Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turkey and Stuff

So how was everyone's Thanksgiving? Mine was very nice. Pretty uneventful and I have no complaints about that at all. I have my own tradition i started several years ago by volunteering on Thanksgiving day and feeding the homeless. My friend Pam and her husband Ed own 2 very successful cafes called Norma's in Dallas. The original one is very close to downtown Dallas in area called Oak Cliff. Ed started this tradition in his cafe 23 years ago. How it works is anyone is welcome to come to the cafe and we serve the standard meal of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, salad,cranberry sauce, rolls, and a slice of pie. We serve until we run out.  They dont take orders that day from the menu and all the meals are free! It's amazing to see the line of people around the block starting that morning. Most of all patrons served are homeless, jobless, and hungry. I can't remember if this year was my 10th or 11th time to be volunteering. We get a shirt every year with the sponsors on the back and the year on the front. When i moved last year, i donated a huge heap of shirts and so i can't go back and count the shirts. Oh well- it doesnt matter - i just love it! I also like the fact that i have something to do for me. When i have family spread out around the city , i dont hurt anyone's feelings by not coming by. You know what i mean?  Anyways, this year has been all about my Dad so i went to his place after volunteering. My stepmom Deb made an amazing meal and the Dallas Cowboys won the game! WOOHOO~~  An awesome day for sure!
Before i left Dad's i grabbed my Christmas decorations box to sort through and decorate. My apartment is kinda small so i'm not going to put up my tree. I am going to use a few of my little tiny trees around the place.
I grabbed a ton of stuff that i will use and my place looks like Christmas threw up in here! lol.  I have a lot to do but i look forward to it helping me get in the Christmas spirit. When do you put up your decorations and when do you start taking them down? I typically wait until after New Year's.
I can't go and not see my sweet grandmother Nanny during the holiday weekend. I know i mentioned in past that she lives 2 hours one way. My uncle had Thanksgiving dinner yesterday (Saturday) at his place because my cousin's could be in town. Uncle James lives a mile from Nanny. My one cousin Cody lives in Austin with his wife Christie and it was great to see them. Shane (my other cousin and Cody's brother) was also there with his wife Reagan. Can you believe i didnt take any pictures? i'm so bummed at myself!
I rode down there with one of my best friends Todd on his beautiful Road King. What a great ride it was! That's 4 hours on a Harley round trip and i was in heaven. My only complaint is that we had a cold front come in throughout the day and it was CHILLY on ride back to Dallas. I have all the riding a gear a girl could need but it just so happened to be boxed away at Dad's and i wasnt prepared well for the ride. I made due because Uncle James gave me a pair of flannel lined jeans and Todd had rain jacket with hood that fit under my helmet. I went to Dad's today and got my box of leathers. It was like Christmas opening it up and finding my chaps, vests, and jackets that i bought at Harley. I will be prepared the next time i ride again- i sure hope its soon!!
I have a busy week ahead as always but i'm not traveling. I'll be working in Dallas and it's so nice to be packing right now. Have a great week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Montreal This Week- Oui Oui

Hey Y'all!  I'm having a super busy week already and it's only Tuesday. I'm working in Montreal, Canada this week and it took me forever to get here yesterday. Well, it just seemed like forever because my plane left at 6:10 am which involved me getting up at 3:30 and being at airport by 5. I am still so tired! I think i've mentioned already that i'm NOT an airplane sleeper. Why is it that when i'm in public on a plane, i jerk and scare myself and neighbors from jumping. Oh, i did make it interesting by spilling my full cup of ice water directly on my right leg and soaked my seat and jeans. I havent done that in years. It was nice and cool the rest of trip for sure. So my flight had a layover in NYC and man was it so hard to look at the window and see one of my most favorite cities right in front of me. This Texas girl LOVES some New York City life! It hurt just to be in LaGuardia airport. Oh well, one day i may come back and stay longer in NYC.
You know i am all about the meals when traveling. Do you know about Poutine? That is french fries with cheese curds and brown gravy. It's very different but tasty none the less! We were taken to a popular dive called Lafleur and had the officical Poutine. It's a dish made popular in Quebec/Montreal. Just got to say not to knock it till you try it!
Last night we had our Meet and Greet with who we were going to train this week. We had dinner at one of Gordon Ramsey's restuarants. We ate at Laurier's and i have totally mixed reviews. Here's what happened: we made reservations for 14 people so they gave us a "group menu" that we had to order off of. No one had any problems with that for most part but when we wanted to order a different side that was on the real menu, the waitress literally yelled at us and told us we cant deviate off the menu. Only a few people wanted to make changes so it was crazy that she yelled at us. Last time i checked, WE are the customer and we're paying nicely for this dining experience. Anyway, i wont bore you with more complaining but the service was the worst i ever had but the food was AMAZING!  After watching Hell's Kitchen just a few times, i have a feeling that Gordon would NOT be happy that his staff was terrible and mean. Or would he?
Tonight we had a nice dinner at a local cozy Italian Restuarant and everything was wonderful. I'm on a roll because tonight i spent my glass of water on my boss AND her phone. NICE! Anyway, I had a seafood pasta in white wine sauce and man was it good! Next time you're in Montreal look up Bellissimo and you wont be sorry! I'm staying downtown and there is SO many beautiful buildings and architecture around. Sad thing is that it's dark when we return to hotel and too late to take any pictures. Maybe tomorrow....
Here's a few pics i did take. :)
NYC from plane at LaGuardia-made me hurt to look

Gordon Ramsay's Lafleur

The biggest pork schnitzel ever! oh yeah and mac n cheese

Poutine Baby!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Garage Sales,BFF'S, Family, and of course Eat!

Time is flying by! I had intentions of blogging sooner but just didnt make it. I'm back in Toronto this week (Mississisauga) and we're staying downtown. It's very cool with all the lights and billboards -like a mini Times Square. We walked to our restaurant last night for dinner. I love that kind of atmosphere and the convenience of not driving. Speaking of dinner, we ate at Milestones and had the BEST meal ever. It was frozen Bellini night and we had one of those. They topped it off with Sangria and oh my! Delish. I had a pasta with mushrooms and chicken and a wine sauce. Heavenly!!

