Monday, December 26, 2005

The brother who stole Christmas

I'm famous for being melancoly on my birthday and after Christmas. I look forward to these events with child like anticipation and when the reality of the celebration kicks in I get twangs of jelousy over my perception of what others are experiencing. Mind you, none of these feelings are warranted - I am simply being selfish. This year however, I think the cloud living in my heart is justified.

As mentioned earlier, my mom called two weeks ago to let me know my brother, his (non-Morman) wife and their two girls were coming up from Utah for Christmas. Woo hoo - this kicked the planning and shopping into high gear. Mom actually had snack food in the house when I arrived. Normally the fridge is stocked with Christmas dinner and that's it. Three days of PB&J then a HUGE yummy meal, and then left overs until someone sneaks out to McD's.

Upon arrival to M&D's I was impressed by the spread, a table of munchies, presents stacked as high as they could manage and an air of excitement. Around nine o'clock Mom decided to call big bro on his cell phone to see where they were. It went straight to voice mail, so she called his home phone to leave a message and he PICKED UP THE PHONE. I've never really seen Ma go from hurt to pissed and back to hurt in such short time. Brother dear claimed he never called to say they were coming.

Now, I know that I'm supposed to keep my anger to myself and put on a good face or at least not air family grievences in public - but come on... to claim you didn't call is BULL SHIT. It galls me that Mr. Wonderful thinks that he can pretend he didn't call and try to make my parents believe that they concocted the idea that he was coming. The crazy thing is that I"m sure by now he believes he didn't call, he has a gift for revisionist history.

Well, brother dear - we were genuinely disapointed that you weren't able to come our way, but the fact that you couldn't be a grown up and call and that you felt like you had to lie about it makes you an ass hole. You hurt mom to the core and the last time I saw her cry like that was when her dad died. Merry Christmas to you too!

If you want to be the grown up that I know you can be, you should call and apologize. Mom wants nothing more than to not be treated like a fool. She will forgive you.

As for the rest of the family, they all asked about you, but hid their embarassement at your actions. I promise you that you were not hung out to dry either. Mom calmly explained that both she and dad must have made a mistake when they talked with someone who sounded like you, who had a wife named Denise and had two girls.

If you don't honestly remember making this phone call, you need to call your doctor, or check into re-hab.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

It's the children who pay

Divorce hurts the children most and it is never more apparent than at Christmas.

My parents haven't ever bothered to get a divorce so every year at the holidays I pay and pay. My friends from broken homes go from house to house gathering gifts soaked in the guilt of failure to attend recitals and sporting events, while I go year after year to the same house and open my token 'you had a happy childhood, so these socks will do' gift.

I am forced to spend the holidays with my real mom and real dad, while those around me get to meet a new Mommy every other year, or spend Christmas with the newest "uncle." It's so boring knowing everyone's real name.

While I spend two or three solid days with one group of people, some of my friends get to drive to one house on Christmas eve to eat dinner with one family, drive to another part of town to have dessert with other people, get up the next morning and fly to the step sister's house... it must be exciting to see so much of the country side each season.

I feel so left out.

Killing Time

My list of activities to keep you busy while listening to a dull presentation (of 2 or more hours)

1) doodle
2) fill in all the O's on the materials handed out
3) make mindless lists
4) plan imaginary parties, weddings, bar mitzvahs, or funerals
5) take fake notes
6) wish for death
7) replay movies in your head: "we're going to need a bigger boat"
8) see how long you can hold your breath
9) squeeze the muscles in your bum in time to the national anthem
10) count the verbal ticks of the presenter: Um's, Ok's, Alright,
11) pay attention to the topic at hand... oh please...

The 2005 Book List

For those of you keeping track, here's a run down of the literature (or not) consumed by me this year:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: An excellent but brutal account of life in pre-revolution Afghanistan and how even the choices we make as children can affect us forever. Many people have raved about this one, and I thought it would be just mildly ok - but it might be my favorite book of the year.

Harry Potter 6: Oh Harry, what will be come of you? Will you end He-who-shall-not-be-named and finally take your place as the Defense against the dark arts teacher at Hogwarts and guide other mini-wizards and witches the way I hope. Please Severus, say it isn't so...

The Three Junes: I thought this would be about three ladies, but is an attempt at an epic story of self forgiveness and acknowledgment that love can take many forms. Forgettable

Time Traveler's Wife: A very clever love story that could be troubling, but leaves the reader thinking about what if, and how much do we really want to know about our futures. A great read.

The Magician's Assistant: Again, love isn't always a boy and a girl, sometimes it's a girl and her dead gay husbands family.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: Damn, we are POOR and love may see us through, but it will also find the families savings and drink it to lessen our sorrows.

Mountains Beyond Mountains (nonfiction): Paul Farmer, real life MD is driven to make a difference in the world related to TB and its effects in poorer nations. Dr. Farmer is not a saint, but pretty darned close. If only we were all motivated to do a tenth of the effort to help others...

Working Poor (nonfiction): a Sociological study of the effects of under employment and the companies that take advantage of this population of Americans. H&R Block -- you are evil and should be put out of business for your "rapid refund" program that targets these low income people.

The Book Borrower: Having never written a book I shouldn't criticize but I'm going to anyway. The BB tells a strange story of two women who are friends, but really don't seem to like each other, and when the 'tragic' event happens the reader simply doesn't care. I left this book on a shelf in a rented apartment in Spain, I hope no one actually ever picks it up.

The Plot Against America, Philip Roth (this may have been a late 04 reading): An exploration of what if that blends historical fact and characters in a fantastic scenario. Told from the perspective of a young boy, this book was greatly anticipated and enjoyed, but kind of a bummer.

Evidence of Things Unseen, Marianne Wiggins: I guess you could say that while it may have been keen to work on the atomic bomb, the repercussions weren't all that neato. However, love is where you find it, and family is who you love. I believe this at my core and this story reflects it in a dark but kind way.

Emily Ever After: Holy Jessus on a cake - I thought this would be a fun Nanny Diaries esque story but in reality it is Christian Lit. It's not bad, but I'm disappointed that the author made little Emily choose her 'Christian Values' over her career -- it seems like there has to be a way to be a fully functioning person and believe in God. I think I'm doing it -- but I guess if I really want to go to heaven, I should pack it in and move back to the sticks to be safe.

A Very Long Engagement: you know, I tried to watch the much loved movie and ended up turning it off, but the book was surprisingly moving. Thanks for the tip Jen, I'll mail it back to you soon.

The Devil Wears Prada - Now this was the Nanny Diaries follow up I was looking for, a totally insane view into the fashion world. If you think your boss is an ass, read this and you may be filled with a sense of peace. This weekender is fun fun fun (for girls).

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time: A fun canine murder mystery narrated by a young autistic boy. Clever and touching, even more so when you learn that the author's son is affected by autism.

A Season in Purgatory, Dominick Dunne: This book was published in 1993 and I picked it up at Goodwill for a dollar. Sorry Dom, your 'fictional account' of the Martha Moxley murder is worth more than the dollar I paid. I appreciated the subtle shift from first person narrative to third person and back to first upon the attainment of self-forgivenes. Major lesson to be learned here: don't cross the Kennedy's -- er I mean the Bradley's.

Currently reading:

Dan Brown's (da vinci code guy) Deception Point


The Cave, by the brilliant, but punctuation challenged Jose Saramagio.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Countdown to X-mas

One week left to go, I'm so very thankful that we're almost done with this holiday season. Everything is in full swing and I'm having a great time. There are parties, shopping, wrapping, enjoying the tree, defending the tree from an excited cat, who has been knocking balls off the tree and then laying on them to break them, and all manner of holiday cheer.

My brother announced last week that he's bringing his wife and lovely children home this year. This is the most wonderful gift that my mother could have received. She will cry and make embarrassing speeches, but it will be fun. I think I'll borrow the good camera from A&E to take photos. The girls are 16 and 12 and are quite beautiful. I did have to ramp up my gifts for them, as they are enduring a very long car ride (from Utah - no they are NOT Mormon) and should get some compensation. I think money will suffice.

I finished the last of my shopping today and had some things shipped to me via my parents house. It will be fun to get there and have items to wrap. Its a weird thing, but I love wrapping gifts. Eric pissed me off in the car today on the way home from the mall, so his gift might come in a grocery bag, but for the most part, I love to wrap gifts.

Y's annual (second year in a row) holiday party is tonight and I'm hoping to work in a nap before I go. Last year they were up until all hours and if I hope to stay competitive a nap is in order.

