Monday, May 30, 2005

Pouring Salt Into an Open Wound


Here is part of a comment I got on the post where I wrote that my family had to put our family pet, of 18 years, to sleep. I discussed in the post that my mom took him to the vet and didn't come home with him. I wrote that the loss of him was hitting me hard. Maybe my problem is I didn't actually type the word.

First, the comment: "Hope he recovers soon."

Now, just for clarification, here's the word:


Thanks for making it hurt a hell of a lot more. There is no recovery.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

A Reason for the Break

For the first time since I started this blog, I took a few days off. I didn't respond to most of the emails I received this week and I stayed clear of things that would remind me of what I was trying to not think about.

On Tuesday morning, my mom had to take Taco, our family pet of 18 years, to the vet to be put to sleep. The loss of Taco hit me much harder than the loss of any family member. Maybe it is because Taco was there, every day, for 18 years. We brought him home when he was only 6 weeks old and loved him every moment.

In the recent months, Taco has been moving slower. He was still fine, in no pain, but he was getting old. His eyesight was getting progressively worse and yet his appetite was getting stronger (believe me, he liked to eat. He got thought a finger was food and would grab on and not let go!) Mom took care of him. She made a ramp so that he could get onto the bed without jumping. All of the pets at the house use it now (this is good for Chip too, he is getting a little arthritis in some joints).

The thought of losing Taco has always haunted me. There was nothing else that could cause me to be sad instantly as that thought of losing my "brother".

We brought Taco home in May of 1987. I was 8 years old at the time. During the summer, I would stay home and play with Taco. We'd go for walks in the woods right behind our home. Taco and I would run around, chasing each other and I would laugh. He'd come up to me and curl up in my lap and press his head into my chest, giving me hugs.

Taco loved to fight. When he was little, we would fight with him left-handed. Then he got stronger and faster. Then we'd each take turns fighting him with our right hands. We eventually bought gloves made out of deer skin and leather to let him bite and get aggression out without losing our fingers!

Taco's mother did not like her puppies. She didn't spend much time with her babies and Taco needed comfort. He found it in our family. Daddy would scratch his ears and found that little spot on Taco's chest that he adored being scratched. Mommy would hold him and pet him. We also discovered that Taco liked to suck on stuffed animals. He didn't chew them, he more kneaded them. We would buy him a "Teddy" every year for Christmas. Mom found the last Teddy this week. It was heartbreaking to see.

Mom made a promise to Taco. She told him, the last night she had him next to her in bed, "I will never let you go. I will hold you." She kept her promise to him. When she brought him to the vet, she held him and let him know his Mommy loves him so very much. She brought Chip to the vet with her and let Chip say goodbye to him. We think it helped Chip. Chip loves Taco so much and always adored him. Taco was Chip's big brother, the one who taught him how to play, how to watch the house, how to go "outside". Chip followed Taco around his entire life.

If Taco was out of reach of Chip, Chip would cry and cry. We tried to take Taco to the vet a couple of times without Chip. All he did was sit at the front door and howl. With Mom taking Chip with her to the vet this last time, he was able to see that Taco wouldn't be coming home.

I uploaded more pictures to Flickr. Please, if you would like to know what the joy of my family looked like and how special Taco will always be, check them out here. I will leave you with a few pictures in this post.

Taco and Chip 077

Taco and Chip 074
(This is when Taco met Chewy, my aunt's dog. Taco thought Chewy was Godzilla.)

Taco and Chip 068

Taco Bell

Taco and Chip 053
(Taco would pull Chip around when Chip was very little.)

Taco and Chip 007

Taco and Chip 004

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Break

Due to events going on in my life, I may take a break from blogging for a few days. I'll probably lurk a bit, but don't expect any life changing posts or profound words from me. The end has come to an era of love and joy and this one is hitting me hard. Now I know how a heart breaks.

If Anyone is Interested

I just uploaded about 200 pictures to Flickr from the vacation. If you want to check out some of the pictures DM and I took from our days walking through Alfama and Bairro Alto or from our second visit to the ocean, you can click here. I also added this link to my side bar right under my profile, email address, and getting to know me lists. Let me know what you think!

(Flickr will allow a slide show or just show thumbnails too.)

*Update: I corrected the spelling of Bairro.

**Another update: I figured out a way to upload pictures in batches. The Portugal trip category now has over 1,000 pictures on it. If you're interested, take a look. Let me know what you think.

A Cause to Celebrate...

There are a few reasons to celebrate, but the one I want to focus on today is the fact I just had my LAST dentist appointment for a bit of time. I do not have to go back to the torture chamber until September 12th for a cleaning.

The tooth that I had a root canal on about five years ago now has a shiny gold crown on it and shouldn't cause me any problems for about 30 years. This is awesome.

Another plus? I don't have to listen to the assistant talk about Dr. Phil for at least three months!

I had a lot of work done on my teeth this year so far (mainly because my genetics suck, I drink a LOT of Coca-Cola, and I hadn't been to a dentist in a few years). I can now say I have a new crown, I'm missing ALL of my wisdom teeth (that last one was a bit of a problem child), and I found my smile again. As much as I disliked sitting (or laying) in the chair for many hours, I am pleased with the work done and I feel confident smiling and expressing joy again. It's a great feeling!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I Shouldn't...

