Thursday, August 31, 2006

Pizza

As in Pizza Face. One of the newfound "side effects" to going off birth control is my hormones don't know what the heck to do - which has resulted in a plethora of various issues for me. Earlier this week - my boobs hurt so bad I wanted to sleep with a bra on just so they wouldn't move around any more than they had too. Also, my skin is MEGA oily on my face. This is just strange - I have battled dry skin every day of my life - litterally since birth. So now to have this oily gross slimy skin (just on my face mind you) is really grossing me out. LIke yesterday as I was driving, I touched my forehead for one reason or another - then put it on the steering wheel and my hand slipped off. EWWWW!

This, consequently, has resulted in lots of pimples popping up all over the place. No, they are not big gaping white oozing volcanoes of puss - yet - but at the rate I'm going I'll be there in no time. Right now its just a field of rolling mountains, no longer the smooth as a baby's bum skin that I loved. I hope this is just a phase as my body figures out what its supposed to do. If its not - I may very well go mad.

Luckily, I have some oily skin wipes from my Body Shop at Home days - so that has been helping for a mid morning de-oiling.....I also have a few Origins masks that I probably should start being a little more diligent with using.....they should help out a lot.

On non-pizza news - I have rededicated myself (yet again) to a healthier lifestyle. Not that I have been doing too shabby - but I have managed to NOT lose any weight since May. Or maybe April for that matter. I should be that suprised, I haven't made an effort to really eat that well - even though its always been in the back of my mind. I think the only thing that saved me from gaining weight is the fact that I have been much more active.

So, I printed out my eDiets menu for the week, went shopping, and after three days back on the wagon I'm down 3 pounds. Heh. Imagine that - a weight loss plan that works when you follow it :) Anyway, my new goal is 15 pounds in eight weeks, which is completely doable as long as I stick to my guns and eat what is planned out for me. It shouldn't be that hard - the variety of food is really wide and the recipies are hella tasty. It will just take a little more planning and preparation on my part. That will make for a total of 30 pounds gone. Oh yeah - I'm so gonna do this.

Also, talked to mi mejor amiga en el mundo last night - after about 2 months after our last phone call. What is it about people and not being able to stay in contact? I just don't get it. I think about my friends all the time, but for some reason when it comes to calling or even sending them a personal email - I just don't do it. I know I'm not alone in this........I know I know, life is busy and hectic and all that jazz.

Who said "Life is what happens when you're busy making plans".....

Anyway, I'm off to Mexico City for a meeting, then I'll meet Keith at La Taska for an Irish Car Bomb or two in honor of our friend Omar who is headed back home North of the border on Saturday. Then tomorrow, Keith leaves for a well deserved trip back home and I have the weekend to relax and do nothing. Maybe I'll head to DF to go to a museum or two....or maybe I'll just park myself on the couch and do nothing :o) Who knows - the possiblities are endless.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

¡Fiesta Tigres!


I just chuckled to myself when I got a notification for this event in my inbox. Not sure why. Probably because I'm in Mexico and I can't go to the ¡Fiesta Tigres! in Detroit. If I was in the US - you KNOW I'd be there! Maybe because I can actually read it. Or maybe because its just fun to say. Come on - say it with me.....

¡FIESTA TIGRES!

OOH OH OH OH! One more thing.....

I was also invited to be a guest Creative Team member for the month of October for a super fabulous designer! I won't post who yet........but I am SUPER excited! Not only do I get to scrap with her awesome designs for free in October, she's also giving us a gift certificate to use after our time is up. How cool is that! Funny - wasn't I just whining about this stuff a few days ago..... Silly Me :)

Happy almost end of August!

So my day ended nicely on Friday, I picked up Keith from work, we had dinner at the BK Lounge and generally chilled for the entire weekend. We were going to go to Mexico City, but couldn't get tickets to the game, so we just stayed home - Keith had a live draft for Fantasy Football anyway, so he might have bailed out regardless. I scrapped my brains out Saturday and Sunday, and also decided Saturday night to tie one on with some vodka tonics. Keith's poison of choice was Budwieser - a local store had a promotion where you buy a six pack and you get hot ass doritos for free. So we did. I guess he felt like drinking a little bit of home, you know?

Keith is getting ready to head home for the labor day weekend, and he was preparing my iPod for the trip (yes, I know - its against my good judgement to let him take it, but its time I start trusting people, right? And besides, he does have a job so he can pay me back if he f's it in the A). They are going to have an 80's Prom Night as the theme of one of thier bashes - so here Keith is, getting tanked by himself on Budwieser, and I can hear him belting 80's songs at the top of his lungs. Toward the end of the evening I could have sworn I heard him crying as he was singing "Total Eclipse of the Heart". It was rather entertaining.

While I did get to enjoy my buzz, I also managed to get in a huge fight with Pat O'Brien.....OK, it really wasn't HUGE, but big by our standards because we really don't disagree about much. I won't go into detail here - but I will just say I was a big SCHMUCK, and I apologized profusely for the next two days. Everything is OK now :)

Sunday I actually managed to go to church, which I think I may start doing a little more often than not. I realized that I haven't been since May! HOLY SHNIKEYS! It just was always a slightly uncomfortable experience going, because I didn't know the responses and instead of being comforting it made me all angry and mad. Well, this time was better because I managed to snag a little misselette thingy, and I understood pretty much all of what the Padre was saying and such. And it gave me a chance to wear a skirt, which is always fun.

So what about all the scrap-a-rama that was going on you might ask? Well, here are a couple layouts that I finished:


You Said No!

