12 December 2014

Thank You Notes

Things to be grateful for in the year 2014? I don't know about you but I've had to think hard about this one, not because it was a bad year. I feel there weren't major life altering events that changed any paradigms. It was more a lot of little things that made this a really good year. I had some goals for this year and I have worked on them even if I haven't finished  to my extremely high expectations of perfection or they are still in progress.

As for the things I'm grateful for, well let's see:

  • I am glad that I decided to volunteer with the political campaign for Wendy Davis. Although she didn't win - I was very sad about that - I do feel like I made a difference. I may not have liked how they handled the volunteer portion but I may do it again. I think next time I just won't try to dedicate so much time and make sure that I have the time and energy for activities. 
  • I am grateful for the time I spent with family this year because a lot of issues were laid to rest. No family is perfect but being able to talk about issues is important. 
  • I am so happy that I have kept the whole gym thing going! I won't lie there have been days where I just wanted to lay in bed and there were days I did just that but overall I have been pretty good about going! I am very happy and proud of myself. 
  • I am grateful for all of the new friends I have made!
  • I learned quite a bit at work this year and made quite a large amount of progress in my projects. Having these experiences has been wonderful, especially the trip to San Francisco.
  • There's another thing I am really grateful for! I got to travel to San Francisco and had a great time with my friends in the city and at the conference.
  • I am so thankful for all of the great moments I spent with friends and family!
  • I am thankful for all of the little things that made this year so great. 
  • I am even thankful for the bad things, there are a few things that I can honestly say have made me a better person this year.The ticket I got did not make me a better person, just an angry person.
Next comes a comprehensive and deep analysis of my future, loosely translates to bemoaning things not accomplished and what I want to accomplish next year. Lets see how exciting the next year is!

02 December 2014

Control Enthusiasts Unite!!

Well hello everyone, hope everyone had a good holiday here in the USA. Also any expats reading this.

I had a decent holiday. We didn't get around to the gingerbread house - sad I know - but I think I overestimate how many hours there are in a day.Thursday was busy, cooking and cleaning and cooking some more. We did make cookies but I think mostly because my nephew was extremely excited about helping make the cookies. His favorite thing was to cut out the shapes, each time he cut one he would run and tell Mama that he made x shape. Cookies were good. Turkey was good. The biscuits could have been better, messed them up a little. I know my dad was not too impressed, mostly because I think he wanted yeast rolls, not biscuits. Next time I'm home I'll make some yeast rolls for them. Otherwise, uneventful and just nice. I think we all needed a holiday of just nice. So calm and relaxing.

Actually...TOO RELAXING! Oh my gosh! I never realized that I do not know how to relax! I felt without purpose, no direction, and absolutely nothing to do!!!! I know we cooked, we cleaned up, we made cookies but my days usually incorporate so much more! I was in New Mexico, Carlsbad to be specific and there is literally nothing to do there - for me. There are a few shops but mostly everything that you could entertain yourself requires lots of outdoor activity. Quite honestly my family is not a great outdoors type of family. My little sister went hiking with a local friend of hers but I didn't feel like being a third wheel. Besides I'm used to doing the planning, not having things planned for me. Talk about control enthusiast. Perhaps a better goal for next year will be to learn to relax.

Well I'm back at work and very happy with that because what I had completed last week - before the holiday - was very successful! Very happy about that. Dare I say that I even had a bit of bounce in my step when I came back? Well I did and yes I may have done a happy dance. That said, I can't believe we are almost at the end of another year! Oh My! (Credit to G. Takei)

I looked up images for control enthusiast, no bueno. 0_0
Apparently it's a BDSM thing and that is not what I meant!

20 November 2014

Gingerbread Dreams and Candy Cane Wishes

The things we go through daily are either magnificent or a grind, depending on one's mood. Lately it's felt like a grind because it is COLD! OK it's not Minnesota cold or Canada cold but it's Texas cold and Texans do not like the cold. Ever. We had "snow" on Sunday and we were so cold! Saturday was warm but Sunday was freezing. Monday was still pretty cold and we even had a late start to the day. Yes we are that dramatic. Besides we have such good weather that no one ever has snow tires or even all season tires. I mean I do but that doesn't mean everyone else does. I also live in a college town, so that means a lot of students who just learned how to wipe their ass, behind the wheel of vehicles too big for them to handle.  That is my biggest and only complaint of the week. I'm sure I could find plenty to complain about but what for?

Especially as Thanksgiving is fast approaching! How can I complain when I once more have the opportunity to taunt the diabetes? I will eat turkey. Eat pumpkin pie. Eat all that I feel is worthy of enticing the diabetes but then I will say, "HA! Diabetes! I have beat you again! We will meet again in a year but you will taste defeat once more!" That may be verbatim what I think internally when I stuff myself on Thursday. What can I say? I like taunting the diabetes.

Lets hope we don't end up doing this.
We also decided that we will be making a gingerbread house with my nephew! I am pretty excited about this, especially because he was the one that suggested the idea. Well sort of. We made gingerbread cookies last year and he kept on complaining that we were missing the eyes and mouth. My sister and I thought it would be a fun activity to do that weekend with him. I might even stop by World Market and pick up some ninja cookie cutters, I think he would love that. This may be a success of epic proportions or an epic failure, we will see.

10 November 2014


I am very disappointed this year in our electoral participants. According to our last census there are 316.1 million people in the United States. Let's subtract approximately 12 million people from that number because they are "illegally" here in this country. I use air quotes because I'm not going to lie, I support the DREAM Act because I do believe that many were brought here as children and are as American as apple pie. However, that is an issue to discuss at another time. No today I want to encourage more people to vote. It is our civic DUTY as citizens! It is one of the few things this country asks of us as citizens, we have such liberty that we have the liberty to not give a F.

Lets get back to the numbers, so 300 million people approximately that could potentially vote but now remove underage citizens. On November 4th, our midterm elections only 33.9% of eligible voters voted. That means that only approximately 50 million people showed up to vote, that means those people are actually registered to vote. According to the last census we have 206 million eligible voters.

