerned when the last post revealed possible mental health issues and then there was a lack of communication.

Regardless, I don't really have a lot on my mind right now. Since Thursday I've worked at home, bought yet another pair of boots, got a free pair of underwear, been told I'm an interesting combination of creative and analytical, read some blogs, gone to Home Depot and been surprised at how excited the store is about Halloween, realized yet again how great my friends are, made meatloaf, watched the Astros, been asked to do laundry... All in all, a pretty normal few days. I haven't watched any news, preferring instead to live in my own tiny little world instead of the greater one. I haven't delved too deeply into my head or anyone else's--a rarity for someone who majored in psychology. I haven't felt any real theme to discuss. And part of me is glad. Part of me is thankful for the seemingly boringness of my life these past few days because that also means there isn't a lot of drama.

I've kept a notebook of quotes for several years. When I read or hear something that strikes me as interesting I write it down. In my own handwriting.

I'll digress a little here to share a weird bit of information about me. Despite the grief that my life has held and all the circumstances that surround it, I feel like I've turned out ok. I feel like I've made it through without too much scarring. One way it has impacted me, however, is to want to leave something behind when I die. I don't need a dynasty or a building named after me or fame. What I'd like most is a family. I'd like children to carry on a part of me. Since I was very young (like elementary school age) I have kept journals. I called them "diaries" back then. I wish I could say that I wrote in them religiously and that I have boxes and boxes of information to document my life. Instead, I wrote much more sporadically. In adulthood I got a bit better about writing, at least at times. This is one reason I'm pleased about blogging. I'm enjoying writing. And knowing that someone is reading it helps keep me writing sometimes. Anyway, part of the reason I write is so that my future children will be able to read it one day. Like I said, even as a little girl I thought this way. I wanted to document how I was feeling so that when my 8-year-old daughter said she was fighting with another girl in school I could hand her a diary with 8-year-old cjh handwriting talking about the same thing. My 15-year-old daughter could read about her mother's trouble with boys. My 18-year-old daughter could read about what it was like to go to college. My hopefully very old daughter could re-read tales of her mother's life long after her mother is no longer around to share these things in person. Yes, I've probably done this because I wish it were done for me. No matter how old you are, you still have questions for a parent. You still wish the answers were easily found in a book somewhere.

So, like I was saying, I have this notebook where I write down quotes. In my own handwriting that someone besides me will appreciate one day. Some quotes are by famous writers, historians, scientists, actors, athletes. Some are by less famous people who are going through this journey with me. Usually, I just call them my friends. (See, once a psychology major, always a psychology major. You can't make it through the entire weekend without getting a bit philosophical.) I'll leave you with one of my favorites. It sums up the frame of mind I was in when this post started and maybe the blog as a whole.

Most of us miss out on life's big prizes. The Pulitzer. The Nobel. Oscars. Tonys. Emmys. But we're all eligible for life's small pleasures. A pat on the back. A kiss behind the ear. A four-pound bass. A full moon. An empty parking space. A crackling fire. A great meal. A glorious sunset. Hot soup. Cold beer.
-Anonymous

Thursday, September 21, 2006

old friends

I'm so happy that Grey's Anatomy is back. It's like the return of old friends. Maybe like the friends you wouldn't see all summer but you were reunited with the first day back at school. Does that happen in the city? We lived far away from some of our friends, not just down the block. Anyway, I'm glad to see them. I'm glad, like old friends, we could pick up right where we left off.

So we need a new poll. If it were up to you people and if the universe worked like Survivor, we'd be voting off Mercury, Mars, or Neptune. Jupiter won by a nose. I'll work on a gigantic sash and crown for it.

The new poll will keep with the theme of old friends...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

ketchup

Wow, where to start? I feel like I've been out of touch for so long...

I'm finally feeling coherent and nearly healthy. I haven't had to nap at all today. I've been able to focus and actually do my job. That's more than I can say for the past two weeks. Ugh.

This weekend some of my friends had a fondue party. We had three courses--cheese, main course (broth and oil), and chocolate. Yummm. It was all so good and good company, too. And, of all my friends' houses, I think theirs is my favorite.

