Cybertoad's Blog - Spring is in the air!

Spring is in the air!
viernes, enero 30, 2004

Photo Friday: Emptiness
Photo Friday Here is another Photo Friday entry. The topic is emptiness and this image I think evokes that feeling. I took this with my older Canon digital Elph at my husband's family's farm in Central West Texas. This is an abandoned home that we explored while wandering their property.

Emptiness

posted at 1/30/2004 02:46:00 p. m.

"Put Your Smile On. Company's Coming."
Yes folks, it's
Super Bowl Weekend and it's taking place right here in my hometown. I am not a football fan at all and have no interest in all the hoopla so I am trying to avoid the events around town (although it would be neat to see some celebrities), so much so that I even told Kenny that we should just invite friends over tonight instead of hitting a local bar, just to avoid the football crowds.

As for what I'll be doing? I am actually heading out to town all weekend. Saturday I'll visit a friend in College Station before she moves next weekend and on the actual Super Bowl Sunday Kenny and I will be heading to Austin to visit with his great-aunt.

Just because I don't give a rat's behind about this weekend doesn't mean I can't extend a hearty welcome to our out-of-town guests. I hope "y'all" enjoy your stay despite the rainy, gray weather and that you leave with a better impression of our city. Many people have a negative or neutral opinion about Houston but in reality, it's got its wonderful little secrets - an impressive diversity, great restaurants (we eat out more than any other U.S. city), gorgeous oak trees, hip neighborhoods and a great variety of night spots ranging from high-end martini bars to hole-in-the-wall beer joints and a pretty nice skyline with a new lively Downtown area full of more bars and restaurants. We are also indeed full of Southern hospitality and friendliness, just don't cut us off as we speed down the highway! Don't forget that we are the 4th largest city in the U.S. and surprising to many who think we lack in culture, our theater district is second only to New York City when it comes to number seats. We work hard and play hard here in Houston and have been able to keep this huge metropolitan city of millions feeling like a smaller community. So, give us a chance, you'll be happily surprised!

All in all, as a native Houstonian I see all of our faults - we could stand to improve in lots of areas - but I am proud to live here and enjoy calling it home. Have a great weekend visiting!

I'll leave you with a few articles on Houston for your perusal:

Concrete, but no cliche
Houston: Weird & proud of it
A few more facts and figures on Houston...

Houston Skyline

posted at 1/30/2004 09:22:00 a. m.

jueves, enero 29, 2004

Must See TV!
Since we got
TiVo, Kenny and I have actually improved our TV watching experience a couple of ways. Firstly, we watch TV more efficiently - a 1 hour show can be seen in 40 minutes, a 30 minute show becomes a mere 20 minutes. We also don't feel compelled to stop what we are doing to watch a show. We just record it and come back to it when we are ready to sit down and relax. Secondly, we have actually had a chance to watch shows we might have otherwise missed. We were never "regular" show watchers because we never kept a schedule but with TiVo we just set it to record a "Season Pass" and without thinking, our shows get recorded all season long.

Some of the new shows I am enjoying this month that I might have otherwise missed are "Keen Eddie" on Bravo and Donald Trump's reality show "The Apprentice" on NBC.

"Keen Eddie" follows a NYC cop, Eddie, who has joined Scotland Yard (the pilot episode explains how he got there) and is teamed up with a British partner. The thing that I like is the cinematography is really edgy and slick. I love it!! Also, it's a comedy, not a drama. All the actors except Eddie are British so they bring their off-color sense of humor to the already quick wit that Eddie's character offers. Plus, you get to see London as the backdrop of the show which is such a nice change from New York City which seems to be the setting for the majority of the crime shows on TV. I enjoy watching to see if I recognize places from our recent trip to London. Oh, and Eddie (Mark Valley) is nice eye-candy too (you may recognize him from his run at Days of Our Lives where he played Jack Deveraux).

As for "The Apprentice", yes, it's another reality show but it's well-done and I have a new found respect for Donald Trump. I always thought he was rather "schwarmy" but watching the show lets you see that he really isn't. He actually seems like a decent guy. I have no idea who will win but right now my favorite is Amy and not just because she is also an Aggie and a Texas girl!

What shows are you watching?

posted at 1/29/2004 10:40:00 a. m.

miércoles, enero 28, 2004

Poem for the Day
As I was driving to work listening to
The Writer's Almanac on NPR, a poem was read that I thought I would share. It is by my favorite poet, E.E. Cummings and I thought its topic might shed some color to those of us who are cold - maybe even buried under snow - longing for the spring to come...