Now of these eligible voters there are only 146.3 million people registered. Where were the other 97 million people? I would like to know what 97 million people are doing during early voting or on the actual day. That means we have 97 million people whose voice is not being heard or who have given up completely on this country. I walked my butt off during the summer and it was not an easy feat considering my foot was still in pain from February when I developed plantar fasciitis. I spent so many weekends knocking on doors and trying to register people to vote and yet we saw a decline in voter turnout. Yeah this country had a 7% decline in voter turnout. Yup. California has a population of 38 million, Pennsylvania has 12 million people.

1 California and 1 Pennsylvania voted.

In other words - 2 states voted.

97 MILLION REGISTERED VOTERS DID NOT VOTE. Translates to 48 states did not vote.


These numbers come from different websites and the 33.9% was from Al Jazeera America, I chose them because I feel they have more to gain from being brutally honest about our voting habits than say FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, or similar broadcaster. Google provided population numbers. Registered voters came from Statistic Brain because it seemed that they cared more about the numbers than politics.

Please register to vote! 

03 November 2014

Some Change Please

It is Monday, it made it's presence known early on today. Recently Monday's had been ignoring me, I guess they remembered I was here. I ran out of gas this morning. I have a sort of new car, new to me but it's got maybe 7 years on the motor. It was a hand-me-down from my sis but it's in great condition - other than the fuel gauge that only shows 3/4 full at a time. The tank may be full but that's how it reads so I always know that I have a least 1/4 tank left. Today I over-estimated how far I could go on that 1/4 tank. Good thing I was already at work in my allotted parking lot, but I still had to find someone to push me into a spot. My adventures. I'm laughing a little now but I can tell you I was pretty embarrassed this morning. I hadn't had that happen to me since I was 20 years old! I'm pretty sure the guys who helped me thought, just some woman who doesn't know her car. I hate when people say that about women but I feel I deserved it today. I really should have known better. Oh well, lesson learned and next time I won't put off what I could have done
yesterday! Good thing I wasn't wearing heels :)

In other news, elections are tomorrow! Remember to vote if you haven't voted yet! I am so excited! I voted early but they didn't give me a sticker, a little disappointed. 

31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

One of my favorite sites! Check them out they always have great info and are always good for a chuckle!

23 October 2014

Hugs and Health Fairs

Hugs and kisses from a 4 year old, a dangerous pastime if you ask me. About 2 weeks ago my nephew came to visit and the little bugger didn't show any symptoms until Sunday. It was too late for me, I knew it was just a matter of time. Sure enough by Wednesday I was feeling achy and cold, the next day it was a full blown runny nose, congestion, and sore throat. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were non-stop congestion no matter how many decongestants I popped. You know when you try to breath through your nose and instead you hear a high pitched squeak? That was me. Sinus problems and a sore throat. Let us just say that by Saturday I was feeling a little homicidal and had a serious case of cabin fever. I hate being sick but then again other than a kid facing a math test - who doesn't? Either way I have survived the worst, without committing any crimes. I am still recovering but am attempting to rebuild my life.

I know so dramatic.

In other news, I went to a "health fair" at work today to have some major health markers measured. Well the 2 markers I was truly interested in were cholesterol levels and glucose levels. Those 2 machines were broken. What else did they have then? Let me illuminate you. I went downstairs and stood in line to be called fat. When we did the BMI portion I was told I was obese and that I needed to incorporate more exercise into my routine. Oh yeah, control that horrible calorie intake too! Well lets see, I don't have lots of sweets and I go to the gym 5 days out of the week, maybe not this week but special circumstances did not permit me to do so. My antioxidant levels were also low, very low. I was on the Poor end of the scale because despite all the fruits and veggies I eat but obviously a little blue light knows better than I do what I eat. The only silver lining in my fat ridden body was my blood pressure: 107/68. What's worse is being told by a skinny dietician who can't bother to wear work appropriate clothing because she's too fit to be bothered to get out of her gym clothing that you are fat. OK a little mean but I wasn't too happy, I mean it's a fair and the email talked about advice being given. I wonder if she had known how I exercise and what I eat if she would have been so blase? It was not cool. Last time I go to one of those things. The mirror calls me fat too and at least it's polite enough not to do it in public.

10 October 2014

Debauchery and Such

Well I'm still swimming along, I have been trying to as often as possible but I haven't been everyday. I am now kicking well but I still need something to hold on to while in the water. Still can't float on my back without human assistance, I can float face down without human assistance. Floaty thingies do not count as human assistance, which I still need to float face down. My kicking has definitely improved, it's harder than I thought it would be. Yesterday I was pretty excited that my kicking had improved but I have to say I'm still disappointed that I can't float without assistance. I know things don't happen overnight but I'm still not happy. I have few virtues, patience is not one of them. So, I have control issues and no patience. Yeah.

Eating a dozen of these is the extent of my debauchery.
On a lighter note, has anyone watched Once Upon A Time this season? I feel let down. I think they jumped on the Frozen bandwagon way too fast. There were so many storylines they could have focused on, instead they brought Frozen into the mix. Meh. Hopefully the season improves. Other than this work and gym have been my life. I've been a little bored lately. Hmmm. I need some hijinks or debauchery, or both. Which would be the most fun? Not that I participate in debauchery often or I think ever, but there's always a first time for everything :)

Well I'm off, have a fun weekend everyone!

03 October 2014

Doggie Paddling Along

As in my last post I mentioned the weather let me tell you it's way too cold for my liking right now. The rest of the country is used to these temperatures but Texas is not. Well goodbye Summer, hey Fall. Since it's been cold, I've decided to take swim lessons because no better time to learn to swim than during low temperatures and windy days. Let me tell you about my adventures in the water or as I like to call them "near death experiences".

I know, I am a 35 year old woman who cannot swim or float. Well the latter has improved, I can now float. Everyone says the same thing to me, floating is so easy. No. It. Is. Not. At least not for a control freak such as myself. Now when I say I can float I mean I need a floaty thingy to do the dead man float. Floating on my back, no way in hell that I'm doing that without someone holding me up, even though I don't really need them to hold me but my crazy brain says, "AHHHHHHHHHHH". Then I feel like I'm going to drown and I start flailing around like a fish out of water. Irony? I have been practicing on my own but I'm not going to lie, I am not enjoying something that could be a vital skill for my survival. You know because climate change and the poles melting and all. True story, oceans are rising and climate change is real. Science aside, I thought it might be fun to be able to hang out in the water with friends during the summer, instead of on the side of the pool eying the water with great caution and my friends with envy. I have had 2 lessons, this Sunday is the 3rd and last lesson. I think I may have to pay for several more lessons.