I was in Detroit/Ann Arbor on Monday and Tuesday. I might as well have been in any town in any state in the country. I flew in and it was raining and dreary. I had to drive to Ann Arbor in the rain and with my mind in a fog. Couldn't exactly browse the surroundings. Went straight to my site and got there around 1:00. I had to leave a little after 4:00 because I couldn't physically stay awake. It sucked. And the site was not so great either. I went back to the good ol' Hampton Inn and promptly fell asleep. The bed there was probably one of the most comfortable in which I have ever slept (and not just because I've had weird sleep issues lately). I wandered off to grab some food to go, watched a little TV, and went to bed. The next morning I got up, went to work, went to the airport, went home. About all I have to say is it was chilly. And the foliage that grows there reminded me of St. Louis. Oh, and the airport is kind of cool. There's this tunnel you walk through that has space-age-ish music playing and coordinated light panels all along both walls. That was enough to make me feel like I was losing my mind, believe me. It was pretty nifty. Seriously, not much to report regarding Michigan. But I was there, dang it, and I wanted a snow globe. Unfortunately, the airport didn't have any. I have a feeling the powers that be may have realized that they contain liquid. How sad for me.

I'm in Norman, Oooooooooooooklahoma (where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain--seriously, it was freakin' windy today). We'll see if they have snow globes tomorrow. The weather was great here today, the site was pretty close to flawless, and the people are nice (although lots of them are not even a little bit fashionable). I heard someone in the waiting room talk about how he was in a car accident. He hit a cow. Yeah, a cow. It was a good day. I finished it off with Cracker Barrel. Tomorrow I get to eat breakfast at a little French place here, go to work a little later, and hopefully leave a little early. Sounds like a good day tomorrow, too.

Tomorrow is Grey's day!!!

Tonight I'm watching Dancing with the Stars. I can't help it. I think Max is hot. I'd like for him to gyrate near me. And, Harry, even though I've always found him handsome...kind of awkward and disappointing.

One last note, I wonder if Willie getting in trouble with the law again will hurt Kinky's campaign?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

it's alive!

Just a quick post to let y'all know I'm alive. Honest to God I just started feeling somewhat normal (for me anyway) tonight. I've been sleeping a bunch and traveling and lacking internet access. So much to catch up on and we need a new poll and everything. Hopefully I'll be able to post more tomorrow night. And read up on everyone else's lives...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

mwap mwap mwap mwap

(Think the Peanuts gangs' teacher's voice with that one.)

Oh, geez, where to begin... I'm in Ft. Worth, which I think I like better than Dallas. I don't think I've ever been to Ft. Worth.

The football stadium looks old from the outside. Ours is all shiny and new.

I'm saddened that Ann Richards died, although who wants a cancer battle to drag on and on... I heard her speak one time years ago. I liked her. First Steve Irwin and now good ol' Ann. I'll await one more.

I heard an interview with Kinky on the radio this morning. I would be super entertained if Willie Nelson were more involved in politics and if Padre were temporarily "sold" to Jimmy Buffett. Is it just me or does it seem like Rick Perry has been governor forever?

I also heard on the radio this morning that Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, was in Houston today. I like her, too. Sassy and red-headed. Wish I could have swung by to see her at the radio station.

It seems like I have been holed up for a week and had no contact with the outside world. Um, right, I kinda have been...

The real reason for the post is to share my crazy night with y'all. I left the doctor's office yesterday with some samples of prescription strength antihistamine. Nice. And a new antibiotic I've never taken. Both suggest they can make you drowsy. I, of course, fully expected them to. The antihistamine I'm supposed to take bid (just thought I'd throw out dosing lingo--twice a day). The antibiotic is just 5 days of one pill per day (which cost me $30 incidentally). So I took the antihistamine immediately and it made me a little tired but not too bad. My thoughts on flying today were to take it about when I left for the airport and then I could nap on the plane if needed. The antibiotic--easy--just take at night. See the plan? Are you with me? Are you seeing that this is bound to go horribly wrong?

So I executed the plan. I had to get up at about 6:15 this morning so I tried to get just a little more of Harry Potter in before I went to bed at around 10:30. Remember how yesterday I had very, very sluggish thoughts? They all decided to speed out of control at bedtime. Like all the thoughts I haven't had time for the last few days wanted to zoom thru all at once. Super.

So, among other things, I thought about things I have to do for work, things I got done for work, how once you're able to sort of breath again after being sick it suddenly feels like the air is so cold shooting up your nostril and right by your eye before heading straight into your brain, how I didn't want to look at the clock to see what time it was, how if I went to bed now I'd get X amount of sleep, how I hoped I'd be able to fly ok tomorrow, how I thought things would end up with Harry and the gang, how the Body Worlds exhibit made me realize even more how amazing the human body is, how my organs must all be really small to be crammed in here, how there's so little room for expansion that just having a little more snot in your head can cause terrible headaches, how my favorite body part is inside (it's my brain), how crazy it is to study your brain with your brain, how you can't (or at least I can't) tell what race someone is when they have no skin like some of the Body Worlds people, how we're all the same, how it's interesting to find after blogging that people/strangers all have a lot in common, how that seems to make people less special, how that sounds kind of sad, how there are probably a finite (albeit enormous) number of experiences and characteristics and matters of taste that exist in the world and that each person is a unique combination of these, how I am probably getting a little high off the medicine, how I am maybe reaching some cathartic place that only monks reach, how maybe if I steer my thoughts toward relationships I'll suddenly get great insight, how that immediately led me no where but to a million other things...and on and on and on... Are you exhausted reading that? Me, too. But I wasn't last night. Not at 10:30. Not at 12:30. Not at 2:30.