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Credits: Papers, stars, screws, alpha, ricrac, ribbon - JW Meaning1; Brush - handstamp ornate - JW Meaning1; Drop shadow actions - Tracy Murphy; Fonts - Susie's Hand, Batik Regular

This is from the Jen Wilson Meaning.ful challenge, week 1. I was debating weather or not to put the journaling, because its pretty personal, I guess. Funny how I don't think twice about posting it online in front of zillions of strangers....anyway, here it is.....

Journaling Reads: We were in Big Joe’s Lab happily preparing to test concrete. On the drive from St. Charles to Clarksville we talked about how crabby I was – How I hated losing an hour for daylight savings time and how I thought trains were stupid. At some point during the day, prompted by something I heard on the radio the day before, I asked if you thought women and men could be just friends without some kind of sexual tension.

You said No.

We had a great drive home, a great dinner at Chevy’s with yummy margaritas that went down so smooth, and we would have had fun playing Mini-Golf if the place wasn’t closed. Before we changed plans and went to the casino you said that you really wanted to kiss me....but you didn’t. Not until two weeks later in New York. Two crazy weeks of late late night phone calls, text messages, IM, emails – two weeks of a racing heart and incredible electric feelings roaring through my body....pure adrenaline.

So, that’s the day it happened. The switch was flipped. Somehow you went from a friend of five years to something more. I always thought you were incredibly handsome, witty, smart - and we always had such a great time together. I think I didn’t let myself feel more before that day because we were both married – but finding ourselves in the midst of failed marriages the gates were able to open. I’m so glad they did.

I’m so happy you said no!


Thalia

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Credits: Sketch - Jenniea Papai; Paper - Jen Wilson - Simple Sun; Alpha - Shabby Princess - Sweet Serenity; String, Metal fasteners - Jen Wilson - Meaning1; Metal rimmed vellum tag - my own; Font - my own handwriting created by September Myles


Grandma's House

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Credits: Papers - Iron Orchid Designs Little Mai; Flowers - Melanie Violette, ACOT celebrate life, jen wilson,hunibuni,lori barnhurst; Lace, wine twine - Jen Wilson Early Autumn Bouquet; Journal card - Michelle Underwood; File Card - Melanie Violette

Journaling Reads:Growing up we spent a lot of time and Grandma and Grandpa Medel's house. It was close to the school so we walked over after until mom got home from work. There was always a ton of kids there - always something going on. We'd play outside, pick flowers, watch PBS animal shows, help Grandma make tortillas. Since those times of my childhood, twenty years later, not much has changed. There's been a few coats of paint added, and Grandpa passed away in 2002, but aside from that - not much. The alter is still in the same position, with a steady flame by its side, the living room and bedroom walls covered in our family pictures, Mexican artesenas dotted here or there, and all the flowers inside and out (Grandma always had such a green thumb!).

When I visit I'm always enveloped in such warm, fuzzy feelings. Nostalgia, love, etc. I love grandma's house, but I know that the feelings don't come from the place or the things inside - it comes from the little woman who lives there, and her complete and utter love for all who enter.

Friday, August 25, 2006

an update on my crappy day

SO.........4 hours into my 6 hour long test - the power konked out. Crimeny. sometimes I hate Mexico. So that means I restarted at 1:30pm.....and won't be leaving until 7:30 on a Friday night.

And, I just popped my microwave popcorn for lunch, and I burned it. ICK. the worst smell ever.

That, my friends, is just how well my day is going.

Unpopular

I've been feeling kind of unpopular lately within my online digi-scrapping community. I know it sounds kind of silly - but every wants to feel like other people like their designs and be validated, right? I've created what I thought were some pretty killer designs, and they haven't gotten much love in the galleries I post in......Also, I've applied to a be on a couple of CT's (creative teams) and got my first official rejection earlier this week. I also didn't win any contests that I've entered either. Hmph.

For those non-scrappy people out there - a Creative Team is a group of people that work with a specific designers work - and then post various places on the web so others can see that designer's products. The perk is that you get the kits to work with FREE.

I should be self-actualized enough to love my own designs because they are, after all, just for me - my memories - my pictures. I guess I've been pulled into the whole online community gig and my vanity (or pride) is hurt by not getting comments/validation from others. Not suprising though - I really like to be good at all the things I do, and if I'm not the best (or at least close to the top) then I get pissy. I don't like to be not good at things. Its really starting to affecting my overall mood. Which stinks.

All I want to do is hang out with the cool kids and have them think I'm cool too, you know?

To top it all off my gums hurt again - they feel raw. I think its from the piping hot battered mushrooms I chowed down yesterday. They might have burned my mouth. Now today I'm having a hard time eating crunchy things because it hurts when it pokes the gums on the inside top back teeth....not a fun feeling.

OK, now that I'm done whining like a little girl - I'd like to share my most recent layout of my Mom & Karli. One of my favorites so far - its fun and chock full of little elements. And, I like the pictures. AND I did a cool eye brightening up thing again - and it actually worked well.


Paper, tags, beads, flower, ribbon, metal, buttons - SoHo Sass - Jen Wilson; Alpha - Country Carnivale - Jen Wilson; Tear - Steph Krush; Drop shadows - Traci Murphy; Acrylic Brush Strokes - Michelle Coleman; Fonts - Susie's Hand, Curlz MT

Thats about it for now - I have to periodically check in on my test to make sure nothing is blowing up, so I should probably pay a bit more attention to that instead of surfing the web, eh?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

SOOOoOOooOOOO BoREd

Not like I don't have anything to do - I just am choosing not to do it. I'm not sure where I got this procrastination bug - but it has really been plaguing me for the past two years or so - primarily at work. Its like I don't really feel that passionate anymore - like there are so many other, more fun, creative things that I'd much rather be doing than learning about concrete.