Tonight we had a Meet and Greet dinner with the department we're here to train. We trained half of them today and the other half tomorrow. This is my favorite part of my job when we get to meet new people. It's such a melting pot here in Toronto. One of the gals was from Croatia, another from India, another from Italy, and another from Portugal. Isn't anyone FROM Canada? People can say the same thing though about Dallas. I'm part of special crowd that's actually a native Dallasite. Dinner tonight was at The Keg Steakhouse and Bar. Funny because i had another awesome Bellini tonight too. It was mango and peach together-so yummy!My steak was a little bloody for my taste but still had great flavor all in all. I havent had a steak in ages. It was good to have it.
So i just have to tell you about how much fun i had actually GOING to garage sales last weekend. After recently having one of my own it was fun to be on the other side. I had been searching and asking everyone to keep an eye out for me on a fireplace poker set. I found one on my own and guess how much- yep! only 3 dollars! yay-woohoo! One of the pieces was missing  the handle and it is a little rusty but i wont even use the tool anyway that's broken. I landed last Friday and i called my high school BFF Kimi to see what she was up to. She lives in Fort Worth and that ought to be in Mexico because of the distance. We were going to meet half way for dinner but she didnt have a sitter for her youngest son Nolan. I went ahead and drove out there that evening and we had the best night! Her daughter Kati is pregnant and she came and spent whole evening with us too. It was so fun to just eat spaghetti at the house and sit around to talk all night.
The next morning (Saturday) i was going to leave early but Kimi suggested going garage huntin. She rocks at the negotiation side of things. I am so uncomfortable to ask for lower price and why is that? No one certainly didnt bat an eye to talk me down to price. I totally scored on some Williams and Sonoma ORANGE mixing bowls for ...drumroll...5dollars$! My most awesome and biggest win was my dining room chairs. I really wanted a little something different to add a punch to my room. Check them out!! Orange cushions-sigh-i die!
Williams Sonoma 5$ bowls

Really?! I love my chairs.


Now for my stroke of luck to continue, after i left Ft Worth i had to drive to east Texas for a family get together. I was totally driving 70+ but ONLY because i thought the speed limit was 70. I actually pulled behind a squad car and went around him. We were at same speed so i thought i was cool. I wasnt. He pulled me over. I just have to say that i NEVER have been able to get out of or talk my way out of ticket. I didnt even bother to try this time either. He gave me a break and let me go. Its because i didnt slam on my brakes and try to fake that i wasnt speeding. I willingly admitted to passing him. LOL. So happy for that.
My cousin that lives in London is visiting here with his husband and we only get to see him once a year. Many of us met at my one cousins house Monya and we had a nice night. Another cousin that i never get to see came and brought his lovely family too. Who was missing was my sweet baby brother and his family (jeremy got sick) and Jadona with her new man and her sons. Home cooked meal was a plus and i saw my sweet Nanny.

Cuzn's
I threw my back out again on Sunday and it's totally sucked since. I am so sick of being in pain. What do i do now? Grin and bear it-Literally!  Happy Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Survived Halloween and back in the saddle again

So how was everyone's Halloween? I had so much fun! I love love love Halloween and i decorated both my home and office with everything witchy and skulls. I need to buy another storage container to hold all my decorations i have. Over the weekend i made the cutest skull headbands and they were a hit! I had a few friends even ask me how much they were because they wanted one but i gave them for free. Yesterday at the office I wore my headband and i spray painted my hair purple just for the heck of it. I had a cute tshirt with a skeleton couple on it that i found at Walmart. I didnt get a picture though. I just have to say that I also outdid myself making Treats too. I asked our department to all bring Treats to the office to celebrate. I bought NutterButter's and dipped one package in milk chocolate and the other package in dark chocolate. I decorated them like ghosts with black and white icing too. I also made sugar cookies in shapes of ghosts and witch hats. I seriously always go for grabbing store bought cookies or cupcakes but Nope- did it myself this time!
I am the luckiest girl-my neighbors LOVE Halloween as much as i do. They went ALL out and decorated our hallway into a haunted house. Did you know there was zombie baby dolls out there? There are many and they all do different scary things. Some shake with red denom eyes, some have sharp teeth and squeal, some have fake blood and eat bones. Anyway, my neighbor hung baby cribs on the walls and the ceiling and had a zombie baby behind all them. They had scary music, fog machine, cobwebs EVERYWHERE with a Giant Spider and little spiders everywhere. We put all our candy in a baby basket and had the kids reach in and grab it.  I enjoyed hanging with the neighbors eating sandwiches and looking at the kids costumes. Too fun! I will post a few pics but i took a ton.
Our Punkins lined up

This gave me nightmares and i dont scare easy

Our zombie baby candy keeper

Night before-Wendy and i with our headbands i made
After my fun night of Halloween , I still had to pack for this week in Canada. Which is where i am now. I'm with my boss/friend Wendy and coworker Mark this week and the next few weeks. After we landed around 2:30 we drove to Niagara Falls. I drove there by myself a few years ago from New York and it was so nice to see it from the Canada side this time. We couldnt have picked better weather tonight to be there. It was a little chilly but sunny and not windy or cold. Wendy is so awesome because she knows how much i love to find Harley Davidson shops and we find one on the main street where all the shops and restaurants are.  We ate dinner at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and had the yummiest blue crab and shrimp dip. yummy!

Wendy W, me, and Mark at Margaritaville

Niagara Falls on Canada side

Awesome rainbow
I really enjoy working in Toronto. I hope this week goes smoothly- I'll most likely blog again in this fun hotel room.

