Monday, February 27, 2006

Is it Summer Yet?

I’m sooooo anxious for summer to get here. Not just because it’s freezing because really this weather is ridiculous, 38 degrees?!?!, but because my yard is done and ready for summer!

Those who read my old blog remember the before pictures:

Here is my yard now:

I had the concrete removed and slate installed. This picture was taken 2 months ago when it was just finished but the gook (cement) used to seal the slate in is starting to clear off the surface of the slate so it will look much better in a few months.

I’ve been checking out IKEA, Home Depot, World Market, and Crate and Barrel’s websites on a weekly basis to see if they’ve updated their summer furniture and accessories. They finally updated the summer furniture selections this weekend. I’m checking out different outdoor tables and checking my budget of course. I’m excited about my first BBQ and am already planning the menu. Burger, Chicken and Lamb Kebabs, plenty of salads, and a great white sangria recipe I discovered through a friend.

I haven’t been able to use my yard for 3 summers but that’s going to change this year. I have visions of myself, lounging outside with a cappuccino and the Sunday post. Evenings grilling dinner on my new outdoor grill, Sundays cracking Chesapeake Bay crabs and drinking ice cold beer and that’s just the food.

I have space for a small garden and have already purchased two gardening books including “Gardening for dummies” because I grew up in the city and know little to nothing about gardening. I met a gay couple at our neighborhood’s progressive dinner and they offered to help me get my garden together. Yippee!

Is it summer yet!?!?!

Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Crack is Here

It’s Girls Scout Cookie Time! How is a girl supposed to get on the health kick bandwagon between 3 week long work trips and freaking girl scout cookies! 4 Thin Mints equal about 170 calories; 4 measly cookies!

I stumbled a bit with the health bandwagon kick while I was in Arm.enia. Sure I worked out a bit for the first two weeks but I had to eat out every day, three times a day which doesn’t help my diet situation. A few years ago when I wanted to loose some weight I decided to eat well at home but gave myself the luxury of eating what I wanted when I ate out. Well I don’t curb my “eating out” pass when I’m traveling but I’ll have to change my stance. I think lifestyle changes should be gradual so I’m slowly instituting a healthy eating plan for restaurant meals.

I’m also eliminating my red meat intake, (except when having Ethiopian, can’t get chicken or lamb Gored Gored). Next on my list of cut backs is wine and Vodka, I’m no Bree (Desperate Housewives) but I usually have a glass of wine at night with my dinner and a few vodka tonics if I’m out with friends. I heard you can loose weight by cutting out alcohol from your diet. Lol!

My goal is to get back down to an “average” BMI for my height and body type. Being short sucks sometimes.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Guide to Eating Popeye's Chicken Wings While Driving on the Interstate

I posted a comment on BC’s blog about my favorite road trip snack (Popeye’s Chicken Wings and a Grande Coffee Frappucino) and he didn’t think one could enjoy greasy chicken while driving on the Interstate. Ladies and Gentlemen, I am here to tell you it can be done and here’s how:

1) Must have wet wipes in your car, if you don’t get some prior to attempting to eat chicken while driving.
2) Stop at Maryland House and order 3 spicy wings and a biscuit. Place items in a plastic bag with an obnoxious amount of napkins.
3) Order a Grande Coffee Frappucino at Starbucks; again take an obnoxious amount of napkins. (That flavor doesn’t come with whipped cream and don’t ask for any, after the chicken you don’t need the extra calories).
4) Get into car and prepare to eat Chicken while driving and drinking a Grande Coffee Frappucino on I-95.
5) Take several napkins and place them on your lap and your passenger seat. Break the chicken up so you can easily eat it one handed.
6) Start the car and get back onto the interstate. While merging take a few sips of that Frappucino and getting yourself into the right gear.
7) Once you’re going with the flow of traffic, start eating your chicken with one hand. (Don’t bother wiping your mouth; you look a hot mess anyway eating chicken while driving).
8) Once you are done and have confirmed that there is no more chicken left, wipe your mouth, hands, gear shift and steering wheel with the obnoxious amount of napkins and those wet wipes. 9) Enjoy the rest of your ride and don’t worry too much about those crumbs, just use those quarter vacuum slots at your next gas stop.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

And I Cry

(There’s a reggae song with those words in the hook, I think).

Ever just cry when reading a book or watching a movie? I rarely cry as a result of things that happen to me but if there’s anything remotely sad in a book, in a movie or on T.V. I’m automatically in tears. I wonder if I’m getting my good cries out using other people’s tragedies as a crutch.

I was reading the Darkest Child last month and just couldn’t believe how sad and tragic the entire book was. I was on a plane full of people trying to hide my tears and finally gave up and just kept bawling. I can just imagine what the stewardess thought when she asked me what I wanted to drink and I sniffed and wiped my eyes with my shirt sleeve before answering.

