Cybertoad's Blog - Spring is in the air!

Spring is in the air!
viernes, enero 31, 2003

At home today...
I know I said I was going to go out today but I am feeling much better and I actually want to stay in and work on
another site I started and maintain which recently got a new URL and went through a redesign (thanks Christine). I need to add photos to the photo gallery (set up by Matt) and I also just need to catch up on e-mails and clean up around the house. Besides, Kenny will be out all next week traveling for business so I will have more opportunity and need to go out next week since he won't be coming home at 6:30 to break up the day for the for me.

Plus, like I said yesterday, the new recruiter has really helped and I am back on the positive side. I re-did my resume and sent it to her this morning so I should be presented today for a position. I also *finally* received a call back on a bilingual position I inquired into a few days ago so I have an interview with the agency offering that listing on Monday afternoon.

I also sent my resume version 2.0 to one of the agencies I feel more confident in and my recruiter there was happy with the results and found a position that might fit. I believe she will be presenting my new resume to them today as well.

Well, the dishwasher is running, the dogs are out in the back basking in the sun and the TV is on in the background (which helps keep me motivated because it doesn't sound as lonely in here). I need to go fix myself some lunch, send off some mail, start a load of laundry, sweep the house and follow-up on any pending job inquiries before playing on the H-Town Blogs site.

posted at 1/31/2003 12:43:00 p. m.

jueves, enero 30, 2003

Having lunch with the hubby...
I only have time for a quick entry - I am sitting at my husband's computer at his work. Many of our friends work nearby so we are waiting for them to show up for lunch.

I was in the area for another agency interview. I had a mini breakdown yesterday and having dinner with
Hanna really helped (thanks girl!) as well as the big hug waiting for me from Kenny when I got home. He gave me another pep talk and told me to get out of the house and go enjoy myself. Hanna told me the same thing. I am killing myself sitting at home waiting for the phone to ring.

Today's interview was really good though. The recruiter I spoke with gave me some honest information and told me she considers me one of the top candidates and will actively recruit for me. This afternoon I need to take some more on-line testing and I need to re-do my resume so she can present me to a client tomorrow morning (and the job would be just a couple miles from home).

Anyhoo, I got the boost I needed, she gave some more tips in general as well as some more agencies to contact (!!) and told me to be patient... Tomorrow I plan to spend some time at my favorite coffeeshop and relax.

Oh - I must run and get off the computer! Ciao!

posted at 1/30/2003 11:35:00 a. m.

miércoles, enero 29, 2003

martes, enero 28, 2003

Haiku Goodness
I was horrible and forgot to thank
Kathryn for using one of my fish pictures on her wonderful haiku blog a few days ago (Saturday, January 25th to be exact).

Thanks again - and it will become a regular read now as well! Why don't you stop on over as well?

posted at 1/28/2003 10:28:00 p. m.

Tuesday's Meme
Time for today's
1. Kleenex or tissue? Kleenex
2. Soda or pop (or tonic or whatever)? Down South we call it a Coke (no matter what brand).
3. A sandwich on a long roll: sub or hero (or hoagie or grinder, etc)? a sub
4. Glasses or spectacles? glasses (who says spectacles anymore?)
5. TV or television (or boob-tube, or telly, for our friends across the pond)? TV
6. Movie or film? Movie (film if it's one of those artsy-fartsy foreign flicks)
7. Sofa or couch? couch
8. Stove or range? stove
9. Remote control or clicker? remote control
10. Supermarket or grocery store? grocery store

posted at 1/28/2003 11:12:00 a. m.

lunes, enero 27, 2003

Puppy Cuteness: Beware
Be forewarned - the upcoming puppy pictures are dangerously cute!

Friday night was spent over at
EJ and Sherry's and much fun was had with their new puppies. I had fun taking pictures of Cookie (Shih Tzu) and Chewie (Cairn terrier)... More adorable pictures here...

We tired them out...

Chewie resting in my arms Cookie's favorite spot
(click on photos for larger image)

posted at 1/27/2003 04:40:00 p. m.

viernes, enero 24, 2003

Quiz Fun

My personality is rated 27.
What is yours?