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Little Culture in My Life

Wow! What a crazy week and weekend it's been for me lately. I didnt travel last week but i was preparing for my garage sale. Garage sales always seem like such a good idea until it's time to do it. You have to go through all your stuff and sort it out, i had to haul it over to my friends moms house where the sale is, then you got to set everything up on hangers, tables, etc, make signs, get up at crack of dawn , and then haggle to get 50 cents for a 90 dollar ski jacket. We had our sale both Friday and Saturday and i'm whooped! I am saving for an iPad so any money made is handy. We had the sale in a suburb of Dallas that passed a law prohibiting all to use signs advertising the sale. That's crazy! We're in the middle of a neighborhood with no way of letting people know we're sitting in the back garage with lots of stuff to sale. Anyway, we snuck signs out when we could and the city would pick them up and keep them. I made a little over 300$ so i'm good. My back is aching though and i did overdo it.
I added a little culture to my weekend last night and went to a chorus and opera show. I have this coworker (Fred)that sings in the Turtle Creek Chorale and has invited me to watch them perform many times over the years. I honestly am interested in going but i never quite made it for various legit reasons. Last week i heard him talk about his upcoming show with someone and i asked him about it. He replied " you never come so i didnt think you were interested". I replied" i'm always interested, i just havent made it yet but i dont want to NOT be invited". So i called a friend (pam) that day, asked her if she would want to go (my boyfriend didnt want to) and i bought us tickets that next day. I am so glad i did. It was such a fun evening and it was nice doing something so different. Fred was very happy that i made a point to come.
 Pam and I had dinner at a Mexican restaurant that's been around FOREVER called ElFenix that's just a few blocks away from the Dallas Arts District. I had never been to the Morton H Meyerson Symphony Center.
Its a gorgeous building and concert hall and the acoustics were spectacular. The performance was Messiah so it was Faith based and amazing. There's something about hearing 300 voices singing Hallelujah that brings chillbumps to the surface. There were a few that belted out opera and it was terrific but i am not fan of hearing a lot of it in one sitting. I respect and am wowed at their ability but still only good for maybe 3 songs.
I will go again because i really enjoy doing things outside my norm and it was nice to appreciate some of Dallas' most awesome talent here in my own backyard so to speak. The pics are blurry but again we're asking strangers to take for us with our phones.
Pam and I with Meyerson on the wall behind us


Am i wearing cowboy boots? Why yes! yes i am. My back ached after wearing my heels for 5 minutes at home so on came the boots. Thank GOD I live in Texas and can get away with this anytime!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dog Tired

Last night I attended my very first Twitter party. Have you even heard of those? I had not until I joined a website called She Speaks and I saw the invite there. Have you ever heard of a TweetGrid? Me neither! It was a total new experience for me. I must admit at first it was overwhelming but within the hour that it lasts, i think i got some of the gist.  There is a host for the party then they have a subject of the party and we post our hearts out. It goes so fast its crazy with all the tweets. I had more fun seeing all the other participants and now i'm following quite a few more than i was. I need to join a few more before i really know what I'm doing. There's even door prizes that were given but i was not so lucky. There is a tutorial i need to watch a few times to get a better understanding.
The twitter party was the most perfect thing to do while being in Canada on a rainy night in the hotel. I wish i could attend a party every week that i travel. I did go out to eat with Wendy and a coworker from Montreal. We had dinner at Moxie's and i had the best broccoli cheese soup. My hamburger was awesome too! It was a nice meal to end my trip on. After the twitter party in my hotel, i still needed to pack and get ready for an early morning. Wendy and I planned to leave hotel by 4:30 am and we left earlier by 4:15. I do not sleep at all when i have an early early morning. I am so afraid of sleeping thru the alarm that i wake on the hour.
The process at the airport was crazy yucky!! I stood in line for exactly an hour to get through customs. Then our plane was delayed because we waited for more passengers that were stuck in that line.
Wendy travels to Canada a lot lately and she has one of those special Nexus cards. You can walk right by that awful line and to a much shorter one to have your retinas scanned. Freaky but cool right?! I have filled out application for that and waiting for my interview anyday now. I will be traveling back to Canada the first 3 weeks of November so it will help alot. Aye!
After i landed this morning (almost 4 hour flight), i showered and laid down for about 45 minutes for a nap. Now, i'm working from home and realizing that i have no plans this weekend.  I like that! We'll see what comes up.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Good Night

Today was a good day. I had a full day of training a new group and i think it went pretty well. It was a long day though because we had lunch brought in (sandwiches-boo) and i never stepped outside once. It did start raining today and is still raining. My hair is crazy frizzy this week! I love it because it's cooling down now. I packed my dress boots and dresses and i was afraid i was going to be too hot. I am so hot natured and i stay warm all the time.
I will eat sandwiches as long as the bread is toasted and there's melted cheese. I will eat a coldcut sandwich every now and then but not often. I know i know-picky! I had dinner tonight with Wendy and another coworker who traveled this week from the US too. It's the nice thing to do when we're all foreigners and traveling alone to try to eat together. It's sad and lonely sometimes eating alone. We went to a restaurant called Canyon Creek Chophouse and had an awesome Ceasar salad. I had the flatiron steak with a mushroom sauce but it honestly wasnt great. The steak was much too rare for my taste and a little chewy. I had a local wine from Niagara falls and it was delish.
Now, i'm hanging out at the hotel blogging and watching some TV. I love love love the show Modern Family. I was laughing out loud tonight. I'm sure my neighbors think i'm crazy.
Tomorrow is a repeat at work of today except to different audience. I hope it goes as good.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Good Day

Did you know that Canada has over the counter drugs that are not available at all in the US?  My great friend/boss Wendy is a genius! Today she went online and Tylenol has a product called Body Pain Night. We went to the nearest Rexal drug store and i bought a package. It's supposed to have a mild muscle relaxer in it and I'm so excited to see if it helps. I"ll let you know. I just took 2 a few minutes ago. AND  BTW, i scheduled my Dr's appointment for Monday morning.  I found out the hard way last Saturday night that i cant take anything with Codeine in it. I took a Tylenol 3 that has codeine in it and boy did it make me so sick! I had no idea i would react so badly to it. Fingers crossed for tonight.
 If you only knew that it takes an Act of Congress for me to take ANY medicine at all. I am so bad at swallowing pills. This is not good because i have hypo-thyroid disease and have for 13 years. I take a pill every morning. Yuck! Last year i decided upon myself that i just didnt want to take my thyroid medicing anymore. I have no idea why i did that. Come to find out it can cause depression if you dont treat it. I had never gone through depression before and it was so awful. I would cry every day and have no idea why until i went to my Dr.
When he asked how i was doing  with my synthroid - i said oh that, yep i quit taking it.
Dr- Why? Did another Dr advise you not to?
Me- Nope.i have taken it for years and thought maybe i didnt need to anymore. It's a hassle to get it refilled every 3 months and i dont like swallowing pills.
Dr- Did you know that hypo thyroidism can cause clinical depression?
Me- i had no idea and i guess that would explain my crazy crying. Ok- I'll start taking again.
Dr- you are my second most difficult patient.
Needless to say i take THAT medicine every morning no matter what.