But my attitude towards a certain individual has changed significantly.

The following is a series of emails between DM and myself regarding an email I received from my former roommate.

-----Original Message-----
From: Adam (the former roommate)
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 3:38 PM
To: Beth
Subject: It's a pig! hehe

Imagine a really horrible clip art image of a pig.

-----Original Message-----
From: Beth
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 3:40 PM
To: Jones, Dana M.
Subject: FW: It's a pig! hehe

Does this seem like a waste of time? Or am I just bitter?
He sent me a picture of a goat earlier.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jones, Dana M.
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 3:47 PM
To: Beth
Subject: RE: It's a pig! hehe

Um…if it was a particularly attractive or exciting pig, I could maybe understand. If it was a sheep, that would be understandable except that he’s really losing his Sheepsheadian membership for lack of Sheepsheadian qualities.

Is it physically possible for you to be bitter? Wouldn’t you break out into hives if you tried?

-----Original Message-----
From: Beth
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 3:49 PM
To: Jones, Dana M.
Subject: RE: It's a pig! hehe

Why would I break into hives?

-----Original Message-----
From: Jones, Dana M.
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 3:50 PM
To: Beth
Subject: RE: It's a pig! hehe

Oh. Because you are allergic to being mean. Didn’t you know that?

-----Original Message-----
From: Beth
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 3:52 PM
To: Jones, Dana M.
Subject: RE: It's a pig! hehe

I was not aware that I was allergic to being mean. Does that mean that what I said to the guy in the theater last night should have made me sick?

(I told the guy, "Thanks for the commentary. I don’t think I could have understood the movie without your play by play.")

-----Original Message-----
From: Jones, Dana M.
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 3:59 PM
To: Beth
Subject: RE: It's a pig! hehe

LOL. No, that’s sarcasm. Sarcasm doesn’t give you hives. And you probably did it [Customer Service skills taught at NABABNA] anyway.

-----Original Message-----
From: Beth
Sent: Tuesday, April 20, 2004 4:00 PM
To: Jones, Dana M.
Subject: RE: It's a pig! hehe

It wasn’t [Customer Service skills taught at NABANBA]. Not this time.

So, I asked Adam why he sent me these and he said he wanted to share the love. I asked him, "Pig love?" I think I offended him.

-----Original Message-----
From: Jones, Dana M.
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 7:57 AM
To: Beth

Subject: RE: It's a pig! hehe

Hmm…okay. So let’s look at this in a logical and bullet point manner.

*He sent you a picture of a pig. You have no idea why.

*When asked why he sent you a picture of a pig, he doesn’t respond “Why, I know how much you enjoy pictures of pigs.” This is because you don’t enjoy pictures of pigs so it’s good that he didn’t lie.

*When asked why he sent you a picture of a pig, he doesn’t respond “Why, it’s a particularly good picture of a pig.” This is good because it’s really not all that spectacular of a pig picture.

*When asked why he sent you a picture of a pig, he does respond “To share the love.” What the hell does that mean? Let me tell you. Absolutely nothing.

*Yes, you very well may have offended him but since he seems to get offended over everything and please, if he is offended, you could come back with “Are you calling me a pig?”

*Why would anyone look at a picture of a pig and say “Oh, yes, I see that this pig is actually a symbol of love?” Cupid, yes. A heart, yes. A pig, no.

Okay, climbing off of soap box. Convincing Keem to clean soap box. Putting soap box away.

Another reason why I believe that DM is "delightfully and refreshingly mad, but still mad".

Friday, May 20, 2005

My First Challenge

Posting something, anything, is one of the things I like to do every night when I get home. I did not post anything last night, mainly because I was tired, but also because I went out and didn't get home until late. Normally, I would have stayed up a few extra minutes to tell a story about the day or share a little news, but I didn't. I realized that I would have to get up early today, no hitting the snooze button for an hour and a half.

I arrived at work early today to face one of my first challenges as a supervisor head on. With the new promotion and the new team, I also have the task of hiring a brand new team lead, someone to do the job that I was previously holding. Today, I felt like a new supervisor.

My business cards are ordered, the corporate credit card is on the way, and now I'm in the process of weeding through applications and giving interviews. I have gotten a bit lucky with the interviews, considering two other supervisors need to hire a lead the same time I do (my former boss and a different supervisor from the other side of the wall). My former boss is trying to replace me and it is interesting to watch him look for certain qualities in a lead, knowing that he is judging a bit based on my performance. We talk constantly about what we both want in candidates (which I am not really able to discuss here) and neither of us have had to hire anyone for this type of position before.

Our first interview was today. I was a bit nervous for the interview and this helps give me a perspective of the potential employee. There is a large range of personality types and experience levels applying, some are internal NABABNA employees, some are external.

The first interview I gave (a panel style, luckily I had the other supervisors in the room with me) went pretty well. I feel a bit more comfortable knowing that I have another interview tomorrow and I have a better picture of what I am looking for in a team lead now.

