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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Myspace Migration: I'm? A Culinary Genius

I am, perhaps, a culinary genius. Seriously, I made the BEST dinner tonight! Let me walk you through my cooking experience. It started with a glass of wine: Jackie gave me a bottle of Reisling, one that she likes. It was Weingut Kurt Hain, Riesling - was a little too tart and bubbly for my taste. Almost tasted carbonated. But, I digress. Anyway, I took Spanish olive oil and coated a pan and threw in Roasted Red Peppers, Roasted Thatch Pablanos, Roasted Tomatoes, and let them simmer in the olive oil for about 5 minutes. I then threw in some chicken breasts and cooked them to a lovely golden brown. They were flaking with the fork and they were juicy! Perfect!
I had cooked some brown rice (I do not like white rice) while I was cooking the chicken. So, while the chicken is sitting, flavor melding with all those beautiful roasted veggies, I cooked some cream sauce with hatch pablanos. Mixed in some pico for added consistency (not into runny sauce). OMGoodness, the presentation rocked! Created a circle of brown rice on the plate, placed the breasts in a heart shape. Why? 'Cause I'm a chick and I can, that's why. :) Actually, I thought the girls would like it. Then, I layered the roasted veggies on and topped it with the sauce. It looked SOOOO beautiful! And it tasted even better. *Sigh...

I love to cook. I love to entertain, too. Cooking for people brings me a lot of joy. And not just because I get to show off. For me, it's a way to show I care. So, I take a lot of care with cooking. A huge improvement over a decade ago, when literally the only thing I didn't burn was spaghetti. I've always been good at making sauce. Go figure. I remember the first big meal I tried to make my husband after getting married. We had just gotten back from our honeymoon and I wanted to show him how much I cared. I had been working 100-hour work weeks (literally, we were getting ready for product launch) and so I took off early one Friday and decided to make shark in white wine sauce with grilled asparagus and stuffed mushrooms. I.Burned.Everything - and spilled the shark dish in the oven. We finally ended up moving, we never did get the smell out.

Over the years, cooking became a way to show Jason's friends and our family that they were welcome. I began cooking for his friends when they played computer games at our house all weekend. Then, I started entertaining work people, friends, and neighbors. I felt so alive making quiche for our church (my quiches are really, really good)... it felt good doing something with my hands. I used to wonder, "Is this how a carpenter feels?" I know, kind of goofy.

Last year, I was on a Thai kick. Made TONS of Thai dishes. I'm sure my kids would rather chew their own arm off then eat another pad thai noodle. LOL So, this year I'm on a wider, European kick. Spanish dishes, French cuisine, Italian food... yummy stuff. I'm really into French and Tuscan herbs (not so much together, though). I've had fun with the Thatch festival, though; so we've done a lot of Latin cooking this month.

Fall is a great time for cooking. I like to go to the Farmers Market during the fall - another thing you should do, if you haven't. The farmer's market rocks. Butternut squash - that's my favorite thing to cook in the fall and it's not even remotely healthy when I get done with it. I hollow the center, stuff it with butter and brown sugar and bake it. Definately not healthy, but sinfully yummy. Do the same thing to baked apples. Great fall fare.

Anyway, cooking makes me happy. It's even cathartic and I'm really glad I've gotten back into it. If you're into cooking, what are your favorite things to cook? If you're not, what brings you joy??

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Myspace Migration: Love, Lies, and the Lettuce Masque

I'm in love. Seriously, deliriously crazy in love... With the orange sorbets I bought from Central Market. Ok, get this, they're adorable!! They're packaged in actual oranges that have been hollowed out. The sorbet is then put into the orange and the little orange cut-out top is put back on. And all that cuteness is rolled into 89 calories of YUM! Had a scratchy throat last night, so that's what I had for dinner. And I'm hooked. Can't wait to go back and get another set and try their coconut and lime ones (yes, those are served in coconuts). Doesn't it just envoke visions of a more peaceful, laid-back time where women wore Victorian lace dresses and had lovely wire bistro sets under a shade tree near the Eastern shore with thick, hand-blown glasses full of Lemonade with actual lemons? Ok, so maybe that's just me...

Anyway, it got me off on this tangent of what are the things I truly love in my life? What are the things that I would not want to live without? Not talking about people here; that's a whole different train of thought. Ok, so I love my career. In the right scenario, I could see focusing more on family and less on career, but I can't really picture giving it up completely. I like it too much. It just suits me. I love music - can't ever picture giving that up (or being with someone who would require me to not have it on and around as much as I do now). Love to read; couldn't give up my unfettered access to every bookstore/library imaginable. I even enjoy law libraries (and sometimes wonder if that wouldn't have been a good profession for me to go into, too - however, Dad said he'd disown me). Love, Love, Love witty sitcoms (think Seinfield, Weeds, Scrubs, even SATC) - I think, as much as I enjoy A&E, I wouldn't want to give those up. I'm willing to admit I'm hopelessly addicted to technology - I love my PDA phone (will rant and rave more about that in a moment) and my computer and my copier/fax (I think it's really cool that you can email a document to a fax machine) and my high-tech hair gadgets. I wouldn't want to give those up. In fact, I think I'd go so far as to say I'm not sure I COULD give up my coffeemaker... once I figured out how to use it, I'm not sure I could give up that technology. It seriously rocks.

But everything else? I think I could take or leave. Is it really possible to be "in love" with technology? Or is it really more of an addiction to convenience? I was talking with my Dad yesterday while we were having lunch (was in the area with a client thing, and you should always try to capitalize on opportunities to see your parents, especially when they are as cool as mine). He was talking about how there was a magazine write-up about how people have become addicted to their Blackberries (and I can only assume other PDAs). There is an actual compulsion to checking your email. And, I had to laugh, because I.Am.So.There. I'm one of those people that have to physically stop myself from checking my email when out and about. Now, I tell myself that it's because I work off my phone (I'm a recruiter, it's all about being connected)... but, truly - I'm addicted to being IN THE KNOW. I don't like to be behind the curve; I love that my phone sends me news updates via email, I know every time someone I think worth reading has published a new blog (even if Brian posts like a dozen a day), I've gotten that resume, or whatever. I like being able to take a photograph of an example of a quality built home that a candidate did to send to a client or what I look like in a lettuce masque (will get into more later). I like being connected. So, I think the addiction, for me, isn't so much to check my email - but to be informed. Of Whatever, Whenever - and the PDA phone does that for me. I do so love my Treo. But, I really didn't notice it until Jackie pointed it out on our trip. I swear, I thought she was going to swat my hand at one point when I was reaching to "get mail" for like the 4th time in 5 minutes. LOL Now I know, but it's oh-so-hard to help myself.

The lie I tell myself is that it's all in the name of work. I'm doing it FOR WORK - to perpetuate my business. Ok, so that's not completely inaccurate, but as I stated earlier, it's really not the whole story, either. And that makes me wonder a bit about the little lies we tell ourselves and why we do it. Sometimes it's about gratification "Oh, this 2nd brownie won't do any real harm" (no, but you may not fit into your jeans tomorrow) or "I can charge this doo-dad because I know I'll get my bonus check in before the statement hits." Mm-hmm, right. Sometimes, it's about self-preservation - like my Treo thing - who really wants to think that they've got a compulsion disorder that borders on controlling paranoia because they're naturally nosy/don't want to miss out? It's much easier to think it's all about putting food on the table.. LOL Who really wants to think that the reason they emotionally disconnect is because they're afraid to get rejected? It's much easier to think you're "just trying to have fun right now." Oh, the little lies we tell ourselves.
And we all do it. There's not a one of us who doesn't. The truth is, we're all a little crazy. The question becomes what brand of crazy are we? For single people, we then have the added responsibility of figuring out not only what brand of crazy WE ARE, but what brands of crazy works for us, as well. If my brand of crazy is a compulsive need to be in the know/be connected, then it wouldn't behoove me to try to forge a relationship with someone who has a compulsive need to be secretive. They're both control issues, I guess - but, they don't compliment well. I personally think it works best when your brands of craziness has nothing to do with one another, or perhaps fringes on complimenting one another. So, I need to be in the know, I need to be connected - and my potential partner needs to really have everything in his life compartmentalized, organized and make sense. Ok, well, those two really don't conflict - if anything, it would make it easier to "be connected" because he's got everything in it's place, right?? Truthfully, if that's the brand of crazy I end up dealing with in a potential partner, I'd consider myself lucky. Anyway, hopefully you get what I mean.