I had such a delicious dinner tonight! I had dinner with one of my Canada coworkers here in Toronto. We went to Alice Fazooli's and I had swordfish. I dont get it very often but its one of my most fave fishes to eat. The fish had an olive caper butter sauce but it was very light. My appetizer was a flaming cheese that I want to go back and have again.  I am so lucky to travel and try new places to eat.
I have a very full day tomorrow with training and no plans for tomorrow night yet. We shall see.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Out and Aboat (about but the canadians pronounce it like boat)

I'm in Toronto ,Canada this week for work. The flight today was almost 4 hours long and i could not sit still because of my back. Seriously, i have no choice but to schedule a Dr appointment for next week. This is the longest i've gone with so much pain in my back. I am walking crooked and i hurt so much every day. I feel like the biggest baby complaining about my back but y'all i'm just not myself lately. I went to dinner with Wendy (my boss-and friend) at SpringRollsSpring Rolls . It's a PanAsian restaurant and it was very busy. Today was a holiday here in Canada-Thanksgiving Day. We worked from our hotel room after we landed because the office was closed.
How was my weekend? I drove to East Texas on Friday to go stay the night with my sweet grandma (Nanny). She lives2.5 hours away one way and that was not good for my back. I had great visit with her but we didnt do much at all. My eyes watered from my back and i just laid on the floor alot. We did sew some of my 2x shirts though. I took my sewing machine with me so she could help me with my hemming. I paid a little boy that lives in my apartment $1 to carry my machine down the steps and into my truck. Best dollar spent for sure.  I am so not good at sewing and i want to be! I have so many ideas in my head that i need to get better at.
I drove home Saturday afternoon back to Dallas because i had dinner plans with a few friends that night. You know i was so close to cancelling because of my back. I thought about it and thought that i could be in a restaurant getting caught up with my friends in pain or i could be sitting on my couch at home alone in pain. So yep- i went! I had a great time but my friends kept saying you must feel bad - I can see it on your face. I had such an awesome drink- it was a frozen drink called a Dragonberry. YUMMY!! That made me feel better. We had dinner at  Sambuca 360 a bar/restuarant that also had live music. My friend Vicky works there in payroll and other admin stuff.
Vicky and me

Me after my Dragonberry drink





Yesterday (Sunday) i managed to go to both my churches the nursing home Autumn Leaves and then to Horizons. I went home after that, took a long nap on my heating pad and then got up and packed for my trip. I have never been a napper but i think my pain wears me down. My neighbors made a pot of chili and invited me to bring my bowl over and grab some. It was very spicy and he added corn to it which was a little different. It was still very tasty and i was so happy not to cook or drive to get something. It started raining last night too which is so very needed in Dallas. I love listening to the rain while snuggled in bed.  I went to bed a happy girl!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just Kicking around

You know i noticed i dont blog much when i'm not traveling. It's so much easier when i'm stuck in a hotel room at night to whip out the ol laptop and fire off a post. Oh well.  To get caught up from this weekend - i had soooo much fun last Friday night. After work i had to host our monthly womens CMA get together (we take turns every month). I chose a local Italian place called "Italian Villa". It is yummy and their portions are huge. I think I did good because all the ladies seemed happy. I ordered the chicken carciofi that had mushrooms and artichokes in it. TO DIE FOR! I could eat artichokes on anything. I am so picky but the things i like are funny. I hate most all vegetables. Not Good.  Anyway back to subject, I only got to stay for 2 hours because i was meeting some other friends for the concert. We just created our CMA chapter at the first of the year. We all really dont know each other all that well but we're trying to. I can just say that most of these women make me heart happy to be around. They have such a unique difference about them and so different. I like being around strong Christian women that can show me and guide me to keep me on the right path. 
My friend Dyan picked me up at my place and she brought a friend of hers Deb who i had never met. I liked Deb right off the bat and she was fun to be around. Dyan and I were serious party girls in college at North Texas. We got connected again thru Facebook about a year ago and we saw each other in person on her birthday. It has been at least 18 years since i had seen her last.  Isnt it great to find a good friend and pick up where you left off? We went to BillyBob's in Ft Worth to see Robert Earl Keen in concert. I love him y'all! Such a fun laid back performance. His music is so Texas and fun. I bought another T-shirt that said "Road Goes On Forever". It was on sale for 10$ and it's a 2x. LOL. I will cut it off and sew it so it wont look like a nightgown. Afterwards we walked a little thru the stockyards but it was pretty late and we're an hour from home. We had a bottle of wine and a few cocktails but i wasnt even snockered at all. I look that way in the pics. It was a long week and it showed this Friday in the pic. These pictures are blurry but its something.

Dyan,me,Deb


Have I mentioned that one of my goals is to pick up guitar lessons again and play a song with my Dad? Daddy bought me the coolest little Martin guitar 6 years ago. I took lessons but then started traveling like crazy and couldnt do it anymore. Unfortunately, i did forget nearly everything i learned. One of the couples in my CMA chapter (Ray and Jaye) are very musically talented. I once loaned my guitar to Ray for our meeting and told him i didnt know how to play and he offered me some lessons. Yay! I took him up on one last night and boy was it hard. I have so much respect for musicians. The finger placements are just not natural and very awkward. I have to practice like crazy. Another thing is that my strings are steel strings and it was much harder to learn on. Ray suggested to buy a cheap guitar with regular(nylon,plastic) strings to get used to it. Who knew? When i practiced with his it did make a difference. Wish me luck on this. I have to travel again next week so already will be missing a week of practice.
SSSHH- i'm shopping tonight for a new pair of dress boots. I feel like that should be a secret because most people who know me will freak that i'm buying yet another pair of shoes. I dont have a pair of tan/beige knee boots and i think i need them for some outfits i have in mind in my closet. I'm on the search so we shall see....