"This is the Garden"
by E.E. Cummings
from Complete Poems: 1904-1962 (W.W. Norton)

this is the garden: colours come and go,
frail azures fluttering from night's outer wing
strong silent greens serenely lingering,
absolute lights like baths of golden snow.
This is the garden: pursed lips do blow
upon cool flutes within wide glooms, and sing
(of harps celestial to the quivering string)
invisible faces hauntingly and slow.
This is the garden. Time shall surely reap
and on Death's blade lie many a flower curled,
in other lands where other songs be sung;
yet stand They here enraptured, as among
the slow deep trees perpetual of sleep
some silver-fingered fountain steals the world.

posted at 1/28/2004 09:23:00 a. m.

martes, enero 27, 2004

New Tuesday Meme
I found this new meme for Tuesdays over at
Kathy's but it was actually started by Yano's...

The inaugural Top Ten Tuesday:

This was hard because I buy whatever has the best price usually. I am loyal to stores - Target, Marshall's/T.J. Maxx, Randall's (a grocery store), IKEA - but not to that many brands.

Top Ten Brand Names You're Loyal To
1. Crest toothpaste
2. Ovaltine chocolate mix
3. Quaker State oil
4. Palm
5. Kraft Mac & Cheese
6. Mitchum deodorant
7. Jane lipsticks
8. Yoplait yogurt
9. Allegra
10. TiVo

Thanks Yano! Looking forward to next week's!

posted at 1/27/2004 09:38:00 p. m.

It's a Dog's Life
For all dog owners out there, you must check out and give your dog it's own page at
this nifty new site!

Dogster is free and it takes you less than 5-minutes to set up a page for each of your dogs, including free picture uploads of your pooches. Once you set them up, you can link your friends' dogs as "Pet Pals".

I quickly set up Ginger and Heidi's pages and they already have a few "pals" listed.... Why don't you add your own so our pets can be friendly with each other? I know a couple who already have their dogs listed there: Kathy's dog Maddie & Hanna's dog Chinook. Also, thanks to Karen for the link (Sophie is her dog)!!

Another dog-related post I saw a few days ago... it seems that mutt mixes like Heidi - she is part poodle, part Cocker Spaniel or a 'Cockapoo" - are extremely popular now!

Yahoo! News: Mixed-Breed 'Doodle' Dogs Are All the Rage

So how many of my loyal readers are dog people??

P.S. If you do set up a dog page over at Dogster, please leave me a comment so I can go read up on your pet. Thanks!

posted at 1/27/2004 10:54:00 a. m.

lunes, enero 26, 2004

To-Do List
Maybe if I post my to-do list for the next 3 nights, I'll actually be motivated to get some stuff done:

-- update
H-Town Blogs site with a couple of one more announcement
-- add captions and credits to the H-Town Blogs photo galleries
-- file receipts away
-- go through e-mail and answer some of it
-- install Quicken and start tracking the 2004 house bills
-- begin West Texas scrapbook
-- get last 2 loads of laundry washed AND dried AND put away
-- maybe even do a load or two of Kenny's laundry
-- tidy up the guest bathroom (it's needs a quick sweep/swiffer and wipe down)
-- mop lounge area & hallway
-- sweep & swiffer kitchen
-- go by fish store
-- organize and photograph what we want to sell on eBay

I doubt I'll get everything done but at least it will keep me in line and hopefully on target!

posted at 1/26/2004 03:40:00 p. m.

Weekend Re-cap
Hi guys, back to the grind. I had a fun weekend. Here is the re-cap!

Friday night: Headed Downtown for Tiara Happy Hour III.
Angela and I got there an hour early so we met Kathy at Kaveh Kanes for a pre-drink coffee. The happy hour was fun as always despite not being in the ideal location inside the bar. Somehow I missed all the wildness (there was booby grabbing and girl-on-girl kissing) but I still managed to have a good time! Thanks again Emily for setting it all up once again! Can't wait for the next one. Here are my pictures from the evening...

Saturday: Ran around town with Kenny. We also finally got the scanner he bought me for Christmas working after a second exchange. This is the third machine we brought home but I guess it's true - "third time's a charm" - because I finally have a working photo feeder. We were patient becasue I really wanted a photo feeder and this is the only one out on the market that offers this feature. Kenny bought the first one the week the scanner hit the store shelves and we think the first batch had a general production error. The first and second machines were probably from that same first batch and by waiting till after the holidays the store's stock was replenished with a different batch that had the hardware issue resolved.

I also installed my graphics tablet that I got for my birthday. Now I need to actually play with it!!

Saturday night: Went on a "double date" with Kathy and Tom. We had sushi at Mikado and had a great time chatting about all sorts of things. I wish we could have stayed out longer but Kenny had to get ready for a business trip.

Sunday: Kenny was going to try to fly solo to College Station but when they reached the airport he was told the winds were too high so he and our friend CJ (who is also taking flying lessons with Kenny and was also intending to go to College Station) picked me up for brunch instead. It was a gorgeous day with cool temperatures and blue skies so we headed to the Daily Review Cafe. We beat the brunch crowd and snagged a table out on their lovely patio despite not having a reservation.

