Friday, December 30, 2005


It does not happen often, but I will sometimes have a dream that hits me hard. It usually wakes me up and I find my heart pounding and I remember all the details of the dream. It usually means one of two things. The first is that I am supposed to remember the dream because it is a prediction of things to come (I'm not all that touchy-feely/spiritual person, but on occasion, my dreams will correspond to some event about to happen). The second is something that most will not believe, something I didn't believe until it happened, but it can be called "lucid dreaming" or sharing a dream.

I had a dream that woke me up last night that shocked me beyond my normal, take it as it is mood. If you don't care about dreams, don't bother reading, but I'm going to write it out a bit. I'm hoping it will help me clear it from my head.

Some of the elements of the dream have clear meaning to me; I know why they showed up in my psyche. Others are hiding their meaning and I'll probably consult books soon. Okay, I'm not being clear and not being coherent.

The dream starts off with my looking at the temperature gauge on my car. It is 31 degrees F and it is snowing like crazy. This I understand. It was snowing all last night and driving home from karaoke/Perkins was an adventure. It started warming up in my dream. Within in 10 minutes, the temperature was 41 degrees. The temperature keeps increasing to a summer level (where it does stop) and all the snow is gone. And I am suddenly in Europe.

The dream is now familiar. I think I've been having the beginning of this part of the dream for about a week now. The surroundings are ones I know, but ones I know because I feel like I've visited them in dreams as a tourist. I am on a trip and learning about the place I am at in the dream. It is odd that DM is not along on the trip.

The grounds I am visiting are a vast estate. A large, sprawling building similar to a plantation home is in the center of the grounds. Inside are modern items and I know that a man wants me to use the computer inside. I do not trust him. The man is from the place I am visiting (which may be somewhere in Italy). I think he keeps complimenting me to try and trick me. He wants me to use his computer to access some type of information that he should not have. I am looking for an excuse to not help him. I do not want to be involved in his scheme. In the dream, I know his name, but it escapes me now.

A friend is with me, but it is someone I do not know. He is a man with an exotic name that starts with a D. I wake up thinking it is Dominic, but I know that is not correct. In waking life, I do not know this man. In the dream, he is a good friend. I am not attracted to him in the dream in a romantic way. I know that he is engaged to a woman named Stephanie, but he does not want to marry her. I get the impression that he is gay. He becomes quite upset in the dream, crying over the loss of his mother. He wants to go look at the two cemeteries and temple on the grounds. I also want to check out the sights.

We leave the building at the front and walk towards a Roman temple. It is similar to the Temple of Diana that Dana and I saw in Evora, Portugal. This one has taller pillars and is more rectangular than square. The temple is in ruins and I am looking for my camera. A sense of urgency has started and I am digging in my purse. I find my camera and another old camera.

As I find the cameras, we start walking towards the first of the two cemeteries. The first one is under construction and has a large pile of material with a deep pit next to it. Looking past the cemetery, I see a vast view. We are on a cliff that overlooks the country side.

A woman, who I do not talk to in any way and think may be a worker on the estate, screams. I run towards the woman and get to the top of the pile of construction material. I look down into the pit and see a young boy lying face up, wearing a bright green soccer/football uniform. His image is split into two. It overlaps itself.

I start running outright away from the image of the young boy, heading towards the back of the estate where the other cemetery is. I fall down, screaming and sobbing. I am unable to stand back up, only being able to see the image of the boy and I am appalled at how young he is.

I do not wake up yet. Up to this point, I think the dream is trying to tell me something. Then the next part happens. With no confirmation, and no idea how to bring it up because it does tend to scare people, I think it may have turned into dream sharing.

Someone I do know is suddenly running from the back of the estate towards me. Now, in cases of dream sharing that I have experienced, the person (whether it be me showing up in someone else's dream or a person showing up in my dream) always appears when the dreamer is extremely upset and needs comfort. In my dream last night, I was screaming and sobbing, unable to move forward without the help of someone else.

The person is a male (and that's all I'm saying) and is running from a tree line off in the distance. I am surprised to see him, but thankful at the same time. He runs up to me, gets down on his knees as I'm lying on the green grass, and starts holding me. He is stroking his hand through my hair, telling me that it is okay, and I am rocking back and forth in his arms, in shock. It is enough to break me of the screaming sobs. Then I am shocked that he is there and I wake up.

Now that I've written out the dream, I'm going to try and use a few dream books to see if there is any meaning. Yes, you can laugh at me now for believing in this stuff.

The death of a young boy or girl: will have a big happy family event.
A temple in a foreign country: unusual experience is coming to you soon.
Traveling to foreign countries: consider results before acting.
Being in a cemetery: will soon have prosperity.
A woman dreaming of an unknown man: boundless wealth.
Constructing other things: big profit ahead.
Distrusting others: accord among friends.
Being comforted by others: happiness in love.
The color green: good fortune in love affairs.
Materials of any kind in green: abundant means.
Another person's estate: will have a devoted marriage partner.
Taking a trip to Europe: will make important acquaintances.

Dream days:
29th - will receive plenty of money
30th - will receive good news in the morning

Hmm, now that I've looked up the elements that I can think of, I am thinking that playing the Powerball might be a good idea.

It does amaze me that sometimes bad things in dreams can mean good things in life. Who knows?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

A Day Off

My plans for the day were simple. Sleep late, get an oil change, go to Radio Shack, and go to karaoke.

I did accomplish two of the things on my list so far. I slept late (I didn't get up until about 4) and I did go with my dad to Radio Shack. They were able to get the turn table working, but I still think the directions sucked and the thing should just come assembled. The guy had to call another store to figure it out. Bah!

Dad and I then went to Best Buy so I could buy a recording program for the computer. I have been able to hear the records playing, but recording seems to be a bit of a problem. I'll come back to that.

After visiting Best Buy, my dad and I went to Chipotle for dinner, since DM is sick and I was hungry. No use waiting for her since she can't seem to eat. My dad got a Corona at Chipotle and the lady ID'd him! He's 56 years old. It made him feel good.

I'm still planning on karaoke, but there is no reason for me to arrive super early. Steve and Sarah are meeting me up there later and without DM, I could talk to some people, but I don't really enjoying sitting by myself in a bar. I am waiting awhile.

I got the box of vinyls out of the closet to see what joys I will be able to have once I figure this thing out. Here are some of those fun titles I've found so far (some are mine, some were my parents, and some I have no clue what they even are):

Hangin' Tough - New Kids on the Block
Forever Your Girl - Paula Abdul
New Kids on the Block - New Kids on the Block
Like a Virgin - Madonna
Out of this World - Europe (who?)
Magic - The Jets
You Can Dance - Madonna
Tiffany - Tiffany
Faith - George Michael
Thriller - Michael Jackson
Fleetwood Mac - Fleetwood Mac
Greatest Hits (Vol. 1 & 2) - Elton John
Fly Like an Eagle - Steve Miller Band
What You Hear is What You Get (Live at Carnegie Hall) - Ike & Tina Turner
The Best of the Guess Who - The Guess Who
Pump - Aerosmith (I think that's the title of the album)
The Joshua Tree - U2
L.A. Woman - The Doors
Welcome to My Nightmare - Alice Cooper
Double Vision - Foreigner
Hot Number - The Fabulous Thunderbirds
The End of the Innocence - Don Henley
Cuts Both Ways - Gloria Estefan
Girls Go Wild - The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Living in the U.S.A. - The Steve Miller Band
Some Girls - The Rolling Stones
Back on the Street Again - David Clayton Thomas/Linda Ronstadt & the Stone Poneys
Greatest Hits - Linda Ronstadt
Live! - Carlos Santana & Buddy Miles
Nick of Time - Bonnie Raitt
Vol. 3 - Traveling Wilburys
Wheels are Turnin' - REO Speedwagon
Pack Up the Plantation - Live! - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Traveling Wilburys - Traveling Wilburys
Full Moon Fever - Tom Petty
Southern Accents - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
"Let Me Up (I've Had Enough)" - Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers
Riptide - Robert Palmer
"Addictions" Vol. 1 - Robert Palmer
Heavy Nova - Robert Palmer
Clues - Robert Palmer (Wow, he had a lot of albums. And my parents seemed to buy them all.)
Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player - Elton John
Greatest Hits - Journey
Get the Knack - The Knack
Skynyrd's Innyrds (Greatest Hits) - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Legend - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Then & Now... The Best of the Monkees - The Monkees
More of the Monkees - The Monkees
Wild One - The Guess Who
Brigade - Heart
Small World - Huey Lewis & the News
Their Greatest Hits - Eagles
Building the Perfect Beast - Don Henley
Rattle and Hum - U2
Who's Better, Who's Best - This is the Very Best of The Who - The Who
Back in the High Life - Steve Winwood
Children of the Future - The Steve Miller Band
Born in the U.S.A. - Bruce Springsteen
The Rhythm of the Saints - Paul Simon
Sounds of Silence - Simon & Garfunkel
Against the Wind - Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
Live - Steppenwolf