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Life is something else!

SO its only Wednesday and it's been a very long week! Monday is never the best thing to look forward to anyway but this past Monday was the suckiest ever. I am on a team of the most smartest,amazing coworkers that are also trainers like myself. When i first joined this team 7 years ago, there were 12 of us.  We had some people transfer into other positions along the way and for a while we've been down to 6. Due to company cutbacks that had NOTHING to do with performances we had to cut 2 from our team. This hits home in so many ways. First of all, when we travel with each other it makes you much closer than even sitting next to someone in your office. You're having to share cars, meals (hence the car sharing), stays in same hotels(own rooms of courses), etc.  We become family. You're far away from your own family and during good times and bad- a fellow trainer was there with you. I kinda have that survivor guilt where i feel weird that i have a job. However, i'm praising GOD on the hour for blessing me with my job. On a side note, the 2 friends that were laid off are both in a really good place financially and i know they'll be ok. AND now with only 4 trainers,i'm going to be so crazy busier than ever.
Ok, on a happier point, another coworker  Rashmi is due to have a baby boy any day now. She's been on bedrest for the last month and we gave her a baby shower today. It was a great success! We decorated the office with bunches of blue balloons, signs, and we all brought her gift cards and presents, and FOOD. We get excited to have a reason to bring food. LOL.  Rashmi and her family recently moved to Dallas from Atlanta and she has no family here. She was so excited and touched that we did this for her.
I brought a most yummy dish i found on Pinterest (my addiction) that is Pizza Dip. It was a hit and literally was an empty pan left.
Here's how easy it is: 1 block of cream cheese, a 1/2 cup of sour cream, a bag of mozzarela cheese, a jar of pizza sauce, pkg of pepperoni's, sprinkles of oregano and garlic flakes, and whatever veggies you want to add. I used a can of sliced black olives.
Mix the cream cheese and sour cream, and seasonings together and spread thin in  bottom of a small casserole pan, add the pizza sauce over that, layer the pepperonis and veggies, then cover with cheese. You can layer 1/2 of the bag of cheese on top under the sauce and then remaining on top. I love it cheesy and gooey! Bake for 20 minutes at 350 (preheated). I served with crostini's and it was good but you can use chips too.
I'm having dinner tonight with a member of my team that lives in Illinois but is here for some meetings. We're going to LaMadeleine. I love this place. They have the best chicken ceasar salads and i need something on the salad side after all the crap i ate today at office.
I am soooo excited for Friday to get here. I am hosting my CMA chapter womens dinner that evening for a few hours which should be good.  After dinner, i am meeting an ol college friend of mine (Dyan) whom i got reacquainted via Facebook this past year. The two of us are going to Billy Bob's in Ft Worth to see one of my most fave singers Robert Earl Keen. Woohoo! I saw him 2 years ago and had him sign my cowboy hat. Yep, i'm wearing it!!  He doesnt come on stage until 10:30 pm which is kinda scaring me cuz thats kinda late but i'll get my second wind. Should be tons of fun and i hope i have pics to share.  Gotta run...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

What's Up?

This weekend has been so awesome! I have been lazy and not feeling guilty for a minute. I got a lot done dont get me wrong but a lot of time just pittering around the casa. Yesterday, the only thing i had going was a wedding in the evening. Did i tell you about my Dad's best friends? He has 2 friends  (B and M)that they have literally grown up together since grade school. They got married right after high school and i've known them since i was born. Earlier this year "M" was diagnosed with breast cancer and she passed away around 2 months ago. It's been a big blow to our family. "M and B" have been to every single party,wedding, get together ,etc as part of the family. Well, last night her oldest daughter was getting married. It was important that Dad,Deb, and myself go to show our support.
 It was such a great night. The wedding was in East Texas where i grew up for many years. They have friends with a ranch and donated the tent and venue for the wedding. It was a western rustic theme with a chuckwagon even that had the wine and beer in it. Yummy BBQ with ribs was DElish!! The weather could not have been more perfect. Dad saw a ton of his friends from the past and they were so happy to see him. Last night was kinda emotional though for me. I just cant get used to seeing Dad zipping around on his motor wheelchair. He is so young to see him with the wheel chair and oxygen tank next to his friends of the same age. Plus side- he was feeling good and was so happy to be there. For most of the time we didnt think Dad would make it to the wedding. Being outdoors is not always good for him and we're not sure of the terrain for the wheelchair. And it depends on if has a good day or not.  All in all it worked out but he did slice his hand while trying to unlock the chair from the ramp. That upset me more than him.
After the wedding Tara came to see Dad and was hugging him so big. I saw Dad's eyes tear up and then mine did too. Missing "M" was everywhere. The most touching part of the night was a few minutes after Tara was in the Daddy/Daughter dance with "B", her little sister Taylor got on dance floor and the 3 of them danced together. There was not a dry eye in the house!
I went to my 2 churches today and even did a good friend deed. A very dear friend has a stomach virus and her husband too. I dropped off some 7ups, soup, and saltine crackers by their house. Now, i have to make 2 dishes for a CMA picnic tomorrow night and a potluck babyshower wednesday. If you only knew how i want to change my mind and take chips with onion dip. I am going to make the cream cheese rollups tonight and i hope its easy as it looks. I'm making a pizza dip for Thursday and again i have never made it. I want to be inspired to be more creative in the kitchen. I do not enjoy cooking at all and i feel like something is wrong about that. 
I am wrapping up and turning on the Football to keep me company while in the kitchen. I'll let you know how it goes. The Cowboys play tomorrow during my picnic- ugh!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Backaches and garage sales!

