You go New Mexico!
Tax Free Weekend coming up.
From Friday Aug. 1 through Sunday, Aug. 3, no taxes on what you buy. Zero. Zip. Nada. (there is a link in the article for exact items that are tax free…not everything is)
Saving 6.75% is worth it. Get out there and stimulate the economy!
Me, this weekend, I'll still be paying California's exorbitant 8.25%.
Our state economy is so jacked up, we can't afford to take that kind of hit. If we had a tax free day, folks would FREAK out. Ah well.
Go Oh Fair New Mexico for figuring it out.
July 31, 2008
You go New Mexico!
Big celebrations and fiestas abound as the unstoppable Kathy Cano-Murillo is releasing her new Crafty Chica product line into Michael's stores beginning tomorrow.
I admitted my crush on The Crafty Chica here and it just continues growing.
I got a sneak peek at some of the products at the local Maker Faire back in May and have been dancing like a caffeinated chihuahua ever since waiting to get my hands on the stuff.
For me, the highlight of the product line is her custom-mixed glitter. I look at the glitter in your average craft store and while it does well in basic colors, when you want that extra oomph, it's just not there. Kathy is bringing the oomph. Like this one for example, Bollywood Blue. Delicious.
Kathy detailed in her blog about the process she took to hand mix colors to get the depth. Love it! Someone who actually cares about quality!
I got to meet Kathy back in May and was geeked out by her generosity. I get to "stalk" her again next month when she makes an in-store appearance in San Jose. W00t!
BTW, if you were to, say, visit her blog and scroll down a bit, you might find a photo of yours truly and some of my own Crafty Chica inspired creations....(I look SO exhausted in that photo....)
Here's a photo of one of the first stores to get her stuff on the shelves. I've been manically visiting my local stores but they seem to be waiting for the "official" release date of August 1.
I. Can't. Take. It. Anymore!
July 30, 2008
Yes. I confessed it here.
But it's worsened.
My friend and coworker from London is in town.
He brought me a present.
: weep :
Was out running errands at lunch and whippin' my way back to the office after a successful jaunt.
Was on Highway 280, crusin', and singing along to, I believe, Nelly, when I came around a blind curve to see a CHP pointing a gun at me.
Disconcerting to say the least.
I took leave of my senses. When I regained them, I realized it was a radar gun. Or actually lidar (uses laser instead of radio waves).
The good news is, that as I was cruisin' and holding an in-car concert, I was following a mini-van. Meaning when I got clocked I was doing 65 mph, the legal speed limit.
Karen lives to see another day, ticket free.
But it took me a good ten minutes for my heart rate to settle back in.
July 29, 2008
I have a friend at work who, most days, I go to lunch with. Now, when I say "go to lunch" I should probably clarify.
She and I go together to the cafeteria onsite to grab some food that we take back to our respective desks. There at the desks, we eat and work, thus maximizing our time. You'd be surprised how busy noontime can be, seeing as we have main offices two time zones ahead…two o'clock there seems like a nice time for a meeting. Ugh.
My pal has worked here for a while, like me, and she and I are at the same level, reporting to the same manager.
We use the time on our walks to seek advice from each other. We talk over management problems. Or just to complain, because our employer inspires that in most of its employees.
She was raised in Ohio by a Steel Magnolia-of-a-mom straight out of the deep South. So that's given her a certain, uh, colorfulness that is often amusing.
Lunch Pal is having some problems on her team, which means she gets pulled into last minute meetings and closed-door discussions in the office of our boss.
So I end up *waiting* on her until she finishes.
I tried going off for food without her a couple times.
It didn't go over well.
No, I'm expected to WAIT on her to finish so we can walk over together. Who cares how hungry I am? It's all about her.
Let's face it, my friend is really kind of a pain in the ass.
So why am I wasting both bandwidth and pixels on her?
Because she's on vacation this week!
HOW DARE she not be here?
She may be a pain in the ass, but she's my pain in the ass.
Never thought I'd miss her…
July 28, 2008
"A Milwaukee man was accused of shooting his lawn mower because it wouldn't start."
"He told police quote, 'I can do that, it's my lawn mower and my yard so I can shoot it if I want.'"