Sunday, December 25, 2005

This CD is fantastic

Okay, I've mentioned this CD that I got from Steve. I am enjoying the music quite a bit. I posted the lyrics to almost all of the songs, but I back dated them a little. For those interested, the lyrics are linked in the playlist:

1. Cannonball - Damien Rice
Sentimental Guy - Ben Folds
This Years Love - David Gray
A Lack of Color - Death Cab for Cutie
Inside of Love - Nada Surf
For You to Notice - Dashboard Confessional
Not For All the Love in the World - The Thrills
Across the Universe - Rufus Wainwright
She Paints Me Blue - Something Corporate
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
Night Drive - Jimmy Eat World
On My Own - The Used
Jesus, etc. - Wilco
14. I Think I Love You - Steve's dad
Mexico - Incubus
The Blower's Daughter - Damien Rice
I Miss You - Incubus
3 Libras - A Perfect Circle

Steve made the CD because he thought I'd like this music. Before listening to it, I had heard of Incubus, A Perfect Circle, Jimmy Eat World, Ben Folds, David Gray, and Dashboard Confessional. The song, Across the Universe, is one that I've heard before, but the Beatles' version. Oh, I think I've heard of Wilco too. Other than David Gray, I haven't ever really listened to any of the artists and I haven't even listened to David Gray very much. I adore this CD. It is great for relaxing or writing or scrapbooking or even driving. This was a very nice, thoughtful Christmas present.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

If Jesus Didn't Have a Sense of Humor, Why Do So Many Celebrate His Birth?

Christmas shopping sucks. Christmas shopping the night before Christmas Eve with a friend can be a laugh-riot!

For some odd reason, I spent most of my day in this super sarcastic, evil mode. The filter between my brain and my mouth was set to open. After work, I went with Sarah to Wal-Mart to pick up those last minute gifts. This is when the "Open Mouth, Insert Foot" disease set in. I am not trying to offend anyone and believe me, this was all in a joking spirit.

Besides wandering the store trying to find ideas and dancing to the AC/DC playing on the overhead speakers, I talked to babies, decided to purchase a knee brace (which just makes me feel old. I don't know why, but the sign of a continual problem with my knee makes me think I'm not 13 anymore. Darn it!) and engaged random strangers in conversation.

While looking at DVDs, a guy approached me and started to say hello! I recognized him immediately as a former banker of our call center, one who was on another team and annoyed me when he worked for the company. Sarah met him tonight and she was annoyed with him. I finally looked at him and said, "I need to finish my shopping. The hours before Christmas are running out." DM - you might remember him. He worked there two years ago and was on the T&T team. He liked the same pool hall I did and would wander around the call center whistling the same tune from Kill Bill Vol. 1. He's a big, dumpy leechy guy.

Sarah and I were then able to walk through the actual electronics section. There was a group of kids by the TV show DVDs. I was looking through them and this was a cool conversation:

Nice Kid: Oh, I'm sorry, I'm blocking your way.
Me: That's okay. I probably wasn't going to get any TV shows.
NK: Hey, do you know what this character's name was on Rocky & Bullwinkle?
Me: Yes, Natasha.
NK: That's it! Natasha!
Me: You look familiar.
NK: So do you. Were you at Cub Foods?
Me: No.
NK: Did you go to [some high school]?
Me: No. Do you go to karaoke?
NK: Yes!
Me: You were there with your mom!

It was the guy in this picture. I told him that his group should show up again because we liked them and they were fun.

Joey and Emily

Well, I found presents for my mom, her boyfriend, and another one for my dad. I am good for Christmas, except for a good present to go with what I got Steve that actually has some type of thought behind it. I might just give him a copy of Bryan's CD because he loves music (among other things, apparantly - oops, there is the evil Beth again). As I am checking out, I comment to the cashier that I just killed 16 children. I joke about this because James believes shopping at Wal-Mart is killing kids. I only think this is inappropriate because I am insulting her employer.

As we're walking out the doors, Sarah says, "Did you notice that she was pregnant?" And now I feel bad. Oops!

In the parking lot, we ended up in the wrong row of vehicles. Here's the interaction that takes place:

Sarah: Well, walking never hurt anyone.
Me: Except for maybe quadriplegics.
Random woman loading her car: *Explosion of laughter*

It was one of those perfect moments where I made a random stranger almost pee her pants. I may be going to Hell, but at least I'll have good company.

Sarah and I headed to Perkins for some Cokes and a snack. I got a bowl of fresh fruit. When the server, Susan, asked how it was, I told her, "Fruity! I've never had so much fun eating. If I was a dog, I'd be wagging my tail." Now, I got the whole tail thing from a motivational video we watched at work. The "fun eating" thing comes from Steve. He does it better than I do.

On that note, I should get a bit of sleep. I still have to work tonight and finish way too many things. I have a white board at my desk and it now has my To Do list on it. As I cross/erase something, I keep adding more. The end of the year is a bit of a rush to complete so many different things. At least I finished my compliance training and I have a start on a couple of reviews, plus I've pretty much caught up (except for a couple of feedback sessions) on the quality for my team.

Friday, December 23, 2005

New Music

A Christmas gift I received this year is a couple of CDs full of new music and comedy. The CD is full of acoustic and piano tracks, soft and relaxing. The mood of the CD is good to sit back and write or read.

In listening to the CD of music, I am being introduced to many new artists and songs. The CD is actually incredibly good.

One of the new artists I've been introduced to is Damien Rice. There are two of his songs on the album. I wanted to share the lyrics of the songs here.

Damien Rice

There’s still a little bit of your taste in my mouth
There’s still a little bit of you laced with my doubt
It’s still a little hard to say what's going on

There’s still a little bit of your ghost your witness
There’s still a little bit of your face I haven't kissed
You step a little closer each day
That I can’t say what's going on

Stones taught me to fly
Love taught me to lie
Life, it taught me to die
So it's not hard to fall
When you float like a cannonball

There’s still a little bit of your song in my ear
There’s still a little bit of your words I long to hear
You step a little closer to me
So close that I can't see what's going on

Stones taught me to fly
Love, it taught me to lie
Life, it taught me to die
So it's not hard to fall
When you float like a cannon.

Stones taught me to fly
Love taught me to cry
So come on courage
Teach me to be shy
'Cause it's not hard to fall
And I don't wanna scare her
It's not hard to fall
And I don't wanna lose
It's not hard to grow
When you know that you just don't know
The Blower's Daughter
Damien Rice

And so it is
Just like you said it would be
Life goes easy on me
Most of the time

And so it is
The shorter story
No love no glory
No hero in her skies

I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes

And so it is
Just like you said it should be
We'll both forget the breeze
Most of the time

And so it is
The colder water
The blower's daughter
The pupil in denial

I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes off of you
I can't take my eyes

{Female voice}
Did I say that I loathe you?
Did I say that I want to
Leave it all behind?

I can't take my mind off of you
I can’t take my mind off of you
I can’t take my mind off of you
I can’t take my mind off of you
I can’t take my mind off of you
I can’t take my mind off of you
My mind
My mind

Monday, December 19, 2005

'Twas the Week Before Christmas...

And all through the mall,
The people were hustling, even the small;
The cars and SUVs were parked outside,
In hopes the gifts were inside;
The adults hopped from store to store,
Making gift-giving a chore.

I swear I'm doing all of my Christmas shopping online next year. The last day off until the holiday has arrived for me and I rushed off to the stores to try and get gifts for three people. That's right, I really only need gifts for THREE people. My mom, my dad, and my mom's boyfriend. I will probably end up with some small gifts for Steve and the rest of the team, but I don't have that much shopping to do. You would think I could get it done in one day.

You would think, wouldn't you?

My mom is notoriously hard to shop for. When I asked her what she'd like this year for the holidays (because not asking and just buying things never works - she is always upset that I didn't get her the EXACT hand towel she saw five months ago at some random store), she waits two weeks and produces this: A spatula from Pampered Chef.

I know no one who sells Pampered Chef and even if I found a consultant, I could not have the gift by Christmas. I asked for other ideas. She tells me, "I don't know. I'm hard to shop for. Oh, I just ordered a bunch of books and I bought [favorite Christmas movie]."

My dad is a bit easier to shop for. He likes DVDs. Unfortunately the really great movies that I think he'd like he already has. He did tell me about one DVD-set he'd like and that is what he is getting. I only had to go to 5 stores to find it. Golf shirts, another one of Dad's suggestions, are not in season and finding gawdy Hawaiian shirts is not an easy task in Minnesota during the winter. Give it a couple of months when everyone has cabin fever and I'm sure the stores will be stocked.

What I did manage to find today:
A few new pairs of jeans (since I've outgrown some others (one downfall to the new job is the lack of 4 hours of forced exercise each day))
A new watch (the old one died a few months ago and I finally got a new one)
A stocking hat (because I live in Minnesota)
Hair dye (my roots are terrible!)
A few sweaters

After calling my mom back and telling her how utterly frustrated I am with shopping, she gave me an idea. One idea. She wants coffee beans. I don't know.

I thought that Target would be a good start to the shopping frenzy of the day. While I was able to buy a ton of things for me, I bought nothing for those on my lists. It was then that I decided to brave the mall.