Tried the Lush Lettuce Masque the night before last. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the way my face feels! Even two days later, it feels clean, but has little shine. The disadvantage is that I look like an alien when I'm using it. It's lettuce, so ... It's Green. Oh well, small price to pay for beauty, right??? Tonight I'm doing microdermabrasion (just the Oil of Olay kit; feels great and is totally worth the 20 bucks you'll spend on it), so I figured I'd do Lush's cupcake masque after. It's brown, and makes me look like I've just dipped my face in a pot of icing. But, don't fool yourself - it doesn't taste like icing. I know because my kiddos told me so. :) Ladies, if you want to have some fun, go to Northpark Mall and check out the Lush Store. The Rockstar soap smells awesome and the refridgerated masques are deeee-vine!

That's all for now; I'll check in later.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Myspace Migration: Just Another Manic Monday

Have to start this blog posting out on a somewhat somber note. A friend of mine relayed this, and I'm compelled to post it, as well. My heart chills for this little boy; if you believe in prayer, I would so sincerely appreciate it if you would:
Monday we had a very bad car accident half a mile away from here. Tourists. Mom, dad and two little brothers. Mom pulled off the road to make a U turn and foolishly turned right into a huge oncoming propane truck who couldn't stop in time. Mom died on the scene. Dad died enroute to the ER. One of the little boys died in transit via air ambulance to Oahu. His brother is still in critical condition on Oahu after being transported.

Everyone here is just heartbroken. But if I could ask for just one prayer of any kind for this child and his future. He's 5 and his name is Lindon. Thanks.
So, there you have it. Utterly tragic. One of those things where you know there's a plan in there, regardless of how random it may seem, but you can't quite make it out. I feel so... sad.. for Lindon. And I can't even really fathom what would happen if that were my little family. It's stories like this, though, that make me feel grateful for listening when Eric, my lawyer friend, told me to get a plan of action in place for if I die. What would I want to happen to my children? Where would I want them to go, how would I want them to be raised? It's about so much more than life insurance benefits. As much as I hated doing it, I did get a plan of action in place. I know who will raise my children (and no, it's not their father) and have all the littlest details of how I want them raised spelled out. Of course, you know there's the possibility that they won't be followed- but, that's why you choose someone who you feel will be most like you to raise your children. As such, I want the girls' Aunt Jennifer and Uncle Philip to have my custody of the children, should something happen to me. Because, I feel like they'd raise the girls the way I would. Anyway, very sobering subject - do you have your plans laid out?

Today I'm working from home. Allergy issues are getting the best of me and I just don't feel like trekking it in today. And really, one of the benefits of my job is that I don't NEED to - I can do everything I need to from my house. Speaking of which, I guess I better get to it - I've got 30 minutes before I need to be on a call. Happy Monday - will write more later!
Wanted to share a poem. Shared it yesterday with someone and got back that it was interesting. Well, that's cool - but, now I'd like to spread it a little farther and see what other comments come back. It's by Elizabeth Bishop and I think it's quite profound. I'm going to share it the way I figure she meant it to be read. The "..." denotes pregnant pauses, while the "~" is to relay a quicker pause, more of a breath. Here you go!
One Art

The art of losing isn't hard to master...
So many things seem filled.. with the intent to be lost...
that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
Of Lost Door Keys; or the hour badly spent.
The Art, of Losing, isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
Places... and names...
and where it was you were meant to travel. None of these
Will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And Look! my last,
Or next to last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing... isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones ~ And vaster,
Some realms I owned ~ two rivers... a continent.
I miss them .... but ~ it wasn't a disaster.

.... Even losing you ~ (the joking voice, a gesture I love),
I shan't have lied.
It's evident
that the art of losing's not too hard to master...
though, it may look like... (WRITE it!)... like... disaster.

Myspace Migration: Dating in DFW, Marriage & Other Conspiracies

So, my kid ran out of the house without turning off the TV. She has, by the way, informed me that she needs to be on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" or some such game show. She says she'd be good at it. *Shrug, she probably would. Anyway, Oprah's on in the background... GOODNESS. Lance Armstrong's ex-wife is on and she's rattling on about how marriage is a conspiracy or something like that.

No. Its. Not. Your view of it, or the views that were taught to you, might have led you to believe that - but, marriage is just a thing. It's an organic state perhaps.. but, it cannot in and of itself "erode the very fabric of your identity," as she states. That's what you allowed it to be - because you were looking for completion. And marriage doesn't do that.

Is there a societal conspiracy to lead one to believe that marriage makes you "More?" That two literally become one and you cease existing in your own right?? Dr. Robin Smith says that marriage is doomed to fail because we make promises to someone from a place where we don't know ourselves. Hmm. Gotta think on this. I really don't know if I agree with this. Could it be true? Sure. Is it blanket truth? I don't think so. What about you?

The fantasy is Prince Charming/Cinderella. I get that. A lot of people think they're going to live the fairy tale. But, I think that there are a lot of people who look at marriage as the kismet, fairy-tale romance of their lives. What if we looked at marriage the way that I think (my opinion) it was designed to be? What if, instead of searching for Prince Charming or Cinderella, we looked for our best friends? What if we didn't base our happiness on our partner, but on ourselves.. and allowed our partners to share in the joys, sorrows, achievements and failures of our lives? When you read in the Old Testament about marriage ~ God talks about companionship in the terms of help-mates. We are to compliment each other... but, he didn't leave out a piece of me (or you). We're whole in and of ourselves, right? So, is the conspiracy that we're not? That we need someone else to make us happy? Does anyone really believe that??

More to say, but I need to take a call that is going to require me to write for work.. will add more later...

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Myspace Migration: Thank Goodness for Scientific Research!

So, what have the psychologists at Columbia been up to recently, you may wonder? Busy working out causes to what triggers pedophelia or how to strengthen your willpower? Nope. They've been studying the Great El Hombre (who is that guy, by the way?) and how his reflexes, hand-eye coordination, and such match up to the Late Great Babe Ruth. Now there is a great use of trained minds, campus equipment, and resources. You'll be happy to know (if you know who the guy is and like baseball) he scored quite similarly to Mr. Ruth - in fact, he was off the charts on one test. Doesn't the world feel like a much better place to you now??? I know I'll sleep better tonight. LOL

Ok. Question for the day... how MUCH is TOO MUCH? We seem to live in a society of largesse. One more drink, larger portions, bigger houses, faster cars... materially speaking, more is more. From a psychological/relationship standpoint, we want instant connection, instant intimacy, and undying loyalty/devotion/abject admiration. However, it occurs to me that while we're willing to put a lot in to get the material things in life, we're not as willing to put in the time/energy/effort it requires to really earn what we want on the psychological/relationship side. So, is what we want too much or are we just lazy?

Will have to expound more on this later.. not looking too cute and I have to be out the door in five minutes.
So, it looks like I'm going to Las Vegas in November. Almost right after I get back from our company trip to San Fransisco/Napa, it looks like I'll be headed to Vegas for the BigBuilder '06 convention. 3 days of conferences and networking with my partner at the Mandalay Bay. Sad thing is, I know I NEED to do this; but, I can't tell whether I want to or not. What is WRONG with me? LOL On the upside, my hotel room is huge! I do so love the Mandalay...

The kids didn't want the Thatch Pepper chicken. Should have really been able to guess that. So, I'm doing French Herb Stuffed Chicken with risotto. As I'm writing this, I'm watching my little one "practice" the new Cheetah Girls 2 song that they're playing ad nauseum on Disney Channel. She's "performing" it tomorrow with three of her girl friends for her expo teacher. My child is such a diva, but it's totally cute!!!

So, I went to lunch today with someone that had me tre' cranky by the end of the meal. Went to one of my favorite places to eat, Jaspers. Noon reservations and a Chicken and Spinach salad calling my name. I was pumped. Well, the whole time we were there this person complained about everything! We didn't get seated fast enough (we had reservations, we shouldn't have to wait), how long does it take to get an appetizer out here (admittedly, it did take nearly 20 minutes, but it wasn't like they were going to waste away from hunger), this food is too dry and your salad looks wilted (I thought my salad looked fabulous), our waitress doesn't come by often enough to refill the tea (well, you have the bottle in front of you, you could pour it yourself?), this place is too expensive to be sitting near the kitchen (Crystal side-note: I truly detest talking about what things cost unless you're talking about a good retail steal. It just seems distasteful, especially when you're not paying). Admittedly, Jaspers fell down on the job today. But, for this one time of mediocre dining experience, there's been over a dozen great experiences.

