Wednesday, May 28, 2008

123 meme

Greenish Lady has tagged me for this meme. I saw it over at Bubba's Sis' awhile back so if you haven't done it already, feel free. If you are blogless, you can add yours to the comments if you find it particularly interesting.

The Rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you. (I'm ignoring this one but 4 out of 5 isn't bad, right?)

My book is actually Dooce's things I learned about my dad (in therapy)...just got it yesterday and am about halfway through thanks to flight delays. I recommend it--great Father's Day gift. Anyway, here's the quote (from a chapter by Dooce herself):

Have I ever told you about that one time I heard my dad pass gas, and just as I was about to laugh, a red laser shot out of his eye and seared a 2-inch hole in my skull? I couldn't remember who I was for weeks. I still have a hard time remembering dates.

Come on? Who has a better one? I'm betting no one.

(I'd like to add that the person in the room next to me is either has the creepiest laugh ever or is watching a creepy tv show. Yikes... But what can you expect when you're in freakin' Shreveport. Again. Even though you were never supposed to go back for the rest of your life. I'm just sayin'.)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

not winning any diet awards

So I'm stressed. When I'm stressed I often want to eat foods that are really bad for me. Lunch today? Sonic. The bacon cheeseburger toaster sandwich. Hamburger, bacon, cheese on toasty goodness. "No veggies," I said. When the girl asked me if I still wanted the onion ring that comes on it I said, "Yes. Fried vegetables do not count as vegetables."

Monday, May 26, 2008

i need a nap

Things have been surprisingly busy this month. At first, nothing was planned. I was expecting things to pick up a bit with work, but I had enough free time to help out some co-workers. Then I had the ridiculously unexpected Paris trip. And this NYC trip had been mentioned awhile back but suddenly snuck up on us and last-minute plans were made and we actually went. Work is tugging me in many different directions, and I'm gone most of the week again this week. So, yeah, I need a nap.

This week I flew to Cincinnati for work. The airport is technically in Kentucky so that knocked out two states in one. I didn't really have much time to see much of anything in either state, however. Such is the life of a business traveler... But Cincinnati is pretty. It reminded me of Pittsburgh. (When I can say things like that, it makes me feel fancy.)

Then I headed to New York (via New Jersey) on Thursday night. The Boyfriend had been there this week with his job. We took advantage and I joined him this time. Like I mentioned before, we ended up missing Wicked. We put our names in the ticket lottery the next night but didn't end up winning. The whole trip was just kind of floating on the breeze so we ended up seeing Young Frankenstein (on a spur of the moment decision). It was quite entertaining and the production was very good. The lead was this guy. Desperate Housewives fans, do you recognize him?

We also did a little bus touring and some Yankee game watchin' and some museum visiting and some food eating. The Boyfriend has some family north of the city so we stayed with them a few nights and got in a bit of visiting. Overall, really good trip that wasn't nearly long enough. At least there's an extra day of weekend.

Yankee game--my thoughts

  • I have mixed feelings about any old ballpark being replaced by a new one.
  • The new ballpark looks nice from the outside.
  • The old one looks nice, too. And so much history.
  • There were about 53,000 fans there. For some reason it didn't seem like it was that big of a place.
  • The fans were not crazy or cursing or brawling. I was a little disappointed.
  • I liked hearing the beer guys yell, "Hey! Beuh!"
  • The Yanks beat the Mariners 12-6.
  • I got to see some pinch hitting by Morgan Ensberg. I guess there's an old Astro everywhere these days.
  • I do not enjoy how the seats are numbered (in our section at least). "So this row is D and this row behind it is D? Huh." Lots of people seemed confused.
  • We had hotdogs (which were quite good and only 3 bucks) and some ice cream.

Friday, May 23, 2008

woohoo!

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And suddenly? I've been to 4 new states this week. In fact, I was in 4 states yesterday (and none of them were Texas). Weirdly, that only ties my record but I think the fact that none of them were Texas makes it a bit cooler. And, again, weirder.

The Boyfriend was here for work, and I joined him. Due to crappy flight delays, we missed seeing Wicked last night. So sad... We may try to rearrange our loose plans to get it in tonight. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

i know i posted it

But I can't stand to see that photo (below) at the top of my blog. Here's a quote from today. I like it.

Happiness is like a butterfly which, when pursued, is always beyond our grasp, but, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
— Nathaniel Hawthorne
There. That's better.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

can we say scary?