Since I've been on cloud 9 about this new job, I wanted to share my excitement a bit. Here's the part where maybe DM gets a bit mad at me.

After work tonight, Char and I went to The Chalet. I wanted to tell Bryan and Liz and Bobby. We didn't sing. Char and I played five games of darts and watched as this VERY drunk or high woman danced to all the songs. She was HI-larious! It was low-key and just a bit of fun. I had wanted to stop in and see a couple of friends.

I am trying to keep relaxed, knowing the big decision that is now in my court. I have a lot of work to do to get this new team up and running and I want the best person who will be great with new bankers.

And I have no end to this post. So, good night! Be good.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

It All Works Out in the End

The day I went back to work after a seventeen-day holiday gave me a positive outlook. As much as I wanted to be sitting on a beach in Portugal and as much as I didn't think about work while on vacation, things were going well at the office. The team told me over and over that my supervisor did well with our quality assurance and kept everything smooth, but commented about his stress level and that I was missed. People liked seeing me return and I did enjoy seeing the people again.

My supervisor's boss (C) approached me as soon as she saw me inside the building. Touching on the human level, she asked about the trip. As soon as the human side had been visited, she got straight to the business of telling me what she wanted to say.

It turns out my former supervisor (who ditched me for a daytime shift last July) just received notification of a promotion to a branch. His new job would make him the manager of a local branch. The title comes with added stress and hours, but also with a hefty raise. C told me about his news as he was telling his team. I was the first person outside the supervisor pool to be told.

An hour later, she approached me again. She said, "The position is posted now. I just did it." I got the hint, logged onto our jobs site, and clicked the "express interest" button.

Right before the trip to Portugal, there was big news in our call center. A new team of bankers would be added, creating the need for a new supervisor and new team lead. I had applied for the job, keeping it a bit low-key. When I do apply for jobs, I don't like everyone knowing. That's a part of my personality. I interviewed for the job and had a great interview with C and the center manager, E. E was not prepared to hire anyone from inside our call center for the position and I had figured this would be the case. I really went into the process knowing that I would not be chosen for the job. The benefits to experiencing the process would be the interview, getting my name out there, and finding the areas and C and E wanted me to work on developing.

The day before my holiday started, C pulled me aside to give me the feedback on my interview. She told me, "It was great. There is nothing I can say that you did wrong. You took over and sold E and changed his mind about hiring from the inside." She also told me about plans to have me help out supervisors until another position opened. The man they hired for the job was someone with 7 years call center management experience and more qualified than myself. I had no problems with the feedback I got. In fact, I was happy to hear the news.

The timing worked out perfectly for the next position to open. I did apply, knowing that I was hoping to take over a team of existing bankers and an existing lead (whom I helped train originally). This was something I thought would be a great experience.

Then my grandma passed away and I was out for most of the next week. The day I returned, I was scheduled for another interview. This time I would be meeting with the HR representative at our call center. This interview went well, in my opinion, it was casual and light.

The thing that did throw me off for the second interview was news I received a few minutes before I went into the office with the HR Rep. As it turns out, E and C decided that a brand new team of bankers could benefit with someone who had experience with NABABNA. The manager they had hired for the new team was going to actually take over the existing team. That meant that the position I was interviewing for would be for the new team, yet again.

I was told during the interview that an offer would most likely be made during the following week (this current week for those following the timeline). I figured I would have an answer by about Thursday of this week, not expecting anything too quickly.

After the weekend (filled with wonderful times at karaoke and relaxing at home), I went back to work. I had no more than logged onto my computer when C asked if I could talk.

She brought me into her office and closed the door. Then she asked me, "Would you like to be an officer?" [This is the technical term for the job.] Of course I said, "Yes!"

I got the job as supervisor for the new team! The bankers will be out on the floor in about two weeks and I'll be working with them and getting to know them while they are in training. I will also be in the process of hiring a new team lead (read as interviewing A LOT of people). My supervisor now also has to hire a team lead, so we'll be doing joint interviews. It is a job with more responsibility and accountability. It comes with a bit of a pay bump and an extra week of vacation (which is nice, since I used most of my vacation time for Portugal! - Well worth it!!!) I am extremely excited. I am a bit scared, the first couple of months are going to be a bit of a trial on my nerves as I try to get our team to perform at peak performance.

I got more hugs from people today and huge smiles as the news went around. My current team congratulated me and I was happy to be able to tell them that I'll still be sitting near them and working the same hours.

I am really, really excited about this job. It is going to be a challenge and quite an experience. I'm even going to have business cards! Three people today called me, "Permagrin." This is what I used be called at the pool hall and it feels great.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

I have only a few minutes before I dash out the door and start my work week. Today I bring to you the random searches that have produced clicks to my site that people didn't bother to stick around and read. Enjoy. Or cringe. I have done that occasionally.