I'm trying to shake that feeling off though - because there still is a lot to get done.

I've been somewhat productive today getting a test set up to run tomorrow - that is pretty darn exciting.......but other than that the reports that I am supposed to be writing aren't writing themselves........

*sigh* Maybe the magic concrete fairy will come rescue me!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Fairy Tale

I got a gift certificate for writing that article for the scrapbook stuff - so I bought some cool new stuff to play with.

Pat O'Brien hates that I'm always attached to the camera - but sometimes he plays along and I get a couple of fun shots :) These pics are from January. I also used a new photoshop technique to brighten up our eyes a little bit...I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!


Papers - Jen Wilson - Evoking Emotions Collection- Innocent Cream; Alphas - Jen Wilson You Name It Collectin - Antiqued Stamp, Soldered Charm, Tarnished Gold; Stitches - Straight Stitches - Jen Wilson Urban Bohemian, single stitch - Gina Miller BYOBB, Zig Zag - Katie Pertiet; Frames - Merideth Fenwick Frame It Ornate; Fonts - Sanford, Vivaldi, Lithos Pro

**WARNING** TMI, especially for dudes

Its been a good 10 years or so since my body has been hormone free - I've done one form of birth control or another - pills, patches, and rings - to be honest I have no idea what my body was like before it!

So, now it is time to find out. My last ring was used last week, and this will be my first cycle without....so far no big differences. I am a bit more emotional, but I don't know if that is real or I am just imagining it.

Things to not look forward to - heavier/longer flowing periods. Ick. Things to look forward to - hopefully a jump start in weight loss! I am also looking forward to getting to know my body a little better - I started taking temperatures and "observations" according to the Natural Family Planning method (or sympto-thermo method if you will).

This also means I'm one step closer to having a drug free body. I plan on going off my depression medication at some point, but I don't think I'm quite ready for that just yet!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Smile!

This pic cracks me up because of Pat O'Brien's silly smile. Its because I yelled at him for not smiling in a pic taken earlier that week :)

Frame, Brad - Jen Wilson Build it Up; Papers - Jen Wilson Genuine Swing; Foam stamp - Jen Wilson Worn Foam Stamps 1; Photo Corners - Melany Violette, HuniBuni; ribbons - amt, ajsmith, anita stergiou; flourish - angie briggs; Font - Jefferson; Scraplift from the book A Designers Eye by Ali Edwards

Spanish classes

I haven't talked much about my Spanish classes, mostly because although they are helpful, and have increased my vocabulary and knowledge, really I hated them. Serious disdain. I would always be in a shitty mood and be quite possibly the worlds worst student - which isn't exactly the right attitude to have while learning.

I think I just have a hard time learning the traditional way - from a book - all that grammar and crap. UGH. I felt like I never retained anything. Even though many of my teachers were really good - I still would be angry and mean and cry and upset and generally not very fun to teach. Its no wonder why I went through three teachers in two levels.

So, I finally convinced the school to try a different method of teaching - more conversational, more informal - and maybe I would respond better.
Enter my new teacher - quite possibly the biggest Mexican I have ever met (not chubby - just TALL and football player built....I guess you could say Thick). He has a passion for American Sports (especially football and baseball)......And his name is Steve. Funny eh? Not like my Chinese professors - whose names were so hard to say that they give themselves an American name....But really its just Steve. Well, actually, its Omar Steve, but most everyone calls him Steve. Apparently, his parents loved Steve McQueen or something.

Anyway, the first two classes have been awesome. We just have a lot to talk about - a lot of shared interests which makes it MUCH easier to learn, and makes me a much better student! Today, we read through the sports section of the Reforma Newspaper. It took us two hours, but we got through it. I never realized how much slang is used....But I understand much more of it now.
Apparently he saw me at the game on Sunday (he was there with his girlfriend and brother) - he tried yelling but it was so flipping loud its not surprising that I didn't hear him. Anyway, as we worked through the sports section (which really should be called the soccer section - with two tiny pages of other sports) he explained how the divisions were set up, how the point system works and other intricacies of the league. It was pretty cool.

There was one interesting thing on the stats page - goals scored by Mexicans and goals scored by foreigners - it seemed kind of silly to me - I mean, is it really that important to know how many Mexicans scored goals? But, he explained, that while not necessarily important for the league, it is important every four years that Mexico have players that are talented enough to compete in the world cup. He gave the example of Real Madrid - one of the most famous soccer teams in the world - who has great soccer players - great BRAZILIAN soccer players. When is the last time Spain has done anything in the world cup?

Anyway, it was a cool lesson - and I thought I'd share. I told Keith to come downstairs and learn, but he was too involved online to be bothered. Its kind of exciting to know that I know more about a sport than he does :o)

Mondays y los Diablos Rojos

Ugh. Monday again. I am oh so tired - I closed my eyes at every single traffic light on the way into work. Only got honked at three times though. I think I actually fell aleep once. Traffic was ridiculous this morning because the main road is officially closed - they're starting the paving now. I hope its done soon because this one hour commute thing has GOT to stop! Also, I couldn't take a shower this morning because there was no hot water - there wasn't any yesterday either but we forgot to relight the heater. That stinks man.

Apart from the crappy Monday start, I had a pretty good weekend. Saturday we went to Mexico with the Belmont family to catch a ballet at the Palacio de Bellas Artes, one of the most famous theatres in all of Latin America - it is gorgeous! The ballet was pretty cool too - it was a Children's Ballet - meaning it was short (about an hour) and full of wonderful, beautiful, colorful costumes. All the kids in the theatre were truely mesmerized! It was kind of cool! After, we went to Coyocan for some yummy food - Quesadillas for me (with cheese and mushrooms) and Tortas Al Pastor for Keith. It was pretty yummy.

