Cybertoad's Blog - Spring is in the air!

Spring is in the air!
domingo, noviembre 30, 2003

Not quite a holiday weekend recap...
I'll give you details on the holiday tomorrow but for now I just wanted to drop in to say hello. Kenny and I just got back from
the movies (compliments of Susan and CJ) and I had a few minutes on the computer. The weekend has been good - getting errands done, doing some shopping, but none really for Christmas, just for the house and for ourselves. Today I am a bit sore from working all afternoon in the yard. Our front yard needed some weeding, the pansies I bought two weeks ago desperately needed to be planted and in general I needed to trim shrubs and clean things up. The final numbers:

36 pansies planted (trust me, that's a lot of pansies!)
6 bags of mulch spread (2 in front, 4 in back)
2 large bags of leaves and cut shrubbery thrown out
1 Mexican heather with a 2 1/2 foot spread moved to a better location
1 small angel trumpet plant transplanted to a larger pot
2 hours spent total

I am so glad I got everything done before the sun was completely gone!

OK, be back tomorrow with holiday pictures...

posted at 11/30/2003 09:52:00 p. m.

jueves, noviembre 27, 2003

miércoles, noviembre 26, 2003

Friends Personality Quiz
Found this at

"YOU’RE RACHEL KAREN GREEN – Hey there! You’ve got a bit of Rachel in you! Although some might see you as a little spoiled, your friends know to turn to you when they need someone to talk to, or want someone to have some fun with. As much as you like a regular, normal life, you also welcome challenges that make your days just a little different from everyone else’s. You’re caring, you’re stylish, you’re tons of fun, and you never make your friends feel bad. And remember, your friends love you! "

Which Friend are you most like?

posted at 11/26/2003 09:29:00 p. m.

martes, noviembre 25, 2003

lunes, noviembre 24, 2003

domingo, noviembre 23, 2003

Princess for a night!
me and my tiaraWow! I had a *wonderful* time Friday night at the Tiara Happy Hour!! What a lovely group of beautiful, sassy, intelligent women from all ages. I had a great time meeting some new faces and catching up with some old faces. The turnout was great, the alcohol (and truth) flowed, the tiaras looked gorgeous on everyone and the laughter was loud. Can't you tell I am really looking forward to the next one?

In attendance Friday night were Emily, who is the one responsible for all this mayhem, Kathy, her friend Ruchira, Angela, Kymberlie, Christine, Kimberly, Syd, Robin, Sarah, Jenn with two of her friends, Jen, Natalie, Katie and Audra and one of her friends.

Of course I had a camera and you can check out my pictures here... but head over to some of the other girl's sites to see their pictures too - Natalie has a great group shot and Syd, Kathy and Angela have a few more fun pics too.

And once again, thanks Emily for arranging this...

posted at 11/23/2003 12:22:00 p. m.

viernes, noviembre 21, 2003

jueves, noviembre 20, 2003

Copito de Nieve
Copito de Nieve or Snowflake, the Barcelona Zoo's albino gorilla is fighting a losing battle with skin cancer(AFP/File/Dominique Faget Yahoo! News: Snowflake the albino gorilla at death's door

This story is significant because I first saw Copito (or Snowflake in English) when I was ten years old back in 1984. We made a family trip to Spain and visited the Barcelona Zoo where he is a main attraction. I remember thinking what a beautiful and amazing creature and also how human his facial expressions were. He has delighted so many children like me - it will be a great loss. Thanks for the memories Copito!!

posted at 11/20/2003 10:57:00 a. m.

miércoles, noviembre 19, 2003

Campus Briefs
It's a beautiful day today with a nice breeze and cool temperatures. The skies are this color without a cloud in the sky.

A few thoughts as I walked around:
-- How can some of these girls were heels around here??
-- You are carrying too many books if you need a
backpack on wheels (I see one or two a day).
-- I had lunch with a smoking frog.
-- I may actually get back into reading once again!

In regards to reading, I have started to read at lunch once again. Since I am always alone, it's a perfect opportunity. I finally finished David Rakoff's essays - highly recommended and now one of my favorite authors - and have started on Travelers' Tales Cuba. Maybe I can start to lessen that pile of unread books waiting for me on my bureau at home!

posted at 11/19/2003 01:32:00 p. m.

martes, noviembre 18, 2003

lunes, noviembre 17, 2003

It's a wet, wet Monday
Well, I had a nice weekend - busy but a good combination of errands + social events. Kenny had to work all weekend during the day so I was left to my own devices. Here's a re-cap:

Friday: Got stuck at work helping prepare some things for a conference but still managed to get
my hair cut (my wonderful hair dresser waited for me). Had dinner at a new Polish restaurant (the only Polish restaurant in town) and afterwards watched 28 Days Later at Robert's house.

Saturday: Took Heidi to the groomers, picked up some flats of flowers from a garden club fund-raising, passed by the pharmacy and headed out to an old family friend's bridal shower (our parents know each other from Cuba and we grew up playing together until high school when we went out own ways). My Mom was there too and I saw some faces I hadn't seen in along time (mostly older Cuban ladies).