I guess what really got me was the different filters through which we chose to view the world. For my dining companion, the experience was all-around terrible and completely unsalvageable. To the point that they took the time to get the number of the place so they could call and complain about the waitress later. Now, I didn't really care for our waitress, either; she did spend a LOT of time running back and forth doing nothing, from what I could see. But, instead of going to get the number to complain; I went and asked for the name of the waitress next to us (who has served me in the past and I loved) so that I could request her section the next time I make reservations (not with today's companion). I recognize the food is far better than I can make myself (and I do think I'm a pretty good cook); so, I'm not going to complain if the salad looks slightly limp (could be from all the junk they put on it, anyway). To my companion, the excessive wait was a drain - had it not been for the complaining, I saw it as a good opportunity to get to talk and get to know each other better. How can two people be in such similar stations in life, and view things so differently???

Ok, finishing up on the "more is more" train of thought from earlier... it really does seem that we want more than what we're willing to work for. I know, not exactly a "stop the presses" thought, but as that's not a theory I subscribe to, it boggles me. Call me crazy, but I LIKE having to work for what I get. I enjoy knowing I've earned the stuff I have (which is a big part of why I don't like or use credit cards), it feels good knowing that I've worked for the connection I have with people, and so on. I really wanted to type more, but suddenly.. I'm tired. So, I think I'll go to bed instead. Goodnight.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Myspace Migration: Stop the Presses!

I got 7 hours of sleep! Holy Cow! I have to admit, I was whisked back to 5th grade science class when I woke up this morning, where I could hear Ms. Lacaze explaining, "There are things that your body will not let you go without. If you're too stupid to do these things, then your body will shut you down and do it for you (she was talking specifically about holding your breath, I think, but it applies)." So, since my stupid brain wouldn't shut down, my body did it for me! Or... something like that. I haven't had coffee yet. LOL

Last night was interesting. Had a great conversation and had to share part one of the lighter parts of it (then I must get ready because I'm running hopelessly behind):

Caller: I got these two long emails and was wondering if I should be concerned - there was a lot there.
Me (puzzled, because they seemed normal to me): I don't think there was anything out of the ordinary, there. Just sharing my thoughts.
Caller: Yeah, but they were so long!
Me: Have you actually ever read any of my blogs? I'm pretty verbose.
Caller: Well, I read one (a list). But they weren't about me, so...
Me: LOL, read my blogs - at least scan one - it'll make you feel better. I'm wordy as hell. On all subjects.
Caller: Silence.

Betcha' money they won't be reading those blogs! LOL In another conversation, this guy told me he "knew everything there was to know about me." Oh, REALLY? After 3 conversations and an email? Let's just see about that, shall we? I mean, that did pretty much sound like a challenge to me. So, I ask questions: What music do I like? Um.. Right. What do I like to read? Everything? Nope. I really do not like to read science fiction. I love business books, history books, and classic literature. ( Bitter in Black has become the read of the month, though.) What's my writing style - I mean, if you know everything about me, certainly you have read my writing? Well, I read your "about me" page. Ok, let's sum up - you don't know what I like to listen to, you don't know what I like to read, you don't know how I write or why I write - so, just dealing with the superficial crap, you're 0 for 3. Yeah, you're flying tonight, pal... Better take you to the tables. Where I was informed by email this morning by Mr. DMoney (nickname, and not what you might think, it's cute) that he'll be able to drink for free as long as he's gambling.

Ok, so seriously, I'm starting to understand why I'm still single. :) I'll connect the dots more later, I gotta get ready for work.

I love list-making. Had you asked me if I liked lists, though; I probably would have told you NO. Because I never think about it and it truly sounds kind of nerdy. But, LISTS ROCK! They keep you from being scatter-brained, they help with time-management, and you get to feel a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when you see how much you've done (or be sincerely depressed by what you didn't, but let's stay positive, shall we??).

I have lists for everything. And I Do. Mean. Everything. What I need to do for work, what I'm cooking this week, what I need to shop for, What clothes I'm wearing this week, Chores to be done, Books to read... even Guys. I have a notebook (which I'm slowly transferring on to computer now, because of what happened today) that has tabs and sections for each of the guys I'm seeing/have seen recently. Goes back about a year. Within each section, there are lists. Has the following: Important Information (think age, rank, serial number, address, driving distance, and so on), Strengths/Weaknesses, Interests, Overall Fit. I don't know, it helped me figure out common fit seeing it on paper, and it was nice to cross-reference. I get it - I'm a closet nerd. Anyway, I left it at work. Needless to say... it's no longer a private thing. I'm not really embarrassed by it (but glad I took out the pictures, lol); but, I have a feeling I just gave the person who found it fodder to make fun of me through Armageddon. Tell me I'm not the only one who does that???

Ok, conference call in 15 - will write more later.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Myspace Migration: Confessions of a Sleep-Deprived Drama Queen

Current mood:awake
Ok, so maybe I'm not so much a drama queen, but I AM sleep-deprived. Fell asleep at 9pm, which was a good thing - was expecting to get a call sometime between 10 and 11 that would wake me up - never happened. Such is life. What's that song.. I used to love it: "Back to life, back to reality - back to the here and now of things..." Something tells me last night snapped life back into reality. We'll see. And no, I don't want to be any more specific than that. Anyway, woke up a little before 1am and I've been up ever since. Can't write, too darn tired, but I did finally get to see the final episode of Fresh Prince and read a meditation book. Good Times!

The mall was fun. I do so love Jackie... even when she calls me at 8:30 asking if I have more "Sweet Wine" because she and Jay drank all of theirs! LOL Northpark is now my new favorite mall. It wasn't excessively crowded; the stores were cool, and the eateries were fantastic. Jackie said the upstairs is more like your typical mall, but we didn't do that floor. Why would we need to? Lush, Sephora, and Bare Escentuals are on the first floor, and so is Williams Sonoma. OMG, I LLLLLLOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE Willams Sonoma. In my next life, I want to be a gourmet cook - and I want all my gadgets and pans to come from there. Seriously, if I ever get a house with gas, I'm going there and buying all their copper pans post haste. For today, though; I just got some lovely porcelian coffee cups with plates that have a stunning olive band around the top. I love coffee cups that have the "hotel" look to them; I guess it's because when I'm drinking coffee in them, in my room, I can trick myself into believing it's OK to be lazy. If only for a moment. And I love it when the coffee cups have their little plates with them. I know, I'm SUCH a girl...

We ate at this place called the Kona Grill. Had a fabulous Seared Ahi Tuna Salad with Spinach leaves. Yummmmy. Their Reisling really stunk, though. Anyway, we window shopped. It was fun. Then we went to Central Market. I love that place; they have good foods, good-for-you foods, and you can buy sauces to heat up later. It's really nice to not have to make your own reduction sauce during the week - or worry that you don't have enough Thatch Peppers in your Cream Sauce to make it spicy (or so many you'll burn for the next week). Plus they make fresh mozzarella balls and I make a fabulous mozzarella and tomato dish. Not that it's hard to slice cheese and tomatoes, throw olive oil and pepper over it. LOL This week I will be making Jalepeno Stuffed Chicken with Thatch Cream Sauce and Mexican Rice, Traditional Spaghetti with Roasted Vegetables and Mozzarella/Tomatoes with White Truffle Olive Oil, French Herb Stuffed Chicken with Snap Peas and Roasted Potatoes, and Beer Can Chicken (it's a grill thing) with Spinach Salad. Friday night is pizza night this week.

There is an interesting occurance that I am aware of when it comes to grocery shopping. It does not matter where I shop, I spend nearly the exact same amount of money. It's $160 a week for groceries, $20 for lunches (when I buy salad, snacks and sushi) and $10 for drinks. Doesn't matter whether I buy them at Target, Whole Foods, Central Market or Albertsons... I spend the same amount of money. With that in mind, I prefer to shop at Central Market or Whole Foods for the groceries, because quite frankly, I think I get better food. Target is where I get my lunches because they make the salads for me (I think that's easier than cooking the chicken, slicing it up, and then putting everything together in those cute little containers). Shopping for groceries is fun for me; I like making up menus. It is NOT, however; fun when the kids go, too. If it were up to them, we'd eat Hot Dogs (gag me), Chips, and Cookies for dinner every night.

So, based on the emails in my inbox - let me clear up something that seems to cause some confusion... I was NOT surfing for porn last night. I was trying to get to the Digital Music Selections and you have to pass the Pay Per View section (where the porn lives) to get there. I think the idea of paying for pornography is rediculous and again, if I needed um... "inspiration"... I think my imagination provides better fodder for that anyway, remember??? While I do spend about $20 a month in PPV fees, it's typically for such classics as "The Family Stone" (which the cable company screwed up and I still haven't gotten to rerecord yet) or "Chicken Little."
Well, I'm an hour ahead of schedule; I've already done Yoga and I feel all limber. I guess I could... well, no, I'm caught up on housework (thank you Nicole), my laundry is done, and I've read both books in my house that I committed to reading this weekend. I really don't know what to do with myself right now. Darn it.

