Hi everyone. Sorry for the sporadic postings. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I'm sorting through some personal stuff - getting myself back on track. Everything will be alright, but I'm focusing on me a little more lately.
Also, big changes coming this way for the blog - Kathy is helping me migrate over to WordPress and finally leave Blogger and Blogspot behind after three faithful years. I will be moving to a new domain name and a new design so come Monday you should be having to change your links if all goes well!
Although there may be a lull in interesting posts I am *not* going away. All of your support and cyber friendship means too much to me so don't worry...
OK. It's back to work now... shouldn't you be doing the same?
Found under the top of my diet Snapple cranberry-raspberry drink...
Want more "real facts"? Check out the Snapple.com page...
Sorry I'm posting this halfway through the week but you know me... always fashionably late!
Friday night: Had pho w/ Susan & CJ and headed home to set up for the garage sale.
Saturday morning: Woke up at 8 AM and opened the door for the garage sale. It was pouring but Kenny and I dutifully sat there, with the two dogs, waiting for customers and watching the rain. It was slow but despite that and the rain and the few things we had to sell (just about a table full of stuff), we made almost $75 before we shut down at 1 PM and left for lunch. We had a few items left over and the neighborhood association said they would have the garage sale again this coming weekend but Kenny and I decided we didn't have enough stuff left to make it worthwhile. We'll just donate what we have left to charity... (no one wanted to buy Heidi - maybe I priced her too high? Click on the picture.)
Saturday afternoon/night: Met up with Robert for lunch, hit some stores with him and then he came over to use our scanner. Decided to head out to a movie for the evening so we all headed Downtown to the Angelika to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Jim Carrey's and Kate Winslet's amazing new movie! This is one of his best roles yet (and I don't particularly like Jim Carrey) and I fell in love with it! This will definitely become part of the DVD collection when it comes out! If you like independent films and a truly unique romance, this is a must-see!
After the movie we walked to Saba's and had mojitos, then walked over to the Twelve Spot and had a few more drinks.
Sunday: Woke up, picked up Susan and CJ and headed to Barcino's for brunch with Kathy and Tom. It's a new restaurant and we were checking it out. Mixed feelings on it... nice place but the food could have been tastier. Plus, the location isn't that great.
Afterwards we quickly ran over to Buchanan's where I picked up a handful of plants. That afternoon I planted them as well as a flat of zinnias I bought the day before. The garden is definitely getting full now! I don't think there is room for anything else now!
It was a long weekend but relatively productive. Upcoming weekend is also busy Friday and Saturday but I have made it a point to keep Sunday completely open so Kenny and I get some R&R around the house! I can't wait!
I have been having a rough time emotionally this past month and am trying to find more time with the person I most care about as well as trying to take care of myself. Today I set an appointment to spoil myself. I finally used a spa gift card I had received at Christmas and booked myself a facial, manicure and pedicure at my favorite day spa. I have only had a couple of manicures done before and I think I've only had one pedicure so this should be a treat. I am looking forward to the relaxing afternoon (even though it's 3 weeks away - that's how busy I am on the weekends). My favorite treatment? Definitely the facial. I think it's the most relaxing experience I've ever had!
I bit and accepted an invite to join Breedster from the wonderfully gracious Lulu (
My first round of Monarch butterflies has emerged over the weekend. I've got pictures of the full cycle and details over at the garden blog...
1... time I've broken a bone (my arm)
2... number of dogs we share our house with (Ginger & Heidi)
3... swordtail fish born in my aquarium that are still alive
4... jobs I've lost for various reasons since graduating from college.
5... years I spent in college getting my B.A.
6... the age my oldest niece is right now
7... years since I met my husband for the first time
8... years age difference between my sister and me (she's older)
9... times I've traveled internationally
10... my age
Now your turn!
(found at Anxiousdog)
Hi! Kenny & I sitting here in our garage during our neighborhood garage sale - I'm on wireless out here. We've been "open for business" since 8 AM but the pouring rain has really dampened sales (ha, ha - bad pun intended). I had smaller items to sell (jewelry, knick-knacks) while Kenny had electronics. So far, we've only sold $27.50 worth of stuff but hey, it's lunch, right?