I recently finished the Kite Runner and basically cried throughout the entire book. Can you imagine just tearing up every night for four nights because of a fictional character’s emotions? There came a point when I almost didn’t finish the book I was so sick and tired of crying. **Spoiler Alert** I even cried during the father/daughter advice scene at the end of Something New. Clearly I need help. I’m reading the Parable of the Sower this weekend for my book club hopefully there aren’t too many sad scenes in it. I can’t deal with the headaches that come after all my crying fits.

Or maybe it’s because I’m such a Cancer

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Uncanny Resemblance?

Do you guys see the resemblance? I do and it’s uncanny and a bit scary. The man on the left is Rene Pre.val who just won his second stint as President of Haiti. The man on the right is my father. My dad and Rene Pre.val were roommates in college but haven’t really kept in touch over the years. When Preval first became President of Haiti in 1996, my dad and stepmother went to Haiti to attend his inauguration. The fact that he immediately asked my dad where my mom was is a whole other blog.

My dad was living in Haiti trying to drum up his own political career as an independent in the late ‘90s when he would occasionally meet Pre.val for lunch or drinks. One day while having lunch a man approached them and was momentarily confused regarding which man at the table was the president. Although my dad was amused, I was frightened when I heard that story. I’m not sure how much you know about Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere but there has always been instability and violence and no one is immune.

The phrase “stray bullet” “balle marron” in Creole, is so commonly used to explain the majority of the killings in the Haitian capital Port-au-Prince. What scared me the most wasn’t that my dad could be murdered as a result of a stray bullet while in Haiti but that he could be mistaken for Pre.val if someone was attempting to assassinate the president. Although life is uncertain I’m just happy that my dad is safe and sound and no where near the uncertainty and chaos that is Haiti in 2006.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Would You?

Invite an ex to your wedding? Or even someone you messed around with but still saw out on a social level? I was having dinner with some colleagues on Monday night and the subject came up. One of them was telling us a story about a dude she “hooked up” with a few times who invited her to his 2nd wedding then decided to un invite her after she’d RSVP’d. His excuse was that he wasn’t sure if he could go through with it knowing she was sitting in the pews behind him. Uhh! Clearly he wasn’t ready to get married.

Another colleague said he was invited to his first love/H.S sweetheart’s wedding and went with his new girl and didn’t see anything wrong with it. He used the “I’m over her and didn’t see anything wrong with it” argument.

I’m not sure I would be comfortable going to an ex’s wedding even if I went with new dude or alone, just way too weird and filled with too much drama potential for me.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

And the Bullshyt Continues

This project is fucked and no amount of vodka tonics will let me forget that I’m about to start a revolution tomorrow around brunch time. I kicked this up the food chain a while ago and they listened but haven’t given me any tools to fix the problem. Houston we HAVE a problem and I need a freaking solution! I’m so fucking agitated by repeated issues that I feel like a hamster just spinning on a wheel. Half of our issues can and will be solved by a coup d’etat. The other half is dealing with our local client whose operating model is that of the old Russian K.G.B way of managing and we all know how well that turned out. All this and I still haven’t been able to get a picture with Jermaine who leaves tomorrow.

The other day the Hostess blogged about H.S. and how our roles in H.S translated to our role as adults. Although I don’t believe this theory fits with everyone after thinking about the H.S Honest and the adult Honest I realized that I haven’t fundamentally changed since ’92. Sure I’ve grown as a person and view the world differently and some of my ideals have changed, but I still avoid drama like the plague, I can’t imagine not doing something whether it’s volunteering or getting involved in a community activity with my neighbors. The H.S Honest was all over the map between the Dance club, March of Dimes, Year book, Senior Package, Leadership team etc and then on top of that I did Academy of Finance. The “most popular” hierarchy at my school was broken up into segments because we had 3,200 kids. The segments were usually broken up by year, clubs, locker room bays, and academic tracks. Was I popular who knows, I ran with different segments so I knew a lot of people and a lot of folks knew me. A few months ago someone I went to H.S saw my picture on the website of a professional organization I belong and contacted the website administrator for my contact info. Turns out he lives in suburban MD not too far from me. The class of ’92 didn’t have a H.S reunion and since I only keep in touch with just a handful of folks since H.S. I kind of wish we had one just to see what everyone was up to.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Guess Who?

Final Edit 2/9/06:

I haven't seen Jermaine since Sunday evening but my camera is ready just in case.


Is staying at my hotel in Arm.enia?



did you guess?

OK I'll tell ya

Jermaine Jackson folks...yup of the Jackson 5 fame as in Michael Jackson's brother. I didn't actually see him myself but my colleague did and the hotel staff who we're cool with confirmed that it's him. There are conflicting reasons for his visit but he's supposedly working on a fundraiser for orphaned kids here. I'll update this post once she emails me the picture she took of him.