The parking lot? Chaos! Those readers who habitate above 35 degrees lattitude understand that once it snows, the parking lots and side streets do not exactly become perfectly plowed. Sure, the large piles of snow is removed, but the process leaves behind a 1 to 2 inch base of packed snow and ice. People wander the lots, looking for their cars with bags of goodies and try not to fall. Drivers try not to crush them. The lines for parking spots disappear under the snow and out of every 100 parking spaces, at least 10 disappear.

Once inside the mall, the one with no department stores, I wandered from store to store, trying to find ANYTHING that would be appropriate gifts. I finally gave up and decided to head back to the car. I exited the store I was in and turned left, heading for an exit. About halfway to the exit is when I realized that I was walking away from my car, not towards it.

I went to my dad's to finish up a bit of laundry and spend time with him. I am tired of shopping. I still need gifts for my mom and her boyfriend. The 24-hour store may be my next stop, some night after work this week.

I am tired. I will probably post the pictures (not too many) from last night at karaoke in a day or so. DM may have some stories to tell from the night. It was slow at the Chalet. Karaoke ended rather early when the rotation ended up being DM and myself. Angie-Ang and Steve were there. Amy was there for a bit too. A guy named Craig showed up (he seems to know Amy and Angie-Ang.) Steve, the team lead, showed up. We also got to talk with Liz, James, and Matt at the end of the night. We were successful in not having Pete and Guru join us. The boy was there and said hello to me as he left. That was the night. Exciting, isn't it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Party Shuffle

I hear the sound of someone running down a hallway, anticipating without knowing it, the sound of a woman laughing. And then Spice Girls start belting out "Wannabe" on my computer speakers.

It makes me ponder, lost deep in thought, about what they truly meant by "I wanna ziga-zig-ah!" This leads to thoughts of, "Why am I not rich and famous?"

I don't know what iTunes is thinking tonight. The party shuffle is playing the oddest songs, ones I never listen to and I'm feeling like I've been thrown back into junior high/high school.

Do you remember Tiffany? Like Cher, Madonna, and Jewel, here is a female artist who felt her first name was significant enough to launch a career. The song, "I Think We're Alone Now" was playing. You know the main difference between Cher, Madonna, or Jewel and Tiffany is? The first three have unique first names. Other than a man, I have yet to meet anyone named Jewel. I have never met a Cher or Madonna either. But I have met many Tiffanys.

I learned during the 8-hour meeting yesterday that 15 minutes of deep gut laughter has the same physical effect of a moderate jog for 10-minutes. I laugh all the time. Why am I not skinny?

Work is a blast still. Tonight I was able to deliver my first review and give a banker a raise. That was fun! I also had the opportunity to build rapport with one of my newer bankers. Deep gut laughter came from Steve's entertainment during the night. He has now decided that he is a (and I'm taking mucho liberty with the spelling here because this is what I imagine the word to look like as he says it) "fill-off-is-sizer" and that he is "fill-off-is-sizing" everything. He had this epiphany during the past weekend when he said the phrase, "I have learned much from things I do not understand." He now finds "profound" things to say and follows each with, "Think about it." The only skill, according to Steve, required to be a "fill-off-is-sizer" is telling people to "think about it".

Four-letter words can cause fear, happiness, shock, and appreciation. Think about it. I thought about it tonight, as I was walking from a parking spot five times farther from my apartment than my assigned spot. 'Why did you park so far away?" you may be asking. I will tell you. My apartment complex divides the lot into two sections. They are creative in their titling of the sections, calling one "Section A" and the other "Section B". When we have a certain white form of precipitation, they want to hire a removal service, AKA Mr. Plow, to clear the lot. This is a two-day process. One day is spent plowing Section B and then the next day is spent plowing Section A. Why do they start with Section B? I do not know, but it annoys me. My assigned spot is in Section B. This means I have to find a visitor parking spot in Section A, which would not be much a problem, except for the fact that Section A is not plowed and the people who park there decide that a little bit of white precipitation means they can all take up two spots. What may bother me the most is the fact my spot is already cleared, but if I park in the cleared spot, they will tow my car. They use the same process each time. I wish they would alternate and make it fair to everyone.

The four letter word causing me annoyance tonight is snow. Now, earlier this evening, while running through the snow, frolicking if you will, this four-letter word brought me happiness. Watching snow flakes fall on people and landing in eye lashes made me smile. Trekking through the parking lot at home did not.

The boots I am wearing to work each day have an interesting tread pattern on the bottom of them. There are stars! I leave the most adorable footprints!

Healthy respect for one's boss is important. I have a very healthy respect for my manager. She is full of spunk, tells it like it is, and treats her employees with respect. And she scares me because I don't ever want to make her mad. I am not afraid physically, but I understand fully that if I were to deliberately go against her promises or expectations that it will be discussed. One of my fellow co-workers does not have the same level of respect for our manager and he is not in a happy place right now. I tried very hard when he started to welcome him to our call center and appreciate his experience, but now my opinion is leaning towards what others have thought of him. What he did will make little sense here, mainly because many would not know what our daily operations at work are like. What I can say is that during our manager meetings, lead by my manager, we've discussed repeatedly the importance of every banker being able to attend meetings. My manager has made it clear, multiple times, how much she values this. We've all agreed. We've had bankers from other teams join our meetings. And then yesterday, he decided he did not want two bankers from another team in his meeting and told them to roam the building for an hour. He did this AFTER the supervisor of those bankers expressed his dislike for the idea. When confronted, the supervisor who felt the wrath of my manager today, managed to ignore the problem and insult our manager. The words he may have used may have been along the lines of, "She's just too high-strung and cranky lately. What's she going to do to me?" We had many ideas. Taking away his bonus was the nicest.

Speaking of bonuses, my team is performing very well this quarter. We're qualifying for bonus and we're hitting numbers that will pay out a large bonus. Amazingly enough, Steve and I only noticed our own payouts a week or so ago. We've been focusing on helping the bankers so much that we didn't notice how the overall numbers looked. My goal is to have every banker on the team qualifying for the bonus. I figure if they are all qualifying, I probably will get something.

We've done well on some of the various campaigns around the center lately. Our team won a contest involving a sales tool for the month of November without much effort (not saying the other teams didn't try, but that we have made our expectations clear about this tool that it didn't require much pushing to get the bankers to use it). We're getting gift cards for that. There was another contest for November and we ended up hitting some good numbers and we're getting some Visa gift cards at the end of the month or early January. Pretty cool. Especially since we didn't focus on the contests.

Call centers are usually a drain for companies when it comes to profit. Running call centers cost quite a bit of money and historically N.A.B.A.B.N.A. loses money on its call centers each year. At our meeting yesterday, we found out that we're within about 60 million dollars of break even. Our center was exceeded our 2005 goals and we're even closer than the other centers in actually making a profit. This is exciting news. I would expect to see our center making a profit within the next 5 years.

iTunes has now turned to Tom Cochrane and the song, "Life is a Highway." I posted about this song once a long time ago, when I was confused by the artist's name. For some random reason, I confused Tom Cochrane with Johnny Cochrane. At least I had the last names correct.

At the end of last week, I termed a banker. I was not happy about the situation and it was somewhat my choice to process the termination, but I had to follow some strict guidelines and policies of our call center. The banker had a choice in the matter and that choice would have been to SHOW UP TO WORK. If the situation had been as simple as his lack of motivation to be at work, I would have no problem with it. The concern I have is over a medical problem that may or may not be present for the individual. Unfortunately, all the times the person was not there had nothing to do with the possible medical condition. But let's just say firing someone who might have cancer does not make one feel good.

"Can't explain all the feelings you're making me feel, my heart's in overdrive and you're behind the steering wheel!" - iTunes has moved onto The Darkness now and a song called, "I Believe in a Thing Called Love." This band cracks me up. It is hard rock, similar to Queen or AC/DC. The lead singer thinks he's Freddy Mercury and the bass line sounds like it could come right off of "Back in Black." If you ever have a chance, watch the video for this song and wonder why giant aquatic creatures are in outerspace. Drugs. Has to be.

Speaking of drugs, was Kurt Vonnegut known for partaking in them? This book is strange. One of the main characters believes that all the people on the Earth, except for one random stranger, are actually robots. Automobiles are actually aliens from another planet and the little alien from yet another planet brought them here. That little alien seems to have found his end when someone mistook him for a match in a bar and tried to light him by scraping him under the bar railing. I may not be in the correct mindset for this story. It reads like a random jumble of incoherent thought, much like some random blog posts I've written. This may be where I start to think KRAAAAZZZZZIIIIEE doesn't sell. At least for me.

Speaking of books, Stephen King has a new novel coming out in January. I may have been mistaken, but I was pretty sure he announced retirement. Well, I do know that he said he'd probably continue to write because he couldn't just give it up, but still. The story is called "Cell" and from what I gather, it is about people turning into zombie-like creatures because of a signal sent out on cellular phones. Those who were not on the phones at the time of the signal are trying to escape and solve the problem.