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Papers, elements - Gina Miller Spring Thaw freebie; Font - Trajan Pro

Sunday I really wanted to just stay home and chill - but we had kind of made plans to go with our friend Omar (who is moving back to cali next week) to see Los Diablos Rojos de Toluca play a game against Queretaro........so, despite my crummy mood and not really wanting to go, we did, and had a great time.

Three tickets to Estadio de Nemesis Diez - $100 pesos

12 Refreshing cold beers - $240 pesos

Seeing Los Diablos Rojos kick the pants off of Queretaro - Priceless


Seriously, we had a blast! We missed the first goal because I was running late (surprise), but we got to see two more right in front of us! The only thing that could have been better is if there were cheap seats left (yes, there are tickets cheaper than 33 pesos). The cheap seat area is called "Sol" because its in the sun - super flippin hot. Its also known as "La Perra Brava" which means the Brave Bitches - presumably because they're hard core for watching the game in the sun. La Perra Brava is quite a lively crew - lots of cheering and chanting and jumping around and they remove their shirts after the first goal, and keep them off for the remainder of the game. Then, also whenever a goal is scored, red dust is shot off from over in that section, confetti is tossed, and a HUGE BIG ASS FLAG (is there any other kind in Mexico) comes out over the top of the crowd and the people jump up and down underneath to give it this strange, popcorn movement. Its pretty dam cool!

Really though, it is impossible to explain the energy and excitement of the fans in the stadium. Its so incredibly loud because people are blowing these Kazoo type thingies, and cheering as loud as humanly possible. Its easy to see now why people here are soooo into Soccer - its incredibly addicting. I'm not saying that I am a hard core soccer fan now, but I definitely enjoy it a billion times more than I did before. I used to think it was a game for hoytie-toytie rich folk - but its just a way of life here. I'm thankful that my eyes have been opened :)

I really enjoyed the experience. So did Keith. He said he wants season tickets now - although I think its just to see the Banamex Porristas (cheerleaders) in their tight white jumpsuits.....or maybe the corona girls in the tight blue jumpsuits with knee high black boots. Either way - its cool to experience something new like that - and I am so grateful for the opportunity!

Friday, August 18, 2006

I'm famous again - sort of

When I was debating which save-the-date magnets to print out to send to our family - I asked the opinion of my fellow scrapbook geeks at a couple of my favorite hangouts. Jen Strange (or strangejen, as it comes up in my email!) saw the thread and asked if I would like to contribute again to her digiscrappin website - and write an article about how I made the magnets! HECK YEAH I WOULD :o)

So, here is the article at JenStrange.com

Creating Save the Date Magnets

Enjoy! :o)

Spinning and Rabid Dogs

I did, by some stroke of luck, manage to get up this morning and make it to my spinning class. I almost didn't. If it weren't for my watch alarm going off (across the room) 1 minute after my first alarm went off, I would probably still be sleeping :) The class was intense - and I still can't feel my legs, but I think I'll be going back. It was a good work out, lots of sweating.....lots of muscle usage....mostly for legs, but also my arms and back too. I'm pretty damn proud of myself for keeping my promise - and for seriously kicking my Ultimate Challenge minutes pledge out the window. Seriously, right now - I ROCK!

A word about pet food advertising - if the food for puppies contains milk and you want to relay that fact to the general public - do NOT give the cute little puppy a milk mustache. It just makes it look like the cute innocent puppy is rabid and foaming at the mouth and ready to attack at any minute. Not the exactly the happy warm and fuzzy feeling you'd like to envoke with billboard advertising....

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Cork Board Layout

Here's a new fun layout I did tonight.....

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Credits - Gina Miller Build your own board; Metal heart, clip, arrow - Gina Cabrera - back to school basics. Font - my own handwriting by September Myles.



Here's a card I made for our cleaning lady's mom

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Credits: Angie Briggs Chocolate Covered Berry kits; bling by Gina Miller; font - Occidente, Felix Girls

Bob Barker is one smart dude!

Yes, he may be ancient, but he's always been a smart man. Ever since I can remember watching the Price Is Right I recall his wise words at the end of every program

"Help control the pet population and have your pet spayed or neutered"

Very wise words indeed. I've always believed in this mantra - and I'm entirely convinced that there wasn't any other influence apart from growing up with Bob Barkers words. It just makes sense. I understand not doing so if you're a breeder trying to preserve the characteristics of a fabulous breed, but if its just a pet, there is no reason not to. I've adopted all my animals from shelters or rescues - and part of the adoption contract requires you to spay or neuter the pet. Samson the dog was neutered at 6 years of age, Thalia at 1 year old, and Milo just came that way. But, even if it wasn't required, I'd do it anyway.

I remembered those words because I have seen a slew of cute fuzzy puppies lately, running around the streets with their homeless parents. Its such a shame, really. Keith says its cool because they are free and they can do whatever they want, but I say dogs weren't made to be free - they are not wild animals, they are domesticated, and although they still have instincts that are part of their genetic make up they still were created to be man's companion. And there are SOOOO many street dogs, its not only sad, but scary! I won't jog and don't particularly like walking around without my pepper spray because of all the dogs around - sometimes packs of them that roam at night. And it breaks my heart to see an animal in pain or malnourished because it doesn't have a family to take care of it.

