Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oh Sherrie

Wow. Two weeks of non activity...

Tuesday nights are now filled with social activity. Geeks Who Drink has gained solid footing at one location here in town, and a second one starts next month. I'm pretty sure I'll be hosting that quiz, which will be at the Broadway location. Plus: different side of town, new crowd. Minus: other side of town, will get home late and will be grumpy the following morning. Yay coffee. Speaking of...

Molly and Michelle got the axe from Starbucks. While I know that the company has been tightening the belt, these are to two people I would never think would be let go. Both have delivered strong results and have been unbelievably loyal.I had dinner with them last night at Bin 555 (yummy tapas, great wines) to commiserate with some other Starbucks managers. Each one has had a different reaction: Michelle cut off all her hair, Molly waved her hands in the air and shared some rage. I think I would have gone bat shit in their situation, full on desk-thumping arms-flailing expletive-shouting bat shit. We ended the night at Dad's Karaoke where Melissa belted out 'I Like Big Butts' and I sang Steve Perry's 'Oh Sherrie' with Molly as my back up dancer. Did I mention we had a lot of wine?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Want A New Drug

What to do when your insides feel like they are going to fall out with every step you take (pretty picture, yes?)? Pop some codeine and bake cupcakes, of course!

I had all the ingredients to make Vanilla Garlic's Mango Lime Cupcakes and added kiwis as garnish. I went a little crazy with the icing bag, I blame the drugs and wine.

I forgot to take pics of the finished product, but since they were so tasty I'm sure they will appear again.

The second freak-out produced these:

My original plan was to make French Vanilla Cupcakes & Rose Meringue cupcakes, but I could not find the #$%#$#@ rose water after hitting five different stores all week. So I just made vanilla on vanilla. And I must have spaced out because instead of 2 additional egg yolks, I added egg whites. So.. yeah.. not so much the perfect cupcake consistency. And... I fucked up the meringue, I'm not really sure how but I did. I then tried to make the meringue kisses with the leftovers, but they burned at 6 minutes, right temp. :-( They ended up looking like little dog poos.

Saturday was Geeks quiz master training. Much fun was had buy all. I crashed out for a while afterwards. Brain...hurt...

Now I'm draped on the couch, hoping my insides don't start acting out again.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mr. Roboto

The Good
  • Local universities were on site at work today to spin their spiel. I hunkered down and turned in my application for Our Lady of the Lake's MBA program. Thank you, work, for $10,000 in yearly tuition reimbursement. I just have to come up with the initial payment and also cover my pre-req class.
  • It finally rained thanks to Hurricane Dolly. My plants were looking a bit sad.
  • Went out twice this week. Woo hoo! And it's only Wednesday!
The Bad
  • Intellectual stimulation escapes me. I find myself staring off into space. A lot.
  • Carbs. They are yummy. Especially when covered in butter.
  • One giant callus on the ball of my foot, making it hard to wear cute shoes or to run.
The Ugly
  • Have not made it to the gym at all. Found all kinds of excuses: I'm not driving this week. There's a hurricane outside. I'm hungry. I need to get gas. I have gas. My stories are on. I did manage some core exercises in front of the Boob Tube.
  • I have been living on frozen food. Not because I don't have fresh food, but because I'm too damn cheap to leave the AC on 72 all day to keep my fruit and such from melting in the heat. Will try leaving fruit bowl in the living room next grocery trip.

This week will be written off. I can't let myself not go to the gym, if only because I don't want to have to buy bigger pants. :-) Maybe I will take Dad up on his offer to give me his treadmill.

It's so hard not to sing out loud while being a passenger. I don't know how my fellow carpooler would react. At least he makes up for playing Mariah Crazy by following up with some classic Michael Jackson. Will have to introduce him to the classic car sing along:

The actual video here.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Six Underground

Three visits to the gym. *sigh* I could not get up from the couch yesterday. I slept for three hours after lunch. That just means I'm going to pay for it at the gym tomorrow with the trainer. But at least I've stuck to my guns with food. Mostly. :-)

Went a bit over my dining budget, but the sushi and company made it sting less. Tried a new roll at Sushi Zushi, the J Roll (I had a hard time keeping a straight face when ordering it) with out cream cheese. I just don't get the cream cheese. The consistency is just wrong to me, gives me the creeps. Don't get me wrong - I like it on a good bagel, just not on my tuna. Still, sushi makes me giddy.

Even with the dining splurge, little extra at the Saucer on Friday, and a $11 purchase at Ross for my workout ball, I am still on target for the week even with a $50 gas purchase. Rarg!!!!!

HOWEVER... the exciting bit is that I am now officially a Geek Who Drinks. That is to say, I have earned capitalization in that characterization for being dubbed an official quiz master. I didn't flub the audition by stammering or being monotone (I think the two Blue Star Chocolate Stouts helped) and even earned a few laughs. That being said, I don't have my time and location locked in as of yet, but I will be heading out next Tuesday to support the inaugural quiz at the Lion & Rose. Not bad for my first job requiring stand up performance. (I could argue that like the doctor at the bottom of his graduating class who is still a doctor, I could have been the best of the worst but I still made it.)

