Friday, December 31, 2010

End of the Year Recap

I did a pretty thorough recap of the year on skirt.com, so I thought I’d do the same for Shoegirl Corner, since this is my original blog and my baby. One day soon I will start my own website away from blogger, ShoegirlCorner.com. I’ve owned the rights to that name for a while, but I’d like to take a website building class so I can work on my site myself.





The year started out slow on ShoeGirl Corner since I was still blogging for Hips ‘n Salsa. It was a good effort, but not successful. I didn’t blog at all in January and then blogged on average once a month, but at the end of March I thought I could pull off three blogs. I started blogging more through April. I blogged about: getting my first mammogram, purchasing shoes and art, lost remotes and the differences between men and women.


The summer wore on and I realized that I was in a funk. I blogged about it more than once on Shoegirl Corner and on skirt. Now that I look back at both blogs I realize what a bad year 2010 was for me- personally, professionally, financially, and writing wise. The only good part of the year was that I kept writing and the health of my family. I feel like I spent most of 2010 reminding myself that things weren’t that bad and that they could be worse. I taught my daughter to tell me what my husband tells me, “At least we have the money to pay for it” rather than to lament that we didn’t have any money.


Some time in April people started commenting on my blog in Chinese. I reasoned that they were either Chinese spies or they were people who were trying to communicate with one another in communist China and they were using my blog as a channel. They only stayed for a few months and they either found a better channel or they were discovered and had to leave my blog. I was sad to see them go.
 
As the year wore on I gained more weight and I realized that I have food and cupcake issues. Okay, I rediscovered this. I finally set some goals for myself and I shared my vision board on my Shoegirl Corner blog too. I shared my goals with the world to help me become more accountable.



At the end of the year I feel like things started to take a turn for the better. I went to my beloved New York for business and stayed over the weekend and did some things I didn't do last time, like walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and going to Coney Island.

I started working out on a regular basis. I’ve gone ten weeks straight working out on average three times a week, sometimes more, until I had surgery on the last week of the year. I’ve worked out many times before off and on but this is the first time I think I worked out so many times consecutively. It was a turning point for me. What made it even easier to do was that Rey has been working out too. He has been so happy with his results that he decided to start training for a triathlon. Having him work on a goal to get healthy too has made it a lifestyle for me instead of a chore.


I feel like I ended the year on a good note. I even got a Kindle for $6 and now I can have the experience of reading books electronically first hand. I think that’s important if I’m really going to publish my novel electronically in 2011. I had surgery to correct a little feminine issue that I had and hopefully that’s all fixed now.
I’m looking forward to 2011 whatever it may bring in. I say, "Bring It!" It can not be worse than 2010. Anything that happens will be for the best. I need to get out of my comfort zone. I need to shake things up a bit.
I learned an important lesson this year and that was that it is important to write down my goals. (something I already knew but didn't do for some reason) I will work on spiritual, personal, family and on my writing goals in 2011- all the things on my Vision Board. See you all around next year!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I'm SO GLAD I Don't Need a Catheter

Wow! I never thought I'd have to say that sentence? But I am!! The best part of my surgery was that I didn't have to take a pee bag with me!! I am so excited! I think that was the part that scared me the most, but as it turns out I only had the more minor surgery and not the more major one that would have required me to bring a companion home with me for a couple of days. Thank goodness!


However, it did hurt a lot more than I thought it would. When I came to in the recovery room I was thinking, "Okay, I'm in a lot more pain than I imagined." The main reason for the pain was that I had a catheter and once the nurse took it out the pain subsided. It got better as time went on and by the time they sent me home it was better. All my feminine parts seem to have been fixed and are back in place where they need to be.

I came home and went straight to sleep for a few hours and as I drifted off to sleep I kept thinking, "What if I would have had to bring home the catheter?" I would have begged to be heavily sedated if that had been the case.

I felt better today and I didn't need as much pain medication and I also had several visitors stop by to see me. Most of them were family, including my dad and in-laws. My mom-in-law was a sweetheart and took one child off my hands to give me a little break. She's switching them out and taking the other one tomorrow. That was really sweet of her and does make a big difference.

What's hard to believe is that I'm only six days away from the end of my vacation now. I go back next Tuesday. I was really hoping to do some stuff with the kids, but I don't think I'll be ready to drive and to be out and about tomorrow. I'll wait until Thursday to take them to the museum, somewhere I can sit and watch them while they play, like the Children's Museum. Provided I'm up to it by then.

The hardest part of having surgery at this point is that I can't exercise for an entire week. I can start walking next week when I go back to work, but I can't run or do the elliptical for FOUR weeks. I really need to practice some self control for real now!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Kindlelicious, Vacation and Surgery

I'm blogging about the Kindle for the second time this week so I must be excited. I received my second favorite e-mail from Amazon today.

"You can start building your library before your Kindle even arrives by shopping for books, newspapers, magazines and more at the Kindle Store on Amazon.com. Amazon's unique wireless delivery system, Amazon Whispernet, will auto-deliver your purchases directly to your Kindle. Once you receive your Kindle, you can also shop the same great selection directly from your device."


So here it is. This is the model I'm getting (I think). I do know that I'm not getting the 3G version. I don't need that technology. All I need is the wireless connection.

What amazes me the most is that I wasn't that excited about the Kindle prior to buying one. It's funny what feelings the word FREE evokes. Once I realized I could get the Kindle for only $6 with my American Express Reward points its value and my interest increased.

So tomorrow is my last work day for eleven days. I'm excited about the time off, but not about the surgery on Monday. I know it's a necessary evil but I'm not looking forward to the days as a convalescent or to the crazy little bag I have to carry around with me for a couple of days.

The worst part? I have been working out for ten weeks in row and I've been running for two of those weeks. I won't be able to work out heavily for about four weeks, but hopefully I can start walking in a week. What I'm afraid of is that I'll take a week off and I won't want to go back to working out. That is my fear.

Today I made a huge step. The kids wanted eggnog and we stopped at an Exxon by the gym to get some but they didn't have any. We were almost home when I remembered (or rather they reminded me) so I told them I'd get them an eggnog shake form Jack in the Box instead. I went through the Jack in the Box line and I DID NOT get an egg nog shake for myself, egg rolls or the best part, any stuffed jalapeño. That is when I know that I'm learning self-discipline and that makes me happy.

So Kindle on Friday, last of the exercise this weekend and my surgery on Monday. Two days of bed rest and no driving, a week of no exercise and then back to work after New Year's. I'll use that week off to rest from the surgery and to really rest my brain and to decide what I'm doing in 2011 and with the next half of my life. I turn 41 in February. I am into my 40s now and really half way done with my life.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Where Do the Days Go???

Seriously, where? I can not believe it's 4 p.m. and I haven't gotten anything written and I haven't cleaned my house.

It all started this morning when I woke up around 9 a.m. and realized that my sore throat had gotten worse. Rey went to play golf and I went back to bed around 10 for a little while, until my father came over and woke me up. I hated myself for sleeping the morning away, but I'm sure I needed it.

I went on with my day after he left but other things kept happening to interrupt it. I said I was going to write and then clean two hours ago and I am barely writing something. The day is gone and I haven't done a thing. Well, I wouldn't say nothing really. My dad was here, we read a Texas Monthly article together. We read my cousin Oscar's essay, "Imaginary Friends." I also told him a follow up story that Oscar told me after the essay was published. When your dad is 86, like mine is, those moments are precious because you don't know how long you'll have them.

