Cybertoad's Blog - Spring is in the air!

Spring is in the air!
viernes, agosto 31, 2001

Double argh! The internet and e-mail were still down at work today and last night I was too busy to post anything so here is an entry that should have been posted yesterday:

Well, I had a busy day yesterday... here's a quick run-down:

My co-worker and good friend put in her resignation yesterday. Her last day is September 14th. As you probably know, I am also looking to leave and together Mel (here she is
at work) and I shared recruiters, tips and discussed potential opportunities. I should hopefully be following her out of here by the end of the year.

But back to Melanie... I am very proud of her but I am also obviously sad to see her leave. We have such great fun over here in our part of the office and our antics were one of the few positive things I still enjoyed at my company. Still, she has been looking to leave for over 6 months and finally the right opportunity came along. She agonized (and agonized me too) for a couple of days because she wanted to make sure she made the right choice but she finally did. So - good luck Melanie! I know you will do well and I send my sincerest warm wishes!! I'll miss you!!! Our friendship has grown so much in the 2+ years I've known you.

In the evening, after some frantic grocery shopping at Central Market, I made it home and had a lovely dinner at home with one of my best friends, Gretchen (she's on the right, I'm the one on the left with the cheesy smile). She lives in Austin but was taking a couple of weeks off and visiting her parents back in Houston and of course, called me up. Kenny was a doll and cooked a really yummy stir-fry, which gave me a chance to talk to Gretchen and catch up. She is having some rough times and is trying to find herself spiritually so it was good to see her and comfort her. We are so different in personalities but we care for each other so much. I hope she makes some positive decisions that send her towards a fulfilling path. She deserves it.

After she left I got on the computer, made some updates to my other web-site... I am a new member of the Traveling Women Webring so I had to add the code. Sent out my resume to a friend, finished a personal data sheet for the recruiter I am going to meet tomorrow and then finally dragged myself away to cook the ground beef portion of the lasagna I am completing tonight. I finally went to sleep at 3 AM.

So here I am at work - without internet service, without e-mail, writing this in Word, saving it to disk to later paste it into Blogger when I get home. No connection to the Web. This sucks!!!! Argh!!! (in all actuality, it’s 4 PM, Thursday, August 30th).

posted at 8/31/2001 04:32:00 p. m.

jueves, agosto 30, 2001

miércoles, agosto 29, 2001

martes, agosto 28, 2001

Woo-hoo! My
Explore Europe website just hit 1000 visitors.

OK. I know it is an extremely minor feat but I am proud because it is such a small, personal site. :D It's taken a lot of time to get there without advertising and such but it's something!

posted at 8/28/2001 03:54:00 p. m.

Fellow blogger
Chris posted his top 5 favorite female stars that would catch his interest if he ever met them in person so I thought of who my favorites would be. Here is my list (it's a lazy, rainy day and I don't feel like working):
Jude Law (No. 1 pick) - His eyes, his body, his intelligence, his personality... *sigh*
Joseph Fiennes - I love his eys, his smile and his scruffiness!
Mark McGrath - He's just a cutie, what can I say? And he's smart too!
Mark Wahlberg - What a body!
Alan Cumming - Not your typical hunk but I find him compellingly sexy...

So what 5 would you choose??

posted at 8/28/2001 03:16:00 p. m.

Wow. I had a rough time getting to sleep last night. I stayed up and cleaned out my e-mail inbox at home (finally) and afterwards I sat on the couch with my husband where I got engrossed into a documentary on the
Discovery Channel that followed 3 children with cancer and their stories. It was very compelling, sad and enlightening. These children are so strong and brave despite hearing news that wasn't always encouraging. I belive all three were mostly being treated here in Houston at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

When I finally did get to bed, I was somewhat emotionally drained from the show and I had a huge headache - I hadn't had such a strong one in a while. Between the pain in my head and the hunger in my stomach (I'd had an early dinner), I had a hard time relaxing and couldn't get to sleep so my mind began wandering. Unfortunately, I am a very visual person and all I could think of was of this horrible video I saw of a man's suicide that evening (it was sent to me via e-mail, don't ask, let's just say the internet is full of horrible images). It kept replaying in my head. Needless to say, I went back out on the couch with my husband and found comfort finally out there with the help of a his presence, the dog, the sound of a movie on TV, a glass of milk and 2 Advils. Crazy, isn't it? It was horrible. I've never had a nightmare but I believe this is a pretty close to one - I was just still awake.