We've been told that we can do this again next weekend (the neighborhood places the ad in the local paper) so Kenny and I are just going to leave everything set up and do it again next Saturday!
Well, I have to go - I think I just sold another
Update: Final garage sale totals were almost $75! That can pay for a nice dinner and drinks...
Check out my latest garden blog entry to find out what I'm talking about!
Argh... the new Pottery Barn catalog came in the mail yesterday and I have fallen in love. I have been struggling to find a new comforter pattern for the guest bedroom. The current comforter I have is in fact the comforter my sister had back in college about 15 years ago. It is still in *great* condition but I'm getting tired of the bright red and blue florals. I was looking for something classic and thought I wanted a quilt but none have caught my eye. I also have to coordinate with what is already in there in terms of wall hangings and decor and take into consideration that next month I hope to paint the white walls a paler version of the blue in my office (I have a gallon left over so I'll have the store add some white).
Well, as I flipped through the catalog I found what I want!! Now I have to see when I can afford to buy it since it is only the duvet cover and that means I'd also have to buy the actual down comforter (not cheap). Anyway, here is the beautiful bedspread I want... it's a new pattern so they should be carrying it all season. Maybe I can just wait a few months. I can paint the room first then go ahead and buy it. What do you guys think? Isn't it pretty?
It's been quite around here because I've been working behind the scenes spiffing up the garden blog. I also have finally setup - after having a web-presence for several years - my own domain name. I would like to introduce to you:
It isn't that attractive, I know... but it will do for now. It will be the portal to my various sites including but not limited to the other two blogs I currently post at - which would also love to see more traffic through there...
Cybertoad's Garden **new URL**
The portal page of course won't ping so feel free to keep the individual blogs linked on your blogrolls but you can also bookmark cybertoad.us if you just want an easy way to find me.
More changes are in store including migrating this blog away from Blogger and into WordPress in the upcoming weeks so stay tuned...
I love wildflowers but never find time to take a roadtrip to see them out on our Texas highways (they bloom in late March - April). The fields are especially beautiful further north, in the central area and Hill Country but we wanted to stay closer into town so I planned a trip this past Sunday out to Somerville where there is a locally famous steakhouse (it serves huge steak portions). Somerville is only about an hour from where we live in Houston but Kenny helped plan a round-about way taking lots of backroads to make it easier to stop and enjoy the flowers. We invited our good friends Susan and CJ along, hopped in their convertible and had our other friend Robert tag along on his motorcycle.
We meandered and finally found a couple of good spots on Highway 1155. Below are a few pics of the evening primroses (pink) and bluebonnets (blue - Texas state flower). There were some Indian paintbrushes scattered in there too (red ones). Three hours later we finally made it to the steakhouse, hungry and tired of the wind blowing in our faces for that long. I am glad we had the top down but like I said, it was tiring and we put it back up for the shorter ride home.
Then here are couple of fun ones taken while
in the back of the convertible... (windy, can't you tell?)
It was good day spent with good friends. I didn't take as many pictures as I would have liked but at least I got some decent ones. Next year I'll plan to head further north...
FYI: Some of the pictures are great desktop wallpapers! I have used one here at work and Kathy used one at home. If you'd like a 1024 x 768 image for your use too, just leave me a comment in the photo album under the image you like or leave me a comment.
I *promise* pictures from this weekend will be up by this afternoon!! For now I leave you this... FYI, yes, I love cheese, especially brie and the description is pretty accurate! LOL!
Cheese Test: What type of cheese are you?
I have lots to tell and pictures to share from the weekend but first I wanted to debut my new garden blog that Kathy set up for me this weekend (and yes Matt, we used WordPress). This is it's temporary home till I set up my domain up on a new space. I will be updating this a lot in the upcoming week but once I've settled in, it will probably only be once a week.