I have one last gift to get and if I had been thinking I would have bought it while I was on line with Shutterfly - but I can always go back.

The hard part for me at this time of year is that I'll get one gift for someone else but buy three for me. It's totally selfish. I hooked myself up at Old Navy with casual comfy clothes and socks. I did notice that it matters which Old Navy you go to. Things that were on sale at the Factoria store were either not on sale, or not on sale as much in the south center store. My $5 holiday Tee was $12 in southcenter. Shocking.

The last event to plan before the season is complete - a new years party. I'm working on Monica&Steve to host a party at their house. Monica is a much better house keeper than I and we won't have to drive. We'll bring a gallon of mir (also known as vodka) and it will be a hoot. Happy 2006.

This next week looks to be a b_Atch at work - so if you don't hear from me. Merry Christmas, happy holidays and all that jazz.

Friday, December 16, 2005

It's a Festivis Miracle!

BREAKING NEWS: Senate Rejects Reauthorization Of USA Patriot Act

Senate Turns Down Patriot Act Extension In a major defeat for President George W. Bush and Republican leaders, the Senate has rejected reauthorizing the expiring provisions of the Patriot Act.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ah... LA

I know it's the cool and hip thing to do to complain about your job or your employer but honestly, my job is pretty cool. I am not tied to my desk, but not on the road so much that I'm known by the flight attendants. My co-workers are fun, the work is enjoyable and even though there are things that get on my nerves it's generally short lived.

I've been teaching a class to security administrators at MegaBank. The two classes on Monday were held locally and I left Tuesday to go to Los Angeles for the classes Wednesday. SportBoy came with and traveling with him reminds me of all the time spent in college hanging out with the 'guys' who were perfectly wonderful, but not at all datable because of the spaz quotient. Once you spend a lame Thursday night measuring the circumference of your calves to see who has the biggest, the romance is gone. It got pretty dull in Pullman and we couldn't drink all the time.

SportBoy and I arrived in sunny Los Angeles at the Bob Hope International Airport after dark on Tuesday. I'm not really sure if Bob Hope is an international airport or not - it's pretty small and like San Jose you have to step outside to get on the planes. It's all very "back in the day". We picked up our smokin' rental car - a Ford SUV and jumped onto "the 101" to sit in traffic. We did pass Warner Brother's studio and drove on Hollywood (avenue) for a while so I feel like I got the grand tour. This certainly isn't my first trip to LA and unlike the first time at the age of 9, I wasn't thinking we were going to have dinner next to anyone famous. At 9, I was scanning all the cars next to us (on the way to Disneyland) for Shawn Cassidy, the Brady's or Captain Kangaroo. I was convinced we would see famous people. Oh, the sadness of that disappointment in my young life still stings to this day.

SportBoy and I ended up having dinner outside on the patio at PF Changs' we were hot under the heat lamps while the people around us shivered in the 'cool' 50 degree evening. Had we known we were coming ahead of time, we could have gone to a cool Hollywood premier (his cousin is a promoter) but instead we discussed his love life over double pan fried noodles. He thinks his attraction to "Becca" is real because he can be himself with her. That's nice. He was unsure as to whether or not to offer a Christmas gift and we worked it out. Before we got back to the office today he stopped by Tiffany's and picked up a nice silver necklace - you're welcome Becca!

Anyway, he's totally smitten and it's really interesting to see romance from the dude's point of view. She called while we were at dinner last night and he practically got giggly. It was cute. I excused myself so he could talk with her and went to bed as we had to leave the hotel at 5:30 this morning.

I've never liked LA - it seems like the land of freeways and gang shootings to me. Sure the Hollywood glamour thing is awesome, but really how many of us normal people really touch that life other than to go to movies or read People magazine? Not very many. My dislike was lessened a little during this trip. On our way from the hotel to the campus we passed through a couple neighborhoods with houses that I could see myself in. We talked with some very nice folks - our waitress at PF Changs was down right personable. It's pretty easy to get around in LA - for the most part it's flat and the roads traverse the city - so you can get on one road and follow it forever - unlike here in Seattle where the lakes and mountains get in the way (Damn that bitch Mother Nature!) and in down town the only road that goes 'through' is 1st and 4th. Everything else is less than a mile long.

Our hotel was nice in appearance and the staff was attentive but the room seemed odd. The bathroom was situated so that if the door was open you couldn't get to the closet or the entrance to the room. Also, I couldn't find the remote for the tv. I looked EVERYwhere: behind the tv, in the cabinet, in all the drawers, in the bathroom, in the closet, under the beds, under the chair, under the cushions... everywhere. Finally, I called the service number and explained that I needed help finding the remote. The gal said: "We'll bring you one right away." What!? It perplexed me that the emphasis wasn't on finding the remote in my room, but to bring me one as if I had asked for the roll away bed. They knew there wasn't a remote in the room - and maybe they only have so many remotes and people have to share. I certainly hope that travelers don't take remotes. But, maybe they do and that's why in some of the more glamorous places I've stayed the remote is bolted to the night stand.

We had time between our classes and so SportBoy and I checked out the DWS store. Oooh, it's like the shoe pavilion, only more shoes! I replaced my worn Franco Sartos (that had been resoled twice, and I realized just yesterday had worn through the side near the little toe) and picked up a pair of cute Borns and a pair of Liz Clabornes. SportBoy is fun because he's all guy, and yet he doesn't mind shopping.

The flight out this morning was uneventful other than the fact that SportBoy is on the terrorist watch list and has to enjoy a full cavity search at every checkpoint. It gets old and it’s hard to maintain your good attitude when the TSA agent has his hand up your colleagues bum. But – as they say in the Navy… better your bum than mine!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Do it... do it now!!!!!!

There's a link on the side of my browser to "Don't Trust Snakes" you must NOW click over and view his awesome holiday photos.

Click on the "cans" and marvel at the wonderment of MWR's imagination.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Table for one

My list of things that are not fun for the single person to experience alone.

Trying to use half-off companion airfare coupons- I’m going to Spain and I’m taking me with me.
Board games & charades - hard to do with just one person.
Hide and seek – no matter how many times I play, I either find myself really fast, or I hide for hours on end and no one ever comes.
Horror Movies – it can be done, but it is hard to convince the stranger next to you to hold you during the really scary parts.
Putting up the Christmas tree – it’s just a little sad
Saturday night - the impression is that all your married friends are experiencing Sex-A-Palooza every Saturday night, and the singles who are couples are out on the town in their finest clothes drinking champagne and thanking their lucky stars they aren't on my couch watching Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.
The New Years’ Eve kiss – the mirror is a little cold and it’s impossible to get the person in the mirror to tilt their head the other direction.
Choking – you can throw yourself over a chair, but it’s not as much fun as getting the hug of life from Matthew McConaughey.
Political Debate – I always win and while I feel superior it’s not much of a challenge.
Knock-Knock Jokes- “Ok, I asked you twice already… Who’s there?”
Valentines’ Day- This holiday sucks almost as much as new years’
Work events where spouses are expected - It's a strange place to bring a date, bringing your mom is sad, and dragging the cat is a career limiting move.
Edible underwear – no explanation needed

Friday, December 02, 2005

Boy, that sucks!

Those who know me well know I am somewhat susceptible to marketing ploys. I'm not one to wear Prada and I don't have to have the latest trinket - but some things catch my eye and I'm hooked.

The iPod is a good example of marketing that got me hooked. It's lucky for me that the product is actually amazing. I have deep emotional love for my iPod. It is everything the walkman was supposed to be and more. My mini has a place in my house, in my car, on the bus and at my desk. It allows me to shut out funny but loud Sportboy next door.

I have been noticing the commercials for the Dyson vacuum for the last year. Sportboy bought one and swears by it, my friend Sissy loves hers as well. What's not to love, it's sporty like a VW Beetle, it's got hoses galore that lock into place and disappear when not needed, and there aren't any bags to mess around with.

I was 90% sure a Dyson was going to replace my fading "dirt devil" from Target once the year end bonus is paid (on January 30th.... tick tock tick tock) but I decided to look at the ratings on Consumer Reports. It seemed like a prudent step before plunking down $300to $500 on an item. Well, sorry Dyson people... your vacuum doesn't even make the top 10 list.

The number one vacuum looked amazing, the reports were good with only one complaint: noise. It was priced at about $300 which, if you're prepared to plunk down $500, is a decent savings. But, I read the report for the second rated product, Boss SmartVac, which was equally rated in every category except for suction strength of the accessories. However, it was tested as noticeably quieter than the #1 vacuum. Quiet is good... but the thing that tipped the scale is that the #2 vacuum price was only $150.