Weird weekend. That is a non-relationship rant best kept private. [Insert d'oh here]

Week 2 of the carpool begins. Spurs Fan's turn to drive, which rocks since my gas gauge light lit up when I got home. How I miss Boston... and today is the perfect day for Chinese food.
Talk me down, safe and sound
Too strung up to sleep
Wear me out, scream and shout
Swear my time's never cheap
I fake my life like I've lived
Too much, I take whatever you're given
Not enough,

Overground, watch this space,
I'm open to falling from grace

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

She Works Hard For The Money

To save or not to save, that is now the question. I like the idea that I now have some $$ to put away in savings, but the urge to pay off more debt is overwhelming. Laura Rowley posted a great article that speaks to the psychological effects of saving with regards to fixing your personal finances. There are some other interesting topics she writes about, like how we spend in our 20s and begin to, well, pay for it in our 30s and 40s. Yeah...I often wonder what it was I spent $17K on between 1996 - 2002. Some airline travel, food, rent, and a lot of useless crap.Damn it, where was my common sense the days I signed up for credit cards while in college?

Speaking of crap: Crap I Want But Don't Need

  • Gaiam Total Balance Ball Kit ($23.99)
  • Sony Bravia 46" HD LCD TV ($1500)
  • Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion and Poreless Moisture ($74/$45)

After today, I have ONE student loan payment. Wooooohoooo! Extra income! Technically, I could pay off the remainder right now... Pros: it's over and done with, no need to pay the $1.75 in interest. Cons: I take more out of savings (but that's where the money would be going after paying off the loan, so...not really a con when I think about it) Guess I'll get on that later.

And I'm happy to say that I only went over my $50 grocery budget by three dollars. With the rising cost of some items, I may have to re-evaluate that budget. Or not buy wine. :) Decisions, decisions.

Other items purchased out of norm:

  1. $1.98 Two Pria bars, for post-hard core workout snack
  2. $2.99 Donuts and Moon pies for work thing
  3. $7.24 fresh cherries (yes, for 1.45 lbs) !!!!!
  4. $9.99 Cakewalk Wine
$22.20 on extras.

Could have been worse, I could have gone on a cheese buying rampage (and therein is the cause of me not losing more weight. D'oh!)

Dad is visiting today, and we went to have some Mexican food for dinner. Oh, the irony of me being a single Mexican female. We walked it off at Half Price Books, where I dropped $22 on three books and cupcake kit for my new 'hobby.' *sigh* (burp)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Feeling Good

I renegotiated with my bad mood before I finally fell asleep last night, and it seems that the frown has ended it's strike. I even managed to stay in bed past 7 am, believe it or not. Made a pot of coffee, and watched Ratattoile. While it is a Pixar movie, it's also about food so most movies about food are aces in my book. Food, food, fabulous food. Must consider watching Eat Drink Man Woman. Of course, then I'll want Chinese food and I have yet to find any crave-worthy take out in San Antonio.

Read the 'newspaper' online, then onward to some blogs while listening to jazz from the ol' iPod.

JD writes about his big life changes, fitness being one of them. Hmmm. I should get off the couch soon. Maybe after a nap. Not gas-efficient to go to the gym this afternoon, and it is H O T outside for a run (that's Texas for you). Maybe I can convince myself to cut the grass.

Kudos to Fabulously Broke for getting me sucked into Wordle:

It's time for me to delve back into cooking. I have spent so much time over the last year working on managing my finances and becoming fit that my pile of recipes is taller then Grendel.

My treat for lunch today was this:

Basil and tomato brought to me, well, by me. I don't know that making cheese is something I'd want to do, so store bought was good enough with the fruits of my garden. Yum! Can't wait for the pomegranates to ripen.

Now that I read through some food blogs, I really want a chocolate cupcake. I wonder if i have all the ingredients...

Currently listening to Nina Simone. I remember this sone being used for a promo for Six Feet Under and found it. Muse has their version released for the tween-vampire movie, Twilight:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

What You Need

Call it good a good financial decision or a change of heart, but I did not get a tattoo today at the convention as much as I really wanted to. Part of it was that I just couldn't connect with any art that I came across, even though one of the artists did a good job drawing a sacred heart to get done on my wrist. Even with that, though, I couldn't decide if I really wanted it on my wrist.

The other part was that I wasn't sold on spending $250 (!) from my savings. I know that sounds ridiculous considering I now have more than $2K in savings but it took almost two years and two jobs to actually put money into that account. I like the fact that I have a cushion should something come up (like a speeding ticket and defensive driving).

OK, so maybe it's more the former than the latter. This tattoo is at the top of my 'Crap I Want But Don't Need' list, and this particular one has more meaning to it than that ones I already have. Maybe that's another reason why it didn't come to fruition.

Have not had the chance to research the home purchase. Instead, after the interesting week I had, I picked up a couple of books at the discount book store (entertainment on the cheap) and went to Sephora for some retail therapy (more on my product purchase and usage later).

Other happenings at the convention today, Baby Gap got his 'tribal seahorse':

DO waited for the artist that we used at the last convention to be free, but began to get the Itch For Ink and decided to begin the work on the tribute for his mom with a different guy (both of whom thought I was his wife; you can imagine the palpitations DO was having with that and how hard I was trying not to laugh):

Weekly summary:
Stuck to food budget
Got speeding ticket (add defensive driving)
Bought half priced paperbacks
Did not stick to gym plan (though I did go 3x)
Paid for cheap hair cut at Aveda school
Did not spend $250 on tattoo

Oh, and auditions were pushed to next Saturday. There's something to look forward to. Yes, I continue to have trouble turning my frown upside down and it's unbelievably frustrating. I have nothing in my life that I have reason to complain about: good job, financial security, physical health, funny cat, interesting friends. It could be Fight Club syndrome or a 'mid-life crisis.' Or it could be something else entirely. I'm hoping my Sunday coffee & Times ritual will jump start the week.
Hey, here is the story
Forget about your troubles in life
Don't you know it's not easy
When you've gotta walk upon that line
That's why
You need
That's what
This is what you need
I'll give you what you need

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


I need to reconsider reading horror fiction before bed; sometimes that crap lingers in the back of my mind and causes me to jump out of bed when the alarm goes off thinking I'm a vampire hunter. Otherwise not a bad start to the day.

