Friday, June 29, 2007

i'm going with "just like oprah"

My favorite reader who I've never met in real life (fairly) recently had this nifty post. I thought it was an interesting idea. Let's face it. I saw the bandwagon and I jumped right on. The lovely Mrs. Campen kindly provided these questions for me to answer.

1). You just bought a house! If you were given a million dollars to decorate and renovate it, what would you do and why? (Remember, sky is the limit!)

Sheesh, a million dollars. I'm not going to be so anal that I'm going to make sure all these things would end up costing less than a million dollars. Let's just assume they would. One thing I would do would be to move the house. (See, I'm sure that's pretty pricey.) It's not that I hate my neighborhood, it's that there's another area fairly nearby in which this house really belongs. Most of the houses there are of the same period. I would also have someone come and blow insulation into the walls and what's left of an attic. And get new windows. And get all those little things done that I'll eventually get done without the million dollars--new floors in the kitchen, bathrooms, sunroom. I could maybe even have someone paint for me. Gasp! A new garage door. Subway tile in the kitchen and baths. Yeah, I could go on and on and on...

2). You travel for work and pleasure. Of all the places you've been, would you ever think of living there? If so, where? If not, what is it about Texas that you love?

I think about living other places, but would I really do it? I'm not sure. I love living near my friends and family. Do I really love some places I've been? Certainly. Those would be San Francisco, Seattle, Nashville. Who knew I'd ever miss places like that? And, just to cover myself, what do I love about Texas? Everything. I love its size and its diversity. I love that there's just about any kind of climate you'd want here. That we have 624 miles of coastline. That the beauty of the Hill Country during wildflower season can't be beat. That our state flower is blue. Tex-Mex. Friendliness. Pro sports and fine arts. 130+ wineries. Mostly that people here have the kind of pride that quite possibly can only come from once being our own country.

3). What made you start blogging?

See this post. I'm pretty much sticking with that (except now I have met Mrs. Joel, aka katielady). I think being home-based for work contributed to it, too.

4). What is your most irrational fear and why?

It's roaches. I hate them. Since Sam lives up north, she may need some clarification. These guys come regardless of cleanliness. And they are huge. Like 3 inches huge. And what's better? They can fly. I really do not like them. I cannot kill them with by squishing. I have to use bug spray. A lot of bug spray. My brother teases me that I spray them so much that they stick to the floor. You'd think that their death would make me feel better. A little. I still hate them. I can sweep them out the door while screaming like a girl.

5). What is one skill that you'd love to have but don't have the time/money to learn?

I'd like to be able to sew with a sewing machine. First, I didn't have one...that really poses a problem. But I've had one for about a year and a half. Then I didn't really have the space to set it up and leave it out because, let's be serious, I wouldn't drag it out and put it up repeatedly. Now I have no excuses except time I suppose. I want to just magically know how to sew expertly instead of putting in the time to learn. I'd also like to be able to play a stringed instrument like the violin. Or the harmonica (I know it isn't stringed); I even have one of those.

So that's it. My interview. Fun questions!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

calling all geeks

If you have any helpful info/suggestions regarding buying a new laptop, please leave me a comment or send me an e-mail. New computer time! Woohoo!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

10 on tuesday (9)

10 Favorite Bands of All Time


Interesting 10 on Tuesday topic this time. Interesting because I think people may judge me. Wait, maybe it's just me who judges people based on musical preference. It's all a matter of opinion, obviously, but I think some of the best musicians are so because they're fun. They don't necessarily have to be the best actual musicians. Here they are, in no particular order:
  1. The Beatles

  2. r.e.m.

  3. Dixie Chicks

  4. U2

  5. inxs

  6. Counting Crows

  7. depeche mode

  8. Guns 'N' Roses

  9. Steve Miller Band

  10. Journey

Honorable mentions include but are not limited to: ABBA, Bon Jovi, Blue October, Coldplay, Poison, Queen, and the beloved Village People. Any others?

As an aside, if you place a to-go order with a waiter and he asks you if you're going to wait around or just disappear and you say "please, God, let me disappear," there's an outside chance that he may possibly send you directly to the bar to have a drink while you wait on your food. Maybe.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

i missed my own blogiversary







One year ago yesterday, I entered the blog world. Oh, how time flies...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

heart of the home

I woke up this morning after the first really good night's sleep in awhile and made cinnamon rolls. Not the homemade kind, the unroll-the-can-till-it-pops, makes-5-instead-of-5-dozen kind. I threw them in the oven to bake while I made my blog rounds.