The number above means: "Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical. They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest...Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who's extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return. Those who really get to know you realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over it if that trust is ever broken."

(link thanks to Shirl)

posted at 1/24/2003 01:21:00 p. m.

jueves, enero 23, 2003

A non-job search related entry...
swordtails & tiger barbs
When we moved into the house last Spring, I was really looking forward to setting up my old 30 gallon fish tank again. As a child I always remember having a fish tank set up and I had so much enjoyment maintaining it with my Dad. Once he passed away, the fish tank was forgotten and I was unable to take it over until last year because our apartments were never that spacious and the tank would have been a major inconvenience.

So, last May I went to my Mom's house, brought the tank and wooden stand home, scrubbed it clean (the light still worked), bought a new filter and set it up all up again in our new home. Problems arose from the start - many of the starter fish died inexplicably, my apple snail kept eating all the live plants I bought and an ick infection hit hard. I was discouraged and honestly lost interest. The fish were fed but that's about it. The tank looked depressing - the fish I had left looked healthy but I had no plants (stupid snail). I even stopped changing the filter on a regular basis and didn't do a water change for months.

While sitting at home job-less, I decided to give it some attention again. I scraped all the algae off the glass, did a 50% water change, scrubbed the mineral deposits out of the filtering unit and added a new filter. Then I headed over to the local fish store and bought a handful of colorful, hardy and easy to maintain fish as well as some new plants and a heater.

Wow! What a difference. The fish (both new and old) became energized in their new cleaner environment. The heater helped bring the water temperature to a desirable mid 70's range (the water had dropped to 67 F) which I think also perked them up. Below is a picture of the tank as it looks now as well as an inventory of what's in there (click on photo for larger image)...

Cybertoad's 30 gallon tropical fish tank
My inventory is as follows:
- 4 tiger barbs
- 2 severums (4" long - the biggest fish in there)
- 1 rainbow shark (new)
- 6 swordtails (5 new including 2 males)
- 1 plecostomus (you can see the silhouette under the bridge)
- 1 spotted corydoras catfish (new)
- 3 gouramis (1 blue, 2 lavender - one of which is new)
- an Amazon sword plant
- hornwort (floating plant)

I am going to wait a couple of weeks and finish off the tank with one more plant and 3 more fish I've picked out in my head that I feel will make the tank seem complete.

One more good thing - the snail died yesterday! I know that sounds bad but it is actually good! I have been wanting to get rid of it since I bought it so my plants would grow but I felt guilty just taking it out and letting it die. This way, nature took its course and I am guilt free! I'll leave you with a few more fish tank pictures...

posted at 1/23/2003 05:41:00 p. m.

miércoles, enero 22, 2003

Quiet, quiet day.
Nothing. Nada. Nobody called. Oh well. Another day. I'm doing what I can.

I decided to be a little more productive and got some stuff done:
- Cleaned up my bookmarks on IE - not a small task - it took me a long time to do!!!
- Did all of Kenny's laundry (3 loads). Will try to get it all put away too.
- Cleaned up the back yard of doggie mess (not fun but necessary).
- Called and checked on my unemployment benefits to see what my weekly checks will be (was on hold for about 15 minutes).
- Went to the post office and bought stamps.
- Picked up my dry cleaning.
- Bought a new pair of jeans (I only had one pair left that still fit me)!

The rest of the day was spent watching a little bit of TV (I got sucked into
American Idol) and I just got off the phone catching up with my best friend Hanna. Speaking of phone calls, I also was surprised to get a call from my old friend Carol who lives in London. We go way back (to 2nd grade) and have seen each other go through a lot. Although it was good to talk to her, I was sad to hear that she also lost her job recently. She is struggling and is trying to find herself since she isn't really happy where she is right now (she hated her job as an international corporate lawyer) and I wish her the best as she tries to figure out her next career move.

Well, time is flying and I still need to do the dishes and try to organize my office a little bit so I need to go. Cheers everyone!

posted at 1/22/2003 10:36:00 p. m.

martes, enero 21, 2003

Nope. Not getting any call backs and once again, I've hit another couple of quiet days that sets my nerves on edge. I haven't slept well and I am having trouble getting up in the morning. I feel so helpless! I've left voicemails following up and the few people I've spoken to just tell me that a decision is going to be made *soon*.