Darn tootin', you can! Except for those pesky police!
Thankfully for my coworkers, I posses neither a lawnmower nor a shotgun.
But I might whing a mighty ballpoint pen at my computer screen.
I'll do it too!
July 25, 2008
n. The end of the week, especially the period from Friday evening through Sunday evening.
I'm in need of one of them thar things. ^^
Boss Lady remains on vacation but work rambles on.
Wedding Plans have hit Code Orange. High Alert, people. We're down to the remaining few weeks. Last minute stuff is last-minuting.
The Good Man and I are still getting along, so that's good. I am not a Bridezilla. He's not a Groomzilla. Mainly, we're just two adults gonna throw a nice party.
In an attempt to get through this long afternoon, I took one crisp dollar bill to the vending machine and procured one each plain Hershey Bar.
As I turned to walk back to my desk, the Office Nosy Nelly was standing there.
Of course she was.
As I walked back to my desk, she shouted down the hall "YOU CAN'T EAT THAT! YOU NEED PUT THAT BACK!"
"No," I replied.
"WELL JUST EAT HALF. YOU CAN'T EAT ALL OF THAT! THAT'S TERRIBLE!"
"Your issue with chocolate is not my problem," I said.
"LOOK, THERE'S NEAL AT THE END OF THE HALL, GIVE HIM THAT THING SO YOU DON'T EAT IT" (yes, she's still shouting, trying to shame me).
I looked at Neal and said, "Sorry bro, you ain't getting my chocolate."
So why exactly do people think it's their right to tell someone what they can and can't eat?
Please present this blog entry to the jury. Thanks.
July 24, 2008
"Adam Lagesse, 25, a produce manager for H.E.B., a supermarket chain out of Austin, Texas, bites into a green chile pod Wednesday as he and other Texas grocers toured a field in Salem, N.M., north of Hatch. They were learning how the green chile industry operates so they can better market the vegetable grown in New Mexico to their consumers."
From the Las Cruces Sun News.
The Boss Lady is on vacation today and tomorrow. So w00t!
She got on a plane this morning headed for Indiana, so, having made that
agonizing, exhausting, necessary journey before, I figure except for a few iPhone email check-ins, she'll pretty much have no idea what I'm up to today.
I cc'd her on a few emails this morning, just for good measure, but other than that… I'm pretty much value subtracted to the company today.
So that means I have plenty of time to blog.
Wonder what I should write about?
: tap tap tap :
: ponder, ponder :
Maybe I'll just pop over to TMZ.com to see what's doing.
July 23, 2008
From a high level meeting I attended at work, during which we had an hour long debate about a difficult and political situation regarding budgets (if you haven't done the corporate thang, then know that nothing gets hackles raised like budget conversations).
At the end of the meeting, the Financial Analyst said to the Senior Director,
"So, do I make it so?"
"No." He replied, sternly.
"Make it subtle."
I had to write it down, it was just so good.
July 22, 2008
So Friday May 29, 2009 is the end of another era in the history of The Tonight Show.
Jay Leno breathes his last as host.
And to that I have to say…it's about damn time.
I've not ever really been a fan of Leno and really wasn't into it when he took over the show. But against my own negative opinion, he's done his schtick and done it successfully for the past sixteen years.
But in my mind, he'll never be the king of late night that Carson was.
And I wonder if his departure will be anywhere near as classy?
Remember Bette Midler's appearance on the second to last Carson show? Memorable. She made Carson cry…I was watching that night.
In case you don't remember or are too young, YouTube is there to pick us up.
Unsure that Conan will do much to fill the shoes of Carson, or even Leno.
Hard to watch. So I won't.
Ah well, watching that vid brought back some happy memories. Ah the magic of YouTube.
If you are a GenX'er and REALLY want to sashay down memory lane, try out this one…link love to NewMexiKen for this voyage in the wayback machine.
July 18, 2008
Yes, planning session. Must have.
Approach. Direction. Map out the route. Implement. Execute.
What's that? Work? No, no, I’m not talking about work.
Food. At the baseball game. Tonight. Yup. The Good Man and I are currently engaged in a lengthy instant message conversation planning this out.