Relating to posts about music lyrics:

And you will not be alone
"Now Here Comes the Night" piano

Okay, I'm not going to put them into categories:

Ate his own testicles
Silent oak
Thighs you’d like to
Jerome Deya
Online story – novel sexy
Tutenstein soundtrack
Pool cues used in the Quantum Leap the pool hall blues episode
Stories about my Saturday night
Torture devices
People outside café
Looking for karaoke glasses that project words on the inside of the glasses
The written lyrics to theme song to Dukes of Haz
The best part of my life are the friends I have and the time I share with t
"Trip to Moldova" girls
boots stories
Vibrating plows dealers (I’m #4 on Yahoo for this)
Sheepshead sushi

Time and Energy

As odd as it sounds coming from my lips (or fingers), I am tired and want to head to bed a bit early tonight. It wasn't a long day in any way, but I didn't really get out and do much, so I feel like it is time to catch some zzzzzzs.

The problem? I decided to try a new service offered through my scrapbooking stuff to have pictures uploaded and then printed and mailed to me. Until I realized I could actually develop film without leaving the house AT ALL, I never realized how truly lazy I can be. There are cost saving benefits to this little project (the first 20 prints are free - yeah, that will make a dent in the Portugal pictures, I'm still trying to convince myself of that). I am actually probably only going to develop about 50 pictures from this service tonight. It's more of the quality that I am testing out.

The problem? It takes WAY too long to upload this many pictures. I just grabbed one folder and hit the upload key. It has been running for an hour and a half.

I still have about 20 minutes of upload time left. I'm so glad I use a cable modem. This takes me back to the days of high school, when our family first got online. Remember those days? Back when someone would say "gigabyte" and you'd laugh, thinking, "I could never put that much information on a computer!" I never dreamed about blogging back then or about posting pictures online or even being able to send more than one image over the 'net at a time.

This post just got really off topic. All I wanted to say is I'm developing film online and it pretty much rocks.

By Any Other Name...

Monday. My Monday was a day set aside to myself. I sat back, relaxed, and watched movies all day long as I worked on cleaning up my apartment. There are random inspections this week and I figured a little bit of picking up would be a good thing.

As I was going through things and doing a bit of Spring cleaning, I ran across something tucked inside a notebook, forgotten. It was something I printed a few years ago (the date on the item was June 24, 2001), wanting to keep it.

There is an image at the top of this email that I received. I wanted to share it here tonight.


Finding this made my heart ache for memories past and rejoice in the fact I can remember that happy day.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

A Little Bit Lighter Subject...

If you want the low-cal Beth post, here you go. If you want the post where I strayed from meaningless drivel, see the post below.

Last night, since DM was sick, I called up Char and Tom and asked if they had their stomachs begging to be filled. We headed up to Fridleykins and ate up some fantastic food. I don't know if I was just really hungry or what, but I loved my meal last night. (Grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, and followed up with a big piece of the strawberry pie that is back!)

While we were sitting there eating, they mentioned that they bought more karaoke CDs. I guess that Wal-Mart has a selection and they have a karaoke machine at home. I wanted to check it out a bit and we headed up to the Wal-Mart closer to their home.

I didn't buy any CDs. What I did purchase was movies. Which, in a way, is probably dumb because I haven't been watching movies lately, but I have a huge movie collection and DVDs are a weak spot for me. Plus, Wal-Mart has a $5.50 rack full of some terrific movies (and some that are really not terrific). Sometimes I like to shuffle through the movies in this rack, looking for gems or older movies that I know I should watch, but am too lazy to rent.

Well, I found some cool movies on the rack. It seems that Wal-Mart recently added some titles to the cheap section and they are not too bad! I found Beverly Hills Cop, Total Recall (still puzzles me every time I see it), Dear God (cute, not great, not bad), Sabrina (the original is a bit better, but this is not bad), Saturday Night Fever (how could I resist!), and Sneakers (totally cool and the one I was really excited to find).

I also looked through the other sections of movies. There were many I wanted, but I did try to limit myself. I only bought four more movies. I've been wanting the special edition of Gone With the Wind for months now and broke down when I saw it. I know DM is going to hate it and probably won't watch it with me (even though the female character is full of life and spunk and just fantastic!), but I had to have it for myself. I also found The Phantom of the Opera and this is cool. I love the story and the music. I've heard the movie is fantastic so I bought it. In Good Company just came out and I did enjoy this one. It reminded me so much of About a Boy for the feeling and I do enjoy Topher Grace as an actor.

The final movie I found is Nobody's Fool. It's a Paul Newman movie that came out in 1994 and I remember seeing it in the theater with my parents and having to rent it over and over. There's not a lot of action in the movie and it is a serious story of a man who is older, living his life in a blue collar town and it focuses on the interactions between people. I loved this movie when it came out and I am happy to have found it.

So that's my mindless drivel. Hope you enjoyed.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Suggestions Needed

Hello wonderful Blogosphere. DM and I are trying our hardest to help Johnny visit us. We have both added Google Ad Sense to our sites (just a little click and it helps earn money for Johnny). DM set up a Cafe Press account and is making buttons, magnets, and other fun products with pictures from our trip.

I decided it can't hurt to also set up a Cafe Press shop. You can find it by going to and looking around.