Myspace Migration: Customer Service & Other Joys

Current mood:nauseated
Ok, I'm sincerely baffled by the term "Customer Service" and how subjective that term really is. The level of service varies greatly by company, individual and how much you choose to suck up to the person you're speaking to that day. For example, I went into Ann Taylor today. I had purchased a lovely necklace (very delicate and looks great on me!) that broke after the first time I wore it. So, I shoved it in my purse and made a mental note to take it back. Two months later, I finally got around to doing it. I breezed into Ann Taylor, smiled and asked for a replacement. The Sales Clerk (beautiful lady, I might add and I wish I were that put-together) smiled and immediately went through all their jewelry to see if there was another one. There wasn't. I asked her what we should do (always say "WE" - they like it when they think you're in this together, and you kind of are) and do you know what? She took it to a jewelry store and had it fixed. Called me this afternoon and tomorrow I get to go pick it up. THAT, my friends, is customer service at it's best and why I love Ann Taylor.

Here's the contrast. I'm working on my marketing presentations for work in my bedroom. Yes, I did grab a quick one-hour nap, but I was working when this whole scenario began to transpire. The kids run in to inform me that the Disney channel isn't working on any of the TVs. You have to understand, that's pretty much the only channel they're allowed to watch... so this is a big deal to them. And, noone's allowed to play, so they don't know what to do with themselves. They've read and everything, they explain (I decide now is not the time to clue them into the fact they CAN indeed read for fun for longer than 15 minutes, they look panic stricken enough as it is).

So, I call the cable company (secretly wondering if maybe I forgot to pay that bill). Jeffrina (no joke, that was her name) comes on the line to assist me. 25 minutes later, we still are no closer to having Disney, I've found out that yes I did forget to pay them (but that has nothing to do with why we have no Disney, I've got excellent credit with them, she explains... I can go for three months without paying my bill.. make a mental note to self in case I ever get into a serious financial quagmire), and I've got MASSIVE heartburn. Why? Because my bill was $300.
Now, I'm the first to concede I'm bad at mental math. But, I know roughly what I'm SUPPOSED to be charged per month - it's about $130, after tax and 2 pay per view movies. Well, Jeffrina explains to me that I actually did 7 movies over the last 2 months (3.99/movie x7 is a little under $30) - so that's probably why it's $300 instead of $260 (did I mention that we just changed a billing cycle? Well, we did - that's why it's 2 months worth of fees). I patiently explain to her that I've got 2 movies budgeted each month into the $130 fee... 4 extra movies would only run me about $16. So, she goes back line by line. Did I know the only thing I'm missing is Cinemax?? Yes, Jeffrina, and I think about it about every other day when the cool movie comes on the only set of channels I don't want to pay for (but I've got the other 3 and can't justify it to myself... how many movies does 1 person need to see?). No, Jeffrina, I don't want to buy Cinemax today - and how does that help us figure out where the extra charges are coming from?

Well, your base package is $116. "Hold the phone; no it's not. It's $99." Well, you've been paying it for months - like, 6 of them. Crap. I knew there was a good reason to at least LOOK at your bill before you call in to make a payment. "Ok, so don't credit me back for anything; but can you please fix it going forward?" No ma'am, we're a no-contract company, once a special's off your service, it's gone. "Well, isn't that just ducky. So you're basically telling me you can charge what you want at will? Change it whenever the mood suits?" Yes ma'am, I don't want to lie to you - that's basically how it works. Now your DVRs, them are running you 9.99 per month. You have 2. "Hold the phone again. One of those is supposed to be included in my DVR Entertainment package that you're now charging me an additional $17/month for. And the other is supposed to be $6 - I've got it written down." Fast and furiously I flip through my personal notepad where I keep all this stuff (SUCH an improvement over 10 years ago) and look at what I had written down in regards to that order and circle it with my pen, like it's going to prove something to the woman that just said "them are running you," as though that's proper English. Well, it IS $6, but we have to charge you $3.99 for the digital cable box service in order for it to work. "Ok, so then it isn't $6.. it's $9.99. Another price increase perhaps?" I vow silently to start studying that bill as though it were the key to my survival every month. And hey, if they keep upping the prices on the cable bill, it just might be. I couldn't say ma'am; I just work here. Seriously. Yes, she Did. Say. That.

After 25 minutes, I still can't get the math to add up, I'm calmly talking to her about the Deceptive Trade Practices Act (seriously, I was calm, though clearly agitated) and the heartburn is RAGING in my chest. To the point I realize that I need to end this call.. quickly, or I'll literally be sick. So, I ask for my total - it's gone up $40 since we started the phone call. I kid you not. She said, well your current is 300 and your back balance is 40. "So, then I need to pay $340?" Oh no, ma'am; it's 306. "Oh, so the back balance is included in the current balance? Cool." Oh no, ma'am it's not. "Ok, so I DO need to pay $340?" No, your current balance is 300 - your back balance is 40. You only need to pay the current balance at this time. Very slowly and using very small deliberate words, I ask "If I wanted to say - go get satellite and cancel cable - what would I need to pay to zero out the balance?" 306. "Ok. Let me give you my card number." Sometimes you have to know when to just give in - but the only thing she served this customer was a ginormous need for TUMS. And my kids still don't have the Disney Channel.

I should probably get back to work and check on dinner. Will write more later.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Myspace Migration: Ditto, Deodorant & Latex Housewives

Had a fantastic night last night. Girls night, party of 4, became Girls Night, party of two. Went to Simply Fondue - the only place I will EVER pay over $100 to cook my own meal. Had a blast - stuffed ourselves silly - gained a pound (which probably took up residence on my already over-sized butt, lol) - but it was worth it.

Besides, Jackie and I decided that we'll walk it off today at the mall. But, they had a fantastic bottle of Reisling (which I love) and I got my entertainment from her drunk-texting some of my friends with "Do ALL Guys Pee in the Shower??" I find this amusing because A) my friends now know it's her, not I, doing the texting - and they have fun with her and B) I'd like to know what they say back. DO all guys pee in the shower? We had one guy answer back, "Of course; it conserves water." Um, ok - never thought of it that way. Anyway, went to Eric's after I dropped Jackie off and listened to music until the wee hours of the morning. I LOVE music - it is interesting to see the differences in how we listen to music, though. He dissects the music as it's playing - I try to feel it. Neither is wrong, though - I enjoyed listening to the selections he chose - there were some somewhat obscure songs from great artists. Plus, I got to hang out in a giant bean-bag chair - always a bonus!
Ok, so have you noticed there are a shocking number of people who put on WHITE deodorant BEFORE they put on their black clothing?? I am a major proponent of wearing black - it's slimming, hides spills, creates great lines and looks commanding. However, I know (and this is one of those rare instances where common sense came inherently to me) to put my deodorant on after I've put on my shirt. Why? Because the white "I wore my deodorant today" lines you get if you don't just REALLY aren't attractive. And, call me crazy, but I think anyone over say ... I don't know... 16... should get that. There is a guy at the office though that nearly every time I see him has the deodorant lines on his shirt, though. Drives me bonkers as I'm sure he's close to 40. I'm sincerely mulling over the possibility of slipping a 3x5 instruction card on his desk or suggesting the clear stick, but I'm afraid that might come across as cruel. But then again, letting him continue to have the lines on his shirt is cruel, too... right?????

Ditto. Ditto. Ditto, ditto, ditto. I LOVE that word. Always have. Ghost threatened to ruin the word for me (and I guess did for many years); seriously, I think the first few times a guy answered "Ditto" in return for an "I Love You" that MIGHT be considered cute... after that, I'm pretty sure I'd either be thinking (or saying), "Say it back, you b-stard!" Anyway, I remember "Ditto" being en-vogue when I was in school, and that just totally ruined it. I can't be like everyone else, after all. But, it's a great word. So, this morning, as I'm texting someone, I realize that I just get tired of how long it takes to write a response back and decide to economize on words by replying with, "Ditto." OMG, I saved myself 12 words and 2 minutes! If I capitalized on this word and used it every time it was applicable, I'd probably end up with an extra hour in my day. With two kids, a busy practice, and attempting to jump start my love-life (or extreme lack thereof)... do you have any IDEA what I could do with an extra hour????