Spent some time reading blogs during the day (yes, while at work...I know) trying to read up on first-time home buying, healthy dinner recipes, decadent cupcakes, personal finance, and mind-numbing entertainment gossip. Some useful sites I came across are:

Lifehacker has 'Top Ten Ways to Trick Yourself into Saving Money.' I was glad to see that some of my 'crazy' tactics were listed: waiting period, high-interest saving, 'crap I don't need' list. Awesome. If it weren't for the new job, I'd not be able to 'splurge' on cable and Netflix. And while one poster recommended online gaming as an alternative to going out to the bar twice a week, I think I'll just make sure my movies are in on Fridays and go to the Saucer every other Friday. And skip the $8 salad.

How It Sucks allows for you to post, well, how much a product sucks. I find myself looking for really nasty reviews, but have yet to find something scathing. Just reading up on a Sony Bravia 46" LCD, which is on my 'crap I don't need' list. :-)

is a personal finance site I like to use just because the idea that it uses kittens to calm you down when you are examining your finances and start to wig out a little. (You have to sign up to see the kittens.) Damn, this is a site I wish I had come up with.

I began this post at the tail end of m lunch hour. If only I had stayed at my desk for a few minutes after five I wouldn't have:

  • been given a speeding ticket for driving 60 in a 45 zone on an access road by the gym. I was completely lost in my own thoughts and didn't see 5-o waiting on the other side of the hill. What thoughts was I lost in? Honestly, I was having a mental pity party on my way to the gym and the ticket only served to push me closer to the edge. I was so angry and distracted at the gym, I had to talk myself into shuffling on the treadmill for 30 minutes.

  • about to beat some crazy girl's face in for tailing me from the gym to the grocery store thinking I was the woman her stupid BF was cheating with. What the hell? Walks up and starts POUNDING on my window. Needless to say, I was livid and words were exchanged. I was really debating whether to call the police (maybe Officer Ticket would respond) or get in Crazy's face. As I'm dialing 911, she stops, looks closer and REALIZES SHE HAS THE WRONG PERSON. :-| Had I not been so dumbfounded, I would have gotten out of the car and who knows what. I explain to the operator that the situation had been resolved and Crazy takes off.

I'm not going to lie, I sat in my car for a few minutes and cried. Did my shopping, came home, ate some chicken (! almost burned out on chicken!), sat in the tub for an hour.

Come to think of it, curling up with Grendel and a vampire novel sounds good right about now.

Reaching for something in the distance
So close you can almost taste it
Release your inhibitions
Feel the rain on your skin
No one else can feel it for you
Only you can let it in
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips
Drench yourself in words unspoken
Live your life with arms wide open
Today is where your book begins

The rest is still unwritten

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


I had my measurements taken with my trainer today. I dropped an inch and a half...from my already small chest. :-| No more weight or body fat loss, more bicep muscle. I've hit another wall. Now it's on to the next step: low/no carbs after 7. (Did I mention my boobs are now smaller?) Good excuse to have a huge breakfast and lunch. Down to one beer on Fridays for at least a month, with a salad. Sundays will be the cheat day, with something super yummy (I'll be damned if I have to buy smaller bras).

To add insult to my self-esteem, I realized I need to wear my clear mouth guard at night because I'm grinding my teeth again. Feh.

Time to scour the 'net for low carb dinners (have I mentioned how hard it is to cook food in small portions?)

Will attempt to go get groceries tomorrow. Thursday will be a test of my wills when I go have dinner with some friends.

...yet another out of context music reference...
Sometimes I get so tense
But I can't speed up the time
But you know, love
There's one more thing to consider

Said, woman, take it slow
And things will be just fine

Monday, July 7, 2008


Weirdest thing made me laugh today: while I was sitting out on the balcony
having my lunch and reading, it began to rain. There were two people at the
table next to me, having an intense and fascinating conversation:

She: Is it raining?
He: Uh huh.
A minute goes by.
Rain comes down a bit harder
She: It's raining harder, huh?
He: Sure is.


I really didn't think that a workout this weekend was going to happen. A girl can hope, can't she? In any case, the trip to Eagle Pass went as expected. Got to spend time with Dad to celebrate his 60th birthday (but I didn't order his present with enough time to arrive, typical) and see two grandmothers and a grandfather. Grandma C I lovingly refer to as Grandma Yoda, as she has the same stature and witticisms as the Jedi Master. In fact, she laughed often to herself while we were having lunch yesterday. I wish she would have shared the joke; it seemed like she was having a blast.

As for my other relatives, I saw Dad's brothers and sisters and realized that this was another mortality check; they are getting older, and logically so am I. At least I didn't have to sit at the kids table. Oh, and only two people gave me relationship advice. (Guess they didn't hear me when I said I wasn't dating anyone.)

Gym today, made it in time for yoga. Crap, my shoulders are killing me. Just when I start to think that I'm somewhat fit, my yoga instructor throws me for a loop. Breathe in, breathe out. Ever notice that you fart more when you are exercising? I've asked a few people who wouldn't think I was completely nuts, and they have experienced ' the cardio toot.' Random, I know.