Sunday night: Kenny left on his business trip to Atlanta so the dogs and I, having been left alone, watched some TV and relaxed on the couch. I also watered all my house plants, did a load of laundry, did the dishes and cleaned the small fish tank.

Kenny won't be back till Wednesday night so I have an opportunity to get a few things done around the house tonight and Tuesday night. Now whether I take that opportunity to be productive is another story though! :D

So how was your weekend???

posted at 1/26/2004 10:18:00 a. m.

viernes, enero 23, 2004

H-Town Blogs fun!!
This week has kept me busy with two
H-Town Blogs events. Wednesday night Cody arranged the 1st midtown "Bad Art" Night at Tropioca. Although the crowd was small, we had a great time. Kathy and Tom were there as well as a new blogger, Pat. She also brought along her friend sister Carmen. Another new blogger, Ian, stopped by for a minute before heading out to play in a gig with his band, Drop Trio.

We were all more creative than we thought and in my opinion, all of us actually created what could be considered "decent" art, not necessarily bad. I encourage all of you in the area to come out to the next one, hopefully in about a month. I promise you, you do not have to have any artistic talent and you'd be surprised at how relaxing it can be! Check out the photo gallery...

The 2nd event is tonight's Tiara Happy Hour. The event's founder and organizer, Emily, always does a great job getting the word out so the turn out should be nice. At our last one we had over a dozen blogger girls! I missed the inaugural event but had a blast at the 2nd one. We also have a photo gallery set up so check it out...

Looking forward to tonight...

posted at 1/23/2004 09:44:00 a. m.

jueves, enero 22, 2004

To make up for my boring post yesterday...
I've seen this meme all over the place so I thought I would finally fill it out...

LAYER ONE:
-- Name: Elaine aka cybertoad
-- Birth date: December 13th, 1973
-- Birthplace: Houston, Texas
-- Current Location: Houston, Texas
-- Eye Color: Brown
-- Hair Color: Brown
-- Height: 5'3"
-- Righty or Lefty: Right
-- Zodiac Sign: Sagittarius

LAYER TWO:
-- Your heritage: Cuban
-- The shoes you wore today: black suede Mary Jane slip-ons by
Clarks
-- Your weakness: snacking on cheese
-- Your fears: straight drops (like in those amusement rides that just drop you - I prefer roller coasters)
-- Your perfect pizza: thick crust with mushroom and Canadian bacon
-- Goal you'd like to achieve: career satisfaction

LAYER THREE:
-- Your most overused phrase on AIM: LOL
-- Your first waking thoughts: Already? I just got to sleep!
-- Your best physical feature: I'm proud of my cleavage - not too small, not too big!
-- Your most missed memory: I miss the schedule I had as a college student!

LAYER FOUR:
-- Pepsi or Coke: whatever is cheapest or available
-- McDonald's or Burger King: Burger King
-- Single or group dates: both
-- Adidas or Nike: whatever is cheapest
-- Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: whatever is flavored
-- Chocolate or vanilla: vanilla with chocolate syrup on top
-- Cappuccino or coffee: Cappuccino

LAYER FIVE:
-- Smoke: never
-- Cuss: Used to do it a lot but I've toned things down and I hardly ever do it now.
-- Sing: With certain CD's when I'm in the car alone and it's a pretty day outside.
-- Take a shower everyday: Every night to be specific.
-- Do you think you've been in love: Definitely, yes.
-- Want to go to college: Already went & graduated.
-- Liked high school: I survived but it wasn't really that memorable.
-- Want to get married: Already am.
-- Believe in yourself: Of course.
-- Get motion sickness: A little bit but only if I try to read in the car.
-- Think you're attractive: Most of the time.
-- Think you're a health freak: Not at all.
-- Get along with your parent(s): Yes
-- Like thunderstorms: Definitely! Always have, even as a kid.
-- Play an instrument: Took piano lessons as a child but don't play anymore.

LAYER SIX: In the past month...
-- Drank alcohol: Yes
-- Smoked: No
-- Done a drug: No - unless prescription drugs count!
-- Made Out: Yes
-- Gone on a date: Went on one last week with the husband.
-- Gone to the mall?: Yes
-- Eaten an entire box of Oreos?: No
-- Eaten sushi: Yes
-- Been on stage: No
-- Been dumped: No
-- Gone skating: No
-- Made homemade cookies: No
-- Dyed your hair: No (but I did have highlights done last month)

LAYER SEVEN: Ever...
-- Played a game that required removal of clothing: No
-- If so, was it mixed company: n/a
-- Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: Yes
-- Been caught "doing something": Yes
-- Been called a tease: Yes
-- Gotten beaten up: No
-- Shoplifted: No
-- Changed who you were to fit in: No

LAYER EIGHT:
-- Age you hope to be married: I married at 24 (a little earlier than I had expected).
-- Numbers and Names of Children: Don't have any and we may not but we have considered having one in about 5 years. Names would be Lia for a girl and Evan for a boy.
-- Describe your Dream Wedding: The wedding I had with an extra $25,000 to spend.
-- How do you want to die: In my sleep.
-- Where you want to go to college: I graduated from Texas A&M University in College Station.
-- What do you want to be when you grow up: I still don't know. *sigh*
-- What country would you most like to visit: Out of the places I haven't been to, I'd like to visit New Zealand.