Thought I'd share some finds with you:
Cuban Home Cooking: Favorite Recipes from a Cuban Home Kitchen - My favorite cookbook for Cuban classics. My Mom bought this for me a couple of years ago but I lent it to a co-worker. I never saw the book again after I was let go and I didn't realize how much I missed it till it was gone. I tried to use other Cuban cookbooks and on-line recipes but none were as easy and basic as this book. There aren't any fancy pictures but there are also no fancy ingredients or obscure dishes. The list of recipes covers all the basic dishes (I read the list to my mother and she agrees - it's all in there) and the recipes are so simple and easy - most are only a paragraph long - that I can even make them taste good and as close to Mom's as possible. But, I had a problem replacing it. I couldn't remember the title nor the author and searches on Amazon.com gave me tons of other books but not this one or maybe I didn't recognize it (mine had a yellow cover and was spiral bound, not orange like this one). I half-heartedly searched in the book stores for the past year when I remembered to do so but with no luck. But, the other night at Barnes and Nobles I found it! Squeezed between the other fancy, hardback Cuban cookbooks! One copy and now its mine! I'm so happy to have found it again! Yay!
The Soul of Healing Meditations by Deepak Chopra - Recently I was told to look into breathing and relaxation exercises to help with my current anxiety issues. It worked when I was talked to and told what to do but I haven't been able to get it to work on my own so I ordered this CD from Amazon.com. It seems to have good reviews and seems to offer what I am looking for. I look forward to receiving it and I'll post my impressions then...
The weekend is finally here - OK, a few more hours of work to get out of the way but still - at least it's Friday!!
I was horrible last night in terms of food and exercise (or lack thereof) and the guilt really set in but at the same time, it felt good. I have had a stressful week and I had the house to myself. It felt so nice to just sit back, put aside my worries and to-do-list and stresses and watch the finale of The Apprentice. It was in fact a good show and the best man won (although the other contestant is an amazing contender and will be successful as well).
I also indulged and stopped at Marshall's and Target before I got home. I bought a cute black "skort" and another top for work as well as some great decorative pots for the garden. I also bought two more indoor plants (red-tipped jade plant and red-tipped polka-dot plant - I needed some foliage color) and planted them last night while I watched the show. I know I shouldn't have but it made me happy. The day before I bought a calla lilly plant for indoors. Now I really don't have anymore room in my windowsills for more indoor plants. OK, I can always squeeze in one more... LOL.
Anyway, gardening has become enjoyable. I looked around and realize some of my plants have done so well they actually need to be re-potted. Some of the pots I bought last night were for this purpose so maybe I can work on doing this this weekend. If anyone is interested, I'll take pictures of my current indoor plants as well as the container plants I have out on the back patio. My biggest fear is how the outdoor container plants (mostly herbs) will fare in the scorching summer. They are all thriving now but wait till the heat really kicks in. I predict I will be watering every couple of days to keep them alive in the containers. We'll see!
It's almost lunch-time so I'll talk to you guys later...
My day has gotten better. The husband made me smile and made my day. He is helping me out financially so I finally get to order my container water garden kit! I can't wait!!
I am also happy because I've planned a mini-roadtrip Sunday to go looking for wildflower photo opportunities. I hope the weather holds up because I am looking forward to it!
I'll leave you with a fun site to peruse. This one and this one are two of my favorites (and I can't remember for the life of me where I saw this first).
Sorry - didn't have anything interesting to post yesterday so I just didn't. Nothing much to post today either. I've been quiet because a) I've been tired, b) I've been busy at work and c) I'm battling some personal demons and haven't felt like saying much.
Don't worry - everything is fine. Just a little down like we all get sometime. Anxious about work, overwhelmed by my social schedule. Just makes for a very tired Elaine. I am sorting things out in my head and figuring out a course of action.
In other news - Kenny has quit smoking again. He's got all sorts of smoking cessation aids and although he has his moments, he hasn't caved in all week. I am very proud of him and am enjoying the smoke-free version of my husband. Wish him luck as he fights off the cravings.
Tonight I am looking forward to a night home alone. Kenny has pool league and I've tons of e-mail to sort through and the final Apprentice to watch. I feel guilty watching it without Kenny though but he said it's OK. I just won't spoil it for him and I'll let him watch it later this week on his own.
OK, enough babbling - I must get back to work!!
Gina over at Atypical Female posted an interesting entry a couple of days ago and instead of taking up her commenting space, I thought I'd write my own response...
I too agree with the quote... and can easily see how my husband and I fit in to the description.
For example, my solo dances are my blogging, my salsa dancing, my gardening, my photography, my Hispanic culture and my 30-gallon tropical fish tank. My husband's solo dances are his flying, his love for pool, his interest in cooking, his computer games (both PC and console) and his deeper interest in history and politics.