I also cooked for my kids and their grandpa brought them "marranitos," gingerbread from his favorite Mexican cafe/bakery. They are gingerbread cut in the shape of little pigs. I used to love to eat them when I was little too, especially the ones my uncle made in his bakery.

I went over to read The Bloggess because I always like to read what's new with her and I was so touched by her blog about people in need and people who reply. What struck me the most was that she said that traffic had not gone up on her blog. Most of the people posting a need and those responding with a gift are her regular readers. I just find it awesome that she was able to create such a great community of readers. I only wish that people were willing to give and to share like this all year long and not only during the holidays.

I'm getting closer and closer to my vacation, which coincidentally is also when I'm having my little surgery. THAT is going to be interesting and painful post-surgery I'm sure with that thing hanging out of me for a couple of days. I AM NOT looking forward to that part of the surgery, but I am looking forward to the results.

On a good note I'll be off from work a total of seven work days with two weekends. That's 11 days in a row to relax, write, and to finish Seth's baby book. Yes, his baby book and he's six, going on seven. That's my life. Procrastinator is my middle name. Hopefully I will catch up on the baby book and writing during my days off.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

My Mother's Little Helper

This may end up as a crazy blog entry so I'm warning you ahead of time. So, you've been warned. And if it doesn't end up crazy then you're okay. I needed my mother's little helper today when I got home from work. Well first I had a nap, something I only do when I'm really tired or down in the dumps.

annetaintor.com

I had a tough day today. Yes, I did. I'm a mother, wife, and I'm an employee. I work full time against my better judgement, but I have to pay the bills. The problem is... do I dare say it here where the whole world can see it? I don't think my heart is in hard selling any more. It hasn't been in a while. I already sold and I'm done with that. I enjoy all of the product development part of a publication a lot more. I enjoy project management.

So I'm at a weird crossroads in my life yet again. There isn't a position like that open at work right now and as much as I really want to do it, I can't convince the powers that be that we need a position like this one, which we do. So I have to keep doing the job at hand because that's the job I've been assigned and it's also the job that pays the bills.

Enough said about that. I feel like my job is like a lot of other things in my life. I ask myself that question that's taped on my computer, "What would  you do if you knew you could not fail?" And the answer isn't practical when you're the mom of two young children.

I just know this that if by some miracle I came into money I would not live in Houston. I would live in a tiny house in the Italian countryside and I would write full time while the kids learned a new language or attended American school, depending on how close we lived to one. I would live a very simple life and I would concentrate on reading and writing all day long.

What would you do? I know I've asked that question before but it's a great one and I need to keep asking it of myself until I finally do something about it.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I Sabotage Myself

Friday while at the gym I was looking at my reflection in the big mirrors next to the treadmill and elliptical and I thought I looked really fat. My reasonable self knew that I've worked out for seven weeks straight so there is no possible way I can be fatter than I was two months ago. I also knew that I was bloated, particuarly on Friday, so of course my belly was probably portruding more than usual. However, I still looked at myself and I had one of those moments when I thought, "What's the point in working out?" It's a dangerous place for me to go.

Image borrowed from theseanachai.com

I remember coming back to school in 7th grade after working hard all summer on dieting and exercising, yes in 7th grade! And I remember my good friend Aristotole (yes, that's his real name) commenting to his friend Wayne right in front of me that I'd lost weight over the summer. Wayne turned around and said bluntly and matter-of-factly, "Yeah, but she's still fat." I remember that same feeling of what was the use. I didn't even like either boy. I was just a 7th grade girl feeling the peer pressure to look thin. Back then unless you were as skinny as some of the really slim girls you were considered fat. Middle school is definitely the time when girls lose their self-confidence. It's a brutal time.

Now I'm a 40 year old woman. I've survived middle school, high school, college, post college young years, marriage, pregnancies, 20 year high school reunion, and yet here I am, looking at myself in the mirror at the gym and feeling like that 7th grade girl.

And this is when I sabbotage myself. I start thinking like I did in high school and college that I'm overweight anyway and what difference will it do. I stop working out and I return to my same old habits.

This time I'm not. I'm going to take a shower and then I'm packing my gym bag for tomorrow and I'll keep on going. Today starts Week 8 and I already walked for one hour.

Tomorrow morning I'm going into the lap band clinic and I'm getting a long-needed fill. I'll address my concerns about the lap band working or not working, and then I'll be on liquids for two days and soft foods on the third day. This will be a good week for weight loss.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Testing my mobile blogging!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Next Vacation Four Weeks Away

Well, a short vacation has come and gone. I worked until 3 on Wednesday, had Thursday off and worked half a day on Friday. I like working the Friday after Thanksgiving because honestly, it's not really a full work day with everyone else on vacation, and also I get to save a vacation day.

This was a good mini-vacation. I've worked out six days in a row, which is a first for me. Now if only I can get my eating under control! If I could get both of those important factors in synch I would be doing good.

Image by Anne Taintor

Thursday we did nothing, absolutely nothing. Friday I was off by 12:45 so we went to the movies and saw Megamind. I don't care what the reviewers have said, it was a very cute movie and I liked it. We were good and went to the gym and then we were bad and we had Chinese take-out, thus the reason I can't get my eating and my working out in synch. Saturday I spent the day doing and folding laundry but I was able to work in a walk with the kids. Once again, bad dinner, pizza...

So what will today bring?? I'm taking my daughter to buy an outfit from Justice, a girl's clothing store. She needs some cute clothes. She's 9 and girls start becoming self-conscious about their clothes at her age. Which reminds me! Have you all seen this great Barbie "When I Grow Up" commercial? We saw it at the movies Friday and then I blogged about it on skirt!

It got me to thinking about what I want to do with my kids to help them even more with their education. Here are some of the things I thought about.

1. I've been wanting to take the kids on a walking tour of Downtown Houston with a history lesson. I need to do it while it's still cool outside. Just walking down Main Street and reading the historic building plaques is an education in itself.

2. At least one monthly visit to a different museum until we make the whole museum circuit and start over. We belong to the Children's Museum so that one is a given. But let's say, start with the Museum of Natural Science, next the Museum of Fine Arts, etc.. Maybe we even hit up the not-so-popular museums too, like the Railroad Museum.

3. A trip to our State capital for a Texas history lesson.

4. A trip to San Antonio for their Ruiz family history. (Their ancestor signed the Texas Declaration of Independence)

5. And finally I want to start taking road trips to different state capitals nearby. We can stop in Baton Rouge on our way to New Orleans. When we get to the other states we'll have to fly. That's a more lofty goal and one we'll have to do when we have bigger bonuses coming in, whenever that happens.

I have five vacation days left and I'm taking them the last week of the year, which coincidentally is also when I may be having my little procedure that I blogged about last time. I'm not looking forward to that but it is a necessary evil.

So here we go, last few hours of freedom for the weekend and we're back to our regular routine. Let's go see what kind of sales I can find.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

At Least My Bladder Isn't Hanging Halfway Out of My Body

I wish I was the Bloggess. I wish I could write about hilarious personal things that are super embarrassing, but that people could actually relate to. But alas, I'm not brave enough, so this is all you get.


