Friday, June 30, 2006

Today's Photo Creation!

This is a picture I took in Las Vegas, at the Bellagio Conservatory, in March of 2004. I cropped it a bit and changed the hues. It was originally yellow, pink, and white daisies. What do you think of the red, pink, and white? I think I've lost some of the pixels with the editing. This was also taken with my old camera (that was stolen a year ago - ARGH!) that was only 5.0 pixels. My new camera is 7.2 and the pictures hold up to a bit more editing.

Bed of Red Daisies

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Tonight's Creation

And here's my latest mosaic. Does it work?

Rainbow Mosaic

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Tell Me, Honestly, Does My Forehead Have Freak Magnet Written On It?

I'm pretty sure it does. It's just written in invisible ink that only freaks can read.

Want to know how to attract colorful characters? Feel like your personal space is not violated enough each week? Interested in ending up in semi-humorous situations that you can tell and retell at parties as stories? You've come to the right place. I'm going to tell you the secrets to finding freaks, having freaks latch onto you, and how to note those striking details that will make your stories even better!

First off, mind your own business. For example, sitting at a table with your friends, making no eye contact with said "freaks" is a great way to attract them.

Engage yourself in conversation with those you like. For some reason, said "freaks" really enjoy this. It makes you appear like a nice person who is willing to listen to their jibberish.

When said "freak" speaks to you, bluntness and rudeness are good ways to keep them talking. Oh, being polite also works. Actually, I have not found anything that is effective in getting them to shut up.

In the past few weeks, the number of strange interactions with strangers seems to have sky-rocketed. Is it just me? I know I tend to run into unique people when DM is around, but now I'm finding even more of them when I'm with others or even alone.

Take Thursday, for example. Karaoke is ending and I'm sitting at a table, talking with DM and Liz. We are having a nice, quiet conversation, and a man sits down in the chair to my right, diagonally from me. He leans back and lifts up his sleeves to show off some arm work tattoos he has. My first thought is to gag. While I do appreciate a good tattoo, these were far from good. They were basically lines on his arm. Not even straight lines. Blah.

He yells at our table, finally bumming a cigarette from Liz and giving her a high five that he turned into a handshake. All of this while leaning over me and slurring his speech. I'm still replused while I'm typing this.

He sits back down and feels the need to start yelling in my ear. "Can I sit there?" He points at the chair that holds my purse that had held James (the man whom DM will call the most attractive man in the world. While I think James is great and funny, I do not hold him to the same esteem she does.) Liz thinks he asks, "Is someone sitting here?" She replies, "Yes, he's in the bathroom." The man tries to sit down and she clarifies, getting him to sit back down in the other chair.

"THAT'S A NICE PURSE!" He is aimed directly at my right ear.

"Yes, it is." I pick it up and move it away from his gaze and reach. (In fact, it is not a nice purse. It is a functional purse that I bought at Target for about $10 or maybe $15.)


I do not respond.


No response, thinking to myself, If I ignore him, maybe he'll go away.


I open my mouth, "That's just sad." (Not in the fact he's not rich, but in the fact he thinks it is cool that his parents found him to be enough of a loser to have to kick him out.)


"Because you are yelling directly into my ear."

"But, we're IN A BAR!"

"Really, I hadn't noticed."


"You're not."


Ignoring again.


Please, please, please go away.


"I work for a bank."


I didn't answer.


"If I am being mean, take it as a hint that I don't want to talk to you. You can leave me alone. I'm not forcing you to talk to me."

At this point, Donny, Ki, Bryan, and Andrew are all watching this guy.

He keeps yelling for a bit and continues to be drunk. He does finally wander off, mostly because his friend dragged him away. On the way out, he's blocking the exit. I hang back, avoiding him as much as possible. DM tries to pass and politely says, "Excuse me."

He sways away and as she walks past, he rams into her. "OH! EXCUSE YOU!"

She replies, "I said excuse me."

His reply (which I'm a bit glad I didn't hear at the time, because explaining to my boss why I was arrested for beating up a drunk does not sound plausible:

Me: Well, I was arrested.
Her: For what?
Me: Kicking a drunk man in the head.
Her: Why?
Me: 'Cause he was rude.
Her: Yeah. We need to re-evaluate your employment here.): YOU TAKE UP A LOT OF SPACE.

DM reacts, "You're kind of an @$$!" We leave. Kind of was not needed. He was an ass.

The previous Tuesday, I was at another local bar, a place some of us go to after work on Tuesdays once a month. It's a nice place, quiet and doesn't do a ton of business on week nights. It's a sports bar without the sports and really makes money by serving great food. (I took my dad there for Father's Day and we each loved the food.)

After the bar closed, a few of us ended up talking in the parking lot. Not too long had passed and there were two of us left. Ben, one of my bankers, and I were there for about two hours. (Yes, yes, loitering. Bad us.)

A cop pulled through the lot, looked at us and knew we were not drunk and just waved as he drove by. He probably heard us talking shop and figured we were harmless (true.)