The interview yesterday was extremely short because it was at an agency that already have my information so I was home before Kenny had even left for work. I called them this morning and all they can say is that my resume has been forwarded and that they haven't heard anything. Today I have nothing scheduled so I am having lunch with a friend. Hopefully, when I get back home I can keep myself motivated and away from the couch so I can actually get some stuff done around here. I hope to get Kenny's laundry done as a favor to him (we usually do our own laundry) and clean up my office as well.

I think the only good thing about yesterday was Kenny coming home after work and asking me out to dinner. It was exactly what I needed after being cooped up and down and out all day - I had been afraid to ask though since we need to watch our budget. We called up some good friends and the four of us had a wonderful dinner under the stars on the patio at
The Black Lab.

Alright - I need to get myself cheered up! I did get some things done yesterday (applied for unemployment benefits, trimmed back the plants in my back garden, finished my laundry) so it wasn't a complete waste of a day. It just felt that way... *sigh*

It will get better. I must have patience.

Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! There. Now I feel better. :P

posted at 1/21/2003 11:53:00 a. m.

Today's Meme
1. Super Bowl or World Series? Neither. Don't watch sports.
2. Winter or summer? Winter (although the fall is my favorite season)
3. Look up numbers in the phone book, or call directory assistance? Depends - at home I look them up on the internet, on the road I use directory assistance.
4. Mashed potatoes or French fries? French fries
5. Hand-code your website, or use an editor (such as Front Page)? A little bit of both
6. Freeway or winding country road? Freeways!
7. Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars
8. Disney or Warner Brothers cartoons? Warner Brothers
9. When it feels chilly in the house: crank up the heat or put on a sweater? I put on a comfy sweatshirt!
10. CBS or PBS? Both. I like a little bit of everything.

posted at 1/21/2003 11:19:00 a. m.

domingo, enero 19, 2003

I've been busy today!
Whew! I actually have gotten some things done today! But first I'll catch you up on my weekend...

The interview Thursday afternoon went well but I am concerned about any future opportunities (or lack thereof) as well as a couple of other minor things. I think this may be the employer's concern as well - I expressed an interest to pursue my MBA and they thought that I might not be challenged there afterwards. This is definitely a concern and a trend I've seen. I am almost too well-qualified and the positions themselves are kind of dead-end positions. The opportunity for growth is just not there at this time.

Friday I had no appointments so
Robert, his brother Oskar and I went to The Woodlands to have lunch with Hanna. Afterwards Robert and I hung out (he has every other Friday off) and while at home I was e-mailed with another job opportunity. This is a for a tri-lingual marketing assistant and after calling the recruiter back, I have an interview scheduled for Monday morning. This position is *finally* in my salary range and offers an opportunity to use my Spanish as well as my French! They would even like it if I knew Portuguese... Wish me luck!!

Friday night met up with the group at SRO's to watch them play pool and keep tabs on the Rockets vs. Lakers basketball game (yay - we won!!!).

Saturday Kenny and I met up with Hanna and her friend to watch the Harry Potter movie (finally) and afterwards had a late lunch. We all agreed the movie was wonderful!! What great imagery - just like the books! Kenny and I then hung out the rest of the afternoon and came home for a lazy evening at home.

That brings us to today, Sunday. Due to some freezing overnight temperatures, some of my plants in the front yard froze so I trimmed back the dead leaves this afternoon. The roots weren't frozen so I know they'll grow back (they did last year). I also looked over the beds and planned out what I may plant there this spring to replace some ugly ligustrums - I'm thinking some nandinas or Indian hawthornes. I'm looking forward to sprucing it up!