These "solo dances" are what makes us unique and what keeps us interesting to each other. It also helps us maintain a healthy independence that is strengthened by our trust in each other.
Our dances together are just as varied though. We both love to travel, love to try new restaurants and new foods, have an interest in the performing arts, enjoy spending time with friends at the local bars, enjoy entertaining, love pets (can't imagine life without them) and even enjoy similar TV programs (seems insignificant but not really when you don't have that much time in front of the TV together). Of course, we also dance to the same tune in terms of our ideas on children, social rights and gender equality.
Anyway, I thought it was an interesting way to describe a marriage and enjoyed thinking about what makes mine work. If you are in a relationship, do you have different "dances" too?
Sorry I haven't done these in a while but I decided to get back on track. Here is this week's Ten for Tuesday!
Ten Positive Qualities You Have:
3. patient (at times)
7. laid back
8. relatively pretty
Hi everyone. It's a rainy, cool Monday but that's OK. My freshly planted flowers will enjoy the rain. Here's my weekend recap:
Friday: About a dozen friends came over and we had a blast coloring over 7 dozen eggs. The tie-dye coloring kit was my favorite! I was able to give 4 dozen away to my neighborhood's Easter Egg Hunt the next morning which I hope they enjoyed. Click on the picture below to get to the photo album...
Saturday: Met Kathy up and together we drove south down to Friendswood for Christine's Bridal Shower. Had a good time although my brain was mush and I couldn't think of any good answers for the various games we played!
Saturday night: We had dinner at a friend's house. That was nice and relaxing and the grilled steak was excellent despite the cook having to grill it in the pouring rain!
Sunday: It was a rainy Easter Sunday. The rain poured and the lightening thundered early in the morning. We slept in and finally got up a bit after noon. There was a respite in the rain so I headed out to the garden and planted a couple of flats of flowers I had bought last weekend that desperately needed planting. I also planted some additional butterfly weed because the first batch of Monarch butterfly caterpillars (about a dozen of them!) have emerged and they have already decimated the plants I had. * So they wouldn't go hungry I planted 5 more small milkweeds in addition to the 18 verbenas and 15 salvias. The rain has nicely watered them all in.
* I have already found five of the caterpillars about to go into the chrysalis stage - they got an early start this year. It was only a month ago that I saw the butterfly itself flying around my garden. She was obviously laying eggs. I will probably continue to replenish the milkweed stock because although the plants are hardy and grow back quickly, I get too many hungry caterpillars too often and the plants I have don't get enough time to recover.
Sunday night: We didn't really eat well all day so we headed out to one of Kenny's favorite restaurants which was new to me, Rockfish. I had a wonderful dinner of snow crab legs. Yummy!
So how was your Easter weekend??
I've had a good weekend so far - the Easter egg decorating party was a success and Christine's bridal shower was fun. I have pictures from both events that I will post later today so be sure to come back!
For now, I'll leave you with a comic I found at Daisy's a few days ago...
So yeah, um, today I feel old. I slept on my right shoulder wrong last night and now I have what my husband calls a crick. All I know is that the right side of my neck hurt this morning and the pain ran all down the side to the lower back. It also hurt to look to the left. It is still sore but at least the 4 ibuprofens he advised me to take have helped ease the pain.
In other news, the university was shut down at noon so I can go home early... I should be heading out in a few minutes!
That's weird. I know I look younger than my age, always have. People often comment and are surprised I've been married over 5 years. I don't look young enough to get carded really but I guess I look young enough to be in my mid-20's instead of the 30 I really am. Even though I know this it is still nice to be reminded since I had been feeling old and frumpy until recently. I have in fact been questioned about my age two days in a row this week!
The first time this week was when I was out with my husband Wednesday night. I ran into a family friend I hadn't seen in about 6 years. She's only 24 and when she introduced me to her friends I told them I remember when she was born (her older sister and I were classmates and I must have been ~6-7 years old when she was born). One of her friends looks at me in surprise and tells me he thought I was the girl's age. He didn't believe I was 30. :D
The second instance was last night. I met up some salsa classmates and we ended up not really dancing (too crowded with too many sloppy drunks) and instead just talked. One guy finally asked me if I had been married when I was a teenager... I guess he thought I was in my mid-twenties and was trying to figure out how I had been married for over 5 years. LOL. So, yeah, I've had my ego boost for the week... And what a nice way to end a rough, long week!