A man is wandering back and forth. He has a bleach blonde mullet. Ripped jeans and a wife beater complete his outfit and he sways up and down the sidewaks. I figure he was a patron of the other local bar, the one across the street from the bar we had visited.

He's walking in our direction, not towards us, but needs to pass by. He looks at Ben, makes eye contact (Ben hasn't learned yet...), and then puts his hands up in the air, as if to say, "Don't shot me!"

Ben replies to me, after the man is out of earshot and eyesight, "He was odd. He put his hands up like he was telling me he wouldn't shoot me. Which makes me think he was going to shoot me but decided not to."

Within 15 minutes, another man is seen wobbling across the street. He is walking with a bike and using it as a walker. He is upset about something and apparently the building he had consumed so much of the intoxicating beverages he must have had was to blame. It took him a good seven minutes to make it all the way past the building. He was no where near us, didn't look at us, and there were no other people to be seen. His ranting escalated and he kept yelling, "You're jealous! You p*ssy @$$ b*tch! You're jealous of my bike! Yeah. I've got a bike. Ha! You think that I don't like my bike, you PAB (abbreviation - I like it. I might start using this.)!" This repeats and I try not to giggle.

And then, it was Sunday. Time for karaoke. Normally the insanity comes at the end of the night. No such luck this evening.

We walk into the Chalet to be greeted by Justin. There is only 8 people total in the bar. (Justin, Andrew, Adam, Bobby, the pulltab lady, one other patron, and us.) Justin sees us and yells, "Ladies! Don't sit down! Don't sit down! This is a BAD party!"

Andrew and Bobby are already dealing with Justin. His antics are not funny in their eyes.

Cat Scratch Fever starts playing on the radio. "Cat Scratch Fever! Man Scratch Fever! Cat Scratch Fever! I'm jamming! This is my song!" He is bopping up and down.

Andrew tells him, "Justin. Come over here. Sit down. You've alreay fallen once."

"I've fallen 10 times!" He wears it like a badge of honor.

"Ladies! Look! Look! Are you looking?! Look!" We are staring at him the entire time. He starts to flail his arms in a rubber figure sort of way.

"Is this good?"

DM replies, "It is intriguing."

"Is this good?" He asks me.

I am trying to find the correct thing to say. Finally I say, "In comparison to some things, yes. (Like death or being beaten with a stick.) In comparison to others, no."

"I'm a dick! I'm a hot dick!" We seriously lose it here. Bryan walks in and is in instant bouncer mode.

Justin tells us, about Andrew trying to get him to leave, "He's pissed. Should I tell him?"

DM says, "I think he knows."

They do get him outside and Bobby suggests locking the doors. I guess they called him a cab, he refused to get in, and tried to get back to his car to drive home. They call the cops and he takes off. The cops later find him passed out at a local car dealership. He is arrested. The cop shows up (he was very tall) and takes statements from Bryan and Andrew.

The rest of the night was nice and peaceful.

But I swear, I have a habit of finding colorful characters. And they're not all found at bars. I run into them at the river, shopping, and at Perkins. I meet them with DM or without her. How do I make this stop?

Monday, June 26, 2006

Neglect (updated)

Why does it feel like I'm completely neglecting my need for blogging? Hmmm. I don't know. I used to write something, anything, daily.

Besides running into freaks and pranking bankers at work, I haven't been up to too much as of late. I've got Adobe Photoshop up and running on my computer and have been playing with it quite a bit. Flickr is now a much click daily site for me, which is not all that surprising considering my addictive personality.

There are stories from the weekend to tell, like going to karaoke and seeing another said "freak", but I'm not in the mood to write all of that story up yet. I still have to write about Thursday. Dang nabbit! Today, I went to the dentist (yuck!) and had my teeth cleaned and x-rays taken.

I opened my mouth (literally - that's not that funny, but is making me laugh for some absurd reason) and mentioned this odd sensation I have with my front tooth. In October, I had problems with a tooth feeling like there was pressure on it. It was a tooth the dentist had recently worked on and so today they took x-rays. Sure enough, the trauma from the work managed to, um, kill the nerve and now I have a two appointment root canal scheduled for Mondays. Not fun. Not fun in the least.

After the dentist, I headed to my dad's to pick up laundry and then Sarah called to hang out. Seems she misses me! I miss her too. There is quite a bit of pride inside of me for her, for all my bankers really, and I love the fact that even though she has been promoted and is moving forward with her career, she still feels close to our team and me. It makes me think I'm doing something right.

Sarah and I headed to the Como Zoo Conservatory and managed to have about 35 minutes there before it closed. (Oops. Who knew the zoo would close at 6 during the summer? That's just crazy talk.) I got a few cool pictures and I've been getting them ready for uploading.