Kenny, in the meantime, has washed his car and vacuumed every crevice. He is still out there and I have already cleaned up the front yard, taken a shower, started some laundry and written this entry! In about an hour we will be heading over to a friend's house for dinner so he better hurry up! :D

I'll keep you posted on how the interview goes tomorrow but I need to run and check on my laundry right now...

posted at 1/19/2003 05:44:00 p. m.

jueves, enero 16, 2003

Another interview!
Had a wonderful
facial yesterday! What was more exciting though was also helping in the surprise where a very good friend of mine gave another good friend of mine her engagement ring! Their wedding is already being planned but the ring had not been presented yet so with the help of his kids, we actually managed to surprise her - which is quite a feat because she is really sharp and it is hard to get *anything* past her!! Afterwards I offered to baby-sit the kids with a movie at my house (we watched Snow Dogs with Cuba Gooding, Jr.- very cute) so the two of them could spend some time together.

I was also getting a bit worried because I had no interviews scheduled for the rest of thee week but yesterday, right before 5 PM, I got a call and another interview scheduled for today at 2:30 in Downtown. Yay! My only concern now is that I don't seem to be getting called back. What good are all these interviews if I am not getting 2nd calls?! Ack! I'm not going to worry yet... I'll start giving people call backs in the next couple of days and checking in.

Well, it's lunchtime and I don't want to be rushed trying to get out of here. Hasta luego chicos...

posted at 1/16/2003 12:01:00 p. m.

miércoles, enero 15, 2003

martes, enero 14, 2003

Tuesday's Meme
1. Window shades or blinds? Wooden blinds
2. Wall or desk calendar? Wall - one in my office, one in the kitchen
3. Paint or wallpaper? Mostly paint (wallpaper in bathrooms and kitchen)
4. Electric or gas stove? gas stove top
5. Carpeting or bare floors? Bare - mostly hardwoods and ceramic tile
6. One TV, or more than one? Two - 32" in the living room, smaller 17" in bedroom for when we are being extra lazy.
7. Leather or fabric sofa? Fabric
8. Eat meals in kitchen or dining room? Neither. Hubby likes to eat standing up at the kitchen bar, I like to eat on the couch or in front of the couch on the coffee table.
9. Fabric or vinyl shower curtain? Fabric
10. Your kitchen: well-equipped or bare bones? Relatively well-equipped, I guess.

posted at 1/14/2003 02:21:00 p. m.

lunes, enero 13, 2003

Sunny but chilly Monday
Wow! What a restful weekend! It was rainy and unusually chilly this weekend so staying home was an easy choice. Friday night we had the usual group come over and
EJ made some great soup for everyone and then those who were left watched Death to Smoochy, a dark comedy with Robin Williams and Edward Norton. I enjoyed it but I don't think Kathy did and Kenny was a bit disappointed that the humor was not more intelligent.

Saturday came and went as Kenny and I stayed in bed till 2 PM (yes, we are extremely lazy). Robert called us though and we got up and spent the rest of the day with him... we had lunch, recycled the Christmas tree finally, ran some errands and just hung out at one of our favorite cafe's where we warmed up with some yummy coffee. We also decided to go out together that night so Robert diligently searched the internet reviews and found us a new bar to check out. Our evening at the Lizzard Pub was very entertaining, lots of alcohol flowed and some great stories were told that I will not and can not repeat in this blog! :D

Sunday morning also came and went and we became extra lazy and got stuck watching VH1's "I love the 80's" series from the comfort of our bed! A king size bed, a fluffy down comforter, 2 cozy dogs, a great show (that brought back some wonderful memories) and a cold, drizzling Sunday are a perfect formula to just stay in! How could anyone resist? I left the house once for a quick 10-minute errand and was back on the couch in front of the TV. Honestly, I can't feel too guilty about the lack of activities. I have been running ragged since before the holidays and Sunday my home was finally relatively clean, the laundry was done, the dishes were done and the errands were complete. I have also been very diligent in my job search so I was taking the day off for myself.

Today, I have an interview at 2 PM so I need to get dressed, have a quick lunch and get on the road. Later alligators...

posted at 1/13/2003 12:24:00 p. m.

viernes, enero 10, 2003

My promised update!
Yay! It's a beautiful Friday afternoon and my spirits have been lifted. I really enjoyed the people I met at the agency this morning (thanks
Christine for the referral) and I came home to find a message on the answering machine in response to a position I responded. I called the lady back and after a quick phone interview she asked me to come in for a personal interview. It is scheduled for Monday afternoon! Yay! It doesn't pay enough but It's an interesting job so maybe it still has a chance.