I broke down and bought it two weeks ago. I've been running home every night hoping to have a big package on my doorstep. Yesterday I was sure was the day, as the online UPS tracker said it finally arrived in Renton and was ready for delivery. Imagine my disappointment when I arrived home to find nothing but the last of the fall leaves fluttering by my door. Where's the ice cream when you need it?

Around 8, I was watching anything but Joey on tv (sorry Friend, your show S-U-C-K-S!) when I heard a quick rap on the front door. After looking through the peep hole seeing no one, I was about to go back to my life when I spotted a something in the lower section of the peep hole. Mr. UPS had delivered the SmartVac! Thanks for the late delivery.

Around 8:15 SmartVac was assembled and my floors were being vacuumed. It is very quiet, and the tools seem pretty fantastic to me. The nasty condo carpet actually looked soft after a brush with SuperBoss.

Wow, I can't wait to run home and vacuum again tonight - my life is complete.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

LOST! : Major continuity error

I'm hooked on LOST! I'm not sure if its the survivor aspect, or the I heart Charlie -oops I mean Jack or the fact that Alias (congrats on the new baby Jen) and West Wing suck so bad that I had no other choice but to dive in heads first.

Anyway last night, I was on my couch leaning toward the tv with my mouth agape watching the show. Poor Sawyer (with the WORST hair in the world) writhing in pain from the self performed surgery to remove a bullet and he wakes up or is possessed by a ghost from Kate's past. As he's choking the crap out of her you can see in the background the amenities of the 'hatch' - this underground computer time capsule is run down, the walls have a lovely patina of grime, sweat and dust from 15 years of the hatch dude's (Desmond) living experience, aka farting in a small airless space. Everything is old, the lights flicker all the books look ancient, we get it... everything is old old old. Everything has that uses look about it except the washer and dryer. Desmond has is a fancy front loading Maytag circa 2005. How in the heck does that happen? Say it with me people Product Placement. The idea is that you see this man who somehow got talked into living in a cave with nothing but Johnny Mathis albums using the XRD-5810 front loader with extra capacity and you're going to want it.

I can respect the idea of making money where you can, but when it conflicts with the story -- the answer has to be no. I mean, come on, we're supposed to believe that he gets this computer to save the world with, and they give him this washing machine that has probably 20 times the computing power to clean his Adidas running shorts?

It distracted me so much that I tried to call the only other person I know who cares about the show, but she was (HELLO!?) asleep. The world is ENDING, it's going dark.... So my point and message to the writers of LOST - get it together. If you're going to write a smart show where you expect people to solve clues to know what the heck is happening... don't mess up with something like this. Maybe product placement isn't a good idea if continuity matters.

And, before MWR or Y comments, I KNOW, I should be watching Veronica Mars instead of LOST!, but I'm not. VM is like Gilmore Girls, I like it, but I can never remember when it's on - and I'm not going to choose VM over LOST. Sorry.

My weather pixie doesn't show it, but we've got snow! How exciting.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Whew, one more holiday to go

2005 is quickly wrapping up. All in all, its been a nice year.

I finally feel really settled into the condo and it feels like home. Repainting made all the difference in the world. The color my talented designer friend picked out was perfect, it matched the rug and coordinated with the kitchen and accent colors - but since the condo has limited natural light the only time the color looked fabulous was during the day or by candle light. I lived with it for a year, which I think is long enough. Happily, the replacement color (Sand) looks sunny and it pleases me to no end.

The rift with Mo and the gang hasn't mended, but we've had some joint social events that weren't too terrible. I'm a firm believer in attempting to make things work and I really think that for relationships to work it has to be a 90/10 effort split. Give 90% expect 10%, but it turned out that the 10% I was getting back wasn't worth shit. My dad liked Mo, and he keeps asking about her, but that ship has sailed. (the 90/10 analogy seems lopsided, but it really just compensates for the fact that in every relationship each person thinks they are giving more than the other person. Anyway, it's how I kept from murdering my brother when we were kids... even though I was a terrible little sister. He'd get in trouble for something (bad grades, smoking, whatever) and I would clean my room, or mop the kitchen floor without being asked. "Look mommy, I'm an angel!" Jeeze, it must have been so transparent. He was in trouble a lot - so I'm sure they never said anything because they liked the clean floors.

The girls and I went to see Duran Duran this spring. It certainly wouldn't match a Beattles reunion tour (seeing how they are 50% dead, it is probably unlikely) it was a fulfillment of a girlhood dream. Sharing it with J&Y&Ali was great! I'm thankful that the bands latest album (cd -- whatever) didn't suck. It would have been hard to get excited about the band if it had turned out they were not a band but a marketing ploy -- like Maria Carey (what's the attraction people!?)

Of course, the year wrap up wouldn't be complete without extolling the wonders of visiting Spain (twice.. that's just wrong.) The two trips were so different that I can't hardly compare them. I framed some photo's this weekend for my condo from the second trip.

The holiday season is in full swing, with Christmas parties, the annual trip to Portland for tax free shopping (I hear that Williams Sonoma is on the agenda) and a performance of the Nutcracker with J's daughter in the role of a pastry or something. It's going to be grand.

The work party is Wednesday, and I spent the day Saturday procuring gifts for the co-workers. I am happy to report that I did the task with gladness in my heart. Mostly, the gifts are nice - crystal vases, cd's, small appliances (a 3 way steamer thing), Swiss army knife and a couple silly gifts that I tried to pair with something to ease the pain of getting Homer Simpson slippers. The trick to selecting gifts from a pile is not to take the biggest gift you see. Both of the huge gifts qualify as silly - but for the most part I tried to get things that either I would want or would re-gift to a friend (if I was only spending $25 on them.) The hard part now will be getting all of these items to work before Wednesday. I refuse to drive in, and thus it's one big bag at a time on the bus.

I also tried to correct the color of my hair... failed.

Yesterday I re-corrected it and while I didn't wash all the red away its a better more natural color that I can live with. Thanks to Y for being seen with me in public Saturday. (We saw the new Pride & Prejudice - which although different from the oh-so-loved BBC version was great!)

Finally, with the work year quickly coming to an end as well (I know, its shocking) people are wigging out and in spite of the leisurely four day weekend it's a zoo around here - so I'd better get back to it.

Have a fantastic week!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Dyslexics Untie!

As noted in my profile, I am a single gal over the age of 35. Actually, I don't think I'm quite that specific, but since my 20 year class reunion is this summer, my general age won't be too hard to figure out.

Any-who, there are things about being single that are great, my house = my remote. I choose the music selection and when I leave my lunch in the fridge, it is there for me when I go to work the next day. (Seriously Y, buy that man some food, he's hungry!)

But, there are things that SUCK. Like when all your 'marrieds' have plans and you're home alone and don't want to be. (I am neither brave enough, nor hot enough to venture out to the bar scene on my own. You will note from an earlier blog that I aint ugly, but that fact isn't enough to sustain me on my own in a bar.) Other things that suck is when you need an extra pair of hands, or you're feeling small and want someone to tuck your feet under on the couch. I am fully aware that having someone else around ALL THE TIME can get old and it's a LOT of work - but it's a job I hope to tackle one day.

Rather than sit around forever waiting and waiting, I'm starting to branch out, just a little bit.

Here's my comfort zone X, and here's me X Yikes!

I received an e-mail from a gal at church who wanted to start a singles group for folks over 30. How scary can that be, singles in your age bracket, who share similar values? Sign me up!

After a few weeks in the church noticeboard and on the web site (our church isn't the stuffy beaver cleaver church of 1934, but it isn't the creepy talking in tongues church either) the number of singles, over the age of 30 who were interested reached the whopping number of four, three chicks and a dude. Well, not all I had hoped for, but it was a start.

We tried to get schedules together and eventually landed on a movie for this afternoon. Walk the Line -- very good, people were clapping in the theater at the end. Clapping at a movie makes me uncomfortable, but even I had the urge to move my hands together. I hope that Reese gets and Oscar nod, she was amazing, or rather amazin'.

We decided to meet a few minutes early for quick introductions (I didn't know any of these folks) and then head over to Starbucks for coffee after the show. I arrived right on time, which in an of it self is a small miracle... two more and I can be eligible for sainthood a few years after I die. I spotted a large man in a baseball hat that upon closer inspection had a deer and two rifles on it. His t-shirt also depicted the demise of a deer and a rifle with a large scope. The scope is intended to give Bambi a sporting chance I guess.