Oh, good God. iTunes has now found that the "Macarena" is hiding somewhere on my computer. The problem of loading an entire CD collection on the computer is finding "joys" like this. It reminds me of Spanish class, a roller rink in Wisconsin, working at Target, and high school dances. This song was number one the day I turned 18 and is supposedly my theme song for life. As far as I can figure, it indicates that my life has no meaning. Line dancing in high school is a story I should explain at some point and go into detail why all the DJs at our dances backed away from the crowd in fear. Fridley High had an odd culture. I should tell the story of going to Wisconsin on a road trip some time. I wonder if the "Macarena" was a factor in the fact I have ever used the word, "Aiii-ght."

"It takes a strong man baby, but I'm showing you the door!" - Cause I gotta have faith. How did no one notice that George Michael was gay? I'm not saying there is any problem with his sexuality, but have you watched those videos from the 80's? Different time, different viewpoints. Hindsight is always 20/20, isn't it?

iTunes is totally on a flashback kick. I think I might skip listening to "Funky Cold Medina." This may be the only Tone Loc (spelling?) song that I even know. It scares me that I know the song as well as I do.

Skipping the song brings on "Down Under" by Men at Work. By doing a Google search (by the way, how amazing is it, really, to be able to just hop online and get an answer to almost any question in a matter of seconds? Technology is absolutely stunning. If someone had told me 20 years ago that I'd be able to look up when "Down Under" was released by clicking a couple of buttons, I would have looked at them like they were crazy. It might have been for two reasons, the obvious one being that the Internet was just a figment of someone's imagination to me. The other reason it would have seemed crazy is because if someone told me that I'd care when that particular song was released I would think they were insane) I found that it came out in late 1982. I was four. My mom still had an 8-track in her Ford Pinto. It was orange and brown and I put Crayola crayons in the back window on a road trip once and they melted. I wasn't sure if I was more upset about the fact I wrecked part of her car or if I was bummed out because my crayons no longer were useful.

Could you even imagine that "Danger Zone" by Kenny Loggins is playing now? What is this? Maybe I'm supposed to be reminiscing tonight. Instead I'm just posting a stream of consciousness.

I think I'll leave you tonight with a beat I'm sure most of the world could recognize. Take yourself back to the 1980's, before all the Wacko Jacko stories, rumors, and facts were known. Remember when Michael was still black? Remember before his nose fell off? Remember him before he dangled his child out a window and before he was accused of molesting young boys? Do you remember when Billie Jean was not his lover? "People always told me, 'Be careful what you do, don't go around breaking young girl's hearts.'" "Hey! Whoo!"

{*Moonwalking away from the keyboard.*}

Monday, December 12, 2005

Someone Could Lose an Eye!

Wow! Such a wild night at the Chalet has not truly happened for a while. It may have been the festive Christmas decorations or the "warmer" weather of the day, but something brought in a crowd of people that can only be defined as insane.

First off, there were beach balls sitting on the stage. They became fun toys. Jay "Tyce", Angie-Ang, Bryan, Andrew, and others were enjoying the game of throwing them at each other and we sat back, laughing and dodging stray shots.

Beach Balls

Jay and Beach Balls

While the crazy fun was happening with the beach balls, a group of pre-drunk women arrived. All were dancing in a lewd manner. I may or may not have made the comment, "Who drove the whore bus here tonight?" Yes, it is mean. We did all wonder where all these drunk women came from though.

The group of women did seem to enjoy dancing to the different songs being sung. They enjoyed Angie singing "I Want You to Want Me." They may have been enjoying it a bit too much.

Air guitar

Bryan and Stephanie sang, "Cruisin'" together. They tend to change the lyrics to "Boozin' together." The drunk women enjoyed this rendition too.

Boozin Together

This is the sign Andrew brought from the kitchen to try and keep the drunk women from rushing the stage. One of the women actually picked it up and put it on the table.

Caution Wet Floor

Dana sang quite a few songs tonight.


The drunk women sang, "Lean on Me." Angie and I had to joke about the "If you need a friend you can call me." So we call each other whenever someone sings it.

I sang "You Can Leave Your Hat On." There were more dancers. Bryan also lent me his hat.

Pleased Crowd

Leave Your Hat On


Drunk girls

Jason was there and he sang a bunch of songs. "We Didn't Start the Fire," is always popular.

Jason singing

We noticed that all the people by the dart boards were wearing hats except Becky. Liz borrowed Dan's hat and had Becky put it on. Aren't they adorable?

Hat club

At one point, a drunk woman got upset with Bryan because Andrew was making vomit noises. She called him a "f*cking c*cks*cker!" This rather upset Dana and I. We both verbalized our concerns and the woman heard Dana's comment clearly. She then decided to yell at Dana. This does not win favors from our table.

We were pleased when that crowd left and the after karaoke group showed up. It was also pleasing when Pete and Guru left. We don't like them.

We had a great time after karaoke talking with James, Matt, and Liz. And you never know, crazy games may end up making someone to lose any eye.


(Bryan actually found an eye patch while looking for a band-aid. The guys, Bryan, Andrew, and Bobby, ended up burning it to make it look the way it does. Bryan is good at posing for fun pictures.)

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Blank Screen

At the present moment, I am staring at a blank screen, trying desperately to find something valuable to write about. In the background, I have Subtilties playing. The song is by Medium, the band that Bryan was a member. It has a jazzy under tone and plenty of saxophone. The best part of the song is when he starts to skat and I still find it genius to add lyrics about a water heater to a song.

You'd never leave me if you really, really love me.

This man can sing. Both DM and I have mentioned it a hundred times.

Hee hee. Every night about four AM I hear the sound above my bedroom. The sound of people talking, not so much the sound of a party but more like friends getting together. But, uh, I got my mind made up, could be the water heater, might be the water heater, could be the water heater. *Saxophone solo*

It is Sunday, the day of worship for many. I do not go to church. Instead, I head to the Chalet with DM for our ritual of splendor. Even the nights when it is crazy we have a blast.

After work on Friday, I went with a banker to Perkin's for a bit of food and conversation. I had a great time. This banker is fun and high energy and a great addition to our team. Steve and I really do have a great bunch of people to work with. It is amazing to find out each and every day how much work feels like fun.

Even though work can be a blast, there are times when I have to do something I don't enjoy. This week had an HR issue that I would have preferred to not deal with. I lost a team member this week, even though it was somewhat my choice. Having to let someone go is not a favorite activity of mine and it does tend to bum me out for a period of time.

We did have a great event at work this week. Our annual winter party (because holiday parties are un-PC) was on Friday night. Our call center catered the event and had a great chicken, scalloped potatoes, fresh steamed veggies, and delicious cheesecake dessert dinner. After the food, there were games. We had a "casino" and each of the bankers received tickets to gamble with. If they won extra tickets, they could put their names in a drawing for some pretty awesome prizes (handheld DVD players, home theater systems, etc). I was helping at the party and dealt cards at a blackjack table. Thursday night with Steve and Sarah was practice.

After work last night, I went and "killed 16 children". In fact, I actually went to Wal-Mart. I joke that it is killing children because this is what James, from karaoke, feels shopping at Wal-Mart is. But Wal-Mart is open 24-hours (or at least some are) and I did need some things for the bathroom. I was able to get what I needed and also pick up some small gifts for a Secret Santa thing I'm part of at work. We're not allowed to celebrate Christmas, but we are able to have small groups of celebration within the management staff.

And now for something completely different:

DM found this on frog's blog.

List seven songs you are into right now, no matter what the genre, whether they have words, or even if they're any good, but they must be songs you're really enjoying now. Post these instructions in your livejournal along with your seven songs. Then tag seven other people to see what they're listening to. (I'm not tagging anyone. If you want to do it, do it. If not, don't.)

1. Subtilties - Medium (see above)
2. Aluminum - Barenaked Ladies
3. Swimming Past the 4th of July - Medium
4. Show Me - Bree Sharp
5. Bad - Cowboy Mouth
6. Walk Alone at Night - Medium
7. Bring Me Some Water - Melissa Etheridge

Friday, December 09, 2005


This week has been an adventure for me. When I was a child, I remember my parents saying over and over, "Oh look, Beth has found a creative and interesting way to hurt herself again." This week has been a constant flashback.

Not every moment of proving my idiocy resulted in pain. No, just embarrassment.

On Tuesday, I managed to hit my knee and made it scream at me again (the same knee that I hurt when I fell). My tooth decided it was time to tell me all about how it was mad at me, throbbing a bit.

Then I realized that my sweater was on backwards. No one realized it except me because the sweater is the same on the front and the back, but I still kept feeling this odd tag brushing against my neck.

For dinner, Steve and I headed to Chipotle. It was there that I spilled my freshly filled Coke all over my shoes and pant legs. Returning to work, I was talking and my hands were a bit too involved in the story. This resulted in my scratching my own face.

We've been joking at work this week about how I'm a clutz and that my luck has not been great. Why, oh why, would this suggest a trip to the casino?

We decided that a trip up north to Hinkley was a good idea. And amazingly enough, it was! Steve broke even on the blackjack tables (actually, he was up $7.50 but ended up spending it in a slot machine while waiting for the coat check representative to return). Sarah, a banker who went with, ended up not winning or breaking even, but didn't lose anything she wasn't prepared to. I faired well at the tables and can add a little over $100 to my Christmas shopping budget!