In a continuing effort to change things up, I am auditioning to become a Geeks Who Drink quizmaster. I think it's half an effort to try something new, half an effort to get over the anxiety of talking in front of people. Yes, I know that last part may come as a surprise to some of you. But it's true; I remember participating in Oratory competitions when I was younger and would always have an anxiety attack before, during and after. Let's add this to my list of masochistic behavior and call it a day.

I still don't know what I was waiting for
And my time was running wild
A million dead-end streets
Every time I thought I'd got it made
It seemed the taste was not so sweet
So I turned myself to face me
But I've never caught a glimpse
Of how the others must see the faker
I'm much too fast to take that test

(Turn and face the strain)
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time

Friday, July 4, 2008

Save It For Later

Sooner or later
Your legs give way, you hit the ground
Save it for later
Don't run away and let me down

This was my cool down song after my 20-minute interval run today, it gave me double motivation: it's going to be a hard and painful road to get to 13 miles but I'm not giving up, and to understand that not everyone can or wants to get back up after being knocked down. Can't hold my breath forever.

Monday: 1.5 miles interval, core
Tuesday: 5 miles elliptical, 1 hour with trainer
Wednesday: rest
Thursday: early happy hour
Friday: 1.5 miles interval, upper body

Off to Eagle Pass tomorrow. I need to get one more run in over the weekend and before I indulge in lots of home cooking.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Under Pressure

Monday: no gym. Dad and Mom were here, and I had to get home to cut the grass before they did. They were almost done in the time it took me to get home from work.

Tuesday: Trainer has to reschedule as she is having morning sickness all day. I complete my 20-minute interval jog and rack up almost a mile and half. Also completed upper-body strength training.

Wednesday: Friend cancels dinner plans. Worked out for 30 minutes on the elliptical, racking up 3 miles. So much easier, but not the goal. Completed core training.

Thursday: No workout, drinks at Kona.

Friday: Should have worked out, drinks at The Flying Saucer and movie night.

Saturday: Just enough time to meet the girls for a fun-filled afternoon. Strength training at home after snacking.

Sunday: Interval jogging around the neighborhood. This was a bad idea as it was 300% humidity outside. I manages 12 minutes before realizing I was soaked in sweat and was struggling to breathe.

Let's see how next week pans out.

In the meantime: Kitten entertainment

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


"I cant get to sleep
I think about the implications
Of diving in too deep
And possibly the complications ...

Its time to walk the streets
Smell the desperation

At least theres pretty lights
And though theres little variation
It nullifies the night
From overkill"

I hadn't heard this song in a really long time until this morning on my way to work, Sirius channel 8 (The 80s) reminded me how awesome Men At Work is. On top of that, I was struck by the lyrics. Sure, we've all been told that we shouldn't worry about the things we can't control, focus on the things we can influence. Try telling that to your sub-conscience when you're trying to sleep and could keep thinking about something or someone.

What's keeping me awake...lack of vocation, complicated emotions, over caffeinated delusions. You know, the usual.

Today also begins my couch-to-5k training plan. As I've been making good progress at the gym, I decided I needed another goal to work on for the next year. My friend Carla inspired me after she decided to sign up for the San Antonio Rock and Roll Marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. So in addition to helping her raise $2k, I figured I'd get my own unproductive ass and train to join her next year. I think next year is a good goal, I can't imagine I'll be able to pull 13 miles out of my ass by this November much less the entire 26. However, I think I can at the very least attempt something smaller this year. My first milestone, I've decided, will be
Soler's Sports Missions 1/2 Marathon, 10K & 5K on October 11, emphasis on the 5K. This is to be followed in March with the Komen Race For the Cure; no walking for m next year! It's quite possible I've gone nuts.

I began my first day with a 25 minute mix of running and walking. Managed almost a mile and half, maxed my heart rate at 182. That's impressive for me who typically starts wheezing at 150 on the elliptical. Three miles in eight weeks. Thirteen mies in 52. Who knows what will be next.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I dragged Luz with me to the Smashmouth/Styx/Boston show with me over the weekend and had an absolute blast. Granted, she had no idea who the bands were and it was hot and muggy, but I sang along to every song and left with a giant smile on my face for having the chance to see such a great show.

Smashmouth did a short set of all their radio hits, and even played two Van Halen songs. Styx did a longer set, although I was slightly disappointed that they didn’t play MR. ROBOTO, LADY, or BABE. Either way, the music was so good. And then of course Boston. How cool is it that a super fan is currently the lead singer? He nailed it.

The highlight of the night for me, however, was Michael Sweet (of the band Stryper, remember Jesus glam rock) singing AMANDA. Yeah, that was awesome. Of course, it’s my secret girl hope that someone will sing this song to me.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's A Beautiful Day

Finally getting to the other side of the mountain, with a clearer perspective on life. With that in mind, my focus today is Top Chef. (Note: I've had a fantastic wish of being a chef for over ten years now. Had I known such things as Culinary School existed, I may have had a different life.)

And then there were five: Richard, Spike, Antonia, Stephanie, and Lisa.

Eww... The challenge is a Tomahawk Steak cutting race in a meat packing facility. Meat is yummy, but a giant slab of cattle just loses the appeal. OOooo! Rick Tramanto is the guest judge for the challenge! Now I really want a giant steak, but I'll have mine cooked medium.

Spike wins the Quick Fire and the troops get to cook in Chef Rick's kitchen. (!!!) I had dinner about half an hour ago but watching them get their dishes together is making me hungry.

