Showing posts from September, 2011

Reformed Sinners Condemn The Most

I must confess that I used to be that person who constantly checked her smart phone for emails and texts and Facebook updates regardless of the situation. It didn't matter if I was with my family or at work or out with my friends. It was just a compulsion.

I marveled at how a group of us could be out together and several people would be checking their phones and some would even be texting each other although they were sitting nearby. It was a sign of our times - no one wants to miss anything that's going on. Even if it's something minor happening 1,000 miles away.

One day, I just snapped out of it. I decided that it was more important to focus on the person(s) that you're physically next to instead of someone far away. Seriously, unless there's some emergency, it can wait to reply to a text or email until you get home. In the meantime, I think you should, I don't know, actually TALK to the person you're with. And, not just talk, but truly engage them.

Of co…

Book Review - Freak Magnet

Freak Magnet by Andrew Auseon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Charlie Wyatt is a socially challenged nerd. Gloria Aboud attracts freaks and she considers Charlie to be one after their first encounter. The two form an unlikely relationship that is entertaining and touching. Both of them are dealing with heavy family trauma and it was interesting to see them admit that to each other.

Warning: if you're a book cryer as I am, don't read this in public. I read it on a plane and tried to be very subtle despite the tears running down my face.

View all my reviews

1,200 Miles For A Haircut - I Don't Want to Calculate That Carbon Footprint

Since I’ve been getting my hair straightened, I’ve gone a long time between haircuts. Mostly, I just trim my own bangs (which always come out better if I’ve been cocktailing than when I am stone cold sober, go figure) and get the rest of it trimmed every four or five months. I hit a Super Cuts the last time but before that I got a trim at the salon in my Calgary home away from home hotel salon.

I’ve decided to give up the straightening and get layers put in that will hopefully cooperate with my soon to be poodle curly hair and figured my latest trip to Calgary was a perfect time to do the deed.

My plan was to try to get in on the Monday we came in. Our flight lands in the mid-afternoon and the hotel is only a short drive from there so I was hoping to get a cut in before dinner.

Best laid plans...or in this case, best laid plans that weren’t actually planned out because the salon is closed on Mondays. I called them from the office on Tuesday and the receptionist said the stylist was full…

Book Review - Kitty Raises Hell

Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Great airplane book.

Kitty and her pack are being stalked by an apparent fire demon so she enlists the help of Rick, the local vampire ruler, and the crew of a paranormal investigation TV show. Another vamp shows up claiming he can help them but is the price he asks too high?

These are fun stories with a nice element of danger, relationships and entertaining plots.

View all my reviews

You Don't Want To Be On My Fantasy Football Team

Just to give you an idea on how it's going, I just changed the name of my team in the work league to "The Injury Report".

Mother frakking football! I don't know if it's because the players weren't in playing shape but there seems to be a lot of injuries so far this season. And, they all seem to be hitting my teams.

Before you think I'm exaggerating, let me give you an update of my current rosters.

Frank Gore - injured his ankle. Hopefully, will be good to go next week.

Roddy White - bum knee but still playing.

Sidney Rice - FINALLY playing after a shoulder injury.

Jahvid Best - bruised thigh but still playing.

Mario Manningham - concussion, missed this week and hasn't been cleared yet to play this week.

Kenny Britt - torn ACL and MCL. Done for the season.

Tony Romo - bruised ribs, punctured lung but still playing.

Those are only the players currently on my two rosters. If I tabulated all of the ones I've already dropped, I might hurt myself.

I am …

Fantastic Night at the Ballpark!

The law firm that my company uses offered two tickets to our VP of HR for tonight's game. She was going to be out of town and I can only surmise that no one in HR wanted to use them because they got offered to me. They weren't just any tickets - they were for the party suite. Free food and booze! How can one say no to that?

Steven and I went to the game hoping that the DBacks would clinch the NL West while we were there. The magic number was only 1 so we just needed to beat the Giants tonight. I must confess, I was a little nervous. The Giants got a lot of hits (9 in 7 innings) off of our starting pitcher but only managed one run. It might have been enough because Arizona kept stranding base runners. It was painful.