I don't want to experience that again.

posted at 8/28/2001 10:25:00 a. m.

lunes, agosto 27, 2001

domingo, agosto 26, 2001

The rest of the weekend we spent in
Lufkin, Texas. My really good friend Emmerson was married to the love of his life, Roxanna, Saturday night. The picture to the left is a horrible picture but it is all I have for now. The batteries on my digital camera died after only 3 pictures and as you can see my flash isn't that great. I took a whole roll of film though so I will have better ones once I get them developed.

Anyway, Emmerson and I went to Texas A&M together - we were in a program for minorities in science (I was a science major for 3 years before changing to liberal arts) and we met during freshman orientation. He is currently living in New York City and attending Columbia University where he is working on his PhD in Immunology (I believe). During his undergraduate years, about 6 years ago, Emmerson went down to Monterrey, Mexico to do some summer research internships. While there, he took some Spanish classes at the local university, Tec de Monterrey, where he met Roxanna, his conversational partner. Despite the distance and the cultural difference, Emmerson has always lovingly spoken of Roxanna and spent most of his summers and Christmas breaks in Monterrey visiting her. After many years of being apart, he finally asked her to marry him. Saturday was the wedding for Emmerson's side of the family. They are also planning a large wedding for Roxanna's family in Mexico in June 2002 so I will hopefully attend that one as well.

Anyway, the wedding was beautiful and intimate. Emmerson's family is absolutely wonderful and so are his friends. We all hung out that evening and toasted the happy couple all night long! We ended the evening at IHOP. Danis and CJ, Gene and Thelma, Jason and Christina were great people and you can tell we all really care for Emmerson and Roxanna. It was wonderful to see such good friendships. It was also nice to know that although I only see Emmerson about once a year or even less that he values my friendship so much.

Roxanna and Emmerson head back to New York City Thursday to start their life together and I look forward to planning a trip next year to visit them. Good luck guys and congratulations!!

posted at 8/26/2001 11:44:00 p. m.

Well, the weekend is almost over and again, another great weekend. Friday night I joined Kenny for his usual evening of pool with his co-workers but this time my really good friend Hanna joined us. Afterwards a few more friends joined us and we grabbed dinner before heading out to see
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, Kevin Smith's new movie and 3rd in the series that included Clerks and Mallrats. Smith is also creator of Chasing Amy and Dogma.

Anyway, his new movie is funnier than I thought it would be and worth the money if you are a Jay and Silent Bob fan!! With all of the high-profile cameos (see it to see who shows up in it) the movie was a lot of fun. I hope that they will eventually release all 3 movies in the series as a box DVD set so I can buy them all at once and watch them back to back. They are all connected and you have to be watching carefully to catch all the references...

posted at 8/26/2001 11:38:00 p. m.

viernes, agosto 24, 2001

jueves, agosto 23, 2001

gotlucky's blog off of Chris's site. It turns out that I know the girl from college and we have some mutual friends.

It really is a small world after all. :P

posted at 8/23/2001 03:56:00 p. m.

Well, despite being a bit
anti-SUV, I have to admit that my husband's new Jeep Liberty is pretty nice (and at least it is relatively fuel efficient and compact).

Yes folks, as of about an hour ago, Kenny is a new car owner (his 1st brand, spanking new vehicle). He rode it off the lot with only 5 miles. Just 2 days ago Kenny wasn't even thinking of a new car until he walked into a mall and saw the Liberty. Then it became a frenzy of on-line research, calls to insurance companies, banks and dealerships and voila... the deal was made 48 hours later. But... Kenny deserves this! He works so hard to earn his money that it is nice that he bought himself a nice car.

Ooh - and for those of you wondering - he got it in "Patriot Blue" (cheesy name but pretty color). I'll take some digital pics soon and post them.

posted at 8/23/2001 03:18:00 p. m.

Well, it's already Thursday! Whee! The week has gone by quickly since I've actually been busy at work.

Made it to yoga class night. It was a good session.
Robert, my instructor, treated us to an extra long relaxtion exercise (20 minutes). I really do lose myself during that time. My mind doesn't wander to the list of things I have to do nor does it review the day... it just takes a vacation and doesn't necessarily tell me where it goes! I am surprised I can even do this since my mind seems to be over-active.