And look who are the guest judges: Harold, Huang, and Ilan. The former is being constructive, the latter two are being snobby. Even the other judges aren't as harsh. I think it's between Richard and Spike to go home.

For the record, I like to laugh when I hear some of the pretentious crap that comes out of any judge's mouth during any of the tastings. It's the same reaction I have when I hear people talk about wine.

Moving on... I will post this and watch the end, chatting w/DO by text and guessing who will be the Final Four.

I will say that writing vapid thoughts about 'reality TV' helps keep my mind occupied. I've come to terms with losing my friend and now I'm learning to accept that the sky will be a little less blue for some time. It's still surreal, but life continues and I choose to live it with open arms.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Ain't No Sunshine

from the San Antonio Express News:

Lisa Marie Castro, born March 15, 1970 in San Antonio, TX, went to be with the Lord on May 18, 2008 at the age 38. She was preceded in death by her father, Alejandro Castro. Lisa is survived by her mother, Inez Castro and companion, Robert Engel; her brothers, Alex and Mark Castro; aunts and uncles, Mary Arroyo, Celso Zepeda, Victoria Matustik, Consuelo and Raymond Gutierrez (her godparents), Jose Zepeda, Janie Kypuros, Lupe Tygett, Marty Zepeda and Isabel Zepeda. She is also survived by many loving cousins and a multitude of faithful friends.

Click to play Lisa Marie

Until I see you again on the other side of the shore, I love you...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Give Me Something to Believe In

(Christmas 2006: Suze, Claudia and Carla up front, Lisa Marie and I in back)

Since I was flying out today to visit Mom, I took Friday off and spent a good chunk of it with Lisa Marie in the hospital. Had a conversation with her, fed her some Whataburger and fries that her Auntie Marty brought over, but I mostly watched her sleep.

So I prayed.

Well, I tried to. It's been ages since I've actually done it so instead I had a conversation with God. And I held Lisa's hand. I wasn't able to tell her all the things I wanted to without making her upset, so instead I focused on making her laugh.

It was really hard not to start bawling when I went to grab a bite and beer with DO and Nat after leaving the hospital. I did lose it a bit after getting home and having a few beverages; DO encouraged me to cry it out.

All we can do now is wait. I have such mixed feelings about my trip to New England today...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Somewhere over the rainbow...

I hate hospitals. I know I've said it before, but each visit seems to only get worse. On top of this, I walked in with greater dread and tears in my eyes today. I found myself rubbing a huge glob of the free hand sanitizer on my hands the entire elevator ride.

My beautiful friend, my sister from another mother, is dying. The doctors came back and said yesterday that the cancer is metastatic and that they will manage her pain and illnesses in an effort to keep her comfortable. Two weeks at best, two months tops.

I've said these words five times today, and it's still not getting better.

What. The. Fuck.

I'm angry.
I'm angry that the hands I held will no longer be able to play with her dog.
I'm angry that she won't be able to go shoe shopping and comment on the smells of the store.
I'm angry that she won't be able to go for her long hikes, shop at Whole Foods, bake giant chocolate chip cookies, or try new wines.
I'm angry that I won't have her around to do all the sisterly things she's ever done.
I'm angry that the world is losing a great spirit, compassionate heart, and funny soul.

I'm scared that she won't be here when I get back from visiting Mom.
I'm scared to say goodbye to her, I don't know that I'll have the words to tell her what a wonderful friend she is.

My dearest Lisa Marie -
I am a better person because of your friendship. Your endless patience, curiosity and compassion has taught me that there is always a light in the storm, laughter in the heart ache, goodness in everyone, adventures to be had, and so much more.

My beautiful sister -
You've held my hand when my heart was breaking, reminding me that it would all pass. You've listened and shared at our sushi talks and martini laughs, reminding me that great friends are hard to find. I've valued your honesty and support more that I can express.

My beloved friend -
You are stronger than all of us, fighting and laughing your way through this so much that the rest of us can't help but smile. There are too few people who can pull off a feather boa and funny socks in a hospital gown.

I need to get these words out now, because I don't think I'll be able to remember them all tomorrow. Will I say the things I need to say?

And for the record, this is a really fucked up deal. Yes, yes, reason for everything, blah blah. Still fucked.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Easy (Like Sunday Morning)

I have reached a strange milestone in my life: not getting trashed at any Fiesta event. Don't get me wrong, I still had a morning Mimosa yesterday at Susie's King Williams Fair breakfast which was followed by a fresh strawberry margarita. And even at lunch, which I chased with another margarita and a Dos XX, I still had my wits about me enough to drink enough water to get through the rest of the day. *Shrug* C'est la vie.

Additionally, I woke up at seven this morning. Typical. As I pulled out of my drive way to go the store, I contemplated taking Rude Neighbor's Sunday paper since it looked like they were out for the weekend. *Sigh* Couldn't do it. Even when I returned and saw it still lying on my side of the property line, I walked over and dropped it on their porch. Stealing their paper wouldn't help me feel better after spending $90 at the grocery store (!!!WTF!!!) and it would be bad karma.

What could I have possibly bought at the store to have spent so much? Gardenburgers, veggie patties, fruit, lunch snacks for the next 12 days, Mothers' Day cards for my two moms and grandmother, kitty litter, frozen meals for lunch, Clean and Clear toner (even though I reallyreallyreally want to get the $35 toner I love at Sephora), and Swifer floor cleaner. It's amazing to me that I feel more pain having paid that much at the grocery store and yet don't bat an eye spending that on clothes. Note to self: Food is much more of a necessity!!