Have i mentioned that i have a bad back? Well i do! Its my lower back and usually it decides about once or twice a month to act up. Here lately its been much more frequent. I have been walking very slowly and bent over now for an entire week. i also HATE going to Dr's! yep, i'm one of "them". If it doesnt get better though i have no choice. This past weekend i worked all day in a group garage sale for my CMA group. I think i went crazy picking things up, bending over alot in boxes, etc. Then, i tripped in my parking lot and didnt fall all the way down but really jammed up while catching myself.
 Speaking of garage sales, i'm participating in another one next month with a friend(coworker) of mine. This time though the money goes to me!  I've had 2 so far in my life. My first attempt was around 4 years ago and it was a flop. It poured down rain (it was not in forecast) and i made maybe 75$. Last year was much more successful because we did it for 2 days and i made a little over 200$. It was a whoopin but fun in the end with cash in hand. I bought a pair of new shoes and the rest helped me get a designer pair of eyeglasses for once. I needed new prescription glasses and i have always coveted the fancy frames that i couldnt afford. I am proud owner of Coach glasses! I know big deal but really it made me feel good.
So, now i am starting to schlep all my crap over to my friends garage where we're having the sale. I have stuff spread out all over the city. What happened is that i took my stuff that didnt sell last week so i could have it for mine. I dont have any room for extra stuff so my dear friends Cory and Wendy let me put it in their empty garage. Then, one of the CMA guys had an empty storage that all the members could use while preparing for our groups garage sale. I had loaded it up with 6 boxes. I wasnt quite fond of selling ALL my stuff in the CMA meeting once i found out that none of the proceeds would go towards my personal donations next May (long story-im not that greedy really!). So, i called him and said not to bring my stuff to the sale, i want to sell it next month. I also have a ton of boxes in my Dad's shed. Crazy i tell you! This moving my crap is also fantastic for my back.
This post is kinda pissy but it's not how i mean it to be.
Have a super weekend!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mom and Montana

I need to post about my trip to Montana before too much time goes by. As mentioned in earlier post it took forever to get to Montana. Unfortunately i had to fly into Billings which is also 4 hours away from Basin where Mom lives. I was so tired but i had plenty of time to rest during this week. It was absolutely PERFECT weather the whole time i was there. Mom has an outdoor patio around her house and i sat outside every day as long as i could. I read 3 books during my stay. Most of the time we just chilled around the house and our main activity of the day was to load the dogs up and take them somewhere where they could run like crazy. This was my favorite thing to do. The dogs were hysterical bouncing everywhere and running in the water to drink. There were streams at every location which was so great. I am so drawn to water! Having home cooked meals by Mom was my most special bonus.
 One day we went to an old abandoned mining town named Comet. It was so cool because Mom and I were the only 2 there during the week and had no crowds to walk thru. I went inside and climbed up many hills to get pics and stuff. One Saturday we went to the town of Boulder's outdoor art and music festival.  It was so cute. It was the size of a giant yard sale here in Dallas. LOL. There were a few nice booths with crafts made by local artists. I spent some money on a few things to support the community. :) 
Mom waving from back patio


Basin



Comet Mine and factory


One of the oldest working schools in Montana (Basin)

Lady of the Mountains in Butte

Famous Sleeping Giant from Helena
Mom lives less than half mile from a National Forest. There are trees and mountains on every side. At one point i felt like i was taking pictures of the same thing everyday but it was all just so pretty. I went to Butte a few times for something to do. Butte is the closest "main" city close to Mom thats around 40 minutes away. We went grocery shopping, thats where WalMart is (postcards),stopped by Harley store, they had Starbucks(woohoo), had lunch out and walked around their shops. Mom and i were walking by a Thrift store and i saw a cute shirt in the window. We went into the store and found out that everything was only a dollar that week and the proceeds were for battered women.  SIDEBAR: i support the Genesis womens shelter in Dallas and have for 18 years.  I bought 2 cute purses for myself, a belt, and a few real cute shirts and sweater for Mom. One shirt still had tags on it. That is so fun to find good deals like that!!!  In Butte there is a statue on top of a mountain of a lady that looks similar to Mary. She is lit up at night and looks down on the valley of Butte. I love that she is there. So Cool! One Sunday i rode into Helena with a good family friend to go to his church. I didnt want to miss church 2 Sundays in a row. It was nice to get out of the house and go into town. There are 2 places to eat in Basin and one night we even walked down to the cafe for dinner.
I just really needed to spend as much quality time i could with my Mom and that was accomplished. Her dogs Tinka and Singer kept me great company and i miss them all so much. I departed from Bozeman that is only 2 hours away. We drove there night before and i got us hotel so we wouldnt have to get up crazy early and be rushed. Bozeman is one of my fave cities of Montana. It was a wonderful vacation filled with gorgeous scenery and weather. I have memories now and they make me smile!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Trip to Hotlanta

Wow, its been a while since my last blog so i thought i would push one thru today. I have been nonstop since i came back from Montana. My trip was great and i have so many pics to share but the internet was crazy slow so didnt want to try blogging while on vacation. I'll post about Montana on a different day.
When i left Montana on Monday i flew out of Bozeman into Seattle. I had 3.5 hr layover there before i flew to Dallas. I was home just for that evening to repack and i was off to Atlanta on Tuesday morning which is where i am now. My sweet cousin Lauren lives here in the area and Tuesday just happened to be her birthday. We would have planned to get together no matter what. Tuesday evening after work, i had a company dinner with some coworkers that i was training this week. We had a great dinner at the cutest Italian restuarant and yummy! I think it was called Paizano's. I had chicken with white wine and garlic and MAN were they generous with the garlic!!! After dinner i went to the hotel where my friends were staying for a few drinks at the bar. My friend Patricia (from Cali) and Alan (from Dallas) were with and it was great to get caught up. Yesterday (wednesday) was so busy. I trained all day and had mtgs but was so productive. It was last night that i met up with Lauren. She picked out a restuarant that she had heard about but never been to. It was called Bone Garden Cantina and was decorated with all Day of the Dead stuff. Basically all skulls and i love it! She knew i would love it because i have a few things like that in my home. The food was really good and so inexpensive. I would go all the time if i lived here.