However, the boys came through with they tying run in the 7th and tagged on 2 runs in the 8th to move us ahead. The end of the game was awesome with JJ Putz doing what he's been doing all season - kicking ass and taking names. It was so fun to see all of the pl…

Arizona Restaurant Week - Bloom

My Chick Poker gang LOVES Arizona Restaurant Week. It’s so fun to try out new and fancy places for a fixed price of $30 or $40. The bummer for this event, is that we only could get together for one meal. Some of them may try another this weekend but my calendar is fully booked (seriously, when will I learn that I can pass on a social engagement and not feel like I’m missing potentially the most fun ever?).

We all put in our favored selections and Angela made an executive decision to go to Bloom. None of us had been there and the menu looked really good. Really good to us for this event is that you actually have to choose for each course as opposed to wanting to try only one selection in each category.

I got there early (no traffic problems when you’re not on the freeway!) and had settled in to a wine flight before the next person got there. They have a nice wine list and the flights come out to 1 ½ glasses of wine at a very reasonable price.

The rest of the girls showed and Stacy and …

First Day Of Fall...Where, Exactly?

You certainly can’t tell it’s the first day of fall here in Phoenix. The high today is expected to be 108. That’s hotter than most places get in summer! This has been the most uncomfortable summer that I can remember and I was here for the record 122 degree day.

I think two factors contributed to me just being so very, very done with the heat. One, is that we had a fairly moderate spring and beginning of summer. We were just blithely enjoying the nice weather until, wham!, it was hotter than hades. I don’t recall any gradual shift in the process at all. It was nice then it was hot. The end.

The other factor was August. Holy cow, was it brutal. Don’t believe me? Check out all of the records that were set:

113 °F on Aug 2 Tied Record High

112 °F on Aug 18 Set Record High

113 °F on Aug 22 Set Record High

114 °F on Aug 23 Set Record High

113 °F on Aug 25 Set Record High

117 °F on Aug 26 Set Record High

113 °F on Aug 30 Set Record High

90 °F on Aug 15 Tied Record High Low

90 °F on Aug 24 …

My New Guilty Pleasure - Chopped

So, I pride myself on not watching reality TV. I think it's highly edited and I suspect still scripted. And possibly rigged in the contest shows. I also don't watch cooking shows. Frankly, it's all I can do to make simple meals with my organic vegetables and fruits that I get delivered to my house. A fancy meal for one just ain't happening  so why watch someone create a five course meal in what looks to be minutes? Again, heavily edited. Oh, and they have a full staff to assist them.

However, I find myself enthralled with a reality show that's about cooking. How the frak that happened, I don't know but I'm in love with Chopped. If you've never seen it, they start with four chefs and give them baskets of four items and they have to make an appetizer, a main dish and a dessert in a specified period of time. Each course gets a different basket and a chef gets "chopped" after each course until one is declared the champion and gets $10,000.

I think…

This Is Why I Don't Buy Cat Toys Anymore

I keep a basket on my bathroom sink with cosmetics in it. The usual mixture of mascara, eye liner, concealer, 8 million lipsticks and eye know, what a lot of women have but don't always use. But, you need it all.

While I was at Ulta the last time, I did an impulse purchase of a set of eye shadow applicators. They had them on the stand right before you check out where you can buy anything from a $1 item (like those were) or a travel size of fancy shampoo for a ridiculous price of $10. It's sort of like the candy and gum display as you check out at the grocery store.

I used some of them right away and the rest of them have been sitting in their package in the basket ever since. Well, at least until they somehow abandon the basket and travel throughout the house.

The first time I found them out of the basket, they were on the bathroom sink. The second time they were on the bathroom floor then in the hallway.

Could poltergeists be the culprit? Is the package actually…

Oh, Canada

I went to the DiamondBacks game this afternoon with some work buds and, because you can't help but hear the people behind you, I caught bits of what was being said. It wasn't so much what was being said, though, it was how.