I have a few things added already, all images from our day trip to Evora.

I should get to what I'm asking. If you are interested in any pictures from the trip to be added to postcards or note cards (lovely thank you notes, quick birthday cards, you get the picture), let me know. I can add up to 70 products to this store and anything you'd like to purchase will benefit Johnny. She's a vet student and needs a holiday! We want to take her to the Minnesota State Fair (cows and pigs and butter queens!), show her the giant spoon with the cherry on it, and bring her to karaoke to hear Bryan singing in person. And there is so much more that we would love to show her. I've posted many images. There are even more on flickr. Just click the "more of brooksba's photos" in the flickr badge on my sidebar. You may need to scroll down a bit to find it. It's underneath my links.

Thank you. I appreciate any help given and any suggestions to the shop!

Maybe the Waters are Safe...

There is something that I shouldn't share. It's wrong and evil and way too good to pass up. I did not write either of these poems (the second is actually the work of Ms. DM and it's just too great!). I know, I know, I shouldn't mock this, but I HAVE to. Don't you understand? It's an addiction that I MUST feed. (The original poem is just one we found without an author - I think it might have been a Hallmark card. That's our story and we're sticking to it. And maybe I've gotten to a point where I just don't care anymore.)

The Original
(Please, read it, just to get the brilliance of the second one)

As our time together
Passes day by day
My love for you grows stronger
In every single way.

Not a second passes
That I don't think of you
Of all our moments shared
They always seem too few.

For me to say, "I love you"
Is merely a small spark
The flame of what I feel for you
Could cancel out the dark.

We may be just beginning
But this feels so very right
It's as if you were the stars
And I became the night.

From the winds above an eagle's wings
To the depths of every sea
Wherever I may find myself
I know you're meant for me.

If there were to come a time
That you and I should part
Until that day, and ever after
I offer you my heart.

I'll try to put this simply
With just one final line -
I promise you that I'll be yours...
If you promise you'll be mine.

DM's Version

I am a sappy romantic dork
Let me frighten you away
You will be calling the cops
For a restraining order some day.

I don't have a life
Or a mind of my own
Hi, let me glom on to you
Then I won't be alone.

For me to say, "I love you"
Is merely a small spark
I had to bring flame in here
Can't keep anyone in the dark.

I am a psycho
I will watch you sleep
Don't worry, my hostage
More than your love I'll keep.

I have to prove that I'm clever
So I'll put some flowery words in here
Pretty much all I mean though
Is that I'm crazy when you're near.

If there were to come a time
That you and I should part
I will hunt you down
And make you eat my heart.

I'll try to put this simply
With just one final line
I'll promise to hunt you down and kill you
If you won't promise you'll be mine.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

9 Layers

9 Layers of Me… (With appropriate links when I remember a post I've written about the relevant topic)

Layer One:

Name: Beth Brooks
Birth date: October 26, 1978
Birthplace: Waterloo, Iowa
Current Location: Mounds View, Minnesota
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: Wheat
Height: 5 foot 4 inches
Righty or Lefty: Righty
Zodiac Sign: Scorpio. Don’t cross me.

Layer Two:

Heritage: Swedish, English, German, a little French, a little Irish
Shoes Worn Today: brown boots
Weaknesses: Coca-Cola. Music. Scrapbooking. My dogs, my mom and dad, and my friends.
Fears: spiders, heights, and water
The Perfect Pizza: Sausage, Mushroom, Green Pepper, and Onions, deep dish
Desired Goal: Being happy. But life is all about the journey, so the ultimate goal is undefined.

Layer Three:

Most Overused Phrases: Okay. You know.
First Waking Thoughts: “My eyelids said 4:30, but the radio clock said six and I was thinking of a reasonable excuse.” ~ Cowboy Mouth lyrics
Best Physical Feature: I’ve been told I have a “nice rack.”
Most Missed Memory: You mean when I was happiest in life? I believe I can always be happy, all I need to do is enjoy what is in front of me. I wouldn’t go back to any different time if I had a choice. I did enjoy my high school bowling days, the summer my cousin, Susan, stayed at our home, my pool hall junkie days, and playing cards at Fridleykins for hours on end with the Sheepsheadians.

Layer Four:

Pepsi or Coke: Coca-Cola! I’ve been addicted since 18 months.
McDonald's or Burger King: McDonald’s.
Single or Group Dates: All I’ve ever really done was the group date. You know, the group gets together? I think I’d prefer some alone time if I found the right guy.
Adidas or Nike: Nike. If only for the fact I like Tiger Woods and the ads he does for Nike.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea: If I have to pick…Nestea.
Chocolate or Vanilla: Vanilla.
Cappuccino or Coffee: Cappuccino. But I like mocha much more.