We then headed to Old Chicago for some food and conversation. We ordered way too much food and then Char & Tom called. They were interested in purchasing a pool cue and wanted some advice. I went with and they picked up a nice McDermott. I dropped Sarah off at her car (she's working days and gets tired faster than we do) and met Char and Tom at another pool hall for them to try out the new stick. It was a good time.

On the photography front, I wanted to share some new things. As I mentioned above, I've learned a few things about Photoshop now and also have had a little bit of success with a couple of pictures on Flickr.

I took this picture today:
yellow flower macro
It is my first real attempt at taking a macro shot and I rather enjoyed the colors. The flower, which seems like it should be a sunflower but is way too small for that, had such great yellows on it. I posted this picture in a few groups on Flickr and have done OK. Out of 50, I ended up receiving a score of 35.5 in a score me group. Any comments you have about the picture are welcomed. I am really trying to improve my photography skills because I figure better pictures will make better scrapbooks.

Update: This photo made it into the interestingness pool on Flickr! I'm so happy. It has had over 100 views in one day. Kind of cool.

Flickr has an Explore page and it ranks the 500 most interesting pictures each day. Some of the pictures in this category are absolutely phenomenal. Some are unique enough to get a lot of hits and comments. This is my first picture to ever make it into the group. It made #238 on June 12. I'm a bit proud of it. The grape leaf is in my dad's backyard.

Grape Leaf

I'm really not sure what I think of this picture. It wasn't a great shot to begin with, but then I played with it in Photoshop, did a chalk & charcoal filter on it and then posterized the shot. Might be a bit better than the original, but I'm not sure.
posterized cc red rose

This is my first real attempt at picking one part of the picture to leave color in. Does it work?
Red Flower with black and white background

Look! I was able to make the horizon straight!
adjusted horizon of lake superior

This was an interesting process. I first used a tool to outline the flower only. I selected the inverse and removed the color and then played with the highlights/shadows/midtones and saturation for the grass. I added back a different green to the blades. Then I did a minor color correction of the flower. Is the composition good? What do you think overall of the shot? (Originally taken before grabbing a bite to eat with DM at a place called Panino's. Did I ever blog anything about that?)

Yellow Flower

That's enough for tonight. Constructive criticism about the pictures is welcomed (here or on Flickr). Thanks everyone!

Monday, June 19, 2006

I'm Not Old Enough for This!

Earlier this week, I was a bit stressed. I'll admit that. During the stressful time, I didn't sleep well and when I did sleep, I had a dream that I found a gray hair.

Tonight, at karaoke, I mention this to DM and tell her, "I'm thinking I'm going to find a gray hair soon."

I didn't think it would be two hours later while washing my hands in the bathroom at the Chalet.

It's traumatic!

When I got home, I inspected closer.

It multiplied already. I'm 27 and I'm find gray hair.

Pictures to come.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father's Day

My dad is a father that my friends always wanted. Even if they had a great father, they all wanted my dad as a dad.

Little kids at stores lose attention from what they are doing when my dad is around and they start to walk towards him. It's like they can see how good he is.

My dad loves to make bad jokes. One of his favorites is:
Rene Descartes walks into a bar. The bartender says, "Do you want a beer?" He replies, "I think not," and disappears.

Last Monday, he was mocking David Caruso on CSI: Miami. He said, "I'm too dramatic for my socks. I'm too dramatic for my [pause to figure something out] underwear. [Pause] That didn't work so well."

My dad listens too good music. His favorite timeframe, if I had to guess, would be the late 70's rock era. Not long he surprised me when he bought Pat Benetar's greatest hits. He likes rock. Janis, the Doors, Ozzy. That style.

He always has projects for himself. He grows grapes, gooseberries, and elderberries in his backyard so he can make wine. He teaches himself computer programs.

He likes good movies. He is a Humphrey Bogart fan and this is why I've seen The African Queen as many times as I have. He introduced me to Dr. Strangelove (or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb). He doesn't care what critics think.

He makes good food. He doesn't try to make creative looking meals or experiment with flavors. He knows what he likes and makes it. The food is always simple and delicious.

My dad supports me and pushes me in the right directions. As I grew up, he set clear expectations and allowed me to make my own decisions. He guided me and gave me good directions to follow. He set a great example.

He likes to golf. A lot. And he likes to watch golf. (This is the time of year I don't get over to his house as early on Sundays...)

My dad enjoys wearing fun shirts. He liked the flamingo shirt I bought for him in Vegas.

He likes to smile and he does it often. He doesn't mind being silly.

And today I will take him out to dinner (he chose a sports bar nearby to our places) and I'll enjoy his company and it will be a great day. I love him very much and am very grateful to have such a wonderful father.