Let's just say I went to see a specialist today that had to look at my lady parts and I was all uncomfortable because I've seen the same OBYN for like, almost 20 years.  Dr. Miro is one of the best OBGYNs in the world, or at least Houston. He saw me before, through, and after both my pregnancies. I always tell people that he's such a great doctor that even the nurses from the OBGYN department at NW Memorial Hermann hospital see him. That says a lot about him!

So when Dr. Miro recommends a doctor I take his recommendation seriously. That's why I went to see this specialist for a little female problem that I'm having. I think I was in denial that he was going to check me down there. When he told me to undress from the waist down I tried to tell him I couldn't, but he didn't accept my excuse. So there I was naked from the waist down with not only a strange doctor about to peek inside, but also a strange nurse standing by. I've had both the same doctor and the same nurse all of these years. Yes, I'm spoiled like that.

First I was all complaining because I didn't have socks. Every time I go see Dr. Miro I have the courtesy of wearing socks, especially since I've been wearing shoes without socks all day and let's face it, my feet do not smell like roses. I wiped my feet with the Wet Ones I carry in my purse (yes I do) and then I wiped them down with a paper towel, but I was still uncomfortable. I was fine with my lady parts because let's just say, I am a strict believer in female hygiene and Wet Ones. When the nurse went out to check on the doctor I told her to find me a pair of socks too. I think that's when she realized I was a bit high maintenance. The doctor was already coming and asked what I needed and she told him I wanted socks. He looked puzzled at first and then just laughed at me.

Then for the best part, a little bonus surprise. He checked me and then I felt a sharp little prick and I yelped. The doctor said, "Sorry, that's the catheter." What the heck! He sure was good about explaining everything that he was going to do beforehand, with a pelvic model and all, but he never mentioned the catheter.

I'm serious y'all! He had the whole pelvic model and he was explaining how we are made and what happens to our pelvis and other parts when we have children, etc.. He was very detailed and he even drew pictures for me, but he never mentioned a catheter. He was very vague about that part.

I felt so violated! None-the-less, violated or not, he found out what the problem was and it wasn't as bad as he imagined it would be when I first explained my "issue." At first he was all talking about a more extensive surgery and in the end he said he could fix it quickly in a an outpatient visit. So come December I'll be having a little surgery procedure to correct my "female problem." There we go, I guess the catheter experience was "kind of" worth it.

When he finished I said, "Well good, I was picturing my bladder falling half way out of me, the way you described it," and he laughed politely, looked uncomfortable, and got away as quickly as possible. The nurse, an older African-American lady looked at me like I was crazy (she didn't hide it) and she just shook her head and laughed. I figure if he looks at lady parts all day he should be comfortable talking about it too. So there you go.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

And the Cupcake Torture Continues

Thanks for the cupcake ad! This is the ad that showed up on my blog when I opened it today. Wow! Thanks?


These cupcake ads won't take me off my path! I've been working out diligently for three weeks now and what's really helping me with accountability is that I'm posting the week and the day each time I'm at the gym. For example, today I posted Week 3-Day 9.  Ever since the kids started back at their after school care I've been very diligent at stopping at the gym on my way home.

I've been using incentives while I work out. One day I looked at a Cabi book at the outfits that I want to buy while I worked out on the elliptical. Then I took a picture of a suit that I want to wear comfortably and I made it the screen picture on my blackberry so I could look at it today.

So yeah, these crazy cupcake ads are mocking me! It's almost like they are laughing at my last post. And no, they won't take me off my path, but that cookie in my cookie jar sure did! I couldn't resist eating just half of this delicious shortbread and strawberry cookie I bought at La Madeline last Friday. I guess if you look at it that way that's pretty good. I've had that cookie since Friday and I didn't break down and eat some of it until Wednesday. That's progress, I'd have to say.

I was so sad today when I read that Sylvia Garcia lost as County Commissioner. I was so excited last week when I saw one of her digital ads running on my blog. I was telling my friend and husband about it on Saturday on our way to the Renaissance Festival. I'm sad because she was the first female and Hispanic commissioner and now she lost.

Speaking of the Renaissance Festival. Wow! There is so much hype around that festival. Yes, it's cute and nice and it's fun for people watching, but that is pretty much it. I'm not sure if I will go back and if I do it won't be with my kids. We spent most of the money on the two of them. On a good note the weather was beautiful.

Winter is finally here! I love the cold weather. Every year I suffer through our summers just to get to this time of the year in Houston. Now if only it will stop raining it would be perfect. Thank goodness I work out inside.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I Still Have Cupcake Issues After ALL these Years!

A long time ago when I was a little girl I loved cupcakes just like all little kids do. The only difference between other kids and me was that I was made to feel guilty when I ate them. I was told I was too fat and that I shouldn't eat any sweets, so then I wanted to eat them even more. One day I went to the store and bought myself one of those packs of two cupcakes. I knew that if my sisters saw me eating them they would chastise me, so instead I decided to eat them in the wash room away from their judgmental eyes. Of course one of them caught me and that was it. I would be told for the rest of my life, "Remember when you used to hide and eat cupcakes in the wash room?" It became something that I had done all the time on a regular basis and not something they caught me doing one time.

annetaintor.com (By the "we" here I mean me and my sisters)

So here I am thirty years later and I have two kids. My husband goes grocery shopping and he buys the kids cupcakes for their school lunch and I can't help feeling that that's "bad."  Worse yet, I wanted to eat one and I didn't want my children seeing me because I didn't want for them to ask for one, so I ate it in the kitchen. (they had already had one) No, I wasn't hiding. Anyone could walk into my kitchen, but yet I felt like I was hiding.

I still have issues after all these years. I can't truly enjoy a cupcake with a cup of milk like a normal kid. Somehow I know deep down that this issue is tied to my issue with food in general. Part of me is still that little girl that feels judged by her sisters and her father. And I'm FORTY years old! Who cares what they think of me, my house, or my children?

I feel like Liz Lemon in last week's 30 Rock show and her issue with Tom Jones. Only I've always known I have this issue and now I just need to figure out how to work through it. I need to start by not giving my own kids issues with food or making them feel judged. Sometimes I catch myself doing that and it makes me mad. There is a fine line between telling them, "no," which I don't have a problem saying to them, and telling them in a way that helps them understand that over-indulgence is unhealthy.

Isn't it lovely how we carry these issues with us for years and years? I laughed when I watched 30 Rock last week but I totally understood Tina Fey's character Liz. Maybe I'm more neurotic than I realize!

So today I had my first meltdown since I'm taking the kids to school now. You can go over and read about that on skirt! I've decided that I need to just stay home and live a stress free life. Oh yeah! I need money to do that and if I stay home I won't have any of that, therefore I'll be even more stressed. So no, that won't work. I think that what I'll do instead is write a blockbuster novel. Blockbuster novel coming up next! It's on my vision board so it's going to happen.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Starting Over

How many times do we start over in our lives? Thousands probably. I don't just mean big life altering start overs, like starting a new job or getting remarried. There are a lot of times that we start over with smaller things, like with our goals or an exercise routine. Today the kids go back to their after school program down the street from my gym. I'm back on my regular exercise schedule starting today. I pick them up and stop a the gym for at least 45 minutes 3-4 times a week. Do over! Let's see how I do.