I thought, "They're Canadian." Then, I thought, "They're from Calgary." One of the women just had the exact accent I associate with Calgary.

Although I probably would have asked them at some point, after I heard her mention Stampede, I turned around and asked "Are you from Calgary?" I explained that I'm up there a lot for work and that their accent was evident.

The woman joked that they don't have an accent but clearly I had called her out. We chatted for a bit. The one couple was from Calgary and the other was from Vancouver (or North Seattle as my friend Tim and I refer to it).

It's funny how you can tune in to an accent. I can tell Minnesota, North Dakota, Chicago (which is different from the rest of Illi…

Very Cool Wino Experience

My friends have gotten involved in Rodan and Fields and invited some of us to come check out the program. There was an event put on at Total Wine and More that combined a free wine tasting with a presentation of the Rodan and Fields product.

Genius idea!

Great idea for those presenting the product because the tasting was free to them and to us although they provided some cheese and crackers and dessert.

We tasted four wines from South America (two whites and two reds) with one of the store employees leading the discussion about the wine. It's always nice to learn and it made me miss the days when the Poker Chicks went to lots of wine tastings.

Following the tasting was the product presentation. It looks very cool, I must say. I haven't decided if I'm going to buy anything right now (because I'm cash poor thanks to some medical bills) but it's certainly compelling. Who wouldn't want some truly effective anti-aging products?

It was also a great idea for Total Win…

Fantasy Football - Week Two (And I'm Already Cranky)

Well, damn. That's all I have to say.

I picked up Cam Newton in my work league and decided not to start him. I figured that the Green Bay defense would be totally embarrassed by the whipping they took from New Orleans last week that they would shut Newton down. Well, I also considered that maybe Cam Newton is no Drew Brees.

Mother frakking...wouldn't you know that Newton would score nearly 35 points while Matt Schaub would get 21. What makes it more painful is that I was actually in it for the win without starting Newton going into Monday night but Mario Manningham went out with a concussion. I ended up losing by a score of 134.36 to 131.50. Godsdam.

I did manage to win in the club league by a score of 98-89. Of course, my starting QB (Romo) has a punctured lung so who knows about next week?

I've made a bunch of drop-adds in both leagues because injuries and crappy playing have hit me in several spots. While I wouldn't kill for a good WR in the work league, I would mai…

Appearances Can Be Deceiving...Though They Usually Aren't

We had a speaker in at work today to talk to us about coaching and mentoring. We're going to start a mentoring program which I'm excited about though I have no desire to be a mentor. Because, really, I'm just around to be the "bad" example. But, I think it will be great for the employees who participate.

She was talking about onboarding new employees and how you want to share a little of your life with them for bonding purposes but not too much. She said, "You don't want to tell them that you had way too much to drink on Saturday night and had a hangover."

As she was saying that, she was looking right at my table. I said to the class, "I don't know why she's looking at Karen when she says that." Poor Karen who just happened to be sitting next to me.

I mean, she couldn't have been looking at me, could she? Just because I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and a Margaritaville lanyard and was drinking out of a Margaritaville cup doesn&…

Back To Brunette

So, instead of getting my usual hair color, I decided I wanted to go with more of a red/blonde instead of the red/brown that I've had for a while. I looked at the pictures on the box and saw one that was definitely more golden then brown so I bought it.

Perhaps I should have, oh, I don't know, READ THE FRAKKING BOX? Because what I ended up getting was not red at all. It's actually called Light Iridescent Brown.

Of course, I didn't realize this until I was getting ready to wash the color out. Man, that dye was really, really dark. So was my hair. It was the closest it's been to my natural color in over a decade which is way too dark.

Fortunately, the kit I get is a two part process, dye then highlights. The highlights definitely lightened it up. I'd say my hair is now brown with golden highlights as opposed to red/brown with blonde highlights like I used to have.

It actually still looks a little red in the sunlight, and in this picture. But, in interior light, i…

Warm Fuzzies From Work

I must be doing something right at the day job.