LAYER NINE:
-- Number of drugs taken illegally: None.
-- Number of people I could trust with my life: I have a good group of about a dozen friends that I think I could trust with my life.
-- Number of CDs that I own: Combined with my husband's, over 200, maybe close to 300.
-- Number of piercings: Ears only, one each
-- Number of tattoos: One
-- Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: Oh, I don't know if ever (I'm from a the 4th largest city in the US so you gotta do something pretty major to be in there).
-- Number of scars on my body: Several small ones that are hardly noticeable.
-- Number of things in my past that I regret: Just a couple and they had to do with how I treated people.

posted at 1/22/2004 11:19:00 a. m.

miércoles, enero 21, 2004

martes, enero 20, 2004

This is *ridiculous*!
This doesn't even deserve comment but I wanted to post it in lieu of
my recent post about Ginger's back aches:

Yahoo! News: Doxie loses in junk mail showdown with British supermarket

By the way, for those interested, Ginger is better but definitely not 100%. She is still on medication but only for a day or two longer. In the last 2 days both me and Kenny have accidentally elicited yelps from her although nothing as severe as the 1st day we found her trembling. It only happens when we go to pick her up off of our laps or off the couch. She is also very stiff and it takes her a minute or two to walk without a limp. *sigh* I think I'll call the vet tomorrow and see what we should do now. Maybe she needs a refill on the medication.

posted at 1/20/2004 11:32:00 a. m.

Photo Friday: Motion
Photo Friday I haven't played this in a while but when I saw the theme I immediately thought of some pictures I took in London of the subway train whooshing by. So, here are my entries - the topic is motion.

"Mind the gap..."

Mind the gap...

Whoosh!

posted at 1/20/2004 09:34:00 a. m.

lunes, enero 19, 2004

Happy MLK Day
Well, Monday has rolled around once more and fortunately for me, I have the day off (working for the state has its advantages). I will be a busy girl though. I have some errands to run, an appointment to keep, some laundry to do and a house to tidy, dust and sweep.

The weekend was nice. You've already read about
Friday's adventures. Here is the rest of the weekend:

Saturday: Headed over to Hanna's for a Creative Memories scrapbooking "crop club" hosted by Pamela who came all the way down from Dallas to see us. We had a good time and I essentially finished my Boston scrapbook and started one for Holidays 2002 (yes, I'm a year behind).

Saturday night: Mandy and Kathy were at the crop club as well so I invited them to hang out afterwards with me and Kenny. We all went out to dinner at Freebirds and afterwards hung out at Brasil's drinking coffee and chai tea. It was a very nice, impromptu evening and it was great to be in a smaller group than normal because we were all involved in the conversation. Kathy managed to hang around me for almost 11 hours straight - we think that is a record! LOL!

Sunday: Did some shopping with Kenny, watched a rented movie and continued to clean up in my office. Yes, my office is essentially done but I am going through stuff in my closet and purging old cards and papers I no longer need to keep. In the end I have a large stack of greeting cards to recycle dating back to high school and I managed to shred a huge bag of paper that included old bank statements and receipts. It felt good to reclaim some shelf space in the closet! I am also accumulating a nice pile of stuff I hope to sell at a friend's garage sale this Saturday.

Well, my stuff is not going to get done today if I sit here at the computer so I am outta here. Hope you guys have a good MLK Day, whether you are at work or have the day off!

posted at 1/19/2004 11:30:00 a. m.

sábado, enero 17, 2004

Mmm, pie!!
Last night I had a great time over at
Miss Emily's home playing Trivial Pursuit with Emily herself (don't even think about cheating, she'll jump you right there) as well as Kimberly, Ashley and Sarah. We were even graced with the lovely presence of Natalie and Peter later that evening who are celebrating their 12th wedding anniversary this weekend!

Sarah triumphantly won the game (we were playing the DVD Pop Culture version) but not before we had lots of laughs, good beer and good food. Emily prepared sauteed mushrooms, homemade hummus, crab dip and salsa for us to munch on and I ate so much hummus I can still taste the garlic in my mouth this morning!!

Somehow, despite drinking a whole 750 ml bottle of lambic and being surrounded by 5 cats, I 1) did not get drunk (maybe all the great food in my stomach helped prevent that) and 2) miraculously did not have an asthma attack due to my cat allergy. Maybe Allegra + lambic is the trick to fighting off my relatively strong cat allergy?

