I'm back at work today and it's hard to stay focused. My eyes are tired and a bit irritated from some sort of allergy and work is pretty much dead. At least tomorrow is Friday and I only work till noon! Oh, and as promised, here are a few pictures from the holidays:
* PaPa's lights and MaMa's cardinal lights.
* PaPa (Kenny's grandfather) and his precious little girl, Heidi.
Plus a few scenes from where Kenny grew up:
* The road to his grandparents' house.
* Surrounding landscape (basically mesquite trees and prickly pear).
* An abandoned house near his house.
And last but not least, a few "artsy" pictures in black-n-white mode I took with the digital camera at the abandoned house:
* In the Kitchen
Well guys - Christmas has come and gone and it was a good one, especially gift-wise! I got spoiled... I got some wonderful frog related gifts (a small frog-shaped lamp, a beautiful handmade bowl with froggies and a picture frame with frogs), a 128 MB memory card for my camera + an extra battery, some CDs I wanted as well as a book on Cuba, a gorgeous glass candleholder, a couple of silver charms for my James Avery charm bracelet, a travel coffee mug, a bottle of port, a 5-language translating module for my Visor, and a very useful HTML color code poster. Whew. I really made out good!!! Thanks everyone!
Well, I hope everyone else had a good Christmas and spent some quality time with friends and/or family. I know I did - we stuffed ourselves on ham, BBQ and tamales and were fortunate to see Kenny's uncle who made it in for the day from Florida. I know that made his grandmother very happy. We'll, I better logoff soon - I am still in West Texas and am stuck on dial-up. We will be leaving tomorrow after lunch and should be back in Houston in the evening. I have to go back to work Thursday and Friday (for 3 hours as usual) but it shouldn't be too bad. I need to do some accounting stuff before end-of-year but it's not too difficult and it will at least make the day go by. It also helps that we get both Monday and Tuesday off for New Year's! Yay!
See you guys around and I'll post some pictures I took out here next time I post...
Sorry I haven't posted in a few days - I just got busy and decided to take a break from the computer...
I received my Secret Santa gift Friday afternoon and I loved it! Esmerelda bought me Bon Jovi's One Wild Night, a collection of their greatest hits recorded live. I was singing out loud on the way home after work Friday!!
Today (I guess yesterday since it's already Sunday morning), I went to a friend's Christmas Open House and afterwards picked up my Mother (her car is not working right now) and brought her to my house for an early Christmas celebration. She will be alone Christmas Day since we will be in West Texas but she's OK with it and I think it helped that we did something tonight!
Well, it's late and we have a 6-hour ride ahead of us in just a few hours. I need to get up early enough to shower and pack so I'm heading to bed. Plus, I've got one more chapter left on the 2nd Harry Potter book, The Chamber of Secrets, that I want to finish (Kenny was so sweet - he bought me the 3rd one today when he was out since he knew I was almost done).
Good night everyone and Happy Holidays! I'll check in every few days but I'll be on dial-up so I won't be able to stay on long. Till then...
Sum up 2001 in 20 words or less:
Played in Spain, grieved with my nation, found blogging and digital photography, still disliked job, celebrated and loved, strengthened friendships.
Add yours at The Mayfly Project 2001
A big * Thank You! * goes to Kenny's family for sending me two Erasure CDs I had on my wishlist. Erasure is one of my favorite 80's bands and I wanted to replace the tapes I had and get CDs...
Thanks again for Wonderland and The Circus!
So - What was your favorite band from the 80's?
Hee, hee - I have a better camera than Kevin Spacey does - upon careful inspection, you will see that he only has a Canon Powershot S110 while I have the newer and better S300!
Aren't you jealous Kevin?
OK. This watch looks like it can provide hours of entertainment!!
I am trying to understand but articles like this do not help:
How Can I Train Myself for Jihad
Thankfully, I am intelligent and know that this is not what Islam teaches but just what a small fundamentalist faction of Islam teaches. I hope you are too.