Early this morning, I got an email from one of our VPs asking if I would like two tickets to the Diamondbacks next Friday. Not just any tickets, mind you. Suite tickets with food and drink. I thought for about half a minute (the time it took me to see if I had something on my calendar) then gratefully accepted.

Steven was almost as fast at replying to my text to see if he wanted to go with me. He's mandated a rule where any sporting event tickets I get from work have to be offered to him first. He made that rule after I won playoff tickets to see the Cardinals and Green Bay two seasons ago. I'm currently letting him think I'm following the rule but baseball is kind of our thing (well, so is football) so I would have invited him first anyway.

Hopefully, the DBacks will have clinched by then but, if not, it could be a pretty important game since they're playing the Giants.

This won't be my only game next week. Two of th…

Remembering Chris LeDoux

I've been doing a lot of data mapping at work and needed to block out noise so I brought my iPod in this week. It's been great. I just bought a few Icon collection CDs. One of KISS and the other of Eric Clapton. Fun stuff.

After I plowed through those, I went to a CD we got in our gift bags at Riddles in the Sand (a Parrot Head event in Galveston Bay). It's sponsored by Bud Light and called Best in Texas Vol. 7. While I love to mock the "great" state of Texas, I have to give it credit for being home to some fantastic music of two types, both Country and Western.

Chris LeDoux - Cowboy, Musician, Poet, Family Man
and Really Easy On The Eyes

One of the musicians, Roger Creager, reminded me of Chris LeDoux. I think most people first heard of LeDoux in Garth Brook's song, Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old). Here's the verse:

The competition's getting younger
Tougher broncs, you know I can't recall
The worn out tape of Chris LeDoux, lonely women and bad bo…

lia sophia Jewelry, Tupperware and now Miche Bags!

I swear these home parties are going to bankrupt me...

My friend Norene invited me to a purse party at her house on Friday night. Miraculously, my calendar was open and I haven't been to a sleepover at her place in ages so I agreed. I had to travel through a ridiculous amount of rain in Tucson to get there and had my usual "I hate driving in this town" experience but it was worth it to see her and some of the other girls.

Here's my deal with purses. I buy an every day one on sale and use it until breaks. I then buy another one on sale and repeat the process. I do have one dress purse with lots of pretty beading on it and one over the shoulder, small travel purse. But, that's it, that's all I have. Now, shoes, well those I have aplenty.

Norene carries, um, I'm guessing bricks or gold ingots in a HUGE bag. She showed me her latest when I was in Tucson a few weeks ago for a house concert and she was raving about it. I almost got a hernia just from picking it…

Monkey Picture!

I first saw Doug Horne's work when my friends TKay and Russ took us to a street festival on Fourth Avenue in Tucson. Fourth Avenue is like what Mill Avenue used to be before it became corporate - lots of independent stores with cool, hippy stuff in them.

I absolutely loved his stuff! Great colors, lots of tropical themes and some fun twisted images. In fact, I still have his business card from that trip even though it was last December because I wanted to buy something.

This picture just says "Kathy", doesn't it?
So, I was very excited when TKay donated three of his pieces to the silent auction at Parrot Grande. They were all monkey pictures but I pretty much settled on this one as my favorite. Mostly due to the cigar but the tiki glass and Aloha shirt were nice features as well. As an added bonus, one of the Desert Shark PHC members (Rick Nostrand) in Tucson framed them. The frame is a fabulous match to the picture.

I was very excited, and fortunate, to have the win…

Football Pick 'Em - Week One Miracle

The first week of the football season is always somewhat of a crapshoot when it comes to Pick ‘Em. You just never know who’s going to come out surprisingly strong (Buffalo?!?!) or who’s going to tank (Pittsburgh).

So, I’m happy with my results in the club game because I scored the second most confidence points with my 10-6 record. That puts me one point behind The Jello Shot Prince who went 11-5. There are a handful of us within a few points so it’s not like we dominated. It’s just nice to know I didn’t dig myself a hole to get out of in the first week.