I introduced myself and William commented that he liked that I was right on time. I started to explain that because no clock in my house is actually set to the correct time, this was an unusual event. He didn't laugh at my self depricating joke and explained that he lives by his atomic clock/watch that only needs to be reset once every hundred years or so. Okey dokey.

Our other companion arrived just as William was starting to explain that he was saving all of his money to buy a house in the mountains of Idaho. (Scouts honor, I couldn't lie about this.) Brenda quickly assessed the situation as a complete social miss match and suggested that we go inside. Brenda and I made some polite chit chat at the popcorn counter, but I disliked that her first question is "what do you do?" Culturally, I know it's ok that we assess each other by our professions (and other than being nerdy, mine isn't anything to be ashamed of) but we are so much more that what we do for a job. I answered, and they both got a confused look on their face, which I guess is better than Rico's recation which is to feign death. William finally got it, but minimized my profession by calling it "data security" which is like calling a chef a busboy. Because a lifelong friendship didn't appear to be in the works I shook it off and tried to ignore the smug look on Wills face when he said he was a rocket scientist. Brenda tried to ask him some questions to assertain the truthfulness of his claim, but as he's in the aerospace division at Boeing he stuck to his claim. It didn't occur to me to ask Brenda about her profession until we were seated in the theater - post office worker (not a carrier) who has a side business as a massage therapist - in case you care.

The movie was as I said good, but Wills did dance a little in his seat which I will note is better than singing along. Unless it's a Sound-Of-Music one night only Sing-A-Long event, the rule is ... DON'T SING!

As the movie wrapped up, I started to fret about the coffee shop portion of the evening. Brenda said she had to go, and I pleeded with her wordlessly to stay. She gave me a silent head tilt apology as she walked away. William, thankfully declined to go as well. Our fourth person was going to meet us over there, so I went by myself and grabbed a decalf pepppermint mocha (yummy) and waited for 20 mintues. She never showed, and considering how the others didn't click, I was a little relieved.

So, now here's the dilemna: what do we do next? I could live the rest of my life and never spend anymore time with William and be perfectly happy. I'm sure he's a nice person, but his world and my world are not intended to mesh. He needs a nice country gal to clean him up some venison and watch his 62 inch plasma tv or better yet, bring him the cheeto's while he plays X-box on the 62 inch plasma tv. If I bow out of the group because the only guy to attend the first event is a dud... what does that say about me and my ability to live the values I think I have?

I'll just say it, I'm an over critical, judgemental snob.

I suppose I should just wait to see if someone else proposes another event for the SSG (StMats Singles Group -- or as I have been calling it the Sad Singles Group.) My original thought before we all met was to invite the group over to dinner at Casa Tp -- but it's not about to happen now.

Maybe I should try the "it's just lunch" crowd. How scary could it be?

Friday, November 18, 2005

Digital vs. Film

I've been debating the merits of moving with the times and finally getting a digital camera. There are some things holding me back - the first being, my home laptop needs some love. iTunes is eating all my space and I only have the little 4 gig iPod. I got the laptop from the dot-bomb I worked for that, evil bastards, laid the staff off on January 2nd, but told us it was effective December 15th. (Thanks, let me jump back in time and spend my last paycheck on food and bills rather than Christmas!) I really am over it, but some things just kind of stick with you.

"Hey Joe, I'm divorcing you, and it will be effective three weeks ago when I started sleeping with your brother. Happy New Year!"

Back to the subject, the laptop had an encryption solution on it that, because I wasn't the administrator, I couldn't uninstall. I tried to get the last lonely IT at to help, but he said if I brought it in, he'd have to wipe the OS off the laptop and give it back to me with no software. Drat - I was unemployed and while I had a laptop (that I paid for) I couldn't afford to run out and buy Windows. By the time I could afford it - the IT dude was gone and to get the encryption off I had to partition the drive and start new. (For you non-teckies think of it like a bathtub and since it won't drain the only thing to do is scoop out what you can and build a damn at the back of the tub to contain the dirty water. So, you lose the ability to lay down, but at least you can get clean.) Therefore, the OS, the partitioned drive, and all my Roxy Music doesn't leave much space for digital pictures of my cat.

Secondly, there's the image quality. I am by no means a serious photographer. I appreciate the look of good quality grainy photos, but I wouldn't even pretend to understand the f-stop settings. Frankly, I'm excited that I understand when to use 400, 200 or 800 film. However, I do LOVE the ability to really zoom in and to play with focus. In order to get a digital camera that can do that I think you have to spend millions of dollars. That could be a slight exaggeration, but I'm sure I'm not too far off the mark.

So, for me the compromise has been using film and paying extra to have Kodak burn me a cd of the photos. This has worked out well and it is spendy - but for now I think it's the best of both worlds.

This is a photo from Ali's digital camera (the detail is lovely)

This image is one I took with the fancy 35mm with the huge lens.

Online the pictures quality is very consistent, but when I got a printout of the digital one from some of the edges looked funky -- like a mystery blue edge around the top of the church. I don't know if that is a shutterfly issue, or a digital photo issue. It reminds me of the haze around people on tv in front of a green screen.

I will say that I really hate the look of pictures printed on a home printer. I will continue to pay for photo quality printing - regardless of my decision.

I'm still on the fence... either way (digital or film), it looks like a new home pc/laptop is in my future. I suppose once I make that leap, I should also invest in high-speed Internet at home... my upstairs neighbor will eventually figure our that her wi-fi is supplying the whole condo association with free Internet. (I'm kidding, that would be unethical.) I think it's funny that for someone who lives on a computer, my home situation is so low tech: dial up, on a crappy laptop, no printer... I'm a mess.

My conference call (about copy machines - seriously) is about to end, so I'm going to be free to focus on real work. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

But aren't they now wishing I was dead?

Megabank wants me to let them buy a life insurance policy on my life. They'll pay the premiums and get the pay out when I die. The idea is that they would use the benefit to offset the rising costs of the retirement plan. Not that it would help me, I'll be dead.

The only thing that makes it feel a little icky is that the policy doesn't end when I leave MegaBank -- it goes on until I actually make the time to die. So, I could quit tomorrow and 40 years from now when I finally go to visit Nana and Sparky in heaven, MegaBank throws a party.

I wonder if they will now start to send me on assignments to dangerous places -- "Hey TPgal, there's a conference in Sierra Leone, but before you go stop in Myanmar and pick us up some heroin from Khun Sa (translated: Prince of Death) who we hear is a a lot of fun!"

In fact, my whole next year travel itinerary might be pulled from

The site lists the United States as a dangerous place, which seems ludicrous until you read the explanation. It warns visitors to stay away from fast food joints (burger king massacres), Minnesota in the winter (space heater fires), the golden gate bridge (jumpers) and American High Schools (teen angst shooters). That's just sad -- but also funny.

I guess, if I don't have to pay for the insurance, and it doesn't effect my ability to get additional life insurance, what the heck. As long as I don't find out they've put a contract on my head what could it hurt?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Lame Adventures of a Saturday Night

I forgot to make plans for Saturday night so I stayed in.

Lame as that sounds, I can not believe what I was able to accomplish because I didn't turn on the TV. I cleaned a closet, packed the summer clothes, washed all the bedding, uploaded the Spain photo's to (this took a while, because I haven't committed to high speed at home yet) ordered some Christmas presents, wrapped the presents I've been gathering throughout the year, organized the physical Spain photo's, painted a picture frame, touched up the ceiling where I slopped when I painted in March, baked cookies, made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, spare bathroom AND finished my book.

Cheese and rice... all this took place after the baby shower in the afternoon. Nothing overly remarkable about the BS -- except that I was the only single gal present. I might be the last one in the whole world.

I only knew about half of the ladies but one of the guests looked really familiar. Instant recognition washed over me when she introduced herself. It was quite surprising, this gal was a year ahead of me in school and was the track super star who left high school with a sa-weet athletic scholarship in her back pocket. Rumor had it that she blew up her nose with the good college coke. Who knows how true this is, I wasn't about to ask.

"Oh, nice to see you, looks like you've kicked the crack, good for you. Aren't baby showers fun?"

She introduced herself as someone's wife and during the shower I learned she has two kids - boys I think. Her gift was remarkable in it's thoughtfulness and her card managed to eek out a tear from almost every woman in the room. There were no men present, which clearly was a good idea (men are so lucky). The essence of the card was that the first time Trish (the mom) looks in her babies eyes she will finally know how much her mother loves her. (water works!)
As soon as the shower was over, she got the hell out of the house so we didn't get a chance to say anything more than a hello across the room. It's a small darned world.