How I feel.
When I first signed up for my lessons I forgot to specify male/female instructor preference. I ended up with a male instructor. Men who stumble upon this post - some females also - will think, so what? Let me tell you what. For women it can be uncomfortable and a little scary to be in a position where a man has control over our ability to breathe, whole drowning thing. Also, we all know I have issues with how I perceive my weight and body, if you didn't know now you do. These are things many women think and feel on a daily basis. Do I want a random male stranger touching me in a what I consider a very intimate manner? Remember you are in a bathing suit and are being touched by a man you don't know and have body issues. How would you feel? Even if you don't have body issues, women are taught from a young age to be wary and careful with men because as the media likes to point out they are all animals with no self control and may at any point in time assault you for no logical reason. School dress codes enforce rules for young girls so they don't tempt boys into assault. We are taught to walk in groups at night because a woman walking alone at night is worthy of assault. What does all this have to do with swimming? I was a little uncomfortable at first with the idea of a male instructor. I am glad I didn't change my instructor because he has been great and very patient! This is not a "see-not-all-men-are-animals-without-any-self-control" post, no this a feminist rant about how we need to teach our children to learn to trust each other, male or female.  Feminism, good for everyone not just the body

Back to the point and the lessons learned here. I have a deep-seated fear of water. I need to let go of my fear of having my body judged by others - male or female. Also that it's a little embarrassing when the 4 year old swims past me. 

19 September 2014

Grey Clouds Are Here to Stay

Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration. It's just that these clouds do not want to move on, they're ruining Mexico's coast, drowning El Paso, and over all causing great sadness in my life. The first 2 or 3 days everyone was saying, "WOW! Rain we love you!", now we're all saying, "OK WTF?!". We are so blue, I'm not kidding everyone in the department today was either having a bad day or feeling down in the dumps. We had a storm on Wednesday that was harsh! It rained so hard that we couldn't see across the street. This is an image from that day. I had to document the day because no one would believe that TX has days like this, at least not on the South Plains.
This week has been pretty blah due to the weather, haven't felt too productive due to the weather. Recently celebrated my Abuelita's birthday and it was awesome; being at her house and just being with my loved ones was regenerative. I hadn't been home in quite some time, it was nice to be with people that you love especially in a place that represents so much. My childhood was lived there in that house, I have lived and learned much at my grandmother's home. That is a true home. I miss her just writing about this, hopefully I'll be spending a lot more time there in the future. I had forgotten why I tried to spend every single weekend and vacation day at that house. It was fun, safe, and loving, providing the perfect environment for a child. Oh and it wasn't grey skies nor was it cold - it was perfect. Missing the sunny skies of El Paso.

Alright it was a little cloudy.

12 September 2014

Updates and Such

There's been a lot going on lately in my life and I have been trying to write a post for the past 2 weeks. The rate was pretty slow, I mean it was like 2 letters a day for half of the previous sentence!

Updates? Many!

Well I have kept the gym thing going, even when I have to go at it alone. The new semester has begun and so have the new spin classes. Monday mornings at 630, the instructor isn't bad looking and his style is very interactive. He is not constantly on the bike but instead walking around and making sure everybody has good form, I enjoyed the class. I like order and structure, hence the science. Friday mornings - again 630 - a friend and I do Zumba. Love that class! The other days my friend and I drag ourselves to the gym and do a little cardio (I don't try too hard at this) and then lift some weights (I try harder at this).

This month I haven't truly volunteered because I slacked it at work during the summer and am now trying to meet a deadline. It's not that I'll lose my job but I would like to meet the deadline because it implies my travelling :) Who wants to pass up a chance to travel? For free? Yeah I thought so. Otherwise work is pretty awesome, crystallizing stuff and learning new techniques. You know, owning the science. Yup.
Available here.

I know life sounds amazing but other areas aren't perfect. Ask me if there's any time leftover to go out and meet someone? Nope. None. No one in the life. No time in the life. The yard is a mess. Both front and back. My house is disgustingly disorganized. I have not been to my knitting group in forever. There's a lot of stuff that has been ignored in my personal life. Not everything is peachy but I guess that's how it goes. Some things are great, others are definitely not great. Worst part is I think we've entered an early Fall. Yes temperatures dropped this week and I have a gut feeling they will not pick up again. I know it's September but usually we have a very warm start to Fall. Well I guess I need to dig out some sweaters some time soon. I apologize to the reader's who live in the North, I know that 24C (75F) is not freezing but you aren't from the desert. We like warm weather. I mean really like it. One day of grey weather and we wonder how more northern people don't cry all of the time.

Well I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I will be spending some time in my beloved desert and will warm up - hopefully. 

17 August 2014

Silly Games and Inspiration

Writing has been a little difficult lately, not much inspiration. Life has been mainly work, volunteer, and looking out the window to check on a dog I no longer have. I've been thinking of adopting a pet but I don't think I will, not for quite some time. Not ready.

Otherwise, the summer has flown by. Summer is never the same length as that stated on the calendar. For me summer begins at the end or mid-April. Sounds silly but when you live in TX, it sometimes feels like summer begins extremely early and ends quite late in the year. At least in El Paso, I remember thinking it was hot in April and hot in October. Yes, when you're ankle deep in leaves or snow, TX is still wearing their summer clothing. In some areas it means Uggs year round. Especially if they have a university, very fashion forward peoples.

Speaking of fashion forward peoples, the students have returned to LBB - the canadian geese are not far behind. Thankfully the roosting ground near my house is being developed and they are starting to shift away from my house. Their infernal honking can carry for miles but at least it won't feel like they're outside my window. This also means that the gym will now be populated by many young girls looking for mates and young men scavenging like the hormonal crazies they are. It's always funny to watch them, sometimes I narrate their habits in my head, reminds me of that scene at the watering hole in Mean Girls. :) It's pretty funny. 

Well, that felt a little mean but pretty accurate. On the entertainment front - to move away from the mean factor - watched Lucy and Guardians of the Galaxy! Philosophical tripe and surprisingly funny & entertaining, respectively. Lucy tried too hard at the science and missed the mark, thus they compensated with philosophy. Guardians was surprisingly good, funny without the slap stick humor, and fun. You left the theater happy! Lucy, you left the theater having rolled your eyes so far back, you saw your brain.