To cheer myself up before heading outside and working on the yard, I treated myself to a batch of banana chocolate chip pancakes and a cup of Starbucks coffee, since I still have connections for a free pound of beans now and then. (Who am I kidding? I make these every other Sunday.) Did some other chores, read the NYT online, then headed outside. Talk about a great cardio workout! Cut both the front and back yards, replanted the basil and hibiscus, and prune the wisteria. I wanted to get this done rather quickly since the wind was picking up and the clouds were rolling in. I should have kept that in mind when I climbed off my ladder because the wind knocked it over and whacked me on the head. :-| I am not amused. Less amusing is that as I type this, Rude Neighbor's newspaper is still outside.

Sunday thoughts: travel, real estate, the election & economy.

Travel. How rational would it be to plan a vacation to India and save to buy a home? it's been a while since I've had a vacation. Jury is still out. Although, I can almost smell the spice markets.

Real Estate. I need to save $15 - 18K. Unacceptable. And that wouldn't even be the desired 20% down payment that's recommended. Plus, then there's all the stuff that needs to go inside. I can't wait for the day I don't have recycled family furniture. I may need that last pancake.

The election & economy. I think it's all talk. Hill and O want to investigate gas price fixing. Investigation doesn't fix the immediate problem that there are people who already struggling to make ends meet and $3.50 a gallon isn't helping. Old John is suggesting a gas-tax holiday. Again, no immediate effects. It's all about supply and demand, folks. More countries demand crude, more people want to make more money off of it. So what do we do? Do we look into domestic production? Then we'd have to consider ecological effects. Seriously, what's up with the reserve? Last I read, there are over 700 million barrels in our domestic reserve, although that might make OPEC tighten the belt. I'm glad my Jetta is fuel efficient, but I fear that gas may get up to $5 this time next year. Although now I'm considering looking into teleporting to work.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You're So Vain

In my quest to be fiscally frugal, I have often made decisions to not purchase things on a whim: the cute tan sandals priced at $45; a strapless summer dress for $125; a Wii/Xbox or Playstation $399. Self-control has been a difficult learning that’s taken years for me to integrate into every fiber of my short-term-attention-span being. Even with my most recent bonus pay I used 60% of it to pay credit debt:

$2000 to pay down MBNA Card #2, leaving $432.
$ 978 to pay off and close MBNA Card #1

Remaining Debt:

    $3160 Discover (transfer from two other cards to get better rate)
    $2350 Bank of America (There was no reason for me to have ever opened this)
    $ 387 Nordstrom’s (The excitement of the store’s Grand Opening)
    $ 642 Amex (Upcoming trip to visit Mom and attend my college reunion)
    $ 720 Student Loan (Yeah!)
Yes, I’ve become a tightwad. Two people have commented that I should at least get something for myself, as it is a bonus and should treat myself to something reasonable. (I guess spending $50 to take my dad to dinner and the $44 for a long overdue pedicure plus tip wasn’t enough.) So I’ve decided to sign up for twelve sessions with a personal trainer at the gym. :D

While I would normally never consider this purchase (and the trainer I met with needs a little work on a genuine smile), I’ve rationalized it as follows:

$780 =$65 per session, 12 sessions
-$319 = $400 Health & Wellness Benefit Paid in July from Work - $81 for Q1 gym fees
-$400 = $600 estimated Tax Rebate on May 16 ( need the balance to pay for trip)
$ 61 = Out of pocket expense ($5.08 per session)

I’ll have to eat up the rest of my gym membership myself, but I was already doing that before my new job. And, this is something for myself and not just another toy (although a giant flat screen with a game console to boot would be kinda fun). It may be just appealing to my vanity, but whatever. Along with getting out of debt, getting into shape has been my other focus. I can't wait to see some results.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Three Little Birds

Today was a Bob Marley day. By that, I mean I would hum or sing one of his songs when I started thinking about the tornado in my head: an issue with work that I wanted to take care of first thing, Lisa Marie still in the ICU, the fight my brain and my heart continue to have. To remedy this, I blared Three Little Birds from the stereo as I got ready for work.

Rise up this mornin',
Smiled with the risin' sun,
Three little birds
Pitch by my doorstep
Singin' sweet songs
Of melodies pure and true,
Sayin', ("This is my message to you-ou-ou:")

Singin': "Don't worry 'bout a thing,
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right."

Two out of three isn't so bad. The work issue is mostly resolved, but it was somewhat frustrating to get through all the steps. Fortunately, I've some support in a handful of coworkers and they help me navigate all the procedures and drama that comes up.

On my way to visit Lisa Marie, I played No Woman No Cry. I know the song has only to do with hard times Bob had, but the chorus is really all everyone remembers.

My feet is my only carriage,
So I've got to push on through.
But while I'm gone:

No, woman, no cry;
No, woman, no cry.
Woman, little darlin', say don't shed no tears;
No, woman, no cry.
I don't think there are many people who like to visit hospitals. The smell, the despair, the pain. (Unless you're visiting the newborns in L&D, which makes almost everyone smile.) Try as I might, I couldn't stop my shoulders from tensing up as I walked in, preparing myself for the ICU party. I was doom and gloom for no good reason: Lisa Marie was being prepped to be moved back down to the post-surgery floor which means she should be able to start physical therapy by the end of the week if there are no further complications. Good times all around, boo-hooing for nothing. I can't help it. I am a natural worry-wart and all around spaz. I do feel a lot better about her health today, but there are still other hurdles for her to jump.

