A Blue State of Mind

"The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams." Oprah

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Location: The Western U.S, United States

I spent 48 years caring about what people thought of me. I'm not spending the rest of my life caring about that anymore!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


What are your New Years food traditions? I was over at Jeni's and she's listed her dinner traditions and it got me thinking about our yearly food traditions and I thought I'd share my family's.

Our NY's meal actually begins about two days before with buying the ingredients, and because most of the food takes hours to cook, we try to cook the ones that required longer cooking time first. Here's a quick prep lesson for you:

Tamales-depending on how many you're making, you'll need an ample supply of dried corn husks that have soaked in warm water, rib-eyed or shank roasts and pork-either chops or pork butt. The meat is cooked slowly with seasonings of salt, pepper, jalepeno and chili colorado. The masa is made from ground hominy and lard and spread over the damp husks. The cooked meat along with optional olives is added, then it's rolled and steamed approx 15-20 mins. Best eaten right out of the steamer.

Chitlins-hog intestines, these require removing left over waste and fat before cooking. After this lengthy process the chitlins are boiled approx 4-6 hours in salted water with onion, bell pepper, garlic, black or white pepper and optional whole potatoes.

Greens-mustard or turnip-a piece of meat with pepper (my family loves serrano chiles) is boiled appox two hours or until tender and the greens added until VERY tender. Traditionally ham hocks is the meat of choice but salt pork, bacon, pork butt, beef or turkey can substitute the fatty meats.

Black-eyed peas-pretty much follow the same recipe as the greens. I personally hate black-eyed peas which shortens this narrative:-)

Seafood gumbo-consists of king crab legs, okra (yecck), chicken, red potatoes, and other assorted seafood.

Cornbread-nothing new here.

Cornish Game hen-ditto

We eat twice. The first meal is after "Watch Service" where we go to church and have a lengthy praise service and right about midnight we pray the new year in. After that it's hugging and celebrating or more praising then we come home and eat one of the above-listed items, saving the rest for the actual, very relaxed dinner. Sometimes members of the church come over and we all have the NY's meal that night and sit around and watch movies are just enjoy each other.

Whatever you're eating or not eating tonight or tomorrow, be safe and have fun!

All The Leaves Are Brown....

...and the sky is gray. I went for a walk on a winter's day. While the skies are more cloudy than gray it's another beautiful day in Boise. Yesterday a bunch of us crowded into my brother's truck and went looking at homes and townhomes. We started about 12 noon and finally finished up at 5:15.

I'm looking for a single story with about 3 bedrooms, 2 bath and not too much yard to maintain. My ideal is a single storied townhome or condo but the properties we looked at yesterday were all two or three storied. I'm also looking for a central location close to my brother's church and the rest of the fam that's here although they're pretty much spread throughout the city.

I didn't know home shopping could take so much out of you. By the time we got to the last property most of the gang stayed in the truck, they were so tired of looking and getting out and trudging around properties. I saw some great properties but I'm keeping a cool head and want to start with something small-a starter house if you will, then work myself up but WARNING: SELF PITY COMMENT AHEAD! why should I look for anything bigger than a basic house when no one will be there but me and my soon to come eight cats? Yesterday I could imagine couples looking at those properties and contemplating where their children's rooms would be and all I could see was where my library would be. Okay, the moment has passed.

Yesterday, after all the looking around I went to a pawn shop. I've never been to a pawn shop before and it was nothing like what I've seen in movies or TV. This place had clothes, movies, electronics etc but the salespeople were not behind little cages. They were walking around like normal employees. AND the jewelry wasn't as cheaply priced as I thought they would be.

I want a tennis bracelet but don't want to pay full price so my brother suggested looking in pawn shops so that's what we did. We actually went to two pawn shops and I bought some DVDs at $3 each but like I mentioned earlier, the prices on the jewelry were higher than I imagined. Anyway, the tennis bracelet's just something I 'd like but don't need. As a truth, I don't wear rings or bracelets because my hands don't match my big body. WARNING: 2nd PITIFUL COMMENT COMING! Have you ever seen pictures of the circus Fat Lady and all the rings she stuffs on her short little fat fingers? Or the tiny bracelets so small on her wrists they threaten to cut her circulation? Well, I see my hands looking like that when I wear rings and bracelets so I don't wear it. I thought all the pitifulness was gone, sorry. Maybe because of the headache I'm feeling all pitiful.