Kenny found me over a dozen job listings last night through a different job site so I need to go and review them and send in my resume to the ones I think I am suited for so I need to make this entry short.

I will leave you with a few pictures of what my dogs do during the day. Since I am home more during the day now and the weather has been so nice, I just leave the back door open and they wander in and out as they please. The back garden is their favorite place although they both covet the small sunspot that comes in through the front door for just an hour or so each morning!

Ginger in the sunspot Sunning in the garden Heidi in the sunspot
(click on photos for larger image)

posted at 1/10/2003 03:18:00 p. m.

jueves, enero 09, 2003

Missing in Action
Yes, I've been bad about blogging. I've just been a rollercoaster of emotions these last few days and haven't felt like writing. This job search is going slower than the last one back in May and I am trying not to get too upset that the phone is *not* ringing off the hook like it was last time. I have to keep reminding myself that has only been a week and in that short time I have already had a few interviews and have yet another agency interview scheduled for tomorrow morning and an actual job interview scheduled for Tuesday morning.

Still, the last few days have been slow and slow is not good for me right now. Since getting laid off last week, yesterday and today were the first days I didn't have an appointment scheduled. It also did not help to find out Wednesday, after talking to a friend I still have at my former office, that the "new girl" has already started working my old position. She couldn't give me details but I am having lunch with her tomorrow so maybe she knows some more by then. I had guessed that they had waited to find a replacement for me before firing me but it still really hurts and hearing that I was right just opened up the wound again.

On the up side and speaking of lunch, I have taken the opportunity of having an open schedule and have caught up with some friends. I had lunch with
EJ on Tuesday, Kathy on Wednesday and today met up with EJ again as well as our friend CJ and my hubby. As I said earlier, I have plans to meet up with old co-worker tomorrow and next week have tentatively scheduled another lunch with an old friend.

I promise to check back in tomorrow afternoon but I need to run now and start winding down so I can get to bed for my 9 AM appointment.

posted at 1/09/2003 11:45:00 p. m.

miércoles, enero 08, 2003

New Graphic
Mornin'! Just wanted to drop in and thank
Robert for my new customized Power Puff graphic! Hee, hee! You guys didn't realize I was the 4th Power Puff?

(Thanks Boobka!)

posted at 1/08/2003 11:07:00 a. m.

martes, enero 07, 2003

Hello loyal readers...
Survived the agency interview Monday that included horrendous 50 question skills tests on Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access as well as spelling and typing - although they didn't have any specific positions for me. Also did well on today's interview at yet another staffing agency who found my resume on and called me in for a specific bilingual position. The skills test (Access, Word and typing again) were not as bad and the position looks promising. I should be getting a phone interview with the actual client in the upcoming days since I passed the recruiter's muster. Lunch before the interview with EJ was also a nice distraction and probably relaxed me as well.

I have spent the rest of the time tidying up my house. Despite being unemployed, the house has gotten messier than ever!! Today I had had enough. I did the dishes (dishwasher is running right now), packed away most of the holiday decorations in nice new plastic bins I bought yesterday at Target, cleaned up the piles of clothing in my bathroom (I can reach my sink again and walk into the closet) and the laundry is being done as I type.

I have no interviews scheduled for tomorrow so I hope to take down the Christmas tree (which is all that is left of the holiday decorations) as well catch up on some blogs and e-mails. Throw in some more on-line job searching and it should keep me busy. I also *just* made plans to have lunch with Kathy so I may treat myself afterwards to some reading time at my favorite coffeehouse since I was given some nice books over the holiday season.

Well, I must run! Kenny's home, the pizza just got here and we have some rented DVD's to watch!

posted at 1/07/2003 08:53:00 p. m.