Afterwards I got some clothes shopping in and managed to find some nice skirts and pants that I seriously needed. Since gaining weight I have not updated my wardrobe so although my tops mostly fit my pants and skirt selection was dwindling, becoming even more limited when I pulled out the stuff that was either too casual or too dressy for work. I need to get almost all the pants hemmed but at less than $20 per pair it's worth it. Most everything I bought was on sale and I even managed to find a gorgeous beaded and embroidered black evening dress for the holiday parties coming up - on sale for half price!

Saturday night: My good friend Daniel came up from Galveston and once again we kept it a low-key night. We got some Chili's take-out and rented another movie.

Sunday: I joined Kenny for lunch, dropped off the flowers I had picked up the day before to the individuals who paid for them and headed to the mall for some wardrobe essentials. To make up for the fact that I absolutely hate shopping for certain lingerie items (I equate the annoyance on the same level as going to the dentist or trying on bathing suits) I bought myself some comfy stuff on sale at Old Navy as consolation.

Sunday night: Had dinner with a Spanish friend of mine whose parents are in town from Valencia. She wanted them to meet my mother. We all had a great time and my Mom especially enjoyed it as she talked about Spain with the elderly couple.

Monday: Today I am back at work, sitting practically in the dark in my office (I just have desk lamp on), listening to the rain hit the window and the thunder crackle in the background while sipping a mocha from Starbuck's. Earlier I went out for lunch and enjoyed walking among the students in the rain, protected by my umbrella (can't you tell I love weather like this). Almost everyone I work for is out this week at a week-long conference so my floor is very, very quiet. Since the streets are flooded, I may try to head out a little before 5 PM (I work till 5:30 PM). I don't think anyone will miss me although I will tell our office downstairs. Plus, the radar (image below) doesn't look too good so I think I have a legitimate excuse!

Update: The rest of the staff left at 4 PM so I am following them out the door!!

posted at 11/17/2003 03:21:00 p. m.

viernes, noviembre 14, 2003

Campus Observations #1
Well, so far, so good. I am being more tempered in my enthusiasm for work since I've been burned so many times now but things *are* fine. I am slowly getting the feel for things, including my boss who is actually rather difficult to read. He'll take a lot longer to figure out.

I also now have parking (in a gated lot - had to pay more money for that but I think it was worth it), an ID card with the requisite bad picture, my own office keys and I will be turning in my benefit enrollment paperwork in a couple of days after I read through all the mumbo-jumbo and calculate how much everything will cost me. Now if they could only get my voice mail to work (it has to be re-set). Voice mail has been re-set and is working!

As I've said on my other posts, I am still adjusting to the "campus" life. I feel old compared to the students of course which made me observe a few things in regards to how things have changed in terms of technology in 10 years (the average age difference between me and many of the students here). For example:

-- Everyone has a cell phone and many are on them as they walk around campus. I on the other hand didn't get my 1st cell phone until 1997, a year after graduating from college. These kids don't even know how much of a convenience those phones are because they can't imagine life without them.

-- Along the same lines as cell phones is the PC - and more recently the laptops. Most of these students have a computer at home and many (although far from the majority) have laptops they carry around in their backpacks. Once again, for me, I never owned a computer till 1997. I used a typewriter in high school. Yes, a typewriter - but a fancy one with a tiny 2-line LCD screen and external memory cards that could hold a whopping 8 pages of text (I needed 3 memory cards to write a 20 page paper). In college I used the computers on campus and my e-mail was through a
VAX system (no fancy Microsoft Outlook for me). Only until I graduated did I finally plunk down $1700 for a refurbished Compaq (back in January 1997).

I don't think it's a negative change, don't get me wrong - but I know that the "college experience" is going to be different for the kids now in the 00's than it was for me, a college co-ed in the early 90's partially because of these changes in technology.

It's definitely a learning experience and I'm not even a student yet! I'll post more campus observations I am sure in future entries... I've been thinking already of how different this campus is compared to my alma mater so maybe that can be an upcoming topic.

posted at 11/14/2003 09:27:00 a. m.

jueves, noviembre 13, 2003

martes, noviembre 11, 2003

I need to start a Zire Photo Blog!
More shots taken with my
Zire 71... (click image for larger picture)

Monthly pool "date" with the husband:

his and her cue sticks racking the balls

Christmas has made it to The Galleria Mall:

decorations at the mall

posted at 11/11/2003 03:00:00 p. m.

domingo, noviembre 09, 2003

I flew this weekend!
Yesterday there was an open-house/BBQ at Kenny's aviation school so of course, we headed down there. Accompanying us were our friend CJ - also taking flying lessons with Kenny at the same school - and his girlfriend Susan. Now the night before, when we all went out to see the new Matrix movie, Susan had mentioned that CJ had signed her up for a flight. Since Kenny had not mentioned anything to me about something similar, I started to rag on him for not having signed me up too knowing how much I would enjoy this.