I treated everyone to dinner for coming with me house-looking then we went to my little brother's hotel and vegged for a few hours then headed to my big brother's house where I promptly fell asleep.

This morning I awoke w/a killer headache. Hoping it would go away if I just relaxed didn't work so I popped some aspirin, cooked chopped turkey, eggs and cheese with a liberal heaping of cayenne pepper, put the coffee on and here I am looking out the window at the brown leaves and rapidly diminishing snow listening to iTunes.

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Farewell to the Cowboys 2008 Season

There are several things that I hate doing. Not because I'm lazy but because it's sometimes painful, humiliating and runs the risk of changing my relationships. Take watching football for instance. Regular readers to this site know I'm an avid Dallas Cowboy fan. Most of you know a game loss can really get me in a bad mood. You know that I scour the 'Net reading up on the 'Boys and following analysts commentaries (even though I don't agree w/most of 'em) on how the 'Boys can improve.

And I can spar with the best of 'em when it comes to defending the 'Boys because I've read up on them and know pretty much all the team's stats, star players, coach's blood type, home address, SS#. Um, maybe I shouldn't have told you all that. The point I'm making is that I know my stuff when it comes to the Dallas Cowboys.

Today I watched the Cowboys lose to the Eagles in one of the worst-played, highly anticipated, "win and you're in" games of ten seasons. I had to sit through that game, in my brother's living room and listen and watch as he and his wife laughed, shrieked, clapped, dance around and do everything short of headstands pretty much each time Tony Romo and the offense took to the field.

At the beginning of the game when it was 3-3, I was smug just sitting there rolling my eyes because I knew Romo would not let me down. And even though I despise some Dallas players, I didn't think, couldn't imagine everything I would be subjected to over the course of the next three 15 minute quarters.

And so now here I sit wondering how to release the brake fluid of my brother's Suburban so that when we go visiting tomorrow and he steps on the brakes in this ice....
Okay, maybe it's not that bad. Maybe I should just put itching powder on the bathroom tissue. Or maybe I can start a small fire around his Christmas tree. No! I got it! Vick's vapour rub in the crotch of his underwear.

While I'm thinking of ways to make them pay (cue scary music, give screeching witch laugh), I wanted to share pictures we took last night after bowling but Blogger's not allowing any pix tonight.

Bowling was fun. There were about ten of us and I scored an impressive 44 points. I'm getting really, really good at bowling. Who says black people don't bowl?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Holiday Update-Snow Everywhere!

How was your Christmas? Were you able to relax with family or friends, even if you had to work? We celebrated the birth of Christ and the fact that so many of our family were together again on Christmas. Funny how this year we had gatherings in Boise, Jacksonville, FL and Birmingham, AL. Except for my scrooge-related sister who remained alone in Phoenix, everyone was together at the above-listed locations.

There is snow everywhere here in Boise! Driving up on Christmas Eve we were almost snowed in twice. That experience just about killed me, I ain't lying. Before this trip I'd only seen snow fall twice in my adult life. So to actually have to drive in blizzard conditions was horrifying, not cool. But the Lord blessed my brother to keep a cool head and we kept coming because to pull over would have gotten us stuck 'til the plows ran through. And we made it!

Now I'm sitting in my brother's kitchen drinking hot coffee and watching the snow fall. Big, fluffy flakes. And even though it's late, most of the house is still asleep or quiet so this is the perfect time to update my emails and see what the rest of you are doing or have done.

I won't lie and say that this has been the merriest of Christmas because of my loss and I can't explain further because tears are threatening and I don't want to get down in the dumps this morning. So I'm gonna heat me up some of that turkey and mac and cheese, refill my mug visit the world.
Photo courtesy of Tobi2008

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Did You Know?

Don't know when I'll get back to posting, probably a few days. Just in case I don't get around to your site, I want to wish each of you a very merry Christmas. And I pray that God blesses you with the strength, courage and fervor to face the upcoming new year!