I guess my luck has changed.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Weekend Update

Can you tell that my latest batch of pictures to scrapbook arrived in the mail? The sure-fire sign of this is the fact that I have not posted anything since early Sunday morning.

I spent most of my weekend in my dining room organizing pictures into categories and getting them matched up with background paper. I'll finish scrapping our Portugal trip before the next trip, I swear!

On Sunday, I got up and headed to my dad's. We watched March of the Penguins and I clapped and was giddy. The baby penguins are just adorable! One of these days I'll have to get a picture of the tattoo I have on my right calf of an emperor penguin and chick.

After Dad's, I picked up Dana and we headed to karaoke. There's a shocker! It was a great evening, as always. Members of the boy clan were there, but sans the boy. It was nice that they did not sit by us and thanks to Bryan they were adverted to an area where we would not have to speak with them. Guru and Pete are too annoying and the entire bar groans when they show up.

On a positive note, Amy, Angie, and Sara were there. We also got to see James, Dean, Liz, and Matt. Becky was there, sans Nate since that baldy decided to dump her that night (and there was plenty of men-bashing). Steve, the team lead, also stopped up and that was cool. Thanksgiving vacation for him and my being sick last week made it a bit difficult to talk shop. We had a good conversation about work. Everyone was having a blast. It was Dean's birthday as well and so certain songs were sung that will not be repeated. Here's a clue: I don't listen to country and Shania Twain is not right for me. And as much as I love DM, I won't be requesting her to sing Beth again. That is not because of her singing.

Today I headed to my mom's for dinner and to pick up my scrapbook order. She sent me home with loads of food (Jack Daniel's pork chops, applesauce, and chicken salad - yum!) I had a blast playing with all the pets and giving Chip a really good tummy scratching. My shirt is also covered in cat hair.

I loaded a ton of new pictures onto Flickr from this weekend. I'll leave you with a few from karaoke.

Dean and Matt
Dean and Matt (Matt has recently been showing up)

Bryan, taking a break

Dana and James
Dana and James
Doesn't Dana look awesome? Angie dropped off Avon that night and Dana and I each put on a bit of make-up. Yes, James is a bit odd. He does not normally growl.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

They say her first word was, "Money."

Although my first word was not money, it did top out my top five first words. I'm sure I was trying to say, "Mommy," but it always sounded like money.

One of the inherent traits of my personality is a fascination with numbers. During my school years, I was in the advanced math classes and I adored, absolutely ADORED calculus. Sick, right? I would have continued with my math tradition in college, except for the fact I was scared of the math program at the University of Minnesota and the notion all the teachers spoke to the chalkboards in languages resembling broken English.

But as a child, oh, how I loved math. Dana tells stories about how her kindergarten teacher was shocked to see how she could read; my teachers were stunned by how well I could add and subtract. One of my favorite games as a child was to count pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.

When I was three, I had a friend who lived across the street. Her name was Amy and I've mentioned her before. I do not remember which post it was, but I did talk about her before. Amy was two years older than me and I suppose I tried to understand her level of intellect because she was my b.e.s.t. friend and lived the closest to me.

One of my early memories is of a time playing at her house. They had a nice one level rambler with a basement full of possibilities. Amy had THE best Barbie toys. I remember the Barbie house/hotel that actually had an elevator with it. We would play for hours with this. One of the other "toys" Amy had was a chalkboard. With neither of us being in school quite yet, we still tried to play teacher.

As a three-year old, I would try to "teach" Amy things. Her parents had just gotten home from the grocery store and I asked them, politely because I was a good mannered kid (most of the time) if we could use the receipt to play with. I wanted realistic prices.

They obliged, shaking their heads in that "kids are strange" way. In the basement, I had Amy sitting in her desk and I would write out math problems on the board.

For example: if you buy four bananas at $0.15 each and also a gallon of milk at $1.50, how much would it cost? Yes, I knew the answer was $2.10. No, I didn't figure out tax.

After a while, we went upstairs to play with her parents. They had a jar of change and I started counting it. This is when they decided to test me. Her parents, Barb and Terry, gave me various bills and asked for change. This is when they realized I could make change for a twenty dollar bill.

Immediately, Barb ran to the phone to call my folks. Mom answers the phone to hear, "Did you know your 3-year old can make change for a $20?!?"

Mom's answer, "Yeah. Can't Amy do that?"

This may have been the clue to my parents that this is not typical 3-year old behavior. And an indication of my future career in the banking industry.

Joni, a friend of my mom's and a really cool woman, was sometimes put in charge of babysitting me. These days were always fun, primarily because Joni's idea of babysitting was to go bar hopping in Waterloo, Iowa in the afternoons. I enjoyed these afternoons and thought nothing of it until I was much older. One of the bars, the Embassy*, had a video horse race game. I also remember playing poker. I understood that a flush beats a straight, but that a full house was better than a flush.

While at these bars, my main talent was to find any grandparent in the joint and pretend they were my own grandparent. "Grandma!" I would cry and hold out my arms for a hug. This worked wonders. Mom and Dad never had to pay Joni to watch me. I would get enough nickels, dimes, quarters, and bags of chips bought for me to last the afternoon. Also, Joni would get to raid the pile for a drink or two.

During one of these afternoons, I was sitting with a pile of change. At the tender age of three, I knew this pile was about $8. It was a large pile. A man, thinking he was sly and he could teach a child a lesson, said to me, "I have this $20 bill. I'll trade you for your pile of change." He taunted and honestly thought my reaction would be, 'But this pile is larger.'

Not quite. My response was to look at my pile of change and back at him. I said, "Deal."

He was a good guy and held up his bargain, walking away and shaking his head, muttering, "I can't believe I just got scammed by a toddler."

In elementary school, my favorite activity was timed tests in addition and subtraction. When we got to multiplication tables, I still had a blast. Long division was fun and high school proved great times of doing problems that involved the front and back side of the paper to solve.

Understanding the value of money and how to count at an early age made me a bit unique and has followed me in life. I am known to many as a "math geek" and Dana jokes that I do algebra problems for fun. My skills at calculus are not what they were in high school, but sometimes I have the urge to purchase a math textbook just to work problems.

And, to leave you, I have a joke that Dana found. I actually think of it more as an English language joke, but some may take it as a math joke:

"Friends don't let friend drink and derive."

*The Embassy was one of the bars my mom served/bartended at for years. It was one of the first gay-friendly bars in Waterloo, partly because of my mom. The community found out that she didn't care who touched who, as long as the crowd kept controlled. She found it to be profitable and many of our family's benefits were from this group of patrons. Mom worked at one other bar, but we didn't frequent that one as often, since it was in a less-well-off part of town. I remember visiting the Embassy years later and was still recognized by the bartenders. Other than the video games (which were actual gambling games) and the bags of pretzels, I always enjoyed the "kiddie cocktails" I could get and playing pull-tabs. Yep, a classy beginning for this girl.

Friday, December 02, 2005

An annoyance...

I'm feeling better and I'm thinking I'll be able to return to work tomorrow. This is good. I have been able to eat and I have more energy and all is great.

I'm also going stir crazy now. I decided it was time to completely organize my room. Since I only sleep in there, I rarely spend time making sure all the laundry is put away, etc. In the interest of Fung Shui (no clue on the spelling), I decided it was time to clean up.

As I was cleaning, I turned on the television since it is late and blaring my alarm clock would not be suitable for the neighbors. I have two spare DVD players (one that may or may not work) and a VCR, but do I hook any of them up? No. Instead I end up watching The Tonight Show on a rerun.

Lindsay Lohan is on the television and the crowd is all military. Jay Leno notices that she is partial to the Air Force and asks her why. She replies, "Oh, you know. Top Gun."

I am not a fan of the movie or Tom Cruise, but I do know that Top Gun is not about the Air Force. It was a Naval Flying School that the characters were attending. This annoyed me.

In other news, I found out today that my cousin, who is a Marine, was just shipped to Iraq. He is not in the green zone and has no way to contact home. This is a cousin that I never got along with when we were children, but his time with the Marines has proved he can be honorable and mature. I hope the best for him and will probably try to send a note over the email service my mom mentioned once we get an address.

Okay, time to get back to cleaning and then go to bed!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

To Clarify...

Weary Hag (seriously, check her out! She is absolutely awesome and fun and a wonderful writer), left a comment on one of my posts:

"Okay, I'm a little confused here. I thought you lived in an apartment or condo. Soooo ... can we talk about this SECOND REFRIGERATOR? Egad!!"

I do live in an apartment. It is about 800 square feet and I have way too much stuff. Having lived as an only child and being given the floor of a house (basement in last home, first floor in another), I have accummulated many things. I have three full sized bookcases, three short bookcases, one medium bookcase, two beds, four DVD racks (although one bookcase is for DVDs), two CD racks, a TV stand, a large dining room table, a piano bench, two beds, a night stand, a dresser, a large wire rack for my closet that doesn't fit in the closet, two filing cabinets, a large desk chair, a small desk chair, and a large desk. I also have two leather chairs, two small tables, and various wheelie carts. I also have two refrigerators.