Christmas Nature Trivia:
"Few of us ever see Santa’s reindeer up close. But there are pictures of them, and in these pictures Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, and the rest often sport antlers. Which means that even Vixen is male, right?
Not so fast. Reindeer—we call them Caribou in North America—are unique among deer in that the females grow antlers, too. Another point worth mentioning is that mature male Caribou shed their antlers in the fall and are unadorned on Christmas Eve. Females and immature males, by contrast, don’t shed their antlers until spring.
So the creatures that pull Santa’s sleigh must be females or young bucks. The only other explanation is that flying somehow alters a Caribou’s hormonal cycle so that even mature males keep their antlers through the holidays."
(Information thanks to eNature.com.)
Wow. My sister was going to drive in tonight from Tallahassee, Florida and she just called me to tell me that she won't be making it.
She hit a deer at 70 mph and crunched her car.
She's completely fine but the radiator and side-view mirror aren't. Hope FedEx will be able to get the gifts to her on time...
In honor of all the LEGO freaks out there like me (see below), I give you this site.
I was (and still am) a Legomaniac… I am actually looking forward to owning a house where I can set up my LEGO town again. I had a population of over 50 people and I made sure they all had a place to stay in. I had the street system and made a real city where I built them a city park and a cemetery (I was a morbid child) and lit up the houses at night with a LEGO light pack. The town also had 2 trains (electric and battery), an airport and a monorail. Hell, my LEGOs were so advanced, they even had a Space Shuttle! Every Christmas, I got several new sets... I could always tell which ones were the LEGOs by just shaking the box. The surprise came in finding out which one I had gotten that year. My poor parents spent so much money on LEGOS...
Ooh – I can’t wait to get them out all of the attic and build the town again!
I want to thank all of my wonderful friends fro coming out on a chilly Friday evening and sitting out on the cold patio just to help me celebrate my birthday: Gretchen, Sam, Erica, Phil, Sharon, Sky, Oskar, Hanna, Joe, Irene, Bailey, Spencer, E.J., Robert, Sherry, Jennifer, Erick and Lesley... I had a great time and I thank you all for my lovely gifts. I got some great DVD's, a few 80's music CDs, a silver necklace, a gorgeous vase, a frog teapot, a beautiful pen and the Houston CowParade book. I am such a lucky girl! Thanks again everyone!!
The rest of weekend was spent shopping, putting away laundry, renting DVDs with friends, volunteer gift wrapping at Borders Books for the Orchestra X organization and visiting old family friends. Of course, I wish I had had more time because I still have more cleaning to do before my sister comes in to visit Tuesday night! Ack!
As promised - a few more details on dinner. Kenny took me to Lost River Cafe, a restaurant with a strong art nouveau theme. It wasn't as dark and cozy and we would have liked but I didn't care. I was happy to be with him. I was also happily surprised to see Susan and CJ join us as well (thanks for the frog candle guys!). To be honest, I had had a bad day. Not that many people had remembered my birthday, I got more e-greetings from businesses than friends and no one called me at home to wish me happy birthday. Now don't get me wrong, I am meeting people tonight to celebrate so that may be why - my friends are just waiting to see me then. Plus, my family did call and my company took me out to lunch so I think I was just feeling sorry for myself. Yeah, that was it - I was just feeling sorry for myself... but I'm feeling much better today!!!
Anyway - the highlight of the evening was the camera (see entry below) - I fiddled with it all through dinner. Susan figured out who to get it into black and white mode and I kept taking self portraits. I even figured out how to make a 15 second movie (with sound!) and how to take a panorama by stitching pictures together. Ooh - I'm going to have fun!
Overall, we had a very nice evening and I have a nice group shot to prove it. Here is one last shot - Kenny and me on the stairs with some of the art nouveau statues.
Gotta go! I have more pictures to take!!
I have the most wonderful husband in the world!! He bought me a Canon PowerShot S300 digital camera for my birthday!!!!