One of my favourite Christmas songs "Mary Did You Know" sung by Kenny Rogers

Mary, did you know
That your baby boy
Would someday walk on water?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Will save our sons and daughters?
Did you know
That your baby boy
Has come to make you new?
This child that you've delivered
Will soon deliver you.

Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Will give sight to a blind man?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Will calm the storm with his hand?
Did you know that your baby boy
Has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little baby
You've kissed the face of God.

The blind will see
The deaf will hear
The dead will live again
The lame will leap
The dumb will speak
The praises of the Lamb!
Mary did you know
That your baby boy Is
Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know
That your baby boy
Will one day rule the nations?
Did you know
That your baby boy
Is heaven's perfect Lamb?
This sleeping child you're holding
Is the Great I Am
Merry Christmas y'all!!

Walk A Day In My Shoes-End

Here it is, the finale of my average day. This post is after work so it is a quick read.
End of day and I'm heading out for the day. Depending upon how tired I am I will either stop at the grocery store for food to cook for lunch or meet w/JT and Maria to debrief and enjoy a late supper.
Most times though I'm heading home to wind down and relax. The 45 minute ride home is usually reduced to 35 minutes because traffic is lighter than the morning capacity. And you know something: no matter how light traffic is there are STILL idiot drivers! Don't they ever sleep? Or take the side streets?
I always, always drive home in the far right SLOW TRAFFIC lane because I'm just moseying and still fools get behind me, tailgating and when I slow down (because I always slow down) they change lanes then get right in front of me. How much sense does that make?! These inbred sheep murderers have the whole freeway to themselves yet they wanna bother me. Hence our high instances of road rage-people just don't act right.
My music, if I'm in the mood is mostly 91.5, Phoenix' only jazz station. It's on the NPR station that plays jazz from 8p-3a, then straight talk radio the rest of the time.
I love that ride home because that's the time to review what I've done, what I missed, replay conversations and directions given or to congratulate myself for another day I didn't tell someone what I really think about them/their presentation/their comments/dress/hair/shoes/family portrait/class schedule/pet's illness/weight gain or loss.
The remaining three or four hours of the night I'm thinking about me or reading new books or mags. One of my girlfriends turned me on to a mystery series by David Handler: The Berger/Mitry mysteries. They're really quite good if you like easy reading and geographical detail about the Northeast.
Then, it's sleepy time and it starts all over again. And so far I'm pretty grateful.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Walk A Day In My Shoes-4

Let's see, I've waken, cooked breakfast, showered and driven to work. This portion of my day takes place at work. It's pretty high level for security's sake but really it's just the internal dialogue I have about the job and people I work with rather than the specifics of the job. And a note to all my ADOT pals-especially Tim-sorry for blaming your dept for the speed cameras. Give me time, I'll find something to blame on your branch:-)

On any given day I have to pass through two security checkpoints to gain entrance to the building and there are cameras too. Each checkpoint requires a badge swipe and a badge should always be seen hanging from my clothing or I'm in violation.

Making my way to my work area I speak to whichever of the hundreds of people I pass, stopping to chat if needed or just the "Hey how are you?". I too work in a maze like collection of boring grey cubicles spread through two sections of buildings. We are given the freedom to decorate our desks any way we'd like as long as it's not scantily-clad people, political or anything that may offend someone. So walking to my desk I see lots of photos of families, pets, cars, and whatever kind of stuff people place on their desks.

My desk is sparsely decorated. I have three grey walls and a window. On the right wall I have a small year long calendar. On my left a magazine page of MLK and nothing on the center wall. I have two full sized monitors and a laptop but I seldom use the laptop's monitor because of the two monitors. I get a lot of inquiries as to why my desk doesn't have that 'lived in' look. My response is that too much stuff is distracting to me and I'd rather not display pictures of family like they were in a petting zoo.

On an average day I have from 28-37 emails waiting for me (I won't ck them from home) and receive more throughout the day. I should count them to see what the average is but it's not that big of a deal. I'm able to stay on top of emails and voice msgs. On a normal day I'm at my desk most of day however normal really is relevant. Just yesterday I spent five hours in meetings. I was getting text messages from my folks wondering if I was in or coming in. During a break in one of the meetings I was able to covertly text one leader and relay that I was in the building but in meetings.