Yeah, there is no reason for me to have all this stuff. But, I can explain why I have two refrigerators.

Going back to 1997, I started going to college and lived in the dorm. When I moved in, I was given a small refrigerator. The main purpose of it was to keep soda cold and allow me to keep a few things inside. It had a "freezer" section that held an ice cube rack and maybe a pint of ice cream.

After moving in and checking out the cafeteria (the forced meal plan), I found out how disgusting food that my mom didn't make could truly be. Now, I'm not saying I can't eat anything my mom didn't make, but there are problems with cafeterias sometimes. Especially those cafeterias that don't really care and can force students to pay for food whether or not they eat there. This cafeteria had a salad bar. The day I went to add a bit of cheese to the brown lettuce and found mold is the last time I ate there.

My parents, being the loving folk they are, decided that Christmas would include a much better refrigerator. This one is a little taller than my waist level and has two shelves inside and a vegetable drawer. The top also has a decent sized freezer. This kept me being able to eat decent food for two years at the dorm.

When I moved out of the dorm to an apartment, I kept the fridge. It came in handy when the first apartment had a bad refrigerator and I had a roommate who was a vegetarian. I was able to keep the meat I wanted to eat in this fridge. When I moved in with Adam, this fridge came with and was used to store alcohol mainly. (He was more of a drinker than I.)

When I moved into this apartment, it followed. It is a good refrigerator and no need for me to get rid of it. There is not much in it, except for a few cans of iced tea (which I've never drank and don't know why I have). I use the top of the refrigerator primarily for extra storage for scrapbooking materials.

Now, understanding that I am a bit of a packrat (I get it from my dad) and I cannot get rid of perfectly good appliances, you may wonder, "What happened to the little refrigerator?"

There's a story behind that. That fridge lasted one quarter at school in my possession. A friend actually got it from me after I received the other fridge for Christmas. He received it AFTER we decontaiminated it.

During winter break, the dorm was off-limits to students unless we paid for extra boarding. My parents lived twenty minutes from school, so I returned home during break.

Winters are a bit cool in Minnesota and so the dorms wanted to make sure that the pipes did not freeze. This required each student to leave their room with the heat on. When returning from break, it was nothing to walk into the building and realize it was about 90 degrees inside. We were also required to unplug all electronics.

This should not have been a big deal. Except for the fact at the back of that miniscule freezer was a small piece of meatloaf. I missed that completely while cleaning out the fridge and three weeks of extreme heat does not help keep meat fresh.

Let's just say the smell was less than pleasant. We took the fridge home to the garage to try and decontaminate it. We were able to mask the smell finally with vinegar. Tomato juice cut it down, but did not eliminate it. Vinegar worked great. I gave the fridge to my friend (refusing payment since it was a smelly fridge).

He thought the vinegar was a weird smell so he washed it all out. Then put it back in. He did keep the fridge for a couple of years because it is college dorm life.

And that was a random story for the day.

By the way, I am still sick at home. I tried to eat last night and it was not a great experience. I feel a little better today and think I'll be able to return to work tomorrow, but need to try and get some food in me. No karaoke for me tonight. Sorry Dana.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Still Sick

This stupid cold. Needs to end NOW.

On a lighter note, I was inspired to write something as I read Diana's site and her post about planning a birthday party for her soon-to-be 6-year old son. In efforts to write a post about birthday parties, I went through a large box of pictures looking for a specific picture. I did not find it. So that post will be put on hold until I find the picture (that I think may be in a scrapbook at my mom's), but I did get some pictures to post. They're random and I thought a few were funny.

My parents
This is a picture of my parents. Anyone seeing a picture of just one of them says that I look like the respective parent. When a picture of both of them is present, people say that they look enough alike that they could be brother and sister, which accounts for why I look so much like both of them.

Beth, baby
This is a picture of me when I was very young. I found it funny because there is a lit cigarette in the ashtray right next to me. The 70's were a very different time than today is.

Beth drinking
Not only was it common for cigarettes to be right next to children, I guess it was okay to give a two-year old alcohol. I'm sure I had a toothache and it was probably a bit of brandy, but it is amusing.

Beth crying
Why do parents find the need to take pictures of a crying child? Doesn't that just make the child cry more?

Mom and Dad wedding
I post this picture almost solely for Dana's enjoyment. My parents were wed in 1975 and yes, that is a blue leisure suit my dad is wearing. My grandpa picked it out. Not many will get this, but a guy that calls me every few months (the player) looked (when his hair was longer) like my dad does in this photo. Just another thing to add to my list for when I finally need therapy.

Mom at Cheryl's Wedding
This is my mom at my aunt Cheryl's wedding. It was in the 80's (the groom wore a white tux!) and I was in the wedding. I love this picture of my mom.

Beth at Cheryl's Wedding
As I said, I was in the wedding. The dress was a hoop skirt and I had a blast running around in the cemetery next to the church in it. The look of fear on my mom's face was priceless. This dress ended up being a costume for two or three Halloweens (easy - make me a princess. Nevermind that I never wanted to be a princess, but it was a quick and cheap costume). During the rehearsal, I was told to be careful when sitting that I didn't sit on the hoop. So during the wedding, I made sure to lift up the hoop and avoid having the entire skirt fly up in my face. In doing this, I managed to moon the entire congregation. Hey, I was 8.

Beth hiding
Who do you think I was hiding from? And why did I think that the little pink bunny would be an adequate hiding place? Yeah, I was never that great at Hide 'N Seek.

Beth thinking
This picture is shown just to point out the colic in my hair. It is quite prominent.

Dad's graduation photo
This is my dad's graduation picture. I like this picture.

Dana at party
Non-family related, but here is a picture of Dana. It is from the surprise birthday party that Adam threw for me the first year we lived together. Dana was not drunk; she had not had any alcohol that night. This is just who Dana is. Fun and carefree and silly.

The night of that party is a story I have held off posting for a long time. While I was surrounded by friends and did have a good time with certain people, there were others that made the night not so great. The person throwing the party is one of those people. I am also not feeling well enough to tackle that story. It would probably make me feel worse and I'm not sure if it is a wound that I want to re-open. For now I'll just say that Adam and I no longer talk and this night (the build up to it) was the first scar and first step towards the end.

Another reason I don't want to write that post is because it is depressing. I'd rather focus on happy things, like Dana and Gil flirting at karaoke. Or how fun work can be. Or posting pictures of friends and family (especially pets!).

A few weeks ago, I went to Perkin's with a notebook. I sat and drank Coke and talked with the server, Jen, and wrote down words and short phrases to try and remember anything I could from growing up. It was an exercise to increase the number of stories I could tell on this site. Some of the ideas are short, some longer, but there are many glimmers. Some are actually rather dull but I hoped they would jog my memory.

I think I'll leave this post with one of the shorter stories. It is the first memory I have.

Our family had a dog, 1/2 Collie, 1/2 random assortment, when I was little. His name was Frog. He was not green and don't go there. Frog received his name because my dad was a hockey player and I've been told that good hockey players from Canada are sometimes called frogs. It probably roots from some way to insult French people, but that's beside the point. Frog was a great dog. He was loving to our family and could outrun anyone. Except for when my dad put on the ice skates and did circles around Frog on the ice.

I remember I was in my room, the bright yellow one with a life sized Big Bird in the corner (which "got lost in a move"). We lived in a yellow house and everything was bright and cheery. Looking back, I see why my dad said his favorite color was yellow. In my room, I had a box full of Barbies. Being 10 years younger than all my female cousins, I inherited many of their old play toys and I had quite an extensive collection of these dolls.

As a child does, I played with the dolls. I was changing their clothes and brushing their hair. Frog came into the room, snatched up a Barbie shoe and ate it! I remember being sooooooooo mad at him! I chased after him, hardly keeping a close distance, and yelling in youngster language. I may or may not have called him, "Son of a bitch!" which was one of my mom's favorite phrases when she was upset. I said it once in front of relatives and my mom exclaimed, "Sandwich! Oh look, she wants a sandwich! Here Beth!" Then she gave me a sandwich. No surprise that I thought a sandwich was called, "Son of Bitch" for years.

The day that Frog ate one of my Barbie shoes is the day I became very particular about my things. My dad tells me that I was always careful with anything because I always wanted it to be in the same condition as when I first got it. I also never lost anything.

There's my story. It is simple and it is my first memory.

That wore me out. I'm going to go lay down and rest some more.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Serious Post? Random Things? Stream of Consciousness?

Blah. I called in sick to work today. I have now officially spent two days sitting around my apartment, doing pratically nothing and feeling like crap while I do it.

Stupid sickness. I hate it. I've been nauseous most of the day (I won't go any farther than that) and my back is killing me with the body aches. On a positive note, my temperature is returning to normal, I'm down to 97.8. One more degree and I'll be at normal for me. The bad part of my back hurting is that it actually feels like my kidneys want to kill me. Lower back pain sucks. I wish I had refused to do that stupid test in Phy-Ed when I was 13 and then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn't have recurring issues with my back like this.