Which brings me to a self-realization I had recently... I get bored easily. Very easily. Too easily. I get bored with projects and let them go for a few months then rediscover them. I get bored at work if I am not kept busy round-the-clock. I get bored when I go out with friends if I don't make an effort to stay in the conversation. I get bored dancing if the music doesn't suit my mood exactly.

This may explain why it seems that I am not extremely passionate about anything either. Yes, I love a lot of things - reading, anything having to do with the internet, reading, photography, the Spanish and French languages, traveling - but I don't love each enough to dedicate my life to any one of them. I just like to do too many things!!! :D

I've decided that I'm not going to take a negative slant on this but instead embrace my diversity. I think it is pretty neat that I am interested in so many things. I will constantly have something new I want to try, even if it's just for a few months. For example, since I've had to put photography on hold (the darkroom I used was flooded during Tropical Storm Allison), I've decided to become a member of L'Alliance Francaise. I have been missing French lately and this will give me a good opportunity to get into conversation circles and refresh my old, rusty French skills. We'll see how that goes!

Well, I better get back to work now! I'll write more later...

posted at 8/23/2001 11:09:00 a. m.

miércoles, agosto 22, 2001

From today's
The Writer's Almanac...
"It's the birthday of photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, born in the village of Chanteloup, near Paris (1908). He was imprisoned by the Germans during WWII, but escaped the labor camps and joined the French resistance. After the war he became a photographer. He liked using a tiny camera because it gave his work more spontaneity, but also allowed him to be less visible. He covered the bright chrome parts of his camera with black tape to make it less obvious; sometimes he hid it under a handkerchief."

I love Cartier-Bresson. Here are some examples of his photography.

posted at 8/22/2001 02:19:00 p. m.

martes, agosto 21, 2001

lunes, agosto 20, 2001

This guy has a great sense of humor and great website but I wanted to point out the
camtoons. They are hilarious and very well done... be sure to check the archives in the right-hand column to see them all.

posted at 8/20/2001 02:42:00 p. m.

Had a good weekend... played some pool, watched a lot of DVDs (
The Mexican, Saving Silverman and The Family Man), helped a friend move and even went to College Station Saturday night to see an old college roommate who is still there. Went to some old haunts (Sweet Eugene's, Duddley's Draw) but of course, it just isn't the same anymore. Had a nice time catching up with Michelle though...

I had to do some shopping Sunday... can I just tell you how much I dislike department stores, especially Macy's?? Ugh. I had to go there to get a wedding gift for a good friend. Macy's is just inefficient when it comes to customer service and despite their size and apparently large inventory, they never seem to have what I need. I heard all of these that day: "Sorry, that is out of stock". "We don't carry that item in this store". "That was discontinued". I ended up getting a friggin' salad spinner. How boring. I'll buy them a pretty picture frame to make up for it I guess.

posted at 8/20/2001 09:54:00 a. m.

viernes, agosto 17, 2001

jueves, agosto 16, 2001

miércoles, agosto 15, 2001

martes, agosto 14, 2001

Monday was back to the grind at work. Interesting day - I was kept busy by a couple of my customer's auditors who are in the office from Mexico City for a couple of days. Very nice guys. I introduced them to
Schlotzsky's for lunch. I think they liked it but they kept putting more hot sauce on everything and it still wasn't spicy enough.

No update on the job interview. I will definitely post any updates as soon as I know!

Gotta get to bed now! Good night!

posted at 8/14/2001 01:48:00 a. m.

Wow! I've had a very busy weekend and haven't had a chance to write so this will have to be a long entry... sorry! But you will notice a running theme - they all involved spending some quality time with some really good people who I am honored to have as my friends. Thanks everyone for a great weekend!