When I was summoned by the timer, I went in to ice them. I was suddenly transported to a time ten years ago when I had made cinnamon rolls from scratch. It was the first time I had made them completely on my own, the first time I had made them after Mom died. When they turned out fine, I realized that my brother and I would be ok.

There were a few other recipes that I thought that about at the time. When I was growing up, Mom always cooked and baked. She didn't make packaged meals of any kind when I was very small. I doubt her mother even knew boxes of things like macaroni and cheese existed. And how do you help hamburger? Probably by deep frying it and covering it with gravy.

Cooking was very important in our family. You'd think that my mom would have taught me how to do things step-by-step. She didn't. I was just always in the kitchen with her and learned by watching.

I cooked fairly regularly (even when I was only cooking for me) until a few years ago when I started traveling for work. Before that time, I was either in grad school (who forgoes a free meal then?) or had friends who were always over or had co-workers who could enjoy my treats. This morning part of me missed all that. Part of me wanted to just chunk these perfectly mediocre cinnamon rolls and start from scratch. But with my brother out of town and me on the road again next week, I'm hesitant. Sometimes it's frustrating being a stay-at-home mom in a single, working girl's body.

Friday, June 22, 2007

the house and stuff

Because my company actually encourages us to use our vacation days, I took the day off today. I've been in town all week (oh, the luxury of having one local site to visit) which usually means I'm crazy productive on the house.

But this week I wasn't. I watched a couple of movies. I cooked (gasp!). I hung out with Geek's baby (with whom I'm in love). I lounged on the couch. It was a good week.

I realized today that I haven't posted anything regarding progress on the house in awhile. The yard is a nightmare. It's big...which is both a blessing and a curse. It's a b!+ch to mow. And the wonderful plants? They come with weeds. I'm going with a very casual garden look right now. I just don't have time to tend it. I figure I have a year free pass what with not even knowing what would spring up following winter. Now I know and I can try to figure out what I like and don't like for next year. It smells good, though. It at least has that going for it. And butterflies and an occasional hummingbird. Oh, and cute lizards.

The inside is coming along. I've painted the office a nice chocolate brown. I think it looks really good. I'll try to get some pics up soon. And I have now completed the transition from the 10-year-old bedroom furniture on Everybody Love Raymond to a more modern, darker stained look. Some of my furniture I just gel stained right over. My bed is new (as in obtained-from-my-across-the-street-neighbor-for-$20-at-her-garage-sale new). I love it. All the darker wood makes my bedroom look more grown up.

I guess that's about all that's gone on here lately. I have lots of ideas, though. Once I get a few more rooms painted all the projects will require lots of manual labor. But they will be oh so worth it. Goodbye ugly bathroom! One day...

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

10 on tuesday (8)


10 Favorite Movies to Quote

Ooooh, this one is hard, too. TV shows? Piece of cake. Songs? Easy enough.

1. Ferris Bueller's Day Off--"Bueller...Bueller."
2. The Princess Bride--"Hello. My name is Indigo Montoya. You kill my father. Prepare to die." and "As you wish."
3. Gone With the Wind--"Tomorrow is another day," "As God as my witness," "Frankly, my dear..."
4. Forrest Gump--"I was running," "Please, God, make me a bird so I can fly far. Far, far away."
5. Dirty Dancing--"Nobody puts Baby in a corner."
6. Airplane!--"Shirley..."
7. Lord of the Rings--"My precious."
8. Star Wars--"Luuke..."
9. The most recent movie I've seen, whatever that happens to be, since it's most fresh in my mind.
10. That's it...I got nothin' for #10. I guess I'm just so original that I come up with all new material. Or something. Or, if you know of a movie I inadvertently quote, feel free to tell me.

Friday, June 15, 2007

what a difference a day makes

Ahhh, Friday. I thought I'd follow up on Tuesday and Wednesday's posts (or like the label says at the Shreveport office--"Wensday").

When I got back home last night (three hours later than scheduled due to weather), I had a package awaiting me. In it was my little award (a cute paperweight-type thing), a magazine where I can pick my prize, and my schpeel. Wanna hear it?

"cjh has taken over a very difficult site [Shreveport] with over 100 patients where the monitoring was very behind, and she goes to the site every 2 weeks and stays 4 days to get things caught up...she has never once complained [um, or something] about the arrangement and in her limited availability she has done SIVs and SSVs [other trips that I'm not required to do] for new sites coming into the study. cjh is also a pleasure to work with."

You know, or "general fabulousness." Whatever, I'm glad at least I got to read it.