To finish this post off I wanted to leave the girls a couple of links. The first is an answer to one of the trivia questions we had. It's quite entertaining and something you shouldn't miss out on, especially if you like LOTR. The second link is a cartoon I like that I kept thinking of all night as we raced around the board trying to collect our pie pieces! Enjoy!

Leonard Nimoy sang this catchy tune back in the 60's I think.

Mmmmmmm... pie!

posted at 1/17/2004 11:26:00 a. m.

jueves, enero 15, 2004

Date Night
date night w/ the hubby (picture taken with my Zire 71 hence the low quality)

So last night Kenny and I went on our monthly "date night". We headed out to the Slick Willie's in Montrose and played some pool. I was discouraged at first because I suck at pool but after a couple of margaritas, a cape cod and some really good tips from Kenny on how to hold the cue stick, I could tell my shots had really improved. I made one shot clear across the table and sunk a ball that wowed Kenny. He said it was a *perfect* shot and that he might not have even made it because the angle was tricky due to the amount of green I had to cover - and it was all due to a simple change in how I was holding the cue stick! He even showed me how to put some "English" on the ball.

Between games we also had a really good talk about things we needed to talk about. I got some stuff off my chest and he listened. He also shared some of his thoughts with me. Nothing super serious or marriage threatening at all, just things we can do to improve our relationship because it's pretty easy to get lazy in a marriage or commitment, especially after seven years of being together like Kenny and I have been.

After pool we headed over to Katz's Deli for a late dinner. I was exhausted on the way home and was practically asleep as we drove up to the house. All in all, it was a wonderful evening spent with my honey. I am glad we keep these monthly dates and I look forward to the next one!

posted at 1/15/2004 05:36:00 p. m.

Interview with Cybertoad
Kimberly had this over on her blog and I offered to play. The rules are simple and listed below, right above my answers. If you want me to "interview" you, just leave me a comment and I'll contact you with your very own set of questions!

THE RULES!
1 - Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2 - I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3 - You'll update your journal with my five questions, and your five answers.
4 - You'll include this explanation.
5 - You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

Kimberly's questions for me (and they are good ones):

1. Name one thing about the Cuban culture that you hold dear that is different from American culture. Why? Cubans have a zest for life. No matter how down they may be, it's in our blood to find something upbeat. I mean who couldn't be when that salsa beat hits your ears? I really think the music is part of the explanation for our attitude!

2. If you could choose to live anywhere in the world and not take into account what friends/family members want, where would you live? Why? Spain!! And the good thing is my mother and my husband would love to be there with me! Spain holds a special place in my heart. Yes, I am Cuban but I have never been to the island. On the other hand, I have visited Spain on numerous occasions since my 1st visit when I was 10 back in 1984 and spent 2 months there while in college. Spain (any part of it - it's all beautiful) is like a second home. When I am there I feel comfortable and I feel like I belong. The Spanish character suits me since it is also in my blood, along with the Cuban blood since my maternal grandfather was Spanish. ¡Viva España!

3. When did you begin to collect frogs and how many do you have in your collection? Growing up in Houston near a bayou, toads were all over our yard. As a child, they were fun to chase and catch so my affinity grew from there. I didn't earnestly start collecting frog and toad figurines until after college though and I am pretty picky about what gets added to the collection. An inventory last night had me at ~50 decorative frogs (ranging from 5" to 1/4" and made from all sorts of materials like semi-precious stones, wood, amber, pewter, metal and ceramic), several frog-shaped candles, a dozen frog-shaped garden objects (statues & pots) and 7 collectibles from the Harmony Kingdom series (8 if you count the one I just won on e-Bay last night). I also have several frog pajamas and miscellaneous clothing items showcasing frogs, a dozen frog stuffed animals and scattered Keroppi items (Sanrio's frog character). Throw in a few frog-related odds and ends and that's my collection!

4. Paper or plastic? This can apply to anything that is comprised of these 2 materials. Plastic. Easy to recycle and provides the foundation for so many things I use (like this computer). Plus, with the increased occurrence of magazines and newspapers going on-line, I find paper in my hands less and less often (read it on-line, save a tree, LOL).

5. If you could either win the lottery or live forever which would you choose? Why? Win the lottery! I've always wanted to live a long life but not without having experienced so much more. What's stopping me from getting to do many of the things I want to do? Money. Much of my lottery winnings would go towards world travel. Plus, how boring would it be to live forever? Living forever just holds no interest for me at all.

Thanks Kimberly! Those were great questions and really had me thinking this morning!!

posted at 1/15/2004 10:17:00 a. m.

miércoles, enero 14, 2004

Ginger's getting old.
I mentioned this in my weekend re-cap but I didn't go into details... Ginger, our 10-year old dachshund, gave us a minor health scare Friday night...