Anyway, I saw an interesting bumper sticker today on the back of an SUV. One said "Yo Estoy Esterilizando" - which means "I am sterilizing" and the other had a pic of two cute drawn dog heads with + 6 anos next to it....Followed by more puppy heads and the number 67,000. Now, I'm not sure if the math is correct, but it is crazy to believe a pair of non-sterilized animals can potentially create 67,000 descendants. I was surprised because I haven't seen much of that mentioned here in Mexico - I don't think there is as much awareness here.

I know a lot of people don't have a lot of extra cash laying around to spay or neuter their pets, but I also think Mexico has a lot of Machismo still in it and some people don't fix their animals because they feel its cruel, and they should be able to reproduce......I think that's just silly. It just leads to more homeless, un-cared for animals. So take Bob Barker's advice, and have your pet spayed or neutered.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Scrappy-dappy-do

Here's the most recent layouts.....




Credits: Everything from Jen Wilsons Seasonal Scraps CD - Early Autumn Bouquet except for Journaling Patch - Summer Travels - Sand Dune; font - my handwriting by september myles & batik regular; sketch templates (altered for 8.5x11) by Gina Miller

A new leaf?

While Pat O'Brien was here we went to the gym and were talking about various forms of exercise while walking on treadmills.....The subject of Spinning has come up various times - first because one of his co-workers is hard core into it, and also because its a good way to burn, like, a million calories in an hour.

So, I mad a commitment to myself to try something new and go to a spinning class this week, since its offered at my gym for no added cost, as are pilates and taebo classes.

Also, with my Spanish classes starting up, and my general excuse making routine in the evening, I decided I really just needed to start getting my ass out of bed and going to the gym in the morning. Its ridiculous to not get out of bed until 8:00AM after hitting the snooze 10,000 times and getting to work late every day, you know what I mean? And Pat O'Brien gets up early to run or ride his bike, and my mom used to get up like at 5:30AM and do it, and heck, I would get up at 6AM and run back when I was running regularly.

so I made another commitment to myself to get out of bed at 6:15Am in order to make the 6:30 class.

Then my alarm went off.

I actually contemplated hitting the snooze for a good minute or so, until I said out loud - "FOR PETE'S SAKE YOU MADE A COMMITMENT TO YOURSELF - GET YOUR ASS OUT OF BED AND GET MOVING!!!".

It worked. I got out of bed and made it before the instructor did, and managed to get a few minutes of walking and stretching before the class started. Kicked my ass, but it felt good and I actually was on time and much more chipper than normal. Tuesday and Thursday are pilates, with Spinning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. So tomorrow, not only will I make good on my getting up promise, but I'll get to try out spinning as well.

We'll see how it goes - I'm making the commitment for three times a week getting up early, one Saturday gym session, and the other two days some type of work out video....with one day of rest. I'll let you all know how the progress goes later.

A new Fridge
On another note - my dear brother Keith was being a good boy and doing what I asked him to....he was chipping off the humongo frost that builds up around the freezer area. This frost build up prohibits me from retrieving my icecube trays (because it blocks the ice cube tray drawer), and makes me super cranky and angry every time I try to do so. So, back to the story - he's chipping away with a screw driver and hammer, and accidentally punctures a metal part - from which releases a nice little hissing sound. Greeeaaaat. So, turns out, by looking online - all the Freon probably leaked out, rendering the fridge useless (since it costs more to repair than to repurchase). He managed to save everything and put it into the other teeny tiny fridge (save for a few veggies, which I will probably cook for dinner tonight anyway). Tonight after he gets out of work we'll go ashopping for a new one.....for the next six months. Seems kind of silly to buy one for that short amount of time, but what else am I going to do? I don't think I can live with one teeny dorm fridge for that long either.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Sunday Market

One of the things we did on Sunday was head out to the Juarez Market. Friday is its biggest day, but there were still plenty of vendors there and much less people. At least I thought so. Pat O'Brien isn't a big fan of markets because he's a lot bigger and much taller than most mexican folk - and he doesn't like people running into him or banging his head on low hanging objects. Which is understandable. Totally explains why he was so crabby after we got home.

We made some good purchases - Keith bought a cool cowboy hat, we picked up a couple mexican blankets, and I got 3 dozen long stem pretty pretty roses for about $7. And, I took some cool pics of the food area - which always entrigues me. I really like the colors and smells of the spices and such. Also, I've always considered myself a typical American, and I really don't like to see the whole or parts of the animal before its cooked - it grosses me out. But here, its not a big deal. I'm not sure why that is...maybe because they are not wasteful like we are and use the entire animal for food? I dunno. Anyway, take a look at some of the photos below....

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Earthquakes and other Ruckus

Had a great weekend with Pat O’Brien around…..seems to me though like I blinked and now its over. Only 6 more months left here though, and I won’t have a big bawl fest to look forward to every month. I’m doing pretty well now, and I did great this morning taking Pat to the bus station, but last night I was a wreck! I thought I was getting better at dealing with saying good bye, but its like I was tricking myself into thinking I was doing better, and all the raw emotions I’ve stifled for the past few months came rushing back. I could not stop crying…..

This trip was a nice change from our last visit where we were running around every three seconds to a different place. On Thrusday, we picked him up from the airport and headed to Polanco to meet his brother. Now, if you recall, I mentioned the protesters who were merely taking up space with their tents while the actual peole were no where to be found…..this particularly pissed me off when it took us a good 2 and a half hours to get to Mike’s hotel when it should have only taken us 45 mintues tops. It was quite possibly the worst traffic I have ever sat in my entire life.

Just so you know who and what was causing all the ruckus - here’s a picture of the PROTESTERS CAMPS. I don’t think its right for them to be f’ing us in the A just so they can play campy-camp while they get to participate in their normal day.