--> Wore that Sagittarius top everyone seemed to like last night on my date with hubby. I wore it with my low-slung jeans. It's weird because I was showing my belly button every now and then and if you looked closely, my tattoo was peaking out of the tops of the jeans. I haven't worn jeans that did that since college. And yes, I did feel sexy and I stood up straighter and taller. :D
--> Bathroom graffiti invariably always brings out the proofreaders who feel the need to correct the spelling and grammar of the various inane quotes. Usually, they are correct. Last night I actually saw "you'd" corrected to "you'ld". Yikes!! That's so much worse!
--> Daily Regimen update over here...
--> I don't know what shoes to wear tonight to go out salsa dancing!
--> And last not but definitely not least, found at Go Fish, something fun to do when you are bored: Tell the chicken what to do (and be creative)!
--> Although I didn't want to and it was late I got off my butt and walked for 20 minutes at a faster pace than normal. Yay me! Now if only I could eat better.
--> Thanks for all the wonderful compliments regarding my new outfits. Y'all made my day!!
--> You know what annoys me? When you are running to catch an elevator and no one in the elevator moves an inch to press the "door open" button for you.
--> I finally tidied up my office - I can see my desk once again and packing peanuts are no longer strewn on the floor. I still need to get some filing done and answer some e-mails though...
--> It's been nice staying home these past couple of nights but the rest of the week is now full once again with places to be, things to do. *sigh*
--> *Yawn* I'm sleepy.
I was listening to NPR earlier this week and heard a commentary that was right on the money. It summed up what I have been thinking... I know it's an audio link but it's short and worth a listen:
Anabolic America by Adam Hanft
Well, I thought I'd share some of my new wardrobe selections for you... I tried to take a "before" picture to show how I normally dress but the picture was blurry and I didn't realize this till it was too late to re-take it. Sorry. Just use your imagination. I usually wear loose draw-string pants in black and a boring short-sleeved top, sometimes in a bright color like red but more often than not it's got a large amount of black in it. Nothing too interesting about the tops... Like my husband says, this is fine for work but I was wearing it on the weekends too making me look like quite the fashion victim. So below are several outfits I put together with the new clothes I've bought these past couple of weeks.
(sorry for the bad, blurry exposures - the bathroom isn't that well lit and I couldn't use the flash with the mirror)
I love this top! It was hit this weekend at the birthday party.
I'm wearing one of the low-slung jeans Kenny bought me and my new pink shoes.
Old Navy denim skirt & sexy "Sagittarius" top w/ rhinestones.
Left: The 2nd pair of jeans Kenny bought me plus a great black lace top & chunky strappy platform shoes.
Middle: Kenny likes this casual look on me - he bought me the shirt and jeans.
Right: An ultra mini "skort" from Old Navy and another fun top (pink shoes again)!
The pink sandals and cute mini-clutch purse I got for $4!
I think what is fun about these outfits and they are form fitting but not really tight. They are all comfy to wear too. OK, the low-slung jeans I have to get used to since I am always trying to pull them up and I haven't quite figured out how to sit in them comfortably. I am also very proud to show off the assets I do have. As a size 14, I am not a small person but I still have curves baby!
Yep - it's here. Another Monday and this Monday is overcast. It doesn't help my mood that I lost an hour to Daylight Savings and my office has a chill that I can't get rid of. *sigh* Enough bitching and on to the anticipated weekend re-cap...
Housekeeping note: The Daily Regimen is no longer password protected. Anyone can go and read it so I hope this brings in more comments. It's been dead over there in terms of visitors! I have been posting daily though so go check it out on a more regular basis now. I have a permanent link over there in the right-hand column in the "blah, blah" section simply called daily regimen.
So, the weekend started off very productive but I loss some steam on Sunday! The details:
Friday night: Had dinner at Empire Cafe and a nightcap afterwards at Prive with some of the Friday Gaggle including Hanna. We were all pretty tired so we headed home after only one drink...