Layer Five:

Cuss: I’ve been known to utter a curse word, once in awhile. Okay, I did learn from my mother.
Sing: Every Sunday. Don’t take away my karaoke! I also sing in my car. I don’t sing in the shower.
Shower Everyday: More often than not.
Ever Been in Love: Yes.
Want to Go to College: I’m still going. I’ve switched my major three times from the original (I think. Let’s see. Journalism, then accounting, then business, and now general management.) I now go to the University of Phoenix online.
Liked High School: Take it or leave it. I did enjoy my friends and I didn’t have a hard time.
Want to Get Married: Maybe someday. If I meet someone I want to actually marry.
Believe in Self: Yes. Except in the dating department.
Get Motion Sickness: Rarely. Actually, almost never.
Think Yourself Attractive: I have a large nose and my hips are way too large. So, no.
Think You’re a Health Nut: Not in the least
Get Along with Parent(s): More often than not
Like Thunderstorms: Love them.
Play an Instrument: No

Layer Six:

In the Past Month…

Drank Alcohol: Yes. I had a Hurricane at Hard Rock Café in Lisbon.
Done a Drug: Does Coca-Cola count?
Made Out: No, unfortunately.
Gone on a Date: No.
Visited the Mall: Only because I needed to shop for vacation.
Eaten an Entire Box of Oreos?: No. I don’t like Oreos or cookies all that much.
Eaten Sushi: No.
Been on Stage: Yes. Every Sunday at karaoke.
Been Dumped: In the past month? No.
Gone Skating: In the last month? No. I haven’t gone skating (roller or ice) for years.
Made Homemade Cookies: No.
Dyed your Hair: It’s been more than a month since Liese did my highlights.
Stolen Anything: Yes. A bolt from a gas station in Lisbon and a cloth on the train to Évora for Bryan. Which is so out of character for me.

Layer Seven:


Played a Game that Required the Removal of Clothing: no
If So, Was it Mixed Company: see answer of no.
Been Trashed or Extremely Intoxicated: Yes.
Been Caught "Doing Something": Kind of.
Been Called a Tease: No.
Gotten Beaten Up: No. I beat someone up in kindergarten.
Shoplifted: Not on purpose. When I was very little, my mom wanted me to have an umbrella. The clerk forgot to ring it up with all the other stuff we bought that day.
Changed Who You Were to Fit In: When I join a new group or new environment, I do tend to be quieter than normal. It is not changing who I am so much as it is guarding parts of myself from others until I establish a trust level.

Layer Eight:

Age You Hope to be Married: 92. Do I have to pick an age? That makes it a goal.
Numbers and Names of Children: If I get married and decide to have children, I would like one kid. If it were a boy, I’d like to name him Andrew Jacob after a couple of important people in my past. If it were a girl, I’d name her Alice Marie, after my grandma. This was something I decided years ago.
Describe Your Dream Wedding: Having lots of friends there, pretty flowers, and Bryan singing.
How Do You Want to Die: Painlessly and with my sanity intact.
Where You Want to Go to College: Want to go? I do go to the University of Phoenix, online. So, should I say living room? I did think about trying to get into Harvard. If I had bothered to take physics or chemistry, I could have.
What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up: A banker. Although my dream job would be to travel the world and take pictures. Can I be a professional scrapbooker?
What Country Would You Most Like to Visit: Well, I can scratch Germany and Portugal off the list. My next destination OUTSIDE of the United States should be Italy in 2007.

Layer Nine:

Number of Drugs Taken Illegally: One. I hated it.
Number of People I Could Trust with My Life: 5.
Number of CDs I Own: My iTunes can play for 14.7 days straight without repeating a song.
Number of Piercings: My ears are double pierced. I don’t wear earrings.
Number of Tattoos: One. I have an emperor penguin and chick on my right calf. I would like another tattoo on my shoulder. I still haven’t decided what.
Number of Times My Name Has Appeared in the Newspaper?: Other than high school paper or community news, I would have to say once. I won a contest at work and they listed all the names of the people.
Number of Scars on My Body: I don’t know. None, I think.
Number of Things in My Past that I Regret: The only things in life that I regret are the things I do not do. Well, those and living with Adam. That was not good for my self-esteem and mental health. Biggest regret? Not telling Andriy how I felt when he was here and letting him get on that plane.

Belém and Mosteiro dos Jerónimos pictures

On the last full day of our holiday in Portugal, DM and I went to Belém and saw fantastic sights. The camera got a bit of a work out and the money I paid for it almost two years ago was worth it. I wrote the post about the day and you can find it here.

We visited the Mosteiro dos Jerónimos and the majority of the pictures are from our time at this amazing sight. The monastery was a highlight of our trip. There are many pictures with this post. I hope you enjoy. There are more images on Flickr than I am loading here. If you click on one of the images, it should bring you into Flickr to view more.

The first batch of pictures are of the Monument to the Discoveries.

Monument to the Discoveries

Monument to the Discoveries

Monument to the Discoveries

Monastery Views from Outside

monestary from outside (58) cropped

monestary from outside (57) edited

monestary from outside (54) edited

monestary from outside (53) cropped

monestary from outside (18)

monestary from outside (12)

monestary from outside (2) bw

Views from inside the monastery

jesus (1) bw

jesus (2)
Okay, I liked this one.

dana in chapel above (1)

Views of the Cloister

views from cloister (63)

views from cloister (60)

views from cloister (49) bw

views from cloister (47)

views from cloister (44) bw

views from cloister (37) cropped bw

views from cloister (11)

Inside the monastery, ceiling view

Monestary Ceiling

The 25th of April Bridge

25th of April Bridge

25th of April Bridge

25th of April Bridge as a stamp

I did not mean to grab the larger size of the last picture. The picture is also the 25th of April bridge and I tried out the stamp filter on my photoshop program. Let me know what you think.