Now, you thought that was the weird part, didn't you? Nope. So I must have fallen asleep sometime between 2:30 and 3:00. I know this because I woke up around 3:00 freakin' going insane. I still am not quite sure what happened. Here are your options. (1) I was dreaming that I was dreaming. I woke up in the dream and was in my bedroom and, reasonably so, thought I was awake. But remember, in this theory I'm still dreaming. I look over at the clock to see what time it is but realize that I am going insane. I no longer understand English. It's not like I have another language to fall back on or like I never knew English. It's like I knew it but am now senile or something and have only enough sense to know how terrifying it is to lose your mind. (2) I woke up from a dream and could not, in fact, understand English due to a weird groggy in-between sleep/wake state induced possibly by the medication. (3) I am actually going insane. I think the first one is the most likely so let's go with that one. When I really, really woke up I was freaked out. I looked at the clock like I had in my dream but did a quick assessment. Yep, know my name. Yep, know where I am. Yep, can say something like "chair" and know what it means. In English. It was just terrifying to think about dementia and the like. If I am ever unfortunate enough to suffer from it may I never realize I'm suffering from it.

I can interpret this dream fairly easily using either of the two schools of thought I've accepted related to dream interpretation but I won't bore you with that (if you've made it this far).

So, needless to say, I took absolutely no medication this morning considering I had to drive, fly, drive again, audit someone's work, meet a doctor, find my hotel and food, and then please, God, get some sleep. I'm going to load up on carbs, take drugs, climb in to bed, and pray for a better, nay, pray for a night's sleep period.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

tangential thoughts

Not much going on with me. I seemed to have made a good decision with not going to Oklahoma this week. I think my height of relative wellness was on Saturday and it's been downhill ever since. I will refrain from talking about the stuff that is coming out of my nose. At least the doctor can see me today and give me antibiotics...I'm not leaving without a prescription. Please let them make my head feel better before tomorrow morning when I fly to Ft. Worth.

So, yeah, instead of having a crazy work schedule this week, a mild one next week, and a crazy one the week after, now I get two crazies in a row. Bubba's Sis, that means I probably won't be able to do lunch until October.

Also, I've got the groggy, disconnected feeling today without the aid of drugs. Maybe you've noticed?

I started the sixth HP yesterday. I've been reading it so much that I think I'm starting to turn a little British.

The title of the post is for my psychology peeps. No racing thoughts...they are, in fact, very, very sluggish.

One of my comments yesterday said I could count on having more people respond to my posts if I talked about sex instead of sadness. To that, I say I would not need to talk about sadness if I had anything to tell you about sex. Or, actually, you'd be lucky if I posted at all. So I leave you with this, dear readers--how is it that some people seem to spend their lives never being single, going from relationship to relationship, while others are quite the opposite?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

crickets chirping

Wow, one way to get absolutely no response is to tell people you're sad... In an effort to counteract that (and perhaps appear bipolar), here's the bit o' Harry Potter I laughed out loud at this morning. They were in the middle of their OWLS...

"Well, we were always going to fail that one," said Ron gloomily as they ascended the marble staircase. He had just made Harry feel rather better by telling him how he told the examiner in detail about the ugly man with a wart on his nose in his crystal ball, only to look up and realize he had been describing his examiner's reflection.

"We shouldn't have taken that stupid subject in the first place," said Harry.

"Still, at least we can give it up now."

"Yeah," said Harry. "No more pretending we care what happens when Jupiter and Uranus get too friendly..."

"And from now on, I don't care if my tea leaves spell die, Ron, die--I'm just chucking them in the bin where they belong."