These meetings. What can I say about these meetings? Are they all productive? No! Should I have to attend so many? No, but due to the upcoming layoffs the company leaders are feeding us information to take back to our teams in hopes of diminishing the panic that's gripped my dept since the initial layoff announcement. It ain't working.

I have three of my best leaders applying outside the company and two of them already have interviews scheduled! They're wanting me to tell them not to leave, that things may change and we won't be affected by the layoffs but I can't do that. I tell my people they have to make their decisions. I don't have a crystal ball to tell them who's going and who's staying. My main purpose for my folks is to keep them as focused on their performance as possible, to be that sounding post and to try and allay their fears and dispel rumours. And the rumours that have come out: "It's this dept first!" "No, it's that dept first, my best friend's daughter's boyfriend's cousin's baby sitter's fiance' works for a dentist who has a patient who works here. He told the dentist his dept is going first!" See what I'm up against?

And gets so overwhelming to me sometimes; constantly being asked "Have you heard anything yet?" "What's going to happen Jan 1st?" Or just dealing with the negativity and fear coming from my peers. I wish I could say it's not affecting me because I know that I'll move to Boise if I'm let go but it does. Sometimes their fear soaks over me like a leaking Mont Blanc pen in a crisp white Ermenegildo Zegna shirt pocket. I have my days when I wonder why am I working so hard for a company that's probably gonna kick me on my butt in a few weeks? Why should I give any consideration or show loyalty? The company's sure not loyal to me so why should I be on time or even do anything? Will they miss me at some of these meetings? No! I can stay in my cubicle and play 'mahjong' for hours, WHO CARES!! But I have to keep focused and keep going and just continue to do my job as unto the Lord until the change comes.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Walk A Day In My Shoes-3

Here's my third installment of a day in my life. If you've just found me, I decided to detail as much as possible the events of my life in one day. Dr.S. told me this is the premise of the Fox show '24'. I've never seen '24', I stole the idea from a blogger who probably stole it from '24'. This post is my drive to work as well as the beginning of my work shift. Thanks for reading!

On an average day, it takes me approximately 45 mins to get to work. I have to take two freeways and a few major streets each day so I try to leave with enough time to spare. I'm a courteous and defensive driver and for the twenty years I've driven to this factory/plant I've seen a lot of changes. The number of freeways has expanded, the amount of cars on the freeway has grown. The one thing that hasn't changed is the number of idiots on the road with me at any given time. I've seen my share of accidents and am glad no one's run into me or vice versa thanks to God's grace and mercy.

I love music and always use the radio or CD or just belt out the songs myself. I'd love to have satellite radio but that's an expense I don't want right now. For the money they want each month I could save enough to buy that red Kenneth Cole tote.

Radio in Phoenix is not very good. We do have a classical station (89.5), smooth jazz (95.5), top 40 (99.9), old school R&b (104.3), lots of Country, hip-hop and plenty of Mexican stations. I mostly listen to 95.5 or 104.3. Today I listened to my newest CD of Andrea Bocelli.

Yesterday we had our first big winter storm and it's still raining today. Weather people say this storm will last 'til Saturday but I hope it goes on for a while. I absolutely love this weather but I don't like driving in it, especially 45 minutes but it's okay as long as people don't lose their minds and start driving like idiots. I'm not sure where we are on the list, but Phoenix ranks high on road rage incidents and even murder so I keep cool because nothing's worth my being hurt or killed because some d-bag wants to change into my lane.

Another change to my freeway driving is the AZ Dept of Transportation (ADOT) has placed speeding cameras in four areas on my route and all over the I-17, I-10, Loops 101 and 303 and 51. The first month alone, the cameras caught 40,000 motorists. ADOT says it's put up all the cameras to protect motorists but most of us agree they're trying to get money out of us.

I've come to cherish the driving time both to and fro because it gives me 45 minutes of unfettered, free time to just entertain anything that comes to mind. Sometimes I sing and pray, sometimes practice speeches, presentations or difficult conversations I have to have. Often times it's just me thinking. Thinking of what ifs. What I should've, could've would've done. My folks. My boss. Her boss. My church. My hair. My budget. The layoffs. Just thinking and planning and changing my mind then planning some more.