Well everyone, have a great week! But none for you Gretchen Weiners.

05 August 2014

Contradicting Views

Today while driving into work I was thinking of all the things I want to do in my front yard, in the back yard, inside the house, etc. Then it hit me, I don't plan on living in that house forever and I won't always have that decor/landscape. I will invest all of this time and effort into something that I will not enjoy for the rest of my life. Then I thought why don't I just stay there for my future family? That led to the thought but I want to live abroad or just move somewhere else, not because where I am is hell (some days close enough) but because I like change. Change is good. Change is something that I have always thought of as being a part of my life.

At this point I'm almost at work and the thought that came next was - why? Why do I need to move? Why do I need change so much? Why do I crave change in my life? As I pulled into the parking lot my conclusion was as follows. I have been taught by the media, books, and my father that moving is necessary, that it is what you should want. My father finds it difficult to settle down. It's a miracle he didn't move us while I was in HS. Eventually he did move and my mom followed suit. All of the heroines in literature had to leave to find their future or their love or their passions. Rarely does a novel character stay in their hometown, they may come back but they always have to leave. Media? How many shows base their premise on the characters moving?  Many. New characters are always moving in from small towns. Obviously big city life is way more exciting and fun.

The conclusions were only about the cause for my need to move. Now I need to find a solution to my desire to move and a decision about whether I truly believe the grass is greener somewhere else. I live 5 minutes from work, it took me 5 minutes to have an existential crisis. I need to stop listening to NPR.

24 July 2014

My Sunshine

Well, hello everyone. I have been writing a little more consistently and I'm glad, writing always makes me feel better. With that in mind, I have some sad news.

Marshmallow 2004 - 2014
My Marshmallow passed away. On Monday she passed in her sleep. We went down to Carlsbad and my sister was going to take her in for euthanization because it was that time but she decided to go on her own terms. I do not think she suffered greatly, my Mother spent the whole day with her and said that she had breakfast but her auto-immune disease had returned. I knew it was a matter of time before that caught up to us. I felt like a coward for having my sister do it but I would start crying each time I even thought of that moment. However, I'm glad she went on her own terms. My brain still thinks of her as being at home, yesterday I thought to myself, "I wonder if she finished her water" and then it hit me she wasn't there anymore. Since I found out she passed in her sleep I have used every euphemism for death possible but I haven't said it, written it, or honestly thought it - Marshmallow died. I think everyone avoids that phrase until they're ready to admit it to themselves. For weeks now I have been spoiling her and just trying to avoid thinking or seeing what was about to happen. I couldn't imagine my life without her, I still can't. In the past few days I find myself thinking of things for her, checking on her, of seeing her very mischievous face in the mornings. Eventually I will be OK but for now I'm pretty sad and I miss her a lot. There are things that keep me occupied but my brain/heart aren't really present. I think I'll just be sad for a while.

One funny story about her. She learned Spanish as her first language so she would only listen to me if I was speaking in Spanish. English? What? Are you crazy?!

When I would wake up in the mornings my greeting to Marshmallow was singing this song to her, well parts of it. Only sometimes I would say Sunshine instead because she was blonde

16 July 2014

Girasoles and Half-Year Recaps

Well we have passed the half-year mark and I'm wondering where the time has gone! I spent most of February sick so that wasn't awesome. I spent March & April limping. I'm not sure what happened in May, seriously I lost a whole month! I think I limped part of that month too. I think we need to recap and regroup for this year.

Things I have accomplished thus far in 2014:
Sunflower from my garden :)
  • I joined the gym after all! I joined in April but didn't actually go until June. Yeah paid for 2 months I did not use but I blame it on the plantar fasciitis. Good progress made there (see Jaw Dropping).
  • I've made progress in my gardening but I definitely didn't do the veggies or fruit; just not enough time.
  • I have purged material things from my life but I have not simplified as I wanted to. I think I complicated instead. I volunteered for a political campaign and turns out I don't like volunteering. I really wish I did but I don't. Perhaps that type of volunteering is just not for me, perhaps food banks? I like food.
  • I have watched less TV because I'm so busy but I have to admit there are days that I just go home and veg out in front of the TV, I do absolutely nothing and binge watch. This happens less and less but it still happens. Must work on this.
  • I haven't tried that many vegetarian/vegan recipes but I have kept up with the 1/month. Perhaps that's why I haven't seen a dramatic dip in the weight - I'm still eating fast food.
Things I still have to accomplish - many. If I enumerate I might quit. Life has been good this year, new babies and new friends. Perhaps I'm not the jet-setting photojournalist I once thought I could be - motion sickness prohibits this - but life is pretty good over all. There are so many things to be grateful for, so much that makes me happy! OK. Today. Today is a happy day, I don't know why but it is. There shouldn't have to be a reason, lets just be happy.

15 July 2014

Jaw Dropping

Good day everyone! I have been MIA due to many things, mostly due to the World Cup, it was fun but I lost $10.  Seriously we dedicated way too much time to watching the games at work. It was kind of funny and I am super thankful that I have a boss who also dedicated the same amount of time! It was an exciting Cup, with tons of upsets and surprises, can't wait until 2018! Apparently Russia is suspending the visa requirements to enter the country for the next Cup! How security will be handled is another matter.

I have recently discovered that my brain operates at a higher level whenever I exercise in the mornings. Yes I have been going to the gym at 630 in the mornings! Did your jaw just hit the floor? I know. If you had told me this 1 1/2 months ago, my jaw would have hit the floor too. However, I have a workout buddy from my lab and that makes all the difference. We push each other to go and workout, we also signed up for a Spinning class at 630, once a week. I paid $15 for it, damn straight I'll get my tuchus there! It has made a huge difference in my health. I feel lighter, more flexible, energized, I sleep better - simply put I feel better. I haven't seen a huge shift on the scale, no lies only 4 lbs lost so far. However, I have lost inches and my clothing fits differently. I will try to not obsess about the number but I know I will, I had to limit myself to only weighing myself 1X/week. I've been pretty good about it but I still worry about the number. I suppose I should focus on being fit but the number is what I think about. 