First Meme of the Year
This-or-That of 2003!
1. "Time" or "Newsweek"? Time
2. "Wall Street Journal" or "National Enquirer"? National Enquirer
3. "Sports Illustrated" or "Cook's Illustrated"? Cook's Illustrated
4. "Martha Stewart Living" or "MAD Magazine"? MAD Magazine (Martha = EVIL)
5. "Cosmopolitan" or "Maxim"? Maxim
6. "People" or "Entertainment Weekly"? I love People!
7. "National Geographic" or "Readers Digest"? Reader's Digest
8. "Good Housekeeping" or "Popular Mechanics"? Good Housekeeping
9. "PC World" or "MacWorld"? PC World
10. "Southern Living" or "Yankee" (magazine about New England living)? Southern Living

posted at 1/07/2003 10:36:00 a. m.

domingo, enero 05, 2003

Productive Weekend
Wow! It's a weekend post from me - how unusual! Just thought I would drop in and say hello. I need to make the blog circuit and drop you guys some comments but as always, I've been busy. This weekend was spent with the usual Friday night gang, including a late night showing of Jack Nicholson's latest movie,
About Schmidt (good acting but overall very boring and depressing). Saturday and Sunday were spent sleeping in late, running errands, doing laundry, sweeping, mopping and even watering my plants (both inside and outdoors). And of course, I sent my resume out a few more times to some personal contacts I had.

Tomorrow Kenny has federal court jury duty (which he really does not want to be picked for) and I have that agency interview I mentioned earlier. I also plan to make some phone contact with a few of the people to whom I sent my resume.

I am very optimistic and have relaxed enough now to actually enjoy the time "off" I have. I am busy of course but I am in control and I like that.

Well, I must run off and start winding down for tomorrow! Till then...

posted at 1/05/2003 11:10:00 p. m.

viernes, enero 03, 2003

jueves, enero 02, 2003

Both good new and bad news...
Well, as you can see, I have redesigned for the New Year. Hope you like it! I like the bright colors and it was just a fun design! Linkware template is thanks to

So, what would you like first, good or bad news? Let's start with the bad so the post will end with the good news!

(drummroll please...) I lost my job on New Year's Eve. Yes, I was let go this past Tuesday afternoon. Hence the lack of posts while I got myself together again here at home. I also took yesterday to just spend away form the PC with my wonderfully supportive husband. No major details but let's just say the boss and I didn't ever 'click' and although it was completely unexpected, I must be honest and say I wasn't exactly happy there. I just wish I had left on my terms. Still, the ex-boss says he will give me good recommendations and that he just felt I wouldn't "fit in" to the new organizational scheme. Argh. This is two layoffs in one year. As some of you may recall, I was laid off back in April after four years. Well, as Kenny says, at least it all happened in 2002 and the New Year will bring us new hope and promise as well as new opportunities. He has told me will be OK for about 6 weeks so I should relax and just put my efforts into the job search.

I have started making calls, sent an e-mail out to friends and have had some feedback from them. I have also updated my resume on As I type this, Kenny is proofreading my resume and I will send out it out to various people and positions today. So, wish me luck!!! Keep us in your thoughts!

Happy New Year from Elaine & Kenny! So, the good news? Well, we had our New Year's Eve Bash and it was a huge success. We had over 30 friends over and it really lifted my spirits. There are pictures over at Hanna's and Kathy's as well as my photo album.. I think one of the best shots is the kitchen after everyone left! There was not an inch of counter space clean! LOL... It looked worse than it really was and Kenny and I cleaned it up pretty quickly the next day.

On New Year's Day we went down to Kemah to visit friends and meet their baby Jacob. It was a very relaxing day hanging out at their home and catching up. In the evening, Kenny and I stayed home and relaxed in front of the TV watching TiVo recordings of BBC America's Ground Force and Changing Rooms. I had kept my mind off the job situation for most of the last 24 hours so when I was in the shower alone, without distractions, it hit me again. Fortunately, Kenny was there to hold me and tell me it was OK. I got a good cry out of it and I found a new resolve that everything will be OK.

Well, I must go now and e-mail some resumes!! Hope your New Year's was a little more positive than mine...

posted at 1/02/2003 03:38:00 p. m.

Cybertoad's Blog on Life