What needs to be consumed. Where it's located. How to obtain efficiently.
BTW, I learned this blitz strategy from my Mom. Attending the NM State Fair.
"Ok, we start out in the Spanish Village for a burrito…then across the way to the Native American Village for fry bread and honey…Mom needs a corndog…Karen wants funnel cake…"
You know the drill.
Hey, I learned from the best.
Dreaming of a Cha-Cha bowl now (bless you Orlando Cepeda!)…
July 17, 2008
Oh dear. I believe I've become one.
Last week, after watching several episodes of Vicar of Dibley, and caught reading Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman (called The Golden Compass here in the US, I'm reading the UK version)…then spent the week entertaining my counterpart from our London office…
I think I may just be a full on anglophile.
Tho I've never been to the UK. Hell, I've never even traveled internationally (unless you count surreptitious visits to Juarez and Matamoros).
What a confused kid I am…a German/Irish/French girl raised in the Hispanic and Native American cultures who will soon take her husband's Italian last name and nurturing a a fetish for all things British.
Damn. I AM the American melting pot!
July 16, 2008
It took fifteen innings for what I already knew would happen to go ahead and happen.
The #$%&ing AL beat the NL in the All Star Game.
I'm a devout NL girl. I loathe the Designated Hitter. I love that using the pitcher's lack of hitting ability can become a strategy.
But even I have to admit after watching many of the interleague games this year…and last year…and years past…oh and most of the World Series for the past ten years…the AL is, probably, the stronger league.
*gah!* It gives me agita to actually say that out loud.
At least the NL made it sporting this year…
There were a few bright spots. The Giants entry to the fun, Brian Wilson, a closer coming in as middle reliever, didn't embarrass us!
(Atlee Hammacker anyone?)
Our star boy, Tim Lincecum was a no-show after being admitted to a New York hospital with flu issues.
I was a bit sad about that, I would have loved to see Prince Tim pitch on the big stage. Oh well, he'll continue to be our little ten-game-winner-at-the-All-Star-break secret.
Highlights were also the Rocky I love to Hate, Matt Holliday, depositing one over the fence. Also the NL battling themselves out of two innings with bases loaded and no outs. That they got FIVE outs in a row at the plate is really something.
Low light was the Marlin's entry, one Mr. Dan Uggla. Nice three errors in two innings, meat!
*sigh* And so tonight, a day off for MLB. No baseball.
But something too look forward to: The Good Man and I got KICKIN' seats for Friday's game at AT&T Park.
C'mon Friday! Probable starters are CC Sabathia and Matt Cain.
July 15, 2008
Yup. There you go. The Good Man and me are legally licensed to run off like two crazy kids and hitch our lives together, willy-nilly without regard for consequences!
The good news is that the county produces this handy illustrated booklet to help us get through "the rough patches".
Last evening, we solemnly flipped through the pages.
Who knew that keys to a happy marriage included regular exercise and washing your vegetables before consuming?
Ah well...: plugs nose and jumps in :
PS: ok, that's not the *actual* license above, rather a pretty souvenir the State of California provides…the real one is quite ugly...form-like, in triplicate and all that governmental schtuff.
July 11, 2008
Hey all, I'll be brief today as my work team is headed out for an offsite at which we're all supposed to bond, and be team-y and, you know, find the love for our employer and employment.
The good news is, we're going somewhere fun.
Yep, I get to go back!
:crackle: Uh…we have a geek out on aisle one. Repeat, clean up on aisle one….
July 10, 2008
In all the insanity of planning a wedding, The Good Man and I get to "the good part" tonight.
However crappy this day is...it still ends with cake.
satisfaction or pleasure felt at someone else's misfortune.
Yup. American society, in general, seems to love them some schadenfreude.
Some coffee fans get grim delight in Starbucks woes
I mean, if you say to me, "Well, I don't really care for Starbucks coffee because it's too strong/weak/bitter/strange for me", then great. No one says you gotta like everything.
But if you say "feh! F--k 'em because they became so successful"…well that's just mean. And elitist.