Also, yesterday was much better. It started with a cute outfit, Starbucks, some face-to-face interaction with some normal folks, and the knowledge that I was going home at the end of the day. Work people were much more pleasant and the day went by fast (something that has never occurred there). Then I got to hang out at the airport because of delays. But who cares? Why get stressed over the weather? It gave me an opportunity to read.

One last thing before I leave you for the weekend. Here's why I love Tom Robbins so much. A passage from the book I'm currently reading, Half Asleep in Frog Pajamas:
George Washington's teeth: were they hardwood or soft? Mahogany for strength or spruce for warmth and luster? Painted, varnished, or raw lumber? Carved from a single block or an assemblage of various small pieces? If the latter, were they glued, nailed, or simply notched and fitted together? Rot? Splinters? Woodworms? Did cherries stain them red, mustard turn them yellow? In use, would they clack and knock aesthetically like the clacking and knocking in traditional Japanese music, or would they have sounded more like a woodpecker in a sycamore? Accidentally dropped while crossing the Delaware, would they have sunk, or floated like a toy boat? During lovemaking, were they in or out? What marks might they have left on Martha's nape? By candleshine in an eighteenth-century dining room, what shadows did they cast upon the walls? All the way home, you think about George Washington's teeth. Your mother told you that whenever a person is confused and overwrought and not thinking straight, they should pause for a few moments and contemplate something from history. You have tried this many times, but the only thing from your history classes that seems to have stuck in your mind, aside from the Great Depression, which you simply refuse to ponder, is George Washington's teeth.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

tone

Isn't it weird how tone is such an important part of communication? I'm very bad at hiding how I'm feeling. The words may come out ok but the tone gives me away every time. Usually I find this is a hindrance. Today, for example, I was talking to someone about what should be a very exciting life event. My words were fine but my tone was a leftover of work frustration. (Sorry about that...I really am happy for you.)

On the other hand, my tone totally helped at work today. You try to remain professional at all times regardless of the level of professionalism of those around you. Yeah, whatever. Not today. Today was one of those days where you just want to yell at co-workers, preferably including curse words. You'd like for them to just shut up or at least stop complaining. (For the record, the irony of this post is not lost on me. I know I complain just not all. the. time.) At some point I just couldn't take it anymore. The jovial attitude was out the window. Actually, the words that came out were similar to what I'd say normally but without the joking manner. If you drop that tone to something neutral--deadpan without the subsequent hint of teasing--it really stops people in their tracks. Take "bring it on, sista." Yep, can go from joking to confrontational like that. You know, um, for example. You cannot be subtle with these people. The bad mood I fell into by being surrounded by their negativity was the exact thing that got them to perk up a bit. Strange.

I could be kidding about this entire post but you'd never know because you can't hear me talking about it...

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

anniversary

I started my current job one year ago today. At times it feels like I've been doing it much longer. Perhaps that's because this project is dragging on and on. Other times it feels like it's flown by. That may be because I've been so freakin' busy with work and personal things this last year.

Overall, I'm really pleased with this job. Like I've mentioned before, the company honestly seems to care about its employees' happiness. We're compensated fairly. We get good travel allowances. (No more expectations of an $80 hotel room, thank you very much.) We get an annual bonus that is more than $26 after taxes (again, unlike the last job). I get to work from home when I'm not traveling. That one has probably been the biggest lifestyle change. Oh, how I love working in pajamas. My project supervisors recognize the joy (she says sarcastically) that is Shreveport. They provide support in many ways--not the least of which was an Ann Taylor giftcard that I totally blew through yesterday. Yea for Ann Taylor Loft! Yea for sales! Yea for actually finding things I liked while possessing a gift card!

Yeah, it's pretty swell. However, two things have bothered me over this year. One is that I haven't really gotten to travel anywhere terribly exciting. At least 3 people I know have gotten to travel overseas with this company in the last year (many more than these three have gone...there are just three I know personally). I've never gotten to do that. Period. I know it's the luck of the draw and my time will come and all that but sometimes a girl gets a little tired of waiting. "Then make it happen," you say. Well, the alleged leisure trip to Italy/Greece that a friend and I were planning for next month fell through. I can do a lot of things alone but traveling abroad is not on that list. That's too sad even for me.

The other thing that's bothered/bothering me happened on Friday. A few weeks before, those same project supervisors nominated me for an award to acknowledge the work I've been doing in Shreveport. That wasn't the problem; that was really appreciated. We have monthly phone calls where these things, along with anniversaries, get recognized in front of the big group. One of the down sides to being home-based is that you don't have an office to go to which means there's no one to interact with face-to-face which means it's hard for anyone to see how great you are. It takes a lot to prove yourself. That promise of recognition meant a lot to me. So I called in and waited for my moment. The one where my manager announced my award and read the little narrative that had been written about me to say why I was getting it. And recognizing my anniversary.