Men in skirts, bagpipers and WWII
Friday night, my friend Lori had invited a group of us out to dinner at
Patu's Thai. As always, very yummy! Afterwards, we went to Kelvin Arms, a Scottish bar that Lori's boyfriend, Duncan, loves, being Scottish and all. More people joined us here including Kenny, Hanna, CJ, Sherry and Robert. By the end of the night, despite Hanna refusing to talk to the good-looking cowboy at the bar who showed anyone who wanted to see the scar where he had his spleen removed (she said he wasn't a real cowboy because he wore a black felt hat instead of a straw one in the summer), we had a great time. Our jokes just got uncontrollable and we were scaring people away but we just couldn't stop the jokes nor the giggles. Memorable parts included CJ rubbing the velvet cushion I had been sitting on and each of us being assigned various countries involved in WWII according to our personality. We also saw Scottish reels danced by the Loch Dhu Dancers and listened to a bagpiper earlier in the evening. It was an absolutely wonderful evening with good drinks, great laughs and even better friends!

Saturday night out in the middle of nowhere - with my best friend and baby Jace
Alright. I'll admit it. I'm a bad friend. I have been too lazy in the 6 years I've known Kristen to actually drive up to visit her at her parents in Jewett. I've been only once in an emergency situation. I don't know why I haven't gone again. I think I just thought it was farther - 3 hours instead of the 2 it really is. Plus, she always managed to come down to see me in Houston instead. Anyway, I finally go up to see her to celebrate her son's 1st birthday. He was having a party and I wanted to be there to celebrate.

At first, I didn't know anyone so I just stayed in a corner and watched. By the end of the night, I was taking pictures and watching kids. It was more fun than I thought. It was especially rewarding to see Jace really warm up to me. I've only seen him twice before - at 3 days old and at 4 months old, but he took right to me. Kristen says he doesn't normally do that. He was so comfortable with me that if his Mother left and he started to get upset that she was gone, I could go pick him up and he would be content to just have me hold him. He also quickly learned to use me as a jungle gym!

That night, after the great party - you should see all the toys Jace got! - we stayed up talking till almost 4 AM! I slept like a baby and leisurely woke up Sunday morning. I reluctantly had to leave that afternoon though in order to get back in time for a dinner engangement but not before seeing all of Kristen's Mom's Ty Beanie Baby collection! Wow! She even gave me a bag full of duplicates she had! It was a lot of fun going through the huge bins and learning all about the various beanies, checking out the collector's catalog and learning the difference between the 2nd, 3rd and 4th editions...

Anyway, here are a couple more pictures from that weekend:
Kristen and baby Jace
Jace and the "Beanie Kids"

A baby, Scrabble and lots of dogs
As I said, I had to get back to Houston Sunday night to go to a long anticipated dinner at Pamela's house that evening. We had re-scheduled this thing 4 times!! We finally made it (an hour late) and had a wonderful time visiting with her and her husband Daniel and their 4 month old baby boy, Nico. He is just learning to smile! We had a wonderful home-made lasagna as well as spinach rolls and then enjoyed a great game of Scrabble. Yep, I was able to hold onto my champion title yet again! Pamela is also one of the friends that I wish I got to see more often. I really need to make more time for friends like these...

Well, that catches you up!!

posted at 8/14/2001 12:24:00 a. m.

sábado, agosto 11, 2001

Well - I had a job interview this Friday (that was the good news) and I think I did well! But, I'm not trying not to think about it too much because then I'll be disappointed if I don't get it. I won't bore you with the details but I will say that I liked the guy who would be my manager - he was younger than I thought, really laid back and intelligent and I was very impressed that he had taken the time to read my resume thoroughly. He had even checked out my personal websites that I had listed in the interest section. The HR lady really liked me and she asked my agency for my references, which is always a good thing, but no one knows what the guy thought of me and he is the one who will make the decsion. So... wish me luck! I really need a career change - my position has grown stagnant at my current company.

Funny thing too that is related... I called my mother after the interview to tell her how it went and asked her if she had lit a candle for me - my mother, being Cuban, is slightly superstitious and whenever I interview, she lights a saint's candle for me. She said she had and she had picked out
St. Judas. She went onto explain how coincidental that that same day, after she had bought the candle, she went out to her car and found a chain letter stuck on her windshield. It had a penny attached and it asked the reader to continue the chain by visiting a Catholic church, leaving the penny and prayng in the name of - yep, you guessed it - St. Judas. She saw that as a positive sign and was going to do what the letter said in order to help me. I said sure, I'll take all the help I can get! Let's see if it works!

posted at 8/11/2001 01:49:00 p. m.