As for the other topic of torture... I give you Satisfy My Soul.
(Satisfy my soul) You satisfy my soul (satisfy my soul);
You satisfy my soul (satisfy my soul).
Every little action (satisfy my soul),
there's a reaction (satisfy my soul).
Oh, can't you see what you've done for me, oh, yeah!
I am happy inside all - all of the time. Wo-oo-o-oo!
There's an interesting theory brought up to me by a wise elder not so long ago, that my heart can withstand all the tears and breaks because I learn more about myself and what I can endure. And while I want to wave the one-fingered salute high and say, 'fuck it all,' it's been true this far. I'll still curse life, karma and God (there's a couple of guys who have really done a number on me), but I continue to think in puppies and rainbows about the whole thing and hope that someday, someone will be up for the challenge.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Twitchy Eyeball Socket Flesh

Sounds appealing, doesn't it? Try having your lower left eyelid twitch for over TWO WEEKS. I am beyond peeved, beyond aggravated. I want to stick my finger in my eye in the hopes that the searing pain of it will get it to stop. Yes, I am that desperate. After looking for any information about this phenomenon (gotta love self diagnosing on the web), the only conclusions I could draw were:
  • dehydration
  • stress
  • brain tumor

Right. While I wouldn't be surprised about a tumor at this point, I'm willing to bet its one or both of the first two. I've been drinking a lot of water and juice, even treating myself to a Route 44 Cherry Lime slush. I think I'm pretty low stress, though, as I haven't been exhibiting my typical stress behaviors of not sleeping for days and been Extremely Bitchy. Going to The Doctor is my last resort, 'though I've racked up a fair share of frequent flier miles there this year. This is abso-fucking-lutely irritating.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Money For Nothing

While I would love to do nothing and make money, that's not my reality. What is pretty real is the amount of debt I've dug out from under; since December 2006 I've cleared more then $9K in debt. I won't get into the horrors of how I got there (that's on another blog), but I am pretty damn proud of myself. Six thousand more to go, and I will be clear of it. I was fortunate enough to cash out my Starbucks stock when it was still good, and that helped out tremendously. Plus, I started a new job and have tried to apply as much extra money as I can as well as any bonuses. I project to have only twenty-five hundred left to deal with by January and can start beefing up my house and emergency fund.

I think I could apply more discipline to my spending habits, and perhaps I can meet my goals that much sooner.

Short Term Goal:
  • Save up to two paychecks in a money market account in case of emergency. Anticipate completion by September.
Mid-Term Goals:
  • Have $20,000 in retirement savings. Depending on market fluctuation, I currently have $12,000. Anticipate completion by 2010. Continue to add in efforts to double contribution total in five years.
  • Purchase home by end of 2010.
Long Term Goal:
  • Save every third paycheck in savings or investment.
  • Travel, travel, travel.

Here's another song stuck in my head today:
Now that aint workin thats the way you do it
You play the guitar on the mtv
That aint workin thats the way you do it
Money for nothin and your chicks for free
-Dire Straits


DO called me out the other day while having a couple of beers at the Flying Saucer and discussing our current state and the recent odd behavior of our friends: "Now you have something to go home and blog about, but you'll have to create pages and pages of back story" The truth of the matter is, I've so far yet to blog about our non-relationship and the events that surround it. And to that, here begins the blog...

The first time I met DO was at a pool hall. He was there with his friend J, I was there with my friends, including C, whom J was dating. DO drank his beer, made some obnoxious comments, and disappeared to the bar.

The second time was at J and C's wedding a year or so later in Eagle Pass, incidentally a few months after DO's mother had passed away. At the time, I was in a relationship that was on it's last leg and had brought JW with me. The traveling troupe of friends ended up all at the same restaurant after the ceremony to kill some time, and DO proceeded to have a lot to say about J marrying C. OK, really it was more like making many barbed comments. Later that night, after everyone had put away numerous alcoholic drinks, DO delivered a toast that rubbed me the wrong way.

A few weeks later my relationship with JW had completely broken down. The next time we were in close proximity was at J and C's house for C's birthday, and I told him what I thought about his toast and his crappy attitude. He responded with an apology and stated that very few people were ever that honest with him. After that, the flirting dance began.

We dated for a few months until one of us got spooked with the idea of a relationship and the potential for seriousness (and for the record, it wasn't me). Since then, we've been in what we both refer to as a 'situation.' Not so much on-again off-again, but not with any clear definition. (Note: While I'm not looking to define a relationship as exclusive or as dating, my brain has difficulty processing our current status) There's discussion here and there, both admitting to caring for the other and all that. DO, however, has come to the conclusion that he is "too immature" to be in a relationship. Kudos for coming to a point of clarity. Not really providing much of a resolution. Patience non-withstanding, it is frustrating at times. As one of my friends told me recently, I've got it bad, sprinkled with some good.

Uncertainty and I just don't seem to get along, but I guess I always hope for a good outcome. I can't help what happens in my head, and I'm sure he can't either. Good old George puts it in some perspective with the song, Faith.

There it is in a nutshell, ('look! I'm in a nutshell!) in all its chaotic beauty. I think it's time for a tasty beverage.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

There, but for the grace of god, I go.

OK, so I'm not imprisoned in the Tower of London and about to watch someone be executed. I am embarking in something just as serious, though, in becoming Godmother to my cousin's son, JD. This means I've been asked to take a vested interest in JD's upbringing and personal development. (That's the view I'm taking as I know my cousin didn't select me for my religious perspective, even though I've completed the necessary sacraments.)
I went to my first 'baptismal' class last Saturday. The Deacon is pretty cool, calm, and wicked intelligent. And while I did keep my personal crazy in check, I need to become a member of the Parish to complete the necessary documentation for JD to be baptized at his church in Kingsville (hereto known as 'K-Ville').