Other managers went first. They said nice things about some of their employees. They read lengthy schpeels about why these people were great. They mentioned these people by oh, I don't know, their first and last names. My manager comes on and sounds sick and like she had a bad connection. She mentions no one's anniversary. She mentions that she has two awards, both for "general fabulousness." One is to Blah Blah and one is to [insert my first name here]. That's it. No schpeel let alone my freakin' last name. And the connection was so bad you wouldn't have heard it at all if you hadn't been listening for it.

I understand that she may have been sick and calling in from home instead of being at the office. She may not have been prepared for the meeting. Well, if you don't want to have someone cover for you perhaps you could defer till the next meeting. I would have minded that a lot less. Yeah, it really hurt my feelings. It just felt cheapened and a little unfair. It's not a huge deal, no Employee of the Month or whatever. But it was a little something that showed a bit of fairness in the world the way grades in school used to...you put in extra effort; it paid off. Or not. So maybe I'm just writing this to say, "Hey, I got an award, dammit." Go me.

10 on tuesday (7)

10 Awesome Things About Me

The 10 on Tuesday guru said it was time to brag. I'm not very good at bragging. I think most people find it hard. We tend to take our accomplishments and positive qualities for granted. So, ok, awesome things...

1. I can pick the "right" colors to paint a house. I say things like "this one has too much brown" when, to lots of people, the colors look exactly the same.

2. When it comes to even mildly important things, it never dawns upon me to lie. It's not that I'm a good or bad liar...it just never presents itself as an option.

3. I'm not needy. I love my friends and family and enjoy spending time with them. I would also love to have someone to love but for the most part I'm ok on my own. I enjoy spending time with myself.

4. If I give you a gift, it will be wrapped prettier than the other gifts. And the card will probably be homemade, too.

5. I work hard. My employers don't need to worry about me goofing off or shirking responsibilities. I won't take advantage of them when it comes to the freedom I'm given with this job.

6. I like old things and can see their potential.

7. I'm smart. You know, well-educated, reasonably good vocabulary. And yet I love to read smutty celebrity magazines when I'm on the road.

8. I generally laugh a lot. Sometimes appropriately. Sometimes inappropriately. Sometimes it's when things suck.

9. I can pick things up with my toes.

10. I'm a girl who loves baseball.

That's hard. What makes you awesome?

Sunday, June 10, 2007

psssssssst, over here

Word on the street is that yesterday someone had a baby. But I don't want to spoil all the details for the rock star of a mama.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

one of those days

Do you ever have one of those days? A day where you realize your previous feelings of competence have now revealed an ugly side and have come to slap you in the face? A day where you realize you forgot to do something that was probably fairly important and is now inconveniencing others? A day where you realize you possibly overlooked something after months of looking at? A day where your previously cheerful co-worker defensively says "you never told me that" and you just explain it yet again instead of saying "I know I told you and, in fact, here it is written in a letter to prove it." You know, for example.

It's one of those days... A day where you just want people to get off your back. A person can only do the best they can. Sometimes in this job it just doesn't feel like that's enough. So I'm trying to--in the ingenius words of Dory--just keep swimming, just keep swimming. It's funny how often that pops into my mind when I'm on the road.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

10 on tuesday (6)


10 Occupations I Wanted to be When I Was Young

1. Teacher
2. Lobbyist
3. Engineer
4. Environmentalist
5. Bookstore owner
6. Psychologist

Pretty progressive for a girl who grew up in a town of maybe 400...

Those were all before I legally became an adult. That's it. No more. I guess I wanted to be a teacher for a really long time and didn't consider any other options until I was maybe 16. Since then (and we'll assume I'm still considered "young"):

7. Wedding planner
8. Interior decorator
9. Various paths in my present career
10. Maker o' greeting cards

Saturday, June 02, 2007

i'm it

Bubba's Sis tagged me. Here goes...

What were you doing 10 years ago?
June '97. I was living in College Station for the first time during the summer. I took a few classes and worked at TJ Maxx. I was about to start my Junior year. I was living with my regular roommate's boyfriend while his regular roommate was in Waco. I had just had a romantic, TV-type, stairwell moment with one of my friends as the semester was ending and had no idea what to expect once the fall came. I should have had really low expectations.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
June '06. I was finishing up my time (my sentence?) at my last job, about to take a week off before starting this one. Was living with my brother.