Here is the vision board that I created for my goals. You can read more about it on skirt! There is a picture of the first version on there, but this is the final version.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Back to Locker #18

I wrote this a while back on Hips and Salsa January 5, 2010 and I've gained weight since I wrote it. So reading this today is helping me put things in perspective again. I haven't worked out on a regular basis since the Spring and starting TODAY I am getting back on a schedule. The kids are going back to their 'After School' program down the street from my gym next week so I'll be working out every day when I pick them up. Today I went to the gym while Miranda was in Cheerleading. Tomorrow I am going to take them walking in the neighborhood.

Exercising regularly, weighing myself every morning, tracking my food daily on livestrong.com and trying on small clothes weekly. It is time to get back on track! I wish it was as easy as being a celebrity whose job it is to look skinny, like Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, and Courtney Cox. Of course if I was paid millions to look skinny I probably would too.




Original Blog:  I have a funny habit I told my step-daughter Mandi about when we were Zumba-hopping last week. She laughed when I told her. I always use Locker # 18 in the locker room. I do this to keep my goal right in front of me. My goal is to weigh as much as I did when I was eighteen.

Okay, before you go thinking that's an unrealistic goal and that no almost-40 year old can ever weigh as much as she or he did in high school, you must know that I weighed a lot at eighteen. I also wasn't a size 6, like some teenagers. But I was comfortable at that size. I was a healthy size for my height and very close to my ideal weight. It's also 40 pounds less than I weigh now. That's not so unrealistic when you've already lost 40 pounds.

I thought of moving around to different locker numbers. For example, right now I would be using #25 because I weigh about as much as I did at that age. Then I would move down to #23 when I weigh as much as I did then and so on until I reach #18. That just seemed like too much work and I decided to stick to my end result goal, #18. I want to weigh as much as I did at my graduation.

It's kind of cool that 99% of the time the #18 locker is available at the gym. When I change in the locker room I put my clothes in my gym bag and I put everything in locker #18. As I lock my old fashioned high school-like combination lock on the locker I look at the number 18 before I head out to run on the treadmill and it makes me run faster.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Stuff That Happened in New York

Sorry I've been so delinquent in blogging. I have been literally exhausted all week. The New York trip kicked my butt! I ended up trying to squeeze too much into very little time.

First of all I was there for work so I had to do that first. I had a conference on Thursday and sales calls on Friday. The conference started so early in the morning that I flew in Wednesday. I decided to stay somewhere different this time, and close to the conference, so I stayed at the Holiday Inn in SoHo. We were literally steps from Canal St/Chinatown and only blocks from Little Italy.

When we checked into the hotel we realized a large French group was staying there too. In fact, there was quite a large international group at our hotel. Every time we got on the elevator we heard a different language being spoken. The next morning at breakfast we kept hearing French and Rey was quoting Keven Kline from French Kiss, "You people, you people make my [butt] twitch!" I was cracking up.

It was raining on Thursday morning so when I set out to my conference I decided to take a taxi, even though the conference venue was only six blocks away. It was really wet and I was wearing four inch heels and I figured, "better safe than sorry."

Well when the taxi stopped he said half kidding to me, "You stopped me for six blocks?" Only in New York! No, I take that back. They said stuff like that to us in Rome too. I guess any big city.

Friday I had three sales calls and it was raining of course. I decided to act like a New Yorker and I took the subway to all my spots. I felt very metropolitan! and I thought to myself, like I often do when I visit New York, that I could live there.

After my sales call I met Rey at an Irish Bar in the Financial district. It was such an adorable bar, called Killarney Rose with a sweet Irish bartender named Noel. Upstairs in the Hideout there was another Irish bartender from Limerick. Small world! My good friend lived close to Limerick. We had the absolute BEST pastrami there. From Killarney Rose we walked to Battery Park and then to see what progress they've made on Ground Zero.

So the walking started. I have a theory and it's not really a theory, it's actually a fact. I have really skinny ankles for my body. Look at the picture here. And since I have such skinny ankles and my feet hurt SO MUCH after walking a lot. Just think, these skinny ankles have to hold up all this weight!

Saturday was even more walking. We walked from our hotel to the Brooklyn Bridge and then up the bridge to the two towers. It was a beautiful day and a beautiful walk. We passed some gorgeous buildings on the way, like the Municipal Building in my photo.

We walked back down the bridge and we rested for a bit before taking the Q train out to Coney Island. THAT was a great experience. After buying hot dogs at the world famous Nathan's we went to sit on the boardwalk. We tried to sit on one bench but we got into a fight with some bees who wanted to drink the spilled sweet drink there. They would not give up until we finally moved on to another bench. Even then, one of them went chasing after us. Thus why I never mess with bees or wasps. They are evil!

On our way back up town we decided to rest at our hotel but we probably rested a bit too long because we were so tired. We got back out and went to the Times Square and 5th Avenue area and had Ray's Pizza. We took the subway all of this time, so we were doing a lot of walking. More sore feet and ankles.

Since we were leaving Sunday I wanted to wake up early and to do something, at least one thing, before we left. It was so chilly that morning. We took the train out to the Upper West Side and we went to Zabar's to get coffee. Then we walked over to Central Park to do a little walking and to see that side of the city. I LOVE the Upper West side and decided that even though it was nice to stay in SoHo, next time I want to try the Upper West side. Maybe I can find a good deal there through my corporate site.

So there we go. This was definitely a walking trip and a lot of it was done in just about 36 hours. I really LOVE New York, walking and all.

Recap of New York Restaurants where we ate:
Carnegie Deli
The Original Vincent's Italian Restaurant
Killarney Rose
Red Egg
Nathan's Hot Dogs
Ray's Pizza

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Stuff That's Gone on this Week

A lot of stuff has been going on lately. In exactly one week I leave to New York for work and I am already feeling the stress. And my trip is still SEVEN days away! But I know why I'm feeling stressed. It's that I always seem to procrastinate or have other things come up right before my trip and I end up doing everything at the last minute. I vowed I would not do that this time, but as I look around my dirty house I have a feeling I won't be able to avoid the last minute anxiety I always end up having. (Note to Possible Thieves. My house will be well protected by my in-laws and children.)

Image by Anne Taintor

Of course it would help if I were to get up and do one thing instead of blogging, but I also feel the pressure of posting something, anything, at least once a week.

So here you go. It's not anything of substance, just a bunch of stuff going on in my head and sometimes outside my head.

Dear New York, I hope all those bed bugs are gone by next week. Holiday Inn, please make sure there aren't any bed bugs in my room. This is probably my biggest worry about this trip.

Dear Facebook, Please make sure your time stamp is accurate. Has anyone else noticed this? It always says "about an hour ago," in a very vague way. It's never specific on the time so when you're telling someone you were doing something they'll say to themselves (but not to you, they'll just think you're a liar), "That's not what it said you were doing on Facebook."

Facebook has become the big outer in life now. Facebook has taken the place of that friend who was friends with everyone and somehow ended up telling the same story to two different friends and totally outing one of the friends who lied to the other one.

I've thought of that often. Not that I would lie about my whereabouts, because I'm a pretty OPEN book, I blog for goodness sakes, however I have thought more than once that Facebook keeps us all honest.

I was telling my husband how I think Austin is so beautiful and that if I lived there I would never want to leave. My son was walking by and he just heard part of the conversation. “I can’t move to Austin. I’ll have to start my live all over again," he said.

What the heck? My husband I cracked up. His whole SIX years of life!