Carrot Top. Seriously. And I thought he was scary before...
(photo courtesy of http://omg.yahoo.com)

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

like a giraffe's neck

You should make one of those life lists like I have down there on the side. Whoever you are…if you’re reading this, you should do it. You should not just think vague thoughts about what you’d like your future—your life—to hold. You should write down specific goals or places you want to go or feelings you want to have. You should do it today.

You’re thinking, “Geez, woman, that’s a whole lot of “shoulds” for someone who majored in psychology.” I’ll tell you why you should do it. How long ago did I post that? Seventeen days. Here’s what’s happened since.

Visiting every ballpark? I now have tickets to visit two more between next week and the beginning of July. I have places I need to go for work that—if the timing is right—will allow me to visit a few more than that.

See a show on Broadway? I’m going next Thursday.

Visit every continent? I checked the second one of the list last week.

Visit every state? I’m going to two, maybe three, next week.

Kiss the one I love under the Eiffel Tower? Granted, that was super specific and I think I could have kissed N*** L*** but that wasn’t really exactly what I meant. But, seriously, pretty darn close.

I also almost listed “seeing Madonna in concert” when I made that list. I guess almost counted this time.

With the exception of visiting one ballpark in July, none of these things were planned when I wrote that list. None of them. Most of us know about “turning thoughts into things” and “The Secret” and the like because many of the people who read this blog majored in psychology or have had psychology forced upon them or are educated or spiritual enough to think that a positive, focused attitude can make a difference.

And, yet, I am still amazed. And I am humbled. And I'm thinking that I may meet the Dalai Lama afterall.

So do it. Make the list. Then tell me what happens.

++++++++++++

Ah, Paris. I’ve been trying to think of what I want to say about the trip. I’m not the first person to go and I won’t be the last. I’ve thought about how the roughly 2,000 pictures we took are very similar to ones in a million other people’s scrapbooks and photo albums and picture frames and hard drives.

I could tell you how, in a jetlagged haze, being in Paris that first day felt very similar to traveling anywhere else (since I do it so often) with the exception of little things like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. Or how catching my first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower through some trees as we wandered through a beautiful little park simply took my breath away. Or how I didn’t realize how large the Arc is even when standing right under it until I saw how tiny I was when photographed next to it. Or how I was amazed thinking about the millions of feet that have hit stone steps in exactly the same place over hundreds of years to significantly wear them down in places. Or how the spiral staircases up to the bell towers of Sacre Coeur and Notre Dame were the tiniest little neverending staircases I’d ever seen, complete with wooden handrails as smooth as glass from millions of hands, again, over hundreds of years. Or how I became emotional when seeing Impressionist paintings and famous sculptures and the actual building where an entire art movement was birthed. Or how I felt a kinship to Marie-Antoinette--thinking that I, too, would have had times where I wanted to trade all that came with being Queen for a quiet life in the country (although I never would have thought of just building my own little hamlet on the palace grounds).

Instead, I’ll tell you what made my trip to Paris different. Four other American women, N*** L***, the French “American Idol,” one of the judges from the French “American Idol,” Lenny Kravitz, me, and about 1,991 other people stood in line for 3+ hours to see Madonna in a small theatre last Tuesday night. (Ok, so Lenny and those two French guys didn't stand in line but they were there.) It was poorly organized, security was crazy, the fans were crazier, people were excited and rude and cranky and awestruck. It was a group of 2,000 people from all over the world, speaking many different languages, united to see one artist. I cannot begin to imagine what it would feel like to be that artist. We were jam-packed, standing, until she came on. Then we were jumping on tired feet and yelling with accented voices. It was a concert that lasted merely 40 minutes and 6 songs. Was it the highlight of the trip? No. Was it an experience I’ll never forget? Definitely.

My other story involved the RER. Before we left, I was told that the roughest train (scary people-wise) was the one between the city and the airport. Since we stayed at the airport hotel a few nights, we took that route a few times. We didn’t have any problems with pickpockets or harassment of any kind the entire trip. However, we were on the train back to the airport on Friday night and it appeared that the interior lights weren’t on. It was getting late and there are many places where you’re underground so it was scarily dark in there. Still no one bothered us. At one stop, a slightly grungy looking man got on and sat right across the aisle from us. He proceeded to take off his coat and then his shirt. Sitting there topless, he applied deodorant after placing his can of beer on the ground. He took out a package containing his drug paraphernalia and began to roll some joints. After he smoked a joint, we decided that it was best that we switch seats. The train wasn’t that crowded and no one else was near us and the homeless man. Safety in numbers and all that. After we moved, he smoked another joint and began talking and laughing to himself. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t just conversing on his bluetooth.