Dad SillyDadDad

previous posts about my father: Daddy's Little Girl Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

Happy Father's Day to all you dads out there!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The A-Z Meme

I’ve seen this on various blogs over the past few months and I thought I’d give it a shot.

accent: Midwestern, but I can turn on the Minnesotan accent pretty heavily
booze: Rarely. When I do drink, I like things that taste nothing like alcohol so usually top shelf vodka is involved
chore I hate: Laundry, dusting, taking out the trash. I love to organize, but that usually ends up making more a mess.
dogs/cats: I prefer dogs to cats. I don’t understand cats in the slightest. There is something so sweet about a dog that will curl up and you can see some dogs thinking about how to be good. I just like how personalities in the different dogs our family have had are so unique. All cats seem to do the same thing.
essential electronics: Laptop. iPod. Cell phone. Digital camera. I would have said DVD player years ago.
favorite perfume/cologne: I have been known to wear a scent called Design, but I rarely put it on.
gold/silver: White gold. The one piece of jewelry I wear consistently is my dad’s old wedding ring and it is made out of white gold.
hometown: I spent the first five years of my life in Raymond, IA. I tend to call Fridley, MN my hometown due to the fact that I went to school there. Friendly Fridley. Yeah, that’s right.
insomnia: Only when I’m truly stressed out. Recent events at work have disturbed my sleep a little.
job title: Call Center Supervisor. I usually have about 20 direct reports.
kids: 0. I’ll keep it that way for quite some time too. Thank you very much.
living arrangements: One bedroom apartment in the ‘burbs. The upstairs people are terribly loud all the time and I'm 99.99% positive my newest neighbors like the reefer quite a bit.
most admired trait: Loyal. I am fiercely loyal to my friends. Don’t cross them. It won’t be pretty.
number of sexual partners: I’m not going to answer this.
overnight hospital stays: As far as I know, only one. I think that I spent one night in a hospital when I was born. I just remember that Mom was happy I was born before midnight because if not, she would have to pay for another day in the hospital.
phobia: heights, spiders, water, walking down staircases
quote: “The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little bit extra.” - Unknown
religion: Agnostic with atheist tendencies.
siblings: Do the dogs count? No. Well, then none.
time I usually wake up: The alarm goes off at 12:30 PM. I usually hit the snooze until sometime around 1:30.
unusual talent: I can read upside-down. I can kick really high with my right leg. I also have the unusual ability to talk to someone for an hour and pick up all of their gestures and manner of speaking.
vegetable I refuse to eat: Refuse? I don’t know. I’ve never really been forced to eat a certain vegetable. I don’t really like olives, but I think they’re actually a fruit, aren’t they? I know olives grow on trees. Hmmm.
worst habit: Getting sucked into surfing the Internet for hours on end. Playing a computer game until it bores me to death and then still playing. These are both probably spawned from my addictive personality. If I find something I get a little enjoyment in, I jump in with both feet and don’t bother to check the water level.
x-rays: Dental. And I think one when I broke my finger.
yummy foods I make: I pour a mean Coca~Cola.
zodiac sign: Scorpio. So I’m loyal and passionate. And I can hold a grudge until the day we both die.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Scene from Karaoke, Thursday, June 8

Sitting alone, waiting for the perpetually late DM (blame the cab this time) and Liz to show up, I am writing in my notebook a post about our adventures in Wisconsin, and the bar is packed. I found the one open table and claimed it, refusing to get up and lose the space and chairs.

I am content to listen to the singers, some good, some unmentionable, and write in my notebook. The Coca~Cola, no ice, sits in front of me and I avoid eye contact with the creepy, greasy old man sitting at the bar staring at my chest.

A woman walks over, I've seen her before but can't remember anything unique about her, and she hovers over the table. "Can I sit here?"

I have three chairs - one of DM, one for Liz, and one for a possible James that may show up. (In fact, Char and Tom both showed a little later so I needed even more chairs.) I respond, politely, "I have people coming."

She sits down. "They're not here now." How observant.

She starts talking to me. This involves her touching my arm and I want to scream. I don't like being rude and since this woman seemed interested in my writing, I closed the notebook, putting it away from her eyes.

Her name is Nancy. I tell her my name and she starts singing that horrible song by Kiss. She touches my arm, leaving her hand on my bicep as she laughs over, "Oh Beth, what can I do?" I want to reply, "Leave." I make no qualms about my opinion of the song. It is not romantic. It is a song about a guy who wants to go out all night and party and leave the girl at home. You know what would happen if that was my life? His possessions would be on the lawn and the locks would be changed. That's what you can do.

Nancy tries another topic of conversation. "My boyfriend's incapacitated." A man lying in a hospital, white sheet tucked in, while the machines beep because he is comatose comes to mind. Instead, she says, "He's in jail."

Did she mean incarcerated? Somehow, I feel that she chose the word incapacitated intentionally. She proceeds to say, "He has a $100,000 bail. He's in there for awhile."

What the heck did he do? The question is on my mind. So I asked.

As it turns out, she explains to me that he is an alcoholic, "You know what I mean, right?" I want to say no, I have not dated an alcoholic because I refuse to put myself through that crap and I value myself more than that, but I keep my mouth shut. I doubt I would have said anything of value at that point since she felt the need to touch my thigh as she said this and I wanted to climb up the wall away from her.