So while the coffee snoots are busy scribbling bad poetry in their local coffee shop, feeling superior that Starbucks seems to be faltering, they seem to forget it was the coffee snoots themselves who made Starbucks what they are.
Starbucks used to be the low-down cool thing. It used to quietly be the "in" thing, where the coffee snoots went for a cuppa and conversation. Starbucks was filling an unfilled need. Or they created a need.
That is capitalism at it's finest!
So suddenly they go from being good to being dirt because they are worldwide? And making money? So neener neener now that you've come upon hard times?
As a Starbucks stockholder, I see this retrenching as a good thing, actually, for the long term health of the company.
It blows that people will be out of work and stores will pull out of neighborhoods, but I honestly believe "getting back to core competencies" is the right thing to do in this down economy.
Ah, that's just me being rational again. I hate it when I get like that…
(note to my favorite New Mexico Barista: Hang in there friend!)
July 9, 2008
One of the really cool features of iTunes is Sharing. So the deal is, when there are other people on your same network, if they turn sharing on, you can listen to their iTunes library. Not copy, but listen.
Cool, no? Working in an office like I do, there is a whole long list of other people's music I can check out. I've found some good stuff this way. For example, it's how I got turned on to the Gypsy Kings.
I've also been on the sharing side. I say without shame I'm the proud owner of "Ultimate Daryl Hall & John Oates", a two disc best of compilation. And I've discovered LOTS of people are really into Hall & Oates, because they stop me in the halls and comment on listening to my iTunes Library.
But here's what gets my OCD up…
When I look at other's iTunes collections, they are SO neat and quite tidy. Full albums. All band names and titles in their proper place. Neatly arranged and ordered for maximum findability.
My library on the other hand is a mish-mash. One song from an artist here. Six full albums from another artist (*coff*FleetwoodMac*coff*) over there. Chock a block full of "iTunes Artist of the Day" downloads from Starbucks.
And then there are the oddball Christmas downloads leftover from the Napster free-for-all days. No, the RCIAA didn't come after me for payment on that copy of Billy Squier's "Christmas is a Time to Say I Love You". I'm sure they snickered when my download log came across their desk.
Comparatively, my iTunes library looks like a twister came through and jumbled all the pieces.
Ah well, I hit "shuffle" and it all seems to work out.
The other fun thing about Sharing on iTunes is that you learn a LOT about people based on what music they have in their collection.
The most startling so far is an older gentleman I work with. A quiet gent, hails from Ireland and speaks with a soft brogue. Been married over forty years, kids long raised, he's a quiet respectful guy.
His iTunes library contains, and I'm not making this up:
Just to name a few. TOTALLY unexpected. He claims he enjoys these artists for the music……
Then again, what does MY iTunes library say about me? Hmm……I think I'll go uncheck "Sharing" now…
July 8, 2008
Another Spare the Air day in the hazy, blisteringly hot Bay Area.
Yesterday afternoon, needing a break from the desk and recycled indoor air conditioning. I went outside to take a walk and didn't last long. The block ahead of me lay in wavering smoky haze and the heat was oppressive.
This morning I walked to the train station and felt a distinct burning in my throat. Given that my dad suffered a terminal lung disease, these sort of burning lung moments do not give me humor.
The local paper is reporting more of the same.
July 7, 2008
Believe me, I'm no card carrying PETA-type person, but I do have a deep love of animals. And I believe if you are going to take one on as a pet, you have a responsibility to that animal, in good times and in bad.
And the cost of keeping and caring for an animal for their lifespan MUST be factored into your decision. Also your contingency if you are unable to care for your pet any longer.
I see *too* many people using the disposable pet approach.
And that gets me steamed.
So why am I ranting on this topic today?
Because of this article in both the Las Cruces Sun News and the ABQjournal today:
Horses May Be Relinquished as People Economize
Seems as the economy gets tough, people are looking to give their horses to Dona Ana County animal control, who only has capacity to handle a few.
Owning a horse is a lot of hard work. They eat a lot (and feed prices get driven by ever upward spiraling corn prices). They need to be ridden and exercised. They need a lot of vet services. And farrier work too.
While I know that when times are rough, expenses and "nice to haves" have to be cut back.