So last night, after I get home, I get ready for bed and turn on the TV. It's WAY late and although I'm tempted to turn on the TV, I told Eric I wouldn't watch a movie (I suffer from random bouts of insomnia and just got off a 2 week, no-sleep bender) and would get some sleep. And yes, Eric, I DID keep my word and did not watch TV. I decided to turn my television on to the music section... did you know you get music with Digital Cable? I love Cable... well, to get to the music section, you have to scroll down the PPV titles. Let me TELL you, I have never seen such colorful titles as the adult movie titles! I mean, who wouldn't want to watch "Latex Housewives" or "Shadows of a Geisha" or "Pimp My Wife?" They practically oooze entertainment - well, they ooze something anyway.. Seriously, though - it's PORN... who the heck cares what you call it. You'd get more people ordering it if you had little avatar sized pictures of the stars in their bathing suits or something on the info screen (which, as a parent, I think should only be able to be accessed after you've entered in a 4-digit code confirming you're either over 18 or your parents don't give a damn). I know I don't want to pay 19.95 for a movie I don't even know what the actors in it look like. Although, as I was discussing this with Tim this morning (my favorite gay friend and probably the only guy I would consider getting into in-depth discussions on stuff like this with), he said the money shots all look the same. He's probably right.

I do miss my laptop. It's just not the same. Sunday Mornings are supposed to occur with me sitting in bed, sipping coffee/tea, eating fruit and pounding out the pages on my laptop. I think I'm going to have it looked at, after all.

Ah well, off to the mall to Lush (www.lush.com since I don't know how to use the "insert link" function) and Sephora for more shimmer shadow (www.sephora.com Bare Escentuals "Shimmer" and Stila's "All Over Shimmer" are to die for; Dior's Gloss Show is a must have for every make-up bag, too). I really do NOT like malls and can't wait for the day my empire is large enough to justify a personal shopper... however, I console myself with the fact it's great for people watching. I'm sure I'll have plenty of fodder for writing later.

Let me just say that as much as I like Will Smith; I'm finding NO humor in the fact that it's 2 am and after two days of being able to sleep - I'm up watching Fresh Prince reruns. This is SO not fair.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Myspace Migration: I Finished the Book

Ok, let me just say I LOVED, seriously LOVED - finished and want to read again, LOVE - Bitter is the New Black. It was fan-flippin'-tastic. Quite possibly the best book put out by the Penguin Group in quite some time. Don't get me wrong, there can never be too many reprints of Anna Karenina (although, really, the only cool people are the ones who read it before Oprah made it a "book club" choice... Remind me to vent about that later on in this little submission); but, it's just nice to find a refreshing weekend read. Definately a great end-of-summer, need-some-downtime, or I-just-got-dumped/laid off/I'm broke-and-need some humor choice of reading. So, anyway, I loved this book. For a couple of reasons: a) It's funny as hell, b) like I said last night, this girl says what I'm thinking a good deal of the time (minus the massive hang-up on brand-name items, which I don't have because I can't in good conscience submit to spending what equates to one month's utilities on a purse when I don't like purses in the first place), and c) she writes the way I'm trying to. Which, if I were a jealous person, would make me jealous as all get-out because it feels like another ".com" moment. When the telecom/.com boom was going on, Jason (my ex-husband) and I were cognisant of it - but too darn young to really do anything about getting in on it (I didn't quite have the meglomania tendancies I do now, they hadn't developed yet). We actually had conversations on how we knew we were missing the boat; a "the-world-has-been-there, done-that" sort of thing. So, there's a tiny part of me that says, "Hmm, the world's already GOT a writer who's writing style's quite like what you are working towards - keep your day job." Fortunately for me, it's really "Crystal's World" (and yes, you should all take up permanent residence, it's more fun here) and so I can convince myself that people would enjoy what I have to say because, hey - it's from me. Anyway, back on point, I will be purchasing whatever this chick puts out next. And I will keep writing my story about exercises in controlled chaos - AKA being a single parent.

I read in the back of the book she's got a website, so I'll promote it: www.jennsylvania.com And now I'll move onto the rant that typing that URL just created. Oprah can wait a paragraph or two. So, in pasting that URL, "little Crystal" (that little voice I mentioned earlier inside me?) said, "Check it out - make sure you've got it right.. one "N" or two?" I had originally thought it would be 1 N, since that's how she spelled her name in the book. Yeah, no.. it's 2. Anyway, the jenslyvania.com site is some site that someone snatched up (probably after her first book, but who knows?) and has all kinds of links with Jen on them - except the one to her actual, friggin' website. Which is, of course, where I want to go. And the really sad thing is I run across these websites as much, if not more, than the actual websites I'm looking to go to. Frustrates the hell out of me and quite frankly - I'll never click on a link that leads to anything that has to do with commerce because I don't want them getting the .008 cents they'll get for the banner link click. Bastards. Phew! I feel better, how about you? :)

On to Oprah. Ok, I think it's fabulous what Oprah's doing for the literary world and our society of boob-tube addicts (although, get in the way of my weekly dose of "Weeds" and I'll have to hurt you.. so, don't take that as a put-down). I like the fact that she's made book clubs en-vogue again, and that people are starting to find reading cool. But, what bites me - really gets under my skin, are the Oprah-ites that feel like they've invented or discovered uncharted territory with reading. "OMG, I just found this great new book - you have to read it. It's fabulous - it's Anna Karenina." Yup. Been there - done that - in the eigth grade, thank you. Now, admittedly, I really didn't completely get it until I read it again during my own dismal marriage, but the fact of the matter is that book has been around longer than anyone who is reading it now has been drawing breath. It's. Not. New. People. And you're really not cool for thinking it is - in fact, I think it says something that you didn't know it existed until you saw it on TV. LOL (yes, I am smirking and being condescending here - but, can you blame me?)

I tried to go to a book club once - our neighborhood has one - it drove me nuts. First of all, the book choice was abysmal and hoplessly shallow in a non-funny way (and no, I'm not going to tell you what it was because I'm afraid someone would possibly purchase it to see if I'm right and indirectly help that author write another book by contributing to their success). And the cows at the book club sat around talking about how "True" it was and getting way too deep on stuff that, seriously, I think the froth on my mocha double-caf has more substance than. Ok, so I know that's a badly put together sentence, but you get my point. It was like they had found the cure for cancer within the lines of this bathroom book (that actually, I wouldn't have in my bathroom - I've got Politically Correct Bedtime Stories in the powder bath for guests - and I'm secretly praying that if they ever have cause to read any of it while utilizing the facilities, they'll notice there's also a can of Febreeze Air Freshener behind the toilet... everyone may like their own brand, but I don't need to smell the demons you just exorcised, thank you). I had to wonder if any of them had actually read anything worthwhile.. ever. So, I asked them about various books that, by all rights, they SHOULD have read in school/or were considered to be important: To Kill a Mockingbird, The Agony and the Ecstacy, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, Farenheit 451, or The Great Gatsby. Seriously, how anyone can make it through High School or College and NOT have read these books is beyond me. And they're important pieces of fiction writing. But, to my shock, horror, and utter dismay at the educational system in general, I was met with blank stares and furrowed brows. If you have to think hard about it, it obviously didn't do much for you. Seriously. One guy responded, "I've seen the movies of most of those; we saw Farenheit 451 and To Kill a Mockingbird in school." And another lady went off on a tangent about how great of a remake "Bride and Prejudice" was from the first "Pride and Prejudice" movie that she thinks A&E did. Ok, I need to go throw up now. Needless to say, I am far too cool for that book club and it was the last time I went.

Why is it that it takes a movie to make so many books cool? And when did reading become unfashionable? Seriously, I think my imagination does a far better job than most Hollywood productions ever could dare hope for. And typically, with cuter guys. Of course, most of them star ME in my cutest form, but hey - that's what makes it great. Again, it is my world. I was talking with Eric last night about book-movies. I'd rather read the book before I see the movie - because, realistically, the movie can not pick up all the intricate little details that make a good book great. And, I like to poke fun of the movie-makers for screwing it up by leaving out things that I found important. Which is, of course, why I think it's important to go see movies with smart-alecks and wise-crackers. At a venue where they serve alcohol. I must now pause for a brief moment to pay homage to The Movie Grill in Plano. I can hear the "ahhh!" sounds of the chorus behind me as I write this. It is brilliant beyond brilliant to be able to watch "Failure to Launch" or "You, Me, and Dupree" with a good martini or margarita in hand. Oh CRAP! I'm supposed to be out with Regan watching a chick flick right now.