My brain not only operates at a higher level but I think of funnier things to post but then I forget them after I work out! Perhaps I am not operating at a higher level, I just dream I am because I'm really still asleep. I was walking up the stairs this morning to the machines I use at the gym and had the funniest thought but then I tripped and I completely forgot the funny thought. Not face planting took priority over my comedic skills. 

As for the volunteering, it's going. I think I may not be as generous as originally thought. Might be a bit of a miser. I will not quit but I have lost my enthusiasm. 

Well I hope everyone has a great week, failing that - a decent week.

01 July 2014

Judging Since 1979

Hello all! Sorry for the lack of posting but writers block and the World Cup have interrupted my writing time. As I write this I am watching the USA vs. Belgium game, with 12 minutes in I hope that I win this game! By I hope I win, I mean that the game ends with a 1-0 score USA vs. BEL because if they don't finish like that my bracket is screwed. Please forgive any grammar mistakes (well the increase in mistakes) and any misspelled words. My attention is divided at the moment.

Besides the World Cup and the writers block, I have also been working with a political campaign. I am on team Wendy Davis! This summer I am volunteering, doing lots of block walks, and lots of phone banks. I started at the beginning of June and have wondered a few times since then, "What the hell did I get myself into?!" but it's this or sit at home on my ass. I have a lot of projects planned for my yard but they have moved along rather slowly due to my other activities.

Now let me dispel some misconceptions about my future governor (I'm being optimistic),  no official position on abortion, had a child while she was in HS, and is not an abortion barbie. The media is focusing on the filibuster she did last year because it protected funding  for women's clinics that also offered abortions. The bill essentially closed down all of the health clinics that focused on women's healthcare because their physicians were not affiliated to a hospital that was certified to perform the procedure (abortions). The certification from a committee on which Rick Perry's sister sits and it costs a pretty penny to obtain said certification. Anyway, Davis felt that the clinics funding was relevant as they provide other services at a graded pricing based on a woman's income. Your PAP tests, mammograms, birth control, and obstetric services for those women having children but can't afford insurance. My personal philosophy is if you don't believe in abortions, then don't have one. If you feel birth control is bad, don't take it. If you feel those who participate/believe in the aforementioned, then don't be friends with them. I don't tell you you're going to hell, when you post drunk party pictures on Saturday night and church pictures on Sunday. I judge you but not from behind God, I just judge you.  Yes, independent judging since 1979. Pretty sure I judged even as a child.

Well that has been bothering me for a while now, especially after yesterday. The Supreme Court has allowed 2 corporation to discriminate against women based on what type of birth control they choose to use. If you are on the pill, which is more likely to cause a miscarriage than any otehr type of birth control, they still pay. If you want an IUD or wish to use the morning after pill - DENIED. FYI the morning after pill does not cause an abortion, if not taken within 48 hours it permits fertilization of the oocyte but taken within 24 to 48 hours of unprotected intercourse simply prevents sperm from reaching the egg (explanation a little over-simplified). Although you should be re-evaluating your priorities if you are having unprotected sex.

OK off the soap box and the game is 0-0 still. GO USA!

04 June 2014

Net Neutrality or Bust!

OK I rarely rant, well not about stuff like this but this is so important! Watch the video below, it explains the whole issue with governments allowing cable/broadcasting companies controlling how fast your internet speed is and what sites you actually have access to. Recently Mexico has taken steps towards changing access to the internet and now the USA is trying to do the same thing. That means that if Comcast or Time Warner or Suddenlink or AT&T want to charge a website more to get it to you quicker than they can and then pass the expense on to you when that specific service increases it's fees. In other words it will provide them a monopoly to the information you have access to. Mr. Oliver explains it much better! Please watch!

If you have issues with the video you can see it here and here.

To leave a message (a nicely worded message) for the FCC please do so at http://www.fcc.gov/comments

Thank you! Feel free to share this with others.

28 May 2014

Graduating to Adulthood

College a difficult part of life for all, some have it a little less than others but overall it can be a difficult journey. You do a lot of growing up in college or at least you should. If you don't you still have time to do so afterwards, only it gets harder because everyone now thinks of you as an adult. It becomes increasingly difficult to do stupid things once you're out of college, for some reason people are a lot more judge-y once you leave college. However, if you make it through college to the beginning of the next tunnel - CONGRATS!

This past week I read an article about the correlation between low-income students vs. high-income students. Turns out that people are now publishing articles about what most of us already knew or lived. When you come from a high-income home it's more likely that you will graduate from college and do so with good grades. When you come from a low-income home the probability that you will not graduate - that if you do it will be with low grades - increases almost exponentially. I remember college. It was tough and I finished but I was not a stellar student. Actually I graduated with a B average, went on to work different jobs, and all in all didn't do that bad but I have to say it could have gone slightly better. I always felt (sometimes still feel) like I was behind in some way, that I wasn't quite up to par in comparison with my fellow students. I also worked 2 jobs most of the time to be able to go to college. I worked as a student assistant and I had a retail job after school. Yes, working 2 jobs and I still qualified for financial aid. Did I mention the 45 minute commute from my house to the university? In the end I finished and decently. I won't say that it was a horrible experience because it wasn't, it's part of who I am today. I don't believe that I would be who I am today without that work and experience, I am thankful. Although some days I still wish that it had been just a little easier than it was.

This man has a full time job but his passion is singing opera,
so he does it in his spare time on the streets of San Francisco.
He does sell a cd also.
Living that was important to me but it was also bad for me because I have allowed that to define many parts of my life. Feeling subpar has led to my accepting work/positions that are less than I deserve and now I see that employers have seen that and taken advantage of my own insecurities. My work for the past 3 1/2 years has been good and I have felt respect from my employers but I didn't believe in myself, so I felt they didn't believe in me. I have proven my worth over time but I always go in on the defensive, working hard to prove my value. Now I realize that I was only proving it to myself because those people saw in me what they needed for their work and have utilized it - the only one who doubted it was me.