What is worse is the fact I realized that I'm out of Coca-Cola. I know I shouldn't drink it when I'm sick, but I'm getting a caffeine withdrawal headache. I have fifteen 12-packs at my dad's and not one single can (take that back. Not one single can with Coke in it) in my apartment. Blah.

I did manage to find a bunch of Hi-C juice boxes in my second refrigerator. I must have put them in there months ago and forgot about them completely. Yea! Vitamin C! My mom buys these for me all the time and I love them. I think it is a left-over craving from my childhood.

Today was an iTunes day. That's all it was. There may be a problem when I start thinking of iTunes as a companion (I am joking here. Don't worry.)

So, iTunes, how's it going?
Feel Good Time (Pink & William Orbit.)
Funny. I'm glad you're so cheery. Have you noticed the weather?
Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow (Garth Brooks)
Outside the window it is snowing. You are so wise iTunes.
Hard Habit to Break (Chicago)
You're not full of yourself at all, are you?
What'cha Gonna Do? (Cowboy Mouth)
Maybe I'll Leave
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go (Wham!)
Whatever. I'm not actually leaving.
Every Rose Has Its Thorn (Poison)
Hey! What gives?
Get What You Give (Jonny Lang)
I'm nice to you. When have I not been nice to you?
Talking in Your Sleep (Romantics)
Are you watching me sleep now?
Near You Always (Jewel)
You're sick iTunes. Sick.
The Wrong Man was Convicted (BNL)
Are you saying I should shut you off?
She Hates Me (Puddle of Mudd)
I don't hate you iTunes. I'm just not feeling 100%.
Blame it On Me (BNL)
You made me sick?
29 Ways (Marc Cohn)
What? Why? Who are you?
Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)
I'm going to get you iTunes!
Try a Little Tenderness (Otis Redding)
That's not going to work this time!
Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? (Culture Club)
No. Stop being such a kidder.
Why (Annie Lenox)
Because you're being mean for no reason.
You May Be Right (Billy Joel)
Remember when we were chatting about Sunday night?
Friends (Cowboy Mouth)
That's right. We were talking about my friends. What do you think about Dana?
She's a Lady (Tom Jones)
I know that. What do you think about her and Gil?
I'll Remember (Madonna)
You forgot about it already? Well, she hasn't posted the flirting yet, but you know about it.
Lovers or Friends (Cowboy Mouth)
Right now, friends. But do you think they could be lovers?
Someday (Sugar Ray)
In the Year 2525 (Zagar & Evans)
Come on. You're not serious. What do you really think?
She Can't Do Anything Wrong (Bob Seger)
She did flirt perfectly on Sunday, didn't she?
Yes! Yes! Yes! (BNL)
I see you're as excited as all of Dana's faithful readers are.

Okay, enough talking with iTunes. Dana - finish your post now!

2,645. That is how many games of Spider solitaire I've played since I bought this computer. I may be slightly obsessed. I wonder how many games it takes to go completely insane?

Since I have spent the last two days doing nothing, I don't have much to write. I'm sure there are stories from my childhood I could try to write up and a million posts that I never did write up, but I can't think of any now. Sorry.

Where My Mind is At

There's about 15 hundred random things running through my head right now. Make that 15,001. I am almost positive that I've caught some bug going around. My head feels like it's about to get stuffy and my bones are aching. I don't get aches when the weather changes. The room is hot then cold and then hot again.

I hate, hate being sick. I have yet to find the person who loves being sick, but it irritates me so. On a positive note, my temperature is normal, or at least normal for other people. I'm at 98.6 exactly. The problem is that I'm normally at 96.8. So maybe it is just a mini-bug.

In the mail today, I received a notice from the car dealership where I bought my Toyota a year ago. They are suggesting I get a 15,000-mile scheduled maintenance check. I live rather close to work and still have yet to hit the 10,000-mile marker. I think I have about another 6 months before I need to worry about this check up. I'll just get an oil change and replace the wiper blades. I get junk mail from Toyota about once every two weeks. One thing I do enjoy is the fact the salesman who sold me this car was better than the one at Chevrolet. The junk mail I get has my name spelt correctly. You wouldn't think it was that hard to spell the last name, "Brooks." You'd be amazed.

On the subject of my last name, I do have a complaint. There is another supervisor at our call center whom I've known for about 5 years now. He calls me Brooke. I know he gets my first name mixed up with my last name, but come on! Is Beth so hard to say? It makes me feel devalued when he does it. Annoying.

I spent the entire day at home. I spoke with no one and I relaxed. The only time I left my apartment was at 2 AM to take out a bag of garbage, get my clean laundry from my car (I've been a bit lazy about bringing it inside), and to check the mail. My day consisted of watching movies and scrapbooking. I actually have finished the two albums of ocean pictures from our trip to Portugal and I'm excited to start working on the pictures from our day in Evora (once they arrive). My computer was busy uploading pictures to the photo developing company I use and I found that purchasing the 500 pre-paid prints package is a good idea. 4 x 6's are only 18 cents this way. It costs $90 up front, but it still saves a bit of change.

In going through pictures, I am getting ruthless about developing pictures. I love the fact that DM and I took over 4,000 pictures while visiting Johnny (Liz figured it out - we took the equivilent of a 24-pictures roll of film every hour we were there). My screen saver is still set to the pictures and I come home from work to find a picture of Johnny, or her pets, or some magnificent artwork from the Gulbenkian all the time. It makes me smile. With five scrapbooks completed from the trip, I wonder how many more it will take. My bet right now would be 5 or 6 more. We joked before hand that I would end up with 12 scrapbooks of the trip and it is still a possibility. I'm going to need another bookshelf soon.

Because I do so much scrapbooking (which I don't talk about that much on here), I am a consultant for a scrapbooking organization. I love the products they produce and I'm in it for the discount. I don't hold classes or make any money from it, but I have been known to share a discount or two with DM and Keem. I had to place my November order for new products today. I bought even more organizational products. That's the main problem with scrapbooking. There is so much stuff (paper, pens, stickers, albums, dye-cuts, cutting systems, etc.) that it has taken over my dining room and is threatening to take over my living room. I really need a storage area (other than my dad's basement). One of these days I'll have a house. You'd think a single female wouldn't need more than 800-square feet, but I can amaze you. I'm thinking about pretending I'm moving so I go through stuff and throw junk out.

Another cause for lack of space in my apartment is my DVD-obsessioncollection. I have approximately 400 titles (I have been a bit behind on my list and lost count). I have five separate racks to hold them all. It is sick. And I haven't even been buying them with the frequency I used to. In fact, I think I've only purchased three in the last three months and two of those are still being mailed. (I had to pre-order March of the Penguins. It would have been a sin not too.)

So today I watched movies. I started with The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is cute. I know people who've read the book did enjoy it. I never did read the story, but found the flow of the plot quite imaginative and am fascinated by the scope of the creativeness.

After that I had to watch The Ref. I watched it mainly because I'm going to lend it to Steve and wanted to make sure I saw it before Christmas arrives. I remember seeing this movie for the first time with my parents at the discount theater (the one that actually uses real butter on their popcorn) and laughing hysterically. It is my favorite Christmas movie. And I can watch it anytime of the year (I do in fact.) I've probably seen this movie at least 150 times. I can quote most of it. One of these days I'll watch it and try to count how many times the word "fu*ck" is actually used. And yet I can watch it with my parents.

The Ref started my Christmas movie kick. The next film I popped in was National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Classic. Then I watched a South Park DVD with a few Christmas episodes on it. There is an episode of South Park that drives DM crazy (actually, most of the episodes annoy her) and it consists of 10 songs with holiday themes. I get a particular kick out of "Christmastime in Hell," "I Have a Little Dreidel," and "Merry F*ucking Christmas." Hey, if Jesus doesn't have a sense of humor, I don't want to met him.

I also watched The Lion King tonight. I haven't watched this in ages and I remember going on a date to see the show at a local theater that still had a balcony and magnificent curtains that drew back when the show was about to start. The date wasn't that great, but it was a grand theater in its day.

Watching some of these movies reminded me of growing up. The summer after 8th grade, my cousin was living with us and she loved to go to movies. It started my parents and I on a kick to see many movies in the theater. Before Sus lived with us we rarely went to a movie and it was never on opening weekend. Then we were going to at least two movies every weekend. I do miss that. It was nice spending an evening with my parents and then going out for dinner or eating great cooking at home and talking about the films we saw.

Christmas is approaching quickly and I want to get into the season this year. It will be odd because my budget doesn't stretch far enough for an extravagent celebration, but I also feel like the past few years have been low-key. I have not had a tree in my apartment since the first year of living with Adam and I do miss it. Last year I didn't even put up my tree at my dad's. My mom always puts hers up and she did so this past weekend.

When Mom put up the tree, she ended up calling me and we both cried a little together. She found the ornaments for Taco and it just brought back many years of good memories and how much we both miss him. This is the first Christmas without him after 18 years. I have a picture by my computer of him and Chip under the tree, begging to open a present a bit early. Chip was only three months old at the time this picture was taken and looks completely different.