So my kids sold their cookie dough for school. NOW that they are done I read the fine print on the cookie dough order form. "Don't ask a stranger to buy... not door to door." I'm such a great mom! Oh well! Once again, at least I'm not making them get the bubonic plague or anything fishing out dead rats.

Which brings me to something else. I had some ads for Rat Traps on my blog because of my last post. Hilarious.

And speaking of advertising. Why do I keep getting ads for Single women on Yahoo? What's up with that? Have I shown a preference for women? That's interesting. They must have heard about my girl crush on Sarah Jessica Parker and Girl in a Coma.

And finally, WHERE did the Chinese people go? Did the Communists find out about my blog and did they shut it down? How will they communicate and send eachother secret messages now?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I'll Either End Up like Psycho's Mom or a Build-a-Bear


The other night I was lying in bed with my six year old son and he was playing with my hair, like he often does to fall asleep.

"You're not going to be able to sleep with me any more. You're getting big. You need to sleep in your bed."

"No, I'm always going to sleep with you, even when I'm big."

"Uh, no I don't think so. First of all you aren't going to want to sleep with me and that's just weird if you do."

"Yes I am! When you die I'm going to stuff you with cotton and you're going to be my big teddy bear. And I'm going to play with your hair and you won't even feel it because you'll be dead," he said.

I immediately had flashbacks to Psycho and his mother in her rocking chair and a Build-a-Bear.

I laughed so hard and I went and told my husband what he said.

"Well if he tells us he wants to study taxidermy I guess we should worry," was his response.

Yeah, I guess so.

I've been selling cookie dough with my kids for the past couple of days. My daughter is older and very outgoing, so she had no problem with going door to door. She goes right up to the homes and knocks and does her presentation on her own. Many times I just wait at the end of the sidewalk and only step in if she needs me.

My son was another story. I don't think he really knew what to expect and when he realized what it entailed he had second thoughts. Especially when the first house we walked up to had yappy dogs in their window. He was hilarious! I wish I'd taken a picture of the expression on his face when he realized what going house to house meant. He looked like he hadn't signed up for this.

The second time we went out I was very proud of him. He sounded so cute giving his presentation. I don't know how anyone could tell him no. (which a man did)

"Hi. I'm Seth Ruiz and I'm selling cookie dough for my school." 

As his mom I just wanted to eat him up, he sounded so cute. But then again I am his mom, so I'm like obligated to think he's cute.

All in all I think this is really good for them and it builds character. I was just telling someone about my own parents recently. The Bloggess, one of the funniest, and sometimes offensive depending on who you are, bloggers talked about a dead squirrel in her wall and it totally brought back a really bad memory.

STOP HERE IF YOU HAVE A WEAK STOMACH!

When I was a pre-teen my father got the smart idea of killing a rat with poison. Well the rat went and died in our attic and we couldn't get it out. The stench was horrible. I wish we'd had the "rat-sorb" Jenny talks about in her blog. YUCK! Talk about stinky!

Then my father tells me that since I'm the smallest person in the house I should go up into the attic, crawl on my belly, and grab the rat with a plastic bag. Why I agreed is beyond me, but I guess I'm pretty sick too. I don't remember too many details except that I wore a red bandanna across my face and that the rat looked like its stomach was half eaten by maggots. Somehow I grabbed the rat and took it down from the attic.

Now THAT'S character building! George Lopez says that kids couldn't survive being a kid for one day if they had to live back in our time. Yeah, if they had to go get rats out of attics probably not. They would just die of the bubonic plague or something.

So I guess I'm doing good just building character by making my kids sell their own cookie dough and encouraging them to do it themselves. That is much better character building than getting dead rats.

Monday, September 13, 2010

You're Dead, but Are You Up for a Hand of Poker or a Round of Golf? Wish You Were Here!

Last time I talked about advertising to a target audience. Today I'm going to talk about inappropriate advertising. I just hope that when I die my obituary doesn't have an ad like the one I saw today next to it. (not that I'll know the difference because I'll be dead, but maybe my family will care) I think this was kind of a poor choice, depending of course on who you are and your view of death.

I was reading someone's obituary on a news site, that will remain unnamed, and there was an ad for a casino next to the poor woman's obituary. The first time I looked at it the ad said, "The cards are hot. Wish you were here." I thought that was really ironic that you would have an ad next to someone's obit. Who are you targeting there? I guess old people reading their friend's obit.

The second time I looked again the same casino had a similar ad but this one said, "The Greens are Firm and Fast. Wish you were here."

What if the woman's husband is reading that ad? "Oh yeah, great idea. Let me ditch my wife's funeral to go to this casino instead!" Or maybe they are trying to target those grieving spouses to use their insurance money to go there for a get-away afterwards to grieve. Interesting marketing ploy!

Either way, I thought it was a little weird! I wish I could share the ad with you here, but I don't want to get in any trouble so I'll use an appropriate Anne Taintor comment instead.

Image by AnneTaintor

You never know what you can get in trouble for nowadays and being that I still work full time and for a big corporation I have to tread carefully. It would be fun to say whatever I wanted and to call names but that might be a bad idea. Especially if I want to keep my job and my income.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Hispanic Marketing, Waiting to Exhale sequel and other Ethnic Musings

I had lunch with the editor of La Voz on Friday and I was wearing a big chunky colorful bead necklace. She asked me where I got it and I told her that, like many of my pieces of jewelry that people often admire, I bought it from a jewelry lady at some Hispanic event.

"Haven't you ever noticed that at every Hispanic event there's a lady selling jewelry?" She had never thought about it but agreed now that I pointed it out.

"You can be at a  Hispanic Chamber event, the Latino Book & Family Festival, or the Latina Style event and there is always someone there with a table selling jewelry. The jewelry is always something really nice and unique, very different from stuff you may find at a jewelry store."

"And it probably costs less," she said.

"Yes, exactly. Fifteen dollars for a matching set, necklace and earrings."

There are so many things that I love about being Hispanic and this is one of them. We do things different from a lot of other ethnicities. A friend commented on FB today that there was a band at Fiesta (a popular grocery store in Houston that caters to Hispanics) today playing "La Bamba."

Or when I blogged a couple of years ago that a woman came into a bar around 1:30 a.m. every weekend to sell tamales. I saw all the new non-Hispanic people at the bar buying tamales and very pleased with their purchase.

Of course 37% of Houston's population is Hispanic or Latino of any race. And Hispanics and Latinos constitute 15.4% of the total United States population, or 46.9 million people. Houston is always going to have things that market to this unique audience. So it doesn't surprise us that big US companies are also trying to market to this dynamic group of people.

There's the Lay's Limon, Lay's Chile Limon, Coffee Mate Dulce de Leche, and Kool Aid now has Aguas Frescas, including Jamaica. Progresso is now making new soups like Tortilla Soup, Menudo and Caldo de Pollo, obviously all Hispanic products. Those are just a few of the many companies that have launched a product to appeal to Hispanics.

In the literary market Latina authors took off around ten years ago when all this Latin excitement started. Author Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez sold her novel Dirty Girl's Social Club for an unprecedented $500,000. She paved the way for many other Latina authors.

Before the Latino literary movement started there was one book that started it all off for books by non-White authors. She caused such a stir with her book that when Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez came on the scene she was referred to as the Latina Terry McMillan.