But abandoning your animal? Not cool.
From the Las Cruces Sun News article:
"Childress said he's suggested horse owners try to sell their animal or find another home before contacting his office. But that can also prove difficult because of the number of horses already on the market."
The price of petrol affects more than just the fuel in your gas tank.
And the dominos fall.
July 5, 2008
How was your holiday? Didja do something nice? Fun? Cool as heck?
Yeah, how did that bbqpoolkidsfamilymomanddadhotdogsfireworksinthebackyard turn out?
Good? Great, happy to hear it!
My Fourth? Well.
The day was mostly quiet. As the sun was setting, that's when it got interesting.
The evening kicked off, well, here:
That's the, uh, San Carlos Airport.
And those there are, uh, you know, your standard issue Cessna type aeroplanes.
See...our next-door neighbor is a pilot. He started in the military then had a career piloting the "vomit comet" for NASA.
These days he's semi-retired, making money by piloting incredibly expensive Gulf Stream and Eclipse jets for the Bay Area wealthy.
So an offer was made to The Good Man and me...see, he'd rented a plane for the evening...wanna go see fireworks from up there?
Yes! YES WE DO!
And we did!
Our original course was the big show in San Francisco.
However, San Francisco being what it is...this is what it looked like up there.
Gorgeous sunset. But miles and miles of fog. Not so swell for watching fireworks.
We headed down the peninsula, intent on taking in the fireworks near the much clearer San Jose, at the Great America amusement park.
Problem is, Great America is in the San Jose Airport airspace, and they don't think weekend fireworks cruisers are all that interesting. Humorless, they are, as they keep busy landing and taking off a near steady stream of commercial airliners.
So we headed back up to mid-peninsula in took in the smaller shows in Redwood City and Foster City.
You ain't never seen fireworks until you've seen them from up there.
Can't offer much in the way of fireworks photos. Between it being dark and the motion of the plane, none turned out. But damn...it's amazing to see!
Oh, and the ol' "vomit comet" pilot showed us what just two G's feels like (fighter pilots get up to 9).
Feels like getting out of the damn plane and walking around on the ground again, please!
Yeah, I'm pretty sure I had a cooler Fourth of July than you did....:)
July 4, 2008
Wednesday night, at Sears Fine Food, in the great city of San Francisco...
Over kick ass eats, starting with an avocado and crab salad, while discussing the day, life, so on, I say to my fiancée, "I think I'm a little bit in love with my new handbag." I pick it up and show it to him.
He replies, "Yeah, you seem to be happy with it," and turns back to the Giants baseball game playing over the bar.
Thursday afternoon, at Wahoo's Fish Tacos, deep in the heart of Silicon Valley...
Over taquitos and spicy beans, I say to one of my closest girlfriends, "I think I’m a little bit in love with my new handbag." I pick it up and show it to her.
She stretches out her arms and makes a "gimme gimme" gesture with her hands.
I hand it to her. "Kenneth Cole," I say, "on *major* sale at Macy's."
She plunges her face into the supple leather and inhales deeply. "God, I love that smell," she says.
And as she hands it back to me, she says, "THAT is a great bag."
Moral of the story?
Know your audience.
July 3, 2008
A few weeks ago, I wrote an ode to a CalTrain conductor.
Today, an Ode to a Shuttle Bus driver.
Owing to working in the building farthest away from the main campus, I ride a small bus, with creaky springs and an uncomfortable ride.
It's not fun. We had a driver for a time who hurtled that thing way too fast up California highways and byways, often popping unsuspecting folks (like me) up out of their seats. Yes, I caught air on more than one occasion.
Between that and CalTrain side sway, I often arrived home a little blue in the gills…
But that was before Jose.
This new driver arrived one day. A quiet, gentle man. And a gentleman as well.
He drives at an acceptable speed. He "hits his marks" without fail. He neither arrives too early (ugh, we had one guy who was perpetually five minutes early…if you missed it, tough nuts) nor too late.
His best point? He waits for us to come off the CalTrain so he can direct us where he's parked the bus. We never get lost in the morning train station melee anymore! (other drivers wait on the bus, leave before everyone is on board, and tough nuts if you miss it)
And then Jose had a defining moment.