Kenny and I came home at 10:30 Friday night and typically coming home this late would have the two dogs all riled up and happy to finally have us home. Normally a yapping Heidi greets us at the door and a tail-wagging, howling Ginger waits on the couch.

This past Friday night there was only Heidi to greet us so we got worried. A quick search found Ginger on our bed. She *never* hangs out here during the day whether or not we are home. Ginger's spot is on the couch and Heidi takes the bed or the closet. So we go to check her and as she tries to get up to greet us we see that she doesn't seem to be moving real well. Her whole body was trembling too, as if she were cold although the room temperature wasn't that low.

My darling dachsund Ginger. Kenny cuddles with her for a while, trying to get her to stop shaking. She does eventually and Kenny ends up falling asleep holding her. I try to find some information on the internet about her symptoms - full body tremors, lethargic, limited mobility - but can't really find anything. We worry that it was a stroke or she has a fever but in the end conclude that maybe she somehow hurt her leg (she seemed to be limping too) and had hurt it badly enough that she hadn't been able to get out off of the bed. We figured the shaking was from the stress and maybe some pain. We agreed that if she wasn't better in the morning, we'd take her to the vet.

The next day she was still lethargic but managed to go outside. She also had another 20-minutes episode of tremors and cried out in pain 3-4 times when she was touched near her face or front legs. We call the vet and took her in.

The vet concluded it was a pinched nerve in her back, very common in dachshunds (link has horrible music playing - be forewarned) and exacerbated by her chubbiness and age. She showed us how Ginger had limited flexibility in her neck on one side compared to the other and how she had tension along the spine. It doesn't seem to be a problem requiring surgery but we need to watch her to avoid it from escalating into a spinal disc injury that would send her to the operating table. She also sent us home with a muscle relaxant and an anti-inflammatory.

Ginger is doing much better now but she is still not as mobile as she used to be. She doesn't seem to be as tense anymore nor have the tremors returned (caused by the tension in her muscles) so the medication seems to be working. We now try to lift her and take her down from the couch so she doesn't jump but we can't stop her from doing it when we are in another room or not home. In addition we brought out her old dog bed and placed it in the middle of the living room. She has actually started to stay there. It manages to keep her in the middle of things without having to jump on the couch.

She is getting a lot of love from us as well and she is milking it for all its worth! She is extra cuddly and is enjoying the treats she is getting since this is the only way to get her to take a pill. One thing was for sure, through it all, she never loss her appetite! She is getting back up to speed slowly and we are grateful for that. Now if we could just get her to lose some weight!! I'm hoping the weight loss food she's been on for the last month works - although it won't if she keeps eating Heidi's portion as well! *sigh* I guess dachshunds are known for their tenacity!

posted at 1/14/2004 02:32:00 p. m.


Yesterday I cam across this neat little Google search box over at
Binkley's site that lets you search all of Google or just the site you are on. I found the code here and added it at the very bottom of the left-hand columns. It doesn't grab everything but it's still a neat resource. Maybe it will help in the future when I try to find some of my old entries...


WWW
Cybertoad's Blog on Life


Google

posted at 1/14/2004 09:16:00 a. m.

martes, enero 13, 2004

I'm blogging this.
I forgot to mention that Kenny got me
this shirt as a surprise. It just came in. I asked him if I could get it exchanged for the baby doll version instead though and he said that was fine... tee, hee! I'm such a geek.

posted at 1/13/2004 03:50:00 p. m.

Promised pictures (these will be the last ones!)
OK, I took a few more shots of the office furniture, with the new hutch over the monitor and the shelf. Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the
drawer but I think you guys can visualize well enough. It's sits under the desk, towards the right side. Not real interesting. OK, as always, you can click on the photo for a larger image...

monitor hutch stuffed animal shelf
(L) The left side of my desk and the shelf above it.
(R) My stuffed animal collection on its new shelf.


decorative storage boxes flloaty pen home
(L) Decorative boxes I am using as storage. My new "Havana" box is the big one on the right (will hold old family photos), the red box holds cards & letters from Kenny, the beige boxes hold some of my black and white prints and the 3 tin boxes hold various letter and cards from friends (none of them are full because I purged stuff I didn't need to keep -there is plenty of room to grow into these boxes).

(R) This hutch sits on top of the lateral file cabinet that also stores the scanner nicely hidden away. I have made it a place for family photos, both framed and in albums as well as a place to showcase my 300 floaty pens.

posted at 1/13/2004 09:19:00 a. m.

lunes, enero 12, 2004

Weekend Recap
Good morning everyone! Yeah, it's Monday and I'm back at work. *sigh* And my bed was sooooo cozy this morning!

I had a relatively productive weekend that involved more office organizing, furniture building as well as visits with friends. Here's a little more detailed summary:

Friday night - The last two pieces of my office set were in at IKEA so I swung by after work and picked them up. Afterwards I joined up with Kenny and three friends to have dinner up north. We really didn't feel like going out so Kenny and I went home where we vegged for the rest of the evening.