In the category of “it’s better to be lucky than good”, I thought I just assigned the same picks to my work league. But, either I was smoking crack when I set those or gremlins were involved because I ended up going 12-4 and took the week’s top score by one point.

Sweet! I’ll take it regardless of the why. (Seriously, how could I have messed up two picks? Early onset dementia?)

The work game is the money one where we pay off the highest s…

Week One of Fantasy Football and I Already Hate It

Mother frakking...

Seriously, this just sucked. I lost 181.36. to 96.7 in my work league. My opponent almost doubled my score! Effing Tom Brady ended up with 47 and Wes Welker with 31. Really, Dolphins, you suck that much? How about some D?

The club game is closer but I'm down 101 to 98 and my opponent still has McFadden playing. Unless he loses a bunch of yards and turns it over a few times, I'm toast.

The sad thing is that I thought I had a pretty decent team in the work league and I got smoked. The club league team was iffy but I wasn't as confident of it.

Oh, and tomorrow I need to go find players to replace mine that got injured in week one.

This is where I question why I play this for "fun".

Adding Value

I think the hardest thing about working on long-term projects is that it's difficult to find milestones to make you feel like you've accomplished anything. I'm putting in 9+ hour days right now and actively hoping for a system break that I can fix or a meeting I can go to and help improve or design a process.

Those things make me feel like my day added value. And, I absolutely love when I can look back at my day and know that I definitively added value to something.

Slogging through schema changes and analyzing data for a project that will take two months to implement doesn't provide that "winning" feeling. Sure, it's important. But, it doesn't give you the shot of adrenaline that an immediate (or close to immediate) problem resolution does.

I absolutely know what we're working on is important and will be a great addition to the company. It's just that we're in this stage where people are coding and analyzing but we're not yet to the p…

At Least I'm Melanoma Free...

One of my many doctor’s appointments of late was yesterday when I saw a Dermatologist. I’ve had this spot on my cheek for way too long that was rough to the touch and would periodically get a slight scab on it. Sounds charming, I know, but I think I was the only one who ever noticed it.

My GP took a look at it and sent me to the Derm. Before he gave me the referral, though, he asked me if I would be upset if the Derm wanted me to strip down to my undies to check for other spots. Apparently, he’d had some patients get upset by that. My thought was that I was finally getting my butt in there so why not get all checked out?

The Derm checked out the spot, declared it just something to keep an eye on and freeze off. He also suggested the same for another spot. Other than those two, I had nothing else to worry about. He did tell me that I’m a high risk for skin cancer since I’m so fair and have lived in AZ for so long but I think that was already a given.

He got out what looked like a little c…

Better Than Christmas

It's the happiest day of the year - the start of the NFL season! The lockout had me worried but everything seems to have settled down. Well, at least until the end of week one when we'll see just how the many player changes affect everything.

Dressed for success!
My friend Sue, an original Cheesehead, was down from Utah for a conference so I picked her up and we met The Rocket Scientist at Teakwood's to watch the big game. She had her Clay Matthews jersey and I had my Ryan Grant and TRS wore a green shirt that he said was entirely by accident. I don't believe him.

Man, that was some game! I expected the Saints to be tough but that was too close. It didn't help that the refs tried to let the Saints back in, TWICE, in the last few minutes. Ultimately, the good guys came out on top and the Grant jersey jinx is broken so I can continue to wear it.

Fantasy football makes watching the games so stressful. I had Greg Jennings and Marques Colston going tonight. Jennings did …

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Another thing I'm late to the party to but, thanks to Netflix, I'm all caught up.

I remember when Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog first came out and I thought it sounded quite intriguing. Joss Whedon in charge of a three part series featuring Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day (I had no idea who she was then) could be very fun. I worship Joss, want to do Nathan and want to cocktail with NPH. And, now, I want Felicia Day to introduce me to all the cool people she gets to hang out with.

I didn't watch it, though, because it's a musical.