Saturday: I accomplished everything on my list except going to the fish store. I even went to Wet Seal and bought a few more tops for my new "weekend look" and a pair of shoes (in pink!) at Payless to go with some of these new shirts.
Saturday night: Headed over to Christine and Mike's new place to celebrate Mike's birthday. Had a wonderful time catching up and eating some delicious food prepared and grilled by the birthday boy himself. *Pictures forthcoming.*
Sunday: Slept in late, grabbed lunch at Panera's, did some shopping with Kenny, headed home, fell asleep on the couch and when I woke up I decided that the bathroom finally needed to be cleaned. You could no longer find the floor or the counter due to all of our piles of clothes and we could no longer walk into the closet. As for the shower, you really don't want to know how long it had been since we had cleaned it. Suffice to say that I think the black stuff was starting to evolve. So while Kenny cleared the piles of clothes (most of it was his anyway), I spent the next hour making it white again while killing brain cells with the cleaning chemicals. My eyes were watering that's how strong this industrial strength stuff was that Kenny gave me to use. It did the trick though. And the Black & Decker Scumbuster made it 10X easier!
Tonight I have to do laundry, tidy up my office and then I really, really need to tackle some e-mails. Fortunately, I've kept this week pretty free so I can actually spend some nights at home finally!
It's only 1 PM but I've already:
-- Picked up my flower orders at my Garden Club's Flower Sale
-- Gone to the bank
-- Sent off my packages at the post office (including an Easter package for my two nieces)
-- Dropped off half of the flower order at my friend's place
-- Bought me some new summer clothes at Old Navy
I still have the following to do:
-- eat something for lunch
-- drop off the recycling
-- pass by the pharmacy
-- go to Target
-- pick up my jeans (they were being shortened) at The Buckle in The Galleria
-- drop off a pendant at the jewelers to get fixed again
-- pass by the fish store
And I need to do this all by 6:30 PM so I can head over to Mike's birthday party!!! Yikes... I better run!!!
Ugh. I stayed at work helping out for an event today on campus and didn't get home till 9:15 PM last night. I then had to head to bed to get up over an hour earlier to be back at work and be here at 7 AM in case anyone needed anything else (set up for the event started at 7 AM). An accident on the freeway made me late and I didn't get in till 7:30 AM so I hope no one called me for anything! Yikes! I tried but I just can't predict those things!! I didn't have any voice mails so I think I'm OK...
*yawn* It's going to be a looooooooong Friday but at least it's a Friday!
Last night was the last class in the 3-month cycle. In two weeks I'll be in intermediate with many of my classmates. To practice our moves out in public, four of us headed out after class to Sullivan's (after a quick dinner stop somewhere else) where Wednesday night in their back room they have a live Latin band and a dance floor that gets packed.
I had never been but wanted to check out. Wow. I was so humbled when I saw what those couples could do out there. Actually, it wasn't their moves - I can do most of the moves - it was their fluidity.
I am glad I went but I really was not in the mood. I had not expected such a stylish scene so I had stayed in my frumpy work clothes. Not a good idea. I also had not expected such a crowd and such an experience level. The combination of a frumpy look and a sense of intimidation made me feel inadequate in terms of my salsa moves. My classmate and favorite dancing partner, Antonio, made sure to take me out - but it was essentially only him to 3 of us girls who went with him so I had to sit out a lot of the songs (he also knew other people there so he was dancing non-stop).
When I did get out there the dance floor was so packed that everyone (at all levels of experience) was hitting and bumping each other as we were twirled and turned. I messed up a few of my turns and even those that I got right I would then be thrown off as someone else's foot bumped into me or as I was forced to squeeze a twirl into a smaller space than I needed (which in turn placed me in the wrong place in front of my partner or on the wrong foot). My problem was I wasn't experienced enough to compensate for these problems - the rest of the dancers were and they continued to dance and look great out there. I just fumbled around... at least I felt like I did.
Still, I gained some insight and in addition to salsa also danced merengue (often taught along with salsa but more "wiggly" and repetitive with a lot of hip movement - very tiring) and bachata (very different beat that I'm used to so it took a while to get used to). Next week we don't have class but we exchanged phone numbers and will be heading out to another place that has a live Latin band on Thursday's. This next time I'll be sure to dress a little sexier and come with a different attitude! I'm looking forward to it...