McMillan's book Waiting to Exhale, spoke to women everywhere, of all ethnicities. It was even made into a major motion picture in 1995 starring Whitney Houston, Angela Bassett, Loretta Devine (from Houston) and other actors. Now author Terry McMillan has announced that Getting Happy, the long-awaited sequel to Waiting to Exhale, was published on September 7, 2010. It picks up on the women's lives fifteen years later. I can't wait to read it!

I wouldn't mind being referred to as the Latina Terry McMillan. My husband refers to me as the Latina Amy Tan because my novel is about three women and their mothers. I take that as a compliment. Amy Tan is one of my favorite authors. I've heard her read in person only once before around fourteen years ago. In one week she comes to Houston for the Inprint Reading Series and I get to hear her again. I'm trying to read her last novel Saving Fish from Drowning before her visit, although I think she's going to talk in general and not specifically about that one book. But either way, I want to read her most recent work before going to hear her. Last time she was here she was promoting The Hundred Secret Senses. It's hard to believe it's been that long. Time flies!

In only two and half weeks I'll be in my second favorite city in the U.S., New York. Houston being the first of course and Chicago my third favorite. I can't wait to be there again in the hustle and bustle of the city, riding the subway and taxis, going on sales calls. I love that place! Even though I'm usually there wearing my advertising hat, I can see how writers love that city and feel inspired. I love New York in the fall!

Monday, September 06, 2010

The Real Housewives of New Jersey and Other Reality Shows

I just can't get into Reality TV. I just can't. Maybe it's because I'm a writer and I appreciate the talent and hard work that goes into writing a fictional show instead of a reality show. I can see the appeal and I can see how people get hooked. It's like a soap opera and the people are real people, or actors trying to bust into the business, so they agreed to do a reality show.


Photo Courtesy of tvfanatic.com

There are so many reality shows now that I can't even keep up with all of them. It really does seem that those are the only shows on TV. I know that my friends watch Jersey Shore and the Real Housewives of New Jersey. I enjoy reading their FB posts and I find the stories interesting when I hear recaps about them over lunch from one co-worker to another.

It isn't that I've never seen a reality show. I have actually watched a little bit of The Bad Girls Club and The Kardashians. I found them entertaining, but neither one kept me coming back for more. Maybe you'll tell me it's because it's not Jersey Shore or the Real Housewives show.

I personally prefer the genius of Seinfeld and Tina Fey, talented writers and comics, who create such a compelling story that you can't wait for the next season to find out who Liz Lemon will end up with in 30 Rock. I want to find out what will happen to Gibbs' father on NCIS. Those are writers!

But that's just me. The most excited I get about New Jersey is flying into Newark instead of La Guardia or JFK. It's the best discovery I ever made! Yeah, it may take longer to get there on the train but it takes you straight from the airport to Penn Station.

In three and a half weeks I am going to be in New York and I can not wait! I'm going for work, but I'm staying over the weekend. This time I want to do something different. I've never taken the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty so that's one thing I'm interested in doing. I also want to go to that famous cupcake shop! I always go to Zabar's on the Upper East side when I'm there.

I need to start planning my trip soon! As usual it will be part work, part fun. I'm going to attend a conference on Thursday, sales calls on Friday and then fun Friday evening through Sunday morning. My husband will play while I work, but we'll meet up in the evening and the weekend. We may even have one of our friends join us and if we do that will make it an even better trip because, although I've traveled with her many times, we've never been to NYC together! I can hardly wait! I need this trip in the worse way!

I'll say hi to the real housewives of New Jersey for y'all when I fly into Newark!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Fall is Almost Here, I'm in Love, and Random Stuff

First and foremost! I am SO IN LOVE!!! I just met these beautiful new shoes by Ann Roth, via skirt!, and I think I'm in love. Not with these shoes specifically, with all her shoes.


This is the Charisma!

These shoes are just amazing pieces of art. I can not wait to afford a pair. LOL! I LOVE shoes, but I can not bring myself to spend more than $100 for a pair. Even $100 is way too much for me. I usually stay in the $80 range.

So Fall is here and I totally do not feel like it. I feel like something is off kilter. I know what it is. I don't feel like it's Fall because I'm not taking the kids to school every day or picking them up. Since Rey is still off, and doing all of that, I'm not following my school schedule. I don't feel as busy as I usually am when school starts, therefore I don't feel as useful. I still feel very lazy. I'm hoping that the start of Cheerleading classes tomorrow changes that a bit. I'm coming home a few minutes early to take the kids to their first cheerleading class. I'm watching this first class, but the plan is to work out every Tuesday while they are there.

That's another thing! I haven't been working out and that has a lot to do with the laziness. Fall always marks the beginning of a new phase for me, like my birthday and a new year. It's a time that I use to reasses my life. It is so hard to believe that it has been 8 months since the start of the year and six months since my 40th birthday. Incredible... I have never felt quite right in these six months. I haven't felt like my life is in order. Something is definitely askew.

Once again I'm also behind schedule. Instead of sitting down to revise my goals for the rest of the year and reviewing my five year plan before school started I am barely doing it this week. I never even made a vision board/bucket list. I kidded that I needed to make a love shrine instead. A love shrine to myself and my life. A definition of who I am and where I want to go. I hate it when I get this feeling that I'm just existing and not living. It isn't a good feeling and I must shake it off.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The 2010 Emmy Awards

Looking at the Emmy nominations makes me realize how little TV I watch. At first it was a conscious effort and then it just became the norm. I can actually count on one hand the number of shows I have watched on a regular basis in the last twenty years. Currently it's 30 Rock and NCIS. I love both those shows!


I decided to go through the nominees for tonight's awards and I found that I have not watched any of the shows, mini-series, or made for TV movies that are being nominated. I wanted to watch The Closer every time I would watch the commercials at the gym, but I just never did. The commercials make it look really good!

When I was growing up I lived with a sister who watched TV 24/7. I am not kidding. To the point that I did not want to watch TV for years. Once she moved away, when I was around 16, I stopped watching it all together. I read a lot and talked on the phone instead and then before I knew it I started college and I was too busy with studying to worry about it. During those years I probably only watched a Spanish novela or two with my mom during dinner.

The summer I lived in St Pete, Florida while doing an internship I didn't even have a TV in my room. I know there are many people who do the same thing. I often hear people say they don't even own a TV and if they do it's only to watch DVDs.

So this leads me to the question. How does TV even survive? Who is watching TV? With the Internet, Netflix, XBox TV shows, etc... who watches actual television with the commercials and all? Because that's how TV survives; from the advertising. If the advertisers aren't reaching their target audience and they aren't seeing an ROI on their investment (and TV is really expensive) they are going to quickly lose interest in advertising. If TV loses their advertisers they will lose more money and that is not a good thing for any media.

I started watching NCIS at the gym originally. I got caught up in some of the shows and then I saw that I could watch one of the seasons on Netflix without commercials. Since I was looking for a show to watch while I folded clothes I started watching Season 6 online on Netflix. When I finished watching those shows it was time to watch Season 7. And that's how I started watching the show on TV. Now that I think about it, that's how I started watching 30 Rock too. I watched the show on Netflix and then I moved on to television. However, I often DVR the shows and I watch them sans commercials.

So is the Internet actually helping TV or hurting it? I wonder how how many people do the same thing. How many people start watching a show online and then move on to watch it in real time? For some reason the song lyrics, "Video killed the radio star," keep running through my head. Except my question is did the "Internet kill the TV Star?"