jueves, agosto 09, 2001

I listen every morning and read every day the
BBC World Service to stay on top of world affairs. It's amazing to see what is going on in our world and even more startling to see how ignorant many of us are to the facts. Now I know many of us are too busy to keep up with world affairs but I wanted to point out what horrendous acts are going on just to make us all a little more aware... This is just a sampling of today's world news:
Suicide bomb causes carnage in Jerusalem

Rioters target ethnic Albanians

Lebanese police and Christians clash

As you can see, our world is NOT peaceful. Sadly, most of the violence can be blamed on racial and religious intolerance. Think about this as you go about your every day activities and interact with others. We are all sharing the same space and we must all get along. Although these countries and these people seem so far away and do not seem to directly affect our lives, we must remember that we are ALL human beings and no one deserves to suffer the inhumanities that are being allowed to happen. Just a little food for thought. The more educated we become, the more we can do to better the situation, either by speading awareness, donating money or writing to politicians. Every little bit counts!

OK. Enough preaching for one day. Thanks for listening.

posted at 8/09/2001 10:28:00 a. m.

miércoles, agosto 08, 2001

For the girls reading this! Remember the old kids' game called "MASH" where you could foretell who you were going to marry, how many kids you were going to have, what you were going to drive and where you were going to live?

Well here is an internet version! Try it out!
"MASH" On-line

I am going to marry Joseph Fiennes (from Shakespeare in Love) and we are going to have 2 kids. I am going to be a travel writer who drives a black Acura NSX and lives in a shack in Texas. Not bad, huh? And really - I put at least 2 horrible selections on each category but I still made out OK, didn't I?

posted at 8/08/2001 06:54:00 p. m.

martes, agosto 07, 2001

Well - I haven't had the energy to post my thoughts on my movie-going experience Sunday night but I want to put some ideas down... As planned, four of us went to see Rush Hour 2 (good movie by the way) and my experience with the other movie-goers was very disheartening. I walked out angry, disappointed, frustrated, disillusioned at today's kids and overall pissed off at today's society. And it wasn't the movie itself - it was the people who surrounded me in the theater.

I'll give you a quick summary of my Sunday night at the 290 Tinseltown... I waited 20 minutes in line for popcorn with a kid who shuffled slowly behind the concession stand and had only one expression on his face - an amused smirked... I waited behind a group of about 6 girls who ambled into the bathroom at their own pace and then talked loudly about how someone had taken a shit in there... I endured about 15 minutes of constant trafiic up and down the aisles at the start of the movie (not the previews, the actual movie) as people tried to find seats in an already full theater... Kenny was forced to deal with a cell phone that flashed bright lights (it was freakin' bright) and went off about 3 times, but at least without noise... Then, about 30 minutes into the movie someone actually LIT UP A JOINT and smoked up the entire theater which then started more talking and shuffling as people moved down to avoid the smokers (remember, in an already full theater). Throw in the normal issue of children of various ages crying as well as a group of girls talking at normal levels as they walked down the aisle during the MIDDLE of the movie (for whatever reason, they moved from a top row all the way to the bottom row and never stopped chatting) and you'll soon understand why I was so angry. To top it all off, there was an infusion of perfume to mask the smell of weed which was then more annoying than the actual weed.

Overall it was just a restless, noisy, inconsiderate crowd that was very distracting. I kept looking around at someone else being annoying instead of just watching the movie. When did watching a movie have to be such a stressful thing?

So why my reaction? It seems that I am coming across the same rude behavior more and more and more every day and I am losing faith in people and faith in my ability to stay open-minded. Why should I be courteous and give people the benefit of the doubt anymore if they don't seem to give a rat's ass about me and how their actions may be affecting others around them? What incentive do I have to be nice when I just end up getting screwed? The only reason I still remain courteous is because one time out of 50 I actually get a "Thank you" or a smile from someone in the elevator or a wave from a driver and it makes it worthwhile. But this one time out of 50 is quickly becoming one out of 100 and at what point does it no longer become worth it?

Kenny and I talked about all this after the movie Sunday night and we came to a conclusion of why this is happening:
1) There are no consequences so the kids fear nothing - punishment is now limited because of the fear of "victim abuse".
2) There is no guidance - How can children learn what is right when their own parents are still children or are just as bad and disrespectful as they are?
3) There is no claim of responsibilty - nowadays, everyone has an excuse for not succeeding - they are opressed, their parents are alcoholics, they have a learning disability, their parents won't let them have the BMW they want and are now getting teased...