Five snacks I enjoy:
1. Alouette and crackers
2. Cheese
3. Jerky
4. Ballpark peanuts
5. Leftovers

Five songs that I know all the lyrics:
I know way too many song lyrics. Seriously, if useful information were conveyed through music, I'd be the smartest person around. Here are a few that are either currently on the radio or are near the top of my iPod song list.
1. 1999--Prince
2. Home--Daughtry
3. A Bad Goodbye--Clint Black and Wynonna
4. A Long December--Counting Crows
5. A Pirate Looking at Forty--Jimmy Buffett

Five things I would do if I were a millionaire:
1. Finish every house project and perhaps even pay people to help.
2. Pay off my mortgage and student loans.
3. Pay off my brother's mortgage.
4. Take a sabbatical to travel for leisure and then maybe only work part-time.
5. Buy Astros season tickets.

Five bad habits:
1. Procrastinating
2. Comparing myself to others
3. Trying to do everything on my own
4. Starting the next project before finishing the last one
5. Making snap judgments

Five things I like doing:
1. Working on the house
2. Going to the ballpark
3. Taking advantage of all the city has to offer
4. Traveling
5. Reading

Five things I would never wear again:
1. Bedazzled white knee-high boots
2. Wings (a la Farrah Faucett)
3. "Poodle curls" (also re: my hair)
4. Pants with pleats
5. Jellies (yeah, I had these)

Five favorite toys:
1. iPod
2. Board games
3. My car
4. The DVR
5. Hula hoop

I don't think I'll tag anyone in return. If you feel compelled to answer these questions as well, you can just say I tagged you. Deal?

And then I also got this email from Bubba's Sis and thought I'd answer it here. You're supposed to answer in just one word. Anyone who knows me should know how hard that is for me...

1. Yourself: here
2. Your boyfriend/girlfriend (spouse): missing
3. Your hair: indecisive
4. Your mother: love
5. Your father: hard-working
6. Your favorite item: shoes
7. Your dream last night: none
8. Your favorite drink: tea
9. Your dream car: mine
10. The room you are in: office
11. Your ex: who?
12. Your fear: roaches
13. What you want to be in 10 years? content
14. Who you hung out with last night? friends
15. What you're not? tan
16. Muffins: tops
17. One of Your Wish List Items: laptop
18. Time: lacking
19. The last thing you did: laundry
20. What you are wearing: shorts
21. Your favorite weather: sunny
22. Your favorite book: ...Mockingbird
23. The last thing you ate: pasta
24. Your life: progressing
25. Your mood: mellow
26. Your best friend: perfect
27. What are you thinking about right now? Astros
28. Your car: convertible!
29. What are you doing at the moment? typing
30. Your summer: fun
31. Your relationship status: single
32. What is on your TV? nothing
33. What is the weather like? hot
34. When is the last time you laughed? earlier

Friday, June 01, 2007

overwhelm

Friday yet again. It's interesting how that used to excite me. Hooray for the weekend and leisure time and all that. Lately, the weekends have been crammed. The weeks have been busy and most often spent elsewhere. Today even Friday overwhelms me.

For work, I need some office time. It seems like I occasionally get some but it's never when I need it the most (or I use it to buy a convertible instead). I have this one site that could literally take up my entire 40-hour work week every week for probably two months. And I still wouldn't be finished. There's so much to catch up on there. And so much to fix. But then I'd need someone to tend to all my other sites and complete my timesheet and submit my expenses and file and get some training out of the way and attend meetings for me (among other things). I will have a few scattered days next week. Just need to push through...

For my personal life, I don't even know where to begin. My To Do list remains very long. I started painting my office probably about a month ago now and I still haven't even come close to finishing it. I'd really like for it to be done because I'm excited about other projects. I have colors picked out for my bedroom and bath. I have fun ideas for the Ugly Bathroom. I need to spray for the fleas that are still living here. I need to pay bills. The limbs from the trees I trimmed last weekend are still lying on the ground. I couldn't deal with them then because it started raining and then I left town. No garden fairies (or gnomes) to tend to them while I'm gone. And there's laundry and picking up dry cleaning. And unpacking and repacking. And weedeating. And writing a letter of recommendation. And buying a belated birthday present. And and and...

That's just part of that list. I wouldn't mind having a little fun, too. I'm going to Spamalot tonight, the Astros tomorrow (praise Jesus they finally won), and a graduation party on Sunday. Yeah, even the fun things seem like a lot. I need a vacation where someone continues to fulfill all my obligations. Or I need fewer obligations.
____

There's a new poll (finally) and a new quiz over there. Bubba's Sis, I'm working on my "tagged" post. And everyone should go to Geek's to wish her luck on the impending arrival. Any day now...