The book I finished was Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. A friend gave it to me because it was set in Barcelona and she enjoyed it after she had been. It was fun to be able to see the places the characters are going - but besides the setting the story was intriguing. A boy discovers a book by a local author and sets out to learn more about the author and ends up in the midst of a dramatic saga that spans his entire life. It was superb! Thanks Melinda!

Alrighty, I stayed late at work to get work done, so I should get to it!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

tp gal responds

Ok MWR... point taken:

"Wow, the same thing happened to me! I had no sooner returned from a fabulous two-week vacation in Spain and dyed my hair flame orange when my stupid superiors made me help out the stupid United Way (like that's really a charity!) and made me a floor warden (with the same style of hardhat as the deputy floor warden--a loserly minion but now indistinguishable from me in time of crisis!) . . . AND NOW I have to plan the asinine "Seasonal Gathering."Oh, I've got a plan for them all right. It involves Buca di Beppo, grain alcohol and an aftermath littered with fired minions. I'll have to miss it myself, as it conflicts with my trip to Majorca."

I do want to clarify that I don't hate the United Way... I hate being forced to be a champion for them. I hated it at the paint store where we brought in folks to tell their story of how United Way changed their lives. These stories are moving, extremely powerful and very effective to motivate folks to give. However, at the paint store, we were trying to get kids who were living on $6 an hour to give away their money. I felt like I was being forced to strong arm people and it made me uncomfortable. If I ran the world (and I'm really not sure why I don't) I would have closed the paint store for a day and pay the staff to volunteer some place. It could be a marketing coup! They could place big ads telling the community that the store would be closed (in the off season obviously) and to find the crew, go to XX charity.

It's easy for me to run the paint store now that I haven't worked there in the last seven years. I don't have to trouble myself with things like the finances or anything like that, so managing it from here is pretty simple. Most folks who don't work there anymore, feel like they too could run the show. I'm not sure what that's about. Maybe it's because we really believed in the company and gave it our all and even though we were a little burned out when we left, we still want it to go on. And, for the record, the paint store does go on and it is doing well.

Back to the point, now that a couple of days have passed I have also calmed down about the holiday party. I did have to find another date and beg people to move their schedules around - but it worked out. My excitement is ticking up, and I have a glimmer of hope that it will be fun.

So, while I stand by my earlier post -- I will quit my bitching (for now) and focus on the important things in life, like my hair.

I would like to know how MWR knew I was the floor warden? I'm not actually, I'm the first aid person, so my hard hat has the cool Red Cross symbol on it. The floor wardens don't get the hard hats -- they get whistles and arm bands -- losers!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Merry Christmas... pull my finger!

You can't please everyone, is an adage that I have heard since childhood. However, when attempting to plan the department Christmas party -- oops, sorry Year End Celebration - it is easier to know this is true than to live it.

Let's be honest here, I do not want to plan this damned event. Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and planning for everything that involves family and friends -- but trying to come up with something that doesn't suck for the co-workers on a budget of $50 per person is not my idea of fun.

We got a really late start on this and by "we" I mean me. Some how, all the shitty tasks like United Way Coordinator, get dumped on me. (grr) Anyway, I tried to get something going earlier this year, but all my ideas got shot down. So, now I'm searching for a cool place to have a lunch and come up with gifts of some sort and make it a fun afternoon. This on top of all my other important work like updating my blog?

I found a date that worked for 90% of the staff and prayed that the two folks with a conflict would be able to adjust their schedule. Well, no dice. I just got a flame e-mail from one of the guys and I really have no course of action. I can piss off two people, or three or everyone. I guess, in time everyone will be pissed. Someone will hate the food, someone will hate the date, someone will hate that it's not a weekend thing, that dates aren't invited... ooh, I love the holidays.

I use to think my dream job would be a party planner but when I really think about the logistics of trying to please others I think I wouldn't be very successful. "Yeah, it's your wedding, but I'm telling you -- blue tuxedos are OUT!"

As the party planner person for the paint store it was a challenge to pull off a great party due to budgetary constraints. The party was typically held in the store and while you can decorate a hardware store, it's only going to look so good and it's never really going to hit the "festive" description. We topped tables with colorful covers, put up trees, brought in candles (a terrible idea in a building sitting on top of a thousand gallons of paint thinner) scratch that, found battery operated lights to be luminaries, popped in a Christmas tape and called it a party. The first couple years I was there, they did a slide show for the entertainment. I recall "Enter-Stainment Tonight" that recounted all the gossip of the year. Once we did a show with paper dolls with the heads of the staff - I will admit it was fun. The store owner always had a year end message that usually went well - except for the year that one of his key employees quit and he was smarting a little. His message sort of got off track when he told the staff in front of husbands and wives that the "store would be successful without any of them". Ouch, we didn't feel very valued that year.

The paint store parties ended up festive because of the booze (and the factory guys always had pot if you were interested.) Booze is a dangerous thing in a work setting - I will NEVER forget the year that Miller stuck a decorative loaf of bread down his pants and asked woman after woman to bite his loaf. It was quite the sophisticated event.

However matter how much effort we put into planning, and how much we tried to make the event fun - someone ALWAYS complained. My thought is, if you don't have to plan it, or clean up after it - SHUT YER TRAP.

So, that brings me back to today -- the 'invitation' went out less than 2 hours ago, and I'm already getting flack from folks. I really want to keep my holiday spirits up, and frankly, whinning about it has helped, so:

Happy damned Christmas!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Never ask a guy about hair color!

It's the end of the year, and pay planning time at megabank. We have a handy tool to help keep things under control. I tried to give a decent rating to Minion, but because she's only been here 3 months, I'm almost forced into a lower rating.

It's official I'm management, and therefore I am an Asshole! Happy end of year!

The other topic of the day, and far more important I might add, I dyed my hair. No one at the office has said a word so I'm assuming it must really look like crap!

I tried to darken it up because the two weeks outside in Spain really made it look brassy. Yesterday I headed to Target and after wandering the aisles and picking up new christmas lights and a couple other things, I picked a new hair color. 114a Lightest natural warm brown. The alternative was 114 Lightest natural Ash brown. The color on the boxes were identical. After deliberating I decided it would be better to be warm than ashy.

I knew my hair would not be BROWN brown, because of the blonde starting point - but I didn't expect it to be RED. I think it's red anyway. No one at the office is saying anything but also no one is looking in horror or doing double takea. What I need is one of my girl friends to give me the thumbs up or down.

Janice would say that she hates it, she wants me to be a Marilyn Monroe blonde, and Yaz will probably be in the "I like it" camp - and with Jun who knows...

Team member JR will be in the office soon and he'll tell me the truth. He's not a queen, on the contrary he's very heterosexual - but he is very METRO.

It's a sad thing that I need validation on something as dumb as my hair -- but I do. I'm having a hard enough time with the long long bangs that I'm finally growing out - but to add a color mistake on top could be a real emergency.

Forget the homeless in New Orleans, my hair looks funny! Let's have some perspective people.

Oooh, here's JR now... I'm going to walk over and get some feedback... hold on:

Ok that was a terrible idea.

tp: "Hey, does this look ok?"
jr: "Yeah, it looks good."
tp: "What color do you think it is?"
jr: "Orangey blonde"

ORANGEY BLONDE!? What the hell?

I think I may be sick.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Happy Birthday!

My friend Y is having a birthday this week. She is one of my oldest and dearest friends. Here is a list of some of the things that I love about her:

She loves good chocolate
She likes all things tiny (small boxes, small purses, anything compact)
In high school, we both dated younger boys and took a LOT of flack for it.
We share a sick love of Duran Duran.
She will drive the Vo into the ground.
She was Miss Loyalty Day 1984. An honor I coveted, but she's the only other person I would have wanted to win.
She left me alone with her dad during the sex scene in Purple Rain in 1985. (sometimes, love is sarcastic)
She appreciates my nutty humor and tells me I’m crazy when I’m crazy.
She knows that when I complain about my parents that it’s not real.
She sings in the car
We don’t always have to talk to get the message across.
We both thought the hair flipping woman at the Mariner’s game was gross.
She wasn’t a nightmarish diva at her wedding
She will drive to Portland, Oregon and pay to park just to save 23 cents in tax on a lipstick.
She has a classic yet funky style
Her hair is amazing!
She lets me finish my long, rambling sentences.
She has as many movie star boyfriends as I do.
She doesn’t blame me for my love of Tom Cruise (in 1986) and is with me on being seriously creeped out about TomKat.
If I don’t spill food on myself, she will do it for me.
She only wants one bite of your food.
She sees many sides of an issue – so while I may think GWB is a (^#$^$$# Idiot, she sees that he has value… as a door stop.
“Come to Butthead”
We can never get off the phone… “oh, one more thing.”
She loves great clothes, but loves a bargain!
When you have a snack at her house you get ONE cookie (which is why she’s a size 0!)
She can re-invent herself without loosing her true self.
She painted my bathroom and didn’t ask me to paint her house in return!
She’s a chosen sister!
She cares about doing the right thing.