Can We Open this One Please

This week at work might be busy. I have no clue. I'm sure there are things I should be doing and haven't thought up any plan. I should run to the store tomorrow night to spend our team's budget before we lose it. Maybe that will be my lunch break tomorrow. Tuesdays are the day my boss has a supervisor meeting and so I need to be early to work again. I also have a meeting right after that one with new bankers (the ones still in training). It is a part of the "get to know you" sessions our retention committee came up with. I do like these sessions (most of the time) because it does help form a bond.

iTunes is in a odd mood tonight. I sometimes think of the program as a person. I don't know why. The shuffle has come up with these songs as I wrote this post:

Beautiful Day - U2
Happiness and Misery - Jonny Lang
Crazy - BNL
One Sweet Day - Mariah Carey and Boyz II Men (which I didn't know I had and it reminded me of high school)
Break Your Heart - BNL
I Want to Be in Love - Melissa Etheridge
It Hurt So Bad - Susan Tedeschi
Piece of My Heart - Melissa Etheridge (cover of Janis Joplin)
Show Me - Bree Sharp
Faith - George Michael
Bad - Cowboy Mouth
People Asking Why - Seal
Little Green Bag - Tom Jones & BNL
No Woman No Cry - Bob Marley
Uh Oh - Cowboy Mouth
We've Got Tonight - Bob Seger
Weapon of Choice - Fatboy Slim (this one is a video with Christopher Walken)

Have you seen this video? If you haven't, I highly recommend finding it. It is fantastic. The music itself is take it or leave it, but the video is Christopher Walken dancing around this building all by himself. It is amazing.

On that note, I think I'm going to end this random post. Hope all is well in the blogosphere. I will probably turn in a bit early and hopefully this headache will go away before my alarm interrupts yet another great dream.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Fun with Photos

In efforts to get some more pictures of our trip to see Johnny developed, I went through the pictures of one of our days and fixed up the pictures. I was having some fun with Adobe Photoshop Elements and I enhanced a few pictures. I'm going to share them here.

7Walk into Evora
This is a statue that we saw during our walk from the train station into Evòra.

Flowers from the garden

green temple
The Temple of Diana

mosiac tiles of leaves
Mosiac tiles enhancement for leaves on a statue

purple overlook
From the overlook

sepia overlook
Overlook again

sketch of sculpture
Sketch of a Sculpture

temple 2
Temple again

temple 4

temple chalk
Chalk enhancement of Temple

temple details chalk
Chalk enhancement again

yellow temple

Beth 2
I'm not developing this picture of me, but I was interested in the filter

Another odd filter of my picture

Friday, November 25, 2005

About What I Expected

Last year's Thanksgiving dinner was an exercise in keeping my mouth shut and this year was not much different.

My grandma did not make the fruit salad this year. She made Jell-O with marshmallows on top of it. It was black cherry Jell-O. This has to be some Midwestern thing. I know of no other culture that makes Jell-O with marshmallows on it. The food was not good. Even though I find it rude, disgusting and shocking, Aaron's idea of putting ketchup on the turkey might have made it somewhat moist.

Oh, that's right. My cousins all showed up. I was thinking only Diane (my aunt) would be there, but Traci, Alex, Sam, and Aaron were all there. Another year older and not another year wiser.

My grandma is still mean and old, but she was not as vocal this year. I think she's afraid I'll never show up again if she pushes too hard. She did tell me that I could have the picture of my mom and dad that hangs on her wall. She said, "I'm rearranging the pictures and if you don't have one of your parents, you can have that one." She said it as if she was doing me a favor by providing a picture of my parents, but I'm sure she just wants to remove the picture of my mom from her wall. Sorry to tell you woman, but I'm not stupid and I know your intentions. You've never liked my mom and you loved the fact that you could blame her for my parents' divorce (when in fact there were problems on both sides). Your children are no saints, let me tell you. Oops, sorry everyone, that was a bit of a rant I'd love to start with her but don't out of respect for my father and the fact I do love him and my grandma (even though I don't have to like her).

Grandma's mean comments were directed at Aaron only this year (at least the obvious mean ones).

My grandfather is a nice person, but he is a bit weak. He's lived with my grandmother for 60 years and he is smart, but she definitely outwits him. I say this to explain a bit about what happened with Aaron later in the afternoon. I'm getting ahead of myself.

During dinner (dry turkey, lumpy mashed potatoes, weird Jell-O, lumpy gravy, and burnt dinner rolls), Alex, Sam, and Aaron started telling jokes that made fun of Chinese names. Sam managed to tell one that not only offended Chinese people but would be offensive to mentally handicapped people. I'm going to love the day they all have to deal with diversity in the world. Traci encourages this talk by laughing and I just want to scream at them. I did make a comment about it being disrespectful and that they're going to have to wake up to reality one of these days.

Aaron kept talking about football. I decided not to watch the football game because the only Thanksgiving game I cared about was the Wheezers vs. the Geezers game in Texas. I pulled out my iPod and listened to a few songs as the rest of the family sat silently watching the television. My grandpa ended up showing us a company's annual report that he's on the cover because he had some surgery for an enlarged prostate. I was not told about this problem ever.

During the dinner, someone brought up the fact that Becky, Stan, Matt, and Matt's sons, Riley and Tyler, were not able to make it. Chris couldn't come either. But the reason that Matt and his sons couldn't be there was said as, "He's only able to have the boys for half of the day." This prompted Aaron to ask, "Why?" This is when the subject of Matt and Amanda's divorce was brought up. Aaron, Alex, and Sam were all shocked. They live in the same small town in Iowa as Matt does, but had no clue. I told them, "Even I knew that one." I found it as proof that the silence is not just directed towards me.

Aaron was fascinated by my iPod. He wanted one. He's a spoiled brat, just like his mother is. Even Traci's co-workers yell in the background to Diane to not do EVERYTHING for her in her life. I told Aaron, "You have a job. Save your money and buy one." He didn't like this answer. He turns to his mom and says, "I want an iPod."

Traci says, "Okay. I want you to go to school. I want you to clean up after yourself. I want you to help out at home. I want..." She rattles off about ten things.

Aaron's response, "I only want one thing. You can only ask for one thing."

I reply, "How about this? Be responsible."

My dad says, "Or this? Grow up."

Aaron starts this conversation about how life will just open the doors of happiness to him when he turns 18 and the world will be a piece of pie. Traci and Diane start telling him how easy it is for him now and it's hard work when you become an adult. The problem with this is that they keep pushing responsibility back so that Aaron doesn't have to take any. My grandpa says to Aaron, "Of all my grandchildren, only one had it easy when she turned 18. It was always easy for her." He is looking at me.

My dad joins in at this point and says, "That's right. But she also worked hard to make it easy. She was responsible before turning 18."

Aaron seems to be jealous of the job I have. I love my job and I do talk about how much fun it is. He thinks that he can just walk into a job that has no responsibility. Everyone explained to him that a job like this comes from years of hard work and performing well.

This year was not as bad as last year, but it wasn't overly enjoyable. I did enjoy Diane's company a bit, even if I disagree with how easy she is on Traci, Aaron, and the girls. They are in for a rude awakening and could have been better prepared for the real world. But they are not my children and I'll shut up about it. At least I only have to see them once or twice a year.

I remember when Aaron was little. He was a cute kid. He smiled and played and was very social. He made us all smile. He wasn't spoiled until Traci divorced his step-father. He's not a smart teenager, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have the ability. He just doesn't have any motivation to learn anything.

Sam is getting quieter and quieter at family functions. She came out of the back room to eat only. The rest of the time was spent in a chair watching some television show.

Alex is a bundle of energy misdirected. She was doing homework during the day and this was promising to see. Then she was demanding about dessert and eventually abandoned the room when she wasn't going to get the pie immediately. She and Aaron fight constantly and she tells him over and over how he'll never amount to anything. It's interesting to see a 12-year old this aware of the wrong path her brother is taking. She might grow up to be a good person, if she can open her eyes to the world soon enough.

Oh, and on a bit of a funny note. I'm not sure what my grandparents think of my life. They asked about my apartment and I thought this was a bit of an odd question. I said, "Well, it is where I live." My grandma asked about Dana (whom she met when we went to Portugal) and said, "Oh, if I had thought about it, you could have invited her over for dinner." This was a nice attempt of my grandma to be nice and I do appreciate it, even if I think she has the wrong idea. I'm not entirely sure, but I think because I'm single and went on vacation with Dana, my grandparents may think I'm gay. This is not true, but a bit funny to have them think. The fact I lived with Adam for so long probably enforces this belief. But then my grandpa asks about the pictures from Portugal and wants to know where all the pictures of Portuguese men are. Quite odd.

My grandmother is a stubborn woman and has never been a nice woman. She has not had a hard life and I'm not sure why she is so cold towards people, but I have to accept this fact. She also has learned that I won't put up with insults. She is making an effort to be nicer towards me because she knows I'll back off from the family if I don't feel it is a positive environment.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of my family from the day. I didn't get any pictures of Sam or Alex, but the rest are identified below the image.


Grandfather - Don't ask why he doesn't smile. I don't know. Maybe it is from 60 years of eating Grandmother's cooking.

Diane and Traci
Diane and Traci

My Dad