Lauren and myself
After dinner we headed over to a great outdoor shopping plaza (Atlantic Station) and hung out some more. I am SO excited because we went into an H&M store that Texas has never had. I told the cashier (yep bought 3 dresses) how much i love them and she mentioned Dallas was getting one now. I had no idea! Yay!!! They have such cute clothes and very reasonable prices. Have you ever been to a Z Gallery store? They have the coolest home stuff! I absolutely love Halloween stuff and they had cute things to look at. More skulls of course! i bought a bag of small silver glitter skulls, you know every girl needs to carry those around. :)  All in all, we had so so so much fun catching up and having girl time. Now, I got to get abck to work my lunch hour is over.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Just hanging around airports

Today is my long day of travel to get to Montana. My flights are from DFW at 12:50 arriving in Seattle at 3 (5 central) leaving at 8;40pm for Montana arriving at 11:45 pm. I'm flying into Billings, Montana which is no where close to where Mom lives. Unfortunately there are only 2 flights a day going into Billings so i cant go standby on any other. On way here to Seattle, the cutest lady sat next to me. Her name is Catherine and she was in her early 80's. As soon as she sat down she introduced herself. She's coming to Seattle for her grandson's wedding and there were other family members on our flight with her. At first i got a little aggravated with her when i came back from the restroom. She did not want to get up and let me in and she kept saying make him move his seat up (referring to the man that was in front of her who had pushed his seat back). I know the flying etiqutte and i am not comfortable asking this business man to let me in when its my row that i need. The flight attendant got tired of me standing in the aisle and she asked him. It's not easy to crawl over someone  from this angle when you're on the window seat. I had to remind myself that she was old and didnt travel much and not to be mad. Catherine was talkative and i could tell she wanted to visit. She grew up in Dallas and had lived in the same house near Preston Center for 62 years. Normally because i travel every week, i usually hunker down with my ipod and magazine and retreat to myself.
Earlier when we were given warm nuts Catherine picked out all the cashews. The flight attendant (Norma) asked if we wanted more and she said i want more cashews. Norma looked perplexed because they were all mixed nuts and she couldnt separate. She just gave Catherine a new scoop and said this is best i can do.I noticed that she was saving her almonds and putting them to the side. When we got our meal we got some pita chips and hummus to go with a beef quesadilla. The quesadilla was made wiht an orange colored tortilla and she asked me what kind of pastry it was. Then she held up her hummus and asked what it was.  I said hummus, she said what is hummus? i told her that it was chickpeas ground up with spices and very popular dip (i dont personally care for it). She didnt eat it and she gave me her pita chips. She got up one her tray was gone and walked back to coach to give her other grandson her almonds. I wish i could have seen his face when she walked to him with her little bowl of almonds.I thought that was sooo cute. That generation doesnt believe in wasting anything!  After we landed she was telling me that i made her flight so enjoyable. She said i was welcome to come by for Sunday dinner anytime and announced her address. I didnt write it down but you know i could tell that she genuinely meant it! Then she said tell your mom i said hi! Seriously, i wanted to pick her up and put her in my suitcase. She was wearing a nice pink dress and pearls and then you look down and she had  brown socks and loafers on. She commented that someone told her to wear loafers that slipped on and didnt tie to get thru security easier. 

Mt Rainier


Catherine waiting for her clan. You cant see her shoes.

Now, I am killing many of hours in the airport. I bought 2 new nail polishs by Butter. Beautiful fun colors to play with this week. I also indulged in a 15 minute massage to kill time.

Have you been to one of the Life is Good stores? They are in a lot of airports and i love them. If i didnt already own a gazillion tshirts, i could go crazy in these stores. I killed at least 30 minutes browsing in here. I just love their laidback fun philosophy.


Life is Good guy

I thought now would be good time to do a post here. I have no idea when i'll be posting next but i hope soon with some Montana pics. We have long drive home tomorrow but its ok cuz im on vacation and its in Montana! Now, i'm going to wander around the airport some more.....

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Stuff to do

I'm working the first half of the week at my Dallas office because i'm leaving Thursday for Montana. Can I just tell you how crazy excited i am?! My sweet little Momma lives there and I havent seen her in 2 years. Yikes, i tear up just saying that outloud. You see, Montana isnt exactly the easiest state to get in and out of and its very seasonal with their snowstorms,etc. Normally, I get my mom to Texas so that she can see all of us (grandmother, brother, uncle,etc) but mom has had a real rough year with her health. Truthfully, this heat wave we're having would have been the worst for her! Hell, it's been hard on the healthier people around here. I have absolutely no idea if i will have internet connection once i get there. I have a mifi but we're talking podunk small town in the mountain Montana (Basin to be exact).  I'm really looking forward to wearing jeans, boots, long sleeves, possibly a jacket, wood fires, home cookin, laughing and crying with mom, silence, streams, forests, her sweet dogs, and more.
Last night on the news i saw the stats on our heat wave. We had 69 days in 1980 and we're at 63 as of yesterday. BRUTAL!! So with that it leads me to 3 nights ago (Saturday). I was gone most of the day at a CMA event and got home around 8 pm. It was stuffy inside but i thought well maybe i put the thermostat too high before i left. I took cold shower , tinkered around, then dozed off a little past 11 pm. I woke up at Midnight realizing that i was still not cooling down. I got up and grabbed 2 ice packs to sleep with -one between my knees and one on my neck. I fell back to sleep and then woke up at 2am realizing i was soaking wet with sweat. That was it. I couldnt sleep anymore. I got up and called the emergency line for maintenance. They called back and first said there was nothing they could do because it was too dark to get on roof and check the AC. Then at 3:30am  the maintenance showed up with a window unit air conditioner. I was so physically and mentally exhausted, i literally broke down crying (not my finer moment again) and said i was leaving and not coming back until it was fixed. That window unit was going to take long time for it to cool anything down! I called my very close friend that lives near by and explained that i was coming over for a small nap. I had to get up at 7 to go to church. My church is so very special because its at a nursing home with the most sweetest neatest residents ever! It makes their day that we come just for them on Sundays and i jsut couldnt stay at home knowing that some of them dont get visitors during the week.  After church, i had lunch with my Dad,Deb, Aunt Brenda and my grandmother Mimi who lives in an assisted living center very close to where i was.  Aunt Brenda and i were talking about movies and i mentioned i wanted to see  The Help and so did she.I really didnt want to go home yet either. It was 110 degrees. It was kinda cool because we decided to go right then and we've never done anything like that together.  i love spontaneous decisions and making good memories with sweet family. The movie was awesome by the way! During the movie my phone was turned off and maintenance had called and said i had AC again- i can come home. Whew!
Right now i have so much to do to get ready for vacation. When i get back home it will be nonstop all over again.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Personal space invasion and stuff