Last post of the night. I swear.

I had to share. I was surfing blogs and found this thing on a few called, "Nine Layers". I'm working on filling in my responses and then I'll post it in a few days.

Here's the thing. One of the questions (layer eight) is, "What country would you most like to visit?" The person that I found answered, "PARIS."

Here comes my pet peeve. If you are wanting to visit a place, find out if it is a city, a state, a country, or a continent. ARGH!

These are a couple of related posts to this subject. Have fun.

Getting Wet Yet?

I couldn't resist the title of this post. This post is the last one I have to write about our holiday in Portugal that involves notes about the day. I am sure DM and I will both have a million stories to tell for many years, but this is the last where I will try to detail the day.

On the second Tuesday of our trip (the one where we were not jet lagged beyond belief), Johnny took us to see the ocean again. This time we went to a beach and sat in the sand. But I'll get to that.

Our trip to the shore took us over the 25th of April bridge, providing views of Cristo Rei, the Christ statue blessing the city of Lisbon. Maybe it was our tourist eyes and maybe it was a little bit of fascination, but the views of Lisbon were so amazing. Even the areas that Johnny pointed out as not very pretty were full of new sights and scenery to us. Bryan said it well when we went to karaoke on Sunday. There is soul in Europe. I think there is some soul here in America, but it is hard to find. I keep looking around here, searching for beauty. It is spring time and the crab apple trees are blooming a vibrant magenta and some of the architecture is stunning, yet the cities do not shine in my eyes as much as a simple street in Lisbon. The images I saw on the trip are etched into my mind and I want to hold onto them forever.

Before we hit the beach, we walked up a little hill to a little cafe/restaurant with outdoor seating. There were dogs running freely in the street, some tramps and some owned but not on leashes. Johnny kept an eye out to keep them from Papoila and DM and I were to order food using Portuguese. The restaurant is called, "A Merendeira". Inside, DM and I ordered the food and brought it out to Johnny.

Johnny and DM had soup made from kale and potato. Bread with sausage inside it was another part of the meal for DM and I. The bread was much better than what we had at the Amsterdam airport. All of us had Coca-Cola. The sun was at my back as we sat there eating and drinking. People wandered up and down the street, shopping and carrying on with their lives. A man passed and made us laugh when we saw that his shirt proclaimed that he was a "Sex Coach". Thinking that it was cheesy and stupid, we each chuckled. The more I think about it, it is pretty sad. I always got the impression that a coach is a player that just couldn't cut it.

We finished up the good meal and headed off to the different shops. A shop has miniture liquor bottles in the window and I stopped in to purchase them for my dad and myself. We each collect them. Some of the most fascinating bottles were the ones filled with Ginja liquer, something I have never tasted. Dad and I will not open the bottles, but someday I would like a taste of it. I should have bought an extra bottle.

We kept shopping and DM found some pretty decent gifts for people back in the States. I picked up something to share with the team back at NABABNA. Then we headed towards the ocean.

Johnny had wanted to take us to her parent's beach house, but that beach was under construction. We hopped in the car and headed to a different section of the shoreline. The view was magnificent. I have mentioned it before on this blog, but I want to share it again. I adore the ocean. I have seen lakes, large and small, and lived by the Mississippi river for most of my life, but Portugal was the first time I saw an ocean (other than flying over it and my flights over it were always in the middle of a plane so no good views). Minnesota may be the Land of 10,000 Lakes (15,000 in really wet seasons), but we have few sights as stunning as water that stretches beyond my mind's imagination. Lake Superior is pretty darn big (you know, biggest of the Great Lakes) and it is awe-inspiring and it still pales in comparison. I had never realized that I could fall in love with the sea.

DM loves the ocean too. She always has a look in her eye when she talks about seeing the ocean while in Mexico that expresses a feeling of joy. Johnny had decided to head back to the car once we got on the beach, not feeling up to the sun and the wind, but Dana and I stayed behind for an hour, both enthralled. Before we left, Liz had told us to sit on the beach and just enjoy the ocean. I can honestly say my mind was clear of all worries. Stress disappeared from my life as I watched the waves crash against the shore. I didn't think about work, I didn't think about my family, and I didn't think of anything that makes my mind go into overtime. I just relaxed. Maybe for the first real time in my life I let everything fall away and enjoyed the moment. I did love sitting in the sand, letting it fill my boots and cling to my jeans, and watching the ocean crash against the land.