Combine these three significant issues with the fact that people are just selfish - in simple terms, they don't give a shit what you think nor what anybody else thinks, even if their actions affect others- and you have an unruly group of jerks that are disrupting my life every single day.

OK. ** Wow! ** I apologize now for the ranting and raving. I do this every few months as my tension builds up. So, help me out - what are your thoughts on my rants?? Leave me a comment below and reassure me that there are normal people out there, that there are others *like me*, who still make attempts at altruism...

posted at 8/07/2001 09:55:00 a. m.

lunes, agosto 06, 2001

domingo, agosto 05, 2001

Well - It's been a lazy Sunday! Had lunch at IHOP with Hanna & Dennon, am currently in the process of getting my oil changed (finally!) and later on will be heading out to see Jackie Chan's new movie,
Rush Hour 2 (again, with Hanna & Dennon).

Yesterday we spent most of the day at Shakespeare at Winedale, a University of Texas summer program... it takes place in a small town about 1 1/2 hour drive from Houston and we barely made it. Kenny, Robert and Oskar went up on their motorcycles despite the heat. We saw "All's Well That Ends Well" and I thought it was fairly good. We had planned on staying the 2nd play, "King Henry V", but the heat was a bit much and we packed up after relaxing and having a 2-hour picnic. So... the weekend is almost over and another work week is about to begin! *sigh* By the way, I'll post pictures from Winedale soon!

posted at 8/05/2001 05:34:00 p. m.

sábado, agosto 04, 2001

Hello. Had a good time yesterday... It was filled with lots of fun activities! I was invited by some friends to go to lunch at the new
Freebird's here in Houston. It's an awesome burrito place that originated in College Station (where I went to Texas A&M). There are now 3 locations in College Station, one in Austin and finally - the Bird arrived in Houston! And it was as good as it ever was... I don't know what it is about their burritos but anyone who has ever tried one understands why you go back.

Afterwards went shopping and then met up Hanna & Dennon at P.F. Chang's for dinner. Yummy!! Had a great time out on the patio...

Then headed out to bar-hop for the evening, meeting various friends at various places. Started off at The Davenport, then went into Downtown and stopped to see my husband at Market Square Grill (his favorite bar), then went to Dean's and ended the night at Saba's (a restaurant which turns into a busy bar later in the evening).

Anyway, got a nice buzz, had a GREAT time with friends and ended going to bed finally around 3:30 AM. Needless to say, it was a bit hard to get up this morning but I had to since a group of us (same group as last night) is heading out for an all-day excursion... more about that when we return since everyone is here and we need to head out... till then!

posted at 8/04/2001 11:59:00 a. m.

viernes, agosto 03, 2001

Good morning - It's Friday! And it's the start of Texas'
tax-free weekend. I haven't bought clothes or shoes in a while so I am hitting a couple of stores this afternoon after work. Woo-hoo!

In other news, I had a lovely time last night with my husband. We played pool for an hour and a half and had a nice, relaxed time, just the two of us (you may recall we tried to do this last week but never made it). Kenny has been playing pool every Friday after work and really enjoys it and he wants me to play a little more often so I can join him. I don't go though because I never had a good time when we are in a group. I enjoy the people but I get frustrated at my pool playing and end up just not playing and thus getting bored. When it is just him, I am more relaxed and end up playing better. He says if we do this a few more times and I practice that I should get pretty good pretty quick because my form is good. We'll see. He may be able to encourage me to try... I did sink some great shots a couple of times and that is a great feeling!

Well, I am only here at work for 3 hours on Friday (we leave at noon) so I better get back and get some stuff done! Later...

posted at 8/03/2001 09:58:00 a. m.

jueves, agosto 02, 2001

miércoles, agosto 01, 2001

* Today in 1981, at 12:01 AM
MTV went on air with its first video, Radio Killed the Video Star.

* Funny siting this morning while driving to work - a mounted policeman talking on his cell phone while on his horse! Funnier thing is that this isn't the first time I've seen this! Have a good Wednesday...

posted at 8/01/2001 09:23:00 a. m.

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