Oh, and I'm not shirking work to read...I'm home sick today. The worst is over but it's just lingering. Going to the doctor tomorrow, Anonymous. That's the soonest they would see me. Just thought I'd end up feeling like crap all week if I flew four days straight with a sinus infection... Now I can at least salvage the last trip of the week.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

100 things--thankful

For another list of 100 I blame Geek. I am thankful:

1. for having all five senses.
2. for being mobile.
3. that I'm smart.
4. for not dislocating my knees in quite some time.
5. that my heart issue is not as scary as it first seemed.
6. that I have lots of great friends (and all that that means).
7. for having the ability to make friends.
8. for having a close relationship with my brother.
9. that I was adopted.
10. for being employed.
11. for getting to work from home.
12. for being able to read.
13. for being alive.
14. that my bio-mother chose life.
15. for having a place to live.
16. for having a reliable car.
17. I live in Texas.
18. I live in a place that is not war-torn.
19. for the relative safety of the town in which I live.
20. that I have all my limbs.
21. that it's socially acceptable for women to wear makeup.
22. that I can afford most of what I want and not just what I need.
23. for my parents.
24. that I was raised poor.
25. for bug spray (not necessarily related to the previous one).
26. that I grew up in a small town.
27. that I moved.
28. for my education.
29. that things work out in ways that I can't understand at the time.
30. for my sense of humor.
31. that I'm female.
32. that I've never broken any bones or had any major injuries.
33. that I get to keep my airline miles.
34. that I can usually remember faces.
35. that I have a generally good memory.
36. for having health insurance.
37. for my creativity.
38. for being able to keep a beat.
39. that I have never been in a physically abusive relationship.
40. for e-mail and the internet.
41. that old friends started blogging and passed that along to me.
42. for my cell phone.
43. that I was raised with manners.
44. that I don't have paparazzi.
45. that people like Mother Theresa & the Dalai Lama have walked the earth.
46. to live in a place with sunshine.
47. for indoor plumbing.
48. for grocery stores.
49. that I don't work in a factory or do manual labor.
50. to currently have only one job.
51. for praise.
52. that I do have a sense of responsibility.
53. for general mental health.
54. I feel comfortable being alone.
55. that I have hope.
56. for photography.
57. that I have poems (however cheesy) that were written by my mother.
58. that the value of education and independence were always stressed in my home.
59. for Christmas.
60. that I'm Southern.
61. for my red hair.
62. that the place I live has yet to be hit by a major natural disaster.
63. for my old neighbors.
64. for feeling the need to accomplish things.
65. that I want to make the world a better place.
66. that I have life experience.
67. that I've been able to meet the people I have in this world (even if they were just in and out very quickly).
68. for all four seasons.
69. for having good genes.
70. for stars and lightning bugs.
71. for music.
72. that you can always start over.
73. for forgiveness.
74. for deodorant.
75. for electricity.
76. for homemade, fresh-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies.
77. for self-esteem.
78. that I am loved.
79. to have majored in psychology.
80. to have lived near the water nearly my whole life.
81. for good wine.
82. for road trips.
83. for a comfortable bed with soft cotton sheets in summer and flannel in winter.
84. that I have 10 healthy toenails.
85. that I'm not missing any important teeth.
86. that I hardly ever lose my ability to laugh.
87. that I'm a mix of city and country.
88. for museums.
89. for art.
90. for sunglasses and corrective lenses.
91. for having parents who always believed in me and encouraged me.
92. for being able to pick up where you left off with old friends.
93. for memories of good times.
94. for living in the same house my whole childhood.
95. for the way things turned out when going "potluck" when picking a dorm in college.
96. that some people see value in old buildings.
97. for television...it brings entertainment, education, and news (regardless of how biased).
98. for corduroy.
99. for my metabolism.
100. for endless possibilities.

And after all this, I say a giant KNOCK ON WOOD.

I must say that I love lists. I would now like to do ones for my favorite things related to the five senses (smells, tastes, etc.). We'll see, though. And Geek has another list idea in her head, too. We could have blogs filled with nothing but lists.

today i feel...

like ass. I'm not feeling great physically but that's not it. Emotionally, I'm not doing well today (having issues with numbers 54, 78, and 86). Part of me thinks that because of that I should not post my Thankful list. The other part of me thinks that's exactly why I should post it. So I am. I just didn't want to include "ass" in the same post...

Saturday, September 09, 2006

number 91

If you go back to my 100 Things list, you will see that I've been keeping a list of things that make me happy for quite some time. I don't know why, but I feel compelled to make the list only one page. This means that as some things get added, others get removed. This also means that margins and fonts change to squeeze in just one more thing. And it means that the things way up at the top are the oldest items on the list (generally speaking). I don't want to have one post be the Happy List, however, so I'm going to reveal it in stages up there at the top. Just thought I'd let you know what you were reading (if you read that part at all).