He's an angry alcoholic. Again, "You know what I mean, right?" He wanted to go to the casino and she figured since Minnesota casinos do not serve liquor on the floor, it was a good idea. She pulled up to the valet and jumped out the car. She was at the cash machine before she realized he wasn't there and headed back looking for him.

She finds the valet refusing to move the car because he is passed out in the passenger seat. (What I wonder is how she got away from the car to begin with. I've been to this casino, used this valet service (back in my earlier twenties it was fun to go to the casinos with friends) and they don't just wander up to abandoned cars and park them. Tickets are involved.) The valet is telling her that he is too drunk to bring into the casino. Nancy decides to get back in the car and look for parking herself.

The valets follow her to a spot and tell her that she can't just leave him passed out in the car. She ignores them and heads into the casino, leaving him behind.

A few minutes later, a man approaches her in the casino, asking her to come outside. She is put in the front seat of a cop car and told that her boyfriend is being arrested. For attempting to strangle her.

This is where I figured she would start referring to him as ex-boyfriend. She doesn't. She is talking about how nice it is to be free and not tied down (and I wonder how literal she is with this). Then she tells me that he didn't try to strangle her at the casino.

The police tell her that it doesn't matter what she says about it, there are security cameras that show him doing it.

She then starts to tell me how much it sucks that he's locked up and how lonely she is. This is where I feel like strangling her.

Do you think I could be a character witness for him?

When the rest of the group arrived, she didn't leave. She continued to sit at our table until after Char and Tom left. It was insane. And her eyes. Serial killer, for sure. Liz commented, "When she looks at me, I wonder if she's thinking, 'Would it take only 4 stabs or 8?'" There was no soul behind those eyes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Today's Post Brought to You By the Letter T

Teri posted a meme not too long ago that she found from Barry. He gave her a letter of the alphabet and she had to come up with 10 things that started with the letter that described her. I asked to play along and she assigned me the letter "T." If you'd like to play, please ask and I'll assign you a letter.

Here goes tsomething:

1. Teacher - While I'm not a trainer, but a supervisor, I spend much of my time at work teaching new things to bankers over and over. I have always enjoyed learning (it doesn't really matter what the subject is) and I love sharing what I've learned.

2. Timely - I live by clocks. It's a curse and a blessing. I am rarely ever late for anything and while I can cram for a deadline like a pro, I usually make the deadline.

3. Trustworthy – I like to think so and my friends confirm it. I am fiercely loyal to my friends and they know they can call on me anytime to help out. I figure that friends are the most important thing, a lifeline if you must, and being able to share your thoughts and feelings is very important. It is also important to know that you won’t be judged for thinking on thing or another. Teasing, yes, judging, no. There is a vast difference.

4. Ticklish – extremely. This fact is known too well at work. The problem is that I’m ticklish to the point that I don’t even need to be touched to giggle. The thought of being tickled makes me laugh. There are quite a few in my social and work circles that know this fact and will torture me by moving their index finger in the tickle motion when I’m looking their way and I lose it. One thing to note though, if I’m in a bad mood, it will not make me laugh but put me in a worse mood. And if the person is creepy, it really doesn’t work in the slightest.

5. Technical – DM brought this one up and I agreed. One of the benefits of being a Gen Y’er is the fact that electronics, wires, and technology comes easily. My whole life was spent learning how to use something for it to be obsolete in two years. My television is ancient (my parents gave it to me when I was 12 I think) and it doesn’t have the outlets to plug in even a VCR. But I have overcome this dilemma and managed to hook up a surround sound system, a VCR (amazing that I still have one), DVD player, and two game systems to it. They all work. The odd part? I don’t ever turn any of them on. Whoops. DM thought technical because of the blog. When we started out, I had no clue how to even create a link in a post. I like Blogger because it allows me to learn as I go and I don’t have to know any HTML to create anything. On the flip side, Blogger also allows customization and the more you want to learn, the more you can experiment with. I’ve changed my template many times, created a custom border, figured out how to post multiple pictures (I adore Flickr. Seriously), created my own drop down menus, and picked up a few codes in HTML along the way. At work, I can usually fix fairly simple tech problems without the use of the tech department. This comes in handy working nights since our tech guy and gal are usually day walkers. Another thing DM mentioned about the technical side of my personality is the changes I’ve done to pictures using Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0. I do really like some of the images I’ve created with this program.

6. Transporter – as in DM’s karaoke chauffer. I do make her take a cab on Thursdays because I work until close those nights, but otherwise I end up being the driver. I don’t have exclusive rights to this title and Keem definitely qualifies as the full-time chauffer, being DM’s roommate and co-worker. While I love being able to chat with DM in the car and the after karaoke continues until we reach her place (usually recaps of the evening (read as DM saying, “James this. James that. James, James, James, James… OMG, Did I? James, James, James…”)), I don’t relish the drive home during the hours where more drunks are on the road alone. I stay quite alert and aware, believe me you.