Ok, so it IS good that I'm using the calendar on myspace and my phone to keep up with my life. It would be BETTER if I actually put the right dates in it, though. Chick-flick with Regan is NEXT weekend. Oops. Oh well, at least I'm not an hour late now. It's all about the little things, people. So, I'll just take a brief moment to address the calendars and technology before I go do something slightly productive (or what could mask for productive) with my day - even if it's just to get out of my jammers and straighten my hair for tonight. So, I've switched to the Treo, which I'm loving. Wish I had bought that phone first and saved myself $200 (because you KNOW Cingular didn't pony up the difference between the two phones when I switched them out). The calendar function is pretty cool, like I said.. and, as an added benefit you can beam your schedule into someone else's calendar. That confused me. So, I asked a guy at work about it while he was fixing some of my settings. "Oh," he said. "Yeah, that's cool; you can beam your schedule to your significant other's palm or treo and then you'll have your lives synched up." First of all, yes, he did say "significant other" and secondly... um, pardon? Isn't that what communication does for you? I do this fairly regularly with friends and family. It's called asking a question: "What do you have going on tomorrow/this week/this month/your life?" And it spurs conversation. If it's something applicable to me or that I need to remember, I make a mental note or write it down. The idea of being so busy that I need to beam my S.O.'s schedule into my palm (if they live in the same house, I guess I KIND of get it if you're in different households) is slightly disturbing to me. Maybe I'm a relic, but I think I prefer old-fashioned conversation.
OMG, I almost had a heart attack. I thought I had lost all of my old blogs - when the "view blog" page comes up, it didn't display all of them - just the last few. Not that anything I'm writing is worthy of a literary award or will change the face of humanity, but I want to be able to reference back on them. Some of the situations in my blogs are being used to for my writing - and with the death of my laptop, I have no other back-up! The wave of relief that washed over me when I saw the "Older/Newer" blog links was insane. Seriously - that might have been a better feeling than sex. Maybe. At any rate, you can click on the 'older' link and pull up your (my, because I know you read them over and over again like I do, lol) old blogs.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Myspace Migration: Champagne Thursday

Ok, yes, my girlfriend and I totally ripped this off from Failure to Launch after we saw it in theatres... but come on, it's cool.. it's fun to sit on the porch at night with your gal pal and chitty chat. So, I have a lot to celebrate with Champagne Thursday this week. First of all, the company that owes me money is wiring it. So, yay! (Hopefully, they wire the whole fee) Secondly, I don't have to move. I get a new lease that will take me through May 2008. That works for me. I hate moving and now I get to keep the entertainment center! That's definately worth celebrating. Thirdly, I had a fun evening last night, a good evening planned for tomorrow night, and an interesting weekend ahead. I'm bubbly! Finally, got a really good handle on the inventory of candidates that I have - I think I'm going to hire someone to help me with this. I have nearly a million dollars of placeable candidates right now.
Will write more later.

Well, bummer - having to do champagne Thursday alone tonight. That blows. T has a sick little one, though; so.. .it's just me, a bottle of champagne (that I've made a serious dent into) and a bin of strawberries. I'm enjoying them on my own :) However, the whole point of champagne Thursday is to have GIRL TIME! Oh well... life will go on. I love the bubbles in champagne. Seriously; kind of fun to watch (not for long, though - I'm not a cat). While we're on the subject of digestables... next time you eat strawberries - take a moment to run your tongue along the strawberry (or your strawberry along your tongue). If you're into tactiles, this is really a cool thing - strawberrys feel rather cool, and tickle your tongue with the little bumps on them. I don't do it often, but I find that rather amusing.

I have nothing of any real significance to discuss this evening, at least not in relation to my life. There's a book I need to be reading, though - so I guess I'll go get to it.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Myspace Migration: Manic Monday

Current mood:tired
Or wait, do I mean frantic? Today's been nuts and I'm loving it! I love fast-paced week-days... like the hustle and bustle of industry. Have several searches that require my immediate attention and did some work for it over the weekend that's paying off in spades today. Yes, I do feel like the next American Bad-ass when I can have two new candidates that are 100ead-on matches submitted to a position I just received on Friday.

I've got to finish up 2 PTA plans of work before 5:45 so I can get them to Jennie (the PTA president) when I pick up the disposable cameras to pass out to all the teachers. I've taken on the responsiblity of Yearbook Chair this year for the PTA and acquired the Sponsorship Chair responsibility yesterday by default. No big; I'm good with multi-tasking and I've got delegating down pat over the last few weeks. The kids get to meet their teachers today - I'm SO excited for them!

I really want to fit in a good workout today. Just have some unresolved tension I'd like to burn out. Wonder if I'll get the time, though.... maybe I can sneak out early if my 2:15 meeting doesn't run too late???

Ok, so we met the teachers. I did get the Plans of Work done, the volunteer hours logged, and the cameras put in the right hands. Now, we were about 30 cameras short, but hey -it's a start!ÃI'll see if Target will donate some tomorrow. Natalie has Lindsey's second grade teacher - she'll be good for her, keep her challenged. And, of course, Natalie is everybody's friend - she had at least 5 "best friends" that made it into class with her this year. She's too funny for words.ÃLindsey was given what appears to be an excellent teacher, but there's a snag ('cause you know, perfection would be too much to ask for!): Fran is in Lindsey's class.ÃFran is a little girl that literally tortured Lindsey in 2nd grade. I requested for them to not be in the same class last year and honestly, mostly forgot about her. But this girl is pure evil in a child form. She'd tell Lindsey that she couldn't wait for her to die, so maybe she (Fran) should kill her herself and that she was looking forward to Lindsey's funeral so she (Fran) could spit in her grave. Seriously, that's deranged junk to be coming out of a child under 10. Lindsey would come home freaked out - and honestly, while I told her to ignore it, I don't completely blame her. She (Fran) told the other kids she'd beat them up if they played with Lindsey - it was NOT GOOD. Bottom line, I do NOT want my daughter in the same class with that girl. However, I know that Mrs. Clark is the best teacher for Lindsey and I don't think it's necessarily right for me to request that Fran be moved - she's not my child. So, I don't know exactly what to do. I think I'm going to email Mrs. Bolte and request she call me so we can discuss it and come up with an action plan together. I just don't want Lindsey to get used to this class and then be moved. And, I'm so excited for her about this school year because she finally has the opportunity to have a NORMAL year - she hasn't been sick since her surgery and I'm really pleased with her speech progress.

I realized when I got home that I'm really quite somber this evening. Maybe I'm just tired - or tense, not sure. I SO wish the massage therapist was available right now - my back is in knots. My meeting ran long, so I didn't get my workout in. I think I'm going to go meditate or something while the girls are in their bath. Maybe do that CORE workout thing.. that might be good.

Ok, I obviously don't have meditation down. Someone told me once that the reason Yoga's cool is because it hurts so much you can't think of anything else. Maybe I've never done Yoga correctly, because it's never really hurt that badly for me - but, the concept of blocking out all thoughts is appealing - and one I haven't conquered yet. BUT, tonight was the season premiere of Weeds; which, as we all know, I'm hopelessly addicted. Seriously, that is one 30-minute period where I can space the world out effortlessly. And the season opener was AWESOME! I was cracking up at parts of it - I love dry humor. Next episode looks like it's going to be better than this one was, though. Definately a bright spot in my day.

Although, the best moment of the day came after Weeds when I was sitting in the living room singing to myself. Natalie came down; she couldn't sleep. So, I made her some hot chocolate and while we were waiting for it, we danced around in the kitchen while I sang to her. She likes it when I sing her jazz. I'm telling you, it's moments like that ... that's what life's about. It's all about the little things.

Well, I guess I'm signing off for the evening (unless I hit some sort of ephiphany at 3am that I just can't wait to blog until tomorrow). I made myself a hot drink, too... I'm hoping I can trick myself into going to sleep. 4:30 is going to roll around pretty early tomorrow and I've got a big day - gotta get the girls going for school. I hope everyone else is climbing into their own beds with a smile like the one I have pasted on my face right now. Night all.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Myspace Migration: Weekend Blog