Ha not only are there now 5 black people in this country, one of them happens to be a Jackson. Who would have thunk.

Edit 10:04 PM Local Time
Well I saw Jermaine with my own two eyes right in front of the hotel. He said hello, I said hello and after he went in, I promptly kicked myself for not asking him what he was doing here. Turns out my colleague only has video of him and not a picture so I won't be able to share. If I run into him again I will document with pictures.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Freaking Dilemma

Ok maybe not so much of a dilemma because I know what I have to do but it’s hard and sometimes I hate being “that bitch”. Remember the cleaning lady from our project office in Arm.enia? Unfortunately I deleted the old blog and can’t link up to it now so I’ll have to refresh your memory.

Our cleaning lady belongs to a Christian sect here in Arme.nia that were kicked out of Russia because of their extreme beliefs. They are strict followers of the bible particularly when it comes to the last book of the New Testament. The revelation of Saint John the Devine. The revelation says that one shouldn’t be associated with the number of the devil but this sect is interpreting that to mean they shouldn’t be associated with any number in general. The government here instituted a social security system last year and has required all citizens to obtain one. They were careful not to put any “6s” into the numbering scheme so no one will have three “6s” in a row. This sect decided to sue so they wouldn’t have to obtain social security cards but they lost their case in court.

Well when I left Arme.nia in November I thought we’d (the guy in charge of the project here and I) decided to let her go once we found a replacement because she refuses to get a social security card. Well, when I got back here on Tuesday her ass was still here. Ahhh! This is a poor country so it’s not hard to find another cleaning lady but since she’s so sweet no one wants to let her go.

Well what happens in the U.S. if your business employs illegal aliens without social security numbers? You get fined that’s what. Despite the random corruption and general fuckdupness here they have fines down to a science and I can’t exactly explain away a $2,500 annual fine for hiring a non documented worker. I’m trying to get promoted here not fired for someone else’s convictions. So now I have to put my foot down and tell them to let go the sweet old lady who never complains about cleaning up after 25 adults.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child

(The title doesn’t exactly go with this post but I can’t think of another one now, I’m too jetlagged)

On Thursday I received a cryptic message from my sister asking me to call her ASAP. I was a bit scared and wondered if anyone had fallen ill or was in an accident and immediately calling her back and ended up getting her voice mail. When we finally connected she told me my brother’s car was pretty much dead and it would cost more to fix it then what it was worth. She then asked (on my stepmother’s behalf) if I’d be willing to sell my car to my brother since he really needed a car and that they’d already looked up the value. Uh NO! I was a little peeved because 1) I couldn’t believe they were asking me to finance a car for my brother (selling mine would have meant monthly payments to me made by either my brother or my stepmother) and 2) because my brother needs to get a real job or be a student.

A little background, after his junior year at a small university in Arizona my decided that he wanted to move back to North Carolina and eventually transfer to UNC (his grades weren’t good enough to automatically transfer even though he’s a NC resident). He had one year left but decided to leave against everyone’s advice and move back to Chapel Hill. Just one year left and he would have had a college degree. So far he’s been taking non matriculating classes here and there but hasn’t actually applied for admission to Carolina and I just found out that he’s not even taking classes this year and is just working at a part time job and playing with his band.

I’m just appalled that my dad and stepmother are financing what I perceive as a disaster. Although he’s paying most of his bills they pay his rent and paid off the car that just died. My first reaction after being asked to basically finance this car was that my brother needed to get a real job or go back to school. Although I can’t afford to give anyone anything at this junction of my life I was pissed that this 23 year old was still living life as if he didn’t have a care in the world. If he’d been a student I would have totally understood but since I feel like he’s pissing his life away by not finishing college I was totally flabbergasted.

After calming down a bit I started to think about the money my mom will slip me to this day. Here I am a 31 year old home owner and my mom is helping me out with major purchases (the fence I blogged about in the old blog). Although we’re in different points of our lives my situation wasn’t entirely different from my brother’s. If I’d been a little bit more fiscally responsible I would have had all of the money to complete the fence and though the money was offered to me I took it knowing full well that I should be ashamed of borrowing money from my mom when I make significantly more money then she does.
My brother is such a talented individual who taught himself how to play the guitar about seven years ago and is now making awesome music with a band that plays at small venues in Raleigh and other towns around N.C. Although I disagree with the direction he’s taking with his life (now he wants to move to Cali with his girlfriend and work for a year before going back to college there). I do understand that he’s pursuing his dream and doing what he feels is right, I just don’t think my parents should continue to fund his lifestyle and wish he would just finish school and then pursue his dreams. I know I can’t make him do anything but I just can’t sit and cosign this new development.