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After arrival to the hotel and such, we went for a very nice steak dinner at The Palm Рwhich was conveniently located in the hotel, thus providing us with a great dinner without the expense of having to sit in a flippin car for 4 hours to go 2 miles to our original local РEl Rincón Argentino. Then we walked down the street and went to the Celtic Pub (yes, we went to an Irish bar in Mexico) and had quite a few more beers. It was actually a pretty darn fun night.

On Friday I wanted to go to the National Museum of Anthropology, which was about a 10 minute walk from the hotel – Pat, Mike and I made it but Keith was feeling a little too woozy so he stayed at the hotel. Apparently, shortly after we left was when the earthquake hit – but for some reason Keith was the only person who felt it. Not sure if we were in the elevator or at ground level it wasn’t as pronounced as being in the 20th floor of a hotel….but either way it was kind of cool to say I was in an earthquake, even though I didn’t feel it.

Saturday and Sunday were pretty much spent lounging around Metepec and Toluca – we went out and had some good food and some good drinks – and generally had a really great time. I love spending time with Pat – probably one of my favorite things that we do when we’re together is cook. Which is strange because I really don’t like to cook. Somehow though – its tranquil and calming when we are working together to create something, even if it is just spaghetti and meat sauce. It just feels so good, so normal, and it always manages to make me happy.

So now, I am trying to determine my plans for September and Christmas……and the airlines aren’t cooperating much with me as far as flight times and HOLY MAN – the FLIPPING PRICES! Its ridiculous. At the beginning of the year I was paying $280 for a ticket, now I can’t find anything for less than $460 and $580 for Christmas. That just bites the big one. Somehow I’ll make it work though. I’ll be damned if prices can keep me away from Pat O’Brien :o)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

What protests?

Today I went to Mexico City to check out a place to hold our ACI meeting in October - we knew way ahead of time that the main drag in Polanco (Reforma) was closed down because of the protests that are still going on (I think its day 15???).

Seriously - WHAT A JOKE! The whole road was shut down because they had giant tents (think, outdoor banquet types) covering the whole road, and also a few tents for people to sleep in. But there were, like, NO PEOPLE!!!?!?!? Where the hell were they all? The city has been in chaos because the this road has been closed, and there is not even anyone there chanting or holding signs or anything. I was througoughly disappointed.

I was hoping to catch dinner with Pat's brother - but we were finished way ahead of schedule and just came back to Toluca. When I came home to call Mike, there was a nice message on my phone saying I haven't paid my bill and service is suspended until I pay it. Weird, eh? But I still have internet.....the funny thing is that I was bitching and moaning because "how the hell can I pay the bill if I never recieved one????". Until I found it under a few papers on the dining room table while I was cleaning up. Ooopsie. It was due last Friday. So, I gotta take some monies out so I can pay it!

One more sleep until Pat O'Brien gets here! WHOOO HOOOO!

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Super lots of fun

Friday night I forced myself to go out - and I actually had a fun time, stayed out late, and didn't drink a drop of alcohol :o) Shocking I know. We went to a cousin of one of Keith's coworkers house. Aside from all the smoke, it was pretty fun. I had a chance to make some jokes in Spanish and show off my super awesome Spanish skills.

Saturday we chilled during the day, but at night we headed to an Italian joint for dinner (yummy calamari and caprese salad and fabulous red wine) and then went to the K-Paz concert. It was in a Soccer Field - with a big giant tent over most of the crowd. We stuck around the outside areas though because it was less crowded. The music was fun, the dancing was super fun too (I even had a stranger ask me to dance, wooo HOOO!) and we had a good time until it started to rain. Then I got a little crabby. So, a couple of us went back to the car to wait for the other hard core dancers in the rain, and had ourselves a couple beers - but then I started to get cold, so I got really crabby......so, we got a ride back to our car and headed home. I stayed out past 1AM for two nights in a row - I'm a mega partier!

Today we didn't do a whole lot, but we did see Superman in 3D at the IMAX theatre in Mexico City. Well, actually Santa Fe, which is right before DF...we got there about 20 minutes before the movie, and there were only 8 tickets left! We managed to get in and get decent seats, and I must say I really enjoyed the movie! Keith didn't like Kate Bosworth as Lois Lane, but I thought she was OK. The little boy reminded me a LOT of Austin....which was funny.

Speaking of Austin - I got a layout done of hime for a challenge....He's way too cute, Mayer forehead and all :)



Papers - Jen Wilson - Sofisticated Tide Pool - Longing for the sea, coastal strips, sand patterns, seaweed; chipboard stitched circle - amy teets; sand scratch overlay, paperscrap, summer word art - jen wilson; paperclip - shabby princess; staples - scrapsy daisy; Sketch - Amy Teets; Breeze word art - Lauren Bird


Also got another one done of Pat O'Brien and I :)


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Credits: Jen Wilson - Seasonal Scraps - Apple Blossom; Font - Occidente and Hurricane; Sketch - Gina Miller

Saving the world

Most of you who know me also know that I am pretty much a bleeding heart liberal, with hopes of saving humanity and everything else that needs help. Now, obviously I'm not so into it that I give away all of my worldly possessions and go off and join the Peace Corp, but the thought has crossed my mind more than once in my life.

I've been tormented on many many occasions here passing through the cities and seeing the extreme poverty and all the homeless animals....and really it does rip my heart out, and it truly affects my moods. I can be in a great mood, see a poor old woman begging for money and I will be crying shortly after that. I just can't help them all.

One of the things that I thought I would have time to focus on while here is community service....but I haven't really done anything at all. And, when I think about it, I feel really selfish. I have available time to go out and do things, but I have not made the effort to make a connection with a group and to participate. There is a local church nearby that I'm sure could steer me in the right direction, but I haven't gone there in months....I guess I blame my not having a strong command of the language on not wanting to take the step forward to try to make that connection.