This month has been a month of graduations and many hopeful students heading out into the world. For them I say this -

  • Stop being so hard on yourself, stop doubting yourself. You have time to improve and to achieve what you want.
  • Take risks. Fear is normal but don't let it decide for you. Though failure is not a pleasant experience, regret is way worse.
  • Ask for help, seek it out! I think this is the most important, you are not weak for needing help. You are not a kiss ass for seeking help or wanting to network. Many people will tell you the contrary and try to make you feel bad for this - don't. Those older than you want to mentor you and help, take it!
  • Work hard and enjoy the work for what it is - a building block. Not all the work you do will be your "passion" but be passionate about your work because it reflects who you are even if it's not your dream come true. Your true passion may just not be something you might be paid for - like being a parent.
  • Don't stop learning or growing or dreaming! Goals can be achieved but the morning after goal fulfillment may seem empty if you don't keep on dreaming. There's more to dream of, aim for, and achieve in this life, than we have time for.
  • Don't buy or want to buy crap you don't need. Brand name clothing & accessories are for suckers, believe me no one really knows what label is under your collar in real life. You don't need to dress like Hollywood. Use your money wisely. 
  • Have a savings account with enough money to live off of for at least 3 months! You have no idea how important this will be in your future, especially after college.
  • Last but not least work at being happy. Happiness is not a given in anyone's life, you have to work for it. If someone tells you that a relationship (work/love) isn't worth it because it's not easier, walk away. Happiness will always take work to achieve and maintain, but that is what makes it so special and wonderful. 
I hope this wasn't too preachy and that someone get's something good out of this :)

22 May 2014

Easy Times

This week I am having a hard time coming to grips with the lack of hours in the day. I have so many projects I want to do, that I really want to finish or even start but there are just not enough hours in the day! Mind you I'm not complaining because quite honestly I feel like I've been stuck in a funk for some time now.

I think the funk began last year around June or so, there were lots of good times in between but there was just something off. I had been feeling like something bad had been coming my way but turns out that I just had such a shit time from about 2007 - 2011 that I assumed bad things just happened to me - all of the time. During those years there were some good things but I have to say they had some pretty shit moments. Life happens. There are all these posts out there about not letting the tough times define you but that's easier typed than done. I don't know that many of these writers/bloggers talk about how hard you have to work at letting the bad go and focusing on "growth". It is hard. F-ing hard. Every morning when I wake up, my first thought is "God my foot hurts" (plantar fasciitis) and then I have to make an effort and follow that with "But I can walk". When I look in the mirror I have to actively look and find the beauty in there. It's not always easy, I don't always succeed. When I look out the window and see my very crappy back yard I have to repeat (and repeat) this - Rome wasn't built in a day, my yard will not be beautiful overnight. It will take time to make my yard beautiful. It is extremely difficult to like the person in the mirror some mornings. It is hard to not just throw my arms up in complete frustration and just scream - I QUIT! Today has been an easy day but every now and then it is really difficult to be positive, to grow, to be accepting of me. Self-love is difficult and self-hate is soooo easy.

For today I am grateful that it's been an easy day, lets hope tomorrow is an easy day too.

Peace! (Said street style)

13 May 2014

Writer's Block or Soap Box?

What a long month! Well work has been of intense of late and I've been experiencing quite a bit of writer's block. I've also been travelling. I've been hitching rides with the brother-in-law (BIL) to go see my sister and my parents every time he travels. Right now he has a job that keeps him away a lot so when he goes home, I go home. Well my other home. I think no matter how old you are home will always be at your parents house, wherever they are. Crazy but true, at least for this Mexican. Still at work right now but hoping that water would move faster than honey in December. Science, some days you love it, other days you want to be Marco Rubio and deny it all.

I've been following the politics a little. Just a little. I'm a pretty liberal person, in case the internets hasn't noticed. Actually if you live in TX I don't know if you can ever call yourself a liberal. That being said today I saw an odd article on the NY Times regarding the death penalty. I am not a staunch supporter of the death penalty but I am also not a serious opponent. The NY Times was - I guess - trying to condemn the death penalty in the article, calling Texas the most efficient state at administering the Death Penalty. It was surprising and a little sad but I think many Texans rarely think about it because it isn't publicized as much as you would think. It's pretty low-key, they use pentobarbital (I've used this myself on animals), and the only people present are usually family of the sentenced and the victim, along with necessary staff. Besides the lack of publicity in our state, the article goes on to say that more than 50% of the population supports the penalty.  When the death penalty is handed down, that is a solace (perhaps) for the victims families. There is that desire in some people to see the person who took from them a loved one, be put to death. I hope to never be in that position but I wonder if I would be so ready to forgive or to be OK with a life sentence only. I don't know that I wouldn't want them dead too. I think for that reason I do not oppose, but I do condemn the death penalty for it's failings. I think my biggest issue is the fact that so many people are condemned being innocent and that you can release someone from prison for a crime they didn't commit but you can't bring  someone back from the dead. Such a serious topic.  Sorry. Off my soap box.

Umm. So. I changed my profile pic! OK I'll be back tomorrow with something better.  I hope.

17 April 2014

Nice Levels Dangerously Low

Today's post was going to be a very angry rant. I wrote it out and had juicy details, all that good stuff but once I had written it out my anger started to fade. Sort of. Suffice to say that some people suck the nice right out of you, I work with someone like that. Managed to suck a weeks worth of nice out of me. Anyway, although his face is still distasteful I no longer feel the need to punch it in - for now. Really reminds me of that crazy roommate I had, she never did anything wrong but you did.  This co-worker the same, only with male genitalia.

On a lighter note, my foot feels almost normal now.  Although quick question, is your heel supposed to pop when you walk barefoot?

16 April 2014

Climbing Over the Block

Many things in this world give me joy, many things annoy me, I think we're pretty balanced between those two.  

Things that give me joy?