This morning's flight was not a great one either. I had to be at airport for early flight to get bags checked in and my new hula hoop that i received this week. Drive was fine, check in was fine,security was fine. I even had plenty of time to get my venti Starbucks latte (my addiction for the record). It was when i got on the plane that began the yuckiness. The man next to me (he had center seat) literally kept his elbow in my space. I was so aggravated. There's that common understanding that we all have very little space and to be nice about it. I think he must have been mad to be in center seat (it does suck). He (Mr 11B)immediately claimed BOTH armrests and did not budge. When he fell asleep,his elbow slipped over onto my arm and he didnt move. I actually tried knocking his arm off with my elbow but he came right back with force. I finally poked him and woke him up and said PLEASE move your elbow back to your own side. Mr.11B  looked at me like i was a witch but i honestly did not care. I'm over here trying to hug the window so i can not touch his ugly hairy arm! I took a pic while he was sleeping , i was so ticked off!
Thats my pink tshirt and his elbow on my side.
Anyway, he moved his arm the most slightest bit so i sat with arms crossed almost the entire 3 hours. Couldn't get off the plane soon enough.  Then, I had to hunt my hula hoop down at a different baggage claim from my suitcase. There's a spot for all large items like golfclubs,skis, etc to come down.  I waited and waited and it never came. I was not leaving without it! I has to have the attendant look it up, etc and make some calls for it to show up. 20 minutes later after i got my suitcase my hula hoop came down and off i go to the parking shuttle.  What's the big deal about a hula hoop? Well, a lady at work (Cindy) had heard about the comeback recently of these hoops and wanted one for herself. She went online and found that the good ones ran around 35$ not including shipping. Like everyone else in this economy, money is tight and she's pretty crafty. Cindy went back online and found instructions on how to make your own. They are awesome! She's made various sizes depending on your height. I had so much fun playing with them this week and i wanted one. I actually had read not long ago about the weighted hula hoops and i came within a hair of buying one. So glad i didnt! 
My custom hulahoop next to my truck


I'll go backwards on my last evenings in California. I'm getting sad just realizing that I wont be going back anytime soon. Last night my friend Rosa came with me to drive down to Huntington Beach. I had visited Malibu and Seal beach but i had not made my stop there so it was time. It was so incredibly beautiful driving on PCH and seeing the ocean. I got so excited seeing all the surfers with those kites on their boards (i know there's an actual term for that but it escapes me). I pulled over twice and jumped out so i could take picture. TOTAL TOURIST move but thats me.
There's surfers below those kites-my zoom not working on phone

We found a great place to park near Main street and I wanted to eat out on the pier at Ruby's Diner. I've been there on several occasions but Rosa had never been. It's a really nice walk to the end of the pier and great place to people watch. There was this huge group of senior citizens playing ukelele's, fiddles, etc for the crowd. So cute!! That pic is on camera and i havent synced with it yet. On both sides of the pier are tons of surfers on their boards and i never get bored watching them.  At the diner i was able to sit facing the sun and i watched the entire sunset. I really wanted to just enjoy and watch without doing it injustice (is it IN or UN)by pics from phone. You cant go to Ruby's and not have a buttefinger shake. Really! Yep, there's a story to this too.  Many years ago, one of the hotel employees asked where i was headed. When i told him HB, his reply was to get the shake at Ruby's. I am not a fan of Butterfinger candybars and told him that. He replied that he didnt either but it was so good. SOOO, do what the locals do! I tried it- fell in love with it- and since has gotten all my teammates hooked on the shake as well. After dinner and shake, we still had time on our meter to walk down on beach near the water. I MUST get toes wet if at all possible.  Loved it so much. I was feeling the burn in my calves walking on the sand. Yay-work off that shake!

Rosa and I on pier

Rosa and I on beach
Wednesday night after work I drove up to see Julie and meet her at the club(BelAire bay Club). She plays on Bocce team and she had a game. I get a little starstuck y'all and there are so many people here at the club that are famous or semi-famous. To protect privacy,etc there are no cell phones allowed to take pics or make calls. You have to walk out to the sand or in parking lot to use your phone. I was out front near the main door waiting on Julie when Courtney Thorne Smith walked right by me and into the club. She is so tiny and pretty. When i was less than a mile away from the club, Bruce Jenner was behind me in traffic. So cool!
While Julie played, i walked over to the sand and water to take some pics with my phone.  Her team won and it was so funny to watch. Julie's team was laid back ,having fun, and drinking but other team was very competitive and serious. I am so excited to find a new fave drink that Julie introduced me to. My fave non-alcoholic drink i order most of the time is an Arnold Palmer (thats lemonade and sweet tea together). Well, now there is a sweet tea vodka and mix up with lemonade- you got yourself a MOST delish drink!!  I had so much fun this evening. After the Bocce game we ate dinner and visited with some teammates. One particular teammate had had way too much wine and was weaving as she walked.  I was really proud of Julie and the other guest that took the keys away from her. As it ended, Julie and one of the guests (Randy) drove the lady home and brought the other back to their car. The roads were safer that night for sure! I miss Julie already but I pray for another visit soon.

View from the water looking at club

Bocce at night

Julie and I on patio
Let's see what this weekend has in store.