The problem is, I'm not sure if I will make that connection while I'm here, and I kinda feel bad about it. I should. I really enjoy helping people and making a difference in some one's life, but I also enjoy, or rather need, the time to relax and rest. I mean, its hard to take care of someone else when you are not taking care of yourself, right? So, I am trying to give myself permission to not feel obligated to save the world, so I can reduce one more source of stress in my life.

I do what I can - I try to give away my money when its available, and I always support the efforts of young people when they are coming around selling things in our neighborhood - I've even started to become more active at home by writing my local congressman on various topics that I feel strongly about.

I'm not sure why I have always felt such a strong desire to help our furry friends, some people would say that if our efforts to support humans were as active as many people's efforts are for animals, that we would solve homelessness or world hunger - and there is probably some truth to that. Maybe its because they are so cute and fuzzy, and maybe its because they can't help themselves....regardless everyone has a soft spot, and I guess that's mine.

Anyway, One of those topics is related to the fates of many house pets that were stranded and separated from their families during the disastrous hurricanes that hit the US last year. I remember feeling so horrible for the families, and for the animals. I think I managed to sign up for a tree-hugger website, and they sent out a notice saying that a bill was up in the Senate to require local and state disaster plans to include provisions for household pets.

I thought it was a great idea, so I sent an email to Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin and asking them to support it....well, I sent them an email through the tree-huggers website.....at any rate, they actually responded to the request. It may have just been a canned response, but it kind of made me feel like I was taking part in our great democracy, and actually making a difference.

The bill did pass, you can read more about it here at the tree-hugger website:

PETS Act (Pet Evacuation and Transportation Standards)

Anyway, I thought the whole thing was pretty cool. And it makes me feel better by saving the world, from the comfort of my living room.

Friday, August 04, 2006

ick. cow brain tacos.

Today I tried eating a cow brain taco knowing full well that it was cow brains. They didn’t look appetizing, but I was going to try them just to try them. Because when in Rome (or in this case Mexico)…….. My Coworkers weren’t going to tell me what it was……but as I was bringing it to my mouth they told me. And I’m pretty proud of myself for still trying it. Or rather, for still taking two bites until I could feel the texture of brains and the taste of ass and then spit it out into a napkin. When I spit it out – I gagged a little bit, but I didn’t barf all over the table. I also couldn’t really eat any of the other food (chicken soup and carnitas) But hey, I tried something new, right? Ick. I still want to gag every time I think about it. I guess that means I’m out for Fear Factor, eh?

Last night I finished up a few layouts I’d like to share:

Fer - Fernando is our friends’ adorable youngest son. Sometimes he is such a ham!
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Credits: Celebrate Life collaboration kit at ACOT

More Love - This is the first time I used a layered sketch - the quickest layout EVER! Pic is one Pat O’Brien took of us while we were walking back from the Lincoln Park Zoo. Aren’t we the cutest !?¡¿EVER!?¡¿
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Credits: Papers and elements - Carla Gibson Embrace Sampler; Sketch by Gina Miller; Love stitched label - Jen Wilson

So what’s up with the Protests in Mexico City, you might ask? I don’t know man, they are crazy! And, they are camped out on Avenida de la Reforma, where all the super nice stuff is, and the same area that Pat’s brother Mike is staying at when he arrives on Monday. It’s not like its violent or anything – they call the protestors Plantones – because they are pretty much just “Planted” there, standing around blocking roads and such. It will just make it a pain in the arse to go to that area after we pick up Pat O’Brien at the airport on Thursday. Who knows though, maybe they will get tired or maybe the government will kick them out – I know the business around there are losing butt loads of money.

Plans for the weekend? I plan on chillin tonight, then going to a Banda concert tomorrow of K-Paz. Should be a good time. Maybe I’ll have a beer tonight – it feels like that kind of day.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Random thoughts.......

Holy crap. Three posts in one day?!?! I must be going mad. No, no I'm not - I'm just procrastinating work that I should be doing. I'm pretty good at that.

Looking at my posts I seem to have gone from really low to pretty high. Ah, well, I'm not flying too high like jumping all over the place, but I am whistling when I walk to and from places, and that usually means I am in decent spirits. I swear I'm not manic though, just to make that clear.

So, on with random thoughts.

Matilde normally comes on Wednesdays and Saturdays - but sometimes, she comes on Thursdays and Sundays, depending on her other 12 jobs she has. I told her no problem - that she doesn't need to come tell me every time she has a little change in schedule. I'm so laid back like that. But, I was thinking back to the first time she didn't show up on Wednesday and didn't tell me - I imagined that she came in to our house, took one look at the mess, turned around and went back home. So now, every time she doesn't come on the normal day, I think of her doing that. And it reminds me of how much of a piggy I am sometimes - especially in the kitchen. The dishes pile SKY high - especially if I cook. Pat O'Brien - I promise I will be better at that once I move in...its the not having a dishwasher that sucks butt.

Did you know that liquid paper was invented by a woman? I forget her name, but she worked in the typing pool at a company and was sick of retyping a whole page to correct one silly mistake. She started selling to other typists, and somehow started mass producing and that was that. She sold the company a few years later for like 50 bazillion dollars. That’s a smart chick. I learned that on the history channel. Keith and I have been watching a lot of that lately. Guess we’re getting sick of watching CSI repeats.

I named the interns’ fish today. They have a big bowl with a really pretty Beta (his name is Jovas), and today they added two tetras and two guppies. I was quite disappointed to hear they weren’t going to give the other four names. So I took control, and named the little guppy Guillermo (Memo for short) and the big guppy Bob. The tetras are called Los Gemenos (the Gemini’s, or the Twins) because I can’t tell them apart. I think they are much more happy in their home now. I think the interns just think I’m a bit nuts.