Not a whole lot planned for today, and I'm simply in a state of bliss over it. We might go to the art museum after church tomorrow, but today, we're chilling out.
I got sleep last night. I mean deep, dreamless, restful sleep. I was out early (before 11) and didn't wake up until 6 this morning. It was beautiful. This morning, Nati and I watched "The Goodbye Girl" on TV while I worked on my laptop. We had breakfast in bed (well, ok, she had breakfast, I had coffee). It was a lovely way to start the day, but she totally nailed me. Ok, this movie is a total chick flick in which the female lead has the tendancy to put up these emotional barriers, but really she's a sucker for romance. So, of course, my 7-year-old kid says rather poignantly, "Hey Mom - that's like you! You're like her!" Yeah, except I leave them rather than have them leave me. LOL Kids. That was a little too much inight for my taste, so I had her grab Legally Blonde. That's guaranteed to dumb down a room.
I am a closet romantic, though - but Shhhh... it's a secret. ;) So, have to think of something fabulously fun to do with the girls this weekend since it's their last weekend of freedom before they start school next week. Wish me luck!
So, I've been ditched. My kids have decided they'd rather play with their friends than hang out with silly, old Mom. Why, I can't even imagine... I LOOOOOVED hanging out with MY Mom when I was their age. Oh well, it'll give me time to do some laundry, gloat over the kick-butt candidate I landed while working this morning and try to find some burled walnut frames for the new photos for my bedroom. I'm going with pictures of places I've been/want to see.. and I think I want one of those antiqued, oversized, gold-leafed maps to put over the loveseat in the bedroom. I don't know, though - that feels more like an office piece. I need something smashing for over the loveseat, though - it's a huge blank wall waiting for my mark!
I wish I had something really cool to think about this morning, but I've had chick-flicks on in the background, so it's really chick-ish thoughts running through my head - nothing really worth ruminating on.
I HAVE to go see the movie Trust the Man.. I guess I'm assuming it hasn't come out yet. I was doing laundry, flipping through channels and saw a "making of" segment (yes, I'm a geek, I really get into those). Anyway, the director was talking and it sounds like a great, smart-aleck-type-romantic-comedy. And, since I like laughing in theatres (really do not understand the concept of paying to see something that you know IN ADVANCE is going to bum you out - aren't movies supposed to be entertainment??) and I adore all things wise-arsed... I figured this is a must see. Plus, it's got Julianna Moore, whom I adore and David Duchoveny (sp?) who does nothing for me, but isn't dismal as an actor. Ok, just had to blog that so I wouldn't forget it later.
My kids have no culture. How did I end up with un-cultured children? I know, don't say it - because I don't force it. I figure it'll come with age. Seriously, though; they just decided they'd rather go tomorrow after my meeting with Jeff and Steph. Which is cool, because Mom was griping about us going to the musuem without her. I don't really have the heart to tell her that I do that regularly, anyway. So, instead they're going to play with these kids that are moving after this weekend, and then this evening I'm going to take them to Glorias and Double Dip.
I had tortilla soup for breakfast this morning - nothing else sounded good. Watched "Failure to Launch" at 3am this morning - I think it's funny that every now and again I'll become cognisant of the fact that I literally cheer at the end of a romantic comedy. There's the compulsory "Yay!" that must be said when they get together. I'm such a girl.

Myspace Migration: Versions of Ourselves

Ok, I know I'm adding to the other blog this weekend to cut down on the number of entries. I also know there's half a dozen other things I could or should be doing, but all I really want to do is write. So, that's what I'm going to do...
I was reading Susan's blog - (and, for those of you who like blogging and enjoy reading blogs, you must check out Susan likes Bandwagon's blog.. it's awesome) and was reading her blog on conformity - I think it's titled Words of wisdom for the non-conformist. It's a great blog and she's right - it does have a lot of substance and provokes thought. What more can you ask for Susan? Ok, back on point (have you ever noticed I bunny-trail a lot? I can't decide if it's a by-product of A.D.D. or if there's so many thoughts running around in my head I can't keep track of them all): she mentioned versions of herself and that struck a chord with me that I wanted to expound upon.

How many different "versions" of ourselves do we have? Are they seperate entities, or are they woven together to create one whole of ourselves?
Shoot, wanted to delve further into this, but Dad's on his way to fix my computer - need to get stuff ready. Will do it later.

Ok, so Dad came, but my computer is not fixed and now my monitor settings are screwed up, too (not sure if that's Dad or the electrical storm, though). Before I logged back on, I watched the electrical storm on the porch with some Reisling and wrote more, so... Continuing on:

So, do we present completely different people or just different facets of the same person? One would have to argue that unless you are struggling with a psychological disorder that it really could not be completely different people. So, to that end, there must be a "core you" that is present at all times and different facets of your personality that you can then choose to present/display as situations dictate? Which, can appear to be different versions of you and is probably why two people can see the same person in a completely different light.

So, who am I at my core? What comprises the "core Crystal?" I guess, to find that answer, I have to look at the constants in the different "versions of me." What stays the same? I guess, no matter what situation I'm in, I want to excel. There is really no time where I don't want to win, achieve, succeed, am not competitive, and so on... I don't neccessarily always want to sacrifice someone else to get ahead (there are the rare occassions where I don't care/it's an acceptable consequence to the situation); but, I will say that being among the best is a constant to my personality and so is a core piece of me.

It would probably be fair to say that I am also cerebral - there is no version of myself presented where I am not thinking, trying to learn, or be intelligent. I can't do the "dumb blonde" thing (which is such a misnomer - the most gooberish person I know has black hair). I can be ditzy on occassion, but it's more like "foot in mouth" syndrome. Anyway, even when I'm having fun, I like being an intellectual. I am inquisitive, in some versions of myself, I like to question, in others, I like to explore. And, I think, at my core, I'm a fun person. Or, perhaps, a fun-seeker. No matter what part of my personality is showing, I'm looking for "fun" and to "have a good time." Maybe that's why I'm so keen on enjoying my job. Now, my ideal of "a good time" ranges from snuggling on the couch, to having a good conversation, to listening to music/playing chess, or bungee jumping, camping, riding little race cars, or a myriad of other things that I get a kick out of. Fun is important to me. I'm sure you are thinking, "Yeah, but for whom is it not?" Take a close listen to me sometime over the course of a day or two - you'll hear the word "fun" come up at least a dozen times or two.

Where it gets more murky for me is in the little things (and it's all about the little things, right?)... things like feelings and sense of adventure. I enjoy adventure and risk-taking, but there are areas of my life where I'm quite reserved and conservative. I enjoy people.. there are very few situations in which I enjoy being alone.. even when I'm hurt, I deep down want to have someone around me (usually specific someones) to comfort me/work through things with if I can let the wall down long enough to let them know that (As an aside, "the wall" and "the rules" are both topics I need to explore further, but I'm not sure if myspace is the right forum those particular by-products of my neurosis). But, I can turn off my feelings - I can be reserved, even callous towards others. I can block off what I feel for what I believe is right - and yes, those can be mutually exclusive. Is that normal?? But, the rub is that I don't really know if that's who I am at my core, or what I've become through conditioning as some sort of safety mechanism.

So, there's still probably more to say on this - but, my brain is a little worn out on this subject and I want to address different types of people and the kind of people we/I want in our/my lives/life. That's gotta be a different posting, I think.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Myspace Migration: Just a Quick Funny

Can't believe I forgot to blog this earlier - we stopped by an Arby's on the way home, and would you believe they were OUT OF ROAST BEEF??? Seriously, they're ARBY'S - they're all about the roast beef. How do they run out of their staple ingredient?? Anyway, that just struck me as hilarious and I had to share

Myspace Migration: Playing with the Big Boys

So, I'm topgrading my business - right now, I've got a lot of "Big Boss" searches (DPs) and so I'm talking with the real movers and shakers in my industry. Gotta say, it's thrilling. I'm getting very strategic information about my market space and gaining a more chiseled understanding of why certain companies are doing what they're doing.

There's an interesting tick to playing with the big boys, though - I'm not one. And, truly, it's an advantage. But, it's interesting to me because I have to almost play a different character with each one of these guys. Some of them want to "school me" on the industry, so I let them. You know, they're looking for the fun, giggly Crystal. That's cool, she's in my repetoire. Some of them really appreciate the fact that I know my stuff and like the more high-powered, no-nonsense Crystal. I've got her down pat, so that's fine, too. Some of them are a little too flirty for my taste, but I'm told that's normal, so I'm rolling with it. I just think it's interesting the different faces we have to put on to get the job done.

More later, gotta go to Raph's with Jackie and eat good Mexican food and drink GREAT Margaritas!!!

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Myspace Migration: Today, Tomorrow & Points to Remember

Ok, so I have wine and company waiting for me on the back porch of the home that we're staying at. Shirley (the grandmother) has been SO sweet and inviting. It was really great to get to meet her. Just wanted to name a couple of points for me to expound upon later, because my head is still swimming with personal stuff....

1. Niagara Falls
2. Goofy Mediterranean Guy and his HORRIBLE, cheesy pick-up dialogue
3. Being Spanish
4. The place we ate
5. My camera
6. Happy Bunny Says, "You Should Always be Single!"
7. The Frog and the Prince
8. Work - Partner Track?
9. Jason and his birthday
10. Dating Vs. DATING
11. The kid and the crush
12. The Songs in my head "I jumped in with haven't you heard of, closing the GD door..." - and other equally awesome, applicable songs to my life right now..