Let's take stock:
  • moved 2,000 miles from home to go to college
  • got first tattoo
  • lived in 'sin' for a while
  • moved back home
  • had a job that didn't utilize my degree
  • quit job for more challenging position, actually starting a career
  • got second tattoo
  • rarely go to church, more of a believer in spirituality
  • swear a-fucking-lot
  • working on getting my place in the Ring of Honor @ the Flying Saucer
  • like sex
  • like rock and roll
  • just say no to drugs
  • have questionable social skills
Hmm, guess that's all good; I'll be an upstanding member of St. Brigid's in no time!

I hope to make two trips a year (at least) to visit until he's more cognizant, then more as needed to keep that kid in line. JD is already the ladies' man and I'm hoping to parley that or his potential athleticism to get him into and pay for college. (Clark legacy, anyone?)

Hang on, everyone, I'm now involved in raising another member of the human race.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Hopeful Self-loathing

It seems pretty selfish to me right now to rant and rave about the things bothering me right now knowing what Lisa just went though this past Tuesday.

Her surgeon fused four of her lumbar vertebrae as L2 was completely destroyed by the tumor as was half of L3. The tumor and her the second lumbar vertebrae were removed, with a cage-like implant to fill the space and two titanium rods to give support. Physical therapy has begun, which will be followed shortly by radiation therapy. We're all hopeful that things will be fine this time around, and Lisa is always strong and positive. Doesn't make it suck any less.

I start to think more and more about the brevity and frailty of life; it's a constant reminder to stop thinking and start doing.
I understand that people live in fear of doing just that, and it's unfair of me to expect them to live as I do. Fear is still a poor excuse to not live everyday to the fullest.

Take that chance.

Say those words.

Love fearlessly.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dream of Californication

Just the fact that people seem to be getting dumber and dumber. You know, I mean we have all this amazing technology and yet computers have turned into basically four figure wank machines. The internet was supposed to set us free, democratize us, but all it's really given us is Howard Dean's aborted candidacy and 24 hour a day access to kiddie porn. People... they don't write anymore, they blog. Instead of talking, they text, no punctuation, no grammar: LOL this and LMFAO that. You know, it just seems to me it's just a bunch of stupid people pseudo-communicating with a bunch of other stupid people at a proto-language that resembles more what cavemen used to speak than the King's English." - Hank Moody, Californication

This is something I've stood on my soapbox and stated more than once. Shortening language as a matter of convenience is one thing, integrating it into the everyday vernacular is another. At the risk of sounding snobby: use punctuation and grammar, people! My eye can only twitch so much out of frustration.

On a side note, I watched the first season of Californication this week (thanks to On Demand) and am now hooked on it's sex, drugs, and hopeful self-loathing. I can't speak for the drugs, but I can find a connection to the other two. The writing for the show is fantastic and now I wait with baited breath for the next season.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Temple of Flesh

DO and I actually made it to the Slinging Ink Expo at Freeman Colosseum yesterday after months of me teasing that he would never get one if we went and I contributed some cash as his Christmas present. It was most certainly a fest of flesh and ink, although some people would have done better to cover up more of their flesh and not let it all hang out. (A 'illustrated man' in the booth next to where we got our ink done was wearing ass-less shorts to better show up all his tats.)

DO did well and was entertained with his iPod and people watching while his calf was worked on. I, on the other hand, was getting work down in a sensitive area and was white-knuckling it for a bit. Even with all that, it was all we could do to not go crazy and get two or three tattoos, there's just something addictive about it. Life is way too short. Now, if I could only apply that theory to sky diving... :-|

Hitting the Fan

My pal, LM, was diagnosed two years ago with colon cancer. It still seems odd to me that a 35-year-old woman would have cancer of the colon. Surgery and chemo took care of it. Or so we thought. This past week, she went in for some tests because she wasn't feeling well. Four MRIs, three CT scans and more than 50 x-rays later, the diagnosis is cancer again. Only this time it's in her femurs and a vertebrate. There's other issues that need to be addressed with her health, but those are the big ones.

I know my outlook should remain positive, but I have a hard time being puppies and rainbows right now because I can't stop wondering where else the cells may attack. And while LM is in typical high spirits and smiles, I can't help but feel angry and scared because I worry that the cells may be somewhere else and just haven't made themselves known. Hopefully tomorrow will bring more information from the flock-of-doctors handling her case. In the meantime, I will see if I can't squeeze one puppy and start being positive.

Me & LM last Halloween.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Year of Living...

How to sum up January:

Started New Year's hungover and disappointed with myself. I keep hoping people will stop being afraid of themselves and start living life, and I'm starting to understand this is something I can only expect this of myself. At least I knocked a few beers off my list.

Mid-January brought news that my cysts are smaller, but not yet gone. Fortunately the pain and unpleasantness has abated.

The end of the month marked the 80% completion of my first phase of training at work. Unreal that there is this much training involved, and there is more to come. Still, it's a pretty fantastic job.

Did I mention the part about being frustrated when people do nothing? Yeah. Still working on accepting. Life, with all it's beauty and heartache, is a one shot deal. It's impossible to completely plan and predict, but there are plenty of opportunities to try and learn new things about ourselves. So, with that, I choose to try and find those new things even if it means some bruising along the way.

Who knows, I may get over myself enough to let someone in.