7. Teller – this has multiple meanings. My first position at NABABNA is the most obvious meaning. I started right out of high school in the teller position, cashing people’s checks, processing deposits, having a smile on my face at all times, and counting piles of money (which is utterly disgusting, BTW). The less obvious meaning, but the one I prefer, is a teller of stories. Fiction is not my bag and I’m not much of a writer, however; I like telling stories. It’s one of the driving forces behind having a blog and I do enjoy sharing funny events and stories. It goes back to my teenage dreams of being a reporter (ha!) and I just love to hear a good story from others.

8. Timid – yes, timid. There are a couple of examples of this in my personality. The first being when people I don’t want to talk with approach me and try to start a conversation. I tend to look to my friends and associates to help me find a tactful way out of the interaction. I tried to overcome this part of my personality last night at karaoke. A man approached me and told me (whispering it at me in fact) that he was trying to make his girlfriend jealous. I was assertive (proud of me!) and told him that he should talk to her, not me, because I just don’t care. He told me that he was going to give a girl his phone number and I stated, “Don’t give it to me. I don’t want it.” The other part of being timid comes from when I do like a guy, seriously interested – not just for fun, and I turn into a babbling idiot. Case in point – when I was interested in the boy (dear God, that was so bad), I managed to open my mouth and talk about enemas, rectals, and male lactation. Why? Why?!?

9. Team leader – Throughout my entire life, I've always been elected as a leader of a group. Report cards in elementary school would have comments of "Class Leader" and it was natural for me to be chosen as the captain of every bowling team I was on. At the branch, I was put in charge on weekends when our lead teller was not working. And now, I am in a position where I help lead people and try to motivate them to perform their best each and every day.

10. Thinker - I put this on the list to represent the logical part of my thought processes. There are times when I just find myself lost in thought, trying to figure out all the different angles of a problem.

And even more T phrases/words that work, especially today:
Temptress – As according to one of the men at karaoke. This seems like the oddest title I’ve been given yet. But to some, I guess I’m irresistible. Now, if I could only have that affect on the ones that are not young, immature, barely making minimum wage, and living with their parents. Yeah. But I’m a temptress. I need a shirt. Red with black glitter lettering. Can’t you just see it? I hope you can, because I can’t.

Two Years: Today is my two year anniversary of having a blog. It started simply enough; it was just a way to comment on DM’s posts. Now it seems to be a monster that has taken over a piece of my life but a happy monster, none-the-less. Since starting a blog, I’ve had the joy of meeting three different bloggers and two of those still seem to post. (One may have disappeared off the face of the planet.)

When I thought about the two year anniversary, I thought back to two years ago. My life was extremely different and I guess all the changes are really for the better. Two years ago, I was counting down the last month of my lease with Adam and his boyfriend, [aka roommate who I didn’t sign up for and who never paid rent – but then that wasn’t the agreement. Respect? You mean I live here too? What an effing concept!] It took quite a bit of time for me to acknowledge that the entire situation was unhealthy, denying to realize that being treated the way I was should never have happened. That’s a topic I don’t like to delve into here and probably won’t go into much detail today. What I can say with strength is that someone mentioned Adam to me the other day (one of the joys of working in the same call center and my staying after his leaving) and my reply was, “We no longer communicate with each other. And my life is much happier because of it.”

But now I live by myself, I don't talk to him any more, and there is a large community of friends that I can trust. I miss one of the friends of that time, someone who still spies on me reads my blog, however; I'm happy with my social circle now. DM and I go to karaoke twice a week and see those people who I've come to think of as an extended family. I know Char and her husband, Tom. I am a supervisor at NABABNA now and my team has become a passion of mine. Life is pretty good.

So, being an anniversary post, I have to do some highlights, right? I don't know if it is right, but here it goes. The last year has brought to me:

There's the infamus questions for an interview that I never did ask during the process of hiring a team lead. For some reason, this one still makes me smile: My team lead needs to have the skills to tell me stories, complete with hand gestures. Go.

I hired Steve, the amazing team lead whom I couldn't work without.

DM and I headed to Tomah, Wisconsin to meet a fellow blogger (whose blog has mysteriously disappeared. Bummer.)

In July, I had a camera stolen, bought a new one, and went to a fun party (that had children there!). There was more, but I'm not linking to all of it.

In August, Char left for Texas. DM and I ended up trapped in the Chalet twice because of the police and crime happening outside. Then September came and I took another class online. There was more again, but let's move on to October. I had a birthday and interviewed some candidates for banker positions that were less than qualified. In November, I had dinner with my family on my dad's side and that just wasn't fantastic. At least it is only once a year. I also fell and banged up my knee pretty badly. In December, the holiday spirit was strong and one of my favorite moments was walking into work and finding my cube filled with balloons and personal notes from the bankers on my team. It really was a lot of fun.