me piloting a plane!! I continue to bug him Saturday as we drive up to the airfield (with Susan and CJ in the car), disappointed that I wasn't going to get to go up. Half an hour after we arrive, Kenny turns to me and say "You are going up! I had you signed up before CJ ever signed Susan up!" OOPS! My bad! I had completely misread the situation! After many apologies and kisses, it was finally my turn to go up. We went up in a Cessna 172, the 4-seater version of the Cessna 152 Kenny trains in, and I took the pilot's seat! Once we were up, the instructor let me handle all the maneuvering controls. Essentially, I "steered" the plane for the entire flight by controlling the yoke (steering wheel of the plane). I banked the plane left and right and kept the nose relatively level by pointing it up and down as needed (and per the instructor's advice). He was controlling the flaps, trim and all the other hard stuff. He even let me line up for the landing and let me land the plane!! Kenny says I did fine and the landing wasn't perfect by any means but it wasn't bumpy either.

As you can see, I had a great time and look forward to going up with Kenny when he is finally licensed!!! Below are a couple more pictures (click for larger image):

CJ & Kenny with the plane they are learning in. The Cessna 172 I flew.

TOP LEFT: CJ & Kenny with the plane they are learning in.
TOP RIGHT: The Cessna 172 I flew.
BOTTOM LEFT: The open hangar is the aviation school Kenny & CJ go to.
BOTTOM RIGHT: The cockpit of the Cessna 152 Kenny & CJ train in.

The open hangar is the aviation school Kenny & CJ go to. The cockpit of the Cessna 152 Kenny & CJ train in.

posted at 11/09/2003 04:39:00 p. m.

viernes, noviembre 07, 2003

jueves, noviembre 06, 2003

Hello everyone!
Yesterday was not fun. I had chills in the afternoon while I sat in my office that made me cold to the bone (a buttoned up sweater and blanket over my legs could not warm me) and my throat was swollen. Plus, my neck was sore and my glands were swollen so as you can imagine I was not a happy camper! The drive home was miserable and I confirmed I had a mild fever when I got home.

My sore throat was so painful that Kenny thought that my flu could be something nastier, maybe even strep throat. Not having the time to go to the doctor, I consulted with my mother (a retired doctor herself) and she suggested I take some antibiotics I had gotten a couple of months ago before leaving for London that I never had to use. I took the first pill last night and I also loaded up on several over-the-counter medications specifically geared towards sore throat pain. My cocktail of drugs seems to have helped and I am still tired and slightly achy but better.

As far as work goes – I am still getting adjusted. I don’t have the commute down yet and still need to adjust when I leave the house. I’m trying to settle in by making my office more “homey” with a few personal things. The biggest change is adjusting into the academic world because it is so different than working in the “industry” as they like to call it here. The academic world at the university is very large and intricately interconnected. It will take me a while to make all the connections. There is also a lack of rigidity but it is counteracted by more independence and more accountability. It’s good but also makes you feel a bit lonely since everyone does their own thing at their own time. I especially notice it at lunch time. I’m used to going out, eating at a local restaurant, often with a co-worker or two. Here, it is sort of a hassle to leave campus so lunch is on your own. I’ll have to start bringing mine and just wander the campus till I find a good place to stop and eat. Maybe I can get back to reading again…

Anyway, more thoughts later. Must get back to work!

posted at 11/06/2003 10:36:00 a. m.

miércoles, noviembre 05, 2003

martes, noviembre 04, 2003

I'm sick with the
flu. Slight chills, achiness, slight fever, horrible sore throat.

This sucks. And tomorrow my boss gets back in town so I have to be there.

I guess it doesn't help that Houston is the epicenter of virus this year.

I am about to take a nice warm shower and Kenny has ordered us some pho for take out so I can get some therapeutic soup into me.

posted at 11/04/2003 08:09:00 p. m.

lunes, noviembre 03, 2003

Hooray!!!!! I have joined the ranks of the gainfully employed once again!
I found a job! You know
that 2nd interview I had last Friday? They offered me the job!! I start Wednesday TODAY (they just called and want me to come in this afternoon)!! In other good news, because they want me to start so soon, I will avoid having to file unemployment since my severance package actually only ran out this past Friday (the same day I was offered the new position)!

It should be a nice change of pace. I will still be doing administrative work but more project based as I will be assisting a director and assistant director at a local university in a busy department. I am looking forward to the academic setting (being back "on campus") and am thrilled about two perks:1) in addition to the normal 2 weeks vacation, I get 2 weeks off during the Christmas holidays too and 2) I will have no excuse not to go back to school for a graduate degree since I will be right there on campus! Oh yeah - the most important perk? I got a "raise" (I was able to snag a wee bit more money than any of my previous positions)!

my new toy! To celebrate, with the help of Kenny funding some of the cost, I bought a new toy to replace my old Handspring Visor. Isn't she pretty? I finally have a color screen and as an added bonus a built in camera!!!

I want to take the time to personally thanks everyone who sent me warm wishes, concerned e-mails and words of encouragement and support! You guys are the best! Thanks for believing in me, even in many of us have never met in person!!!

posted at 11/03/2003 10:14:00 a. m.

Cybertoad's Blog on Life