  1. Rain!  I love the smell that bacteria produce when it rains. Yes, turns out that the lovely smell we associate with wet earth is from a bacterium - Actinomycetes. The difference between watering and rain causing the smell is that when we water by hand the water doesn't hit the ground with the same force as that of rain. The rain hits the ground so hard it causes the spores of this bacterium to rise in the air and we breathe it in thinking, "Oh isn't that a lovely smell." Still love rain.
  2. Marshmallow's shenanigans. Recently we visited my parents and she got her head stuck in the fence but didn't cry out, no we found her that way. Who knows how long she had been like that. It was a little sad to see her head stuck but also funny. I don't think she enjoys being laughed at :)
  3. The nephew. Always a load of fun. He is turning 4 years old and the child looks like a 6 year old! Still talks like a 4yo and hugs like one too. I will miss his toddler years I think, he is such a cuddler :)
  4. Churros. Just yum.
  5. Listening to music, it's just relaxing. All kinds of music, with the exception to the likes of Bieber and the likes. There are others but probably not as famous or I just don't know their names/groups.
  6. The weather of late.  Sort of. We went from ~33C weather to 1C this weekend. I like the changes in the temperature when they aren't too extreme but the transition from winter to summer in TX is slightly different. We have like 1 month of this extremely perfect weather and then BOOM! 40C+ weather!
  7. My improved (still improving) gardening skills! Yes I have successfully cared for 12 plants as of last year! WOOT! I plan on adding more plants to that this year and perhaps some veggies. Very ambitious.
What annoys me?
  • Prefixing a dish with the word Mexican. Please stop doing that. Just because you add the word, does not mean it is a Mexican dish.  At least add "-like" or "Inspired" because that just irks me. I don't make enchiladas and call them cannoli. If you add chile of any type then it's an enchilada, if you don't then it is not an enchilada. Please stop. I'm sure other cultures would like that too.
  • People who don't pull their weight at work. No names but ugh.
  • The wind on the South Plains. Not cool.
Seems that I have more things I like than dislike. I would say that's progress from the past few years. I have also accomplished a few things from my new goals for the year! I have purged most of my clothing! My closet looks a little sad right now but that's OK because we are moving on. I joined the gym and have been only once because of my foot, it is still bothering me a little. Actually the day I went I damaged it further and it sent me right back to limping around. I had stopped having pain and figured I could jump around a bit but turns out I was wrong. I have success fully cooked 1 vegetarian meal per month, 2 in April!  Share some of them soon :)

I think that's enough for now, seems the block is over!

04 April 2014

Limping Around

I am dry as the Mojave desert, I am totally blocked.  I obviously haven't written much of late but I just don't know what to write about.  Life has been a bit of a cliffhanger of late. There are so many things that race through my head and yet none of it seems suitable for the printed word. I feel like I've been in a perpetually bad mood for weeks now but it's only been a few days but even that is too long. It is like I'm waiting for the second shoe to drop but I don't know when the first one dropped or who dropped the shoe. Something big this way comes and it is freaking me out. Maybe I am imagining things but I still can't shake the feeling.  I really want to shake it off because I don't want this feeling to become a self-fulfilling prophecy kind of thing.

Perhaps it is the fact that Spring is here and the world is starting to wake up but it just doesn't feel right. Perhaps I am waking up too? The question being from what and to what but no answers forthcoming.  I think I am in a sort of limbo because my world is changing and things that I never considered have come into my periphery. We think of the world or at least our personal little world to be inviolate, not allowing the reality of others to color the things we do or think. However, recently I realized that my income, my health, and world in general are not inviolate. Work is actually good but truthfully in my line of work it is always on shaky ground. I could easily find a new job within my current department but I don't know that I would want to. I also hurt my foot while in San Francisco and my heel hurts sooo much! It is plantar fasciitis - according to me- but I'll verify with the doctor in a week or so. I have an appointment, my doctor is going to be mad with me because I gained soooooooooooo much weight. This is a follow-up and I was supposed to lose weight - I didn't. The world scenario is someone close to me had a health scare and nothing can make you open your eyes like a health scare! Yeah it is time to re-evaluate my life goals and make sure that I am where I want to be and if I have to vacate this place I want to be, where else would I like to be?

Things like my masters and starting a family have been on the backburner because I just didn't feel the necessity to change anything. I have been extremely comfortable but comfort seems to be a lying bastard! Anyway, it has just been weird. Right now I feel overwhelmed by all of this but I know that at the worst I am at my best. I guess it's just the fight response ingrained in me. Other than this I am currently obsessed with the Divergent trilogy. Who knew that one day I would return to reading fiction? YA fiction at that!

26 March 2014

Many Moons

Hello everyone!  Sorry for the absence but lots of big things have happened since the last time we met! I think I'm changing my name to Many Moons. Lunar cycles have come and gone in my life for the past 35 years! I have beat my personal best for days without dying and I hope to continue doing so :)

I have been so busy these past few months, cliche I know but I have been BUSY. I went to San Francisco for a conference while I was sick. The day before my poster was to be presented I almost lost my voice but Sucrets saved the day. I got to see some friends I hadn't seen in a very long time and that was fun.  The city is quite pretty and diverse but a little (I mean a lot) dirty. Their homeless population is astounding and saddening. I have to say that city surprised me. The income disparity there is incredible. I am still amazed that you can go a few blocks and be in the Tenderloin but you just left a Hermes store. Yes the architecture is beautiful, the weather was awesome, the food great, and tons to do but not a very livable city. I know that you have a higher wage there but would it be worth it? Either way I most definitely enjoyed myself in San Francisco and would not discourage anyone from visiting.  The conference was a great success as well :) I'll post pictures soon but just haven't made the time to get the pics off my camera.

Then when I returned, I recovered from my cold and went from 34 to 35 yo. A big transition in my opinion. Its caused a bit of an existential crisis, I realized that if I had a kid this year that child would be in its teens when I am 50. All of a sudden I'm not so sure about kids anymore. I mean I love kids and I suppose I always assumed I would have them but it just hasn't happened for me. Lets just say I'm with Charlotte, I definitely thought my life would be waaaaaaaaaaay different by the time I was 35. As it seems I'm having a midlife crisis, am I allowed a flashy sports car? Or is the female equivalent a face-lift? Or boob-lift?

I prefer the car.

Otherwise, work is great and life is pretty good :)

Hope everyone is doing well and enjoying their lives!

10 February 2014

Grandma 2.0

It is so cold!  Of late all I have wanted is to go home, curl up under some blankets, and wait for summer to arrive, while drinking hot chocolate.  I know it doesn't compare to Canada or Russia but holy schei├če!  I read "The Book Thief" recently and I learned quite a few curse words in German.  Excellent book despite the cursing.  Back to my issues.  It is cold here!