Ok, that's the MAIN points of what I wanted to write about today. I'll expound on them later - this will just keep me from forgetting! Off to drink wine, start the journey back home tomorrow.

Myspace Migration: Expounding As Promised

I'm home. And, I've cancelled my trip to San Antonio/Austin. I'm done travelling until October, actually - unless I get a wild hair to go to New York next month, but I doubt I will at this point.
Ok, so the points I wanted to expound on yesterday and a few more:

1. Niagara Falls was totally fun. Loved the Maid of the Mist, really enjoyed getting to hear/see/even somewhat taste the falls (no, I did not drink the water, the mist was everywhere). Got some gorgeous pictures to post. It was interesting the gap between the American side and the Canadian side - never fails to amaze me. The Canadian side was gorgeous, well-manicured, and very much a beautiful place to experience. The lines were long for the Maid of the Mist on that side, though. The American side was not beautiful, not well-laid out, but no lines. We went to the American side to ride the Mist. Had lunch at Tu Tu Tango - very hip little art cafe in Canada. Great food, good sangria and a waiter that looked a lot like Vin Diesel. I'd say it was a roaring success.

2. The Glass Gallery. There's this place just downwind from the IMAX theatre where they blow glass. We went in. I was looking for a glass guitar for my brother and the manager spotted us and came over. The guy launched into the cheesiest pick-up SAGA (because it FAR exceeded a pick-up line) that I had ever heard. Obviously, the guy has no clue that I'm impervious to such things because, in all actuality, I have no heart. (lol) Anyway, I'm listening to the guy ramble on and on about how I remind him of some mediterranean chick with all the usual (very sexy, beautiful, mysterious - yada, yada brain is off thinking about other things because, really, we don't believe it when a stranger says that stuff, anyway) junk when he finally says something that snaps me back into attention: "My philosophy in life is if it feels good, it must be good - so, do it.. even if it's bad, if it feels good, it is..."

Ok, I am so attuned to what he's really getting at here, but the concept is intruiging and worth expounding on. So, I do: "What if everyone thought that way?" Of course, he launches into some wierd diatribe about American Husbands, which was not an answer, so I retreat back into myself and ponder this one a bit. What if we all followed that theory? The world would go to hell in a handbasket faster than I could write this novella, that's what would happen. Rules exist for a reason - they're not bad. They protect us, perpetuate us, drive us, challenge us - to just live off feelings makes us completely willy-nilly and totally selfish. Anyway, Marciello, or Marishino or whatever his name was (seemed like a Guido to me, you'd have to ask Jackie what his name ACTUALLY is, she'd remember) was left at that point. I just walked off and left him with Brooke. Couldn't stomach any more. Guys really need to get it through their head that the best pick up line is a simple "Hello. I'm So-and-So and you know, you seem interesting (insert intruiging, exciting, or some other such adjective that doesn't involve pure asthetics) and I'd like to get to know you better..." is the best way to go.

3. Being Spanish - I found it interesting that the guy brought up that I looked European - I've had a lot of people say that I look Spanish now that my hair is back to it's natural darkness. I'm the whitest white person I know - so don't get that, but it's fun to hear!

4. I want to start a Tu Tus Cafe here with music, as well - open mics or something. I think that'd be well received. It was very chic, this place - everything on the walls was available for purchase and the food was served on painter's palettes. Very eclectic.

5. My cameras - both the one on the phone and my Kodak - take really great pictures. My phone has a sport setting that takes a set of 9 pictures every time it's pressed... was very cool. I have some great pictures to put up here over the next couple of days... including one where I'm kissing a frog - what the hell happened to my prince? I feel ripped off. :)

6. I've been Hooked on the Happy Bunny lately. Really want to send the one out that says "I gave you crabs." However, that'd be blanketly untrue (not even really sure what they are) and really cruel - plus, I think you actually have to have sex with people enough to GET crabs to be able to give them. Doesn't really sound like a fun present, though - still, that one cracks me up in a twisted, disgusting way every time I see it. However, I think that I need a "Happy Bunny says, 'I should always be single.'" I'm not sure I'm cut out for relationships - there's so much drama to it! And, it seems like noone can really play straight. Looking back, even I found myself adjusting to what I THOUGHT I needed to portray; not changing who I was, exactly.. but, holding back who I am in order to maintain the order of what I thought needed to be. It's exhausting. And, I'm just having to wonder if that's really a good thing to involve myself in again... because, in reality...

7. ... there's the frog and the prince. The deal is, it's the same guy. The question is, who shows up first? Does the "frog side" of the personality show up when you're dating and like wine, the guy gets better over time? When the ackwardness wears off and you get comfortable, does he get better and "the prince" shows up? Or, does the "prince side" show up first and you get swept off your feet by this totally together, charming man to find out that he's in reality a very messy, wart-covered "frog?" If you could guarantee me that the frog would show up first, I'd be there. Then, I know what I'm dealing with on his worst day up front. The problem is, there's no real way to know until you've handed your heart over to someone. That seems very dangerous.

8. So, the topic of conversation rolls around to Dating Vs. DATING. I realize that I have a different definition of "dating" than most people. To me, "dating someone" is when you go out on a semi-regular to regular basis, but there's no singular relationship. By that, I mean that there's no commitment to one another, you're not exclusive and so chances are, you're dating other people, too. I think you should only have sex with one of those people, but then again, that's just me and I don't like having multiple partners over one span of time. Never have, never will. Then, there's DATING - where you're seeing one person regularly and you're just seeing that person. Maybe not boyfriendgirlfriend status yet, but working towards it, I guess. I've always done the former. I go out, I have a good time, and we each go to our seperate homes. They pay sometimes, I pay others. And, typically, I've gone out with 2 to 6 different guys over one span of time - we're just getting to know each other, you see. It's really just recently that the idea of DATING became acceptable to me... but, you still have to find the person you want to DATE. How do you do that? Do you do it one at a time, or do my version of dating until you find one that you want to DATE?

Men seem to have very different and finite ideas on this. It really seems to have insulted one guy I went out over the course of a month or two not too long ago, that I was seeing other guys while I was seeing him. Now, forget the fact that his ex-girlfriend was still consistently in the picture for what appears to be every moment I wasn't with him (though that does seem slightly hypocritical); he knew going in he was one of three men that I had been talking to. Did he think the other two went away when I accepted a dinner invitation with him? And, should that be the way it should be? I'm not really sure... Other guys I know don't care, because they do it too... I guess this was really #10, I skipped 8 and 9 - don't want to deal with those right now.

There's still more to write, but I'm tired. I'm so glad to be home... but, the house feels really empty right now and there's really noone to call... I guess I'll go sleep. CM

Saturday, August 5, 2006

Myspace Migration: Road Trip!

So, I'm in Pennsylvania. The whys and wherefors are not important. Well, they are, but I don't want to share. The whole trip has been somewhat waylaid and I'm just trying like hell to make the best of it. I have a headache and have spent the better part of the last 24 hours fighting back tears because I'm disappointed, hurt, and angry. Sucks. I'm longing for my own bed, my own wine glass, and my own CD player that I can listen to my "moody playlist" on. I hurt for my friend.

Did have a good day today from an experience standpoint, though. Went to a place called Waldermere Park. Was pretty cool. It's an amusement park that's not really that dissimilar from what you'd find at Coney Island. The funniest part of it was the Geriatric Karaoke that they had going on there. Have a video and picture of it on my phone - in fact, sent one of them (not sure which) out to the people on my personal list from my cell phone. Hopefully, it was the video and there's audio with it. When I get back home, the video's going on here - complete with sound. Will be greatness on a stick. Seriously, this guy has no shame in his game - sounds hideous, but you've gotta respect the enjoyment he was having.

Going to Niagara Falls tomorrow morning - the Canada side. This guy I used to see mentioned Toronto the other day - I'd very much like to go there, I think. Obviously not with him, as we're not seeing each other.. but, it sounds kind of relaxing, believe it or not. I've been thinking about it this week and it sounds fun; probably going to check Netfares or something and go for a weekend here soon. I'm not in a relationship, I don't really have anything that's keeping me from doing weekend jaunts - so, I just might. We'll see. I've got to get through this month first. Get back next Wed. or Thursday and then leave on Friday to take the kids to San Antonio. Saturday is the Alamo and then Austin for the bats. Sunday we come back home (gotta be home by four so I can be there in time for my PTA Chair meeting) and then the kids start school on Tuesday. Which is my father's birthday and my friend, Martin's, birthday. It's also the day Napoleon was born - I know because my father tells me, proudly, every year. :)

I'm really sleepy and I've got a lot of thinking to do before I can get any. I'm trying to work a couple of things out in my head that are giving me serious pause. Will probably write about that later.