I haven't decided if I'm watching the Emmy Awards yet. I may tune in just in time to see if Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin win in their category since they are the only two actors nominated who are in a show that I actually watch.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Where Did the Summer and Thirteen Years Go

In honor of my anniversary!

I may have said this before on here, but I will say it again and I'll probably continue saying it my whole life because I can't believe how much I didn't think about it thirteen years ago. My wedding anniversary will forever fall at the start or around the start of the school year. Yes, today is my thirteen year anniversary and it also happens to be my kids' first day of school.

I was feeling totally guilty for never taking a vacation day all summer long and then in the end I decided to just go ahead and take off the last Friday of the summer. I say I took the day off when in fact I logged on to work in the morning for a little while. After that we took the kids to see Nanny McPhee Returns.  Very cute movie but we went to see it for the kids. That wouldn't be my first choice, but they enjoyed it. Then Saturday we took them to the beach and they had a really good time.

I took today off too for our anniversary and for the first day of school. Rey and I decided to go see a movie we both wanted to see. So we took the kids to school, I came back and worked for a little while, took a nap, and then we went to see Salt. Great movie! Action movies with a strong female lead are always a great compromise. We both enjoyed it and I'm looking forward to the sequels I'm sure are to come.

Then we had sushi for lunch and I told the Chinese waitress that always sees us there that it was our anniversary, but of course she didn't give us anything, not that I expected anything. But I couldn't help but think how different it is when you go to a nice restaurant and you tell them it's your anniversary. They always give you a little something, even if it's a free dessert. Not so at the Chinese buffet that is a great deal on freshly made sushi. I guess they figure we can just go get some ice cream from the buffet or some flan the Mexican cooks make. Maybe if I told them my blog is a channel for Chinese anti-communists they would have offered me something. I need to remember to mention that next time.

So we've been married thirteen years. We are both very challenging personalities, thus the two children with the challenging personalities. We are not perfect. Who is? We both got into this thirteen years ago really not knowing what to expect. At least I didn't. I'd never been married, he had. And yet here we are thirteen years later for better or for worse and believe me, we've seen a lot of the worse of one another. Two children and two c-sections later we have survived. Yes, I should have come with a warning label!

A few days ago we watched Date Night (yes, we watch a lot of movies, don't judge) and the two main characters, Tina Fey and Steve Carell had the exact same conversation that we have had before. It was hilarious! My husband says to me, "We've had that conversation before." And I said, "Thousands of couples have that conversation."

I have seriously had that same fantasy of taking off and just checking into a hotel room à la Ashley Judd in Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood in my nightgown with a coat and a bottle of vodka in one hand. What woman or man hasn't? But most of us don't. We work out our differences for our children and for better or worse, just like we said in our wedding vows, and we move on. We can't afford to take sabbaticals like the character in Eat, Pray, Love. That's not reality for most of us.

In an age when divorce is always the answer we have somehow managed to hang in there and make it work, and that has made all the difference.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hey! I Think I'm a Latina Blogger!

Woman Blogging by Mike Licht

Here's some interesting news! After six years of blogging here and on skirt! and also reading many other Latina's blogs over the years, word on the street is that there has been a "recent explosion of Latina bloggers on the web."  Maybe no had noticed us all of this time, so I guess it's nice to know that we've "sparked a buzz of excitement through cyberspace." 

According to this Hispanicad.com article "Latinas are outpacing the general market in growth and use of social media ."  I guess that's why the new excitement. We Latinas are actually blogging more than our non-Latina counterparts. Which makes sense really given that "Hispanics and Latinos constitute 15.4% of the total United States population, or 46.9 million people." (Wikipedia)

I enjoy blogging. Blogging for me is a weekly (and sometimes more) writing exercise. It gives me time to sit down and craft my words, however rudimentary. Sometimes I have the time to really go back and edit my work and sometimes I don't. Those times that I don't it's more like one of those 15 minute writing exercises where you are only allowed to write non-stop without any editing. Those are fun. It's always cool to see what you end up writing.

So I keep blogging. I don't do it for the money, although I should add that option to my blog. I tried it once but didn't see much ad activity. I really just blog for the love of writing and to send my words out into cyberspace in hopes that I will touch someone and make them go, "hmmm," laugh, or to spark some memory of their own. It's all about the pen, or the keyboard in my case.

Back to more Latinas blogging. There was actually a panel on this subject at the BlogHer conference. I've wanted to go to BlogHer for the last couple of years, since I first heard about it. I think I am really going to make an effort to go next year. What I found most interesting about this article was the statistic that "Hispanic women in the U.S. are one of the fastest-growing online demographics, and more than 85 percent of Latinas visit social networks on a regular basis." This is interesting to me, not only because I'm a Hispanic woman blogger, but also because I sell Hispanic media, including digital. This is great information for Hispanics as a viable digital market.

There I go again! Always wearing both my writer and my advertising hat at the same time! Argh! Thus the reason why I don't write full time and I blog. 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Up to my Shenanigans!

This is what I've been writing other places when I'm not here.

I have a week to finish "the talk" with my daughter. The birds and the bees in other words. Here is the story on that on skirt!

Sopalatina.net, a really cool Latino web site posted this essay that I submitted about reading and what an important part it has played in my life.

Enjoy!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

I've Decided It Is All About the Architecture

I went on a walk again through downtown and I decided it IS all about the architecture.

Citizens Bank at 402 Main, Built in 1925.
 
I took the train again down to St. Joseph's to a sales call. Now that I knew the route it seemed a lot quicker. When I got to the Preston train platform I was right in front of these beautiful buildings. Just look at the designs. Houston has some of the most beautiful buildings. I'm so glad so many of these buildings have been marked as historical because that means they have a better chance of survival.  
 
 
The State National Building at 412 Main St. I love the small two story building next to it. I think it looks so unique there next to the taller building. I would love to own that smaller building so I could convert it into my house. Yes, I would live downtown.
 
This time I stopped and took a picture of another Houston sidewalk sign. I found out earlier in the week that they aren't only on St. Joseph Pkwy. They're other places too.

Then on my way back to the office I snapped a picture of the place where I should live.


When I first started working at the Chronicle in 1993 the Rice was closed and there were rumors that it would be remodeled and changed into apartments. I used to joke that if that ever happened I would live right next door, roll out of bed in the morning and go to work. They didn't remodel and reopen it until 1998 and by then I was married and I was thinking of a house. What was I thinking? Now that I own a house I think about how much I would enjoy not having a yard.

A couple of restaurants and a coffee shop have access to the Rice lobby and I think that's really cool. I love to sit in their beautiful lobby for lunch or for a coffee and imagine what the Rice was like back in its hey day. The artwork on the ceiling is breathtaking and if you sit really still you can almost hear the hustle and bustle of the original Rice Hotel. There used to be a jewelry store in the lobby, among other businesses, back then. The Rice was one of the places to be and many business deals were made in their bar.

I also LOVE LOVE LOVE all the restaurants and bars downtown. I remember when I was in college and a few years right after college when my friends and I would go to a dance club downtown called PowerTools. It was so underground and grungy and we loved it. Back then there were no bars downtown except for PowerTools, the Brewery Tap and La Carafe. Now there are all these bars and restaurants. I love walking down Main St and seeing that we actually have pubs now! There's Molly's Pub and the pub attached to the Rice building, Shay McElroy's. It makes me feel so European!