It really was an amazing trip. The Brother and I were talking the other day. He asked me if I, too, am sometimes overwhelmed to be somewhere—San Francisco, Boston, Paris—considering where we came from—Smallerthansmalltown, Texas. A place where it seemed the likelihood of leaving the state was on par with becoming the next president or super model. I told him that of course I am. That it is amazing to me that we’ve come so far and in such a short time. I am infinitely glad my parents stressed getting an education. And I am glad that I’ve had so many opportunities that they never had in lifetimes twice as long. It is bittersweet to be standing on the stage of the Ryman or in front of the Mona Lisa or on the beach looking out at the Pacific and know that they would have loved to have stood there, too. And I look with all our eyes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

i really should be working

If nothing else, I need to sort through the tons of e-mails in my inbox. But, really, who would possibly be looking forward to doing that on a Monday morning after a week of amazing vacation? No one here, that's for sure.

And I have to leave for San Diego this afternoon. Until there's more time, I leave you with a few pictures to tide you over--my favorite picture from each day of the trip.







(Perhaps my favorites have something to do with how I was holding the camera? All "portraits," no "landscapes.")

Thursday, May 08, 2008

bonjour!

I'm still alive. I'm still in Paris. My feet and my camera-clicking finger hurt. Can't wait to post about it all! Hope you're well.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

words

from nationalgeographic.com


I have some now. I cannot believe that I'll be on a plane heading to Paris in less than 48 hours. I cannot believe it.

As I've mentioned before, I wasn't raised with money. We didn't go on vacations. In fact, I didn't leave Texas until I was 17. It was for a school trip. The high school band drove to Orlando to march in the Disney parade. I guess I had already been conditioned at that point to not count on things. To not get too excited too far in advance because you never know when plans are going to fall through. When did I get excited? About the time we crossed the state line into Louisiana. Seriously. When did it hit me that we were in Florida? When I saw Cinderella's castle.

My first plane ride was just short of my 21st birthday. It was to exotic Phoenix to visit a friend. I only flew one or two handfuls of times between then and when I started traveling for work.

When I started my first job in research, the luck of the draw landed me and one other person on a study where I only took two trips. Both times to St. Louis. We were not wined and dined like our co-workers. We did not get fancy hotels. Heck, we didn't even get hotels that smelled good or had wall-to-wall carpeting that actually met the baseboards. I'd like to say that at that time I kept a positive attitude and thought that my time would come. I really didn't. It just didn't feel like my time was coming. And it didn't while I was at that job. Getting pigeon-holed in one position was part of the reason I left. That, and you know people who worked in fast food restaurants made more money than I did. With a Masters degree. Bygones.

I started my last job 3 years ago this month. If I knew anything, I knew I was going to have the opportunity to travel. A lot. I went to many places I'd never been before--some exciting, some not. Other people who were worse employees got sent abroad. And there was that site in Hawaii...never made it there. Again, I'd like to say that I wasn't bitter. I really would like to say that.

My current job came almost 2 years ago. I'm not sure where the time goes... I thought that this really could be my chance. It's a huge, global company and I heard of other people working on projects that sent them to different continents. Several people I knew--not just faceless names--got sent abroad. I didn't get the opportunity until last month...an opportunity I had to turn down because of one of the weddings. But something has changed in me over the past year or so. I wasn't thrilled that I had to turn down a trip to England but it really didn't bother me for long. Oh, well. So it goes. Something will work out. And here? Now? It seems it did.

Instead of feeling anything negative at all when my friend won, I just felt joy for her. I didn't think I'd go with her. It was a purely selfless reaction. Finally, after 31+ years, I'm getting off North America. I'm getting to Europe. Finally, after 31+ years, I'm happy enough with where I am and where my life is headed that I can stop being jealous of other people. I think that may really be the most awesome thing that's happened this week.


(And fortunate people of the past? I'm really sorry my reaction was tainted with jealousy. Would call "do over" if I could. Love you.)