Finally, getting to work and having to pass the secured gates and hope I can find a near or close parking spot. It's a genuine drag having to walk almost three blocks to get to work but thankfully the parking lot's still full. I don't much mind the walk during winter months but not when it's 116 degrees and I have to walk on asphalt that's reflecting the sun's rays right into your eyes and face so that I'm drenched and shiny when I finally get into the air-conditioned building.

So this is day three. I'll be back with day four.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Walk A Day In My Shoes-2

If you've just joined me, I'm doing a serious of posts about one of my days. The first post dealt w/me waking and cooking breakfast and some of the thoughts that ran through my mind. Today's post takes place after breakfast, getting ready for work. Something I noticed when I was taking notes for this post is I change my mind. A lot. I even got on my OWN nerves (hee hee). Anyway, here's the post:

That was a good breakfast, if I have to say so myself. I wish I didn't have to go to work. I wanna just get back in bed and curl up w/some of the new books I bought or surf the 'Net, but somebody's got to pay these bills. Maybe I'll feel better after the shower.

Where's my towel?

Let's see, do I feel like a hot shower or just lukewarm this morning? Hmmm, no noticeable shoulder or back pain, so lukewarm it is.

"Start at the top and wash as far down as possible. Start at the bottom and wash as far up as possible. Now wash possible." I think this is from Langston Hughes' play, but I forget.

This water feels nice. Washing neck and chest area. Lift first 'girl' and scrub down and around. Rinse. Lift second 'girl' and scrub down and around. Rinse. Lift this huge belly and wash around down there making sure to rinse well.

What's my first meeting this morning? I think Susan's at 4p, the call's at 2p.

Shampoo time. Which do I feel like today? Let's go with the Motions.

[About four months ago I cut my hair short like a guy's and it's grown out about an inch. Now I have to coat it w/this gel stuff so that I don't look like Esther Rolle, may she rest in peace. I want to cut my hair back as short as it was but because I'm going to Boise at the end of the month I don't want to kill my aunts who absolutely hate women w/short hair. It's a Bible thing. Besides, I need some fur to help ward off the cold.]

Shower and hair dressing's done. It's still chilly in this bedroom. Wonder if Wook's up yet. Well she will be when this iPod goes on.

Ok, what am I wearing today? Here's that red & white polka dot dress but what jacket should I wear w/it? That knit cardigan's dirty.

Here's one of the jean skirts. It's not Friday but what the heck? Hmmm, I'd have to iron any one of these blouses so they're not gonna work. Ah, I can wear that pink blouse! It's a bit thin but I'll just wear my cloak when I go out.

Crap, the phone's going off again (frustrated sigh and grabbing the phone). It's XXXX texting me she's gonna be late. Again. Whatever hon. You'll face the consequences, not me.

Let's see, makeup time. Are we wearing neutral eyes/bold mouth or neutral mouth/bold eyes? What matches the outfit? Neutral eyes.

Jewelry? Of course, I'm naked without it! This new set is pretty but what's wrong w/this clasp? Too tight. I'll just add one of these extensions. Still too tight. Cursed fat cow neck! Where's the other extension? I cannot believe I've wasted twelve minutes on this cheap jewelry! C'mon girl, get you slow butt moving!

Sniff. Niece's up, I can smell the coffee brewing.

Let's see, who's my first meeting this afternoon?

Photo courtesy of Bernie32@Flicker.com

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Walk A Day In My Shoes

I'm gonna try this series of my daily activities. I was reading an article somewhere about a person who blogged each day his or her diary of EVERYTHING s/he did. I won't be that graphic because I don't want to gross anyone out and I want to preserve a modicum of modesty, no matter how thick the cloak of anonymity is. So, here's a day in my life. Try not to snicker or fall asleep.

MORNING (any morning)

It's already morning and I'm still snuggled next to my new body pillow. I'm hungry. I feel like grits this morning.

Where are my house shoes? Oh yeah, I left them in the bathroom. Groan. Creak. Get out of bed. I've never been this old in my life.

Shuffle to the kitchen after reducing liquid from bladder. Hum, better go through that pile of mail sometime this week.