We saw sunbathers. There were surfers (even though the water was a bit cold). Little kids ran up the water, chasing it away and running back as the ocean played back. Fishermen sat out on a rock. People young and old were all around. I think if I lived close to an ocean it would be hard to pull me away. Now I get it. I never did before. I couldn't understand why anyone wanted to be so close to so much water. It never seemed meaningful to me. Now I love the sound the water makes. I love the way the light hits the water and everything gleams. I adore the smile on a child's face who is content just sitting along the water line, playing in the sand.

Between DM and I, we took over 500 pictures of the ocean that day. We were there about an hour, but we just kept trying to capture the moment. Having a picture of each of us in the water (just up to our knees) and sitting on the beach was something I wanted badly. Many of the pictures are just us, laughing like loons and grinning ear-to-ear.

I rolled up my blue jeans (pointless, they got soaked anyway) and waded into the water. My feet sunk into the sand, so smooth and fine. I laughed and smiled and let the wind whip my hair around. I think a part of me will always long to be back on that beach.

Both DM and I were able to collect a bit of sand to bring home. I wanted something to remember the day besides all the pictures. It was a short love affair with the sea and something I will treasure always.

The hour there passed too fast and Dana and I gathered up our belongings. We headed back to the car to find Johnny and Papoila. We went back to Johnny's flat and changed out of our sand caked clothing. The memory cards on the cameras were cleaned out (being able to use Johnny's laptop was a wonderful, wonderful thing).

Once the memory cards were empty again, we headed off to dinner at a Chinese restaurant. DM and I had thought it would be quite awesome to eat Chinese food in Portugal. And you know what? It was. The food was delicious. The restaurant Johnny took us to was called Nova Ásia.

The meal consisted of egg rolls (I asked if the red sauce was sweet and sour. I was told, "Yes." It wasn't. It was HOT, HOT sauce. Dana told me she liked spicy foods and decided to swap egg rolls with me. Once she slammed her Coca-Cola, she reached across the table and slammed Johnny's.) We also had beef with onions (and green peppers in a sauce that I was told during my days at the Chinese restaurant is called, "fish sauce," even though it has nothing to do with fish). Johnny and DM had a salad made of bamboo shoots (which I've had and think they are a bit crunchy for my tastes) and seaweed (which I've also tried before. I'm not a fan). Another entree was fried chicken with lemon. The fried rice was good. The rice was more white than I am used to with fried rice, but the peas and scrambled eggs were familiar.

The meal was finished off with good desserts for all. Johnny had fresh pineapple, DM had Crema Tartalenla (caramelized sugar on top, an almost vanilla pudding underneath), and I tried the tangerine sherbert. We all liked our choices.

Heading back to Johnny's, there was a small stop. Johnny had to meet up with Becas and pick up a cable box that unscrambles certain channels. She set it up and started to flip through the channels. It got stuck on the first scrambled channel. Of course, this would be the soft porn channel (Playboy) and every comment made by Johnny broke DM and I into giggles. Johnny was looking for the phone and found it under the armchair DM sat in. She said, "There's a thing poking out." Then when trying to adjust the box without the remote, she said, "It doesn't even let me do it manually."

Now, I am not a fan of porn to begin with, but this was horrible! The man who had the job of pleasuring this woman on the screen was soooooo unattractive and the woman (and those other ones on the screen) didn't even look like she was having a good time.

Johnny finally found a way to have the channels change and then the box got stuck on another channel. This time it was the hard core porn channel. Quite quickly the box was unplugged and it was bedtime. But hey, now DM and I can say we saw porn on our trip!

Oh, and I got this post done much sooner than I thought. Blogger is not being a @#*%$ tonight. Yea!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

As promised (a while ago)...

I wanted to share some more pictures, especially since I've been going through them so much. These pictures are from our day at the Oceanario. I wrote about it here.

My favorite animal is a penguin. I just think they are absolutely adorable and full of spunk. Narrowing down the penguin pictures from the trip was probably the hardest part for me.



Chick, black and white

Penguin, black and white



You'd be amazed to know that the black and white images do not come from the same color images. Penguins in captivity don't tend to move around all that much.

The next six pictures are from different parts of the aquarium. Some are outside (the first three) and then some are of underwater life.

oceanarrio 5

dana on bridge leaving 2

beth on bridge leaving bw cropped

yellow fish


indian 8

You're halfway there! But they are just pictures, easy on the eyes (hopefully). The next six pictures are all from the downstairs display of Indian Ocean life.

indian down 3 edited

indian down 7

indian down 18 flash

indian down 23

indian down 29 edited

indian down 47

As you can see, I did edit a couple of the pictures. Nothing too crazy, just lightened a few that were dark (no flash photography allowed) and then I cropped a couple. Sometimes I would remove the color. There are only a few pictures that I did anything too crazy. The king crab above was one that I added red tones to. I wanted to display some of the color. In the next photos, there is one I did something pretty wild to change the image. It is a chrome effect. Let me know what you think of it. The original picture was nothing to write home about.

moon jellyfish

atlantic down 23

atlantic down 13 edited

atlantic down 10

Chrome fish

big tank 12

I hope you liked the pictures. Let me know what you think. I am also finishing up the last post that details our adventures in Portugal. That should be up by the end of tomorrow night.