I'm still in shock. Can't you tell?
More on dinner later... (as well as some of the 1st pictures I took with the camera since he was considerate enough to charge the battery for me before giving it to me).
Birthday greetings from The Astrocenter...
What can I expect within the next year?
Today, an old cycle ends and a new one begins, because the Sun is back in Sagittarius at exactly the place were it was when you were born. A challenging year is ahead of you, due to Pluto’s transit through the sign of Sagittarius, and Saturn’s opposition to your Sun. Don’t get into any kind of power struggle, neither in your love life nor in your career, because it could backfire. You may feel very ambitious in improving your current life situation, and if you use your energy well and have a good strategy in place, you will succeed. Your health may be more on the fragile side, and you should treat your body and your mind with extra care. Since you will experience some kind of a rebirth this year, things won’t be easy. However, a lot of changes within and around you will enable you to start something new and exciting.
"Abdul Kayum drives his damages minivan on the road near the airport in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2001. Kayum said he had stopped on the road linking Herat to Kandahar two weeks ago to pray, when his minivan was hit by an airstrike. Thanking God, he started his minivan, which still worked, and resumed his journey. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay)"
Some people are just idiots. These are the same idiots who don't read instructions (look at the description closely).
Thirteen more days...
Here is a picture of my Christmas tree - yes, it's real (a noble fir to be exact) and and as you can see, I like the eclectically decorated tree - just like I am. No theme here, just a bunch of random ornaments that I like and have bought over the years including some old ones from my childhood. I turn it on every night and it just makes me happy to see the blinking lights out of the corner of my eye as I sit on the couch...
Here is one of my favorite ornaments - it's a huge glass Keroppi, my favorite Sanrio character!
Damn, damn, damn! If only I knew how to drive a manual transmission!! My friend Phil would have let me have his brand-new BMW 330 ci for a week as a birthday present.
*smacks herself* Damn, damn, damn...
I wanted to send out a warm thank you for a couple of early birthday presents... Thanks go to Melanie and Karen for the Nelly Furtado CD as well as thanks to Pamela for the Bug's Life DVD!
OK, OK - here's the scoop on my busy Saturday...
Younger Housewarming Party - Friends Melanie and Cole just bought their first house down in Clear Lake and threw a housewarming party to celebrate. Since both Hanna and I use to work with Melanie, we made it down there to check out the new place. Despite a rough start to the trip and rainy weather (Clear Lake is about 45 minutes from Houston), we had a good time once we got there. Melanie's Mother's authentic Filipino cooking was excellent as always (I love those egg rolls) and her Father was super sweet to both Hanna and I since we had met before on an earlier occasion. The house was nice and I wish Melanie and Cole the best in their new abode! Here is a group shot of the four of us, including Karen, another ex-co-worker, in front of the Christmas tree.
DNI Christmas Party @ The Horse Track - This was Kenny's company party. They had it at a suite at Sam Houston Race Park. It was very nice and we had an excellent view of the track! I left my camera behind so I don't have pictures unfortunately. I bet on a handful of races but only won the 1st won - I bet "To win" and my horse (#8) made it across the finish line first! I made a whopping $1.80 almost doubling my $2 bet and then promptly lost it and a little more on the next races. It's OK - with a $2 bet minimum, it's fun to try and you don't come out losing too much. You'd probably spend more at the movies on a typical Saturday night. Before we knew it though, despite the fun I was having betting quinellas and trifectas, 8 PM rolled around way too quickly and Kenny and I had to make an exit in order to make it to my company's Christmas party...
NIEDI Christmas Party @ Sambuca's - We made it to Sambuca's Jazz Cafe in Downtown Houston as everyone was getting dinner so we weren't too late. Here is a group shot. Since we had already eaten at the 1st party, we just munched on appetizers, a wonderful lobster bisque and dessert. This is also where I let loose and took advantage of the open bar! By the end of the night, after a couple of tall margaritas, some shot called a Homer Simpson, another shot of Peruvian liquor and yummy green drink called The Rainforest, I was a *happy camper* to say the least.