Anyway –that’s just a start.
Happy birthday to you girl with four names!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Last but not least: Madrid!!

I loved Madrid. Ok, let's clarify that, I loved the museums in Madrid. But I have no photo's of the museums - so all we have are some street shots which aren't terrible.

This bear was in the Plaza del Sol, which is the "center of Spain" and the point from which all roads start - or rather the zero marker for all roads in Spain. I'm not sure of the significance of the bear, but he was everywhere in Madrid.

This is the Madrid post office.

What can I say? A museum devoted to Ham; life must be good in Madrid!

This last one is kind of crass... so avert your eyes if you are offended by references to the "f-word."

I'm serious... it's a funny photo - but not one for grandmothers, or people who are easily offended.
I warned you...
(come on Mom, walk away...)
This is a t-shirt we saw in a shop. We weren't brave enough to buy it.

Seville, the BAC

Stay with me folks, we're almost done...

The BAC in Seville is the third largest church in Europe. It's like huge! On a rainy day it was the perfect place to spend a few hours. Photo's were allowed, but no flash... I adhered to the rule with the exception of the Columbus shot.

This is the exterior of the BAC. It's hard to get the scale, as you can't get far enough away to shoot the whole thing. There were over 30 (I think) chapels inside and the choir held 200 some seats. The huge silver alter that they bring out for Easter weighs about 5000 pounds - after two hundred or so years of hauling it back and forth, they finally decided to leave it out year round.
This is the tomb of Columbus. These figures are about 9 feet tall and each represent the four kingdoms of Spain: Aragon, Leon, Castile and Navarra. There has been much debate about who is burried in this tomb - but the (Spanish) tour guide that I was listening too swears it is the real Christopher Columbus (or maybe his son.) This tomb and or Chris' remains have been to more places than most of us, Havana, the Dominican Republic, and currently in Seville.

A close up of one of the stained glass windows from the BAC. These are the two saints from Seville and they are everywhere.

Don't you think this bull fighter looks an awful lot like Anthony Quinn?

Finally, this is my favorite photo from Seville. In the courtyard of the BAC there was a small orange grove (50 trees) this is a shot of one of the trees. I love the vivid hues and the rain drops. I'm not sure why, in October, the fruit would be green but it was.

Could it be, even MORE photos?

Absolutley. We have over 700 photo's but to want to see them all, you'll have to either be crazy or bored out of your mind. We are decent photogrophers, but not so great that I would expect anyone to want to see them all.

With that said, here's just a few more to tide you over:

This is the lovely Plaza Espana (translation: Plaza Spain) in Seville. Near as I can tell, it is the Disneyland of Spanish sites. We couldn't find any historical information and the buildings didn't seem to be occupied.

This the bridge close up. You can see the ceramic detail; each bridge around the fake river featured a different ceramic style.

This too is from the same park. These gentlemen were 'singing' and playing instuments to recorded background music. At the end of every song, they called out a wistful "how!" It was quite possibly the most disturbing portion of our trip. Along side their 'stage' was a kid decked out in a very hip outfit selling their cd's. He looked a little embarassed - rightly so I say.

Seville also has a Moorish castle. The Alcazar is not as big as the others we had seen, but it was just as lovely. This is a sample of the tilework.

Coming soon... Seville - the BAC (big ass church) and scenes from Madrid.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Malaga & Fun Shots

Friends from home who are living in Italy for the next two years joined us on Malaga and we enjoyed seeing the sights of Malaga with them.

Nik & Jon live outside of Rome in a small town and after six months are craving some variety in their diet. We found a Thai restaurant in Torre del Mar and had a very fun dinner. Werner, the German proprietor and his wife June (who was Thai) were very nice - but the kitchen was really small. We were the second table to be seated, so we ate second - which seems fair - but normally, you'll get your starters while table one is eating their meal. Not at Werner's. Table one ate starters, meal and dessert before we got starters. Thank heaven for strong drinks!

The next day we drove into Malaga and toured the Alcazar/Alhambra/Aljolson type building there. Again, safety doesn't seem to be a concern. This photo was staged, and we missed the one of Eric falling on the top step of this same staircase. I am going to hell because my reaction then (and even now) is to laugh. See the sign, read the sign, and watch your step dumbass!

This is our little rental car and our map of Spain. Yes, it is a BIG map, but if you look really close you'll see that the front of the map is only half of the country - the other half is on the other side. Sometimes it took us longer to find things on the map than it did to drive to the places in the real world.

It took us a moment to figure out that these signs meant it's NOT ok to take your tractor or your horse onto the freeway. For a moment, I was afraid of what the highway might be like. "Look out... it's Mr. Ed!"

Spain Photos: Granada, The Alhambra and Torre del Mar

After Barcelona, we flew to Malaga and stayed in a little town called Torre del Mar. We rented a small car for the week and drove up to Granada to see the Alhambra -- an extrodinary Morrish castle.

The interior courtyards were created with reflecting pools to keep things cool in the hot summer and visually expand the space. The castle was built on the highest hill in Granada, so they created aquaducts to bring the water up the hill - no small task.

This wall relief was about 18 inches taller than me - so it's about 7 feet tall and the detail is incredible. What you can't see from this posting is that each of the dark spots is actually intricate writing.

This is just a sample of the garden. It's too bad we were here in the fall, I think the summer gardens must be incredible. Not to say this isn't pretty -- it really is.

This is the tower that was outside of our condo. These towers were present up and down the coast. Some of the towers were in terrible shape - the one across the street was leaning at a 50 degree angle - and it made me nervous to see people standing under it.

It's a self portrait. I wish I wasn't making that nutty face - but what can you do?

Yeah! Spain photos!

Now that I'm home and I am managing to stay awake at night, I've been able to organize the spain photo's - once I've uploaded mine into the shutterfly album I'll post the link and you can view all 200+ photo's. Here are a sample of my favorites and one kind of nutty one.

Towers a top the Sagrada Familia - a church that Antoni Gaudi started building in 1882 - and is still under construction.

The Spiral Stairs of Death. We climbed to the top of the tower to take photo's and climbed down for what seemed like weeks. The only light was from the camera flash, and you may note there was no hand rail. My legs hurt for days after this fun trek.

This architectural marvel was giggled at by all. Some designs may need a second opinion.

On the roof of an apartment Gaudi building, this is a close up of the cross.

Alicia and I possing on a second apartment building, this is more than art, it is an air shaft.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Blogs are not for your co-workers...

I will not mention where I work nor share my blog with the people who work at my company. For one thing, there is a company policy that states that we (as employees) will not identify ourselves in forums like this as employees of megabank and since I work for the department that wrote the policy, I'd best not violate it. It's not a dumb rule, the last thing in the world any company wants to see is some dumb ass computer geek quoted in the wall street journal for some comment they made in an online chatroom.

Suzie14n'eger: So, you're a big time stock broker?
Megabankdude: yeah baby, I've got all the hot tips on Megabank.
Suzie14n'eger: Cool, what stock should I buy?
Megabankdude: oh Suzie, cash in your life savings and buy smellevision, it's going to skyrocket. Wanna meet, you sound hot.

The other reason is that the folks I work with think of me as a reasonably sane, responsible, smart person. They don't need to know I'm too stupid to work automatic bill pay, and that my cat humps a blanket.

Yesterday, this concept was driven home to me by a gal at my company I'll call Kat. She recently went to Rome and Germany on a vacation (odd pairing, but whatever) and we have been IMing about the trip and my trip to Spain. She shipped me a link to her online photo album - which I excitedly checked out.

After looking at her photo's I looked at the site they were posted on, it was an MSN personal page with a blog, photo albums and lists of favorite things, music, movies, books and I don't know sex toys. It was pretty cool, and I surfed back over to her photo albums and looked at one of the albums about her cats and saw that one of the albums was called "me and Joe in SF." I did think I was snooping at that point, but she DID send me the link to the whole site, so I thought, what the hell, let's see what her boyfriend looks like.