And that's all I'm doing of the trip down memory lane. I don't really feel like going further with it.

I made the mistake of asking for a bit of help with the T words last night at karaoke. While DM did come up with some good ones, the others were little help. At least it was funny. One of the men at the table (the odd Craig who has been known to stare at my chest, stroking his moustache, and calling me “Elizabeth” after I told him that it wasn’t my name) kept coming up with any word that started with T, not understanding the concept in the slightest. I believe he said, “Testicular cancer.” To which Bryan replied, “No, this is about Beth. But I have a T word for you. Tourette Syndrome.”

Sunday, June 04, 2006

What Should We Name This Place? Well, let's see. C, eh, N, eh, D, eh Part Three

For parts one and two, click away or scroll down.

Once we left Canada, we were still faced with a long drive home (approximately 7 hours without stops) and a few sights that we really wanted to see. The weather was even better at this point in the trip and we were driving with Lake Superior to our left in the daylight. Would we be able to visit all the places we skipped on the way up while it was still light out? Would I make it home before crashing completely from lack of sleep? Would DM stay awake in the car? These were all questions we had.

We stopped almost immediately after crossing the border (which was quick and painless - I guess Canada didn't want to keep us). There was a gas station and it was a good idea to fill up the tank at this point. Inside the station, there was a giant stuffed wild turkey. It was absolutely hideous and DM took a picture or two of it while I used the facilities. I did upload it to DM's photostream on Flickr, but I won't be posting it here. Maybe you can get her to post the ugly turkey on her site sometime soon. We hit the road, planning on driving for at least two hours. [*Insert laughter here.*]

No sooner had we been back on the road than we found an overlook. I suppose, looking back, that it was not an actual reststop, but we decided to pull over. A truck drove by and honked at us yet again (why did people keep honking at us?!?) as we took pictures of the lake from this vantage point. It trul was a sight to be seen.

Overlook near Border (31)
Overlook near Border (19)

We got back in the car after about ten minutes at this stop. I thought we'd push through until we reached Split Rock Lighthouse, but again, we needed to stop. There was talk about finding another wayside stop and the next one we found happened to be Cutface Creek. While not as spooky during the light hours, I still found it rather humorous that we stopped at a place called Cutface Creek twice during a two day trip. At this stop, the facility was used again (this time by DM) and I unpacked the laptop one last time until we got home. We uploaded the pictures we had both taken since leaving Kakabeka Falls and since we kept snaping while we drove down the road, there were quite a few pictures to upload. I also got out the tripod and got a couple of pictures of the two of us at Cutface Creek.

Beth and Dana at Cutface Creek
Beth and Dana at Cutface Creek (1)

"Moving right along," we found yet another stop. We didn't linger here, but we did appreciate the rapid of Cross River and each enjoyed getting the most out of our cameras during the trip. A trip for bowling quicky turned into a trip all about water. Cross River leads into Lake Superior (like most of the river and rapids and falls we saw south of the border) and there was a story about a preacher who ended up in this area years ago. I don't know about the story, but I liked the views of the rapids. The churning water was a great sight and sometime I think a longer trip to Canada will allow DM and I to explore some of these little spots in more detail.

Cross River (6)
Clouds at Cross River The weather was beautiful.

Our next stop was Split Rock Lighthouse. DM paid the fee to park in the state park and we wandered up to the lighthouse. For some reason, Split Rock Lighthouse is a place that most Minnesotans will instantly associate with the North Shore and even without knowing the history of the place (I did go on a guided tour of it years ago as a kid but really cannot remember all the details. I just remember that the inside of the lighthouse was really, really boring) people will have fond memories of being at the lighthouse and looking out onto the Great Lake.

We took pictures of the lighthouse, the view of Lake Superior, and the surroundings. Before a highway was built, the lighthouse sat on top of the rocks, commanding and directing ships into the shore. It was shut off from society and supplies were transported up the rocks by a tram (basically a pulley system). There have been some amazing pictures of the view over the years and I remember postcards from my childhood that I was just fascinated at how the lake would freeze in violent patterns of waves hitting the shore, or how the lighthouse stood solid against the elements in storms raging over the water. The weather was much nicer for DM and I and we really just got to have a great view of the lake.

After standing by the lighthouse, we wandered down a trail. I got a bit ahead of DM and instead of waiting, I thought I'd check out the tram (now a series of stairs going down the rock). I was halfway down the tram, taking pictures of the lighthouse when I finally heard DM yell, "Beth?" I shouted back and she decided to stay up top. The hike back up the stairs is quite a workout, but worth the view. Once back up, we wandered to the car and headed away from the park.

We were not even back to the main road when DM exclaimed, "Oh!" There were three deer eating leaves just to our left. I stopped the car and we took a few pictures of the deer before they wandered into the brush and were gone. It was a nice sight.