About half the group left shortly after the gift exchange but some of us stayed behind and continued the party in the 2nd floor private suite - which by the way was very swank... velvet cushions, animal print couches and red velvet curtains. Needless to say, the alcohol made us silly and we even took "prom poses" in front of the red velvet curtains. Ours is above. Here is Jennifer M. & Richard's and Jennifer B. and Erick's pictures. Cute, aren't they?? We continued the silliness with PowderPuff Girls poses and cigar smoking.
The party broke up eventually and I tagged along with Jennifer and Erick for a little dancing a few blocks over at El Tiempo, a restaurant by day but a nite club after hours. Made it home tired and happy by 2:30 AM and went to bed!
Sunday was a rest day! Yep, I woke up around 2 PM and Kenny didn't roll out of bed till 4 PM (he stayed up late watching TV). I cleaned up a little, wrapped some presents and headed our with Kenny to do a little shopping and grab dinner. Ended Sunday night watching Pearl Harbor with Ben Affleck - an OK movie which would have been better if the silly love triangle hadn't been so central to the story.
Now I'm back at work and needing to look busy again so I'll catch everyone later... ciao!
So far my weekend has been busy but today I am home resting - in fact, Kenny is still in bed! One housewarming event, two company Christmas parties, a little drinking, a little gambling and a little dancing... that sums up Friday and Saturday!
Friday we got to see E.J. again. He really fits in well into our group and my husband seems to have found a new friend! They gabbed away all night about computer stuff! We all look forward to seeing him every week and maybe we'll even see if he can sneak out every now and then during the week! After pool, Hanna and I met up with Kenny, E.J., Sherry, Dennis and Robert at Sweet Tomatoes for dinner - where we got rather loud and rowdy - and then headed for drinks over at Prive's outdoor patio (since it was still warm enough to do so that night). It really was a good time and it made me feel extremely fortunate to have such a great group of conversationalists. We all come from such different backgrounds but everyone is truly interested in each other and the conversation flows easily between serious political discussions to light-hearted witty comebacks to crude and downright juvenile topics. No need to get loud and drunk and obnoxious. Just give us some cocktail drinks, a comfortable place to sit back and talk with good background music and we'll be quite happy for a few hours.
Now I need to get some stuff done around the house but I'll be back to tell you about Saturday... pictures included! Later...
Note to self: Go to recycling center more often.
Living in an apartment, I have to personally take all of my recycling to a city recycling center but I waited a bit too long and accumulated too many recyclables so that last night I was barely to get them all into the trunk of my car - mind you, it's a small Honda Civic coupe. I managed to shove in there 2 large bags (30 gallon size) of plastics, 3 paper bags of catalogs/magazine, a small bag of aluminum cans and 2 small bags of glass. Now, whenever I turn, the sound of glass clinking and cans rattling can be heard coming from my trunk...
Like the holiday lights? I thought they were cute and my page needed something festive!
Christmas Errands Update:
Finish gift shopping - almost done!!
Getting the tree was fun - Kenny was sick so my friend Robert went with me. I picked out my tree relatively quickly (7 foot noble fir) and decided to stuff it into the Jeep instead of putting it on the roof rack. I was mostly afraid the wooden tree stand would scratch the paint. Well, I bought a plastic tree bag, lowered the back seats and carefully shoved the tree in - I'm sure glad I didn't buy a taller tree though! Once the back door was closed, the tip-top of the tree sat 2 inches from the face of the radio! Deftly maneuvering using only the side-view mirrors while Robert kept a hold on the tip to prevent it from sliding forward and breaking the radio faceplate, we made it home with a scratch-free, needle-free vehicle safely returned to the husband - mission accomplished!