Saturday - As a favor to us, our friend
Robert came by with his truck to help us haul some stuff away. I went with him to drop off some of my old office furniture at Goodwill and to take our Christmas tree to the recycling center. On the way back to my house, I received a surprise call from a cousin I have never met (he lives in Cuba although he is currently working in Venezuela for a 2-year period as a doctor in a rural village). It was the 1st time we had ever spoken over the phone it was a great to finally hear his voice after only corresponding through e-mail.

The call made me run late since I needed to be over at Kathy's for a Home Interiors party that was to start at 3 PM. Unfortunately I was an hour late so I missed the presentation but I stayed a bit afterwards and talked to Kathy and Tom. It was a nice event and I bought these for my kitchen (I have just the spot).

Saturday night - Once again, Kenny and I felt like staying in. I built the last two pieces of my furniture (a drawer that goes under the desk and a hutch that goes over my monitor and sits on the desk). I also hung (well, Kenny did) a shelf for my stuffed frog collection and small group of beanie babies. I continued to organize stuff in there, emptying a small organizer full of junk and purging what I didn't want or need anymore. I'll post pictures tonight.

Before I knew it though it was almost 5 AM!!! Between watching some TV and working in the office, Kenny and I had managed to stay up almost all night. We quickly went to bed once we realized how late it was!

Sunday - As you can imagine, neither Kenny nor I wanted to get up that morning but I had struck a deal with Kenny the night before that he needed to take Heidi in to the groomers 1st thing in the morning since he would have an opportunity to go right back to sleep afterwards. I on the other hand had a handful of errands to run.

He followed through on his promise and even brought back breakfast from the local donut shop. I was dragging so I postponed my errands a few more hours and went back to sleep. I finally got up a little past 2 PM, got ready and headed out to get some stuff done.

That afternoon I went to Barnes & Noble to return a book and bought new ones in exchange, dropped off a couple of pieces of my old office furniture at my Mother's that can go back into my old room and headed out to have dinner with Kathy and Tom (I needed to return some DVD's to her I had borrowed the day before). I stopped at Target on the way home as well.

I can finally park my car in the garage again after hauling most of the old furniture away and my office is mostly done. I am just doing some final re-arranging and finding new homes for things. I am trying to use boxes more since they can stored on the hutch in easy reach and they look nice up there. At Target I found a great decorative box that had a "Havana" tobacco theme. I *had* to have it despite it's $15 price tag since it was a perfect place for my family's old photos from both Cuba as well as my childhood here in Houston.

All in all, it was a good weekend. We had a little health scare with Ginger Friday night as well but I'll post about that separately. Don't worry, she is fine! She just had us worried... Hope you had a good weekend yourself!

posted at 1/12/2004 09:57:00 a. m.

viernes, enero 09, 2004

Recycle your holiday cards!
I was just going through the holiday cards I received and remembered that last year I sent them in somewhere to be recycled by underprivileged children. A quick on-line search and I found the details for
St. Jude's Ranch for Children Recycled Card Program. My stack of cards will soon be on their way to them!

If you still have your cards, why don't you do the same?

Also remember that they accept all occasion cards - I guess I could throw in some of the lovely birthday cards I received last month as well!

posted at 1/09/2004 09:11:00 a. m.

jueves, enero 08, 2004

miércoles, enero 07, 2004

I hate to call them resolutions but...
...it just seems logical that a new year brings about new beginnings. Like most everyone else, I have some thoughts on improving myself this year (who doesn't?) and like everyone else, it usually centers around the way I look. But I have other goals as well!

First a recap of last year... 2003 was a good year despite some ups and downs. Quick summary:

-- Started off the year unemployed but found a new position sooner rather than later.

-- Enjoyed some calm throughout the spring and summer without any major drama.

-- Finally took some much needed trips in the fall after not having traveled since March 2001. These included a trip to see my grandmother in
Miami, a wonderful week in London and a nice 5th year wedding celebration in Boston.

-- Watched many good friends get happily married and even participated in one! Seven weddings was the final count for 2003.

-- Also helped welcome several new additions to friend's families including Melanie's 1st child and Pamela's 2nd little addition!

-- Lost a job yet again but found a new position even quicker than before. Hopefully this one will be more permanent than the others!

-- Celebrated my 30th birthday surrounded by friends.

-- Met lots of new people, many who have become good friends. Maintained and rejuvenated older friendships. Found a new level of understanding with my sister. Continued to worry for my Mother but also maintained our relationship on a positive side.

-- In terms of vanity, I didn't lose any weight but I also didn't gain any. Highlighted my hair and worked on a new skin care regime that I think has actually worked.

-- Made small, minor improvements around the house but nothing ambitious or expensive.