Split Rock Lighthouse up close (4)
Split Rock Lighthouse up close (16)
Split Rock Lighthouse from Tram landing (9)
Split Rock Lighthouse from Tram landing (10)
View from Lighthouse (7)
View from Lighthouse (39) Doesn't the shore look like a lazy alligator?
The Tram (1)
The Tram
Deer at Split Rock (2)

Our last planned stop was Gooseberry Falls. The light was starting to fade and when it was going to be gone, it was going to be gone quick. We were worried about making it to the falls in time. Split Rock had already been closed for tours and guides, and we figured that we might not have enough time at the falls. We were in the car, talking about skipping the falls and heading home when I said, "Unless we approach the park within the next thirty seconds, I think we'll need to go home," and sure enough, we see the sign for the park.

Gooseberry Falls is another state park and a brilliant sight. There are actually three sets of falls (I think there are three) and one can walk across the falls at one point. The light was going fast and we only visited the lower falls. I would really love to go again during the fall and see the leaves changing colors and explore all of the falls.

I had brought the tripod to this location and was glad that I did. It gave me a chance to leave a longer exposure on the camera without the hand jitters and with the fading light, it really helped capture some images that I'm quite proud of. We were close enough to the falls at some points to feel the mist and it was getting quite cool. Pictures were taken, moments of silence while we were lost in thought were had, and we decided it was time to hit the road again.

Beth at Gooseberry Falls path
Dana at Gooseberry Falls, sitting (3)
Gooseberry Falls (5)
Gooseberry Falls
Gooseberry Falls
Gooseberry Falls (51)
Gooseberry Falls (35)

It was getting late and it was time to push on through to home. Without any stops, we were looking at being home around 1 AM. We did end up driving through Duluth, opting to eat at Hinckley, a city along I-35 with a large casino that I've visited a few times before. I refused to stop for gambling, telling DM, "We've had such a great trip, I think we used up all of our luck." She commented about how we had seen 7 deer and this was lucky. I mentioned how I managed to look at the odometer for the trip when the milage read a triple six point six. She agreed that we didn't need to gamble, and my main concern was really the time. I was getting tired and could use a lot of caffeine or pay for yet another hotel room.

We ate at Tobie's, a little restaurant that has always been a favorite of casino goers. I remember stopping for pastries after any trip during college. The big winner each time would treat the others to a bear claw or turtle or some other sweet tooth goodie. Tobie's is not what it used to be. The food, while edible, was nothing to write home about. We each had 1/2 lbs cheese burgers with cajun seasoning. The burgers were in no way close to the porkchops for flavor or heat. I had ordered mine with coleslaw, foregoing the french fries (which I don't really enjoy). Instead, I was brought a burger and fries by our server. I asked again about the coleslaw and she said she had forgotten it, but would be right out. Ten minutes later, I asked again. I don't know why I bothered to ask the third time, but at that point, I just wanted her to do her job correctly.

The most bothersome part of the meal came when she brought the bill and charged me for the fries and coleslaw and I had never ordered or touched the fries. So we ended up disputing the order at the register and the servers complained that they needed the manager to come out to waive off the minute price of the fries. I guess he doesn't trust his employees to get it right and I just said, "I don't care. I'll pay the money to get out of here." We were back on the road and no longer looking forward to ever visiting Tobie's again.

We made it home finally (I think it was after 2:30 or 3 - I can't remember) and we both crashed. The next day, we got up and went to my mom's for waffles (Yum!) and then it was karaoke time. We had a great time telling our adventures and it was good to be back home, rested up and ready to tell our stories on our blogs.

Still to come, a bit about our adventures in Wisconsin and whatever it was that we did on Friday. What the heck did we do on Friday? Oh yeah, we went to see the lake by my house and out to dinner. Thursday was karaoke, Friday was the lake, Saturday and Sunday was Wisconsin, Sunday night was karaoke, and Monday was dinner at another new restaurant. I will be posting about the lake, Wisconsin, and our Monday night dinner. One of these days.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

I Don't Know How To Feel About This

For some completely random reason, I have a MySpace account. So does DM. I signed up months ago and never did anything with it. If my memory serves me correctly, I signed up because I didn't know what it was.

All this aside, I don't really care about the account. At all. But I went on the other night because DM recently signed up to chat with her sister and I realized I had an account. I added my high school to the list and in two days, I now have two new friends. They are both people I went to high school with.

The first is a guy named Dana, which I only clicked the link because I thought it was DM. He stabbed me in the hand with a pencil in first grade. This is what I remember about him. I still have the piece of pencil in my left palm.

The other is a girl that I was friends with in eighth grade. Funny enough, I've written here about her twice. See these posts: Bike Riding, Summer, and Being a Stalker's Best Friend and The Lengths One Goes For a Friend.

I'm kind of creeped out by MySpace. Is that wrong? And the other odd part, the people I found from high school? All of the women have children (except one). I'm not supposed to be old enough for all my old friends to have children. Don't get me wrong, children are great for those who want them and maybe some day I will, but it just seems so early. Eke!