OTHER GREAT FANTASTIC AMAZING YOU ARE SO NOT GOING TO BELIEVE NEWS!

Seroiusly, you are SO not going to believe this – are you ready? Can you stand the anticipation? I just got quite possibly the best news I have heard in the entire past millennium. WE ARE GETTING FOAM SOAP installed in our bathroom at work!!!! I never thought I could be so happy. Fluffy, smooth, smells pretty – and 80% more effective at killing germs and bacteria on our hands! OH HAPPY DAY! Seriously, I’m stoked. No exaggeration – I love foam soap. You should have seen me jump for joy when I found foam Dial hand soap at Wal-Mart. It makes hand washing so much more fun.

What a difference a few hours makes

So, after listening to some more cheering up music, talking to Pat O'Brien, and eating a good lunch, I feel much better now. I think the turning point was the song "If I Had A Million Dollars" by the Barenaked Ladies. Its almost impossible to mope when that song is on.

Also a mood-bringer-upper - talking about potential positions in Chicago with Pat O'Brien. It just made things a lot more real - not just THE END IS IN SIGHT - but more thinking about how could I best use some of the skillz that I have aquired (and will continue to aquire over the next few months)......I think I will much more confident in whatever position I take, just because of the sheer amount of knowledge I've gained so far. Confidence in knowledge = power to do just about anything! And boy o boy - that feels good!

Blah.

I’ve managed to be marginally warmer than yesterday - I made sure to wear long socks. They are black and white stripes (New Zealand All Blacks Socks - I save them for special occasions, like when I don't have any other socks or when I'm freezing). Although my wet hair sure isn’t helping things this morning. I woke up late – or rather I woke up on time and took a wonderfully long shower – and left for work late, but I don’t seem to be caring much today eitherway. Turned out, its OK because no one was here to see me walk in at 9AM anyway.

Today is day 3 out of 4 this week where I have had to talk myself into going to work. I had a genuine excuse on Monday with my migraine and I still went in – but today I just couldn’t get my throat to hurt quite enough to stay in bed. I really did NOT want to go to work – I mean more so than the other three days that I didn’t want to come in (Tuesday was OK because I got to do something cool in Mexico City and learn a new test the rest of the days were blah). I am very very VERY blue today (not like a Smurf but in regards to my emotions) – my cats couldn’t even make me smile this morning – even my “Cheering Up Songs” playlist on my iPod didn’t do it. I managed to sing one song, albeit half heartedly. I didn’t even really want to blog, but I figured if maybe I wrote about it, there would be some kind of therapeutic response and I would have enough energy and fortitude to want to make it through the rest of the work day. If this doesn’t work – I fear I will talk myself into going back home and hiding under the covers for the rest of the day.

Geez – I am actually frowning right now. Ick.

Not exactly sure what’s going on that’s so dramatically different from the rest of the week – I haven’t been this sad since I left, or at least it feels like it. If this last through next week I’ll have to go to the doctor to see if he can up my meds. That’s exactly what I don’t want to happen – I want to try to get off of them, not go up in dosage. Really, depression sucks.

OK, going to try to throw myself into work and forget about whatever it is that is making me so down. I hope my day improves….or at the very least I hope I stay warm.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Cold Ankles

I am seriously freezing my butt off. Its August and I’m chilly. In Mexico. I can’t even begin to fathom the heat that is sweeping the Midwest right now, because I can’t even feel my fingers. Its not that cold outside right now, maybe 70 or so, but these concrete walls are insulating it in here too well – and it gets pretty cold at night, about 45 – 50 or so. I think if all the homes were made out of concrete in the US, we’d totally be averting the energy crisis – or at least when it comes down to cooling our homes with electric powered A/C units…...next time I build my house – totally going concrete.

I think what makes it worse is that my ankles are cold. I wore short athletic socks today because I don’t have any other clean ones (Yes, white short athletic socks with black loafers – super HOT!). And, my jeans are too short. So I get a nice breeze right at my ankles. Let me explain why my jeans are too short – I got 4 pair of jeans as a work uniform, and they were hella long. So I had one of the muchachas (cleaning ladies) here take them home and hem them for like, $50 pesos. They were the perfect length, and I was so happy! Then I washed them. They didn’t shrink at all - you see, it’s the beauty of having to flippin’ air dry your clothes because there is no dryer. So everything gets all crusty and crinkly and wrinkly, especially jeans – it ends up making them about an inch shorter with all the wrinkles. And, I hate ironing - I avoid it at all costs. And I can’t find Downey Wrinkle Releaser here, so I’m stuck with wrinkly clothes. I suppose I could ask Matilde to do it once a week or so, but she’s already got enough crap to clean up for us. Anyway, so that’s why I have cold ankles – my jeans are too short because they are wrinkly and I am wearing short socks.

So, I put on my steeltoe boots because they lace up around my ankles to try to warm them up – so now my ankles are warm, but my toes are cold from the cold steel. And if my feet are cold, my whole body is cold – that explains my FREEZING ness.

I feel like I’m not making any sense today. I tried to write a report but everything that comes out is jibberish. I’m like distracted – like a flea or something. I dunno – maybe I just need to eat.
Or maybe I just need to go home and take a nap – I am super crabby…..grrrrr…….

Well, at least I can look forward to a trip to Home Depot to get some supplies for a new test I’m going to set up…..trips to HD always make me happy : )

8 more sleeps til Pat O'Brien comes to visit me!!!!

Over and out.