First time she had puppies.
I also have some news.  My dog, who is almost 11 years old, is preggers.  Yes.  You see, when she moved here I hadn't had her fixed, then she had puppies about 6 or 5 years ago and following that she developed Auto-Immune Hemolytic Anemia.  Due to the latter I decided against having her spayed because it might bring the AIHA back but I figured if I kept her in the house and didn't leave her within easy reach of non-neutered male dogs, we would be OK.  Turns out that while visiting my parents for Thanksgiving a non-neutered male dog got into my parents yard and impregnated my 10 year old dog.  We were there for a whole week so it could have happened at any point in time.  She had started getting fatter but last week she just blew up, I was mentally preparing myself to take her into the vet and hear the inevitable line, "It's time to consider euthanasia."  However, I decided on one last trip to the parents to say goodbye and then upon my return take her in because I thought it was the end.  Turns out it's just another beginning.  The minute my Mom saw her, she said, "Mija, this dog is fat."  That was translated from Spanish.

Mija = Sweetie

fat = preggers

It just never crossed my mind that she might be pregnant!  Dying?  Yes.  Pregnant?  NEVER! With all of the health issues she's had, I thought I was going to have to wrap my mind around her passing away, not giving birth!  To say I am stunned is quite the understatement.  I just don't know what she was thinking, getting pregnant at her age. The puppies haven't arrived but they should be here this weekend or next.  Well, that being said, anyone want a puppy?  Or two?

29 January 2014

Cozy Grocers

Recently I came across an article that spoke about the coziest cities in the USA.  I was flabbergasted that they were also some of the most expensive cities to live in.  I don't know but to me cozy also means affordable.  What's the point of having a friendly grocer if I can't afford their groceries?  The article was from the HUFFPOST (click here for the article).  Mind you they are beautiful and have an aura of bygone times but I don't think many Americans could afford to live there.  For example in Santa Fe, NM a house that's about 1600 sq ft would be in the $200K range and it would not be in great condition if old and would be more than that number if it were new.  Raise your hand if you could afford to live in the DC area.  No?  Perhaps in Boston?  No?  I know!  San Francisco!

Yeah.  No.  Doubt if 90% of Americans could afford to live in any of those cities.  Mind you there are cities on the list that seem livable - cost wise.  There is also the fact that most jobs would provide a pay increase when living there but I would say that it's not a step up.  Considering that many college graduates can't find work or have to move back home at the moment, how cozy can these cities truly be?  Friendly postman?  Yeah would be nice, but I'll take my less expensive housing and groceries over a friendly grocer any day.

 See because you have to be this:

To get this:
Because if you are this:
Or this:
This is what you get:
I'm just kidding you can't live there!  At least not on your measly white/blue collar salary!  Oh that made me laugh!
I'm not hating on California, same is happening to cities in Texas.  Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio have all seen a spike in the cost of living even though they now offer more activities and "culture".  In Texas, culture can mean different things from the rest of the world but we like it.  However, Texas cannot boast of a higher income despite the increase in cost of living.  The same can be said of NM, they have an extremely high cost of living but they also have some of the lowest wages in the country.  When I say that the cost of living is high, I don't mean taking awesome jetsetting vacations or chilling by the pool with some Dom, no I mean paying your rent, buying groceries, paying utilities, transportation, buying clothing, and maybe squeezing in a fast food dinner or a movie.  Quite honestly for some families fast food is sometimes equivalent to having a nice dinner out.  So yes I would like to live some where cozy but if I have to sacrifice a necessity, I'll pass.  Do I dislike those who can afford to live somewhere cozy?  No.  I have what I have and I am grateful for what I have.  That said I don't appreciate being told I don't live somewhere cozy just because you prefer your grocer to know your name.

12 January 2014

Work Ahead

I already wished everyone a new year, we've all gone through the "I hope this is your best year!" dance and now it's time to leave that behind and really work on the year.  Well wishing done.  Work to begin!

How to start 2014?  I think this needs a list, not numbered because that could mean that each goal would have more weight than others and I don't want to start the year by stressing on deadlines.

  • Less me-shaming.  Some of you know what I'm talking about, others will not.  Also known as fat-shaming.  Kellog's Special K website has an awesome video illustrating what fat-shaming is and how it's done when we do it ourselves.  A little ironic, many blogs, websites, media outlets, called Special K out on that but it doesn't make it any less true.  Thus, no more calling myself fat, comparing myself to friends/strangers, reading magazines that glorify thin over healthy, no more shame over an unrealistic image of what a woman should look like because I do not fit that image, and am not likely to.  Less me-shaming.
  • Giving the whole part-time vegetarian thing another go because lets face it eating pasta with veggies is not totally vegetarian.  I need to try actual vegetarian meals that don't have pasta in it, love pasta but there is a limit to the amount of carbs I should be eating.  This by no means entails me giving up cheese, might as well kill me if I had to give up cheese.  However, I will try more vegan recipes from the book I got 2 years ago, I tried 1 recipe when I received said book.  This year I will try 1 recipe per month - at least!  This is only part-time because I love meat, so yeah part-time only.
  • This year I am actually paying for the gym membership at work.  It is the gym that is associated with the university and I'll have to wade through young 20-somethings who are there for reasons other than exercise but that's where the less me-shaming is needed.  Remember no more comparing myself to others because I am not 20-anything anymore, I am just me.  Just exercise and the aforementioned diet changes.
  • Re-start the whole budgeting process again.  In 2012, I was extremely good about keeping a budget, watching where my money was going but last year that went down the drain.  I just stopped.  I always said to myself, "I'm busy!  Who has the time?!"  No more, back to basics!  Definitely going back to the budget, it was so helpful!
  • More gardening, less TV.  More reading, less TV.  More family time, less TV.  More knitting/crochet, less TV.  The point is LESS TV.  I have been watching several series for a long time and they take up a lot of time.  I didn't realize how much TV I was watching until I did a survey that asked me how much TV I was watching every week, the tally was not pretty.  Less TV.
  • Simplifying my life.  I sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by the things in my life and sometimes the activities in my life.  This year I want to simplify that and feel a little more relaxed.  First I need to purge my home of things that I don't need.  Like the skirts from years ago that don't fit but I keep because every year I"m going to lose the weight and fit back into them.  Hasn't happened yet and I don't know that I'll ever be that small again, so moving on.  Goodwill will be receiving a lot of things this year, especially because all of that clothing is still in pretty good shape.  When or even if I lose the weight, I think new clothing would be better than hoarding things I don't use or need.  Shoes not included.  Simplify.
These are the things I want to concentrate on in 2014, if I did 2 of the things listed above I think 2014 will be a great year.