I clicked the link and a man who looked EXACTLY like one of my married colleagues popped up. I paged ahead a few more pages and it WAS him. There's Joe in a t-shirt on a couch, Joe with no shirt on a bed, Joe near the water and on and on. My heart started to race and I felt sick to my stomach.

I closed the album and Kat pops up on IM.

Kat: so, did you like my pictures?
TP: yeah they're great. Looks like you had fun.

Ok, so I have a choice here, I can ignore what I saw, or acknowledge that I saw it - which is what I did.

TP: so, here's the dangerous thing about passing your personal blog to someone at work... You and Joe?
Kat: TPgal... were you SNOOPING?
TP: oh god, yes, and I am so sorry!
Kat: LOL it's ok, it's just not commonly known, but yes, Joe and I, yes.
TP: wow
Kat: It's not something we broadcast
TP: I would think not
Kat: It's been going on for ages and only a few people know, and now you
TP: I'll keep it under my hat
Kat: thanks
TP: sorry, I have to ask, isn't he uh... married?
Kat: ha ha ha ha ha ha No.


So, while it turns out that the love between Joe and Kat is legal-I really wish I wasn't in on the secret. I really do not have an issue with folks at the same company dating - same department, I have problems with but that's not the case here. My issue is that now I've seen Joe shirtless on a bed and it's going to be a little more difficult to sit across the table from him now that I've got a visual.

So, moral of my story is... my blog is for me and my people and my work people whom I really like... are not 'my people.'

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Ah... Home!

Going on vacation is a glorious thing. I look forward to it with every fiber in my being. I enjoy the preplanning, the searching online for hotels, reading about the location, reviewing the history of the area - I love it all. I love the flight over, the confusion of how to make a phone call in a foreign country it's all good.

Being away from your work life is an important thing to do for yourself. In just two weeks the crazy politics of the office washes away, current events on the news are a distant memory, and all that matters is when does the museum open or should we have seafood or pasta for lunch.

However, the best thing about vacation... is finally sleeping in my own bed again. There is a spot in my bed that is so cozy that it is "home" to me. When I ease into the spot, pull the down comforter up, and the cat snuggles in - I am at peace with the world.

I have a raging case of jet lag, and I have been 'in the spot' for three days not including work and a quick trip out with friends. I can't seem to stay awake past 7pm. Yesterday, I was up at 4:30 am - which usually only happens to me by mistake, so I came to work early. When I finished my day at 4 I managed to go to the grocery store, but it was a dodgy ride home. The tired tears were dripping from the corners of my eyes. I barely made it into my garage before a life ending yawn overtook me. I forced myself to put the groceries away and make dinner. I turned on the tv and ate my salad and then... I don't know. I heard some of Veronica Mars, but couldn't open my eyes. I tried to listen, but by the time I could sit up and get my eyes open it was 11pm. I fed the cat and stumbled to bed. If my body is still on Spain time, I should be getting up around 3 am and be ready to start the day -- but today the alarm woke me up at 5:30. After almost twelve hours of sleep you would think that I'd be a ball of energy. Nope, I am in a stupor that I hope to shake off by the 9am meeting.

Tonight, my goal is to stay awake until 10pm. We'll see how it goes.

Photo's will be back from the developer on Wednesday. I hope to post some of the good ones here by end of day Thursday. Keep checking back.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Second Spain Update (Seville)

We are killing time in an Internet Cafe (all internet, no cafe... sad) until 8:30 so we can go to dinner. We would have walked back to our apartment, but the feet are very tired.

The historic part of Seville isn´t really that big, but it´s very similar to Venice in that there are a million little streets with no names and no signs. We attempted to find the front gate to the Alcazar yesterday and ended up walking around the entire park looking for an entrance that was about 40 feet away from where we started. The whole trip took about an hour, so I estimate it was about 3 miles. Upon finally getting to the gate i could only laugh at the sign that said that it was closed on Mondays. You would think that three reasonably smart people would know to look at the hours in the guidebook before we set out...

We did get in to the big *ss church in the center of town. The Catedral (no h) is the third largest cathedral in Europe. It is impressive and was a nice way to get inside away from the rain. I won´t complain about one day of rain because they (Spain) have been having a drought and what´s one day of rain? As the Spanish would say, de nada.

We did climb to the top of the tower which wasn´t a horrible climb. Thirty four flights up but it was mostly ramps so it wasn´t as painful as stairs. The view was worth the effort and if I can ever afford to have my film developed I´m sure the pictures will be lovely.

Last night we saw a Flamenco show at the mini cultural center near our apartment. It was fabulous. Juan, the man flamenco dancer seemed to take a shine to Eric but once he got going it was amazing! It was a lot of fun and on our way back to the apartment we passed a little bar with no sign and popped in. Inside we found another flamenco show that we could almost see through the blue haze of the cigarette smoke. We decided to leave after the first show and on the way out we had to step aside for the mother pushing her 9 month old baby in the cart. (I was shocked anjudgmentalemental about taking the baby to asmokeyy smoky bar...)

Our apartment is great and in a good location. We are on the second floor and have access to the roof for a deck. The bed in my room was questionable in that it tips a little from the right and I had a hard time sleeping the first night bevery timeerytime I rolled over that way the mattress would leave the springs and I felt like I was going to fling myself onto the floor.

Last night I pulled out the trundle (?) under the main bed and slept down there and it was nice!

We are off tomorrow to Madrid and hopefully less photo opportunities. I´m going to go broke when I get back.

I´m having a lot of fun, and have only thought of ending the life of my travel companions once or twice. Starbucks is all over in Seville but who´s going to pay 5 euro for a coffee when for that amount you could get 3 cafe con leches and 3 rolls at regular cafeteria.

(The gal next to me at the cafe is using the instant messenger chat with some guy and she has a camera set up... I can see my fawhacked my wacked out hair plain as day. I don´t love it...)

Good night!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Greetings from Spain!

Ola! We are officially half way through our holiday, and it´s been grand!
In Barcelona we viewed the Picasso museum, climbed to the top of the Sagrata Familia, viewed apartments designed by Gaudi, found a Jesus Museum with 2500-3000 crosses, madonna & childs, and talked our way into a private party sale at a fun store for skinny girls.

In Malaga (actually Torre del Mar) we have played in the Mediteranian Sea, viewed the Alhambra, seen the other Picasso museum and napped.

Off to Seville tomorrow and then to Madrid. So far, I´m not spending as much money as I had feared, and am getting a sunny tan.

Friends of Alicia´s who are living in Italy met us here yesterday and we´ve been hanging out.

Taking lots of pictures, and inventing new phrases... "look, he has Mime disease..." and "a dingbat licked my baby!"

Today was some sort of special day and we counted no less than nine brides in the city. Bridal party to go! Nutty.

Don´t be afraid, but I´ve also been driving over here... fun

see you in a week!


Thursday, October 06, 2005

The problem with automatic bill pay is...

operator error!

I am a smart person, but I may be too confident in my own abilities. I decided that I was tired of writing the same checks over and over each month. Cell phone: $43, Cable bill $70, home phone, $45. Because the automatic payment for my car and mortgage has worked out so well, I decided to set up all my revolving bills on the bill pay service offered by my credit union. Once they were set up, I sat back and relaxed.

FAST FORWARD: three months

I am living in bliss. The bills roll in, I don't even bother to open the envelopes as I KNOW they are being paid while I spend my time living my life.

RING RING (the phone in my house jingles one evening)
tp_gal: hello?
evil qwest collection agent: pay your phone bill you dead beat!
tp_gal: huh? I paid my phone bill -- see it's right here on my checking statement
evil qwest collection agent: you're a terrible person, and you're not worthy of our superior service and excellent customer relations
tp_gal: oh golly, something must be wrong... I'll call you back tomorrow once I call my bank (that is now closed.)
evil qwest collection agent: you'ld better call back girlie... or I'll get you and your little dog (sized cat) too!

The next day while online at work which I NEVER do (ouch my nose) I noticed something odd about the Qwest bill profile on my online bill pay account...the area code was wrong. Oh Shit! Not only were the bills going to the wrong account -- it was MY FAULT!

I called the EQCA and explained the situation and they promised (F*cking liars) that they would research it and contact me with the results. In the meantime, I corrected the bill and paid the current months charges.