So I've decided that this is exactly what I was going to write about that day I fell. That and that I'm surprised at how many people take the light rail. I was coming back at lunch time Wednesday and a bunch of people were going into downtown for lunch. A lot! I had to stand on the way back and I had to hold on to the bar like I was on NY subway.

Now about one other thing. BlogHer.com. I want to go one day. I say that every year, but I'm very serious this time. I feel like it always sneaks up an me and then it's like this weekend. I am going to write it in my calendar for next year and I'm going to write "plan for BlogHer" six months from now. I would love to attend all the sessions and to attend the parties with other bloggers. It's this weekend and I'm missing it. Next year!

Friday, August 06, 2010

Houston Is So Cool but HOT!

Since I had to blog on here about my big FALL, I didn't blog about Houston and all the quirky or interesting things I notice about it when I walk somewhere. I did blog about the architecture over on skirt! If you want to read more about that go on over to skirt!

Bank of America Building

Yesterday I went around the corner to Pad Thai, a really good little Thai restaurant (and by little, I mean really narrow) on the ground floor of the Hogg Building. (I love the house at the top but I've never been in it, but would love to) I was walking back when I saw this beautiful view of one of my very favorite buildings downtown, the Bank of America building. I found that it has it's own Wikipedia page with all kinds of interesting tidbits. In fact, there's a whole page for Houston buildings, but some of the really old ones that I really like on Main Street aren't listed. Many of those even have historical markers on them.

After I posted this picture on Facebook one of my friends, and one of the only workmates that I have as a friend on FB, stopped by my cubicle to ask me if I had taken that picture yesterday during lunch. She had commented on another photo that people who see me taking pictures probably think I'm a tourist. I joked that taking pictures was probably the reason I fell down.

I'm off to pick up a check from a client downtown. Maybe I'll be inspired to write the original post I intended to write on Wednesday before I was side-tracked.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I Think I Was Looking Forward to "Fall" Way Too Much

This is fake grass y'all! It's under the bench at the Metro Rail. Kind of creepy!

So today I decided to get brave and to venture out again on walking sales calls, despite the melting Houston heat. I took the train down to the Bell St exit and I walked over to a building on that end of Downtown. When I was coming back on the train I noticed something kind of weird. Under the benches they have pictures of grass. Is that strange or is it just me? I'm trying to understand their reasoning for that.

Then I started thinking about Houston and what a cool city it is. I started thinking of a list of things I was going to write about on here. Things that make Houston interesting or weird or maybe things I had never noticed about it before. So that's what I was thinking about all innocently as I left my last sales call when SPLAT!


I lost my footing and my ankle twisted to one side and down I went on the sidewalk, hands out. Here is the damage.

And here is the scene of the accident.


It happened on the corner of Franklin and Travis, right in front of the Hong Kong restaurant, well a door down. Notice the rocky sidewalk with those sharp little pebbles. One of those little pebbles tore open my hand nicely. At first I just sat there on that sidewalk you see here. I was mortified and embarrassed. All the cars at the light or passing by on Franklin saw me fall. One truck slowed down and I prayed that it wouldn't stop. So I just sat there and regained the little pride I had left and pushed up with my good hand.

Once I got moving down Travis St. I called my husband because he was coming downtown to meet me for lunch. He hadn't left the house yet so he got some band aids to bring me. Then I cursed myself for forgetting my Wet Ones. I always carry a package of wipes in my purse. They come in handy when you have two kids. Well this morning I was going to put a new package in my purse and I forgot. It would have been nice to have a wipe to clean my hand just then. I walked all the way down Travis to Cabo, around three blocks, with a bloody hand. I didn't wash it until I got to Cabo so who knows what germs crawled up into my system. Lovely...

Now I don't have anything cool or weird to tell you about Houston except that Metro has pictures of grass under the benches at the Metro Rail platforms and it doesn't even make any kind of sense. If I had anything else to say I promptly forgot it all after my fall.

What's funny is that when I posted my last blog on Facebook yesterday I said I was really looking forward to "fall." I totally meant the season and not a literal fall. I think my message got lost in translation somehow. And another thing that's really funny and ironic is that when I started my journey around Downtown this morning I was feeling so optimistic. I was declaring my goals and aspirations out loud while walking down the sidewalk. (Yes, I probably sounded like those homeless people that talk to themselves, but "when in Rome," right?) I think that message also got lost in translation because instead of having wonderful positive things come back to me I was splattered all over the sidewalk only an hour later.

My post on interesting little things I've noticed about Downtown Houston will have to be saved for later.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Steady and Well-Ordered in my Life

It is hotter than heck in Houston right now. I have been getting out on sales calls and the heat is intense. Yesterday I got the bright idea of taking the train down to a sales call on the other end of downtown but soon realized it wasn't such a great idea. First I had to walk one block down to Main St and then one more block down to the train platform. Once I got off at my stop, which I must admit I arrived to really fast, I had to walk three blocks to the building. When I got there I was sweating! I had to stop off in the restroom to wipe my face and to cool down. And I was wearing a cotton t-shirt and skirt! Imagine if I was wearing a suit. It is just too hot right now in Houston for anything like that.

While on my walk down the sidewalk I noticed a couple of interesting messages. Here is one.

I passed another one, but I was too hot to stop and take a picture. They were on St. Joseph Parkway. I have no idea who William Burford is and when I tried to Google him nothing popped out at me.

My only consolation during the summer is the thought that it's really only this hot in Houston for two months and it's only hot all together for four months. The rest of the year is nice. In fact, we had a nice long winter this year. And this is the last month that we will have to suffer this way. At the end of September it will start getting cooler, hopefully...

The Chinese are still coming by to visit my blog and I've received two contradicting messages. I think one is from the Communists and the other is from my friends. The Communists say, "A friend to everybody is a friend to nobody." What's that? A warning because I'm letting people use my blog as a channel?

My friends said in Chinese and I translated it, "Like it here - Support your update." Nice message guys! I'm glad you like it here too. It's been my online home for almost six years now.

The end of the heat also means the end of the summer and this has been one lazy summer! I'm almost glad the kids are going back to school because it will put us all back on some kind of schedule. I've already started trying to put them on a schedule, giving them a check off list they need to work on each day. It includes the norm, like wash your face and brush your teeth and moves on to more specific things like get exercise and work on your math. They also need to start going to bed early and waking up early. They've been at home this summer with Daddy so they haven't even had to wake up early.

I'm trying to put myself back on a schedule too. I've been extremely delinquent about going to the gym, among many other things. School will get me back on track! I hope...

One very hard decision I have had to make is to pull down my Hips 'n Salsa blog. I'm not really pulling it down all together, but I'm not going to update it on a regular basis any more and I'm not going to list it on the Latina Lista website as a partner. I just don't feel like it's fair to Latina Lista if I'm not updating regularly.  So there you go. I had to let go of one thing to make room for other things.

I read this quote this week and I feel like it is very fitting for me and my writing. I must get organized in order to do really great work. I want to enter some writing contests, more for the discipline and so that I will make the time to write, than to win. Entering a contest gives me a deadline. August 30 is my next one!

"Be steady and well-ordered in your life so that you can be fierce and original in your work." -Gustave Flaubert. Sorry William, I think I like Gustave's quote a bit more.