Do I have any chicken broth that's already open? How come this one's empty?

Where's the spatula? No, I want the big one.

Should I make enough for lunch?

Let me turn down this fire so this stuff won't pop all over me. I should have put on my robe, it's chilly in here this morning.

Crap, the Blackberry's going off already! What time is it? I'll check it later. Don't want it to fall in this pot of hot grits. It's early so it must be Nicole or Bean. Probably a forward of a forward from Bertha.

This looks too runny. Let's get some more water in this. Should have started the kettle so I would have hot water to add to this stuff.

Gotta talk to that girl today. Tell her how close she is to being let go. Her nervousness is rubbing off on me. I feel bad for her but she's killing my numbers and I've done all I can do. She just can't do the job.

Yeah, this is thickening up just right. I'll put some cheese in instead of butter. Let's see, which kind...cheddar or Colby? Cheddar it is.

Where am I gonna find some shoes for Boise? All I have are too then and I don't need cold feet. Cold feet. Should I go to Boise? I'll have to live w/Aunt Mary for a little while but what about not having benefits? Maybe I should stay here and keep living rent-free and find something that pays until I can find something with benefits. Sigh.

Hmmm, this is a lot of grits. Where's that ugly green serving plate? Oh yeah, here we go. I'm glad I didn't give this away. Okay, hot sauce, cheddar all around.

Shoot, I should've put the teapot on but then it'll wake up Niece w/her grouchy self. I'll just drink water.

May as well go through this mail.




Oh here's the new Economist. Love this cover. I'm not renewing this one either, can see it all online and can save that money.

Hmmm, these are pretty good. Think I'll put the teapot on, it's about time for Wooka to get up anyway. Let's see, which one shall I brew this morning?

Monday, December 08, 2008

When Did I Get A Life?

Really, me. Miss-stay-at-home-nose-buried-in-book-or-magazine-seeking-tranquility-me. If I didn't know better, I'd say I was starting to get a life. It's just a phase I think. But here, you be the judge.

Because I know that I will be out of the office during the last two weeks of the month I've tried to complete any unfinished business including small projects and employee reviews. I won't say I've put in long hours last week, at least not any longer than average, it's just that I've had something to do before or after work that's kept me busy and pleasantly put off.

This weekend I picked up "Mooka" and "Butterfly" and along w/my sister we went shopping for Mooka's birthday gift. He turned nine last week and like his cousins before him, he was allowed to pick out any gift of his choice as long as it wasn't a weapon or crazy expensive. After he had made his choice, and after having me tease him about buying a baby doll, I said "Happy Birthday Mooka, I'm sorry I wasn't in town on your birthday to give this to you." He, still being at the age of innocence, grabbed me around my round belly and blurted out, "I missed you. I wanted to go to Vegas with you." Oh man, I was so tempted to buy him three more things but I controlled myself and my tears and hugged him back and kissed the top of his head and told him how much I missed him. Kids (sniff)...(sigh).

If the economists are worried that we the consumers aren't spending this year, they should have tracked shoppers at Macy's this weekend because there were lines of people at each service center, all over the store.

I went with the intent of buying bed linen because that's one thing I sorely need, especially in light of the upcoming move. Macy's was having this OneDaySale and I was able to get one sheet set and the other half price and the prices on their clearance items indicate they plan on moving that stuff out of their stores right into my bedrooms.

Later that night JT and I double-dated w/Maria and her husband. We went to this fantastic restaurant where we dined on duck terrine, pate, a cheese plate and I had to try butternut squash because I've never had it and Fermi piqued my interest. It wasn't bad but I don't think it's anything I'll try again. My main course was mahi-mahi over mashed potatoes and pan sauteed spinach. Luscious! JT had lamb shank that was so much better than my dish and he was gracious enough to share his w/me yum, yum!

The next morning, Sunday morning, I got the kids up, made a quick breakfast of bacon and scrambled eggs and off to church. My eldest youngest (?) niece joined us for church and later we went to Mooka's favourite restaurant-Pancho's all-you-can-eat.