-- Improved my gardening skills and joined a gardening club to continue to do so.

-- Put our dogs on a diet... I want them to be around a while longer!

-- Didn't create as much artistic photography as I would have liked despite a new digital camera. Seems like I had "photographer's block".

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

So what will 2004 bring me? Hopefully more positive adventure and another year filled with friends and fun and good health. Some of my goals:

-- Start an exercise routine that combines pilates exercises at home with regular hour-long walks after work at the local park.

-- Related to the exercise routine, try to lose 20 pounds.

-- Work on some personal issues that will make me a better wife to Kenny.

-- Keep a job.

-- Study for the GMAT and take it in preparation to return to school for a graduate degree.

-- If all goes well, go back to school (for an MBA?)

-- Continue to take care of myself in terms of my skin and my hair and my clothes. (I'm not getting any younger!)

-- Revitalize my photography and what I can do with it. I plan to do this by taking a Nikon workshop, teaching myself a little more PhotoShop and learning how to use the graphic tablet I got for my birthday.

-- Celebrate my sixth wedding anniversary in San Francisco or somewhere just as fun.

-- Maybe travel to New York City as well in late Spring (Kenny suggested this last week).

-- Visit my sister and my nieces in their new home in Tallahassee, Florida.

-- Continue to make small home improvements including painting the guest bedroom and the hallway, updating the guest bathroom fixtures and getting a new kitchen sink (I hate our sink now)! Also finally complete some much needed maintenance like power washing the back wall, fixing the garage door (it doesn't come down straight) and the doorbell (it sticks).

-- Improve the garden by finally replacing the ugly plastic border with a nice stone wall and by continuing to add plants.

-- Go through and archive my family's old photo negatives. Go through photographs and start a family collage in the hallway of both of our families.

As you can see, I have some pretty specific goals in mind and I am being realistic with the knowledge that to get to all these things and be able to dedicate the time they deserve, I will need all year to finish. Some are goals that have identifiable ends while some of these are ongoing. It will definitely be interesting to re-read this list next year and see how I did!

So, I wish everyone good luck on their resolutions/goals and hope 2004 brings you what you are looking for!

posted at 1/07/2004 02:07:00 p. m.

martes, enero 06, 2004

And then there was light...
The EluminX OK. I am a horrible typist. So horrible that I still have to look at the keyboard to type and even then, I still make a ton of mistakes (thank gawd for spellcheck). The new desk created a problem though. I don't like to turn on the overhead light when I am just surfing or checking e-mail. When the keyboard was on top of the desk, my desk lamp provided the light so I could actually see the keyboard. With my new desk, the keyboard is now in a drawer that slides out and the desk lamp actually created a shadow over the top half of the keyboard, making it difficult to type in the dark.

I started to think of what could I do? Maybe rig a book light somehow to the drawer so it illuminated the keyboard? Or maybe there were keyboards that provide their own light? A quick Google search came up with nothing until I IM'ed my husband. He pointed me to this beautiful gadget, The EluminX . Isn't she pretty? I thought the price was a bit high but I would keep it in mind.

The EluminXGuess what my hubby brought home? Yep, she's just as pretty in person and she seems to be just what I needed!

Only thing I have to get used to is that the keyboard is more compressed so some of the keys are in different locations and the keys are all flat, just like a laptop's keyboard. The flatness is creating some new typing mistakes I never made with the more conventional keyboard. I'm not a laptop user mainly because I didn't want to take the time to get used to the keyboard so maybe this will be a good way to learn and transition into a laptop by the time I decide to go back to school!

posted at 1/06/2004 10:55:00 p. m.

lunes, enero 05, 2004

Before & After
As promised, below are pictures of my "new" office. Like
Kathy, I've posted both before and after pictures. As you can see, I got rid of all of my black furniture and only kept the bookcase and office chair I already had. Well, I also kept two small file cabinets but I hid those away in the closet.

BEFORE ------------------------> AFTER

before after

BEFORE ------------------------> AFTER

before after

More "AFTER" Pictures

after after

And even more pictures...


I am really enjoying the colors - they came out nice. I also like the furniture although I am having to get used to it. My keyboard is now hidden away in a slide-out drawer, my desk space is longer but narrower, I have hutches towering over me and I have more drawers than I am used to. It's not a bad a change at all, just a change. I am waiting for two more pieces that were on backorder at IKEA. I still need one more hutch to go over the monitor that will match the hutch already on there and a multi-drawer unit to go under the desk for even more storage of my crap. The should both arrive within a couple of weeks though. Yay! Now I just need to add some color to the guest bedroom and maybe a hint of pale hue to the hallway, convince Kenny to use the extra can of blue for his office and before I know it, there won't be a white wall left in the house!

posted at 1/05/2004 07:13:00 p. m.

sábado, enero 03, 2004

viernes, enero 02, 2004

jueves, enero 01, 2004


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