I hate musicals.

I'm so not the "let's break out into song" fan. The only musical I've seen more than once is  Jesus Christ Superstar and I'll see that again, given a chance. Les Mis? Meh. Lion King? It was okay. Yeah, I know I'm in the minority with that view but I can live with it.

However, when I was setting up my preferred list in Netflix, I saw that I could watch it on demand so I th…

Back to School Time

The past few weeks have been a series of my peeps posting pictures of their kids’ first days back to school or at least talking about the event. I “think” they’re all back now.

Every mention brought the same response from me, “Oh, I love that child!” I felt that way even when the child in question was legally an adult. There’s something so exciting about that first day and seeing the joyous, sometimes nervous, smiles on their faces that brings back my memories of those times.

A chance at a fresh start, a new outfit, fresh school supplies, the opportunity to catch up with your friends about their summer activities, meeting your teachers and finding out you’re sitting next to someone you like in class; all those things inspired different levels of joy.

Oh, there’s anxiety, too. What if the new outfit isn’t cool (or your couldn’t afford a new outfit)? What if the friends from last year ditch you and don’t want to hang out anymore? What if everyone decides you’re just not cool? What if your…

More Fantasy Football - Can't Wait for Thursday!

We did our work Fantasy Football draft on Saturday morning. Who does a draft on Labor Day Weekend? Aren’t people out of town? Apparently, I was the only one busy. I got them to at least move it from 6 PM on Friday to 10 AM on Saturday but I still missed an hour of entertainment by the pool. Oh, well.

I knew ahead of time that I had the number one pick and I had firmly decided on Arien Foster until the hammy injury and subsequent posting of the MRI image on twitter. It scared me off. I then thought about Chris Johson but I have him in my other league. If his late signing hinders the start of the season, I’d get bit twice. So, I ended up taking the safe pick of Adrian Peterson. It kills me to take a Viking and I’m hoping he’s not too old or fragile to have a good season this year.

One of the guys was late signing in (we did it online) so the system automatically gives you what it considers the highest ranked player. So, he got Foster at pick number six. That’s either going to be really go…

Live From Litchfield Park - It's Saturday Night!

Here are some of the fun costumes from our Saturday night at Parrot Grande.

I think you can safely say the theme was fully embraced by a lot of people.

Being Sarah

Our theme at this year's Parrot Grande was Saturday Night Live. Everyone who wanted to was encouraged to come dressed as their favorite character from the show. I really tried to get The Rocket Scientist to come as Church Lady but he's no fun so he came as himself.

I really didn't start thinking about a costume until a week before the event. I'm always too busy with last minute registration changes and hotel issues to think about much more than that. So, I needed something simple. Well, I couldn't find anyone more simple than Sarah Palin. (Oh, did I just type that? My bad.)

All I needed was a Bumpit and a red top (because that's what Tina Fey wears when she's doing Palin) and I'd be good to go. I already have the rimless specs. I found a shirt on sale at Sears on my lunch hour and got the Bumpit at Ulta on Tuesday night so I was good to go.

Updated picture courtesy of Barb - better view of the Bumpit
I wish this picture were a little brighter so you can …

Peer Pressure

I am still in recovery mode from the Arizona Parrot Head Club's annual Parrot Grande event that was held this weekend. Let's just say my liver is appreciating the water I'm running through it to clean it out.

One of the smart things we started doing a few years ago was to go to the resort for Thursday night. That gave us a chance to get some stuff set up, our massive amounts of crap unpacked, have dinner then enjoy the evening with a smaller gang of friends before the masses descend upon us on Friday.

I suggested a communal breakfast on Friday morning where we could get a food base in for the day and enjoy a bargain breakfast as opposed to a resort priced breakfast. The Jello Shot Queen offered up their suite as our breakfast venue so I headed over as soon as I was showered and dressed.

Except I wasn't dressed appropriately.

See, I was wearing my purple AZPHC shirt. And, all of the other girls were wearing their pink ones. Of course, I was commanded to change which I d…