RING RING (the phone in my house jingles once again)
tp_gal: hello?
evil qwest collection agent: pay your phone bill you dead beat!
tp_gal: huh? I called and explained the mistake -- doesn't it show on my account what happened?
evil qwest collection agent: no you lazy, no good, phone service stealing ho!
tp_gal: hey...I'm not lazy!
evil qwest collection agent: if you claim that you've paid you're going to have prove it(liar)... Fax over a copy of your birth certificate, your citizenship grade from the Fourth Grade, proof of your virginity and a copy of the payment stubs to our office in New Orleans and we'll get to it as soon as we find the fax machine.
tp_gal: ok, will do!
evil qwest collection agent: And, in order to keep your phone service on.. you'll have to call us every day until we pull our heads out of our asses to remind us that we forgot to deal with your mistake.
tp_gal: no can do, heading to Spain for two weeks starting tomorrow.
evil qwest collection agent: Bwahahahahaha no phone service for you!

The moral of the story is: don't trust your own typing skills, and when you set up bill pay you still have to review the bills every month.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Does this mean they actually have sex?

Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes expecting baby

I'd like to know why it is that I could care less about Demi and Ashton and why it is that this story creeps me out? Maybe it's because in all the photo's I've seen of KH - she looks like an abused child.

As a teen, I really believed the best thing that could ever happen to me would be to meet and fall in love with Tom Cruise. I was so misguided. However, I am also the same person- who in 1982 had a 4 foot by 3 foot poster of Michael Jackson hanging over her bed. Who knew!?

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Vacation Count Down

Three!!! I went to get money today and found out that my bank doesn't "do foreign currency" but they tell me that they could convert my American money into Canadian.

I think the Canadians might be sad to learn that they are not considered foreigners by American bankers. eh?

Monday, October 03, 2005

Spain Count Down: 4 days

Tick tock tick tock. Time is running short.

I started the packing preparation this weekend. I pulled out everything I thought I would be taking and did an assessment. I didn't think it was too terrible:

Capri's (sage green)
shorts (tan)
skirt (light weight denim)

camisoles: black, white, tan
two gauzy pheasant shirts (to go over the cami's noted above)
black sweater

swim suit

Shoes - two pair - red mary janes and the most comfortable sandal's ever made (they look like sandal's, but wear like great tennis shoes.)

A rain jacket (the 10 day forecast for Barcelona was predicting rain on Sunday - but a quick check shows it looks to be 75 and sunny) Maybe I will risk it without a rain coat - can't decide.

And undies -- socks and the like. On the Italy trip I took 14 pair of the ugliest underoo's known to man, wore each pair once and threw them out as I moved across the country. The only problem was they were fraught with problems, creeping, lines and generally uncomfortable. I'm not a big fan of the sink washed clothes; they just never get quite dry enough for my taste, but in the interest of space, I may have to move outside my comfort zone.

Anyway -- once I had these items sorted out and was sure that every top and every bottom color coordinated to be worn in a multitude of ways I did a dry run into the suitcase. It became quite clear that I'm taking too much stuff. Even if I wear one outfit on the plane there will be little room for personal grooming items. I really wanted to do this in one bag. I had also hoped for space to bring things back -- I would like to do most of my holiday shopping in Spain.

Rick Steves says to lay out the bare minimum of what you think you need to take - and then take half of those items. Of course, he is comfortable wearing the same pants everyday - I myself need some variety. I can probably tone down the number of shirts - but it's thinks like the rainjacket that are bulky even though I can pack it up into a ziplock bag and remove the air to make it as small as possible.

Anyway - there's more to do when i get home tonight. We'll see how it goes.

There won't be any posts while I'm away - so I'm thinking about leaving something I wrote ages ago to keep you entertained... We'll see if that actually happens (the posting or the entertainment - your choice.)

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pittsburgh, part II

3:35pm EST

You can apparently check out of Pittsburgh, but you can not leave. I arrived early to the airport hoping to change seats on my flight. I hate to be jammed in the middle seat (as most people do I'm sure.) The flight was so full there was no changing seats and the counter hostess (attendant) explained that they cancelled a flight earlier today and thus this flight was full.

I whined a little (internally) about being at the airport too early, but moved leisurely toward the security checkpoint. Pittsburgh is more Spokane than San Francisco in size - and not a terribly busy hub. I walked straight to the front of the security lines and breezed through. I have learned not to wear the sassy blue bra because it sets off the security alarms and results in unwanted touching from the TSA people.

In the terminal I had time to sit down for lunch without a care in the world as to time. Eventually I wandered over to the gate in time to hear my name being butchered by the gate keeper. My work travel profile jams my middle initial next to my first name and thus when read by anyone other than me it looks like it's pronounced Terryl as in Cheryl with a T - what mother would do that to her kid? Anyway - the gate keeper talked me into taking a later flight so some guy could get home to his sick kid. (WHATEVER) He tried to route me through New York and give me a $200 voucher but I asked for first class instead. I've had bad luck with redeeming vouchers, the last two vouchers I was given went unused because I don't fly enough (on my own dime) to make it worthwhile. However, the joy of first class from Pittland to Seattle sounds great! I'll be routed through Atlanta again - but it doesn't matter.

The bummer is that I'm STILL at the airport. They have free wi-fi (thank goodness for the firewall software on my laptop) but they haven't figured out that people need power. The only power I could find is in the gate areas, and while this is a laptop, I don't enjoy the crouching that comes with trying to work on my lap. So, here I sit eating up precious battery in order to sit at a table.

In the grand scheme of things -- none of this makes any difference. I am fully aware of the triteness of my problems. In fact, I'm pretty sure my life is an exercise in trite uselessness.

I know I'm not the only one, so there's no reason to despair. Life is all about finding the things that make you happy and last night the rain woke me up. I love the sound of rain especially when I am in my bed warm and cozy. This was an amazing rainstorm, heavy thick raindrops that sheeted against the windows. Lightening flashes filled the room periodically and it was really comforting.

I am somewhat blue about missing Alias tonight, but I'm sure that Television without Pity will have a complete review to keep me up to date.

Well -- I'm running low on battery and while I'm sure this is riveting I should sign off.

Hopefully I'll make it back to Seattle tonight. Until then - later.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

ah, Pittsburgh

Short post tonight:

Don't be fooled, Pittsburgh PA is not a bad place. It's darn tootin lovely in fact. Traffic is manageable, people seem nice, and the houses in the burbs are practically perfect. I was impressed by the size and distance between houses -- unlike suburban Puget Sound where every house looks the same and are built with a 'generous' 2 foot clearance these homes were on real sized lots. For the price of my little (but loved) condo I could get a 3k square foot craftsman house -- the biggest was a 6 bedroom 1 bath (yikes) or a super cute metropolitan townhouse in a cute neighborhood.

I hear that the weather isn't always this nice (75 and sunny) but how bad could it get?

My meeting today went well and inspired a few new words for the ficitonary:


The definitions haven't been completely formalized but will be entered soon.

Lastly, the Spain countdown is 9 days!!! woohoo

Monday, September 26, 2005

A call to action

Humvee Owners Unite to SAVE THE WORLD!

Cracker Party Photos

Here's the huge cracker har' do.

My cracker dish.

Bobbie-Jo, Bobby-Ray, and Bobbi-Sue take 3rd place. A can of Spam, which is made with: "Ham with pork"

This is the whole motley crew.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Good Morning Starshine

What in the world was that song about? The earth says Hello! The drugs must have been good in the 70's.

I've calmed a bit since the last entry. I'm not quite as fired up as I was. I do feel guilt over expressing frustration that minion is still out of the office.

The re-org is going ok. There isn't a transition plan for this either we're just in a new division. The sad thing is that we have to RE-DO the budget - which as you may have guessed isn't my favorite thing in the world.

However - my little world of control may be growing larger I've got a meeting with someone about the possibility of my taking over governance of a specific function. Hopefully the staff that is involved will come to me too. I won't take anything without staff.

Vacation begins in 15 days... well 14 days and 3 hours if you start counting vacation as the minute you get on the airplane... but really - it's 13 days and 7 hours if you start counting from the minute you walk out the door on your last day. 6 hours and 15 minutes if you count the fact that I'm going to find a way to leave early. Hell - why don't I just go now?

LOST! last night was good brother! Jack's retro wig was a little silly - but I understand the need for him not to have the buzz cut forever. JJ Abrams is playing with our minds because there was a lot of time shifting happening in the bunker. Clearly the opening morning fitness scene happened some years earlier when the Trs80 was state of the art computing equipment. I'm sure the jadded will have complaints - but I enjoyed it which was the plan a along.

Everything is predestined brother!