It was a completely enjoyable day until...can you guess what may have ruined it for me? If you guessed the Cowboys/Steelers game you guessed right. How can we lead the WHOLE game three full quarters then lose it all?? It put me in a completely bad mood because I knew what would be waiting for me at work: a bunch of Cardinals and Steelers haters! I'm still screaming about that loss. Maybe I should just start watching ice skating instead of football (sigh)...(sigh). It could be worse, I could be a Titans fan (winking at Dr.S).

Last night after dropping the two kids off at their moms, which is 1.5 hours round trip, I decided I would power up the old laptop, light up my favourite candle, put on some tea and see how the rest of the world is living. Yeah, that was a good idea as I was driving back in to the city. What I couldn't have imagined is my sister had rented two movies and had to watch them before turning them back in. Why do people use RedBox? That's the biggest rip I know! I had to sit through this movie "The Shadowless Sword" or something like that when all I wanted was to relax and get a mindset for the upcoming week.

In all honesty though, the movie wasn't that bad, it's a copycat of the "Hidden Dragon" movies where all the women can swirl 30 pound swords and fly through the air while dodging bullets and those silver stars. The one feature that sets it apart from the others is this underwater fight scene. Other than that, I wouldn't advise you see it.

So, that's my week and weekend. Monday's already over and it was brutal. I wish the company had never warned of the layoffs because morale is so low and it's impacting productivity. If I didn't have to listen to four of my folks' worries, I listened to six. And two of them were peers! I just want this to be over so that we can move on w/our lives. But that's another post.

Take care of you.

Monday, December 01, 2008

My 200th Post!

Considering it's taken me about two years to complete 200 posts, I think it's still reason to celebrate. Here then, reflections on my recent trip to Vegas for Thanksgiving. And pictures too!
Thanksgiving has come and gone and although our family's Center was not with us, we still had an enjoyable time, thank the Lord!
My sister and I drove over at night. If you've never been to the western States (AZ, NV, UT, NM, TX, OK, CO), you're really missing some of God's prettiest scenery! The night we left there was no moon and highway traffic was pretty light. Aside from the occasional carcass of a poor animal who had lost its battle with oncoming traffic, there was little activity until we entered the stretch of highway between Kingman and the Hoover Dam when we encountered a smattering of rain.
The drive through this section is both humbling and breathtaking, especially at night because the closer you get to the Dam and, the brighter the city's aura of light becomes. Imagine driving toward a sunrise that's manmade! That's what this piece of highway reminds you of. And because it was cloudy, the strength of the lights was even more pronounced.
My family and I have traveled this way for almost forty years, on our way to Boise and it's never looked as pretty as it did this trip.
We made it through the swirly, winding path of the Dame with only three or four vehicles on the road making the trip through only about ten minutes. There have been many times when it's taken almost two hours to go two miles due to the slow traffic caused by nervous drivers and indifferent sightseers or the occasional traffic accident. When I was younger I hated going through the Dam because it's pretty scary to me. You're on a two lane highway going up and around these short curves and corners facing on-coming traffic. And there are no railings to help keep the car from going over the sides.
Once you've climbed the last hill of the Dam, you roll atop and there below, looking like the biggest illuminated garden is Vegas! Lights everywhere gleam gold and white, twinkling at you. I've seen the garden grow over the years and it's still breathtaking.
After you've crested the surrounding hills, it takes a while to actually discern the Strip but as you keep winding down closer and closer, the outline of the different hotels/casinos begin to take shape. The first hotel I usually notice for its unique spiral top is the Stratosphere, then the Wynn twins Wynn and Encore. My favourite hotel is the Wynn and I recommend it over all the rest. Coming in second is the Bellagio, then the mighty Mirage.
As mentioned earlier, the trip was fantastic! I didn't overdo it with the food but I was no stranger either (wink). We made it in last night, just in time to see the Vikings annihilate da Bears. It's an awesome way to wind down and get in the mood for work.
In a few weeks we'll be heading back to Vegas en route to Boise for Christmas, again by car. With any luck we'll have great traveling weather-little to no snow-although the land between Ely, NV and Twin Falls, ID usually has the most weather activity during the winter months.
As promised, here are some pictures of the desert floor between Kingman and home. They're not very detailed. They were taken from my handheld in a car traveling at up to 80 mph. For some reason when I packed I forgot to pack my camera. Enjoy!!