About a month into Jose's tenure we had a blasting heat wave in the Bay Area. On the first day of this hot spell, Jose waited until we were all seated on the bus, then stood at the front, and quietly addressed the passengers.
"I want to tell you that the air conditioner is broken on this bus. I have put in a work order. I put in a work order every day. I keep copies. I have twenty work orders I can show you. But they won't listen to me. However, my company, they will listen to you."
I realized that Jose is on that damn bus for four hours in the morning and four hours in the afternoon. How miserable it had to be with no air conditioning.
But you could tell he felt it was an act of mutiny to speak out against his employer.
I'd recently worked on a project with the guy in Facilities who owns the commuter program. We'd outfitted the shuttles with WiFi access. So that morning I sent an email.
That afternoon, Jose came rolling up in a new bus with both a smoother ride and working A/C.
When I boarded, he thanked me profusely. And every day for about a week.
Upon my return from a recent week's vacation, I stepped off the CalTrain, and dependably, there was Jose.
"Karen, where have you been? I've been so worried about you!" he said as I approached.
This is the kind of customer service you just don't get anymore.
This morning, as I rode the CalTrain, I began writing this blog entry. I felt the necessity to proclaim my gratitude.
To my surprise, as I boarded the bus, Jose informed me that today is his last run. He's being promoted to the big shuttle buses that run between San Francisco and work.
It's a better situation, more pay, more comfortable bus.
I cannot tell you how sad I am.
How can I emerge from CalTrain every morning and not reliably know where my bus waits?
I wish him nothing but the best. We've heard rumors of the "new guy" who'll be driving. "He drives to fast," is what I hear.
Great. Dramamine and bungee cords all around.
Jose greets everyone on the bus by name. And we respond in kind. It's a symbiotic relationship. He gets me to work every day, makes sure I get safely on the bus, and gets me back home to The Good Man every night.
Jose, I'm humbled by your dedication and grateful for your tireless service. The employees who now get the benefit of your services have no idea how lucky they truly are.
July 2, 2008
Astrovan, THAT is rasquache.
I got mad today. At work. Really mad. Justifiably mad, actually.
It happens, right? You can never expect to go through life, or least of all, work, without someone ticking you off.
What with everyone having their own *opinion* and everything.
I was mad at a representative from a perpetually maddening organization (*coff*legal*coff*) and was, uh, vocalizing my opinions toward my computer screen.
Being that I sit in a cubicle environment, of course, those seated around me can hear such…vocalizations.
So a couple of coworkers came over…people who are working on this same project and had reason to feel as emotional as me about the recent developments.
Then *it* happened.
"Oh…that's too bad…calm down," followed by a pat-pat on the arm.
Here's a little hint to dealing with me. Never tell me to "calm down" when I’m anything but…and NEVER pat me condescendingly on the arm or head or shoulder.
And you know who are the worst offenders of this? Women.
Oh yeah. Most women just want to "keep the peace" and have everyone "get along" or whatever.
Would anyone pat-pat a man on the shoulder and tell him to "calm down?"
Not bloody likely.
Oh, I have to be a "good" girl, don't get loud, don't get emotional, don't express feelings. No, just caaaaalm down, : pat pat : and go along to get along.
Working a theme here in my blog this week, I say F that!
July 1, 2008
This as a follow up to yesterday's post.
Seems the f-bomb has become quite the expressive word!
News out of London….Ah the Brits.
"The Times newspaper on Monday quoted examiner Peter Buckroyd as saying he gave (a) student — who wrote an expletive starting with f, followed by the word "off" — two points out of a possible 27 for the English paper.
'…it does show some very basic skills we are looking for, like conveying some meaning and some spelling,' Buckroyd was quoted as saying.
Buckroyd said the student would have received a higher mark if the phrase had been punctuated."
Hey, at least it was spelled right! And heckMr. Censorship! brought the thunder with punctuation. Extra credit!
These days at my job, the f-bomb is just another overused adjective. It doesn't even carry a punch anymore.
But yesterday and today, quite the media darling. A meme even!