Speaking of husband, Kenny is *still* sick. Last night he sounded worst than ever - horrible, hacking cough and deep chest congestion. He called in sick again and tomorrow morning he has a doctor's appointment (it was the soonest he could get when he called yesterday)! I hope he gets some good medication so that 1) he stops feeling like crap and 2) he wipes out whatever bug he has before he can pass it on to me...
The new Euro arrives on January 1, 2002 and 12 of the European currencies will no longer be legal tender. These European currencies are: German Mark (DEM), Dutch Guilder (NLG), Irish Punt (IEP), French Franc (FRF), Austrian Schilling (ATS), Belgian Franc (BEF), Finnish Markka (FIM), Greek Drachma (GRD), Italian Lira (ITL), Luxembourg Franc (LUF), Portuguese Escudo (PTE), and Spanish Peseta (ESP).
It's just weird. I've never really liked the idea of the Euro. No more Francs, Pesetas, Liras, or Deutsch Marks? At least the Bristish were stubborn and kept their currency!
What a lovely re-design over at Karen's - an avid Alice In Wonderland fan - thanks to her equally as lovely sister, Erica.
Got on the computer last night and tweaked my site a little bit by adding my site to BlogSnob and joining my fourth webring, blog girls. I also worked on personalizing my photo albums over at Fotki.com. I couldn't get them exactly the way I wanted since I don't have access to their code (thus the default font and white space surrounding the pictures) but it looks better than before!
Upcoming projects: Finish updating the reviews over at the book group site and install Dreamweaver on my PC so I can complete my Barnes & Noble University on-line course...
OK, OK - one more test! Blame barcodeking for this one guys... Plus, I think this one did describe me pretty well.
If I was a work of art, I would be Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa.
I am extremely popular and widely known. Although unassuming and unpretentious, my enigmatic smile has charmed millions. I am a mystery, able to be appreciated from afar, but ultimately unknowable and thus intriguing.
Which work of art would you be? The Art Test
Weekend's over - back to the daily grind. Kenny is home sick today - he's stuffed up, has a sore throat and overall, feels like crap. I hope he feels better soon.
Weekend was busy, as usual, but nothing too overwhelming. Friday night a co-worker had planned an evening of bowling at Jillian's. E.J. was going to meet us but his sitter (his Dad) went out of town. It was probably for the better he didn't make because I bowled horribly - I didn't even break 50! - and I was basically in an anti-social mood afterwards. I convinced the rest of my group to drop me off early so they could go on and play pool without me. I wanted to be at home, in comfortable clothes, in front of the TV and just didn't feel like drinking and being around people. I'm not usually like that but every now and then I get that way.
Spent Saturday night at my best friend's Kristen's all the way out in Jewett, Texas almost 3 hours north of Houston off of Highway 45. I took another friend, Gretchen, with me so the ride wasn't too bad. The weather was rainy on the way home Sunday but we still made good time. Sunday evening I took my mother out for dinner and picked up my Christmas decorations from her house where she stores them for me since I don't have the room at our apartment.
Since I wasn't home most of the weekend though I've got a bunch of little things to get done this week after work - little things like pick up mailing labels, start the Christmas cards, get a haircut, buy a few more presents, tidy up the house, get the Christmas tree and decorate it. I'm tired already just thinking about it! Things will get done - it's only December 3rd. I've made my list, checked it twice and I'm pretty confident I'll be mostly done by this coming weekend. Oh no! I almost forgot - I've got a housewarming party and two company Christmas parties all on Saturday... I really better say on top of my errands!! Wish me luck!
Picture of the day thanks to NextDraft:
"Please tell me this is an appetizer."
These frogs occur in several colour forms, each confined to very small locations within the eastern quadrant of Madagascar. They like their habitat with temperatures around 68 - 70*F and high humidity. This species is very showy in captivity preferring elevated positions out in the open. Males are generally smaller, slimmer and more angular in build than females and not as vocal as other species of mantellas. Females can produce eggs at a rate of once every two months given proper care.